1. Saying Farewell
This is intended to become a cycle, by which I mean that it's not a continuing story of Finrod's life, but a series of mostly disconnected episodes in which he is the main character, or plays a - mostly but not always considerable - part. As it will be told from different POV's, style and mood may vary from one episode to another.
Though both his brothers commented unfavourably on the number of things he had packed, Finrod* had no intention to reduce his luggage. What if he was going to need something - to use, to wear, to give away or just to contemplate - and he would discover he had left precisely that object behind in Tirion? He had decided it wouldn’t do.
A few moments ago, it had occurred to him that his favourite set of chisels had to be in his bedroom; he could not recall having packed it. As a rule, Noldorin artists and artisans kept tools in their bedrooms, in case a flash of inspiration should prevail on the desire to rest and dream. Though for the son of a Noldorin lord Finrod was unusually fond of dreaming, he was an accomplished stone-carver as well, and no exception to the rule. So, taking his lamp, he walked back through his father Finarfin’s halls and crossed the starlit Lower Court to reach his rooms. Departure was imminent, but he knew that his parents wouldn’t leave without him, even if others would.
They looked empty except for a few discarded designs still lying around. His bed was made, the sheets clean and smooth; he hadn’t used it for some time, having been to busy sorting his belongings. The set of chisels was nowhere to be seen, until he ducked and let the lamplight shine under his small workbench. As he wondered what his tools were doing on the floor he heard a knock on his door.
‘Come in!’ Finrod said, retreating on his knees, the lamp in one hand and the chisels in the other. He didn’t bother to read the presence outside the door, supposing it to be someone familiar.
The face he saw when he turned and looked up was familiar indeed, and yet he hadn’t expected ever to see it again. After they had returned their betrothal-rings in the Great Square of Tirion and said their farewells, he had watched her walk away through the gloom that had replaced the Light of the Trees killed by Morgoth and Ungoliant. Watched and watched, until she was out of sight, the tears he had held back while she was still there obscuring his vision.
Quickly, he rose to his feet. ‘Amarië...’ His heart beat faster: did she come to tell him she had permission to leave Valinor after all? ‘Are you coming with me?’
His beloved closed the door before dashing his hopes. ‘No, Finrod. I cannot go against the wishes of the Valar and those of all my kin. Nothing has happened to change that. But...’
She seemed to hesitate. He thought he detected a certain tension in the way she held her head, the whitening of her knuckles as she clasped her hands before her body. ‘Yes?’
‘I forgot something,’ she said finally with a shy little smile.
Being absolutely certain he was going to embrace her, Finrod hastened to put his lamp and his tools on the workbench. When he turned back Amarië had shed her cloak and thrown it over the nearest chair. He immediately carried out his plan by stepping close and pulling her against him. But when his mouth approached hers she put two fingers between their lips and said: ‘Wait. Won’t you ask what it is I forgot?’
‘Hearing me say once more how I love you and will never cease loving you in spite of what has come between us?’ Valar, why do her eyes shine more brightly every time I see her? Why does merely looking at her hurt so much?
‘The more fool you are for leaving me,’ she said and pressing her fingers against his mouth to keep him from protesting she added: ‘Don’t repeat the arguments. You have a foe to fight. You have a murdered kinsman to avenge. You owe your Noldorin kin the same loyalty I owe the Vanyar. And you have your fantasies and your visions...’ she went on after a pause, fidgeting with one of the gems adorning the collar of her gown.
‘Oh yes,’ he admitted, still holding her close. ‘"Full of wild fancies and prone to chase them to the bitter end," as your father said of me.’
‘I still remember his face when you thanked him for the compliment.' They laughed together
'But now I have a fancy of my own,’ Amarië concluded.
‘That we should wed before you depart.’
If his heart had started beating faster before, now it bolted. ‘Wed?’ he repeated, unable to believe his ears but fervently hoping he had heard it correctly. ‘You would bind yourself to one who will not stay with you?’
‘Yes, I would.’ Amarië seemed a little breathless, as if she had been running too fast. ‘According to the law** it does not take a ceremony and the presence of witnesses, as things are now. Only taking vows, and invoking the One. But’- she bit her lip and pulled away from his embrace, averting her face - ‘everything has gone awry and we are left in the dark, and who can tell what the future will bring? Maybe you would rather not bind yourself to one who will not follow you. Maybe you want to be free to wed a maid you will meet across the Great Sea.’
She looked forlorn, and inwardly Finrod cursed himself for letting go of her so easily, for questioning her instead of letting her know how he felt. Taking one of the hands that hung limply beside her body he pressed it against his pounding chest.
‘No maiden across the Great Sea could ever steal my heart, for it has been captured by someone else.’ And taking a deep breath he braced himself to say the irrevocable:
‘Amarië, I hold thee dearer than my heart and take thee as my wife until the end of Arda. May Eru, Who gave being to all that was, is and shall be, let his light shine upon our love.’
With a sharp intake of breath, as if she had not expected him to go ahead like he had just done, Amarië laid her other hand over his and replied: ‘And I love thee, Finrod, and will receive thee as my husband for all Time to come. May Ilúvatar, Whose children we are, bless our holy union.’
