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Story [Tolkien] "Each Knowing of Hunger", Celebrimbor-centric Fic-gift for Anedon - Part II up 12/26!

Discussion in 'Non Star Wars Fan Fiction' started by Mira_Jade , Dec 16, 2017.

  1. Mira_Jade

    Mira_Jade The Fanfic Manager With The Cape star 5 Staff Member Manager

    Jun 29, 2004
    Each Knowing of Hunger”

    Fandom: The Silmarillion and Histories of Middle-earth
    Genre: Drama, General
    Rating: PG
    Time Frame: First Age
    Characters: Celebrimbor & Ensemble

    Summary: Celebrimbor, and a (further) history of giving.

    Author's Notes: This is my fic-gift for Anedon! And, like most things I write, my muse couldn't keep this to a simple vignette and move on, so we're going to break this up into chapters for ease of reading. That said, I had several ideas pop into mind for Anedon's request of a Celebrimbor-centric story, and I would eventually like to write them all - so, while I'm going to begin with this story arch, watch this space in the future. You never know how far I'll get. ;) In the meantime, I hope that you enjoy this, Anedon! It's been far too long since my muse visited the ways of Arda, and I thank you for bringing me back! [:D]

    (And, for those who are familiar with my Tolkien writings, this is a sister story to "I have been hungry all of these years", which is quite the epic character study where Celebrimbor is concerned. [face_love])

    That said, for anyone who is unfamiliar with this particular branch of Tolkien's world, but would like to read this anyway: Celebrimbor is probably a character you already know - you just don't realize it yet. ;) He is the Noldorin Elf who created the West-gate of Moria with Narvi the Dwarf-smith. He also, perhaps more famously, created the Rings of Power for Men and Dwarves with Sauron in the Second Age. (He created the Three Rings for Elves by himself, thus freeing them of Sauron's taint.) He is the grandson of Fëanor, the Elf who created the Silmarils (which the Silmarillion is named for), and whose family was responsible for a good many of the good, the bad, and the ugly things in the First Age. He held an unrequited love for Galadriel all of his life, and his efforts to rise above his family name, unfortunately, led him to unwittingly aiding in the creation of the One Ring. But 'he was uncorrupted in heart and faith' until the end, which I will happily be exploring here.

    I'll add further notes for characters and terms at the end of each chapter, if you further want to orient yourselves. But, until then, I want to thank you guys for reading and hope that you enjoy. Anedon, again, this one's for you! [face_love][:D]

    Disclaimer: Nothing is mine, but for the words. :)

    “Each Knowing of Hunger”
    by Mira_Jade


    Year 5 of the First Age

    It was a deceivingly fair day on the shores of Lake Mithrim. The nascent sun was high in the cloudless sky, prompting the newly awakened trees to turn their branches towards its warming rays. Overhead, larks tenatively sang the first songs of spring; their voices were gay and bright on the cool breeze sweeping down from the eastward hills. It should have been a day free from cares, where anything fair and new was possible, yet . . .

    Telperinquar - Celebrimbor, their new Sindarin neighbors liked to refer to him as - didn't at all care for crossing the lake to visit the host of his half-uncle. The camp of Fëanor was set in its ways, having had stood tall and firm since the Battle Under Stars. They'd long since built their halls and established their defenses. It felt as home, of a sort, no matter all that his family had lost since coming to the shores of Middle-earth from Aman far beyond. Yet, the camp of Nolofinwë – Fingolfin, now . . .

    It was a settlement of tents and hastily erected dwellings – short-term in their make and yet stubbornly strong enough to keep out the worst of the ebbing cold season. Yet, for the great many who had crossed the unforgiving ways of the Helcaraxë, the relatively gentle winters of Beleriand were nothing in comparison. They simply grit their teeth and endured, just as they'd done for decades on the Ice. At least these pangs of cold were natural, and temporary. Here, there was the promise of spring to know, and cling to.

    It was not merely the transitional feel of the settlement that weighed upon his spirit, but the people it housed within. Many here he'd known in Tirion; he considered them family, or friends and countrymen at the very least. He knew these souls in health and happiness, succored as they were by the glow of the Trees and the glory of the West and untainted by any shadow. Here . . .

    So many faces were gaunt; hollow, even. The Ice had clawed away at each and every one of them, bit by bit, leaving only bright eyes blazing from pallid, hunger-stuck forms. Only those most determined - and unmarked by the random hand of fate - had survived the crossing to Middle-earth, and for each missing place amongst their ranks . . .

    Well, those same blazing eyes traced over the sons of Fëanor now – and him by extension. Celebrimbor, young though he may have been, was canny enough – wise enough – to understand the unspoken accusations that laid within. All the while he knew that he could not wholly fault them for their anger, their rage and pain. The thought, steeped in disloyalty as it may have been, threatened to slow his stride; he could not wholly manage to keep his head held up high. His breath came quick and snaring, high in his throat; he could not wholly blame the thin feeling in his lungs on the cold.

    “You are of Fëanor's blood,” his Uncle Celegorm was the first to notice his unease, pushing high on his back to get his attention. Once, there would have been affection in the gesture, Celebrimbor thought; then, the syllables of his words felt as if they looked to snag on his ears. “Hold your head up high - you need not bow before the likes of them. Not ever.”

