6. The Unrest of the Noldor
At great feasts, Feanor wore the Silmarils blazing on his brow, but at other times, they were kept in Feanor's workshop in the House of Fire. The Silmarils were still young and did not have full control over their own powers. They lacked the wisdom to understand that not all the Eldar could equally comprehend parts of the design of Iluvatar for Arda. Feanor alone could stop them from teaching the many things that were not good for any but the great Valar to know, for being half-comprehended, such deep and hidden things slay happiness.
Before long, Maedhros heard the rumors about the Silmarils. The Silmarils were said to be closely guarded in Feanor's hoard in Tirion. Feanor was said to love the Silmarils with a greedy love and grudged the sight of them to all save to his father and his seven sons. Feanor was definitely displeased by the misinformation about his Silmarils, for he withheld them only because of their youth. Once they matured, he fully intended to share them like the stars of Varda or the Two Trees of Yavanna. Hoarding the Silmarils out of greed was ridiculous. Doing so would not have added to the Glory of Arda or the reputation of the Noldor as craftsmen. Feanor resolved to find the perpetrator of the rumors involving the Silmarils. He bade Maedhros to continue in his work with the dissolution of other mistruths in Tirion. Fingon, of course, aided Maedhros in all his work.
"I don't believe I've ever worked with your father so closely," Fingon said. "He's very intense." Fingon and Maedhros were riding to the foot of Taniquetil to deliver an important message from Finwe, High King of the Noldor, to Ingwe, High King of all the Eldar.
"What do you expect of the Spirit of Fire?" Maedhros said with a disarming smile. "I enjoy it. Since the days before the Silmarils were wrought, I had seen little of my father. Now, we are able to spend more time together. With his aid, our work is finished much faster, and we can use the free time to indulge ourselves."
"I enjoy it too, Russandol," Fingon said with an unexpected touch of gravity. "Your father finishes the matters of the city with such ease that we are free to adventure as we did in my youth. I still remember the first time we traveled together, when we went to Alqualonde."
"I remember. You had never even left Tuna before that."
"I marvel that he treats us as he does," Fingon said. "For example, the library. My father would not have left me with merely the location of the new library and vague instructions, yet lo and behold, we erected a beautiful new library and managed the logistics of moving the material from the old library. I think my father still has trouble accepting that I am no longer a child."
Maedhros laughed. "If it is of any consolation to you, he treats me the same way, though he and I are the same age."
"He does not."
"He does," Maedhros insisted. "Now that my father is the one assigning us our responsibilities, Nolofinwe's treatment of us as children in the past is even more obvious. But we live in a society in which a person is not considered an adult until he marries, and unfortunately, neither of us are married yet, and so we're viewed as free-roaming boys."
"So why is your father different then?" challenged Fingon.
"He saw me babysitting my younger brothers, and he himself has been competent in all things beyond most adults since he was a child. He also knows that I'm responsible because I used to handle the duties that were meant for the Crown Prince of Tirion back when my father was still delighting in crafts of his hands and when my mother was tending to young Macalaure."
"Speaking of my father, I have heard a very grievous mistruth among the Noldor." Fingon shifted uncomfortably atop his horse. "The rumor goes like this: 'Beware! Small love has the proud son of Miriel ever had for the children of Indis. Now has he become great, and he has his father in his hand. It will not be long before he drives you forth from Tuna!' I do not believe it myself, but my own father repeated the rumor to me."
"Then does he believe such nonsense?" Maedhros kept the incredulity from his voice.
"I don't think he does. He only told me because you and I are constantly combating erroneous news." Fingon fell silent, and Maedhros let him be. At last, Fingon spoke again, and this time Maedhros knew him to be speaking his mind, not just in defense of his father. "Feanaro has been helping King Finwe with the governance of Tirion lately, and he does so with great efficiency. My father may feel somewhat displaced since Feanaro had previously concentrated his energy in his crafts and not on matters of state. I do not believe that Feanaro is trying to drive out my family from Tuna. Nor do I believe that my father believes these evil rumors. But the rumors about the Houses of the Noldorin Princes are constructed such that they can seem true if one is not careful. I fear that my father will come to believe them in a moment of weakness. What's more, I fear that our people, the Noldor, believe these lies to some measure."
Maedhros nodded and touched the Elennar at his breast. "We are the strongest tie between the child of Miriel Therinde and the children of Indis the Fair. We will be vigilant against these smoldering lies. Evil whisperings have come to my father as well: 'Nolofinwe and his sons are plotting to usurp the leadership of the elder line of Feanaro and to supplant them by leave of the Valar.' This is nonsense since my father has never cared for the leadership of the Noldor, only the leadership of the jewelsmiths and loremasters. He would gladly pass the responsibility on to Nolofinwe or me in favor of his joyous labors in his workshops. But as you said, my father has been more active in Tirion's affairs of late, and I can see where some might believe such falsehoods."
