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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.”
“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, “Say...do 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.
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.
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