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The Finwions were traveling at a pretty brisk clip which didn’t leave a lot of room for verbal speech, even with elven hearing. So the brothers were speaking via Sanwe-latya. Contrary to popular belief, the brothers had communicated quite often through mind-speak - which actually had been a major part of their problem. If they’d been any other set of brothers it would have resulted in the usual sibling rivalry and the occasional brawl followed by sharing a flagon or three of their favorite tipple.
Alas, they were Finwions and their rivalries nearly resulted in the end of the world! But just with these two brothers. Findis and Lalwen hadn’t been particularly close, as she preferred the pursuits of her brothers much more than the girlie things her sister and ammë enjoyed. And Finarfin got along with everyone! But besides some friendly collaborations, many of their conversations would devolve into shouting matches. Which was quite impressive with mind-speak. Most people thought their relationship cold and distant. It was actually red hot and constant. They talked everyday - or more precisely - bickered! It was just that no one else heard it!
Thankfully, their time in the Halls and their second run as living ellyn had brought about new understanding with one another. Besides, they needed to talk about the ones who were following them. Not the sons of Elrond. Rather, the sons of Fëanor. Specifically, his three unwed sons. Apparently being at loose ends and not interested in the least with any aspect of smithing meant they felt entitled to follow after adventure.
Currently, this had taken the form of following after their father and their crazy uncle.
There had been a meeting. The conclusion of which was that anytime Uncle Ñolo came calling interesting things happened. Things they usually missed being a part of - except the original mass-escape from the Halls. Things had been agonizingly dull since then - but that wasn’t quite true according to their cousins Elladan and Elrohir. The stories!
But best of all, they knew this Teleri Elvenking. Were, in fact, very close friends with one of his sons. And interesting things seemed to happen when those people were involved - usually ending in something exploding or catching fire. This bore investigating! Hence their current tracking endeavor. Which wasn’t hard since they were traveling on the road their cousin Finrod had built and were on their way to their Uncle Ara’s realm - which meant they were going on a voyage! Assuming, of course, their atar didn’t order them back home the instant he got tired of ignoring them.
Lucky for them, their Uncle Ñolo was busy talking his brother into letting them tag along. What could go wrong?
“What do you mean? He was wed way back then? Why don’t I recall Thranduil getting married, then?” Celeborn frowned, upset to learn that his cousin had been wed since the First Age in Doriath.
Oropher waved his hand dismissively and said, “Pah! There was none. He just came home one day bonded and wed. He’d met her while he was playing about in the woods one day and she thought he was pretty and decided to take him. When I met his lady I could see right away he hadn’t stood a chance. He’d just come of age, you see, and was completely green behind the ears. But as unorthodox as she is, she’s been steadfast and a good match for him.”
“You make her sound...calculating.” Elrond frowned.
“No I don’t. I make her sound as she was - as she still is. Just as Ilúvatar handcrafted her. And you, yourself display all the characteristics of the smitten even though it is only high regard you hold her. Now imagine being fifty and the recipient of her regard!” and grinning, added, “Uh-ha! I see you now have understanding. But as I said, she has been steadfast and true. And she adores him.”
Smiling, Elrond said, “It’s nice to see them together again. She has the effect of turning him into a smitten elfling and she’s the only one who can do that to him. It makes him more real, if you get my meaning.”
“I do, but I’m just glad to have them all back under foot again. I’ve missed them.”
“So, you are king, once more?” Celeborn persisted. It hadn’t been the first time he’d asked since he and Elrond had come with their supply delivery and for some reason the thought of his cousin being king really bothered him. And Oropher, being Oropher, had been playing with him like a cat with a mouse for the last hour….because why not?
But now he was bored with his toy and flatly said, “No! No kings! Nowë is the lord of this land and everyone is just fine with that. We’ll do as the Silvans do and have Village Elders. If we run into problems it’ll be Nowë’s problem.” Oropher said flatly.
“Don’t you mean Círdan?” Celeborn frowned.
