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Medium Dawn Felagund of the Fountain

"The Tapestries"--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.

"The Tapestries"--Chapter Five

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nelyo black and white
Last week, we experienced the kinslaying through the memories of Feanor.

This week, the Noldor will arrive in Middle-earth and the first whispers of the treachery to come will begin. In addition, we will learn more about the nature of the Halls of Mandos.

Thanks to everyone reading along. I'm still behind on replying to comments on ff.net and LJ, but it's getting there. Know that I read them all and appreciate everyone's support.

(Also, I have yesterday's drabble series finished; I just have not had time to post it. Today's isn't even written yet--hellish day at work, need I say more?--but I will post them all tomorrow.)

The Tapestries

So I am evil, then. My whole existence founded on lies. Depraved. It is truly as Nolofinwë’s loremasters are doubtlessly spewing by now, and I am a shameless miscreant.

Námo was seated across from me again. As before, we were in the gilded cage. And as before, he sat in the tidy posture, just as he had on the day that he had denied me my mother. His imaged waxed and waned like a tiny flame caught in the wind, growing bright one moment and the next guttering almost to nothingness. Bizarrely, Námo’s hand seemed to melt into the knee on which it was resting, and when he lifted a hand to silence me—though I had not been speaking—his knee stretched upward with his hand like taffy. I waited to feel horror and did not. I felt numb.

“I have said nothing like that, Fëanáro,” he said. I realized that his lips were moving but did not match the words he was saying. “There is no evil. Just perspective. Your loremasters are not lying when they speak of the Teleri trying to drive your people into the sea, nor are they lying when they speak of your terror, facing Ossë’s wrath. But then, Nolofinwë’s loremasters do not lie when they speak of the merciless ease with which you killed the relatively unarmed Teleri. Even Melkor possesses a perspective in which he is not evil but persecuted.”

How did I even come to be here? With you?

“You died.”

Not that! In this cage? I did not will it.

Námo’s head turned slowly to the left, then slowly to the right. “I see no cage.”

A shadow flitted across my perception like a hand passing quickly over eyes.

The cage was gone, and I was back in the hall with the tapestries. I was standing before those of the burning at Losgar and wondering what secrets lay woven within their threads, what deceptions they would dispel. Behind me lay the tapestries illustrating the kinslaying of Alqualondë, a long smear of red-silk thread. But I did not look back at those. They lay behind me, as much did these days.

The first tapestry was filled with flame. I felt the heat on my face as I had that day, my throat tight and sore with the smoke. My heart raced with joyful vengeance. Only I had no face, no throat, no heart. But amid the fibers of flame, so easily taken apart into harmless red and gold, I burned.

We did not know how to sail. We were Noldor. Mayhap, we were cast into the sea as much for our ignorance and our folly as for Ossë’s wrath, but of course, we would not consider this. I’d been given a dory by Olwë as a child, for one of my begetting days, but my interest in the sea was trumped by my hunger for creation and, later, for Nerdanel, and so I’d never learned to use the thing. The dory bobbed in the water at the end of the King’s pier for many years, eventually became a plaything for his children (seeing as I never used it), and was eventually sunk by Alpaher when he collided with his friend’s larger boat while trying to race through too narrow a strait, driving himself into a rock.

I’d believed that the storm would end, the sea would subside: It had to! This was the way of things. After horror comes peace; we could not be asked to endure such terror for the whole of our journey. My sons were frantic and afraid. Many of them had never been on a ship before. One of the twins was relentlessly sick over the side; they pled with me with their eyes: Solve this! Save us!

Always had I been their savior. This is the responsibility of a father to his sons, after all. I was the one to lift them when they fell and blot the blood from their torn flesh; I kissed their cheeks, tasted their tears. Many of my nights with Nerdanel were interrupted by tiny voices: “Atar?” Tears bubbling in their throats, sleepy eyes blinking and wide, taking apart the darkness and looking frantically for that nightmare hiding in the shadows behind them. “Atar? Sleep with you?” My desire for my wife set aside—an amused smile on her lips as her fingers stroked my hair—and my body transformed from husband to father, my side curved like a tehta to shelter their tiny, quivering bodies.

But this—this was unsolvable. Maitimo and I fought the sails until our arms ached and would ache with the memory for days after, but we were no match for one of the Ainur. Even as I had strove against the Valar; even as I had held us as equals, I was humbled by this.

In the end, it was not me who saved us but the land: a shadow on the horizon, growing larger in our sights. We lowered the sails to stop ourselves from being dashed to pieces on the rocks, but we were too late. We cut sharply into the Firth—again, too late. We didn’t know how to sail. We were Noldor.

We cut too close to the shores at Drengist and the bellies of the ships were torn open on the rocks. The ships pitched and we were cast to our faces upon the decks, where the stink of blood still lingered. Some were knocked unconscious or slipped overboard and were lost in the chaos that followed. Such was our speed that we slid all the way to the gravelly beaches before coming to a painful halt; one of the ships behind us crashed into the stern of the King’s ship and began to take water but only sunk so far into the shallows.

Then, for a moment: silence.

