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The Great Escape  by Calairiel Malromiel

~Halls of Mandos~


The elf was dead. He felt bereft with the loss of his physical form. His hröa. And his fëa wasn’t faring much better. He felt as though he’d been shredded and the rage that had sent him on his foolish quest had long since dissipated. He was just so, so tired.


So when he felt, rather than heard, his name called with the corresponding Pull from the West, he followed it. He could feel that the one he’d battled trying to lay claim to him, but the call of Mandos was stronger and he could feel the sullen capitulation of the Other as his tentacles reluctantly released him.


He was then drawn into what he could only describe as a kaleidoscope of swirling colors with the sound of rushing wind, though he felt no such wind. Then, with a light like a sudden starburst that flashed in front of his eyes, he found himself standing before the Doomsman, himself.


“You have made your way to My Halls and your Doom, Ñolofinwë Finwion.”


“Well, get on with it then.” Fingolfin replied wearily.


“You don’t sound at all contrite. Do you not repent of your rebellion?”


“I swore an Oath of Fealty to my King. It would have been rebellion to defy my king.”


“But he abandoned you. Why did you not return?”


“His actions did not release me from my Oath of Fealty.”


“Hmm, well, as you did not participate in the slaying of your kin and your actions were honorable as the King of your people in Beleriand, I am prepared to offer you a boon.”


“To be re-embodied and released?” he asked hopefully.


“Except that.” the Doomsman replied.


“Then I want to see my son.”


“That is usually not permitted, but for your bravery I will grant this.”


“So kind…” and Mandos looked sharply at the elf before him but the spectre's face was carefully bland with no discernable expression.


“Very well - you are dismissed.” and a pair of maiar arrived and escorted the new arrival to be reunited with his son. 


But Mandos was disturbed. This ellon was going to be trouble. He could feel it in the very depths of his ëala! A different kind of trouble and perhaps a greater danger than the open hostility and rage of his older sibling. His last act of recklessness aside, he’d learned patience and prudence while in Beleriand. He’d learned to be cunning!


~Somewhere specific in Aman~

(pardon the time jumps)


Finrod led the wagon down the ever widening road, pleased at the progress they’d made. This road project had been in the works for nearly a century - give or take a few decades - and it had started almost as soon as he’d been released from Mandos.


After returning to his home, he’d been glad enough to be welcomed into the waiting arms of his parents who had been standing outside the mighty gates of the Halls of Mandos when he’d been released. But it had still taken him some time to recover from the stress of re-embodiment. Really! It had been easier to leave his hröa than he’d thought possible! Surely it should be just as easy to re-enter it? 


And it hadn’t been like there was a body waiting for him to enter. One moment he was fëa only, minding his own business, fellowshipping with his kin, the next moment he’d been thrust out the doors into the waiting arms of his parents. As soon as he’d passed the threshold he’d become solid - slammed into physicality in an instant that had sent him reeling.


He hadn’t been the first to be released from the Halls. Those had been the Falmari from Alqualondë - who had been very much surprised that they’d been met by not only their family, but by the denizens of Tirion who had provided logistical support for their travel and comfort. They’d also been surprised to find a repaired and rebuilt city and port, replete with swanships, upon their return. 


Despite still feeling put out that they’d died at the hands of their kinsmen, they’d been met with stories of how the outraged and contrite populace of Tirion had come to their aid when they’d heard what had occurred there, led by Arafinwë Finarfin.


But it was when Finrod had been released and he’d shared the tales from the nightmare that was Beleriand with his parents, that a grain of an idea began to germinate between the ellyn. Eärwen had strongly objected - until they explained what they had in mind. While not thinking it a particularly bad idea, she still resisted. That is until the call came for war to be brought to Beleriand to deliver the beleaguered there from the malice of Morgoth!


The Noldor and Vanyar answered the Call, but when Finarfin had brought Finrod with him the Valar had refused to allow him to accompany them. When Finarfin argued that his son had been there and could provide intelligence for the land they were going to, he’d still been refused. 


And standing with her son to watch the swanships ferry her husband to a strange land to fight a war alone and without comfort, a kernel of anger had been planted within the heart of Eärwen. And knowing her other sons were still rotting in Mandos and not knowing the fate of her only daughter….Then it was that the heart of Eärwen had changed and she’d become a willing accomplice! 


It gave her and her son something to work towards while they waited through the decades of a war they received no news of, save the horror stories of kin who knew the Halls of Mandos were filling to a frightening degree.


So began the Great Work!


And when Finarfin returned victorious decades later leading a flotilla of their returned exiles, he’d been forced to attend ceremonies and celebrations lauding his bravery and service. And he endured it all without complaint. Those who knew him wondered why he was so stoical and put it down to the horrors of war, but once he left Alqualondë he rode all night alone until he returned home in the early hours, just before Anar rose. He saw his son was already up and asked how the project at Formenos was progressing.


Ignoring the question, his son wrapped his atar in a fierce embrace, saying, “I’m so glad you’re home, atar! They told us to wait until you returned to go and see you. That we could hold our own celebration here.”


“I’m not up for yet another celebration, son. They can throw one without me. They’ll not even miss me, I’m sure.” he smiled wearily, “Now tell me how things are going?”


“It is going well, atar. We’ve repaired most of the original fortifications and have made great progress in restoring it to a habitable structure. In fact, many families have already relocated there so they can continue the Work.”


“Good!” and going to his chambers, he began pulling his clothes from his wardrobe and throwing them haphazardly into the nearest trunk, refusing requests from both wife and son to know what he was about. 


Eärwen finally put her foot down and demanded to know what he was about, “Ingalaurë! Cease this madness at once!” she said firmly and Finarfin stopped midtoss and blinked at her in surprise. She hadn’t shouted, but she’d slammed into his mind, all the same, gaining his attention. In a softer tone she asked, “What has happened, beloved?”


Sitting down on the bench at the end of their bed, with one of his robes still clutched in his hand, he lowered his head as sobs wracked his body, grown hard and thin by his long years of deprivation during the war. And when the storm passed, brief though it was, he looked up in anguish and said, “They wouldn’t let our little girl come home. They said she hadn’t repented enough. They wouldn’t even let me talk to her! Wouldn’t even let me tell her that I loved her and we await her return. And when I would shout it out in defiance they stole my voice.” taking a deep breath, he said, “I am done with it. The Noldor can find their own king, for they will no longer have me to praise or condemn depending on their mood. Those the Valar allowed to return are exiled on Tol Eressëa until they decide they may return to their homes. I tell you I am done.”


Having listened to his atar in growing anger, Finrod entered, ignoring his amil when she tried to shoo him away, and sat on the other side of his father and wrapped his arms around him. “Whatever you decide, atar, I am with you. I will support all you decide though it be to storm the gates of Mandos itself to liberate our people. Whatever you will, atta.”


That last had caught Finarfin’s attention and he peered down at his son with a lifted brow, saying, “Right now all I wish to do is leave this city and go to Formenos.” but reconsidering, added, “Though I might have something for you to do first.”


“Whatever you want, atar!” Finrod declared and sprang to his feet to pack his own belongings, until he was halted by his father’s voice.


“Stop!” and as his son halted and turned to face his father, Finarfin continued, “We will speak of that other part later. For it sounds to me like you have given much thought to this.” and as the color rose in his son’s face, he added dryly, “Before we besiege the gates of Mandos, I want to know everything you gleaned about the Halls. Everything.”


And grinning, Finrod said, “Yes, sir!” and sprinted from his parents rooms.


Turning to her husband, her eyes hard, “I am with you, my husband. Where you lead I will follow.” and then kissing him lightly and rising, added, “But I’ll not go anywhere with you smelling like a stable and an empty stomach. I’ll have our belongings packed while you bath. Breakfast will be ready for you by the time you finish your bath.” And as he sat looking dumbfounded at her, she pointed to their bathing chambers and said, “Your bath awaits you, my lord - march!” and grinned as he complied.




“Ha! Found you!” the elf cried in triumph.


“What are you doing here, Ñolofinwë?” the other said, wearily.


“That’s a silly question! I died - obviously. I wish I’d found you sooner. Finrod is already gone.” and as his brother stared at him slack jawed, he took the opportunity to grab him and haul him through the walls containing him. Fëanor stared about him in shock, unable to believe his nonexistent eyes and found himself smothered in the embrace of his sons.


At one point Fëanor’s dark head surfaced from the maelstrom of hugging Fëanorions and as he met his brother’s pleased face he mouthed the words, thank you, before the head submerged again into the waves of embracing arms.


Now all he had to do was to find their atar and then they could find a way to break out of this place!




As it turned out, leaving on a whim wasn’t allowed for the High King. So Finarfin made the best of it and decided to take the time to make some concise plans. Finrod joined his parents for lunch where he fell on it like a ravenous beast and only after he’d slaked his appetite and leaned back, asking, “So what is the first thing you’d like me to do, atar?”


And swirling the wine in his glass, Finarfin smiled and said, “I want you to liberate all our people stranded on Tol Eressëa and bring them to Formenos. Eventually.” and grinned as his son spewed his mouthful of wine in his shock, looking incredulously at his father. “You want me to defy the Valar?”


“Nooo! I want you to go to Tol Eressëa and load all our people on ships - hired of course - and sail them to the western side of this land.”


“Do you have any idea how long that would take?”


