Fëanáro waited for the gates to open, the servants were reluctant to do so but their Lord had given a command and they couldn't disobey him. Not when Nolofinwë stood patient on the other side of the yard, unmoving and expressionless. When the doors were wide enough, Fëanáro tugged at the reigns and guided the horses pulling a heavy cart into Nolo's estate. The servants eyes the brother's carefully, backing away and quickly out of sight. It was the first time in their long difficult history the crown prince visited his half-brother unannounced. Given the fact it was midday and the estate nearly empty, Fëanáro had known to find Nolofinwë to alone.
Descending the stairs, the son of Indis greeted his brother casually.
"What do I owe you this unexpected visit?" he asked, almost friendly if one remembered the usual tone in their curt conversations.
"I come bearing gifts," Fëanáro answered.
Looking at the servants hulking in the shadows, he gave a short nod in their direction. Despite the crown prince's obvious intention, the servants looked first at their Lord. Their loyalty demanded not to leave him alone with his brother.
But Nolofinwë nodded, saying, "Fëanáro wishes anyone to leave who is not a member of the royal family. This is for our eyes only."
They complied but unable to hide their hesitation. For a moment neither of the brother's spoke before Nolofinwë curled himself onto the wagon, sitting down next Fëanáro as if was something he did daily. A watcher would've been surprised at the lack of hostility been them.
"It won't do to leave them here where anyone can see them," Fëanáro commented, glancing backwards where he had hidden something rather important under blankets.
"Of course not," Nolofinwë agreed. "It's a touchy subject. Drive the carriage around the house. I prepared a room near the stables. No will look there unless I give command to open the doors."
They said nothing for the next half hour which it took to cross the distance between Nolofinwë's gates to the storeroom near the stables. Only when the wagon had stopped and Fëanáro freed the horse so it could take the rest it needed, they both turned towards the cargo. Taking away the blanket, Fëanáro revealed fine swords, five of them.
Nolofinwë stared. He didn't need to draw one from its sheath to know his brother crafted them himself.
"They're from your hand," he commented quietly, letting his finger run over the inconspicuous wood that hid naked steel.
"Of course," Fëanáro answered. "Despite the history we share, I feel the danger Melkor presents grow with each passing day. The royal family should be able to defend itself if the need ever arises. I'm not swallow enough to deny you or your children the finest quality of protection I'm able to offer.
"All despite the fact I carry Indis blood?" Nolofinwë asked. His question lacked hate and bitterness. Long ago he learned that Fëanáro would never love his mother and could never love her children to the degree they may deserved.
Fëanáro was silent for a few moments while he stood eerily unmoving while staring at the swords.
His voice dropped to a whisper when he finally said, "I've read all the stories about the Outer Lands. Everything about the journey our parents undertook. My worries are not unfounded. Perhaps we're never going to use them but I feel more comfortable knowing your swords won't break if they are tested one day."
He put a hand on Nolofinwë's shoulder, an unusual gesture for him since touching his half-brother was something Fëanáro refrained from.
"Take them, Nolofinwë. Keep them a secret until the day comes you need to draw yours from it's sheath," Fëanáro ordered with the tone of an older brother, worried for his sibling. "I've also crafted one for each of your children. Should your family grow, I'll return. No matter the feelings between us, I vow I won't deny you the desire to have your children's children protected."
After this no words were spoken. Fëanáro left his half-brothers estate on the back of the horse, leaving Nolofinwë to unload the carriage.
Years later Nolofinwë's hand trembled as blood trickled down his next. No one had noticed in the confusion but Fëanáro's blade had cut his skin. Yet the pain was unmatched to the anguish flooding his heart
Brother, the prince thought, aware of his own sword bound to his hip. You know I carry your own work with me. Your promise.
Did Fëanáro forget? Unlikely in Nolofinwë's eyes. Did his brother count on the fact he wouldn't draw his sword, perhaps afraid everyone would notice a work of Curufinwë? Or did Fëanáro thought his own work wouldn't harm him?
Just as unlikely.
Bot more than the new turn of their relationship Nolofinwë mourned that Elenwë's unborn child would never receive the protection Fëanáro had promised to give.
It was during a starless night on which Nolofinwë noticed the sword dangling at his granddaughter's hips. It shone in a strange light, noticeable so. Just like the fact the sword had been adjusted to Itarillë's height and figure. Even her preference to run bare food had been taken into consideration. Nolofinwë considered asking how she came to this sword since he hadn't ordered one to be commissioned. Then he shook his head.
Wishful thinking. Nothing more. And gripped his own sword tighter as he marched through the endless ice.