Of us, I take after my father in appearance and temperament completely. People say that I am more like my half-brother than my true siblings. Not that I would know. Fëanáro left home after I was born. They say that he stays with Mahtan and learns crafts of the forge. But I have seen his portraits, my father makes sure that there is atleast one portrait of his firstborn in every hall of the palace. And I have seen my half-brother on several occasions when he deigned to visit our father.
Contrary to what people say, Fëanáro does not despise my mother. It is just that he has no high regard for Vanyar. No Noldo has. He is always courteous to her. Oh, my brother Fëanáro can be a perfect courtier when he wishes to be. I have seen him work his charm on Elves, Maiar and Valar alike.
Fëanáro is kind to me in his own way. He brings me gifts whenever he visits. However he stays away from my younger siblings because they look like my mother, the Vanyarin blood is strong in their veins.
Today my father called me to his side and said happily, “Fëanáro is getting engaged to the daughter of his teacher.”
How like my brother to seduce his tutor’s daughter. I could hardly resist rolling my eyes.
“Wonderful news, Father,” I said smiling politely, “When will we have the marriage?”
“On your begetting day. We shall have his marriage and your coming of age on the same day! What say you, my son?” Father was very excited by this idea.
I did not care. Well, actually I liked this idea. If anything, Fëanáro’s marriage might make my Vanyarin kin stay away during the celebrations. I told my father that I was perfectly in accord with his wonderful idea and made my excuses.
I cannot stop imagining what kind of woman Fëanáro had decided to marry. Was she as headstrong as him?
This was the day!
A warm day. I pitied all of us who would have to endure the heavy ceremonial robes for the entire day.
Father came to me saying happily, “Nolofinwë , you must attend to your brother in his wardrobe today. And escort him to the ceremony.”
For a moment, I thought that he was talking of my younger brother, Arafinwë . Then my father’s gentle tone registered on my senses, he never speaks in that tone when Arafinwë was the subject. It must be his beloved firstborn, Fëanáro .
As father was performing the ceremony, there would be no one to escort the groom to the hall. Fëanáro had no kin other than his much despised Vanyarin stepmother’s children. And I am the eldest of them. I did pity that his wedding day should start with time spent in my company.
I made my way to my brother’s chambers and knocked confidently. This confidence is a trait that both of us had inherited from our father.
“Come in.” His voice was slightly irritated. Probably the only visitor he welcomes is father, who will definitely not knock on the doors.
I entered the room and said in my warmest voice, “Brother, Father has asked me to be your escort this day. I am to assist with your wardrobe and the rest of it.”
He emerged from a side-chamber clad in a simple dark green robe. His obsidian hair was wet from the bath and his eyes glittered as they looked at me curiously. Obviously, I was an unexpected arrival there.
He nodded saying, “I am grateful for the assistance, Nolofinwë.” He gestured to the suspended robes of pure white colour, “These are the wedding robes.”
I took them down from the open wardrobe and turned to face him again. He had soundlessly removed his robe and now stood naked before me. It is tradition that the grooms and the brides wear nothing underneath their wedding robes. And for once, he seemed keen to stick to tradition.
I could not move. I simply could not. He waited impatiently before me, tossing his head to flick the water droplets from his dark mane. Never have I seen him thus before. He is a magnificent specimen of our kind. Tall, dark-haired, dark-eyed. His sharp aristocratic face was currently marred by a frown. My eyes wandered from his toes to his knees. And then upwards to his firm thighs. I could see the half aroused organ of our gender between his thighs. His hands were on his hips and skilled fingers tapped impatiently against his flanks. I met his gaze.
“If you have quite finished with rating my body, perhaps you might care to help me into those robes?” his voice was sarcastic as ever, but there was honest curiosity there. Probably he was wondering what exactly made me stare at him like this.
“You are beautiful,” I said boldly as I passed the robes over his head.
His voice was slightly muffled by the clothes over his mouth as he replied matter-of-factly, “I know.”
