Nerdanel's Story.


Memories of early meetings with Fëanáro, and the problems arising from King Finwë's decision to wed Lady Indis of the Vanyar.

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Chapter One: Míriel.

 

Chapter Two: Fëanáro. Part One.

 

Chapter Three: Fëanáro. Part Two.

 

Chapter Four. Fëanáro.Part Three.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Nerdanel’s Story: Prologue.

 

With thanks to Bellemaine for beta reading, and to Eru_Melin.

 

  

‘Her (Míriel’s) death was a lasting grief to Fëanor, and both directly and by its further consequences a main cause of his later disastrous influence on the history of the Noldor.’

 

 

(The Shibboleth of Fëanor. HoME 12 The Peoples of Middle Earth. JRR Tolkien. HarperCollins Ed. 2002 p333)

 

 

The house of Sarmo Urundil. Seventh Age.

 

 

I rarely go up to Tirion now. I stay in my father’s house, in the dwellings of the Aulenduri that are to be found further into the Calacirya than the city. My hröa is tired with what has increasingly become the labour of living and my memories weigh most heavily upon my fëa. The hope and desire that has sustained me throughout thousands of years grows faint, that soon might I seek of release.

 

 

They say: ‘The Lady Nerdanel endures, despite her loss and her shame. She is strong, and will prevail until the End.’

 

 

Strong?  A blessing and a curse is that gift of strength to me!

 

 

Those others have not my memories; they know not how I truly feel. Not even those who love me best know the full anguish of my heart. Many have endured loss; many have been sundered from those they love because of the kinslayings, the exile, or doom encountered in the Hither Lands. But none of them bore seven children. None bore seven sons, who yet fell from the light and nobility that was their birthright to become oath-bound murderers. None of them were wife to the mightiest, the most skilled of all the Noldor - the one who created the Great Jewels, who led the rebellion against the Valar, who was blamed for our greatest woes.

 

 

None of them failed their family in a manner that led to such dire consequences!

 

 

"His fire consumed his lady mother. Now - finally - the outworking of his deeds will consume you!” my father says bitterly. “Soon, will you have no choice but to seek respite from this existence.”

 

 

My father’s words are meant to stir me into denial, into taking firm hold again of life as he says Maitimo would have done, had he returned from the Hither Lands. But Maitimo did not return; neither has he returned from the Halls of Awaiting. None of my sons have. So it seems to me that I must live and love ever in distant memory, even more than is the nature of my kind - or seek of my own doom, to be with those I still love and sorrow for.

 

 

As I oft ponder the past, I remember that day of such perplexity when Queen Míriel lay down to rest. Most weary had she become for, since giving birth to her son, she had neither strength nor will to live. The death of an immortal in Aman - it was unthinkable! How much more so that it was something she had freely determined to embrace. I remember talk of the grief of King Finwë, that he could not hold her to this life with any plea. That though his love for her was a great and glad thing, it was not enough. And I remember the lasting grief that the unnatural denial of a mother’s love and nurture caused to her son, Fëanáro. Though he was nigh early youth when she sought death, yet was he most pained by his loss. Dearly did he love her, and as with all in the Blessed Realm, thought never to be parted from any of his kin. So he buried himself in pursuit of those skills over which he could exercise mastery, over matters he could control, to ease of his distress.

 

 

Many are those who can remember Fëanáro’s later deeds with no great joy. But it is the beginning I speak of. I, at least, remember that so very well. I was a little over two years of age at the time Míriel breathed forth. I heard a great deal about there ‘surely being healing in Aman’, and about the realisation that this event had taken even the Valar by surprise. My father, for he was foremost of the Servants of Aulë and of the masons of the House of Finwë, gathered us together - his wife, his only child, his apprentices and servants. We all sought the peace and reassurance of the Valar for ourselves in such a disturbing situation; but mostly we sought peace and comfort for the bereaved king and prince.

 

 

“There is something gravely wrong in this. It will lead to an anguish we cannot yet foresee,” my mother had warned.

 

 

“The Valar know what is best. We can trust them to resolve the situation,” my father replied - though he, too, had many misgivings.

 

 

Both he and my mother knew of loss, from those of their number who had chosen not to make the Great Journey, or who had been taken or slain by Moringotho in the Hither Lands, (I cannot bring myself to write the fairer name that Vala was once known by). But we knew not of death in Aman. Most certainly we knew not death by free will! We were so naive; it was something then, unlike now, that was utterly beyond our comprehension. Míriel was, and then she was not! How could that be?

