Fëanáro’s goal was to be a good father. His secondary goal was to have sons who would carry on with him in the forge, joining their skills with his love for the forming of metals and stones and wielding their hammers together in cacophonous harmony.
Each of his sons was brought to the forge when they were young, but as they aged, they left the forge behind them with the exception of short visits to make small items for gifts. With Curufin, Fëanaró finally had an apprentice to follow his guidance in the forge, so that the sorrow that the other six brothers chose different interests was less intense. But it was with great surprise that he saw his least crafty son standing in front of him on that grey spring day in Formenos.
Macalaurë appeared uncomfortable and uneasy, standing in front of his father. Fëanaró forced himself to remain calm, even though the project he had been working on would need to be reworked because of the interruption.
He thought back on this son’s short and semi-disastrous introduction to the forge. After Macalaurë had been brought into the forge, his first task had been to tend the bellows. He began pumping them in a rhythm that was pleasing to him, but that didn’t maintain the constant heat necessary to melt the metal. Moving him over to the hammers also didn’t work – he was adequate at hitting the target, but again heard music in the anvil and rhythm in the strikes, forgetting to anneal the metal, thus making it too brittle through the hammer strokes. Then he was assigned to sort and grade gemstones so that they were well matched for a commission piece. He began humming a tune, and finally, when Fëanaró looked at his work, the gemstones had been placed in musical staves, writing the notes down in faceted light, instead of matching perfect groupings for the jewelry. Fëanaró gave up and never brought Macalaurë into the forge again. Yet here he was.
“Atar”, a soft voice said. “Would you be willing to teach me one more time?”
“Why would you wish to be in the forge, my son? Your heart is clearly not in it, nor do I need more tools or jewels destroyed through your lack of attention.”
“I realize I am a poor smith, Atar, but…..I need to build myself a new harp.”
Author's Notes: Normally Macalaurë would probably have asked Nerdanel for help, since wood would be more her specialty. But Fëanaró is more than capable of assisting him in this, especially in the intricate inlay work that often ornamented such instruments. Nerdanel, of course, did not accompany the family to Formenos.