“None. I am hopeful that Ulmo and his maiar will assist you when they know of your intent. Regardless, my goal is for you to reach a substantial bay or cove on the northwest side of this land. From the maps I’ve seen there appears to be a fairly large one that is in a direct northwest line from Fëanor’s stronghold. It looks to be about three hundred leagues. From there I want a road carved from there to Formenos. I will provide a map to you so you have some idea of where to look.”


“But isn’t that defying the Valar’s restriction, beloved?” Eärwen asked, worriedly. She didn’t mind rebelling… long as it didn’t involve actual rebellion.


“The Valar’s restriction was for the Noldor to remain on Tol Eressëa so they would not be able to enter Tirion. If these are to come to us, they must be made aware they will not be able to leave and go to the city. They must agree to remain on the northwest side of the land. Technically, this is much farther away from the city than their current location, so it shouldn’t upset the sensibilities of the Valar.”


“I’ll do anything to take a poke at the Valar. Never in my life would I have thought them so capable of being so petty. That changed when they refused to allow me to help in their war against Morgoth.”


“Indeed. It was like they refused to allow you to have any satisfaction against those who took your life. And as it turned out, they allowed that curse to cause one more kinslaying when Lord Eönwë not only refused to defend the Silmarils they captured, thus allowing Maedhros and Maglor to kill more people and steal them, but he also refused to take Sauron into custody when he surrendered! Of all the idiot moves...”


"They said it was because he couldn't judge him because they shared the same rank." his wife offered.


"Rokkomuk! You don't need to judge! You just arrest and turn them over to those who will pass judgement!"


“Aye! Though, I have to say that while I’m in sorrow for those left to deal with that foul creature, I’m glad I don’t have to share a land with him.” It was clear he was still upset at his defeat at the hands of the maia and it rubbed him the wrong way that he’d had no part in bringing that smug bastard down!


"Don't worry, son. I'm sure he'll get his in one way or another." and getting up, he announced he was going to file the paperwork to name his successor.


After he left Finrod asked his mother, "So, who is he naming?"


"Findis." she said succinctly.


Wide eyed, Finrod said, "Wow! He's still mad at her, isn't he? Is he ever going to let that go?"


~On the Road Again...~


With all the proper paperwork signed, witnessed and certified - in triplicate - Finarfin officially abdicated in favor of his elder sister, Findis, who only agreed if their amil, Indis, would rule with her. And Indis would only agree if Nerdanel was allowed to advise. Findis enthusiastically agreed and Tirion was now ruled by Three Queens. Order was established with the firm hands of those worthy ladies.


Or rather, they were going to be ruled by the Three Amils! This amused Finarfin immensely. Indis had once interrupted one of his counsel meetings with something he couldn’t even remember her wanting. What he did remember was she’d dabbed her kerchief on her tongue and had wiped a ink smudge off his chin! 


It had taken thirty years for that wound to fade! He didn’t envy Tirion!


But he put his petty amusement aside, for they were finally ready and the long wagon and carriage train left the city bearing the former king, his son and those of his followers that wished to accompany him. These also included those who were loyal to his sons’ and their families and those who supported his older brothers. For word had spread that Finarfin was planning to reestablish Fëanor’s stronghold of Formenos.


It wasn’t long before a small contingent led by Finrod broke off and headed towards the Calacirya and then on to Tol Eressëa.



~Stronghold of Fëanor~


Six weeks later they were at the base of the stronghold that was Formenos. When they first beheld it, they were a little daunted and Finarfin stood looking at it as though he was trying to figure out if it had any potential. “Well…” Finarfin sighed, “That’s my brother all over, isn’t it? Complicated, with high defensive walls all about but with an austere beauty all the same.” and then he was silent a moment before saying with determination, “I’m going to do to this stronghold what I wished I could do to my brother! I’m going to blast holes in those walls and open it up to all the love I can pour into it.” 


And then turning to address the people who had followed him, he announced in a clear voice, “We are going to make this a place of beauty. A place of accomplishment to rival the Halls of Aulë and more learned than the Halls of the Lambengolmor. And once we accomplish that we are going to carve a road to the western sea and create a fleet of ships to rival that of the Falmari!”  


And while his words received cheers and enthusiasm, he could never be said to inspire his followers the way his brother could set a burning fire within them. But then he smiled, “But perhaps we should start by entering this stronghold and finding ourselves some rooms, baths and a hot meal!” 


And by the cheer that met his words Finarfin laughed and said, “Let us go then!” and they continued their trek up the winding road up to the imposing gates that opened to receive them. 


Inside they were met by a hastily assembled staff who were very helpful in directing their new lord, who immediately assured them he was only caretaking until his brother’s return. And when his wife asked him sweetly, “And where will we live, husband?” she nearly squealed in delight when he answered, “I thought we could enjoy ourselves with a seaside palace, my love. Wouldn’t it be nice to have a quiet seaside view from a vantage point where we can watch as Arien sets Anar down and Tilion launches Ithil every night?”


“Oh yes, Ara! That would be wonderful!” she exclaimed, her blue eyes suspiciously shiny in her joy. After they’d been shown to their rooms, they found warm baths and tables laden with a minor feast awaiting them.


~Meanwhile...The Halls of Mandos~


“Ñolofinwë! You simply can’t lay claim to everyone within these Halls. This is my Domain.”


“Even a jail requires a leader. I have taken care of that for you.” Fingolfin said wryly.


“It is my job to judge you all. I am the Doomsman.”


“You are our gaoler. Nothing more.”


“You are impertinent.”


“Not a crime.”


“Why do you persist in your rebellion?”


“I didn’t rebel. I followed my king.”


“A marred creature who abandoned you.”


“That’s my business. And you really need to stop calling people marred. People will begin to think there is something marred about your thinking.”


“I don’t understand you at all.”


“That is not only abundantly clear, it is also a gross understatement.”


“What do you want?”


“Out. All of us.”


“I can’t do that.”


“Why not? You just said this was your Domain. Who but you decides such matters?”


“You are dismissed.”



~Tol Eressëa~


On his way to Alqualondë to visit his haru and ask him for permission to hire his ships, Finrod reflected on his conversation with his atar. Though, he’d been one of the loudest to cheer the news that a girl had defeated the maia and sent him off with his tail between his legs - literally! - it had still galled him that he’d never been given another chance at the twisted creature. 


Yes, she was half maia herself, but she had bested a full maia trained in the dark arts by a powerful dark Vala and had then sung that same malignant hakkanta to sleep right on his throne so her lover could steal a silmaril right off his crown - while it was still on his head! He was fairly certain not even Uncle Fëanor could have pulled that off!


Finrod had been with his Uncle Fingolfin and his cousin, Argon along with his brothers Aegnor and Angrod when they’d heard the news and they’d spent the rest of what seemed a day making up bawdy songs to celebrate until they heard a mournful song that broke every heart in the Halls. And it was then they'd learned that the lady and her swain had died. 


The Halls had fallen silent and they had all mourned with her, for that was the Power of her voice. And then the unthinkable had happened and both she and her mortal lover had been returned to life. Then there had been a minor riot in the Halls. Well, not so minor. It had been a full-on blow out and even the maiar had run from them in terror. 


And that’s when Finrod had been released. He felt he had been an appeasement to those within the Halls. To give the others hope. That if he had been released then surely others would soon follow. So far, none had and if anything the Halls had filled to the rafters with more dead than from any other battles in history, for the Valar had literally killed the land! And apparently it hadn’t been the first time! 


For it had been after the sinking of Beleriand that some well meaning maiar had let slip that the Valar and Melkor had warred for ages of the world. They’d raise mountains and he had thrown them down. They would create rivers and streams and he would poison them with brine and choked them with noxious vines and algae. They would grow plants and grasslands and he would scorch them with fire. They would raise lamps and he threw them down.


And finally, the cause of Morgoth’s hatred for both the Valar and most especially, the elves, was because the Valar had gone to war with Melkor shortly after they’d awoken at Cuiviénen. And since his kin had overthrown and imprisoned him for two ages for their sake, he had never forgiven them and had an especial hatred of the eldar because of it. And the Valar knew this and had let him out anyway.


So his atar’s suggestion that he facilitate a minor insurrection sat well with him. 


His visit with his haru was nice and brief. As soon as he’d found out what Finrod wished he’d gone with his grandson, himself, to order his ship captains to offer all the help he needed. And when he’d arrived at Tol Eressëa with a large fleet to talk to the Noldor stranded there he found them very open to the idea of relocation. 


He also found the Falmari very open to helping them load all their belongings to help them on their way. For the truth was, they really, really resented that they’d been forced to play host to a large population they considered kinslayers. Though most knew they probably weren’t and had been born in Beleriand and had nothing to do with it. Still….


And really, his atar had been right about the sea ainu helping them once they set sail, for Finrod could never recall a smoother, faster trip over the impossibly long distance in nautical miles! Then it was that he saw the vastness of Aman! He’d had no idea Aman was so large! And he began to wonder why their entire population was squeezed into a tiny fragment considering this vast landmass. They could easily fit the entire population of all the races of Arda onto Amon and it was possible they’d never run into one another! 


The Valar could have given all of Endor to Morgoth and just relocated everybody here and then blown a raspberry at him and told him to enjoy his empty land. He sometimes wondered what these celestial beings were thinking, for it certainly made no sense to those of the Híni Ilúvataro! 


But considering he had been depending on those same celestial beings to help them on their journey he decided to quit that line of thinking or he’d cause one of them to swamp them in a snit. Even with the assistance, it took them almost three weeks to find the bay his atar had told them about. But once spotted there could be no doubt this was the place! The Calacirya was a geological oddity and not a true bay, as it really was a deep cleft gauged out of the land that allowed shipping past the Pelori and into Aman.


