2. Celebration of the Arrival of the Eldalie to Aman
Feanor brought the unfinished wooden horse to his mouth and blew off the dust. When Nerdanel moved to put out the campfire, Feanor partially paused from his wood carving and wrapped his arm around her. He pulled her to him and turned to nuzzle her hair and kiss her behind the ear.
"Leave the fire a while longer, my dear," Feanor said. "I may need it if this horse is not to my liking." Nerdanel had begun to settle down again, but now she jabbed at his side. Though Feanor did leave many of his works unfinished, he was rarely so displeased with his crafts that he would destroy them.
"If you want me to honey-glaze more apple slices, just say so," she teased.
"No, my love." Feanor put aside his carving knife and horse and kissed Nerdanel on the cheek then kissed the corner of her smiling mouth. Feanor turned to face the campfire and said, "I've been thinking." The sons of Feanor looked up from their books and handiworks. The power of Feanor's voice was such that he needed only to change his tone by a nuance in order to draw their full attention to him. "Next year, the Noldor will have dwelt in Aman for one yen. This seems to me an important moment, one worthy of a celebration grander than any that have been held before. I do not know if the Vanyar at Taniquetil are planning anything, but surely something can be arranged."
"We could write new songs for the occasion," Maglor suggested. He played a few chords on his silver harp.
"And hunt the largest beasts for trophies and food," Celegorm added. He raised the arrow that he had been making.
"And craft such works of marvel that our old ones will seem plain in comparison," Curufin said.
"The Noldor will create works of such finery and surpassing beauty that the other kindred will look upon us with envy," Caranthir said.
"We shall invite the Valar, the Maiar, and the three kindreds of the Eldar, and the Celebration will be remembered until the end of time," Maedhros said.
Maedhros could imagine his father's idea taking form already, as if Feanor had brought the visions to life in his few words. The men would cut gems and create new jewelry, hunt the largest beasts, and record lore of the Valar's grace and wisdom. The women would sew raiments of surpassing finery, weave tapestries of the Great Journey in bright colors, and cook delicacies and gourmet courses. There would be song and dance before the Valar, as well as contests of skill in archery and strength. It would be unlike any other high feast, for it would be so grand that the memory of it would be worthy of its own songs. Maedhros looked at his brothers and saw similar visions of wonder in their bright eyes.
"But the Teleri came later to Aman, did they not?" Amrod said hesitantly.
"Arafinwe's betrothed would be disappointed if we didn't invite her kindred," Nerdanel said. "The celebration will be in honor of the one yen that the Vanyar and Noldor have lived in Aman, but that doesn't mean that others can't come to share in our joy. Perhaps we will make it the celebration of the arrival of the Eldalie to Aman and not just the Vanyar and Noldor. The Teleri arrived later, but are we not all one people?"
"We are indeed," Feanor said. "When we are finished here, we will return to Tirion and share our ideas with King Finwe."
The House of Feanor returned to Tirion shortly thereafter. Finwe was overjoyed with the idea. He decided that he and Indis would journey to Taniquetil to personally propose this idea to his friend Ingwe and to visit his wife's people. Finwe asked Feanor to relay the proposal to Olwe in Alqualonde. Maedhros knew that his father was reluctant to do so because, during their short journey from camp to Tirion, Feanor had already begun to conceive of great works to present at the Celebration of the Arrival of the Eldalie to Aman. Before Feanor could say yay or nay to Finwe, Maedhros stepped forth and begged to be given this task since he desired to look upon the lamplit haven again. Finwe agreed, and Feanor then announced that he would regrettably not join his oldest son since he had much to prepare for the Celebration.
