The Revolutionary and the Usurper
Father straightened out the collar of Fëanor’s tunic, and tucked Fëanor’s unbound hair back behind his ears. Father had attempted to get Fëanor to sit still long enough to let the maid braid it, but Fëanor didn’t have the patience for such a pointless task. Why did Father insist Fëanor must always look his best when they visited Mother? Mother wouldn’t care if his hair hung loose.
“Now,” Father looked down at Fëanor with that serious expression he always wore when they visited Mother. “You are to be on your best behavior. I trust you’ve learned your lesson from last time?”
“Yes, Father.” Father had discovered Fëanor jumping on Mother’s bed, and given him a tongue lashing that still rang in Fëanor’s ears.
Why hadn’t Father heard Mother’s merry laughter? Fëanor made Mother happiest when he was making her laugh. She’d told him so; whispered it in his ear when Father wasn’t there because it was their secret. Theirs alone.
“You are to conduct yourself with decorum at all times. You are to obey when you’re given a direction. You are to keep your voice at a moderate level, and not upset your mother with your exuberance. Are you even listening to me, Fëanor?”
Fëanor’s eyes snapped back to his father’s face. He bit his lip and gave the truth as he always did. “No, Father.”
Father scowled, and Fëanor’s belly squirmed. But he’d heard all this before! And wasn’t the way Laurelin’s light hit the hall’s mirror fascinating? Look at the pattern the light made on the floor, as if it had bounced off the mirror…
Fëanor’s head whipped back to his father. Father’s mouth pinched, and Fëanor ducked his head. He clutched the books he brought to read Mother closer to his chest, shoulders curling in around them. He’d disappointed Father. He hated disappointing Father.
“Fëanor,” Father’s voice dropped gentle but weary between them. “I know it is hard for you to meet these expectations, but I need you to try. Your mother may not always seem so, but she’d very tried and needs her rest.”
Fëanor’s toe drug against the stone slabs. He meant to listen to Father, he really did, only look at that crack in the masonry? Why had that happened? Had a heavy force been dropped directly onto this section of the floor? That seemed unlikely in the palace halls. So was this a flaw in the craftsmanship, and how had it come about? His eyes wandered over the stones surrounding it, examining the work, seeking out more flaws—
He’d made Father frown again. “I’m sorry, Father.”
Father ran a hand down his face. “I was telling you that you only have an hour with your mother today.”
“Why?” Fëanor’s whole attention riveted to his father’s face. An hour, only one turning of the sand-holder! How would he tell Mother everything he’d discovered since yesterday, read her his new favorite book, think of lots of clever things to say to make her laugh, and hear her sing while her beautiful hands (the most beautiful in the whole world) embroidered as she let Fëanor rest his head right over her heart so he could count her heartbeats and measure them against his own?
Father sighed. “A Teler healer has come up to see your mother; they will have the afternoon together.”
Fëanor’s brows pinched. “But you’ve already had other Teleri healers come to see Mother, and the Noldor and Vanyar ones too. Why did you get another?”
“Because I did.”
“Because your mother is tired, Fëanor!” His father’s voice grew thorns.
Fëanor bit back a dozen other ‘why’s.’ He’d asked Father why Mother was sick a hundred times, but not one of Father’s answers contented Fëanor. If only Fëanor was older, then he would be able to heal Mother himself, he was sure of it. One day he would know everything, and Mother would never be sick again.
Father let out a heavy sigh, and placed his big hand on Fëanor’s shoulder. “These are things for me to worry about, Fëanor, not a child of your years. Now come, let us go in to see your mother.”
Fëanor followed his father, but the questions had not been satisfied. They never were.
Mother rested on the bed. Her silver hair splayed behind her on the pillow. Fëanor always associated Mother and Bed; he’d rarely seen her outside of it.
Laurelin’s light spilled directly onto Mother’s bed from where it rested under the window. Only sheer fabrics of white silk hung from the bed’s posts, doing nothing to block the light. The Vanyar healers and the Noldor were in agreement that Mother should spend as much time in the Tree light as possible.
