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 MOON RIVER AND ME, Olossion, [May, 511]
Posted: Apr 27 2014, 01:28 PM

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The refugees of Gondolin had arrived in the Havens of Sirion beaten and broken, with Tuor at their head. The journey had been long, and many of the company sorely injured, but under the leadership of the remainder of the House of Wing, of Tuor and of Idril, they had made it to some safety. The Havens provided all that they needed. They provided beds, baths, the use of their healing halls. The elves of Gondolin were grateful, they truly were: but they struggled to show it. Their losses were beyond count, their grief still raw. They walked as ghosts, barely aware of their surroundings: the last members of the House of Fountains wrote great, sad songs of tribute, and the night air was filled with sorrow. The elves of Gondolin grieved.

Pengolodh did not. He had never been a master of his own emotions, and he dared not face them. Dared not unpack the memories long enough to mourn. He felt certain that they would break him, and he could not lose that much control. He would not. Whilst the elves of Gondolin comforted one another, healed one another, Pengolodh closed himself off. Filed everything away in that mountain of lists and boxes in his mind.
He shut himself away, and he worked. It was ceaseless. Days and nights passed, and with them passed weeks, and Pengolodh barely left the hole he had made for himself. His hand sped across papers, and in time, cramped and stiffened, and became fixed, claw-like, about his quill.

His mother's voice soared with that of the mourning musicians, and Pengolodh forced himself not to listen. Perhaps it was selfish: perhaps he should have gone to her. But he could not bring back his father, and he was no comforter. Best leave that task to his brother: Valinion had always been the better son.
Pengolodh could not bring back the dead, and he could not offer comfort. All he could do was keep the records, and make sure that they were not forgotten.

But the records were gone. The obsessive, all-consuming work of Pengolodh's years in Gondolin... it was all lost. Buried in the ruins. Hundreds of books, thousands of scrolls, irreplaceable artefacts: everything he had staked his worth on had burned and broken. All that remained were his records of the Fall itself: written in his shaking hand, even as his home crumbled around him. The scrolls were carefully stored, but remained unopened: his feelings had not been tied down sufficiently that he felt safe to open them yet.
So Pengolodh wrote. He unfolded the pages of his memories, the great expanses of his knowledge. He turned them out onto paper, and he wrote until his fingers bled, and his vision blurred. The small office he had claimed was overflowing with papers, unordered and scattered: for so desperate was Pengolodh not to lose a single detail of what his mind retained, that he did not even pause to stack or number his works. He did not sleep, did not eat (despite his mother's efforts in leaving food around the room). The only pauses he took were to go to the healing halls: to get a glimpse of the one he loved, and to assure himself that the other still breathed.

It was night when Pengolodh chose to visit (he had long lost any comprehension of the hours). He slipped through the door, and leaned heavily against the wall. The shadows under his eyes were deep and pronounced, as his balance wavered even as he stood. Lank hair hung about his face in uncombed curtains. But it did not matter. The moonlight through the windows lit that tiny, familiar frame, and at the rise and fall of the small ribcage, the loremaster was overcome with relief.

He had loved Olossion for many years. He confessed it, on occasion. Olossion had never accepted him – but Pengolodh could survive if they were nothing more than friends. As long as he could still see the other, still spend time alongside him. He would shatter, if Olossion were to fade: it would be the last straw. The one that broke him.
Yet despite his weakness, Olossion lived on, and for that fact? Pengolodh could never express gratitude enough.

With a sigh of relief, the loremaster let his knees buckle, and dropped to the floor. Stiff, weary shoulders relaxed against the cold stone of the wall.

He would watch Olossion for a time, and then he would return to his work.
Posted: Apr 27 2014, 07:23 PM


He should have burned with them.

This was the thought that plagued Olossion most often those first few weeks, whenever the pull of consciousness overcame the multitude of sedatives in his system long enough for his brain to function. The Havens of Sirion had been spoken enough around him that he knew where he was, though he was not entirely familiar with how he had come to be there. It came to him in flashes - in dreams of fire and cloying smoke so thick and heavy it blotted out the screams. Memories too horrible to be real and too real to be false.

