By BlodeueddAuthor's Note
In Fire, I introduce all characters by the Quenya names with which they were addressed in Valinor. Only in later years did the Calaquendi (Eldar that had dwelt in Valinor) return to the Eastern lands of Beleriand and Middle-earth and adopt the Sindarin tongue of the Moriquendi (Eldar that had never gone to Valinor) that still dwelt there. As Quenya language faded to use only between Calaquendi in personal dialogues, so too faded the Quenya names of the Eldar who had once dwelt in Valinor. These names were replaced by their Sindarin translations, or in some cases, as in that of Maitimo/Maedhros, a suitable alternative.
While this may be confusing, it is historically accurate and, I believe, lends a sense of authenticity to the work overall. If you are not familiar with the obscure, albeit nobler, Quenya names used in this story, please refer whenever necessary to the list of Quenya names and Sindarin translations that I have included below for your perusal.
---Quenya-Sindarin Glossary of Names
This glossary consists only of the primary characters that were conceived by J.R.R. Tolkien, and furthermore only the ones who are remembered by their Sindarin names. It is to be taken into account that many of the Elven individuals listed here are known mainly by the translation of their mother-names, so that is the name listed for each character below. Father names, if known, are also listed beside the mother-name, but are not translated. However, if an individual is better known by his or her father-name, or if the mother-name is unknown, the father-name will be the one translated and the Sindarin translation of the name will be marked with an asterisk () to note this variance.
Aikanáro Ambaráto son of Arafinwë: Aegnor
Ambarto Pityafinwë son of Fëanáro: Amrod (Although Amrod and Amras shared the mother-name Ambarussa, Ambarto was also given to Amrod as an additional mother-name to help tell the twins apart.)
Ambarussa Telufinwë son of Fëanáro: Amras
Angaráto son of Arafinwë: Angrod
Arafinwë son of Finwë: Finarfin
Arakáno son of Nolofinwë: Argon
Artaresto son of Arafinwë: Orodreth (This name is the result of a large amount of guesswork, for during the time Orodreth was listed under this Quenya name he was also yet to be developed from son of Angrod to brother of Angrod!)
Carnistir Morifinwë son of Fëanáro: CaranthirCurufinwë Atarinkë son of Fëanáro: Curufin
Fëanáro Curufinwë son of Finwë: Fëanor
Findaráto Ingoldo son of Arafinwë: Finrod (It should be taken into account that while in Beleriand Finrod also received the name Felagund from the Dwarves. Felagund is derived from the Khazâd felek-gundu, or 'Hewer of Caves,' and was a title by which Finrod was often referred to in after days.)
Findekáno son of Nolofinwë: Fingon
Írissë daughter of Nolofinwë: Aredhel
Itaril daughter of Turukáno: Idril (Note that Itaril is a shortened form of the name Itarillë.)
Maitimo Nelyafinwë (Russandol) son of Fëanáro: Maedhros (The name Maedhros is not an exact translation of either Maitimo or Russandol, but it can be assumed, by the translation of Maedhros as 'Well-formed Copper,' that it is a conjunction of the two, for Matimo translates as 'Well-formed One,' and Russandol is translated as 'Copper-top.')
Makalaurë Kanafinwë son of Fëanáro: Maglor
Moringotto: Morgoth (Morgoth is, obviously, the exception to the rule. He has no mother- or father-name we know of, so the name given to him by Fëanor in Valinor is the one translated here.)
Nerwendë Artanis daughter of Arafinwë: Galadriel (It is to be noted that Galadriel is the Sindarin version of the name Artanis received from her lover Teleporno (Celeborn), and it is also to be noted that Galadriel also had yet another name, that was not listed above—the surname Alatáriel.)
Nolofinwë Ingoldo son of Finwë: Fingolfin
Turukáno son of Nolofinwë: Turgon
Tyelkormo Turkafinwë son of Fëanáro: Celegorm
Tyelpinquar son of Curufinwë: Celebrimbor
Chapter One: The Slopes of Taniquetil
My father and I rode for three days before we came to the snowy foot of Taniquetil, and it was in the chill silence of the Pelóri that we spent that time.
Finwë, my father, who spoke to me of all things, had not told me our journey's purpose; I had had to learn that myself, from the whispers of the servants and the hidden messages written in silence and the hearts of my father and his people. Ingwë, lord even over Finwë, who was held as King of the Noldor, had sent summons for my father to come to his house. My father had at first refused, then received this invitation, and returned from the gardens of Lórien only long enough to tell me that I was coming as well.
