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The Brightest Fires

Chapter Text

"It's going to be a boy!" a midwife exclaimed joyfully

"Did you hear that, beloved? You're going to be a father, and you will have a heir that will continue your line." Miriel smiled weakly at her husband

Finwe merely took her hand, and held it tightly. He was happy indeed, but he was also sad, because Miriel looked like she might wither away at any moment.

"Have you considered naming him?" Finwe asked instead

"Aye, indeed I have." Miriel replied "His name shall be Feanaro, and his spirit will burn brighter than that of any other living being. All of my strength was used to bring him to existence. Be proud of him. Love him. Because I love him."

"I will." Finwe promised

The midwife handed him the child. From the moment Finwe saw his son, he knew that Miriel was right. He had her eyes, and most of his features were Miriel's own.

"Cherish him." Miriel squeezed Finwe's head tightly "Because when I am gone, you'll have only him left to remember me by."

"Don't speak of such things." Finwe begged, with desperation in his voice "You have a long life in front of you."

"I am afraid I do not." Miriel said sadly "Most of my life force has been used to bring our son into the world, and so I shall answer the call of Mandos soon...."

"Maybe if you were entrusted to Lorien and Este, you would recover." Finwe suggested, trying to keep his desperation at bay

"You're an optimist until the very end." Miriel brushed her hand against her husband's cheek "That's one of the reasons I fell in love with you....."

-x-

They were too late.

Miriel was brought to Lorien and left under the care of Irmo and his wife.

And there, she departed to the Halls of Mandos, Irmo's brother.

Naturally, Finwe grieved. True to his wife's predictions, Feanaro was the only person he had left. And Finwe gave all of his love to his eldest son, because Feanaro was the child of Miriel.

Finwe also had his duties, and he often traveled. Feanaro understood, better than anyone else, and he didn't complain. Rather, it was the opposite. He considered his father as someone he wanted to be like in the future.

Unfortunately, their relationship, as good as it was, was destined to turn sour.

It all started during an annual meeting between Ingwe, King of the Vanyar, and Finwe. It was during that meeting that Finwe met Indis, Ingwe's niece.

It was at that moment that his heart turned to Indis, and it was the beginning of discord between Finwe and his eldest son.

Chapter Text

-Feanor's POV-

Father had finally married Indis, and I needed to stay away from that house for a while. Otherwise, my temper would get the best of me, and I would do something I would regret for the rest of my life. And so I departed.

There were plenty of things to see and experience here, and I found myself in the market-place. It was filled with various stalls. One of them caught my eye, and I approached it. There were many lovely things there, all of them made of metal. The stall was manned by a man and a woman, and their resemblance to one another was quite clear.

"You seem interested in our works." a man addressed me "We made these together, in hopes that our work would bring joy to someone."

"I have no doubt it would." I praised

"My name is Mahtan, and this is Nerdanel, my daughter. And your must be our King's son."

"Is it that obvious?" I groaned

"You have the bearings of someone with royal blood." Mahtan smiled

Nerdanel's eyes twinkled in amusement, and I felt a strange feeling in my stomach.

That was the beginning of my interest in smithing and metalcraft.

Often times, I would slip out of the house, and I would admire Mahtan and Nerdanel's work.

"I wonder, Feanaro, are you genuinely interested in our work, or is it just an excuse to spend time with me and my daughter?" Mahtan asked me one day

"A bit of both." I answered honestly "I've been dabbling with this kind of art myself. I made this for Nerdanel."

I reached into my satchel and pulled out a flower made of gold.

Nerdanel took it and inspected it, with an awed expression.

And my heart soared.

Chapter Text

Nerdanel POV

Love.

To many, it was the word which awoke an image of mutual affection. It was the same with me, yet different.

For I was drawn in, by the flame I knew burned within him. By the inner strength. I could see it in his eyes. He feared nothing and no one.

And I felt that he too was taken in by me. He admired me for who I was, for who I chose to be. He admired the results of my hard work. He showed interest in learning the same craft himself, and my father agreed to be his tutor in that regard.

I saw him come and go many a time. He was covered in soot and his arms were sore more often than not. Yet he gave me a big smile each time he departed, and I couldn't help but smile back. He truly enjoyed learning my fathers art.

And mine.

I felt it inside. A warm feeling spreading through my body, filling it with a feeling that was foreign to me. I decided I would ask my mother about it.

And I did. She put down her work and gave me an enigmatic smile.