    Even so, his shoulders felt as if they were being held down by the hands of a giant. He could not quite tilt his chin up to the crowd that had gathered to watch them make their way. A glare here, he could not help but notice, accompanied by a raised brow there, all the while the whispers -

    “ - you will not accompany us inside; the healers do not need to have you underfoot.” His father, of course, did not have his uncle's patience with his shortcomings. Celebrimbor had been judged while he was unaware of a test to pass, and found wanting. “Do not make a nuisance of yourself, and keep your decorum. You are still a prince of Finwë; you shall act like it.”

    “Yes, Atar,” his acquisition was rote – and expected. He fought the urge he had to hang his head even further – but he need not have worried. Curufin was already looking ahead to the main compound of tents, now just right before them. His shoulders were straight and squared, his weight balanced as if he was marching upon a field of battle. In that moment, he looked like Grandfather, Celebrimbor could not help but think, and his fëa was as oppressive and heavy on the air in might as Fëanor's had been in life. It lashed against his own senses, silently answering the quiet, oppressive weight of threat building in the crowd around them. Grandfather would not have hung his head, either, Celebrimbor knew. Not ever.

    The thought brought a pang of its own with it: the Ice was not the only force with the power to take in Middle-earth. Not by far.

    Celegorm's smile was sharp as he flicked his gaze at the gathered crowd, as if challenging them; his grey-green eyes were a shade of forest shadow, indomitable and deep. But he reached over to tug on one of his braids as he passed; once more, Celebrimbor thought, he would have once known the gesture for the affection it held . . . but that was before. “Stay out of trouble if you can, Telpe,” Celegorm teased, but he was ever sharing Curufin's shadow, and all too quickly was he also passing him by. "No doubt our uncle will turn us out in no time."

    One after another, he was passed on by – with Maglor lost in a world of his own and the Ambarussa each sparing him a fleeting glance in unison, until Caranthir was the last of Fëanor's sons remaining. The elder elf took a moment to pause, before placing a heavy hand on his shoulder. Celebrimbor looked up when the contact lingered, and his brow knit in question. Caranthir's mouth was thin, he saw, and his eyes were narrowed to meet the stares around them. “You don't want to go in there anyway, little one,” he took a moment to soften the brunt of his father's words. “Maitimo . . . how he is now is not how you should remember him. Better should you see him again when he is hale and whole; your father would spare you that, if he can.”

    “Yes,” more rote words, from the dutiful son. “I am sure.” (Perhaps, even, his uncle was right; Celebrimbor felt an old, tired warmth try to light the underside of his heart. Perhaps.)

    Caranthir's brittle expression failed to wholly stretch, yet the sad not-quite-a-smile he gave was nonetheless sincere as he squeezed his shoulder one last time. Then, he too passed him by to enter Fingolfin's dwelling, and he was left alone.

    Celebrimbor stood still in his place for a long moment, unsure of where to go or what to do. He was unsure of where he would even be welcomed to loiter until his family decided to return to their side of the lake. He stared straight ahead, counting out his heartbeats as he waited for the crowd to eventually lose interest and fade away. He could not quite find the courage to face them; not yet.

    Kinslayers, he nonetheless heard as a dull roar in his ears. The skin between his shoulderblades burned with the eyes boring into him. Oath cursed. Void bound. (Traitors. False friends. Revilers. Blasphemers. Murderers – Celebrimbor had heard it all before.)

    He took in a deep breath, and held it in his mouth before exhaling. He would keep his calm, and his silence, until he too could turn and take his leave.

    Eventually, the crowd dispersed. One by one, they lost interest in him – the lone scion of Fëanor's line. Even so, the whispers remained loud in his ears; terribly so. The unspoken thrum of pregnant threat lingered on the air, even as the want for violence passed. The wounds of the Noldor as a whole threatened to break their sutures then, the same as an unstable element hovering precariously over the line between dormant and explosive. All it wanted was for a spark – one which he refused to give. He didn't bother protesting that he did not hold a sword at Alqualondë . . . that he did not swear his grandfather's Oath . . . that he had stood dumbly aside as the ships burned at Losgar; he did not say a word to try to defend himself – or his kin. Such trivialities did not matter then, not in the eyes of those who survived the carnage their Oath inspired; and Celebrimbor was not certain of his right to claim such a defense for the House of Fëanor as a whole, in any matter.

    Finally, he summoned his courage and, without meeting the eyes of any who remained, he turned and walked away.

    At first, he wandered with no clear destination in mind, only looking for somewhere – or perhaps something – to take his mind off of the plight of his father and uncles. He did not want to think about Uncle Maitimo, or the remnants of him that Fingon had been able to scrape from Morgoth's clutches. He did not want to think about Uncle Maglor, or the line that had been permanently etched into his brow for his worries and his cares during his brief tenure as king of the Noldor in exile. He did not want to dwell on knowing that another had succeeded in the impossible after they had too-long left their kinsman to languish for the sake of an Oath. No. Celebrimbor had no wish for that at all.

    Instead, he pulled his cloak tight about his body so that no one could see the tell-tale shade of red lining his robes. The thin circlet holding the star of Fëanor about his brow he removed too. He little cared for the stares he garnered for both, and, perhaps more distantly, he had no wish to inflict pain on others with his passing - there had already been too much endured, and they had not yet escaped the promise of still more to come. Not with their Doom proclaimed by the Valar themselves for leaving Aman behind.

    The throughways were busy so close to noontide, with many doing all they could during the warm, bright part of the day to prepare for the winter nights that still kept hold on the land. The tents and thin dwellings seemed to huddle close together to share their warmth, and the people who fluttered between them were equally as grey and drawn as they quietly went about there tasks. So much was silence and practicality in his half-uncle's camp, Celebrimbor mourned to see. The Firstborn were a people of songs and light; yet little of either seemed to exist here - not in Endórë as they'd found it to be.

