“Look, my love - he has your eyes.”
Carnistir was certain of it.
He’d been staring at his newborn son’s eyes for some time. The boy’s eyes were the same as his mother’s in both shape and color.
“It’s a bit early to judge,” Haleth laughed. “Babies’ eyes often start out different than their final color and darken or change color altogether. They may yet turn out to match yours.”
Carnistir blinked – and added that to the mental list he was keeping of ways atani infants differed from quendi ones. He’s learned a good deal already in only a few hours.
He rather hoped the color would not change much. He liked Haleth’s eyes, and their color – sometimes greenish and at other times almost amber depending on the light – was rare among elves, on either side of the Sea.
Not only was it rather striking, it couldn’t hurt his son to have such distinctive eyes that would make people think of anything but his father’s house…
He did his best to stifle that thought. A child’s first few days in the light should be a time of joy, not clouded by worries about what the future would bring.
“Though perhaps you are right and his eyes will remain much as they are,” Haleth mused, looking intently at their son, who was doing his best to return his parents’ adoring gaze. “I think he takes after your people. Look, he has your ears.”
Carnistir did not think the tiny but amazingly perfect ears looked much like his – until he realized that his wife meant that they were elvish ears, tapering to delicate points, rather than the rounded ones of her people.
“I do not think we need try to divide him up into your people and mine,” he said. “He is who he is.”
“Mmm,” was Haleth’s only response.
Carnistir wasn’t sure what to make of that. The sound could mean many things, occasionally even agreement, but he rather doubted that was what it was this time.
“What shall we call him?” she asked.
Carnistir realized they had likely stumbled onto another of the differences between their peoples. They had not spoken of naming before. But Haleth was clearly expecting to open a discussion, where he had settled on a father-name the second he saw his son.
“Do your people not also have names from each parent?” he asked.
It was a form of stalling, since he could already guess the answer.
“Have you ever heard me called anything but Haleth?” she demanded. “Actually, don’t answer that. I’m sure if you’ve heard anything out of my own earshot, it will have been something rude. No, we only have a name.”
She sighed and leaned back against him, too tired after the long night she’d had to draw it out.
“Names from each parent, you say?”
“Yes, each parent gives the child a name.”
“And this is in addition to the ‘-son’ or ‘-daughter’ name?” Haleth clarified.
“Which is to say you’ve already picked out a name,” Haleth concluded. “Well?”
“Mirifinwë,” he said fondly.
He could feel the doubt radiating off of her – along with the certainty she must have missed something.
“Hair jewel?” she asked skeptically.
Haleth’s command of Noldorin had improved, as had her Sindarin, but he was not surprised that she did not grasp his intended meaning.
“No,” he snorted. “Jewel of Finwë. Finwë is my grandfather. It’s part of my name, too – Morifinwë. My brothers all have ‘-finwë’ in their father names, as do our father and uncles.”
“It is a family name, then. That makes better sense, and I agree he is a jewel. But if you are Morifinwë, doesn’t that make your son Mirifinwë Morifinwion?”
She was trying not to laugh, for to her ears the similarity in sound was amusing.
“It would,” Carnistir agreed, “if I generally went by my fathername and intended to use that for his patronymic. But I much prefer my mothername, so our son will be Mirifinwë Carnistirion.”
He knew Haleth didn’t know enough of the history of the Noldor to hear what any of his people would in the name.
Not that anyone would hear it…
No. Happy thoughts. This was a joyful day. There would be time enough later for sorrow and doom.
“And it is a good name in your tongue?” Haleth asked cautiously.
“I think so,” he replied. “It is certainly better than my own father name.”
“Mirifinwë,” she said thoughtfully, cuddling the baby, who was growing sleepy again. “Our little jewel. And I still get to give him a name also?”
“You need not if you do not wish to do so,” Carnistir said. “But I do not see why you should not.”
“I don’t think you will like the name I wish to give,” she warned him.
Carnistir shrugged. He couldn’t imagine what name Haleth could possibly wish to give that he would truly object to. Her people did not have names of foresight.
“The mother-name is the choice of the mother, not the father,” he told her. “You have a name you wish to bestow and you think it right. That is enough – give your name without worrying what I may think.”
I shall make certain I handle it better than my father, he thought to himself.
His father’s refusal to accept Ambarussa’s mother-name had been a source of tension in their family from that day until the day he died.
“Haldad,” she said firmly. “I know it is not the way of your people to re-use names, but it is the way of mine, and I say my son is Haldad Haleth’s son.”
The boy would carry the names of three of his grandparents, then. Carnistir supposed it wasn’t possible to involve Haleth’s mother, given they had a son, not a daughter.
“It is a good name,” Carnistir assured his wife. “It may not be the way of my people, but our son belongs to your people as much as to mine.”
Haleth laughed softly, but he saw tears in her eyes.
“I do not think that will prove true, my love,” she replied softly.
His arms tightened around her – and around their precious child, the only one they will have – though he knew as well as she did that he could not hold her back from her fate any more than he could change his own.
Mothers of the atani might not have the foresight about their children more common among the quendi, but Haleth spoke with certainty, and he felt deep in his fëa that she was right. Should the day ever come when he was permitted to return to the land of his birth, his son would be there.
Little Mirifinwë Haldad did not seem in the least bit bothered by his fate or the responsibility of the name he now carried. He gave a soft baby snort, then closed his eyes and settled comfortably into sleep.