"What you're feeling now, my daughter." she told me "Is love."

Love.

I overheard my parents expressing their love for one another many a time, and I also overheard our relatives talking about it whenever they visited us.

I didn't realize that I may feel it myself.

-x-

"I love you." I blurted out

Feanaro stared at me in disbelief, and my father's jaw dropped, before he composed himself.

"What?" he asked softly

"I love you. I have loved you for a long time. I loved you from the moment I saw you, though I didn't know it until recently." I said "I love you, Feanaro, you and your spirit. I want to spend the rest of my life with you."

My father grinned, clapping us both on the shoulder

"Well, it's about time!" he exclaimed joyfully "You have my full support!"

Then he was gone, leaving me alone with the one I loved with my whole being.

Feanaro smiled at me.

"I've felt the same." he confessed "I never thought you'd reciprocate, though. But I am happy you do."

Chapter Text

Finwe and Indis, along with Mahtan and his wife, were seated on two sofas.

Feanor and Nerdanel stood in the center of the room, glancing nervously at one another.

They grasped one another's hands, drawing the resolve to ask what they needed to ask.

They had to be fast, before their resolve wavered.

"We brought you here to ask you something important....."

"We don't know how you'd react, but don't judge us harshly for what we're about to say....."

"The truth is, we want to ask for your permission to marry one another."

"We've waited long enough for this, and we can't wait any longer. We don't want to wait any longer."

"You're my eldest son." Finwe stood up "I approve."

"Miriel and I used to be close before she passed away. promised her I would raise you as mine own." Indis stood up "I approve of this."

"If you hurt my daughter, Feanaro, I will know." Mahtan stood up "Until then I approve."

And so it was decided.

Chapter Text

Feanor smoothed down his hair carefully, and then it shifted.

He sighed.

It was futile to try further.

"May I help?" Indis offered, sitting down next to him "I used to do it for Ingwe all the time."

Feanor sighed, and nodded. For this, he would accept help even from the Devil himself.

Indis smiled and began to braid her step-son's hair. Her fingers were skilled at this particular job.

When she was done, she leaned back to admire her handiwork.

"It looks great." she commented "I daresay that tomorrow's will go wonderfully."

"Thanks." Feanor mumbled, trying in vain to hide his embarrassment.

-x-

Feanor stepped out onto the balcony.

The air outside was cold, much too cold, but Feanor liked it that way.

It helped him remain awake.

It helped him think.

"You're an early riser." Finwe remarked, joining his son on the balcony "Of course, considering what is happening today, I can't blame you for this."

"Did you feel the same when you married mother and Indis?" Feanor asked him

"Yes, and no." Finwe admitted "I was nervous, but I was also delighted, for I would get to spend the rest of my life with the person I love."

"If only it were that simple....." Feanor sighed

"It will be, if you relaxed and enjoyed yourself. You're not going to a funeral march, after all. It's your wedding!" Finwe laughed jovially

-x-

"Do you approve of my choice, Therinde?" Feanor asked the open air

The wind caressed his cheeks, and for a brief moment, Feanor could imagine that his mother, his birth mother, was hugging him.

"Yes, you would approve of it, wouldn't you?" Feanor laughed "But I can't help but worry that something would go wrong."

The wind shifted, and Feanor felt two ghostly arms enveloping him in a reassuring way.

Chapter Text

A rather large crowd was gathered, and they all brought gifts, as was customary. Finwe walked down the path, with a bright smile on his face. Behind him walked Indis and Feanor, showing an air of commonality between them. All three were dressed in finest garbs that could be found in the cities. This plaza and the joint square had been reserved solely for this event. On the bottom of the stairs leading up to the plaza stood Mahtan and his family, ready to play their own part in the ceremony when the time came.

"We have joined today to perform the betrothal ceremony of our two children." Finwe stated solemnly

Mahtan repeated his words.

"The binding of the souls as achieved by the betrothal may last only six months thereafter." Finwe continued "Afterwards, the fear of those betrothed may either be united as one by the sacred ceremony of marriage, and the vows must be spoken so that the Valar may hear them. Else, the betrothed couple must split apart, and wait until such a time when their bond and their love becomes stronger in order to attempt this undertaking again. Do you consent to these terms."

"Aye." Feanor said

"Aye." Nerdanel repeated, in a quiet voice

"Then give the betrothal rings unto one another, and the ceremony shall be complete." Finwe instructed

Chapter Text

"Come." Indis said sharply "Your presence is needed."