    (There had not been much of light or songs in Aman before they left, but Celebrimbor would always remember the gilded shores of the West as an idea, an ideal when he forged his wears to bring a similar such grace to the shadowed ways of Middle-earth. He would never truly allow himself to remember the Darkening in full again . . . yet, perhaps he quite simply could not.)

    In the end, he did not know if it was the grace of the Valar or his own inner-ear that sought of the sound of a smith's hammer and caused his feet to follow. But he managed to stumble across a booth, with a pale awning stretched tight across a collection of worktables. Further back, a single forge-oven burned with a comforting glow underneath one of the few stone structures he'd yet to see. There was a need for such, Celebrimbor grimly knew - especially here and now. This would have been one of the first necessities sought by Fingolfin's people.

    Celebrimbor stood, and fingered a plate of steel armor – a poleyn, he distantly recognized, still wanting for another turn through the fire, but already strong and sturdy. Not beautiful, as perhaps his own hand would have preferred to make – but reliable. The warrior beneath this would be well protected, indeed.

    “You have a keen eye for metal, young one,” the elf manning the forge within greeted. He was strong and broad-shouldered for their kind, with a thick rope of dark blonde hair neatly braided out of the way down his back. He had Vanya blood within him, Celebrimbor distantly processed; though his accent was of Tirion. (Once, there had been many such traits shared between their kind; now, he knew, the mark of Ingwë would be harder and harder to find as the years went on.)

    “My family follows the ways of Aulë,” Celebrimbor responded by rote, before amending, “Or they once did . . . before.”

    His father, he knew, would have scoffed in disgust for such a slip; Celegorm would have sworn openly, and spat upon the ground; Maglor's eyes would have gone distant, and far away. Yet, he . . . he was not his uncles, Celebrimbor thought with a distant twinge of discomfort.

    But the smith did not frown for mention of the Powers – not as they would have on his own side of the lake. Instead, he inclined his head. “The sundering of the Sea is not a veil enough to escape the eyes of the Ainur, though it keeps us from the West,” his rejoinder was gentle. “Or, at least I like to believe. Any of the Smith's ilk are welcome within my forge.”

    For that, a part of Celebrimbor, sleeping for so long, rose its head the same as a hound scenting a hare on the breeze. He fought to keep calmly to his place. The forges of Fëanor had been cool for too long; even his father had not taken up his crafts again since coming to Middle-earth, and Celebrimbor had not known how to ask for what he knew would be ill received.

    “If you require assistance, I could be of service,” Celebrimbor offered, already fighting the urge to roll up his sleeves and take the poleyn before him for its next pass through the coals. His fingertips itched with the urge, and something fire-born within his fëa stoked to life and wanted.

    “You are young, to already be set in your art,” the smith raised a pale brow to say. It was a graceful way to inquire of his skills, Celebrimbor understood.

    “As I said,” Celebrimbor fought to keep himself to stillness – to serenity as befit the line of Finwë. “My family long followed the ways of Aulë.” He would have been preparing to take his own trials at the feet of the Vala, even, had they not . . .

    Yet, that was simply another opportunity lost to before.

    The smith simply gazed at him for a long, poignant moment, before he reached a decision within himself. “As you wish, then so be it. The Ice took both my apprentices from me; and my partner - my brother - refused to leave Aman behind.” He took a breath to gather himself, but he did not linger on what was clearly a remembered pain – for his story was far from unique within his camp, Celebrimbor could well imagine. “I alone work the forge here, and with the demand for steel and mail so high . . . ”

    There was much that simply needed to be done, Celebrimbor knew. Here, armor was not ornamental; and the art of the sword was not something lost to memory and time. Here, for them to triumph and survive, their every way of life would need to change. They would need to arm themselves, and master the art of the sword if they wished to share the land with Morgoth and his ilk.

    Celebrimbor did not say anything further, but he did move to doff his cloak. He rolled up his sleeves, uncaring about the chill on the air as he stepped forward. The smith, to his credit, did not blink to see the telling red of his robes.

    “I am Alato Hanacion,” instead, the forge-master held out a strong hand to introduce himself, still keeping to his given name in the High Tongue. “Of the House of Haurandur.”

    “My family calls me Telpe.” It was not shame that caused him to swallow his full name, not quite. Celebrimbor simply couldn't allow this opportunity to pass; he would not allow his grandfather to take this too from him. After a moment's pause, he felt the need to amend, “I am of the House of Mahtan.” Such was true enough . . . in its own right.

    “Mahtan the Master-smith?” Alato did not seem terribly surprised to hear. “Aulë truly is within your blood.”

    “It has been said,” Celebrimbor found the words stiff on his tongue – yet, again, there was no falsehood in their speaking.

    Alato gave him another long, thoughtful look, before turning smartly. “Come then, young one. The poleyns there could use a turn through the fire; let us see what Master Mahtan has taught you.”

    Celebrimbor did not need to be told twice. His heart then lighter than it had felt since they left the shores of Aman behind, he eagerly walked back towards the forge-fire, and allowed his hands to fall into the habit of memory and routine. At least, for a little while.

