Nerdanel's Story - Part 11 Sons. # 8 Ambarussa continued.

Ambarussa continued...

Seven sons I bore Fëanáro! Seven sons have I lost unto Mandos' care, thanks to the lies which Moringotho* filled my Lord's heart! And the last of my sons to be born, was he not the first to die? That he died at the hand of his father, that he was trying to return to me, to sail back (as Gaerion so taught him), to Valinor, is one of the greatest of my sorrows! Some there were who thought Fëanáro had set fire to that ship knowing well that Ambarussa* slept upon it, and he believing his youngest son was a traitor unto him!


Ai! I cannot believe that! Even in the madness that had taken hold of him, would he never have slain his own son! (Though in my own darker moments did I wonder if he would have so done, if one had tried to withhold a Silmaril from him!) And that touch of fëa, that one touch of his thoughts after he left Valinor, was it not of pain, and anguish renewed at the knowledge of what he had done? They say Fëanáro felt little the loss of that son, because he spoke not of it, nor did he appear to grieve as he had done for Finwë. But I, who would be the first to accuse him had I believed him guilty of such an abomination, I knew he could not afford for his dismay to be seen by those others he commanded, though he was aghast at the realisation my foresight, my prophecy had come to pass. He who had always felt so much and so deeply, by then had a heart nigh turned to stone by the courses he had pursued. But he felt grief! Aye, for in his journal (that record he had begun upon the white ship, and had intended to keep of what was encountered in the Hither Lands!) had I read in the Second Age the report for that day, and he had written as if a letter to me:

~ ~~

1497 Entry 125: Of the Burning of the Ships.

What do I write? What do I say? My son is dead, and at my own hand!

You were right, Lady, though I abhor making that concession to you! Was it foresight on your part that Ambarto* would die? Did you know what lay ahead when you willed one of our children be named the `fated' one?

Why was he upon that ship, and not with Ambarussa or the other of his brothers? Why did he refuse to come to the shore? I am not fool enough to believe it was because he would not sleep in discomfort! They whisper that he was shocked by my deeds; that though he loved me, was he overcome with shame at my actions! Like his mother was he! And what would he have had me do, I wonder? Sit in idle contemplation, waiting long upon the Valar to avenge us!

His dreams were haunted by what happened at Alqualondë, Makalaurë* had said, and Ambarto could find no rest! Did any take pleasure in what happened there? Nay! A waste it was, and that the Teleri would not see reason and join us! They would not even but ferry us over the sea! They would in no way come to our aid, as we had come to theirs! `Friend!' did Olwë name my father! Friend whose death was but a passing sorrow that called neither for vengeance nor for great mourning!

But it was needful for us to have the ships; we had no choice! Ambarto, he should have understood that!

They whisper that Ambarto was going to return to you, to take a ship and sail back to Valinor. They whisper much, but none dare speak openly to me.

Ambarussa wanders as if in a dream. He is pale and worn, though it has been but a short time since he knew the worst. "Fell and fey are you become, Father!"*, he said to me! Now he will look at me not, but is in the company of Maitimo, who watches over him. Your sons are still together, you see. Those three who were like your kin to look upon!

The young nís who was with Ambarto much of the time, Artuiel; she watches me accusingly, with haunted eyes. It is as if you are watching me yourself, Lady, and despising me ...

I should not have so ordered the ships to be burnt, you say! I should not have had Curvo* and those few others set flame to the ships! I should not have first destroyed that ship! What was I to do? None could be allowed to return, not even one ship, to aid that oath-breaker, Nolofinwë*, and his folk. `Thou shalt lead and I shall follow', had he said! Until I can cause such a murmuring against thee, such bitter blame to be levelled against thee, that all will take me as their king, was what he meant! Aye, and to that end did he not prefix the name of Finwë to Nolofinwë? That he would pursue his claim to be chief of all the Noldor? *

