Fëanor: I’m told that I must inform you that I died.
Nerdanel: How could you kill like that? As if no-one but you mattered? How could you take them all there and not stay to look after them?
Fëanor : It wasn’t my plan.
Nerdanel: Don’t contact me again.
Nerdanel: Are they all right? Tell me!
Fëanor: They are all right. None of them were hurt. They are strong. Try not to worry.
Nerdanel: Try not to worry??? You utter filth.
Nerdanel: Did they tell you what Morgoth did to Maedhros?
Fëanor: I was told.
Nerdanel: His poor hand. His poor everything! I so wish I could see him. I am so grateful to Fingon, and to Manwë for the Eagle. I’m going to go and thank Manwë personally. I wish I could thank Fingon.
Fëanor: So angry. I should have broken Morgoth’s nose when I had the chance. Or chopped his head off.
Nerdanel: Too bloody late for that. I’m pinning my hopes on your brother. I hear they made him king.
Fëanor: You meant that to hurt. It did.
Fëanor: You could be there with them. You chose not to come.
Nerdanel: If you weren’t already dead I’d kill you myself. Slowly. It might take more than thirty years of the Sun.
Nerdanel: Why are you in the Halls of Mandos, Fëanor? You doomed yourself to everlasting darkness if you failed. You have failed. You deserve the darkness more than any of my sons.
Fëanor: I don’t know.
Fëanor: My father sends his regards.
Nerdanel: What’s that supposed to mean?
Fëanor: It was something to say.
Nerdanel: Are you all right?
Fëanor: Are you?
Nerdanel : So far as that is possible under the circumstances, yes.
Fëanor: I’m glad of that. Are you working?
Nerdanel: Yes, as it happens. I have an exhibition coming up. Sixteen pieces. I have fourteen ready. I’m busy.
Fëanor: I hope it goes well.
Nerdanel : But are you all right?
Fëanor : How did the exhibition go?
Nerdanel: It was well received. Answer my question.
Fëanor: I’m worried about the boys.
Nerdanel : NOW you’re worried???!!!
Nerdanel: Here is a picture of my latest work. I thought of you after I made it.
Fëanor: It looks fierce. I like it a lot. Thank you for sending the picture.
Nerdanel: Do they give you anything to do there?
Fëanor: Contemplating where I went wrong?
Nerdanel: That doesn’t sound like you.
Fëanor: I can’t say I find it easy.
Nerdanel: No, you wouldn’t.
Nerdanel: This one is made from granite. It’s hard to get the edges clear, but very tough.
Fëanor: I thought you preferred marble? That one makes me think of the Sea.
Nerdanel: Granite gives an interesting texture: I’m experimenting with some new ideas.
Fëanor: You must be going through a lot of chisels, working with granite. There’s a diamond saw in my workshop if you want it. Cupboard three.
Nerdanel: I have the tools I need. The workshop was removed some time ago. I put a greenhouse there instead.
Fëanor: Oh. They let me visit my mother. I don’t think she recognised me.
Nerdanel: Oh, Fëanor.
Fëanor: I love you.
Nerdanel: let me think about that.
Nerdanel: I went back to casting bronze. See.
Fëanor: I think that suits your style better than the granite, if I am honest. Bronze is a delightful metal.
Nerdanel: You’re always honest. That is something I suppose.
Fëanor: Can I see the influence of the granite-work coming through in the design?
Nerdanel: Probably. Lots of tough edges. It’s useful to experiment at some point with granite, or something like it. I learned some things. I may try ice-sculpture next.
Fëanor: Interesting for light, but it would be ephemeral
Nerdanel: That’s the point.
Nerdanel : Is your brother Fingolfin there with you?
Fëanor: No, has something happened? I have been told nothing.
Nerdanel: I’ll find out if it’s true.
Nerdanel: He died in a duel with Morgoth. Our boys are all right. Angrod and Aegnor were killed too, they must be there as well. Ask your father.
