The Silmarillion Writers' Guild :: Seven in '07, A Tribute to the Creativity Inspired by the House of Fëanor

Pityo and Telvo by Oloriel
"Pityo and Telvo" by Oloriel.

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Only Macalaurë looked at all like himself. He alone transmitted a sense of purpose and strength, with his jaw firmly set and wide-set grey eyes bright and clear. Tyelkormo, looking bravely handsome as ever with the wind lifting his golden blond locks, appeared nonetheless sourly depressed. Curvo seemed reserved and wary, nearly without affect, while Carnistir appeared to be in agony, unable to stand still, and more than a little crazed. Pityo and Telvo, thin-faced and hollow-eyed, reminded Findekáno of the orphaned children he had helped shepherd across the ice. These two were not, however, children but fell and unpredictable warriors, as much the sons of Fëanáro and as bound by his cursed oath as any of their older brothers.
~~~
Excerpt from New Day by Oshun

Amrod and Amras are the youngest sons of Fëanor. As twins, one is never mentioned without the other over the course of The Silmarillion, and they play only a small role in the published book. However, J.R.R. Tolkien envisioned other--often conflicting or sinister--roles for the twins over the course of his development of The Silmarillion.

Nerdanel
   The cry carried far in the mournful silence of Alqualondë.
   “A ship! A ship returns!”
   Hoping the best and dreading the worst, she ran. Pebbles slipped beneath her feet just as her stony composure slipped through her fingers.
She reached the beach. Face turned into wind and spray her eyes narrowed against Uinen’s tears (the sea was raging once more, her grief not forgotten) she stared into the dark.
   “A ship!”
   The cry was taken up.
   “A ship!” “It is landing!”
   Her own words and a nightmare of fire were whisked from her mind in an instant.
   “Ambarto!”
   Not Fated.

Ambarto
   A plaything of wind and waves. Torn and tattered sails, tossed about, to and fro. Up and down. Darkness and fire behind him and shallow water beneath the keel. Then the scrape of rocks and pebbles, but he heeded them not.
   A figure in white on the shore, storm-tossed and forlorn.
   Cries in the town. “A ship!” and then “A kinslayer!”
   He heeded them not. Pebbles slipped beneath his feet as he ran.
   “Ambarto!”
   “Mother! I have returned! I have returned!”
   Strong arms around him, stronger than he remembered. Voice down to a whisper.
   Certainty.
   “I am no longer Umbarto.”

Return by Elleth
"Return" by Elleth. (Credit and full view.)

Along with their older brothers, Amrod and Amras followed their father Fëanor in taking the oath of the Fëanorians and fleeing to Beleriand in pursuit of Morgoth and the stolen Silmarils. After the rescue of their eldest brother Maedhros from Morgoth's torment, the eastern lands were divided among the sons of Fëanor, and Amrod and Amras jointly ruled the southernmost realm, holding the lands east of Doriath and west of Ossiriand. The twins had few followers, and those people who did follow them tended to be widely scattered, but their realm was regarded as wild and beautiful, and others of the Noldor would journey great distances to visit it. Likewise, the twins enjoyed their realm and became known as great hunters in Middle-earth.

While the sons of Fëanor tended to be involved with most of the political and military doings of the First Age, Amrod and Amras only rarely came north during the Siege of Angband. With their brothers, they fought in the Battle of Unnumbered Tears, and like their brothers, both emerged alive, though wounded. With Caranthir, they managed to keep the southern part of their realm free from evil after Morgoth's victory. They participated in both the Doriath and Sirion kinslayings as well, and at Sirion--a battle where some of the followers of Fëanor rebelled and fought against their own people--both twins were killed.

There is nothing but the scream of pain and grief. Nothing else, no emotions, no reality. Blistered hands held to close to fire as I reach out, trying to reach him, trying to find him as my brother holds me back.

Father laughs somewhere, claimed by madness, ruled by insanity. Ambarussa is gone.

The cinders fade and die, ashes in the wind coating my face, my tongue as the scream continues. Is that you Ambarussa? Am I wearing you on my face and hands? I slump in Nelyo’s arms all strength forgotten. The Ambarussa are no more, I am lost.
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From the collection Voices of Despair by Ford of Bruinen

While the twins' functions in the final version are almost negligible, some of the History of Middle-earth material tracing the evolution of The Silmarillion suggests that J.R.R. Tolkien had more extensive roles in mind for them. In both the Annals of Beleriand (HoMe 4) and the Later Annals of Beleriand (HoMe 5), the twins are portrayed as the most aggressive of the four remaining sons of Fëanor at the attacks at Sirion. Maedhros and Maglor, by contrast, give only "reluctant aid," with Maedhros going so far as to forswear his oath prior to the attack; the attack is spurred by the twins, who pay for their aggression with death.

“It is said that the seventh son of a family is fated to become a vampire.”

Amras recalled the name given him by his mother and nearly shuddered. Mentally, he chastised himself for so readily believing the tale, and quickly banished the line of thought. After all, he had never even heard of a vampire before tonight, and it was only the woman’s dread which made him feel disconcerted.
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Excerpt from "Nightfall" by Tárion Anaróre, an unpublished tale that uses a somewhat obscure line from the Silmarillion regarding Thuringwethil's "vampire form", some common vampire mythology, and a twist on the name Umbarto, "the Fated".

A multitude of odors pervade our room. The smell of pine as the wood burns in the fireplace. The smell of roasted meat and other food from where it sits on the table, untouched. The pungency of tinctures, salves, and other concoctions to help ease my pain. But above all, I catch the fragrant aroma of roses. Roses that I picked from our garden to give it to my beloved Geliriel. Roses that she picked to remind me of her deep, abiding love for me. These scents are the essences of our home, and here I wish to stay. Forever.
~~~
Amrod's recovery from the kinslaying at Doriath, in an excerpt from The Road to Recovery by Isil Elensar

