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Medium Dawn Felagund of the Fountain

By the Light of Roses--Chapter Two

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 Two

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Elves Are Cool
Last week, we followed Erestor on his journey to Formenos to serve as the apprentice to the exiled Fëanáro. This week's chapters detail his first meeting and interactions with his new teacher.

Please remember that this story is rated for adults only for reasons of sexuality and mature themes and will contain slash. My thanks to everyone who made last week's Chapter One a success! As usual, all comments are welcomed.

Aaaaand...the network is still down at work. So this was compiled in WordPad and brought home for posting. *shakes fist hard at stoopid State network*


By the Light of Roses
Chapter Two

To Speak of It


I didn’t expect to sleep that night with my stomach twisted in nervous knots as it was, but I did. In fact, as soon as Ambarussa had left me with instructions about when to rise for breakfast, I seemed to barely possess the strength to undress and drop myself onto my bed. I didn’t bother rummaging through my baggage for nightclothes so I slept in my underpants, atop the covers that I was too lazy to turn down.

I awoke an indeterminate time later with a sour-sticky feeling in my mouth, shivering in the unfamiliar cold of early dawn, to a loud rapping at the door answered by running footsteps and laughter. The house—so silent the night before—was alive after all, it seemed. Or it gave the impression of being so, although it rather reminded me of the gardens that Noldor sometimes built with water flowing over rocks in an imitation of the rivers and streams beside which our ancestors had awakened. Really, though, the water went nowhere but cycled endless, a clever mimicry of that which had been left behind but not forgotten.

I always believed, though, that it must sound different: as if it must be apparent that the water wasn’t free at all, that it wouldn’t sing with joy as it had in the Outer Lands.

So was the house: like a portrait of a man painted over with the likeness of a woman but the original shape of the paints remains, and a person with enough determination can pick away the shell and reveal what lies beneath. So that laughter was painted over the silence; even as it existed, it was running off the shining nothingness as though it had never been, and silence remained.

I dressed hurriedly in robes that I have always liked to believe dignified: dignified, perhaps, because they were just a bit too heavy for the pressing heat of Valinor, of a material a bit too scratchy to be comfortable, and just a bit too tight at the throat. Dignity was found in the ability to withstand pain and irritation without complaint, indeed, with an air of liking to suffer. I never shifted in my robes; never scratched—although they left my skin peppered with red welts—never tugged at the collar or pushed at the sleeves. I was dignified.

As such, I went down to the dining room where Ambarussa had told me that Prince Fëanáro and his sons and his sons’ wives met for breakfast together each day, if only for a minute. Those were his exact words—“if only for a minute”—his face cracking into a grin like I would laugh too if only I knew about what to be amused. I hadn’t the faintest notion of where to find the dining room, but I let my suspicions guide me. Reading his books had revealed that I shared many of the same thought processes as Fëanáro; I tried to follow them now, imagining myself the architect and asking how I would do it. I came to a fork in the hallway: but of course Fëanáro would have his dining room to the south, where the meager Light of the Trees could adorn his table.

So I stepped to the right and found myself—a mere half-minute later—walking into the purposeful chaos of the dining room. The table was not as splendid as I expected—a rough-hewn thing with benches instead of individual chairs—but as I expected, there was a tall window at the southerly end of the room, letting the pale gold light of morning gild the room.

It seemed that nearly everyone was there: I counted six males and two females and one baby. But no Fëanáro—and one of the sons, it seemed, was missing.

Ambarussa sat at the bench with his back to me. Feeling suddenly self-conscious—for they wore the casual tunics and breeches of craftsmen and hunters, and half of them were barefoot or wearing just socks (some with holes in the toes)—and a bit silly in my dignified robes, I walked into the room and carefully stepped over the bench to sit down beside Ambarussa, the only one of them I knew. I had to hitch my robes up around my knees to accomplish the task, baring skinny white legs smattered with a few black, wiry hairs. The son seated across from me—Macalaurë, I supposed, judging by the silvery-haired woman at his arm, the “half-Telerin” wife that was often discussed at tables around Tirion—watched me with some interest and a small smile on his lips. “Hello,” I said to Ambarussa beside me, and he turned and stared at me with astounded silence.

And I knew that I had the wrong twin.

He had identical pale skin with identical freckles and identical rust-red hair…but his eyes were darker, the color of flint, and his face was hard as he let his gaze slide from my face to my robes and back to my face again. “Hello,” he replied in a cold, measured tone, and with that single word, the room seemed to fall silent. In his eyes, I heard, Answer for yourself.

“I—I am Eressetor, your father’s new student.”

At the end of the table, at Prince Fëanáro’s right hand, sat Maitimo with his eyes keen upon me. I knew him from seeing him at festivals—splendid, beautiful, even at a distance—and knew him renowned for his dignity, one of King Finwë’s most trusted advisors before the exile. But his hair was unkempt and faint bruises stained the tender skin beneath his eyes. He twisted his mouth into an ugly smile. I looked away. “Welcome to our table”—and a long pause before saying my name, as though—that quickly—he’d forgotten—“Eressetor.”

