"Then Fëanor ran from the Ring of Doom, and fled into the night; for his father was dearer to him than the Light of Valinor or the peerless works of his hands; and who among sons, of Elves or of Men, have held their fathers of greater worth?"
- The Silmarillion
Of Father and Son
for Ithilwen (unbelievably late)
Finwë glared coldly at the child in front of him, and received a saddened but resolute look in return. "Father," the child added after a while. The king could not ascertain whether it was in fact only the continuation of the previous sentence or one on its own right.
The ancient elf watched the youth that was his son, and would have sighed if the boy had not been watching him with such intent eyes. Curufinwë was only thirty-six years old, a mere youngling: yet he was grown already tall and serious as if many centuries had passed over his brow. Often, as the distracted child looked away to follow with his eyes the shadow of a bird in the sky, Finwë had had to tear his hungry gaze from the youthful face; for over and over again, even as he grew in years and skills the king would find in his fine features the memory of Miriel.
However, Finwë had to admit that surely the unfathomable depths of the boy's stubbornness was about the only thing his son had effectively inherited from him.
At times like these, he could have wished for less.
This time the young prince stayed silent, but for those who knew how to read him refusal was written clearly on his apparently neutral face.
Finwë knew how to read his son, and shook his head in despair.
"My son, please realize that you have had two brothers for more than five years, and have still not even met them."
Nothing was altered in the boy's impassive face. "My Father, please realize that I have no brother, and am absolutely not likely to ever acquire one anytime soon."
And, without waiting for dismissal, he spun around and began to leave, purposely clacking the metallic heels of his boots on the stony ground.
"Stay." The word rang in the room like the echo of a brazen bell. Silence fell after it, because there was no more the sound of footsteps on the rock.
"By order of the King," the ancient elf mouthed, deliberately slow. "You will be at the Gates, at the third mingling of the Lights from the time that he spoke; and thereat will you meet your true family."
After a while, the tall youth resumed his march towards the door.
"Ada, Ada! Nolyo's hurting me!"
The small blonde child unexpectedly grabbed one of his legs, nearly making him trip and loose an already precarious balance due to the heavy pile of books he was carrying.
"I am not!" another childish voice called out behind him, furious and already, he noticed with some pleasure, deeper than that of a mere toddler. "It wouldn't have hurt if you had just stood still! I don't see how it could have hurt anyways!"
"But Ada!" the younger boy whined.
"Shh, shh, Aro, Nolyo… what are you two doing in the library at that hour?" he gently scolded. "Shouldn't you have been helping your Mother preparing for today's journey?"
His leg was released as the two boys stayed frozen in place, gawking at him with their mouths hanging open. It was clear that all thought of the oncoming trip had completely slipped their little minds.
He raised an eyebrow at them.
In perfect coordination, the two children mouthed a precipitate "Yes Father" and dashed out of the dust-scented room, leaving the heavy door hanging open behind them.
Sighing, Finwë relocated the pile of books from his arms to the top of the desk, and allowed himself to collapse down into one of the cozy, velvet-cushioned armchairs.
He thought that at the age of six, Curvo had already been recognized as the most promising apprentice Mahtan had ever received in Aulë's Halls.
"As always, it seems like you have been worrying in vain after all, dearest," Indis' rich golden voice murmured besides his ear.
He felt her familiar weight leaning on his arm. The two children, who had been racing in front of them on the dusty road the whole time, were now walking at a reasonable pace at some distance behind, curiously eyeing the tall silhouette leaning against one of the Gate's white pillars.
Finwë didn't know what to think. To be honest, eighty-five per cent of his sentient mind had been totally positive that the young Curufinwë would not have given his wishes any heed, and much less his orders. Now that he could see his eldest son before him on the road, walking down from the Gate to meet them, it occurred to him, that maybe he hadn't really given the eventuality of an encounter any sufficient thought.
No one could truly understand Curufinwë's mind-set. The boy was, in his entirety, an absolute illustration of perfect unpredictability.
Now he had stayed his long strides in front of them, and swept into a respectful bow designed for the politely smiling Indis.
"Fëanàro, my Lady. At your service."
The Vanya waved the official gesture off with a slight laugh.
"There is indeed no need of being so formal, Son. I am pleased that you could relieve yourself of your duties for today, to join us in this modest walk through the woods."
"But the pleasure is all mine," the youth replied, turning to look at his father, but only not lifting his gaze essentially high enough to make eye contact; or maybe just an inch too high.
Content and comfortable, he leant back into Indis' lap, and enjoyed the feel of the warm sunshine on his face.
The morning had gone surprisingly well. Fëanàro had behaved like a true model of smoothness and courtesy, and Indis found him to be a charming lad. Nolyo had, apparently, quickly taken on the elder boy; they had spent much of the time in the woods walking together, a little while ahead of the rest of the family, so that at times the foliage and branches hid them away from their father's view. Aro, still a little young, he thought, had however till then insisted on clinging to his mother's hand, and at the moment was seated right beside them, watching a grasshopper with intent eyes.
Someplace farther away, Curvo had improvised some kind of draughtboard with the tiled sheet they had picnicked upon, and pawns with carrot-slices; the two dark-haired brothers were bent upon their game, deeply engrossed.
