Stories of Arda Home Page
About Us News Resources Login Become a member Help Search
swiss replica watches replica watches uk Replica Rolex DateJust Watches

The Steel  by Aldwen


A story from Valinor, set at the end of the Noontide, shortly before all evil things came to pass.  Through the depicted events, through the contrast of light-heartedness and foreboding, I have attempted to show the slow and inevitable advance of Darkness.

This story is consistent with the others I have published. The person- and place-names are in their Quenya forms. Aldanwë, the POV character, is mine, all others belong to Tolkien.

Ellynn, thank you so much for beta-reading, excellent suggestions and encouragement!! I appreciate that deeply!

Fëanáro - Fëanor

Maitimo – Maedhros (in this story only his mother-name is used)

Makalaurë – Maglor

Tyelkormo – Celegorm

Morifinwë - Caranthir

Curufinwë – Curufin

Pityafinwë - Amrod

Telufinwë - Amras

Tyelperinquar – Celebrimbor

Valinórë – Valinor

Amil – mother

Atar - father

Endórë – Middle-earth



I come to Formenos at the Mingling of Lights. A soft glow is welling over the hill plain, and edges of each blade of grass seem to shed gold and silver sparkles. The Light is so gentle here, much more so than in Tirion, and when I raise my eyes towards the sky, I see stars glittering faintly through the thin veil of Treelight.

Further north, the stars will be even brighter. North is where I am heading, to the twilit regions of Aman, to see what kind of plants grow there and to learn of their uses. But if my road leads past my friend’s house, should I pass by without entering?

I climb the last hillock, and below, encircled by sparse woodlands and a constellation of small lakes and ponds, is Fëanáro’s house. Somehow, it looks different now than before. At first, I do not understand what makes this difference, but when I suddenly realize, I halt in my step. There is a wall around Formenos now.

It is nothing like the delicate marble lace or curved metal fences that sometimes enclose houses and gardens in Tirion. It is a proper wall, made of solid stone, more than twice my height. Is it built for adornment? I find it strange, even though intricate ornaments run along its upper part. A faint feeling of unease stirs in my heart as I descend the hillock and approach the great gate. It stands open, and I pass through.

Within the walls, I see no change from what I recall: stately buildings of white or pale grey stone, trees and gardens interspersed between them. Voices drift from the gardens, and music and sudden laughter. Everything is as I remember it.

“Aldanwë, my friend! This is a surprise indeed! Unexpected and pleasant surprise!”

It is Fëanáro’s deep voice, and there he is himself, swiftly stepping down the short flight of stone stairs. His garment is careless, his hair – hastily braided; likely he comes from one of his workshops where he may have spent several changes of Treelight. But his gaze is as sharp and piercing as ever, and a swift smile lights up his face.

“Welcome to Formenos!” He draws me in embrace, but then steps back with an embarrassed laugh. “I come from the forge; I may have ruined your clothing!”

“Having a smith for a best friend has taught me something, at least not to wear my finest coat when visiting him,” I reply.

Fëanáro laughs, and his laughter is as compelling as everything he does, and I find myself laughing along with him. But then he falls silent, takes a step back and looks at me closely.

“I am glad to see you, Aldanwë. Truly. But, as I already said, I am surprised also. I would not expect you to travel around now, at least not alone. How fares your betrothed? Is she well?”

I was expecting this question. The dull ache in my chest I had succeeded to silence to some measure, now surfaces again, and I turn away to hide my grief.

“Aldanwë?” My friend’s voice is now concerned.

“She is… well.” The true care on Fëanáro’s face nearly breaks my assumed composure, and my voice slightly falters, despite my attempt to keep it steady. ”The betrothal did not happen. Her heart is elsewhere.”

Fëanáro’s eyes flash. “How dare she toy with your feelings so?”

“She did nothing like that, Fëanáro. These were my own wild hopes. I presumed too much. I mistook affection of a sister for tenderness of a lover. I made my own dream into something that it was not.”

He nods, still frowning. “I regret, Aldanwë. I truly regret.”

“I know.” And that is true; I know his compassion to be sincere. Too well my friend is acquainted with grief and, having suffered loss himself, he keenly feels the suffering of others. “But there is nothing to be done. Such is life. As you see, I now travel around to heal my broken heart,” I add with a wry smile.

Fëanáro looks at me with heartfelt sympathy. “I regret,” he repeats once again, then leads me into the house. “But I am glad to have you in Formenos, either in joy or in sorrow. Stay here awhile. Rest. Mayhap you will soon find peace of mind. And one day, mayhap you will find love too.”

“We shall see.”

I put forth all my power to dispel the sadness in my voice and on my face, but I clearly know there is none other for me. She was my heart’s desire. I shall seek no one else. And there is no deceiving Fëanáro. At the doors to my room he halts and lays his hand on my arm.

“Ai, Aldanwë,” he says quietly and sadly with a shake of his head. “I do not know what to say of this.”

“Then say nothing,” I reply, deeply moved. “Allow me to rest under your roof for a while. Sit with me in the garden. That will be enough, Fëanáro.”

“Yes.” He nods and lightly squeezes my arm. “Rest, my friend. If you wish, I can ask that meal is sent to your room. Or you can join us all in the hall later. Everyone is here, the usual crowd. I hope they will not tire you.”

He leaves. I enter the room, set down my packs and, despite sadness, smile to myself. ‘The usual crowd’ likely refers to all his sons, as well as the families of those two who already have them – Curufinwë and Makalaurë.

I wash off the dust from the road and then decide to join the others downstairs. And I am glad to have done so. Fëanáro’s family greets and welcomes me warmly; there is laughter, there is cheer, and there are conversations where everyone is speaking with everyone around the large table, laden with the finest fare.

“Where is Maitimo?” suddenly asks Nerdanel.

Indeed, he is the only one missing of those whom I would expect to be here.

“This is strange.” Fëanáro frowns, looking at his eldest son’s empty seat. “He was missing at the previous meals also. I do not recall him speaking of his intention to be away for so long.”

“He may have gone on one of his wanderings, father. Perhaps some message came that there were new people around, new stories to be heard, and he departed in haste, too excited to tell us,” suggests Makalaurë.

Maitimo’s passion is stories from the Twilit Years, tales of our people’s journey to Valinórë. He has travelled all over the Blessed Realm to listen to them and to set them in writing; he has an entire shelf stacked full of notebooks where these things are recorded.

Still, Fëanáro is not convinced. “But he usually takes Tyelperinquar with him when he goes to visit the dwellings.”

“Tyelperinquar was busy in the forge. So Maitimo may have decided to go alone this time,” says Curufinwë.

His son shakes his head in surprise. “But I…”

Curufinwë interrupts him. “I thought you might be busy, and I may have said so to Maitimo.”

Tyelperinquar nods, but his expression is confused.

I look around. Fëanáro has already turned his attention to other matters, but there is something going on between his sons. Makalaurë and Curufinwë’s eyes glitter with mirth; their wives speak softly to one another, then giggle. Morifinwë exchanges a meaningful glance with Tyelkormo. The twins whisper together. They know or at least guess where their brother is. And they keep it secret.


Next >>

Leave Review
Home     Search     Chapter List