I nodded and managed to thank him, glancing around the table at the other brothers watching me. I knew golden Tyelkormo as much for his hair as for his bright eyes appraising me—his palms planted flat on the table as though ready to launch him to his feet for a fight—and waiting for reason to challenge me. Beside him was the dark brother—Carnistir, I assumed—whose antipathy was as flat and unremarkable as a stretch of stone, unrelenting, barely eroded even by the long wear of years. And Curufinwë, so like the father after whom he was named, who was watching me with guarded interest. At his arm was a woman with weary eyes and a face that might never have smiled, nursing a baby at her breast, right at the table!

But when my eyes happened upon her, some sense of propriety must have returned, for she arranged the baby’s blanket to better cover herself and would not meet my eyes. Not that I left my gaze long upon her, for Curufinwë wore a short-sleeved tunic and there was no hiding the strength of his arms used to wielding a sledge in his father’s workshop, and I imagined how quickly my face might replace the slip of metal shaped to his will if I stared overlong at his wife.

And Macalaurë, of course, across from me, the only one who was smiling with any sincerity, although his smile was cynical, as though expecting entertainment even as he suspected that he would be forced to parody his delight. Vingarië, at his arm, was a woman of some beauty, although eroded, the way that statues will diminish if let too long faring against the wind.

Two things happened then: through the dining room door breezed Prince Fëanáro as another door—until then, unnoticed by me—swung open with such force that it struck the wall with a bang, giving the momentary, disorienting impression that Fëanáro’s presence had been announced by a sharp sound, much as lightning is accompanied by thunder when the storm is directly overhead.

Through the other door came Ambarussa—the one I had met last night—with his hair fastened against his neck and his face wearied and annoyed, carrying a tray of laden with dishes that he sat with some force on the table. “Well, Telvo, aren’t you going to set them out?” asked Tyelkormo with a laugh—echoed by Carnistir beside him—and earning a stormy glance from Ambarussa.

“Now, now,” said Fëanáro, coming to his seat at the head of the table. He was dressed in his forging clothes—and they looked none too clean. His tunic might have once been white but was since yellowed by sweat and grime, tied crookedly with a frayed piece of what appeared to be yarn (purple, nonetheless, though blackened slightly by soot) and leaving a triangle of his chest bare. His hair was tied back with a tattered rag; it was raked straight back from his face and in clumpy ridges as though hastily combed with just his fingers. Even as he helped Ambarussa—“Telvo,” I would learn he was called by his brothers—distribute the dishes on the tray, I saw that his nails were blackened, his hands unwashed since—possibly—the day before.

But my heart jerked in my chest at the sight of him, as though momentarily unmoored from the flesh that constrained it, becoming the emotional organ of proverbial wisdom, and I thought, You can fool no one! For he was beautiful, beautiful in a way that could be clad in rags and smeared with filth and still make me draw a sharp breath as my mind—ever called “overactive” by even my illustrious parents—emptied of words like a sink of water, for how to describe him? All of the metaphors—of tall, strong trees; of the surging sea; of the proud, steadfast mountains—were insufficient, seeming suddenly trite, although I’d used such metaphors in my own writing, translated them from the classic poems penned in long-lost languages derived in a distant land. The beauty of the stars, giving light to the night, stretching from the past and into the future on a continuum that recognized not even the bounds of time: It was not enough. The Mingled Light of the Trees, even, which gives pause to distraction and discontent as though—for that single hour—they fail to exist, it cannot compare. For when my eyes happened upon him, I forgot that I had ever been unhappy.

Dishes came to me, to be passed to the wife of Curufinwë to my right, but my hands lay impotent and useless upon the tabletop, my wide eyes upon him. And he saw me then, those bright eyes turned to me and knew me as they had known me long ago and deemed me worthy of pause, of rescuing. “Ah, Eressetor,” he said and—with a wry smile—“I presume. I am pleased to see that you made it to us.”

As though my presence was worthy of comment but my absence—had I forsaken my agreement to serve him for five years or even died on the road—would have gone unnoticed. Still, I did not care; I heard my name in his voice, I heard him say that he was pleased to see me…pleased! Ambarussa—with a roll of his eyes, I imagine—reached across me to nudge the pile of dishes to Curufinwë’s wife on its way around the table.

But that quickly, it was over: my initiation into the family, the acknowledgement by Fëanáro, who had ceased being my prince so much as my father, not in terms of blood and bone but as my reason for existence, the fierce pounding of my blood that was loyalty, something I’d known only in the sense of irony, muttering, “Yes, father. My life—unhesitatingly—for you.” And the six brothers pondered me anew, with careful scrutiny. Except for Telvo: having gone back into the kitchen, he returned with a tray laden with food—slices of ham, bowls of fruit, eggs, hunks of cheese—and when he glanced at me, noting perhaps the intense silence of his brothers, a smile flickered upon his lips and—as the night prior—he winked.

Fëanáro had taken his seat, and as the bowls of food were passed down the table, he caught Telvo with an arm around his waist and pulled him close, father’s head against the chest of his son, ear over his heart, as though wanting to hear how the rhythm of the life he’d created matched that of his own. “Telvo, this looks wonderful,” he said, and Telvo clutched his father’s head in his arms, laughter bubbled upon his lips.

“It only took me hours.”

“Well, you shall have the day off then?”

Beside me, the other twin shifted.

