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B2MeM Challenge: Wildcard (finish something)
Format: ficlet (c.800 words)
Genre: family, character study
Rating: Teens
Warnings: canon death (hinted at); cheating on the prompt
Characters: Angrod (Angarato), Aegnor (Aikanaro), Maedhros (Russandol)
Pairings: Angrod / Edhellos (Eldalote)
Summary: The Battle of Sudden Flame erupts and Finrod's brothers, Angrod and Aegnor, are about to perish in the attack from Angband. Angrod sends a message to his cousin, Maedhros, son of Feanor.

Fire pours forth from Angband. At our feet, Ard-galen is beginning to burn.

Angrod takes a single, comprehensive look and turns away from the view to the north. Although a moment ago he was all haste as we stormed up the long flight of steps to the guard platform, high above the doomed plain, and in a moment he will be all breathless haste again, he moves slowly now—walks deliberately, step by step, back across the platform to the head of the stairs, his head bent, his shoulders slightly hunched, face clouded with thought. Reaching it, he looks around for me to make sure I am coming.

He does not speak. He, too, knows now, I see, and I wonder how long he has done so. Edhellos will be furious when she works out why she had to be the one to carry our messages to Finrod and Orodreth in person. But we will not be there to bear the brunt of her rage.

We leap down the steps together, and once again everything descends into a melee, Angrod barking his orders and I yelling mine.  We have long been preparing for this day and I thought we had prepared ourselves so well—no, surely, we had! Why then, now, is so much undone, so much still left to do?

Suddenly a small scroll is thrust into Angrod’s hand—the familiar imprint of the Feanorian star on its wax seal smudged and lop-sided this time—and he is arrested in mid shout, stands still, weighing the unopened scroll in his hand.

Aiya, Russandol’, he says softly and, unexpectedly, his voice is full of regret.

But still he hands it to me unopened.

‘What does he say?’

‘He asks whether there is time for a quick meeting to coordinate our response to this attack. I don’t think there is…’

‘We cannot both of us go, no.  But you could still manage it, travelling fast and light.’

That he should even mention the possibility of both us going!

‘Then you should go, Angarato.’

‘No. It would not be practical.’

And he is right. For centuries now, he has concentrated his efforts on the west of Dorthonion, while I focussed mine on the eastern defences, and partly precisely so that he could avoid our cousin—if either of us is to meet Maedhros in what little time there remains, it must be me.

‘Choose the fastest horse’, he says. ‘And go as quickly as you can.’

‘But, Angarato, shall I not give him a message?’

‘A message?’

He stands, seemingly at a loss. His gaze roams around his study, as if he might find a message for our cousin hanging on the walls—such a gracious, orderly space, carefully furnished decade by decade with much of the best and most prized artwork of Dorthonion! But it is as if the shadow of Angband had fallen on it already, reducing all the achievements we were still so proud of yesterday to mere possessions, plunder for orcs.  They have lost their essence, their value—all except those that will still serve us in battle. There is nothing here that will do as a last and final gift for our cousin—and casting another impatient, almost desperate, gaze around the room, Angrod suddenly seizes on the simple goose-feather quill that lies abandoned on his desk where he dropped it when news of the attack came, freshly cut, its tip stained with dried ink.

‘Give him this’, he says, firmly.

So many courteous missives addressed, unfailingly, to him as well as to me, ‘because I am rather stubborn, cousin’, but my equally stubborn brother never answered any of them…

‘Give it to him’, Angrod repeats. ‘And go now, Aikanaro, go!’


‘I’m afraid we are beginning to run out of feathers’, says the fletcher.

The siege was long. There are few livestock left within Himring’s walls and few birds of any kind.

 ‘I believe there is a small store of feathers for spare quills kept in the scriptorium,’ says Maedhros. ‘I don’t know how well suited they are for the purpose, but I guess they will be better than nothing. I will see they are delivered to you.’

He hesitates, then reaches inside his clothing and brings out a single goose feather, its tip stained with ink.

‘Use this one.’

‘But, Lord Maedhros’, asks the fletcher, somewhat bewildered at being offered a single feather, ‘is this not a personal quill of yours? Do you not want to keep it for writing with?’

‘I do not think this quill will write again’, says Maedhros quietly. ‘And our enemies are not well versed in the epistolary art. Fletch me an arrow that will fly true and straight and find its mark and I will be content.’

And he places the goose feather in the fletcher’s open palm.

Note: Actually not finished at all--these are are two snippets of an old WIP of mine,  "Neighbourly Relations", that I thought might work on their own together as a ficlet. I figured getting even these snippets written was more or less within the spirit of the prompt.
(The first chapter of the WIP is here: http://hhimring.livejournal.com/52061.html.)

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