1. The Reunion of the House of Finwe
Maedhros’s father poked at the points on the emblem of his shirt and said, “Imin, Tata, and Enel.” Maedhros giggled and swatted his father’s hand away. He had long grown old enough to count without aid.
“Feanaro, stop playing with Maitimo and get ready.” Nerdanel squeezed shoes onto a wriggling Maglor. Feanor winked at Maedhros. Maedhros knew that the games were not over yet. They were never over. His father was always playing, either with him or with his mother, and lately, Maglor had joined the games.
“I am always ready, most beloved.” Feanor touched Nerdanel’s hip and slid his hand towards her stomach. He kissed her quickly and then drew back before she could chide him. She tried to glare at him but her eyes brightened like stars when she saw that Feanor was, indeed, ready. He was dressed in his finery with every strand of raven black hair either neatly tucked into a small, tight braid or flowing loosely down his back. He’d chosen to wear a copper circlet, honoring the gift that Nerdanel’s father had given him a year ago. Around his neck, he wore a clear gem on a thin cord of silver.
Feanor turned his attention back to Maedhros and presented to him a smooth wooden box with the images of the Two Trees engraved upon its top. The necklace within was formed of three chains, each link alternating between gold and copper. The links were so finely wrought and so skillful twisted that they reflected the light in the sky perfectly. The chains came together in the form of a sleeping fox, gilded all in copper, and hanging from the bottom of the fox’s tail was a large ruby set in gold and copper. Maedhros looked at the ruby pendant in awe and immediately thought about the winged sun. “Would you like to wear this to the high feast, Nelyo?”
Maedhros nodded in wonder. “Did you make it for me?”
“Of course.” Lately, he had been learning the craft of forging metals from Mahtan. In metalsmithing, as with all things, Feanor excelled. His works were now equal to any of the long-time students of Aule. Feanor carefully set the necklace about Maedhros’s shoulder. Though the ruby was large and its setting just as grand, the entire piece felt no heavier than a leaf.
Maedhros squealed in delight and ran to the large mirror in the center of the room. He drew himself up tall and looked at himself in his finery. He began to wonder if perhaps he was not “well-formed” but rather “well-dressed.” The raiment was such that anyone would look beautiful. His father had told him before that Miriel had woven the shirt for Feanor before he had even been born, but Feanor had quickly outgrown it. He treasured it as one of the rare, personal gifts from his mother. Now, Feanor had passed it on to his oldest son and heir. The likes of it was never to be seen again in Aman, for none rivaled Miriel’s needlecraft. Likewise, none could cut gems like Feanor, and his work was so precise that every facet of the ruby seemed to hold a life of its own. The copper circlet atop his head was forged by Mahtan under the tutelage of Aule himself and complimented Maedhros’s red hair and matched Feanor’s. Maedhros was Prince of the Noldor, and he felt the part.
Maglor was normally not a fussy child, but he was entranced by the beauty of Maedhros’s raiment and necklace, and when at last the spell of the deep red ruby left him, he began to cry. Maedhros had taken pride in his brother’s envious stares, but now that his brother had begun to wail, he felt moved to pity rather than pride. Maedhros came to where his brother was sitting on a table. He tiptoed and kissed his brother’s hand.
“Be at ease, Cano, for our father is generous, and for such an occasion, he has undoubtedly fashioned something for you too. But if, by chance, he has not, I would share this gift with you,” Maedhros said. Though Maglor was still young, he understood words beyond his years and was often able to discern meaning of words from tone when knowledge failed him. Maedhros held up the pendant for his brother to see and continued with all the courteous speech that he had been taught. “Behold, this necklace is set as two. Though the necklace is too long for your neck, the pendant can be detached, and if you so desire it, I will bid our father to do so and place it on a smaller, golden chain. Then shall half of my gift be yours as well, and for this I would grudge you not, for I delight in sharing all things with you who are a wonderous new joy and addition unto our family.”
