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Medium Dawn Felagund of the Fountain

By the Light of Roses--Chapter Five

The (Cyber) Bag of Weasels

bread and puppet




"About as much fun as a bag of weasels"...when I first saw this Irish adage, it made me think of the life of a writer: sometimes perilous, sometimes painful, certainly interesting. My paper journal has always been called "The Bag of Weasels." This is the Bag of Weasels' online home.

By the Light of Roses--Chapter Five

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marriage is love
Last week, we got a clue as to why Fëanáro has such an interest in Eressetor. Like Fëanáro and Nerdanel, Eressetor's parents are estranged, and as Fëanáro maintains that both he and Eressetor have much to learn of each other, we can glean one aspect of Fëanáro's intrigue. This week, we get more of Eressetor's backstory as it pertains to this.

Please remember that this story is rated for adults only for reasons of sexuality and mature themes and contains slash. My thanks to everyone who is reading alone! As usual, all comments are welcomed.


By the Light of Roses
Chapter Five

Meander and Drift


Separation.

It could not be pinned to a single moment, as one might think—an instance, a realization: I am not happy. I must leave—but was a gradual weakening and pulling apart, so insidious that it was already well underway before anyone had noticed.

Rather like the way a pair of favorite breeches will wear and grow thin at the knees—weak—and the fibers will break one by one until there is a tear in the cloth. It seems like something that should have drawn one’s attention long ago, but until one feels that first nip of air on exposed skin, life continues oblivious, content, and uninterrupted.

That was the way of things with my parents. I had been taken into the fatherly embrace of one of my uncles and told that I could “talk about it,” if I wanted, and it was hinted that there must have been an explosion of sorts, a fight to which I must have borne witness. (Being as everyone knew that I had no friends or pursuits to distract me from solitary study in my bedroom.) Even as I knew that it said something about me, my character, that could not be contradicted with words, I felt my shoulders stiffening, drawing away like a tree subtly growing away from a close neighbor out of fear of losing its share of the light. I murmured that there was nothing to talk about, and I suppose that my glance that refused to meet his might have been misread as being evasive, even insolent.

Cold. Sullen. These words punctuated the whispers my grandparents and uncles—“concerned parties,” naturally—exchanged while glancing in my direction. There was a furtive shushing and my grandmother’s watery, patronizing voice: Hurt. Denial. Natural at this stage. Will come around. Give him time.

None of them understood the gradual wearing away of my parents’ marriage, the much-loved fabric of their union growing too small to contain that which it was expected to hold. As with the torn breeches, there was only a moment of cold discomfort and a surprised glance and the realization—It’s over?!—that something much-loved was now little more than rubbish to be cast aside, that our own being has betrayed us and grown beyond what that love could contain.

It was my father who first told me of their intentions to “separate,” calling me into his chilly, geometric study overlooking the square and presenting his marriage to my mother like he might present a building to one of his clients, lifting away the roof to expose inner workings that were best left unseen by those expected to live with it. He had a habit of making boxlike gestures with his hands as he spoke, as though outlining the dimensions of rooms; into these “rooms” he placed my mother. Me. I felt that I was supposed to drop my emotions into them and let him seal them shut with his hands.

He spoke of his goals and her goals and their careers and their discrete social circles and “drift,” that was the word he used: “We have moved apart, through the slow workings of time, like two marble blocks once pressed flush against each other.” Hands placed parallel to each other on the table slid apart in a drastic move that made me flinch. He laughed. “Not that abruptly, of course. One can look at two marble buildings day by day, looking for drift, and never see it forming even as he can pass into the space between them.”

Naturally, my father would compare his marriage to two errant buildings.

“So separation isn’t a choice, Eressetor, but more an inevitability. It is just where time has placed us. No need to be angry or sad, any more than the hard-working architect who constructed those two buildings should begrudge the centuries that moved his masterpieces apart, creating what might be construed as a flaw.” He shrugged. “Instead of one unified masterpiece, you have two of equal splendor. That is not flawed, I don’t think.”

My mother had called me into her studio not long after with the same intention.

