6. Chapter 5: Sword-dancing
A step backwards, half a step forwards. The metallic sound of steel on steel. Fingon was slowly learning Maedhros's sword-dance, taking on the ease of his motions with sword in hand. He knew in his mind that this dance was for killing, that somewhere far away these motions were taken in the face of darkness and not with a kind and loving friend. But here, among the trees by the coast in the peace of Valinor, the dance of blade with blade, spinning body and raised hand, seemed only for the delight in the movement. He saw the fierce joy in his cousin's eyes, and felt its echo in his own, and was content, and more than content.
When they tired from the dance, they lay silent on the grass in the shelter of a mallorn tree. At moments like this, withdrawing from the peculiar intimacy of combat, Fingon found that he could use the concentration of mind that Feanor had taught him to penetrate his cousin's spirit, only slightly, just as far as the outer mists. Even from that distance he could sense the sharp peaks, the pools of muted yearning, and yet, beneath these and surrounding them, a burning taste of nectar. He felt the happy response of his friend on the edges of his spirit as well, and was amazed, as always, at the gentleness of touch from such a blazing soul.
The light of the trees mingled, and the waves turned silver as Telperion waxed in strength. They had come to the forest, as always, far from Tirion, to practice the dance of the swords. Fingon had not told his family of this dance, not yet. It would raise too many questions about things he did not want to speak about, like Beleriand, and his occasional visits to Feanor. And what was the use of swords in Valinor, aside from the beauty of their dance? Surely he could keep this private, the secret joy of blades clashing.
"When do you have to be back?" Fingon asked after a time. He wished he could learn mind-speech; his voice sounded jarring to him always, after such fluent speaking of limbs and spirit.
"Not for a while. I left a half-forged pendant at the workshop, but Father said that he would take care of it. He is always encouraging when I come out here with you."
I wonder why, Fingon thought. He was still not sure how he felt about his friend's imposing father. He had been to see Feanor three more times in the years that had passed since that first visit. Feanor had shown him how to shape the visions in the stone to his will. They had seem more of Beleriand, of endless shores and lands, and great kingdoms of wood, vale and forest. This last time, however, the stone had shifted under Feanor's gaze and shown strange images of Fingon's father, plaiting gold and silver in Feanor's hair.
'What have you done with my father?' Fingon had asked, amazed. He had always thought his father hostile to his brother, but now it seemed that what passed between them was more complex than he has imagined.
''He came to me willingly, as did you,' Feanor had answered, his lips curling in an almost-smile, 'and I gave him only what he desired.'
And what is it that I seek?, Fingon thought, remembering this exchange. The question still held him, but he was glad not to have to answer it, not yet.
"Do you ever think about not living with your father?" he asked Maedhros. His younger brother Maglor was already married, and the little twins Amrod and Amras where still living with their mother, who had, according to family rumor, left Feanor for good.
"No," Maedhros said after a pause. "Not often, not really. Or I do, but then I think, all I am is from him. But he can be harsh, sometimes, and hardly anyone can speak to him in a way that he will hear. Now that Mother is gone, it seems that no one can. Father tells me that when they were young, working for Grandfather Mahtan, she once made a ruby, perfect and delicate, with the shape of a flame at its heart. She brought it to Father, who worked with it to make the flame seem even more alive. Then she put it down on the table in front of him, took a hammer, and smashed it with one blow."
"Was he angry?"
"He says that is when he knew he was going to marry her."
Fingon laughed. So that is what it takes to open a flaming heart. "Did you ever try breaking anything?"
"I never made anything perfect enough to break. It doesn't matter," he added quickly, as Fingon began to reassure him, "I know I am without my father's talents, or even my mother's. That is why he gives me the seeing-stone, I think, so that I can imagine something else to do with my fire, something that isn't about the forge. My mother says that everyone has their own language, their own way of speaking, and if you can learn it you can speak right to the heart of who they are. She could learn anyone's, but I think I am only now, with the sword, beginning to learn my own."
I will never learn Feanor's language, Fingon thought, but I will learn yours, and speak it with you. His limbs remembered the beauty of the sword-dance and the song in his friend's motions, and the thought made him smile as they rested in the shelter of trees.
This is a work of fan fiction, written because the author has an abiding love for the works of J R R Tolkien. The characters, settings, places, and languages used in this work are the property of the Tolkien Estate, Tolkien Enterprises, and possibly New Line Cinema, except for certain original characters who belong to the author of the said work. The author will not receive any money or other remuneration for presenting the work on this archive site. The work is the intellectual property of the author, is available solely for the enjoyment of Henneth Annûn Story Archive readers, and may not be copied or redistributed by any means without the explicit written consent of the author.