(Disclaimer: all characters are Tolkien’s. Only the interpretation is mine. All references are from The Silmarillion, and HoME 1, 10 and 12)
The time in which Maitimo* and Makalaurë* grew to maturity was a particularly good one, so I believe, as I live it again in memory! For, once freed of the need to nurture Makalaurë as a young babe, did we not spend much of the next twenty years*, wandering Aman together, as we had always enjoyed! At times would Fëanáro ride forth from Tirion with just our sons for company, and I would remain in the city, and continue with my work in sculpting, or in the delights of study, or I would again spend time with my parents and friends. On occasions would our sons explore of their own will, and my husband and I would spend more time pursuing our pleasure in our skills, or as guests in Aulë’s halls, for that Vala sought ever more to instruct Fëanáro, though he had asked not for Aulë’s help! Most satisfying was it for me, who had spent so much time in that place of wonder from my earliest days, to behold my lord working alongside the Vala I had given my allegiance to, almost as friends would work together! So highly did Aulë value Fëanáro! Now the stones that Fëanáro had developed at the time of Maitimo’s birth were still not precisely as he wanted them to be, and though we used them in our travels to those regions where the light of the Trees was but dim, did he as yet withhold them from the Teleri.
“I will only gift to King Olwë and his people that which I am well pleased with! I would not have that King look with anything other than honour upon my father, or anything that comes forth from him!”
So he had worked on ideas to make those stones more radiant than anything that came by nature from the earth, brighter than any of Aulë’s gems! I had spoken with him of my crafting of Laicasar, which he most times wore about his neck. But long since had he mastered my simple art of pouring my heart into my works through song. Fëanáro had been intrigued for a time by my use of the phosphor-glow of the pearl, though Aulë had it been who had set the gleam into Laicasar, and so did my husband speak with the Vala much of that particular endeavour. So it was, that Fëanáro worked sometimes with me, sometimes with Aulë or my father, and sometimes alone. But ever did he work with the flame of his spirit burning with joy in all he undertook! And my joy was in beholding his apparent happiness, in our children, and in my own developing skills!
On one occasion I had come upon my Lord taking rare repose in one of the glades of Yavanna. So content did he appear to me, as he lay upon the flower strewn grass, arms folded behind his head, and eyes staring up at the gently swaying branches of the trees and the light that played therein. Always fascinated by light, was Fëanáro!
Approaching him silently, I had sat quietly upon the ground nearby, not wishing to disturb his reverie. As ever, did he know well I was there. Without altering his gaze upon that which so mesmerised him, he reached out to me with one hand, and beckoned me closer.
“Sit with me a while, if you will, Nerdanel!”
Rising slightly on one elbow, he made room for me to sit in a manner whereby he could lay again with his head upon my lap. I spread out the folds of the green skirt I wore, so as to make him most comfortable, and with a sigh, he continued. “Busy have I been of late in thought and in deed! Yet now that I rest, do strange ideas come to my mind!”
I wondered on what ideas he had, but so heavy was the sense of bliss upon that place, that I wished not to break the mood until he spoke further. So we remained for some time, silent for the most part, save for the lightest of touches of fëa, but being together amidst the beauty and creativity, amidst the magnificent works of Yavanna. A ripe fruit fell from the tree closest to us, and rolled in our direction, almost as a gift from Kementári herself. With a smile, and remembrance of her care, I picked up the apple to share with my husband. So at ease did I feel then!
“Are you happy, Fëanáro? ” I asked at last, as convinced as I had ever been that he was healing from the grief of earlier years.
He was silent for a few moments more, as was often his manner when asked a question, but then laughed lightly as he replied. “More so than I had thought to be, Lady! For in my works do I delight greatly, and so much to discover is there and to do!” Tilting back his head, so that his brilliant eyes could hold fast my gaze, he looked as if into my heart! “In my family also do I delight! For are we not companions, you and I, and of fëa and hröa! Do I not have your love and support in all I do! And do I not have two sons, who are noble and strong, and most gifted, each in their own way!”
So did he say, and pleasing it was to hear, but it was not all I had hoped for.
“Yet is there still that which grieves thee, Finwion*?”
