1. Father Figure
"What is this I hear of a lost child of the Eldar, friend?" Ingwion asked. The cardinal looked at Ingwion from its black face, and it seemed to the prince that the bird's eyes were too keen for its kind.
"There is a child, over yonder, who seeks a father," sang the cardinal.
"Will you lead me to him?"
"I will." The cardinal spread its wings and took flight. Ingwion didn't have far to go. The child was about 13. (3) His hair was as black as midnight, and so he must've been a child of the Noldor. The child nodded to the cardinal, and the cardinal flew off. Ingwion knelt down to comfort the child and to ask him about his parents but was stricken speechless by the brightness in his gaze.
"I am looking for a father," the child said. He ran his fingertips along Ingwion's small, rounded nose. "You will be my new father." Ingwion did not draw away as the child reached out to touch his long golden hair, so different from the child's own raven dark hair.
"I am Ingwion, son of Ingwe, Prince of the Vanyar. Tell me your right name so that I may help you, Young One."
"Son of Ingwe?" Tears filled those bright eyes and slipped down his smooth cheek. "Then you will not help me. I am Curufinwe Hecilo (4), and once, my father was Finwe, King of the Noldor. King Ingwe had invited him here in hopes of lifting his heart from the grief of the loss of Miriel, his wife and my mother, but my father had not answered. After Mandos pronounced the Doom of Miriel, my father decided to leave Tuna for a while and the reminders of his loss. (5) But I would not stay in Tirion, for I love my father and desired to comfort him, though I do not doubt that I am the strongest reminder of his loss." The child choked and more tears flowed forth unchecked.
"I followed as quickly as I could, but I am not as skilled as he at riding. When I arrived at the base of the mountain, my father had already begun to climb the paths to Ingwe's dwelling. There I beheld Indis, sister of Ingwe, singing to my father. He looked up to her, bathed in song and light, and I knew that she loved him and had long done so, and, in that moment, his heart turned to her as well. 'Behold!' he said. 'There is indeed healing of grief in Aman!' I knew then that I had lost my father, so I turned away and did not ascend the mountain."
"Do not cry, Curufinwe, for you are not forsaken as you so believe," Ingwion said gently. He took the child in his arms and cradled him to his breast. "Your father loves you still."
"He will love me in the future, but he will not love me in the present." His sobs shook his entire body, and he buried his head into Ingwion's shoulder. "I thought you could be my father, but if you are the son of Ingwe, you will side with his sister."
Ingwion's heart bled for the fair child. He stroked his soft black tresses and promised, "I will be your father until you are done crying."
Curufinwe rubbed his wet cheek to Ingwion's. "I will never stop crying, not in my heart, for my mother will never return."
"Ingwion!" Ingwion jumped a foot in the air as he spun around at the sound of his name.
"Curufinwe! You startled me." Ingwion had heard no footsteps, but he shouldn't have been surprised.
"I noticed." Curufin (6) grinned. Ingwion gave him a pained look. Curufin was somehow always there. He had been since the day Ingwion found him. The boy had grown quickly in the last 5 years and was almost at the full maturity of his body, but he was a boy nonetheless. Though Ingwion rarely left the slopes of Taniquetil, every time he did, Curufin somehow managed to find him. It didn't help that the boy often wandered far from Tuna. But Ingwion could never quite get rid of him. After all, his own father Finwe rarely noticed when his son was gone, for he was but newly married.
"Curufin, now is not really a good time." Ingwion scratched his head. "I'll stop by to see you later. How's that sound?"
"It sounds great, but I didn't come just to startle a promise out of you." Curufin drew out a small box from the pouch hanging at his waist. "This is for you to give to Istarnie." (7) Ingwion took the box.
"What is it?" Ingwion said aloud even as he opened the box. He gasped as his eyes beheld the most lovely heart pendant, rubies of the finest cut set within delicately designed gold. "Curufinwe, this is beautiful. How did you come by it?"
"I made it." Curufin puffed out his chest. "I started studying with Istarnie's father recently. I've been making a lot of things. He says I'm very good at it."