 

 

“Let her rest. The strength she gave up to bear the prince was great. She will return in time, when she is healed. She will be reunited with her hröa,” they had said.

 

 

But Míriel did not return. A short time it seemed before our king, journeying upon the western slopes of Mount Oiolossë on a visit to his friend, King Ingwë, had met with another.  Not that such an event would have had great influence on me had I not met with someone while walking in the hills.

 

 

Ai! I remember it as if it were yesterday! I remember the first time we met so very clearly. When first I beheld him I was to know what beauty and strength and eagerness were; for he possessed all of those qualities in a measure far greater than any I had ever known. That he had other qualities too, I was soon to discover.  We walked and rode together at will, away from the dwellings of the Noldor, making many journeys of exploration into the hills and across the plains of Valinor. We studied and worked together, discussing matters of lore, of craft - of our plans for the future. To my delight I found we developed such a love and affinity of fëa that there could only be one outcome - and that which he had intended from the start. 

 

 

The wedding of King Finwë to the Lady Indis of the Vanyar saw the resurgence of joy in the life of one of the bereaved. I believe I brought a measure of joy back into the life of the other.

 

 

Curufinwë Fëanáro was soon to play a central role in the history of the Noldor, along with those two half-brothers whom Indis bore to Finwë. He was to become the mightiest, the most awe-inspiring figure of the Age of the Trees. Ever in the background was I, and glad to so be. Yet I made my presence felt, and not just through those sons I bore and loved in turn. Later lore may have all but disregarded my existence, but then later lore was written by those who had little love for my family, and re-written by mortals. Little do they know of one who left not the shores of Aman. Little do they care about one considered wise, rather than beautiful.

 

 

I oft live in memory of those early days; the golden time before the release of the Vala who was to bring doom upon us all. That time do I ponder upon, before Fëanáro came to his full strength and began his greatest works. My husband’s creation of the Silmarils was a wonder beyond wonders, but their magnificence only illuminated the flaws in his character. Jealousy of any who desired what he deemed his by right, and pride in his supreme mastery of skills it was that made him vulnerable to the path of folly - possessiveness of the light, that caused he, who loved the light, to stumble into darkness. And in that same moment Moringotho, consumed with hatred and with envy of his own, began his well-placed whispers of deception. Those lies, which further bound Fëanáro to the work of his hands, would in the fullness of time consume him. Such a waste it was - such a waste of what he should have become; what he should yet have wrought for the glory of Arda. Such a waste of joy it was, and of love.

 

 

In memory there is still fulfilment. For a short time I can forget all the grief that followed fast upon those days. I forget the agony and anger of our parting - the bitter memories he left me with, and I long to be with him again. I long to be filled by that energy which flowed from his spirit as a living fire. I long to be out in the hills once more with him, and with those beautiful sons he gave me - strong and swift and eager they all were.

 

 

But they are in the Halls of Awaiting long since. Only I remain in Elvenhome.

 

 

At times, when I read some of what is written, I wonder how much of it I dreamt and how much was real? I do not recognise my family at all in some works, while others leave out matters that were of great import. They say still that he was wicked, that Fëanáro and our sons were cruel and fell. They became so, mayhap, but it was not always thus. I make no plea against the blasphemy of their oath, nor against the awful destruction they wrought upon our own kind through three kinslayings. But where their father went, our sons would follow unquestioningly - for he was ever their ‘bright flame’ as well as mine. As for my lord himself - to be the first among our people in Aman to have a loved one die; to be the first among our people to have a loved one slain; to be the object at which Moringotho’s insidious hate was aimed; to have stolen from him that to which his heart was bound - was it any wonder Fëanáro became fell? It should surprise none that by the time of the oath he was nigh out of his mind - nigh consumed by pain and wrath.

 

 

The Valar understood. Even though they condemned the eldest son of Finwë, they mourned for his marring as much as for the destruction of the Trees. Was it not reported, and by the Vanyar, that Manwë himself wept?

 

 

My consolation and trial it is to ponder the past, and live in it again and again. To wonder if, at any point, I could truly have made a difference to the way things developed. I tried to reason with him in those last years, for I was one of the very few to whom he would pay heed. Long indeed did I endeavour to change Fëanáro’s mood as slowly but surely the loathsome evil of 'Morgoth' corrupted him, twisting him from my counsel and from my arms. We were in conflict, Moringotho and I, though at the time I knew it not, and he had all the advantage. The power of a Vala against my small wisdom! The hate of a Vala against my love! Yet I fought for my husband’s heart, for his innate nobility every step of the way…almost every step! That I succumbed to deceptions aimed at depriving Fëanáro of any wise council, that I went not with him into exile in the north – those thoughts trouble me still.

