1. Finduilas: object in motion
Finduilas: object in motion
Finduilas could never bring herself to pay much heed to anything her great-uncle Finrod said; king, or no. Unlike her young brother, Ereinion, who idolized the King of Nargothrond, Finduilas was of a disposition which was not easily awed. In this her father said she was very much like his Aunt Galadriel. Usually this was said fondly, but increasingly over the years it was said in exasperation.
It was not that she did not have any respect for her father, or her Head of House, quite the opposite was true. The fact of the matter was that Finduilas had always known her own mind very clearly, and saw no reason to rely on anyone else's opinion to interpret the world. As she saw it, the problem lay not with her, but with everyone else's desire to express their opinion about how she ought to live as a Lady of the House of Arafinwë: Finrod had his views, her father had his views (no matter how infrequently he expressed them to her in words), Aunt Aernellien had her views, and Enyalmo, Finrod's household tutor, most certainly had his views. None of which were Finduilas' views, and that was what mattered.
So when Uncle Finrod spoke (lectured) she listened, she nodded and offered affirmation when appropriate, and then she proceeded with her life as she saw fit. If it happened to not conform to what someone else thought, she refused to lose any sleep over it.
Even her cousins and her peers among the young Lords and Ladies of Nargothrond had their own ideas about her life: Gildor frowned, Meordel sighed, and even little Ivorien looked at her with those wide, innocent (sometimes scandalized) eyes. Only Gwindor had ever looked at her with anything other than preconceived expectations. Only he had calmly taken her as she was; no matter what.
This, of course, was not something others saw when they looked at them. No, all anyone ever cared to see was the son of a minor House of Nargothrond trailing after the headstrong niece of the King like a puppy. No one seemed to see the deep and contradicting truth at the heart of their relationship: that she, who had never needed anyone else since she was a very young child, needed this ellon just as much, if not more, than he appeared to want her.
Alone of those in Nargothrond, it seemed to her, he let her be who she wanted to be (his Faelivrin) and not who everyone else expected her to be (Lady Finduilas Finarfiniel). She honestly did not know what she would do without him. Until, of course, she had to.
It was agony, the time after the Nirneath when she thought him dead. (And it was infinitely better to think him dead than as a thrall of Morgoth, as some suggested, although never to her face.) She felt lost and without a center, spinning around within herself while the world around her seemed to stagnate. All of these feelings, though, seemed to pale in comparison to what she felt when Gwindor actually returned from the dead.
He needed her then more than she had ever needed him, and in ways she could not even begin to comprehend. For the first time in her life she felt compelled to change for the sake of another; to be and to become anything Gwindor now needed her to be. She struggled with this urge as she had never struggled with anything in her life. Just desiring to give of herself did not seem to be enough. Nothing in her experience, or in her desires, to this point had prepared her for this kind of internal struggle. Her joy at his return was heartfelt, and she was sincere when she said that his physical alterations mattered less than nothing to her; and yet she struggled.
It was then, within that incessant maelstrom of her fëa, that her heart first took notice of Gwindor's companion. He was certainly not the first mortal she had seen, but her heart had never beheld a being like him before. He seemed a manifestation of strength and forceful purpose, even standing amongst the Eldar. The force of his will was so great that she would be stopped, immovable and focused, whenever he entered a room. His eyes showed a fire of spirit which whirled even more than the storm within her own breast. It pulled her in, faster and faster, until her world spun more than it ever had and she no longer cared if she lost her balance.
It was then that she recalled one thing Finrod had told her which still stuck in her memory. The Apanónar, he said, experienced Ëa differently than the Eldar did: their senses were not as keen; they could not feel the hum of the Song within their fëar; and time seemed to rush by for them, to drive them ever desperately forward. She had been bored by the philosophical discussions the King seemed to delight in, but this statement stayed with her because it seemed a very odd thing to say. It made no sense: for how could one experience a thing in any other way than how it was? Looking into this mortal's eyes, however, she knew.
And yet even as her heart turned, her mind looked back and grieved that she was abandoning one who so clearly needed her. Her failure and unfaithfulness burned in her. And in a rare moment of self-insight, Finduilas felt understanding and compassion for the Unfaithful of Nargothrond, whom she had in the deepest part of her fëa derided for heeding the words of the Fëanorionnath and refusing their King.
It was Gwindor's calm acceptance of all this, though, which hurt even more. It was a spear of ice being thrust into her fëa, and she felt she was dying, even as she was being reborn. The knowledge that Túrin Adanedhel could not love her (even as she increasingly and secretly hoped that the Mormegil would) did nothing to dissuade her heart. For, she thought with bitterness, when had Finduilas Artarestiel ever cared for the opinions of others?
And so she let herself be swept up, as more and more Nargothrondrim were being swept up, in the trailing fire of the Adanedhel's determination; allowing herself to be enmeshed within his doom.
It was only as she stood staring transfixed into cold, reptilian eyes within the very halls of her City, the world crumbling and burning unheeded around her, that she finally realized the converse of Finrod's statement. In that moment, as never before in her life, the whirlwinds were stopped and all voices were silenced. She existed only as a single point amidst the great expanse of nothingness: everything was her past, and everything was her present. For one eternal moment she felt the slow, backwards pull that was Time for the Eldar.
And those cold eyes mocked her.
Apanónar: mortal men, literally "the after-born"
Ëa: the world, but more specifically "all of created being"
fëa, fëar: soul, innermost being
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.