“Ai, beloved, you do see into my mind as much as I see into yours!” he sighed again, but would not withhold his thoughts from me. (Truly did he always see more clearly into my thoughts, than I did into his, however!) “Though I speak often with my father, yet do I not spend as much time with him as I would wish. I have lost forever the closeness we once had, though I do love him greatly! And with neither Maitimo, nor Makalaurë do I find the affinity I knew as a child with Finwë!”
That he loved both those sons well, did I know. And I thought then that he was longing for the unobtainable, for his situation with Finwë had been unique. But there was more on his mind that day. He pointed up at the canopy of green leaves over our heads! “One tree is this, but with many branches that reach out for light and room for freedom of growth. It is in my thoughts that our sons, and their children’s children also will be like the branches, and they will need room to grow in order to become what they should be!”
If that was all his concern, I was momentarily relieved. For he had not mentioned Indis at all! I stroked back his hair in a soothing manner. “Is there not room enough in Aman for all this growth, Finwion? For there is still much of the Blessed Realm that has not been seen by any of our folk! Wide indeed are the lands of the Valar!”
He moved from that comfortable position, and sat upright, taking hold of my hands and willing me his view on this matter.
“Yet are we, for the most part, confined to the narrowest of lands, and that by the coast and in the Calacirya! We have two sons, and in time mayhap more children will be added unto us; and that without the future descendents! Now our sons are princes of the Noldor, and should they be but idle, and restrained, or should they not have places, nay, lands of their own to order through the coming ages? And what then when my half-brother finally weds, and he has children, mayhap sons also! What then for the princes of the Noldor?”
He pointed up again at the tree. “Without room to breath, to reach out, will our sons become stifled, and I also, mayhap, in time! Nay, Lady, I do wonder if Tirion, if these lands upon the coast of Valinor, will be enough for the house of Finwë as the ages progress!”
His words made me think, for they were serious to contemplate and there was much wisdom in them. I thought then on many generations of descendents of Finwë, all proud and clever and strong, all with an intensity and passion for life, and all here in this land of Valinor! All in Tirion! Not as the calm sons of Olwë were the sons of Finwë!
“I understand your point, my Lord! Though I do not think at this time on Maitimo nor Makalaurë wishing to govern lands of their own! Neither do I know that it is by the wish of the Valar that we live only in one small part of their Realm. Mayhap we should talk of this with Aulë, for surely the Valar are aware of the nature of our people, and will make provision if such were necessary! Mayhap it is their intention for us to found further cities, further realms?” I had suggested.
But Fëanáro smiled. “Let me ponder this, and over more time!” So did we sit again, under the trees of Yavanna, and eat of their fruit and rest awhile longer in their shade.
I thought again briefly on my husband’s words when Nolofinwë* wed the elegant Anarië in 1226, for was that not potentially another occasion for strife within our family! Yet did Fëanáro, now with our two sons often at his side, behave with great dignity! He had no wish to slight his father, however much he may have wished his half-brother was elsewhere!
Now did Indis earlier give birth to a daughter, in the year 1215, to she whom Finwë named Írime, and Indis herself called Lalwendë, or Lalwen! This daughter was also dark of hair, though of a deep rich brown, and was happy and full of mirth, as was Indis most often! Rightly named was Lalwen, and most devoted to her brother, Nolofinwë! Yet another daughter it was, and again had Fëanáro been but mildly annoyed, if concerned at all! But then, in 1230, Indis gave birth to her second, and last, son. This golden-haired child did King Finwë also name Finwë, again, much to my husband’s chagrin! But nothing could have been as bad for him as the first use of that name for Nolofinwë.
So it was that Fëanáro began to talk of that third child we had planned, for he also desired that we brought forth more children! Not as easy to conceive was our third son, and a reminder to us both it was that a child is truly a gift of Eru, rather than just an act of the will! Fëanáro was, as ever, impatient that there was a delay to his wishes fulfilment, though was I not overly perturbed, knowing some couples that had waited several years for such wishes to be granted. We of necessity spent much time together, though mostly in the city, and worked and studied and entertained on occasions, and added to the number of those attached to our household. For Lelyar then became steward of our house, to act for Fëanáro in a manner similar to that in which Silwë acted for Finwë. So were we busy, and distracted. Yet still no child did I carry.
