One by one, they uttered the oath of Fëanor. Fëanor looked straight at her. She raised her head higher, standing among her brothers and the children of Fingolfin, her bright gold and silver hair twisted like a crown around her head.
" Will you be joining us, Nerwen?"
Finrod stepped before his sister.
" Artanis will be accompanying me," he empathized the use of the name Artanis.
Fëanor's eyes narrowed. Artanis lifted her chin a little more before his eyes turned to longing.
" Come to the front with me. Lead us, for in your hair, the light of my Silmarils shine."
" In my hair, it is said the light of the Two Trees reside, not your stones," her voice was low, yet readable as her fiery eyes narrowed.
*If he tries to touch me, I swear, I will throttle him and this time Atar will not stop me.
Fëanor nodded curtly, before taking up the lead with his two half-brothers beside him. Artanis looked back once more, glancing at the faces of those that remained. She caught Yavanna's dismayed look, and Artanis ducked her head before lifting it proudly.
*I will feel no shame for leaving to find something better than what they can offer here.
Now she wished she could throttle her uncle as anger boiled hot within her. She took the hands of Aredhel, daughter of Fingolfin and Elenwë, wife of Turgon, as they stared at the fallen and mutilated elves.
" How could they?" she whispered venomously.
Her kin lay dead. Her eyes hardened.
*They will pay. I will not speak a word to them again. My sword shall aim for their scrawny necks.
Aredhel touched her shoulder.
" Shall we turn back with your father? He wishes for you to join him."
Artanis saw Fingon approaching. She looked up to him.
" What shall you do, Fingon?"
Fingon lifted his head proudly.
" I shall not return. We have done no wrong."
" Then I will stand by your side."
Fingon nodded, kissing her hand.
" I thank thee."
For in the days of Happiness in Valinor, there had been the beginnings of love between the two houses.
Artanis shivered in the cruel wind. Even crushed between her brothers and their warm cloaks, she was still left with emptiness.
*How could Atar? He left us. He left us and went back.
" Atar, I am cold," a soft voice whispered, " Where is Mamil, Atar? Where is she?"
Artanis looked back with grief in her eyes at the young child. Turgon hoisted her up, tears frozen against his cheeks.
" Mamil is ahead, Idril. She is waiting for us at the other side."
Artanis saw Finrod shake his head. He met his sister's eyes.
*At the other end? He means in Mandos for that is where we are walking to under your leadings.
She sent him a nasty look.
*Do not blame me for this. Have you any want to turn back? Do you wish to be like Atar and abandon me?
Finrod's eyes narrowed.
*Watch your tongue, sister or I will be sure to cut it.
*I dare you to try.
" Atar, I want Mamil. I don't want to be here anymore. Why can't I go to her?" came the small voice again.
Artanis looked back, pausing in her steps.
" Come to Aunty, Idril. Come here," Artanis rescued Turgon from further questions.
He sent her a thankful smile. Her eyes connected with the dark haired Elf behind him.
" This is quite some weather, is it not? I believe I could grow to like the snow," his cheerful tone reigned louder than the screeching wind.
" Would you like to build a summer haven here then, Uncle Fingolfin?"
Fingolfin's lips pursed.
" I do not like it that much, Artanis, I was merely commenting that the weather would be delightful were it not for this wind."
Fingolfin then turned his attention to his grieving son. Artanis laid her chin on the top of Idril's head.
*Poor, poor dear. To lose her mother so young. Yet another thing for me to add to my list of reasons why I can slay Fëanor myself when I see him.
Maedhros laid his head back against the cushions. Artanis entered quickly and then shook her head.
" I will not help him. He can die for all I care."
Fingon steered her back to him.
" You will help him."
Artanis crossed her arms, arching an eyebrow challengingly.
" I just risked my bloody life for him. I will not have him die here, when you can help him," Fingon hissed.
Artanis met his eyes challengingly.
" I will help him because I want him to live so I can torture him."
She took his maimed hand in hers and roughly removed the wrappings.
" Ai," Maedhros cried.
Artanis' eyes hardened. Fingon stilled her hands.
" You will treat him like you would anyone else."
She pursed her lips angrily, pushing back stray strands from her face.
*I do not just forget about someone slaying my kin and then leaving me to shame in Aman.
" I need some warm water and towels, plus a needle and thread." Artanis leaned over the patient, carefully opening an eye and noting he was conscious. "I must stitch this up, Maedhros, or you will surely die."
" Tis only what I deserve," he mumbled, turning to look at her, and then Turgon, " Forgive me. I knew not that Atar would leave you."
Turgon walked out without a word. Maedhros looked up questioningly.
" Elenwë is dead. She died over the passing of Helcaraxë," Artanis informed, " Just like the many at the shores of Alqualondë.
Maedhros' head fell against the pillow.
" He will never forgive me and I blame him not," he looked up at her, " I have forsaken my right to the crown. I would not be a good king."
" True," Artanis took the warm water and towels, motioning for them to lay the needle and thread elsewhere.
" Are you angry with me also?"
Artanis looked up.
" Did you figure that out on your own, Maedhros? I have surely never seen this all-knowing mind you suddenly possess."
He glanced at Fingon.
" I take it she is furious at me."
" I am sorry, Nerwen."
Her flaming eyes seemed to scorch him.
" Do not call me that. Only traitors and backsliders call me by that name."
" Artanis, do not speak so of your father."
Fingolfin entered the room, with a smile upon his face. Artanis merely stood, finished with Maedhros' hand, or lack of it.
" What is done is done. I wish to put it behind me, but not to forget it. We will begin by scouting out this land. There are said to be Elves living here. Úmanyar, who stayed behind for Elwë their leader stayed here also," Fingolfin directed his gaze on Artanis, " There are few women who came. We must ensure their safety."
" I will not be caged, Lord uncle."
" You will remain safe, my child."
" Behind bars? Nay, my lord. Not even the flames of Morgoth's fury could stop me when I decide to ride out from here," she lifted her head angrily, seeming to cast an almost reddish glow with her anger, " And I dare you to try and stop me."
Fingolfin watched her stalk out. He shook his head.
" I will never see what any find so desirable in her fiery nature. She bears a flame like Fëanor, and it can only bring harm."
" You too?" Artanis exclaimed.
Fingon rubbed her arms softly.
" Now, Artanis, you are dear to us all. We cannot have you gallivanting around unprotected. I wish you to live with me. Stay by my side."
" Stand behind you?" Artanis' eyes bored into his, " You wish someone to stand in your shadow that will support you in all you do."
Fingon's eyes searched hers. Artanis took a step back.
" I cannot be that one. We are too close in blood anyways. You know it can never be."
Fingon's face fell.
" I will stand in no man's shadow. He will let me stand beside him and not be afraid if I do overpower him. He will support me, and I him. He will be confident enough to not question his manliness if I am wiser than he."
Fingon's rare temper flared.
" I do not fear you."
" Yes, you do," her voice lowered even more, " You fear to fail, to be outdone by a maiden."
" So this is how it is," Fingon shook his head.
Artanis watched him leave, shaking her head also. She and Fingon only looked at each other from that time on as a relationship of the past. Fingon went on to wed, but Artanis remained by Finrod's side, riding extensively with him.