Thread: Concerning Maeglin
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"Is the Man ready?" Maeglin called, using the words of the Elven duel ritual.
Tuor chose to answer him in his kin’s way: "May thy knife chip and shatter!" He pointed to the blade he had thrown on the floor, indicating that the Elf should advance and take it.
Keeping his attention on Tuor, Maeglin picked up the knife, balancing it a moment in his hand to get the feel of it. Excitement kindled in him. This was the fight against his rival he had dreamed about -- man against man, skill against skill with no one intervening. He could see a way to power opening before him because King Turgon surely would reward whoever killed this troublesome Man. The reward might even be his haughty daughter and a share of the throne. And this yokel duke, this human adventurer could not possibly be a match for a Noldo prince trained in every device and every treachery by a thousand arena combats. And the yokel had no way of knowing he faced more weapons than a knife here.
‘Let us see if you're proof against poison!’ Maeglin thought. He saluted Tuor with his blade, said: "Meet your death, fool."
"Shall we fight, Elf?" Tuor asked. And he cat-footed forward, eyes on the waiting blade, his body crouched low with his own milk-white mithril knife pointing out as though an extension of his arm.
They circled each other, bare feet grating on the floor, watching with eyes intent for the slightest opening.
"How beautifully you dance," Maeglin said.
He's a talker, Tuor thought. There's a weakness. He grows uneasy in the face of silence.
"Have you been shriven?" Maeglin asked.
Still, Tuor circled in silence.
"Perhaps you need some of your pagan rites here," Maeglin said. "Would you like somebody to prepare your spirit for its journey?"
Tuor smiled, circling to the right, alert, his black thoughts suppressed by the needs of the moment.
Maeglin leaped, feinting with right hand, but with the knife shifted in a blur to his left hand.
Tuor dodged easily, noting the hesitation in Maeglin's thrust. Still, he sensed that Maeglin had fought this way before against foes.
"Does a Man run or stand and fight?" Maeglin asked.
Tuor resumed his silent circling. His father's words came back to him, the words of training from the long-ago practice floor in Mithrim : "Use the first moments in study. You may miss many an opportunity for quick victory this way, but the moments of study are insurance of success. Take your time and be sure."
"Perhaps you think this dance prolongs your life a few moments," Maeglin said. "Well and good." He stopped the circling, straightened.
Tuor had seen enough for a first approximation. Maeglin led to the left side, presenting the right hip as though the mailed fighting girdle could protect his entire side. It was the action of a man trained for combat with a knife in both hands.
Or . . . and Tuor hesitated . . . the girdle was more than it seemed.
The Elf appeared too confident against a man who'd this day led the forces of victory against Morgoth’s legions.
Maeglin noted the hesitation, said: "Why prolong the inevitable? You but keep me from exercising my rights over this city."
If it's a flip-dart, Tuor thought, it's a cunning one. The girdle shows no signs of tampering.
"Why don't you speak?" Maeglin demanded.
Tuor resumed his probing circle, allowing himself a cold smile at the tone of unease in Maeglin's voice, evidence that the pressure of silence was building.
"You smile, eh?" Maeglin asked. And he leaped in mid-sentence.
Expecting the slight hesitation, Tuor almost failed to evade the downflash of blade, felt its tip scratch his left arm. He silenced the sudden pain there, his mind flooded with realization that the earlier hesitation had been a trick -- an overfeint. Here was more of an opponent than he had expected. There would be tricks within tricks within tricks.
"Some of your kin taught me some of my skills," Maeglin said. "They gave me first blood. Too bad the fools didn't live to see it."
And Tuor recalled that his mother had once said, "Expect only what happens in the fight. That way you'll never be surprised."
Again the two circled each other, crouched, cautious.
Tuor saw the return of elation to his opponent, wondered at it. Did a scratch signify that much to the man? Unless there were poison on the blade! But how could there be? His own men had handled the weapon, snooped it before passing it. They were too well trained to miss an obvious thing like that.
