2. Children become me
Carnistir sighed and leaned on his elbow on the hard wood. "Do you remember when we first met and you told me we'd go on an adventure? Weirdest moment of my life."
Across the table, Turukáno laughed. "We never did succeed, but I guess we found our answer anyway, however bitter it may have been. It certainly taught me never to go asking the important questions to women prone to tears!"
His cousin frowned. "Not that Aunt Anairë is really that sensitive. I think you may have simply caught her at a bad time. Hadn't she just clashed with Father over something he'd said to Uncle the day before?"
"That was years ago, Carnistir; I have no idea. It's beyond me how you remember the smallest things like that! Helpful, though. I bet your brother would appreciate that ability in the forge."
"Curufinwë? Yes, his inborn talent is almost on par with Father's, but he would appreciate a close-to-eidetic memory. I've never actually seen him run crying from the forge, but I'm pretty sure he's wanted to."
"Your father can be very tough on his students."
Carnistir nodded. "Tough but practical. He asks for – well, if not perfection, then at least consistency at a professional level. They have to impress him, and that's very hard for the younger ones. With my brother, he automatically expects even more, but I think he does realize what he's pushing on him. He just keeps doing it. Thank Manwë I went my own path!"
Turukáno thought about this, and then realized. "...What do you even do, nowadays? It's been so long since we've spoken; you can't possibly still be taking lessons."
"Like that matters! I'm younger than you, though not by much. Anyway, you always progressed faster than I did. Are you working, or taking an apprenticeship for something? You always liked medicine." Turukáno leaned forward. It wouldn't do to miss anything the quiet voice was saying.
"I still do, but apparently my bedside manner is a little lacking. If anything, I'd just be an attending researcher instead of a professional healer, and I didn't really want to witness Father's annoyance at a Fëanorioni settling for anything less than he deserved. You know."
The response was matter-of-fact. "I'm teaching – or tutoring, rather. Graduated students pursuing masteries still need to brush up on other subjects, and at that point they care more for the information than the method by which it is imparted. I tend to get a lot of lore students studying for their Debates, and they care far less about mathematics and the sciences than the histories of the Valar and the moralities of their decisions. I've ended up learning a lot about their subjects myself, actually. Maybe I'll go for a lore mastery one day."
Turukáno leaned back in his chair and grinned. "Bet Rúmil would love that."
Carnistir chuckled. "Yes, I can just imagine. 'What, another Finwëan?! I don't care what you've discovered or whatever you've improved, get ye gone!' All in a wonderfully dramatic manner, of course. For a loremaster, he is incredibly theatrical. Not at all the dry prunes that I've been instructing."
"Well, I suppose that at least your father will not mind you doing it. It does strike me more as a halfway point, though. I couldn't imagine you doing this for any length of time."
Carnistir looked at his cousin skeptically. "I've been doing it for ten years already, Turukáno; it's not my fault you haven't seen me in all that time." His cousin looked indignant. "It's all right, I know you've been having a hard time with your own studies. I don't begrudge you time away from everything. You're right, though, tutoring doesn't suit me that well. It's more 'journeyman' than 'master', and not to pad my own ego but I'm learned enough to be a master. I just don't know at what!"
"I was kind of serious when I suggested Rúmil, cousin. On top of everything else, Fëanaro is technically a loremaster in his own right; he would not resent your becoming one. It is an honored profession. Imagine, you could one day be counted among the Lambengolmor!"
"Turukáno, I am no linguist. And neither do I want to be so famed! Father has enough problems. I was not speaking in seriousness when I said that I might go into lore."
His friend sighed and gestured with his hand. "Alright, then. What would you consider moving on to? Would you teach at a school, a certain subject? No, you already said you did not have a good bedside manner; children might not become you either. Perhaps-"
"Children become me."
"Ah- what?" Carnistir didn't normally interrupt people.
"I like children, Turukáno. And as far as I can tell, they like me back. In a family as big as ours, you do not go any amount of time without babysitting, and each of my brothers helped to raise the younger ones. I was as much raised by Nelyo and Káno as I was by my parents, and I did my part in aiding in Ambarussa's childhood."
"But…you're quiet! And serious!"
"Children like quiet. Quiet is easy to bother, and quiet doesn't tell them to sit down and shut up."
"And 'quiet' likes children?"
"'Quiet' likes listening to light frivolity. Children playing are much nicer than twittering maidens consorting like koi at the sight of food." He frowned, obviously recalling an unpleasant memory.
Leaning back on his chair legs, Turukáno gave his cousin a smug smile. "Alright then, 'quiet', you go apply for a teaching job and we'll see how that goes."
"Fine. See you in another ten years."
He came down hard on his chair, spluttering. "I said I was sorry!"
"No, you didn't. Just come over here once in a while, will you? I don't want to hear a report saying you died studying yourself to the bone, all right? I'd much rather see it myself." Carnistir pushed back his seat and stood up, walking over and busying his hands at the sideboard.
Annoyance. "Oh, thanks."
"I am not-! Oh. Yes, please."
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.