Fingon looked at Maedhros oddly, as he had before the Light of the Silmarils. "You are the same age as my father. My father has difficulty accepting that I am no longer a child. Do you ever have such thoughts about me? I must confess that I do sometimes slip into the belief that Turukano is still the child who I'd taught to read and write though he is now fully matured and wedded to Elenwe."
"No, Finno, in my mind, you are always as you are now, not as you were in the past," Maedhros said. "I am not my father, and I did have trouble redefining my relationships with my younger brothers as they grew older, but Curvo in particular helped me to overcome that. He takes after my father, and even as a child, he was quicker in mind than me."
"Except in games of strategy," Fingon said with a smile.
Maedhros laughed. "Except in that."
"Of late, I've been riding with Angarato and Aikanaro," Fingon said. "I must confess, I do not feel the same malice directed at their House. Do you think that perhaps the Houses of Feanaro and Nolofinwe are somehow more corruptible than that of Arafinwe?"
"Perhaps not more corruptible but more important to corrupt," Maedhros said. "Arafinwe doesn't hold the same prominent position as Nolofinwe in Tirion and spends much of his time at Alqualonde among the Teleri."
"Or perhaps the Teleri are not being attacked in the same way as the Noldor. When I was last with the sons of Arafinwe at Alqualonde, I heard very few whispers concerning the Outer Lands, whereas in Tirion, King Finwe is constantly calming the discontents."
"As long as the Royal House continues to speak against the restlessness of the Noldor, I believe that the evil lies cannot bear fruit."
Fingon's eyes shone as he looked at Maedhros. "Before the Light of the Silmarils, I saw you as the splitting image of Manwe Sulimo. Your words bring me comfort, and with your guidance, I believe that the Noldor cannot falter."
Maedhros saw again the shining stars that he had when he and Fingon had been alone with the Silmarils. "I may be the one to lead the Noldor and protect them, but you and your family shall always be the light that brings hope to our people. I cannot do my duty alone, and I am glad to have you by my side." Perhaps it was the nearing of Taniquetil that brought such optimism to the princes, but in their hearts, they also said to one another that the Noldor would not fall prey to the encroaching shadow of evil as long as they remained true to their ancient friendship.
Maedhros led Ingwe and Olwe to the topmost chamber in the Mindon Eldalieva when they arrived. Once the three Kings of the Eldar were assembled, Maedhros brought them refreshments and retreated to his place behind Finwe. In the center of the table of white marble was a box covered by a burgundy cloth. Feanor did not sit with the Kings but stood to Maedhros's right.
"I have bade the two of you to come to Tirion because of the growing unrest among the Noldor," Finwe said without too much preamble. The other two Kings had come in secret to the city of Tirion, save for an escort of their closest counselors, and the secrecy was so foreign that they all wished to dispense with business as soon as possible. "As I said in the letter delivered by Nolofinwe and Findekano, the Noldor murmur about strange ambitions and visions. Many half-believe that the Valar keep the Eldar in Aman to use our skill and behold our beauty as adornment of their realms. It is said that Iluvatar designed for the Eldar the whole wide world to roam, with all its mysteries to explore and all its substances to be material of such mighty crafts as never can be realized in these narrow gardens penned by the mountains and hemmed in by the impassable sea. Many desire their inheritance, as they deem it, and only the glory of the Trees and the beauty of the gems hold the Noldor back, for many have forgotten the dark ways from Cuivienen."
"The Teleri were the last of the Three Kindreds to arrive in Aman, and so such words of wide realms beyond the shores do not easily sway my people," Olwe said. "However, dark lies have also probed my people from time to time. Harsh words were exchanged between my oldest sons some years ago when they grew jealous of each other's rights, but I calmed them and later Ulmo spoke to them. I do not know what was said. Indeed, I suspect that my sons barely know what the Lord of the Waters said to them. But thereafter, Lord Osse, Vassal of Ulmo and Lord of the Greater and Lesser Seas, has often visited the Teleri, both in form like the Eldar and in form unseen. I believe the Teleri dwell in the protection of Ulmo and Osse, and thus I have not seen the same discontent among my people."
"Perhaps the Vanyar are too few in number to be worthwhile for this assault of deceitful words," Ingwe said. "Once only have I heard my people whisper of the Outer Lands, but we dwell in the Light of the Two Trees at the foot of Taniquetil and are content."
"If this illness is truly only that of the Noldor alone, then I have failed as Lord of my people, and I must turn to you, o High King of the Eldar, for instruction," said Finwe to Ingwe.
