The people stood back, leaving a respectful space around the two Quendi, dark-haired and gold, spotlit by the silver beam of the Mindon. The scene was dramatic and unreal as a hallucination.
"This staff carries with it the rule of Eldamar. Do you, Ilmarien Ingwë's daughter, accept it?"
Nolofinwë handed over the sceptre. It was the same staff, now dark with age and embellished by a few jewels.
"Rule wisely, cousin!"
The new prince consort stood a few paces behind his wife. He was in a state of some confusion; the suggestion that Ilmarien should inherit the city that had once been her father's had followed too quickly for him upon his beloved only son's decision to follow Turukáno to the Middle-earth. Calatindil was more conscious of the dreamlike nature of the situation than anyone. Nonetheless, he was the first to notice the apparition of Fëanáro.
"By what right does my half-brother give away the rule of Tirion?"
Nolofinwë turned to look at his brother, who lounged lazily in the mouth of the Road of Pomps.
"The House of Finwë leave Eldamar. Is it not right that Ingwë's child should succeed them?"
"I do not question your choice, but your right to make it. Tirion lies only in the gift of the High King."
"I am the High King", Nolofinwë said, smiling slightly. It was good to say. He decided to say it again.
"I, Finwë Nolofinwë, am the Noldóran."
"Your name has grown!"
"I take my father's name in token of his rule."
Fëanáro's lip curled in scorn.
"Hear this fool, children of the Noldor! Was there ever such a jest? My brother's claim rests only upon a decree of the Valar; but of what force is that for those who have rejected them and seek to escape from their prison-land?"
An Hour ago, this little speech would have reduced Nolofinwë to a helpless silence. A Day ago, it would have incapacitated him altogether, left him bereft even of the ability to think. But something had happened to Nolofinwë. He felt it like a sea of energy rising in his body. Perhaps the change had some obscure psychological connection with Anairë's desertion; perhaps only now the full effects of the mutations in his world were becoming apparent. He did not want to analyse it too closely, in case it went away. But he knew how to answer Fëanáro.
"I have not rejected the Valar", he said, "nor their authority in all matters where it is just for them to use it. But if the Eldar were given free choice to leave Middle-earth and go to Aman, and accepted it because of the loveliness and bliss of that land, their free choice to leave it and return to Middle-earth, when it has become dark and desecrated, cannot be taken away."
All the Noldor of Tirion were listening to Nolofinwë's words: his words, coming out as he meant them to, reasonable and persuasive! He was talking freely, before so great an audience, to Fëanáro!
Floating on the rising tide of his own eloquence, he was suddenly able to understand why his half-brother loved this. It was a craft, like the forging of swords or the making of jewels; but words could be more sharp than steel and brighter than gems!
He decided to finish off with an insult.
"Moreover I have an errand in Middle-earth, the avenging of the blood of my father upon Moringotho, whom the Valar let loose among us. Fëanáro seeks first his stolen treasures."
Fëanáro laughed scornfully, but seemed confused, almost impressed. Perhaps he had never heard his brother speak with such coherence or at such length.
However he would have replied, he was interrupted by the opening of the palace doors. Indis stood in white at the top of the marble stairs. Behind her, Findis was a less tangible and a more mysterious figure. Both held baskets full of bread.
They moved through the crowd like silent ghosts, distributing the coimas among their kin. Indis came to Nolofinwë, Lalwen, Arafinwë and, for some reason, Itaril. Findis, who carried the larger basket, addressed the rest in order of age, beginning with Findekáno. And when almost all her stock of life-bread was gone, it was Findis who went up to Fëanáro and held the last loaf to him.
It was not a friendly gesture, nor a call for reconciliation; it was almost with violence that she thrust it at him. One would be inclined to suggest that she meant to shame him, but this being Findis, who can know? Perhaps she was prompted by some call of blood to blood so deep that she could not but obey, even if gracelessly. Or perhaps she only meant to take the centre of attention.