The things we had not yet brought ashore were of no importance. Nothing lost on the ships was irreplaceable given time, except for him, except for my son! I did not know, Nerdanel! Would that I could tell you, and know that you understood! Would that you despised me not!

~~~

More had he written over the next few entries, and of similar vein. But he had wept at that death also, at that loss, when none were there to observe! How do I know this since I was not there, and none other beheld him so do, you may wonder? Since my return to this house that was our home in Tirion have I dreamt of my husband more often, have I heard his voice now, and twice!

`Nerdanel! Forgive me!'

Again that plea, though most faint was his voice this time, and his form! And I beheld him, standing by the windows of my room as he had in life and cradling a small, copper-brown haired babe to him. But the babe moved not, lying but limp in his arms without cry or murmur or breath, despite his efforts to rouse it. There were tears upon his face, and I understood what he would have me know! Though no communication there is between the living and those in the Halls of Awaiting, I believe he was trying to tell me of tell me of his grief at what he had done to our youngest son, to the `last Finwë', to Telvo!


****


Now for long did we think that Curvo* was to be the last of our children! Though in those years had many sought increase in the numbers of the Eldar, yet were most households gifted with three or four children at the most! King Finwë had five children; three sons and two daughters, but was Fëanáro content that we matched his father in this, and were not all of our children sons! Aye, this should matter not! But some sense of pride about the matter did he have, nonetheless! Nolofinwë had been wed for some years, but only one son had Anairë borne him, and that Findekáno*, who was more times in our house, it sometimes seemed to me, than in his own! A fast friend with Maitimo* was he in those days!


Then, of a sudden it seemed, was change upon us all! For Arafinwë* had taken to riding much with the sons of King Olwë, with Eärtur and Ëarcáno, and in so doing had he met with their sister, Eärwen, the silver haired swan-maiden of Alqualondë! So was one of the greater loves recorded amongst our peoples born; that between the youngest son of King Finwë and the daughter of King Olwë. In the Year of the Trees, 1280, it was, that they wed!

Now, right glad were Finwë and Olwë at what was to be a union between their Houses, and between their peoples. For long indeed, and from the time of the Great Journey, had those two rulers been friends! So it was that the celebrations in the lands and the city of the Teleri were to be a grand affair, and to take place over many a day!

Fëanáro had little interest in these celebrations, for no great interest nor love had he ever shown for Arafinwë, and he had no intent of knowing him better. But always had there been his great love for his father, and for Finwë, Fëanáro would endure much! So it was that we all attended, and many of the Noldor, and did our sons, save for Carnistir, not have an enjoyable time!

All of King Finwë's family were at Alqualondë for those three main days of feasting and celebration. The King had brought with him many a fine gift, and not the least of these had been crafted by some of the Aulenduri, most particularly by my Father and by Tulcon. Jewels for Olwë and his Queen there were, and necklaces of moonstone and of aquamarine for Eärwen. I had myself crafted a sculpture of Uinen and of Ossë for King Olwë, and had tried to encourage Fëanáro to give hand to some offering. He had replied that he had given already many of the lamps he had made, and were they not adorning the palace of the King, and more put upon the harbour walls? Enough of a gift for Olwë did he think this was, and he was of little mood to gift his half-brother!


"Think less on Arafinwë, my Lord! But this mayhap is worth consideration! That Eärwen is Olwë's daughter as well as your half-brother's future wife! Would it not bring much joy to King Finwë that the best of gifts was offered to the new bride, and from his House? And who could create a better jewel to offer as wedding gift than thee?"

Fëanáro knew my line of argument ages since, and that, in truth, none could craft with gems as well as he! Of a certainty Arafinwë himself had no such skills!

"I will not make the wedding gift for a son of Indis!" My husband had been all but prepared to further enlighten me on the many reasons why he would not so do. Then he restrained his own train of thought, and smiled at me most knowingly. "But for my Father, aye! Will I not do whatever will honour him, if it be within my power?"