"I saw you talking to Idril," Maeglin said. "Don’t be worried. Once you’re dead, she will get all my special attentions"
Tuor remained silent, probing with his inner senses, examining the blood from the wound, finding a trace of soporific from Maeglin’s blade. He realigned his own metabolism to match this threat and change the molecules of the soporific, but he felt a thrill of doubt. They'd been prepared with soporific on a blade. A soporific. Nothing too strong, but strong enough to slow the muscles it touched. His enemies had their own plans within plans, their own stacked treacheries.
Again Maeglin leaped, stabbing.
Tuor, the smile frozen on his face, feinted with slowness as though inhibited by the drug and at the last instant dodged to meet the downflashing arm on the mithril knife's point.
Maeglin ducked sideways and was out and away, his blade shifted to his left hand, and the measure of him that only a slight paleness of jaw betrayed the acid pain where Tuor had cut him.
Let him know his own moment of doubt, Tuor thought. Let him suspect poison.
"Treachery!" Maeglin shouted. "He's poisoned me! I do feel poison in my arm!"
Tuor dropped his cloak of silence, said: "Only a little acid to counter the soporific on your blade."
Maeglin matched Tuor's cold smile, lifted blade in left hand for a mock salute. His eyes glared rage behind the knife.
Tuor shifted his mithril knife to his left hand, matching his opponent. Again, they circled, probing.
Maeglin began closing the space between them, edging in, knife held high, anger showing itself in squint of eye and set of jaw. He feinted right and under, and they were pressed against each other, knife hands gripped, straining.
Tuor, cautious of Maeglin's right hip where he suspected a poison flip-dart, forced the turn to the right. He almost failed to see the needlepoint flick out beneath the belt line. A shift and a giving in Maeglin's motion warned him. The tiny point missed Tuor's flesh by the barest fraction.
On the left hip!
Treachery within treachery within treachery, Tuor reminded himself. Using his Elven trained muscles, he sagged to catch a reflex in Maeglin, but the necessity of avoiding the tiny point jutting from his opponent's hip threw Tuor off just enough that he missed his footing and found himself thrown hard to the floor, Maeglin on top.
"You see it there on my hip?" Maeglin whispered. "Your death, fool." And he began twisting himself around, forcing the poisoned needle closer and closer. "It'll stop your muscles and my knife will finish you. There'll be never a trace left to detect!"
"Idril has always loathed you!" Tuor gasped.
Maeglin gaped at him, caught in the merest fraction of hesitation. It was enough for Tuor to find the weakness of balance in one of his opponent's leg muscles, and their positions were reversed. Maeglin lay partly underneath with right hip high, unable to turn because of the tiny needlepoint caught against the floor beneath him.
Tuor twisted his left hand free, aided by the lubrication of blood from his arm, thrust once hard up underneath Maeglin's jaw. The point slid home into the brain. Maeglin jerked and sagged back, still held partly on his side by the needle imbedded in the floor.
Breathing deeply to restore his calm, Tuor pushed himself away and got to his feet. He stood over the body, knife in hand, raised his eyes with deliberate slowness to look across the room at King Turgon.
"Majesty," Tuor said, "your court has been rid of one betrayer. Shall we now shed sham and pretense? Shall we now discuss what must be? Your daughter wed to me and the way opened for one of the Atani to sit on thy throne."
I myself have never touched fan fiction before.
It's amazing too how Tolkien's works seem to have the shadows of many cultures and authors blended in. It's really a mixture of classic masterpieces.
I just wanted to add something, the pictures in one gallery truly captures the character of Maeglin, unlike some I have seen floating around google and elfwood.
The best portraits of him are the ones where he's standing on the walls of Gondolin watching (or pretending not to watch) the Noldor flinging his father off the battlement.
Oh yes, Maeglin's a nasty, brooding, piece of work.
No wonder, being the son of the Fëanor of the Sindar, Eöl, and the wilful & erratic White Lady of the Noldor.
He's the anti-Werther, who, instead of realizing and accepting that he could never be more than the 'fifth wheel on the wagon' and choosing to end himself, chose to violently lay hand upon the object of his desire and if that was impossible, perish in flames with everything and everyone around him.