His mother had been the one to get him out, taking his hand as though he were but an elfling. Her black hair whipped around her face every time she glanced back to check on him, her hand so tight on his he had thought he felt his bones cracking under the pressure. He had been desperate to keep up with her long strides, desperate not to hold her back and scared, so scared. The fear had been all consuming and terrible as he watched his home go up in flames all around him, the once beautiful city fast becoming a decimated tomb. Yet for all his terror he could not help but look, and stare, in search of his father. His uncles. He remembered calling to her. He remembered his cry broke his throat, already strained by the smoke, and that he had succumbed to a fit of coughing.

He remembered falling to his knees, his mother screaming at him to get up as she tugged on his arm but he couldn’t move, couldn’t breathe as the smoke that had permeated his lungs was choked on by a strangled attempt to shout. She begged him to try and calm down, to get up and keep moving as he waved for her to go. He knew what was happening, he wasn’t a fool. He had always been weak - all of his life he had been naught but a burden on everyone around him. He pushed at her, tried to make her run, leave him, but she would not.

He remembered his father seeming to burst out of the flames like a silver clad guardian sent by the Valar themselves, being lifted from the ground and carried as his parents ran to the full extent of their abilities. In his mind, the clearest sight from his father’s chest and through the smoke was the tight grip they held on one another’s hands, refusing to be separated again.

None of them saw the danger. The fire roared too loudly, buildings collapsing all around with almighty crashes that the pillar just before their goal went unnoticed until it was too late. Olossion didn’t remember anything after that. Only a sensation of being thrown, and pain. Searing, agonizing, horrible pain that haunted him even now, clinging to his back and scorching him with the horrid truth that they had died because of him. If he had not stopped, if he had not choked, they would have made it through the pass.

He had killed them both.

Yet still he had been discovered. Discovered by Arheston who not only stopped, but pulled him free of the fire and the pillar that had already claimed his parents. His uncle had slung him over one shoulder, and the last he saw of Gondolin was the hroa of his mother and father, crushed beneath the pillar. Ilsaner’s outstretched arm the final piece to the sordid puzzle of his unwanted survival. He should have burned with them, but Arheston dug him free and their sacrifice was not one Olossion could willfully ignore.

So he had fought. These past months he had fought again and again to drag himself into consciousness, into the waking world, and far from the thunderous call of the sea that begged to take him home. He had lost his voice again, the pain often so intense that all of his efforts were for nothing as his body forcibly shut itself down to escape it. Yet every time he fought his way to the surface it got a little easier, and the sedatives lasted a little while longer. Every time he came a little bit closer to staying awake, until finally, just three days ago, he caught the ledge of consciousness and held on.

It was too early to celebrate. His back was covered in third degree burns and even were he a healthy ellon such things would not have healed swiftly. With his diminutive stature and inability to retain vitamins and proteins necessary to rebuild at a normal rate, he was healing no faster than a mortal man. It was all that the healers could do just to keep him stabilized and in minimal amounts of pain. Still, after months of being held barely aware, barely there, so close to the fading call of the sea, Olossion welcomed the pain as proof that he was alive. He was alive because his parents were not and for that reason, he knew he had to live well. For both of them.

He learned the fate of his other uncles, lost in protection of the city. Arheston confessed to cowardice, to running for his family when he should have held his ground, and Olossion could see how this tormented him. He had little comfort to offer, but he tried. He never asked how Arheston knew where they were and his uncle never said. There was a break in his uncle, a madness that settled on the edges of his eyes, but Olossion did not know what to make of it then - and it would not be for many more years that he would fully understand it.

The healers hadn’t told anyone else that he was awake. They hadn’t known to do so, for Arheston had informed them that he was the last of Olossion’s kin and Pengolodh’s forays in tended to be so late as to go unnoticed. This was not the first time Olossion smelled the loremaster come by, had recognized the scent of ink and blood and a soft musk of unwashed exhaustion that had for so long been the herald of Pengolodh’s presence that even in a near coma, the smaller ellon had known precisely who lurked at his bedside without the aid of sight or sound.

