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Art of Beauty

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It had all started when Maedhros and some of her best soldiers had been visiting the Dwarven city of Belegost—ruled by the Lord Azaghâl—to make a contract of trade and alliance. They needed some extra time to arrive as an unexpected snowstorm had blocked the road for some days, but made it without further incident. It was no secret that Maedhros was a far cry from her former beauty, with her deep scars and other signs from her time in Angband; looking at herself in a mirror she had been given in her guest room, she felt her mood being far from the best.

"It really have been a less than pleasant month for me…"

The Dwarven hospitality was wonderful, the deep music and sound of children laughing helped her a bit. Yet the Lady Kym, wife and consort of Azaghâl, noticed some things about Maedhros which only a fellow female could see, no matter which race.

"Lady Maedhros, if you would like to get a break from my husband and all the men around here during the next coming days, you are much welcome to the Blue Hall for some womanly company."

Maedhros had to smile a bit—being the oldest of several cousins and one of only three female cousins back in Valinor had made her pretty used to be outnumbered by the male gender.

"Well, that is a offer I will not refuse," she responded just before lifting her goblet for a toast.

 

In fact, Maedhros was seen entering the Blue Hall just three days later, being dragged there by three young little Dwarrowdam daughters who insisted on bringing her to said Hall by pulling on her hand and pushing on her long legs. With Maedhros being a giant beside them, it was rather funny for those who happened to see it.

"Lady Maedhros? Where did you go?" Astaro, her captain, called awhile afterwards, searching for his Lady since he was confused by her complete disappearance. Recalling Lady Kym's offer about the Blue Hall which many had heard at the welcoming feast, he went to see if Maedhros was there. As he went closer, he could have sworn on that he heard Maedhros say something though the wooden door:

"No, no, that is enough… "

Just in case Astaro knocked on the door to indicate he was entering.

"Lady Maedhros?"

"What?! " Maedhros snapped in annoyance, sitting up on the bench she had been on and turning around to face him. While a good-placed Dwarrowdam prevented anything to be seen of her body, the movement revealed that her face was covered in some sort of green facial mask except for the eyes. Also, it was more than one Dwarrowdam who had similar creams on their faces, despite that it looked rather odd. To Astaro's credit his composure remained blank despite his internal shock at the sight.

"This better be important, Astaro," Maedhros warned in a low voice. In return, her captain had the questionable grace of collapsing into a dead faint on the floor.

"I take it that you Elves do not use facial masks in the Blessed Realm?" her attending Dwarrowdam inquired, looking askance at the fallen Elf.

"Not what I know about or remember. Drag him outside and set him upwards towards the wall, I think your gentlemen should know what to wake him up with," Maedhros commented before laying back down on the bench.

 

~X~X~X~X~X~X

 

Many years later, Maedhros was visiting Caranthir in his realm Thargelion. Much to the middle Fëanorian's quickly growing anger out of pure annoyance, his brothers Celegorm and Curufin had pretty much self-invited themselves to him too.

"So, brother, we heard that you saved a group of Men ten years ago, what happened to them afterwards?" Celegorm wondered teasingly as he placed a arm around Caranthir's shoulders, knowing that it would annoy him even more. Caranthir, who was carrying a small tray with some wine, two small glasses and some fruits, did his best to not drop the tray by a quick movement in anger.

"That is not your business, idiots," he grumbled under his breath, before adding more loudy:

"Our sister is in her guest room, I am on the way there, so move aside!"

Naturally, neither Celegorm or Curufin heeded the command despite that Caranthir was their host and they his guests. They did run ahead, failing to notice that the middle brother was secretly smirking to himself.

 

True enough, it did not take many minutes before a horrified scream was heard somewhere in the corridor, followed by somebody's raised voice scolding them:

"You two are grown-up Elves who have survived against thousands of Orcs and yet you still scream like a pair of little girls at this?! "

Caranthir laughed for himself at hearing what Haleth said.

"I love that mortal wife of mine," he murmured, catching the last moments of Haleth chasing away his brothers with her sword, dressed in her bathrobe and still wearing a facial mask of honey, as Maedhros looked around the corner to see where Caranthir were. It did wonders for his earlier foul mood.

"You chose a perfect lady for the role of your wife, Moryo, despite that she is a mortal," Maedhros commented as he drew near.

"Thank you for those kind words, sister." Caranthir smiled as he followed her to the bath chamber where the food tray would be set on a small table for her and Haleth. The two sisters-in-law may be the only female Fëanorian family members here in Middle-earth, but they were close friends despite understandable differences.

 

~X~X~X~X~X~X~

 

It was true that Amrod and Amras had gotten a shock the first time they saw Maedhros wearing a facial mask, but afterwards, they had made a private mission to ensure that she could have a such moment at visiting them.

"You two spoil me every time I come to visit," Maedhros commented with a smile as Amras guided her to a seat before the open fire, having cleaning her face with some stream treatment a little earlier.

"Sister dear, you helped to care for us back in Valinor when we were small, so now it is our turn to help you."

Even if Maedhros was marred in scars and looking far from the beauty she had been in Valinor, they still hoped to give her a good mood once in awhile. Besides, they did not always see each other so much anymore over the past years so why waste a chance to meet?

