Shameful Customs

...were naked, and were not ashamed.

Genesis 2:25

Finarfin had long dreaded this moment. It was the beginning of something new, to be sure, a new kind of loving, the loving of the spirit, that was said to be even more pleasurable and intimate than the physical embraces he had shared with his beloved Earwen. Still, there was a loss as well. Their children were all born, and it was time to leave behind the union of the flesh.

She sat back in a large armchair while he explained, her eyes following the nervous motions of his hands as he spoke. It was the custom of his people, he said. The relationship between lovers deepened though this kind of loving. But once begun, the joining of body to body was forbidden.

Earwen did not respond, but it seemed that her sea-like blue eyes widened. The dress she wore that day was unusually revealing, plunging down to expose the curve of her breasts. A Teleri fashion, perhaps. She had never cared to adopt Noldor styles of dress, nor to change her accent, in all their years together in Tirion.

It was a good custom, he went on, that preserved the sanctity of the marriage act. For while lost in the union of the spirit, no husband and wife could have the presence of mind to perform the mental act that was necessary for the conception of children. To love bodily in a way that could not give life would block the blessing of the One from the union.

"You understand that my people have different customs," Earwen said finally, drawing out the unique sounds of the speech of Alqualonde.

"But I am a prince, and so am bound to the customs of my people," Finarfin answered.

"You forget that my father is also a king." Finarfin had nothing to say to that, and so they were both silent for a long moment.

"I want you," Earwen said finally. "I want to be one with you, in body and soul, in every way that it is possible for two lovers to become one. Any way in which you are willing to love me I want to be loved by you." She shook her head dismissively, blushing slightly. "But you know that."

He did, although he still could scarcely believe it. It had always been that way, ever since they had met as children in a gathering of lords. She had not compared him to talented Feanor, or to brave and clever Fingolfin, but had only and simply thought he was wonderful. The lifetime of Ea was not long enough to be grateful.

He lifted her up, and brought her to the bed. Finarfin was not strong like his brothers, but Earwen was slender, and their motions together were a practiced dance. They lay facing each other, and he undressed himself with trembling fingers, not trusting himself to touch her unclothed body even in the slightest. Soon Earwen was naked as well, and eyeing his nudity with her usual frank appreciation. He touched her cheek, gently, and brought her eyes to his. Then, with an act of will, as he had been taught, he opened his soul to bring her inside. He felt her opening as well, and sending forth, and they shared a first touchless caress.

It was an intimacy beyond words, and sensations that could not be dreamed. Colours that taste of honeyed wine, sounds that shine with bright-gold fire, waves upon waves, and above and below all the beloved presence of Earwen, known more deeply than knowledge could ever reach. Unmoving, they moved together, in the embrace of the spirit. Not become one, for that shall never be, but become two, each beholding in one staggering moment the fullness of another soul. Light and dark, brightness and shadow, all were revealed, and all were beautiful, and all were one.

They lingered, first exploring the chambers of his soul, and then delighting in hers. He wanted not to hold back, to give her all that was in him, and it saddened him that not every door would open. In time, she whispered, with a thought-caress. Then he forgot all sadness in the dance of their joined spirits, until they returned to their strangely separate bodies.

Finarfin's eyes refocused to see the happiness visible in every line of his wife's body. "My love," she whispered through open lips. "My love." He felt a sudden urge to embrace her, but held back. Surely what they had shared was enough. He drifted off to sleep, feeling utterly complete.

A shock of sudden pleasure awoke him. So familiar, and yet after the joining of the spirit it seemed completely different, and far greater in intensity. He kept his eyes closed, savoring the sensation. Then he opened his eyes, to see Earwen's twinkling at him. Her hand was resting in a most intimate place. As he did not respond, she began to stroke him, gently.

This was wrong. It was forbidden. At least it was against custom. But why should the One wish to prevent a pleasure of such sweetness? Finarfin brought Earwen into soul-contact, so that she could feel the pleasure she gave him. She gasped.

What was this weakness? Rightly Fingolfin would mock him if he knew, for being a cowardly little brother, who cannot even master his own desires. But at the moment it was hard to care. He dimly remembered the rumors of how his father Finwe had been too hot-blooded to go for long without a wife. If Finwe's blood still burned with his wife in Mandos, how could Finarfin be cooled, with his beloved, perfect, passionate wife still beside him?

"Do you want me to stop?" Earwen asked at last.

She knew perfectly well he did not. In answer he thrust his hand between her parted thighs. She was wet, and open, and moaned when he touched her. He stroked her until she cried out, and he felt the echo of her release inside him. Then he moved closer, until they were as close as two lovers can be, and he fell into her, and she surrounded him.

He moved hard inside her. She bit at his shoulder, and clawed at his back, the slight pain only adding to the intensity of the pleasure. He slowed his motions, teasing her, moving in the ways that pleased her best, and feeling every ripple of her delight. At the moment of climax she took his face in her hands, and held it, keeping their eyes locked as their bodies shuddered together in an unimaginable excess of joy.

Afterwards, he lay in her arms, his face pressed against her chest. Her mind was shielded again, which was just as well. He needed the privacy for a moment. There was too much to understand. There was shame, and not only in the customs he had breached.

At the moment of climax, their bond had become so intense that he had felt not only her pleasure, but what has brought it on. It was as if for a moment he had inhabited her body, and had felt the delight of his own thrusts inside her. No male should know that joy, the pleasure of being taken, the sensation of a hard male body pressed against...

But that was not the most difficult. At that same moment, he had seen through her eyes, seen his own face. Grimaced, grunting, twisted with passion, out of control. Shameful. Was this the face that was beloved to his Earwen?

As if reading his thoughts, Earwen closed her arms around her husband, stroking his hair. "Poor Finarfin," she whispered gleefully, "poor Finarfin, that his cruel lustful wife forces him to commit shameful abominations for her pleasure," she grinned wickedly, "over and over again."

The thought made Finarfin giddy. He had a sudden image of Earwen in the marketplace of Tirion, dressed wildly, speaking outlandishly, attracting stares, and smiling at the world. Surely to love like this was worth a few moments of shame. "Valar be praised," he murmured into his wife's breast. "Valar be praised."

******

Notes:

This is a birthday present for Soledad, because she wanted to see a male and a female going at it for once in a Sil-story. Happy birthday!

The view of Elven sexuality described here has only the most tenuous basis in canon. In Laws and Customs of the Eldar, Morgoth's Ring p.213 it says with regard to the 'powers of generation' that 'with the exercise of the power the desire soon ceases.' In other words, they stop having sex as soon as they have had all their children. My general approach to this highly problematic document is to see it as specifically reflecting Noldor customs of Valinor, and to see it as reflecting an ideal that was not always lived up to in practice. The union of the spirit was my own invention, because it seemed to me both unlikely and unpleasant that a married couple would give up all intimacy. For many couples that would doubtless have been sufficient. Finwians, though...