And then they were in each other’s arms, drinking each other's kisses, radiant with joy, reeling with pure desire, trembling with anticipation - and yet painfully aware of how preciously little time they had. They pulled the clasps from each other’s hair, the pale gold of Amarië and Finrod’s darker gold, to let it flow freely about their faces and shoulders. With avid fingers they tugged at each other’s clothes, pulling them off with a haste they would have thought unseemly under any other circumstances. They tumbled onto the bed to make love for the first time, entwined, aglow, skin to skin, flesh to flesh, shyness flowering into bold affirmation - but the awareness that it could be the last time before the breaking and remaking of Arda Marred made their pleasure poignant as grief. Heedless of all else they cried each other’s names as their world shrank to the space occupied by their joined bodies and expanded beyond the stars.
Afterwards, Finrod gathered Amarië into his arms, feeling adrift. They lay silently for a while, their limbs cooling. Soon it would be too cold to lie motionless, but he did not want to rise yet, nor did she, it seemed.
‘This is a memory I will always cherish,’ she whispered, and he felt her breath caress his throat.
‘It will sustain me wherever I go,’ he replied softly, stroking her hair.
He wanted to say more, but before he could do so, the door they had forgotten to lock flew open.
‘Finrod, are you here?’ a familiar voice asked. The next moment his youngest brother Aegnor stepped inside the room, looking about, and stopping dead in his tracks when he saw the two on the bed.
Hurriedly, Finrod grabbed as much of the bedcovers as he could get hold of and pulled them over Amarië’s naked body. Aegnor abruptly redirected his gaze from the lovers to the disarray of garments spread across the floor. Clearing his throat, he addressed his brother’s travelling boots. ‘You're being missed. I was sent to find you and tell you that everyone is ready to leave. Does this’ - his right hand swept towards the bed - ‘mean you won’t come with us, after all?’ His voice held the slightest hint of disappointment.
Carefully, Finrod sat up, thanking the Valar they had been found by the only one among his siblings who would not comment on the situation now, nor allude to it later. ‘No,’ he replied. ‘I will keep my word and come.’
‘Don’t be to long, then,’ Aegnor said, looking at his brother from the corner of an eye. ‘And may I suggest you brush your hair? It’s one big tangle.’ With that, he turned on his heels and left, closing the door behind him with exaggerated care.
Finrod felt a movement against his thigh, and realised Amarië was giggling nervously under the covers.
‘I’m afraid I’ve packed all my brushes,’ he told her.
‘And I didn’t bring one,’ she said. ‘We’ll have to use our fingers.’
‘Perhaps one of my chisels could help to sculpt our locks into form again?’
Idle banter, meant to keep the hurtful truth at bay. If my brother hadn’t appeared when he did, Finrod wondered, would I have decided to stay with her and let the others leave without me?
He’d never know now. Abruptly, he rose to pick up their clothes. Amarië watched him put her garments on the bed, but when he dressed she didn’t follow suit. Gathering all the clasps he could find he sat down to sort them out. When he tried to curb his rampant manes, she sat up behind him and began to comb his hair with her, long slender fingers. It took him all the determination he possessed not to change his mind and make love to her once more, and wish Fëanor and his sons and their unholy Oath to the bottom of the Great Sea.
After a while she said: ‘I think you are more or less presentable now.’
He turned towards her where she sat, wrapped in a sheet. ‘Shall I do your hair now?’
Amarië shook her head. ‘You have to make haste.’
Finrod bent towards her. They kissed one last time before he rose, and went to collect his chisels from the workbench. In the doorway, he said ‘Namárie,’*** before he disappeared.
He had left her the lamp. She did not know how long she sat on his bed, staring into the light that could never replace that, which was lost. Far away, she heard voices and feet and indefinite noises, until all sounds subsided and she knew her beloved - her husband - was on his way out of Tirion, out of Aman, and out of her too long life.
In the heavy silence, she could finally confess to herself that she had actually hoped to keep him with her by binding herself to him. And she knew she had almost succeeded.
Almost. One of the saddest words of Arda Marred.
Amarië rose from the untidy bed. When she did, one toe connected with a hard object lying under it. When she picked it up she saw it was a stone bird no bigger than a fist, caught in the act of spreading its wings. It was rough and unfinished, as if wrought by an impatient youngster with his mind on his next piece of work, but the talent of its maker was written all over it. One of Finrod’s earlier carvings, she guessed, discarded, or forgotten.
Hers to take and to cherish, she decided.
Slowly she dressed, and braided her hair into a semblance of order before she collected the bird and the lamp, and left Finarfin’s halls unseen.
*In order to make them more easily recognisable I’m using the characters’ Sindarin names, except in the case of Amarië, who never had one. But in Quenya, Finrod was called Findaráto (or Ingoldo, his mother-name), Aegnor was Aikanáro, and Finarfin’s name Arafinwë.
** See Laws and Customs among the Eldar, in: Morgoth’s Ring, HoMe, Volume 10.
***I don’t know if, and in which way, this word is related to Amarië’s name.
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.