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Noldolante

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Noldolante
...the Fall the Noldor​


Maicanaro is walking across the square, and notices a crowd gathered beneath the Mindon Eldalieva. A council is to be held today in the house of Finwe, but some stand here reluctant to enter. They speak outside the archway in hushed voices, gossip of which Maicanaro hears only fragments.

Shouting was heard from within? Feanaro was seen entering armed as if for battle? He mulls over what he has learned, shaking his head as he mumbles to himself a disinterest in the politics of Tirion. He nonetheless finds himself straining to hear more.

The sons of Nolofinwe presently approach. Maikanaro stops dead to listen, feigning to admire silver Galathilion dazzling in the mixed light of Laurelin and Telperion. Heavy footsteps are heard now from within, and they approach the entrance where the lords stand listening. Suddenly silence befalls the growing throng.

Feanaro is heard at the archway, bellowing: "See, half-brother! This is sharper than thy tongue. Try but once more to usurp my place and the love of my father, and maybe it will rid the Noldor of one who seeks to be the master of thralls."
 
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What is Fëanàro up to, wondered Morfindessë, while getting closer to Maicanàro, a long-time friend of hers. She had heard rumors ; people in Tirion said that the Valar were plotting something. Rumors, spread in secrecy, and unrest, too. For the first time since their journey to the Blessed Realm, the Noldor knew anxiety.

Morfindessë watched the now silent Fëanàro storm his way through the bewildered crowd ; she caught a glimpse of his piercing grey eyes, and shuddered. What did he know, to be so fierce ? Why did such an anger burn behind his eyes ? Mighty was he, full of cunning and unequaled knowledge — what news could have brought forth this rage ?

Beside Morfindessë, Maicanàro stirred, moving towards where Fëanàro had now disappeared. To stop him, Morfindessë put her hand on his shoulder and said softly :
- If you wish to know what happened here, don't follow Fëanàro now, not yet. Let's go inside and ask someone of our friends.
 
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"Let us go." he agrees. "Feanaro may well have hewn me down. Or anyone who gets in his way." Maikanaro is a friend of Curufinwe, Feanaro's fifth son. The two work together as jewel-smiths, and Maikanaro knows well the temper of this father and son. The brandishing of swords in Tirion, however, is a grave situation indeed.

Eager to learn more Maicanaro and Morfindesse squeeze through the chattering crowd and in through the archway. There stands Finwe, High King of the Noldor, his proud face now aggrieved. A few princes and lords are seated, and a hush falls over the hall as Finwe addresses the Noldor.

"There are matters of great importance at hand. In this time I ask that all remain united, and reserve judgement until all is revealed in due time. It is vital to peace in Tirion that no one act in haste.

Now there are matters for me to discuss with my sons. I bid you all go forth and spread what you have just heard. You will likely be summoned to Valmar ere long. Farewell."
 
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Morfindessë and Maicanaro soon left the house of Finwë and parted ways for the time being.

Feeling oppressed, Morfindessë saddled her horse and rode through the Calacirya to the dark shores of the Great Sea, where the stars of Elbereth where the only light. Long she stood before the waves, crowned with pale spray, always watching East — born in Aman, she knew not Middle Earth save in tales and songs, but she know yearned for it, as for freedom. At last, she pushed her horse forward in the sea, and cried :
- Oh, to walk free under the stars, over rock and under tree ! Oh, why, oh, why is the way back closed to us ?

It was a long time before she went back ashore, shivering with cold, and headed back to Tirion upon Tùna.
 
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After leaving the summit of Tirion, Maikanaro returns home to sit in quiet thought for many hours. He ponders the direction of his people, and the effects of it on his family. The longer he thinks, the more aggitated he becomes. He stands now, and paces the garden while muttering.

"This is it! I am finishing it today." He walks down to the base of Tuna where lies the forges. He enters the second smithy and hails Minyakano.

"That was quite a scene with Feanaro today. From what I hear, Nolofinwe is jealous of him and seaks to turn Finwe against him."

"I wish to see Curufinwe. Is he within?" asks Maicanaro impatiently.