Fëanor: Thank you for telling me.
Nerdanel: when you are so polite I wonder if you’re ill.
Fëanor: rather more than ill.
Nerdanel: I suppose so. I’ve sent you a picture of our house.
Fëanor: I didn’t know you still painted! It is lovely. Strange to see it in the light of the Sun.
Nerdanel: I don’t paint much, usually. But I thought you might like it.
Fëanor: I do, very much. You used to paint sometimes when we were young. That is a good spot for a greenhouse.
Fëanor : I saw my brother.
Nerdanel: What did he say?
Fëanor: A lot.
Nerdanel: Did you apologise?
Fëanor: Yes. And I praised his courage. Happy?
Nerdanel: All seven of our children, and my grandson, are in Beleriand, where you led them, facing the enemy that killed your father, you, your brother, and your nephews, and who tortured Maedhros.
Nerdanel: Because you chose to kill at Alqualondë, they will have no help from your father’s friend Elwë, and they are bound by an oath that dooms them to Everlasting Darkness. No, I am not happy.
Fëanor: I suppose not.
Nerdanel: Did he forgive you again?
Nerdanel: I’m not sure you deserve a brother so forgiving.
Fëanor: They had six Maiar watching us, and I was bound. He would think it undignified to do anything else under those circumstances.
Nerdanel: Finrod has returned from death. He came to see me.
Fëanor: Did he have news of our sons?
Nerdanel: He didn’t speak to you while he was there?
Fëanor: No. Please tell me.
Nerdanel: They are all alive, and none are captive. Celebrimbor sounds well. But I don’t like what Finrod says about Celegorm and Curufin. They took over this city Finrod founded, and sent him out to die.
Fëanor: They are clever and ambitious. But surely they did not mean Finrod harm. Finrod?
Nerdanel: Finrod says they did. I believe him. I blame you. If you had not put such weight on political power, Curufin would not think it so important. He was made to be a maker, like me, not a scheming politician!
Fëanor: He is a prince. Of course he thinks it is important.
Fëanor: Has something happened? I heard singing.
Fëanor: I can hear a great noise and weeping, but nobody will tell me. My father says it is better I not know, but I find that hard to believe.
Fëanor: I miss you.
Fëanor: I won’t ask for news, I promise. But if you would send me a picture.
Nerdanel: I don’t know why they call me the wise. I should just ignore you, but I can’t.
Fëanor: Thank you.
Nerdanel: There was a battle. Maedhros and Fingon led it. They lost. Thousands died. Our sons survived, and are free. Fingon is dead. The Valar are leaving them all to die. I can’t understand it.
Fëanor: I wish I could do something to help.
Nerdanel: You would, I’ll say that for you. You would do something, if you could.
Fëanor: Maedhros will miss Fingon. He asked me to send the ships back for him.
Nerdanel: But you got in a fury and burned them instead. Did it not occur to you that Morgoth was more your enemy than your own brother?
Fëanor: At the time, no. Not until I saw Morgoth’s stronghold. Then it was too late.
Nerdanel: You know, Fingolfin loves you. He wanted his big brother’s attention as much as your father’s.
Fëanor: Well, he got it.
Nerdanel: I married an idiot.
Fëanor: Apparently you did. I was luckier in my choice.
Nerdanel: Here is a picture of a small figure of my idiot prince husband. It’s clay so I can throw it on the floor and break it if I feel the need later on.
Fëanor: A wise choice of medium.
Fëanor: I was permitted to see Fingon. I have thanked him, as you said, for helping Maedhros.
Nerdanel: Did he shout at you?
Fëanor: He’s dead: he can’t. He tried.
Nerdanel: He’s a good lad.
Fëanor: That’s what I told Fingolfin. I asked to see him as well.
Nerdanel: I bet that surprised him.
Fëanor: It did. I thanked him too. I still love you.
Nerdanel: I’m still thinking about that.
