5. The Jewels of Feanor
The Silmarils, for all their complexity, reminded Maedhros of the first time that Curufin had been allowed into their father's workshop. From very early on, Curufin had shown himself to be like their father in face and skill. His dexterous fingers manipulated toys with ease, and he was able to hold a pen and write by the time he was one and a half. His painting of Feanor and Nerdanel was easily mistakable for one done by an adult. He helped Nerdanel with the cooking and could be trusted with the cutting of vegetables or carving of meat. When he was three, he begged Feanor to allow him into the workshop. Feanor was always careful with the safety of his sons, so Maedhros had been quite surprised when Feanor had agreed and Nerdanel had not objected.
Maedhros led Curufin by the hand into the workshop at the appointed time. Curufin stared the gems around him with large, piercingly bright eyes. The workshop was neatly organized with various tools and worktables, but some new equipment had been added.
"Welcome to my workshop, Curvo," Feanor said. He picked Curufin up and placed him on the main workshop table. "Normally, Maitimo would be my assistant, but today, you can help me with the making of some jewels. How does that sound?" Curufin cried out with pleasure and hugged his father.
"Are you sure this is okay, Father?" Maedhros said.
Feanor winked to him. "Of course. You may stay as well. We have never created these particular gems together before."
Feanor showed Curufin a small pot of white sand that Maedhros recognized to be nothing more than sugar. Together, they lit a fire and melted the sugar into a liquid. They cleansed the liquid of imperfections. Curufin chose the colors red and purple for the jewels, and Feanor added the "essence" of the jewels into the two separate batches of sugar water. They poured the sugar water into various molds and let it cool. Then Feanor showed Curufin how to cut the gems and buff them to a clear shine. Maedhros worked with them to prepare the dozen gems. The beauty of these simple sugar crystals stunned Maedhros to the core though he had helped his father many times in the creation of other jewels. They outshone even the rubies and amethysts of some of the better jewelsmiths in Tirion.
Feanor placed the red and purple jewels in a glass jar and allowed Curufin to hold the treasure. Feanor took Curufin's hand, and the three of them went in search of Nerdanel. Curufin called out loudly for his mother when he saw her. He let go of Feanor's hand and ran to Nerdanel to show her the brilliant gems.
"They're just candy, aren't they?" Maedhros said uncertainly to Feanor as they slowly strolled to join Nerdanel and Curufin.
"Indeed. I'll let Curufin eat one later." Though he spoke of Curufin, Feanor's eyes were now for Nerdanel, not for his favorite son. Her smile was disarming, and her love for her youngest son, who bore a strong resemblance to Feanor, was apparent in her every move. She listened to his scattered explanations about the creation of the jewels and held him close. No Eldar had added more than five children to their family, but seeing his father's gentle gaze on his mother, Maedhros wondered if perhaps his parents would try for a sixth child.
Maedhros roused himself from the blissful scene of their family and returned to his query of the jewels. "How is it possible that mere sugar can be as beautiful as the gems of the earth? The candy jewels rival even those made by the jewelsmiths of the Noldor."
Feanor paused from his admiration of his wife to give his eldest son his undivided attention. "Maitimo, the beauty of the sugar candies that we've forged today is not of our creation. Remember that. Sugar is a crystalline substance. We simply brought forth its natural shape into a larger form. The brilliance of the sugar jewels is that of Ea and is the creation of Iluvatar. Such beauty can be found all around us if we only learn how to bring it forth for the glory of Arda."
Maedhros nodded, and Feanor was pleased by his son's understanding of the world that was. They joined Nerdanel and Curufin and delighted in the simple but brilliant sugar jewels. But even the jewels were second to the love that shone in Feanor's eyes for his wife and his eldest and youngest sons.
The Silmarils were unlike the candy jewels that they had made so many years ago, but Maedhros could not help but to think of them because of the beauty that Feanor had said was inherent in the creations of Iluvatar themselves. The Silmarils looked similar to the crystal of diamonds. The inner fire of the Silmarils shone with the blended light of the Trees of Valinor, and the Light was received and given back in hues more marvelous than before.
Maedhros did not know how long he'd been gazing at the Jewels of Feanor before Feanor spoke aloud, "Arda was created through the Music of the Ainur to be a dwelling place for the Children of Iluvatar, and the sons of Feanaro have been chosen to protect Arda." The vision that he had seen in the palantir came to Maedhros, but this time, the vision ended with the light of the three Silmarils. "The Fates of Arda-earth, sea, and air-lay locked within the Silmarilli. Do not fear your Doom. The deeds that you shall do shall be the matter of song until the last days of Arda, and the Music of the Eldalie shall be no less great than the Music of the Ainur."
