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An Evil Cradling

An Evil Cradling

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A dissenting grumble rolled through the orcs, but slowly they shuffled off, and relief poured through Maedhros’ heart as he heard them depart. Yet setting towards him then he heard the heavy tread of the captain; unseen things crunched to the stones by his side, and swiftly he steeled himself, he drew to himself whatever shreds of lordliness he had left and thrust them out before him like a shield. But inevitably there are reminders, some of them funny. "We were in a taxi together in London, and the driver kept looking at us in his mirror," says Keenan. "And then he came through on his intercom and he said: 'Sorry to interrupt you gentlemen, but I couldn't help asking … wouldn't you be more comfortable travelling in the boot?'" Maedhros’ head lolled down onto his chest as exhaustion stole through him, the tightness of the gag tore at his lips and sent waves of such horrible pressure throbbing through his head. Despair clawed at his heart as for what felt like the thousandth time he squirmed within his bonds, he near ripped his wrists bloody in his attempts to free them, but such efforts were made in vain.

It was as a hostage in Beirut, facing the possibility that he might be executed at any moment, that Brian Keenan realised how much being a father would mean to him. "I remember thinking, if I'm going to die here, my biggest regret is that I haven't had any kids," he says. "The feeling quite overwhelmed me." When he was finally released, Keenan famously told journalists that he intended to "make love to every woman in the world", before realising that imprisonment had left him horribly vulnerable and that he should steer clear of a big love affair. Then, having decided after all not to leap into the arms of the first woman who crossed his newly liberated path, he ended up doing precisely that: Audrey Doyle, who became his wife in 1993, was the physiotherapist charged with helping to build up his muscles again. Fury swelled in Maedhros’ heart as he saw their lines break into a sprint, the outrage of betrayal squalled in his veins but tightly he gripped to it, he mastered it, and as Fëanor’s son revealed in the fey glory of his wrath he drew his sword, and aloud he cried: “Hold fast! Ortaerë, mehtarnya! Ortaerë!”Eventually Maedhros finished the bowl, and as the broth settled like a fortifying, invigorating weight into his stomach, softly he murmured, “Water… p-please…” Frenzied hands clutched to him; shrill panic trembled in Maedhros’ throat, anger and terror waged their devastating war within him but through filth-stained lips he screamed, “Stop! Stop, let me go! Let me go!” Yet even as that resolution turned in his mind, unbidden anger churned in his blood, and hard he gripped into the edge of the table to still the shake in his fingers. The Oath, that accursed oath sworn in fey mood and wrathful flames pounded in his veins and it renounced all clemency, it thirsted for blood, it crooned for war, but Maedhros would not so easily succumb to its seduction. Strength in arms might not avail his kin in reclaiming the Silmarils; their armies reeled in the wake of his father’s death, they mourned their kindred slain in the battle under the silent stars and wished no more for conflict, and Maedhros would not see the blood of his people further spilled upon capricious whim. The Oath renewed at his father’s deathbed might gnaw at him, and his brothers also; it would cozen patience to careless haste, it would twist sense to base impulse, but he would not fall prey to its demands.

Keenan's parents are both dead – his father's death was pivotal in his decision to go to Beirut. It was as he carried his father's coffin that he made the decision to leave Belfast, and to seek a new life overseas as a teacher at the American University in Beirut. At the time of the kidnap he was wearing one of his father's shirts, and that connection was a crumb of comfort to him – in An Evil Cradling, he writes movingly about how his dad became "not simply a memory but … a real presence … a presence I could feel more than see, a comforting reassurance that eased the hurt into a deeply filled sadness, yet that same sadness as it became reflective, lifted me". His mother died in 2004 having survived his captivity – something she rarely spoke about, Keenan says. "It was her way," he explains. "When I came home she didn't ask, and I didn't tell much at all. My sisters told me that when I was away she didn't speak much about what was happening. When there were rumours that I might be coming home, though, she knitted me a sweater." Keenan uses various techniques to convey the feeling of human degradation that he went through during the first period of his captivity. We were just friends for a long time, before it led to anything else," says Audrey. "All the same, some people thought I'd just emerged from nowhere and predicted it would never last." To your posts, now!” the captain thundered; a blast of heat shimmered through the air as it roared: “Else I will have you flayed for insubordination, you and your miserable company alike!” He is not yours to despoil.” The rumbling baritone of a Valarauka broke through the growls and mutters that heralded it. “He belongs to our lord, and I will see him delivered whole and un-abused, not torn bloody by your snivelling rabble. You answer to me, Dagmur, and I will have my captives treated with dignity, no matter how much it thwarts your desires.”He talks about a letter he received recently from a woman whose daughter is dying of leukaemia. "There's far more heroism in that woman than there will ever be in me." Now, he says, he turns down offers to speak about his experience. "It's the past. Why would I want to do that?" He has always refused to go to America to lecture. "I am asked and I say, 'No.'" Money couldn't tempt him. "Money has always been the last thing on my mind. Though I don't have a lot of it. I have to work, my wife has to work."

