Disclaimer: Parmiel is my own character. The events herein are my own, as are the books mentioned. Anything else is Tolkien's.
Words of the King
Parmiel sat down at a table in the Library of Tirion with a sigh, placing the book she had finally found in front of her. A History of Nargothrond, by the ancient scribe Quengoldo of Ondolindë, and according to her teacher back in Valimar, a very good account. Of course, the young Vanya thought, he said that about Caves Of The Narog, and that didn't tell me anything I hadn't already learnt from their own library. Sighing, the girl opened the book and began to read.
Some hours later, Parmiel awoke, to find her face flat against the third page of the book. Blinking, she sat up. Manwë, she thought, I didn't realise I was that bored. Trying to recall what the first few pages had said proved futile, so she flicked back to the title page and prepared to start again.
"Nargothrond?" said a voice behind her, causing her to spin around. There was a fair-haired elf behind her, but she sensed that he was not Vanyarin despite that. As she tried to work out why he was vaguely familiar, he leaned over and looked at the book. Catching sight of the title, he frowned. "That book? Is that the best you could find?"
Parmiel blinked, and stammered, "It, I, my teacher recommended it. He, uh, said it was a good account."
The stranger shook his head. "Oh, it's a wonderful account, yes, but it's no more than that. Of course, if 'Nargothrond was founded in the year 100 of the First Age and destroyed in the year 495 and the next one hundred and forty-four pages list every event that occurred there in between' is your thing..." His voice tailed off, leaving Parmiel with the distinct impression that he'd think her utterly mad if she said it was.
Fortunately, it wasn't. "Oh, no. I'm interested in the king himself, Findaráto, or Finrod Felagund as they called him over there. I find him absolutely fascinating. Unfortunately," she sighed, "no one seems to know anything about him. It's like he was erased from the history books when he left with that Mortal, Balan, or whatever his name was."
"Beren," supplied the stranger, smiling slightly, and then added, "Now I come to think of it, it's quite possible that happened. There're certainly enough people out there with a grudge against him, and he is rather unconventional. Popular opinion in Eldamar has always been 'Forget about him, and he can't annoy us with his crackpot theories'." He shook his head slightly. "They need to keep up with the times. It's been, what, ten, twelve thousand years since the War of Wrath?"
"Twelve thousand and ninety-two," put in Parmiel automatically, and then blushed at his approving nod. When he didn't say anything else, she said, "You speak of Findaráto as if you know him well."
"As well as any elf can, I think," replied the stranger. After a moment's pause, he added, "Finrod has always been a very enigmatic person. He tends to do things no one, not even himself, can understand – like building Nargothrond on the strength of a dream vision, say."
Parmiel blinked. "I thought he built it because he was jealous of Menegroth," she commented hesitantly. The stranger looked at her with a startled glance, and she wondered if she might have offended him somehow.
He did not, however, burst into a rage, or storm out of the building, but murmured to himself, "Is that how they're telling it now? Such a pity..." He then blinked, and looked back at Parmiel. "Finrod was sent a dream-vision by Ulmo, telling him to found a city in some caves on the river Narog. Considering the Valar had supposedly given up entirely on the Exiles by then, most people would have just assumed it was a particularly vivid dream, but Finrod went ahead and built it."
Parmiel nodded thoughtfully. "That certainly makes a lot more sense," she said. At his curious look, she tried to explain. "He doesn't appear in the histories much, except as an almost incidental character, but there's clues if you look a little deeper. The way his kingdom was the largest in the whole of Heceldamar, the way his sister, Artanis, seemed to split her time between Nargothrond and Doriath, and the way that Man, Ba- Beren," she corrected herself, "came to him for help rather than going to someone closer, like Findekáno, all seem to indicate that he had some influence, and wasn't the sort to be prone to jealousy."
The stranger laughed. "Stars! If only there were more people like you around." Seeing her worried look, he smiled reassuringly. "You're right, he did have a lot of influence. He was the only one of the Noldor Kings to be on good terms with all the Free Peoples of Beleriand, including the Atani and the Casari."
Parmiel smiled at the confirmation of her private guess. "Is it true," she asked, "that Findaráto's realm was larger than all the other realms of the Noldor in Heceldamar put together? Because my teacher said it's all exaggeration..."
The other raised an eyebrow. "Well now, let me think... no, I'm afraid I don't think it was." At her crestfallen look, he reconsidered. "It was, however, larger than the realms of all of the Sons of Fëanor put together, and also larger than the combined land of Fingolfin and his sons. And if you support the theory that his brothers' holdings were technically part of his – which I personally do not, Angrod and Aegnor for certain were far too wilful – then it is possible that it was indeed true."
Parmiel nodded thoughtfully, and then stared down at the closed History, deep in thought. Sensing, perhaps, that she wasn't going to ask another question without invitation, the stranger said, "Was there anything else you wished to know?"
"Lots of things," replied Parmiel absently. "Everything." Then she blushed, and ducked her head.
"Everything?" The stranger raised an eyebrow. "That is certainly a lot of work, and it is growing late. I need my sleep, even if you can work through the night by taking naps in between." Her face turned red once more, and he laughed softly. "I do, however, have nothing to do for the next few weeks, so perhaps we could continue your lessons tomorrow morn."
"That would, that would be good," stammered Parmiel, stunned by his generosity. Then she plucked up her courage to ask one more question. "Sir... what happened to Findaráto – to Finrod?" At his incredulous look, she hastily added, "Not how he died, but what happened after. Because I heard he was released from the Halls of Mandos and rehoused and I was wondering where he is now."
The stranger smiled at her. "First off, no 'sir'. I haven't been a sir for twelve thousand years, and even back then they tended to say 'Your Highness' instead. As to your question, he spent a lot of that time wandering through Valinor, sometimes alone, sometimes with his friends. More recently he settled down in Tirion, and spends a lot of time in the library. For the past ten minutes or so, he has been talking about himself to a scholar from Valimar. And now," said Finrod Felagund, "I really do have to go. I will see you here when Anar reaches her zenith." And with that, he turned and walked briskly towards the main doors, leaving Parmiel to stare after him in shock.
The idea for this story came from a section of the notes from 'A Boy, A Girl And A Dog', a very good script version of the Lay of Leithian. The section in question is below:
I can imagine Pengolod going over the traditions and writings of Rumil, and thinking to himself in some great library in Tirion, "It all seems so very orderly and rational...but then there are those strange ideas that Turgon's cousin has put forward, which also sound so compelling when you hear him. Of course he's quite mad, but..."
"—Yes, but I'm right, too" says Finrod genially, replacing a borrowed scroll. And the scribe shakes his head, and keeps writing...
The Sindarin names used in this chapter should be well enough known, but here are the translations of the Quenya:
Quengoldo of Ondolindë – Pengolodh of Gondolin
Findaráto – Finrod
Heceldamar – Beleriand
Artanis - Galadriel
Findekáno – Fingon
Atani – Mortal Men
Casari – Dwarves
Anar – the Sun