If Wishes were Horses: 3. Part 3

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3. Part 3

When Findekáno awoke the next day, the rain had finally ceased. He had not succeeded in defeating Maitimo at Rivals yet, but did manage to achieve two draws before they had finally gone to sleep. He had been hoping they'd be able to play a rematch after breakfast but Maitimo said he had to help his father at his forge for a while, so Findekáno had to settle for listening to his friend's younger brother practicing his music, and playing with the two littlest children, who both enjoyed knocking over the block buildings Findekáno constructed for them. He found himself wishing he could stay with Maitimo's family longer, and he really didn't want to think about what he was going to do when the time to leave finally arrived. If only he hadn't lost Stormcloud! I wonder how much such a fine horse costs, he thought. Perhaps Father would forgive me if I promised to save enough money to buy him a new horse someday? I could sell my pony - perhaps that would be enough money to purchase a nice foal, if not a full-grown stallion. He was still idly thinking of ways to earn the needed funds when he heard, in the background, a knock on the door, and the sound of someone being ushered in. Probably someone coming to commission some smithcraft from Maitimo's father, he thought absently as he began to construct yet another tower for Carnistir and Tyelkormo to knock over. But as he was placing the final blocks on the top of his new creation, he froze, for he recognized the voice addressing Nerdanel; it was the voice of his father Nolofinwë.

As he heard the footsteps growing closer to the door, Findekáno began to tremble slightly. How was he ever going to explain his actions to his father? Father is never going to forgive me for losing his horse; especially since he'd already told me to stay away from Stormcloud. I know he's going to punish me - he'll probably turn me over to Grandfather to be judged as a thief. I was just trying to impress Aikanáro and Angaráto - I didn't mean any harm! He wished with all his heart that he could simply turn invisible so he wouldn't have to face his sire, but he knew that that was not going to happen, and he braced himself as the door to the sitting room swung open and his father walked in. But to Findekáno's surprise, the look on his father's face was not one of anger, but relief.

"Findekáno! Thank Ilúvatar I've finally found you!" Nolofinwë exclaimed as he came quickly over to his son's side. "Your mother and I have been terribly worried, and your uncle Arafinwë and I have been searching for you since yesterday. The Valar must have been watching over you - you could have been killed in that fall!"

"I'm sorry, Father! I didn't mean to cause so much trouble, honest - I just wanted to impress my cousins! I won't ever do it again, and I'll buy you a new stallion somehow, even finer than Stormcloud was -"

"Hush, son," Nolofinwë gently interrupted as he sat down next to Findekáno and took his son into his arms. "It's you I care about, not Stormcloud - who, incidentally, is fine. He found his own way home, as riderless horses usually do. Surely you realize, though, that you and your brother mean more to me than any horse ever could? What you did was wrong, and we'll talk about that later, but for now, I just want to take you home. Let's go now." And with that, Nolofinwë lifted Findekáno up and began to carry him out of the room and down the hallway towards the front door.

"But I didn't get a chance to say goodbye to Maitimo!" Findekáno protested; Nerdanel, who'd been waiting outside the doorway and was now following them down the hallway, replied, "I'll pass your farewells on to my son, Findekáno, never fear. And perhaps in the future you will be able to return, or Maitimo may come to visit you."

"He, and the rest of your family, are always welcome in my home," Nolofinwë said. "Thank you for caring for my son, Nerdanel. "No thanks are needed - although I would do the same for any injured child, he is my nephew, after all," Nerdanel responded. "For my part, you will always be welcome here, Nolofinwë, and I hope that my children and yours will one day provide the means by which this rift in our family will be healed. Be patient with my husband, if you can be; I know his stubbornness is exasperating, but even he can change with time. I do not believe that he will always feel resentful towards you and Arafinwë; you are both his brothers, after all, and one day he will come to appreciate that. Take care, Nolofinwë, and have a safe journey back to Tirion." Nolofinwë silently nodded his head in answer, then carried Findekáno outside to where Stormcloud stood waiting. He lifted his son onto the horse's back, and once more Findekáno found himself riding the powerful stallion, this time securely seated in front of his father. "Home, Stormcloud," Findekáno heard his father say, and then they were riding away, heading back to Tirion. As Findekáno looked back, he saw Nerdanel still standing in the doorway of the house, and farther away, the smoke rising up from the forge where his cousin and new friend Maitimo was working with his father Fëanáro.

*******

I had almost forgotten how crowded Tirion is, Maitimo thought, it's been so long since I've been here. He had come to the city with his father, who had business in town - when Maitimo had heard that his father needed to travel to Tirion, he had begged for permission to go with him in order to visit Findekáno. His father had agreed that he could come, and now Maitimo found himself walking through the streets of Tirion to the very edge of town, where his cousin's house stood. He had had to stop and ask for directions twice; when his family had lived in Tirion, they had been located on the opposite side of the city, and this was Maitimo's first time in this section of the town. I wonder if any of my other cousins will be there? he thought nervously as he approached the street where his uncle Nolofinwë's house stood. I knew that Grandfather had other children, but Father rarely mentioned them, and he never told me before that I have cousins! I guess he and his brothers don't get along, but why? I suppose the answer's not important, though; I'm just happy he'll let me come and visit Findekáno when I want to. I hope Findekáno will like my present. He looked briefly down at the carefully polished brass tube he held in his hands, and smiled.

When he arrived at the house, his excitement suddenly gave way to nervousness. He had never seen his uncle Nolofinwë before, or his aunt Anairë, and Findekáno he'd only met once; what was he going to say to them when they opened the door? He was almost too afraid to knock on the door. But he badly wanted to see his cousin again, and after he'd stared at the closed door for several minutes he finally forced himself to knock. When the door swung open, Maitimo found himself facing a tall, raven-haired man with piercing grey eyes. "I... My name is Nelyafinwë Maitimo, son of Curufinwë Fëanáro, and... and... I'd like to visit with Findekáno - if that's all right," he stammered, unable to meet the man's eyes. But to his surprise, the man laughed and replied, "So you're the Maitimo that my son has been talking about so incessantly! I'm your uncle, Nolofinwë. We've met before, but you wouldn't remember it - you were a newborn infant at the time. Come inside, Maitimo - Findekáno will appreciate the company." Maitimo stepped inside, and his uncle turned and led him through the house and outside into a garden, where Findekáno sat reading, his left leg propped up on a chair. At their approach, Findekáno glanced up; when he saw his visitor, he dropped the book onto the grass and said, "Maitimo! I'm so glad you came - I was beginning to think I'd never see you again!" "I'll leave you both to talk," Nolofinwë said. "And remember, son - stay off that foot!" And he turned and left, leaving Maitimo in the company of his cousin.

"I came as soon as I could; it's too far to walk, so I had to wait until my father was going into town so that I could ride with him," Maitimo replied. "But soon I'll be able to come more often - my father says he's going to teach me to ride, and then he'll buy me a pony of my own! My brother Makalaurë may get a pony, too. And then we'll be able to come here to visit, or you can come see us, or we can all go riding together, whatever you like."

Findekáno looked embarrassed. "That's great, Maitimo, but you'll have to come to see me - I won't be able to visit you for a while."

"Well, not until your ankle is better, but then -" Maitimo began, but Findekáno shook his head. "Father's selling my pony - he says I'm obviously not happy with her, since I decided to ride his stallion instead, and so I am going to have to walk to get where I want to go. He says when he thinks I've learned more caution, then I can have another mount, but not before."

"You mean you were riding your father's stallion that day when you fell off?" Maitimo looked at his cousin in amazement. "Why did you do it? Weren't you afraid?"

"Well, my - I mean our - cousins Angaráto and Aikanáro dared me to," Findekáno admitted. "You haven't met them yet, I suppose, but I guess you soon will. I don't know why, but when I'm playing with them, I just don't stop and think about what I'm doing sometimes. They dared me to do it, and so I did. I wasn't afraid, though, until the storm scared Stormcloud. Father says I'm not afraid of much, and that's also why he doesn't want me to have my pony - so I won't be able to go roaming so far from Tirion, where he says I might get into more trouble than I can handle. He says some things a person should be afraid of, but I don't believe him, because he's not afraid of anything!"

"Neither is my father," Maitimo grinned, "but I'm not as brave as he is. It's strange, knowing now that you're my cousin. I never even knew I had cousins, and now I find out I have lots of them, and I've never met any of them except you. I think I'm going to enjoy having so many cousins to visit. You have a new cousin, too, Findekáno - born one week ago. I said it would be another boy, and I was right! His father-name for now is just Finwë, after our grandfather, but Father says he'll amend it once he gets to know my new brother better. So you should be glad you can't go riding to my house for a while - you'd just wind up baby-sitting!" He laughed, and then Findekáno found himself laughing too.

"I made a present for you," Maitimo said when they stopped laughing. "I thought since you can't walk much yet, you might like something to look at besides books. Here - put this end up to your eye, and turn the ring at the other end. The pattern changes every time you turn it - it's never the same twice." He held the brass instrument out to Findekáno, who held it up to his eye as his friend instructed, and watched as the patterns inside tumbled with every twist of his hand, splinters of color spinning and falling, each time creating a new image, like a stained-glass window endlessly breaking and reforming. "You made this yourself?" he finally asked, amazed.

"It's nothing special, not like the things my father can make - it's just bits of colored glass, and a few mirrors inside a tube, but I thought you might like it," Maitimo replied. "I think it's special," his cousin said; after a pause, Findekáno continued sadly, "I don't have anything nearly as nice that I can give to you, Maitimo. I'm sorry."

"You don't have to give me anything, Findekáno - just letting me be your friend is enough. That is, as long as you don't beat me at Rivals - for that, I'll demand payment! Want to play a game or two? I'm sure we can improvise a board..."

*******

When Fëanáro finally arrived at Nolofinwë's house to collect his son and take him home, his half-brother lead him silently to the garden where their children were still playing; and for a time the two rival brothers stood silently side by side at the garden entrance watching as their sons, the oldest grandchildren of Míriel and Indis, sat peacefully over a makeshift gameboard; and for the duration of that all-too-brief moment, the house of Finwë was united at last.

 

Notes:

This story takes place a few years after "The Gift". How old are the children in this tale? Since Elves don't become fully mature physically until at least age 50, but mature mentally faster than humans do, and since at this time there's no sun or moon to measure time by (just the Trees), it's hard to give exact ages for any of them. Suffice it to say that Maedhros is about the equivalent of a human 13 year old, and Maglor is about 8 or 9. Celegorm is about the equivalent of a human 3 year old, and Caranthir is about the equivalent of a human 15 month old . Fingon is about 11.

The game of Rivals - I imagined this as a variant of the Asian game of Go, with a smaller gameboard, fewer stones, and a few stones set in fixed positions at the beginning of play prior to the first move.

The birth order of Curufin and Caranthir - in the published Silmarillion, Caranthir is listed as the fourth son, and Curufin as the fifth; this order is reversed in the essay "The Shibboleth of Fëanor" in The Peoples of Middle Earth (History of Middle Earth, volume 12). I've chosen to go with the Silmarillion in this matter.

The meanings of everyone's Quenya names are as follows (most of these are taken from "The Shibboleth of Fëanor" in The Peoples of Middle Earth (History of Middle Earth, volume 12)):

Maitimo - "Well-shaped One"; Maedhros's mother-name, given to him because "he was of beautiful bodily form."

Nelyafinwë - "Third Finwë (in succession)"; Maedhros's father-name, given to him since he is the first of Finwë's grandchildren.

Makalaurë - "Forging Gold" (referring to light or the color, not the metal); Maglor's mother-name. The name is prophetic, referring to his ability as a musician.

Tyelkormo - "Hasty Riser"; Celegorm's mother-name, possibly given in reference to his quick temper and his habit of leaping up when suddenly angered.

Carnistir - "Red-Face"; Caranthir's mother name, given because he had the ruddy complexion of his mother Nerdanel (and possibly freckles?), although he lacked her reddish hair - his was dark brown.

Angaráto - "Iron Eminent-One"; Angrod's mother-name

Aikanáro - "Fell Fire"; Aegnor's mother-name

Nolofinwë - "Wise/Knowledgeable Finwë"; Fingolfin's father-name

Arafinwë - "Noble Finwë"; Finarfin's father-name

A child's initial father-name may be modified later, as the child grows older and his/her character and abilities become more obvious. Maedhros's newest brother Finwë will eventually have his father-name modified to Curufinwë ("Skilled Finwë"), later Sindarinized to Curufin.


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.

Story Information

Author: Ithilwen

Status: Reviewed

Completion: Complete

Era: Time of the Trees

Genre: Drama

Rating: General

Last Updated: 04/14/03

Original Post: 07/20/02

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