?

Log in

No account? Create an account

Previous Entry | Next Entry

An Amethyst Remembrance

Title: An Amethyst Remembrance
Rating: Mature
Pairing: Finrod/Edrahil
Genre: Slash, Romance, Drama
For Zhie


Written for the 2014 My Slashy Valentine fic swap. Read more great stories here: http://archiveofourown.org/collections/2014_MSV


For each ecstatic instant
We must an anguish pay
In keen and quivering ratio
To the ecstasy.
- Emily Dickinson

Finrod lay supine and nude on an expanse of soft grass, toying with a strand of his partner’s dark hair. “Ah, my beautiful Edrahil, why cannot all days be like this?” he said with a dreamy look in his eyes.

Compelled by a need for discretion as strong as their need for one another, they had slipped from the fortress of Nargothrond, as they occasionally did, to spend the afternoon making love at their favorite rendezvous point in the soft high grasses on a hill above the rushing river. Within the fortress they were King and Captain but here they were equals, lovers, attuned to each other’s every mood and whim.

Propped on one elbow, his nude body warmed by the sun, a perfect blue sky overhead, Edrahil thought he could not be happier, and indeed he would remember this day for all his long years to come.

“Because we have duties and responsibilities,” he replied. “We cannot shirk them for the pleasure of lying in each other’s arms and gazing like love-struck maidens into each other’s eyes.”

Finrod chuckled at his captain’s serious reply. Edrahil oft times seemed more concerned about the health of the realm than was he. “You were not so interested in my arms or my eyes earlier.”

Edrahil broke into a smile and took Finrod’s cock in hand, teasing back his foreskin with his thumb.

Finrod groaned and batted his hand away. “No more, no more!” he cried. “You have drained me. I could not go again if you were to put me to the sword.”

Edrahil laughed and threw himself back on the grass. “I would rather put your sword into me,” he quipped.

Finrod laughed as well then rolled over to kiss Edrahil, who returned the overture with endearing earnestness. There was something to be said for one who took his duties seriously, Finrod mused.

~***~


No sooner had Finrod entered the great room of the stronghold than a breathless messenger appeared. “My lord, a message is come, the Lady Galadriel approaches from Doriath.”

“When will she arrive?”

“Two days, my lord.”

Finrod clapped the young man on the shoulder. “This is most welcome news, for it has been a long time since my sister has come to visit. Go tell Angrod and Aegnor, if they do not already know.”

“Indeed, everyone knows but you, my lord. I have sought for you all day to deliver the news.”

In many places the lad’s remark would have been considered impertinent, despite the innocence of its delivery, but Finrod did not take offense. He had been absent from the city for hours today, which had made delivering the message impossible for the poor lad. Still, the messenger knew he had spoken out of turn and he blushed and bowed low. “Forgive me, my lord. I meant no disrespect.”

“You are forgiven,” Finrod said. “You have discharged your duty well. Now go fetch Edrahil to me.” He knew the lad would have an easier time locating Edrahil. They always came and went at different times from the city so as not to arouse suspicion and on this day Edrahil had gone back at the earlier hour and he the later.

The messenger made a hasty retreat, leaving Finrod to wonder if he was becoming the subject of gossip among his court.

It was not long before Edrahil appeared with a cheerful smile. When he heard his king’s charge, however, Finrod saw his mood darken.

“You want me to lead the escort to meet your sister’s retinue? Does she not travel with a guard of her own?”

“Of course she does, but I would rather trust her safety to you and your men than whomever Thingol deems worthy to accompany her.”

“You do not trust a Sindarin escort?” Edrahil said. “If that is the case. . .”

“You know that is not what I mean,” Finrod broke in. “Do not be difficult about this, Edrahil. I would rather ask this of you than command it.”

Edrahil stiffened. “As you wish, lord. I shall put together a company and leave at once.” He turned on his heel and left before Finrod could reply.

Finrod sighed. He regretted Edrahil’s antipathy toward his sister but there was little he could do to ameliorate it. Galadriel had drawn Edrahil’s ire when she had discouraged him from leaving Thingol’s court to accompany him to Nargothrond. She had done it out of concern that the young Sinda would be giving up his position and family for an uncertain future with Finrod’s people, but Edrahil saw it as meddling and had not forgiven her for it.