Trust my brother to know that he is beautiful! He is insufferably proud and I find that extremely attractive.
“I am sorry that I forgot to wish you a happy coming of age,” he offered as he tried to tie a sash behind him.
“I forgot it myself in the clamour of the wedding”, I smiled and placed my fingers over his as we tried to tie the knot together. I noticed that I was almost as tall as he was. My fingers ‘accidentally’ brushed over his spine. He shuddered, but did not comment. I deepened the caress. Why didn’t he complain?
Emboldened and desire-struck, I craned my neck around and tried to snatch a kiss. My lips met his cheek. I expected him to throw me to the floor in disgust. That is what he did usually when the naïve fools of my father’s court tried to touch him.
I was surprised, very surprised, when he turned around and met my gaze in honest confusion. Trying to get a grip on myself, I busied myself with the ornamental ties in the front of his robes. Fëanáro did not say anything, but stood still waiting patiently for me to finish.
“Is your bride as beautiful as The Broidress?” I asked as I pressed him into a seat before the mirror and began combing his hair. It was softer than my own.
I did not expect him to reply. As Father says, my brother is a genius. And all geniuses are eccentric. He is rarely capable of idle talk. But I had to say something to cover my own discomfort. Why did I have to notice his physical perfection on his wedding day?
“Nerdanel is not the epitome of feminine beauty.” He smiled at the mirror amusedly, “But her will is strong. She can make a better soul out of me.”
“I don’t think there is anything to be bettered in you, you are as perfect as they come,” I shrugged, “But she is welcome to try.”
“Nolofinwë ,” Fëanáro stared at my image in the mirror, “Are you well today? You act stranger by the moment.”
We went to the ceremony hand-in-hand. I was so proud; proud of my brother who looked like a young god; proud of myself, after all I was the one chosen to assist him in this. I got my first glimpse of Nerdanel. She was beautiful in the Noldorin way. Her dark brown hair and brown eyes shone brightly.
Fëanáro was right though, she did not compare to The Broidress. But Nerdanel seemed stronger in spirit than the ill-fated lady who still held our father’s heart. That was good. It cannot be easy to live with Fëanáro.
I could not help noticing that she paled in beauty and magnificence when she stood next to my brother as they made their vows.
Father had hoped that the marriage would curb Fëanáro ’s wanderings. It was not true. If anything, Nerdanel seems to love traipsing in the woods and the wild lands with her husband. They make a pair. Father is out of ideas to make his heir stay in the palace.
But the news; Nerdanel is with child. She came to the palace. Fëanáro followed her. But as father says, Fëanáro cannot be stationary anywhere for more than a day. He wished to pay a visit to Alqualondë. And father appointed me as his companion for the trip.
I had experimented in the ways of the flesh with elves of both genders. But none of them compared to the magnificence of my brother. My dreams of him were hardly appropriate. I wanted to stay away from his flame. I begged father to let me stay in the palace. Arafinwë was old enough to accompany Fëanáro!
“Do you hate Alqualondë?” Fëanáro asked me as I ran into him in the library.
“No,” I said honestly, “Why do you ask, brother?”
“Do you hate travelling?” he asked persistent.
“No,” I admitted, “I love riding.”
“Then why do you say you cannot come with me to Alqualondë?” he asked incredulously, “Do you hate me?”
For all his talents, Fëanáro is rather blind to my faults. He has never noticed my covert admiration for him. He has certainly made nothing of the times we embraced as per protocol. I would prolong the contact and furtively caress his back. He has never noticed or perhaps, everyone treats him the same way.
“I will come with you to Alqualondë,” I said finally as his dark eyes bored into my own, “It will be my greatest pleasure.”
So we went to Alqualondë. Travelling with him is bliss, I discovered. He talked incessantly on matters ranging from politics to fishing. He told me tales of lands beyond the sea, the lands from where our father had come. It was pure joy to watch him talk. He would move his arms in forceful gestures. His eyes would glitter with passionate fervour and his face would be flush with determination.
