Fingon sat still, his eyes locked on the movement and the shape of his hands. Fingon observed how his hands folded over his knees, the shape of his knuckles, the length of his hands…so much like his father’s. He watched his finger extend up and then relax over his knee. Fingon’s hands held a story, carried within them something that was now precious in a way that he had not understood before. Maybe that is why when Arakįno died his father had held his brother’s hands and pressed them to his face. If only Fingon could hold his father one last time, remembering how Fingolfin knelt over Arakįno’s body, burying his face in the crook of his youngest son’s neck, breathing him in, wanting to keep that memory of him intact. But Fingolfin had not been delivered to him and in this too Fingon felt betrayed.
Lindirė sat silently at the edge of the large balcony, watching her husband who had taken up residence on the stairs that descended onto the stone balcony. She had come and gone throughout the day and Fingon had not moved. Fingon mourned his father, but there was something more- a darkness that swam just beneath the currents of his grief, threatening to rise and bring Fingon down into that deep, inescapable place within. She kept close watch over her husband. Husband, the word conjured a range of strange and disparate emotions. Their marriage had been an alliance between the Elders of the Second Clan that did not heed the call of Valar and those that had Journeyed. Both peoples greeted it as a good omen, a remarrying of the peoples that had become divided by the seas to withstand the forces of Morgoth. It was not an easy alliance as each of their peoples looked upon the other with a sense of distrust, one thinking the other arrogant, the other thinking their kindred unwise. In this Fingolfin had proved to be both wise and humble, seeking alliance with his kindred that he remembered from his father’s stories of the days before the Journey.
And Fingon mourned his father. He did not cry, but Lindirė knew he grieved. This she understood well. Her people had suffered much, lost so many. She found a kindred spirit in Fingon. He understood her melancholy. It was strange to think that their distant Noldorin cousins who could be haughty and superior, were at the end of the day wedded to their Avari kin in ways that sealed their fates for ages to come. Sensing that Fingon was deeply lost in the elven path of sorrow, Lindirė dared to walk over to him, something no one else could find the courage to do. Lindirė quietly sat by her husband, her hand stretching over Fingon’s. Fingon did not look up, but he let out a small sigh.
“Your hand,” Lindirė whispered, “there is no other like it.” Lindirė picked up Fingon’s hand and turned it over with her own hand, her fingers tracing the contours of the bones beneath the skin. Fingon’s eyes followed Lindirė’s hands trace a path along the length his fingers, following the contours of his hand, reminding him of the first intimacies they had shared with one another. “See how the joints come together in such a way, the fingers crooked just so?” Lindirė murmured, glancing up to catch her husband’s gaze. “A body’s map that exists nowhere else, only in you” she soothed. “Life, miraculous, haunting, and dizzying, but finite.” Indeed immortality was no certainty, being replaced with the Doom that haunted the Noldor and the inevitability of death that preyed upon those named Avari. Lindirė’s words were not meant to erase Fingon’s heartache. After all she could not temper such loss. No. Loss that deep, that paradigmatic became the new pattern woven into the Life that came after for them. Lindirė understood this intimately. All she could offer Fingon was understanding and resignation.
Lindirė allowed her hands to explore the shape of her husband’s arms, the strength of his shoulder, the nape of his neck. She let her hand stop to rest there. “And yet you look for your father in the crook of your finger,” she murmured. Fingon closed his eyes, a deeper sigh escaping. “I see him here,” Lindirė whispered placing a kiss on Fingon’s lips. “And here,” she continued ghosting a kiss along her husband’s cheekbones.
Fingon allowed himself to lean into his wife’s embrace. Breaking the long silence that he carefully wrapped around himself, Fingon whispered, his voice hoarse, “It is the only place I can find him,” he revealed.
Lindirė laid her hand on Fingon’s thigh. Tentatively, Fingon reached out with his own hand and wrapped his fingers around Lindirė’s smaller hand. “I remember when I lost my father,” she shared, “the only consolation I could offer myself was that I was of him, that his love was manifest in me.” And now Artanįro was the last beacon of her family, so few of them remained. A sister lost to the Dagor Bragollach, though her sister’s children were grown, Lindirė felt she lost them too as many of her kin chose to flee deeper into their forests, hoping that distance between them and the Noldor might temper Morgoth’s rage. Though she didn’t believe that distance could win them life, Lindirė hoped that fate might prove her wrong. Exhaling her troubles, Lindirė cautiously offered her husband guidance: “Resignation. I loathe the word but find truth in its sentiment.”