Feanor, understanding that this was no time for petty quarrels, quickly got dressed and followed after her. She lead him to a circular chamber and ushered him inside. There, in the center of the room, stood Nerdanel.

"I have a gift for you, Feanor." she smiled "Here."

And she handed him a bundle of blankets. Feanor stared at it in confusion, before he felt movement underneath them. He moved them aside, and found himself staring at his own eyes.

"Meet Maitimo, Feanor." Nerdanel was smiling from ear to ear.

Upon further inspection, Feanor noticed that the child in his arms had red hair, proving that he was also Nerdanel's child just as he was Feanor's.

"Not a bad choice for a name." Feanaro smirked "I think I shall name him Nelyafinwe, after his grandfather."

Nerdanel's wide smile said it all.

Chapter Text

Years passed, and their little family grew by two new members, and both Nerdanel and Feanor were happy.

Then, Finarfin, Feanor's step brother, visited them with his own family, and Feanor saw for the first time the beauty of his only daughter. At that time, a new idea found root in his brain. And so, during the family dinner, he decided to voice his request.

"Would you grant me the honor of bequeathing one of strands of your lovely hair to me?" Feanor asked of her

To his suprise, however, she shook his head.

"I refuse." she said adamantly

"But why?" Feanor frowned, mildly suprised

"My reasons are my own." she answered

Feanor stood up and left the table without another word. Artanis watched him leave, her expression unchanging.

"Why did you refuse him?" Finarfin, her father, asked of her

"I sense deep darkness within him." she replied honestly "I fear that he asked this of me because of selfish reasons, and as such, I won't indulge his whims."

Chapter Text

Feanor wiped the sweat from his brow.

His greatest work was finally finished.

He poured his everything into this, and now it was finally complete.

The Silmarils stood before him.

If they were ever destroyed, for any reason, he too would be destroyed.

He knew this was the true, though he didn't know how he knew this.

He would present these to the Valar at their next meeting.

He left the forge, closing the door behind him.

The Silmarils remained, shining with gleaming light.

-x-

He went through winding streets, heading towards Valmar.

In his hands was a metal box, containing the Silmarils. Their light seeped through the box, illuminating the landscape.

He failed to notice a figure standing nearby, who was watching the light with obvious desire to possess the source of it.

Chapter Text

The time was right, Melkor had decided.

He waited until Feanaro was alone before approaching him. The Elf regarded him with suspicion.

"What do you want?" Feanaro asked, somewhat haughtily

"I merely came to warn you." Melkor smiled "Fingolfin and Finarfin are plotting to usurp your right, and the Valar are helping them."

"Why would the Valar do so?" Feanor frowned

"Apparently, they are dissatisfied that the Silmarils aren't in their safe-keeping and are helping your brothers take the throne in hopes that they will surrender the Silmarils to them." Melkor spoke smoothly

Feanor's expression changed into one of fury, and Melkor knew he had succeeded

"I would do something about that before it's too late." Melkor said, before departing.

-x-

"So what do you know about it?" Fingolfin eyed his current companion

"Beware of Feanaro. He has become forceful, and his father follows his every whim." the Maia said "I suggest you talk to your father about this before Feanaro casts both of you out of Tuna."

"Feanaro has right to the crown." Fingolfin mused "To deny his right is wrong."

"Then ask your father to control his temper better." the Maia shrugged

"Then that's what I shall do." Fingolfin finished his drink and stood up

Behind him, the Maia smiled. Melkor's plan was unfolding perfectly. Soon, Feanaro would be put into position where he would have to rely on Melkor, and Melkor would ask for Silmarils as the payment for helping him out.

Chapter Text

"Who told you that?" Nerdanel demanded

"Melkor." her husband replied "And his words are in accordance with what I've felt in my heart for some time now."

"I can imagine." Nerdanel stated sourly

Feanor stared at her as she retreated into her chambers.

He was at a loss on what to do.

-x-

"Are you sure about that?" Fingolfin asked, skeptically

"Curufinwe is volatile, and will get.....triggered, at the first opportunity." Nerdanel spoke quietly "I have no doubt that Melkor's intention is to destroy Curufinwe, but I won't let him."

"We won't let him." Fingolfin amended

"Thank you." Nerdanel said in earnest "If we work together, we might be able to keep Morgoth from succeeding, for Curufinwe's sake. Here is what we're going to do......"

