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Medium Dawn Felagund of the Fountain

"The Tapestries"--Chapter One

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.

"The Tapestries"--Chapter One

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feanorians
Back when I wrote "Constellation" for tarion_anarore, my dear friend Jenni made her birthday gift request based on the final scene in that story that takes place in Middle-earth. As anyone who reads even a bit of my fanfic knows, I don't write a whole lot in Middle-earth at the moment; I am slowly working my way through Valinor and to that point. But Jenni issued me a challenge: write a story about the Noldor arriving in Beleriand. And since Jenni is one of my dearest online friends, I could hardly turn down her request.

But this was a challenge for one major reason: Much of what happens later in my epic is a secret from everyone but me; even Bobby does not know. But to go into Middle-earth now would reveal these things and spoil later stories. So I was left with the option to 1) spoil later stories and to heck with the consequences, 2) invent a new verse for this story, or 3) find some creative way around my conundrum.

I opted for the third, choosing to write this story from a PoV that is probably a bit unexpected. But it allows me to look at the Noldorin arrival in Middle-earth without becoming hung up on the spoilers.

"The Tapestries" is a multi-chapter novella (though shorter than "By the Light of Roses") that does just what Jenni asked: recaps the Noldorin arrival in Middle-earth. However, it does so from the perspective of Feanaro, looking back at his life from the Halls of Mandos. The story is relatively tame for a Dawn Felagund story--I can even SSP it on lists that do not accept promotions for adult-rated stories--though it does have death (obviously) and some dark themes. There is some violence, but I will issue specific warnings for those chapters when they arrive. Beyond that, the story deals with the mind-brain problem, the malleability of memory, the issue of historical bias in the Sil, and whether Feanor was truly insane. That's a lot for a novella of a modest 18,000 words!

Though this story was finished in the beginning of September, I have waited until now to post it. It is probably my weirdest story to date, and I wasn't too sure that I wanted to share it. Combine death and Feanor, and you're pretty much guaranteed to get something odd out of it. Also, as this month is NaNoWriMo, it gives me something to post, and chapters are short enough to be convenient for those interested to read even if they are participating in NaNo. Per usual, I am eager to hear what people think, so please feel free to offer your thoughts and concrit. My thanks in advance.


The Tapestries
~1~

It’s a funny thing, dying.

It was nothing that I expected to do, charging headlong toward the mountains with my helm slipping down my sweaty forehead, alone except for the crunch of my footfalls in the dirt and the rasp of my breathing. I didn’t even pause to ponder it. I didn’t even pause to be afraid. It just happened. One moment, I was fighting and laughing and certain of my victory—for what was the other option?—and dancing from foot to foot with the starlight darting off of my blade; the next, I was flat upon my back and trying not to hear the certainty in Maitimo’s voice as he spoke to Curufinwë, quietly, so that the others would not hear: “It will not be long now.” The next, I was trying to tell my sons that I loved them, but those were not my words. I did not want to tell them that I loved them, not because I did not but because I didn’t want to give in, make that concession to death.

Of course, death claimed me. When I was among the living, it seemed an easy thing in concept, staving off death, like when I used to eat candy with one hand and hold off one of my children with the other, a hand on his forehead, as he huffed and panted and strove against my hand for that tiny reward. I imagined that if I told it sternly—no—then it would go away like a rebuked child. Not the case. Rather like falling rain will soak one whether he wishes it or not, so death weaseled into my body and squeezed out the life; it leaked from my mouth and nose and pores, it stunk. It hurt too, and I hadn’t expected that.

My sons had given up on my wounds. Make him comfortable, I heard one of them say. Carnistir? Always the most perceptive of my children, I wondered if he felt it now, smelled the sharp stink of life like ozone leaking from my pores. They took turns, holding my hand. They used to hold my hand when they were small; they used to hide behind my legs when strangers approached, like I was significant enough to protect them. They’d been weaned of that habit long ago, when I’d taken them to the forge with me for the first time, when they’d been trusted with a colt of their own to train, when they’d first tasted freedom and disappointment, they’d grown out of holding my hand. Even the little ones, the twins, whom I wished small enough to curl in my lap forever; one day, and they’d been running on the path before me, long legs already lost the chubby roundness of babyhood, like two little whips of fire who no longer needed to hold my hand.

