Author's Notes: Although there are some references to the Silmarillon, I am no expert in these matters and mostly depend on information supplied to me by Ilye and my beta Sulien, who I want to thank for beta reading this monster. So excuse me if I stay vague at times.
Disclaimer: These characters are all Tolkien’s.
Heart In Chains
His life couldn’t be more miserable! Erestor huddled in the corner of the room, which he shared with the other servants and wondered what he had done to deserve this.
Nothing. He had done nothing to deserve this, but Feanor hated him and the Elf was making his life unbearable. It had all started when Feanor’s father, Finwe, had decided to remarry. Feanor never approved of Finwe’s second marriage and had done everything he could to break up his father and his new wife – Indis.
Feanor had loathed his new family, especially Erestor, whose mother was Indis’ oldest sister. The Elfling had quickly become one of Finwe’s favorites, and insanely jealous, Feanor had begun to harass mother and son, until in the end, they had been unable to take any more and had fled.
Finwe had ordered Feanor to bring them back and Feanor had been forced to carry out his father’s orders. He would have been happy to never see Erestor again, but his father had decided differently. When he had returned the runaways, he found to his utter delight that they had fallen out of grace and that Finwe no longer favored them.
Erestor had learned the hard way what that meant. His life had changed drastically since they had lost Finwe’s favor and he wished he could go back to living with his mother, but Feanor had separated them and he didn’t even know where she was and if she was still alive. Without Finwe’s protection he was at Feanor’s mercy.
Celegorm, one of Feanor’s sons, stood in the doorway and menacingly stared at him. The elder Elf was a vision of ethereal beauty, but personal experiences had taught Erestor not to trust him.
“Why are you still here? My father ordered you to help in the stables.”
Erestor slowly pushed himself to his feet, staying close to the wall. The last thing he wanted was for either Feanor or Celegorm to grow angry with him. Father and son had violent tempers and their moods could change abruptly. He had often been at the receiving end of their wrath and would carry bruises for days. Just when they would start to fade, father or son would inflict new injuries.
“I am already on my way,” said Erestor quickly. As an Elfling, he didn’t have the physical strength to defend himself against the much stronger Celegorm, who loved to torment him. It was best to sneak away before Celegorm’s mood changed.
He had nearly left the room, when Celegorm reached for him, curling his fingers cruelly around his left wrist. Erestor managed not to groan, knowing Celegorm would enjoy seeing him in pain. “I will be late.” He carefully lowered his eyes, trying hard not to agitate Celegorm further.
“You are already late, child.”
Celegorm’s hold on his wrist was growing painful and he squirmed, trying to get away from the other Elf. “Please…” He had learned a long time ago that begging didn’t help, but it was his only means of placating Celegorm.
“You are just like your mother.” Celegorm’s voice dripped with loathing. “I do not understand why Feanor decided to keep you here. We should have left you with her. Your presence here is a disgrace. You ran away from my grandfather.”
/Nay, we ran away from your *father*. I loved my grandfather./ But Erestor knew why Feanor wanted him here. He possessed healing powers that were unlike anything Feanor had ever seen and the Elf wanted to command them. It was probably the sole reason why he had been brought here. “My Lord, I need to—“
“How do you dare oppose me, whelp?”
Erestor whimpered, as a sickening snap echoed through the room. Celegorm had just broken his wrist – again. It wasn’t the first time Celegorm or his father had injured him. Celegorm then released his wrist, but not before twisting it sadistically.
“Never forget your place here, child. You are at our mercy. Your mother’s actions saw to that.”
Erestor nodded obediently, and was careful not to show the pain he was in. His healing powers never worked on himself, and it would take weeks for his wrist to completely heal. In the meantime, he would receive more punishment because he couldn’t properly carry out his appointed tasks with the limited use of only one hand. “Aye, my Lord.”
“Then go, now!”
Celegorm pushed him hard toward the doorway and Erestor almost tripped over his own two feet. He didn’t want to go to the stables because the harassment would continue there. The only moment of peace he normally knew was when he studied with the elder healers.
Once outside, he cradled his wrist against his chest and fought back the tears that were trying to escape his eyes. He couldn’t show any weakness now.
