Maglor went with him so he wouldn’t have to be alone. Maedhros had protested vocally even after their other brothers backed off the subject, but Maglor stood adamant. And so together, broken and bruised in body and spirit, they made their way to the bloodied battlefield.

Word had reached the sons of Feanor amidst the raging battle, the Nirnaeth Arnoediad as their warriors had taken to calling it, that Fingon had fallen. And yet Maedhros had refused to believe the rumors. After the betrayal of the Southrons, he chose to believe it was meant as a distraction. Even afterwards, when Maglor approached his older brother with tidings that Fingon was not among the few survivors, he denied it.

And so now the two of them picked their way among the broken bodies of elves and men and orcs alike, searching for a sign of Fingon’s fate. The rumors told of Gothmog’s involvement, the accursed lord of the Balrogs. Maglor watched his brother as much as he watched the ground for word of their good friend.

After nearly an hour, Maglor found himself standing stock still. Maedhros was five yards behind, and did not notice what his younger brother had seen. For before Maglor was a swath of ground eight yards across where the ground was burned and stomped, with a single body splayed out at an awkward angle. He took a deep breath, tears stinging his eyes as he felt the weight of the knowledge he held crashing down. For around the burnt, empty area lay Fingon’s royal guard, each with pale skin battered and torn asunder.

“Nelyo,” Maglor called sadly. “Here.”

Maedhros stood from where he was examining a body. He pulled himself up to his full height, though Maglor could see a wariness in his eyes. The elf lord came forward to join his brother and stopped at the same spot as Maglor. He didn’t speak, but Maglor saw him sway where he stood. Finally Maedhros strode forward with purpose.

Unbidden tears formed in his eyes and by the time he stood above Fingon’s broken body, his own dirt-covered and bloodied face had tears stains streaming down his cheeks. At first he didn’t want to believe it was his best friend lying dead on the ground. But as he looked into Fingon’s open, unseeing eyes, he knew. He could no longer deny the death of his friend, his brother through every way but blood.

The scarlet blood which had poured from the elf’s cloven head stained his dark hair, and turned the golden ribbons brown. His helm, split in two beside him, lay covered in black ash from the burning caused by the balrogs’ flames. His left leg and arm twist at awkward angles and his sword was broken in two beside him.

Maedhros, taking it all in in silence, finally fell to his knees, unable to hold himself up from grief. He grabbed Fingon’s cold hand and placed it to his own forehead. Maglor stood behind him, crying in his own right but also knowing he couldn’t even begin to comprehend the grief Maedhros felt. For however close Maglor had been to this half cousin, Maedhros had been infinitely closer.

After nearly an hour in that place, Maedhros finally stood again. “Gothmog has taken too much from me, from us.”

“Truly.” Maglor nodded, his face twisting in agony. “Father would have us avenge both of them.”

Maedhros growled as he clenched his fists in fury. “And we shall.”

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