So did he craft the gem Helwasar*, which seemed to ripple with blue light, like successive waves upon the shores, and under the stars! This he gave to Finwë who would later present it to Eärwen, and he earned much-surprised thanks from Arafinwë, who took his eldest brother's gifting as a most positive sign!

****

Alqualondë, as it was, as it was restored so to be! Beautiful was, and is, the city of the Teleri! Now all the family of King Finwë were guests in the mansion of Olwë, and those others of the Noldor had set up tents and marquees upon the outskirts of the city. Had I not visited that place with my husband before! But never before had we so wandered its winding streets, which seemed to curve in intricate patterns back from the harbour, neither had we walked upon its quayside, and so observed at close hand the forming of the ships! White were most of its buildings, as with our city of Tirion, but many were overlaid with pearl, and with opals, and so did it gleam most wondrously under the stars, and its most southern roof tops shine with that light beyond the hills, that was of the Trees! The harbour was large and the home of many a white ship, of the Teleri fleet! Though did some ships venture forth for the catching of fish, did many row from the harbour and out into the Bay of Eldamar for the joy of sweet life! Music was there often to be heard from those about their work, as well as from singers upon the many open, lamp lit, concourses, and the people of Olwë sought ever to reflect the song of the waves that was as their heartbeat, and as their fëa! And the sound on the gentle lapping of the water upon the shores of Elendë, the cries of the sea birds, and the salt-tinged freshness of the air, were about us all!


The first day of the feast in Alqualondë was most joyous and light of heart! Feasting there was, in the great hall of Olwë's house, and the exchange of many gifts! Olwë had wished to speak alone with Fëanáro, and to thank him again for the gifts he had bestowed in the blue crystal lamps, and in the gemstone which Olwë himself had not yet seen, but had heard much of from Finwë! That King must have known there was some tension between the sons of his friend of old, but sought to promote delight in honour of his daughter. So did he gift my Lord in return, and with an urn filled with pearls of the most phosphorescent glow!

"A gift of light did thou give unto us; now in return do I gift thee, eldest son of Finwë, and with that which lights of itself the depths of the seas!"

Fëanáro was most pleased with that offering!


My father and Narwasar had also attended in King Finwë's entourage, though they were dwelling with those others in the tents, and they had found much conversation of interest that first day in a request from Eärtur, and that they give help with the building of a wall around the city. This was work that suited well the hands of the master stonemason, and Narwasar was most keen to oblige.

"Why do they want a wall, do you think, Mother?" Curvo had asked of me. "A harbour wall do I understand, less even the windless sea at times grow wilder. But of what are they afraid in the land of Eldamar?"

I had thought for a moment, for no ill-considered answer would do for my fifth son. "Do we not have a wall around Tirion, and we fear naught! I know not why the Vanyar and our people so built the city, save perhaps from a memory of old of the Hither Lands, and that trouble was left behind in the East!"

"But our city wall is low; as are the walls of all the terraces! This wall for Alqualondë is to be a most grand affair, if our Grandfather's assistant is to be believed!" Curvo went away then, to seek for an answer that would satisfy him, and most probably from Urundil, as his own Father and King Finwë were happily in counsel together!

On the second day, we were sat for long at the tables in the halls of King Olwë, and there was all, and more, that any wedding feast had ever put forth! Much did I wish to speak with Indis, and we had some chance, and to share her happiness at her son's choice of bride. Findis was to spend much of that day with Makalaurë, and they two planning to present a song and a recitation upon the third day, giving account of Finwë's prayers that the Teleri be brought to Valinor. Ever did they work well together, our second son, and she who was his father's half-sister; though in the company of the Teleri did they find some with voices nigh as sweet and as strong as their own!


Nolofinwë was much in evidence also, and talking most courteously with the sons of Olwë. Though was he always aware that this occasion was for his younger brother, and he sought not any honour, neither acclaim for himself. Often with Anairë, and his sister Lalwendë was he during those days.


Now upon the later part of that second day, did many of the Noldor make to explore the city. We walked for a while, Fëanáro, and Carnistir and I, and then made down to the harbour to overlook the sea.