Feanor and Nerdanel had been watching his speech with amusement, and this had only further goaded Maedhros to elaborate upon his pronouncement to his younger brother. He saw clearly the pride in their bright eyes, for though he was still young, he was taller than other elves of his age, and he’d learned much of his father’s oratory skills. Though his voice was that of a child, the strength of his words was that of a high and mighty prince. Feanor had often told Maedhros that it was not necessary to be as accomplished or skilled as his father, for Feanor had no deceptions about the fire that burned within him and that its strength was unlike any other in all the Eldar. However, Maedhros was still able to please his father and exceed his parents’ expectations.
Maglor stretched his hand out at the ruby pendant and cooed. Although he was too young to speak fluently, he never hesitated to make his mind known to those around him. In such circumstances, Maglor often turned to noises rather than the few words he knew to convey his sentiments.
“That’s enough, Nelyo,” said Feanor, though he did not sound stern. “Your brother does, indeed, have a gift ready for this high feast. Your necklace is made to match you, not him.”
Feanor drew out a second box no less ornate than the first. This one was engraved with the image of a swan, the beloved bird of the Telerin elves of Alqualonde. Maedhros leaned forward eagerly. He had traveled to the Haven of the Swans only once, when Feanor had gone to help with the detailing of the coves. Maedhros had delighted in the many lamps that the Teleri set to supplement the faint light of the Two Trees. Though the Teleri and Noldor had long finished building Alqualonde, the Noldor often visited the Teleri and enhanced the buildings and coves of Alqualonde with new carvings or gems. Maglor’s pendant was a nightingale with dark reddish- orange gold plumage and clear crystal eyes. It sat atop a round, creamy pearl. The necklace was composed of three braided golden cords.
“I do not yet understand why your mother has named you ‘forging gold,’ but perhaps it is a metaphor for the your sweet voice. Even when you cry, your voice is melodious, heart-wrenchingly alluring. You will wear this, Macalaure, to my father’s house.” Feanor locked the small necklace around Maglor, who looked down at the shining plumage of his nightingale. He smiled and started to hum to himself, apparently forgetting all about the high feast that was the reason for their new presents.
“Did you make that one too?” Maedhros asked.
“I crafted the songbird, but not the pearl. No, the pearl is one of many that the Teleri gave us, but the softer luminescence of pearl seems to suit your brother well,” Feanor said.
Maedhros looked to his mother to see if she had also received a necklace. She was, indeed, wearing a new piece of jewelry. Hers was composed of ten small chains of gold and copper similar to Maedhros’s, except that hers contained a gold-set diamond every few links like a field of stars. Each chain linked to a golden oval decorated with large rubies and smaller garnets and diamonds. It did not have an animal like Maedhros’s and Maglor’s, and because of that, Maedhros thought that his was more beautiful than even his mother’s. Maedhros wondered if he too would someday be expected to craft such fine jewelry.
“If you’re quite done with your trinkets, let’s be on our way. We should not keep your father waiting,” Nerdanel said.
“Of course.” Feanor picked Maglor up from the tabletop and settled him in his right arm. He offered his left hand to Maedhros, but Maedhros shook his head. He was old enough now to follow without being led. Feanor shrugged and put his left hand loosely on Maglor to help balance the child. Feanor led the way to the great square beneath the Mindon Eldalieva.
Maedhros remembered visiting the Finwe’s house only once before, just after his father had created the Luinsinda Mire, a blue-grey jewel of surpassing beauty. The jewel was brilliant and shone in hues that were reminiscent of Finwe’s eyes. Feanor apparently crafted the jewel with Finwe’s eyes in mind, and so he was exceedingly pleased with the jewel. He presented the Luinsinda Mire to King Finwe at a grand feast before most of Tirion. Maedhros was very young at the time, so he was later unable to remember details of the visit or the feast. But neither could he forget the moment when Feanor knelt and opened the finely wrought platinum box before his father and when Finwe held the Jewel of Finwe up for all to see. It was not the brilliant light of the jewel as it caught the silver light of Telperion that Maedhros remembered most vividly. Rather, it was the light in Feanor’s face and the unbridled love for his father that had forever been imprinted in Maedhros’s memories.