Everyone knew the Tree Light contained strengthening agents. That was what everyone said, but Fëanor didn’t know. The question of why had not been answered to his satisfaction. When he’d asked Father, the healers, Mother, everyone he could pin down, why the Tree’s light had these powers, they said the Valar had told them so. But that wasn’t an answer. Fëanor needed to understand, but no one would explain it!
Fëanor approached the bed with Father. Needlework hung lax in Mother’s hands. Her eyelids had slid closed. Fëanor did not find this alarming. Mother always slept with her eyes closed. Father said it was because it helped her rest better. Fëanor was unsatisfied with this explanation as well. Why, why, why? And why would no one answer his why’s?
Mother stirred when Father brushed a strand of hair back from her brow. She blinked up at him, a slow smile lifting her face. “Hello.”
“Hello.” Father smiled back. The smile pushed back all the lines that had worked themselves into his brow and around his eyes.
Fëanor waited, bouncing on the balls of his feet, eyes darting over pieces of his mother: her shinny hair, her pretty eyes, her smiling mouth, her hands lifting pale and slender like bird wings from their rest in her lap. All the rules Father had gone over with him in the hall flew out of his head when Mother’s eyes slid passed the width of Father’s shoulders to rest on him.
She had smiled for father. She beamed for him. Her face lit up like a match had been struck under her skin, and her eyes were all for him.
Her arms lifted, and Fëanor flew into they, leaping up onto the bed to bury his face in her neck, wind his hands through her hair and inhale the smell and warmth of her. She made him feel special and loved as even Father never could, not like Mother did.
He squeezed Mother, laughing into her neck. He was so happy to be with her! She rocked him. “My darling boy,” she kissed his temple. They clung, heart-to-heart, for a long moment before Mother pressed her mouth into his ear and whispered, “Your father looks worried, my darling. Let’s follow his rules until it’s just us. They comfort him.”
Fëanor didn’t want to let Mother go, but it was only until they were alone. It was their special secret, just between them, that Mother laughed like a little girl when Fëanor’s bouncing feet sent her bobbing on the bed, and he would fling himself down on the bed to be caught by her and his face covered in kisses.
He pulled back to rest his head on her shoulder, snuggled up into her side, arms not letting her go.
“I’ll leave you two together, then.” Father leaned down and pressed a kiss into Mother’s brow, before kissing Fëanor too with a ‘Try to be good.’ Fëanor always tried.
Fëanor watched his father walk out of Mother’s room with a downturned mouth. “Wipe that frown away.” Mother’s thumb smoothed the wrinkle out of his brows. “And tell me everything you’ve been up to in the whole day since I saw you last, my darling.”
The shadow flew out of his heart. He hugged Mother closer and told her everything. But they only had an hour together, so little time when Fëanor wanted all day, every day, forever. Mother asked him to read to her, and he collected one of the books he’d left on the floor in favor of his mother’s arms.
He climbed back up on the big bed and nested against his mother’s chest. She pulled him close, her arms going around him to help balance the book on his crossed knees. He’d found this book on snakes in the library when he’d been conducting his first ‘research project.’ When he complained to Mother about how no one would answer his questions of why fish couldn’t breathe without water, she said he should find his own answers, for those would be the most satisfying. So Fëanor had.
Fëanor read aloud to Mother, and when he didn’t know one of the words she helped him. It wasn’t a baby’s book filled with pictures after all, though it had a few Fëanor liked examining (not because he was a baby, mind, even if he didn’t understand the big words).
Father found them like this when the hour was up. Fëanor kept reading to the end of the page while Father came to stand at the edge of the bed beside them. Fëanor closed the book with the respect Mother had taught him to treat them with, and looked up.
He bit his lip, searching his father’s face, seeking approval. Did Father think he read well like Mother did? Fëanor couldn’t keep himself from fidgeting when the maids braided his hair; he couldn’t always keep his mind on what Father was saying; he couldn’t always keep himself from bouncing and laughing and running like a ‘little wild thing’ through the palace, but he was clever, wasn’t he? Was Father proud of him?
