He could hear them. He could always hear them now. Perhaps he even sought them out.
It had embarrassed and flustered him, years ago, but as the time passed he had grown used to it. If he was going to be honest he was more than used to it. He looked forward to it. Savored it. Craved it. It did not matter which voices or where--the palace, the playing fields, the market. They followed him wherever he went and he liked to hear them. Overhearing the praises for Fëanaro's eldest son. Praises for him.
"Here he comes!"
"Look at the way that copper circlet sits in his hair."
"No one has hair like that."
"His mother does-it is just like hers."
"Absolutely not! There is nothing like Nelyafinwë's hair."
"Do you think it is as soft as it looks?"
"I wanted to touch it when I danced with him but I could not summon up the courage."
"How did you get him to dance with you? He has spent most of the night talking with Findekáno."
"There could be no more perfect epesse for him than Maitimo-truly he is well-formed."
"I wonder if all of him is so comely."
Maitimo could hear the laughter at that remark and he smiled. Little did they know how accurate his mother's name for him truly was. At least that's what he had heard from many, although Findekáno's assessment was really the only one that mattered.
Maitimo leaned on a pillar, tucked into an alcove, behind the group discussing him so intently. The decorative plants hid him well. Hid him from all except for Findekáno, who knew to find him there.
He dropped to one knee, the crown tightly held between his left hand and the ungainly stump that was his right.
"It is yours by right, uncle, as the eldest heir of Finwë among our people," Maedhros said, looking up at Nolofinwë expectantly.
His uncle met his gaze, Nolofinwë's mind traveling back in time to the image of the tall, proud, comely nephew he remembered.
There was very little of that left in the Nelyo who knelt before him now--hair cropped short, dulled by the unremitting rays of the sun and so much more that was left unsaid. The scars on his face were still livid, standing out against the pallor of his skin. The stump at the end of his right arm never ceased to shock Nolofinwë, even after all this time.
"You are sure about this, Nelyo?" he whispered as he bent towards his nephew.
Maedhros closed his eyes at the old name. He had long ceased to be Nelyo, Maitimo, Russandol. Those were the names of the boy he once was, not the man that he had become, rising out of the torment of Thangorodrim to claim his life back.
He seemed to sway for a moment, Nolofinwë thought, as if from great weariness.
But then he opened his eyes and faced his uncle again, silver eyes strong and clear, his jaw set with determination.
"I have never been more sure of anything, my king," he said, bowing his head. "It is yours by right, by acclamation, and by the will of my heart."
He felt Nolofinwë's fingers touch his own as he took the crown from him and he breathed a sigh of relief.
Chapter end notes:
I chose to use Maedhros Sindarin name in Humility but had Nolofinwë keep his Quenya name until his ascension as High King.
You must login () to review.