Erestor sucked in his breath, realizing he was no longer alone. The healers, who he had studied with, had long left. He didn’t need to look over his shoulder to know who was watching him. The hair at the back of his neck stood rigid in warning and gooseflesh had formed over his entire body. At times like these, he wished he was older and stronger.
“According to your teachers, you are making excellent progress,” Feanor said calmly.
Erestor slowly turned around, knowing from personal experience that being disobedient would earn him Feanor’s wrath. He kept his eyes trained on the floor, hesitant to look at his nemesis, even when Feanor seemed to be in a good mood. He remained motionless when Feanor began to circle him, sensing probing gray eyes on him. Showing weakness would make this worse and he tried to hold his ground. “I like studying with them.”
“They tell me you do well for someone as young as you are, child.”
Erestor stopped himself from releasing a relieved sigh. It seemed Feanor was actually pleased with him! But then disaster struck.
“But you are also clumsy. You did not satisfactory carry out your assigned tasks in the stables today.”
Erestor bit his bottom lip in frustration. “That is because Celegorm broke my wrist.” A growl escaped Feanor and Erestor’s eyes, still trained on the floor, widened with apprehension.
“A broken arm is no excuse for not carrying out your tasks.”
Feanor’s cold tone made him shiver. His gaze involuntarily darted to his nemesis and he gasped softly. Feanor was an Elf of exceptional beauty. His long, dark hair reached his buttocks and the gray eyes could shine benignly when their owner was in a good mood, but now they shot daggers, and they were aimed at him. “I offer you my humble apo—“
He never got the chance to finish, as Feanor brutally backhanded him across the face. The power of the blow sent him crashing onto the floor and his breath hitched due to a blinding pain that sliced through his jaw. Acting instinctively, he knelt and lowered his eyes again. “I am sorry.” Talking hurt, but he knew Feanor wanted to hear him say the words. “I am sorry that I disappointed you.”
“You continue to disappoint me. I should have listened to my sons when they advised me not to bother with you. But your healing powers can come in handy.”
Erestor swallowed hard. “I will try harder.”
“Aye, you will, or I will tell the healers to exclude you from their lessons.”
Erestor gasped in shock. Studying with the healers was the one thing that made his life bearable. But how was he supposed to keep Feanor contented when he always carried injuries that kept him from successfully carrying out his tasks?
“Do not disappoint me again.”
Erestor whimpered in pain after Feanor had left the room. His fingers gently probed his jaw and his eyes filled with tears. Now he could add a broken jaw to his broken wrist. This had been an especially bad day and he had the feeling it wasn’t over yet.
That night, he was ordered to wait on Curufin, another of Feanor’s sons. Through the years he had learned to avoid running into Feanor, Celegorm, Curufin and Caranthir. The four Elves loathed him and used every opportunity to show him.
At times, he would find comfort in Maglor’s arms and it would make him wonder how Feanor’s sons could be that different. Maglor was the only one who treated him like an Elfling who still needed protection and proper care. But Maglor unfortunately was seldom close enough to protect him from the wrath of the others.
He managed to stand motionless, after putting the bowl of soup in front of Curufin. Already sporting injuries, he didn’t want more added to them.
“You little, incompetent…”
Erestor’s eyes nearly glazed over, seeing the angry expression in the gray eyes, which were so much like Feanor’s – cruel and unforgiving. What had he done wrong this time?
“The soup sloshed over the rim and onto my sleeve when you put down the bowl! Can’t you do anything right?”
Curufin glared at him and Erestor instinctively backed up into a corner. “I could not help it!” His broken wrist had made it extremely difficult to carry the bowl without spilling any soup. The tears that had swam in his eyes most of the day now spilled down his cheeks. He was only a child, trying his best to please these grown ups, but his injuries were hampering him! Why couldn’t they see that and understand that he was doing his best? He wanted Maglor -- wanted to hide behind the Elf’s broad back, but Maglor wasn’t close.
Suddenly, Curufin jumped to his feet, grabbed his injured arm and dragged him from the room. Erestor released a pain-filled yelp, wishing for the torment to stop, but the Elf continued to drag him through the corridors, sending unspeakable pain through his injured limb. “Nay, please!” He already knew where they were headed and he didn’t want to go there!