Maedhros had thought that his brothers would straight away announce their intentions to go with him to Alqualonde, but none of them said a word, and after a moment, Maedhros realized that they also wanted to prepare for the Celebration. Maglor undoubtedly wanted to compose the finest song for the occasion. Celegorm and Caranthir would hunt for new trophies of which to boast. Curufin was of like mind as their father and wanted to demonstrate his craftiness. And Amrod and Amras were still too young for the journey. Maedhros did not mind traveling alone, for the lands were fair and peaceful, and he set his mind to it. Thus, when Finwe asked if any would accompany the oldest son of the House of Feanor, Maedhros was surprised to see Fingon, the only child of Fingolfin, step forward.
"I desire to travel with Maitimo, if he will have me," Fingon said before the assembled Noldor.
Although Maedhros saw Fingon often, he interacted with him little from day to day. Maedhros had six brothers after all, and when he was not spending time with one, some, or all of them, he was with his father. Fingon was only slightly younger than Curufin. Maedhros did not think that he was unready for such journeys. He simply found it unusual since Fingolfin and Finarfin had never expressed any similar interest in traveling with the Feanorians.
In his youth, Maedhros had thought that he and Fingolfin would be playmates since they were close in age, but that had not been the case. Now, as Maedhros looked upon Fingon's eager and bright face, Maedhros understood that he and Fingolfin were nephew and uncle and that certain boundaries of kinship could not be overcome. Fingon, on the other hand, was a cousin, an equal. Maedhros was not worried about their difference in age, for he had many younger brothers and got along with them with little difficulty. Maedhros grew to like the idea of Fingon traveling with him more and more as he thought about it. Although Feanor did not dislike the children of Indis, Feanor had been unable to treat Fingolfin and Finarfin as true blood brothers. The pain of losing Miriel was too strong for that. Perhaps the third generation of the House of Finwe could further close that gap.
"I gladly welcome the company of Findekano, and moreover, I will treat him as I do my own brothers, for he is also of your flesh and blood, o Noldoran," Maedhros said. Finwe's blue-grey eyes lit at Maedhros's words. The breach in the House of Finwe had been healed, but to have his grandchildren truly love each other as brothers was a very pleasing thought indeed. Thus none objected to Fingon accompanying Maedhros to Alqualonde, not even Fingon's mother Anaire, who disliked traveling and left Tirion only on days of festival to journey to Taniquetil.
Maedhros and Fingon set out the next day upon great white stallions. Fingon was a good rider, much better than what Maedhros would've expected from someone who had never before left Tuna. Fingon was also an excellent conversationalist. They talked about the history of the Eldar, the upcoming Celebration, and even the responsibilities and expectations of being the oldest son. When they stopped to break camp, Maedhros discovered that Fingon did not even know how to make a campfire.
"Even Ambarussa know how to make a campfire," Maedhros teased. He used Ambarussa to include both of his youngest brothers.
Fingon looked embarrassed but smiled good-naturedly. "I never had a need to learn how to make a campfire. Perhaps my father thought me too young to learn such skills."
Tirion was full of light, the light of the Two Trees, the light of lamps, and the light of the jewels that the jewelsmiths had long crafted to enhance the beauty of the city. There were also pivoting mirrors set behind lamps and lenses to be used as directional lighting or to be used when more light than that of the Two Trees was needed. Smaller versions of these devices were particularly useful to the jewelsmiths, who needed an abundance of light to see the delicate art they created. Feanor had developed these focused lamps in Alqualonde as the centerpiece of lighthouses so that ships always knew the location of the coast, but later, he had brought his inventions to Tirion. At first, the Noldor had been skeptical about the use of these focused lamps, for the light of the Two Trees seemed sufficient, but gradually, the Noldor came to find uses for the additional light. At times of festival, these devices were often used as spotlights for dance presentations. All this had been established when before Caranthir was born. Fingon had grown up surrounded by light and devices that enhanced light. What use did he have for fire? The servants did the cooking. Fingon had never needed a fire other than the one at the end of a candle or oil lamp's wick and even then only rarely.
"I shouldn't have poked fun at you," Maedhros said. "I know that it's not common knowledge among the Noldor. My father is ever restless, and I have been traveling the width and breadth of Aman since I was young. To me, building a campfire is a basic skill."