-x-

"I need you to deliver these to the fig merchant." Nerdanel waved a couple of papers in Feanor's face "We're running out of fig jam, and you need to go out and request some more."

"You're lucky I love you." Feanor grumbled, though he was unable to hide his smile.

He took the papers from her, and ventured out of the door, closing it behind him.

As soon as he did, Nerdanel's smile fell.

"I love you too, Feanaro." she whispered "I am sorry."

-x-

Feanor was in high spirits.

The merchant's stalls were just ahead.

He never reached his destination, for someone struck him on the back of his head, knocking him out.

The papers fell to the ground, and the person who attacked Feanor picked them up.

They were all blank.

"I am sorry, Curufinwe." Fingolfin whispered, echoing Nerdanel's words "But this is for your own good."

Chapter Text

Feanor had lost track of time.

He only knew that it had been a day since he woke up. He was in an underground dwelling of some kind. There were two guards posted at the door, wearing the white and blue colors of his half-brother's house. Which mean that Fingolfin was indeed trying to usurp the throne, along with their father's love.

"How long does he plan on keeping me here?"

The guards said nothing, having been instructed not to speak with Feanor in any capacity.

Finally, after what seemed like an eternity, Fingolfin came to see him. By his side was Nerdanel, her arm in his.

"So, not only are you usurping my father's love, but you're stealing my wife too, you insolent whelp." Feanor's eyes narrowed

"Calm down, Curufinwe." Nerdanel raised her arms in a placating gesture "It's not what you think."

"Then what is it?" Feanor demanded "Why am I being kept here like an animal?"

"Melkor." Fingolfin replied "His influence has been felt."

"He has already begun to corrupt you." Nerdanel said "And knowing him, he wants you to do something you'd regret, so that his brethren would be forced to punish you."

"And what does he hope to accomplish with this?" Feanor seemed skeptical

"We do not know." Fingolfin admitted "We only know that whatever plan he has in mind would revolve around you."

"We thought that if we made you disappear from the public eye, it would delay his plans." Nerdanel added "We just want to keep you safe."

"We brought you food." Fingolfin said, placing two sacks on the ground beside Feanor "And your Silmarils. They will keep you occupied until we come back."

They exchanged few words with the guards, and then they departed silently.

-x-

"Did you talk to your father about him?" the ever curious Maia asked

"No, I've done something better." Fingolfin shrugged "I have him imprisoned in a cave inside of a secret valley, deep within the mountains of Pelori."

"Glad to hear it." the Maia smiled, making a mental note to tell Melkor at the earliest convenience "Well, it was nice talking to you."

Then he departed swiftly, and Nerdanel came.

"You told him?"

"Aye, I've fed him false information." Fingolfin smirked "Melkor would get a nasty suprise when he reaches the place....."

-x-

Melkor crept along the rocky terrain, until he saw the valley. It was long and wide. Now he just had to find the cave.

"What are you doing here?" Vana demanded

She and Orome were lying on the bottom of the valley, engaged in the act of love-making.

"Um, er, I....." Melkor scrambled to find some acceptable reason for being here

"Go away!" Vana shrieked, throwing a shoe which had materialized out of nowhere at Melkor's head.

Chapter Text

The next few months were more or less the same.

Fingolfin and Nerdanel visited weekly, and sometimes they brought his sons with them. Those were the days Feanor looked forward to the most. In the meantime, he occupied himself by staring at his creations. His Silmarils.

But one day, everything changed.

For when Fingolfin returned to his house, Melkor was there waiting for him, along with several Maiar.

"Where are you hiding him?" Melkor thundered "I demand to know!"

"Curufinwe is my brother, whom I love." Fingolfin said "What do you want with him?"

"That's between him and me." Melkor retorted

"Then I am afraid I cannot allow you two to meet." Fingolfin shrugged

"You will tell me where you're hiding him." Melkor declared "One way or another, you will tell me what I want to know."

"We will see, Melkor, we will see." Fingolfin began walking away "Now, I have another business to attend to."

-x-

Nerdanel moved a piece from one field to another.

She leaned back and looked at her handiwork with critical eye.

It was perfect.

"My love for Curufinwe drives me."

She looked down onto the board again, in order to make sure that her lineup and strategy were foolproof.

Then she smiled, completely satisfied.

"The stage is set, and the pieces are in place." she whispered "Your move, Melkor."

Chapter Text

"Fresh baskets, right from the stock." a vendor owner called out to Mairon, showing him a basket "Would you like to buy it?"