But this! This was a large bay! A proper bay! He could already see the home for his atar! Fit for a former king! Something like his haru, old Olwë had in Alqualondë. There were a lot of things you could say about his grandfather, but that ellon had style! Plus it would probably please his amil and he wasn’t wrong in thinking it was his amil that needed to be pleased. He knew his atta would do anything to make his ammë happy and it was looking like he wanted to be as far from Tirion and the court intrigue that went with it, as possible.


Finrod wondered if he could convince Amarië to relocate here? Valmar was very nice - it really was - and it wasn’t like he stood out there. He looked enough like them that he blended in, taking after his Vanyaran haruni. But if being at court wasn’t stressful enough, their entire city felt like one big court of royals. It was exhausting! 


But he would worry about that later! Right now he joined everybody in thanking Ulmo and his maiar for a wonderfully smooth trip and they began unloading themselves along with their supplies and luggage from the ships. Then he gave his heartfelt thanks to the Falmari who were gracious enough to accept their thanks without looking relieved to be rid of them! Finrod strongly believed a celebration would be in their future once they returned home.


Once they had disembarked they set up camp and spent their first night in relative comfort, considering they were camped out. But the Falmari had provided them with plenty of fish and other necessities for a fine feast including some very nice wine and mead. And as most of them were Etyañgoldi and had lived for many a year roughing it in Beleriand on one campaign or another, this was downright luxurious!


Luckily there were elves from Nargothrond, Gondolin, Hithlum, Dor-lómin, Dorthonion, Himring, Himlad, Ossiriand and Thargelion. There were even Noldo from the Falas! People who had experience building things, not just breaking and burning things. Good! He could work with that!


He was sitting with a group of ellyn and ellyth he had a vague aquaintainship with, but that wasn’t important. When one asked what he wanted to start with, he was silent a moment before he said, “My atar wants a road cut to Formenos. That has to be our top priority. But I don’t see why we can’t do two things at once. Or even three.”


“Such as?” the same ellon who posed the first question, asked. Finrod looked at him a moment and asked, “What are you called? I know I’ve seen you before and I apologize that it’s just not coming to me.”


“Is that something that happens to the re-embodied, Lord?” another asked.


“Perhaps? Or it might just be me. I imagine it’s a personal thing, if you get my meaning. But please, you all know my name, please introduce yourselves and I’ll try to mark your names.” And they named themselves Carastaro, Hyartame, Lanyare, Centamo, Mastarion, Ontan and his sister Panotan.


“Thank you. And to address your question, Ontan, my atar wishes to relocate here. To build a home for my amil by the sea. Right now he and those who follow him and his brothers are in Formenos. He plans to tear down the walls and turn it into a city to rival Tirion. A gift for when his brothers and the others are finally freed from Mandos. His first request was for the road to be built connecting this bay and Formenos. 


“As his son, I happen to know he wants a home built here, so I thought we could do two things at once. Build the road and the home - as a gift for all his years of service to our people. As to what else? I’d also like to find a place for my Uncle, Lord Fingolfin and perhaps start a realm for him, as well. And I think we should build homes and towns between here and Formenos - a bit like they do on Tol Eressëa. I found them…..charming. Imagine riding from one place to the other and stopping in lovely towns and cities. Making friends and socializing in Taverns dotted across the land.” and then shaking himself back to the present, looked about and asked, “Well? What do you think?”


“I like it, actually. After so many years in Beleriand and stuck in one city after another, no offense, my lord, I found I liked it best when we were out in the open. And I liked how the mannish settlements were set up. I guess with their numbers they needed to be able to expand.” Panotan smiled, and it seemed that his idea was being met with approval. 


So he stood and addressed the crowd, “If you all could indulge me a moment? I just want to thank you all for agreeing to accompany me on this journey that’s not fraught with danger, for once, and not in captivity. And not technically breaking any of the Valar’s rules. That’s something we haven’t tried yet and I think we shall make something great and wondrous! 


“Something that hasn’t been done since our forebears first came to this land. We all know what can be accomplished if we work together but this time we don’t have to worry about the dark vala nor his fell beasts. We will set up our camp tomorrow and then decide where to start building the road to Formenos. 


“We will also need to find ways to forage and provide for ourselves while we are here. That means finding fresh water and hopefully some among you have brought fishing gear, though if a river or lake is nearby I’m not bad at spearfishing.” he said grinning, receiving good natured ribbing, as the mead and wine flowed freely. 


“But as I was saying, tomorrow we will make plans. Tonight?” he said raising his glass, “We give thanks to those who made this possible. Cheers!” he said, choosing not to name anyone or any Being, for there were many and they could thank whom they chose. For himself, he was exceedingly grateful to the Falmari, for if not for them, this would not have been possible!




“So what did he have to say?” Fëanor asked.


“A bunch of word salad.” Fingolfin said.


“That’s not helpful, brother.” Fëanor said, giving him an arch look. He’d given up the half brother the moment Fingolfin had snatched him out of solitary and reunited him with his sons.


“But that’s the point. He as much as admitted he has no reason to keep us here. Just as you said.”


“I am right about things, sometimes.”


“You were right about a lot of things. And wrong about a lot more. It’s good to know the difference.” Fingolfin shrugged.


“There was a time that would have angered me. But I’ve had to watch as my oath destroyed my sons. Destroyed kingdoms. Destroyed a whole land and sent it beneath the waves. And all I wanted was freedom. And revenge. I’ve condemned us all.” he concluded morosely. 


Frankly, Fingolfin was rather tired of seeing his brother replay the gloom and doom routine and wanted him shaken out of it. He needed his brother’s brilliant mind, dammit! “You can take credit for a lot of things, but you’ll not take credit for the sins of the Valar.”


“You don’t sound like you. What is wrong, Ñolo?”


“I’m concerned that we still haven’t found atar yet. I need you to snap out of this funk, Náro. I need my brilliant brother back!”


“I’m afraid I’m running out of ideas about that.”


“You never run out of ideas. What’s wrong?”


“I saw my amil. She still doesn’t know me.”


“That doesn’t sound right to me. You’ve been visiting her for years. Perhaps she is…..Actually, I’ve got nothing. I don’t know why she wouldn’t know you.”


“It doesn't seem right to me either. She’s been condemned to weave our history. That means she’s seen me. Then again, they have told me I am marred. That I killed her.”


“That is another thing! Who in blazes do they think they are, saying something like that?”


“No one died here before I was born.”


“Neither did she. Not really. I’ll admit something strange happened. But it didn’t have anything to do with you.”




“No butts.” he snickered, grinning at his brother’s glare, “Really though, in the outside world it happened quite often, I’m sorry to say. Sometimes for no reason anyone could come up with.”


“But here…..”


“That’s what I’m saying! The Valar aren't all powerful. They are Children of Ilúvatar just as we are.”


“Not quite like we are.”


“No. But they aren’t better than us. We at least know we aren’t perfect. They’ve screwed things up pretty spectacularly and it’s eeeeverybody else’s fault but theirs.” he said waving his hand up in the air. And then something occurred to him, “ you think atar is near your amil?”


“I...I don’t know. I never thought he’d be near her.”


“Why not? She was his first love. You’d have full siblings if, well, you know.” he concluded lamely.


“You know, I always blamed your amil for...well, everything. But that’s not fair. It was my atar who went to the Valar to sever his first marriage. It was his decision to remarry. I’m so sorry, Ñolo.”


“You’re forgiven. All I’ve ever wanted was your love as my big brother, Náro. And it wasn’t all bad, you know. There were times you were a very good older brother.” he smirked and Fëanor smiled a true smile of amusement.


“I also recall a few times when we were far more dangerous when we worked together towards a common goal.”


“Exactly! Come on. Let’s search the area near your amil. I think it has to be about the only area we haven’t searched yet. And once we’ve collected atar then we are going to focus all our energies on finding a way out of here! Deal?” Fingolfin grinned.




“You know, it’s too bad we don’t have Lally with us. She can really think outside the box.” Fingolfin mused.


“Eru no! The last thing we need is something blowing up!” Fëanor said, rolling his eyes, but smiled as his brother chuckled and said, “Actually, that might be exactly what we need!”


“Are you all like this?” Fëanor asked curiously, suddenly feeling he had missed out on a lot of fun.


“Pretty much. I don’t suppose you ever noticed the massive amount of chores we did back then?” and at his brother’s wide eyed nod, added, “You don’t think it was because we were diligent, do you?”


“I suddenly feel very cheated. And foolish.” he said abashedly, following his brother.

“It’s not over for mischief making yet. Where there’s life there’s hope!” and then he stopped looking wide-eyed and surprised at his brother, adding, “Oh wait! We’re dead!” and gave his brother a devilish grin, and continued down the passageway laughing uproariously.


And Fëanor was shocked to discover he... liked his younger brother. How did that happen? There was a whole lot of crazy going on inside that head and Fëanor approved of crazy! Pity they both had to die before they became friends.


~One the Road Again~

Sixty years later, Finrod and his people had finally broken through the last barrier and connected the new road to the northern side of Formenos and Finrod couldn’t believe his eyes! He’d thought the stronghold looked different in the distance and that was because it was different. The walls hadn’t been breached. They’d been shaped and turned into delicate walkways. Arches carved into them and opening up the stronghold on all sides with the interior turned into a proper courtyard. 

