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The Great Escape  by Calairiel Malromiel

~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.


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