So it's been almost two weeks...hopefully it's okay to double-post?
So Maeglin is the first sympathetic villain I've really felt sorry for through and through. He had a horrible start to his life and a horrible father who didn't even give him a name until he was twelve years old and then tried to kill him later...
Anyway, I thought he really deserved a...not a happy ending really, because I tried to keep everything else approximately the same (so the Fall of Gondolin had to stay, and everyone who dies in the canon dies in the fic to avoid messing with the space-time continuum), but he deserved a noble
Hints at Blind Guardian's song "Thorn" thrown in here and there for no real reason except that it's a very cool song and I was listening to it while writing the fic (I mean, the song is literally from Maeglin's PoV...talk about perfect).
There are a lot of issues with pacing and wording in this one, too, but I've reread it four or five times and have no idea what to do with it. So until futher notice, this is as good as it's going to get. I don't know what this one would be rated.[/i] In my opinion, it's slightly more family-friendly than the other one, but that's debatable.
[b]Ill-Gotten SonAn AU Silmarillion FanfictionMaeglin was no weakling or craven, and thus though he was threatened with torment he refused to betray the secret of the city of Gondolin. And there is only one penalty for denying the Dark Lord…
Maeglin came to in darkness, the left side of his face chafing against rough stone and the taste of blood on his lips. When he tried to move he found that his hands were secured behind his back, tied cruelly tight at the wrists, and that his legs had been bound together at the knees and at the ankles. For a moment he struggled, but he gave an involuntary cry as a sharp pain shot through both his wrists and he felt blood running down his hands. The ropes binding them together were studded with small but very sharp blades. He bit his lip and drew a shuddering breath.Where am I?
He couldn’t locate his most recent memory among the brief images that flitted dimly through his mind. He’d stolen out of Gondolin, as he had done before—or no, was that his most recent memory? He remembered saying goodbye to Idril, taking her slender white hand in his—but no. He wouldn’t have told anyone where he was going. And besides, she was married now, married to Tuor the mortal. This would never do; his memories were all out of order and jumbled with things that had never even happened. Maeglin shut his eyes and clenched his teeth, trying to clear his thoughts, but instead darkness descended upon his mind and he fell back into unconsciousness.
It seemed only a moment before he felt himself growing gradually aware of his surroundings again. Someone was trying to drag him to his feet, but he had neither the strength nor the willpower to do anything about it. Then he was thrust down and backwards against a wall: the sudden pain that seared from his fingertips to his shoulders drew a scream from his lips, and he was awake.
The face that looked down into his was an unnatural dull green shade, the eyes malicious and red-rimmed, the leering mouth disclosing rows of broken yellow fangs. A pace or two behind him stood an equally ugly individual with a small, guttering torch in its hand. The flame, though faint and unsteady, seemed to Maeglin unbearably bright after all the darkness and he shut his eyes again. But a blow of a jagged-taloned hand across his face jolted them open.
“There! Now stay awake.”
The voice of the creature was no more lovely than its face. Maeglin raised his eyes to meet its gaze, and after a moment the orc faltered.
“Stop that!” it snarled, lashing its hand across the elf’s face again. Maeglin, weakened by loss of blood and lack of food and water, was knocked over by the blow, but he still glowered up defiantly at his jailor as he spat out the blood that suddenly filled his mouth.
“What do you want from me?” he demanded.
“You know the location of the city of Gondolin where the cursed elf-king dwells.”
“I do not.”
“Oh yes you do! Do not lie to me, scum.”
“Ha! ‘Scum’ from you, you vile, filthy, wretched corruption of—” The goblin viciously seized Maeglin by his shoulders and raised him off the ground, though with the orc’s stoop added to the natural height difference Maeglin’s knees still dragged against the floor.
“Where is the city?” the orc shouted.
“You think I would tell you, even if I knew?” Maeglin returned. “You are pathetic.”
“You know! You know!” the orc shrieked. “I know you know! Now where is it?”
With a sudden effort Maeglin wrenched his shoulders free from the orc’s grasp, and swung his still-bound legs as hard as he could against his captor’s ankles. The goblin stumbled back and fell against his comrade who held the torch, then screeched as the flame singed him. The torch fell to the ground and went out as the orcs briefly grappled with each other. But their differences were settled in a matter of seconds and Maeglin felt the hot breath of the orc on his face as it bent over him.
“We will have it from you sooner or later, I swear,” it whispered savagely in his ear, “no matter what it takes. You may even face the Master, and then you will beg for the darkness and the pain of the dungeon when you stand before him with all your mind stripped naked before his eyes.”
“Until then, you loathsome piece of filth,” Maeglin snarled through clenched teeth. The orc’s heavy boot stomped down, grinding the left side of Maeglin’s face into the floor. And then the two sets of footsteps retreated, leaving Maeglin alone with his thoughts until he slipped into dark dreams.