The rough hewn exterior looked to be in the process of being carved, hollowed out and shaped into something more resembling their artistic Noldorin style. Finrod thought he could see some of what his atar was planning for the city and he could see how it would become a thing of beauty. He could see that even the natural ramparts that surrounded the winding road that led to the main entrance were being transformed. 

But he’d seen something coming up this northwestern side of this city….but, well, he was sure his atar had already seen it too! But it didn’t matter! Now that they’d broken through they could start from this direction and begin connecting all the roads and widening them. Paving them into proper roads. But for now he’d savour his accomplishment - his and his companions who he promptly congratulated on a job well done! 

Then he insisted they quit for the day and enjoy a hot bath and a meal. He received no objections from his crew and led them into the city that now had an entrance right into the courtyard. Staff came to lead them to their rooms and Finrod made his way to his chambers so he could bathe before he went to his atar’s chambers. Chambers and interior that he noticed had been remodeled into something that could put the palace of Tirion itself to shame. He hoped that by the time he was finished he’d be able to catch one or both of his parents in their chambers. 



Bathed and feeling like a proper ellon again, he made his way to his parent’s chambers and raised his hand to knock. And with his hand still raised to knock, the door opened to his atar’s smiling face. Finarfin grasped his son in a welcoming embrace and Finrod squeezed back, tightly. He hadn’t realized how much he’d missed his father. Sixty years isn’t much time for the eldar, but he’d spent centuries away from his family - both in Beleriand and in the Halls.

“Finrod, my son! It’s so good to see you!" Finarfin said, letting go of his son, adding, "Your amil has missed you.” he concluded lamely, self conscious with his display and ushering his son into his chambers.

Finrod laughed lightly and kissed his atar’s cheek, saying, “I missed you too, atta. I didn’t realize how much until I saw your face. Perhaps after we finish your - projects - I can bring Amarië to the coast and live with you and amil?”

“That would be marvelous, my son. Do you think you could convince her to leave Valmar?” he asked, and then smiled as his wife exclaimed in delight as Finrod’s presence.

“Oh you’re here! How I’ve missed you!” Eärwen exclaimed, embracing her son, who kissed her gently on the cheek in affection.

“I’m glad to be here, amil.” Finrod smiled, adding, as they sat for their midday meal “I must tell you both what marvelous progress you’ve made here! I can see what you plan here and it will truly be a marvel to behold when completed. Do you have any plans drawn out that you can show me?”

“He does and you can wait until after we eat to knock heads together pouring over them.” Eärwen chided.

“Yes, amil.” her son grinned.

“Tell me how your work goes, son. We began seeing your road crawl towards us a few months ago. I tried to make my way to you and found it unpassable. How did you solve that?”

“It helps to have experienced engineers with you, for starters. Secondly, many willing hands also help, immensely. It was simple enough to score the path and instead of leaving vast mounds of dirt and rocks on the perimeter, the engineers insisted we load the debris onto wagons and when we came upon dips and crevices in the path we wished to take, we’d simply use the debris as filler to level out the road.”

“And they don’t fear spring rains will wash them out?”

“I don’t think so. These are experienced engineers, atar. They did this sort of work in Beleriand and that land had wild weather. Things I’ve never seen here - but you were there. You must have seen how violent the storms are there!”

“Aye! Though most thought it the malice of Morgoth. For my part, I thought it was the Valar themselves who made this land so mild in climate.”

“That could be the reason. Or it could simply be they chose this land because of its position in the world and then engineered it so it was more protected. The Pelori runs the entire length of the eastern side of this land. There is no such mountain range on the western side.” and then he pulled a map out to show his father the details he’d been able to fill in during the course of his travels. “Here! See this plain? It’s about halfway between Formenos and the coast and I thought we could build Uncle Ñolo’s realm here. That is where the Pelori Spur ends and there are many caves there. Caves filled with quartz. Plus there are large forests to the north and the south that are easily accessible from that location.”

“That’s perfect. If I didn’t know better I’d say the Valar made this whole area just to keep us out of their hair.” he smirked, and then, “So the land is fairly flat between here and the coast?”

“Not really. But when we came to valleys or ravines too deep to traverse by using the debris we’d collected we simply built bridges. Rough, but sturdy to begin with, but that is what the followup crews led by the bridge architects were for. Those lads are scary in their brilliance! I imagine things would have gone a lot differently for us had we worked together rather than at cross purposes in Beleriand.”

“I would lay most of that at Morgoth’s door, and to the Valar themselves, for the rest.” Finarfin said bitterly.

“Husband!” Eärwen exclaimed, a fearful look upon her face.

But Finarfin pointed to her face and said, “That! Exactly that fear is why I feel the way I do. You should have seen the land they left our children to languish in, my love.” and holding up a hand to halt Finrod’s protests, “Nay, my son. I know it was not always so. I remember my atar’s stories of the Great Journey and the wonders they saw along the way. That is not what I saw. I saw a land sickened and blasted by malice and hatred. I imagine what I saw would have broken your heart had you gone with us in that last battle.”

“It broke my heart to know that the land did not survive the war. To think of a battle so fierce that the very bones set by Aulë, himself, were broken and collapsed beneath the waves is incomprehensible to me.”

“I never thought those pretty gems my brother wrought would have the power to bring down a dragon so vast he was the size of not a mountain, but an entire mountain range, by a peredhil wearing it on his brow in a sailing ship that flew.” Finarfin said dryly, his brows lifted in wonder. 

But he continued, for he had more to say, “But this is about our fear of the Valar who should be our teachers, not our jailers. I don’t know what made them decide they had to hide us to protect us, but the choice to leave was taken from us a very long time ago, it seems. And to those who died there, very few have been released. This wasn’t always the way of things. When Fëanor’s amil languished they did all they could to return her fëa to her hröa. The same with those who ended in accidents.”

“But it took a long time for those of my people killed by the Fëanorians to return.” Eärwen pointed out.

“But they were returned, my love. I suspect the Valar kept them until our work to repair their destruction was complete so they’d have nothing remaining to remind them of that terrible day. My concern is for those simple vassels who followed their lords and did no wrong save to keep their oaths of fealty.” Finarfin pointed out.

“What say you, my son? Are there those within the Halls who committed no treason other than leaving?”

“Yes! Many! Uncle Ñolo is the easiest example. He and his men committed no kinslaying. His son Fingon did under the mistaken belief that the Falmari had attacked unprovoked. Greatly did he repent that, but he never sought to excuse his actions. But Fingolfin, Turgon and Argon had no part in those acts and only followed because of the Oath Fingolfin swore to follow Uncle Fëanor as our High King. Indeed, Angrod died just as we stepped foot in Beleriand. How does he deserve to remain there? He was even more deserving than myself to be returned and he is yet there. That is not justice.”

“But you sacrificed yourself for another.” she pointed out.

“So? He never got the chance to sacrifice himself. And who is to say he didn’t? I didn’t see him die. As far as I know he died throwing himself in front of ellyth and elflings who were threatened. And what of all of those who died in the crossing? Elenwë is still there! No, ammë. I believe those in the Halls are held in petty revenge. And you can tell me nay until the cows come home, I’ll not change my mind.”

“Until the cows come home?” Finarfin repeated with a lifted brow.

“Tis a mannish saying. They seem to have sayings for everything and deal with the more mundane aspects of life. And most of them are humorous in nature. They have an uncanny ability to laugh at everything. To see the humor in any situation, whether it be humorous or not.” Finrod smiled gently in fond remembrance.

“That tells me nothing of this saying.” Finarfin dryly pointed out.

“Cows don’t come home. At least not without being herded. Do you know they’ve trained dogs to do this? And they bred dogs from wolves who love them and are loyal unto death to them?” breaking off, he grinned, “But I digress! So the saying comes about when one's mind is not ever going to be changed by counsel or argument and invoking something that will never happen anyway is their way of saying they’ll not be persuaded.” he grinned, “I actually find it a very clever way to tell someone to cease. And they have another that is not so kind by telling them to cease their prattle. Actually, they have dozens of idioms to tell nonsense speakers to shut up.”

“Shut...up?” Eärwen asked faintly.

“It’s a direction for someone to shut their mouth. Stop talking - literally. A forceful admonition usually followed by a brawl if not followed.”

“Do they brawl….often?” she asked, horrified.

“Not really - unless they are in their cups. And they don’t have near our tolerance for wine consumption, though they seem to prefer ale. They become befuddled rather quickly. It is best to leave before those affected negatively take issue with those who are what they call happy-drunks. And I can understand the intolerance sometimes, for those become overly stimulated with the need to be affectionate and sing very loudly and very badly.”

“You’re enjoying this, aren’t you?” his amil accused.

“Guilty as charged, ammë!”

“Well, I would prefer to talk about your wedding with Amarië. Do you have any idea when we might expect that?” she eagerly asked. Only two of her four children had wed and Angrod, his son and granddaughter were in Mandos. And who knew if or when Galadriel would ever have a child?

“Should we not wait until these projects are completed?” Finrod asked.

“Is her family still against the match?” 

“Nay, for unless they repent they have seen she will not be moved to choose another. I believe their desire for grandchildren outweighs the accident of my birth.” Finrod smirked.

“You were not an accident, my son.” Finarfin said firmly.

“No, but being born into the House of Finwë apparently is. They resent how their Indis was treated by a vast number of our people. I can’t fault them that, atar.”

“Neither can I. Perhaps now she is one of the three queens their view has softened.” and then, “Have you given any thought to how we will liberate our people from the Halls?”

