5. Chapter 4: The Seeing-Stone
"What do you seek, Son of Indis?" Feanor asked.
Fingon shrugged. He didn't seek anything, not that he knew of, not really. Feanor had wanted to speak with him, and he had been curious to finally meet his friend's father, so he had come to his house and let Feanor lead him to this room filled with gemstones and crystals. He thought of the strange look in his father's eyes every time Feanor was mentioned. Surely he would not approve of this visit. But Fingolfin had grown ever more distant in the years that had passed since Argon's birth, and did not have to find out. Besides, hadn't he said that he could visit Feanor when he was older? Fingon was fully grown in body, though a few years below his maturity, and for more than a decade he and Maedhros had been close friends. Surely by now he must be old enough.
They sat across a white table with one clear round jewel between them. Feanor cupped his hand around it. "What do you seek, Son of Indis?" he asked again. His eyes were dark, burning and taunting. Almost against his will, Fingon followed his uncle's gaze to the centre of the stone.
He saw white cliffs, crashing waves, burning heat. He saw a male lion pouncing, towering in its masculinity, with eyes that seemed like his own. He saw two figures, limbs entwined in a passionate embrace, and knew with certainty that one was himself. He felt the intensity of their pleasure, and their heat…
"Stop that," Fingon said angrily. "And stop calling me 'Son of Indis.'"
"I name you after your father, for you are like him," Feanor responded. "But as for the stone, it is your own desires that it reveals."
Fingon closed his eyes and willed his mind blank. When he opened them again the stone was flat and colourless.
"You have strength, though you are young," Feanor said, almost mocking, "and the stone is not your master. But will you not learn from it? For it has much to teach. I ask again, Fingon son of Fingolfin, what is it that you desire?"
The colours of the stone shifted then from white to green, not the green of the stone Fingon's father always wore, not quite, but the green of hills, of a landscape not of Valinor. The colours resolved into the picture of a vast expanse streaked with rivers, the dark and gold and red of trees, the white stone of tall mountains. Fingon saw great cities built, brick by brick, and beyond each city yet another dark wild to explore. In a high city there was a king, and a throne, and a crown. And whose face was that beneath the royal circlet? Was it his? Or his father's?
"What are you, Son of Indis?"
The picture dissolved into a single white-gold flame, burning, soothing, touching, seeing.
"Can I go now?" Fingon asked, jerking his eyes from the stone.
"You came willingly, and I do not hold you," Feanor answered. "Go, and think on what you have seen. Return when you will, for I have much to teach you."
When Fingon left Feanor's house he went instinctively to the rock by the lake where he liked to sit with Maedhros. It seemed like the safest place, and he wanted to avoid his father for the moment. Father on a throne, with a crown, ruling over lands vast beyond imagining…or was it me? Was it this that Fingolfin had been seeking, that kept him so remote? And what do I seek?
Fingon thought of his other teacher, Arosanwe of the Vanyar, who had been his mother's teacher before him. Arosanwe taught that all was based on love: the love of the All-Father, from which emanated the music and the Valar. The love of the Valar, each for the other and for the one, that lay at the root of creation. The love blessed on us by our creators, which leads us back to union with the primordial music. Love, said Arosanwe, is the only guide that we are give. "Love," he said, "and do as ye will." Was this like Feanor's teaching, to know one's desire? Are the longings of the heart also emissaries of the Valar, sent to teach their truths? Or are they from somewhere else, somewhere that Fingon could not even imagine?
And what is it that I desire?
It was in these thoughts, uncharacteristically quiet, that Maedhros found him. He shivered, unexpectedly, at the familiar touch of his friend's hand on his back.
"What did my father do to you?" Maedhros asked. His eyes narrowed, and he looked as angry as Fingon had ever seen him. He wondered what his face revealed to inspire such a response, and touched his cousin's hand in reassurance.
"When you look into the stone, Maedhros, what do you see?"
"He gave you the seeing stone?" Maedhros scowled. "How could he force you, underage…"
At that moment, Fingon felt far from underage. "I'm old enough to be your friend, aren't I? Tell me what you saw."
Maedhros let out a sigh and sat down next to his cousin. "I saw myself fighting."
Against your father? Fingon thought but did not say. "You mean, hitting someone? With your fists?"
"No, with a long metal stick, a sword…aren't you going to tell me what you saw?"
"Yes," …two bodies entwined …"Just not now."
They sat quietly, their feet dangling just above the shallow waves. Fingon picked up a flat stone and threw it with one long motion, watching as it skipped across the water. His cousin's mute presence made him feel stronger, and he began to relax muscles he had not known he had tensed. "What's a sword?" he asked after a time.
"It's something dark-Elves use in Beleriand, when they have enemies to fight against. Like a knife, made of metal, but longer, and sharp on both sides. Here, let me show you." Maedhros took two stones and knocked them together to form an edge. Then he picked up a branch from the forest, and used the stone to scrape away its sides until it was sharp-edged and pointed.
"What do you do with it?"
"Maedhros jumped to his feet, mock-sword in hand, and strode a short distance into the forest. Over the years he had become far more comfortable in his motions than he had been when he first came to Fingolfin's home, but here with a wooden sword in his hand he moved with a violent joy, as if with music in his limbs. He faced a tree as if it were an opponent, thrusting, turning, dancing around it. The light of Laurelin lit his copper hair, and his eyes were brighter than all the gemstones of Feanor. Fingon watched, amazed, his friend, always so quiet, now transformed. Or perhaps it is my eyes that have changed, and I only see what was always true.
"Would you make one for me?" he asked.
Maedhros bent to pick up another branch.
"No, a real one, from the forge. You've made one for yourself, haven't you?"
The sudden grace in Maedhros's limbs shifted back to his more usual hesitation. "Why?"
Because it means something to you. "So I can practice with you." So I can dance your dance with you, and be with you in what makes you alive.
Maedhros dropped the wooden sword and climbed back on the rock to sit next to his friend. "It doesn't make sense, I know. There isn't anyone to fight in Valinor, and the Valar take care of everything we need. But in Beleriand our kinsmen the Sindar battle Orcs, and wolves, and other evil creatures. The decree of the powers called us here, and I will not go against it. But this does seem to be what I am made for."
"Beleriand," Fingon breathed. "That is what I saw. Beleriand." Green endless hills and dark places. Rivers. Mountains. Space. Freedom. He imagined himself at his cousin's side in the wild lands across the sea, and smiled at the thought.
Maedhros looked up with a sudden curiosity and hope. "Then I will forge you a sword."
They remained by the lake for a long time that day. When Fingon finally did return home, after the light of Laurelin had faded into the silver light of Telperion, he was quiet, and avoided conversation with his family. His mind was on distant lands, and swords, and all that he had seen that day in the stone of Feanor.
Arosanwe of the Vanyar doesn't belong to me either, although I am grateful to Altariel Artanis for finding me a Quenya name for him. If you are curious as to who he is and you don't recognize the quote (or the highly mangled trinitarian theology) you can find the answer in the notes to 'Across the Ice.'
Argon is Fingolfin's third son and fourth (and last) child according to HoME vol. 12.
Many thanks to Cirdan for betareading this chapter.
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