* * * * *
How much time had passed since his capture, Maeglin knew not. His existence had become one of uneasy sleep and unconsciousness blurred together, broken now and again by the coming of orcs into his cell, two or three or ten at a time, their rough hands grabbing, jostling, tearing. They had frequently tortured him, rarely given him food or water, always questioned him. But he never let a word concerning the location of Gondolin pass his lips, never let a glimmer of recognition come into his eyes as they listed off places and landmarks. But through all of it there ran the thread of pain, pain that spread from his arms and legs to his entire body, coursing through him every time he woke, whether to darkness or to the presence of the orcs, each time throbbing with greater strength as he himself grew weaker. And as time crept by, the number of orcs that came to his cell together grew fewer and fewer until sometimes it was only one, for they were no longer afraid enough of him to require backup.
But then one day—or perhaps it was a night—he woke from his faint to the novel sensation of the bonds around his legs being cut. Opening his eyes a slit, he saw in the flickering torchlight two or three orcs bending over him, crooked knives in their crooked hands, muttering to each other in their own tongue. The elf, in all the time spent in the timeless dungeon, had managed to pick up on a few words of their language, but all of what they spoke now was new to him, and he was too weary to try to comprehend what they were saying. Half-conscious, he hardly felt them rolling him onto his stomach and cutting the blade-embedded ropes on his wrists, hardly felt the new cuts that opened on his arms as they pulled the ropes free, hardly felt them placing the cold iron collar around his neck and locking it. Already he was slipping back into dark oblivion when one of the orcs lifted him off the ground and shook him, trying to rouse him. At last Maeglin found the strength to open his eyes and look into the hideous face.
“Now?” the orc asked.
“No,” Maeglin whispered. “Never.” The orc grinned.
“Still so defiant,” it sneered. “Well, no more. Come with us now.” It let go of Maeglin, and at once he fell to the floor where he lay face-down.
“Oh, can’t it even stand?” the goblin mocked, then growled, “Get up!” Maeglin tried in vain to raise himself, but collapsed time and again. The orc dragged him to the wall, forced his head back, and poured something down his throat*. Then he pulled Maeglin to his feet, and to his own surprise, Maeglin found that he could stand, though he had to place one hand against the wall to steady himself.
“Now come,” the orc ordered, and jerked on the chain that was attached to the collar around Maeglin’s neck. Maeglin stumbled forward, pain shooting through the legs that hadn’t been used since the day he was captured, and followed the orcs through long halls and twisting corridors. The effect of the draught the orc had given him was beginning to wear off when at last they came round a corner and the ceiling vaulted to a great height in a vast chamber. Suddenly Maeglin’s heart was filled with a black horror and his mind went dark. He fell forward and knew nothing for a time. Then he heard a voice, as black as a night without morning and as deep as the earth itself.
“So…you are the one who refuses to speak of what he knows.”
Maeglin tried to open his mouth to reply, but found himself unable to move.
“Come to me!”
In an effort that took all of his remaining strength, Maeglin raised himself onto one elbow and raised his eyes.
Before him was a huge form, blacker than blackness, in form like an elf or a man but so much larger; and in its face there gleamed two deep eyes, and from the crown on the head shone two piercingly bright lights.
“I said come to me!”
Maeglin tried once again to rise, but fell, completely spent. The orc who held the chain dragged him forward by it until he lay motionless at the feet of the Dark Lord.
“Don’t you think it is time for us to bring it to an end?” the black voice asked. For a moment Maeglin wavered. “You wish for death, perhaps, now. But you could have had the lordship of the city if you had yielded sooner, even the hand of Idril Celebrindal. For I know your mind and your desires. Even now these things are within your grasp. So now, tell me what you know of Gondolin.”
“No,” Maeglin answered hoarsely. He heard and felt Morgoth rise slowly to his feet.
“So be it then. But know now that I have discovered nearly all I need to know, from another who was more willing than you.**” Maeglin lay still, hardly breathing. “You should have taken the chance when it was offered, fool. Now there is but one fate for you.” Then the voice, raised in command, said, “Take him with you, and within sight of the city bring it to an end.” Then Morgoth resumed his seat. Maeglin didn’t even feel as the orcs dragged him away by the chain. He had already fallen back into darkness.
* * * * *
Maeglin knelt, his hands once more bound behind his back, flanked on either side by an orc and a werewolf, in the valley of the Hidden City. Behind them were the ranks of Morgoth’s army: balrogs and orcs and wolves and dragons. Looking up at the high white walls, Maeglin wondered if Idril was among those who stood and watched from the many windows. Wondered if she knew that it was not he who had betrayed them all.
He heard the harsh sound of a sword being drawn. Then Morgoth’s voice spoke once more inside his mind:
“Even for all your piety, the city still falls.”
But Maeglin, gifted in the last moments of his life with his old determination, straightened up, his dark eyes flashing, his tangled dark hair blowing back from his face, and looked upon the city of light. And he smiled, knowing he had remained true.Fín
*The orcs were using this stuff to revive prisoners long before Merry and Pippin’s journey with the Uruk-hai! Though I’m sure by the Third Age it’s been perfected and made more potent, even in the First Age it’s effective enough to get a half-dead elf on his feet.
**Dunno who it was, but it doesn’t really matter. Probably one of Maeglin’s companions, but really, it seriously doesn’t matter. All that’s important is that somebody talked and it wasn’t Maeglin.