“That shall suffice, I believe,” said Telvo, and Fëanáro pinched his belly, and Telvo yelped with laughter, swatting his father’s hand away and dashing back to the kitchen—hair tossed in a scarlet spray as he went—as fleeting as an apparition, the existence of which one doubts as soon as it has disappeared.

Beside me, Ambarussa leaped suddenly to his feet, upsetting a glass of water that had to be corralled by many napkins and the combined efforts of Tyelkormo and Carnistir. But Ambarussa seemed not to notice. I saw Fëanáro’s face turn to his next-to-youngest son; I saw a mixture of hurt and anger there, for the briefest moment, before his eyebrows lifted and he asked in a voice so icy that it burned, “And where are you going?”

“You said we had to stay together for ‘one minute.’ It’s been that long.”

With the force of glass breaking upon stone, so Ambarussa’s composure shattered then, and he pounded from the room and—bare moments later—the front door slammed loudly enough that the window that faced south and admitted the tender light of morning rattled in reproach.
~oOo~
I grew gradually accustomed to the way of things in Formenos in the weeks that followed, and I taught myself not to flinch—something so involuntary as moving from a source of pain—at the beauty of Fëanáro. I taught myself to speak to him with dignity and to answer his questions and to sit—shoulder pressing shoulder—beside him in the library when he explained to me my assignments. As a teacher, he was distracted, drifting from a topic to stare out the window with an expression of profound concentration upon his face, only to return to it minutes later as though he’d never forsaken it. Other days, he did not appear for lessons at all, but I would hear the bright sounds of hammerfalls in the forge, and I taught myself. More often than not, I taught myself, reading the books that he’d assigned and writing treatises on a variety of topics. My back, my hand, my eyes—my very mind—ached at the end of the day from my labors, but I felt the lust of a man called to the drink: a single sip only opened a thirst so deep that it could never be filled, and Maitimo would have to come into the library and nudge me: “Eressetor, it is an indecent hour and I am extinguishing the lamps.”

Still, sometimes, the hammerfalls came from the forge long into the night.

At times, Fëanáro would summon me to recite for him what I’d learned, naming for me a topic and telling me to “speak of it,” so casually, with nonchalant wave of his fingers as though this was a matter of course for a scholar such as myself to busy himself with blathering as might a politician.

I wanted to argue that I was here to learn of books—to write them, even—not to speak wantonly and argue as might a small child. But, self-conscious and awkward at first, I did his bidding with a tongue thick as though with inebriation, moving only with great effort, each word wrung from my thoughts. He would sit, busy at task—writing upon a parchment or feeding his grandson from a bottle or tinkering with a broken necklace—and I would become convinced that he was not listening. From the depths of my mind, frail connections between ideas were made and became significant in the effort to find something to say to fill the silence; I heard my words tumbling into the space between us with a sense of incredulity that I—Eressetor, who had wished himself stricken dumb as a child so to never have to humiliate himself again with the efforts of speech—was rambling at such eloquent length; but of course, it was like I was talking to myself only, and I fell into the careless comfort as though with my private thoughts, letting my mind dance from one idea to another that I might have entertained only in the secret fantasies to which I was prone in the uninhibited night: things of which I was told never to speak, never to think, even, for that was just as wicked. But there they were, as dazzling upon the silence as the oases reported deep in the deserts of Avathar, and I could not then recall them, not that Fëanáro gave any indication that he would wish it so.

So, truly, he must not have been listening.

Until, from the depths of distraction, a question would suddenly fall from his lips and interrupt my words like a cracking whip loudly splitting the air, and—alarmed—I would realize that he’d been listening all along.

Or he’d challenge me, and meekly, my words would trickle to a standstill, momentum lost, while he pondered me with eyebrows raised in expectation. But I’d been frightened into submission, stammering apologies for my foolish, insolent talk.

He’d dismiss me then with a wave of his hand, returning to his task with a focused single-mindedness, as though I’d never been, and I would walk from his study, face burning and a sudden, keen awareness of the existence of my body in space, of the awkwardness of my long limbs and bowing spine. Reflecting upon my shame, later, in the safety of my chambers, I would recall less of what I’d said and more of the faltering apology at the end of it, a feeling like a roaring cataract being reduced suddenly to a mere trickle…then nothing.

And one word came to mind, abashedly, slithering into my thoughts: impotent.

But still, Fëanáro called me forth to “speak,” as he said, with similar disastrous results each time. It was a stifling summer day, the air laden with moisture and miserably heavy, that he interrupted my distracted reading in the library to have me follow him to his study. Tyelperinquar, his grandson, sat astride his hip, and he talked to the baby but would not acknowledge me, though I trailed him so closely that at times I trod upon his heels. Still, he said nothing. Tyelperinquar folded his hand around a lock of Fëanáro’s hair and yanked; given my misery in my heavy robes in the heat (which he never noticed) and at being interrupted at my work, I thought that I might like to do the same.

Tyelperinquar was released to play upon the floor and Fëanáro pulled two chairs around to face each other, like sparring opponents. I felt that there should be a desk between us, or maybe that I should stand like a pupil before a teacher, but he always had us sit in equally uncomfortable chairs, although his body slouched, his legs sprawled and his fingers rising to restlessly twine through his hair, as though it was not in his nature to feel uncomfortable anywhere.