Curufin opened a door and then flung him inside. Erestor landed hard on the cold stone floor, crushing his injured arm beneath him and he screamed in pain. He considered begging for mercy, but then gave up, knowing Curufin would never listen.
The heavy wooden door slammed shut and he pulled his knees up to his chest, wrapping his good arm around them. He shivered from fear. They always locked him up in this dark room when they were displeased with him. There wouldn’t be any food tonight, and they wouldn’t let him out until it was morning and time for him to return to his daily chores.
Shaking with sobs, he tried to control his fears. Shadows danced through the room and ghostly sounds made his skin crawl. “Nana, where are you? I do not want to be alone.”
After long moments, he finally cried himself to sleep.
The soft and kind voice woke Erestor and his eyes widened, seeing Maglor kneeling at his side. “You are back.” Acting on impulse, he raised his arms and flung them around the Elf’s neck. It had taken him some time to realize that Maglor and Feanor were opposites. Although Maglor’s appearance much resembled his father’s, the Elf was nothing like Feanor in character. Where Feanor was mean and violent, Maglor was kind and understanding.
Holding on tight to Maglor, Erestor tried to bring his too fast breathing back under control. Erestor sobbed softly, enjoying the feel of Maglor rubbing his back. “I try so hard to please them, but…”
Maglor soothed him and Erestor was forced to let go when the elder Elf reached for the candle which he had brought with him. He lowered his gaze in shame, realizing what Maglor would see.
“Aiya, I am too late – again.”
Erestor allowed the gentle probing when Maglor examined his broken wrist and jaw.
“That wrist needs binding and you won’t be able to eat properly with that broken jaw.”
Erestor clearly heard the anger in Maglor’s voice, but he also knew that it wasn’t aimed at him. The elder Elf had tried to speak up on his behalf before, but Feanor had forbidden his son to bring up the Elfling ever again. “I am not allowed food at any rate.”
“Who did this to you, pen-neth? Who broke your wrist?”
Erestor trembled, knowing Maglor only wanted to help him, but the elder Elf would get himself in to trouble because of this and he didn’t want that.
“Tell me, Erestor. This cannot continue. They have been mistreating you for many years now.”
“Celegorm broke my wrist,” mumbled Erestor eventually, snuggling close to Maglor.
“And your jaw?”
“Feanor was displeased.” Erestor tried to stop crying, but it was hard now that someone supportive was holding him. These moments were much too rare. Maglor never stayed long and it wouldn’t be long before he would be back at the others’ mercy.
Maglor’s expression hardened, hearing Erestor’s words. “I will bind your wrist and fetch you some soup from the kitchens. I wish I could take you to my rooms with me.”
“Do not fetch that soup for me, please. I would pay for that later if someone found out and so would you,” whispered Erestor in misery. Maglor had taken him to his rooms once before to look after him, and when Feanor had found out, the elder Elf had dragged him back to this prison. Maglor had also been punished, but his benefactor had refused to tell him in what way.
“I have to get you away from here, Erestor. You won’t survive more of this abuse.”
“I am strong, Maglor. At least that is what Nana always told me.” Erestor wanted this moment -- this embrace -- to last forever, and vehemently clung to Maglor. “I will survive.”
Maglor pulled back and Erestor stared into genuinely warm and caring eyes. Maglor was the closest thing he had to a father, and he hoped the elder Elf could stay for a few days, making his life a little more bearable.
Maglor had left when the morning had dawned, not wanting to create more problems for Erestor. The Elfling now found himself being pushed down the corridor toward Feanor’s quarters. His heart thundered in his chest, scared of what would await him in his tormentor’s rooms. He desperately hoped Feanor didn’t know of Maglor’s comforting visit that night. The last thing he wanted was for Maglor to get in to trouble as well.
After the guard had opened the door, he was pushed inside and he bit his tongue in order to keep from screaming out at the pain that swept through his broken arm. Sensing Feanor’s presence, he kept his gaze trained on the floor, doing his best to avoid the piercing gray eyes.
“Child, do not stand there! Come over here!”
Hearing the urgent tone to Feanor’s voice, Erestor cautiously looked at the elder Elf. Feanor glowered at him and then extended his left hand. He could see that one finger was bent in an awkward way; it was probably broken. /And he wants me to heal the injury./ This was a test. Feanor’s healing ability would easily take care of the broken finger, but the elder Elf wanted *him* to do this.