"Doest think of crafting a ship of thine own?" I had asked my husband, noticing how he appraised the work of the Teleri shipwrights! A jest it had been, for we Noldor had no great interest in the sea, save for appreciating its beauty. Neither did we have any skill as makers of ships ourselves!

Fëanáro had grinned. "Nay, Lady! Shall I not leave the Third Kindred something at which they may excel?"

So he said! But never did he have any intention of so crafting! Only in the beauty of the form of the ships, and the use of pearl and its inner light was he much interested.

Now the Teleri mariners there present had seen that a small crowd had gathered to watch, and so did they make offer, and part in jest themselves, to carry any Noldo so willing, and to row out upon the waters so as to experience the joy of the wave-song, and observe the shore from the realm of Ulmo! Few takers were there, though some, and noticing that two of their princes stood by, made bold to volunteer, that the Noldor be not remembered as feared of the water! Of our sons, Tyelkormo and Curvo had remained in the halls, playing Taurnolë with some of the Teleri. Maitimo was away upon exploration of the sea-carved caverns a little to the north of the city, and in the company of Findekáno, and Makalaurë was preparing for his recitation. I had wondered at taking up the offer myself, for I knew Fëanáro would soon be expected, and in the company of the Kings and their sons, and could not give of the time even had he so wished, but Carnistir stood forth!

"Honour demands that at least one prince of the Noldor take advantage of this offer! I seek to go, Lord and Father!"

"And I also, will go. For I would behold the beauty of the waves that the Teleri sing of!" I looked to Fëanáro, but no wrong did he see in either of us partaking of that experience.

Two white ships, two swan ships there were to which we Noldor were led, and the first, the Ëarhyando*, was boarded by Carnistir and fourteen others. The crew made them most welcome, and offered them places from which to watch, or, if they preferred, tasks in which they could help! Much laughter did there seem to be!

The second ship those with me now boarded, and a Teler mariner, recognising my status, offered me his hand to welcome me aboard! But Lelyar, our Steward, was instantly by my side, and made to keep me company! So did the ships raise anchors, and those who would row man the oars! With stately process, we departed the Swanhaven.

"Most honoured are we, in that the Lady Nerdanel, wife of Prince Fëanáro has seen fit to sail with us this day!"

The Captain of the ship I had boarded bowed low to me, his silver hair falling forwards over his shoulders. "Welcome aboard the Uinenlindë*, my Lady!"

So spoke Gaerion! Surprised was I to see him there, for I had not taken note of this second ship, as, of a certainty, Fëanáro had! I looked back briefly to the receding quay, where my husband stood watching, and with rather a humorous smile! `See that he returns you to me, Nerdanel!' Fëanáro's thoughts lightly touched my own. `And that in the state of good care that he has found you in!' I watched him turn away from the balustrade, silver-grey cloak swirling back in the light breeze as he so moved. Then he was away, and back to another meeting and with Finwë and Olwë and his sons, aye, and with Nolofinwë!

"Lady Nerdanel?" Still had I not given response to Gaerion, who was himself looking upon me with some confusion. I gave welcome in return, and, as we were rowed under the arch of rock that was the entrance to the harbour, I made to the prow of the ship, with both Gaerion and Lelyar as escorts.

Little had my childhood friend changed over the years, save that he was no longer the over thin youth I had known. And still was that carefree and happy manner about him, that broad smile that lit his face, and was reflected in his oval, grey, eyes. Happy was he to behold me again, though no one to act in any manner improper! I was a guest; one of the House of Finwë, and aboard his ship! He in no way sought to resume the familiar relationship of our childhood, but did he not ask about my life and my sons, and about my own work with great interest?

Then, as we were upon the open water, I began to notice the pitching movement of the ship, and with amusement of my own, made to hold fast to the rail. The breeze was lightly blowing back my unbound hair and the green silk of the dress I wore, and the salt taste was upon my lips. I thought in that moment I would enjoy the sea!