“You have been reading the Valaquenta, no?” he said.

“I have.”

“Then I wish for you to speak on the Valar.” He lunged from the chair to stop Tyelperinquar from chewing a wooden ornament he’d found under the desk, lifting the squalling child and looking upon me with eyebrows raised at my stunned silence: “Well?”

Obediently, I began, although my voice faltered as I spoke, listing the fourteen Valar first: the multiple names of each and their etymologies and evolution and the domains over which each Vala provided. I spoke overlong on the many names of Varda and the theories on the significance of her special reverence by the Eldar, but Fëanáro remained unimpressed and bounced Tyelperinquar on his knee without sparing me a glance, clapping the child’s hands together until I realized that my voice had developed an annoying, dull cadence, and blushing, I stammered while Tyelperinquar laughed.

Varda having been exhausted, I moved next to Oromë and spoke of his doings in the Outer Lands and his discovery of the Elves at Cuivienen, an event far enough removed in history, I hoped, to be a safe topic of conversation. The week prior, I had memorized the three speeches of Ingwë made to Oromë on behalf of the Quendi, and I began to recite the first in a tone as ponderous and blandly undulating as the heat-laden air.

Fëanáro looked up sharply then. “Did I ask for Ingwë’s words?”

Faltering: “Nay, but you asked for discourse on the Valar and the three speeches of Ingwë—”

“Are the three speeches of Ingwë,” he interrupted, “and I would have asked Ingwë if I’d wanted to hear them.”

In the silence that fell between us, Tyelperinquar whimpered and squirmed in Fëanáro’s arms, and I saw that Fëanáro had him clenched tightly in both arms and appeared ignorant to the child’s discomfort. “Tyelperinquar—” I began.

I will mind Tyelperinquar,” he snapped, and the child screamed. “I want you to tell me your thoughts and theories on the Valar. Not to recite books and speeches—for I could read that myself if I had time to waste on such frivolity—but your own thoughts. Surely you do possess your own thoughts, Eressetor?” And he looked at me then, to watch my countenance clench at the shock and hurt of such an unexpected wounding; he watched and his eyes were very bright, as though my pain had kindled the fire within him, made him hungry to burn.

“Of course I do,” I said, and it was I who looked away then. It is rude for an apprentice to look away from his teacher, but I doubt Fëanáro even noticed. Not that he cared much for etiquette and custom anyway.

“Then let’s hear them.”

My voice shook as I spoke of Oromë and the accounts of the Three Kings of the Eldar about Valinor and the persuasion of the Eldar to follow them across the sea. I knew what I had been taught but I knew also what Fëanáro believed, for I had read transcripts of his speeches on the subject. Such were the speeches that helped to pave the way to his arrival here, in Formenos, in exile. Such were the speeches where, once, his own wife Nerdanel rose up and in a voice that quavered as with unshed tears—they said—renounced his words and him with them, and they were estranged.

Tyelperinquar slipped from Fëanáro’s arms and ran, wailing, from the room.

But Fëanáro did not pursue him. His bright eyes, his intense stare, for once was mine alone, and I lifted my voice to speak of the Outer Lands and what we had left behind, but I left out the bits about the wisdom we’d learned from the Valar, and the arts, and the skills. I left out the bit about how I had always counted myself as a patron of Manwë before I’d discovered the words of Fëanáro, how I still treasured the old texts waxing about divinity and righteousness and wisdom, and Fëanáro slammed his fist into his own knee.

“If I wished to hear my own words spun into new and inferior constructions than I would have imbibed a bottle of wine and held conversation with myself!”

And it happened then: a breaking of my composure as unexpected and effortless as a careless foot snapping a twig in two. I would discover later that my fingernails had cut into my own palms and left crescents filled with my own blood; I would discover that I’d worried the cloth of my robes into disarray and that they would have to be pressed with a hot iron to rid them of it. But then, I knew only my voice—high and wavering but shouting nonetheless—rising to overtake his: “And what would you have me say? About those who chose to exile you? You would have me sing their praises ere the stars? And chance your wrath?”

“I would have you say, Eressetor, what you think, without concern for the consequences.”

And so I did: I told him that I had always counted the Valar as a blessing to the Noldor for the knowledge and wisdom they imparted to us, how—without them—we would still be lightless savages mastering the flame, how the land to which he gave his praises was the dominion of Yavanna, and so when he praised it, he praised her. How the precious things that he had wrought, even, would be naught without the teachings of Aulë and Manwë. And he laughed and said, “Then you think that those things would not have been ours to discover? You think that we are naught without our predecessors? Mayhap you believe that what you have learned of books would not have been your own to discover, given the proper motivation.”

“I believe no such thing,” I told him, “but I credit those scholars whose work has formed the foundation for mine, without whom I would still be languishing in relative ignorance.”

“And for all the ages of Arda through which we shall live, you believe that haste precludes the pride and meaning that one feels for discovering something for himself?”

Back and forth we went, like this, our words ringing against each other with the bright sound of swords meeting in battle, and I believed that I hated him then—hated him—for his cunning, acerbic rhetoric that left me fumbling for retort, my heart pounding and sweat soaking my robes while he leaned forward, elbows upon knees, and tore into the debate with the rabid glee of a beast devouring its prey.