Fëanor: They are dead. Curufin, Celegorm and Caranthir. They are here in the Halls.
Nerdanel: Oh no, oh no, oh no. What happened? Was it quick at least?
Fëanor: This is going to be difficult for you to hear. Did you know that Elwë had one of my Silmarils?
Nerdanel: Everyone except you has known that for years. I agreed not to mention it.
Nerdanel: Fëanor. Tell me about my sons. Now!
Fëanor: The Silmaril was in a hidden palace, in the forest of Doriath. Elwë was already dead, I don’t know if you knew about that. Our sons stormed the palace where his grandson lived, and the three of them were killed fighting with the Sindar. I understand it was fairly quick. Caranthir is most distressed. He saw the other two die.
Nerdanel: Another kinslaying. Another. How could they? How could you? Oh, Maedhros, I trusted you to look after them. Fëanor, if you weren’t dead...
Fëanor: You’d kill me slowly. I know. They send their love.
Nerdanel: Oh Eru. But they are in the halls of Mandos, not taken by the darkness. I must be grateful for that, I suppose.
Fëanor: May I give your love to them?
Nerdanel: I suppose you must. Yes, give them my love. Although it may be a while before I could look them in the eye and say it.
Fëanor: It seems unlikely to come up.
Nerdanel: Oh shut up. And look after Caranthir. Look after all of them.
Nerdanel: How are my dead sons?
Fëanor: I am not permitted to speak with Curufin nor Celegorm. I am a bad influence, it seems.
Nerdanel: Did you get angry?
Nerdanel: Oh Fëanor.
Fëanor: It didn’t help.
Nerdanel: I’m not surprised. You’re dead, Fëanor, can you not lie down?
Fëanor: Do you want me to?
Nerdanel: If I’m honest, not entirely. The Valar will still not send any help. I petitioned them myself. Finrod helped me, and Finarfin.
Fëanor: That was good of them.
Nerdanel: It was. I thought they might listen to Finrod. But it achieved nothing.
Fëanor: Caranthir is healing, I think, or he says so. He looks better to me. He sends his love.
Nerdanel: I love him too, tell him.
Fëanor: My father has been with Curufin. You were right, there’s something wrong there. I should have left him with you.
Nerdanel: You should have left them all with me.
Fëanor: They would not have stayed. I am not sure they should have. I spoke to Fingolfin again, since you thought I should. Morgoth has done terrible things.
Nerdanel: So have you.
Fëanor: I am a murderer and a thief. Does it help if I admit it?
Nerdanel: Not much.
Fëanor: I thought not. But I’m not Morgoth. Caranthir tells me much of Aulë’s people, the Dwarves, and of the Aftercomers. I am surprised Aulë will do nothing to aid them. At least our sons opposed him.
Nerdanel: And died slaughtering their own people.
Fëanor: The oath was badly worded. I should have thought it out more clearly.
Nerdanel : You’re telling me!
Fëanor: My father has reproached me for it too. It punishes the oath-taker more than the thief.
Nerdanel: Now can you see why getting in a rage is such a bad idea? It results in poor workmanship.
Fëanor: It does.
Nerdanel: Like those awful things I made in granite.
Fëanor: They weren’t awful. But they were not your best work.
Nerdanel: I have been thinking lately that Morgoth must have got into it. The Oath. Such sloppy thinking is unlike you.
Fëanor: Was that a compliment?
Nerdanel: Surely not. I’m not letting you off that easily. You should have had more sense.
Feanor : I’m sorry.
Nerdanel: I think I’ll put that last message in a frame and hang it on the wall.
Fëanor: If I sent an apology to Olwë at Alqualondë, would he receive it?
Nerdanel: I don’t know. I’ll ask Eärwen.
Fëanor: Do you see Eärwen often?
Nerdanel : From time to time. I made her this frieze of her children, as my apology, here is a picture of it.