Time passed and Feanor did not visit his father again. In fact, in the days immediately following the Feast of the Jewel of Finwe, as it came to later be known, Feanor became moody and quick to anger. Maedhros was scared and tried to stay quiet and unnoticed when Feanor was not at work forging metals or cutting gems. When Feanor did snap at him, his wife was quick to intervene and become the subject of his displeasure. He never hit them, nor did he raise his voice when he spoke, but the dangerous glint in Feanor’s eyes was enough.
“Do not fear your father.” Nerdanel spoke softly to Maedhros and stroked his hair to calm him after one of Feanor’s outbursts. “He will not hurt you, nor is he truly angry at you. The Mirefinwe, the Jewel of Finwe, which had brought him such happiness, has now become a reminder of his grief. The feast we attended is now known as the Feast of the Jewel of Finwe, and before her departure, Feanor’s mother was also known as the Jewel of Finwe. Miriel means ‘jewel-woman,’ and in those days, she had the chief share of Finwe’s heart. The new name of the jewel and its feast is a reminder of Miriel and of the fact that Finwe has taken a new wife, Indis the Fair, and this second marriage has never been pleasing to your father. Your father is saddened beyond words. Can you forgive him for his quick- temper when you know what is ailing him?”
Maedhros remembered the light in Feanor’s face when he had presented the jewel to King Finwe. His eyes met Nerdanel’s, and he was comforted. “Do you think Father loves me like that?”
Nerdanel smiled softly and hugged Maedhros lightly about the shoulders. “The love of a son for his father is different from that of a father to his son. Feanaro loves you in the manner of a father to his son, and that love is no less strong than that of a son’s love for his father. Do you love your father as he does his father?”
Perhaps Nerdanel was only teasing and thought little of her question to her young son, but Maedhros thought about the question with all the seriousness of his few years and said, “I am afraid of him sometimes, Mother. Father’s spirit burns very hot. Perhaps because of this, I cannot love him as he does King Finwe. But I will try to be braver so that I may come to understand and love him more.” Maedhros’s mother apparently had not expected an answer, except perhaps a simple ‘yes’ since Maedhros was still so young, but at his response, she smiled wide with pride.
“Yes, Maitimo,” his mother said, “Try to understand minds, not master them. Even your own.”
After that, Maedhros had looked at his father with new eyes. When Feanor became irritable, Maedhros recalled that moment between father and son at the Feast of the Jewel of Finwe and did not flinch from Feanor’s sharp looks. Perhaps Feanor was able to read the thoughts of his son, for in that moment, the frustration and anger would drain from him, and he would again be himself. He would smile at Maedhros and suggest that they race in the fields or see who was stronger in a game of tug-of-war. Maedhros understood that these were like apologies, and he accepted them without hesitation. Thus, Maedhros’s memory of their visit to the House of Finwe and the Feast of the Jewel of Finwe was a pleasant one, for he had learned something of his father’s love and temperament and that had brought them closer together as father and son. Though Feanor had not visited Finwe’s house for what seemed like long years to a young child, Maedhros never doubted that Feanor loved Finwe and thought about him regularly.
Feanor was announced first at the high feast, and he approached the King of the Noldor but then waited some distance from the king. Nerdanel was announced next, and she came to stand beside Feanor. Then Maedhros and Maglor were announced together, as Maedhros had requested. Normally, Nerdanel would have been the one to escort Maglor. Maglor did not seem to be afraid of the many eyes on them. He gripped Maedhros hand firmly, and together, they slowly walked to their parents. When the House of Feanor was complete, they closed the few steps to stand before the Throne and bowed as one.
Finwe smiled at the young children, and Maedhros was reminded of the last time that he’d seen his grandfather. Though Finwe was King of the Noldor, he was also Maedhros’s grandfather. There was a closeness of kinship that was instantly felt.
Finwe turned to Feanor and said, “Curufinwe, I see now that the additions to your family have been growing beautifully.”
“They possess your grace, my father.” It was not mere rhetoric or polite compliments. Maedhros heard again that passion and unbridled love that he had remembered in vague memories from before.