I would like to say that I won, but I was left fumbling—my face burning with shame—and tears blurring my vision, and a thick silence fell between us. Fëanáro grinned then, at his triumph. “I knew you had it,” he said. “I knew that there was passion in you.”
  • Is chapter one back here somewhere? How did I miss that one. I am a Feanor-fan! I am going to have to scour your LJ for the first chapter. Hoo!
    • No worries, I tag everything; I am one of those weird obsessive organizational people. ;) It's under the tag "btlor" or here. :)
  • On the surface it would look like Feanaro, so sure of himself, was making mincemeat out of Eressetor. But the process by which Eressetor is learning to become, by way of learning how to be a good student first, how to become a free thinker, is described in fascinating, absorbing detail.

    Your characterizations are wonderful. There are lots of characters to describe in this chapter and each is unique and colorful in his/her own way. But the two main ones really shine. They are so different now, but one gets the sense that Eressetor will become less of a sycophant and more his own person with the passage of time, and even if he ends up thinking the exact same way as Feanaro, at least it will come about through the process of his own reasoning.

    This is such a fascinating story of one man's journey to discover himself. I can't wait to read the next chapter.
    • But the process by which Eressetor is learning to become, by way of learning how to be a good student first, how to become a free thinker, is described in fascinating, absorbing detail.

      Yay! I'm glad that this worked! It was kind of tough because there was a purported intent--having Erestor recite before Feanaro--and then Feanaro has ulterior motives. Here, it is bringing his student out of his proverbial shell and teaching him that defying even the most frightening of Elves--Feanaro--will not be the death of him. Feanaro has a lot of ulterior motives with Erestor...and no, they're not naughty. Yet. ;)

      But that was part of the fun of writing this story: Having a whole underlying world of which Erestor knows nothing and watching him try to slowly piece things together. This is not usually how I write, so it was kind of fun.

      But then, Erestor is trying to hide things too, so that adds another layer...now you can probably see why a short story ended up a novella!

      They are so different now, but one gets the sense that Eressetor will become less of a sycophant and more his own person with the passage of time

      He certainly will need some courage by the end of the story. Feanaro doesn't know this now, but he is preparing Erestor for more than he intended....

      And that's all I'm saying about it. ;)

      This is such a fascinating story of one man's journey to discover himself. I can't wait to read the next chapter.

      You're one of the few people that I would consider sending the entire unpolished thing....
      • But that was part of the fun of writing this story: Having a whole underlying world of which Erestor knows nothing and watching him try to slowly piece things together. This is not usually how I write, so it was kind of fun.

        That is fun! I love the idea of doing that with a character. I haven't done it yet, but maybe some day. I think it would make you strive to get every aspect of that character's character right.

        He certainly will need some courage by the end of the story. Feanaro doesn't know this now, but he is preparing Erestor for more than he intended....

        Oooohhh! You teased me! You are evol!

        You're one of the few people that I would consider sending the entire unpolished thing....

        Really? Well, now you're going to have to!!!

  • Another chapter... SQUEEEE!!!

    So was the house: like a portrait of a man painted over with the likeness of a woman but the original shape of the paints remains, and a person with enough determination can pick away the shell and reveal what lies beneath. So that laughter was painted over the silence; even as it existed, it was running off the shining nothingness as though it had never been, and silence remained.

    Wow! This was a very poignant description of how Erestor feels the atmosphere in Feanaor's house.

    It was very interesting to follow Erestor during his first meeting of Feanaro's sons, especially since he is not the boldest and most outspoken of persons and he is acutely aware that they receive him with minimal interest and little welcome. Or, at least, that is what he fears most.

    But my heart jerked in my chest at the sight of him, as though momentarily unmoored from the flesh that constrained it, becoming the emotional organ of proverbial wisdom, and I thought, You can fool no one! For he was beautiful, beautiful in a way that could be clad in rags and smeared with filth and still make me draw a sharp breath as my mind—ever called “overactive” by even my illustrious parents—emptied of words like a sink of water, for how to describe him? All of the metaphors—of tall, strong trees; of the surging sea; of the proud, steadfast mountains—were insufficient, seeming suddenly trite, although I’d used such metaphors in my own writing, translated them from the classic poems penned in long-lost languages derived in a distant land. The beauty of the stars, giving light to the night, stretching from the past and into the future on a continuum that recognized not even the bounds of time: It was not enough. The Mingled Light of the Trees, even, which gives pause to distraction and discontent as though—for that single hour—they fail to exist, it cannot compare. For when my eyes happened upon him, I forgot that I had ever been unhappy.

    *sigh* This whole paragraph and Erestor's reaction made me weak in the knees. I placed myself in his shoes and felt the intensity of that moment just as strong. I guess the Feanaro hero worship is obvious in both our cases. At any rate, it was a lovely way to describe the moment from Erestor's POV.

