My children are no use either. Findekáno is always with his cousins in the city of Formenos. And Turkáno and I never agree on anything. Irissë is but a pale shadow of herself after Tyelkormo ended their fairytale love. Apparently, he accused her of having a father who usurped his mother’s place in Fëanáro’s bed and threw them out of Tirion. I briefly considered writing to Fëanáro regarding this, but knowing that he was extremely protective of his children, I held back.
The brawl and the circumstances of the exile have made it impossible for me to go to Formenos. Fëanáro cannot, of course, come here until the exile ends. I had set out twice only to be called back by my younger brother.
My only contact with Fëanáro is through the occasional visits of Russandol and Macalaurë. I weary them with questions thought they always try to answer most clearly. Fëanáro, being Fëanáro, has never sent me a letter though I have made Russandol my messenger countless times. Russandol assures me that his father reads them all. I hope so, anyway I will never ask Fëanáro for the truth. Illusions are better than bare facts!
When things in the court become extremely messy, I send for my eldest nephew and he answers my summons always. (My firstborn has never heeded my pleas to come back to Tirion saying that only fools would live here at court when life at Formenos was so exciting).
Macalaurë’s visits are a different matter. He usually goes to meet Findaráto first and then turns up at court looking slightly lost. Arafinwë often comments crudely on our nephew’s eccentricities, but I have grown fond of him. He is not as talented as Russandol, but he is the second best of our half-brother’s family.
“Nolofinwë”, it was Russandol, he never knocks on my door even though now he is no longer living under the same roof as me.
“I see you have become more handsome”, I smiled at him as he entered and seated himself on a chair across my desk confidently, “Formenos agrees with you, I guess.”
“Yes”, his grey eyes met mine hesitantly for what seemed to be the first time in his life, “I have taken a lover, a daughter of one of father’s apprentices. You will tell me it was long past time.”
“And is there a hope that we might unite for your nuptials soon?” I asked happily, though I sensed a grave doubt lingering in his soul.
“It will be a mere union of the body”, he sighed, “I don’t love her very passionately. If you see how Atarinkë loves his wife or how Tyelkormo loves Irissë, you will agree that I have never been capable of such a thing. I began this relationship because Findekáno is getting bolder.”
That last sentence made me blush at the remembrances of the days when I would wait for a chance to simply brush my hand against Fëanáro.
“You know that I have never loved my wife”, I said sombrely, “I love your father. And he loves his wife, your mother. Love is a crazy thing. It comes and goes on its own whim. Just rejoice that it has no hold on you.”
“I must marry, I suppose. It is tough hearing all the rumours concerning Findekáno and me”, he said sadly as he stared at his interlaced fingers with dull fascination, “And there’s Findaráto who insists that he will go through with his own marriage only after I do. Macalaurë too spouts some nonsense of the kind.”
“Findaráto is a fool. Even if you marry, Artanis will not. So he will have to wait for her to get married too, as a responsible brother. As for Macalaurë, you know that he loves his harp and song more than he can ever love a spouse”, I sighed, “ You don’t have to jump into a marriage the way I did, the way Turkáno did.”
“I wanted to talk with someone”, he shrugged as he shoved away his unruly, yet, breathtaking coppery hair, “And the idea of talking about this to father was appalling. And I cannot talk to my younger brothers or Findekáno who are all engrossed by the hunting there. Macalaurë will worry too much as he tends to in my case.”
“I suppose that something is right with my parental skills though my children have always declared that I am the worst father possible”, I said wryly as he leant back in his chair and sipped his wine.
“Trust me”, he laughed, “If you had seen father dragging me to the forge at crack of dawn and demanding that I learn hewing the stones while still clad in my bedclothes, you will never say so. As much as I love him, he is the epitome of a bad parent!”
“He is perfection and no wonders why he expects the same from you”, I said chuckling as he stretched in his catlike way to better ease his long limbs.
