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Many Journeys: Elleth's Fanfic and Fanart
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Many Journeys
In her youth she [Nerdanel] loved to travel far from the dwellings of the Noldor, either beside the Sea or in the hills; and thus she and Fëanor had met and were companions in many journeys.
(J.R.R. Tolkien, Morgoth's Ring)

December 2015
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Many Journeys: Elleth's Fanfic and Fanart [userpic]

Many thanks to GG for the nitpicking, and Elfscribe at the Lizard Council for the helpful suggestions.

For B2MeM 2011, Day One:
Voltaire said that it's not enough to conquer: one must learn to seduce. Write a story or poem or create artwork where seduction plays a central role.

Helcaraxe entices and changes the Noldor.

Nan Elmoth Passport Stamp

Spell of the Crossing

Slowly, slowly, for the ice is as steady as it is shifting, it calls to them. When the ships burn in the firth of Losgar, Helcaraxë is a breath on the cold wind. Further north, its whispers trail ice across their skin, and when the naked ice lies before them, embracing it offers the only way to cross the ocean.

It is in the beginning, unused to the terrain and rigidly seeking to bend it to their will that the host suffers the greatest losses. Here Elenwë falls and is lost. Here Itaril is rescued from where she lies half in water and half buried in fallen ice. Here countless others break through whatever the surface hides, and vanish. It is here that the living divide the clothing of the dead, if they can recover it. Need by far outweighs propriety. It is here that they hunger after their provisions are spent, turning to shoes and leather belts and even the binding of books. It is here that they toil onward through the driving snow, and their feet sink into it from weariness. It is here they are wracked with fevers. The toll and tax for passage nearly conquer them.

It is not in the spirit of the ice, for the ice is treacherous; and treachery, beyond mere cruelty, requires the occasional kindness. It requires the suggestion of keeping the promise that lured the Noldor onto Helcaraxë, not a trail of dead given unwilling or taken by force. Those who never reach the other shore must succumb on their own. It requires patience. Seduction.

Helcaraxë begins to sing, and they learn to listen to its language, for are they not Quendi?

They read the whistle of the wind and the patterns in the snow, for here it blows always from the North and the chasm at the end of the world. They learn to keep their course straight eastward in the shadow of great dunes rivalling any desert, and that is one reason they are never lost. They listen to the song in the freezing air, in the groaning and cracking and breaking of sheet ice in the wind chill, of waves slapping its underside with a hollow sound like drums or rumbling like an avalanche of rocks tumbling from a mountain, in the grinding of floes past one another, the echo of steps, and the heaving and sinking of the pack ice with the flow and the currents.

Those who become entranced by the song gladly yield themselves. They break from the host heedless to the cries of their companions and vanish into the snow that eradicates their trails. They lie down to watch the wheeling of the stars when the air is clear, and are left behind. They let teeth and knives of ice rake across their skin and grant it hot trails of blood. They cast themselves into the bitter sea to be closer to the song.

These belong to Helcaraxë, and it takes them into its embrace. The rest it lets pass, although even they march in step to the rhythm it dictates. They learn to cease their own songs, the laments, the falsely cheerful cries to spur their people onward, the constant jabbering. Helcaraxë entices and changes them.

Their culture becomes one of waiting and silence and steadfast walking, and their modes of conversation become dependent on frostbitten hands and what is visible of their faces; eyebrows rise for yes, knit into a frown for no. They learn to find open water, learn that dead seals sink quickly beyond reach, they leap over crags and crannies and move onward in the rhythm of the ice. They, too, lose themselves. In a way.

When the moon rises and wraps the ice and its terrible beauty in light and swaths of mist behind them, they are the ones who stand bereft. Those who say there were trumpets, they lie.

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