And In These Days
1. Chapter 1: Fragments
It was a fell day and night that the sneer of cold command, that handsome delicate face turned into a tableau of winter fury. He cursed the day the man Beren entered the king’s halls with only the love of Luthien in mind, this very great melodrama named history in other tongues.
Two great lords, martial in bearing and equipage left him, the last scion of the House of Feanor, and the youngest of the House of Finwe friendless and without kin amongst a city only a little less hostile after he had cast down his own father in front of them.
All was ready, a parting then. A thousand memories drifting, a thousand words forgotten and kept, a stunned look was in his face, still not quite believing the swirling motions in a small time that had changed everything.
“Atarinya.” He had managed to say the word at last, unable to dare his father’s eyes. He knew them without looking; they shone blue, and a fey light was in them.
“Celebrimbor.” The voice was husky through long years of command, on the battlefield and in the roaring forges, said to him lines that seemed to have been rehearsed through the few generations, “The House of Fire cannot afford many things that should allow our dignity to suffer.” He nodded, closed his eyes and tried to keep his mind blank lest the tears should overflow though he already did, many times before.
Dark lashes were shut firmly against his face, and the line of the jaw hardened even while he bowed his head.
A long tendril of silence wounded the intricately carved hall, now empty amidst crystal lights and shadows. The shadows in the crevasses did not speak, but they were there, watching with their bright eyes, the light of Aman in them.
Two long shapely fingers lifted his face like he was still the small child who clung desperately to the tree or bough where he had been placed every time a skirmish took place, refusing to look till his father came to retrieve him; his father’s face was always clean though his armour may be clad in grime. He had no mother to remember.
Everything would be made into memories, again.
He opened his eyes and the tears slid down and lie glistening on his face, he stared at the ground.
His father stood before him, stern and proud, a worthy son of Feanor, and one worthy of his name.
“Look at me Curufinwion,” He did, and marked the strange coolness in the features, alike yet unalike his own, “For you my son, always for you that I leave you here while we go forth to pursue a doomed madness.”
Celebrimbor remained silent, slightly confused.
They embraced, and Curufin said softly into his ear, “Do not follow us, and name yourself no more Curufinwion, lose the knowledge of my name, they would think of you better this way. Driven thither and hither, the curse will claim me.” He started, but his father’s gauntleted hands gripped his shoulder, “I have seen it, child, know no more of me after this. Grief if you will, it is natural, but not overmuch. Let your sadness run into the work of your hands. For what is tragic is beautiful…make them beautiful, worthy of your name” The hands released him and Curufin stood back, sweeping his gaze across the hall, then finally, resting upon the face of the son in front of him.
He was scarcely three yen, brought forth during Arien’s course across the air, and then hidden.
Celebrimbors lips parted, and he whispered, almost inaudible. “I would still go with you if you would give me leave. Atarinya.”. In a fury of possession, and in part, wishing still, as a child would, the familiar, the unchanging of all that were important; Celebrimbor would preserve, even the echo of that last word in his throat.
Fell, terrible, doom, fire and smoke…ashes…mingling with the living… The eyes of his son, grey as a clear evening sky reminded Curufin of someone he did not wish
Curufin’s features clouded, shaken at the path of his thoughts took. “I would you have no part in this mad errand, this made drivel of wronged sentiments. You had no part in the oath, and I would not have you go to needless doom. Even the Quendi has no right to swear on the behalf of others. You are free, my son.” He moistened his lips, and accidentally reopened a small cut, the stinging pain adding to this reality within this theatre of stone.
“Live and let live, my blessings to you evermore if I have anymore left to give.” A more grim humour took him, “Father, brothers, uncle, cousins…”- dire words in a precious instant broke Celebrimbor’s stilled thoughts.
He continued eagerly, wanting only to please now, “Nay, keep them for yourself, and have mine, if I deserve any.”
“You do, and you deserve more, more rightly a source of pride and happiness than any other. It’ll be a great joy for me as I go to my doom, knowing that you are safe here.” Words that were meant for encouragement, it was a Feanorian truth, and a truth of the House of Finwe. Almost imperceptibly, Curufin’s thoughts wandered back to those who had left behind, and who he had lost.
Celebrimbor narrowed his eyes. “Will you come back?” Trembling, yet his voice was oddly calm. Hazy opulence with one illusion broken before him…waiting…he had never thought the air of Nargrothrond to be so suffocating before.
The hand came back onto his shoulder again, stilling him, the strength beneath the steel and leather and cloth detectable. Then quickly, as if startled with a thought, Curufin stepped forward and pressed a kiss on his forehead. “The age of great realms and so are times of surpassing fairness is over, a marred world cannot but fade. Yet, even so, you will find a wife,” He felt Curufin smile against his skin, “And our House would live on, and beauty without power, beauty in its purest form shall flow from your us till the end of Arda. All the fair memories of a distant paradise, they shall live, and so shall the might of we the Returned. Promise me that.”
Together, they indulged in the finality of time as the doom of Feanorians loomed ever closer, it’s flames threatening to engulf.
Gaze unwavering, “I promise,” In a sudden effort, tapping into the strength of his fathers, “Farewell atarinya.”
“Farewell Telperinquar, ion-nin. ” A slight smile, atar turned sharply in one graceful, measured movement.
Curufinwe Atarinke Feanorion did not look back as he and his brother, Celegorm went forth from the stone city of Nargrothrond. As Celebrimbor stood there, unmoving, and rude to those who had emerged from their hidden places, a thought came into his mind that perhaps they had acted too well because he felt as if indeed he had abandoned his father, that their farewell was indeed a farewell till the end of eternity.