“He misses you”, his wise grey eyes fastened my gaze, “Though he will never tell anyone, it is written on his features. His temper, his moods and his actions are more unpredictable now. All of us, even grandfather, stay away from him when he is in one of his moods. Well, only Macalaurë has stayed in the same room as father at such times. That is because my brother fears nothing.”
“He fears your displeasure”, I remarked thoughtfully.
“Yes, he is the best brother anyone can have”, Russandol smiled, “And there is the fact that the Valar must have thought some compensation necessary for putting me into the hands of such a family.”
I stared wonderingly at the miracle before me. He had been a babe in my arms. All soulful grey eyes, soft skin, clenched babyfists and wiggling toes. It is a wonder that I remember each instant of his childhood clearly while I have only hazy recollections of my children growing up.
“Brother”, Arafinwë’s voice had a tint of vivid anger, “Our nephew Macalaurë to see you. He says that he will wait in your private chambers. Findaráto came with him, I will be with my son if you need me.”
I wanted to know why Macalaurë was waiting in my chambers for me. But asking Arafinwë was like rousing the honeycomb, so I merely nodded my assent and got to my feet. Tirion was anyway on the road to doom, my neglect of duty would do no harm.
“Macalaurë”, I smiled as I strode into my room.
He was standing near the fireplace, a soft, richly broidered travelling cloak obscuring his features. I was surprised pleasantly. While all of us are fastidious, Macalaurë stays away from royal raiment. He usually prefers plain black robes. His father must have struggled to get him into such an elegant cloak.
Then I noticed oddities. The way he was brooding before the fire, the hunched shoulders, the shifting of weight from one foot to another. Macalaurë is usually calm and imperturbable.
“Fëanáro”, I whispered as I involuntarily locked the door behind me.
He did not reply as he turned to face me completely and removed his hood. I gasped at the expression in his dark eyes, fear, plain and primal.
I moved to him and clasped his hands in mine saying quietly, “You should not have come. If Arafinwë or Turkáno or anyone had noticed, I could not have protected you, Fëanáro. Did Findaráto recognize you?”
“He will not betray me”, he shook his head wearily as he dropped his gaze, “I made Maitimo convince him. I had to see you.”
“What is wrong? I had a letter from Russandol yesterday”, I whispered, “He mentioned nothing of import.”
“He doesn’t know”, Fëanáro said quietly, “Manwë has tricked me. I made the Silmarilli, they contain the light of our lands. He knew all along that only I could do it. He had Melkor teach me. Now that his brother is banished, Manwë means to claim my jewels. The divisions amongst our people”, it was the first time he had called the Noldor as ‘our’ people, “Is a direct result of their meddling. I am doomed, Nolofinwë.”
“You are merely overwrought”, I said as calmly as I could while trying to imagine the depth of the Vala’s deception.
It was my brother’s word over that of Manwë’s. I took a deep breath, whatever my brother’s faults, he has never lied. He cannot lie to save his reputation, as had been well proved when Arafinwë had confronted us.
“I am not an easily disturbed soul”, he said unsteadily, clasping my wrists tightly, “But now I am. I need your help, Nolofinwë, what must I do?”
“Destroy the Silmarils”, I said softly, cupping his cheeks with our intertwined hands, “I know what they are, the greatest of your works of the forge. But they are nothing compared to the loss you might suffer if you keep them.”
“It is not that easy, Nolofinwë”, he took a shuddering breath, “The Silmarils, to create them I needed a power beyond our natural one. I am no Maia or Vala. So I took from the only power I had, that of my soul. Put shortly, they contain the essence of what I am, of my spirit”, he smiled weakly, “You will no doubt think me very foolish.”
“Yes”, I said carefully, I did not want to make him more nervous.
Truly, I was worried as I had never seen him in such a state before. I had never expected a day to occur when my brother would come to me for solace. I observed him more carefully. The pallor of his cheeks as well as the dark circles underneath his eyes told me volumes. And there was his gaunt appearance that I had almost mistaken him for Macalaurë at first.