Maitimo, sweet and organized Maitimo, gave each of them a moment alone with me. None of them said much. Tyelkormo—who despite his vociferous malevolence remained the most naïve of my sons, caught somehow eternally in the startled blushes of adolescence—cried a little. Curufinwë spoke heartfelt sentiments as a father should expect from his favored son but they sounded like he was reading from a book, words thick and saccharine upon his tongue. Macalaurë said little but gazed into space, like he didn’t want to look at me like this; I wanted him to sing to me but didn’t know how to ask, and eventually his hand left mine, and he was gone from my side. The twins came and Telvo tried to tell me a joke and Pityo shouted at him, and Telvo whirled upon him. “What? Maybe if he smiles, he’ll get better!” and Pityo replied, “You’re a fool!” and those were the last words I would hear from my youngest sons for a long time. All of time?

Maitimo came next-to-last and admitted that he was frightened to be King without me—as though he would have ever been King with me—but that had ceased to concern me. The plights of the Noldor were already behind me. Death has that power: to dim what once seemed of such great consequence. He did not stay long because Carnistir had yet to speak to me and was stepping from foot to foot like a nervous colt or a child that has to use the lavatory.

Carnistir knelt beside me, my dark son, the one to whom I was least close in life. “Hugging Carnistir is like hugging a cactus,” Tyelkormo used to joke, earning a fist in the ribs from his dark brother. More like an eel, both treacherous and shy, darting out of sight as soon as he came under my notice, wriggling from my attempts to love him like I loved his brothers. Now, I lifted my arm and touched his shoulder like we were friends; he caught my hand and folded it on my chest. “I’ll see you soon,” he whispered. “We all will.”

And…I died.

It seemed like it should have been more dramatic, but it was like the ending of a road: One moment, you’re walking along and concerned with the pending rain and the blister on your toe, the next, the road is gone and you are standing someplace strange, amid knee-high weeds and rugged rocks yet to be crushed beneath the boots of civilization. It feels like it should come with a warning or at least a bright flag, but of course, it doesn’t because no one expects it to end. It was designed with a destination in mind. It just hasn’t reached it—my life or the road.

What had been my destination? Married, seven sons, a lifetime of accomplishment, two exiles, the deaths of two parents, forging a life in a new land—then it all ended. Just like that.

I thought, Oh. I felt rather disappointed. I’d expected maybe lightning or a falling star or at least torrents of tears from my seven sons, who were sitting around morose and silent and dry-eyed.

Then came the pain. Like I said, that I didn’t expect.

It wasn’t anything bodily for I had no body to hurt any longer. It was lying upon the ground, rather uncomfortable-looking despite my sons’ best attempts to do differently. The pain came not in my body but in the severing of my spirit from it. I was reminded of being torn in half, of the pictures in the books of torture methods collected by historians from Angband. The Elves stretched upon a frame, each limb with its own manacle attached to a series of cranks and pulleys. I would trace them with my finger, figure how they hooked together, the logic of it. Logic calms a writhing stomach if nothing else does. I considered the chains so that I didn’t have to consider the more delicate web of nerves beneath the skin of the victims, so that I didn’t have to consider the effects on that. All of the chains and pulleys culminated in a single crank that when turned tore the body of the victim in opposite directions, effectively ripping them in twain with little effort from their tormentors.

I imagine the sundering of body and spirit to be something like that, only the pain is not concentrated in cord and bone and flesh but pervades, as though every bit of my being was being shredded bit by bit. It is a bloodless, secret pain. If I had a throat to scream, I would have. To the Void with pride, that hurt. My spirit was being drawn from my body in a pale thread, coming through my skin. The light was going out of my eyes. If it didn’t hurt so badly, I might have been interested to watch this.