The pungent smell of ink overlaying the dusty odor of parchment lingered as though in denial, but already, her art supplies were being packed into crates, as though she’d merely been waiting for the excuse to do so. Her ink-stained hands were not prone to sketching compartments into which emotion could be locked away as were my father’s; dismissing the servants with a wave of the fingers, she sat me opposite each her. Reaching out, she held my hands, stroking the backs of my wrists, while she leaned forward with elbows propped on her knees and her pendulous jewelry swinging in the space between us. “A leaf,” she said, “may fall from a branch and follow a meandering course to the sea.” Her hand likewise meandered poetically into the air. “Is it frightened? Perhaps. Could it resist, and remain where it has grown and flourished? Perhaps. But the effort of that….” Her fingers fluttered at her temples as though warding off a headache, tucking tendrils of hair behind her ears. “After a while, don’t you think that the exhaustion would remove any comfort you might otherwise have? I wonder, Eressetor, if it is not better to let the river carry us and enjoy the new sights which we might otherwise have been denied before being released into the vast freedom of the sea.” She squeezed my hands in both of hers and sighed dramatically.

The result of all the “meandering” and “drifting” in my parents’ marriage was waking up to a cart hitched in the street in front of the house and two burly Elves trying to maneuver my mother’s worktable down the narrow path, between Atar’s roses on one side and Amil’s rock garden on the other.

All of this—the separation—came at the time when I had my “trouble.” But of course, they were not related.

As even spurious correlation can inspire the notion of a relationship, though, I was given pitying looks in the weeks that followed and undue sympathy from normally contemptuous relatives and associates of my parents’. I was called aside—again—by an uncle, though a different one this time. My mother had three brothers, all with pointy rodent-like faces and heads that looked two small upon their bulky bodies. Whereas my mother was an artist and delicate of hand (and, purportedly, of mind), her brothers were quarry workers with voices used to shouting over a chorus of falling pickaxes and tumbling stone; they regarded their sister—her marriage, her career, her son—with a patronizing fondness and were given to ruffling my hair, even when I had it secured in neat, precise plaits that were damaged by their rambunctious shows of affection.

“Eressetor,” said my uncle, and again, I found myself in the circle of his arm, smelling his musky, hard-working scent, “you must understand that this is not your fault.

For it was believed that surely I must think that it was. My father had never been fond of children, and my mother’s “accident”—it was widely believed and whispered in circles where it was thought I could not hear what was being said—was the proverbial beginning of the end for their marriage. “He always did require a lot of maintenance,” it was said, scornfully, of my father by my mother’s family. (Interestingly, his family said the same of her.) He required his meat cooked “well done” and a fresh tunic every day; certainly these things—according to the contempt in my uncles’ eyes—were indicative of a pathological need for great deals of attention. Which had obviously been taken from him when I was born and my mother laved her attention upon a newborn infant instead of him.

This was my father’s problem, not mine, my uncle assured me, giving my shoulders a chummy squeeze, neglecting to note my crisp-pressed robes and plaited hair and polished shoes indicating that I obviously shared in my father’s “pathology.”

Those to whom my “trouble” had been confided by my stricken parents were even more adamant in their assertions: “Eressetor. This is not your fault.” My eldest uncle’s beefy, calloused hands gripping me above the elbows and even delivering a curt little shake as though desperate to force the knowledge into me. “No matter what happens between them, you mustn’t believe that it is your fault.”

Of course, no one bothered to ask: Did I think it was my fault? For I did not. Lying in my bed at night, in the house my father had built long ago, with my hands folded on my belly and staring at the cracks in the ceiling that widened imperceptibly with each passing year, I waited for an assault of anger or pain…but neither came. I even tried to muster it—surely I must be angry! hurt! for my parents had forsaken their marriage before I’d even come of age!—but could not. My amiable mother returned on occasion from her new house in the artists’ district (designed and built by my father, of course) to retrieve something “forgotten,” and she and my father would have tea on the balcony. She was illustrating a book that he was compiling on the evolution of Telerin architecture after their arrival in Aman; he was designing a series of gazebos for a sculpture garden on which she’d been invited as a consultant. At times, we even ate meals together as a family: mother, father, and son, with a table full of plans and diagrams strewn between us.

Marital separation was uncommon among Elves with underaged children; most separations came only after long marriages, when the interests and pursuits of the partners diverged to the point of impracticality. Still, they were not unheard of, and I waited for my parents to dictate my place in things—that I should remain with my father or go to my mother or assume some sort of nomadic existence in between—but nothing was said.

Of everything, this bothered me the most, niggling me late at night as my restless brained turned over and over what I’d learned that day until exhaustion forced me to contemplate something—anything—else, and I wondered why there wasn’t a greater delineation as to my role in things. I wondered why they didn’t see fit to fight over me. If they both wanted me, this seemed the logical way to go about it.

