Nerdanel looked up from her embroidery at that awful sound. "What have those children gotten into now?" she asked herself. Sighing, she got up and went into the adjoining room, where she found Tyelkormo and Carnistir shooting their miniature bows at random objects. Random, very breakable objects. She just stood in the doorway and waited for her sons to notice her. Failing at this, Nerdanel cleared her throat loudly enough for them to hear. Tyelkormo and Carnistir turned to see their patient mother watching them. All Nerdanel had to do was hold out her hand, and her sons pressed the bows contritely into them. Then they walked off to their rooms. Nerdanel wished she could have a few more people to help watch her sons; after all, they outnumbered her seven to one. Perhaps her eldest could help in this endeavor. Nerdanel walked down the hall to Maitimo's room and knocked on the door. When he didn't answer, she slowly opened his door, and found him to be absent. She sighed, and went to her next eldest. Fortunately, he was in his room. "Makalaure, do you think you could help me watch your brothers for a while?"
"Yes, mother," Makalaure reluctantly replied, "but I was in the middle of a new song. Can't it wait?"
There was a hint of impatience in Nerdanel's voice now. Makalaure sighed, and got up to follow her. All Nerdanel wanted was an orderly house, with orderly children, preferably without shattering priceless objects. If only her husband would do more to help. No, let him be content with his forge, that's where he is happiest, Nerdanel decided. She sat back down in her sewing room, and was able to relax. For about five minutes. Makalaure soon rushed back into the room. "Mother, I really think you should see this." Groaning, Nerdanel followed her son into the main chamber. To her horror, she saw Atarinke trying to unhook the crystal chandelier. How in the world did he get up there? "Atarinke! What in the name of all the Valar do you think you are doing?" she asked.
"I want to see why the crystal sparkles."
He wanted to see why the crystal sparkles? This was a new one. Atarinke certainly was his father's son. "You get down here this instant!" cried Nerdanel, more in fear than anger.
"How? And besides, father said that I could."
His father told Atarinke that he could destroy a priceless work of art? Nerdanel told Makalaure to catch his brother if he fell. Meanwhile, Nerdanel would have a talk with her husband to determine the meaning of all this. She found him at his workbench. "Ah, Feanaro, why did you tell Atarinke that he could take down the chandelier?"
"He wanted to see why it sparkled. What better way to find out than by inspecting a chandelier?" replied Feanaro.
"Then you are fine with his swinging from the chandelier, trying to break his own neck?"
"Well, can't you get him down?"
Feanaro knew he was in trouble. Nerdanel rarely raised her voice. He followed Nerdanel back into the main chamber, and somehow got Atarinke safely down. "I'll keep him with me," he said. Good, Nerdanel thought, one less for me to deal with. At least Makalaure wasn't causing trouble. Perhaps she could relax now. She was in the middle of a very complicated design, and truly hated to be interrupted. And an interruption was likely unless she found the twins and intercepted whatever mischief they were going to cause. Better to deal with it now, she thought.
Nerdanel was glad she found the twins when she did. Ambarto was hanging from a window, trying to catch a bird. The only thing keeping him from falling several stories was the none-too-steady grip of his brother Ambarussa. Nerdanel grabbed them both and locked the window. Then she sent them firmly to bed. Even now, Nerdanel's patience was wearing thin. What in the name of all the Valar was I thinking when I had seven children, she thought. Nerdanel was beginning to wonder where Maitimo was; it was very unlike him to go out without telling his mother. He was probably with Findekano, his best friend and cousin.
Makalaure came back into Nedanel's sitting room, looking uneasy. "Ah, mother, I think I know where Maitimo is. I would have told you before, but I didn't want to upset you."
"Why would it upset me, Makalaure? Where is he, and what is he doing?"
"Well…he's with Findekano…cliff diving. He should be back pretty soon though. Are you upset now, mother? I tried to tell you."
"There are no words to describe how upset I am, dear."
Nerdanel could not believe it. Cliff diving? Of all the dangerous, foolhardy… Something in the normally kind and patient Nerdanel snapped. She heard the front door open, followed by two voices. Her son was back. Composing herself, she went down to greet him. One look told Maitimo that his mother was not pleased. "Cliff diving?" she asked.
"Mother…I…we…"came Maitimo's stammered reply.
"Don't you "mother" me, Maitimo! You are not to leave this house until further notice. And, Findekano, I will be telling your father about this."
Findekano deemed it prudent to leave, and quickly. He gave Maitimo a supportive pat on the shoulder before exiting. However, Maitimo's attention was soon turned back to his furious mother. She looked as if she wanted to kill her son. "Go to your room, now. Do not come out, do not sneak out, and do not make noise of any kind. I will bring your dinner tonight," she growled.
Maitimo had little choice but to comply. He sensed that his mother had had a bad day. He went to his room and shut the door. At that moment, Feanaro came up from the smithy. He encircled his wife's waist with his arms and kissed her. "My dear and fair wife, so good and patient. You should have more children, dearest, you cope so well with the ones you have," Feanaro whispered in her ear.
Aiya, Nerdanel thought, if you only knew…