Then: it was done.

Nerdanel used to claim not to remember the pain of childbirth. Grabbing at me in our bed at night, I would laugh, How quickly you forget! And she would answer, What is there to remember? pressing her lips to mine; grinding our hips together. All of the screaming, the agony, the curses lobbed in my direction for the better part of a day: forgotten. I’d wondered if she was mad.

But as quickly as my spirit and body were separated, the pain ended, and I forgot it. Even the memory was dissipating upon the wind. As I was doing, I realized.

A strong wind was blowing into the west. I looked down at my children for the last time. Only Carnistir was looking up, right at me, as though the glittering spiritual stuff that was being shredded on the wind was something that he could see. Nonsense.

He lifted his hand at his hip and wiggled his fingers. He used to wave goodbye to me like that when he was very small, not wanting to draw attention to himself with much waving about of arms, as his brothers were wont to do.

Then—


  • *squee* Feanaro! My gosh, Dawn, I think you just made me fall in love with him all over again.

    I did not want to tell them that I loved them, not because I did not but because I didn’t want to give in, make that concession to death.

    Ooh, you're gettting in a take on this too? If I remember right, it's a case often used by people who try to claim that Feany was pure evol. "He died and the last thing he said to his kids was to make them keep that oath!" Trust you to turn it on its head as usual. :P

    Even the little ones, the twins, whom I wished small enough to curl in my lap forever; one day, and they’d been running on the path before me, long legs already lost the chubby roundness of babyhood, like two little whips of fire who no longer needed to hold my hand.

    *bawls* *cuddles Feany*

    those were the last words I would hear from my youngest sons for a long time. All of time?

    *cuddles Feany some more* Well, if the Valar keep you there for all of time, they'll have some rather upset fangirls knocking on their doors. And Feanaro saying that he might have been interested to watch his own death is rather... rather him.

    Methinks I found a typo: pressing her lips to mind ought to be "mine".

    *waits anxiously for the next chapter*
    • *squee* Feanaro! My gosh, Dawn, I think you just made me fall in love with him all over again.

      Not that I believe this to be all that difficult.... ;)

      This was an ambitious story for me because my Feanor muse has always been elusive and difficult. Strangely, he was eager to sit down and chat for this one, and after I slashed him in BtLoR too! He's a weird guy.

      If I remember right, it's a case often used by people who try to claim that Feany was pure evol. "He died and the last thing he said to his kids was to make them keep that oath!" Trust you to turn it on its head as usual. :P

      Oh my, am I getting a reputation? :^P Hey, I call it "Dawn Felagund's School of Twisted Canon" for a reason!

      Honestly, though, I've always wondered how anyone even knew this. If Pengolodh wrote this part, he wasn't even born and certainly wasn't there. Likely, the only eight people there were Feanor and his sons. I can't imagine that others who may have been with them would have hung around, eavesdropping over shoulders. And would the Feanorions have eagerly shared their father's last words to them? I've always strongly suspected that this was a little inventiveness on Pengolodh's part.

      Even if not...well, the story says why Feanor may have reminded them about their oath rather than making so final a statement as "I love you." ;)

      And Feanaro saying that he might have been interested to watch his own death is rather... rather him.

      Hehe...ever curious, that one is! :^D

      Thanks for noting the typo! I'm off to fix it as soon as I post this.

      If you'll be away for school and would prefer me to email you the whole thing, just let me know. ;)
  • *sniff*

    I could not resist the pull of reading something from Feanaro's POV, especially since you have written it, despite the fact that the story speaks about... his death. My mind always goes blank at that point in the Silm. And gingerly skips it.

    But what you've done with Feanaro is amazing. Even more so because he sound so much like my Feanaro. He talks like my muse... And I'm so not kidding. I was so surprised by this, in a pleasant way, of course.