Minyakano nods and Maicanaro walks around the back wall. There a hidden passage winds up. Maicanaro hurries along the path, a dim form striding with a purpose through the silver-lit tunnel. The caves are a few of many places kept in secret by the Noldor.

As he enters a far chamber, he is greeted by Curufinwe.

"What brings you here at this time?" the prince asks, grinning.

Maicanaro pulls a hilt from his pocket, and grins in turn, a sparkle lights in his grey eyes. For he is proud of this masterwork. "Verily, you have guessed it my friend. Where now is that blade of your son's?"

"Telperinquar will be up soon. Now hand that to me."
 
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It was the second mingling of the lights when Morfindessë passed the white stone arch that marked the threshold of an elegant house a little way from Tirion. She entered the house as one familiar with it and hailed a tall Elf who happened to be crossing the first hall :
- Greetings to you, Elestirnë ! I hope you are well. May I see the lady Nerdanel ? I have this pendant I promised her.
- Greetings, lady Morfindessë, answered the steward of the house, grinning. The lady refuses to speak to anyone today, but I think she would be glad of your visit. Pray come with me ; she is in the water garden.

Nerdanel the Wise, wife of Fëanàro, was seated on a stone bench under a great willow-tree, a sad look on her beautiful face. Elestirnë bent and said :
- The lady Morfindessë is here and wishes to see you, my lady. May she come ?
- She can, was the answer.
- But may she not ? I think she is quite anxious to have your counsel.
- Then she may, said Nerdanel after a time.

Morfindessë walked cautiously towards Nerdanel, crossing a lily pond on a narrow path of white stones ; she picked a small reed as she passed a green islet, and fastened it to her mantle.
- How are you, my friend ? asked Nerdanel, rising.
- Thank you for asking ; I'm reasonably well, answered Morfindessë. What about you ?
- Thank you ; please be seated. What brings you to this place, Morfindessë ?
- I finished the pendant I promised you some time ago. It is of no great value, but I hope it will please you, said Morfindessë while seating.
She pulled a small box from her mantle and opened it. As Nerdanel leaned to have a close look, Morfindessë could examine her face. In the soft twilight of Valinore, it appeared tired with worries under Nerdanel's russet hair. It hadn't been so since she had at last estranged herself from Fëanàro.
They talked of the pendant for a time, then silence fell between them, and Nerdanel asked :
- Now tell me the real reason of your visit.
- Did you hear what happened in Tirion earlier today ? asked Morfindessë back.
- Yes, I have. Bad tidings indeed, Morfindessë. But why would you come and ask me of my husband's thoughts ? You know well he doesn't confide in me anymore.
- Yet you know him better than any.

Nerdanel didn't answer ; her fingers stroked a bird carved on the bench in the likeness of a swan, but she said nothing. At last, she sighed and asked :
- What do you wish to know, Morfindessë ?
- Why does Fëanàro think the sons of Indis wish to usurp his place ? Isn't he the elder, born of Finwë's first wife ?
- Alas, I have no answer to this, said Nerdanel. He may have heard rumors, but he is too strong-willed to give any heed to jabber. But some of his house, yea, my own sons, aren't of such a mind, and he would trust them.
- What would he do ? People everywhere speak of freedom and of leaving Aman for wider lands. Could he ?...
- Leave ? Yes, he could. But he wouldn't depart in the shadows, alone — he would need to prove himself the strongest, as he is, and the leader, as he could be. There is a darkness over him now that wasn't there before ; it scares me and saddens me when I think of it. Let's leave this subject for now, Morfindessë, for it is an unpleasant one, and guesswork never did good.

Morfindessë stayed a little more ; they spoke of lighter matters, such as the feast to come, and then Morfindessë took her leave, her mind set afire by Nerdanel's guesses.
 
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Curufinwe examines Maicanaro's handy work, then takes a sword from a long cabinet. The two converse as Curufinwe sets to work attaching the gem adorned hilt to the blade he will present to his son.

Curufinwe says "My son will not be able to refuse this, whether or not he deems it necessary yet. And have you brought the stones for his belt and helm?"

"Of course I have. Have you my armour?"