He is a poor listener. Not that I mind, but still, he is a poor listener. He has firm opinions of everything. And he doesn’t care for other views.
“Only one of us can be right, Nolofinwë,” he would say confidently when I dared to voice a different opinion, “And I know I am.”
I wonder where he gets this damn confidence from. For his sake, I hope all his opinions are always correct. One day, he will be King. I don’t want him to be a poor ruler because of his adamant pride. Somehow, I don’t think he will have a nest of advisors in the court.
We returned from the trip and found Nerdanel in labour. Father was predictably excited at this. My mother was in a sullen temper, as was Arafinwë .
If Fëanáro’s child was a son, then I would be demoted from the second in line for the throne to the third in the line. Not that I care. We are elves. And Father is going to rule us till the end. If he gets bored, he can ask Fëanáro . It would be funny to watch my brother sitting impatiently on the throne all day thinking of all the things he could have done to better occupy his time.
I was pulled out of my thoughts by the sharp cries of a young voice. Masculine, I shook my head wryly; Fëanáro was skilled enough to make an heir at his first attempt.
“Nolofinwë !” Fëanáro rushed to the antechamber of his wife’s bedroom and found me pacing, he was fresh from the forge, clad in only leggings, his white torso covered by soot and ash. I have never seen him so excited.
“It is a son, brother.” I smiled at his impatient form.
He cried out in joy and ran across the room to embrace me. I rolled my eyes, only Fëanáro would think that people loved to hug him when he was covered with soot and sweat. My new robes were probably ruined, but I had to laugh at his enthusiastic actions and I hugged him back. I was as tall as he was now, I noticed absently. My hands raked through his hair and down his sweat-slicked spine before grasping his hips.
My touches over the years have become gradually bolder though he has never noticed. My brother is blind to everything but himself and his achievements.
We moved apart when the door opened and father came out carrying a swathed bundle. Ten white, wiggling toes protruded out from the clothes. Reverently, I moved to father’s side. The greyest pair of eyes I had ever seen in life stared up at me. Those eyes had wisdom and determination. The eyes of The Broideress.
“Eru!” Fëanáro whispered as he touched the sharp nose of his son hesitantly, “He has your features, Father, except for the eyes and the hair. Nobody has such hair in the family or even in the whole of Aman!”
Father chuckled as I gasped at the hair, it was brilliant red. Fëanáro was right; nobody had such hair in Aman! Nerdanel’s father had hair the colour of auburn. It did not bear the remotest comparison to this wild red plumage.
“His mother named him ‘Maitimo’,” Father informed us, “And an excellent name it is! I must say that he is more beautiful than you were, Fëanáro.”
Fëanáro looked as if he was going to protest. Only my brother would be unhappy because Father said his just-born grandson was more handsome than his son. He is that egocentric.
I hastily asked, “What will you name him, Fëanáro?”
“Nelyafinwë!” Father answered proudly, “The third of my line! Now, Fëanáro, take your son. I must see to the celebrations!”
It was one of the few moments in my life when I felt like strangling my father. How could he callously name his grandson the third when his second-born son was perfectly alive? If it had been Fëanáro’s words, I could have understood. My brother has never cared about hurting others’ feelings. But Father is supposed to know better.
“Nolofinwë”, Fëanáro’s voice was subdued as he stared down wonderingly at the work of his loins, “Will you hold him? I must see my wife.”
“Certainly.” I took the bundled up elfling from my brother’s hands and watched him enter the room.
I was still wondering how my mother and siblings would react to my nephew’s name when a light something brushed against my hand. I looked down. The child was smiling trustingly at me. I was afraid but reached to caress the smooth cheek. A tiny fist reached up to hold my finger in place.
I looked amazed at the wonder in my arms, red-haired and grey-eyed. He did not resemble Fëanáro. But that did not make him less beautiful, I discovered, as the grey eyes met my own innocently.
“Russandol”, I whispered as I ruffled the red curls on his head.
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.