One day, we chose to ride forth again from Tirion, both thinking of the time when Maitimo had been conceived. This day, however, did we head through the Calacirya, and then far to the south, and to the low halls of the Valar Oromë. Often had we visited him, though far less than we visited Aulë, but his halls were made for celebration, and mirth, and much did we take pleasure in walking and riding in his woods, and partaking of his boisterous feasts and his wine! Ai, then again was I with child!
Much joy there was in our house upon our return to the city of the Noldor, for also our sons, neither of whom were as then wed, were looking forward to this new addition to our family.
Early in 1232 was Tyelkormo born! Tyelkormo the fair, Tyelkormo the hunter! A force to be reckoned with was our strong-willed third son! Now was this son more like Fëanáro in mood and in expression, and little did I bequeath him, though he had hair of a quality like mine, and of a very light brown! Lighter even than my mother’s hair was Tyelkormo’s! I named him thus and very early on, for he was ever hasty to rise from sleep, hasty to be fed, and hasty to make his will known! Hasty in temper too, did he become as he grew older, and at times was this quality most detrimental to him! Fëanáro named him Turkafinwë, for he was from the start, most powerful in body, though shorter in height than his brothers. Born to command, was Tyelkormo, even as Maitimo was, and at times was there some rivalry between those two of our sons. For of all of our children was Tyelkormo to become the most ambitious! Of all of our children was Tyelkormo the one I felt I had most failed, for though we were close for a time, yet in later days did I think I had not done enough to soften his mood, to bring him wisdom, even as some said that Míriel had failed Fëanáro!
What I think of sometimes, are those tales told to me, of how, in the Hither Lands, Tyelkormo became enamoured of the daughter of Melian and Elwë, of Lúthien herself! That he was awed by her beauty, I can understand, for ever was Tyelkormo attracted by such things, more so than any of the others! But this I do not understand, I cannot understand! That he took her captive, and would have wed her by force! That in doing so he sought power from an allegiance with her father, so as to become the mightiest of the princes of the Noldor; I cannot understand this, so different is it to all that it means to be Eldar! And that Curvo aided him! Alas, that such should happen, that so far from valour and nobility did they fall! So far did they fall, but not ignoble were any of my sons at the start! (Yet do I wonder what was in his mind at that time, what he truly felt? For in some manner does his attempt to posess beauty remind me of his father’s behaviour concerning Artanis*! Though, in time, I came to understand why he did it, that ill-conceived act of begging Arafinwë’s* daughter three times for a tress of her hair was the cause of the first real argument between Fëanáro and I. And did not Morgoth’s later whispers exploit that event to the full! But again, will I write of that time in due course!)
The differences in their ages meant that Maitimo and Makalaurë were both old enough to be Tyelkormo’s father! (Not that either of them had sought to wed or even be betrothed in their youth! None of our sons were to wed in their youth, though Curvo, as is well known, wed while still considerably young.) As a babe Tyelkormo was spoilt by attention from all four of us, and he soon learnt that Makalaurë was particularly good with him. So good with children, in fact, was Makalaurë, that Maitimo called him `Little Mother’ once. Only once it was! As I have said earlier, Makalaurë was also very strong when he chose to be!
I recall the first time Tyelkormo was taken ridding, and I saw Makalaurë, with his younger brother strapped to his back, as one would attach a quiver, galloping off at speed into the Calacirya! Courageous though the Noldor are, yet was I, as a mother, most perturbed at the sight! My second son had later apologised to me for causing concern, but as Tyelkormo had done naught but howl with glee as they had ridden, did he seek to take his brother on rides more often! Indeed, had Fëanáro and I not travelled with our elder sons in such a manner when they were babes, but never in such haste! It would seem from that experience onwards, our third son had a great love of horses, and later of hounds and the chase! Of that first meeting of his with the Vala Oromë, of he who gave to our son the wolfhound, Huan, will I now write, for Oromë did much to shape the courses of Tyelkormo.
Now was Tyelkormo a little over a year old, and we were all guests in the halls of Aulë. Maitimo, who was by then twenty-three, had been taking instruction in copper-work from my father, and was beginning to consider a commitment to Aulë himself. Yet was Fëanáro not entirely happy with this, though he explained not his reasons to us at the time. I had thought that my husband considered being the `Third Finwë’, as honour and duty enough for our eldest son, and in this assumption mayhap was I right! My husband was then more interested in improving his own skills in the making of glass, for although he had mastered the art to a high degree, yet was he not satisfied. Makalaurë had begun to take an interest in the carving and shaping of wood, and not just for the making of instruments for music. A highly carved table was he working on, for our use and delight. So were all three neri of my family well occupied! I had also wished to talk with Aulë, of some new ideas I had for sculpting, but Tyelkormo was restless in body, and such a mood was always best resolved for him by riding! So did we leave, even Valmar, my third son and I!
