3. Himring (II)
Dark sombre drapes on which Feanorian stars stand out, picked out in precious materials, glittering. Now I'm considering it, I must admit they're rather in-your-face, but...
'They call us the Dispossessed now, had you heard?'
'Not very tactful of them, is it?' He massages his left temple with the tips of his fingers. 'And do you think, like them, that the Crown is a possession, Curvo?'
'It's yours. It should be yours!'
'Our grandfather found a way for the Noldor to survive. He kept them together on the march from Cuivienen. That is what made him king.'
I think of Finwe as I saw him in his palace in Tirion, surrounded by pomp and circumstance, all the nobles vying for his favour and attention. Nelyo sees my expression and changes tack.
'Nolofinwe finds it far easier to listen to me, now I am his subject, not his king.'
'You are saying that that is why you abdicated? So you could handle Nolofinwe better?', I ask sceptically.
'Nolofinwe doesn't need handling. Now we're not breathing down each others' necks and stepping on each others' toes anymore, all I need to do is refrain from irritating him so much that he forgets that he himself wants to do exactly what I want him to do, anyway. Our interests don't conflict. Given our recent history, not irritating him isn't quite as easy as it sounds, but it hardly requires intricate plotting, just a bit of courtesy. '
'A bit of courtesy? As in serious distortion of the facts? I remember quite how tactful you got when you tried to convince everyone that Thingol's message was anything other than offensive and damaging!'
'It was both offensive and damaging, of course, but we could hardly afford to get offended. Given the gossip that used to go on in Tirion, it was a serious mistake to imagine that such a large crowd of angry people could keep Alqualonde a secret for long. We ought to have primed Findarato to get in first with the story and put the best possible face on it, before the affair blew up on us, but I suppose we were all too busy pretending it hadn't happened. Too late now! But since our best hope of smoothing things over a little with Thingol is, once again, Findarato, blaming him and his brothers was about the worst reaction Carnistir could have come up with, even if hadn't been inadvisable otherwise. Even so, I'm not at all sure time and Findarato will be enough, with Thingol. But I haven't had any better ideas.'
I shrug. 'Marry his daughter?'
He laughs. He sounds so reasonable, so rational. I've heard this line of argument from him before, but now, without Tyelko shouting and Carnistir scowling in the background, he's almost beginning to convince me—not that he is right, for I still disagree with him entirely—but I'm almost beginning to believe him that he didn't give up the Crown because Thangorodrim had broken his spirit or in an exaggerated fit of remorse, but because he always had perceived the kingship as something that might have to be given up if circumstances required it and so, when he thought the circumstances did require it, he went and did it. Maybe that truly is the kind of person he always was. I remember how he made me set the copper circlet on his head, how he managed to turn what was basically a bribe, even if it was an elaborate one, into something more complex and binding. But I wanted to connect, to be bound. Surely Nolofinwe didn't? And even if he did, where does that leave the rest of us? And where does it leave Atar, who would have firmly declined to be rational or reasonable in this matter at all?
I regard the hangings again. 'I could have the two largest of them taken down', I offer. 'We could put something lighter, airier up instead.'
'Thank you, Curvo. I can see they're excellent workmanship, of course... We could put them in one of the larger halls. It would make them look less...obtrusive, if they had more space around them.'
I turn and put my hand out towards the temple he was rubbing earlier, not quite touching his skin.
'You lost the circlet I made for you.'
'I'm afraid I did...' Apologizing for that, something he really couldn't help, when he hasn't apologized for anything else.
'That's not what I meant. If I make you another one just like it, will you wear it?'
'Not another one just like it, Curvo, please. That one was just right for Nelyafinwe, but it would not be right for Maedhros. Make me one for Maedhros, and I promise to wear it!'
He smiles at me confidently. I open my mouth to protest, but he's framed it like a challenge and I can't resist a challenge. Already ideas are beginning to form in my brain...
'So how did Uncle Nelyo like his new rooms?', Tyelpo asks.
'He was pleased with them. We did decide to exchange a couple of the hangings...'
I stop and frown, recalling more vividly those hours I spent with my right hand strapped to my side.
That vile feeling of helplessness... 'Oh, I don't know, it seems suitable somehow, don't you think?', he said of his Sindarin name. It makes me wonder what else he is concealing.
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.