Curufinwe chuckles, "You know I do, Maicanaro. Your sword as well. You know, Telperinquar was admiring the stonework you left here for the hilt."

The two laugh merrily. "Then he will have to love the one I made for him, it is my finest work to date. Indeed I would have kept it for my own had it not bore the emblem of your house." Maicanaro jests, for his spirits were lifted in the company of his friend, and he hasn't the inclination to darken the mood with serious talk. This goes unspoken between them for now.


At length the sword of Telperinquar is completed, and Curufinwe brings out the sword he has forged for Maicanaro in recompense. With it he brings full armour, which Maicanaro promptly arrays in. They are adorn with emblems he fashioned, blazing red and gold like fire. Indeed the wearing of this metal armour sets a fire within his bosom.

Strong, he fills, and strangely united with his fellow Noldor in arms. New thoughts come with the feeling. Let the Valar or any others who dwell in Arda attempt to constrain us!
 
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Leave Aman ?
It was the first time Morfindessë considered the matter seriously. Until then, it had been but a day-dream. Nerdanel seemed to think Fëanàro might lead some of the Noldor there — but wouldn't he need Finwë's approval for this ? Hot-headed as he was, he loved and respected his father too much to act rashly towards him. Would this be these serious matters the High King had to discuss with his sons ? And yet Finwë had called the Noldor to unite. What could it mean ?

However, the forging of weapons was a grave matter ; Morfindessë remembered the whisperings that had brought it. The Valar might force them as slaves, they might use force against them, but to what purpose ? She didn't think the smiths knew more than her ; Mëagnor would have told here, and what she knew had been enough for her to ask for a dagger to be made for her. It now hung at her waist, hidden under a large belt, close at hand, and she suddenly thought it was nothing but a child's plaything. If need for weapons arose, her fiery temper would need more than a short blade to be contented.

Whatever track her mind followed, it always brought her back to the smiths. Powerful pupils of Aulë, they stood over any other craftsmen among the Noldor. Architects could build fair cities of white stones, artists could paint or carve the living likeness of the world, bards might sing better than the evening birds, but the smiths were the most honored of all. And it so happened that Mordhol's feet brought her to the forges. As a mere jeweler, she only dwelt in the upper chambers, but she knew there were deep places where wonders were wrought. The sons of Fëanàro were sure to be there ; it was more their home than their father's house.

Morfindessë wondered if she should head back to her house, but embers had been stirred in her spirit, and she couldn't bring herself to stay calmly in a place. Her meeting with Nerdanel had been like salt on an open wound and her mind was alive with mingled hopes and fears.
 
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And yet Feanor heard these soul whisperings, listening the to the very air with an attentive mind and a lore filled memory. The harbingers he had seen in the starry sky he kept to himself, as he did not wish to have others think he had plotted what was to come.

Feanor turned and raised a mighty hammer, and drove the final setting stroke into the tiny object clamped on the work table. In this, his mountain eyrie, he could work without passersby muttering about constant bellows smoke and his dark crafts.

Feanor held the metallic ring up to the dim light of the workshop, the gem sparkling blue, the silvery metal surrounding it leaving not a breath of air to contain it. The days were coming when he would look back on this golden day of Spring Harvest time as a dream and the harsh air of the new land would fill his throat with excitement, dread, and purpose.

A shadow fell over the light from the windows, and Feanor clasped the object between his sleeves as he pulled them slowly to his wrists. As the footsteps of Nerdanel came over the drawbridge, he fitted a tiny chisel to pink crystal he had been carving on an off for some time. Her eyes lighted sharply on the table where his hands worked, and she relaxed a fraction.

She held the driving gloves he used in the evening chill, and he closed the workbench on the crystal and left with her, marveling at the clear air and tang of the sea in the air. She did not notice the slight space between his torc and forelock, the shadow discreetly covering a space where the gem adhered magnetically in its case to the inner crown.

Feanor looked about him like a fledgeling Prince taking farewell of a parent kingdom.
 
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Telperinquar enters to the site of his father and Maicanaro strutting about the workshop, swords brandished.