"It should be indeed," Fingon agreed. He clenched his fist, and there was a fire kindled in his eyes. "My mother dislikes traveling, and my father is content with his dwellings. He delights in contests of strength and dexterity, and these he holds in Tirion or at least on Tuna. He has no dreams of far-off lands or riding with the wind in his hair until he reaches the very shores of Belegaer. Arafinwe is of like mind, and he would not even travel to Alqualonde had he not fallen in love with Earwen when Olwe visited Tirion. But when he does travel to Alqualonde, he is in the company of many servants and strays little from his path." Fingon trailed off and fell silent. His brow furrowed and his eyes were set, but he began to look guilty for speaking ill of Fingolfin and Finarfin.
"Do not think less of Nolofinwe and Arafinwe," Maedhros said, though he knew such admonishment was unnecessary. "Everyone has his own talent and his own ways. Although my father is a great jewelsmith, I lack such skill. Your father is unmatched in javelin throw, and I could never hope to match him in that either. One travels far and wide, and the other does not. There is nothing wrong with that. The minstrels exaggerate when they sing of the adventures of Feanaro and his sons. In truth, we do very little that is different from you and your father, we simply do it in different locations." Maedhros smiled wryly and looked around. They were in an open glade. A small stand of tree saplings scarcely taller than Maedhros was at the glade's edge. A squirrel halfway up one of the trees then stopped suddenly and turned around and ran back down the tree and into the woods. The birds were quiet, perhaps sleeping. All was peaceful, and Maedhros found himself yearning for one of Maglor's song to break the hush of the wild.
Maedhros gestured around them. "As you can see for yourself, there is little more to these adventures than what could be found on Tuna." Fingon was quiet and thoughtful.
Maedhros took the opportunity to begin their campfire. He set smaller twigs towards the center and larger ones around the edge. Fingon followed his lead without asking. Although he'd never built a campfire before, he was quick-witted and seemed to grasp the pattern and reasons for the arrangement of the tinder. When all was in readiness, Maedhros flicked flint to steel until a spark ignited the dry twigs in the center. Maedhros would let Fingon try to ignite the fire next time they set camp. The fire slowly grew until it was became a steady crackling of orange and yellow light. They actually didn't need to cook any food since they'd brought dried meat, bread, and fruits, but Maedhros liked having a campfire. The shifting flames were fascinating to behold.
"I heard that you and your brothers often play games while waiting for food to cook," Fingon said when the fire had built up to a steady height.
"Cooking fires are actually smaller than this. For this kind of a fire, you would use a spit and broil raw meat or whatever else held your fancy." Maedhros smiled and remembered other camping trips. Perhaps when Amrod and Amras were older, Nerdanel would be able to accompany them on their longer journeys again. "My mother would sometimes melt sugar into a fine caramel and dip fruit into it and let it cool. It's quite a treat, but I can't cook such simple delicacies." He shifted where he sat and stretched out his legs. Then he unrolled a piece of cloth with checkered black and white squares. "But for tonight, we have rations enough, and I'm too lazy to hunt for our food. My brothers and I don't play too many games around the campfire. Their mastery of strategy is not as strong as mine, and they grew tired of losing to me."
Maedhros opened a bag of coins and set it between himself and Fingon. Each coin was gold on one side and silver on the other. Maedhros chose the color gold, and Fingon silver. The first game they played was Six. The objective of the game was to get six coins of a kind in a row, and since each person took a turn putting down a coin with his chosen color up, the objective of the game was also to block the opponent from getting six coins in a row. Maedhros won, of course. It wasn't really fair since Fingon had never played Six before. By the end, it was taking longer for Maedhros to win though, and Fingon even managed a stalemate once. Eventually, they switched to a second game, Silver or Golden Light. The game started with two coins of each color placed diagonally from each other in the center of the checkered cloth. This game was a bit more difficult to explain than the first.