Fingon’s eyes turned to study his wife. She was tired. Her bright grey eyes were now dull, the fire kindled there like an ember. Of course the events of late had taken a toll on Lindirė. Fingon had to resign himself to the new shape of the world without his father in it. There was no other path. Fingon understood that time would ease the pain in his heart, but the notion of time was a panic. How much time did they have before Morgoth would unleash more death upon them? As High King Fingon knew he had to act and more swiftly than he desired. He remembered the arguments that would last long into the night with his father in which Fingon chided his father for his defensive stance: Unite the Noldor! Strike while we are strong. Bring the death blow to Morgoth. Maybe Fingolfin, in his last moments, had taken Fingon’s words to heart.
Lindirė watched how Fingon’s eyes trailed over her, observed how his body slouched as if under the weight of the word resignation. The strange glow typical of Noldorin eyes was absent. Fingon’s fire was but a dying ember that needed kindling. Lindirė hoped that the looming coronation would bring some of that fire back to Fingon. When first they met, Lindirė had found Fingon’s eyes, their strange brightness, to be disconcerting. She had shunned him, finding his brashness and confidence off putting in those days, but soon discovered that beneath that veneer was also kindness, regret, and a gentle melancholy.
“Lindirė,” Fingon spoke his wife’s name, his own thoughts caught in the swift current of memory, seeking better times. Fingon remembered the evening by a roaring fire amongst her father’s people where he first made peace with their impending union. After singing a song of welcome to the Noldorin company, Lindirė came to sit next to Fingon and in that matter of fact way of hers told him what her marriage name would be: Lindirė. Fingon inquired as to the name, curious why she would choose a Quenya name knowing of Thingol’s ban. This inquiry earned a hearty laugh from Lindirė and those surrounding them. She replied that Thingol did not rule over her people, and secondly, she’d dreamt Fingon referring to her by that name. But most important, she shared, she liked the way it sounded. And that was that. Upon their marriage Fingon’s spouse became known as Lindirė. Those were happy times, stolen from the stretch of time between Exile and the new life they made in Endórė. Better times.
Lindirė did not have to cry for Fingon to know she too grieved for those she lost, but he tried not to lean on her too heavily for fear she would turn her heart away from him if she truly knew what haunted it. How was he going to tell her that he had made a decision without her council that would irrevocably shape the fate of Lindirė and Artanįro? Fingon leaned back against the stone step, unraveling himself from his wife. It was for him alone to bear the grief brought by the Doom, for him alone.
Lindirė shifted, allowing Fingon the space he sought, her hand dropping into her own lap. Fingon needed to speak of the dread and grief that consumed him, and the guilt of course. Always guilt.
Fingon cleared his throat, needing to find some sort of gesture that would allow him to speak: “When I look at Artanįro, I see my father, maybe too much of him. It hurts me to look upon him,” he revealed. Fingon tore his eyes away from Lindirė, allowing his gaze to settle on the valley below him. “And yet, here I am, desperate in my search for any semblance of my father in me, seeking some shred of him to console my heart for I cannot bear the pain that consumes me.” Fingon spoke steadily but the slight shiver in his body hinted at the emotions that silently consumed him. “In my grief I shun my own son, and yet I know he too grieves, but I cannot overcome it…”
Lindirė silently shook her head in understanding, holding her breath, anticipating that Fingon had more to say.
“…and I am supposed to be a king, a king!” Fingon quietly chastised himself.
“A king that did not want the crown,” Lindirė countered, acknowledging that the title of High King came at a huge cost. “A king that is a son. Artanįro will not begrudge you this. Children are easy with forgiveness.”
“Are you easy with forgiveness?” Fingon asked, his hand reaching out to grab Lindķrė’s once more, knowing his wife, quietly and bravely faced her own sorrows, her own losses, without comfort from him. He was selfish in his grief but could not find a way out of it. It was entirely unlike him to be so self absorbed, but Fingon was drowning.
Lindirė offered her husband a faltering smile. Pulling her hand to his lips, she kissed his fingers. “There is nothing to forgive Fingon.” Her smile shifted, betraying a small fire. “Do not punish yourself for falling so deeply in grief. In time we will grieve together.” Resignation. The Noldor were a strange cousin, keen to bury their emotions, face death down and walk away from it without release. Lindirė believed it was why Fingon now faltered, too weighed down with the History of a people lost to a doom. But there was also that darkness that lingered at the edges of her husband’s mind: the kinslaying, the betrayal, and all that went into that Doom. Though her people did not share it, the doom swallowed them none the same. “Do you forgive your father?” Lindirė spoke, daring to name the deeper hurt Fingon felt. It had to be said, needed to be spoken, this deep current of anger and sorrow that was darker and more dangerous.
Fingon sucked his breath in. Lindirė presumed to name what Fingon could not speak aloud. Fingon’s anger with his father made for a brew of emotions that were difficult to understand and make sense of. Fingon, in his darker moments, silently accused his father of failing him, of abandoning him. In moments of clarity, Fingon would struggle with the idea that his father abandoned him, but that did nothing to ease the overwhelming pain and sorrow that devoured him. Fingon’s love for Fingolfin had been large, bright and fierce--as only Fingon could love.
