Borys: you're welcome, I guess I spared it to myself as well haha.
It is just a short chapter that takes place a while after the end of the story (a century actually), because the real happy ending for the Sindar and the Noldor only takes place after the end of the 1st Age, so only after that did Finrod really got things back together [almost].
"Ah there, you see it? This is a fire salamander and we are lucky it has rained today, for these small fellows rarely venture under the sunlight."
Amárië had lift up a large leaf under which the salamander had been hiding and her son, little Artamir, had gaped upon seeing the creature.
"It is much bigger than the newts we saw in the pond!" exclaimed the child. "And it is so beautiful with its shiny black skin with the yellow spots!"
Mother and son had crouched and their eyes were squinted the exact same way as they gazed at the salamander - it was staring back, yet it dared not move.
"What does it eat?" asked Artamir.
"Does it like water, like the newts?"
"It lays its eggs in water, just before they hatch, but it prefers to dwell on grounds covered with leafs and moss," Amárië explained. "Or it might chose to live in an old tree trunk."
"Can I touch it?"
"You would be ill-advised to do so, for its skin is poisonous."
"Really? Is it dangerous?"
"A bit, yes. And it hurts, a lot."
Artamir was now admiring the salamander with newfound respect and the small amphibian, having established it was not to be treated lightly despite its rather tiny size, took this as an opportunity to leave and go about its daily activities.
"Shouldn't Father be there by now?" inquired Artamir who could not wait to share his discoveries with his father.
"He must be on his way already, yet he might have strayed a little," answered Amárië, stroking her son's head.
"Strayed? We are not that far from the city though..."
"You know your father, he probably stopped to greet someone and it ended up in a long monologue on the shimmering colors of autumn leaves or perhaps on the genealogy of some minor houses of the Noldor."
Findaráto had strayed, indeed.
He had intended to join his wife and son right after his usual morning walk with his father, beneath the trees of Eldamar, down the crystal stairs of Tirion. But near the gates of the city, where he and lord Arafinwë had parted, he had come across a familiar face.
"Glorfindel, where are you going, clad in such a sumptuous attire?" he had greeted his friend.
"I was graciously invited to a hunting party by lord Fingon and lord Turgon, and I am on the way to the stables," replied the Gondolindrim.
Perhaps Findaráto had exaggerated a little, for Glorfindel was elegant, yet his clothes were simply white, bearing a single golden flower - somptuous was perhaps an overstatement. The three servants following him wore grey travelling cloaks and were carrying a long bow, arrows and gears of all sorts.
"Then we can walk a little while together together, I was myself on my way to find Amárië and Artamir," said Findaráto, enthusiastic. "They left at dawn to spend the day in the forest."
"And what have they gone seeking this time?"
"They took a liking to amphibians lately, thus I believe they went looking for frogs, newts and salamanders. And toads too, I suppose."
"Do they intend to catch any?"
"They might have a closer look at a few specimens, but Amárië won't let Artamir catch anything. She says wilderness has to remain wild and that she won't keep any prisoners in her home, for not all creatures were meant to be tamed." And, saying this, Findaráto smiled, fondly remembering how horrified his dear Amárië had been when, a few months ago, he had suggested they should keep a nightingale home awhile, for their son's entertainment.
"Prisoners?" chuckled Glorfindel. "A few newts in the clear water of a fountain would not be so unhappy, I daresay."
"Newts actually prefer still water," Findaráto corrected him, having himself read a lot about amphibians. "Perhaps efts would not mind living in a tank, however once they grow, they would need some land as well. Although, mind you, we could easily build a tank large enough to accomodate all the needs of our little amphibian friends... I wonder what Amárië would think about that, after all if I can manage to present this as an experimentation, then perhaps it would strike her curiosity and she would agree to keep the newts home. I know for sure she is utterly fascinated by their metamorphoses and Artamir and her have decided to discover everything there is to discover about newts and salamanders - I too am rather thrilled about these researches myself, as it is an excellent introduction to natural sciences for the child. And it is adorable to see how our son is serious about it, his notes and observations are so neatly done, he is bound to become a great scholar."
Of course, Findaráto could not help but to discuss the education he and Amárië provided their son, detailing the subjects they had been going over with him over the last year, and how surprised they were the child's mind was already so sharp. By then, Glorfindel was used to his friend's tendency to monologues and he had to admit Findaráto had quite a talent at it, thus he listened silently, nodding now and then, when he felt he was required to.
"I hear ramble and there I see you, Ingoldo," said suddenly a familiar voice, coming behind them. "I gather you will not join our little hunting party?"
It was Angaráto, clad in green and brown clothes, was carrying his own equipment, for no servants were with him.
"In a way, I will be hunting too."
