I was thinking about how when I first started NirCele's Hundred Drabble challenge, I wrote a few pieces about scenes from the crossing of the Helcaraxë. Then I remembered how GingerRogers15, one of my reviewers whose opinions I greatly respect, expressed a wish to see me create a full fanfiction about it.
At first I declined, because in all honesty, I didn't and I still don't think I can do it justice. However, after thinking about it more, since it won't leave me alone, and also in hopes of repaying Ginger for all of their reviews, I decided to at least give it my best shot with a Drabble fic, or just one-shots all piled together into a fic that isn't necessarily full but neither is it just a random drabble. There were quite a few things that triggered the start of this, not the least being Nutella and angsty drabbles, which I sort-of-kind-of-not regret reading, but... what can I say? If the muse won't leave you alone, then RUN WITH IT (MARVEL reference-! *gets shot*).
Anyways, so after much inner debate, conflict, scrapped efforts, and Nutella, I decided to try to do it from the point of view I seem to do best: that of a child. I think it's not too far-fetched to say that there were Elflings in the crossing as well, as much as I hate the thought. I chose to use an Elfling the age of sixty, which in our human equivalent would be around twelve - and though I started out using a female, I decided that I'd been doing that too much. So what the Morgoth, I decided to switch myself completely up from top to bottom and see how well I could do, especially considering I'm not a boy. Not by a long shot.
This won't necessarily be a full out fanfiction, so to speak, but it will be a bunch of connected one-shots and drabbles all featuring my OC's and a few canon characters here and there. All I really want to accomplish with this is to show you what I think it must have been like for the Elves in the crossing of the Helcaraxë.
So, let's see how this works out, and if I utterly fail... You know why. Leave an honest reaction and go occupy your precious time with something more worth it. Do it.
The first time they had caught sight of the great white expanse, the Elves had murmured that there might still be hope to reach Arda beyond the sea. There was no going back, at any rate, because nothing but doom awaited them there, so they must go forwards. There were a few of the wise and elder, however, that shook their heads and muttered that they were walking into trouble beyond comprehension.
At that time, no one said death. That was unfamiliar to them, immortal beings never meant to see it, and the memories of the kinslayings were still fresh and raw in their minds, an open nerve that no one was willing to touch.
Their minds were - and still are - clouded with confusion, their thoughts jumbled masses of tangled, hazardous threads that could not - and still cannot - be untangled without getting oneself caught and perhaps never extricated.
So, they looked at death wrapped innocently in white robes, and whispered of hope.
Faelon thinks they are mad. They are insane.
How anyone ever thought that this was hope is beyond his mind, though he never says it aloud, and never would. Valar, if he ever makes it out of this alive, he'll never speak of it again, not even if he had the chance to meet Feänor face to face.
In the past few weeks, he's been forced from being an Elfling of sixty to a fully-capable, functioning adult. One of these days, it will catch up to him, but right now, he is too busy surviving to even think about anything else.
It had all started when his father and mother decided to follow the prince Turgon's banner, not so much from the swaying speeches of Feänor as the call of duty and loyalty to their rulers. His mother had always been a firm believer in loyalty and servitude, though she would never express it aloud and merely followed unflinchingly in her husband's steps. His father, on the other hand, capably led the way into everything, from the household to work - all the way into the arms of death, which he had not managed to avoid tripping headlong into, along with his mother.
Even now, he wasn't fully sure what had happened. He didn't have a say in anything; he was just a child. He was dragged off into doom with his parents; rather unfairly, he thought sourly, since, after all, he had nothing to do with the choices his parents made, so should he be included in the doom Mandos had declared on them as they passed under the ominous shadow of the mountains? It wasn't fair, but there was nothing he could do, so he did the only thing he could: he survived. What choice does he have?
It had all been so blindingly fast, thanks to the newness of the situation and the fact that he had no idea what to do in such a situation. One moment there were Elves talking with Elves at the docks of Alqualondë in tenseness but absolutely no sign of violence, then the next moment there was chaos and a whirlwind of things that just happened. Then he was hopelessly lost among the bodies of Elves, shoved about blindly and tripping over prone, motionless bodies.
There had been so much shouting, and when he pulled his hands away from his ears when it was all over, he found himself staring into the glassy, unseeing eyes of his oldest sister. He thought she was asleep. How was he supposed to know what death was, never having seen it before? He shook her until his shoulders ached, plaintively calling for her in ever-increasing fear.
When his only remaining sibling, his older brother, finally found him, he allowed himself to cling to him and wail, heartbreakingly loud and filled with such forlorn emptiness. He hadn't even cried for his parents. He didn't see their bodies. His brother hadn't allowed him to. He didn't want to. He didn't want to see their eyes lifeless and unseeing, or their bodies, limp and perhaps mangled beyond recognition like some of the ones he had stumbled over in his aimless wanderings.
What had happened after his brother picked him up was a blur. All he can remember is his tears, hot and wet falling down his face, and not being able to let go of his brother, who held him as long as he could.
His brother's eyes are not the same anymore, as hollow and as cold as the blinding white that falls around them in endless, crisp sheets that blanket them in anything but warmth. There is such hopelessness in his brother's gaze, and he knows, through listening to his brother's mumbles in the deep watches of night, that his brother's hands are forever stained with red in defense of his life.
Camaendir is always numbing his hands in the cold snow all around them, attempting to get rid of the feeling of the life that stained them in the swift, devastating battle. The feeling of a hilt is always in his hands, and the screams forever in his ears. Faelon is not the only one that wakes up at night to the screaming of others.
The first few days, even spilling into a week and a half, was still considered to be hopeful among others, murmurs that surely the end of the monotonous landscape was nearing swiftly. Faelon had already concluded by then that they must be mad.
Two weeks later, Faelon trudges next to his older brother who absently palms his sword by his waist, breathing shallow and loud in his ears, and hears a loud crack that signals doom. Moments later, behind him, there are shrieks and he whips around, seeing several Elves fall into the water. The struggle was brief and short. Only one was saved, and he did not last the night.
When he falls asleep, Faelon still hears the cracks and the screams, and he pounds his fist angrily against the unyielding ice he is lying on, gritting his teeth and begging the water underneath it to stop lapping the ice like it's trying to taste him.
When he hears someone voice weakly the hope that they will make it soon, he grinds his teeth to himself and viciously decides that they are insane.
The days have passed, and the entire company of thousands of Elves have fallen into the same routines everyday, to keep on surviving. Faelon doubts that they will come through this living. Their minds and hearts and souls, under this kind of unrelenting strain, will not hold up. They will certainly survive, but live? It is a fool's hope to think that much.
They find food in the strange, antlered, furry animals that cross the grinding ice in large herds, feeding on something that the Elves could neither locate nor imagine, while fending off the packs of wolves that occasionally attempt to prey on the Elves instead. Sometimes, they succeed.
By three weeks, Faelon has heard no more comments of hope. However, when someone, already driven half-mad from the cold, the hunger, and the memories that burn in their mind, mentions forcing death to prey upon them by killing themselves, Faelon comes to the weary resignation that they are utterly debauched, and perhaps they all would be by the end of this venture. If he ever sees the end.
It has been three months now, and they have lost many Elves. He and his brother have stayed together all this time, though he has done much of the work. He worries for his brother. Camaendir is slowly failing in health both physically and mentally, and Faelon knows it by the way his brother staggers in a most un-Elven fashion from time to time, the way his hand brushes past his glassy eyes too often, and the way he sometimes stares at Faelon like he does not recognize his own brother.
Some Elves are still muttering about surelybeing near the end now.
Faelon thinks that if they truly think so, they are depraved.