Firstly a big thanks to my beta reader The Lady Legacy for her prompt beta of the story. Can you guess which fairy tale this has adapted?
When the elven city of Tirion was full-wrought, the elves held a great feast, and to that feast came Nimras, brother of Míriel Serindë. There he boasted greatly of his sister's skills, telling the assembled elves that his sister could spin gold from straw. Finwë, King of the Noldor, hearing this, laughed heartily and said, "Indeed, Nimras, thou hast consumed too much wine if thou think that thy sister, great though her skills are, canst spin gold from straw."
Nimras, being besotted with wine, took offence at the king's words, replying haughtily, "Nay, my lord king, I speak but the truth. My sister canst indeed spin gold from straw and may I be exiled from fair Tirion forever if I speak untruly."
A heavy silence fell on the room and all eyes rested on Finwë. However, the good and noble king only laughed and said, "I will not hold thee to that rash vow. But I do advise thee to stay thy wine cup."
But Nimras was too far-gone for reason. "Nay my king. I hold that my sister canst spin gold from straw. If thou dost not believe me, then test her thyself, and if she fails, then thou canst exile us both."
The silence in the room was deafening, for the elves perceived that Nimras had awakened Finwë's anger. So it proved, for the king declared to Nimras, "Very well. Bring thy sister to my palace after the second mingling of the lights when Telperion waxes and Laurelin wanes." With that, he signalled the feast to continue, but the joy of the feast had been diminished for all knew that Míriel, despite her skills, could not spin gold from straw. The Noldor had little doubt that all too soon, two among them would be exiled from fair Tirion.
Indeed, as the wine haze cleared from the mind of Nimras, he realized what doom he had brought upon himself and his much-beloved sister. Swiftly he departed from the table of the king and sought out his sister who was keeping her particular friend, Indis the Fair, company. Nimras drew his sister aside and told her of his foolish deed, and Míriel was grieved. "O my dear brother. What hast thou done?" she lamented, "We canst go throw ourselves upon the mercy of the king. He will be merciful I have no doubt, but will we be able to look another of our kin in the eye?" she wondered.
"We both need not be disgraced," cried Nimras. "I am the one at fault. Let me bear the king's anger and our people's scorn."
"Nay brother." Said Míriel. "Thou and I stand together, and we shall fall together if we must indeed fall." Even as she spoke, foresight came to her. "Though I think we shall not be disgraced so. Let us do as the king bids, my heart tells me all may yet be well." So Nimras took heart, and the next day, after the second mingling of the light, brought his sister before the king.
As soon as he laid eyes upon her, Finwë's heart was stolen by the beautiful Míriel, and he would have gladly let the siblings go if only they would admit that Nimras had taken his boasting too far. However, Míriel only replied, "My king, thou hast chosen to test me. Test me, and it will prove if my brother lied or not. For after all, what is a boast but a lie given a softer name?"
So Finwë took Míriel to a room with no windows, with only one door, filled with hay and a spinning wheel. Then he bid her, "Spin all this hay in to gold for me, and I shall let thee and thy brother remain in Tirion, for I shall hold that thy brother spoke no untruth. I shall return when Telperion wanes and Laurelin waxes."
Míriel inclined her head in acknowledgement and waited until Finwë had locked the door behind him before she reached for the spinning wheel, but no matter what she tried, the straw remained straw. At last, she gave up and began to weep. It was than that a chill went through the room and a voice spoke to her. "Why does thou cry fair elf?" it asked.
"I cry for I canst not spin straw into gold, and I fear that my king will send me away from my people for this," replied poor Míriel.
The voice laughed, "Foolish elf! That is beyond the skill of one such as thou, but it is not beyond one such as I," said the sensual voice. "Would thou like me to spin the straw into gold for thee?"
"Yes, yes, o yes," cried Míriel in joy.
"Ah, but what would thou give me in return?" asked the voice and Míriel was at a loss. "Would thou give me thy first born?" Míriel was aghast, but the time of the first mingling of the light was fast approaching. Panicking, she cried, "Yes, yes, but please hurry!"
"Hush fair elf," whispered the chilling voice, "Sleep." Míriel felt her body grow heavy and soon she was walking the paths of elven dreams.
Finwë had not slept all night. Stricken as he was to his heart at the prospect of losing her whom he had just found, it was with great joy that he greeted the sight of Míriel Serindë sitting in a room full of golden straw. He of course knew that no elf had wrought this miracle, but one did not question good fortune. Instead, Finwë took the hand of Míriel and said, "Lady I see that thou hast proven the words of thy brother true. No cause have I now to exile thee and thy brother from fair Tirion. But…" He pressed her hand to his chest. "I would like thee to call my home thane and dwell with me forevermore. For I love thee." Míriel's eyes lit up with joy, for long had she loved and admired her king.
So it came to pass that Finwë wedded Míriel Serindë. Great was their joy for a time, until Míriel discovered that a child had been granted to them. Great joy was in the heart of Finwë, but Míriel was troubled for the memory of her promise haunted her, marring her joy. Soon enough, Míriel bore Finwë a son whom she named Fëanor, for it seemed to her that his very soul burnt with an intense fire capable of both marring and making. She hoped that he would only make, but she feared that he might mar much as well.
"O worry not, fair elf," spoke the voice that had come to her all those years past. "I shall take him to the very heart of the Void where his fire canst harm none." Laughter. "Of course, there he canst make nothing as well."
Míriel panicked and knew the time to keep her promise had come. Frantically she looked around for a way to escape, for someone to help her, but suddenly her large bedroom with all its pretty furnishing seemed like a small, tight cage that she could not flee. Though she knew that a host of thousands lay at her call, she was alone against this horror unnamed, unseen. "Please," she cried. "Have mercy on me. Do not take my son from me."
Cruel laughter greeted her plea, "Nay fair elf. Thou hast promised me thy son, and he I shall take unless thou canst say my name."
"Thy name," whispered Míriel. "How would I know thy name?" she cried.
More laughter. "Exactly fair elf." Míriel felt unseen hands pull the bundle of joy that was her son from her arms.
"No! Please, no!" she cried, "Help me! Someone help me!" It was at that moment a rhyme came to her mind, a rhyme from the land of stars, a rhyme the shores of death and decay that the Noldor had left behind. Without conscious thought, her lips began to move.
Born in darkness
Lost in shadows
Never seen only heard
Present but absent
In the void it dwells
In horror it deals
Horror of the void
Return to the void
And trouble me no more.
A pained shriek filled the room, "Curse you elf, and curse Iarwain Ben-adar who made that rhyme! Die fair elf and spend eternity in the halls of Mandos! Die fair elf and watch thy husband take solace with thy friend Indis and thy son waste away in longing for something he canst not possibly have!" With that final act of malice, the voice departed. Míriel felt weakness overcome her, and she knew that the fire of her spirit was lessened. If her life was the price she had to pay to keep her son safe, she would gladly pay it. Besides, Indis would be a good mother to her son. Provided of course her son let her…
Iarwain Ben-adar = The oldest and father less, the elvish name for Tom Bombadil
Nimras = white horn, I made this character.
Iadel = Void Horror
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.