"If I have interrupted you father, then I sincerely beg your pardon." Curufinwe starts at the voice, then turns to face his son. He says, "Hello dear boy. Tell me now, what think you of this?" With that he spins the sword into the air and catches it by the tip. He presents it hilt-first to Telperinquar.

Telperinquar looks at the hilt, and glances at Maicanaro as he takes the sword in his left hand, fighting back a desire to tell his father that he nearly sliced his fingers off with that stunt. He admires it, saying "excellent gem work Maicanaro, and I see you used one of the silver hilts that father asked for me to make. The blade is fine, seemingly one of fathers best." He looks at them each in turn, and they await the rest of his verdict. For though it is his sword and he is the son of Curufinwe, Telperinquar is fast becoming a smith of note among the Noldor and Teleri. Therefore his criticism is held by them in high esteem.

When, at last he speaks again, he looks keenly to them and says "I hope you two stay out of trouble with these. "

Maicanaro chuckles and Telperinquar grins. Curufinwe says,"Trouble? Why that is just exactly what we will not 'stay out of' with these! If trouble should ever arise, we shall have great need of swords. That is why my son must also be armed -with more than bracelet and ring- though for now it may be mounted as decoration. My son, this sword belongs to you; a gift from your father."
 

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As Morfindessë had decided she would prepare to leave for Valmar, so as to avoid the crowd when Finwë would summon his people, she heard her name called. Turning back, she saw her friend Irissë dismounting her horse, clearly just arriving from some long journey, judging from the dust on her riding gear :
- Morfindessë ! How are you ?
- Fine, fine. I believed you to be hunting in Araman ?
- I was, until last week ; I was on the way back when I heard the news and it made me rush home. What happened ? Did Fëanàro really draw his sword at his brother ? I couldn't believe it when I heard it !
- He truly did, answered Morfindessë. Finwë is to summon us to Valmar soon. Did you hear the rumors too ?
- About the Valar trying to enthrall us ? Oh yes I did, Morfindessë ! Riding in the wild doesn't mean being cut from the news.
- So come with me ; I wanted so badly to discuss this with you that I nearly rode to Araman to find you.
- And I to Tirion to hear your opinion, answered Irissë, grinning. But before we discuss anything together, let's hear what the great smiths have to say. Come, let's go to their hiding place, they have to be there.
Morfindessë was delighted, because that was exactly what she wanted to do, but she said :
- I don't know them as well as you do. They might speak more freely if you were alone.
- Never mind ! They're talkative and, beside, aren't you good friend with Maicanaro ? Let's go.
 

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The youngest sons of Feanaro, Ambarussa and Ambarto, come tearing across the Calacirya on their galloping steeds. The heavy beating of hooves kicks up a trail of dust in their wake, and red hair dances in the wind like flames. Their quivers are empty, they return from the hunt. Ambarto looks towards Tirion, and sees his cousin Irisse shining white in the shadowy light.

"Who is that with Irisse?" Ambarussa asks, as he straightens up his posture.

Back in the forges Telperinquar voices his gratitude to his father. "I will take your suggestion and mount it in my shop. It truly is magnificent, even if--someone is coming, nay two."

Maitimo enters. Tall and slender he stands high and proud. He carries a sword at his right, and is highly skilled in the use use of it. Next to him stands Carnistir, less fair than Maitimo, but fierce of face. He looks much like the dark headed and grey eyed Curufinwe;different only in that he apears to brood while Curufinwe tends to wear a mischievous smile; Curufinwe also being quicker to laughter. Curufinwe is most close to Carnistir of all the brothers, so they are seen together often along with Tyelkormo.

"Curufinwe, we are concerned that father will do something hasty." says Maitimo.

"Hasty?" asks Carnistir, "What father did was a long time coming, and our half-uncle should count himself blessed that father used restraint. I know not why! We could--"

"He did so for the sake of Grandfather!" Curufinwe shouts over him.
 
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- The sake of... What is this new idea ? asked coldly Maitimo. How could it have pleased our Grandfather ? The whole thing was outrageous. Father will be lucky if...