    Some Handy Dandy Notes:

    Endórë: Middle-earth
    Aman: Valinor, the Undying Lands, the West, etc.
    Arda: The world as a whole

    The Valar: The spirit beings who aided Eru ("God") with the creation of the world
    The Maiar: The spiritual 'helpers' of the Valar. (Gandalf and Sauron, for example)
    Ainur: The collective term for the Valar/Maiar.
    Morgoth: Also known as Melkor. He was, perhaps, the strongest of the Valar, and for being so he decided that absolute power over Arda should exclusively belong to himself. He is the biggest bad in the fandom.
    Aulë: The Vala responsible for the art of creation, and the Master of the Forge. He created the Dwarves as his disciples/children to pass his knowledge on down to. Sauron was once his Maia before turning to the service of Melkor/Morgoth. Saruman was also a Maia of Aulë, to further connect that web.

    Noldor: One of the three main branches of Elves, who went West when summoned at the Awakening of the Elves, but who then rebelled during the Darkening and returned to Middle-earth. (Galadriel, for example - her Vanya/Teleri heritage aside)
    Vanyar: Another of the three main branches of the Elves who went West. Very few crossed back to Middle-earth, however.
    Sindar: One of the Elven clans who never left Middle-earth when summoned after the Awakening, but who stayed for a love of the forests and stars. (Celeborn and Thranduil, for example)

    Fëa: Soul
    Hröa: Body

    . . . and I think that those are the main points. However, if you have a question about anything (I started to write bullet points about the Darkening/Oath of Fëanor/First Kinslaying and the Doom of the Noldor/Crossing of the Helcaraxë but those grew lengthy :p 8-}), don't hesitate to ask! I always love chatting about this world. ;) [face_love][:D]

    Anedon likes this.
  2. WarmNyota_SweetAyesha

    WarmNyota_SweetAyesha Game Host star 7 VIP - Game Host

    Aug 31, 2004
    Beautiful and heartfelt! Full of regrets and self-recriminations, naturally considering all that has been endured. I too must thank Anedon for this request because woohoo! The blessing of Mira-ness in this fandom is all of ours to share. ^:)^
    Mira_Jade and Anedon like this.
  3. Anedon

    Anedon Jedi Grand Master star 4

    May 11, 2016
    This is just beautiful Mira, thank you. :)
    I really like the young Celebrimbor it must be hard for him, having to endure the blame of many of his people for things he didn´t participate in, as well as the cold way his father treats him. Though it's nice to see that the other sons of Feanor, at least Celegorm and Caranthir try to comfort him a bit. Also enjoyed the brief view on the others as well, Maglor being completely caught up in his thoughts and the twins even giving a glance in unison. Also the ending was nice with Celebrimbor finding a place that he can call home, at least for a while.
    Nice chapter, I´m looking forward to the next one.
  4. pronker

    pronker Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Jan 28, 2007
    :ezra: I liked how Celebrimbor feels the weight of the family ties and family problems and doesn't let it crush him, but darn, it comes pretty close to it! He's needing a space for finding and filling his own needs, so Alato remains a kindly source of impersonal aid, just what the kid needs. Also, thanks for the notes; it's been a long time since reading the Silm.:) This was a princely gift, to use an old-timey Tolkien term.
  5. Mira_Jade

    Mira_Jade The Fanfic Manager With The Cape star 5 Staff Member Manager

    Jun 29, 2004
    Aww, thanks! As always, my friend, it is wonderful to have you along for the ride! [face_love][:D]

    Thank-you! I am glad you are enjoying this. Even when I don't like certain of the sons of Fëanor (I'm looking at you Curufin . . . and Celegorm is my trash prince :p), they certainly all fascinate me! My bias for Maglor and Caranthir must have shown here, that said - and the Ambarussa! too I have theories about the circumstances of their birth and shared spirit that I spent all sorts of words writing about in my ficlet collection. There are just so many interesting paths to wander and explore in Tolkien's world, and I am happy to travel down this one for you! I hope you continue to enjoy. [face_love][:D]

    As were your kind words! I thank you for taking the time to read! [:D] Celebrimbor certainly does have a lot holding him down, and watching his struggle to throw off that burden - and knowing what he will later create to help pay his debt, so to speak, is a fascinating character study. I can't wait to flesh those thoughts out more here. :D

    Alrighty, then, there will be more in a few! :)
  6. Mira_Jade

    Mira_Jade The Fanfic Manager With The Cape star 5 Staff Member Manager

    Jun 29, 2004

    Telperinquar, who was now called Celebrimbor, lost track of how long he worked with the blacksmith.

    He made quick work of passing the poleyns through the flames, and next a round of vambraces. By that time, Alato well recognized his familiarity with the forge, and without a word he was promoted to folding red-hot swords on the anvil. As the noontide sun tipped from its high cradle in the sky, he was hammering and firing and cooling in an old and steady routine that soothed his mind and lulled his heart the same as an ocean wave continuously lapping at the shoreline. He could hear the sword sing its birth-song beneath his hands; he could pay heed to its voice, and grant it a strength and shape of steel to match.

    Eventually, hours passed. By then, Alato trusted him enough to run an errand to meet with a customer, leaving Celebrimbor alone with the roar of the bellows and the blows of the hammer. The dull bite of the late afternoon chill fought against the warm, healthy sheen of sweat he'd worked up. He'd long since shed all but the thinnest layer of his tunic and leggings, little caring of the shade of scarlet he wore when there was such work to be done. Nothing outside the anvil and he existed then. His fëa soared to leap and batter the underside of his skin as he worked, as if the flame of his spirit wished to escape the cage of his body through the act of creation. He poured that fire into his craft instead, and his eyes were fever bright as he silently asked Aulë to grant the weapon a sharp edge that would aim true and strong for the warrior who would hold it. They would need every boon the Valar could grant and then some in this land; especially in this age of the world.