He could not speak to alert the other, nor could he move overly well, so it took some thought to find a way to let the other know that he was awake. Eventually he reached out with his hand for the waterglass on the bedside table, meaning to push it enough that the drag of it would make Pengolodh look up. Unfortunately, he misjudged his push and ended up sending the glass tipping over, the water splashing down to land, unseen, upon Pengolodh himself. Without even knowing the water had hit the loremaster, Olossion’s heartrate increased with panic, knowing how much the other hated mess. The well of grief inside of himself, broke over at this latest proof of how much of a burden he truly was on those around him and, with a strangled gurgle, he turned his head into his pillow and began to weep.
Posted: Apr 27 2014, 08:03 PM

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The loremaster allowed his eyes to slip shut for a moment, but it brought no relief. They had barely closed since their arrival at the Havens, and red-rimmed and weary, the moment's respite did nothing but renew the stinging pain. Still, he did not open them again. He did not want to see. Sat there, a broken bundle of long limbs, he listened: pinning all his attention on the shallow rise and fall of Olossion's breath. He did not want to hear anything else – and yet still, not matter how he tried to shut it out, his mind screamed at him. Screamed in so many voices, demanding so many things: thousands of tasks vying for pride of place. Panic pressed against him in waves, yet he did not flinch. The panic had not stopped since Gondolin: he no longer had the energy to pay it any attention.

He hated himself. Hated how he had not a single word of comfort for his mother or his brother – and more than that, he hated how he could not keep the pages of history from clawing at his thoughts, even at Olossion's bedside.
A guilt gripped him each time he even thought on the burn across the smaller ellon's back: it was a guilt which clenched in his gut, and added to the noise in his head. It was a guilt which accused him: accused him of being unscathed, where the other was not. Often he wished that he had been struck down, or at least shattered: that he had somehow shared in the pain of his people. That he had any right to have been amongst them that day. But he had been untouched, as he always was. He had stood, stock still, as Gondolin swirled around him. Smoke in his throat, fire at his back, battle raging around him: deafened by screams and the clash of steel on steel. He had stood, until the end, and all he had done was write.

He had seen the Golden Flower fall. Seen Ecthelion's battle.

And yet, nothing had touched him. He had been as a ghost: cursed always to observe, but never truly to be one with his friends. Never to bleed alongside them. He was the Valar's joke, he was sure: their eyes, there to ensure that nothing went forgotten. He was doomed to see those he loved break before him, and to be able to do nothing.

The water took him by surprise, but his reaction was sluggish: bleary eyes fought to open, and he barely flinched, his limbs too heavy to give his usual flail of a response.

Perhaps the greatest indicator of how far the loremaster had fallen was how little he cared. He did not heed the mess. His mind was too crowded and too loud even for his out desperation for order to be heard, and had Olly seen him, he would have known it. The Lambengolmo's robes were creased, and smeared with inks and charcoals, and blood from his own worn fingertips and gnawed lower lip. Hair which was usually pulled away from his face fell loosely, half-shrouding his eyes in a lank, greasy curtain. He looked appalling – far from the aggressively neat figure he had previously cut.
At first, all he registered was how refreshing the water was against his skin.

It was only the chocked sob which finally woke Pengolodh to the realisation that Olossion was awake, and it was a realisation which sent a lance of shock through him, and for a moment pushed the weariness from his mind. It had not even occurred to him that the smaller ellon may be conscious.

The sob drew all the movement from Pengolodh that the water had not, and he lurched to his knees, leaning over Olossion with instinctual gestures and great tidal waves of concern. Trembling hands moved to stroke the other's waves of black hair, but stopped short. His hands were a mess of ink and blood, and he did not wish to dirty Olossion's beautiful hair.
“Olossion”, the sound of his own voice was a hoarse, unfamiliar bark of a sound at first, sore with misuse. He cleared his throat, and tried again, his voice thick with exhaustion and heartbreaking compassion, “Oli, do not cry. I am here,” - though why that should be a comfort, he had no idea - “Are you in need of a healer? I shall call one...”

