Disclaimer: Tolkien built the sandbox, I only play with the bucket and shovel that he left for me. No money, profit or non, is made from the publication of this story.
Heart Song Elrond had been practicing his harping skill. He was a relatively new player, but Ada said he was doing well and, if he worked at it, he could be a passable musician. Since there was not a great deal of entertainment in their rather grim encampment during these winter months, he practiced his music when he could, usually at least once a day for an hour or two. He wasn’t allowed to use Ada’s good harp, but one of the other men in the camp had a passably good instrument that he could borrow. He had finished his chores early and had settled with the harp in his small corner of the abandoned large manor house that Maedhros’ men had taken as their winter home.
Elrond was wandering aimlessly along the shore, listening to the incoming breakers. The sea was agitated and the sky was a slightly lighter grey than the waves were. He was trying to tame his temper which had come too close to exploding just a short time before.
The best part about being raised by Ada Maglor was the irrefutable fact that he was a musician and a teacher of incomparable talent. The worst part about being part of the household was that living with Ada Maglor meant that he also lived with Uncle Maedhros. It wasn’t that he didn’t love Uncle Maedhros; he cared deeply for him. But it was a fact that Maedhros’ temper was volatile. Elrond didn’t know what had set him off today, but it had been frightening to have it directed towards him instead of just witnessing his uncle’s temper directed at another.
After limbering up his fingers, he had started practicing a song that Ada was teaching him, a lullaby of trees and the wind moving the clouds above them. Then, unconsciously, his fingers had moved into a different song – one that had leaped to his fingers from his far past, one that his mother had sung to him when he was just a child. So he played this song from the happier times when he had been part of a “real” family, and began to softly sing the words. Suddenly his harp was ripped from his hands. Looking up, he saw his uncle standing in front of him, his face contorted in anger and pain. It was he who had pulled the harp away from Elrond’s hands. He held it away from the boy, looking at him wildly with a face as pale as ice.
“NEVER play that song again in my hearing,” his uncle said quietly, yet with an undercurrent of threat that made the young man squirm as away from him, retreating into his corner as far as he could get.
“Yyyess, sir. Of course. Whatever you say. I’m so sorry…”
His uncle turned and, taking the harp with him, left the boy sitting in the corner. Elrond was in shock, but as the shock wore off, anger replaced it. He knew that if he saw his uncle again too soon, he would lose his temper and would regret it later. So he rose from his corner, took his cloak from the peg by the door, and went out to walk along the shore on this wintery day.
After an hour or so, he looked up to see that his Ada Maglor was sitting in a small sheltered area near the shore, watching him walk his anger off. Maglor beckoned the boy to join him.
“He didn’t mean to be so hurtful, Elrond. He just couldn’t help it.”
“But why, Ada? Why was he suddenly so angry with me?” the youngster asked.
“Child, he wasn’t angry with you, or even about the song that you were singing. His anger was actually directed at the past, a past that he can never change.” Maglor shifted slightly and put his arm around Elrond’s shoulder. “You know that my brother lost his hand when he was rescued from Thangorodrim by our cousin, Fingon. My brother and Fingon loved each other dearly, each of them was heart-sworn to the other, and when Fingon died in the Nirneath Arnoediad, his death came close to slaying Maedhros as well. It was long before he was able to do things as simple as take a walk on his own. His fea was broken, even though his body was not.”
“But what has this to do with me? Why is he so wroth with me?”
“None of us searched for my brother when he was taken by Melkor; we had given him our oaths that we would not. It nearly killed us; that we were forbidden to attempt to find or rescue him, but we would not be foresworn. Fingon, however, was under no such constraint.”
Maglor sighed deeply, and turned Elrond’s face towards him, looking at his eyes directly. “Fingon was unable to find him, and in his despair, took down his harp and played a song from their youth – the song that you were playing this afternoon. He heard a voice from a far distance answering him, singing the next verse. It was through this song that Fingon found my brother, and through the compassion of the Lord of Winds that he was rescued from that spire of stone, although he lost his right hand in the winning of that freedom.” Maglor looked away, toward the distant horizon, and continued. “Fingon and the rest of us nursed Maedhros back to health, and then they separated, rarely to meet again. Yet their love still exists in his hroa and fea, and when you played the song this afternoon…well, it brought back some very sorrowful memories.”
“I am so sorry,” cried the young man. “I had no idea. I was just thinking of a song that my mother used to sing to us and my fingers began playing it. I had no desire to cause Uncle any pain.”
“He knows that, child,” Maglor said, as he drew the boy closer to him and kissed him on the forehead. “It reminded him of a love lost, perhaps never again to be found, and that is a hard thing for anyone to face. He will be all right again tomorrow. But promise me one thing, son.”
“If I can, I most certainly will, Ada.”
“Promise me that if you ever find the love of your life, the one whose fea fits against your own as if it was made for that very purpose, you will not hesitate to pursue that love. For the only thing we have found that makes this life of desolation possible at all, is the fact that we were loved. Even though we are now alone, we have those memories to fall back on. Without love, there is nothing.”
“I love you, Ada,” Elrond said in a soft and trembling voice.
“And I love you, my son. Now, shall we go and see what Cook has managed to acquire for dinner?” They left the sheltered alcove and as they returned to the house, their arms were around each other’s waists and a song was in their hearts.
Elrond had been practicing his harping skill. He was a relatively new player, but Ada said he was doing well and, if he worked at it, he could be a passable musician. Since there was not a great deal of entertainment in their rather grim encampment during these winter months, he practiced his music when he could, usually at least once a day for an hour or two. He wasn’t allowed to use Ada’s good harp, but one of the other men in the camp had a passably good instrument that he could borrow. He had finished his chores early and had settled with the harp in his small corner of the abandoned large manor house that Maedhros’ men had taken as their winter home.
Chapter End Notes:
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