    And it was also the moment to bring out the strangeness about Telvo's relationship with his twin, his brothers and his father, without giving too much away. *winks*

    I tried very hard not to think naughty thoughts about Telvo and Feanaro, reading about their playful closeness and, for the most part, I succeeded. But not always... *grins*

    I love the way Erestor grows to realize that Feanaro is not interested in having a mere student, stuffing his head with tons of more or less random knowledge. I love how he managed to bring Erestor to his patience's end, driving him not only to better himself, but to become bolder and to express himself freely, without censoring himself according to what he perceives are his teacher's expectations.

    I would like to say that I won, but I was left fumbling—my face burning with shame—and tears blurring my vision, and a thick silence fell between us. Fëanáro grinned then, at his triumph. “I knew you had it,” he said. “I knew that there was passion in you.”

    This bit, I believe, says it all much better than I could. That Feanaro had searched for passion in his shy companion, that Erestor came out of his shell and understood it... the sparks between them... it all makes a great build-up for the next chapters and the continuation of this story.
    • Wow! This was a very poignant description of how Erestor feels the atmosphere in Feanaor's house.

      I almost deleted this part. Are you telling me that I should not? :^D

      *sigh* This whole paragraph and Erestor's reaction made me weak in the knees.

      Now this might be one of my favorite parts of the chapter, not to toot my own horn or anything. ;)

      But it's hard to describe intense beauty or intense feeling without becoming melodramatic or too intense. I hope that I managed the balance okay, so thanks for letting me know your appreciation. :)

      And it was also the moment to bring out the strangeness about Telvo's relationship with his twin, his brothers and his father, without giving too much away. *winks*

      *winks back* Yes, hehe. >:^))

      I tried very hard not to think naughty thoughts about Telvo and Feanaro, reading about their playful closeness and, for the most part, I succeeded. But not always... *grins*

      LOL! Hey, you know I'm always open to new interpretations of my stories being written.... >:^D

      That Feanaro had searched for passion in his shy companion, that Erestor came out of his shell and understood it...

      Yes, I think Feanaro would justify his treatment of Erestor as toughening the lad much in the same way that he had been toughened and taught to think independently. Erestor appreciates greatly security and clean, tidy knowledge; by leaving him insecure and not sure what to believe, Feanor is exploiting his fears. Feanor's fears were realized when he lost his mother, then Nerdanel, and when what he believed of the Valar largely turned out true; he is shaping Erestor much in the same way that he was shaped, by forcing him to confront his fears and discover himself still alive.

      He would probably also believe that he has a willing student in Erestor whereas his sons--even Curufinwe--do not want much to do with him in this sense anymore. Maybe Telvo would, but I don't think that he'd subject Telvo to this. Besides, Telvo has already proven himself courageous.

      Ai, I am getting ahead of myself. It's dangerous to have a friend who's read the whole thing because I have the urge to tie stuff into the later chapters that don't technically exist yet.... ;)
  • Fascinating look at the kids (and the grandkid, now). I know that this is sort of an AU to AMC, but it's kind of neat to see how the family has fallen into such disarray without Nerdanel there to smooth things over. Fëanor seems to be extending himself mightily to bring everyone together, but he was never very good at being inclusive. No matter how much he wants his family to be whole, he can never be the people-glue that Nerdanel was, and he's paying for it now. Being a grandfather seems to have mellowed him in some ways, though.

    I'm a little curious as to why Erestor is studying with Fëanor instead of Maitimo. Fëanor's big skill is in craftsmanship, but Erestor is studying philosophy, which is more Maitimo's thing.
    • Fëanor seems to be extending himself mightily to bring everyone together, but he was never very good at being inclusive.

      No, he's certainly not! If anything, he makes too much effort, and that is itself off-putting, like forcing everyone together for "just a minute" for breakfast. Also, he fails to recognize the animosity between certainly of his sons, like between the twins, and how favored treatment of one drives him away from the other, then his other sons in turn. And how that leads for even his somewhat neutral treatment of one to be perceived as favoritism. I wonder where he learned to favor one child over the other from. Hmmmm....

      For all of his gifts as an orator, Feanor is certainly not a people-person!

      I'm a little curious as to why Erestor is studying with Fëanor instead of Maitimo. Fëanor's big skill is in craftsmanship, but Erestor is studying philosophy, which is more Maitimo's thing.

      All in good time, my dear. All in good time. ;)
  • Gods, two chapters and I already think I love this fic. What I also absolutely love is your protrayal of Feanor's family, how everyone of them comes across as unique, and well, also a bit strange. It makes them feel so... real.

    I'll be looking forward to the rest of it! :)
    • *squees* Thank you! This is about when I fell in love with it too. I'd given Alina the original estimate, "It'll be about thirty pages." It ended at...well, one hundred? *hides* :^P

      Characterization and interactions are the most fun for me of anything in writing. So throwing a new guy--Erestor--into the mix already from AMC (as well as doing more with Curufinwe and Terentaule and introducing the twins [and other characters you've yet to meet]) made me alike to the proverbial kid in the candy store!
  • Well, I for one am dying to know more about the twins. Sorry Erestor. (What can I say? I'm a sucker for Amrod & Amras.)

    ...Oh my god, that came out very, very wrong...O.o

    And I just had that fealing Feany was waiting for Erestor to rise to his challenge. He just needed a push. I think that your teacher!Feanor might be similar in some ways to mine.