Everything he could say was so disgustingly insufficient.
Posted: May 4 2014, 05:23 AM


The sound of Pengolodh's voice broke through his anguished mind, its hoarseness drawing his attention instantly from his own pain. His heart felt strained and crushed by the weight of everything, but the knowledge that Pengolodh had suffered just as much combined with how rough his friend sounded was cause for enough concern that he sniffed and did his best to stop crying for the other's sake. When he found that he could not stop the tears, he did the only other thing he could think of.

Slowly, due mostly to the fact he hadn't moved since his arrival and his body was still in enough pain that even slight things like this had to be handled with delicate care, Olossion reached out and took Pengolodh's hand in his own, closing over it and weaving their fingers together. The other's hand was so much larger than his own that it brought a wavering, watery smile to his face as he blinked some of his tears away. He still couldn't speak, so he shook his head to show he didn't need a healer and tugged on Penny's hand.

When it seemed he wasn't understood right away, Olossion shifted from his belly - upon which he had been laying for so long that it actually felt like a relief in its own right - to his side. He flopped his other arm forward and gave Pengolodh's hand a few more insistent pulls before letting it go and holding that arm up, so that he was laying on the bed with his arms open like an infant demanding to be held.Rendered wholly mute again, it was the best way he could communicate that he just wanted the other to hold him. He didn't care that it would probably hurt. In this moment, the most important thing was having the other close, was knowing they were both alive, was being able to feel the warmth of his friend's living form, the steady beat of his heart. These were things Olossion needed, and it didn't matter what he needed to give to get it, be it dignity or a distant comfort from pain.
Posted: May 13 2014, 06:25 PM

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It took a moment for the spindly giant to truly register the feather-light grip of Olossion's hand around his own: nothing was in focus. Nothing had been in focus since Gondolin. It felt rather as if the world was coming at him from beyond a thick veil, and all that he could tie himself to was the hard facts of history that screamed themselves ceaslessly in his ears. But Olossion... Olossion was solid in a way that was so completely other. He always had been. No one had ever captured the loremaster in the same way his little snowflake had, and no one ever could. He made Pengolodh human.

Pengolodh remained unfocused as Olossion moved, uncertain as to what the gestures required – and then their meaning was painfully clear, and the Lambengolmo found himself startlingly unwilling. Could he hold Olossion? He was sure than he did not deserve to. He would stain the smaller ellon, and no doubt hurt him. He had no right to try to comfort Olossion: how could he? He stood, as he always did, so obviously and painfully separate.

But he could not leave him. Wrong as it might be, his heart ached for Olossion as it always had, and he would never be able to say no.

Carefully, uncertainly, he folded his long figure down onto the bed besides Olossion, his slim hands reaching out tentatively to hold the other, doing his best not to put pressure of the tender skin of his burns. There was a strange, hollow, choking sound – and Pengolodh realised to his horror that it was him: and rush and panic as he could, he could not force the emotions back into their locked rooms and their compartmentalised lists.

For possibly the first time since his childhood, Pengolodh wept. Unceasing, uncontollable tears rolled from his eyes, and his thin frame shook with violent sobs as he pressed his forehead against Olossion's tiny chest (and heard that oh so important beating of his heart).

It was not sorrow. He had mastered sorrow, long ago.

It was relief. He had been so horribly, paralyzingly, shatteringly terrified that Olossion would not wake.
Posted: May 17 2014, 04:09 PM


As Olossion felt Pengolodh stretch out beside him, some of the tumultuous emotions began to spread a bit more evenly, making them a bit more bearable and air a bit more easy to breathe. The careful way his friend's arms came around him were a painful reminder of how much more broken he was now, having shifted from something cracked to something utterly shattered. A wave of self loathing had just begun to form, to rise up and crash its way through, when a sound fell from Pengolodh's lips that caused it to dissipate instantly in favor of concern for the other.

"Pengolodh," Olossion whispered, even as he wrapped his arms around the loremaster's head and did his best to curl up around the sobbing ellon, his heart breaking for the sound. He carded his fingers through the messy strands of his friend's hair, and wished he could do more to soothe him. His voice was too droning for song, so in the end he simply settled for nuzzling his nose and cheek against the top of Penglodh's head, hoping that the contact would help soothe him.