"How old is he again?" Indis' voice came from above him, and he had to lift his eyes to see her face. From his position, it looked to be upside down, and he removed a strand of her golden hair from his face.
She laughed softly. "Remind me to wish both our sons grow up to be as handsome and intelligent as he is."
"Hm." He idly watched the two seated boys bend toward the board, advance their hands and move their pawn, one after the other, in an almost rhythmical way. The younger one was frowning. Up to now, six games had been played, and Curvo come out victor of all sixes; a seventh one was on the run.
Suddenly, Nolyo leapt up from the grass. "It's not fair!" His yell drifted faintly through the space that separated him and his parents. "You're letting me win!" His small youthful face was flushed with shame, and a twig hung in the lower part of his hair where it had been sprawling on the grass when he sat.
Laughing, Curvo peacefully laid back on the ground; giving the other boy's anger no grip on him.
The youngest child had stopped watching the grasshopper and turned his attention to his two brothers instead.
The blonde boy's eyes stayed riveted on the two distant figures. "He is my brother, isn't he?"
Finwë felt a slight tension stiffening Indis' body. "But of course, you little silly-head." She chuckled. "He is your brother."
An expression of deep thoughtfulness passed upon the childish brow. "But he can't be. Nolyo is my brother."
Indis practically started. "And he is also," she snapped.
That fact, however, went unnoticed by Finwë's ears. Aro's questions had been voiced with a mere whisper, certainly not loud enough to have drifted all the way to the draughtboard; but he thought that, for but a sliver of a second, Curvo's gaze had been redirected from the sky to his father's eyes, and the boy had shot him a triumphant smile.
The time of the Mingling of the Lights had long gone past they arrived home.
Tired out, the little Aro had fallen asleep in his father's arms; and Nolyo himself could barely keep his eyes open. On the doorstep, Finwë's youngest son passed from his arms to that of his Mother, and the dark-haired boy was ushered up the stairs to the children's room.
In the semi-darkness of their chamber, Indis smiled and lightly kissed her husband.
"Now, we are a family, aren't we?"
Rather than to answer her, Finwë returned the kiss.
She laid there, beautiful as ever, dreamlike as ever; still and silent as ever she was. The boy sat on the grass next to her, with his legs crossed, and kept his trembling hands clenched on fistfuls of crumpled petals. He didn't cry. Her silver hair rippled around her head like the light halo of a saint.
He was afraid to touch her, lest she broke under his hands like fragile porcelain.
"By Mandos, are you mad?"
Nolofinwë found himself yelling. It's the first time, a spontaneous thought called out across his mind. It's the first time you've found it in your guts to yell it out to his face.
If only he had indeed stayed in Formenos, he thought; he would be dead, and not my father and King.
After the public argument upon the hilltop, where he had seen Fëanàro's face lit up by torchlight, Indis' elder son had stormed away from the square, taking his followers with him. However, a while later, that face had come back to haunt him as the face of a madman: he had set out alone to find his half-brother, wherever the latter was. That argument had been only a public display, a test of strength; a more private discussion, he felt, needed to be held. Also, he had hoped that Fëanàro would have been a little calmed down by the rational thinking preparation for such a long journey was bound to involve.
However, on the spur of the moment when he found him alone wandering in a corridor of his House, he had merely pinned the other elf to the nearest brick wall, and now found himself yelling in his face.
Fëanàro's visage showed absolutely no expression. He simply raised a finger, and Arakàno could do nothing but obey the silent order. From afar, the roar of the people drifted to reach his ears: it was the roar of those who had found faith at last.
Defeated by that sound, he let a slow grin creep upon his face.
"Hey. We have both lost it."
Fëanàro shook his head, and a tiny part of Nolofinwë's smile was mirrored on his lips.
"No. We are wise. It's the world that's absurd."
The terrible logic underlying in all his half-brother's lies made his eyes narrow and his heart burn.
"But I'm not your little brother anymore," he hissed. Yet he never was. "I grew up, if you haven't noticed, brother. I will fight."
Fëanàro laughed outright. "Me or with me?"
Arakàno found nothing to say. Gently, the older elf freed himself from the other's grasp, and no resistance was offered. There was nothing left to say.
He stared at the other's retreating silhouette walking away.
"Don't worry, Nolyo." A taunt. "This time you won't lose."
Fëanor = Curufinwë Fëanàro = Curvo
Fingolfin = Nolofinwë Arakàno = Nolyo
Finarfin = Arafinwë Ingoldo = Aro
According to Morgoth's Ring:
Fëanor born : 1169
Miriel dies : 1170
Finwë/Indis : 1185
Fingolfin born : 1190
Finarfin born : 1230 ß That is canon, however, in this story: 1200 (because the canonicity of HoME is disputable)
Thanks to the Silmfics ML for help in factchecking!
The story takes place in around 1205, Fëanor is 36, Fingolfin is 15, Finarfin is 5.
Gah, Finwë has so totally got no personality. And this is a birthday story for Ithilwen, *only* a month late! o_O Happy Birthday Ithilwen!