23. What Becomes
Tarion's professed weakness is for Caranthir, preferably angsty Caranthir-as though there can really be any other! In this series of four drabbles, I consider the symbolic journey of Caranthir to the moment where he decides to take the Oath.
Memory of youth is blurred by the years, but I remember this: Atar's hands on mine, showing me how to properly hold a hammer. I was making a gift for my mother, determined to do it on my own. Happiness: it was golden like the pendant that I sought to shape with my own hands.
Yet I perceived Atar's happiness as well. Happiness that at last he had a son eager to follow him into the forge, whose tentative hammerfalls showed that I had a hint of talent.
I remember best: gold, happiness.
His warm hands on mine.
Atar adjusted my hands and nestled my little brother into them. He squawked, and I shifted uneasily.
"Atar, I'm going to drop him."
Atar laughed. "You're not going to drop him. Relax." His warm hands rubbed my shoulders until I had no choice. I felt Atar's contentment-another healthy son born-and relief as cool and pale as water. I relaxed into that feeling and my brother stopped whimpering.
"See? It's natural for you. You will be a wonderful father someday, Carnistir." His hands still cupped my shoulders. He trusts me, I realized, with his most precious blessings.
I heard my brothers laughing and realized my eyes were squeezed shut. Violently, I shook my head and clenched my lips shut as though the light-and I could sense it, even if I couldn't see it blood red through my eyelids-would invade me if I let it. Fools! To think that we can own light! It will always be the other way around.
I could feel it thrumming in my hands with the same intimate mystery as feeling another's heartbeat. My brother's laughter was subsiding.
I won't look!
His voice puzzled, disappointed.
I opened my eyes.
Now, I stand in a ring of torchlight, in a throng of people-my people-silent and awed. Afraid.
"Carnistir. Take it."
Curufinwë is wrapping my hands around the hilt of my sword. For a moment, time has folded upon itself and I am small upon the knee of another Curufinwë-though he would ever be called Fëanáro-and they are his warm hands. I can do this. I can hold the hammer...and the hammer becomes the Silmaril becomes the sword, and there I am.
Standing before my father whose eyes-hands-I no longer know.
"Carnistir-are you ready?"
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.