“I can’t listen to this!” Eärwen exclaimed and quickly left the room.

“She is against us?” Finrod asked in surprise.

“Nay, but her anger has cooled over the years. She’s afraid, son. Perhaps if I were not so filled with bitterness, I would also feel fear. But I’m angered at the captivity of my kin and the kin of others who do not deserve such. Can you now tell me of this place of waiting?” and Finrod spoke of all he knew of the place and how in the beginning they had all been forced to bear their sojourn there in solitude.

“But why?”

“I believe they think we needed to contemplate our errors in solitude. Perhaps it is what they do and find value in it. They truly don’t understand that it can drive us mad. I fear that has been the fate of many there.”

“It sounds more like they didn't want to be bothered with you. That is needlessly cruel. As you say, many are there for following their lord. Exactly what errors do they have to contemplate to justify such a long period of time?!"”

“I’ve come to the conclusion that they do not understand us at all. Though, I imagine Uncle Fingolfin had been given the boon of residing with Argon as a reward for his wounding of Morgoth. That they valued! But it also started a minor rebellion there. Uncle is very stubborn and the boon, whatever it was, seemed to give him the ability to collect other kin. He laid claim to me, Aegnor and Angrod almost as soon as we arrived. He’d already begun collecting vassels and other kin. After a while he just started laying claim to everyone. For what you want, your brother is your best asset for he cheerfully rebels almost daily and they tolerate it.”

“Poor Fingolfin. A shining star, but always in the shadow of our elder sibling. But none can lay claim to his valor. I wish I could have seen him in his last stand.”

“Oh, I can show you that. At least from his point of view. I imagine it was much more impressive viewed as the eagles fly. I suppose that’s why they clawed old Bauglir’s face and stole Uncle Fingolfin’s body. Tis said he walked with a limp ever after. Well, until they lopped his feet off. They should’ve lopped his head off!” and he showed his father the vision of Fingolfin’s battle from Fingolfin’s point of view. It was horrifying.

“That coward! How dared he?!!” Finarfin raged, his ire rekindled against the valar, “I really hate to say it, because I truly believe he went temporarily insane, but some of what Fëanor said was all too true.”

“I imagine Uncle Fingolfin has been adding all those lost from the War of Wrath to his collection and is even now collecting Uncle Fëanor. Once he gets him - and if they can work together - we might be seeing a prison break any day now!”

“There has to be some way to get a message to them!”

“I don’t see how. Not unless we get a sympathetic maia to aid us. But really, I think all they need to do is find a doorway to the outside. They don’t have hröa sitting in a storeroom awaiting us. When I was returned I was basically pushed out the doors and that, alone, slammed me into a hröa. I think…..I think the Halls are a different realm. The Unseen Realm. As soon as I was pushed into the Seen Realm I had the hröa of this realm. It really was as simple as that. This isn’t a matter of not being able to restore people to a proper body. This is a decision to hold people as an act of Will by the Valar.”

“I wonder if all we need do is find a way to open a door from the outside?” Finarfin mused, thoughtfully and he didn’t see the wide eyed look his son directed at him.


~Meanwhile: Mandos~

Fingolfin had left his brother out in the corridor and told him to stay put. This only worked for him if he was alone. When Fëanor asked him how that worked, Fingolfin rolled his eyes at him, saying, “How should I know? I only know that’s how it works. Now, stay put!” And he walked through the wall. Fëanor had no idea how he did that. Nobody else could do so. In fact, the only way to get out of their solitary confinement had been through Fingolfin entering and taking hold of them. Collecting them, as it were, and then walking them back out through the wall. He’d have to ask if he’d come across any barriers since he’d been here. For, if he hadn’t, could they just keep walking until they were all outside?

It was just a few moments before Fingolfin returned and for a moment it seemed as though he met resistance as he seemed to jerk back with his forearm still within the wall. Then he gave a mighty tug and there standing before them was their atar, Finwë, looking shocked and unsteady. Then he gave a cry of relief and joy when he saw his first born standing there and the two embraced.

Later, seated on the floor of a gigantic cavern Fingolfin had found so none of the ones he’d collected could be spirited away and put back into solitary, Fëanor asked something that had been bothering him for a while now.

“Why haven’t you asked me why I left you?”

“Because I don’t care. It’s done. Over. In the past. And things in the past can’t be changed so it’s no use rehashing it. We are here now - together. That is all that matters. That and finding a way out of this forsaken prison.”

“I saw what happened. Why did you speak out against your brother?”

“Did you happen to catch that Oath of his?”

“No, son. The tapestries don’t have sound.”

“Ask him sometime. And I didn’t speak out against him.”

“You did! You and your son!” Fëanor exclaimed.

“Asking if you’ve lost your mind isn’t speaking out against you.”

“That’s not exactly what you said.”

“Fine. Asking if you’ve lost your fucking mind, isn’t speaking out against you. Happy?” and the three elder ellyn heard the snickering from their children seated nearby. “Well, now that we’ve made the infants laugh at my naughty language, can we drop this now?” and then seeing his father’s shocked face added, “Atta if you say language to me, I swear I’ll slap you!”

“He can do it, too! He’s pinched me several times!” Fingon nodded sagely.

Then a loud voice reverberated through the Halls, “Ñolofinwë Finwion”

Getting to his feet, Fingolfin grinned and said, “It must be time for my annual lecture. Don’t go anywhere.” he said cheerfully and then bent to place his hand on the floor and a soft glow immediately lit everyone in the cavern. Dusting his hands of imaginary dust he turned and disappeared before their eyes.

“What did he do?” Finwë asked.

“I think he marks us. He wasn’t kidding when he said he collects us. If not for him we’d all still be in solitary confinement watching dreary tapestries.”

“But how does he do it?”

“No idea. I suppose I should think more about that. He wants me to cook up some means of escape. But honestly? I think he’s our best bet to get out of here.”


~Chatting with the Doomsman~


“Lord Námo.” Fingolfin had begun to call the Vala by his given name rather than his title. Which the Vala personally thought rather cheeky, but tolerated. Fingolfin thought he was starting to grow on the Doomsman.

“I thought I should let you know that your nephew, Lord Glorfindel has been released. He has been chosen for a special purpose of the Ainur and has agreed to be our emissary.” and then he awaited the ellon’s response.

“Did you give him a chance to see his family?” Fingolfin asked, though he thought he already knew the answer.

“No. It was thought more profitable to send him straight to Endor.” Mandos said heavily.

“I see.”

“Do you?”

“Are you trying to tell me something? For I can imagine sitting here forever must be boring for you, but I’d rather not play games when I’m not privy to the rules.” Fingolfin said testily.

“This is not a game, you know!”

“Do I?”

“Why do you persist in flaunting my rules?” Mandos sighed, sounding fatigued.

“Because your rules are destroying the fëar of the people you have housed here. If your purpose was to be like Morgoth and experiment on us to see if you could cause the permanent death to the deathless, then you are going about it the right way. So….?

“So... What?”

“Is that your intention? To destroy us?” Fingolfin asked curiously.

“Of course not. How can you think such?” and Fingolfin made no reply, save he quirked a single brow. And sighing, Mandos wearily said, “Dismissed.” And Fingolfin turned on his heel and returned to his people.

Sitting down he announced, “They’ve released Glorfindel and sent him to Endor as their emissary. He was not allowed to see his family.”

“Wait! What was that you say? My son has been released?”

“Yes, brother. I’m sorry they didn’t tell you first.” Fingolfin said with sympathy.

Ecthelion sighed and said, “I suppose I should be happy. I am happy. I just hoped we’d leave together.”

Fingolfin patted his shoulder and said, “Don’t worry, brother. I’ll return you to my sister if it’s the last thing I ever do.”

And Fëanor smiled a smile that had a feral quality about it, and said, “About that…..”


~Meanwhile: Formenos~

Any jailbreak plans on Finarfin’s part were put on hold as those who had been building the road project used it to ride back and tell their kin of the progress of the building project of Finarfin. Then it was that many artisans, architects and stonemasons began to descend upon Formenos and Finarfin welcomed these as the more of them he had, the faster the Work could progress. And at this point they were at the beginning of the end!

The feature Finrod had seen when he’d approached from the northeast, was an enormous mountain cache of water. Practically an inland sea of fresh water and whatever had happened to create it, it had been clear when they first entered the stronghold that at some point it had breached the mountain peaks and had flooded the stronghold on numerous occasions! The weathering and erosion of the stone in the compound couldn’t have occurred any other way. It wasn’t that old!

With the engineers he designed the city in such a way as to pipe the water throughout the city for both power, running water and also spillways for aesthetic beauty. 

When they’d finished their decades long work and opened the spillways it took almost three days for the water to fill all the cisterns within the city, filling the aqueducts and channels before finally flowing through the filtering systems that created cleverly designed artificial waterfalls throughout the city. 

And through additional spillways waterfalls sprang forth from the lower base of the city that flowed into the dry riverbed below at the base of the mountain, choked off by whatever seismic activity that blocked the flow from the mountain lake in the first place. This river would reclaim its path and bring much needed water to the west before it would be captured in several connecting lakebeds where it had once flowed before spilling into the sea.

When the waterways had the chance to fulfill their maker’s vision, Finarfin, along with the lead engineer and architect - who happened to be a married couple - had traveled some distance away to get a good look at their vision and Finarfin was duly impressed. 


Formenos with a Facelift

“Orehtelë!” he exclaimed, “It’s done! Just look at that!” and turning to the couple who were responsible for the beauty he beheld, said, “It’s perfect! I can’t thank you enough. I just know my brother will love it. How could he not?”