I had no wish to disturb Fëanáro with our departure, and had reached out to him but briefly in fëa. It had been one of those times when my husband was so engrossed in what he was about, that he barely heeded me! Not that he would have been concerned, for he trusted me implicitly, and no real danger was there that would befall either our son or I! So we rode south; Tyelkormo upon a golden horse that he seemed to have befriended, and I, as usual, upon the dapple-grey. From the woods surrounding Aulë’s halls we travelled, and across the shimmering plains of Valinor circling round the city of the Valar. Then, as the fields of Yavanna came into view, did we turn east, and head for the woods of Oromë.
Now did I consider that as the Vala, in whose halls Tyelkormo had come into being, loved riding, loved to be out and free upon the land and in the forests, mayhap my son would find more affinity with him than he did with Aulë! And also was I proud of him, and wished others to know that; for although Tyelkormo had not as then shown forth any great skills yet could he ride almost as well as a full-grown nér. At a swift pace did we travel, and more animated and talkative did my light-haired son become as we headed east. He knew well of the lands he had not yet visited, and from study of writings and discussions with the rest of the family. Most pleasantly surprised was I, as he pointed out places of interest, and animals and birds, well concealed, yet visible to him.
“How is that you know so much of the nature of animals, my son?”
He smiled in a self-satisfied manner. ” I have studied the books in the scriptorium, and watched my brothers! Also have I watched you with horses, Mother! But mostly have I watched the animals themselves when given a chance!”
Well indeed did we get on each with the other, now that Tyelkormo and I realised a shared interest. I too loved to ride and in the woodlands, though not in the hunt, and a new respect do I think he found for his mother, and an ally in adventure! We made game of being the first to notice an animal or bird, or to give name to the maker of a sound or song. Many a deer did we spot, within the sheltered glades, and a few boar, and on the distant edge of the forest did we think to see a heard of bison. But as we drew near to that place wherein Oromë’s halls lay, was there a sudden stillness, a silence, that was pierced, as if by a lightening stroke from a sea storm, and a sound unlike anything else I had ever heard, most certainly unlike anything Tyelkormo had ever heard, rang out! Our horses danced nervously, their eyes widened, but not in any terror! For never did Oromë fare to hunting in these lands, but only ever to the training of his folk and beasts for the pursuit of evil creatures within the Hither Lands. Then did other, lesser horns add their cry to that of the Valaróma*, as a host of hunters, clad in brown and green and mounted upon black horses gallop into view, making to pass us on both sides. Hounds there were aplenty, bounding through the undergrowth with eagerness, and not a few Eldar, many with hawks or other birds of prey upon their wrists. Others also there were, in form like unto us, yet did I know them to be of the Maiar, and those with whom I had already made an acquaintance! A great and fearsome host they were, and suitably impressed was my son, as he turned his mount in a tight circle to observe them. Most certainly was he impressed when some from that group made to hail me in passing!
“Welcome, Lady Nerdanel! Come along to the halls!” did one green garbed Maia cry to me, “For there shall we be merry, and refreshed from training for the pursuit! There are tales to be told and songs to be sung, and rich and red wine to be drunk!”
Now I was not one to normally drink overmuch, but it must be said that the wine in Oromë’s halls was extraordinarily rich and left one with such a feeling of strength and life and joy, that it was not to be lightly missed. And there was always a goodly spread upon his tables, a veritable feast.
“Come, follow on! For our Lord Oromë does expect you, and with the young prince you and your lord got upon your last visit here!”
I blushed furiously at so open a reference, and in front of that very son! But Tyelkormo was wide eyed in wonder. This was surly a dream come true for him, and he turned from the back of his horse to grin at me in anticipation and partial realisation. “We shall go, mother?”