    One tiny thing: I personally think using "Valaquenta" in that form is rather jarring. It almost gives me the mental image of Erestor sitting with his copy of The Silmarillion, complete with blue-hair Feanor and the 20th century copyright. But that's really small - kind of like how I can find the one tiny dog hair in my food, but still shove the bite into my mouth and eat it anyway.

    I like the interaction between Feany & Telvo. That little scene from Fëanáro had taken his seat to as soon as it has disappeared is like a summary of their family life, where you sometimes glimpse the true relationships that are buried beneath the surface. At least that's how I see it. Anyways, it's cute. And then the mood changes just as quickly. *Might have mentioned this, but reeeeally wants to know more about the twin relation situation* Mad rhyming skillz

    And I am in awe of how you can write something as plain and boring as studying or recitation or breakfast, build definitive characters around it, and make it interesting.

    At least you didn't write the whole thing in 3 hours this time. ;P
    • (What can I say? I'm a sucker for Amrod & Amras.)

      Reeeeally? >;^))

      Don't worry, the twins--especially Telvo--are pretty major characters in this story. Telvo has his own subplot that, in turn, involves Pityo.

      One tiny thing: I personally think using "Valaquenta" in that form is rather jarring.

      Hmmm. Technically, Valaquenta is supposed to be regarded as written by Rumil and given to the world by JRR. That is what I intended in this. Later, you might be pleased to note, that I totally made up the name of the book that Erestor is reading. *hates making up Quenya words and names* :^P

      But that's really small - kind of like how I can find the one tiny dog hair in my food, but still shove the bite into my mouth and eat it anyway.

      Bwah! I remember that! Only it was usually cat hair.

      Sometimes, it was my hair, which was three feet of icky!scary.... o.O

      I like the interaction between Feany & Telvo.

      It's all part of the strangeness that is going on in the family. Erestor eventually develops his own theories about them (which is rather in line with what pervy Alina kept thinking while reading this) but it's more complex than that. Of course. ;)

      And I am in awe of how you can write something as plain and boring as studying or recitation or breakfast, build definitive characters around it, and make it interesting.

      *blushes* Thank you! :) For me, this is where most characterization takes place because people don't tend to act completely like themselves in dramatic situations. I mean, look at Maeglin: You have a guy who was a hero in battle on one hand and betrayed his realm on the other. Then it falls back on how he behaved in daily life to decide what kind of person he really is, which I suspect probably falls somewhere between the two.

      Anyway, daily dramas--meals gone wrong, psychologically battling during an argument--are fun to write! For me anyway. ;)

      At least you didn't write the whole thing in 3 hours this time. ;P

      Hee! No, it took about three months of sporadically working on it to finish it. It was "mentally" written months before that, though lots of unexpected subplots showed their little faces and kept things interesting!
      • Don't worry, the twins--especially Telvo--are pretty major characters in this story.

        Phew! Good thing. The twins really don't get enough screen time. Even I don't have much in my head concerning them or their personalities.

        Technically, Valaquenta is supposed to be regarded as written by Rumil and given to the world by JRR.

        Yeah, and I figured that's why you used it, so I almost didn't say anything. It's just one of those things that I personally wouldn't have written. I probably would have said something like "the accounts of the Valar" or something. (How many times can I use "something" in a sentence?)

        I don't like making up names either. I feel like I can't trust any info I find on Quenya words and word forming, etc.

        Sometimes, it was my hair, which was three feet of icky!scary.... o.O

        Hehe, if it's my hair, I pick it out and discreetly drop in on the floor or something. Luckily, my hair is not as long as yours. ;)

        It's all part of the strangeness that is going on in the family. Erestor eventually develops his own theories about them (which is rather in line with what pervy Alina kept thinking while reading this) but it's more complex than that.

        *SNERK* Strange is probably a good word. And complex. I'll just have to wait to find out more. I can only do so much hypothesizing/theorizing/thinking in one 24 hour period. ;)

        For me, this is where most characterization takes place because people don't tend to act completely like themselves in dramatic situations.

        Oh definitely. But not everyone can make it interesting (like me). Eep, Maeglin. I think he might be even more complex than Feanor. (I just tried to type "Feannoy" about six times...ain't that the truth? :P) Have you a story idea for good ol' Maeglin in mind there? >;)

        At any right, I think you're right. Everyday Stuff is where you can really see a person's "normal" personality.

        I don't think I've written many Daily Dramas, etc...I'm too skerd

        On a totally unrelated note, I was going to take a super hot bath and see if I couldn't write something on real paper. But apparently the stopper thing is broken so the water drains out of the tub no matter what. I am more upset by this than I normal person should be. (Later, I think I will try writing in the hot tub).

        No, it took about three months of sporadically working on it to finish it. It was "mentally" written months before that, though lots of unexpected subplots showed their little faces and kept things interesting!

        Haha, good. Three months is a much better time frame to complete a story. And I love unexpected subplots! Especially when they're part of someone else's story, not crazying up my own. ;)
        • The twins really don't get enough screen time. Even I don't have much in my head concerning them or their personalities.

          This was my first time working with the twins as real characters rather than two identical-looking dudes chillin' in the background or comic figures. It was fun to give them actual personalities.