"The objective of the game is to trap one or more of my coins between two of your coins," Maedhros explained. He demonstrated by putting a golden coin down next to one of Fingon's silver ones. "The trapped coin then changes color to become your coin." Maedhros flipped the silver coin over so that the gold side was facing up. "We do this until the squares are all filled, and the winner is the one with the most coins. If you can't move, then I get to move again. The game is called Silver or Golden Light as an analogy for the waxing and waning of Telperion and Laurelin's light."
Fingon nodded and placed a silver coin next to one of Maedhros' golden ones and flipped over the golden coin. The game was afoot. Sometimes, Fingon would forget to flip all of the coins between two of his coins. He would concentrate on capturing a horizontal row of coins and not see that one of Maedhros's coins was diagonally trapped between two of the silver coins. Maedhros helped him when he could and pointed out unflipped coins that had been captured. Fingon was able to understand the rules, and he could see a pattern behind Maedhros's moves, but Fingon could not yet develop a strategy or counterstrategy of his own. Eventually, he surrendered.
"I think I need more time before I can become proficient in this game," Fingon said. "Six was easier to play, and I wasn't doing very well in that game either." He smiled hopelessly and shrugged his shoulders. "When I get home, though, I'm definitely going to get my own set of cloth and coins. I can see what you're doing, capturing the corners and edges, but I don't know how to counter your moves."
"I've been playing for much longer than you, and I've had to play against my father, so that was training enough for me. Maybe we'll try it again tomorrow." Maedhros put the coins and cloth away and checked the time. It was the 29 minutes before the twelfth hour of the day. That was perfect. They'd sleep for an hour and then wake up at the Opening Hour of Telperion and continue on their journey to Alqualonde.
"What is that?" Fingon asked. The curiosity in his voice was mixed with wonder and awe. Maedhros looked over and followed Fingon's gaze to the timepiece.
"This is one of Curufinwe's newest timepieces." Feanor had given it to Maedhros several years ago, so it had not occurred to Maedhros that this was something new to Fingon. By spending time with Fingon, Maedhros was beginning to realize exactly how slowly the inventions of Feanor were spreading in Tirion.
The timepiece was a golden circular shape, and the face of the timepiece was pearl. The numbers represented the hour of the day, and the 11 lines between each number represented what Feanor called "minutes." These numbers and lines were made of silver. A long, thin line of gold decorated with the smallest rubies pointed to the hour, and the shorter, thin line of silver decorated with sapphires pointed to the minute. Maedhros explained that there were two pieces of metal, silver and gold, wound up like a spring. As silver strip of metal unwinded, the golden strip of metal winded. Then the process was reversed. These springs were connected through gears to the hour and minute hands on the face of the timepiece.
In spite of his awe at the craftsmanship of the timepiece, Fingon couldn't help but to ask, "But what use is it?" It was what Maedhros expected of someone who didn't have a timepiece.
"It's very useful if you think further upon the matter," Maedhros assured him. "For example, if we both had timepieces, I could ask you to meet me in the fifth hour of the day, and you would know when to meet me. As it is now, the days are only marked by the two hours when the light of Telperion and Laurelin mingle. If I asked to meet you any time between those two hours, again, let's say the fifth hour, you would be hard pressed to estimate how long Telperion had been in bloom. The timepiece makes it easier to coordinate events.” Maedhros handed the timepiece over to Fingon, who studied it with curiosity and fascination before returning it to Maedhros. “Of course, it wasn't invented for that reason. My father created it simply as a result of his never-ending quest for knowledge. Even Aule praised this creation, as he has of many of my father’s crafts."
“How does Feanaro imagine such things?” Fingon murmured.