Of course Galadriel did not know the real reason for Edrahil’s decision, nor had Finrod at the time. He had simply welcomed Edrahil and the nine other Sindar who had returned with him, as he welcomed anyone who sought shelter within his realm. The Sindarin contingent had proven their worth many times over, for although in Doriath they had been courtiers and lesser nobles of the Sindar they did not expect to be granted similar privilege in Nargothrond. They were doughty, worked hard, and applied themselves wholly and with proficiency to every task they undertook. As a result, Finrod counted them among his most trusted friends and advisors.

Fortunately, Galadriel’s visit required enough preparation that Finrod and his brothers were busy until her arrival planning a feast and entertainments. They were excited to be together again. On the expected day of her arrival they clad themselves in their finest attire and rode out to meet her.

“Sister, how wonderful to see you again,” Finrod said, bringing his horse in step with hers. “Is Celeborn with you?” He looked around, scanning the entourage for the prince’s distinctive silver hair.

“It is good to see you too, Finrod. My heart told me it was time we got together again.” Her smile was as radiant as the gold of her hair, which to Finrod’s mind outshone even the sun. “Celeborn was unable to come this time, but he sends you his most sincere regrets and his best regards.”

“You must give him my best when you return to Doriath, which I hope will be a long time off.”

“In fact, I do intend for my stay in Nargothrond to be for some time. I hope you don’t mind.”

“Mind? Quite the opposite. Your words bring me joy.” He kissed her cheek and her smile brightened.

Finrod could feel Edrahil’s eyes upon him but chose to ignore him. There would be time for the inevitable argument later.

~***~


Later, as Finrod retired for the evening and was just settling in with a book, a knock sounded upon the door. He opened it and a messenger handed him a note. He thanked the lad, who bowed and left.

Finrod opened the paper and read: I must speak with you. Meet me at half past the hour.

It was unsigned but Finrod knew exactly who had written it and where the meeting was to be. There was an empty pantry below the third, rarely used, kitchen where he and Edrahil could meet in secret within the palace. The route to this room saw little traffic so the chance of being seen coming or going at any hour was slight. They met there only at great need so Finrod was a bit surprised and a little exasperated by the message. He looked at the clock and saw he had ten minutes. He sat back down and read a chapter of his book. ‘Let him cool his heels in the dark,’ he thought, ‘I am his king, not his servant.’

Eventually Finrod made his way down to the pantry, ready to face Edrahil’s anger with his own. He stormed in and was immediately caught up in his lover’s arms. Edrahil kissed him and he fell into it willingly, his own ire forgotten. They did not speak but undressed quickly and made frantic love on the cold pantry floor by the light of a single candle. It was only afterward, when they were catching their respective breaths, that Finrod sat up and broke the silence.

“Is this why you sent the message to meet you?” he asked. “You know this place is only to be used at need.”

“And so it was,” Edrahil said without humor. “I did not know when we might have the chance again.”

“That may be true but we have survived longer periods of separation. Certainly it will be more difficult to make time while she is here, but we don’t have to forgo our trysts.”

“Just curtail them to the point of nonexistence,” Edrahil said sullenly. “I am weary of pretending you are only my king, weary of finding excuses to be near you within the city, of sneaking off to the hills outside.”

“You made the choice to come to Nargothrond and to become the captain of my personal guard. You could have been part of my court or on my council but you worked hard to learn fighting skills out of some misguided need to protect me. I do not deny my part in this. I gave you the freedom to follow your heart, but you know things cannot be any other way. Besides, you worry too much. My sister does not suspect anything. No one suspects. They know I am betrothed.”

Edrahil winced at the word and Finrod was sorry for bringing it up. Yet what else could he do? It was the plain truth and Edrahil must make his own peace with it.

“Yes, your love who did not even deign to come with you,” Edrahil said. “How could anyone think, after all this time, that you still harbor feelings for her?”

“Because I do,” Finrod said. Edrahil had been staring at the floor but now his head snapped up and he looked at Finrod as one betrayed. “How could I not?" Finrod continued, "I knew her almost from childhood. We would have bonded had things been otherwise.” Edrahil’s Sindarin features were sharp in the dim light. He looked every inch the fell warrior he had made of himself, save for the haunted vulnerability in his eyes.