But Father frowned again. Fëanor’s face fell down to the bottom of his toes with his heart. “Were you…reading?”
Fëanor crossed his arms over his chest and glared at the insult he heard in the words. Of course he could read! He wasn’t like those other children his age who were still sitting at their nurses’ knees listening to baby rhythms and stumbling over their speech!
“When did you learn to read? It won’t be time for me to find you a tutor to start learning your letters for at least another year!” Father shook his head at him.
Fëanor didn’t know if the expression on his father’s face was disappointment or wonder. Why couldn’t Father wear his face like Mother did, with everything right there on the surface? Father kept so much back, so much hidden.
Fëanor scowled. Hadn’t Father been listening when Fëanor told him the fable he’d read of the star-lake? “I taught myself. I told you about the Adventures of Ramun the Brave I was reading. Weren’t you listening?” His voice lashed out with all the hurt he felt at the implication his father had either deemed his words not worthy of remembering, or never worth listening to to begin with.
“But I thought you’d heard the story from one of the minstrels…” Father’s eyes slid over Fëanor’s head to Mother.
“I told you I’d read it myself!” Fëanor’s shifted about on the bed, unable to contain his agitation to his heart. Mother ran a gentle hand down his back and the pricking against his skin, the burn of his eyes, relented. He melted into the palm of Mother’s hand.
“I thought you were ‘reading’ the pictures…” Father’s hand rose in an empty gesture.
Mother’s voice came soft but firm behind him, her hand not pausing in its work on his back. “It sounds like our little boy is first in reading as he was in talking and walking. Not such a surprise, is it, Finwë?”
Father’s frown smoothed out, and his mouth turned up in a smile as he gazed down at Fëanor. “Taught yourself, did you? An impressive accomplishment. I’m proud of you, my clever boy.” Father’s hand came to rest in Fëanor’s hair, and Fëanor turned into it. His mouth stretched wide and joyful as the bursting in his heart. He’d made his father proud.
Father’s hand held Fëanor’s in its large, warm grip. Fëanor squeezed his father’s fingers, drawing closer as they made their way down Lórien’s paths.
Father had sat him down to explain that Mother was very sick and needed to go get better in Lórien. Fëanor had tried to ask why Mother wasn’t getting better, what was wrong with her, when she was coming back, when he could see her again, but Father hadn’t answered any of his questions.
“Hush now,” Father had said. “Don’t be afraid, everything will be well.” Father had pulled Fëanor into his arms and wiped tears Fëanor hadn’t even realized he’d been crying while the spew of endless questions piled out. Fëanor had clung to Father, clung and clung like he’d never let go. Father hadn’t let him go until Fëanor stopped sobbing, even when Fëanor tasted his father’s tears along with his.
Fëanor didn’t understand, and he needed to understand. Father’s hand squeezed Fëanor’s back. “I’m not going anywhere. I’ve got you, my son.”
Only after the words cleared out the blockage in Fëanor’s throat did he realize he’d been struggling to breath.
“Come here,” Father picked him up, and Fëanor wrapped his legs about his father’s waist as he hadn’t done since he was a baby. He curled his arms about his father’s neck and lost his face in his father’s hair. “Everything will be as it once was. Just wait, Fëanor, your mother will be home soon.” Fëanor burrowed deeper into his father, sniffling. “Let’s go visit your mother, hmm?”
Fëanor kept his face pressed into his father’s neck as Father took them through Lórien’s winding paths. Fëanor didn’t look up until his father’s steps trailed to a stop, the last ones dragged out like Father hauled lead balls behind him.
Mother lay upon a bed of green grass below the hanging silver branches of a willow tree. Her hair had been arranged about her like the flowing light of a star. “Mother!” Fëanor wiggled until Father set him down on his feet, and then dashed to Mother’s side.
“Mother, I’m here!” He flew into her side, pressing his nose into her neck and wrapping his arms about her waist. But her arms did not rise to hold him back, and her eyes remained sealed shut. “Mother, it’s me, it’s Fëanor!” Fëanor shook his mother’s shoulder, trying to wake her. But she did not stir. “It’s me, Mother, it’s your Fëanor!”