"Nay, my friend and kinsman," Ingwe said. "I had heard something of this matter from Indis the Fair during her visits, and I know that you have often calmed the restlessness of your people."
"But for all that, my work is in vain, for the Noldor continue to listen to evil counsel and to be filled with pride." Finwe sipped on his wine to calm his growing frustrations. Maedhros quickly refilled Finwe's wineglass when he set it down. "Moreover, of late, there has been word of Men, a second race of Children created by Iluvatar, and many of the Noldor fear that this shorter-lived race will defraud the Elves of the inheritance of Iluvatar."
"I have heard nothing of these Aftercomers," Olwe said, "but I marvel that such blatantly false information could be passed from Noldo to Noldo. Elves remain still in the Outer Lands, for Elwe was lost before the Teleri were brought to Aman, and many who sought for him also remained behind. They are also accounted among the First Children of Iluvatar and have rights to the Outer Lands as much as any Aftercomers."
"Though I dwell at the foot of Taniquetil, close to Manwe, I also have heard nothing of the Second Children of Iluvatar," Ingwe said.
"That does not mean that there are no Aftercomers," Finwe said. "The trouble with these rumors is that there is always some half-truth in them. The Second Children of Iluvatar are real, but I doubt that they are usurpers of the Elder Race."
"You speak with surety," Olwe noted. "What proof do you have of the Younger Race?"
"I have seen them in the Silmarilli." Finwe drew aside the deep red cloth that covered the crystal casket that held the Silmarils. The Silmarils at once rejoiced at their unveiling and filled the High Chamber of the Mindon Eldalieva with Light more brilliant than the silver lamp atop the Tower. Feanor stepped forward and opened the crystal case. The Silmarils flared at his nearing, but he calmed them and drew them out. With the Three Silmarils in his arms, Feanor seemed to grow in stature until all within the chamber perceived the naked fire that Iluvatar had set within Feanor. Maedhros closed his eyes to shut out the majesty of that sight. He gripped the Elennar that hung openly about his neck and began to hum softly, and though his voice was not as great as Maglor's, it still held much power.
His wordless song spoke of the hierarchical structure that Finwe had seen in the Silmarils before, that of Father, Son, and Grandson. The Kings of the Three Kindred of the Eldar did not need to feel threatened by Feanor, for he was the Son of the King of the Noldor, and he would not allow himself to be placed before his Father. Ingwe was High King; Finwe and Olwe were Kings of their people; and Feanor was a servant to the Kings, a Crown Prince and nothing more. As leaders of their people, they were the rightful handlers of the Silmarils, for they were Kings of the Elves of the Air, Earth, and Sea. Feanor was only a jewelsmith, a worker of the will of Iluvatar. He nurtured the jewels, but the greatness within them was not founded in his inner fire. The Silmarils were the Jewels of Arda, and their being was as separate from Feanor as a father was from his son.
Maedhros opened his eyes and saw that the three Kings no longer watched Feanor as if he was a Vala. The Silmarils were also quieted, and their Light was great but not overwhelming. They were humbled for the time being.
Feanor placed one Silmaril before each King and then spoke. "The Silmarilli are not yet matured, but they will show you what you wish to see. The visions you see in your mind are the answers to your questions." He stepped back and whispered a word to the Silmarils. They flared to life again, but this time, their Light was bright but more controlled.
"So there is a Younger Race," Olwe said in awe. "They are not as fair of face or as graceful as the Eldar, but they are nonetheless beautiful to behold."
Maedhros could not see the visions that they saw, for Feanor had instructed the Silmarils to form a bond between the King of the Elves of Air, Earth, and Sea. He tried to keep his mind from wondering what wonders were being viewed by the Kings, for the Silmarils were easy to distract. Instead, Maedhros held fast to the Elennar and withdrew his thoughts into the stone as red as blood. Far below the Mindon, Fingon played on his harp and sang a song of Valinor with his brothers, the sons of Fingolfin, and his cousins, the sons of Finarfin.
"The Outer Lands have become beautiful in our absence," Ingwe said. "We have left it behind in our coming to Aman, and I would not leave our home of Valinor, but I am glad that the remaining Quendi and the Aftercomers can enjoy and explore its width and breadth."
"And the perpetrator of these half-truths about the Noldor is Melkor," Finwe said. "He is a Vala and mightier than any Eldar. What can be done against him?"
"We must go before Manwe and speak of Melkor's actions against the Eldar," Ingwe said. "Let us go as three together before the Throne of the High King of Arda and state our case."