“I know not. The fire that Iluvatar set within him is great indeed.” Maedhros fell silent. Spending time with Fingon was helping to put everything into perspective. Games of strategy that Maedhros had learned as a child were not as common as he’d thought. Inventions still too new for the craftsmen to have learned to reproduce with ease were unknown even to the Prince of the Noldor. “Have you seen the old timepieces?" Fingon shook his head. Maedhros drew out his old timepiece. He carried it out of habit because his brothers sometimes forgot theirs. Then Maedhros would give his to Caranthir and he and Celegorm would know when to return from their hunt for dinner.
The face of the timepiece was similar to the newer one. It consisted of numbers for the hour of the day and minute markers crafted of silver. There were no hour or minute hands on this timepiece though. The face of the timepiece was again fashioned from pearl, and a sapphire sat in the center of the timepiece. Two clear crystals rested at the top of the timepiece, just above the number 12, and a rounded mirror sat between the two crystals. Maedhros pointed the timepiece towards the Two Trees. The light of Laurelin came through the right crystal, and the crystal focused the light and redirected it as a thin, bright line at the mirror. The mirror cast the light at the sapphire in the center of the timepiece. A blue glow fell upon part of the face of the timepiece to reveal the time as 11:120, 24 minutes before the twelfth hour, when Laurelin would begin to sleep and Telperion to awaken.
“It is an excellent and beautiful device,” Fingon said. “It surpasses even the beauty of the first one, though the first one is delightful as well because of its simplicity.” This older timepiece looked more complicated than the first, but Maedhros knew that the small springs and gears and carefully calibrated mechanics hidden behind the face of the newer timepiece made it much more advanced.
“This one is effective here, but the light of the Two Trees is too dim at Alqualonde and the outer regions of Valinor that are rarely traveled by our people. Thus my father devised a way to tell the time even in those darker places,” Maedhros said.
“There’s so much that I have to learn. I know nothing of telling time except the opening of one tree and the closing of the other, and I’ve never journeyed to these dark lands. I understand now why my father thinks that I’m young. I don’t feel young, but I suppose I am after all.”
Maedhros looked at Fingon, whose hands were folded together and head resting upon those hands. The light of the campfire flickered in Fingon's dark grey eyes. Then it finally occurred to Maedhros that Fingon was lonely. Fingon did not seek adventure; he sought companionship. Maedhros and his brothers were relatively close in age. Findis and Fingolfin were also close in age, and it had not been long before Faniel, Irime, and Arafinwe were added to the House of Finwe as well. There would undoubtedly be more children added to the House of Fingolfin and when that happened, Fingon would undoubtedly be an excellent older brother to them. Until then, though, Fingon was alone, and the presence of the seven sons of Feanor and the five children of Finwe and Indis undoubtedly served as a reminder of that loneliness. Maedhros couldn't even relate through his father, for although Feanor was the only child of Miriel and distant from the children of Indis, he was driven by the fire of his own heart and always too preoccupied with his craft and ideas to feel any sense of loneliness. Besides, he had wedded Nerdanel early in his youth. Maedhros's heart swelled with sorrow and pity for Fingon. He resolved all the more to treat Fingon as a brother.
Maedhros put a hand on Fingon’s shoulder. “Is that not why we are traveling to Alqualonde together? By doing so, you may see lands that you have not yet seen and learn from me. I too have learned much during our short time together, and I look forward to learning more from you.”
“What can you learn from me?”
“I have always lived in the House of Feanaro, and my father’s mind and hands are never at rest. By speaking with you tonight, I have gained perspective on the minds of our people and on what aspects of my life are unusual.” Maedhros put aside the timepiece and took Fingon’s hands. “Findekano, I have very much enjoyed this time that we have spent together and look forward to the rest of our journey. After we deliver this message to Olwe at Alqualonde, I foresee that we shall have many more adventures together.” Maedhros took the spring-operated timepiece and placed it in both of Fingon’s hands. “Please accept this timepiece as a gift to commemorate our first journey together and as proof of the close brotherhood between the House of Feanaro and the House of Nolofinwe.”