“Fëanor, remember what I told you.” Father’s hand settled on his shoulder, trying to draw Fëanor away from his increasingly panicked shaking. “Your mother’s spirit dwells away from her body for a time while she regains her strength.”
“But…” Fëanor remembered his father’s words, only he’d forgotten them for Mother looked only a moment from awaking. “Mother,” he shook off his father’s hand, and bent close again. He took his mother’s face in his palms, stroking her cheeks. “Mother it’s me, Fëanor. Please wake up, Mother, it’s me.”
“She will not wake, Fëanor, I have…I have tried.” His father’s voice broke, and Fëanor looked up from his desperate searching for flickers of life in his mother’s face. “She will not come. She…she needs her rest.”
“She will wake up for me. You’ll see.” Fëanor turned back to his mother, face set like a stone. Mother would come back, if only a moment, from her rest. She would want to take Fëanor in her arms and kiss his cheek and sing to her darling boy.
Fëanor threw his arms about his mother’s torso, and laid his head down upon her breast. He started talking, he had so much to tell her, weeks and weeks worth of adventures while she’d been away and Father had refused to take Fëanor to see her because Fëanor was ‘too young.’ Fëanor worked hard to relay his days with every touch of cleverness that made her laugh and tickle Fëanor’s neck.
He sought out her heartbeat, listening for its familiar thump thump thump, but it beat slow and faint in her chest. It no longer matched his own.
“Mother.” His arms clutched at her like a lifeline, and his voice wobbled, eyes burning with tears. “Wake up, please, please, wake up, Mother!”
“Come away, Fëanor.” Father’s hands sought to draw him away again.
“No!” Fëanor latched onto his mother’s arms and tried to make them work. He wrapped them about him, but they flopped back onto the grass, limp.
“Come away,” Father tugged him more instantly.
“No, no, I want my mother!” Fëanor thrashed against his father’s arms caging him, pulling him back and back and back. Fëanor screamed and writhed, twisting, and beating his fists against his father’s chest. But Father would not let him go.
Father’s arms wrapped tight about him. He rocked Fëanor, hands cradling Fëanor’s skull against his chest. “Hush, my son, hush.”
Fëanor screamed into the fabric of his father’s tunic, grasping great handfuls, his whole body shaking. He wanted his mother!
The violence of his grief could not last, and weariness dropped against his eyelids. He’d screamed and cried himself dry, and now curled against his father’s chest with only hiccupping sobs still rocking his body at intervals.
“You mother will come home soon; she’ll not suffer to be long parted from her darling boy. Soon, my son, just a little longer.” Father kissed his brow, combing the hair back from Fëanor’s face.
Fëanor wiped his nose with his sleeve and looked up to meet his father’s gaze. “Why is she so tired? I don’t understand, Father.”
“Oh, my son.” Father brushed the tearstains from Fëanor’s cheeks. “She will be home soon.”
“But why couldn’t she get better?” Fëanor grew agitated again. Why would no one tell him why his mother was sick? No one else’s mothers got sick, only his. How would he learn how to fix her if no one told him what was wrong?
Father sighed, and pulled Fëanor’s face into his shoulder. “You’ll understand when you’re older.”
Fëanor’s hands clenched into fists on his father’s tunic, but he would get no better answer no matter how he asked. He would just have to discover the truth himself. Mother had taught him about researching to find his answers. Fëanor would read every book in the library, that would teach him how to heal Mother.
Father let Fëanor up so they could walk together from Lórien. Father picked up his hand as Fëanor looked back at his mother’s body one last time. He would find a way to wake her up again. (Just wait, Mother, I’ll make you better again).
Time passed and Mother did not come home like Father promised, and though Fëanor read and read, he couldn’t discover a way to fix her.