In those times, I was his only son, and dear to his heart.
I was content to ride beside my father in the utter quiet, my thoughts for once voiced only in the keeping of my mind. The light, radiant even this far from Valmar and the Trees that bore that light, danced upon the snows about us and bathed them in a brilliant, clear luster that enchanted my heart.
Unexpectedly, the ancient, immortal silence of the Pelóri was broken, by a voice upraised in elated, sweet song. Both my father and I brought our mounts to a halt, and looked about in wonder. I was caught by the beauty of the song that held no sadness, only joy. But slowly, as I looked to Finwë, my amazement turned to painful dread, which first woke in my heart, and then rose to my throat when I saw the entranced eyes of my father.
"Father," I urged, knowing how childish and afraid I sounded, but unable to stop myself for the painful unrest that had come to life within my being. "Please, come, let us go to the House of Ingwë. . ." But my father moved not, as if caught in the mesh of some spell. His eyes were raised skyward, seeking the music, and I could see that where in my heart there was dismay, his held only wonderment.
"It is the song of the lark," Finwë murmured, eyes unmoving, seeing nothing of my dismay at his fascination.
"Hasten, Father, please," I begged again, my heart agonizingly torn between staying where my father would remain, and the unreasoning, innate alarm that pressed at me, imploring me to escape the beauty I knew would ensnare my father.
From up the pass, the sound of the song neared, and from about the bend came a slight, fair figure, moving on unshod feet as white as the snow they walked upon. My eyes caught a shade of radiant gold, vibrant as the leaves of Laurelin that do not fall, before I wanted to see no more and turned away.
As if from many leagues away, I heard the song fade, but no ease came. Then, a low, sweet voice made of laughter and gold light said, "I am Indis, sister-daughter of Ingwë, and I greet you in full good will, King Finwë."
I heard my father reply, but his words were quietly spoken and I cared not to hear them. The golden voice was pure and gentle, but I hated it fervently, hated it for the enchantment it had cast over my father, and I rebelled against its tenderness.
The last I heard before I closed my ears to everything was the pure, kind voice saying, "Ah, milord Finwë, forgive my insolence, but your son is weeping."
The remainder of the journey to Taniquetil was a blur of numb grief to me, a misty recollection of snow and cold and laughter that unwittingly mocked me in its tender frailty. Despite all his love for me, my father had eyes only in that hour for Indis, kinswoman of Ingwë.
I did not wake from my daze until we arrived at the gates of Ingwë's great citadel. My callousness faded to a white vision of rising towers and sinuous walls, exquisitely beautiful beyond words or song. I dismounted and gazed in wonder upon the mansion that was the flower that bloomed amidst the snows of Taniquetil, at the feet of the great houses of Manwë and Varda.
"I shall go now, my lords, and tell Ingwë of your coming," came Indis' voice, and I reeled about, but she seemed to speak only for my father to hear. Her shining eyes, blue as the sky before dawn, rested on naught but his face. Almost reluctantly, she turned and walked away, feet making no sound upon the stone floor of the colonnaded halls.
I looked at my father, only to find him looking after Indis as one in a dream, and my heart broke into shards of agony that pierced my soul and goaded me into blind, jealous anger.
"Have you no shame?" I spat furiously at Finwë, "My mother is not yet sixteen years in her grave, and already you look to another woman to forget your woe!"
Somewhere, my sickened fury and senseless hate struck him, but my father could only turn to me with hurt, unknowing eyes that roused guilt and confusion within me. Not knowing what to say or do, I turned on my heel and stormed away, leaving my father to stand alone with our horses in the pale courtyard.
In the house of Ingwë, few places was locked or barred, and one could wander as free and lonely as they would. So it was that I found myself in an empty garden. Even in the heart of the wintry snows, the flowers bloomed with a life so vivid it seemed they would burst from the sheer joy of being. Every soft petal was sweet with heady fragrance. But their superficially bright hues and cloying smells did nothing to console my aching wounds.
Chief among my passionate emotions then were my torn feelings. I loved my father dearly, even in the fires of anger, and I wished only for his happiness. But if his happiness meant love for Indis. . .that was where my pride interfered. It would be an insult to my mother's memory for him to love Indis so plainly and without restraint. If mother I ever had.
