As we made that long, horrifying journey across the Ice, I watched my children. Gone was Findekáno’s playfulness and lackadaisical attitude. He is a strong leader who can pull along the weary Noldor with his solid reassurances. Findaráto still held together the greater part of our host. Turkáno, as always, gave us solid counsel. Irissë held the womenfolk together. Artanis was a solid support to both Findekáno and I, as my firstborn was worried to death about Russandol and I was worried about my half-brother’s mental state.
I have resolved to speak with Russandol about his father’s madness as soon as we reach there. Although all my children and those of Arafinwë are excellent leaders, they cannot compare to Russandol. I could hear the people lamenting his absence. In the many years as his grandfather’s right hand, Russandol was much respected and loved by the people. I believe if the Noldor had a say in choosing the next king, they would never have chosen my fiery half-brother or me or cunning Arafinwë.
“Yesterday I was speaking to grandfather that we would soon return to Tirion and become a family again”, Findekáno told me as he plopped down next to me wearily, “And today we are rushing across unknown lands to avenge his death. If this does not bother my brother Turkáno, what does?”
“He is merely trying to keep up a strong front”, I shrugged, “As you do. But you have all made me proud.”
“Arafinwë told Turkáno that Manwë knew of your relationship with Fëanáro”, Findekáno hesitated, “Manwë does not approve.”
“We are in the middle of nowhere”, I smiled sadly, “I do not think that Manwë’s approval matters here. For all we know, we might not see them again. But I am sorry that my actions have led all of you into this if that be the case.”
“None of us”, Findekáno paused, “not even Turkáno, holds it against Fëanáro or you. Well, Findaráto was scandalized when he heard of it, but Maitimo made him understand.”
“Russandol has ever been my champion”, I said forlornly, “I will never forgive Fëanáro if anything happened to Russandol.”
“He deserved a better family”, Findekáno laughed, “Findaráto and he are the only one amongst us with no incestuous desires. Even Arafinwë had a dark secret, he was very fond of the twins.”
“I don’t think I want to imagine that!” I snorted disbelievingly, “But stop! What of Artanis?”
“She has been generously providing Irissë a lot of comfort in these dark days”, Findekáno whispered glancing around to make sure that nobody else were in hearing distance.
“And Macalaurë?” I shook my head in total disbelief. Though Findekáno had usually the best sources of information it was difficult to believe the two cold fish of our family, Artanis and Macalaurë, would actually feel lust.
“You don’t know?” my son asked me incredulously, “All these years it has been there right before your long nose! And you have never known, father-mine, you are a prize fool, if I may say frankly!”
“I knew that I was a fool from the moment I fell in love with that idiot”, I muttered darkly, “What of Macalaurë? You know that I did not spend my time stalking people around!”
“I believe that only Maitimo and you are unaware of Macalaurë’s desires”, Findekáno chortled.
Findaráto , Artanis, Turkáno and Irissë joined us, I frowned as they smiled indulgently at my expense when Findekáno explained matters to them.
“Even I noticed”, Findaráto said mildly, “It is amusing that the two most seasoned diplomats did not know what was going on right before them.”
“Father has never had eyes for anyone other than uncle Fëanáro”, Irissë said shamelessly. Somehow I doubted that making my weakness public would help the already much tried nerves of my people. I glared at her warningly.
“The first time I noticed it, I was shocked”, Artanis said quietly, “But then I realized that Macalaurë has always looked up to him. Then I asked him once, he did not deny it though he refused to confirm our observations.”
“I think that is why he has always been more kindly disposed to you than to anyone else”, Turkáno remarked, “He sensed a like soul.”
“By Eru!” I gasped as it struck me finally, “Not Russandol! They are full-brothers!”
“They have done nothing”, Artanis said nonchalantly, “Maitimo doesn’t even know of all this. So far, he knows of only one pursuer, our cousin here.”
“And how did you react?” I asked Findekáno, long time pursuer of my eldest nephew, “I thought you managed to get along with Macalaurë!”
“I do”, Findekáno shrugged, “It is pathetic at times. He knows that I am after Maitimo. Everyone knows”, he corrected as Irissë smirked, “But he assures himself that nobody knows of his secret. He is a quiet soul, no confidantes or close friends. Only Maitimo is close to him. And Maitimo was always engrossed in evading my attentions that he missed all this. It nearly sent Macalaurë into a depression when Maitimo took that girl as a lover.”
“Does that mean--”I began.