Fëanor stopped visiting Mother first. He couldn’t find her in that shell lying still and unresponsive on the grass, perfect as a doll, and just as lifeless. She wasn’t there; she was somewhere he couldn’t reach, deep in Mandos’ Halls. Her eyes never opened no matter how he pleaded. He couldn’t bear to see her lying there, perfectly beautiful and perfectly motionless.
He’d seen a bird die once. It flew into the window with a thunk that had his head jerking up from the words ensnaring him. He’d risen to explore the source of the sound and found the robin’s body on the stones of the garden’s terrace, a little fluff of feathers scattered about it. He’d thought it was only injured, having never seen anything die before, and had crouched down beside it. He’d taken its delicate bones into the palm of his hand, and stroked the soft down of its chest, cooing to it. But it did not stir. It lay broken in his hands; its big, gassy eyes as empty as Mother’s body.
Father didn’t ask Fëanor to come with him when he visited Mother. Father had never wanted Fëanor to see Mother’s empty body, but all the advice flowing out of mouths that didn’t know what they were talking about said Fëanor should see Mother so he could understand and accept.
Father visited Mother every month, and every time he left Fëanor in Tirion, alone. Fëanor spend every day he was away terrified Father would not come back. Mother had gone away to Lórien and not come back. What if Father decided one day he didn’t want to come back to Fëanor either?
Father stopped talking about Mother before he stopped visiting her. Fëanor didn’t want to stop talking about who she’d been and would be again when she returned. He wanted to hear the story of how Father and Mother met for the hundredth time, and the one of their wedding day, and the day Mother told Father she was going to have Fëanor.
He wanted to hear about Mother’s favorite color (though he knew this too, but he wanted Father to tell him again, like the very first time). He wanted to remember her laugh with Father, the sound of her footsteps in the corridor, the way her tongue stuck out, just a little, when she concentrated on her work, and what she’d looked like under the starlight of Endor.
Fëanor wanted to keep her memory alive so when she returned she would slip back into their lives as if she’d never left.
Father stopped talking about her by degrees. As the words wound down, revolving around Fëanor and Míriel’s time together, no longer speaking of Father’s own joys with her, the bitterness crept into the words. One day there were no more words, no more stories, nothing but ‘Don’t you know that story by heart, yet? Let’s speak of something else,’ and when Fëanor pressed, yearning, ‘That’s enough, Fëanor.’
The worst was when Fëanor shared his plans of how he would find a way to heal Mother when he grew up (Just wait a little longer, Mother, I’ll find a way to fix you). Father’s brow bent dark and heavy. He didn’t often raise his voice to Fëanor, but he would then. He would tell Fëanor to stop living in the past, before he would walk away, shutting Fëanor down and out.
Fëanor learned to keep these ambitions close to his chest. His father would see, when Fëanor had healed Mother, that he’d been right all along, but for now Fëanor did something he rarely did: he held his peace. He couldn’t risk losing his father, and those times his father grew cold and distant were enough to send Fëanor panicking.
Father clung to him, and Fëanor clung back. Since Mother left, there was not one evening they did not spend in each other’s company, but for the ones Father shut him out of. Those nights Fëanor lay awake long into the night, alone, cold, and afraid.
There came a time Father stopped visiting Mother’s body as well. Fëanor did not grow alarmed until Father came back from yet another trip away in which he left Fëanor alone, and slumped into his favorite chair to tell Fëanor what he’d done.
Father had gone to the Valar, seeking either Mother’s final return or permission to marry another. Now a council was to be called where Mother’s fate would be decided.
Fëanor had raged, of course he had raged, how dare his father do this to Mother? What happened to waiting for forever and then another because Mother was the beat within Father’s heart? That was what Father had said when he’d told Fëanor the story of their love, and Fëanor had believed him. But Father had lied about Mother coming home, what else had Father lied about? Didn’t he care that Fëanor needed Mother? Did he love them at all?
He learned the Valar’s verdict before he got his hands on the scribes’ transcripts. Fëanor had tried to make Father let him go to the council but Father said he was too young. Fëanor had been left, alone, with tutors while Father rode off to Valmar.