    Perhaps it was the near tangible rising of his innermost light which let him sense her approach. He'd never possessed much skill with the mental arts – not like those of Indis' line, who inherited her skills of Sight and Knowing in whole, or at least in part. He could dip within the minds of his family, as all of the Eldar could, but even that was a bond he exercised less and less as of late. His father and uncles hardly shared themselves with each other since leaving Aman, he suspected, and if they were strangers to each other then they would certainly never open their minds to a child - there was too much to bury beneath the deepest of thoughts and leave there to linger in forgetfulness. If Celebrimbor was Oath-sworn, he supposed he would feel much the same.

    But his spirit recognized another who was cut from the cloth of Finwë, the same as he; no matter that their family was torn so decisively down the middle as of late. His blood cared not for such trivialities, instead it simply knew. He could well recognize the blaze of the approaching fëa – his family was full of such mighty spirits, and both his grandfather and then his father took to wearing the brilliance of their fëar just underneath their skin as if to let none around them forget the staggering power they carried within themselves. But this one, rather than oppressively heavy and burning, felt . . .

    . . . she felt gentle to his senses, endless and cleansing and healing. Her soul was the fathomless deep of the ocean at rest, massive and staggeringly blue, in a word defined.

    Curious, he looked up from the anvil in time to notice a passing she-elf making her way through the cramped throughway – she was a girl hardly older than he himself was. His realization carried a pang with it; he had been the only child – or, a child he'd been at the time - in Fëanor's host to cross the Sea. And, in Fingolfin's camp . . .

    . . . he wracked his mind, but could not immediately place her, though he felt as if understanding was right there, just on the tip of his tongue.

    She was small in stature for one of Finwë's blood, Celebrimbor gathered his observations; if they stood side by side he was sure that he would be a good head taller than her - and both his father and his uncles all loomed over him; in life, Fëanor had even more so. She was slight and willowly in form to match, or he suspected she was underneath the voluminous folds of her pale blue cloak. Peeking out from underneath her hood, he could see a wisp of curling white-blonde hair escape from her braids, and he recognized the mark of her Vanyar blood. Her youth and Vanyar blood tugged at his memory, and for those two clues together she would have to be . . .

    - was this Itarillë? he wondered. He knew that he had a counterpart of similar age in Turgon's daughter, yet he had not seen her in many years. He had no idea what she looked like; he had not even known that she had made the crossing to Middle-earth, let alone guessed at her surviving the harsh ways of the Helcaraxë. (That thought, of course, was enough to inspire a further pain of its own.)

    Yet, for what she may have lacked in physical stature - no doubt a result of her spending her formative ears on the scarce, brutal ways of the Ice - she more than made up for in the might of her spirit. Celebrimbor watched as she greeted all those she passed by name, spreading smiles and good cheer in her wake. She had a healer's soul, he thought, understanding then why she wore her power so bright and tangible on the air; she did so on purpose, to lighten the hearts of her people as she passed. She would not keep so great a gift to herself; not when there were those who had need of it.

    (There were rumors that there was an impossibly beautiful princess of the Sindar, one who could make flowers bloom wherever her footsteps fell, and it was then and only then, watching Itarillë – Idril – as she passed through the camp that Celebrimbor well believed the tale.)

    When she came upon Alato's booth, a spark of pleased surprise appeared in her eyes when she saw him working the anvil, rather than the elder Elf. Her bemusement was quickly tucked away, however, leaving only the pleasure of her emotions behind. The bright, easy light of her spirit was infectious as it overlapped his own, and, just barely, Celebrimbor felt the corners of his mouth tug in a smile. The expression was an unfamiliar one, at first; he had to remind himself how to do so.

    “Hello, friend,” Idril stepped under the awning, and pulled her hood back to greet. “I'd thought to know all of the youth amongst my grandfather's camp, but it seems that you have proved me wrong.”

    “You must have an excellent gift for memory.” Celebrimbor put the sword back on the coals and set his hammer down to greet her without distraction. He remembered how to properly bow to a woman, especially a woman born from the First Kings, no matter that she wore no circlet here – his mother, long a devout member of the Noldorin court in Tirion, would never have forgiven him for forgetting his manners, no matter how far he was beyond her sight.

    Idril's mouth quirked, and her cheeks dimpled in delight. “Perhaps I merely have a gift for recalling small numbers, I would say instead. Before stumbling across you, I had thought to be the only youth amongst my grandfather's followers,” she teased.

    Because she had been alone, he understood then. He was a clear intruder on this side of the lake, and imagining what she must have survived on the Helcaraxë, he was not sure if his presence was one she would desire when she divined exactly who he was. He felt his cheeks burn, and his smile, just as soon as it had formed, fell to press in a thin, terse line. “Ah, well . . . you see, I am . . . I'm from - ”

    “You are from the other side of the lake?” Idril kindly finished for him. She must have understood his struggle to find his words – for she held up her hands in a placating gesture, as if she were trying to calm a skittish horse. “Please,” he could feel her spirit flicker upon the air – almost drowsily carrying, and inspiring, a sense of peace and stillness to match. He did not have the strength of will to fight the sensation wholly; he felt his heartbeat calm as the quick pulse of his blood slowed. “It was my furthest intention to cause you any sort of discomfort,” she continued. “Alato is an old friend of my family, and an excellent judge of character. I trust him – and, clearly, he trusts you with that which he holds most dear.”

