“...We, the Eldar, once lived in fear of being hunted, of being stalked like prey by the Dread Master and his allies. When we came to Aman we found a sense of safety, a land of peace where we could watch our families grow. Yet, in coming to Aman we have lost many of our old histories, of the stories and legends we once wrote in ink on our skin.
The loremaster is a being made to remember, and record, our history and legends. This book is an attempt by me, and several other loremasters, to ensure that our legends, no matter how heretical they may seem now, are remembered…”
- an excerpt of “Heretical Tales,” by Rúmil, Loremaster of Tirion.
“...Those with Wolf Eyes were seen as gifted. Neither cursed or blessed but with the potential to do either great harm or greater good, none the less people were wary of them. For having a wolf on your side may bring you victory yet you never knew when the wolf may abandon, or worse yet, turn on you.
One cannot control the wildness in them after all, perhaps that is why Gorthaur enjoyed them so much…”
- an excerpt of “Wolf Eyes: An Index of Omens,” Author Unknown.
Excitement and anger in equal measure ran through Tirion. The news had hit the streets as soon as Laurelin rose and the procession of mixed feelings that followed was something that Fëanáro himself was not familiar with. He was disinterested in the news that his father had sired another child, the white hot anger that had been there when Nolofinwë’s conception was announced barely produced a spark when he heard the news.
He offered his father his congratulations of course, despite the way it stung both his heart and tongue to know that he wasn’t, would never be, enough for Finwë. There was little that could soothe that ache, but there was even less that Fëanáro wouldn’t do for his father.
Fëanáro smiled at the joy that crossed Finwë’s face.
It was a strained smile, all that saw it knew it was.
When Arafinwë first opened his eyes, it is said a hush fell upon the room. It was not unusual for those of the Noldor to have silver eyes, nor was it odd for those of the Vanyar to have blue. It wouldn’t have been odd had Arafinwë had either of those eye colors.
He did not.
Arafinwë’s right eye was a light silver color, so light it bordered on white. His left eye was solid gold, reminiscent of the eyes of wolves.
The room stood frozen as Arafinwë, fresh into this world and not yet screaming, met his father’s eyes. He lay cradled in his mother's arms and for a moment Indis gazed upon her son with wide eyes, a look of horror better suited to a murder victim on her face. Indis was a queen though, and quickly schooled her face to a neutral expression.
It was then that Arafinwë broke eye contact with his bewildered father and screamed.
It was no secret among the people of Tirion that Indis was not fond of her youngest child. Her dislike of Arafinwë was talked of in hushed voices, even when those of the royal family were not around. It was said, in hushed whispers, that Arafinwë was hated by his mother simply because of his birth. The birth itself wasn’t straining, no, rather they said she hated her son because of his eyes. They pointed to the stories they took from Cuiviénen, of how those with silver and gold eyes born among them either suffered greatly or took pleasure in the suffering of others. Some claimed that Indis had the foresight to know her son would take pleasure in the suffering of others.
Those in the palace corroborated some rumors. They told of how Indis and Arafinwë were rarely in the same room. Of how Indis would leave a room as soon as Arafinwë entered it. They spoke of how Indis would brush off the child’s questions, of how the queen was cold toward her son. There were those that approved of her actions, a queen of course should never be affectionate with a potential threat. Those that disagreed with her actions only spoke of their disapproval in tight lips and tighter smiles.
Most who knew Arafinwë would think a the claim that the boy would harm someone deliberately was ludicrous. They would say that such a sweet boy would not even know how to begin to take pleasure in someone else’s suffering. They would claim that instead his eyes meant he was destined for greatness, as all Finwë’s sons were.
Arafinwë himself doubted that second claim. There was something in him, Arafinwë felt, that would delight in the suffering of those who wronged those he cared for. It was a cruel desire he knew, that made him narrow his eyes at thinly veiled insults toward his family. That made him force a smile and nod when those who paid more loyalty to the Valar than his father spoke to him at court functions. If any moved to harm his family Arafinwë knew he would do anything to see them burn.