“Aye, for it does seem to be the intent of Oromë, as well as in my thoughts. Though think not overmuch on the wine as of yet! Young are you for such heady drink!” I had smiled at my son’s anticipation of much indulgence as I urged my own horse forwards, and Tyelkormo had kept pace with me, now delivering a barrage of questions as to what involvement his brothers had with this Vala; most particularly what involvement Russandol had!
“Maitimo knows Oromë, dear one, of course he does! But he has not frequented his halls at all as of yet!”
Did those words not please Tyelkormo even further! We raced the last distance, from the edge of the woods to the halls, and almost caught up with the group that had passed us by.
Once in the skin strewn, tree-supported halls, had I spoken greetings and thanks to those Maiar who took care for our horses, and were preparing food. A few of the lolling tongued hounds did I also greet, and they circled around my son and I with much enthusiasm, and much wagging of tails!
“You know their language, Mother! You can speak with beasts?” Now was Tyelkormo certainly in great awe of me!
“Nay, my son! I can but give welcome, and a sign of my pleasure to be reacquainted with these creatures. Better do I communicate with horses, though with Oromë’s black steeds mostly. And best of all, have I found with birds”
Indeed, had I managed a rather good understanding of an owl upon my last visit, though was this in itself nothing to boast of! Many Eldar could understand animals well, and not a few could in some measure communicate with them.
“But father, he cannot speak with animals or birds? ” Tyelkormo’s gaze narrowed, in a manner that then reminded me very much of Fëanáro, on the edge of a great discovery!
“Your father is interested in all manner of language, but of our own language, and of that of the Valar themselves does he have most concern!” I replied.
“Russandol cannot speak with animals!”
“Nay, and neither can Makalaurë, before you ask. I alone of this family have any skill in that area, much as it may surprise you!”
So in such a way did I come to have my third sons devotion for a time, (though as a child of the Eldar, did he always behave well and need little correction) and for many a year did he come to me to speak of his interest. For he determined then that he would show forth his skills in part through learning the tongues of every bird and beast that dwelt in Aman. No mean feat was that to be, and much time did he spend, when older, and in the halls of Oromë, or exploring the remote lands looking for those rarer creatures that lived in the Blessed Realm. And aye, as soon as he could did Tyelkormo partake of the wine!
While on that visit did Oromë and Vána, his spouse, talk with us, and well pleased were they that I had thought to bring this son to them. Almost as if they had been expecting him did it seem to me then. In time did I understand more of what they had planned for him, of why they wished him to have those particular skills, but alas, as with his father, was Tyelkormo to be ensnared in deception, and led from the path he was destined for.
“Return to my halls, and within three years, and we shall see then what a horseman you have become. If you show enough promise, will I teach you to ride in the hunt myself, and that in the tracking of creatures in this land, and the hunting of those fell creatures that at some future time we may yet encounter.” Oromë said to Tyelkormo, and although I marvelled at such words, did I again wonder at his near insistence that at some time we would encounter fell creatures!
Tyelkormo thought little of this, for he was happy with the promise he had been given, and a horn also did Oromë gift to him, though nowhere near as grand as those his hunters had used. “Mayhap father will craft a horn for me to use, and one nearer in temper to the Valaróma, and a spear and a bow also, as are displayed upon the walls and trees!” had he whispered enthusiastically to me, not wishing for Oromë to think he was in any manner displeased with his gift.
For two days did we remain, and Tyelkormo was to experience his first feast therein, and his first longing to have a wolfhound of his own. I had left him for a time in the care of the Vala, and walked with the Lady Vána in her gardens, and her peace. And I sat for a while by that golden fountain of the radiance of Laurelin, that Aulë had long before set in that place. So were both my son and I renewed in fëa and in joy.
In due course we returned to the halls of Aulë, and Tyelkormo continued to be excited, nay, passionate about his new `friend,’ Oromë! “Though I mean no disrespect to Lord Aulë, nor to you and grandfather, yet do I think I have chosen the better path! For I shall be taught how to track and lead in the hunt, and Russandol will learn how to forge in metal!”
“Be not so disparaging of your brother, Tyelkormo, for though he works with Aulë, yet is he also strong of will and of body, and could lead well in any hunt, without instruction! And remember, your father also forges in metal, or are you thinking of yourself as higher than he?” I gently chided this son. At the mention of his father did Tyelkormo instantly look aghast. Never did any of our sons think of themselves as greater than their sire!