I had heard of her often, and how greatly my father had loved her. Her mother-name had been Serindë, the Broideress, for her weaving and needlework were famed far and near, but her chosen name was Míriel.
I did not remember anything of her, though at times, despairing, I would pretend I remembered her voice, or her laugh, or her face. I was raised thinking she had died at my birth, but I later learned more, by way of my gift of hearing whispers that were thought to go unheard.
It was said that, after my birth and naming, Míriel had grown weary of life and earthly cares, for in giving birth to me, she had given much of her essence away to the consuming fire of my spirit. So Míriel had told my father she was ready to die, for the very simplicity of life grew taxing on her weary heart. Despite his grief and pleas, she went to the gardens of Lórien, where she died a year later. My father still went there often, looking for the beloved spouse he had lost.
But the tales also said that ten years ago, overcome with emotion, Finwë had gone to Valinor, before the Valar themselves, to ask them for the return of his wife from the halls of Mandos. His speech was so eloquent, so fraught with pain and loss, that Manwë, Lord of the Valar, gathered all the counselors of the Eldar--Teleri, Noldor, and Vanyar alike--and called upon Ilúvatar himself for aid. Míriel's spirit was summoned up from Mandos, and she spoke as well.
But Míriel had no wish to be reborn.
In that hour, the law that my people still named the Statute of Finwë and Míriel came to be--the law that said that any husband or wife of the Eldar who lost their spouse to death would be able to wed again. In the eyes of that decree, my father was blameless, but I knew my own gaze was not so forgiving.
I was drawn from my thoughts and the silence of the garden by the sound of nearing footsteps. When I raised my eyes, I saw Ingwë standing before me, watching me silently. I straightened from my stooped posture of thought, dropping into a bow of sincere reverence, and averted my gaze.
"Rise, Finwion," Ingwë said in a resonant voice, wiser than the stars, clearer than the song of any harp beneath the sky. Trying not to tremble, I obeyed.
Ingwë was taller than any Elda I had yet seen, and was girt in robes of pure white. His face was handsome, yet pale and wise with many years, and his eyes were the somber gray of a quietly restless sea. Ingwë's hair was an even fairer and richer gold than that of his kinswoman Indis, and shone like the fields of Yavanna about his face. I felt afraid and awed to be in his presence, and it took much of my strong will to keep from bowing again.
"Something troubles you, wise son of Finwë; something you seek to keep from the perception of all," Ingwë said, his voice low and full as the sound of a pealing bell, "But it is said wounds fester if left unheeded for too long. So why will you not speak?"
"It is not a matter I would let all of Eldamar know," I muttered lamely, wanting to lie but unable to do so. Ingwë was the King of all Elves, and the Valar loved him greatly. Out of their love, they had bestowed much of their wisdom upon him, and he would have known if I were to lie.
Powerless, I blurted, "Why does he love Indis?"
Ingwë regarded me silently, his eyes betraying none of his emotions, and even if I had dared try to wring out his hidden thoughts, I think I would have learned little.
"Why do you hate her?" Ingwë asked in return, "Do you think Indis steals all love from your father's heart? She is of my blood and I know much of her plight.
"She has loved Finwë since she first saw him from afar, and she has harbored that love in secret, for the sake of Míriel. Indis has waited ten long years since Míriel's passing, but she has hidden her pain and lived in laughter. Do not fear anything from her; her spirit is at long last truly happy. I do not speak on behalf of Indis, or because she is my close kin, but from what I know to be true."
I wanted to protest, but Ingwë held my gaze, and the intensity of his gray eyes silenced me. At long last, I found my voice.
"What would you have me do then? Love her? She is not my mother, and she shall never be, either in words or in my heart."
"I ask not for you to love her presence, Finwion, but to abide it, for the sake of your father."
Now he truly had me torn. Without another word, Ingwë turned and strode away, and I did not stop him.
I did not go to dinner that night, but brooded in the empty hallways, still not wanting to see Indis with my father.
In that hour, I tried my hardest to remember Míriel, as though remembering would return her fabled dark beauty and skilled hands to my father's house upon the green summit of Túna. My struggles were in vain. There was an empty place in my body where memories of her face and voice should have been. Had she faded thus from my father's memory also? Had all shadowy recollection of my mother dwindled away to nothing in the insipid golden glow of Indis' deeds and voice?