"Oh, I can imagine a stuffed newt would truly enhance the mantelpiece of the dining hall."
"I do recall you said you would rather hung a boar head up there, that accounts for your flawless taste, dear brother."
The brothers were both grinning, clearly satisfied of themselves. It had taken them a few months to resume their old habits when Angaráto had been reembodied, for at first there had been a lot of crying and both happy and sad tears had been shed.
"I suppose we shall each bring back our trophies to the tower and then we may judge what would be most suitable for this mantelpiece. And perhaps lord Laurefindil could bring a stag, antlers are usually considered elegant decorations."
It had surely not been Angaráto's intention, but his little intervention had somewhat triggered Findaráto into an unprecedentedly long speech on the several species of deers in Valinor - something he had studied with his son not so long ago, he mentioned - and he spoke about Tol Eresseä, where fauna and flora were shockingly different from what could be found in Aman, which lead him to his absolutely favorite subject of the past few decades - Númenor, this island the Valar had raised for the Edain.
"I cannot help but wonder what their cities are like, how their realm is developping. The Elves of Tol Eresseä, who get to sail over there, brought them a seedling of their Tree, Celeborn born itself out of a seedling of our own White Tree, and it is said it already bloomed, in Armenelos, the City of the King, where it was planted."
And Findaráto was dreaming out loud of this place he would never set eyes on, yet he could rely on the few accounts he had heard from the Teleri to imagine the tower Elros had built and the Meneltarma's high slopes that lead to the temple dedicated to the One. He had no desire to go there himself, for it was the land of the Atani and even the mariners of Tol Eresseä never wandered outside the harbors where their ships moored, but he was fascinated by Númenor and he still truly cared for the fate of Men, he who had been called their friend.
Findaráto also loved to collect the stories of the exiled Noldor, those who had come back to Valinor, either by boat after the War of Wrath, or through the Halls of Mandos, reembodied like he had been. He talked a lot to the Sindar as well, the newcomers, for a good portion of these people had definetely left Middle-Earth - Beleriand no more was, although for him, who would ever dwell in the Blessed Lands, it felt as if it was still out there. The Wars of the Jewels were over indeed, but Arda had changed and the Eldar too were not exactly the same, whatever folk they belonged to, and Findaráto believed the history of the 1st Age of the Sun should be preserved, in songs and in scrolls alike.
"Of course, as long as we, the exiled and the Sindar, last, our memories shall do so, yet if we mean to study history and draw conclusions from our past deed, then we ought write it down."
"Do you fear then, if another terrible event was to occur in Valinor, that we might repeat the same mistakes, would we not clearly deal with our history?"
It sounded very close to Angaráto's voice, but it was not his - Orodreth stood by Findaráto and had apparently been there awhile. His wife and Finduilas had come along and they had been listening intently to the speech about the importance of written history, their sparkling eyes set on Findaráto, their faces serious - the kind of crowd he liked most.
"I was lost in my thoughts, I'm afraid I had not noticed my audience had grown larger ! Or... has it?" Findaráto gazed around, turning his head left and right. "Where have Glorfindel and Angaráto gone?"
"The hunting party was about to leave without them, they had to leave us fast," said Orodreth and as he saw Findaráto look up in the sky in search of the Sun, he added "It is an hour past noon, Uncle."
"I have been lingering too long already," sighed Findaráto and he thought he would have to run fast through the woods if he meant to reach his wife and son before dusk.
"Make haste, Uncle, Amárië and Artamir must be wondering what happened to you," said Finduilas who could not help but laugh softly.
"Oh, I would imagine they have assumed I... strayed a little."
Barefeet, mother and son were wading in a pond and Artamir was giggling everytime a frog would jump or croak and Amárië chuckled every time her son giggled - birds had gathered in the trees nearby to listen to their laughters. Their hair was of the exact same shade of dark gold, they laughed the same way too, but otherwise Artamir was in all physical aspects similar to his father, as Findaráto was himself much alike lord Arafinwë. They were his dearest treasures and this little family of his was all he had ever needed, he thought, looking at them.
"What a charming sight!" he said out loud. "What a charming lady and what a charming young boy!"
"Father!" Artamir ran towards Findaráto who caught him and lift him up. His son felt so light and little in his arms and he loved holding him or having him sit on his shoulders - he was well aware these days would not last long and he wanted to enjoy it as much as he could.
"Tell me, have you seen a lot of toads, of newts?"
"Yes and we saw a fire salamander, it was hiding under wet leaves! Did you know it is dangerous to touch their skin? Mother said it is poisonous," said Artamir whose enthusiasm was contagious. The child's hands were muddy, from all the searching he had done around the pond, and he had managed to quickly stain his father's clothes.
"Your mother is quite right, their yellow spots are indeed poisonous."