“Yet she did not follow when you left.”

“And for that I am grateful. I would not have had her suffer the hardships we faced.”

Edrahil’s expression softened. “Forgive my temper, Finrod. It is selfish of me to resent someone I have never met, one who means so much to you.”

“You mean a great deal to me too,” Finrod said, touching Edrahil’s cheek. “Do not despair. I will do my best to find time for you while Galadriel is here, and always.”

“Would it be unseemly for me to declare my undying love for you here on a dark pantry floor?” Edrahil asked with a rueful little smile.

“Only if it would be unseemly for me to reciprocate your feelings, and to do this. . .” Finrod laid him down again and the two did not part until shortly before dawn.

~***~


Finrod was making his way to his rooms when Galadriel appeared in the hallway heading the opposite direction.

“You’re up early,” she said, then looking him up and down added, “or are coming in late. I hope nothing is amiss.”

“You have caught me I fear. I was up all night making plans for the feast tomorrow. Checking each quail egg, making sure the cook still has the recipe for that pastry you love. A brother’s work is never done.”

Galadriel laughed. “It is good the realm is so peaceful that you can devote your time to my comfort; and to the detriment of your own rest as well. All right, be mysterious. One of the things I love about you is my inability to easily read you.”

“Easily read me?” Finrod countered with a teasing grin.

“Just because you’re older doesn’t mean you’re more powerful,” Galadriel teased back.

“But it does mean you must obey me in all things,” Finrod said with mock seriousness.

Galadriel laughed merrily. “Ai, how I have missed you, brother. Has your cook finished counting quail eggs long enough to make breakfast? I’m starving.”

After they ate, they went riding with Angrod and Aegnor. Edrahil and two of his men provided the escort, not because it was needed, for Finrod and his brothers were well able to protect themselves, but because, like any older brother, he was concerned with Galadriel’s safety. Although, truth be told, he sometimes thought Galadriel to be the most capable of them all when it came to self-preservation.

Edrahil, to his credit, was friendly and solicitous of Galadriel, but Finrod could see she wasn’t fooled by his display of pleasantry, though, of course, she did not overtly show it. Angrod and Aegnor regaled them with the story of their last hunt, and how Angrod had fallen in the river when a snake spooked his horse. Aegnor spoke of a lovely woman he was courting, telling Galadriel he would introduce her at the feast. Finrod and Galadriel did some bird watching, with Galadriel naming the various species Melian had taught her to identify.

It was a most relaxing day and when they returned to the city they were all still chattering away like magpies. Galadriel and the others left the stables heading for their rooms to freshen up for dinner and Finrod and Edrahil departed the stables together, headed for Finrod’s study to discuss the latest patrol reports.

When they entered the room, Edrahil closed the door and let out a heavy sigh. “I think she knows. I can tell from the way she was looking at me.”

“I think she was just amazed at how amiable you were today. She wasn’t expecting that.”

“Perhaps I should tell her I have forgiven her and that I would like to be friends,” Edrahil said. “It would make things much easier.”

“Have you forgiven her?”

Edrahil hesitated. “Not really.”

“Then don’t say you have. She knows these things.”

“I was hoping if I could get her to like me she might not mind so much,” Edrahil said miserably.

Finrod hugged him. “She doesn’t know, and she does like you. Don’t try so hard. It will be all right.”

They kissed and touched briefly then Edrahil departed.

After he left, Finrod sat in thought for a long time. Would it really be so bad if Galadriel knew? He did not think she would judge him but he knew it would trouble her heart, and his sister had enough cares, as did they all. What were problems of the heart compared with the doom of the Noldor they bore?

Finrod bathed and dressed in his finest kingly attire for the feast. He was truly happy to have the excuse for a large, ceremonial dinner. It reminded him of the balls Finarfin would have each spring. Nearly everyone in Tirion would attend and there would have been music from Maglor and all the guests would be dancing. Fingon would set them all roaring with his stories while Maedhros looked upon him with indulgent affection. Caranthir and Curufin could always be counted on to drink too much and get into an argument, while Celegorm plied his charms on all the ladies present.

