The grief comes only after they set up camp.
Later, Írissë will not understand how she held out against the darkness until the confused, teeming mess of Noldor were, somehow, fed and sheltered. Now, there is no room for thought. Only an empty, aching hole, a wound which screams Niélë with every breath she draws.
There is blood on her sword. She thinks this only after she removes it from its scabbard and brings it up to the light of the lamp she brought in with her.
There is blood on her sword.
And blood, too, on her clothes, and blood everywhere. Blood. Niélë's blood, which had poured onto Írissë as she died. And the blood of the mariners she had slain, afterwards, in a hurricane of wrath, only one thought to hold on to: they will pay.
There is blood, and there is Írissë, and Írissë is made of blood.
Cloth brushed aside. Footsteps. Írissë registers the sounds in the periphery of her mind, but she cannot move, only stare at the blood.
"Írissë?" A hand is placed on her shoulder.
She turns. Elenwë stands there, worry etched on her face. "Írissë, we are to share a tent, Turukáno has Itarillë for—Írissë, are you alright?"
Írissë does not respond.
"Írissë?" Elenwë asks again. "Írissë, will you speak?"
Again, Írissë is silent.
Later, Írissë will puzzle at what came over her at that moment. Maybe it is Elenwë's dark hair glinting, in the dark, and her grey eyes, echoes of Niélë's. Maybe it is the concern in her tone. Later, Írissë will puzzle. Now, she lunges at Elenwë and kisses her.
A heated, fierce kiss, but Elenwë does not respond, is passive under Írissë, and this fuels Írissë to more intensity—
Elenwë pulls away. The concern is still on her face. "Írissë, do you want this?"
Írissë nods, sharply. She wants it. She wants Niélë. She needs Niélë.
Indecision is written on Elenwë's features for a moment, but resolve quickly replaces it. Then she guides Írissë's mouth into a kiss.
It is sweet, gentle, and beautiful; all the things Írissë does not want, all the things Írissë does not have. She deepens the kiss, and it is harsh, rough, biting. Maybe Elenwë's lips will draw blood.
Blood, like Niélë's.
The thought sends Írissë into a frenzy, and she pushes, pulls at Elenwë's dress, grazing her teeth along Elenwë's neck, nails raking into Elenwë's shoulder's and back. Pain, pain, pain. She needs to hurt, to destroy—
She rips off Elenwë's outer dress in one movement, and suddenly Elenwë's arms are around her, too, and there is an urgency to her hips that was not there before. Their lips meet, again, a fierce clash of teeth, and then the ties of Írissë's leggings are being fumbled with as Írissë pulls off Elenwë's dress, and there is heat, heat, heat, and they tumble onto the bedroll and there is so much anger and pain but not enough, the pace is wild, now, and teeth bite down into shoulders, fingers of free hands tugging at hair—
They finish, together, and Írissë lies, heaving in deep breaths. She can see the rise and fall of Elenwë's breasts, and when she turns to the other woman's face, it is suddenly not at all Niélë's, the features so different from her lover's. And then—
And then she thinks, Niélë is gone.
Írissë stares up at the cloth of the tent, and cries. Next to her, Elenwë is silent.