"I have been searching for you the last hour." He had not thought to look in the room his father had once occupied, yet the fresh wildflowers with their childish arrangement and the lack of staleness in the air told him that Ereinion came here often.
"I was waiting for Addo. I saw Thorondor, and I thought he would bring Addo back from Mandis. Did he bring him back, Ada?" (1)
"Mandos," Fingon corrected. He lifted the child into his arms. Someone had braided his hair with strands of gold thread, like his father's legendary braids, though Fingon had of late found little time for such vanity. "Addo is not ready to return just yet. Thorondor has come because he wants to take you on a journey. Would you like that?"
The child could not understand that the eagle had taken Fingolfin's hroa, not his fëa, away to Gondolin, or that an elf's stay in Mandos would last untold ennin. Indeed, many wondered if the Doom would permit the Exiles to be re-housed. Fingon's heart resisted this. He believed that the Noldor still had hope, if only in death.
"No, this will be more like an adventure. You are going to the Havens to visit Lord Círdan. He will show you the seaside and the great ships he sails. It is not so cold there, and you will not have to stay inside after leaf-fall."
Ereinion laid his head on Fingon's shoulder. "When will Nana come home?"
"Soon," he soothed.
"I will not stay here and see you deceive him, Fingon."
"He has not yet seen his tenth begetting day. He does not understand 'never' and 'forever'.
"Nor does his father."
She had gone to see her kin at Tol Sirion. By the time she returned - if she chose to return - her son would be in Brithombar.
He carried Ereinion into the nursery and tucked him into bed. "Would you like to hear a story?" Would he ever tell another bedtime tale?
"Yes, Ada," he said with more politeness than enthusiasm.
Fingon sat on the bed and began a tale he had never yet told through to the end. Always, Ereinion had interrupted with questions, and tonight, he suspected, would be no different. "In a land far away, there lived a king who had three sons. The king had grown tired of ruling his land, and decided that he would give his crown to his sons. His sons were not evil but they quarrelled a good deal, and the king knew they could never rule peacefully together. He thought much on this, and at last called his sons to him. 'Go on a journey,' he said to the three, 'and bring me a great treasure. He who brings me the greatest treasure will have rule of my kingdom." (2)
"Did you have to bring Addo a great treasure?"
"Yes, I did."
"What did you bring him?"
"I am not a treasure!" Ereinion protested sleepily.
"Oh, but you are, my child."
'The greatest the Noldor now hold, though they do not know it,' Fingon added silently.
"You should have brought him a jewel."
"No," Fingon sighed heavily. "He would not want a jewel." He stood and kissed the child. "It is late, and your ada is weary." He tucked the bedclothes tightly around his son, as if they would ward off all his fears for the boy. "Nai óluvatyen lissivë." (3)
May your dreams be sweet. Such sayings, brought out of Aman, had no meaning here. Neither father nor son rested easy these nights.
"He understands more than you think, Fingon. He is terrified of losing us."
"Leaf-fall is a long time away."
Grimly, Fingon wondered if he had made the right choice. He had seen little ones die of grief, their fëar fleeing to join their fathers and mothers. He had deemed it better to trust in Círdan than in the defence of his own realm. Things worse than death could take his son.
"You will find me in your dreams, Ereinion, each night while you are away. You will never be alone." This much, at least, he knew to be true.
Returning to his study, he picked up his quill but found it empty of words. He should tell Círdan to leave a slow candle burning in the child's room at night, lest he wake and be frightened of the dark. He should tell Círdan that Ereinion had not yet learnt to swim, that he must have his stuffed toy for comfort and that he liked apples in his porridge. He should tell Círdan of his apprehension that Dor-lómin would soon be overrun, that he could not manage a retreat with a small son to protect, and that he feared his reign would be short.
He folded the letter, with its single line of supplication, and snuffed the candle.
(1) Addo (Ilk)
Granddad. This is entirely invented - we have no word for 'grandfather' in Sindarin or Quenya. It's composed from Ilkorin Adda, Daddy, and ado, double, with syncope of the second -ad. If, as some have guessed, Ilkorin became Northern Sindarin, the dialect spoken by the Sindarin of the North and hence by the Noldor, then Ilkorin would be the dialect of Fingon's house. Mostly, however, it's meant to sound like a word a child might use for a grandfather.
(2) This, of course, is the beginning of 'Tale of the Three Brothers' from 1001 Arabian Nights.
(3) Nai óluvatyen lissivë. (Q)
May your dreams be sweet. (lit 'May it be that it will dream to you sweetly'.) Nai is well attested as 'may it be that'. óluvatyen: óla-, to dream, is described as an impersonal verb by Tolkien. Helge Fauskanger, in 'Quettaparma Quenyallo', suggests that it would take the dative rather than the nominative, giving a meaning along the lines of 'it dreams to me'. (Helge Fauskanger, Ardalambion) In this case, I've used the impersonal future tense, the future being required by nai, with the hypothetical dative 2nd pers sing fam tyen suffixed to the verb. lissivë, sweetly, is derived from lissë, which probably came from an Eldarin word ending in -i and therefore would replace ë with i when combined with another word or suffix; the ending -vë that forms the adverb, comparable to English -ly, is based on the attested word andavë, 'longly', from the adjective anda, long. (Ibid, 'Quenya Course' Lesson 10)
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