“Of course not! I said Nowë and I meant Nowë! What rot is that anyway? Calling an elf by his occupation!” he snapped, and then looking around, said, “Say! Where’d Elrond go?”
Elrond had left because….actually, he wasn’t sure why he’d felt compelled to leave. But it was a compulsion and it was just easier to follow it than fight it. Because, really! What did he have to fear here? It was just as exquisite as the Gardens of Lórien, though he couldn’t identify the trees here. It was just so exotically beautiful here he almost felt a stir of envy, which he ruthlessly quashed! He had his family and his daughter back. He was content. He really was, dammit!
And as he was walking he suddenly saw her - the Lady Mirilla, whose name meant pearl of the sea or sea treasure. Thranduil’s wife. And she was every bit as exquisite as he recalled. Tall and well made as all the Unbegotten were, with her rose gold hair, rarest of elven hues and her peaches and cream complexion and those liquid aquamarine eyes that any ellon could drown in.
Yes, she could have always had her pick of suitors and she’d chosen a golden prince who had gotten his eyes and hair from his Vanyar nan. And he just knew the former king had to be near, because if she was here, then so was he. And as he got closer he saw Thranduil’s kin gathered around and he also saw dwarves and hobbits and he quickened his pace.
“Well met, Elrond!” Thranduil smiled, “You remember my lady wife, do you not?”
Bowing, Elrond smiled, “Indeed I do. It is nice to see you again, Lady Mirilla.” and looking about, he smiled to see the rest of their kin, “It is good to see all of you again. The world was a darker place without you in it.”
And the wife of Thranduil glided up to Elrond and gave him a warm peck on the cheek, “What a kind thing to say. But you were always a kind lad. I was happy to hear of the return of your own precious light. This world is brighter with the presence of your Evenstar.”
“Yes, my lady. She resides in the Gardens of Lórien which gives me a reason to leave Tirion.” he smiled.
“I’m surprised you are all still within the city. None of you strike me as city dwellers.” Thranduil smiled.
“I think no one has made the move because they were all waiting for us to be together. Now that we are, they don’t seem to have made any plans for the future. Which did surprise me. I thought for sure my mother-in-honor would have made grand plans for when her lord joined her. Instead, nothing happened and we all stagnated until the Fëanturi schemed to boot my daughter and Finarfin’s son out of Mandos. And that’s about the time I lost my sons to the glamour of Fingolfin. Who knew?”
“We’ve met him. He is nothing like I imagined him. And the sons of Fëanor insist it is his influence that greatly changed their father.” Thranduil grinned, “They still can’t quite believe the change they’ve seen, though they were with him as it happened within the Halls. He is apparently still quite driven, but a lot more fun and engaging.”
“Yes, indeed! Fingolfin somehow wrangled a promise out of him within the Halls that he would loosen up and try to have some fun. When I traveled with them he still seemed a bit on the serious side, but was trying to make an effort - especially when Fingolfin would give him the evil eye.” Bilbo smiled.
“You must be wondering why you felt compelled to join us, are you not?” Lady Mirilla smiled.
“Yes my lady.” Elrond said.
“I think it's time you should meet some of your family. Family that share your desire to free those who have been sundered from you.”
And suddenly a pair of ellyn stepped out and they had silver hair and silver eyes - and they were identical twins! And Elrond felt tears spring to his eyes because he could feel the kinship to them. And with a watery smile he said, “Uncles!” and his voice was choked off with a sob. The two, Eluréd and Elurín by name, took pity on him and moved to embrace him, for they knew he had been left bereft many times in his life.
“Yes, nephew. We are here and we know of your supplications to the Valar.” Eluréd said.
“Indeed, yes. But, you know? It seems to us that things only get going when their hands are forced.” Elurín speculated.
“So we wish to help you force some hands!” Eluréd grinned.
“How? How can we force their hands?” Elrond asked.
“Well, I might have an idea or two.” a new voice said. And turning, Elrond was shocked to see Fëanor step out from behind a large rock, along with several of his sons and Elrond’s own sons, as well. And…. Fingolfin. Ai!