"Yes, siblings should take care of each other," Amrod responded as he checked on the water temperature in the foot bath for Maedhros, so it would not be too hot for her. She was sensitive to temperature change after Angband and it had been difficult during her healing to control her internal temperatures during her bouts of fever while her right arm healed from infection.

"Thank you." Maedhros leaned back in the chair and relaxed slowly with closed eyes, as Amras started to paint on the facial mask for her. With both her feet in the foot bath, the elder twin went to get the items needed to trim her nails.

"We may not be able to restore your former beauty, but we can still try to make you less scary for people."

Yes, after all it was the the thought that counts.

 

~X~X~X~X~X~X~

 

Normally, Elrond and Elros did not need to sneak into the bed of their foster father or his sister—they were big boys on eight years after all, but a stormy night like this when was thunder was a different matter.

"I hate thunder…!" Elrond whimpered from somewhere under his quilt, trying not to scream when a new lighting bolt passed over the rainy night sky. Elros was not doing any better in his own bed, covering his pillow over his head to block out the loud noise.

"Let go and find Maglor," the elder twin finally suggested, making Elrond peek out from his hiding place and nod, trying to not start crying in fright.

 

It was scary to walk in the long corridor, especially when the lightning flashes lit it up every now and then. That it was a long stairway between their own chamber and the bedchamber of Maglor did not help matters either.

"M—Maybe we can sneak in to Maedhros instead…her chamber is just over here…!"

Both of the twins jumped in fright at the new lighting bolt outside. Screaming loudly in terror they rushed into Maedhros' chamber without knocking.

"Maedhros!" they cried.

"What!? "

Maedhros had already been having a bad night thanks to the storm herself, and being woken up by the twins just after finally being able to fall asleep did little to better her mood.

"I thought Maglor told you to go to him at nights like this, unless you want me to be in a horrible temper tomorrow!" she warned in a angry voice. Unfortunately, she was also having a greenish facial mask on her face in that very moment, and in the light from the outside lighting, it did look pretty scary. The twins took one long look at her almost demonic appearance.

"AAAAAAAH! "

"MAAAAAAGLOR! "

The terrified screams did not just wake up Maglor, but nearly half of the sleeping guard. Thankfully, most thought that the screams were caused by the storm, and Maglor was quick to arrive to his sister's chamber to calm down the twins since Maedhros was in too much pain from her stiff limbs to do so herself.

 

The morning after, with Maedhros still in bed due to barely sleeping at all, Elrond and Elros apologized for awakening her in a such manner by carrying a tray with breakfast up to her chamber. There they found Maglor who helped her remove the facial mask and washing her face clean again.

"My sister has some issues with dry skin ever since Angband. Facial masks and hand creams like this helps her," he explained as he gave Maedhros some hot tea to drink from the tray. The twins climbed into her bed to help, by way of apology.

 

~X~X~X~X~X~X~

 

Fourth Age in Valinor, Formenos:

"Rûsa? Oi, Rûsa! Get back here with that basket of fruits! That was for the fruit salad later, not a snack for you before the midday meal in a hour!" Fëanor called at seeing his youngest grandson trying to sneak away with a small basket. The red haired elfling responded by quickly running deeper into the house, nearly knocking over Celebrimbor in his hurry.

"Careful there, cousin! Grandfather, is there some more oatmeal in the house? Navi would like to borrow some."

"Oatmeal? In the kitchen to the left above the fireplace… and stand still for once, Rûsa!" Fëanor answered from the living room, still trying to catch the quick-running child. Laughing for himself, Celebrimbor brought the requested oatmeal to the largest bathroom chamber where the ladies in the family were gathered.

"Narvi, I have the oatmeal here, and I will keep grandfather away unless he risk to get a massive shock," Celebrimbor said as his Dwarrow wife peeked out through the door with her face covered in a milk facial mask, no doubt checking if Fëanor was around.

"I think he would be more shocked to see his own wife and mother trying this out," she smiled, causing Nerdanel and Miriel to laugh. Maedhros, who just had finished adding the honey facial masks on Maglor's wife Rainiel Curufin's wife Astarë, looked up from her two sisters-in-law over her shoulder.

"Just do not tell Rûsa or I fear that he will think we are wasting food by using it like this."

They all smiled, knowing how stubborn her Reborn son could be about food and that it was more likely that Rûsa would not find the facial masks scary at all due to his first life as a slave in Angband.

"Give back that fruit, grandfather!" Rûsa protested as Fëanor held a steady hold on his tunic in one hand and the fruit basket in his other, his young face covered in the juice from the peach he had eaten not many minutes ago. The patriarch of the House of Fëanor was not too pleased with his grandson at the moment—it was an endless struggle to prevent Rûsa from overeating because even fifteen years after his Rebirth; he still could get controlled by his old survival instincts without warning.

"Stop struggling, you need to get washed clean—" Fëanor froze in shock as he opened the door to see what the ladies inside was wearing, letting go of Rûsa without noticing.

"If that is supposed to be war masks, they are not very scary," Rûsa commented in slight confusion with a raised eyebrow, casing the female family members to laugh as Celebrimbor gently pulled his shocked grandfather back into the hallway.

"And this is one of the female mysteries that will never make sense for us gentlemen, Rûsa," he replied while closing the door so the family ladies were left alone to do their beauty treatments.