Finrod has been one of my all-time favorites, so I'm glad I get to write about him and I'm also glad he has a 'canon' lover even though we barely know anything about her (I guess it leaves room for imagination). My first fic was about Fingon, and I'm rather fond of him too, but Finrod is just... Finrod, you know.
About the names, I used the Quenya ones, since the story is set in Valinor. So...
Findaráto : Finrod / Aikanáro : Aegnor / Turakáno : Turgon / Itarillë : Idril / Angaráto : Angrod / Artanis : Galadriel / Arafinwë : Finarfin
All credits to Tolkien.
Questions and Answers
Chapter 1 - The Harbor
541 F.A. - Taniquetil
Amárië knew well the maid, for she had oft been sent by lady Eärwen to bring tidings from Tirion or from Alqualondë and she had also been the one who had carried invitations, whenever lord Arafinwë and his wife had held celebrations. She had welcomed her warmly - she still cherished the special bond she shared with lady Eärwen - , however she had soon noticed the maid looked strangely feverish. Amárië had also thought her manners had been rather hasty when she had asked for a private word - after all, what could not be said in front of her family? And so the two of them had withdrawn in a garden pavilion, well out of earshot, as the maid had insisted they should do.
"Oh, my Lady, would you forgive me, it is quite rude to order you around like this," said the maid, when they were both in, glass doors closed behind them. "Yet lady Eärwen made me swear I would disclose the secret I was entrusted with to you, and only you."
"What secret ?" asked Amárië, alarmed. "Is the Lady well?"
"Worry not, for the Lady and her lord husband are perfectly fine, only... something unexpected happened and our household had been blessed like no other, it seems."
The maid's cheeks were flushed and it was obvious it was difficult for her to conceal her excitement.
"Then would Lady Eärwen be with a child...?" said Amárië, thinking such a thing was absolutely absurd.
"You are not so far from the truth, for one of their children has come back to them," exclaimed the maid, holding Amárië's hands in hers. "Oh my Lady, would you believe it, lord Findaráto has been brought back to life by the Valar themselves and he now walks again on the sandy streets of white Tirion!"
"Findaráto...?" whispered Amárië, gaping.
The moment she heard this name, her mind went completely blank and she staggered as she tried to reach the nearest seat.
"Do sit down, my Lady," told her the maid, softly. "It must be quite a shock for you, after all."
She helped Amárië on a bench and the latter, feeling dizzy, breathed heavily.
"How can that be...?" she managed to articulate, at last. "Have the Valar forgiven him?"
Her face was white and a few tears had gathered at the corner of her eyes, although none rolled down on her cheeks.
"He has indeed, and solely he has been forgiven," explained the maid who had produced a small handkerchief and was gently wiping Amárië's eyes with it.
"And so... you said he was brought back to life... Am I to understand he had passed away?"
The maid nodded.
"I do not know for sure how it happened, but war has been raging in Beleriand," she explained. "Lord Findaráto has yet to tell more about his life in exile, but he has to rest often these days and he does not enjoy much company outside of his parents."
It took a while for Amárië to process all these new informations and she could not do anything but stay silent. So far had she not believed they would be sundered till the end of all ages? And all of sudden she was told he was back, fully back.
"How... how is he...?" she muttered. "Is he much changed?"
The maid stroked her hair, her eyes full of sympathy.
"Upon seeing him, you would never imagine he even left the Undying Lands."
"Is that so..."
What a strange feeling to imagine that Findaráto, her dear Findaráto, was somewhere down the Taniquetil, on the hill of Túna. Mere leagues stood between them, if she were to run, she would reach him before sunset, yet... she was scared at the idea of having to face him, after all that time.
"Lady Eärwen bade me to tell you that, as always, you are welcome under her roof and were you willing to meet lord Findaráto, she would gladly settle the matter on your behalf."
Amárië said no words.
"He is here to stay, my Lady. He is not permitted to leave Aman again."
It brought Amárië but little comfort and she would have liked to point out that the Noldor had forsaken the Doom of Mandos already.
