In the early days of the Noontide, Maitimo had developed a great friendship with the son of Nolofinwë, Findekáno. It was in this friendship that the first schism in the House of Finwë was revealed to me. Never had Curufinwë had any great love for his half-brother, Nolofinwë, but he was yet still cordial to him so as to please his beloved father.
I was journeying to the fair House of Finwë upon Túna in Tirion for a celebration in honor of Aulë himself, and as the great Vala had stated his intention to attend, a great many Noldor were attending so much noise and gaiety greeted me as I came nigh to the White City. I was the only representative of the Vanyar in attendance, yet as I was high in the esteem of all Quendi, a great honor to Finwë was that deemed to be.
Just as I entered the Gates of Tirion, I heard a little voice that I loved much. “Atarida! Atarida!” It was Maitimo, firstborn son of Fëanáro and Nerdanel. Directly on his heels was the young son of Nolofinwë and Anairë, Findekáno. Smiling, I gathered them into my arms as they shrieked with joy. Such is the nature of elf-children, a nature which one cannot help but smile at. Unclouded was my joy at seeing them until Maitimo spoke again and his expression became troubled.
“Atarida, please do not tell Father I am with Findekáno! He would not be pleased.”
I frowned at this and replied, “May I ask why, hína?”
“Father says I am not to associate with Findekáno! He will not tell me of the reason and neither will Amillë.”
Frowning even more deeply, I said, “Ai! Come with me, híni. I shall talk to your father and attempt to mend this! While you are with me, none will separate you. Have no fear, my young ones.”
Nerdanel was at the doors to greet me and the moment I met eyes with her, I knew she saw my wrath, for she seemed nervous. An odd attribute for Nerdanel, daughter of Sarmo Urundil!
Kindly and with love as always, she greeted Findekáno with a kiss and said, “Go up to Maitimo’s room while Eluwë speaks with Curufinwë and I. The feast will be prepared soon so kindly look after Makalaurë and make sure he is ready when we go to join Finwë.”
After the children had disappeared out of sight and hearing with their laughter, I turned to Nerdanel and demanded, “What is the meaning of this!”
With as much calm as she could gracefully muster, which was quite a lot, she spoke. “Perhaps, Atar, you should go speak with my Lord as to his reasons. I have already attempted to do so and he has rebuffed me repeatedly. Mayhap you will have more luck than I.”
I nodded and made no reply for I was lost in thought. This must be no simple matter for Fëanáro if he would not listen to the counsel of his beloved. Finally, I replied. “Where is thy lord, Nerdanel? I would speak to him as you have suggested.”
“He is in his study, preparing a speech for his father. I will lead you hence and announce your presence to my Lord. He will be glad to receive you, my Lord!”
With that, she turned and I followed her down the great Hall of the House of Finwë until we came to a wide doorway with great thick doors of oak intricately carved with the signs of the House of Fëanáro, chief of which was a many rayed Star.
Nerdanel knocked quietly and slowly cracked the door. Softly she spoke, “My Lord, thy Lord Eluwë is come to see you.”
The strong voice of Fëanáro replied. “Come in, my Lady and Lord! I wish to see you both!”
Nerdanel smiled and opened the door. There was the Prince Fëanáro before us standing up from his desk, arms wide in beckoning to the Lady Nerdanel. As they embraced, my heart was warmed and its wrath eased at the love that was evident between the Prince and his Lady. Nerdanel spoke with a happy lilt in her voice, “Finwion, I am displeased to have to leave your company, but I must go help prepare for the feast in honor of our great patron, Aulë!”
Fëanáro smiled slyly and said, “My Lady, you would leave me so quickly? I am disappointed! But I understand, you have a duty! You may go, Melmenya.” With that, they embraced once again and she left the room.
Once she had done so, Fëanáro spoke, “I am glad to see you, my Atarida! Father told me that you would be coming, but I did not think you would have time to see me before the festival. Surely Father needs your presence!”
I replied, “That can wait, Finwion! I always have enough time for you. Always in my heart and mind are you,” and I opened my arms in welcome to him. At that, he smiled and embraced me.
I then held him at arms length and said, “My Finwion, how many years has it been since you were born? I remember when you were just a small infant, and now look at who you have become!”
Much pleased was he at this. I spoke again, “A great Prince you are and I have much pride in you, but there is something that concerns me.”
‘It has come to my attention of a certain matter involving Nelyo and Findekáno. I would much like to hear how this came about.”