    I love the way you make him deal with the fact that he is dying in a sort of detached way. Like he is watching himself with cool interest and telling us about what he sees with some sort of ironic amusement.

    Needless to say that I am captivated by this story and I'm so curious to see where you take things, even without disclosing your ideas of what happens in Beleriand, in AMC verse. Always, it is wonderful to read something of yours and most of all something of and about Feanaro.

    Many thanks for sharing and lots of hugs.

    “I’ll see you soon,” he whispered. “We all will.”

    And…I died.


    This made me blink at the screed and I read the words over and over again...
    • That's so cool--though not too surprising--that my Feanor sounds a lot like yours. :) I feel like things from his PoV are some of my best...and some of the most difficult. I felt a little crazy for taking on an entire novella from his PoV, but a story like this: trust me, it could only be written by Feanaro. He has a very distinctive voice and outlook to me. He is very curious, even about his own death. This makes me look at his world--and mine--a little bit differently. I think this is why I love first-person PoV so much. :)

      Needless to say that I am captivated by this story and I'm so curious to see where you take things, even without disclosing your ideas of what happens in Beleriand, in AMC verse.

      The story is very odd, perhaps my oddest. And I've written some odd things so.... ;) But it deals mostly with perception and the ability of individuals to revise everything from history right down to memory, to incorporate biases to where they come to believe their own lies. As a psych-geek, this idea has always fascinated me.

      Thank you for reading and for your encouragement, Alina! *hugs*
  • Then—

    Then... Dawn! Get back here, you can't leave it like that!!!! Just when I got sucked into Feanor's thoughts... *mutter*

    As for pain at childbirth: it's really different frommother to mother and what exactly there is to remember. Contractions and such... yes, those I almost forgot, but the final phase not. I think that also depends on what scars and wounds you got during that ... okay enough information.

    I thought, Oh. I felt rather disappointed. I’d expected maybe lightning or a falling star or at least torrents of tears from my seven sons, who were sitting around morose and silent and dry-eyed.

    This is so beautifully written: in death everyone is equal, so no extra shiney things for him.

    So now Dawn *taps her feet*

    I do have to say, if you keep posting this every Friday... it give me that same good ol'Friday feeling again. Feet up: reading a new chapter of your work!
    • Then... Dawn! Get back here, you can't leave it like that!!!!

      *evil grin*

      Oh, I won't. I'll carry on...next Friday! :^P

      As for pain at childbirth: it's really different frommother to mother and what exactly there is to remember.

      Nerdanel's story fits with what my mom used to tell my sister and me when--being ever-curious--we would ask why she had had Sharon if having babies hurt so much and she'd already had me. She said that it did hurt...but she forgot it once we were born. Even I forget how much pain hurts, once it's gone. Maybe it's a Felagund family thing. :^P That's also part of the reason why I've yet to have my hip looked at, despite waking up twice in so much pain that I could not walk. But two days later, it was all gone...and I forgot.

      As for scar and wounds.... *hides* ;^D You're talking to someone who nearly blacked out once after cutting her finger on a banana knife while cutting cold chicken at The Piece!

      I do have to say, if you keep posting this every Friday... it give me that same good ol'Friday feeling again. Feet up: reading a new chapter of your work!

      Awww...thank you! I love Posting Fridays. It gives me something to look forward to as well (and the whole weekend to give proper answers to comments!)
  • Squee! Another DFSF (Dawn Felagund Silmarillion Fanfic) to read! :D I like it so far... though now I keep giggling and thinking "Carnistir sees dead people!" in a whispery voice. ;)

    Can't wait for the next installment!
    • *giggles* If AMC ever gets made into a movie, maybe I can get young Haley Joel Osmond (I probably mangled that spelling!) to play young Caranthir. :^P