"Have you ever touched one?"
"No, and I would not recommand you to do it, you'd hurt a lot."
"That is what Mother said."
Amárië had come out of the pond as well, beaming at them. The bottom of her dress was wet up to her knees, her hair was a bit dishevelled and at least one leaf was caught in it - that was the Amárië Findaráto loved most.
"What a remarkably wise mother you have!" said Findaráto, putting an arm around his wife's shoulders and leaning to kiss her forehead. His son on one side, his wife on the other, he could not have been happier and he grinned widely at them both.
"It is already afternoon, Ingoldo, what has delayed you?" asked Amárië.
"As it happened, I had engaged in a very interesting discussion with Laurefindil, and with Angaráto."
She laughed. "And what matter could you possibly need to discuss so urgently that you would let your son wait for you hours and hours?"
"History... not that it is more important than you," he assured his son, putting a kiss on his round cheek. "Perhaps we should spend the night here, to make up for my delay? We do not have to back to the city today and sleeping under the stars seems a rather pleasant prospect, does it not?"
"This is an excellent idea," Amárië agreed. "The houses and towers of Tirion were built with unparalleled craft, yet wilderness is a lovely home too."
"Could we stay by the pond?" Artamir suggested. "I do really like frog croaking."
"Will it not prevent you from sleeping?"
The child shook his head. "No, it is a soothing sound."
"Ah, ponds. Water, even peaceful still water, is an ever fascinating topic. Have I told you of the shores of Cuiviénen as described by my grandfather, Artamir?"
"You did, Father."
"Have I really? Then you would surely recall that Cuiviénien was a gulf in the Sea of Helcar, a vast inland sea, east of Beleriand, and that it was named after one of the pillar one which was set Illuin, one of the two Lamps the Valar had created in the beginning of Arda to bring light to the world. And why would a sea bear the name of a pillar, you may ask, well—"
"The pillars were cast down and the Lamps were broken by Melkor, causing the lands and seas to be reshaped and where fell Illuin the Sea of Helcar was created. Thus its name is an everlasting reminder of the great pillar that one stood there, supporting the northen Lamp," Artamir recited, even imitating the usual dramatic tone his father's voice took when he was telling him about the destruction of the Lamps. The child may have been only twelve years old, but he had heard the story ever since he had been a toddler and he was quite gifted at learning indeed.
Amárië had burst into laughter, to the delight of Artamir who felt rather proud of his impersonation. "What have you done to our son, Ingoldo?"
"He was well taught, that is all," said Findaráto, chuckling, and he was amazed by the way Artamir had so easily remembered his speech, although, as it was by far his favourite story, he might have repeated it very often. "Now I grew curious, dear son, for I wonder if you could tell me what happened next and what brought light to Arda after the Lamps were destroyed."
"He knows it all," said Amárië as their child was nodding.
"Then let's sit and we shall listen to your tales, young Artamir."
And thus the family settled on the bank of the pond, as the Sun was going down in the sky. Findaráto pulled Amárië closer to him and she leaned her head on his shoulder while Artamir nestled himself between his parents - by far his favourite spot.
"Where should I start?" asked the child, taking his role as a storyteller seriously.
"By the creation of the Trees and the years that ensued," answered Findaráto, "then only can we go back to Cuiviénien, where everything started, for the Elves at least."
For their son's name, I simply took the 'Ara/Arta' from 'Arafinwë' and 'Artanis' ("noble") and added 'mir' (from mírë, "jewel") and I suppose that if they have any more children they will all have this 'mir' in their father-name (like the sons of Fingolfin all have káno/gon and the sons of Finarfin aráto/rod). [Small edit: I was browsing through the Kings of Gondor's genealogies (you know, as a way to relax from a busy day haha) and I came across a prince called Artamir, so I'm glad the name is actually canon even though it's just a coincidence]
And I limited myself to mentioning only a few reembodied Elves (and mostly from Finrod's family) because it would have been way too long to list all of those who probably came back during the beginning of the 2nd Age (at least I've always imagined most of the Noldor/Sindar were reembodied at that time, except a few notable exceptions). What would be interesting to write about is the reaction of Finrod/Angrod/Finarfin when they understand Galadriel is not coming yet, even though she could... but that is another story ;)
So that is the end, when I get to hit the 'complete' button!
Thank you to everyone who took the time to read the story (even if you just read a few chapters, I hope it was fun anyways), and to those who favourited/followed it, and those who reviewed or sent me a pm, it was nice talking to you ! It was a fun story to write, I hope it was a fun story to read !
Now I should be going through the story once more and get rid of some of those lingering typos, also I need to go read fics to recharge my batteries haha
See you next time!
(I do hope I haven't forgotten anything major...)