Of Pole Stars and Spirits of Fire: A fairy tale of Gondor
Disclaimer: the world and characters are Tolkien's. I'm just borrowring them.
How the tale had started, no one could tell. Some said it was a tale of the Elves of the far north, the Elves that some ancient legends called the Avari, and others named the Sindar or Silvan, that came through song to mortal ears. Others would swear that it was a story first told by the Evenstar herself – for she could claim descent from the High Elves, and such deeds, the stories claimed, were not entirely beyond of the power of those fair folk Still others would point to the House of Dol Amroth, or the Rangers of Ithilien, remembering the tales of Elven blood that flowed in that noble house, or of the days, soon after the return of the king, when Ithilien's beauty had surpassed that of all other forests in the world, and Elves and Men had, for a brief time, worked side by side..
Whatever its origins may have been, it had been cherished, made into songs and plays, used to lure children to bed at night and driven away the fears of lonely travelers. For as the years passed, and Elder days grew distant, and the work of that fair folk disappeared from the lands of Middle-Earth, it was a memory of those fair days; a memory as constant as the unchanging patterns of the night sky.
It had all started, the tales said, in Elvenhome across the Sea. King Finwë had been the high king, and by the grace of the Valar, had two wives. The first was the Lady Miriel, raven haired and lovely, and she gave birth to Fëanor. And in time, Finwë had also wedded Indis of the Vanyar, whose bright hair and deep blue eyes had completely charmed the king. And over time, the love between Finwë and Indis grew, until the King's mind was driven away from Lady Miriel, and Indis held him completely within her spell. Or so it appeared to Fëanor, still young at the time, and he grieved for his mother who he loved dearly, and longed to claim his father's love, which now seemed withheld from him, and hoarded completely by Indis and her sons Fingolfin and Finarfin.
Yet Finwë's love for Indis grew, and slowly, he pushed his son and Miriel farther and farther from his thoughts, and Fëanor left his father's palace and lived instead in a simple dwelling at the edge of his father's lands, and traded his fine clothes for simpler garb. Yet Fëanor endured it all, for it seemed to him that Lady Miriel dwelt with him still, and he would often perceive her presence, and it seemed that she counseled restraint. And so the young elf waited, and watched his step-brothers, and dreamed.
But for all his intelligence, he was still young, and he longed to be with his father, So it came to pass that one day, Fëanor came to court. There he observed his father, playing chess with Fingolfin before the great throne of the Noldor, while Indis and Finarfin watched and the court looked on. And Fëanor ran to the throne, and asked his father if he too could play. But before Finwë could answer Indis turned on him, and it seemed her eyes flashed with cold fire. Yet Fëanor was not daunted, and he closed his hand around a game piece. But before he could do more, Indis turned to the young Elf, and she appeared no longer beautiful, but terrifying. And Finwë, who had never seen her in such a mood said nothing.
Then Indis turned to Fëanor, and her words were high and proud. "Do not touch the pieces, Fëanor! For these belong to the High King alone, and it is not your place to meddle in such matters."
Then Fëanor too grew angry, and he responded, saying he was the son of Miriel Serindë, and had just as much right to them as Fingolfin.
And Indis laughed, and said. "Foolish Elf! I am the daughter of the Vanyar, Indis the Fair, Perhaps if you had been born as my son, you could claim such high honor. As it is, only the Valar could grant you rights to the possessions of the High King!" Then she turned her back on him, and Fëanor was filled with a deep rage, and sorrow, that his father did nothing. And flinging the piece to the ground, he ran from the court. The guards tried to stop him, for he was beloved of them, and they wished to comfort him. Yet Fëanor broke free and ran, and locked himself in his chambers. There he long brooded over the words of Indis, for it seemed to him that she indeed had a point, for the Valar had certainly forsaken him. And he resolved to go forth and find them, so that they might answer his questions and confirm his birth right. He resolved also that he would seek not the lesser Valar, but Manwë Súlimo and Varda Elentari, Lord and Lady of the Valar.