Could it be, then, that neither wanted me?

I had stayed at my father’s simply for reason of default: It involved no thought, action, or discussion on my part. If anything, I was disturbed less in my pursuits while my mother was in the process of moving, for my father was busy helping her and often skipped making meals for us where my presence would otherwise be required.

I went to his antiseptically utilitarian study, interrupted him at his work. and asked, “Should I go to visit Amil? Live there on occasion? What is the proper protocol for this?”

(I will admit that I’d sought connection with him on the basis of protocol, something I knew we both respected even if neither was silly enough to use a word such as “love” in connection to it: grammar, the proper means to cite written sources, the correct way to codify architectural drawings. Rules. Neither of us had time to shepherd abstract thoughts into a semblance of logic as my mother liked to do…at least not on issues as non-pertinent as the proper capitalization of King Finwë’s various titles or the indication of pipelines beneath a building.)

“Ah, Eressetor,” my father replied, “that would certainly be acceptable. Neither of us has a preference as to where you live; we simply thought it would be easier—for now—for you to stay here. But if you wish otherwise….” His voice was bright: in an effort to placate what he might have perceived as discontent on my part, I wondered? Or in hope that I would “wish otherwise?”

I didn’t know who to disappoint with my presence. So I stayed where I was.
~oOo~

Sitting opposite Fëanáro, I told him of this. Most of it.

I’d once had a tutor in historical lore who’d said that when compiling a historical record, part of any historian’s duty was to select from amid the facts and discard those that might be hurtful to those involved. Those were usually useless anyway, he’d said with a dismissive wave of his hand.

With that in mind, I chose carefully from my parents’ story. I took out the bits about my doubts (replacing it with a cheery “I decided to live with my father,” which was certainly not a lie) and my cynical regard for my parents’ meddlesome families (“they showed rightful concern”; also not a lie), and of course, all mention of the “trouble” and any correlation—spurious or not—between that and the separation.

The bright fire in his eyes slowly cooled and was replaced by something nefarious in its unfamiliarity on his face: bafflement. His brows knitted and his eyes took a suspicious glint. “You are trying to convince me that it just…happened?”

“Yes?” I wanted my voice to sound confident but it betrayed me and lilted at the end into a question.

A barking laugh, cold and humorless: “So you are attempting to convince me that an estrangement happens in the same manner of eroding farmland.”

“To my parents….”

He snorted. “Ai, and so we have the proverbial ‘can of worms,’ Eressetor: that which inspires more questions than it answers.”

Startled, I waited: Why my nonchalance? What sort of emotional deficiency was implied by my inability to feel anything for my parents’ failed marriage? Why the delusions that separating anything “bonded”—as in flesh as well as spirit—should be a painless affair?

But that was not what he asked: “If not to escape the pain you parents have inflicted upon you, why, then, are you here?”
  • I can definitely see why Eressetor's parents might have separated. They both seem like terminally boring people. It's only natural that they would get bored of each other, and that Eressetor would be bored of both of them.

    Elvish architects must, on the whole, be interesting people, though. They get to watch the slow transformations of the buildings they design, and that whole process must leave an impression on them. An Elvish architecht would be the sort to build a marble building, watch how the stairs erode from hundreds of people walking up and down, and then use that understanding to build a sleeker, more efficient marble building. That's the kind of mind that could be really fascinating to encounter.

    Or it could be Eressetor's father.
    • *snickers* Heh. Sorry for just jumping on here, but I love that analysis of their situation. And of Elvish architects.

      *wibbles at Dawn* What sort of ending is this? I have to wait a week - wait, one and a half weeks! - for the answer? ;___;
      • There is no jumping in on Dawn's LiveJournal! This is all one big happy conversation! :)
        /talking in third person :^P

        *wibbles at Dawn* What sort of ending is this? I have to wait a week - wait, one and a half weeks! - for the answer? ;___;

        *cackles* It is a mean Dawn Felagund leave-ya-in-suspense ending. >:^] In the intervening week (or week-and-a-half), I want people driving themselves crazy, wondering, "Why is Eressetor there?" :^D

        At least it's not AMC. By the Light of Roses only has fifteen chapters, so in two months, you'll not only know why Eressetor is there, but also know the reason for the whole story! :)
      • In the intervening week (or week-and-a-half), I want people driving themselves crazy, wondering, "Why is Eressetor there?" :^D

        *snickers* Oh, I think I can imagine what the true answer would be. But I want to know what he says!
        • Hehe...you don't trust our Feanaro, do you? You think he's thinking with the head not on his shoulders? >:^]]
          • Hey, I may worship him, but I don't trust anyone who is capable of burning a perfectly fine means of transport...