Lindirė voiced Fingon’s confusion, but she did so in that typical way of hers that offered some comfort in face of insurmountable emotion: “You are justified in your anger and confusion. You will come to terms with it,” Lindirė responded, resignation once more haunting her words. Lindirė continued, knowing there was more at stake than Fingon’s despair over his father’s death. “Just because you believe your father failed you does not mean you will fail Artanįro.”
Fingon’s bright blue eyes widened. Would Fingon also fail his son? Was he not failing him now? He opened his mouth to defend himself but could not find words. If Lindirė only knew what he had decided for them, she would not be generous with him. Again, Lindirė surprised him.
“You believe it is no longer safe for us here and you wish for us to be somewhere safer,” Lindirė voiced Fingon’s thoughts. Fingon let his head hang, casting his eyes towards his feet. He could not look upon his wife and there find the same betrayal he felt.
“I have felt much the same,” Lindirė revealed, placing her hand under Fingon’s chin and gently raising his face. Fingon found no words to fill the space between them. Lindirė found the words for him, words that were stirring in her own heart. “I am your wife Fingon, but my child, his life, is first. As it is for you. Do not let this be a burden. See it as the gift for which it is, for a parent’s greatest sacrifice is to make sure that his child sees the light of the next day.”
The light of the next day. Lindķrė’s words fell like a lightning bolt. Sacrifice. “Oh Father!” Fingon choked up. Fingolfin had sacrificed himself, but for what? Fingon tucked his face into the familiar space of his wife’s neck, the valley between her neck and shoulders, the scent of her skin and hair comforting. Fingon released tears of anger and sorrow that he had bottled up. His tears were a slow, steady release, a beginning of something beyond the hollowness of his desperation.
Lindirė held back her own tears, wrapping her arms around Fingon, carrying the familiar weight of him against her. He was, in some ways, unlike her father, who was not as large as Fingon but no less strong. Yet in other ways, Fingon was so much like her father: quick to smile, bold and carefree, in love with the vastness of Ennor, someone who brought peoples together with strength and kindness. Fingolfin regularly shared with Lindirė that she reminded him of Anairė, Fingon’s mother who did not cross the Grinding Ice. And Lindirė was often told how much like her own mother she was so in Lindirė’s mind, Anairė must be a good person, though she did not understand her choice to remain behind. Maybe this is why Lindirė and Fingon found comfort in one another. Each finding in the other a bit of the father and mother they no longer had by their side.
But now Fingon was rudderless, parentless. How would it feel to have your anchors, the very people that shape the essence of you are, gone? Lindirė was terrified of losing her mother. Without her, Lindirė would not have had the courage to stay at Fingon’s side when her father died. Though the idea of losing Fingon terrified her, she faced it with an increasing sense of inevitability. Lindirė accepted that Fingon would be parted from her, in time. Yet this did little to ease her heart when she considered how much longer Fingon would be by her side. When would Doom’s hammer find Fingon? And what of Artanįro; would the Doom reach its way to him? Fingon was hers for a moment, but she would treasure this small moment in her life for however long she had to live it. And cling to her life she must, Lindirė resolved, for Artanįro. She would help Fingon find resignation.
“The coronation looms,” Lindirė gently reminded Fingon. “There is much to do and prepare before that time comes. Are you ready?"
Fingon raised his head to look upon Lindirė. And he loved her then like the days before their wedding when his love for her was first kindled. However, like the grief that parted them, Fingon began to understand in this moment that he would be sundered from Lindirė, from Artanįro, in a manner much greater than the leagues that stretched between him and the Havens. Fingon resolved that his wife and child would survive whatever came next. It was the best he could hope for.
“As best as I can be,” Fingon answered.
“I stare into the darkness and find an infinite emptiness. This terrifies me. It fills me with dread. It moves me in ways that you would call uncharacteristic. But there it is, this thing, this grief that I cannot escape.”
Maedhros looked over the hasty script on the parchment that had been attached to the formal letter that went out to all the lords and ladies of the Noldor scattered throughout Beleriand, formerly announcing Fingolfin’s death and Fingon’s coronation. Carefully, Maedhros tucked the note back into a breast pocket. Tomorrow his company would arrive at Barad Eithel along with others making their way for the coronation of the new High King. The embers of the campfire were dying out and the camp had settled itself for the night. Maedhros gazed at the stars above. He understood Fingon’s despair and though Maedhros had silently born his own despair after Fėanįro’s death, he was thankful that Fingon had Lindirė and Artanįro by his side. Maedhros never had the gift of foresight some of his family possessed but on that night, a chill snaked around his heart whispering that the Doom was closing in on them all. Maedhros resolved in that moment that he would not resign himself to that fate.
Resignation by Fadesintothewest