 

 

His father would not be parted from him - nay, not in guiltlessness for his actions, neither in guilt. Finwë’s love was never to falter. I should have made clear to him that my love never faltered either. I should have been with him! In seeking to be estranged from him, or rather, estranged from his deeds, did I fail Fëanáro most grievously. Yet mayhap do I delude myself, that anything anyone could have said or done would have made a difference to the course he pursued once Finwë was slain - once the Great Jewels were taken.

 

 

Many of those who died in the flight from Aman, in the kinslayings and in the first four Ages have returned to their families once more. They walk the fields, the hills and the shores in joy. Many more have been reunited upon Tol Eressëa, that place where the returned exiles may dwell in sight of the Blessed Realm. Yet time passes but slowly here. Few are those who have returned of late. For some, there is no forgiveness it seems; so dire were their deeds. There can be no forgiveness for my sons, for my lord, I oft have pondered. When they departed my life in that darkest of nights did I not fear it was forever, and so thus far has it proven. So does my hope fade, though I know not of certainty the final outcome of events.  This choice lies before me then – to will my own doom or to hold on to that faintest, that smallest of hopes that there will be healing for at least one of my family in the lifetime of Arda. Since the return to his family of Prince Findekáno I know not of certainty which way to go – though the path of despair has never been mine, save once. So it strikes me that before I make my choice, I will write down what happened in those early years, as it happened; and that for me will be another way to be with them all again in the times of innocence. Who is to say, but in the doing I may wrench back the smallest of victories from Moringotho, for he who was my lord and my love. And in that, my heart will be at rest.

 

 

- - - - - -

 

 

Tirion – City of the Noldor in Eldamar. Originally the Vanyar dwelt there also.

Calacirya – Cleft of Light. Tirion is built on the hill of Túna in the Calacirya.

Fëa – Spirit

Hröa - Body

Aulenduri - Servants of Aulë

Maitimo - Maedhros

Moringotho – Morgoth.  Fëanor obviously renames the Vala Melkor as Morgoth. In Morgoth’s Ring (HoME 10) there are two ‘older’ names mentioned – Moringotto on pages 194 and 294, and Moringotho on page 294. I have chosen to use the later.

 

 

Oiolossë – The name most commonly used by the Eldar for Taniquetil, where the High King Ingwë dwelt to be nearer to Manwë.

Findekáno – Fingon.

 

 

I realise that footnotes are totally unnecessary for many people, but also that not everyone has access to the HoME books, so in case anyone is interested, I am including a few notes where I think it may be useful.

 

 

There is a discrepancy concerning the time of Míriel’s death between The Silmarillion, and Home Vol12. The Silmarillion (supported by HoME 10) seems to say she died shortly after Fëanor’s birth, while the ‘Shibboleth of Fëanor’ in HoME 12, ‘The People’s of Middle Earth’, says she ‘endured until he was full grown’. I have veered towards what I think were possibly Tolkien’s later thoughts on this matter.

 

 

In this story I am writing years in terms of Valinorian Years when Nerdanel is recalling the past. In 'The Annals of Aman' Morgoth’s Ring J.R.R. Tolkien. Ed C. Tolkien, it says that ‘Here begins a new reckoning in the Light of the Trees’ P 70.  On p 59 / 60 there is a footnote which seems to give explanation of that time in comparison to our time of reckoning, as follows:

1 hour of the Trees = 7 hours

1 day of the Trees = 84 hours.

1 Year of the Trees = 9.582 years.

 

 

When I write of Nerdanel being a little over two years of age, it is two Valinorian Years. So she is almost 20 of our years when Míriel dies.  However, as it also explains in Morgoth’s Ring p 210 that:

 

 

“Children of Men might reach their full height while Eldar of the same age were still in body like to mortals of no more than seven years. Not until the fiftieth year did the Eldar attain the stature and shape in which their lives would afterwards endure, and for some a hundred years would pass before they were full-grown.”

 

 

There is also the text ‘Aman’ on p424ff, which states: “In Aman the length of the unit of ‘year’ was the same as it was for the Quendi” So the ‘Thousands of years, mentioned in the first paragraph of this chapter refer to ‘our’ measurement of time.