    “It is a fine gift he has granted to me today. I am truly grateful to him,” Celebrimbor could honestly agree with her. “I have not been able to turn my hand to creation since . . . well, since before . . .” but what was an ever constant parade of thoughts across his mind was not so easily spoken aloud then. He swallowed, and fought the urge he had to sigh for his thick tongue. Wonderful; one of them and now he was showing himself to be a complete and utter simpleton.

    “Many things have been lost to the time before,” she took pity on him to finish. “That I can more than understand.”

    “Yes . . . many things,” Celebrimbor echoed dully. Everything, in its own way.

    Idril held his gaze, and he could see a shade of blue wink within the grey of her eyes before she turned from him to walk further into the stall. She seemed intent to linger, where he had first expected her to quickly pass on her way. He watched her, puzzled as she fluttered like a brightly colored bird about the drab grayness of the stall. Soot and hard, practical plates of dull grey metal surrounded her, yet she shone like one of the gems his father once would have filled with the light of the Trees.

    . . . well, once, that was. That too was lost to the time before.

    He took in a deep breath, and exhaled slowly through his mouth. When it looked as if she was as content with the lull in conversation as he was, he picked up the sword from its bed of coals, and returned to hammering the blade upon the anvil with long, sure strokes. He let the rhythm of his task take him, feeling his spirit pulse in time with the familiarity of the motions, until -

    “ - I cannot tell your hand from that of the master's.”

    Her voice was enough to startle him from the haze he had so easily returned to, and he blinked to better focus on her words. Between hammer-falls, he shrugged his shoulders. “This is easy enough work,” he brushed off her compliment. For a moment, he almost wanted to share that, before the Darkening, he had been preparing to take his trials with Aulë. But that was a future that would never come to pass.

    His next fall came with far too much force; he was in danger of bending the blade if he did not check his strength.

    “I can well imagine,” even so, Idril's mouth quirked upwards. “You are used to filling gems with light and crafting gifts fit to adorn the Ainur themselves; this must be trifle.”

    “In Aman, we could forge our wares simply for the sake of creating something beautiful,” he chose his words as best he could. “It is not as simple in Middle-earth – or, at least, not yet it isn't.” But that was a more private thought: the vague desire he had to fill this land with a light resplendent of the home he'd left behind. Endórë could be so much more than the starlight and shadow that had prevailed so far from the Trees - if the Valar so willed it, such was the very least he could give from the work of his hands.

    “My mother once received a gift crafted by Fëanor himself,” Idril thoughtfully tilted her head to share. “She was Vanyar, you see – she never put much stock in ornamentation, not like the Noldor, but she dearly loved that piece. It was a pendant, not of any metal I could name, it looked . . . like a pearl or the inside of a sea-shell, and it spiraled like a nest of vines to cradle an amber stone - a stone that held the light from the day she wed my father. Fëanor later created a ring to match, holding the Treelight from the day I was born, not long before . . .”

    . . . before Fëanor would have bled himself rather than lift a finger for those born of Indis' blood, Celebrimbor knew there was no way she could say so delicately. Once, his grandfather was free with his gifts and proud to share his wares . . . before that awful day by the tower of Mindon . . . before the machinations of Melkor . . . before the Silmarils.

    But those too were words he could not quite summon enough clarity of thought to form. Instead, he held his silence, and allowed Idril to speak instead.

    “Amil wore them always, even when our families were quarreling – even when we crossed the Ice, to remind others that, for all of the grief . . . and even the spilled blood between us, we were still one family. She was certain that we had years enough to our names to put our feud to rights; she had hoped that the sons of Finwë would not be divided for overly long, not when reunited once more.”

    From what little he had known of Elenwë of the Vanya, that sounded about right. Celebrimbor felt something deep of inside warm for her words. “Where is your mother?” he asked then, eager as he was to know another kindly face amongst Fingolfin's host, “I have not seen her amongst the camp, and, in time, I would greatly like to pay my respects.”

    A heartbeat passed. “As much as she - as I would have liked that, such is now impossible,” Idril's smile took on a hesitant, almost brittle quality. He felt a queer note of foreboding fill him, like the moment of anticipation before a fall. “There was a weak spot in a glacial lake we passed, and the Helcaraxë took her; she . . . she made sure the Ice took her . . . rather than me. It was a black day for my family.” Her words were clipped, clinical even, as she related the tale; yet Celebrimbor understood that such was the only way she could speak.

    His next strike missed the sword completely, and sparks flew from the anvil where his hammer fell. His face paled as a dizzy sensation overtook him. He knew that the Ice had taken many, but for Elenwë . . . Elenwë who was all peace and grace and light . . . a sour taste filled his mouth, and he had to inhale deeply to regain his equilibrium once more.

    “Please, forgive my thoughtless tongue,” he could not stammer out an apology quickly enough. “I am so . . . I am so, so - ”

    “ - please, do not apologize. My wound is old, and you need not grieve for me,” Idril gently interrupted him. “I have long since mourned her return to Námo, and I . . . I am alright. I would rather speak of her in fondness than hold my silence; I have no wish to lose her to memory to time.”

    But it was not right; nothing about this could ever possibly be set to rights. So many of their losses were senseless and ridiculous, and they were for so little in the end. It baffled him, the hows and whys that had carried them to this point, and he could not then understand the feud sundering their shared blood. He knew . . . he knew the low opinion his father and a good deal of his uncles held for Turgon; he knew the words they harshly spun behind closed doors, and for them to even dare when Elenwë was lost, and Elenwë was gone, and . . .