Fëanor: You have caught Aegnor’s hair to the life, and Finrod looks as if he’s about to speak. But you did nothing to apologise for.
Nerdanel: Being married to an idiot involves a lot of unearned apologising.
Fëanor: I suppose it must.
Nerdanel: Olwë will receive your apology. Send it to me, and I will take it to him in Alqualondë.
Fëanor: That seems unfair on you.
Nerdanel: Do you see anyone else volunteering? Will you ask Finrod, with werewolf scars still upon his spirit, and memories of the Grinding Ice? Or will you ask your brother Finarfin? You might need to apologise to him, first.
Fëanor: If you will take my apology to Olwë, I would be very grateful. Thank you for not giving up, Nerdanel.
Nerdanel: If I can carve granite with a chisel, that suggests a stupid degree of not-giving-up. Give Caranthir my love.
Fëanor: I will. I love you.
Fëanor: Amrod and Amras have been killed, and have come to the Halls of Mandos. I thought you’d want to know at once.
Nerdanel: Oh, my poor boys. What did they do?
Fëanor: They attacked a haven full of people who had fled the war. The Silmaril was there. It was defended by warriors trained by Turgon.
Nerdanel: I feel sick.
Fëanor: I barely recognised them at first. Middle-earth has not been kind to them.
Nerdanel:They used up so much of their lives, living there under Morgoth’s shadow.
Fëanor: They thought it was what I wanted. To bring flame and death to the weak and pitiful. What have I done to our sons, Nerdanel?
Nerdanel: You remade them in your image. ‘Foe or friend, foul or clean’. What did you think that meant?
Fëanor: That I’m an idiot?
Fëanor: May I give them your love?
Nerdanel: I need to think about that.
Fëanor: It was not their fault. It was mine. Blame me.
Nerdanel: It’s been a long time since you died. I’m not sure that can be true.
Fëanor: I will give them my love, anyway. Caranthir sends his love to you. He is with them now.
Nerdanel: I have thought. Give my love to Amrod and to Amras, and to dear Caranthir.
Fëanor: Thank you for being so generous. I will tell them.
Nerdanel: What is the point in hoarding love when it might go out and do some good? Perhaps if I had gone to Beleriand with them...
Fëanor: I’m glad you didn’t, seeing how they are. Honestly, I am.
Nerdanel: Oh no, that makes me weep for them. They were such happy children... I made this picture for them.
Fëanor: I will show it to them now. They look very friendly dogs.
Nerdanel: They are Eärwen’s dogs, Sun and Sand. Sand is the white one. I have been talking a lot with Eärwen. She told me to send the picture.
Fëanor: I’ll tell them that too.
Nerdanel: You’ve heard no word of Celegorm and Curufin?
Fëanor: I’m not permitted to know. Or ask. Or say their names.
Nerdanel: Oh Fëanor, you ARE an idiot. Don’t rage at the Ainur.
Fëanor: It’s a habit I’m trying to break. Perhaps if you asked Mandos?
Nerdanel: I will do. I wonder where Maedhros and Maglor are now.
Fëanor: So do I.
Nerdanel: We’re going to war with Morgoth.
Fëanor: What? How did that happen?
Fëanor: I’m sorry. I promised you I would not ask for news.
Nerdanel: The Aftercomers sent an envoy to ask for aid. Well, two, really, half-Elf descendants of Turgon and Elwë. And the Valar have answered. They are sending Finarfin and Ingwion, with a great army of the Noldor and the Vanyar.
Fëanor: But... Never mind.
Nerdanel: I asked to go. They said no. If I could only speak with Maedhros and Maglor...
Fëanor: It seems hard to forbid you to go to the aid of your sons.
Nerdanel: I should have trained with weapons and waited patiently for the moment, like Finarfin, instead of making sculpture and complaining to everyone who would listen about how the Valar had abandoned Middle-earth.
Fëanor: But then you would not be you.