“Truth to tell, my lord, it was a pleasure! We don’t often get to tackle a project of this size and scope.” Tuvindo, the lead engineer said.

“Aye! I’m a bit sorry it’s done. But I feel it was a job well done. Something to be proud of.” Þamne, the lead architectural designer and Tuvindo’s wife, beamed.

“Would you be interested in a couple more projects of this kind?” Finarfin asked, hopefully.

Tuvindo laughed heartily and said, “If you’re asking if we would be willing to work on Lord Fingolfin and your own homes, we’d be delighted.”

“Yes, we’ve even figured out that it would be easiest to complete Lord Fingolfin’s city first and then move on to yours as special considerations will be needed there.” Þamne said.

“What sort of considerations?”

“Well, I believe that Lord Fingolfin’s realm will necessarily need to be more spread out, but some of the usual considerations will need to be made. We are familiar with these and I’m hopeful that this river will assist in that.” Þamne said.

“Will this new river disrupt the road my son constructed?”

“Nay. Lord Finrod annotated the dry bed on the maps he gave us to show the route he took for his road.” she said.

“The same for the path it will take to the sea. Now, what you are proposing for Andúnië Bay is a residence separated from the city that is being planned.” Tuvindo said.

“And don’t forget the port!” Þamne added.

“Indeed! What you propose is something special. In fact it sounds exactly like the kind of place we would like to settle in.” Turvindo said.

“Many people feel that way. It is like the beginning of a new life for many of us and we all want to do it right.” Þamne smiled.

“I really like the sound of that. Tis what my wife and I would like as well.” and taking a last look at the new Formenos, Finarfin said, “I’m very happy to hear you will be involved in the other two projects. And I’m especially pleased to know that we will eventually be neighbors. I will leave the details to you.” And even though he’d had very little to do with the transforming of his brother’s stronghold into this beautiful work of art, he still felt a sense of accomplishment. One down, two to go!


~Expected and Unexpected Guests~

He had lately been feeling a sense of urgency in this matter and when he stopped to examine those feelings he believed it might mean the Valar were against him, but he dismissed this. He wasn’t hiding what he was doing and they’d not interfered. Indeed, they seemed to be surreptitiously helping him, understanding their overt assistance wasn’t welcome. If that was the case they were displaying a rare moment of wisdom regarding his people.

He had approved his son’s design plans to begin work on the place he'd found for Fingolfin. To begin immediately! Tuvindo and Þamne had already left with a large segment of those who were followers of his brother’s House, which included most of their artisans. For Fingolfin was an artist and so were those that followed him. 

And Ñolo’s preferred medium was quartz. He liked to make glass. 

In the old days his creations were much sought after. And when news had come that he’d challenged Morgoth to single combat and had wounded him seven times? Well, those items made by his hands had become greatly prized and almost priceless! But having his own realm where he could happily make his creations to his heart's content would also make him a valuable trade partner! 

And Finarfin smiled as he was already picturing the kind of stained glass that could be put in his new home. His Swan Maiden would like that. It didn’t even have to be complicated. Sometimes, just the right color, the right shade of glass in a window, could change the entire mood in a room. To make it more comforting - welcoming.

And the sketches his son had shown him on his return to show the progress pleased him immensely. Both locations were shaping up nicely and really were gorgeous. Especially Andúnië Bay! He knew his wife would feel right at home. There were private places to walk about and play and not so very far away was a bustling city and stone ports to berth the ships they’d be either building or purchasing. And it would be a destination for those of Tol Eressëa and Alqualondë, who he knew would come just for the sheer novelty of a new sea-port. And he was sure they’d be visited by her brothers. Maybe even her parents! She would like that.

But he really didn’t care about them right now, for he’d had word his sister, Lalwen was arriving. He’d missed her terribly when she’d chosen to leave with their elder brother, and he'd felt bad she’d been exiled along with the others, but he also felt like pinching her for leaving him alone with Findis! And he was definitely going to let her know how he felt about that! 

But when the appointed hour of her arrival came, they found a pair of guests instead. For it was his sister, Lalwen and his sister-in-honor Anairë, who arrived. But he greeted them enthusiastically, all the same. He hadn’t been High King of the Noldor for six centuries without learning a few tricks along the way!

“Welcome, sisters! What brings you hither?”

“We bring news or a sort, brother. Some you will not welcome, I’m sure.” Lalwen said.

“Well, then you must settle yourselves before you bring the cloud of your tidings to bear.” and he had the staff settle them into rooms befitting their position. This basically meant they were settled into rooms that had been set aside for his nephews - when they came home.

Once they’d both washed the journey off and arrived in fresh clothing, they made their way to Finarfin and Eärwen's rooms, where they found themselves enveloped within the warm and welcoming embrace of Eärwen.

“Oh, sisters! It is so good to see you both! I’ve missed you both so much!” Eärwen cried.

“We’ve missed you, too, sister.” Anairë smiled.

“Come! Finarfin has tea prepared.” she said cheerfully, leading her sisters by marriage to the terrace.

Seated and relaxed after partaking, Finarfin finally asked for their news, “So what news do you bring?”

“Something is afoot. Our Glorfindel has been released from the Halls but not allowed to rejoin family. But that’s not all. It is said that Manwë has sent two maia with him back to Endor to help the free peoples there in their conflict with Sauron.”

Lalwen knew their news would be unsettling, but she was quite unprepared when her gentle brother slammed his hand down on the table, his face twisted in rage! And when he bent his eye at his wife, she merely patted his hand and said, “Perhaps you were right, dear.” and received a snort of derision in reply before he stood and stomped away, clearly in a snit!

“Wha...what was that all about?” Anairë asked, disturbed by his outburst.

“Oh, nothing much. He wants to break our kin out of Mandos.” and then covered a smile when Lalwen spewed her tea all over the table. “Oh my! Are you alright, sister?” she asked gently.

“Oh! You were teasing me, Eärwen.” Lalwen exclaimed.

“Actually, I was not. He really wants to break our kin out. He’s very annoyed with the Valar and believes they are holding our people out of spite. That’s why he has rebuilt this stronghold into a city - a realm - for Fëanor and his followers. He’s also been building one for us on the Western side of Aman. It’s nearly finished. And so is the one he’s building for Ñolo!”

“But why? Why all of this? And what is wrong with living in our home in Tirion?” Anairë asked.

“Well, for one, none of the exiles are allowed in Tirion. No reason given, except because….” Finarfin said, returning from his display of temper, and raising his hand to indicate their surroundings, added, “These give them a home without violating the Valar’s decree. A home where their families could rejoin them. And that’s just for the exiles. What happens to those released from Mandos?”

Eärwen calmly sipped her tea before she replied, “You of course know that the first thing Ara had Finrod do when he came home. You were one of those he liberated, Lalwen. And I assume you’re here because of the road Finrod built. What do you think of the city they’ve built there? And what did you think of the city being built for Ñolo? 

Sighing, Lalwen said, “They’re very nice, actually. I can see why you would wish to relocate there. And there are many little villages springing up along the road, as well.” and Anairë was beginning to see the wisdom of having three separate - but connected - realms. Half the troubles had originated because they’d had conflicting factions within the city creating friction that eventually exploded no matter how many times cooler heads tried to diffuse it.

Finarfin then said, “When I started this, all I wanted was to turn this place into a city to rival Tirion. To give Fëanor the gift of a realm surrounded by those who love him. And the Andúnië Bay was actually for me and my Swan Maiden.” He said, covering his wife’s hand and gazing in affection at her before adding, “It was just to be a nice home for us to enjoy by the sea. Until it came into my heart to create a sea port to rival Tol Eressëa.”

“Rival is perhaps the wrong choice of word, beloved. Rather we should think of all these projects as a way to spread out. To give our people other options. I suspect we never see children anymore because we’re all at full capacity. Anymore people is simply not an option.” his wife said.

“Quite right, my dear!” Finarfin agreed.

“For a long time all Ñolo wanted was his family to be together. I don’t know that he’ll ever get his wish.” Anairë said sadly.

“That was never going to happen. Children leave their parent’s home and start homes of their own. Yes, it’s nice to think of visiting kin, but it’s not like that ever happened when atar was King. Too many stubborn ellyn in our family.” Lalwen said wryly. 

“Nor with the current decree of the Valar concerning the exiles never stepping foot in Tirion. This throws the whole argument out the window as people will now have no reason to go to Tirion. Their families can come here or to Fingolfin’s realm or to the coast.” Finarfin pointed out, adding, “And I’m still going to open that door to Mandos.”

“While you know I’m all for this, especially as they sent my son from Aman out into that armpit of Endor and left my husband to rot in Mandos, I really do fear this borders on rebellion.” Lalwen said.

“They should release our people. They keep doing things that prove they aren’t thinking of us. They are only doing them as an act of revenge.” Finarfin reiterated, stubbornly.

“You may be right. If you need help getting our people freed, I’m with you, brother.” Lalwen said firmly.

“That took a lot less time than I thought it would.” Finarfin said.

“You should know me better than that.”

“I know you left me alone with Findis. Findis! What were you thinking?”

“I was thinking that all three of us were going. I was with Ñolo. I didn’t even know you’d turned back until we were three days out on the ice. By then it was too late and Aman had been closed to us.”

“I did not know that. I’m sorry, Lally. I’ve been mad at you all these years for no reason. And we’ll get Thelion out of there. I promise you that. One way or another.”