Arafinwë knew he wasn’t kind.
He still tried to be.
It was enough at times, enough to force him to hide his passion and anger behind the masks Indis made sure Arafinwë knew how to craft. If there was one thing Indis had taught her son it was how to make sure no one knew what laid beneath the facade he wore.
She could have taught him this out of a sense of duty. It was likely that she did, Arafinwë mused, out of an obligation she felt to ensure that Arafinwë survived at court. Or perhaps she simply taught him because Finwë asked her to. It didn’t matter either way, Arafinwë was grateful for the one gift his mother had given him.
It came in handy when he was dealing with Nolofinwë.
Nolofinwë was older than Arafinwë by twenty-five years, and Arafinwë, despite being twenty-five and the youngest of his family, managed to fool his older brother as he fooled the rest of them.
“ Nolofinwë I assure you,” Arafinwë said, a calm smile on his face, “I’m fine brother. There is no need to worry.”
Nolofinwë’s eyes narrowed at his brother’s answer.
“Are you certain?” he asked, concern lining his voice, “I know you know about the more unsavory rumours about you. You cannot be unaffected by their presence.” By what people think of you, goes unsaid but Arafinwë hears it anyway.
“I am fine Nolofinwë,” Arafinwë said, shutting the book he was reading with a sigh, “As for the rumors, I’ve lived with them for twenty-five years already. I am,” -a pause- “used to them.”
Arafinwë saw the way Nolofinwë grit his teeth as Arafinwë spoke and moved to rest a hand on his older brothers arm.
“You shouldn’t be,” Nolofinwë said, “You are undeserving of this treatment.”
Arafinwë simply smiled, a small, strained thing, and left the library, book tucked safely under his arm.
Arafinwë felt, with a certainty, that he shouldn’t exist. That the various futures he saw should be fixed as they usually are for his people.
They are not. The future for him was fluid, a shifting, ever changing thing that rarely took the same shape twice. Arafinwë had only heard of such talent in Irmo’s seers. He had heard that those that displayed such powers were shuffled off to the Gardens where they lived under Irmo’s watchful eyes.
Arafinwë sincerely doubted that they were content there. But if so why didn’t they ask to leave? Arafinwë knew that they were taken for ‘training’ but why couldn’t they leave once said training was finished? Being one of Irmo’s chosen was supposed to be an honor.
Arafinwë felt no need to be honored.
Biting his lips, Arafinwë shoved the book he had taken from the library onto a desk in his room. So far his research had turned up nothing but folk tales. The only reference to magic were in songs or in reference to the abilities of the Valar. There was nothing explaining what he could do or why he could do it.
Releasing a breath, Arafinwë absentmindedly wrapped a tendril of silver light around his finger.
It felt like silk, light as air and warm as a summer's day. Arafinwë wondered, and not for the first time, what the Valar would do if they found out what he could do. Would they hide him away from the world? Would his family allow them to? Or would they simply think of him as a danger and be glad to be rid of him? There were so many variables in this equation, so many things that could go wrong.
Arafinwë didn’t like it. But if they tried to lock him up, he’d go down fighting. For a moment his mind wandered to his recently acquired ability to manipulate fire.
He’d go down in flames if he had to.
Letting the light tendril go, he wondered if Rúmil had any answers to his questions. The loremaster was older than his father, he certainly must know something.
On an old faded piece of parchment in between the pages of a book:
“... I fear the worst. My sister becomes more ill by the day, and while she has never been in perfect health (mentally or physically) she has always been able to find a reason to go on. I fear now that our magic has been locked away that she is fading. Perhaps our magic had been too high a price to pay, as she is not the only one I know now facing health troubles now that we no longer have access to what I now believe to have been an integral part of ourselves.
We should have never come to this land. It is not worth the lives of those dying..”
this...has literally been eating at me for years. its kinda of amazing that i finally sat down and wrote it after all these years to be honest. i thought it was going to lay dormant in my head forever. alas, here it is. enjoy!
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