Onto the star-reflecting waters we rowed, then, as the breeze began to build in strength, the sails were unfurled, and we set forth, towards the light, towards that part of the Bay upon which the light spilled forth from the Calacirya. A wondrous journey it was for me, a new experience that I would tell my husband and sons and parents of. So free did I feel, so invigorated, as the Uinenlindë ploughed through the waves, and the sea birds circled overhead! However, I did notice that not all of the Noldor felt so enlivened, and others of Gaerion's crew were giving aid and advice to some who had turned peculiar in colour of face!

Of Gaerion did I find that he had not, of then, wed! But much joy did he have with his parents, and younger brother, Gillondë, to whom he introduced me. And always did he love being upon the waters, and this ship that his father shared with him, and music! And he spoke also of that white ship he sought to build himself!

"But our ships are almost as dear to us as our children!" he said, watching me closely, to see to my comfort at all times! "We do not usually have a ship of our own unless we have a family, for the making is shared between all, and while my father is a notable shipwright, and he and my brother would give of their aid, yet are the sails woven by the hands of our nissi, and I have no wife and daughter to so do!"

I reflected with some sadness that Gaerion had not yet found one to be his spouse, and wished most ardently that he would find much happiness in the future! Refreshments were brought round to us, as fine as the Sea-Elves had to offer at short notice. Gaerion presented Lelyar and I with what passed upon the ship for a welcome cup, a large goblet full of a spiced variety of cordial and limpë.

"Glad am I to have so met with you again, Lady Nerdanel. And glad to behold your joy in life!" His eyes twinkled thoughtfully as he passed me the goblet.

But by then, the ships had altered their course, for we had been at sea for a few hours, and would be expected to return for the later feast! Back towards the sparkling lights, of their own making, and more radiant, those of Fëanáro's making, did we sail, and the waters became increasingly as of silvered glass. So calm, so peaceful it was, and the sails were taken in, and the oars manned to row us back. Lelyar and I had at that time made rounds of our people, to see that all was well with them, which by then it was, and to share some of our thoughts, when of a sudden the whole of the ship shuddered, and it felt as if some great creature had passed directly under our hull!

"What was that?" The question arose from Lelyar, but the puzzled look upon the faces of the Teleri told us they had no certain answer!

"A whale? Could such a creature be so close to the shore?" One of the marines asked Gaerion.

"It felt not like the passing of a whale!"

We had all moved to the rails at the edges of the ship, to observe what we could, and a wake as of some fast moving object appeared as white foam upon the dark surface of the waters, and heading back for us! Again did the Uinenlindë shudder, and I reached out in thought, believing that, mayhap, were it an animal, even of the deep, I could find some way of communicating. Would that Tyelkormo were there! But no animal mind did I perceive, rather a mind of immensity and great power; an angry, yet gleeful wrath, and a chaos of images! The movement in the waters turned, and made for the other ship, the Ëarhyando, which bore Carnistir!

We all watched, almost mesmerised, as that other ship was also shaken once by the passing of the 'being' under its hull, but then did it seem, and of an instant, that the sea became a wall of destruction!

"Ai! `Ware the wrath of Ossë!" called one of the Teleri, and Gaerion turned to silence such talk with a scowl the likes of which I had never beheld upon his features!

"What is happening?" I asked him, soft of voice, though now against a roaring sound and of waves. "Never did I think there were storms upon the windless sea! But then what would a Noldo know of such things?"

"It feels like Ossë! Though rare have been my encounters with that Maia, and no thought have I as to what may have so enraged him! (Now did all know that Ossë was friend to the Teleri! But violent could he be, and rage without any command from Ulmo! At one time, was it said, did he nigh give his allegiance to Morgoth, that he would be made as mighty as Ulmo and be given his realm!) Excuse me, Nerdanel, we must do what we can to ensure safe harbour, and do you take yourself below deck into my cabin, and be safe!" He gestured to Lelyar to escort me, and made a sweeping gesture that the others of the Noldor guests should likewise be protected!

"Nay, Captain! We will not cower in the holds, while you brave the storm!" said I, but the wind was whipping my hair across my face, and the rocking movement of the ship had intensified greatly!

"No experience of this do you have, nor any of your people. Keep safe, that we have not to rescue any that fall overboard!" He again gestured to the stairs, "And I will bring you safely back to him!"