- Nolofinwë had it coming ! bellowed Carnistir, beside himself with rage. You can't stole a king's son's place without someone doing something about it !

- Yet we can only consider it lucky Father restrained himself ! shouted then Maitimo, loosing his temper too.

- This is exactly my point ! shouted Curufinwë. Will you listen for once ?!

- Why ?! ejaculated Carnistir. That would have been a small matter in regards of what this damn Vanya is up too !

- Don't be stupid, brother ! Our House may be the eldest, but if you are a prince of the Noldor, he is the High King's son !

- Father did what Finwë should have done long ago, cried Curufinwë over his brothers' voices, and Grandfather is lucky to have such a son to hold his House's rank !

- Please, lower your voices, brothers ; we could hear you all the way from the Square.

The brothers were startled ; turning, they saw the red-haired twins passing the door. Ambarto continued :
- Besides, we bring guests.

An uncomfortable silence followed, during which several pairs of grey eyes focused on Irissë and her friend. Morfindessë gave back look for look.
Maitimo and Carnistir were close to each other, bent forward as if jousting ; Curufinwë, erect behind them, bore a furious pride on his face. Telperinquar had his back on the wall ; he was holding a silver hilt, trying to look unconcerned. Maicanaro was beside him.

- Oh, is that you, Irissë ? said at last Telperinquar.
- Back from Araman, then, added Curufinwë, composing himself. I believe I know your friend ?
- My name is Morfindessë, answered the black-haired one, introducing herself. We have indeed met some times at Fëanàro's house.
- Ah, yes, said Curufinwë ; I remember you. You have a good hand with silver.
- Thank you.

Another silence fell, which Irissë broke :
- So, what is all this about ? Swords drawn by brother against brother are hardly an innocent matter. Seeing our Houses at war with each other would pain me. Tell me how this damn Vanya offended your precious smith of a father, or lose my company.
 
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"Other than being a Vanya?"

"Carnistir! You will not speak that way in my shop, or to our cousin the White Lady of the Noldor! Who you know as well as I will not sit idle and take it." Curufinwe steps in front of Carnistir and tells him "If you do not rethink what you have said and ask her forgiveness I will ask you to leave."

Carnistir's fists are clenched, his chest rises and falls as he breaths heavy through clenched teeth and red face. He says nothing, but storms from the room.

"Irisse, I apologise for my brother's behaviour. The recent events have shaken our household as you know."

"Maitimo, that does not excuse his hatred of my father, who loves his nephews and all his kin. Neither does it excuse his slander of my Grandmother's folk as a race!"

Ambarussa says "I am sure he will calm down soon, and come to his right mind."

Maicanaro remains silent, and wonders if Carrnistir will brood alone or vent at Tyelkormo.
 

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Curunfinwë's voice drew Maicanaro from his thoughts :
- Please, Maicanaro, accept my apologize. I am truly sorry you had to witness such a scene. Morfindessë, I am ashamed we were to renew our acquaintance in such circumstances ; pray don't judge to hastily.

- Be reassured, then, answered Morfindessë, for I never judge, being myself prone to errors and swift words.

- Don't waste your politeness, Morfindessë, said Irissë ; these louts do not deserve it. Curufinwë, Maitimo, for the last time, tell me why Fëanàro threatened my father.

The brothers looked at each other, and Maitimo said :
- He believes Nolofinwë wishes to usurp his place in their father's heart and mind.

- So then ? Is he the most respected of our people, or a toddler, to cry thus for attention ?

These harsh words sank in silence in the brothers' hearts before Ambarussa said slowly :
- He also thinks Nolofinwë, your father, seeks to rule Tirion both in our grandfather's and his place.

- Then no toddler he is, said disdainfully Irissë, but a madman, for my kin never sought such a place, and never this way would Finwë act.
 

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"Our father is not a toddler!" Maitimo declares, "Could a toddler have made silmarilli?."

"Nay" anwers Curufinwe, "If my father is this certain then it must be founded on something. Irisse, for the sake of our friendship you had better not say these things. Your uncle is and ever will be the greatest of all the Eldar."

Footsteps approach, and Maicanaro tenses up, fearing he knows not what. But it is Tyelkormo looking puzzled.