Fëanor had long since learned the real reason his mother was sick. Though his father had labored to keep him ignorant as long as possible, tongues would wag. But he’d not been prepared for the Valar’s words staring black and final against the parchment.
He’d known the Valar ruled to keep his mother’s spirit entombed within Mandos’ Halls until the Breaking of the World, but to read the words…
Fëanor’s fingers pressed white into the words of Manwë: “So she must remain until the end of the world. For from the moment that Finwë is joined in marriage all future change and choice will be taken from her and she will never again be permitted to take bodily shape. Her present body will swiftly wither and pass away, and the Valar will not restore it. For none of the Eldar may have two wives both alive in the world.”*
His hand clenched upon the scroll. It didn’t matter, because Father would never marry again. Father had been taken with a fit of loneliness, that was all (Why wasn’t Fëanor enough to chase the loneliness away?). But Father would remember how much he loved Mother; he would put all this nonsense of remarriage out of his head. He wouldn’t really marry another. He’d wait for Mother’s return just as Fëanor did. He had to.
Fëanor kept reading, determined to shove the sickness in his gut aside. The fear preyed upon him though, and it was a struggle to make sense of the words he read, but he pressed on. He would not be overcome!
Words leapt out at him, spoken by Ulmo: “I hold that the marring of his birth comes of the Shadow, and is a portent of evils to come. For the greatest are the most potent also for evil.”*
Marring of his birth
The Valar spoke of him, of Fëanor. He couldn’t…how could—what did this mean? What were they saying?
Fëanor’s fingers flipped with feverish intensity through the rune dictionary he kept at hand for those words yet beyond his knowledge. He didn’t know what all the words meant, but the picture, though blurry, sent his hands shaking.
Portent: An indication of something important or calamitous about to occur; an omen.
Potent: Exerting or capable of exerting strong influence.
Most potent for evil
Fëanor stood up at some point. The scroll crumpled in his fist. He reached the door; he might have run towards it. He wrenched it back with such force it crashed against the wall, and flew from the room like the rolling of a coming thunderstorm.
He found his father where he’d expected at this hour, in his study. He slammed this door open as well, and stomped inside. The first thing his eyes always sought the moment he entered was the portrait of his mother. It hung across from the window, receiving the full splendor of the Tree Light. His mother’s jaw was still set as it ever was a mix of determination and gentleness upon her countenance. She was as beautiful as her body lying in the grass of Lórien (Her body will swiftly wither and pass away.) and just as empty of the spark of life.
He tore his eyes away and found his father watching him. “You’re upset.”
Fëanor’s chest wrung too tight, his tongue wouldn’t work properly, and there were tears he refused to let fall burning his eyes. He was so passed the bounds of simple anger (hurt, terror) he could only fling the scroll down on his father’s desk, body shaking with everything tangled up inside him.
Father picked up the scroll calmly, and Fëanor wanted to hate him for that, but he couldn’t. He must never hate Father. Never. Father was all he had left (until Mother came home). It wasn’t Father’s fault he’d become lonely and made the mistake of consulting the Valar about this remarriage business. It was someone fault, Fëanor hadn’t worked out who yet, but it wasn’t his father’s.
Father’s eyes flew over the parchment, his cheeks paling. “Where did you get this? I didn’t want you to read about the council, you know that, Fëanor! I said you were too young!”
Fëanor lifted his chin. “What did you say to them?”
Father’s brows pinched, the scroll left idle in his hands as his eyes rose to rove Fëanor’s face. “To what do you refer?”
Fëanor’s breath rattled, as if his chest were nothing but a cage of bones, hollow. “When Ulmo called me a product of the Shadow. When he said I was marred from birth, and a potential for great evil. What did you say?”
“Now, Fëanor, that wasn’t what Lord Ulmo meant—”
“What did you say?”
Father’s mouth tightened. “Nothing. The Valar were debating—”
Fëanor spun, bolting for the door. A little table with an elegant vase of lilies and bluebells stood next to it. He seized the vase and hurled it into the wall with a scream.