            I don't trust either of them to be completely honest, to be honest. ;)


      • In the intervening week (or week-and-a-half), I want people driving themselves crazy, wondering, "Why is Eressetor there?" :^D

        Hmmm... *imagines self lurking in dark corners od Dawn's LJ, grinning in a VERY EVOL manner*

        Why is Eressetor there? I wonder... *more evol grinning*
        • Now, now, that's not fair, being as it's your story and you've read the whole thing, to tease the others.... ;^D
    • I can definitely see why Eressetor's parents might have separated. They both seem like terminally boring people. It's only natural that they would get bored of each other, and that Eressetor would be bored of both of them.

      Actually, I've meant for his mum to be a little on the exciting side, compared to his father anyway. Though I haven't published any of the chapters where she's off having affairs with Vanyarin men and running around partying...yet. ;)

      Elvish architects must, on the whole, be interesting people, though. They get to watch the slow transformations of the buildings they design, and that whole process must leave an impression on them.

      I've always wondered how Elves deal with the deterioration of their cities. Do they simply rebuild things? Or have they mastered repairing that which happens slowly over time? Or maybe their understanding of engineering and materials is so superior to ours that it takes millenia rather than mere centuries for buildings to show wear? Or maybe part of the "deathlessness" of the Blessed Realm also means that buildings and structures don't wear down over time?

      I tend not to like "magical" explanations, so the last doesn't appeal to me too much on the level that there is absolutely no wearing-down of buildings. But I can believe that it is slowed, in the Blessed Realm.

      In Middle-earth, it seems that few things last long enough to have that concern.
      • Actually, I've meant for his mum to be a little on the exciting side, compared to his father anyway.

        Not that this would be difficult.

        Perhaps Elvish architechts design buildings that settle and age gracefully, wearing down and evolving into new and different forms. That would be quite an art right there, and one really only appreciably by architects who'd live for millenia.

        The music building at the college where I grew up was part of the Center For the Arts complex, a collecion of inexplicably squat, ugly, cinderblock buildings. However, it did have one rather startling architectural feature. There was a breezeway in the middle, and the architect had designed the music building such that, if you stood under the breezeway and clapped your hands, the building would resonate on an A. Unfortunately, it was in New England, and the ground was kind of shifty. The building settled, throwing it off of its perfect pitch. Fortunately, I think it's now at a pretty decent A flat.
        • That's a really fascinating idea, about how the buildings age and evolve. I can see the Elves designing something like this.

          Also fascinating is that music building. That must be something to hear.
  • I love all the references to things cold in this chapter. I have no personal experience of separation and divorce, since it has never happened in my own family. I am not bragging or anything, but I an probably not the best one to comment because of this.

    It was my father who first told me of their intentions to “separate,” calling me into his chilly, geometric study overlooking the square and presenting his marriage to my mother like he might present a building to one of his clients, lifting away the roof to expose inner workings that were best left unseen by those expected to live with it. He had a habit of making boxlike gestures with his hands as he spoke, as though outlining the dimensions of rooms; into these “rooms” he placed my mother. Me. I felt that I was supposed to drop my emotions into them and let him seal them shut with his hands.

    Of course, I have had friends who have experienced divorce, either of their parents or they themselves, and I am aware of the things it can do to children, altering their personalities.

    Of everything, this bothered me the most, niggling me late at night as my restless brained turned over and over what I’d learned that day until exhaustion forced me to contemplate something—anything—else, and I wondered why there wasn’t a greater delineation as to my role in things. I wondered why they didn’t see fit to fight over me. If they both wanted me, this seemed the logical way to go about it.

    Could it be, then, that neither wanted me?


    I think that Eressetor's feelings that neither parent wanted him is very true of the kids that are a fallout of divorce. How awful that must be.

    A barking laugh, cold and humorless: “So you are attempting to convince me that an estrangement happens in the same manner of eroding farmland.”

    “To my parents….”


    So Eressetor must have been aware of Fëanor and Nerdanel's separation before he came to Formenos. Did he think that it might have happened in the same way as did his parents'?

