A Fire Consuming

Thoughts of a Child

Adjusting his circlet, Fëanáro looked into the mirror. His grey eyes seemed to stare back in an accusatory manner. They almost dared him to make a fuss at the feast – to make his presence known. After all, why not? He was smart; he was his mother's son. From the whispers he had heard she had been inquisitive, intelligent, and of a peaceful disposition. The latter was a trait that he had unfortunately not inherited. There were times that he had wished that he had inherited her dark eyes as well.

Many trips were made to the gardens of Lórien. Finwë wished to insure that his son knew whom his mother was. How peaceful and beautiful she looked. She appeared to be merely sleeping; the body had neither decayed nor changed in any way. That was what scared him. He almost wished that there would be some sign of change, some signal of hope. Soon, very soon his ammë would change her mind and choose to be reborn. His father would be happy, and he could finally – finally apologize for the hurt he had caused his mother.

No one mentioned the pain she had suffered – that was something he had figured out for himself through the aid of eavesdropping. Many of his old attendants had gossiped relentlessly how he had taken his ammë's vitality and will to live. That could not be true; how could he have hurt her? He had been just a baby at the time. That was not something that the young boy was able to comprehend, nor did he want to.

Thankfully, Niquessë would always come and hush up the offending speakers. She did her best to ensure that the child was loved. Between his father and nurse he felt as though he could fly. He was loved, and no one would ever usurp that place.

His father walked into the room, calling Fëanáro back to reality; smiling, he looked down at his young son, who looked back at his father with adoring eyes.

"Well met, Atar." Fëanáro bowed his head in the traditional Elven salute to royalty, feeling quite pleased that he had actually performed it correctly.

Kneeling to be at eye level with his young son, Finwë smiled. "I see you are now clean. Niquessë did indeed work her magic. I was worried that I would have to introduce the crown prince as Fëanáro the slayer of mud beasts."

Puffing out his chest, Fëanáro replied with laughter, "I am quite certain that that would put your guests at ease."

"I am sure that it would." Standing up, he took his son's hand. "That reminds me: we are also to be visited by emissaries from the king of the Vanyar. His own sister is to be in attendance tonight; you should know that she was a good friend of your mother. I believe you will like her."

"What is her name? Does she eat clouds, and fowl like all the Vanyar? