5. Part 5
It was nearly morning before Fëanáro finally returned from Tirion. The windows of the house, he saw, were tightly shuttered; no doubt his sons were still asleep. That was not important; there would be ample time to deal with them later. After stabling his horse, he proceeded directly to his workshop, as he had every morning since Nerdanel’s departure.
Everything appeared as it had previously. The benches and tools were covered with a thin layer of dust, cold ashes filled the furnace pits, and the windows remained firmly shuttered; only faint traces of Treelight strayed in where the tightly-fitted metal shutters met the stone walls. Fëanáro moved carefully through the gloom until he reached the hidden safe where he kept his most valuable works. Opening it, he carefully withdrew a small box, and throwing back the lid, watched as the radiance of the Silmarils drove back the darkness.
Fëanáro stood unmoving before his creations as he had done every day for weeks. You are indeed beautiful, so very beautiful. Even Varda herself could not create anything to surpass your radiance, he thought as he gently stroked his gems; at the soft touch of his hand, the Silmarils flared and shimmered, as if nourished by his own internal fire. But you are not the first beautiful creations I have produced, nor the finest. In my grief, I have allowed your loveliness to seduce me, to the neglect of my dearest treasures. It is time now for that to end. After a last, reverent caress, he firmly closed the lid, wincing as the brilliant light was suddenly cut off and the interior of the workshop was plunged again into darkness.
After a moment his eyes became accustomed to the gloom, and he could see well enough to move safely. Fëanáro walked over to the shuttered windows and opened them, allowing the mingled Treelight to fill the room, then went to the furnace pits and began to clean out the ashes. Once that task was complete, he built a fire in one of the furnace pits, then began to clean the benches and set out the supplies he would need later. Finally, after washing the ash off his hands, he picked up the box containing the Silmarils and headed towards the house.
As soon as he entered, he discovered he’d been wrong about his sons; from the soft clatter emanating from the kitchen, it appeared that at least one of them had awakened. But Fëanáro ignored the sounds, and moved quietly through the house towards the locked storeroom where he’d previously kept the Silmarils before his recent descent into near-permanent residence within his workshop. After carefully securing the gems he then headed to his bedroom, where he changed from the finery appropriate for a visit with his father into the plain coveralls he was accustomed to wearing while crafting. Only then did he return to the kitchen.
The cause of the clamor, he saw, was Nelyafinwë Maitimo; his eldest son had apparently decided on something more ambitious than mere sliced fruit for the morning meal. There was a fire burning in the stove, and several pans siting on the stovetop; a small mountain of produce of various sorts was piled onto a nearby tabletop. Nelyafinwë had his back to the doorway, and had not noticed his father’s quiet approach. He was intently searching through drawers, apparently seeking some implement; when he finally heard the sound of Fëanáro’s footsteps, he asked without looking up, "Makalaurë, is that you? I can’t find the vegetable peeler anywhere; do you know where Tyelkormo might have put it?"
"No, but I used to keep it in the second drawer on your left - have you looked there?" Fëanáro noted with sadness the way his son stiffened at the sound of his voice. Nelyafinwë turned around slowly, as if he was reluctant to face his father. And I cannot blame him if he is, Fëanáro thought remorsefully. Not after the way I’ve treated him, and his brothers, recently. Perhaps the Valar will gift me one day with wisdom enough to know when to hold my tongue. Nelyafinwë’s eyes widened slightly when he saw how his father was dressed, but he said nothing. After a brief, awkward silence, Fëanáro asked, "Will you allow me to help?"
"If you like," his son replied quietly, and turned again to rummage through the nearest drawer, scarcely looking at the utensils. Fëanáro opened the drawer he’d indicated and withdrew the missing vegetable peeler.
"I believe you were looking for this," he said as he handed the peeler to his son, who took it from his hand with an awkward nod of thanks. "What are you planning to make?"
"I haven’t decided yet; some sort of stir-fry, I suppose. It can’t be anything that needs eggs, because we’re out," Nelyafinwë replied. "Do you have any preferences, Father?"
"No," Fëanáro said. "Anything you are willing to cook will be fine." Nelyafinwë handed him some vegetables; after a few moments of slicing them, Fëanáro spoke into the silence. "Nelyafinwë," he said quietly, "I need to speak with you."
There was now no disguising the tension in his son’s tall frame, and his face had gone expressionless; but his eyes gave away his nervousness. "What do you wish to talk about, Father?" Nelyafinwë asked carefully.
Fëanáro hesitated for a long moment before answering. "My treatment of you, Nelyafinwë, and of your brothers these past few weeks," he finally replied. "I’m sorry for - "
"It’s all right, Father," Nelyafinwë responded quickly, cutting him off as he looked away. "I understand what you’ve been going through, how much pain you must have felt when Mother left, there’s really no need to say anything more about it... " His discomfort was apparent, both from the way he’d so uncharacteristically interrupted his father, and from the way he now spoke, nearly stumbling over the words in his haste to get them out.
"No," Fëanáro replied firmly, placing his hand on Nelyafinwë’s shoulder, forcing his son to face him. "It is decidedly not all right. I was wrong to treat you as I did. As your father, I am supposed to care for my sons. All of my sons - even the grown ones," and with those words he smiled briefly. "You’re a fine young man, Nelyafinwë, and you’ve done nothing to warrant the abuse I inflicted on you. I promise you," and he reached out with his other hand to carefully touch the fading bruise on his son’s cheek, "I will never hit you again."
Nelyafinwë’s eyes glittered in the soft light filling the kitchen, and Fëanáro felt his son’s shoulder slowly relax under his hand, but he remained silent. It was many moments later before his oldest child finally spoke. "You’re dressed in your work clothes; are you planning to start the forge today?"
"No; the glass furnace. I’ve already lit the fire; it should be hot enough to begin work after breakfast is over. Why don’t you add some more pepper? It will improve the flavor."
Nelyafinwë nodded as he reached for the spice rack. "I’d like to help you, Father," he replied as he sprinkled more pepper over the vegetables they’d chopped. "It’s been a long time since I’ve fired glass."
"No," Fëanáro replied. "It’s not that I wouldn’t enjoy your company, Russandol," he said quickly as he saw the hurt flicker quickly through his son’s eyes. "But I have another task I’ll need you to perform today. I’ll tell you about it at breakfast, along with your brothers. Who, if my ears can be trusted, are coming down the hallway now."
The quarrelling voices made the newcomers’ identities clear long before they set foot in the kitchen: Turkafinwë Tyelkormo and Morifinwë Carnistir. "All you ever make is fruit! I’m tired of it! Why can’t you cook something else for a change? " "Whine, whine, whine - that’s all you do! Listen, you little pest, I haven’t seen you making anything at all. If you want something else for breakfast, cook it yourse - oh, hello, Father, Maitimo."
"Hello, sons," Fëanáro replied. Morifinwë and Turkafinwë had halted abruptly as they caught sight of their father standing in the kitchen, knife in hand and obviously dressed for work. "Go set the table - we are all eating breakfast together today. Where are your other brothers?"
"Makalaurë’s helping Ambarussa get dressed, Father," Turkafinwë replied. "I think Curufinwë’s still asleep."
"Then go wake him, or he’ll miss the meal. Morifinwë, you can set the table while your brother’s fetching Curufinwë." Perhaps they are not as beautiful to look upon as a Silmaril, Fëanáro mused as he watched his sons set about their tasks, but nothing could ever be more precious to me - not even my pride. Not even that.
* * * * * * *
"Put your hands in his mane, and hang on tight. And don’t worry, I’ll be holding on to you. You won’t fall."
Ambarussa nodded. Maitimo always said things like that. It was silly - of course Ambarussa wouldn’t fall, not with their biggest and strongest brothers holding on to them! And they had been on horses before, after all, most recently when that nice shining man and their brother Tyelkormo had brought them home after they had gotten lost. They knew what to expect. This was going to be fun! It was too bad they couldn’t both ride on the same horse, though - it was always more fun when Ambarussa did things together. But Maitimo had said no - he told them he couldn’t hold them both, and besides, Makalaurë would be lonely riding all by himself. They didn’t want Makalaurë to be lonely, so they had agreed to be separated. And now one Ambarussa sat in front of Makalaurë, and the other Ambarussa sat in front of Maitimo.
Ambarussa wished Father and their other brothers were coming, too. But Makalaurë said that someone needed to stay at home, and besides, they didn’t want to come today. He sounded sad when he said that. Ambarussa didn’t understand - why didn’t they want to come? they asked. But Makalaurë had only said they’d understand when they grew older. He and Maitimo said that a lot. Ambarussa hoped they’d grow older fast, because they didn’t like not understanding so many important things, but when they told their big brothers that, their brothers had laughed. "Don’t be in such a hurry, little brothers," Maitimo had said. "Growing up isn’t always as fun as it looks." Big brothers were very strange sometimes.
The horses galloped and galloped, and Ambarussa thrilled at the feel of the animals swaying under them. Their brothers’ arms were securely wrapped around their waists, holding them tight. Maitimo had said they would be riding all day, although they would have to stop several times to let the horses rest, and also to eat. They would have to sleep outside tonight, too. It would be nearly five days before they got there, Maitimo had warned them; it was very far away. But of course, Ambarussa already knew that. After all, they had tried to walk there themselves! They remembered how long they had walked - it must be very far away indeed, because they had never found it. But their big brothers knew where to go, and even had horses to ride on, so their feet wouldn’t get sore. This time, Ambarussa knew, they would finally succeed.
This time they would reach the mountains’ roots...
(To Be Continued)
The names used in this story are Quenya, and their meanings can be found in the essay "The Shibboleth of Fëanor", published in The Peoples of Middle Earth (History of Middle Earth, vol. 12). When more than one name is listed for a character, the first name is the father-name, the second is the mother-name, and the third is an epessë (a nickname). The names are as follows:
Curufinwë Fëanáro - Fëanor
Nelyafinwë Maitimo Russandol - Maedhros
Kanafinwë Makalaurë - Maglor
Turkafinwë Tyelkormo - Celegorm
Morifinwë Carnistir - Caranthir
Curufinwë Atarinkë - Curufin
Pityafinwë Ambarussa - Amrod
Telufinwë Ambarussa - Amras
Findekáno - Fingon
Turukáno - Turgon
Írissë - Aredhel
Nolofinwë - Fingolfin
Arafinwë - Finarfin
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.