Now there was much activity upon deck, and the Teleri moved to make secure the sails, and batten down open hatches. Some of our people had gone to those who were battling with the oars, and offered to lend of their strength if not any skill, and such offers did seem to be accepted. I made as if to go below deck, knowing I would be but a nuisance to those with sea-lore, though I had much concern over what was happening, but then Lelyar was again by my side.

"The sea is calming around us, Lady! And a safe and clear seaway lies before us to the lights of the harbour! But the other ship is storm tossed, and as if the fury of the sea is focused on it alone!"

`Carnistir!' thought I, and I made again to the rail. The Ëarhyando seemed to be tossed this way and that, despite the best efforts of those on board, and I could not help but notice that she was being carried as if in an undercurrent, and to the north of Alqualondë, to where the coast was but high cliffs and jagged rocks! Had I not ridden that way, and with my husband long since. I knew that there was but a narrow path, and no beach nor gentle slopes on that part of the coast!

Without further warning, it seemed a valley opened before the unfortunate ship, and the water appeared to engulf her, as if swallowing her whole!

Gaerion was shouting orders to his people, to row to the edges of the tumult, to make ready to take aboard any who were in the waters. For a long moment did nothing appear, and it was as if the first ship had disappeared without trace!

`Ai! Fëanáro!' I called in thought to my husband! `The seas turn to anger, and the ship bearing Carnistir and other's of the Noldor and the Teleri has sunk beneath the waves! In great danger are they!'

An image of talk and of comfort; of silver cups full of limpë, and of Finwë did I have, but then was that gone, and his mind focused upon what I was saying to him!

`Where?'

`To the north of the city! The sea is wild, though in one place only! Gaerion says it is Ossë!"

His thoughts brushed against mine, an acknowledgement of his understanding, but then no more. Well did I know, and without seeing, that he and many others in that room would be upon the shores, upon the cliffs, seeking as to how to give aid.


Gaerion had also noticed me, and was about to give order again, when a cry went up, and we saw the Ëarhyando reappear, and be tossed upon the next wall of water, that had taken its form as a giant figure! Nearer to the cliffs, and to what now could be seen as a maelstrom near the foot of the sheer drop was that white ship thrown. We could see that there were people in the water; three with the light hair of the sea-elves, but more with the dark hair of the Noldor! And no matter how hard our oarsmen rowed, we were making no progress in the direction we wished to go! I thought to jump in, to swim to the aid of those so cast from the ship, but though we Noldor could swim, (Did many not so learn and in the lakes or the creek that ran up to our city?) and we were a strong folk, yet were the Teleri more at home in this environment. At the tiller of the Uinenlindë, Gillondë nodded to his brother, and I saw Gaerion and some others of his crew dive headlong from the side of the ship, and strike out to reach those in danger. Did we not all know that, in this instance, all of those in the water could be lost?


So did I watch, and prevent Lelyar from also attempting to swim to the others! We could see the lights of torches and of the blue lamps moving along the coast, and another ship had set forth, though that also could but stand off at a distance as the one ship that was Ossë's goal, plunged again under a high wall of water. The mariners near me were praying, and calling upon Ossë to desist, and upon Uinen to calm him, and upon Ulmo! And strangely enough, or mayhap, not so strangely, the waters did suddenly appear to calm! I beheld upon the shore, that some few had made to cast out lines with which to pull in those still foundering, and some others were swimming out towards those still about the rocks. A few there were that could not be so reached, and for many a time after was it told of how Findekáno, coming first to the cliff top in that place, and ahead of Maitimo (who was still in the caverns,) had dived forth, and in such a manner as to avoid the rocks below, and had battled against the maelstrom to pull two others from the maw of death! Findekáno the valiant! Aye, and so he was, that eldest son of Nolofinwë! But my mind in that moment was upon the waters near the shore, and I could feel the frustration of that wildest of Maia, and I (though I alone, onboard that ship! For I heard in fëa, rather than with ears!) could hear the words, resounding with such authority that even he was taken aback!