And then there was Amarië, the sweet maiden he had left behind. After the hearts of the Noldor were stirred by Fëanor's fell words events swept them up like a whirlwind. When it was decided they would all leave, he asked Amarië to come with him, but her father had forbidden it and she chose to obey him. Finrod had been devastated at first, but slowly his fiery passion had burned away until only the embers of affection remained.

Finrod thought on her and his heart was filled with wistful nostalgia. Was he ever that young? Was she ever more lovely than that last ball where they had danced and plighted their troth? Finrod loved Ennor, and he did not often miss his life in Aman, but sometimes, just sometimes, his heart grieved for what might have been, for all that had been lost with one, fateful decision: ‘as if besotted with wine, and as briefly.’ Angrod, in one of his rare moments of insight.

~***~


When Finrod stepped into the great hall all eyes turned to him and he nodded to his court. Everyone bowed in return. The music started with his arrival and the guests took the floor to dance. Aegnor was introducing Galadriel to his new lady while Angrod and his wife looked on, all smiles. As he made his way through the crowd, Edrahil stepped up to Galadriel, said something he could not hear, then held out his hand, which Galadriel accepted with a curtsey. Finrod's jaw almost dropped when the two began to dance. He said to Angrod, "What is that all about?"

“Your captain seems to have taken a shine to our sister this trip. Did you see how he attended her yesterday?”

“I had not noticed,” Finrod murmured, still stunned.

“Better watch those two,” Aegnor joked, or we might end up with a different Sindarin brother-in-law.”

Finrod gave him a tight smile and called a servant over to fetch him a drink.

Galadriel returned from the floor breathless and smiling as Edrahil moved off to speak with one of his men. “Edrahil is trying especially hard to be pleasant. What is the cause of this change, I wonder?” she said to Finrod.

“I am as surprised as you,” Finrod admitted. “Perhaps he is attempting to show he has forgiven you for his previous ill will.”

“I always lamented that he took my words so badly. I feared he was making a mistake he would regret. But in his case I was wrong, he has flourished here, and it is all due to you, brother.”

“Me? How so?”

“You are the best of us. You inspire people, Findaráto, they would follow you anywhere, into any danger.”

“I thank you for your vote of confidence, but I doubt it is true,” Finrod said. “Yet I do not deny that I am proud of Nargothrond and its people. There are none finer in all of Arda.”

“You have built a beautiful city and a safe haven,” Galadriel said. “The world is at peace, for a time anyway, there is just one thing left to do.”

“And what might that be?”

“For you to marry and produce a fine son,” Galadriel said. Finrod started to speak but she cut him off. “Now, I know you are betrothed to Amarië but, please forgive my indelicacy, things have changed greatly since your promise to her. Is there no one in your court or city that catches your fancy? If not, there are some beautiful women in Thingol’s court I could introduce you to.”

A sudden cold wind seemed to sweep over Finrod. Fragmented scenes flashed through his mind in rapid succession: flames leaping, a land barren, laid waste, an oath sworn, a ring, a crushing, inescapable darkness. So vivid was the vision that he swayed where he stood. Galadriel caught his arm to steady him. She motioned for a servant who hurried over and took Finrod’s wineglass.

“What is it?” she asked, concerned.

“It is not meant for me to produce an heir,” he choked out. “I will swear an oath, and to fulfill it I must go into darkness.”

Fear gripped Galadriel’s heart. “Is this a thing that must be or that may be?”

“Either way, I must be free. I can take no wife and there will be no heir.”

The musicians struck up another tune and the dancers swirled around the floor in a wheel of bright colors. Edrahil saw Finrod sway and skirted around the dance floor just in time to see him give Galadriel a reassuring smile.

“I’m all right, truly. It was a passing thing,” he was saying.

Edrahil gripped his arm. “What happened, Finrod? Are you ill?”

“Just too much wine,” he said. “I should have waited until after supper to imbibe.”

The evening had lost its luster for Finrod but, true to his nature, he did not show his troubled heart to anyone and all enjoyed the feast, except for him and Galadriel. Finrod was glad to retire to his room but he had little time to recover from the feeling of doom that had gripped him. A knock sounded upon the door and Galadriel was standing there with a look of concern.

“The dark ones are the worst, are they not?” she said.