      I think it's cool that I'm prolific to the point of having an abbreviation! Though, sadly, I don't have any stories waiting to be posted after this, and since I'll be working on the prequel novel to AMC after I finish the NaNo project, I won't be posting any fanfic for a while. :( Though I will hopefully be posting the NaNo little bits of a time, for those interested in slightly effed-up Dawn Felagund fantasy fic!
  • (Anonymous)
    This is Angelica
    What a wonderful surprise, to find a new story! Something else to look forward to on Fridays!!
    I find your Carnistir almost irresistible. it's easy to like Maitimo or Makalaure (having communication issues with his father right to the end, isn't he?) but Carnistir's last farewell gesture is really moving and very much in character.
    Congratulations
    • Thank you, Angelica! Caranthir is probably my most popular character. I ought to do a survey. Certainly, I get the most requests for stories about him than anyone else; he's also my personal favorite to write.

      I'm glad that this scene worked so well for you. It's one of the most memorable for me in this chapter: Caranthir looking up at the sparkly spirit-stuff while everyone else is looking down at Feanor. I didn't want him to dominate this story--he has a tendency to do this--but I couldn't resist. I love him far too much. :)
  • Looks like Fëanor has just encountered the only experience that could possibly tame him. He seems more than a bit shell-shocked; he doesn't seem to realize how he got killed, just that he was running one minute and flat on his back politely slipping away the next. Considering what probably did happen to him, this is just as well. I like his bewilderment at watching his sons all line up to say goodbye. It must drive home to him the imminence of his death, without giving him a chance to comprehend fully what that means.
    • He won't be tamed for long, I suspect. ;)

      I imagine his reaction kind of like the first time I sprayed Alex with water for biting my foot. Jump back, big sad eyes, and this look like, "WTF was that?" 8^(
  • Dawn, dear, this is where we cease being friends.

    I mean, Then—? Then??? *takes up whiny, close to hysteric, tone*

    That easily the most evol cliffhanger I've seen EVER.

    Apart from that it's more than wonderful to find another Silmfic from you and I'll be eagerly expecting next friday. Wheeee!!

    ;-P
    • *evol grin*

      Worst cliffhanger? Yay me!

      Hey, since I take so long to answer my comments, next week is here, and you need wait in suspense no longer. ;)
  • It just hasn’t reached it—my life or the road. *snip* I thought, Oh.

    Maybe it's just me, but a few bits in this section seemed a bit rocky, though the rest of the chapter was quite smooth. I can't really put my finger on it, but I had to read it twice, and the last part still made me cock my head at the screen a bit. I can't quite put my finger on it.

    Overall though, I like it. Though it's a tad...well, not quite depressing...for a first-thing-in-the-morning read!

    *Steals Carnistir and runs away*
  • Ok, I was bad and read this instead of working on my uni stuff or my NaNo.

    *sniffles*
    It's beautiful as always, and damnit, you made me cry again! (in a good way, though.)
    As usual, I'm incapable of writing anything insightful, so I'll just leave it at that and try to get some stuff done.

    But yay! It's lovely to have a new story by you to look forward to each week ^____^
    • Thank you! :) *hugs*

      *proffers tissues*

      I swear, I don't set out to push my readers' buttons. Alas, it seems that I do. Unless you all have a conditioned response: Dawn story - *wubble* We should do a study. ;)
  • Hi, I've been lurking for a while and I've recently been teetering on the brink of making the leap out of lurkerdom. When you posted this, I just had to comment on it.

    I love the way that you captured Feanor's astonishment at his death. He is such a vital character that after reading this I can't imagine him reacting in any other way than the one you have described. And then the reaction of each of his sons were so different and so painfully real.

    I'd like to friend you if that's ok.
    • That is more than okay! Welcome out of lurkdom. :)

      Thank you for reading this; I have a bit of an...erm...obsession, it seems, with Elven death. So this story--from dead!Feanor's PoV--is just one big indulgence for me.

      The sons of Feanor seem to work themselves into everything that I write. Pushy little guys, those seven. ;) I hope that you enjoy the rest of the story, and I'm off to friend you back!
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