Nerdanel: Have they still not let you have anything to make or do, but only set you to think about your mistakes?
Fëanor: It has been easier, since Caranthir has been here. He says the Dwarves are a remarkable people. I regret not meeting any. But I confess, I do envy them their industry. I find it hard to never make anything.
Nerdanel: I complained about that, too. Loudly.
Fëanor: Did you? That was kind. I walk in my memory a good deal. I can do that.
Nerdanel: Well, of course you do, with nothing else to do and nobody telling you anything, but who with two grains of common sense to rub together would call that a good idea, with your memories? I think Eärwen’s dog Sand has more sense than the Valar, sometimes.
Fëanor: I didn’t realise it was troubling you.
Nerdanel: Mandos is lucky you haven’t brought his Halls down around his ears.
Fëanor: I love you.
Nerdanel: Do you remember meeting on the shore, that first time, near Alqualondë? We saw a deer in the long grass.
Fëanor: Of course. I don’t regret it, even if you do.
Nerdanel: I’ll walk back in my memory, and meet you there, by the big white stone. Just for that one walk.
Fëanor: Really? I’ll be waiting.
Nerdanel : I had a message from Celebrimbor, via Finarfin. He’s not coming home, but he is well. He says there is a lot of work to do in Middle-earth, and he is busy with it.
Fëanor: That is good news. He’ll do good work there.
Nerdanel: Poor Finarfin, though. They will not let Galadriel return. They say she was a ring-leader in rebellion. Finrod is furious.
Fëanor: You know what you said about Eärwen’s dog Sand? That.
Fëanor: Could you arrange to send a message to Finarfin for me?
Nerdanel: Yes, but this is not the moment for him to have to deal with you. Later.
Fëanor: I understand.
Fëanor: Maedhros is here. Oh, Nerdanel. He is so hurt. I would not have known him if they had not told me who it was. I don’t know what to do for him. I would be so angry that this was done to him, if I had not been the one that did it.
Nerdanel: Where is Maglor?
Fëanor: I don’t know. Maedhros can’t speak, or won’t.
Nerdanel: I’m on my way.
Fëanor: Will they let you in?
Nerdanel: If they don’t, I’ll camp outside.
Fëanor: Don’t hurt yourself. Remember, you told me not to rage at the Ainur.
Nerdanel: Did you just tell me to be careful?
Fëanor: ...I take it back.
Nerdanel: They won’t let me see him. They say he killed Eönwë’s guards around the Silmarils. He and Maglor.
Fëanor: They took the Silmarils back?
Nerdanel: Fëanor. No.
Nerdanel: I think Maglor is still alive.
Fëanor: I haven’t seen him.
Nerdanel: Mandos says they are both accursed and dangerous. Maedhros is unfit to meet the living. I said, who cursed him then? You, or Morgoth, or did you work together?
Fëanor: Maedhros still will not speak. I wonder if he is afraid. I’ve left him with Caranthir and the twins and my father.
Nerdanel: Ask them to give him my love.
Fëanor: I will.
Fëanor: He spoke to Caranthir, a few words. The twins seem a little better for seeing him.
Nerdanel: That’s something. And they are here and not lost in everlasting darkness.
Fëanor: Why did I say that? Why?
Nerdanel: Because you are... no you aren’t an idiot, not all the time. Because Morgoth was clever, you lost your temper and you didn’t know what you were facing.
Fëanor: I think I preferred being called an idiot. Now I feel like one.
Nerdanel: There’s a first time for everything. Ask if they will let Maedhros see Fingon.
Fëanor: Good idea.
Nerdanel : Mandos let me see Celegorm and Curufin. I think because he knew I would not go away until he did. Celegorm is doing well, I think. I saw Curufin, too. There is a darkness on him. He would be much better if they would give him more to do. He sent you his love.
Fëanor: ...Did you intend to tell me that?
Nerdanel: Let them try to stop me. They are our sons, you are my husband.