“I will allow you to eat breakfast if you do this now.”
Erestor -- hungry -- nodded. It had been days since he had eaten last and even a glass of milk would fill his empty belly. Gently, he placed his good hand on Feanor’s and concentrated. The healing energy coursed through his tiny body and disappeared into Feanor’s, healing the broken finger.
Collapsing against the wall, Erestor’s tired eyes cautiously searched Feanor’s. The dark-haired Elf seemed pleased, but one could never be sure. Maybe Curufin had told him about the accident with the soup and Feanor would punish him anyway.
Feanor flexed the finger and smiled. “Ai, you are truly blessed, pen-neth.”
Erestor shivered, wondering what else was going through the elder Elf’s mind. Feanor had told him on several occasions that he would remain his servant for the rest of his life, as Finwe had lost all interest in him. Erestor was deadly afraid he would never get away from Feanor and that the abuse would never stop. “I did well?” He quickly covered his mouth with his good hand. He hadn’t wanted to say the words aloud. Feanor would find them offensive; the elder Elf had told him to hold his tongue in his presence.
“Aye, you did well,” said Feanor sweetly.
Erestor’s instincts kicked in. Feanor was never that kind to him!
“It is a shame that Curufin complained about your clumsiness.”
Erestor’s mouth went dry. What kind of punishment had Feanor in mind for him?
“I am afraid you do not deserve breakfast after all. Return to your chores and make sure I receive no more complains.”
Erestor’s stomach chose that moment to growl hungrily. Big-eyed, Erestor stared at Feanor in alarm. But Feanor ignored it, and signaled for the guard to take him away.
Once he was in the corridor, he collapsed onto his knees. Using his healing powers always drained him and he had already been weak to begin with. The guard tried to pull him to his feet, and applied unbearable pressure to his broken wrist in order to do so.
Tears sprung from his eyes, as he dragged himself back onto his feet again. He had no idea how to survive this day, but he had to.
That evening his presence was requested by Celegorm, as the Elf was one servant short. Erestor’s heart fluttered with fear at hearing that Curufin and Caranthir would also be present. A large amount of wine had been delivered to Celegorm’s rooms and Erestor expected the worst. The three brothers always turned extremely violent and mean when drinking.
He stood rigid, trying hard not to draw their attention, while the three brothers were dining. Wine flowed luxuriously and he could that tell they were quickly growing intoxicated. He wished he had the courage to flee the room, but that would only mean more punishment later. He had to endure this here and now.
“Child! More wine!” Caranthir raised his glass and waited for Erestor to carry the crystal carafe to their table.
Using his good hand, Erestor cradled the carafe against his chest, careful not so spill any of the red liquid. He even managed to successfully fill Caranthir’s glass, but when he tried to return to his corner, things took a turn for the worst.
Curufin, seemingly stretching his legs, tripped the Elfling and then everything happened at the same time.
The crystal carafe slipped from his tiny fingers and shattered into hundreds of pieces. The floor was now covered with tiny shards and Erestor, unable to maintain his balance, went down as well, landing in the middle of them. The shards cruelly buried themselves in his skin and he yelped softly, trying to bite down the pain.
“Ha, look at the whelp!” Celegorm laughed, amused.
Erestor’s breath caught and he stared at his hands in misery. The glass had buried itself in his palms, causing him pain. Pleadingly, he looked up at the three Elves, extending his hands in a silent plea for help. It only caused them to laugh harder.
“Take him to his quarters,” said Caranthir, who was still chuckling at Erestor’s misfortune. “He is useless!”
One of the guards grabbed Erestor’s collar and pulled him to his feet. Erestor had stopped crying, having no more tears left. Feeling numb and utterly helpless, he allowed the guard to drag him to the servants’ quarters.
Curled up on his blanket, he stared at the wall. The servants he shared quarters with knew better than to pay him any attention and completely ignored him. He had managed to pry most shards from his hands, but some had remained, deeply imbedded in his flesh. Maybe Maglor would remove them once the elder Elf had the time to check on him.
Tired of having to live this life, Erestor forced himself to fall asleep, dreaming of his mother and her welcoming arms.
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