"I did not know that you were hosting a party today, Curufinwe." he says snidely, looking in turn at each person in the room. Maicanaro relaxes. Tyelkormo continues,"Carnistir shoved past me in the tunnel just outside here. Can anybody tell me why?"

Ambarussa says, "Fine, but lets discuss it over a meal."
 

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The brothers and their guests soon left the workshops and headed towards the house of Fëanor, that stood high in Tirion ; a star shone upon the door.


As Morfindessë found herself walking with Irissë, she glanced at her friend and said softly :
- You should have kept these words to yourself. Speaking thus was useless and wrong ; you pained your friends more than you wished, and those who could have benefited from hard words were either already gone, or not arrived yet.

- I lack your patience, answered Irissë, and what we overheard angered me more than the news themselves. Dear friends as they might be to me, they shall learn not to disrespect my kin.

- Then you are indeed of a same blood, if anger blinds your wisdom.
 

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As Maicanaro and his friend enter the house with five of the sons of Feanaro and Irisse, his pride at being seen in such numerous and high company gives way to hunger.

The scents of roast meats and wine are heavy in the air. Maitimo seats the guests, and the sons of Feanaro depart to wash up for dinner. Telperinquar remains. Then a servant brings wine and hors d'oeuvres to Morfindesse, Irisse and Maicanaro at Telperinquar's bidding. The four of them are seated around a tall circular table. A vase of white flowers sits it the center, putting off a gentle light.

Maikanaro admires the craftmanship that went in to the crystal bouquet. Everything in this house is of the finest craftmanship in Tirion, and that is saying much. He sighs and drains his glass. Total relaxation befalls the room, and through an open window the twilight air is fragrant with the scent of many flowers. He pours another glass, and looks at his companions across the table.

"This one I will savour." He sips.
 
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This I would miss, thought Morfindessë while sipping the soft white wine, if I were to depart to Middle Earth. All this beauty, wrought by our own hands... And yet, could it be that these very fruits of our making would be what keeps us prisoners, more than any will of the Valar ?

- What a thoughtful mood, Morfindessë, remarked Telperinquar.

- I beg your pardon, answered she. One shouldn't let dark thoughts through one's mind in such a company.

They were offered scallops from the shores of the Great Sea, with white bread from the fields of Yavanna, and savored another glass of wine before their hosts were back. They then left the room for another one, where a terrace opened on darkening Tirion. A warm breeze moved the sheer blue curtains ; bright torches enlightened the outside, whereas high candles illuminated the table.

Maitimo sat at the high seat, and Irissë, White Lady of the Noldor, was on his right. On his left, Tyelkormo took place, Maicanaro by his side, and Curufinwë was beside Irissë, Morfindessë on his right hand. Ambarussa was on her right ; his twin was near Maicanaro, and had Telperinquar as neighbour.
Of light matters they spoke at the beginning, but as time grew on, the conversation took a friendlier turn. Telperinquar was soon debating with Maicanaro of the best way to set gems on a hilt, and Morfindessë found herself enjoying Curufinwë's gift for subtle arguments.
 

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'If you are certain Telprinquar, then why not remove the jewels from your sword and reset them?"

Curufinwe says "Perhaps he will later when you are no around." The dispute ends in laughter.

"Maitimo, will Makaluare be joining us?" asks Irisse.

"I've sent a messenger in search of him and Carnistir." Maitimo says, and after a sip he asks her "Irisse, how is Findekano? I regretfully do not see as much of him as I once did."

"He and Turukano have been kept busy by father." Irisse does not say that they are making swords and spears.

"I may have to visit him soon. " Maitimo is thoughtful for a time. He and Findekano had been close friends, but tension was now between the sons of Feanaro and Nolofinwe. Moreover, some of the princes do not want to displease their fathers or appear disloyal.

Melkor had done grievous hurt to the Noldor, and he had only to plant distrust to do it. Gone are the days of Tirion's noon, though the city is at he pinnacle of its splendour. Hearts are darkend and minds are suspicious so that friends keep distant lest their motives be questioned.
 
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