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The Prince and the Dragon

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The first time Nolofinwë saw the creature, he was just a baby.

Of course, he did not keep memories of that occasion while growing up. For years, he was only able to evoke the feeling of being watched while he slept and despite the silence in the Silver Hours, he used to wake up looking for a presence in his bedroom. Naturally, he never found anyone and as the slight pressure on his chest was not exactly unpleasant, he did not tell his parents what was happening. Nor was it certain that anyone had managed to infiltrate the bedroom of the Crown Prince without having been discovered by the numerous guards who guarded the corridors of the Palace or by the servants who never rested.

 

Nolofinwë had entered early adolescence when he finally heard the tale of the "Beast".

 

Until that moment, the beast had been just a rumor, a shadow blurring in the comments of nannies and the townspeople. His tutor, Master Rúmil, claimed that there was no such beast, because everyone knew that the power of the Aratar kept the Enemy in chains and his darkness never managed to reach Valinor; but Nolofinwë suspected that Rúmil was not always right. However, before that day, they had always denied him the story, claiming he was too innocent. The Prince - like every Noldorin infant - was increasingly curious about that creature that no one wanted to talk about in his presence.

 

The Beast was the only shadow in the Blessed Lands. It was the culprit that the harvest was scarce; but it was also its duty to take the children who disobeyed their parents and caregivers. It was its fault that winter was rougher and many travelers had lost themselves in the mist that surrounded its domains. However, the Beast had not taken a life in a long time.

Nobody knew where the Beast came from - it had begun explaining Indiliel, with a voice of mystery - or why the Valar allowed him to live in Valinor despite its evil. Few had seen it in front, since it was covered with shadows and fog, and cast spells on its victims to confuse them. Everyone agreed that it could spit fire and that its wings made a noise like the sea when Uinen was furious. Its tail was so powerful that it could knock down trees and ten adult elves could not face it. Its claws were like sharp swords and its skin hard as the best steel armor. Only once had the Beast come near the city.

Over there by the date of Nolofinwë's birth, the Beast had descended from the mountains and bad luck had wanted him to cross the path of an elf. The next day, when the inhabitants of the suburbs commented on the appearance of a winged shadow in the Silver Hours and a great roar breaking the silence, a young woman had come screaming in horror that she had found bloody clothes in the forest. Many went with her and were shocked that on the floor lay a torn and bloodstained cloak: having taken it, one of the elves saw with dismay that the piece had embroidered a star of fire, the shield of the Crown Prince.

The day that Nolofinwë heard the story of the Beast from his nanny's mouth, it was also the first time he heard about his brother.

 

Prince Curufinwë Fëanáro had not been the son of Queen Indis, like Nolofinwë. On the other hand, King Finwë's eldest son was born from his first marriage to a young noldë, Míriel Þerindë, who left for the Waiting Rooms after the forces left her body due to pregnancy.

As they told, Fëanáro had been the most beautiful of the Noldor, and also the most skilled artisan, the most intelligent among scholars, the most powerful of mind and body. However, he also had a strong and difficult to handle character that caused constant headaches to his father. When Finwë - after many years of mourning the departure of Míriel - met Indis and fell in love, Fëanáro refused to accept the marriage and left the palace to live in the house of his teacher, one of the Aulendili, Mahtan. Rumors said that he had fallen in love with the blacksmith's daughter, Nerdanel the Wise, and many prayed to Varda for his spirit to find peace with her; but before the commitment was decided, the pregnancy of the new queen was announced and Fëanáro was enraged.

The discussion between the prince and his father reached such magnitudes that Finwë - despite experiencing great pain - ordered his son not to return from Mahtan's house until he was able to control his emotions because he did not want his state of mood will affect the pregnant woman. Fëanáro left the palace in the midst of anger and for months there was no news of him. Finally, the queen gave birth and all gazed enchanted at the new prince, so similar to his father that many did not hesitate to call him "the true heir of Finwë". The comments, of course, increased the resentment of the Crown Prince, who came to the palace to demand that his father swear that the newborn would never take his place; but he only got new reasons for his anger when he heard the name Indis gave her baby: Arakáno, the High Chieftain. Once again, Fëanáro left, leaving his father in deep anguish ... and in the Silver Hours of that day, the Beast came for the first time.

When Finwë found that the layer found belonged to his eldest son, he gave orders that he be sought throughout the kingdom; but not even in the Calacirya or in the distant Tol Eressëa, Fëanáro was found, so the king had to resign himself to the harsh truth: his son had been devoured by the Beast.

Since then, the Beast had not claimed another victim, although a few brave ones went out looking for him over the years. The Beast was as elusive as it was powerful and only from a distance were its exploits known. Some even said that the Beast was released by Mandos in person to punish those who sinned against the laws of the Valar, Prince Fëanáro being the first to pay the consequences for his arrogance and rebellion against his own father; but this was a comment that no one dared to repeat near the king's fine ear.

However, the mere mention of Fëanáro caused such pain to Finwë, that his name had been almost banished from the daily conversations and thus, Nolofinwë had grown ignorant that, in reality, he was the second son of the King.