“This doesn’t involve stealing a silmaril, does it?” Elrond asked, agitated.
“One day I’m going to get all three and throw them in their faces….” Fëanor seethed, some of his old fire resurfacing.
“Maybe leave out the throwing part, eh brother?” Fingolfin grinned, adding, “Though I approve of the sentiment.”
Elrond looked helplessly at Thranduil and said, “You’ve just gotten here and you’ve stirred up more hornets than an orc stampede.”
“Pffft! This is nothing! You should have been here in the Second Age! That was some real stirring! And it still has folks talking!” Fingolfin said proudly.
Fëanor was displeased. Muttering to his brother, he said, “They are all twins and they all talk to the birds. Why do they do that? It’s irritating.” fuming over what he perceived as frivolity by the sons of Dior, Elrond and Elrond, himself.
“Well, they are also all descended from a maia that taught the birds their language. So, not so strange if you think about it. The ones I can’t figure out are the Sinda. They talk to everything! Birds, rodents, animals, flowers, trees, water and even the bugs! And there is no maiar blood there. I am mystified.” Fingolfin said.
“They whistle up the wind, too. The only thing I haven’t seen them talking to are the boulders and dirt.” Fëanor grumbled.
“They can hear the rocks sing. Only people I’ve ever noticed besides dwarves who could do that! When we were in Eregion the lad, Legolas, could hear the rocks mourning their loss. I couldn’t even hear that.” Gimli said and it was clear it had annoyed him an elf could hear something he, a dwarf, could not.
“They are certainly the kind of elves that are handy to have around! Why they can sing the fruit into ripeness and if we run out of mushrooms they can ask the ground for more. They say mushrooms are really quite large organisms that reach their tendrils out for miles and miles. You just need to know where to ask and they will provide, for it spreads their spores out even further and adds to their growth. Just imagine! Miles and miles of mushrooms.” Thain Mirabelle Took sighed happily.
“I see no point in talking to trees. Why do they waste their time? What does a tree have to say that is in the least interesting?” Fëanor groused.
“Trees have a lot to say. They are the closest thing to the eldar in terms of life span besides the Onyalie. Besides, I imagine it came in handy when they had foes trying to creep up on them.” Fingolfin pointed out.
“That’s true enough! They seem to have candy floss for brains, but you can’t deny the usefulness of trees that can tell you to run because something nasty is tracking you.” Gimli smirked.
“Well, come along. We have to get this show on the road and we have much to discuss.” turning to Mirabelle Took, the current Took Chieftain or Thain, since her husband Isengrim XIV had taken ill and passed thirty years before, and said, “Please excuse us, Mistress Took. It was a pleasure to make your acquaintance.”
“I wish you a fine day, sir and the pleasure was all mine, I’m sure.” Mirabelle smiled, happily, bobbing a small curtsey.
“So, if I might ask, what mechanism do you plan on affixing to the ship to keep it on course at the proper time every evening?” Círdan asked. His presence had been requested as he was the premier sea-vessel expert. Celeborn, Oropher and Elrond were also there, though only Elrond would play a part. Thranduil was out playing with his family and the Hobbits.
“None! As you know, the world is bent now. A sphere. All I had to work out was where to place it to lock its speed so the velocity is enough to defeat the downward pull of gravity. The ship has its own kinetic energy when it's launched every evening, so we just need to make sure its path is one in which to maintain its kinetic energy without degrading.” Fëanor said, ignoring the grunt of pain from his brother, who he’d just kicked under the table when he noticed Fingolfin had fallen into reverie. No sleeping on his watch!
Continuing, he explained, “A satellite maintains its orbit by balancing two factors - its velocity and the gravitational pull that Arda has on it. And most of the work was already set into motion when Varda set the ship on its course within the Ilmen. I just intend to use the electromagnetic radiation of the silmaril to shield the ship to keep it buoyantly sailing on the edge of the geomagnetic field of the Ilmen forever. No one needs to sail it.”
“So you plan to affix the silmaril to the ship?” Círdan asked.
