Of all the times that he awakened in the Halls of Mandos, this had to be the most deliberate. To be fair it was not specifically an 'awakening' more an awareness of existing within the Halls. He'd done it once before, though the image in his mind of it was hazy at best. Something drew him to a door within the vast wall that formed the eternal, peaceful labyrinth. At his touch the door cracked open, it was just wide enough for him to squeeze through. Curiosity, ever the bane of the Noldo prince, drew him through it. His awareness strengthened, the wild dancing coils of fire quelled enough to form limbs, limbs now shot through with intricate twists of color, greens and blues among the normal red-gold coils.
He had a wife, Nerdanel Rúnyawen Mahtaniel.
He had seven sons, Nelyafinwë, Canafinwë, Turkafinwë, Morifinwë, Curufinwë, Pityafinwë, and Telufinwë.
He had a name of his own, Curufinwë Fëanáro Finwion.
None of these things had even remotely crossed his mind, in how long he could not fathom. Memory after memory flooded back, his parents. His mother's death. His father's. The first time he had met Nerdanel, his apprenticeship under Mahtan, dinner at their house. Fresh baked breads and curries. Helyanwë wondering when he would propose to her eldest daughter. Running through the fields of Tirion naked beneath the light of Telperion.
He dropped to his knees, fingers clawed at the thin threads of deep red fire that made what passed for his hair.
It hurt to much to think of her. Thoughts of her soon clouded. Emotions he had not felt in a very long time returned. It hurt to feel again. The numb serenity of the Halls had forsaken him. Alone in this dark room, it became unbearable. Rage. His father's broken body. The theft of his treasures. His sons' innocence or the Silmarils? Fear. What had happened to them? Were they safe and well?
A foreign feeling to Fëanáro since he had first conceived the Silmarils. He had taken away what remained of his children's innocence. They had seen death. They had killed. They had killed at his order. He could imagine, too clearly, the tears that had marred her perfect dark eyes, rich as the earth, deep as the night. He had put those tears there.
Push it back.
Don't think on it. Fight on.
He shook away his memories, the memories that plagued this place of absence.
Curufinwë Fëanáro Finwion would not be ruled by guilt.
His attention turned to a flicker of light out of the corner of his eye just to the left. The light solidified into another being, they appeared to be made of water, but he glimpsed the way his own fire caught faceted in the edges of the other's shape, ice then? His eyes flicked up to what passed for the other's face, their eyes shifted between greens, grays, and blues, thus he couldn't decide if they were water or ice. Given that ice was just solidified water, he kicked himself for his own failure at that basic of a conclusion.
The aquatic being approached him, "I take it you are to be my partner then?"
In a physical form, the hackles would have shot up on the back of Fëanáro's neck, instead, twisting arcs of red flames erupted on his back. "You. What are you doing here!?" He snarled. Before either of them could formulate a verbal answer, the newcomer sprang forward and slammed their crystalline fist into his face. The blow, stronger than anticipated, sent Fëanáro airborne before he skidded to a halt laughing. "Not even in death, my finality, my prison, can I elude you. What sick jest has the Master of the Halls concocted for me now? You and I alone in some private torment until the Void splits and the very fabric of Eä rends apart?"
"You always thought everything a jab at you, especially me. Even now your arrogance and self-absorption astounds me, Náro. You think being forced to share this with you is a joke at your expense? Imagine how I feel about this. I would rather be dead and gone until the end of days than endure this with you."
"And what is it you are to endure here, Ñolofinwë Arakáno Finwion?" He spat the last word.
"I am here to leave the Halls."
It took an embarrassingly long time for Fëanáro to process the statement. Was it even possible to leave the Halls? Had he ever had the awareness to pay attention to the comings and goings of its inhabitants? Some he faintly recalled, children by his guess, for some reason the children stuck out more. In some corner of his brain he reasoned it was because that they had not reached adulthood, they should not have to suffer death. The other spirits he ignored, much as they ignored him. He could not even recall seeing either his mother or his father within the Halls. Another shock of rage sent embers from his fingertips and hair, the only spirit he could definitively recall seeing and it was Ñolofinwë of all people.