Further development of the twins' characters takes an even more sinister turn as J.R.R. Tolkien turned his attention to etymology and history of the names of the sons of Fëanor. Presented in The Shibboleth of Fëanor in Volume 12, this version of the twins' tale begins at their birth, when their mother Nerdanel gave them their mother names. At first, since they were twins, she gave them the same name: Ambarussa. Fëanor, however, asked that Nerdanel give each of them their own name. She chose to call one Umbarto, which meant "Fated," claiming that time would tell who should most appropriately bear it. Fëanor, displeased with the ominous implications, changed the name of the youngest to Ambarto. Still, Nerdanel claimed that Fëanor’s ploy could not alter their destiny. One brother would remain "Fated," and time would decide which.

I have buried too many.

Like a whisper, Maglor sang a lament, expressing his woes, putting all his weariness into those few words he could find for his brothers who fell today.

'Kano, you sing of sorrow for me. But what about my wife and my children? Who will look after them now that I am called by Namó?’ Amrod’s eyes lost focus; blood escaped his mouth.

It would not be long now.

‘We held true, did we not Kano? But was it all worth it? What world am I leaving my family? Who will look after them?’ Amrod hung onto him, fighting for every single bit of life left in him.

‘I promise you, Pityo. I will look after them.’ The words almost choked him, how could he, Maglor, take on another Oath?

This dreadful oath came at such cost and pain.

‘Tell her…’ His voice rasped, ‘tell her that I will wait for her when her time comes. Tell her...’ Now with every word spoken, more blood was lost. ‘Tell her that she is my everything, tell her that I am a fool, and tell her that I love …’ The final words were left unspoken.
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Excerpt from Oaths Foresworn by Rhapsody the Bard

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Amras stumbled over blood drenched bodies, intent on finding his twin. Recognizing the telltale red hair, an anguished cry rang from his lips and he sank to his knees beside Amrod’s broken body. Gingerly, Amras turned him over, cradling his head in his lap; relief filled his heart when he realized Amrod drew breath, however faintly.

“Ambarussa,” Amrod’s voice was faint. Amras felt he was fading fast.

“I waited for you…I knew you still lived. It is too late for me. You must claim the Silmaril,” Amrod whispered painfully. “For the Ambarussa, youngest sons of Fëanor.”

Tears blurring his vision, Amras pleaded, “Please do not leave me. I need you here with me.” He realized he was too late; Amrod died in his arms.

Amras felt as if his soul had been ripped apart and the emptiness was unbearable. “Eru,” he cried, “I cannot live torn asunder. Let me face my final doom by his side.”

In his all-consuming grief, he did not see the warrior approaching him, his gore encrusted blade raised high to deliver a devastating blow. Turning at the last moment, his defeated eyes watched as the sword fell.

“Thank you,” Amras whispered with his final breath.
~~~
"Torn Asunder ~ Amras' Fate" by Alassante

Amrod and Amras by Silidir
"Amrod and Amras" by Silidir.

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Maedhros, Amrod, and Amras by Kasiopea
"Maedhros, Amrod, and Amras" by Kasiopea.

According The Shibboleth of Fëanor, neither twin would to use the name Ambarto. The twins called each other Ambarussa, and based on notes in The Shibboleth, it is a safe assumption that the rest of the family did as well. In this version of the tale, the elder twin's hair darkened and he became closer with his father while, presumably, the younger remained closer with his mother.

After the rebellion of the Noldor, before they began their march north along the coast of Aman, Nerdanel approached Fëanor and begged him to leave her the twins--or one of them--claiming that one would never set foot in Middle-earth. Fëanor refused her request, and the two parted in bitterness. After the kinslaying, the youngest twin Ambarto was the most dismayed by his father's actions at Alqualondë and harbored the secret thought to sail home to Aman and his mother. For this purpose--though claiming reason of comfort--he slept aboard the ships on the night that Fëanor burned them, a fact that was unknown to all save his brother Ambarussa. When morning came, only six of the seven sons of Fëanor could be found, and Ambarussa went pale, asking Fëanor, "Did you not then rouse Ambarussa my brother (whom you called Ambarto)?" and at Fëanor's answer that he'd burned that ship first, proclaimed his father fell and fey.

This dark story never appeared in the published Silmarillion, and the twins have only minimal roles in the published material. Christopher Tolkien further suggests in the Maeglin section of Volume XI that J.R.R. Tolkien may have considering having both twins to die in the burning at Losgar. It may have been his indecision over what roles the twins would play in the story that resulted in their infrequent appearances in The Silmarillion and myriad roles in the early drafts.