    I love the way that he tries to tell Fëanor that his parents' divorce was uniquely their own here, in his own way. Sometimes in this story, Eressetor's closeness irritates me, but on rereading, I find it endearing now. I can understand where it comes from. I also love the night and day difference between him and Fëanor. Not only in personality, but in appearance too. At first I thought, "No! Eressetor cannot be ugly!" But it actually works as a great foil for Fëanor's beauty.

    I'm getting off-topic for this chapter. Great job, Dawn!

    But that was not what he asked: “If not to escape the pain you parents have inflicted upon you, why, then, are you here?”

    I love how Fëanor gets right to the point!






    • I have no personal experience of separation and divorce, since it has never happened in my own family. I am not bragging or anything, but I an probably not the best one to comment because of this.

      I don't have any experience with this either. :) I am happily married and both my parents and my in-laws are still together, so much of this is based on "pop psychology" and simply what I think makes sense to happen.

      So Eressetor must have been aware of Feanor and Nerdanel's separation before he came to Formenos. Did he think that it might have happened in the same way as did his parents'?

      Yes, he was. It was probably something that his father gloated about, for sure: that Feanaro is such an impossible and prideful person that even his exceptionally patient wife couldn't bear to put up with him. I doubt he knew the full reason for their separation, however. You've read the whole story, so you might recall that Eressetor asks Maitimo about it in a later chapter, to separate truth from rumor. I don't think that he'd thought about it much. Prior to arriving in Formenos, Feanaro was very much an object of fantasy for him, and as part of that fantasy, he was not married, especially to plain, ugly Nerdanel. Eressetor, in this story, tends to regard Nerdanel--although he has never met her--as a sort of enemy. He sees himself as constantly competing with her; he regards her with distrust, dislike, and paranoia.

      At first I thought, "No! Eressetor cannot be ugly!" But it actually works as a great foil for Feanor's beauty.

      I don't even know that I personally would call Eressetor ugly. But you are right: he certainly thinks that he is ugly! Of course, he also holds himself to high standards, like Feanaro. (I think he compares himself to Maitimo too, when he is looking into the fractured mirror-sculpture later in the story? It's like, c'mon Eressetor, be fair to yourself!) Eressetor has self-esteem problems, you might have noticed. ;)

      Also, he strikes me as one who--once he begins eating regular meals and taking a bit of exercise--will grow into his looks. He doesn't have the healthiest of lives--physically or emotionally--with his father, so even though he's fully grown physically in this story, I still think of him as somewhat immature.

      I love how Feanor gets right to the point!

      That's our Feanor. :) *pets*

      Thank you, Jenni, for reviewing this chapter even though *whispers so the others don't hear* you've read the whole story. :^P
  • Totally with Oloriel on this one. How can you make us wait until next week?! *sob*

    Um, there was also one point where you tried to combine "each other" and "her" to get "opposite each her" - didn't quite work out. ;P
    • I can because I have lots of practice, a year's worth of practice from regularly denying y'all extra chapters of AMC. :^P

      And thanks for noting my blunder! I will be sure to fix it.
  • I didn’t know who to disappoint with my presence. So I stayed where I was.
    That is so heartbreaking, even among his own family Eressetor doesn't feel like he belongs.

    You've definitely made me think that Feanor is a predator of the worst kind: find his prey, isolate him, focus on him, and make his move. I'll now go hit my head against the wall a few times to get that image out of my head.
    • Your icon is messed up. Felak likes. :^P

      That is so heartbreaking, even among his own family Eressetor doesn't feel like he belongs.

      Indeed, he does not. Poor Eressetor (as is seen later in the story too) tries to insert himself into various groups without success. And he doesn't seem to be doing too well with the Feanorions either. It's no wonder the poor kid doesn't have the most fantastic self-esteem.... :^/

      You've definitely made me think that Feanor is a predator of the worst kind: find his prey, isolate him, focus on him, and make his move. I'll now go hit my head against the wall a few times to get that image out of my head.

      Did it work? The head-hitting, that is? I've been trying for more than two years without success to rid myself of Feanor.

      But without giving away the later chapters too much, I think your description of Feanaro is exactly what I was going for. He knows what he wants, and he gets it...well, most of the time.
    • I've been trying for more than two years without success to rid myself of Feanor.

      Good luck with that! (not) A whole legion of hot!sexy football players in various states of undress have tried to rid me of Feanor, but I can tell you that he hasn't moved an inch.

      I think your description of Feanaro is exactly what I was going for. He knows what he wants, and he gets it...well, most of the time.