The Silmarils were hidden in a crystal casket covered by a thick red velvet cloth that reminded Maedhros of the cloth that had covered the Master Stone in the Chamber of the Palantirs. Maedhros and Feanor waited in Finwe's personal study with the Silmarils for the King of the Noldor to appear. Feanor had requested a private meeting, but he had not told his father the purpose behind the meeting. Finwe came in his own time. Feanor stood and bowed low before his father. Maedhros did the same and then poured a glass of wine for Finwe. He remained standing in case either Finwe or Feanor required anything more.
"You have been very distant of late, Curufinwe," Finwe said. "Dare I hope that your labors are now at an end?"
"They are indeed, Father." Feanor's eyes lighted in the way it always did when he saw his father. He gestured to the cloth that covered the crystal case and invited Finwe to see for himself.
Finwe drew aside the cloth to reveal the great Light of the Silmarils. He drew in his breath sharply and stared transfixed at the three Silmarils. The blended Light of the Two Trees filled the study such that even the Light of Laurelin streaming through the study windows seemed dim. The Silmarils felt Laurelin's golden light, and they took the dim- seeming Light into themselves and gave forth a new blended Light with more gold and phosphorous like the sheen of pearls. Then they picked up the blue-gray light of Finwe's eyes, and the light scheme of the Silmarils was again changed so that it included the wonder of a father for his gifted son. Feanor opened the case so that his father could better view the mighty jewels. The Silmarils reacted to the presence of their creator. The room filled with Light like the fire of Feanor's heart, and Maedhros felt as if he were bathed in the brightness of Feanor's love for his father.
"These are the Silmarilli," Feanor said at last. "I would have shown them to you before any other, but you have been otherwise occupied of late. The fates of Arda lay locked within the Silmarilli, and only the Protectors of Arda have seen the Silmarilli."
"Do you plan to give the Silmarilli to the Valar," Finwe asked. His voice was distracted, and his eyes remained fixed on the three jewels.
"Nay, Father," said Feanor. "The Ainur are not of this world. The Silmarilli belong to the Vanyar, Elves of the Air; the Noldor, the Elves of the Earth; and the Teleri, the Elves of the Sea."
"Perhaps you perceive what I cannot," Finwe said. He tore his gaze from the Silmarils, and his blue-gray eyes were filled with admiration and pride for his son. "In the Light of the Silmarils, I feel the love between Father, Son, and Grandson."
"You are not mistaken," Feanor said. He gestured for Maedhros to step forward. "It is for that very reason that I have bid Nelyafinwe to be present for the unveiling of the Silmarilli before you. The love between Father, Son, and Grandson are but shadows of the Love of Iluvatar, the Ainur, and the Children of Iluvatar. The three of us must preserve this lest Ea be unmade. Our fates and-dare I say it?-our eventual demises are tied to the Silmarilli. This is our part in the Music of the Eldalie, though I apologize to Maedhros for the weight placed on his shoulders, for he must play the role of Grandson and Protector."
"I will not shrink from my role," Maedhros said. Before the Light of the Silmarils, he felt as if he could accomplish anything, even the impossible.
"Neither will I." Feanor rose from his seat and knelt before Finwe. "Too long have I been away at my workshop, using all of my lore and skill to craft the Silmarilli. Now that my Great Task in Arda is completed, I will attend my neglected duties and assist you in the governance of Tirion. I hope that you will forgive my tardiness to accept my duties."
"Such an apology is not necessary, Curufinwe," Finwe said to Feanor. "I have never felt that you neglected your role as Crown Prince, and I do not begrudge that you had other great works and purposes fated to you by Iluvatar. I will welcome your assistance in the years to come, but even if you were not so talented and helpful, I would consider myself blessed to have such a loving son."
Feanor took his father's hand in his left and took Maedhros's hand in his right. The Light of the Three Silmarils shone in his face as he said, "I too am blessed to have such a Father and Son." Maedhros remained silent, but he reached his hand out to Finwe as he had never done so before, and the three of them basked in the Glory of Arda and the Love of Iluvatar.