“Perhaps you should seek help before you undertake an action my kin will deem yet more rebellion.” a voice said. And gasping in surprise, Finarfin stood to behold Lórien, Irmo of the Fëanturi.


~Still in Mandos~


Fëanor had shared his notion that Fingolfin’s ability to travel through the walls of Mandos might be their best option to at least find the outer wall.


“For you, out of all of us, are the only one who can pass through the walls here. If you come to a barrier you can’t pass it’s very likely that’s the outer wall.” 


“And on the other side of that wall is freedom. That’s good thinking. Welcome back, brother.”


“I really wish you two could have worked more together when you were younger.” Finwë said, sadly.


“What are you talking about, atta? We worked together quite a few times!” Fingolfin said impishly.


“Pranks and mischief wasn’t what I meant by working together.” Finwë said dryly.


“That’s hardly fair, atar. Our interests are divergent enough that working together on things other than mischief was unlikely.” Fingolfin objected.


“Highly improbable.” Fëanor agreed.


“Well, as to your suggestion, I have to see if something works or not. And experiment, if you will. If it doesn’t work the logistics will be a pain in the ass.” and ignoring his father’s disapproving look, he knelt and touched the floor. Immediately everybody he’d claimed over the years lit up.


“Very well, then. I need a volunteer. No, not you, Celebrimbor. You’ve only just joined us and you’re still too weak. No! Not you either, Curufin. You need to take care of your son. Never mind! I’ll pick my own.” and looking around an ellon stepped forward and said, “Choose me, lord.”


“Who are you?”


“Absolutely no one, lord. And since there are far more like me than there are like you mighty lords, I think it would be best to know if the least among us can do as the most wise.”


A surprised laugh burst from Fingolfin and he said, “If we get out of here I’d love to offer you a job if you find yourself looking for one.”


“Thank you, no. I’m just a lowly Nandor and if you find a way for us to escape I’ll happily go back to the nearest forest I can find.”


“Not so lowly, I think.” and looking around he directed the ellon to walk through the nearest wall without him and then to return. “And if you don’t return immediately, I’ll come and fetch you.”


And the ellon nodded and followed Fingolfin's directions and to everyone’s surprised delight, the ellon not only passed through the wall but did, indeed, return.


And Fingolfin grinned fiercely and said, “All right then! Now let us all begin walking in one direction. Turn neither left nor right. Eventually we should hit the outer wall or we’ll walk straight out of here. Win-win!”


And as a group they all started moving forward.


~Operation Jail-Break~


Finarfin, along with his followers and those of Fingolfin all left Formenos to travel west to Andúnië Bay. This had been the first opportunity Finarfin had had to travel any distance on the road his son had created and he was duly impressed. Both by the craftsmanship of road and the bridges, which had obviously all been retrofitted into works of art, as well as durability. And also by all the small towns and villages that were in the process of springing up along the way.


The journey was smooth and without incident and they eventually came to the city that had been crafted for his brother Fingolfin.


Realm of Fingolfin


And Finarfin thought it a true work of art and had no hesitation in staying a few days to settle his brother’s people and to take a look around. He was well pleased with all that had been accomplished and took to the road with renewed enthusiasm for he wished to finally see the city of Andúnië Bay!


They had set out almost immediately after Lord Irmo’s visit. Apparently their actions were nowhere near as unobserved as they’d thought and it had been him, personally, who had sent the dreams to their people regarding their building projects. Considering how advanced some of the plans had been, Finarfin was amazed the Vala had sent them.


Then he handed over a phial filled with a glowing substance that all within the room gasped as soon as they saw it. “Is that what I think it is?”


“Some of the dew drops from Laurelin? Yes. That is what this is.” Irmo smirked.


“Why are you giving us this?” Finarfin asked suspiciously.


“I want to know why you have it? Wasn’t the whole point of wanting the Silmarils was so Fëanor could break them to bring the trees back?” Lalwen asked hotly.


“The trees are dead. I have no idea what game they were playing and I don’t care. But I can tell you we all have loads of this stuff. Fëanor wasn’t the only one who liked to experiment with light. That story of the trees producing one last flower and fruit didn’t happen. They just took some of the dew drops Aulë, himself had. Then he made the globes and vessels. Manwë sent them aloft, Vardo set the was a group effort.” he shrugged, and then, “It’s something we should have done in the first place! Leaving the rest of the world in darkness was ill advised!”


“I agree, especially in seeing how much world is actually out there. And I know I only saw a portion of it. My atar told me of the great journey and there were at least two vest mountain ranges and vast swaths of land between them and another that led to the sea.”


“And your atar didn’t even make it to the west coast of Beleriand. He and the others went south after a few hundred leagues, down to the Bay of Balar. But all this is besides the point. I know what you are doing and I’m giving you this to open a door in my brother’s domain.”


“But why?” Finarfin asked.


“I can’t tell you. I’m sorry.” he said apologetically, and then, “You should sail down the coast past my sister’s domain. There is a bay that I believe your son has added to his map. That is where you will need to disembark. It is very close to my brother’s domain. Go to the back of it, that is where your kin are congregating. The phial isn’t a special kind of crystal - it can break. So be careful with it! 


“Once you are close to the wall throw the phial at it - hard! It must break on the wall. Then you just have to wait. Bring lots of water! They’ll be thirsty! That is all - smooth sailing to you and good luck!” and then he was gone. The stunned silence only lasted a moment before they went about ordering everybody to pack up! They were leaving in the morning!


Now traveling on the last part of their journey before they set out by ship, their host reduced by half with the loss of Fingolfin’s people, there was a sense of urgency and anticipation in those remaining. The towns and villages now began to be more frequent, as though they were spreading out from the coast, and glancing at his son, he could see that Finrod was well pleased by this. This is what he had hoped for.


And finally, as they crested a hill, they beheld the sea! An unexplored sea that was so vast it stretched out into infinity! Intellectually, he knew their world was flat and there was a mighty gate far out in the distance where both Ithel and Arnar were berthed until their appointed times to set sail. And he saw ships! The largest fleet of ships he’d ever seen in his life and he could hear his wife exclaim in delight beside him, and he turned to smile at her glee.


View of Finarfin's Realm From the East


“Oh, Ara, look! It’s beautiful!” she breathed. And indeed it was!


“I think we are going to be happy here, my beautiful swan maiden.”


“Wow! Look at that! They’ve exceeded even my expectations and my expectations were pretty high!” Finrod grinned.


“Indeed! After the job they did on Formenos, I put the architect and engineer, Þamne and Tuvindo, in charge of the other two projects. It’s amazing to me that none of the three even resemble Tirion, nor each other, in the least. And I’m happy to say they’ve decided to settle right here!”


“I’ve met them! They’re brilliant. It’s good to have brilliant people living in a community.” his son nodded sagely.


“Aye and now that we are almost done with our purpose I just want to get on with it.” Finarfin said.


“Perhaps we should take our time to settle our people and then we can leave to complete our task.” Eärwen suggested.


“Nay, sister! Lord Irmo advised haste. Those already here can settle our people while we board those ships and head south.” Lalwen said.


“She’s right, Eärwen. The sooner we get there the sooner we get our loved ones back.” Anairë agreed.


“Can we at least stop to bathe and eat?” she asked plaintively.


“Yes, beloved. That we can do. Finrod? Find out how soon the ships can be ready to sail.”


“Will do atar!”


~Marching in Mandos~


They’d been walking for what seemed years. It was an exaggeration, but how could they really know? Time passed differently here. It had seemed a few days between the time they’d taken Glorfindel to the time Celebrimbor arrived. But according to Tyelp it had been a century.


Perhaps it only felt this way because they actually had a goal now. But the thought had occurred to many of them that Mandos knew what they were doing and was somehow able to manipulate the halls so they were walking in a giant circle.


Fëanor hoped not because that would suck! But then he looked over and noticed that his brother was looking a lot more substantial.


“How are you doing that?” he asked.


“Huh? What are you talking about?” Fingolfin asked, not having the slightest idea what he was talking about.


“You look…... solid! How?”


“I look the same as you do. Wait…. This is it!” he called out, and then, “Fingon! Go see if you can find a crack. A light.”


“Yes atar!”


“What…?” Fëanor was confused. Fëanor didn’t like to be confused.


“Don’t ask questions! Just look for a light!”




“Just do it!” Fingolfin hissed and Fëanor needed no further encouragement.


Word passed along quickly and soon enough nearly everybody was starting to push forward, spreading out and looking for a crack of light that meant they’d reached their destination. Those within the Halls were roused with hope and the host began looking for a crack of light. Any crack! 


And then…”Fëanáro? Ñolofinwë?”


“Ara?” the brothers chimed. Then they grabbed hold of their father, gave him a quick hug, and before he could ask what was going on, he was being hustled forward.


And then, “I found it atar!”


“Excellent Fingon! Let’s go everybody! Follow me!”


“Who’s Fin-gon?” Finwë asked, puzzled.


“My eldest - Findekáno. Keep up, atta!” Fingolfin chided and then he saw it! A crack of light! And then he was through and felt the slam of his hröa and reeled and before he could recover he was in the arms of his wife! “Anairë! Oh my love. Please forgive me.”


“Shhhh!” she whispered in his ear before pressing her lips to his hungrily.


“Alright, that’s enough you two! There’s a whole line of people waiting to get out. Move aside.” Finrod said jovially.


“Hello brothers! Atar! It’s good to see you again.” Finarfin said happily.


