Macalaurë leaned back in his desk chair. He had thrown the curtains back to permit the light of Laurelin to stream across his unmade bed. Idly scratching at a dried spot of egg yolk that had dribbled onto the front of his tunic at breakfast the day before, he hummed the melody line of an irritatingly elusive composition that had been torturing him for days.
The clearing of a throat that could only come from Nelyafinwë drew his attention to the doorway. His eldest brother stood there, clad in a flawlessly tailored, green silk jacket and contrasting dove grey leggings. Nelyafinwë’s bright copper-hued hair cascaded past his shoulders in an apparent state of attractive disarray, which Macalaurë knew with certainty had required considerable effort to achieve.
“Aren’t you just the picture-perfect courtier? Off to the city to play at diplomacy and governance with Haru and Nolofinwë?” Though the words might have sounded harsh to one who did not know them, Macalaurë well knew that Nelyafinwë would understand them as they were intended: an expression of affection.
“Well, we aren’t all geniuses like you and able to work dressed in Atar’s castoff clothing without changing in two days.”
The tired old dispute relating to his irregular habits and lackadaisical attitude concerning grooming irritated Macalaurë. “Oh, your little friend hasn’t been here if that is what drew you to darken my lowly doorstep.” He instantly regretted his sharpness of tone and choice of subject matter.
Nelyafinwë’s face froze, his generous mouth hardening into a tight thin line and eyes narrowing in wariness. “I have no idea what you are trying to say.”
Macalaurë allowed his remorse to show by lowering his voice, yet his honesty prevented him from avoiding the truth however unwelcome it might be to his brother. “Findekáno,” he said.
“He is not little. He is taller than you and over 40 years of age.”
“Well, in any case, he did not show up for his lesson. Was all aflutter over accompanying you to back to Tirion today.”
“I do not know what your point is, Macalaurë.” Nelyafinwë’s cheeks instantly reddened. Macalaurë mentally thanked Ilúvatar that he had inherited his father’s coloring and not that of his mother. Redheads had such difficulty in hiding their emotions, even those who, like his brother, had attained far greater self-mastery than he had.
“Oh, I think you do. I’m not judging or scolding, just noting that you should be mindful of appearances. Káno isn’t capable of dissembling. It simply isn’t in his nature to do so.”
“I’m sorry. If you want me to have any idea what you are talking about, you are going to have to be more explicit.” Nelyafinwë had impressively suppressed the flush and composed his features into mask of utter calm.
Macalaurë cackled uncontrollably. “Nelyo! I do not believe you think you can pull that punctilious bull crap with me. You want explicit? I can be explicit. You’ve been mooning over him for months, while he is panting after you like a dog in heat. Be alert. Alone with you for hours in the carriage today, he might just . . . ”
“Am I really that obvious?” Nelyafinwë’s look of abject anguish could have softened a much sterner heart than that of Macalaurë. “You are completely wrong about Káno though. He is barely more than a child and he has always looked up to me. Of course he enjoys my company. I am absolutely certain that he would be horrified to think . . .”
Macalaurë had lowered his chair and walked quickly across the room. He interrupted his brother by pulling him into a fierce, clumsy hug. “Shhh, Nelyo. I would never advise you to deny your feelings -- just to be careful. And Findekáno is no child.”
“Thank you for telling me. About what you noticed in me, I mean.” Nelyafinwë laughed softly and ruffled Macalaurë’s hair. “You are quite mistaken regarding Káno, however. But I will be much more circumspect about how I behave in his presence. That is, if you will promise me that you will bathe and change your tunic while I am gone.”
“How long will you be gone?”
“At least three or four days.”
“I sincerely promise that I will.”
After Nelyafinwë had left, Macalaurë returned to his desk, teetering back in his chair. He started to hum again, while thinking about how strange it seemed that Nelyafinwë -- who, not so many years ago in his careless youth, without a scrap of malice or forethought, had seduced and broken the hearts of nearly a dozen fair maids of Tirion -- was now in love with their half-cousin Findekáno. He sighed at his reflection that nothing could ever be ordinary in their family. Suddenly slamming his chair to floor, he grabbed a small harp from the foot of his bed. He had the main part of the piece in his head now. It would be a wistful song about a clandestine love. And, after he got the basics written, he would take a bath.
Names and words in Quenya
Macalaurë = Maglor
Nelyafinwë, Nelyo = Maedhros
Findekáno = Fingon
Nolofinwë = Fingolfin
Haru = Grandfather (in this case, Finwë)
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.