With these words, his face darkened and he stepped away from me. “My Lord Eluwë! This is a private matter. Please do not tell Father of this!”
My manner became quite serious and I spoke. “Finwion, you know that this would displease your father. Why have you done this thing? It is not only of your father that I am concerned, but I am concerned about the híni! A great and glad friendship that is! Why would you want to break that?”
Fëanáro snorted dismissively and said, “Nelyo does not understand yet, but he will in time. That son of Nolofinwë is not suitable for his company!”
At this I grew angry once again, “Nolofinwë is your father’s son. Not to mention the son of Indis. How can you speak this way of your brother if you hardly know him!”
“Half-brother, I remind you!”
“He is still the son of Finwë! Why do you feel the need to denigrate him, just simply because he has a different mother than you? Do you not know of his love for you? He wishes to be reconciled to you, do you not know that?”
Fëanáro exclaimed, “Ai, exactly the opposite! He wishes to usurp me as Heir to my father!”
In an instant, I saw deeply to the heart of the matter. Fëanáro was afraid of Nolofinwë’s usurpation of his father’s love.
With this new understanding, I spoke with a gentle tongue. “Finwion, understand this. Nothing can take away the love of Finwë for you! Neither will you ever lose my love! Do not fear your brother’s usurpation. The love my Eluwion and I have for you, is wholly different from the love we have for Nolofinwë and Arafinwë. Equal are you in our eyes. Did I not love my Eluwioni equally? Your father can do the same!”
‘Now, be of a gentle wise heart and show all Tirion your greatness in showing respect to your brothers. In this, you will be elevated in the eyes of all Quendi, rather than appearing basely jealous and vindictive. Be the great prince and son of Finwë you were born to be!”
As I looked upon the son of Finwë, I saw his love and admiration for me. I knew that his heart was now, at least temporarily put at ease. He spoke, “You speak truly, Atarida! I will have Nelyo and Findekáno come!”
Soon indeed did they come, bounding down the stairs and hallway to the door of Fëanáro’s study where we awaited them. Lovingly did Maitimo embrace his beloved father and nervously did Findekáno’s small hand grasp mine! Ever tighter did he grasp as Fëanáro crouched down to his level to speak to him.
“Findekáno, son of Nolofinwë, I would have you know that you are welcome in my House and to be in the presence of Nelyafinwë. Coanya ná coalya! Now, you and Nelyo, go retrieve Káno. The feast will begin soon!”
Merry and happy was the feast, with all the House of Finwë in attendance. Noble indeed did the sons of Finwë appear to all, standing beside their great father as he spoke honors to Aulë. Great was the majesty of Curufinwë, with a plain silver fillet upon his head. Hardly less was the nobility of Nolofinwë and the golden Arafinwë.
Great was the beauty of their spouses and they cannot be lightly forgotten. There was Nerdanel the Wise, with hair of flame by the virtue of the light of Laurelin. Anairë, devoted to Varda and most unusual among the Noldor in that, had hardly less beauty than Tintallë herself. Last, but not least, was Eärwen, the Swan Maiden of Alqualondë and daughter to Olwë. Fair and shrouded in white she was.
The descendants of Finwë were also there and much mirth did they add to the feast especially to the delight of Aulë himself. Three sons then did Fëanáro have: Maitimo, Makalaurë, and Tyelkormo. Findekáno and Turukáno, the sons of Nolofinwë, had much joy in the company of the sons of Fëanáro as did Angaráto and Aikanáro, the middle sons of Arafinwë. However, curiously, the other children of Arafinwë were apart from the others. These were Findaráto and Artanis.
Much love already did Findaráto have for his newborn sister. The young Artanis already had a great beauty and her downy hair already had a great beauty. In the light of the trees, her hair shone gold and silver and was a great marvel to all, even Fëanáro!
Indeed, in later years, her hair was said by all to have the radiance of Telperion and Laurelin by all the Eldalië. Such a marvel it was that Fëanáro asked her thrice for a lock of her hair. Thrice she refused. But undeterred was Fëanáro. Instead, her hair would merely come to be an inspiration if he could not possess it.