“I can’t wait to see Tirion again.” Fëanor said.


“Oh, we aren’t going to Tirion! Our first stop is to the coast where we will all board ships and travel up to my city in Andúnië Bay. There we will rest up before we ride to Ñolo’s realm to drop off him and all his people. Then we’re going to Formenos. Though you’ll have to rename it. Personally, I like Orehtelë.” Finarfin grinned.


“So it is exile then?” Fëanor sighed.


Finarfin crossed his arms and said archly, “I didn’t break you all out just to go back into captivity. We’re free now!” and then as he started to walk away, he threw over his shoulder, “Hurry up! I didn’t break you out of there just so you could gawk at everything!”


Fingolfin and Fëanor exchanged a confused look and hurried after their brother, dragging their father with them.


But then Fingolfin stopped suddenly and said, “What about the Sindar? And the other Teleri?”


“No need to fear on their behalf. I will take care of them.” a female voice said. And turning to see who spoke they beheld Melian. Smiling, she added, “I want to thank you for your decision to take matters into your own hands. I owe you….everything.”


Finarfin relaxed and smiled, now understanding Irmo’s visit. Bowing he said, “Our pleasure my lady. I will leave them in your capable hands.”

~On to Andúnië Bay~


The walk to the coast wasn’t overly long, but it was onerous to the newly re-embodied which meant many stops along the way. Still, even though they were a large host, they nonetheless made it to the coast with enough time to spare that they were able to board the waiting ships that would carry them up the coast to Andúnië Bay.


And with the help of the sea-ainu their passage was smooth and swift. They were standing at the prow, mostly due to the sea sickness his brother, Fëanor and their father suffered. Fingolfin was as fit as ever and snuggling with his wife and they were all in prime position to get a first glance of Finarfin’s realm. And Finarfin was enchanted, himself, with the beauty of his realm. And yes! He knew it was his realm. He may not wear the crown any longer, but he knew he was the lord here and he could see it was a rare gem, indeed!


View of Andúnië Bay from the Sea


Throwing out his arms, he said, “Welcome to Andúnië Bay!”


“It’s beautiful, son.” Finwë said in awe, for he’s never seen anything like this. Not even Tol Eressëa.


~King Delivery Service~


They spent several weeks in Andúnië Bay - Finarfin would have to come up with a name for the city - before they set off with his brothers, atar and their followers. But in all the chaos of the jail-break, no one had noticed that Aegnor wasn’t among those who had left the Halls. Angrod said he suspected he was keeping to his promise of not returning because of an atani maid he’d met and fell in love with. 


Finarfin and Eärwen were distraught, but there was nothing they could do about it now. This had been a one-off and there was no way to go back in and drag him out. They would have to be content with having Angrod, Orodreth, their wives and Finduilas back home with them. 


When they finally set off they travelled with the host of both Fingolfin and Fëanor, led by Finarfin and Finrod. Once completed the two would ride back to the coast where it would be a very long time before they would ride out of the city again. They’d both had quite enough travel to last them several centuries, thank you very much! 


Some chose to ride, but many more had to opt for the carriages. Not to mention the large caravan of supply wagons. For though both realms were now growing their own food, they still needed stuff. The ride was long but smooth with many stops along the way. As Finrod knew, the re-embodied needed time to acclimate which meant plenty of rest. But they’d planned for that! 


It took about a week to reach Fingolfin’s realm where they would all rest up for a bit before continuing on to Formenos. As they approached the city Finarfin grinned and said to Fingolfin, “This is your new city. Happy rebirth day, brother!”


“It’s beautiful!” Fingolfin said in wonder.


“Do you like it? It not only has plains but also forestland, rivers, lakes and the Pelori Spur ends here which means there are many caves of quartz. So you can start making your beautiful glass again.” he said proudly, adding, “Eärwen and I wish to be your first clients!”


“And the Valar didn’t try and stop you?” Fingolfin asked, surprised they hadn't met any oppossition.


Irmo had warned them not to mention he’d been involved in their little jail-break, so Finarfin answered carefully, “I think they found it prudent to let us be. To let us remove ourselves and set up our own realms so they could avoid future conflicts. I think half our problem was we were crammed into a single city and we just got on each other's nerves. Fëanor was the only one who had the right idea of making a new realm, though that may not have been your intent at the time.”


“Besides, from what I’ve been hearing the Second Song is about to play and the time of man will be upon the world. A world with no place for elves. That means a whole load of people will be coming here. They need to know they can settle anywhere they want.” Finrod added.


“But who is ruling Tirion?” Fëanor asked, while Finwë didn’t look as though he cared.


“The three queens - Findis, Indis and Nerdanel. They’ve done a very good job of it. But forget about Tirion! This land is vast. Exceedingly vast. But for whatever reason the Valar have kept us pinned up in a tiny speck of it. I felt it was time to branch out a bit.” Finarfin said firmly.


“So we are to be exiled.” he said flatly.


“You have a one track mind, you know that?” Fingolfin said wryly. Then looking at Finarfin he asked, “Do you think it’s at all possible that some of the Valar might have inspired you to do all this?” he asked flinging his arm out indicating all this.


“Yes, of course it occurred to me. But it doesn’t explain the anger. I gave up the crown and started this when Finrod was released. Only Finrod.”


“Actually, you really rebelled after the war. When they wouldn’t let me go back to help.” Finrod grinned, and added, “Yes! I believe we were inspired. Especially when we first arrived at the Bay of Andúnië. We all started receiving dreams that all involved building and designing in new and unique ways. All three realms use water power. They all have running hot and cold water in the comfort areas as well as our kitchens. We’ve even developed public time pieces that keep the hour with water. Though most ignore them since we can tell the time by the position of Anar and Ithil. But they’re still wonderfully marvelous inventions.”


“Yes, well, it doesn’t matter who inspired me - us- and I’m not discounting that there was inspiration. All I know is nobody tried to stop me, so I continued to do what seemed to me a very good idea. Including opening that door to let you all out. Now come on! There’s a whole lot of people who really need to have a bath, a change of clothes and something real to eat!”


~Last Stop~


Having left Fingolfin and his family, along with his followers in his new realm, the remaining host continued on until they started climbing up into the mountains where Formenos was located. Fëanor was amazed at the road his brother and nephew had constructed. Much better than the rough trail he’d made from Tirion to his stronghold. Then again, he’d really not meant to stay there permanently and he didn’t know how he felt about it now. His brother had assured him that it had been remodeled to include many amenities. The forge had been expanded and remodeled and there was also a place of learning for his people.


View of Formenos from the Northeast


What he wasn’t prepared for was the sight of it. It was spectacular and his brother said it was even more impressive from the southern view. Though he admitted it had a very nice view from the north! 


As soon as Fëanor entered his city he was greeted by a cheering throng of thousands of his followers and looking around he saw how truly beautiful this city was. There were waterways and fountains everywhere. There were falls within the city! But his bemused observations were cut short when Finrod blew a clear note on his horn - right next to Fëanor’s ear. Throwing his nephew a look of pained outrage, Finrod grinned apologetically, but his attention was drawn back to his brother, for Finarfin was speaking.


“I know my brother is touched and gratified by your gesture of support and affection. But I would beg your indulgence to allow him to settle in before he addresses you.”


But Fëanor smiled and laid a hand on his brother’s arm before he turned to the crowd, who were everywhere, and simply said in a clear voice, “I’m touched by your welcome, my people. And on behalf of myself and my sons, I thank you.” and as he took a breath the crowd went wild. He let them go on a moment before raising his hand, which silenced the crowd instantly, “As my brother has stated, we are all weary from our travels and there are many of our people who have yet to enter the city. I beg that you show them the same enthusiasm you showed me and welcome them. That is all, thank you, again.”


Finarfin and Finrod stayed long enough to show Fëanor around his new realm before they left to return to the coast. Fëanor promised he would visit them often as he hoped there would be healthy commerce between the three realms, adding, “I can’t thank you enough for helping us get out of that dreary dungeon, brother.”


“Don’t mention it! Just….be happy!” Finarfin said before taking his leave with his son.




There had been many years of peace and quiet in Aman when suddenly there was the sounding of great horns and a tremendous boom. So deep was the sound it could be felt as the shockwave hit them causing a sense of vertigo so intense the entire population of Aman blacked out. When they came to, they knew at once something had changed.


The news would be slow to reach them, but when it did they marveled at these appalling events. For it seemed that those men who had been given the Gift of Elenna, having been corrupted by the malice and vice of Sauron Gorthaur and had convinced them to rebel and seek to invade Aman.


Then the Valar had put their stewardship aside and the Hand of Ilúvatar had buried the army under the Pelori, put to sleep until the End of Days and He had taken the island and broken it, sending it beneath the waves. Then the very nature of their world had changed - bent and bowed into a sphere - and Aman had been removed from Arda forever. A pathway had been installed that was called the Straight Road and this would be the only means by which the eldar would be able to access Aman, which was to be their ultimate homeland as the time of the elves was coming to a close.


The loss of such an immense amount of life was appalling. The innocent along with the guilty had lost their lives and it was no matter that a small handful of the faithful had escaped and survived.


But some among the eldar were convinced that it was the Valar, themselves, who had destroyed the land and its people and it was then that Ilúvatar took the stewardship from them and removed them to a place where they could do no more harm. And in the next several millennia those now empty Halls of Mandos would fill right back up because of the wars that would erupt all over Endor.


It was then thought that perhaps the Halls of Mandos were not so infinite, after all.



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