    . . . it was their fault. Their fault. Celebrimbor may not have physically held a sword, but in that moment he was aware of the river of lost life that pooled about his family in damning waves. He found it hard to breathe then; his one hand made a fist about the hammer, while his other trembled to hold the sword to the anvil. The sword; a sword. He wanted to pull his fingers away from the weapon, as if the metal was still red-hot and molten enough to burn as the ships had burned.

    But, just as his thoughts spiraled downwards from a single point, a gentle hand reached out to cover his own. Idril joined him in holding the sword steady. She had scars on her palms, Celebrimbor distantly noticed; the Ice had tried for two, she had said, but due to the determination of the mother, it had only succeeded in taking one. How old would Idril have been at the time? he wondered. How long into their march had Elenwë lasted before falling? He fought the urge he had to flinch away from her touch; he little deserved her kindness.

    “I am sorry,” Idril's voice was thick with sincerity. Her massive, blue spirit throbbed on the air around them. “My words have brought you pain, and that was far from my intention.”

    Startled, he darted his gaze up to meet her eyes – her clear, grey-blue eyes, her Vanyan eyes, which were wide with alarm for having troubled him - him. He fought the urge he had to laugh for the madness of it all.

    “You . . . you are trying to comfort me?" he could not help but dumbly inquire. He could not draw his mind to a logical conclusion and understand; he was incredulous for her words.

    “You are in pain,” her brow furrowed in delicate bewilderment, “why would I not try to comfort you?”

    “I only know pain which is self-inflicted; and rightly felt,” he shook his head to say. He could no longer meet her eyes; instead, his chin fell, and he stared listlessly down at the weapon resting underneath their overlaid palms. “You need not . . . you ought not pity that, or move to comfort me.”

    For he knew, as sure as the Valar had pronounced their Doom, that Elenwë, dear, sweet Elenwë with her softness and her smiles had passed on to Námo's halls while his father and each one of his uncles still breathed, and lived . . .

    The scales were not even between them, he admitted with a surge of knowing, with a flood of shame; the scales between them were not nearly balanced at all.

    “You take a yoke that rightfully belongs to others upon your shoulders,” Idril reached over, and tilted up his head to meet her gaze again. “You ought not, Telperinquar; it is a crushing burden you try and bear.”

    Telperinquar; she knew his name, his name . . . and thus the name of his father . . . and his father's father. He felt his skin crawl with revulsion at the knowledge; his veins itched for the blood he carried deep within.

    “Is it not, though? My mother . . . she is still alive; she refused to make the crossing to Middle-earth. Perhaps there was wisdom in her decision; a wisdom I should have heeded. She begged my father to leave me behind; to allow me to stay.” Once started, he could feel his words bubbling out of him as if from a fount. His father had thrown his wedding band into the Sea, he remembered, the night they first sailed from Losgar. Curufin had thought himself to be alone on the deck of the ship, but Celebrimbor had known; he'd watched from the shadows. For him, the finality of the act had been more sundering than passing through the veil of the West ever could have been.

    “Sometimes . . . oftentimes . . . I think that I should have stayed with her. I was too young to swear my father's Oath, but I was old enough to understand what was going on. I stood aside; I did not try to stop them; instead I followed meekly along when summoned, just as I do now . . . and that . . . that shames me. That shames me utterly.”

    Finally, the need for movement overwhelmed him; he could not stand still after uttering such words. He could not wholly look Idril in the eye for having said so.

    Slipping his hand out from underneath hers, he went to thrust the now too-cool sword into the bucket of waiting water to temper it completely. He twisted the blade, and watched as the remaining heat bubbled in the pail.

    “My father has similar such ruminations, when it comes to leaving Aman behind,” Idril said after a long moment passed. “Many of our host have known regret in some form, at one point or another.” She did not offer forgiveness or absolution – not quite. Perhaps she knew he would have been unable to accept either; not then.

    Celebrimbor let loose a deep breath, and retrieved the sword from the water. Droplets followed the sharp edge of the blade; it would be a deadly piece when done. It would well protect the hand that knew how to wield it. “And how,” he had to swallow twice to find his voice, “does he resign himself to his decision?”

    “I don't think he ever wholly does,” Idril admitted. “But he knows . . . as my mother knew, that the only way possible is the way forward. To lose one's self over that which we cannot change . . . well, that is futility, is it not? Especially to us of endless days.”

    “Yet, does that . . . does that ever bring you comfort?” Celebrimbor looked up, meeting her eyes to say. “Does that truly bring you peace?”

    “I think . . . ,” Idril took a moment to consider her words before speaking. Even then, she did not quite answer his questions outright. “I know that I will be needed here; that much I have seen. There is much I can do in this land; and much more that I will be called upon for. I feel as if my spirit has been tugged by a tether to come here. For everything shadowed, I feel that there is much light in store for my path; I will have to wait and see what the Weaver has planned for me.”

    Was it truly that simple? Could it ever be that simple? He looked again at the sword in his hand, and thought, for a moment, to understand . . . even if just barely.

    Silence fell between them, broken only by the murmur of the busy throughway, and the people there going about the business of their day. Celebrimbor took in a deep breath, and released the sword. For now, there was nothing more he could do for it.

    Yet, Idril gestured. “May I see?

    It took him a moment to understand her words. He raised a dark brow in question. “Have you ever held a sword before?” he asked, even as he passed her the incomplete blade, mindful of its sharp edge.