Fëanor: Thank you. Thank you! I love you.
Nerdanel: I’m camping. It’s quite comfortable. I have one of the big tents we used to use. If Mandos wants his front garden back, he’s going to have to think again. Can you see me? Are you near a window?
Fëanor: I broke the window, ages ago, and they took it away. I felt like Caranthir when he was small and used to break his toys in a rage. Small, and ultimately rather foolish.
Nerdanel: You always gave him more toys though.
Fëanor: Well, he was a child. He has grown up. You’ll like him.
Nerdanel: I will visit him tomorrow. I hope Maglor is safe.
Fëanor: So do I. Middle-earth must surely be safer now that Morgoth is defeated.
Nerdanel: I hope Middle-earth is safe from him. I hope he does nothing else horrible.
Fëanor: I wish I could think of some words of comfort.
Nerdanel: My gentle Maglor. I can’t imagine him a killer. But I must. Eärwen is finding out who are the families of those they killed, so I can see if there is anything I can do for them.
Fëanor: More unearned apologising for you.
Nerdanel: Yes. I’m quite practiced at it by now. Eärwen is a good friend. I’m going to build a fire on Mandos’s lawn now. It’s rather too neat at the moment, and also I am chilly.
Fëanor: I don’t deserve you.
Nerdanel: Well, at least you noticed that.
Fëanor: For some time now.
Fëanor: Fingon was angry with Maedhros, once he recognised him. So then Caranthir was even angrier with Fingon. Amrod and Amras held them apart. Then Fingon cried. And Maedhros cried. Caranthir hugged them both. Then there was lots of hugging. I think something is being achieved. I’m not sure what. But Maedhros looks a little less likely to blow away on the wind.
Nerdanel: Good. Give them all my love.
Fëanor: I will, later. I may not approach Fingon unless I request permission. I am watching from a distance. I don’t know what they think I’ll do to him.
Nerdanel: You did leave him to walk across the Ice and hold his father at swordpoint.
Fëanor: It would be difficult for me to repeat either! But fair enough. I don’t think they should have bound Maedhros, though.
Nerdanel: I am beginning to become a little annoyed with Mandos.
Fëanor: Mandos believes that the unbodied spirit is naturally solitary, and heals most effectively through isolated introspection.
Fëanor: He was surprised when my father asked for me, and more so when I agreed to meet him. I am doubtful about the theory. It was when you would not answer me that I broke the window.
Fëanor: Maedhros looks so much better in company with his brothers and his friend.
Nerdanel: Good. Can you imagine Amrod and Amras healing in isolation?
Fëanor: No. I am not sure that isolation and reflection has been good for my father, either. He didn’t kill anyone, yet he seems a little faded.
Nerdanel: You don’t. Or do you?
Fëanor: I started with an advantage.
Nerdanel: Has anyone given you a hug?
Fëanor: It doesn’t seem a priority.
Nerdanel: It does to me. Hug your father, Fëanor. Assuming that isn’t another thing that is not permitted.
Fëanor: I’ll try it. They can only stop me.
Nerdanel: Please tell me if they do. I may need to have another long talk with Mandos.
Fëanor: I am imagining the look on his face. It is a good while since I laughed.
Nerdanel: Mandos has agreed to let me see Maedhros, Amrod and Amras. I have told him that if he has Maedhros bound again, I will strangle him with his own robes.
Fëanor: I wish I had seen that. You are formidable. If you had come with us against Morgoth...
Nerdanel: Don’t be silly. I pick my adversaries. Mandos does mean well. He does not entirely understand how best to deal with the Children of Ilúvatar. In fact, he has made some alarming mistakes, and needs things explained to him, repeatedly, in short, clear words, until he gets the point. But he is trying.
Fëanor: I have found him quite trying myself.
Nerdanel: Fëanor! I think he could say the same about you.
Fëanor: I love you.
Nerdanel: I can’t believe I’m saying this, but I love you too. Idiot.