Shortly after their council in the High Chamber of the Mindon Eldalieva, the Kings of the Three Kindreds journeyed to Taniquetil to speak before Manwe Sulimo. But Melkor knew of this and went first before Manwe and bowed very low. He said the Noldor dared murmur to his ears against Manwe's leadership. Manwe's heart was heavy at these words, for he had feared long that that great amity of the Valar and Eldar would be broken and knew that the Elves were Children of the world and must one day return to her bosom. When the Elven Kings arrived, Melkor was already present before Manwe, and by reason of the presence of Melkor, they spoke somewhat less skillfully in their own cause than they might otherwise have done. Perhaps even the heart of Manwe Sulimo was tainted with the poison of Melkor's words, for that venom of Melkor's malice is very strong and subtle indeed.
Uncertainty entered the heart of the Kings, and the fullness of Melkor's lies went unsaid before his dark eyes. The chief blame seemed to rest on the Noldor. Ingwe and Olwe returned to their people thinking the Noldor at fault for their growing pride and loftiness, especially after the accomplishment of the creation of the Silmarils. Finwe returned with heavy heart to Tirion, for he now perceived that it was Feanor who desired most to leave for the Outer Lands and tempted others with the power and visions of his Silmarils. At this time, Finwe said nothing of Feanor's growing ambition to Manwe.
Some years passed before Feanor called his seven sons to him in secret. This was the second secret meeting of the Eldar to Maedhros's knowledge, for even the viewing of the palantirs had not been secret, merely unknown by others. For Maedhros's six brothers, this was the first secret meeting ever held. It was held in a secret forge deep underneath the ground that none had known existed, save Feanor. Around the forge, they saw armor and helmets with bright red plumage. There were also shields with the emblem of their House, as they'd seen on the streets of Tirion. Though the King and Princes of the Noldor sought to dissuade their people from holding such devices, many continued to declare their allegiance for either Feanor or Fingolfin with shields that were innocently proclaimed to be metal standards. Most prominently, before each of the sons of Feanor on the large table was an ornate length of metal with a handle.
"This will be the third and final time that I call my seven sons to me in this fashion," Feanor said. "The first time, you witnessed your Fates in the palantiri. The second time, you witnessed the Fates of Arda in the Silmarilli, and I pronounced your Dooms as the Protectors of Arda. This third and last time, I shall give you the means by which to protect Arda."
Feanor went to each of them and drew the sword that had been hidden in its decorative scabbard. As he did so, he named each of the swords before his son. Maedhros received Alcarinque; Maglor received Nenar; Celegorm received Tancol; Caranthir received Carnil; Curufin received Elemmire; and Amrod and Amras received Luinil and Lumbar. They had never seen swords before, but Maedhros had at least heard rumors of such weapons being forged among the Noldor. He shuddered to think that Feanor was now forging such weapons, for he knew beyond a shadow of a doubt that these swords were more finely crafted than any others.
"Manwe is free from evil and cannot comprehend it, and so the Eldar must defend themselves against their Black Foe," Feanor said. He did not name Melkor for doing so might draw the attention of the Fallen Vala, but the seven sons had come to know to whom he referred. "These seven swords were forged with steel harder than any on Arda, and the very power of the stars are caught in their bright blades. Two others have I forged besides your seven, and in the forging of these last two, I have put forth all my skill and lore. They are as hard as the Silmarils, and nothing in Arda can break them." Feanor revealed the twin swords and laid them on the table for his sons to admire. They glowed with light of their own so that they seemed more like blade-shaped jewels than swords of metal. Indeed, Maedhros wondered if they were made of metal at all since Feanor had compared them to the Silmarils. He wielded the flaming red sword with ease, as he did all things, and swung it in an arc. The sword hissed through the air like hot metal doused in water. "This is Helcar, and it shall be my blade." He placed Helcar next to its sheath and raised the second sword of blue and white light. It cut through the air with a clear and sharp swish. "And this is Ringil. It will be the Sword of the King of the Noldor, my father's to wield in battle."
"King Finwe will refuse to wield such a deadly weapon," Maedhros said at last.
Feanor looked at him with his piercing eyes. "Yes, Maitimo, you are correct. He will not unless great need drives him to do so. I will not give it to him until such urgent times demand it, for I know he will not touch it or train with it. But I will keep Ringil for the King until that time comes. These swords that I have forged here are only for me, my father, and my sons." Maedhros turned from his father's gaze. In it, he had seen the refusal to his unsaid request.
"What of us, Father?" Curufin asked. "Do we wait until evil times come before we take up our blades? Or will we learn to use our swords now?"
"You will learn to use your swords now." Feanor carefully sheathed Ringil, and then took up Helcar. He made several passes in the air in demonstration to his sons. "I will teach you how."
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.