A/N: This is my contribution to the Feanorian Week in 2018, in seven instalments. Some of you readers might remember that 'Brontide' – my 2017 publication – has never been completed with Fëanor's piece; and Fëanor himself will be entirely missing from this year's collection as well. The reason is very simple: I don't feel confident – aka: skilled – enough to write anything about him. Yet.
About this year's contribution: 'Mordo esseron' means 'the shadow of names' in Quenya, the 'shadow' particle carrying a background meaning of befouled-ness. Consequently, one might guess that the small snippets I'm going to publish this week will all revolve around names.
While reading, you may also encounter certain titles I gave to the Sons of Fëanor in 'The Seven Gates', or my other stories. I decided to include them as well because they add a lot to my personal understanding of these characters, which, I think, is what this event is all about.
P.S.: I use Ted Nasmith's magnificent artwork, 'Oath of Fëanor' as a cover illustration.
The name fathers give is a promise, an expectation, and oftentimes a burden; the weightiest of all names, harder than steel and insistent like deep-embedded rocks in a hillside. No stream can smoothen it, no fretting legs, and no chisel; only grasp-less, ageless Time.
The eldest prince was promised to be third in a line of kingship, of valour, of lifelong service; for a king serves his people. And kingship, he gained; in vast and dark realms he ruled, and he was king of all thralls. Valour, he possessed, if only in vain. And he served for life, although at the end, he could not truly remember whom, or why.
Nelyafinwë was no name for a person; it was a title, and a line-number for the third Finwë in line, no more than a shadow of the previous two.
Faint, that shadow; and yet of a darker shade.
The name mothers give bears foreboding, and it can be frightening.
To be called Well-Shaped One seemed particularly easy at the beginning, when it still was true. He would love that name, and he would laugh freely. For well-shaped he was; tall, strong, unusual hair, striking eyes, bright smile.
Later on, the name became a mockery of itself, and he came to hate the very sound of it. People would never forget it, though, and spill it on him from time to time like one spills water on a misbehaving hound; and he would grit his teeth and endure it.
The name that is given by friends or loved ones is often light-hearted nonsense, for it is not innate with the Eldar to brood on the future, or declarations of doom. Thus, he was named after his hair, the only fix and truly determinable quality of a capricious young prince; a quality his cousin envied. Therefore, a quality to prey upon.
(Russandol died with Findekáno, if not sooner).
Of all names, he found, the one he gave himself was the one that fitted him best. A name rooted in a tongue that was not his own; a name that sounded outlandish, alien; a name that was forged of many pieces and would not come together without breaking the tongue of those that came from the West. Within the name was battle, and the name battled itself and its meaning as much as its owner battled the Enemy, the odds, and the fate of the world itself.
He knew not whether Maedhros, in the form that he existed, had been a part of Illúvatar's plan.
The Warden of the East
The people who loved him still – for some unfathomable reason – had oft given names to him, and there were a few that many remembered; thus, they became titles.
He earned this one when the Flames came, and the Siege of Angamando was abruptly broken; and alas! at times, he would remember faces and voices and the shrill songs of steel on steel. With remorse, he would ponder how much he'd prefer to see those faces around him still, rather than to be overtly praised.
Yet to ashes they have turned, and lo! their deaths have brought him yet another name, undeserved, uncalled-for.
The Enemy of the Enemy
Apparently, when half of one's country is burned to ashes, comes a fine occasion for name-giving. The Bragollach would bring him another.
The conclusion took years to fully register in his mind, and almost a decade to be accepted, but he liked the sound of it; for the Enemy and his Enemy were more alike than many would think, in the sense that they were both Enemies – creatures of vice, hatred and ambition.
That much, at least, was true.
Author's Notes on Elven naming
Elves – traditionally – have four names:
Ataressë (or essi): given by their father at birth.
Amilessë: given by their mother at birth but bestowed only years later.
Epessë: a) given by a lover/ a close friend, is of a very informal nature or b) an honorific. Acquired later in life. [ Sources differ on the exact meaning or function of epessë; people very often mix it up with kilmessë, and a couple of sources, too ].
Kilmessë: the name one chooses for oneself, is of a very private nature.