“I cannot accept it,” Fingon said softly. He did not draw his hands away from Maedhros’s. “It is too great a gift for me.”
“Remember, I have the older timepiece with me.” Maedhros’s eyes flickered over to the light-refracting timepiece. “And I can undoubtedly prevail upon my father to craft for me another timepiece like the one I wish to give to you. Please accept it so that you will know when to meet me when we prepare for our future adventures.” Maedhros released his hands from around Fingon’s so that Fingon was holding the timepiece. Fingon’s grip tightened around the timepiece in his hands.
“Thank you, Maitimo. I will cherish your gift and keep it with me always.”
“Call me Russandol,” Maedhros said. “Are we not as brothers now? Indeed we are. And my brothers usually use my epesse.”
“Very well then, Russandol.”
“Do you have an epesse, Findekano?” Fingon shook his head. “Not even a shortened version of your name, Findo perhaps?” Fingon shook his head again. Maedhros wasn’t surprised. After all, Fingon didn’t have any siblings to give him a nickname, and Fingolfin was a serious person, one who was apparently formal even with his son. Feanor, on the other hand, was fond of wordplay and never hesitated to switch between his sons’ various names to keep himself entertained. When Maedhros was still young and learning to speak, Feanor had called his “Maiamo,” beautiful one, or “Minyamo,” first one, instead of “Maitimo,” well-shaped one, and one time when Maedhros had been crying in his mother’s arms, Feanor had teased him, calling him “Rossendol,” fine rain top.
“Then I will choose an epesse for you.” After several moments, Maedhros said to Fingon, “I will call you Elen-nalta, Star of Radiance, for there is a glittering reflection in your eyes that is like the stars. What do you think of the name?”
“Elen-nalta seems too great a name for me at present, for I have done nothing so great that I should deserve such an exalted epesse. But I like it, and even if you are the only one to call me Elen-nalta, I will accept it as my name,” Fingon said.
“On the contrary, I think it suits you well. You are brave and valiant, unafraid to admit that there is much for you to learn and eager to learn it and seek out new adventures in unfamiliar lands,” Maedhros said. “But now it’s almost the twelfth hour. Let’s rest before we continue our journey to Alqualonde.”
Maedhros and Fingon delivered their message to King Olwe of Alqualonde, who was much pleased by the proposal of the Celebration of the Arrival of the Eldalie to Aman. They stayed with Olwe for several days before taking their leave. Finarfin, who was spending time in Alqualonde with his betrothed Earwen, promised to return to the House of Finwe soon to help with the preparations for the Celebration. Privately, Maedhros rejoiced that Finarfin did not accompany them back to Tirion because he was an uncle, not a cousin.
Now that their errand was completed, Maedhros and Fingon returned leisurely to Tirion and even strayed from the straight path so that Fingon could see more of the glory and beauty of Valinor. He was able to hunt freely in the wide ranges instead of on Tuna for sport alone, and they cooked their food on spits while conversing or playing games. By the time they finally arrived at Tirion, Fingon had become much better at Six and had even won five times. He started to time the games with his timepiece, and thus he was able to see that Maedhros’s victories were becoming harder and harder won. Fingon was undeterred by his losses in Silver or Golden Light and continued to play and learn the patterns of the game. In all manners, they became like brothers.
Thereafter, Fingon was often in the company of Maedhros and his brothers, unlike before when they had dwelt together but interacted little. As the oldest of the House of Feanor and the House of Fingolfin, they often worked together when organizing the logistics of the Celebration, and Fingon learned much about the managing of his people, the Noldor. And when Maedhros’s brothers were unwilling to leave Tuna because of their personal preparations for the Celebration, Maedhros traveled instead with Fingon. This did not go unnoticed by the Noldor, and songs of praise were made of their close friendship and the unity of the House of Finwe. Finwe was glad, and the spirits of the Noldor high. The Days of Bliss of the Blessed Realm was approaching the zenith of its Noontide.
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.