The sobs hurt to hear, for Olossion knew this was something Pengolodh never did. He wished he could do more as he nuzzled, pet, and murmured. The murmurs weren't much, for Olossion knew not what to say, but they were sound, which was hard enough for Olossion to offer and so he could only hope they would offer some form of comfort. He didn't tell Pengolodh not to cry - not when his friend needed to do so, not when it happened so rarely - but in that moment there was little Olossion would not have given to make him smile instead.
Posted: Jul 6 2014, 06:45 PM

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Pengolodh's own sobs disgusted him. Like each of his features, they were heavy, and clumsy, and lacked the elven elegance which he silently envied in his kin. His sobs were rough and raw, choking and hitching and alien in his chest. His mind spun. His own voice, voices screaming from every carefully ordered room within his mind – screaming to stop, to lock the doors, to be calm, to be cool: screaming weariness and loss and desperate confusion; screaming relief and heartbreak and there were too many things to think or do or say, and for once in his life (young though he was amongst his kin) he was completely without control.

But Olossion was there. He was living and breathing. He was awake. He was so little, and so delicate – so precariously breakable, in the eyes of the giant – and so perfectly, beautifully made and marred. Olossion had borne more than Pengolodh, a thousand times over, and yet he was the one playing comforter? Self-loathing rose up in Pengolodh like a tidal wave, and the sudden nausea at his own weakness allowed the loremaster to break out of the compulsive rhythm of the sobs. It was not enough to claw back the scattered straws of his control, but it was enough to call his own voice back to the fore.

Breathless, he clung to the smaller ellon, his voice raw and thick with emotion.
“Forgive me”
A rare plea from one who claimed always to believe himself to be in the right.
“Forgive me...”
Long, blistered fingers traced the lines of Olossion's figure, trembling with the fear of causing pain.
“I have no right to weep, least of all in front of you.”

He found himself repulsive: weak and dirty with sweat and with lack of control. This was not the person he had made himself, and he was ashamed.
Posted: Jul 7 2014, 04:56 PM


At first, Olossion thought there was nothing that could be more heart rendering than the few horrendous sobs that reached his ears. The pitches at times were just above his frequency, but he could feel the way Pengolodh's body heaved with them and it brought a terrible clench to his throat. He tried shifting closer still, and it was then that he discovered that there was something worse than those heart broken sounds. It was the feeling of Pengolodh tensing up in a new way, the suddenness of his silence as he seemed to gasp for air, shaking with every touch that the smaller ellon knew would have been grasping, clutching in desparation were it not for the state of his injuries.

Unable to bear the apologies, Olossion shifted and placed his hand on Pengolodh's lips, but that didn't feel right. Frowning, he removed the hand and shifted his curled body down some, so that they were able to lay with their foreheads pressed together. Running a hand through Pengolodh's hair, he steadied his breathing before he spoke, his voice a mere whisper though it held some strength all the same.

"Yes you do. You can cry in front of me," Small hands continued to smooth Pengolodh's hair back, the motion as soothing for him as it was hopefully being for the other, "It is good to cry. I am glad to hold you," He assured, his broken words concise and providing no more or less than precisely what he needed to convey as he leaned in, daring impossibly to press a whisper of a kiss over Pengolodh's lips, to steal away such painful, needless apologies once and for all, stating as he leaned back, his boldness making him shiver, "Do not apologize for grief or love. It is a disservice to you."

And I had best hold my own advice, Olossion thought desprately, fighting the sudden urge to roll away and hide by just blushing brightly and tucking down until he was burrowed out of sight and tucked up under Pengolodh's chin. It was of course long past due - so very long past due - and yet perhaps more inappropriate than it had ever been. He was even more disfigured and broken than ever and yet - and yet he could not forget, those hands that held one another in eternal flame. He was alive because of them and he owed it to them to live. And to do so honestly. Though this could easily pass for nothing if it was willed to, Olossion needed Pengolodh to know, at long last, that despite every solid refusal of interest, the tiny ellon loved him with everything his little form had to give. And adar had always said that a tiny body simply meant a bigger heart.
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