So resolved, he set out from his home, and wandered the Lands of Aman. Finally, he came to a clearing, before which the peaks of Taniquentil rose into the heavens. And there he stood, and called to the Valar. He closed his mind to all outside influences, and forsook food and drink, and his youthful calls grew in power and intensity. Many tried to stop him, but so fiery was his spirit that the place where he stood seemed surrounded by flames. And in the Mansions of Ilmaren, Manwë and Varda observed this, and were impressed by the young Noldo's spirit. So they came down and presented themselves to the young Elf.
Then Fëanor was impressed, for never before, and never since, have the Valar revealed themselves in all their full power as they did that day before the son of Finwë. For Manwë stood, and in his face Fëanor perceived the grace and power of Ilúvatar's firstborn son. Then he turned his gaze to Varda, and was enchanted. Her raiment was black as night, and she seemed to shine with the light of a thousand stars, and when she spoke, Fëanor was reminded of the cold fire of starlight.
"What do you wish of us, Son of Finwë?' she asked. Fëanor stared at her, lost for words, for his desire had been driven completely from his mind at her beauty.
"I wish to dwell with you, My Lady." he said.
"In due time, son of Finwë," Manwë replied. "But now we bid you return to your father. You must return to court, for you will be king, and your people await you. And perhaps, one day, when you grow weary with the world or are forced to depart, you will dwell with the stars. Farewell!"
Then they disappeared, and Fëanor returned to the palace, But tales of his deeds, and the grace granted to him by the Valar, had spread and the palace waited to welcome him. Then Indis the Vanya took back her cruel words, and Fëanor forgave her, even though his pride prevented him from ever forgetting the slights she and her sons had given him. And even as he grew into his full powers, there was a gulf between the Sons of Indis and the Son of Miriel.
As the years passed, Finwë passed and the Kingship went to Fëanor his son. And Fëanor did ,many great things, and was beloved of his people. And when Valinor fell under shadow, and he incited his people to rebellion, and lead them away to the Lands of Middle-Earth, some said it was but a ploy to have Manwë and Varda reveal themselves fully to him alone, as they had done so long ago in his youth. Even as the Valar laid their doom upon the Exiles, Varda grew sorrowful, for Fëanor was the stuff of which stars are born, and she it filed her with sorrow to see so fine a spirit fall.
Years passed on Middle-Earth, and Fëanor grew in might. But he was yet only an Elf, and when he fell in battle beneath the heavens, his spirit consumed his body in flames and fled to the Halls of Mandos. And Mandos was lost in thought, for Fëanor's crimes prevented him from ever gaining release from the Halls, but his spirit seemed too bright for that place of quiet beauty and reflection. And in the halls, Fëanor waited, and his thoughts went ever to Varda and her promise of his youth.
Then Varda and Manwë sat long in talk, and it is said that Ilúvatar himself spoke with the pair. Then Varda journeyed to Mandos and spoke with him regarding the son of Finwë. And then Mandos and Varda bound his spirit in chains unseen, and Varda lifted her voice and sang to him of dark skies and pure flame.. And as he heard her song, his spirit rose above the Halls of Mandos. And by the grace of Mandos, Manwë and Varda, there he remains, a constant, steady presence in the evening sky. While Arien's bright beauty conceals him from the morning sky, and the Star of Eärendil shines brighter, it is the star of the North that has ever guided voyagers on their way home.
A/N This fic was written in honor of Cirdan's birthday. Happy Birthday, Cirdan! There is no record of this story ever being recorded by Tolkien, or even hinting at it in his works. I merely felt that the citizens of Gondor needed some fairy tales,(and who better to star in such tales than the Elves?) It is merely my adaptation of a Indian (Hindu specifically) tale of the creation of the Pole Star. For the Indian tale, visit http://www.freeindia.org/biographies/greatdevotees/dhruva/
Reviews are appreciated J