      Aaaahhh... That's one of the reasons why I looooove him so much. Though, without giving away much of what's going on in the next chapters, he becomes pretty demented when he can't have what he wants, eh?
      *pets demented precious* He can always have me... *looks around suspiciously* Did I just write and say that out loud?
      • Good luck with that! (not)

        Hehe, no worries, he's not going anywhere soon. He's actually working with me now to write Jenni's bday story. It's really weird so far, though. *glares at Feanor*

        He can always have me... *looks around suspiciously* Did I just write and say that out loud?

        I didn't hear anything, but Feanor is grinning rather impishly....
    • Sorry to say that hitting my head against the wall didn't remove the image, neither did the alternative of having a drink, which actually made the problem a bit worse.

      As for ann_arien's suggestion below that hot!sexy!sweaty footballers would direct her mind elsewhere, that also falls in to the category of making things worse if you haven't solved the original problem. But why would this be perceived as a problem to begin with?

      Glad you like the icon, unfortunately, I lifted it from somewhere else (yes, I know it isn't properly accredited and is against all common courtesy, but I really liked it); I have not an artistic bone in my body. Buying software didn't seem to have changed my abilities at all.
      • Sorry to say that hitting my head against the wall didn't remove the image, neither did the alternative of having a drink, which actually made the problem a bit worse.

        *snicker* I'll have to remember that. No need to end up drunk, with a headache, and with a pesky Elven muse if the first two won't get rid of the third!

        But why would this be perceived as a problem to begin with?

        Hehe, well, Feanaro and me have a long, sordid history in terms of story-writing. He tends to be my most elusive muse, and he also tends to delete chapters featuring him or cause me to write utter lies into my story. So really, having Feanaro around is usually a good thing for me, though he is a pest. (Lately, a talkative pest. *knocks wood*)

        Glad you like the icon, unfortunately, I lifted it from somewhere else (yes, I know it isn't properly accredited and is against all common courtesy, but I really liked it)

        I'm not telling, so no worries!

        As for software...yep, been there, done that. Though for me, it's less an issue of artistic talent and more an issue that the software (and the tutorials to go with it, of which I've read a whopping one chapter) does not add the hours on the day that I need to have time for iconing. :^/
  • Hmmm... this incursion into Erestor's troubled and almost affectionless family life is very interesting. You have built this character such a back-story to support what we see of him in the each chapter. *is amazed*

    Of course, the fact that his parents are separated cannot help with his low self-esteem just like the fact that he thinks himself an aberration isn't doing wonders for him either.

    I think I like the idea that Feanaro is the one who has chosen Erestor, rather than Erestor being the one who decided to seek out change and become the student of his childhood/youth hero. I'm fascinated by the idea that Feanaro might have not only been attracted to the shy, insecure young scholar, but also drawn to him by the many similarities that their lives present. Of course, the thought of predatory Feanaro is also bloody hot! *fans self*
    • You have built this character such a back-story to support what we see of him in the each chapter.

      Thank you! :) Well, you know me: I try to find a reason behind everything. And if one takes the fanon idea of Eressetor as a geek and adds that he might be considerably insecure, I wonder, "Why? What about his life, his outlook, and his past have made him that way?" Then, of course, I had to ask why Feanaro would be interested in him, and having his parents separated (and rather tepid towards him) seems to explain both. :)

      Of course, the fact that his parents are separated cannot help with his low self-esteem just like the fact that he thinks himself an aberration isn't doing wonders for him either.

      I see it as starting with the second and being worsened by the first. His parents' reaction--both of them, but especially his father--after his "trouble" makes him question whether he is an acceptable person, I believe. Also, despite the fact that he is striving hard, he has yet to be the best at anything, and I think he feels a disappointment in that as well.

      (In always being second-best, he takes after his father, though. I never come right out and say it, but I hope to convey that Eressetor's father is not that great of an architect. He mostly gets ahead through kissing ass, and Eressetor is not enough of an extrovert for that. Except maybe Feanaro's.... >:^D)

      I think I like the idea that Feanaro is the one who has chosen Erestor, rather than Erestor being the one who decided to seek out change and become the student of his childhood/youth hero.

      Yes, I think it's safe to say that even in exile, Feanaro has the pick of the litter when it comes to apprentices! Ironically, if Feanaro is to be believed, he brought Eressetor in part to understand how he might rekindle his love with Nerdanel...and he gets love all right! :^D
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