Y’hear that, snaga,” a deep voice growled, and an iron-shod boot clipped into the side of Maedhros’ thigh an instant later. “My boys should ‘ave their fun with you. Such troubles we took with you, you might give us a little pleasure in return…” Bind him tightly, now,” a Valarauka boomed, and the orcs seemed set aflame to hear their commander’s encouragement. The clamour of battle dwindled to the mournful keens of the dying, but in his fear Maedhros scarcely heard them. Before three monstrous Valaraukar he was dragged, and four burly uruks held him fast as their flame-filled eyes appraised him.

Sleep while you can, prince,” he said slowly, almost sorrowfully; and his words drenched Maedhros in nothing but despair. “For my home is forged of nightmares, and you will find no rest there.” He hates it, and he hasn't got used to it. "It embarrasses me." A shy, modest man, he accepts it when people come up to him in the pub, offering him drinks, asking to shake his hand. He is polite and politely unimpressed. He doesn't want this fame. "I don't really understand it. What have I done? I didn't ask to be kidnapped." He wasn't sure about fatherhood. "I was anxious, still am. I thought, at 45, I was too old. But they are nice kids, lovely people." And tall, both of them are going to be over six foot. "As a small person I always wanted to be tall." When he was, his mum used to say to him, "'Be careful with what you want, you may get it.' So, she was right. I did get it."

His brothers fretted as he had armed himself: Caranthir rumbled out his worries as a squire garbed Maedhros in a magnificent breastplate of burnished steel, Curufin scowled down at Huan flopped by his feet as Maedhros tightened the gleaming bracers upon his arms and rolled out his shoulders within his newly smelted pauldrons. Amras held tightly to little Celebrimbor curled up and dozing in his lap, and Celegorm stood tightly at his side, worrying at the cuticle of his nail until Maedhros was sure that he must have torn it beyond all repair. Finally Maglor ceased his worrisome pacing, the rhythmic tread of his steps had sent a faint tinge of nausea rolling through Maedhros’ stomach; he passed Maedhros his sword sheathed within its ornate scabbard, and with every ounce of willpower in him Maedhros forced himself to ignore just how hard his brother’s fingers were shaking. Slay any left alive!” A thin voice barked behind him, and with its words and the roar of orcish glee that met them, blank despair crested in Maedhros’ heart as he was led away. “Leave the dead to rot.” Well, I really hope you've enjoyed what you've read so far! I though a nice little battle-scene and its aftermath to get everyone warmed up... But genuinely I hope you liked it, and I hope everyone would like to read on, as I'm really excited about continuing this fic (assuming everyone doesn't suddenly turn around and go 'euuuugh no'!) Questions, comments or concerns are always welcome, either here or at the heart of my lair: markedasinfernal.tumblr.com That survival is mutual. Everyone there had to put a part of themselves on the table for everyone else to take what they needed." So, until the debt was clear, he would not be free to act. He is a very unusual man, in many ways no doubt. But in one way in particular. He is not prepared to be cynical. Unmodern, you could say, in that way. Patiently the Balrog lifted the skin to him once more, and gratefully he drained it. Somewhat refreshed then he shifted himself slightly, the heels of his boots crunched as they slid across the gravel, and he pushed himself a little more upright against the wooden post that crushed between his shoulder-blades. Gothmog watched his motions neutrally, but as a wince crossed Maedhros’ face as he settled himself, the Valarauka reached for the gag once more.And what?” the Balrog murmured, and the soft rue in its tone only stripped bare the cruelty of its truths. “Your bargains are empty, Noldo. As the soldiery might not take their pleasures with you, your freedom is not mine to barter.”

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