1. The Greatest Vanyarin Invention
Elemmírë, for all his efforts, still only succeeded in making a lukewarm impression on Fëanáro. At the request of his uncle, he had abandoned his daily lessons for the pleasure of steering Finwë's stubborn child through a tour of the gardens of Oiolossë. This resulted in nothing but the confirmation of Elemmírë's suspicions that Ingwë did not really like him.
"And this," he told Fëanáro, "is a special variety of rose that grows only here on Taniquetil. Do you like roses?"
"Oh. Hum. Well, in the pot down there is mint. Do you like mint?"
Fëanáro stared blankly into the distance and scuffed his feet on the stone pathway.
"What about vines with large gourds? Those are fun. Do you like those?"
"Do you like anything?"
For the first time, Fëanáro looked up at him. The boy had his father's same unnaturally piercing gaze. "I like making things."
"Making things!" Elemmírë said brightly. "I like that, too. When I was your age, I liked making sandcastles and piles of sticks, and singing songs while I made them. I still like doing that, if you want to make a sandcastle with me."
Fëanáro narrowed his eyes warily. "How old are you?" he asked.
"I am forty-one. How old are you?"
"Six. And sandcastles are for babies. You can't be very smart if you like baby things."
Taken aback, Elemmírë could only stare at the child. "That... that's a very mean thing to say, Fëanáro."
"It's true," Fëanáro insisted. "That's why I don't like Vanyar. You're all stupid and silly and never do anything useful."
"What a terrible thing to say!" Elemmírë gasped. "How can you even think something like that, when your own father is marrying my auntie Indis tomorrow? Tomorrow, you will have a new, Vanyarin mother!"
By the look of fury that darkened Fëanáro's face, Elemmírë quickly realised that he had said exactly the wrong thing. "She is not... my... mother!" Fëanáro hissed. "She will never be my mother, you will never be my cousin, and I will never have any Vanyarin family!"
He should have been insulted. On some basic level, he knew that the best course of action would be to haul the boy back inside to his father for a good spanking. But despite Fëanáro's small size, the passionate fanaticism in his words was terrifying. And Elemmírë was never one for confrontation.
"I am sure not all Vanyar are stupid and silly," he said carefully.
Fëanáro snorted. He reached into the pouch that hung at his side and pulled out what looked like a thin, metal stick with three closely spaced prongs at one end. Holding it up for Elemmírë to see, he asked, "Do you know what this is?"
"It looks like a stick. A stick made of metal." It also looked exactly like something a Noldo would have: only a Noldo would think to make a metal stick when real sticks could be found anywhere.
"No," said Fëanáro, and he rolled his eyes. "I invented it and Atto helped me make it. I call it a 'fork'. You use it for eating, to stab your food. Like this." Bending down, he used the fork to stab a clump of moss. "Pretend this moss is a piece of meat. Now you can eat it without touching it, and without getting your fingers oily."
"I don't eat any meat."
Fëanáro rolled his eyes again. "Then stab vegetables with it. You are stupid and silly, and have no imagination. I use mine all the time for everything I eat." He put the fork back into his pouch and glared defiantly at Elemmírë. "You can't have it."
"Fëanáro," Elemmírë sighed, "must you be so quarrelsome all the time?"
"I'm not quarrelsome! You're only saying that because the silly Vanyar never invented anything as good as forks."
"We have invented many useful things, which-"
"Like what?" Fëanáro interrupted.
"Such as... well... counting! The Vanyar made up counting, and mathematics."
"Anyone could do that," scoffed Fëanáro. "How hard is it to count?"
"And we invented coffee."
Fëanáro laughed. "Coffee is a plant. Even I know that. You can't invent a plant."
"We discovered how to make the drink from the plant," Elemmírë said stiffly.
"And I bet you invented singing too, right?"
"Nothing as good as forks," said Fëanáro, shaking his head.
It was a sure thing. Ingwë hated Elemmírë. His uncle never would have inflicted such an impossible child on somebody he liked.
Standing up as straight as he could, he stared down his nose at Fëanáro. "There is one more," he said in a cold voice. "One more Vanyarin invention. It is a new one, just perfected recently, but I am sure its usefulness will put all other inventions to shame. It is truly the greatest thing in the world."
Fëanáro gave him a look that was both appraising and skeptical. "What is it?" he asked.
The sight of Fëanáro's eyes widening in surprise and awe was enough to make the long trek down the mountain to Elemmírë's house worthwhile. "The wall!" Fëanáro whispered as they stepped into the front room. "It's covered in colours!"
"Indeed it is," Elemmírë said smugly.
"What is it?!"
Elemmírë showed him to the corner, where a bucket full of thick, blue liquid sat. "We call it 'paint'. You can put it on any surface, and the colour will stick! Walls, floors, furniture... Anywhere you want to be colourful, you can use paint. My mother is having all of our walls painted."
"I want it," Fëanáro said in a firm voice. "I want paint. I want colours on my walls at home!" He stepped up close to the nearest painted wall, delicately running his fingers over the bright lines and shapes.
"Then you will have to ask your father to have some paint made for you."
"I want it now, though," he said, and looked at the bucket of blue. "Can I have that?"
"No," said Elemmírë, "that paint is for our ceiling. We will be painting the ceiling to look like the sky."
"But I want to try! I want to see if paint really is a good invention. I have to try it to know."
Elemmírë sighed. "Very well. I think I can give you leftovers from this wall, in red and green. You can try it on some rocks outside. Only you must be very careful, Fëanáro. If this paint gets on your skin, it will take a very long time to rub off, and it does not wash out of clothes."
"I'll be careful," Fëanáro said.
According to Ingwë, Fëanáro ruined the wedding by showing up covered in paint. His nursemaids bathed and scrubbed him until he yelled, but still could not find a way to completely remove the persistent green spots that decorated his face and hair. Indis, horrified at the prospect of having such a ridiculous-looking child cause a sensation on her special day, ushered him off into a corner to stand out of the scrutiny of tongue-clucking relations. Only Finwë seemed not to mind his son's appearance. For the first time in over a year, Fëanáro was grinning brightly.
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.