"Lady Eärwen is kind to have sent you here," she said, in a strained voice. "Yet I do not know... I..."
Amárië simply shook her head, still thunderstruck.
"Will you not go back to Tirion with me then, my Lady?"
"Am I expected there so soon?"
The maid shrugged.
"Do you not wish to see him?"
"Of course, I do, of course..." sighed Amárië. "What of him though... has he mentioned me at all?"
"He is barely out of the Halls of Mandos, he does not talk much..."
Amárië smiled sadly.
"Please tell lady Eärwen I am highly flattered by the friendship she is honouring me with, and also that her invitation will not remained unanswered long," she said, staring at the ground. "She would surely understand it is a great news for me too and that I cannot act hastily upon hearing about it."
"As you bid me, lady Amárië."
"I thank you too, I am always glad to see you."
"My Lady, it is ever a pleasure to meet you, truly."
The maid had risen, yet Amárië remained seated, for she felt weary.
"You are free to leave now," she told the maid. "I need some time on my own to deal with... my memories."
1493 Y.T. Alqualondë
Vanyarin friends of Turakáno's wife, Elenwë, had come along with her to Alqualondë when she, her husband and their daughter had been invited to stay there by lady Eärwen and her family. Some of these companions, who had never visited the harbor and barely ever seen the sea, had soon expressed the wish to visit the marketplace and the docks, for they were very curious about the ships and the many treasures the Teleri brought back from Tol Eressëa and from the ocean itself.
Upon hearing their request, Findaráto had offered to guide them himself, as he fancied he knew a lot about his mother's folk and also that he had a certain talent to tell stories. He was quite happy too to lead his little group throughout the beautiful streets of the Swan-haven, where pearls and jewels shone brightly on walls and pillars, and he kept stopping here and there, pointing out whatever he found worth his guests' attention - and he thought he was doing pretty well, for his speech had never been so flourishing.
There were seven Elves following him and among them was his brother Aikanáro, the only one of his siblings who had been kind enough not to refuse to embark on this tour, despite knowing beforehand such a walk would be as endless as Findaráto's chatter on the seashells that adorned the archway leading to the marketplace. On the other hand, Turakáno and his daughter, Itarillë, were more naive and, ignoring the warnings of Angaráto and Artanis, they had been very enthusiastic at the idea of discovering some of the most beautiful spots of Alqualondë. As for Elenwë and her three Vanyarin friends, Ingorion, Lindómë and Amárië, they were the ones following Findaráto closest, eagerly listening to his words and nodding at whatever he said - or at least they did so, at the beginning.
Yet as time passed by, and as they moved slower and slower, since Findaráto's comments grew longer, what had been a tight-knit party became a rather loose group whose members eventually started to scatter.
"This particular column has been covered with aquamarines the Noldor have gifted the Teleri with and as you may recall - I did bring it up while we were walking under the archway -, it was part of the displays of friendship between our two folks, which also reflected the bond between..."
Aikanáro, who had gotten bored first, was staring at his elder brother's mouth, wondering if it would ever shut again, and for how long. Hopefully, he remembered there was an archery range located not far from the docks and it quickly seemed an excellent notion to leave. And as Aikanáro felt generous, he grabbed Ingorion, a tall fellow whom he had no difficulty to convince to desert with him.
Findaráto, busy as he was telling every single anecdote he knew about aquamarines, did not notice his audience had lost two of its members, nor was he aware later that Turakáno and Elenwë had chosen to stay with a Falmari choir that was singing in the marketplace instead of continuing any further - and they missed a terrific monologue on how the fishermen's stalls had been made of timber from the forests north of Tirion.
And when finally Findaráto had reached the harbor itself, where the magnificent swan-ships were moored, it was Itarillë and Lindómë's turn to escape. They had fallen behind a while ago, although they still followed their guide, yet when they caught a glimpse of the beach's white sand, whatever guilt they could have felt vanished, and they headed there hurriedly, leaving Findaráto alone with Amárië, the last of the Vanyar.