Ai, Artanis! Lady of many names! In the thought of Arafinwë and Eärwen was she named Artanis and Nerwen. Alatáriel was she in the tongue of the Teleri by her betrothed, Teleporno, and Galadriel by the Sindar in Doriath. How many years has it been since I spoke to the Lady of Lothlórien? How many years has it been since I saw her upon Caras Galadhon? Far too many, I say. She sailed to Valinor many years ago after the War of the Ring was ended. Beloved of many was the sister of Felagund, even by Gimli, the Renowned One of the Naugrim. Great was her beauty as well and so well was she called the Morning Star.
All too swiftly did the years of the Noontide pass. In those years, four other sons of Fëanáro were born. Their names are already known to you, so I will not needlessly repeat them. Other children were also born to Nolofinwë as well. Aredhel Ar-Feiniel was the only daughter of Nolofinwë but no less loved. She had a great friendship with the sons of Fëanáro but gave none of her heart’s love to them. She spent many a day hunting and riding with them afield. Yet she would always appear in raiment of white and silver! Despite that, she was an accomplished hunter. Sadness and shadow later befell her in the Hither Lands, and indeed, it was her very son, Maeglin, by the Dark Elf Eöl, who betrayed Gondolin. A third son also did Nolofinwë have named Arakáno. A much loved son was he despite his impetuosity! Vociferous and opinionated, yet with an air of high command! Sadly, he was slain at the Battle of Lammoth as Nolofinwë’s host entered Middle-earth from the perils of the Helcaraxë.
As the ages passed, ever more pressing to me did the knowledge of the trial of Melkor become. However, the time came upon me all too suddenly and one day I found myself and Ingwë journeying down upon the sides of Taniquetil to Tirion to await the summons of the Valar to the Ring of Doom.
“Atarinya, the Valar await us in Máhanaxar. The trial of Melkor is soon to be begun and it is the wish of Manwë that we attend.”
I, as yet did not make reply, and stared thoughtlessly towards the utter East from the balcony upon the tower of Ingwë, Mindon Eldaliéva, that I so rarely visited these days. Finally, my eyes and my fëa ceased their restlessness, and I turned to the speaker. It was my Eluwion who had spoken; the self same serious son of Imin who was High King of all the Eldar. Nearby, with a thoughtful expression upon his smooth face, was Finwë, another son of mine.
I then spoke, “Yes, I do suppose it is time for us to go face Melkor. Indeed, we must depart quite soon.”
Finwë exclaimed, “Atar, I do see that this grieves you heavily! Perhaps-“
Good naturedly, I cut him off. “My Eluwion, I am grateful for your concern, but I must do this. I must see and speak to the one who wrought the fate of my betrothed and my sons. Now, make ready to depart!”
My knuckles were white as I looked upon the debasement of Melkor at the feet of the Valar. Nienna was aiding this black traitor’s plea to Manwë for his release and pardon. Ever full of pity was Nienna, even for the greatest enemy of all Arda, this I understood, but deep was my resentment!
As Nienna finished her prayer to Manwë, I stood and spoke. “What of my Eluwën, my Lord Manwë! Melkor, the Accursed before us, took a captive maiden of the Quendi and utterly transformed her and her brood into the first ones of the race of Urqui! Ever undying in their black hearts is hate and no love is to be found there. Surely, this was not the intention of Eru Ilúvatar for his Children. For did not even Eönwë, your herald, say, ‘This is an act reprehensible even to Ilúvatar. The stink of it goes up to his halls outside of Eä. The marring of the Firstborn will not be borne!’ “
Suddenly, at my clear words ringing through the Ring of Doom, did the face of Manwë look more drawn and aged than I had ever seen before and black was the wrath upon Melkor’s.
Ulmo, the Lord of Waters, then spoke, “True do the words of Eluwë ring! Melkor committed a Marring of the Children that cannot be undone, unless all Arda be broken and remade.
‘This do I also hold true, that Melkor has not utterly forgotten his ancient ways of evil and waywardness! I counsel that Melkor should be held still by Mandos so that further evil may not be sprung from the deep wells of his malice!”
At this, the sonorous beautiful voice of Melkor sang in my ears. “My brother, my heart is wounded to well nigh death that you doubt my renunciation of my former wrongs. Wilt thou not forgive me while Arda lasts? I would do much good for the Bliss of this Realm if you would but put your trust in me. Did not Ilúvatar say that all works, even mine, would do redounds to his glory?”
Fair were the words of Melkor, but I was not deceived and neither was Ulmo. For the Lord of Waters replied, “Perhaps you have renounced your deeds and perhaps you have not, but regardless, are you not deserving of due punishment for this most evil deed of the Marring of the Eldar?”