He didn’t stop to look back, he ran. He felt too hot inside, things exploded inside his head. His heart pound, pound, pounded so loud in his ears he couldn’t hear anything else (it had never pounded like this when Mother’s heartbeat matched his). Something deep, deep inside him, under this hurricane of emotions, curled up in a corner to weep. If he could hold his heart in the palm of his hand, it would be as broken as that dead robin.
Arms caught him, swinging him off his feet, and pressing his back into a sturdy chest. Fëanor fought, clawing and shouting to get free, but Father wouldn’t let him go.
“Shh, my son.” Father chased his cheeks, trying to plant kisses, but Fëanor twisted away.
“Let me go, let me go!” Fëanor sank his nails into the backs of Father’s hands. Father didn’t let him go.
“You must listen, you must understand.” Father pulled him tighter against his chest, taking no heed of the kicking heels. He fitted his mouth over Fëanor’s ear. “I could not have spoken up in such an assembly; I could not very well interrupt the Valar’s council—”
“I would have!” Fëanor twisted towards his father this time so he could lock eyes. “I would have for you!”
“Oh, Fëanor,” Father’s hand cupped his cheek. “My darling boy—”
“Don’t call me that! That’s Mother’s name for me, and when she comes home—”
“Enough.” Father’s voice dropped cool and silencing.
Fëanor’s jaw trembled, but it wasn’t from furry this time. He wanted to talk about Mother. He wanted to hear Father say her name like he used to, like the shape of it was the most beautiful thing in the world rolling off his tongue.
Fëanor turned his face out from the hand holding it. Father sighed. “Fëanor, your mother is never coming home, and it’s time you understood and accepted that.”
“You’re a liar! I’m going to make her better, and then she’ll come home, and everything will be like it once was, just like you promised!”
Father’s arms loosened about him just when he needed them to close tighter, to never let him go. “I can’t do this anymore, Fëanor. I can’t do this.”
Fëanor sat cold on the stones without his father’s arms, and watched his father wrapped them about himself, head bowing. Father hunched in the silence, saying nothing, not even looking at Fëanor.
Something scraped its way up Fëanor’s spine. He didn’t like this. He didn’t like this at all. Why wasn’t Father speaking? He looked…he looked sad like Mother did when she’d looked out the window and thought Fëanor wasn’t watching her from the corner of his eyes. Father looked like the broken wing of the robin, hanging at that awkward angle, trailing listlessly in the air.
“Father?” His voice caught on a vulnerable note.
Father looked up, his head rising from his droop. He stretched out his arms again and gathered Fëanor up. “Shh, don’t be frightened. I promised you’d never lose me, didn’t I?” Father had promised Mother was coming home and that he’d always love her too.
Father kissed Fëanor’s temple, and Fëanor sank into the warmth of his father’s arms until the trembling ceased, and the coldness coiled in his gut unwound. But he stuck like a bur to his father’s side for the next week, unwilling (unable) to let his father out of his sight of a moment. He didn’t talk about Mother once in that stretch, terrified Father would push him away, would leave him all alone if he so much as whispered her name.
Additional story warnings: Underage characters involved in sexual situations (non-explicit).
*On ages/years: I’m not getting into the headache that is trying to untangle Elven ages in the Years of the Trees. So for the purpose of my sanity, all ages/time spans will be converted to not only Sun Years, but Human Ages i.e. Fingolfin is stated to be seven = a Human seven-year old. I hope this will also make the story less confusing for the readers as well.
*Fëanor’s quote in the summary is inspired by a quote by Martin Luther King Jr.
*I’ve been influenced by many incredibly talented writers through the years, and I’d like to give acknowledgment to the ones who have had the biggest impact on the way I see Fëanor and/or Fingolfin:
Spiced Wine in her peerless works that were the foundation of my perception of both these characters every bit as much as the Silmarillion was.
cheekybeak who I had such insightful discussion with on Fëanor.
Urloth whose work has thoroughly enchanted me.
The Revolutionary and the Usurper
*Quotes from The Shibboleth of Fëanor. Manwë’s quote has been slightly modified.