"As I mentioned earlier, the Falmari love especially birchwood and their shipwrights craft it with skills that remain unmatched among the Eldar, and..."
He had turned around, gesturing at the nearest boat, whose golden beak twinkled with the light of Laurelin, and only then did it strike him that of the seven Elves he had lead in the streets of the haven only one stood still in front of him. She was the smallest of Elenwë's Vanyarin friends, and probably the youngest, and she was staring at him intently, like she had during the whole walk, for she was genuinely captivated by his words.
"Have we lost the others, perhaps?" he asked, suddenly confused.
"It seems we did, on our path here," she answered, though it did not seem to trouble her at all.
Findaráto glanced around, expecting at least Aikanáro or Turakáno to show up, hoping for a moment they had pulled a prank on him. Yet after a few long minutes had passed, it became plain everyone had given up on him, everyone but the little Vanya.
"Was my speech so awful...?" he muttered to himself, running his hand in his hair. "Why would they leave like that...? My ideas do tend to stray and I might be too willing to be accurate, yet I thought that for once I had managed to be entertaining enough..."
He was pacing around, rubbing his chin nervously, and he had completely forgotten about docks, the swan-ships and Amárië, who was listening to him with great concern, as if it was all part of the city tour.
"You need not worry, my Lord," she said, very seriously. "You have been a great guide, yet you forgot that, as much as they wanted to learn more about the harbor, they also wished to enjoy whatever new things they saw. You have addressed them the way a scholar would talk to his peers, and so it might be that you misjudged their original interest and got carried away by your own fervor."
Findaráto looked down at her, as he stopped moving, startled. She had those pale blue eyes, that sparkled like sapphires and that were found among the Vanyar solely, and her hair was long and wavy, its color being somewhere between dark gold and amber - a rather peculiar shade for one of the Fair Elves. Truth be told, Amárië was remarkably beautiful, even for one of her folk, but Findaráto could not bother to notice it, as he was upset that his skills as a story-teller had so utterly failed him
"You mean that my manners were too ditactic?" he said, frowning. "Haven't they requested to learn more about the history of the city, though... I could surely not overlook the part the Noldor played in building Alqualondë, and the friendship between my grandfathers was sealed with the joint construction of this harbor, was it not better if I told how they became friends in the first place, when they dwelled in the East, before they were summoned to the blessed lands?"
Truth was, Findaráto had even talked of the Awakening and of the creation of the stars, for he simply loved to allude to these particular episodes, whatever his main topic was.
"I should tell you that your brother lord Aikanáro and Ingorion left our group well before you were done with this part," said Amárië in a sympathetic tone. "And lord Turakáno and Elenwë never heard you discuss the Teleri's journey to Aman on Tol Eresseä. Perhaps you ought have focused your commentaries on the scallop shells and the pearls adorning the walls and pillars of the haven... Everyone was quite delighted by their shapes and colors."
"They needed no guide if they intended to get a mere view at the city," complained Findaráto who thought it was a shame he would not even get the chance to explain the tricky art of shipbuilding to his little group.
He had kept this for the end, as a final feat, convinced it would thrill them all.
"It is truly a fascinating matter, the swan-ships..." he whispered, scowling.
And then he realized Amárië was still there, and that one was better than none.
"Would you like to take a stroll to the shipyard, my Lady?" he asked, deeming there was still a chance for him to talk of birchwood and carpentry. "The shipwrights are always happy to share their lore and, although I would not want you to think I might be conceited, I happen to know a lot about boats myself."
He looked at her, eagerly awaiting her answer, but Amárië had already something else in mind.
"Lord Findaráto, you have mentioned several times how fresh and delicious are the oysters harvested by the mariners," she said. "And I must confess it has made me quite hungry, have we not been out for hours after all?"
She was oblivious of his disappointed expression and, smiling, she pointed at one of the fisher's booths that stood on the docks. Findaráto was tempted to argue that food could always wait, however he was also glad that Amárië had not missed his brilliant and, apparently, mouth-watering digression on shellfishes.