“Though I have also had two children added unto me and Indis, I delight in your children as well, for they are of different temperament, and they are the children of my own beloved child.” Finwe looked at Findis and Fingolfin and sighed. “The lives of the Eldalie are long, but the childhood of our young ones seems always too short.”
“Nay, Father, sigh not!” Feanor cried. He knelt before the king. “The fault of your sadness is mine. I have been away from your House for too long and deprived you of your grandchildren. But in that time, I have learned the craft of Aule from Mahtan. Indeed, see now the skill of metalsmithing that I have gained. No longer will I smith gems alone.”
At that, eight strong servants of the House of Feanor brought forth a large statue of an eagle. The eagle’s head was of platinum, and its plumage was forged from gold. Its wings were extended, and the eagle seemed about to take flight from its copper mountain. Each feather was visible and detailed. The eagle shone brilliantly in the mixed light of Telperion and Laurelin, for the Grand Feast that Finwe had called was held in that hour when the soft glow of both trees mingled. The two simple, clear gems of its eyes flared to life as the gems caught the starlight. Because the mixed light of the Two Trees was soft, the golden fire of the eagle’s eyes seemed all the brighter. It would later be known as the Laurethoron, the Golden Eagle, for the golden light of its eyes.
At that moment, the clear gem that Feanor wore on a simple silver cord about his neck also came to life, and it caught the light of the stars and gave forth rays of blue and filled all the air with color as radiant as the raiment of Manwe Sulimo. All the Noldor assembled at the Court of the King stood breathless as they viewed for the first time gems more brilliant than those of the earth. The blue of Feanor’s gem seemed to be as the sky for the great eagle wrought of metal, and its eyes pierced the air like the unborn sun. It seemed to Maedhros that he was in a dream, but he knew that this was no dream, for never in all his thoughts could he imagine a thing of such majesty.
“Witness now, Father, the arts which I have learned while absent from your House.” Feanor’s voice was sharp and clear, but it seemed to come to the Noldor through the haze of light like the voice of a Vala. “This Eagle of Manwe shall protect the House of Finwe and be as a token of my love and devotion to you, Noldoran. For such knowledge of skill as can be seen in this gift, I have been away for too long. Those of my House and I will abide hereafter with my father in the House of Finwe as one under the Mindon Eldalieva. And the Eagle of Manwe shall sit atop the Mindon, looking down at all of Tirion as the symbol of the unity of the Noldor and rekindling weakened hearts, should there be any, with its strength and noble bearing.”
Then Maedhros knew that the gentle counsels of Nerdanel the Wise had at last come to fruition. Feanor had no great love for Indis and her children, but Nerdanel knew that his love for his father could overcome his bitterness over his father’s second marriage, and so she had long reminded Feanor of his loss at living apart from the House of Finwe. Now, with his words, Feanor had mended the breach in the House of Finwe. Maedhros looked over at Fingolfin, who sat beside his mother. Like Maedhros, Fingolfin was taller than Noldor of his age, and he was strong and fair. It seemed to Maedhros a pleasant thing to have a playmate of the same age.
“You bring me good tidings, Curufinwe,” King Finwe said to Feanor. “Long have I desired to see you dwell under my roof, but I knew that your spirit could not be stayed and that there was much that you desired to accomplish elsewhere. I see now the fruits of your labor.” Finwe nodded at the magnificent eagle. “You and your House are welcomed here, as you have always been, and you have my gratitude for the Golden Eagle.”
Feanor, still kneeling, brought his head to the floor and kissed it. “It is I who am grateful to you, o Lord and King, for allowing me and my family to live in your blessed presence.” Feanor’s voice trembled with eagerness, for his desire to live with his father again was now so great that all assembled saw Feanor’s love for his father as a great light, brighter than even that of the gem about his neck or the gems of the eagle’s eyes. He stood at last and seemed to grow taller than those around him. Listening to Feanor was almost more pleasant than listening to the minstrels, and it was several moments before the strength of his voice and the light of his love faded in the air.