"Nay, vassal of Ulmo! Thou must return to the shores of the Hither Lands, wherein is thy place! This destruction of my people will I not permit!"


And Ossë, he obeyed those words from Fëanáro, as one under his dominion!

So were none indeed lost, and even the storm-wracked Ëarhyando bobbed back to the surface of silvered stillness. Fëanáro himself had pulled Carnistir from the waters; from that attack that had been nigh aimed at that son of ours, for he and the two rescued by Findekáno were the only ones that Ossë had attempted to draw into his whirlpool.


Now Arafinwë and his betrothed were of a mind to postpone their wedding, given the unexpected events! Both were more than a little concerned for the well being of all of those involved in the incident. But it was decided that, as none had been seriously injured, (no more than cuts and bruises, and no small shock had been suffered, save any but Carnistir) celebrations were the best remedy! So, on the third day, did we witness, and celebrate the wedding of Arafinwë and Eärwen; and also did we give thanks to the Valar, that none had been lost to us in that place! Much talk was there of the bravery of the Teleri in their rescue attempts, and I thanked Gaerion and his crew, as did Carnistir himself, though rather curtly! Carnistir had sought to swim in the sea nigh as soon as he was pulled from it, and to show Ossë and the Teleri that he was not afraid! But little liking did that son have for the waters, or even for the Sea-Elves company after that day. Much talk also was there of how King Olwë had beseeched Ossë, and how King Finwë had called upon Ulmo! `See how beloved are our Kings!' the people had said. `For the Valar do pay them heed, and do come to their aid!'

"But why did Ossë so do in the first place, if he would respond in an instant to the plea of Olwë?" Curvo had asked, with much thought that he left unsaid.

At the end of that third day of celebrations, all was joy again amongst the Teleri. Maitimo had sought my company, for he was much concerned that he had not been aware of the trouble, and had not known to give aid to his brother! I had spoken what wisdom I could to him, and that he could not be in all places, and that, had he been first upon the cliff top, well did I know he would have earned renown for his dive into the sea! He had smiled at such a thought, but had also pointed out that which, in my own preoccupation I had not noticed. Tyelkormo was much engrossed in the Taurnolë contests, and looked likely to win overall! But also was Curvo playing, and he who did mostly but observe!!

"Aye, but who is he playing, Lady and Mother?"

A slender Noldo was his opponent, a young nís, raven-dark of hair, but with a most serious expression of concentration. No great beauty was she, no one for all to admire, yet admire her Curvo obviously did!

"Is not our youngest brother most taken with the person of the daughter of Vorondon? Nolwen, she is named, and rightly so by all accounts, for she is both wise for her years, and most knowledgeable!"

There was an exclamation from the nís in question, and her face, lit with amusement and victory (for the third time!) took on a rare beauty!

"More shall we know of this Nolwen, I believe!" Maitimo concluded, but with kindness.

There was some discussion between Curvo and the nís, and she stated with surprise, "But I shall only defeat you again, son of Fëanáro!"

"Ai! He is losing deliberately!" I whispered with some amusement of my own. "And will she look so kindly upon him when she knows the game he is playing to so secure her company, I wonder?" (And did Curvo not seek to be in Nolwen's company in all manner of places over the next two years, and until she finally gave way and agreed to be betrothed?)


I looked over that pearlised hall in the Mansion of Olwë, at all of my sons who were content, in one manner or another, and at my husband, who was again with his father! That this was Arafinwë's wedding, and that Finwë had yet spent a disproportionate amount of time with Fëanáro had not escaped me!

Enough had I of those celebrations, and felt it time to partake of rest. Much did I have to ponder upon that day! But a short time later it was that my husband had joined me in that many-curtained room set aside for our use, and to lay by my side as he had so often done in the early years of our marriage, in shadowed and troubled thought, and seeking of my comfort.

Long did he lay in silence, and I held him as best I could, suspecting well what was on his mind. At last did he speak forth that which he and I (and Ossë!) alone knew!

"What am I, Nerdanel? What am I become, that in my anger I can command a Maia?"

I knew not the answer then, neither am I sure that I know it now. What could I say to him?