Melkor then turned to Manwë, his brother in the thought of Ilúvatar, and beseeched him. “Deep is your pity, my Lord. I am fallen and am regretful of my deeds. May I not regain some honor in the ranks of the Valar? May I not work for the good of Arda? None of this work may I do in imprisonment in the Halls of Mandos!
‘This is my solemn plea, my Lord. Hearken to me! I vow, before thee and all others, that I, Melkor, will do no evil while all Arda lasts. Furthermore, I would be laid low and humbled. I would become the lowest of all the free people of Valinor and would be the servant of all! I, Melkor, the one who formerly arose in might, would do much to help raise others!”
At the end of his plea, Manwë sat still and long, as if lost in thought as did Varda, Queen of the Stars. Finally, life came back to the eyes of Varda and they glistened as did Manwë’s. She spoke, “Then, my Lord, let it be done. Speak now your judgment, my King.”
“This I do decree: Keep your vow, Melkor, for it binds you. You will be free, yet counted the lowest of all free peoples of Valinor. You will give service to all Aman in exchange for freedom. For now, you shall be constrained to dwell solely within the bounds of Valimar and shall not stray beyond its gates. In time, trust may grow and you may be given leave to go whither as you would wish. Keep your fëa pure and do not entertain your former ways. You are now free.” So Manwë spoke.
Even despite my wisdom and usual grace, I left Máhanaxar in wrath and disappointment. Had I not seen the flash of anger in the eyes of Melkor as I spoke? He still had the seed of evil within! This, at least, was clear to me. No friendship would he have from me!
Quite suddenly, I heard the clear voice of Eönwë beckon to my ears. “Eluwë! Do not be angry with my Lord! Justice and mercy, not retribution, rule his wisdom.”
Before I could speak, Ingwë spoke. “My father is not angry with his Lord! Nay, do not entertain that thought. He, rather, perceives that the heart of Melkor is not free of evil and corruption, as do I. This I do declare, even though your Master is wise, this decision is folly! Has not Melkor resisted the designs of the Valar ever since the Music of the Ainur as has been related to the Eldar? Evil will come to Aman, I foresee, and by the hand of Melkor!
‘Furthermore, what of the fate of Eluwën and her sons? That is a deed that can never be set aright, unless by Ilúvatar and when will that be done! For Ilúvatar resides forever outside Arda outside the Halls of Eä. If it therefore cannot be set aright till the ending of all things, should not Melkor then endure imprisonment till then?”
For a moment Eönwë stood silent, and then he nodded. “Perhaps so, my lord Ingwë! However, is not Manwë the King and Authority of all Arda? We must trust in his wisdom even if it may seem to be folly. Who can fully perceive the workings of the mind of Manwë? It may be that Manwë has another purpose at work in this matter. Have faith in Manwë and be not wrathful.”
Ingwë replied, “True are these words and I take them to heart. Be warned however, no friendship or aid from the Vanyar will Melkor have! Love do we have for Manwë, but not his brother.”
Finwë spoke as well. “I do declare the same. I, Finwë, and my sons, will not harbor any love for the one who slew my mother and father! In this, do I stand in resolution, with my brother and foster-father. Respected will be the decree of Manwë, but expect no more than that!”
Respectfully, Eönwë bowed silently as one full answered and departed forth from us.
True were the words of my Eluwioni. The Vanyar indeed did not give ear to Melkor and so were saved from his silver tongue. Finwë also did not as did his sons. In particular, ever did the eldest son of Finwë, Fëanáro, have an abiding hate for Melkor for he saw deeper and farther into hearts than well nigh all others. Nolofinwë and Arafinwë also rejected the fallen Vala, and ever did he have a deep hate for the House of Finwë as well as the Vanyar. However, others of the Noldor, hungry for the knowledge of Melkor and his arts, hearkened to his words and in this way, a subtle poison and seed of evil was introduced into the Bliss of Valinor. Lies and rumors were spread and found deep homes in the hearts of the Noldor. Some of these, indeed, reached even the great Curufinwë, and so then was sown the Fall of the Noldor by the silver words of Morgoth Bauglir.
Atarida (speculative)- “Elder father”; grandfather
Melmenya- my love
Coanya ná coalya- my house is your house
epessë- name; usually given by others as a title
Maitimo, Nelyafinwë, Nelyo- Maedhros