Feanor did not return to his workshop for several weeks. He helped Finwe with the expansion of Tirion and the day-to-day goings of the city that had been Fingolfin's and Maedhros's job in the past. Maedhros was surprised with his father's patience, for the work was not difficult and often boring but necessary. Since Feanor's time was drawn away from his jewelcraft, he often turned to the admiration of Curufin's works instead. He also spent time riding and hunting with his wife and seven sons. At night, after he'd spent the day on bureaucratic details and by the king's side, Feanor would come home and cook with Nerdanel. Their laughter filled the House of Fire, and Maedhros almost wondered if an eight child, perhaps a girl this time, would be added to their family.
One day, after they'd finished working on documents pertaining to the governance of Tirion, Feanor asked Maedhros to accompany him to his workshop. They passed by Curufin's workshops and went directly to Feanor's gem workshop. Feanor brought forth the Silmarils in their crystal casket.
"When the Silmarilli were unveiled before you, you felt that something was missing," Feanor said. Maedhros started to object but Feanor stopped him. "You don't have to pretend that all was well, Maitimo. I know that the Silmarilli are very great, but that does not mean that they are complete or perfect. They are not mere jewels, Maitimo. The crystal of the Silmarilli is like the body of the Eldar; it is simply a house for their inner fire. The Silmarilli are alive." Feanor opened the case and let the naked Light of the Silmarils blaze forth.
"They are beyond even creation by the Valar," Maedhros said. He remembered when Aule had first declared that the Noldor exceeded the skills of their teachers. "What could be missing in them? I do not remember sensing any such lack."
"The Silmarilli are like children right now," Feanor said. "They are still growing. Their bodies, the jewels of silima that surround their sacred fire, are not yet complete. I will be strengthening their diamond substance so that they cannot be marred or broken in the Kingdom of Arda, and then we will show them to the Valar. But before that, while still in their infancy, they need to see you and your brother-in-heart."
"Findekano of the House of Nolofinwe. For did you not think as you admired the Light of the Silmarilli that you wished to share the Light with Findekano?"
Maedhros touched the Elennar at his chest. "Yes, I remember that now."
"I do not wholly understand the closeness between you and Findekano, but I follow the will of Iluvatar," Feanor said. "There is a deeper purpose behind your brotherhood and strong friendship, one similar to your role as Protector of Arda. Bring him here. Together, look upon the naked Silmarilli. I cannot be present or I would disrupt the shared vision between you and him. When that is done, then I will seal the Silmarilli in jewels unbreakable to protect them until the End of Arda."
Maedhros remembered his father's talk of the Music of the Eldalie and the assigned responsibility of being both Grandson and Protector of Arda. Was there one other duty to be included in his Great Task? Maedhros did not know if he had the strength to face such a strange fate.
"I do not wish to burden him with the Fates of Arda," Maedhros confessed aloud.
"It is not for you to decide, Maitimo," Feanor said. "Your fates have already been decided by Iluvatar. I am merely showing you a glimpse of it in the same way that the Valar were allowed to see a part of Iluvatar's vision before it was taken away. Findekano is already coming. I have summoned him." Feanor then covered the Silmarils again and led Maedhros out of the workshop. Sure enough, Fingon was waiting outside. Seeing his cousin, Maedhros's doubts began to slip away. He wanted to show Fingon the impressive jewels that Feanor had created and the incredible Light that was housed within those jewels. "When you finish, call for me. I will be in my library," Feanor said before he left.
"Is your father being mysterious again?" Fingon asked.
"You know how he can be." As Maedhros led Fingon to the Silmarils, the jewels around their necks began to glow with a light of their own so that red light could be seen under Maedhros's shirt and green from Fingon's shirt. They shrugged and drew their pendants out. When Maedhros uncovered the Silmarils, the lights of the Elessar and Elennar shone brightly and were absorbed only to be given back in hues more wonderful and complex than before. The very workshop room seemed to sing with joy.
A vision of the skies of Arda came to Maedhros's mind, and in the dark skies, Maedhros saw Fingon amidst the stars. Fingon shone brighter than any of the other stars, and it was the brilliance of Fingon's light that was blended in the Light of the Silmarils. Maedhros wondered how a child of the House of Earth could shine with the radiance of the stars. Maedhros lost himself in Fingon's bright eyes and wondered what Fingon saw in his mind. They stood thus for many waxing and waning of the Two Trees. Finally, Maedhros roused himself from the vision.
"Come, Elen-Nalta, we have basked in the Light of the Silmarilli for too long," Maedhros said. Fingon looked at Maedhros in a peculiar way but said no word as they left the Fates of Arda in Feanor's keeping.
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.