“No”, Turkáno laughed, “Findekano will continue chase. The more the competition the greater the thrill of chase! Fair Maitimo is being fought over.”
“Pray”, Findaráto smiled, “Never let him know that!”
As they continued their ribald talk, I met Artanis’s gaze. It was obvious what they were doing. Lightening up our hearts, trying to hold on to the hope that we would see the other half of our family again. I looked to the far east.
I wanted to believe my sons and nephews, but I fear the insanity that grips my brother.
Turkáno’s wife, Elenwë, fell into the Ice today. I could only watch helplessly as Turkáno collapsed into Irissë exhaustedly after rescuing his young daughter. Artanis and Findekáno urged us forward relentlessly, not letting us fall prey to grief or anger. I think I can see a shoreline, but maybe the madness of my brother has spread to me. Twice I alerted Findekáno, only to have the scouts report nothing. The bitter cold, the lack of food and the fear hanging over us must be making me hallucinate.
I was right, we reached the shorelines today. I think that I was not the only one who fell to my knees as we stepped on solid lands. We hugged each other and led our bedraggled, sorry people to the east. My brother’s banners flew at half-mast before the crystal clear lake of Mithrim.
Findekáno and I rushed forwards in fear and foreboding towards the camps. We could see only six tents marked with the stars of our family shield. Maybe the twins were sharing, maybe they were a tent short. Maybe…
Macalaurë came to greet us, the heavy crown of the crown-prince on his head. The rest of the brothers stood sullenly apart from us.
I watched in helpless terror as Macalaurë scollapsed into Findaráto’s arms and began sobbing.
“Father is dead”, he said over and over again, “The monsters of flame killed him. His body just turned into ashes as his soul departed. He made us all swear it again.”
“Russandol”, I asked as I steadied myself on Turkáno’s arm, the world spinning about me sickly.
“They took him to Morgoth”, Atarinkë answered gravely as Macalaurë sobbed heart-wrenchingly into Findaráto ’s cloak, “Macalaurë has since been like this. He is the leader now.”
Findekáno fell to his knees and pounded his fist into the ground, parting his lips in a mute scream of horror and pain.
I think I am going mad. The tensions between my followers and those of Fëanáro are increasing. Both Macalaurë and I are poor rulers and poorer administrators. We may not even survive this winter. Thankfully, Turkáno, Findaráto’s brothers and the five younger sons of Fëanáro are excellent warriors and huntsmen. Their hunting parties bring in most of the food and the news.
There has been no word of Russandol. Once there was a thrall from Angand, whom Turkáno had captured, and the captive said that there was an elf being tortured to the brink of death daily, but still refused to break. We did not get any information about the hair colour, but the thrall said that the light that shone from the grey eyes was fell. Only my Russandol had those grey eyes in our family. So he was alive.
Turkáno spends his days riding with the sons of my dead brother to avenge the death of his kin and to forget Elenwë. I think he is intimate with Atarinkë. Atarinkë’s young son, Telperinquar, is always at the forge. Tyelkormo and Irissë are again friendly and hopefully would return to their passionate love. The twins have become brooding, morose creatures, their faces always turned towards the darkness of the enemy. Carnistro remains as inscrutable as ever.
Irissë has changed, becoming more like a princess of our people than the reckless free spirit I knew in Valinor. She hosts my table and takes on young Idril’s education. Artanis is Findaráto’s companion and Irissë’s confidante.
But the shadow of Russandol lies upon us all. At the arrival of each rider, we hurry to the courtyard waiting for the smallest hope that my eldest nephew is alive. I forget the number of nights I have cried myself to sleep.
Somehow, I didn’t shed a tear for Fëanáro. He fell in battle, as he would have wished to. If he had fallen into madness and betrayed us all more, he would not have lived with the guilt and shame. His death must have been a blessing.
But Russandol is young and deserves life, not bloodshed and gore. I grieved for him each moment of every day and night. I cried to Varda, to Este, to Nienna, to Lorien, to anyone who might listen. Nobody did. My dreams were haunted by his grey eyes looking at me trustingly as they had always done.
Macalaurë is on the brink of insanity. His brothers have entrusted his care to me. But nothing I do ever even brings a smile on his gaunt face. He does not even sing anymore. Findekáno tried to draw him out, but one time Macalaurë lost his temper completely and for a few moments Fëanáro was again alive through him. After that we do not try to draw him out too much.
But our family is already torn. Had our father been holding us together? Is that why the high house of Finwë fell apart like a deck of cards after his demise? Is it the curse of Mandos? Is it our own mistakes?
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.