And in his banishment of Míriel's memory, did Finwë also rue my presence? For I was the child of Míriel, something to be cast away like an empty vessel, an eyesore and nuisance no longer to Finwë and his newfound love.
I gazed out helplessly over the mountains, eyes barely seeing how their snowy mantles were faintly limned with the light of faraway Valinor. Above me, the countless stars in the sky glowed like embers in the palm of night. They had no cares or worries, and certainly were not to be troubled by my spirit-rending anguish. I looked up and down the long-shadowed colonnade I stood in, and realized that none upon Taniquetil's slopes most likely cared either.
Suddenly afraid and alone, I shuddered in the scathing cold of the mountains. Even my oft-kindled anger would not warm me here.
My gaze lifted to and lingered upon the light of Valmar, shining upon the citadel from among the peaks, its brilliance sweeter than a summer's day. I felt a faint, gentle warmth upon my face, as if to quiet my raucous emotions, and for a moment my worry and powerless rage were contained. But I disliked the sensation of being soothed beyond worry and into torpor, so I turned away, letting the cold again engulf me.
I would not be at all grieved to leave this place.
But it was not until many weeks later that my father saw fit to leave, and only then with the silver ring of a wedding betrothal upon his hand. The sight of the glossy-white thing about his finger tormented me like a malicious ghost, and I was perversely glad that the betrothal would last for a year or more before Indis and Finwë could wed.
We left Taniquetil on a bright and clear morning. Indis came forth from the door of the citadel, and I turned away in rising bitterness, not wanting to see my father bidding her farewell, leaving me to brood and hold the bridles of our horses. Out of the corner of my downcast eye, I could see Ingwë standing upon the polished steps leading to the wide door of his house, watching the scene laid out before him with a dispassionate yet perceptive gaze. Finwë left Indis' side to climb the stairway to where Ingwë stood, then knelt at his superior's feet. As he rose, they exchanged some quiet, brief words, Finwë nodding and inclining his head once more in deep reverence. They were a strange sight, bathed in the lovely dawnlight of Laurelin--my quietly imposing, pensive father standing by the glorious, regal Ingwë.
I mounted my horse patiently, focusing solely on my father as he descended the stairs. As I did so, I willfully ignored Indis' gaze. She was looking upon me with sudden pity, as if I were some crippled, miserable thing that she felt for only out of necessity and decorum.
After what felt like fumbling, sluggish hours, my father mounted up on the horse beside my own, taking the reins I offered. Indis stepped away as our horses' hooves danced impatiently, but her eyes were fastened upon my father even as she kept her distance from the fire-hearted steeds. I turned my horse about and spurred him to a brisk canter, wanting to be gone from this too-tranquil, idyllic place. As Ingwë's house faded, white upon white, into the mountains laden with snow, I changed my horse's frenzied gait to a more sedate walk.
As the animal's pace slowed, Finwë drew his horse even with mine, but said nothing. I dared not to steal so much as an instant's glance at where he sat, fearing to find some rebuke or anger in his face. The only sound for many dragging, weary minutes was the slushing whisper of our horses' hooves in the light blanket of snow that covered the earth.
"What was my mother like?" I asked him abruptly, both out of sheer curiosity and an obstinate desire to inflict remorse. Finwë took the cutting question in placid silence, then met my accusing gaze with only soft heartache in his eyes. His poise cooled the hot wrath in my heart with all the subliminal force of a quiet, healing rain.
"More beautiful than any woman of the Eldar, she was," he murmured, eyes sliding through me as he returned to a time that lingered only in memory, "With eyes wise and gray, like yours. Dark as bright, docile twin stars. Her hair was long and silver, glossy and fine as the best thread that ever left her hands. . ."
I felt my throat close as my fury at my father faded, and I bent my head to hide the inevitable tears. My father halted his horse, his voice fading to a ragged sigh of longing and rising melancholy. I was faintly, faintly aware he was clasping my hand tightly within his own, but whether for my comfort or his own, I could not tell. All I could see through the blurring veil of my open weeping was the indistinct gleam of his silver ring of betrothal, but I was helpless in the grasp of my misery, unable to anything but let my tears fall. And so it was in the utter silence of the foothills encircling Taniquetil that, for a time, I made my peace with my father.