Summary: After the Dagor Dagorath, the Remaking of Arda Unmarred: Fëanor comes into play. AU.
Disclaimer: All characters and settings mentioned are the property of JRRTolkien.
By Le Chat Noir
Grey mist placidly swirled in the Halls of Mandos, quiet and hushed, for once strangely free from the whispers of the dead.
And yet there was no one to wonder at that fact, since on that day, even the Lord Nàmo had gone forth from his halls and sat with his brethren in the Ring of Doom; for the wastes of Arda Unmarred laid before their eyes. The House of the Dead had been emptied, and elves from all times walked anew in a world yet young, blinking in awe under the radiance of old stars. Yet that day, the Children of Eru were also assembled at the feet of the Powers, and all waited.
Great unrest was there among the crowd, and all eyes turned towards the far end of the Ring, where suddenly voices were raised louder, and shouts were heard, and a movement was perceived among the throng of people pushing themselves aside in haste, making way for one yet unseen.
For a minute, there was turmoil, and none who stood away from that spot caught sight of the incident, though they all could well fathom what it was that happened. After a while, a powerful voice rang clearly above the cries of the others, and following some more confusion ere long a lone elf was shoved into the circle, who first stumbled and nearly fell, but then looked up with an air of defiance. And it was seen that his eyes burnt with a fire far greater than even that of those who were returned from the dead, a fire that had earned, in Ages past, the whispered name of the Flame Imperishable itself.
Fëanor, having shaken free of his escort, steadied himself under the gaze of the Valar, and stepped forth into the Ring of Doom. Forgetting the miracle of his own newly-hewn flesh, he felt under his feet the same marble tiles he had trod on during the First Night of Aman; and he knew that the Realms of the Blessed had been preserved from ruin amid the Unmaking, that the depths of their soil had stayed unchanged, and he knew that the hearts of the Powers would remain unswayed, just as his own.
And silence fell.
There was, in the middle of the square, a small round table about the height of an elf's waist, covered by a plain, white cloth. Upon that cloth, the Silmarils rested, unadorned and wondrous in their bare radiance, giving light enough to illuminate the entire assembly, with only the stars of Varda dimly shining overhead.
The burning eyes of the elf rested on these jewels, and they were not lifted again. The crowd gazed upon him, and it seemed to them that the fire in the gemstones changed, responded to the dance of fire in the elf's pupils, the two flames merging together and becoming as one. Many were those who looked away then, for the light had turned fantastically bright.
Finally, Manwë rose from his throne.
"Fëanàro Finwion, you know of our demand."
And for a long time, the artist did not answer.
They saw him approach the jewels slowly, as if wary of something he couldn't place. In fact, for the first time since his birth, the son of Finwë knew fear, or something that felt more akin to hesitation and a reluctance in his body to carry out that which his mind had resolved. He had not laid eyes on the Silmarils since the day before the feast upon Taniquetil, when he had left them fast and secured in the fortress of Formenos; at the sight of those gems wrought by his own hands joy and pride was in his heart, for it seemed to him that they were even more beautiful than what his memory had told. He raised a hand to touch them, and nearly stayed his gesture as a sudden thought struck him: did he not fear that his skin would be singed and scorched, as many had insinuated, for the darkness of his heart and the evil of his deeds? Yet strangely, he doubted not a minute that from his jewels, hallowed by Varda herself, would come no harm to him, and his fingers were brushing past the polished glass-like surface of the stones, and that touch was turned into a caress, the caress of a father to a child, of a lover to a lover. His eyes plunged into the very heart of these jewels which he himself had shaped, and drunk from their radiance, seeking strength in the powers of their light that brought back splinters of the elder days, peace and serenity washing over his mind.
At last, he spoke, and his voice was soft.
"It may be that I can unlock my jewels, but never again shall I make their like; and if I break them, I shall break my heart, and I shall be slain, last of all the Eldar in Arda; for it is not only the light of the Two Trees that rests in the core of these gems."
For a moment then, he stayed silent, and though he turned not his head his eyes surveyed the faces of the crowd, and saw in them but curiosity and blankness and naught else. None raised their voice to speak, and he lowered his eyes unto the ground as a sad smile touched his lips.
"Yet I will heed the words of the Valar," he said.
And all marvelled at the change in Fëanor's heart.
There was one who stepped forth from the crowd with an arsenal of various objects that had been deemed would come in useful for such a purpose, but the mastersmith waved him off gently, without even granting him a glance.
"I need none of these tools."
He soothingly wrapped his large hands around the three jewels, and the light from these stones shone through his flesh. The white rays pouring onto his face brought a strange look to it, emphasizing still the pallor of his skin; his delicate features melting into the brightness, indistinct but for the pair of dark stars that were his eyes. Time trickled by, pecks of sand falling one by one in the one way hourglass; and all held their breath, gaze transfixed on the hands of Fëanor rested on his jewels, not touching them, only hovering ever so slightly above…
The glow dimmed.
The stone cracked.
There was a slight sound like a note of music, high-pitched in the heavy silence that weighed down the sky, as bits of shattered diamond began to fall to the ground.
Fëanor looked into his gems, and was lost in the last of their radiance.
And so it befell that the Silmarils were opened, and they were empty. Their creator lifted his hands, then let them fall inert to his sides; and smiled.
The body of Fëanor was found the following day in the gardens of Lorien, lying in the place of that of Miriel, and peace was on his face; but the Halls of Mandos had remained empty, and there was none to tell where his soul had fled to.
Once again the Valar sat in council in the Ring of Doom, and all brooded over the death of Fëanor, greatest among the Children of Eru. Yet then it came that even as dark thought occupied the minds of Ainur and Eruhini alike, suddenly a clamour rose from the crowd, for a sight was granted to their eyes that none had even thought possible, let alone expected. Slowly, yet faster than any sprout had ever grown witnessed by elven eyes, it was a new Tree of Light that grew from the hard marble ground, from the spot where the Silmarils shards had fallen; and its leaves shone which the mingled lights of Laurelin and Telperion.
Aghast in front of that new miracle, Elves and Men alike fell to their knees in front of the might of the Valar, and yet the Ainu themselves were speechless from awe.
It was a strange radiance that came from the newborn Tree: if its leaves were golden and outlined in silver, its flowers white of petals and golden of heart, the true light that sprung from its heart was unlike any that had ever stemmed from Laurelin or Telperion, a queer glow that seemed to change; altering with every breath of the wind and every blink of the stars: like a dance of fire.
After a long moment of silence, the voice of Namo the Doomsman was heard rumbling over the silence.
"The designs of Iluvatar have reached completion, through good and through evil; for no theme shall be played in the Music that hath not its uttermost source in Him, nor can any alter the Music in His despite. For he that attempteth this shall prove but His instrument in the devising of things more wonderful, which he himself hath not imagined."
And Maedhros son of Fëanor stood among the prostrated crowd, and bestowed upon the Tree the name of Fëanaro his father; the fire of whose heart has kindled the flame that would grace with light undimming the surface of Arda Unmarred for eternity to come.