2. Chapter Two
Perhaps Celeborn didn’t mind silence. After all, the Sinda Prince could read silence as well as speech, but Celebrimbor found it to be too unsettling.
Never be silent with one you do not trust, his father had said to him. Silence betrays; it reveals what you would keep hidden.
Celebrimbor was rarely silent in Curufin’s presence. Now, he wondered if his father had ever noticed that his lesson was being turned against him. He developed an uncanny talent for speech and debate at a young age, usually sharpened against his father’s acerbic tongue. He could twist words to suit his purposes, turn an argument against his opponent, and use circular strategies of logic to defeat any who challenged him.
When he first saw Celeborn, it was in the company of Galadriel (then called Nerwen), in Finrod’s stone halls at Nargothrond.
Who is she? he had asked.
Curufin had snorted. Nerwen, my half-cousin. She threw in her lot with Doriath, with Melian’s magic and Elwë’s nephew.
He had frowned at the silver-haired prince, standing quietly to the side while the golden-haired princess laughed and greeted her brothers. Is he her lover?
Certainly not, his father said contemptuously. I doubt even Nerwen would sink that low. It is a strategic alliance, perhaps. His name is Celeborn.
Of course, now, Celebrimbor thought, what was he doing thinking of his father’s advice? Curufin was certainly not the ideal role model.
But three days of only nominal speech… It was enough to drive one to madness.
Of course, it could simply be because Celeborn did not trust him either.
“You are staying in Alqualondë?” he ventured.
Celeborn looked surprised. “Yes, with my brother Galathil. He is hosting most of my family when they arrive for the festival in a month’s time. I decided to come a little early.”
“Galadriel will join you there?”
“Once she has managed to provoke her father, or someone equally close, yes. Though I rather hope that Valian week will pass in relative peace.”
“Yes, that sounds like her,” Celebrimbor laughed. When he glanced over at Celeborn, he saw a smile cross the other’s face: it was the only sign of unrestrained emotion he had seen in three days. He cleared his throat, and broached a question. “Now. We are heading towards Tirion, but I still have no idea who we are visiting.”
Celeborn chuckled. “Someone who is as great a craftsman as you, whose openness you will find refreshing, and whom you may find a kindred spirit.”
“Intriguing. How is it that I have not met this great craftsman?”
“This particular smith does not seek out new students.”
“A smith? Really?”
“Mainly a smith, but more than proficient in many other mediums besides metal, as well as the head of the smiths’ guild in Tirion, and master of the city’s finest arts’ school.”
“There is a guild? How is it that this was not mentioned to me?” Celebrimbor exclaimed, stunned.
Celeborn grinned, almost just as shocking. Celebrimbor had never seen this carefully restrained elf allow a single emotion that was not tightly under control. Sometimes, he doubted Celeborn was capable of it.
“It is by invitation only,” Celeborn explained. “How I came to discover it is another story entirely. At the moment I cannot think of but a handful of members. They are famed for their skills, but at the same time very secretive and more than a little selective.”
Lapsing into silence, Celebrimbor digested this news. A smiths’ guild. One that he did not know about. Founded by a craftsman whom Celeborn appeared to hold in high regard. Well, that certainly changed things. The smiths he had met at the palace were merely the ones on the lower end. This guild must be where the true smiths, the ones who realized what talent was, resided.
He smiled. Now: something to work towards. A goal. Spurring his horse, he cantered a few paces ahead of Celeborn, eager to reach Tirion.
That evening, settling down to camp for the night, Celebrimbor folded his arms back, looking up at the stars. Of all places I thought I would ever be, when I came again to Aman, he mused, I least expected to be traveling with Celeborn of Doriath to a city full of my kin. How very strange.
What strange wonders will tomorrow will bring?
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.