“Yes. The prow is carved into the likeness of a swan. The swan can bear the necklace on its brow with the silmaril attached to it.”
“Great! Now how do we scale the tower of pearl and how do we get to the ship?” Fingolfin asked, alert once more.
Frowning, Círdan said, “The ship will be easy - as long as you are within the turret of the tower when it berths. Then you’ll have about twelve hours to complete your task before it launches.”
“My only question is where are Idril and Tuor?” asked Fingolfin. He had purposely not informed his son, Turgon, what his plans were. No use raising the lads hopes only to have them dashed. Better to present him with a surprise!
“It is said they sleep within the tower and Elwing resides in the turret of the same tower.” Círdan said.
“How are we to awaken them? Actually, more to the point, how can we be sure we won’t join them in a nap once we step foot on the island?” Fingolfin asked.
“We’ll worry about that after we get them out. They may awaken as soon as they are removed. My only fear is it might be shielded to prevent entry.” Fëanor said.
“Lord Elrond, where is your maiar? Olórin. I think we could use his counsel considering he’s a maia of Irmo and Estë and it sounds like they are the ones responsible for that bit of enchantment.” Oropher asked, then added, “Perhaps Aiwendil, too. If it’s not a sleeping enchantment it could also be a plant or flower that causes the sleep. He’s one of Yavanna’s and might know of an antidote.”
“Well….I think we’ve got that covered. Plus a little backup just in case. I’d really prefer not to involve the ainur at all in this venture. While having their assistance almost assures we’ll be successful, I just feel uneasy having them around.” Fëanor said.
“You may feel uneasy, but I’d prefer to have them take the brunt of the Valar’s anger should our endeavor be thought to be imprudent.” Fingolfin said.
“Impudent, you mean…” Olórin said as he entered and found himself a seat, ignoring the stares directed at him.
“Does that mean you’re coming? Because imprudent or impudent, I don't care how it is looked upon as long we can get my parents out of there.” Elrond said.
“I agree. I recall the edict at the time and it said nothing of imprisoning them up there! At the time the only thing said was they couldn’t go back to Endor. Honestly, I think seeing Eärendil kill Ancalagon the Black rather shocked them and that is why they were imprisoned. Fear.” Olórin said as he smoked on his pipe. Fingolfin and Fëanor looked personally offended, while Círdan, Celeborn, Elrond and Oropher just looked stoically resigned.
“You know, the tendency of the Valar to imprison things they neither understand nor feel they can control is rather appalling.” Fingolfin said with a sniff and narrowing his eyes dangerously as Olórin lightly dismissed his notion as nonsense.
“Rubbish! Don’t be silly, my lad. They do nothing of the sort.” the former istari chuckled, adding, “Nonetheless, Aiwendil and I will be joining your little excursion….just in case.”
“Just in case, what?” Fëanor asked.
“Oh, you know….the usual.” he said blowing ring in the shape of a swan-ship that oddly had a glowing light on its brow.
Three days later they set sail, Círdan and a small crew of his most trusted Falathrim piloting the sloop. Aboard were Fingolfin and Fëanor, Elrond and his sons, along with Eluréd and Elurín. The sons of Fëanor had elected to stay on the island with the Woodelves to help with their settlement and also to eventually help with the Dwarven and Hobbit settlements - as soon as the islands reached their berthing and the ainu of Ulmo and Aulë properly anchored them. They thought of it as their own small penance for the trouble they’d caused in the First Age.
There had been one tense moment when Celegorm had tried to apologize for killing their parents and being the cause of their own deaths as the twins - grown now - had just looked him up and down, along with the Ambarussa, saying nothing and making them sweat a bit, before telling them that if they were really sorry, they should help out with the resettlement projects.
Thinking it a small price, the three had eagerly agreed and the Eluyungwi grinned and said, “Well, that was easy!” and “Pleasure doing business with you Noldo!” and left the three thinking they had both been played and gotten off easy!
Rounding out the passengers were the maiar, Olórin and Aiwendil…..just in case.
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