As soon as he had dismounted, did Tyelkormo instantly seek out Fëanáro, to speak with him of what had come to pass, though did I warn him that his father might still be working. Later still, after speaking with Maitimo, did I find father and youngest son, had been spending time together, and were still talking, in the rooms given over for our use. Fëanáro had been trying to get Tyelkormo to take rest, for our son was young. It appeared that he had almost succeeded, for Tyelkormo was lying, heavy eyed, atop the blanket on his allotted bed. So I waited by the arched door for my husband to be finished.
“Remember well what I have said, Turko*!”
“Aye, father! And then I may train for the hunt with Oromë?”
“If you act as I have so bidden you!”
“And you will make for me a horn as fine as the Valaróma?”
“I shall craft you a bow, and you should use the horn gifted to you, for a time at least!”
Fëanáro’s eyes met mine, over the sleepy form of our son, and he made to rise silently, and move to my side.
“And I shall talk with the animals, as mother does! I shall have a black horse, and a wolfhound, and all fell creatures shall fear me!”
“Rest, Turko!” Fëanáro instructed more firmly, and closed the door behind him as he left the room.
“You talk with animals, Nerdanel?” he turned to face me, and questioned me, though with some amusement.
“You know I can communicate with some birds, and sometimes with horses, my Lord!”
He smiled dryly in response. Then took up my hand and kissed it in a manner that suggested his current well controlled passion would be less well controlled, and soon.
“So, you have been again to the halls of Oromë!” he stated with even more amusement, and much memory! “I have missed you these last days, wife!”
I had some doubt of that, for he had most likely been immersed in his work. Yet glad, as ever, was I to be back with him, and we walked then to the main forge of Aulë, for I knew he would want to show me the progress he had made with glassmaking.
“And how, may I ask, have you bidden Tyelkormo to act, that you give him your support in his new found interest, Fëanáro!” It was my turn to question, and I wanted to know what to expect.
“I have told him he has my blessing, and that I will help him all I can. But he is to stop this pointless comparison with Nelyo, and now! As my eldest son, must Nelyafinwë have the loyalty and respect of his younger brothers! Even as I should have from those half-brothers of mine! It is a matter of what is right! Though Turko also has great skill, yet he must use it to support his family, and to uphold ever the claims of his grandsire, myself, and Nelyo!”
“That is a lot for him to understand! He is still young to appreciate the nuances of our family!” I spoke with some concern.
“He understands enough!” Fëanáro replied. ” Though when he comes to his full strength, he will be of a mood to wish for lands to control and to order as he wills, yet will he always follow Nelyo’s lead in matters of import, even if he wills things otherwise! That is what I expect him to do, so will it be done!”
And so it was, in Aman!
I looked for Tyelkormo amongst the crowds. I searched the streets and concourses, but at the last, all I managed was to catch his eye as he, mounted upon his favourite black horse, rode towards the gate, and down the wide stairs, faithful hounds in tow! He inclined his head, and made a sign of blessing, but no words did we speak. None were there whom he loved greatly that were not going with him! His father, his brothers and particularly Curvo would he soon join! Ar-Feiniel* also was to go, though with her father’s house, of course!! It was later said to me, and by one of those who had been with my family in exile, that Tavariel had been amongst those slain by Morgoth and Wirilomë; that Tyelkormo had pulled her body from the ruins of the stables, where she had fled to find a horse on which to escape. I had hardly known her! But I had known that she rode often with my son at Formenos, and that he had become most fond of her. Nay, none then had he left that he greatly loved, for though I loved him well, truly had I said `Farewell’ to my third son at the beginning of the first exile! He had never really forgiven me for what he saw as my betrayal of his father!
Years given are Valinorian years.
Tyelkormo = Celegorm. I am sometimes using ‘Turko’ when Fëanor is talking of him.
Maitimo = Maedhros. Though also I am using `Russandol’ often, when his brothers are talking of him, and sometimes `Nelyo’ or `Nelyafinwë’ when Fëanor is talking of him.
Makalaurë = Maglor
Nolofinwë = Fingolfin
Finwion = `son of Finwë’, a childhood name of Fëanor, though Nerdanel uses it at times.
Artanis = Galadriel
Arafinwë = Finafin
Valaróma = Oromë’s hunting horn
Ar-Feiniel = Aredhel
Wirilomë = Ungoliant