Their footsteps were silent upon the stone ground, and their armour did not clink wantonly. Each knock of metal mocked him, their steady rhythm, a reminder and a curse. As knuckles whitened from the tightly held fists, he could not but taste the bitterness. In the Council of Nargrothrond, he denied his kin at the command of his father, and now, he was alone.
“For him… “
Sometimes he doubted the sincerity of those words. Why would Curufin leave him, he could have brought him along with him, to Hithlum, with his kin and everything would have been different. Furthermore, he would fight…His hands paused, unable to steady any longer for the delicate work. Did his father see something….
A vexing nightmare came to mind. They were still in Eregion, insulted, derided, the sons of Feanor counted less than a maiden, less than one of the House of the Edain…kinslayers thrice over with another charge on their long list of heinous, unforgivable, crimes- the murder of Finrod Felagund, their cousin.
Words as high and as fey issued from both sides’ mouths, and he had watched, bewildered. Never one for politics and polite words for occasions than demanded, nonetheless, he was dismayed when a flash gold crossed the corner of his eye. Celegorm the Fair, hunter, learned beside the very feet of the Vala Orome, could not turn his words away from anger as they debated till at one infinitesimal point the tension broke and the air shook with silent explosion.
That night, as Celebrimbor dreamed yet it seemed as if his dreams were filled with another’s. Disturbed, he woke up to someone soothing his damp hair from his brow.
“Rebuke your uncle and I tomorrow somewhere where people see.” Curufin said, voice quiet and eyes hard.
A pause as his eyes refocused to the familiar handsome face bending over him, the dark hair kept neatly out of the way by strong braids. He blinked, once, twice, thrice, surprised and more than a little afraid at what the words may mean. Inexperienced, yet he was not imperceptive, nor so lack in understanding.
“We leave in two days.” Curufin continued mercilessly. We, obviously, did not include him judging by the way Curufin was now neatening the tangled sheets on the bed and refolding the tunic he had threw carelessly to the ground a few hours ago.
“Let me go with you.” He felt like crying that moment. Shaken from his dreams, he wanted his father still.
“I am sorry, my child. Sleep well.” Curufin continued, somewhat absently, eyes wandering for something.
“Stay with me.” He pleaded, afraid of what would happen if the nightmare would resume. He feared the darkening shadows.
Curufin stood up nonetheless, and he said in an impervious tone, “Celebrimbor, we will talk in the morning.”
Looking back for a brief moment, his father lowered his head for a moment, then said softly, “You will need to grow up very fast now my child.”
The next morning, very early, they had indeed talked, and Celebrimbor saw how futile his efforts were. He would stay, and they would leave, all ”in your best interest”…
Did they know, when they regarded him so carefully in the morning, grown in body but not mind, the youngest within this city, more high-strung than he had ever seen them…of all that would come to pass?
Once, in a half-remembered time, Curufin, in one of his rare reflective humours, told him that when they swore that awful oath, all the brothers saw, and felt all that would come to be and were instantly struck unconscious to the unfamiliar force of emotions and anguish that they would latter undergo in a more jaded form.
If not for the host of Fingon that came at that hour, surely they would have perished beneath the arrows and spears of the Teleri, and he would never been born.
He had stopped there, for Celegorm’s own face had been darkening by the fire, and he remembered who he was talking to.
But he couldn’t ask now, whether Curufin knew his doom when he went forth, leaving “his” own family. He was dead, slain by the descendent of Maiar, Eldar, and Men, a triple net, destined to enmesh.
Beren throttled Curufin…
Beren despoiled him of his gear and weapons, and too his knife, Angrist…
He killed him…
Gwindor rode against Orodreth’s will…the people of Nargrothrond…
….till he was indeed the last…
Kept safe…kept hidden…
One humiliation after the next, he survived them all, concealing himself behind the thick doors of the forge and it’s veil of heat. Celebrimbor pleaded with Gwindor to join his father on the battlefield. He could fight, he said, and showed him swords and armour he had made.
Smiling grimly, Gwindor accepted the armour and weapons but did not let him go with them. They were to march under Fingolfin’s banner.
And Celebrimbor, of course, could not, it would not be right. Even if the grandson of Feanor denied his own lineage and blood, they, ultimately, would not.
His father listened overlong to Celegorm, Celebrimbor decided abuptedly, feeling a sudden, unjustified repugnance welling up.
In labour, mind bent upon hammer and chisel, all those voices, memories, coming back till he could collapse out of sheer sadness.
“Whatever you shall hear out of mouths and tongues other than mine of Feanorians, of our doom, even may they be from your uncles, do not believe. Heed only the things you have witnessed for yourself.”
Yet could he deny what was had indeed occurred?
He sighed and carved the star of his fathers on the stone before him, for him, a brighter, happier memory to preserve for all time.
This is a work of fan fiction, written because the author has an abiding love for the works of J R R Tolkien. The characters, settings, places, and languages used in this work are the property of the Tolkien Estate, Tolkien Enterprises, and possibly New Line Cinema, except for certain original characters who belong to the author of the said work. The author will not receive any money or other remuneration for presenting the work on this archive site. The work is the intellectual property of the author, is available solely for the enjoyment of Henneth Annûn Story Archive readers, and may not be copied or redistributed by any means without the explicit written consent of the author.