"Very well then ," he glared at the other, " enlighten me, if that is possible for your meager intellect to comprehend, as to how one leaves the Halls."
Ñolofinwë laughed, "of course you wouldn't know. He wouldn't tell you. Can't I suppose. You are condemned here by the One until the End of Days. " The sound died in his immaterial throat as he considered, " then again... if you are here, and we succeed, perhaps they will let you out."
The idea of freedom, even if it was posed by the elf he regarded as the most incompetent nuisance in the whole of Eä held merit. He had a task to complete. His eyes turned back to the strange discolorations on his extremities, now truly comprehending them for the first time. "Fascinating... I wonder what this does." He had intended the question not to be spoken aloud, but it seemed that they would be sharing every thought, whether they liked it or not.
An icy hand rose and a long thin watery whip snapped from it leaving a trail of diamond dust in its wake. Upon closer inspection, Fëanáro noticed that there were discolorations along the other's arm. Thin shards of reds and golds formed an intricate knot work pattern within the ice of his body. Attention back on the discolored fire that formed his left arm, the former spirit focused his concentration. "Make me a sword. " He sketched out the details, the balance of the blade, the heft of the cross guard, even the leather for the hilt. However nothing happened, save a few sparks centered around his palm. " Silence Arakáno ," he snarled preemptively. " Make me a sword!" Again a few sparks flew, but once more nothing happened.
"Pig-headed stubbornness looks good on you, big brother. " Ñolofinwë chuckled again, he still despised his brother for leaving him to die, but the childhood resentment had faded into a giddy amusement at the idea that Fëanáro was thoroughly unaware of how a spirit functioned when in the Sport of Námo. " I appreciate that you have until the end of days to sit there and posit out how you will conjure steel from fire, I have no doubt you could manage it, but I would like to go home before the Valar have to put yet another light source in the sky." With that the water spirit began to walk away.
"Light source ?" That drew the fiery spirit from his efforts, and unconsciously he jogged off to catch up. " What sort of light source?"
"I suspect you'll see at some point."
"What light source?!" At that Fëanáro placed himself between the other and the direction he was going.
"I said you'll see it at some point. " Undeterred, the spirit skirted around the flames, a faint hiss of steam issued from where they drew close. " And I suggest you stop lollygagging. Really, has being dead so long addled you this much?"
With a snarl the fire spirit turned on his heel and fell in step with Ñolofinwë. "Explain to me exactly what is going on."
"I am leaving the Halls. " He evaded, " and you are apparently to help me. And I in turn, oh darkness stick me with a thousand needles, and I in turn am to help you. " The ice spirit froze, skin now covered in small ice spikes with beads of water dribbling between them. " Changed my mind, going back now." However despite this declaration, there was no exit, no way to escape the thick, solid blackness about them for the tapestry strewn Halls.
A derisive snort sent a puff of smoke from Fëanáro's nose. "How could you possibly help me?"
If it was possible for Ñolofinwë to turn pale, he would have done so as a small speck of light appeared before them. The speck of light grew into a stained glass door, half covered in an image of Ñolofinwë embodied once more, the other of Fëanáro as he had appeared prior to his demise. "We are to help one another, whether we like it or not. If we fail, we stay. If we make it, freedom. " With a resigned sigh, one frigid hand rested on the door, " you have to open it as well."
"Why should I when there is no guarantee that my aid will free me?"
"There is also no guarantee that it will leave you imprisoned. " He rolled his glossy eyes, " now will you help me, or will you return to your steel conjuring alone in the dark?"
Irritated, but curious, Fëanáro set his hand on his own half of door, and with no effort on either part, they swung open, light overtaking the darkness, a pack of white wolves among the black sheep. His eyes widened at what he found on the other side.