“They are, though I have not had a vision so vivid in a long while. Not since I saw you with Celeborn a year before you met.”

Galadriel blushed. “You never told me.”

“Some things are more pleasant to discover on one’s own,” he said with an affectionate smile.

“I do not wish to dwell on unpleasant things tonight. I came to say only one thing and I hope you will not be angry with me.”

“That sounds ominous.”

“I do not mean it to be.” Galadriel hesitated, then plunged ahead. “You do not need to marry or produce an heir to find love.”

Finrod froze. “So Edrahil was right,” he said at last. “Did you too have a vision, or is it just your powers of observation that gave us away?”

Galadriel looked puzzled and then realization dawned. Her hand flew to her mouth. “You and Edrahil? Great Eru!”

Finrod groaned. “Oh, Galadriel, I’m sorry! I didn’t want you to find out this way.”

“No, it’s all right. I just. . . I never guessed.”

“I believe it is one of the reasons for his animosity toward you. He felt your advice before he left Doriath was intrusive on the relationship he hoped would develop, and that ultimately did.”

“I will admit it’s a shock, but why didn't you tell me before? Surely you didn’t think I would be against you finding happiness with another?"

“I didn’t know how you might react. It is a difficult thing to speak of, especially to one's sister, in light of how such things are viewed among the Noldor.”

“Oh, Finrod, how you must have suffered.” Galadriel came over and took his hand. “There is nothing you could do that would diminish you in my eyes. Please know you can tell me anything. I will always love you.”

“I should have told you before. I may be called wise but you are the wisest of the house of Finarfin my dear sister.”

Galadriel kissed him on the cheek. “When I came in I meant only to give my blessing for you to find a maiden to enjoy spending your time with. This is so much more than I expected, and better, for you have found someone who makes you truly happy.”

“And how do you know that?” Finrod asked.

“Perhaps I read you,” Galadriel said.

Finrod raised an eyebrow and Galadriel chuckled.

“All right, it's because you would not be with him if he did not,” Galadriel said, squeezing his hand. Her look was tender. Finrod kissed the back of her hand and gave her a grateful smile.

A light rap came upon the door and Finrod answered it. Edrahil swept in saying, “I know you said you were all right but I was wor. . .” He saw Galadriel and stopped. “I’m sorry, I didn’t know you had company,” he said with a bow.

Finrod seized him, kissing him fully. Edrahil leapt back in shock. “Are you mad! Your sister. . .”

“She knows,” Finrod whispered, and stepped back.

“She. . .” he looked at Galadriel as though afraid she might attack him, “. . . knows,” he finished. He stood speechless and staring.

“Finrod told me,” Galadriel said. “I think it is wonderful news, but let me leave you two alone. Finrod and I will talk later.”

As she passed Edrahil she laid her hand gently on his arm and smiled.

After she left, Edrahil still found it difficult to find his voice. Finrod hastened to fill him in. “This was entirely my fault,” he said. “We were speaking at the ball and she asked me why I didn’t marry, so when she came in a few moments ago and picked up the conversation, I thought she knew about us and I let it slip.”

“What did she say when she found out?” Edrahil said shakily.

“That she is happy for us, and she loves me.”

“That’s all?”

“All before you came in.”

Edrahil exhaled a deep breath. “It’s hard to know how to feel now that the secret is out. I was so afraid she would guess it, and that she would hate and curse me for daring to love you.”

“I thought she might be angry, or disappointed in me. It is a relief that she took it so well.”

“Oh, Eru, you don’t think she’ll tell Celeborn do you? The man lives for gossip.”

Finrod laughed and took Edrahil in his arms, gazing lovingly into his eyes. “I think I can count on my sister’s discretion,” he said.

They kissed and the world fell away until there was nothing but the two of them. A feeling of warmth and peace filled Finrod’s soul, as palpable as his earlier dark vision. There were no images this time but he knew in his heart that Edrahil’s loyalty and courage would be his light in dark places, when all other lights would go out.

Comments

Profile

Shield
ignoblebard
ignoblebard

Latest Month

April 2017
S M T W T F S
      1
2345678
9101112131415
16171819202122
23242526272829
30      
Powered by LiveJournal.com
Designed by Jared MacPherson