“I wish I had known of your sacrifice earlier”, I said sadly, “I would have prevented it with all means at my disposal. Even now, we might find succour with Lady Varda. Will you come with me to her?”
“No”, Fëanáro sighed, “I am done with trusting the Valar. Twice betrayed. I am but a single, disposable elf who does not matter in the grander scheme of things. Nolofinwë, once I told you that my work is my life. Perhaps it is fitting that the greatest of my craft contains my spirit. That way, it is not a sacrifice. Not many would care anyway though they might rejoice in my foolishness.”
“I care”, I said firmly as I met his gaze, “You have never seen anything outside of your work, Fëanáro. But if you had cared to, you might have known that.”
“I am losing my mind, Nolofinwë”, he whispered harshly, turning to the fireplace again, “I seem to think nonsense frequently, insanity is gripping my mind slowly. That is why I came to you now. To tell you, while I am actually in possession of my senses, that I need you, I want you and….. I love you.”
I have known for years that I loved him. I have known that he loves me atleast a few notches more than he loves Nerdanel. But to hear it actually from his mouth, in that fevered tone, I was shocked. At the moment, I did doubt his sanity.
But then a single tear made its lonely way down his cheek as he pleaded, “If ever I do anything unforgivable later remember what I said and try not to hate me too much.”
“I could never hate you even if you are the most arrogant, uncivilized, prince I had the misfortune to meet”, I assured him as he rushed into my embrace and held me like a dying soul.
Our lovemaking that night was the most passionate encounter we had. He was almost delirious with pleasure as he submitted to my touch willingly. It had always struck me that he preferred not to dominate in the bed. It was the one time when he could let go of his unvoiced fears and burdens.
Finally as we lay on the rug, spent and exhausted, I said solemnly, “Fëanáro, I will follow you to whatever end you lead me. To death and beyond, if it ever comes to that.”
He pressed a weary hand to my lips whispering, “Please, Nolofinwë, say that you will kill me yourself if I lose my sanity completely. I could…I could never bear to live thus.”
All of my heart revolted at his plea, but I knew that I had to give in. I had never the courage to resist him. I nodded and he exhaled in relief, pillowing his head on my broader chest. As I held him in his sleep, I wondered why abnormal things happen only in my family.
He had seemed very sincere and earnest all evening. I had no reason ever to doubt him. His senses were dulled, that was evident from his obvious mental distress. Russandol had mentioned his increasing worry for his father recently. Apparently, Fëanáro had become a recluse even to our father.
A knock on my door alerted me. I did not want to wake him. But if it was Arafinwë or Turkáno, I had to get him out of here. For a moment, I hesitated as he snuggled closer to me, his features worn out yet relaxed in reverie.
“Father”, it was my daughter’s voice, “I wanted to tell you that uncle and Turkáno are spending the night at a stag party of some sort. The wing is safe, there is no need to hurry.”
I did not ask her how she had deduced the identity of my guest. I merely thanked her and held Fëanáro to me more closely.
“I must go”, he whispered as he woke suddenly after an hour or so, “Maitimo is waiting for me at the borders.”
“If you send him on to Tirion, then I can come with you”, I said tentatively, not wanting to pick an argument with him now.
“Of course not”, he got to his feet, “I hold my son to be more important than my occasional paramour!”
I stared at him horrified by the cold words. He raked his fingers through his tousled hair and looked at me with equal terror. The strange glint in his eyes made me realize the truth.
“It is all right”, I stood and clasped his hand in mine, “We will get over this together, Fëanáro. I cannot blame you for the malice of Melkor trying to wrest your spirit. We will prevail.”
“I will hold you to your promise”, he held my eyes sadly before throwing his robes and cloak on.
As he disappeared through my doors, I knelt down by the fire, staring into its flames. I had promised him that I would kill him if the madness took him entirely. He had no wish to live thus, and I had no wish to see him live thus. Why then did I fear that I could not hold true to my vow?
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.