"I suppose a tasting might be a suited conclusion to this pointless expedition," he mumbled, gesturing toward the stand Amárië hed set her sights on.
As he walked on the large wooden planks of the harbor, some of his grumpiness faded away when he saw her trotting at his side, her eyes gleaming with anticipation.
Findaráto did not brood long, for he was too well-mannered to act so foolishly around a guest, and also because Amárië soon proved to have been a very attentive listener, a fact that did much to improve his ill-treated ego.
"I cannot believe even Turakáno slipped away," he groaned one last time, after he and Amárië had sat at the very end of long dock, a basket full of oysters placed between them.
His complaint was only half-hearted, though, and the sea breeze and the quiet sound of waves lapping had driven off most of his displeasure. Next to him Amárië seemed to be paying no attention to his mood, for she was busy discovering how delicious oysters were indeed and he was a bit surprised she could so easily open them as her hands were notably smaller than his. And it was only after she had swallowed at least half a dozen of them - she really loved it, Findaráto even caught her licking her fingers - that Amárië turned her attention to her surroundings.
"The harbor is truly beautiful," she said, dipping her feet in the water.
"Splendid work has been done here," he agreed, gazing around.
He had eaten one or two oysters and, although he was still hungry, he had pushed the basket slightly toward her. But either Amárië was quite satisfied with what she already had had, either she had taken a sudden interest in architecture, for she stared attentively at the towers that rose not far from the docks.
"Was it not already beautiful, before your craftsmen came and shaped the shore?" she asked, after having been silent for a few minutes.
"It is a natural harbor, yet the city was built along the lines of what the Valar had created beforehand," answered Findaráto who actually had a lot to say on the matter.
He restrained himself from telling her anything more, for he was a bit anxious to scare her away, like the others.
"I do wonder what is more beautiful then, Alqualondë as I see it today, or this location as it was when the Teleri first landed here."
Findaráto took some time to consider this comment.
"One is forever lost, however," he said. "Would not the comparison be vain?"
Amárië merely shrugged.
"Some might think nature as it is cannot be improved, even by the most skillful crafstman."
"Perhaps the land's initial beauty cannot be surpassed, yet one whose hands are able enough can hope to build a few pretty and cozy houses for his friends, do you not agree?"
"Oh I do," she said, helping herself with another oyster. "I suppose only those who came here first really do know the answer to such question, for only they have seen both places - before and after Alqualondë was raised."
"Do you intend on inquiring of my grandfather about it then? He could certainly enlighten you on the matter, better than anyone else, most probably."
Amárië thought about it for a while, pouting.
"I would like to ponder about this a bit more."
Findaráto gazed at her, puzzled.
"You do love questions, do you not?"
"I do, my Lord."
"Then do you have any for me, lady Amárië?"
"As it happens I do."
He smiled broadly.
"Please go ahead, I am all ears."
541 F.A. - Taniquetil
Amárië still remembered too well the taste of fresh oysters and the graceful shape of the swan-ships, even though Alqualondë had become a place she would rather avoid. She had so often revisited the memory of their first encounter, she only needed to close her eyes to walk on the docks again, and ever she pondered over it. And now she was worried about what their second 'first encounter' would be like and it terrified her to consider it might not turn out so well. There were many issues both of them needed to address, yet what Amárië feared most was that Findaráto would simply not wish to meet her, would simply not need for her to be by his side, for it was more than likely that his years in Beleriand had greatly alter him.
It seems everyone is always so beautiful in Tolkien's legendarium that the word 'beautiful' loses some of its meaning, but I figured that the Elf who manages to catch Findaráto's heart had to be above average (although probably not as pretty as Galadriel haha). It is surely not her main asset though, because I perceive Finrod as being the 'intellectual' of the family and so it'd be logical he'd fall for someone who has brains like he does. That's where the Amárië I imagined comes from, the idea that they would have long discussions, in the fashion of the Athrabeth Finrod ah Andreth.