Now at last she wept, her tears pouring in a silent waterfall as they had not done since the Mahanaxar. Nonetheless, Indis stood upright and with dignity beneath the stars. This was the last service she could perform for her children: to be a white figure for them to look back upon, standing in plain view, here on the crown of the Mindon Eldaliéva.
The city of Tirion, uncorrupted by age, spread out at her feet. The snowy point of Taniquetil pierced the sky to the north. And though the plain of Valinor at her back was dark, this view seemed to Indis more beautiful in black and silver than ever before, looking upon it with the eyes of memory as she already did.
And so the stars burned on as the Noldor in their three hosts, three for the three sons of Finwë, streamed out of the eastern gate of Tirion. The first host was led by Fëanáro and his sons, who did not look back. The leaders of the second were Findekáno and Arakáno: Nolofinwë rode in the rear.
Anairë saw the glint of his white horse, for she too was watching from the Mindon, and thought, I could still go to him.
She does not know, now, when an eternity of grey tomorrows stretch into a torment of regret, why she did not, why she did not run after him and follow him into the deepest of darknesses and cleave to him forever. She likes to hope that it was something more noble than pride or fear or anger that held her back; but she cannot be sure.
For 250 Years their hearts had beaten as one. And she had broken this for a stupid argument!
As her horse passed through the city gate, Lalwen looked back and up at the Mindon. Indis saw her hair flash golden in the light of someone's torch. She thought she saw, too, how Lalwen's mouth worked, once, as her gaze met her mother's in the moment before she turned those even-coloured eyes to the road.
This was Indis' last service to her children: to be a white figure for them to remember in strange lands, before she might rest.
OCs and CCs
Anairë, Arakáno, Artaher, Eldalótë, Findis, Ingwion, Lalwen and Meril are not OCs, but feature in 'The History of Middle-earth'. Arakáno is destined to die in a battle with orcs soon after the crossing of the Helcaraxë. Tolkien never described what ultimately became of Lalwen.
Curufin's wife and Indis' mother, who was also Ingwë's sister, are mentioned in 'The Peoples of Middle-earth', but the names Losselótë and Ingië are my invention. Rilmo and Ingimo are OCs, created to fit gaps in the family tree.
It is mentioned in 'The Peoples of Middle-earth' that Maglor was married, but Ambalindë is an OC, as are Calatindil and Ilmarien. With reference to these two, it is stated in the same volume of 'The History of Middle-earth' that Glorfindel was related to Turgon, while his golden hair indicates that he had some Vanyarin blood.
Ulwë is also an OC. However, according to 'Morgoth's Ring', Míriel really did have silver hair. According to 'The People of Middle-earth', Serindë was her mother-name. (So she did have parents and was not a member of the first generation.)
All elves have two names, a father-name, given by the father, and a mother-name, given by the mother. The former was announced by the father at a ceremony called the essecarmë, held soon after birth.
In 'The Silmarillion', the exiled Noldor (and Finarfin) are referred to by Sindarin names. Most of these are adaptations, made by the exiles themselves, of their original names in the languages of Aman, which I use in this story. The Quenyarizations of the names Aredhel and Glorfindel are my own, but all the other Quenya names employed here are found in the essay 'The Shibboleth of Fëanor' (in 'The Peoples of Middle-earth').
As well as the name by which each character preferred to be known, this essay also gives some others, such as the mother-name of Fingolfin (Arakáno - the same as the name of his youngest son), the father-name (Nelyafinwë) of Maedhros, who preferred his mother-name (Maitimo), and others that I use in this story.
The names by which I usually refer to Fingolfin, Finarfin, Maedhros, Galadriel and the twin sons of Fëanor are not direct equivalents of the ones used in 'The Silmarillion'. As is described in the last chapter, Fingolfin modified his father-name (Nolofinwë) to Finwë Nolofinwë, 'in pursuance of his claim to be the chieftain of all the Noldor', in Tolkien's words (from 'The Peoples of Middle-earth').