          Too often, when Tolkien's twins appear in fanfic (and this applies to more than just Ambarussa), they are the Weasley twins with pointy ears. I've never gotten a "prankish" impression off of any of the sets of twins (or possible twins, since no one's really positive about Elrond and Elros, it seems); Ambarussa seems rather sheltered to me.

          Hehe, if it's my hair, I pick it out and discreetly drop in on the floor or something. Luckily, my hair is not as long as yours. ;)

          Hee! With me, it's more like pulling and pulling until my arm's fully stretched, and the hair's still coming.... :^P

          For this reason, I put my hair in a bun, cover it with a scarf, and inspect my clothes before beginning any work with candy!

          (I just tried to type "Feannoy" about six times...ain't that the truth? :P)

          LMAO!! Appropriate, methinks!

          Have you a story idea for good ol' Maeglin in mind there? >;)

          Nah, not yet. I Just Don't Go There. I find the guy fascinating and could probably get as involved with his story as I have with the Feanorians, but I have enough muses to suit me, thank you very much! ;)

          On a totally unrelated note, I was going to take a super hot bath and see if I couldn't write something on real paper. But apparently the stopper thing is broken so the water drains out of the tub no matter what. I am more upset by this than I normal person should be.

          Oh, sounds nice! My only problem with hand-writing stories is that I tend to be too lazy to type them up later. I wrote a story in Ocean City last summer about how Finarfin met Earwen...and it's still moldering in last year's writing notebook. :^/

          But good luck, both with getting the stopper to work and the muses to come to you in the bathtub! >;^))

          And I love unexpected subplots! Especially when they're part of someone else's story, not crazying up my own. ;)

          Oh, I love them in my own! I love when a story takes off in a direction I never expected or resolves itself more cleverly than I could ever have done consciously. "Paper" was that way, and I think that might be one of my more cleverly plotted stories...and it was all on the fly. o.O
          • Too often, when Tolkien's twins appear in fanfic (and this applies to more than just Ambarussa), they are the Weasley twins with pointy ears.

            OMG YES!!! That drives me crazy!! Hell, if I were (for example) Elladan or Elrohir, would I be putting molasses in Glorfindel's hair? Heeeeellll no! I value my @$$, thanks! ;)

            Besides, like you mentioned, A&A are the babies. They're begging off more candy, not rigging pranks. ;)

            For this reason, I put my hair in a bun, cover it with a scarf, and inspect my clothes before beginning any work with candy!

            Hee! If I'm cooking, I just hope no one notices the dog hair! ;)

            Nah, not yet. I Just Don't Go There.

            I don't blame you! The very thought makes my brain hurt.

            Oh, sounds nice! My only problem with hand-writing stories is that I tend to be too lazy to type them up later. I wrote a story in Ocean City last summer about how Finarfin met Earwen...and it's still moldering in last year's writing notebook. :^/

            Hehehe, I never promised I'd type up anything I managed to write. ;P However, now I know about the F/E story, so I can pester you about it. ;)

            But good luck, both with getting the stopper to work and the muses to come to you in the bathtub! >;^))

            *snerk* Thanks. Hopefully I won't need it for the latter. >;)

            I love when a story takes off in a direction I never expected or resolves itself more cleverly than I could ever have done consciously.

            If only things would resolves themselves for me! I've never really plotted out a story with an outline or anything. I just start writing whatever comes to mind, and fix things later (Why half my crap stays unfinished and hidden in the depths of the computer).
  • Where's Finwe in all this?

    He went in to exile with Feanor, I'd love to see how he would moderate the mood of the place. On one hand Feanor wins the complete attention of his father, no distracting brothers or step mother; on the other hand Nolofinwe has been left in charge in Tirion, which is a point of contention. And your Finwe is a wise and calming influence on eveyone.

    I can't imagine that he doesn't live in the same house as Feanor at this point. Does he get a cameo and a reason why we don't see more of him?

    Sorry, I've lurked here for a couple months but never thought there was a thread loose enough to comment on. Love your work.
    • Re: Where's Finwe in all this?

      Hello, nice to finally "speak" to you! :)

      Finwe will appear in this. Right now, he's visiting some of the towns in the northern part of the land. In my Felak!verse, the people to the north were the ones who remained loyal to the House of Feanaro, so Finwe does not completely reject them (as he does the people in Tirion, who are mostly loyal to Nolofinwe and Arafinwe) when Feanaro is sent into exile. He will return shortly in this story and ends up playing a pretty big role near the end, which is all that I can say without giving the story away. ;)

      I chose to have him away for this early part of the story simply because I was afraid that too many overwhelming presences would confuse the story--and poor Erestor! Better to introduce Feanaro and his sons first, then let Finwe come in.

      You're keen to have noticed this, though (the only person to say anything to me so far about it)! Please feel free to de-lurk more often. ;)
      • Re: Where's Finwe in all this?

        Thanks, I just might do so.

        I'm never sure what to make of Finwe, he should be a compelling figure, leading the Noldor to Aman, but even then only half of the Noldor decided to even make the journey, so maybe he isn't that persuasive. I envision the Noldor as a contentious lot, not just the royal family, so maybe that can't be held against him: the 'herding cats' cliche. But family has a way of confounding even the best leaders.
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