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Fëanor and his sons were talking very quietly, frequently looking around to see if they were being watched by the Vala Námo, their host for the last few ages. It was a particularly important day for them, as it was to be the occasion of their twelve thousandth annual attempt to escape from Mandos. The twelve thousandth, that is, for all except Maglor, who had joined them only recently as a result of being in the wrong place at the wrong time during what Men called the Second World War. Maglor found it somewhat ironic that after surviving the wrath of two Dark Lords, one a Vala and the other a Maia, he should accidentally be killed by Men.
"So what is your plan today?" Curufin asked his father.
"It is an unusually brilliant idea," replied Fëanor, "even if I do say so myself."
"So it is not a tunnel this time?" enquired Celegorm.
"No." The tunnel had looked like an excellent plan until Maedhros pointed out that disembodied souls were unable to dig.
"I hope we are not going to hide behind the door and try to sneak out when someone else comes in," said Caranthir. They had tried this on several dozen occasions, with absolutely no success.
"We hope," said Amrod.
"That you have not," said Amras.
"Asked Grandmother Míriel to let us out through Vairë's house again," they finished together.
"No," said Fëanor once more. "My sons, you have utterly failed to grasp the work of genius that is my twelve thousandth plan."
"Very well Father," Maglor said sceptically, "what is your marvellous idea? Do enlighten us."
Fëanor chuckled. "It is such a simple plan that I am surprised I did not think of it centuries ago." He laughed again, somewhat maniacally. "We are very politely going to ask Námo to let us out, and use some of his own judgements to convince him that we have already been here too long."
"I suppose it is worth attempting," said Maedhros, although he did not sound hopeful.
After explaining the relevant Dooms of Mandos and some of the finer points of his plan, Fëanor and his sons set out in search of Námo. The Vala was waiting for them to do something, as he had realised it was time for yet another escape attempt by the Fëanorians, but he didn't expect them to march up to him and smile ingratiatingly. "Good morning Fëanor," he said, a note of suspicion in his voice.
"Good morning Námo," said Fëanor jovially, "we are here to ask you to let us out of your halls please."
"Let you out?" Námo was shocked. "I distinctly remember sentencing you all to stay here until the end of the world. I admit that I would be happier if I did not have to keep such a close eye on you and your sons, but that is hardly sufficient reason for me to let you out to make trouble in Valinor again."
"We've been here more than four times as long as the Black Enemy had when you set him free to have a second chance to destroy Arda," said Maedhros, "and twelve times longer than any other elf who wanted to be re-embodied, including Maeglin."
Námo thought for a moment. "You might have a point there," he conceded, "most of you are only marginally worse than Maeglin. I'll go and consult Manwë."
He disappeared, which was fortunate because Celegorm and Caranthir had taken offence at his last statement. "How can we possibly be worse than Maeglin?" Celegorm shouted.
"We are not traitors!" bellowed Caranthir.
"We did not tell Moringotto where any of our cousins' hidden cities were, but treason surely depends upon your point of view," Maglor said thoughtfully. "Uncle Nolofinwë and cousin Artaher are probably still calling us treacherous sons of a..." he stopped talking, seeing Fëanor's face switch between rather alarming shades of red and purple.
Curufin grinned menacingly. "I still say that Turko and I could have done a much better job of ruling Nargothrond than Findaráto or Artaher did."
"You could hardly have done worse," said Maedhros, who was still annoyed that Orodreth had refused to fight against Morgoth at the Nirnaeth Arnoediad because Curufin and Celegorm were there.
Námo re-appeared, which prevented any further discussion of heroic half-cousins and their irritating, stubborn and unheroic nephews. "The other Valar and I have agreed to release you, but with certain conditions."
"Conditions?" asked Amrod and Amras.
"Naturally there are conditions," said Námo. "The first is that there are to be no more Kinslayings." He glared at the Fëanorians, just missing Curufin's grin at the mention of Kinslaying. "The second condition is that you must accept Arafinwë as High King of the Noldor and not attempt to re-claim the crown. Do you all agree?"
Fëanor, his skin now back to its usual rather pale colour, looked at each of his sons and noted their reactions to the idea of Finarfin as king before turning back to Námo. "We agree," he said.
Námo breathed a sigh of relief as the eight most infuriating inhabitants of his halls were re-embodied and returned to Eldamar. Things would be far more peaceful in Mandos now.
It was late evening in Tirion upon Túna when Fëanor and his sons found themselves suddenly standing in the gardens of their former home. Maedhros was about to congratulate his father on the success of his plan when he saw that Fëanor's attention was fixed on a particularly bright star just above the western horizon. "Nelyo," Fëanor said, "You told me that you and Káno recovered the Silmarils and fulfilled our oath, but that star looks strangely like a Silmaril. Perhaps you can explain?"
"I did tell you," said Maedhros, "I told you that Ulmo cheated and turned Elwing into a seagull so we could not get the third Silmaril, but we did get two back in spite of Eönwë. Káno threw one into the sea and I threw the other into a chasm of fire, along with myself. The Silmaril you can see in the sky is attached to Eärendil's head."
"Eärendil Half-elven?" asked Fëanor.
"Yes," said Maglor, "he sailed his ship Vingilot through the Door of Night onto the oceans of heaven. Russandol and I decided the sky was as good a place for the Silmaril as any. It is safe there and everyone can see your marvellous work."
"So do you not think we should build ourselves a ship and go after it?" Fëanor said. "The oath is not truly fulfilled until we have recovered all the Silmarils."
Maglor groaned and buried his face in his hands. "O Manwë, Varda and Eru Illúvatar, not again!"