Mairon waved his hand in a dismissive gesture, continuing on, not caring whether the owner was upset or not. He had to find Feanor, for his Master would withhold his pleasure from him if he failed to achieve that.

Yet more random people stopped him rather frequently, asking him to buy things, or how to get to a certain location, or would simply stop to chat with him about the weather.

And frankly, it was getting annoying.

It wasn't until he was stopped for the fiftieth time that he realized one detail he had overlooked.

They all wore white and blue colors of Fingolfin's house.

They were delaying him on purpose, most likely following Fingolfin's orders.

Then out of the corner of his eye, he spotted Nerdanel.

If there was anyone who could tell him the truth, it would be her.

So he stalked up to her, looking scary.

"Hello, what may I do for you?" Nerdanel asked politely

"Where is your husband?" he demanded

"My husband?" Nerdanel repeated, seemingly confused "Why do you want my good-for-nothing husband when you can have me?"

She moved closer to him, pressing her body against his, making him feel uncomfortable.

Chapter Text

"I think you misunderstood." Mairon sweated "Melkor is seeking Feanaro because he wants to offer him his friendship. He holds Feanaro in high regard."

"Then he should have no problem with you eloping with me." Nerdanel drew even closer "I like you, Mairon. I want to engage in an act of passionate love affair, with you."

"What about Feanaro?" Mairon was panicking now "Doesn't he satisfy your.....cravings?"

"He would, if he paid any attention to me, like he used to." Nerdanel sniffed "But Silmarils have claimed him, body and soul, and he doesn't care one bit about me anymore. So it's only fair that I don't care for him either. I shall bear your children, Mairon, and they shall be the true heirs to my father's line."

And Mairon, while a bit confused, decided that the best course of action would be to play along. Just like Melkor seduced him, Mairon would seduce Nerdanel, and get her to reveal Feanaro's whereabouts to him.

"You do have a point there." Mairon said "He deserves to be cheated on. Come with me, fair Nerdanel, and I'll show you the pleasures you never even dreamed of."

"Oh, yes, this is what I've been waiting for, my dear Mairon!" Nerdanel exclaimed, sounding like someone eager to get in on the action

Mairon transported them to the mountain pass, where the light of the trees was dimmer, though not by much. Then he began to remove his clothes, and once he was finished, he did the same with Nerdanel's own clothes.

"Now." he said, turning towards her "Let us begin."

Chapter Text

"Oh yeah." Nerdanel exclaimed, as Mairon pushed his thing into hers "More! I want more!"

And Mairon obliged, bringing Nerdanel to high heaven. They picked a good place for this, Mairon knew. Few people knew about this place, meaning that they would hardly be interrupted.

Or so he thought.

"Ahem." a feminine voice rang out "I hate to interrupt, but could I have directions to Mahanaxar?"

It was an old woman, carrying a basket, dressed in white and blue.

"Of course." Nerdanel swiftly put her cloak on "I'll take you there."

And Nerdanel led the old woman away, leaving Mairon to stew in silence.

-x-

"Did I do well?" the old woman winked

"Yeah, you came just in time." Nerdanel smiled broadly "House of Finwe will prevail against Melkor and his servants."

They were close to Tirion, as they returned there using a different road. With that, two women parted ways, and Nerdanel met up with Fingolfin.

"Did it go well?" he asked her in an amused tone

"Yeah, it went very well, thanks to Fariel." Nerdanel told him

"Glad to hear it." Fingolfin smiled, offering her his hand "Shall we?"

"Yes." she looped her arm around his

They descended into an underground bunker, known only to them and those loyal to them.

Chapter Text

Feanor stared in his brother and wife in disbelief.

"What did you just say?" he whispered in a coarse voice

"We said you are getting released." Fingolfin repeated "We feel that the threat has passed."

Feanor stood up, and pain flared in both of his legs from the disuse.

Fingolfin and Nerdanel grabbed his arms before he could stumble. They led him out of the bunker and into sunlight.

"You've missed it, I am sure." Fingolfin joked

Feanor said nothing, sporting a grim expression.

"What do you plan to do now?" Nerdanel asked

"Continue where I left off." Feanor shrugged "My work has been delayed."

-x-

Melkor groaned.

The incident with Vana had left him flummoxed and with a bruised ego.

Mairon's search for Feanor ended up in failure.

In other words, his current situation sucked.

And the Silmarils were far out of his reach.