This name was Sindarized as Fingolfin. After the Dagor Bragollach, Finrod, who apparently believed that his father was Fingolfin's rightful successor, altered the Sindarin form of his name from Arfin to Finarfin in reflection of this belief.
Maedhros' Sindarin name was formed by combining elements from his mother-name (Maitimo) and from Russandol ('coppertop'), a nickname of his. Similarly, the name Galadriel is the Sindarin form of Telerin Alatáriel ('maiden crowned with a radiant garland'), a nickname (referring to her hair) given to her by Celeborn.
'The Shibboleth of Fëanor' gives an extremely complicated account of the naming of the twin sons of Fëanor, which contradicts earlier texts (used by Christopher Tolkien in editing 'The Silmarillion' for publication) in making their Sindarin names Amros and Amrod instead of Amrod and Amras, Amros being the elder.
Apparently, the twins were so similar in appearance that Nerdanel actually gave them both the same mother-name (Ambarussa, 'Top-russet', referring to their reddish hair). Since Fëanor objected to this curious arrangement, she said that one should be called Umbarto ('The fated'), "but which, time will decide".
Fëanor changed this ominous name to Ambarto ('High noble one', or similar), which was Sindarized as Amrod, but it was only revealed to which twin it referred until the younger was accidentally killed in the burning of the ships at Losgar. (Here Tolkien was again contradicting his own previous statement that both twins died in the Third Kinslaying.)
Tolkien added that the name Ambarto was used by no-one, but that the twins called each other Ambarussa. In this story, I assume that they were known to other people by their father-names, which were Nityafinwë and Telufinwë (shortened to Nityo and Telvo).
The name Aldarilion is my Quenyarization of Sindarin Galathilion.
Lalwen's name means 'Laughing Maiden'.
Other Quenya words, names and phrases
amma=mum or mummy, etc.
Atar Aranya=Father, my King
atto=dad or daddy, etc.
Eruhíni=children of Eru
Noldóran=King of the Noldor
Tauros=title of Oromë
In "The Silmarillion', Celeborn is a Sindarin kinsman of Thingol whom Galadriel meets in Doriath. However, in this story, I follow a different, later version of their history (given in 'Unfinished Tales'), which makes him a Telerin grandson of Olwë. Galadriel encounters him when she goes to live in Alqualondë. Discovering that they share a desire to see Middle-earth, they build a ship together and (after the First Kinslaying) cross the Great Sea in it. It seems that Tolkien wanted to disassociate Galadriel from the rebellion of Fëanor.
1 Hour of the Trees=7 hours of the sun
1 Day of the Trees=12 Hours of the Trees=3.5 days of the sun
1 Year of the Trees=1000 Days of the Trees=9.582 years of the sun
1 Age of the Trees=100 Years of the Trees=958.2 years of the sun
Orodreth does not feature in this story, because it appears that Tolkien discarded him and gave his role to Angrod's son Artaher after writing most of the texts that Christopher Tolkien used to put together the published 'Silmarillion'.
Elves reach physical and mental maturity between the ages of forty-nine and ninety-nine. They celebrate begetting-days, not birthdays.
Various details of the geography and architecture of Tirion come from 'The Book of Lost Tales'. Some are actually borrowed from the descriptions of Gondolin given there, on the assumption that Turgon copied the layout of Tirion with some preciseness in planning his own city.
Some of the dialogue in this story, as well as the dates of many events, comes from 'The History of Middle-earth'.
Anairë's story of Imin, Tata and Enel is found in 'The War of the Jewels'. Tolkien commented that it was '[a]ctually written (in style and simple notions) to be a surviving Elvish "fairytale" or child's tale'.
It is stated in 'The Book of Lost Tales' that the great vat in which the radiance of Telperion was stored was kept in Lórien.
It seems that Tolkien always wrote Amárië's name as I have done in this story, with an acute accent and a diaeresis. I do not know why Christopher Tolkien chose, in editing 'The Silmarillion', to use only the diaeresis.