    “Is it that obvious?” Idril gave a rueful expression as she curiously looked over the sword from pommel to point. She struck a cursory pose, testing out how its weight felt in her hands. She moved gracefully, which was perhaps to be expected, yet also with inexperience.

    “I am honestly not sure. After all, your aunt Irissë . . . Aredhel,” he corrected, “she is quite . . .” he searched for the proper word, but could not quite manage to find it.

    “ . . . fearsome?” Idril offered knowingly.

    “Terrifyingly so,” Celebrimbor admitted, perhaps too bluntly.

    For that, Idril laughed outright. The sound was almost musical in shape, and many paused to hear it. “No, she has not instructed me; nor do I expect her to any time soon,” and, just that quickly, Idril's mirth passed and she sighed. “Her heart is heavy for reasons of her own, in more ways than one . . . I cannot – I will not yet ask anything of her.”

    Yet, even so, the one word sounded as a promise, with purpose. He blinked, and then wondered why he was surprised. All would have to learn, in some form or another, if they wished to make the shadowed ways of Middle-earth their home. “It is the art of the sword you have chosen, then?” even so, he felt the words stupidly escape his mouth.

    “My being a burden in a dangerous land has already cost me my mother,” Idril's face set in a determined expression, and she swung the sword with two hands then, mindful of both its reach and her surroundings. “I would rather never feel that helplessness again. Not if there is anything I can do to remedy my lacking.”

    He saw the thoughtful cast of her eyes as she glanced at him, and understanding bloomed. There was a note of expectation in her gaze; Idril, for all of her sweetness, was not used to being told no. “Are you assuming that all of the House of Fëanor knows how to wield a blade?” the teasing words came easily – perhaps surprisingly so. But then, she was Idril.

    “I am assuming that an artist does not try and craft that which he does not intimately know,” she offered instead. He could appreciate her turn of phrase; she already knew how to cross blades with an opponent in one way. This would just be a different form.

    “You have a way with words,” he drolly remarked. “I do not know if I should trust so silver a tongue.”

    For that, her eyes glittered. “Listen and learn then, Fëanorian. And, in return . . .” she offered the sword back to him with the blade pointed down towards the earth, from the hilt. “Perhaps you could show me? Just a little bit, of course – while you are waiting for your uncle to heal.”

    As was owed, perhaps, went unspoken between them. This was the least he could do. In the end, he could deny her nothing in his power to give.

    “You,” even so, he was not foolish enough to start an inexperienced hand on untested steel – not nearly, “will do yourself a harm with that blade. Here,” he moved to the side and picked up a sword with a shorter reach – designed to be one of two blades in a warrior's fully experienced grip. The edge was blunted and dull, waiting for refinement as it was. Yet, for Idril, for this . . .

    . . . it would do.

    “You hold it like so,” he moved forward, and settled her fingers about the grip, beneath the cross-guard. “If you are sure you would like to learn, that is?”

    “Yes,” Idril looked up, and met his eyes. Her spirit flared to far outshine his own; pulsing and bright. “This is what I want.”

    “So be it, then,” Celebrimbor picked up the blade's twin, and held it up to demonstrate. “The basic principles too keep in mind are as follows . . .”

    And so they began, at least for a little while.

    Mira's Handy Dandy Tolkien Notes

    : The daughter of Turgon and Elenwë; great-grandmother to Arwen, and the many times great-grandmother of Aragorn. She would later go on to have quite a legend of her own, and her marriage to Tuor the Mortal would be one of the three unions of Elves and Men. (If you don't count Imrazôr and Mithrellas, that is . . . or my personal theories for Caranthir/Haleth. [face_whistling]) I like to imagine that Elrond's healing powers came through Idril's blood, rather than solely through Melian's might staying with her descendants, and her character just grew from there in my mind. [face_love]

    We still have two more parts to go in this plot-arch. They will be up as soon as I can get them from thought to paper. :)

    ~MJ @};-
    Last edited: Dec 27, 2017
  7. WarmNyota_SweetAyesha

    WarmNyota_SweetAyesha Game Host star 7 VIP - Game Host

    Aug 31, 2004
    Gorgeous introspection and dialogue!!! I love Idril's warmth and resolve! Celimbrimbor's sense of complicity is quite understandable but he was never in a position to stop the carnage his older relatives were bent upon and they even little realized the far-reaching consequences of their rash choices. [face_thinking]
  8. pronker

    pronker Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Jan 28, 2007
    I liked how Celebrimbor danced around telling most of the truth, surely a sign of maturing social skills? He's had to learn a lot about evasion without directly lying at a young age, poor little chap.=(( And now with instructing Idril, who seems formidable in her own right, in something he is familiar with ought to make him shine.:ahsoka:
    WarmNyota_SweetAyesha likes this.
  9. Anedon

    Anedon Jedi Grand Master star 4

    May 11, 2016
    A great chapter
    I like how you brought Idril into the story, her light and gentleness as well as herstrong will anddesire to learn howto defend herself. I think spending some time with her could help Celebrimbor overcoming his guilt over his father/uncles actions.
    I'm looking forward to the next chapter. :)

    P.S You ship Caranthir/Haleth? ;)
    WarmNyota_SweetAyesha likes this.
  10. WarmNyota_SweetAyesha

    WarmNyota_SweetAyesha Game Host star 7 VIP - Game Host

    Aug 31, 2004
    You ship Caranthir/Haleth? I think the inimitable @Mira_Jade actually "created" the pairing. :D Or did such a splentab job at it that it's my heart canon too. @};-