Maedhros felt inspired by his father. He stepped forth, with Maglor in hand, and said to Finwe, “Grandfather, I too am pleased beyond words to hear that we will be dwelling together hereafter. Although I cannot craft such gifts as that of my father’s, please accept this instead as a token of my love to you and to your House.”
Maedhros squeezed Maglor’s hand. He began to sing a song in honor of the stars and the love of the Valar for the Children of Iluvatar. Maglor was still too young to know all of the words to the song, but he had heard the tune before and now he hummed along with his older brother as if he were a harp. The melody in their pure and young voices seemed perfect in its innocence. When they finished the song, Maedhros bowed before King Finwe, and Maglor followed his example. Finwe looked with great liking at both of his grandsons, and Feanor was no less proud, for he prized the boldness of his sons before so many strangers.
It was Indis the Fair, sitting beside Finwe, who finally spoke. “The two of you will be welcomed indeed, for the I am very fond of song and dance. The music of the House of Finwe will be richer and sweeter now that it is joined again in harmony with the House of Feanor.”
The House of Feanor dwelt again in the House of Finwe, and there was much rejoicing among the Noldor at the healing of the rift in the House of Finwe. After the Day of Reunion of the House of Finwe, Maedhros’s parents no longer called him Nelyafinwe or Nelyo. He did not ask why and simply accepted it, for he was happy enough with his mother name “Maitimo” and his epesse “Russandol.” When he was older, Maedhros finally understood why they stopped called him him Nelyo. Though Fingolfin had been born to Indis before Maedhros, Maedhros had been conceived before Fingolfin. At the time, Feanor had not known about the birth of Indis’ first son, and so he had named Maedhros “Nelyafinwe,” or “third Finwe.” This name was still true, Maedhros perceived through his father, for he would be the third Finwe to rule the Noldor. Out of respect for Indis and her oldest son though, Feanor withheld the time of Maedhros’s conception and spoke only of his time of birth. By referring to Maedhros as Maitimo or Russandol, Feanor showed his dedication to the unity of the House of Finwe. Maedhros followed the example of his father, and when asked, he always referred to Fingolfin as the older of the two.
Maedhros had thought that he would play with Fingolfin now that their families were one since they were so similar in age, but this did not happen. Fingolfin was a steady child and, in his youth, did not delight in adventure like Maedhros. Fingolfin preferred to stay at home and sing and learn the runes of Rumil from his mother at a desk. Maedhros, on the other hand, often accompanied Feanor when he journeyed far throughout Valinor. Maedhros learned his runes and lore around the campfire, with dinner cooking slowly over the open fire. Feanor would carve the runes into the dirt with a stick instead of writing on a piece of paper, and this seemed more fun to Maedhros than book-learning alone. Sometimes when Feanor was teaching him Rumil’s runes, Feanor would pause, dissatisfied with the runes, and take notes of his own in a small journal. Thus, Maedhros was the first to learn the runes of Feanor, the Tengwar runes, and was in later days second only to Maglor in his mastery of the Feanorian script.
Sometimes Nerdanel and Maglor also accompanied Feanor and Maedhros on their travels. However, Maglor was still young and preferred to sing with the children and servants of Indis and Nerdanel stayed behind with him. Though Feanor no longer begrudged the happiness of Indis and her children, still he did not love them as he did his father and his wife and children. When he was not pursuing his crafts and lore, he played primarily with his children and rarely with his half-siblings. Even when Fingolfin was older and more eager for adventure, Feanor did not invite him to travel with him and his sons. In later days, when Maglor was more willing to travel, he and Nerdanel also accompanied Feanor and Maedhros in their wanderings, and he brought with him his harp so that they had song at their campfire.
In time, Nerdanel was with child again, and thereafter, she traveled less with Feanor and his sons. After Celegorm grew old enough to travel, he too joined his father and brothers on adventures. Nerdanel did not join them, for then there was a fourth child. And then a fifth. Thus it was that the adventures of Feanor and his sons became known throughout Eldamar.
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.