"Thou art my Lord and my love, Finwion, and will not I and our sons and thy father stand by thee, no matter what thou hast become?"

He had held me in turn, pleased, though far from satisfied with my answer. Both of us realised then, and not for the first time, that there was so much more to him than to any other we knew. Some plan or purpose there was, that he, an Elda, should be so empowered. But another thought did he have!

"Ossë sought out Carnistir's ship; he sought out our son. Why was that, save to harm him, and to what end? Or, mayhap, Carnistir was but bait, and his intent was to lure me into a confrontation?"

"Again, to what end, Beloved?"

He had no answer at that time, and neither did I. So we took rest, and found comfort in each other's presence.


I thought in later years that it was nothing Carnistir did that angered Ossë, but it was, mayhap, what Carnistir and his brothers and his father were to do, that had in some way become known to that Maia. Yet at that time was Moringotho still bound, and none other would have filled the mind of that Maia with such malevolence!

Or it could well have been, as Arafinwë often proposed, that Moringotho had from the earliest times, transmuted part of his original powers of spirit and of mind in order to gain a grip upon the physical world. (As with, in the Third Age, that One Ring, in which much of the power of his servant, Sauron, was disseminated, was not the material world itself as Morgoth's Ring?)* That, outside of the Blessed Realm, all `matter' was likely to have a Morgoth `ingredient' even when he was bound*? Could that have affected Ossë, and through his earlier link with the fallen Vala, I had pondered?

Ai! I know not for certain the reason for Ossë's attack, and never again was such an incident to occur in the waters nigh Aman! But, mayhap, even in that early time, was it an attempt to test the will and spirit of Fëanáro? Early, I say, but was not the not doom of the Noldor approaching and swiftly?


****

Gaerion it was that taught the twins to sail! Alone of all our sons did they have the experience of sailing of their own accord! Never as good a mariner as any of the Teleri were they, yet never did they so seek to be! They were Noldor! They were their father's sons, and so sons of flame, and not of the sea! But I had taken them in their childhood, and before they were two years of age, to stay for some many days with my father, and he and Narwasar had been seeking to add further to the work they had undertaken at Alqualondë. The city wall was long since built by then, though some good friendships there were, and particularly between Urundil and the artisans of the Teleri city, who would learn from him, though not of the deep knowledge of Aulë.

So, we had all ridden out: my father, Narwasar, myself, and the twins, and their young friend and companion, Ondoriel, Narwasar's daughter! While we who were so skilled did give of our aid, the children played upon the shores and in the rock pools and caverns, until that day when the Uinenlindë sailed into harbour, and Gaerion and his brother, Gillondë had given us greeting! Strange it had seemed to me, to walk the streets and quays of that place with my `everfriend'! When I looked upon the studious, determined Ondoriel, playing with my sons, did it remind me, and of myself in childhood, and playing by the shores with the silver-haired Gaerion!

Gaerion took to the twins and to Ondoriel with the enthusiasm of youth, and all three were to be entertained aboard his father's white ship, and sail out and for some days upon the bay of Eldamar! So did our twins become able to man a ship! So did they become able to later thieve ships, and seek to slay those who had so taught them of the sea!


(I am afraid that this chapter will be in three sections!)


Moringotho = Morgoth
Ambarussa = The twins, Amrod and Amras
Ambarto = Amras
Curvo = Curufin
Makalaurë = Maglor
Nolofinwë = Fingolfin
`Aye, and to that end did he not prefix the name of Finwë to Nolofinwë? That he would pursue his claim to be chief of all the Noldor?' In HoME 12, The Shibboleth of Fëanor, it says: `Fingolfin had prefixed the name Finwë to Nolofinwë before the Exiles had reached Middle Earth. This was in pursuance of his claim to be the chieftain of all the Noldor after the death of Finwë, and so enraged Fëanor that it was no doubt one of the reasons for his treachery in abandoning Fingolfin and stealing away with all the ships.
Findekáno = Fingon
Maitimo = Maedhros
Arafinwë = Finarfin
Helwasar = Blue stone
Tyelkormo = Celegorm
Carnistir = Caranthir
Ëarhyando = Sea cleaver
Uinenlindë = Song of Uinen
The reference to Morgoth / Melkor exchanging his original `angelic' powers for a `terrible grip upon the physical world' is better explained in `Myths Transformed'. HoME 10.

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