But not for long. Clamor arose in its wake, enlivening the darkness pierced only by the stars. A lamp had overturned on one of the ships, and those aboard were hurrying to stamp it out. Some were sick over the railings, stomachs twisted by our tortuous journey at last relieving themselves of their contents. There was much splashing and shouting as people searched the other ships for loved ones and cried in lament when they discovered that—in too many cases—they’d been among those lost at sea. Even the cries of reunion sounded less joyful in the darkness and more akin to the cries of vultures happened upon their next meal.

Nelyo had leaped immediately to the neighboring ship—the one caught aflame—and was throwing his cloak, his good cloak, the one that I had had made for him for his two hundredth begetting day, over the flames. Inexplicable anger pinched my gut. I glanced back over the dark sea now grown calm and flat as a sliver of ebony and the first sparks of treachery flared to life in my thoughts.

Pressing the tapestry, I discovered that it had changed: The flames on the ships were diminished, and Nelyo was tossing his cloak over them. His good cloak that I had had made for his two hundredth begetting day, wasted in futility. The ships: still whole, taking on water, but still whole. Námo drifted behind me.

“It is what you make of it,” he said.

I’d lowered myself down the side of the ship. The beach that met my feet was different—less forgiving—than that to which I was accustomed; there were rocks rather than sand, as black as the sea, and they bit through even the thick soles of my boots. Others had lowered themselves as well and were running from ship to ship, calling names of those aboard other ships. My thoughts were not with them; they focused solely on the splintered bellies of the ships.

Treachery raged—as hot as the center of a forge-fire—deep in my most secret thoughts. But not secret for long.

No, soon it would blaze forth with such profusion that even those on the opposite shore would be left with no doubt.
  • *glued to the computer, reading* This definitely makes me more interested in what the whole story behind the "What ships and people will we send back to the others?"/"None and none!" exchange might have been--you'd have to be pretty desperate to see one of Nolofinwe's followers to be willing to go back oversea after all *that*! (And it almost sounds like Feanor's thoughts about setting the ships aflame will be more him giving the Valar the finger than anything else...)
    • Interesting speculations. ;) I believe that this week's chapter is the burning at Losgar, so soon answers will be revealed. *drums fingers and cackles in what she hopes is an evol way*
  • I like the images of seasick Noldor vomiting all over the ships they've stolen. The boys, so desperate for Daddy to Make It All Better, like he used to do when they were little, only Daddy's really in over his head this time. Probably the first time the boys begin to realize that Daddy may not actually be in control. A scary time for all concerned.
    • *giggle* I may be just silly and high on coffee right now, but calling Feanaro Daddy makes me all giggly and stupid. *giggles some more*
    • I think that I might have a barf fetish in addition to a pee fetish....

      But I don't think that the passage to Middle-earth was a pleasant one, for anyone involved.
  • *muttering*

    I am behind or reading this story, dammit! I have printed all the chapters at work but I haven't got around to read the previous chapter so I'll have to take this one, print it and read them in proper order. I just hope that Feany doesn't find out about this for he would never understand how I can let RL get in the way of reading something about him. Teh Horror... *gasp*

    I will be back with a real comment after reading, I promise.
    • You've been very busy, so don't worry about taking your time with it. You read nearly every word that I put on paper and that's a helluva lot, so I can't ask for much more. I'm grateful for all that you do and all of your wonderfully encouraging comments!

      So *hugs* and if you have a moment to settle down with my not-so-nice novella, I hope that you enjoy it! :)
      • Did you just write "not-so-nice novella"? You!!!

        I have finally caught up on reading and don't you dare say that it's not nice! It may not be all flowery and pretty, but it's real and it's the first story I have read that takes this perspective, looking at the terrible events in retrospective, through the eyes of one who is slowly beginning to understand. I wanted to cry when Feanaro calls himself evil, saying that historians (and Nolofinwe's historians)are right to record his deeds as most evil and despise-worthy. You know, as the story progresses and Feanaro comes to understand more and more things, he keeps being very similar to the Feanaro in my head. So, while you think that others find him and the whole story odd, it all makes perfect sense to me.

        This chapter is filled with graphic and sometimes most disturbing images, but you have done an excellent job describing the definitely not easy fight and smooth sailing that the Noldor have gone through, to reach Middle Earth. My heart ached while reading about Tyelkormo cutting someone open from behind and then discovering that he'd killed a maiden.

        I'm especially curious where this story is going to take Feanaro and I look forward to the next chapters very much.
  • This is fascinating. I found it quite a shift in perspective to see the usually competent Feanor finding something that he can't do brilliantly. Really illustrates their arrogance that they would be able to take the ships and be able to sail them immediately.

    "Even as I had strove against the Valar; even as I had held us as equals, I was humbled by this." Poor Feanor, his beliefs are starting to be confused.

    I'd never really understood why they burned the ships and I'm anxiously waiting until next week to see what you think might have happened.

    Just wondering if "imaged" in "His imaged waxed and waned like a tiny flame caught in the wind," should be "image"?
    • Good eye! That's exactly what it should have been. I will fix it. Thank you! :)

      The burning is next week, I believe, so I hope that my explanation makes some iota of sense. It's psychologically-driven--big surprise, right? ;)

      As for the journey to Middle-earth, I've always gotten the impression that the oh-so-practical Noldor didn't quite work out all of the details before deciding to immigrate to a whole new continent!
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