"Mahtan let you into the forge?" Ingwion eyed Curufin. "Aren't you a bit young for that? Did you talk him into it with your silver tongue?"
Curufin shrugged. "And what's the harm in it? His youngest daughter works in the forge too, you know."
"Nerdanel is much older than you," Ingwion said sternly. "You are still young. These should be the best days of your life, when you are yet carefree and need not be restrained by duties or work."
"The crafting of jewelry is fun for me. I don't consider it work," Curufin said loftily. "And are you not forgetting your duties?"
"I've finished my duties. I'm here for leisure," Ingwion retorted.
"Yes, I know, and that is what I meant: your duties to your girlfriend."
Ingwion swore softly under his breath. "I must be going."
If Istarnie had been annoyed at his tardiness, she certainly forgave him when she saw the necklace. Ingwion put it on her and marveled at how it matched with her golden-red hair and pale skin. She rewarded his adulation with a kiss.
Curufin was sometimes annoying, but he was a good kid.
More fearful than Feanor's answer to Eonwe was Manwe speak of the Doom of the Noldor: "So shall it be! Dear-bought those songs shall be accounted, and yet shall be well-bought. For the price could be no other. Thus even as Eru spoke to us shall beauty not before conceived be brought into Eä, and evil yet be good to have been." (8)
Ingwion left the vigil by the Valar then and rode swiftly to Tirion upon Tuna. As always, Feanor seemed to know that he was coming.
"Prince Ingwion," Feanor said cordially. He bowed.
"Feanor, do not go forth," Ingwion said. "You will lead your people to great evil, and even the Valar will not help you in your war against Melkor."
"What would you have me do, Ingwion? All that you would say, Eonwe has already said," Feanor said. "I alone am exiled. Should I go forth alone? Can I untake the Oath already sworn?"
"Bide your time and await the aid of the Valar before you set forth to retake the Silmarils from Melkor. Repent of your fell words, and I am sure that Manwe would forgive you."
"Of course he would. He forgave Melkor." Feanor touched Ingwion's cheek, now wet with tears. "Even if I had to go forth alone, still I would. I am not doing this for my Jewels, though it is by them that I have sworn. I do this for my slain father."
"He would not want you to do this. Already, too much has been lost." Ingwion paused as the memory of first darkness in the Blessed Realms haunted him anew. Feanor kissed his trickling tears, and it was then that Ingwion realized that this was the very man who had caught the Light of the Blessed Realms in Jewels. "Let us not lose you as well."
"I am already lost." Feanor began to weep as well and shook his head. "I was lost when you first found me. If not for your kindness in my childhood, I would not have learned how to love my father."
(1) In this story, Ingwe has three sons: Ingil, Ingwiel, and Ingwion. These names are taken from a variety of HoME sources.
(2) Cardinal: http://nuthatch.birdnature.com/redbird.html
(3) Somewhere in HoME, probably HoME X and in the section about Laws & Customs, Tolkien said that a human child of 13 would seem to be almost an adult, but an Elven child of 13 would seem as a 7-year-old.
(4) Hecil=One lost or forsaken by friends. Curufinwe=Feanor. He is still going by his father-name and will not use his mother-name until he's older.
(5) For a fuller description of this, see HoME X, 237-238. This occurs 3 years before they marry, in 1185. So the year is 1182.
(6) Curufin=short for Curufinwe, but this is Feanor, not Curufin his son.
(7) Istarnie is here the eldest daughter of Mahtan and sister of Nerdanel. I was too lazy to make up a new name. Originally, Istarnie was Nerdanel's discarded name.
(8) Straight from the Silmarillion, but I don't have my copy on me so can't cite the page number. It's in Chapter 11: Of the Sun and Moon and the Hiding of Valinor.
Other notes: By chance, this was the fic that I was writing right before my father had a stroke, from which he never recovered. Before that, he'd shown no signs of illness. As a result, it's rather personal to me. What a horrible thing, to see this Father's Day challenge and to realize that I'll never be able to celebrate Father's Day in the same way again. ;_;
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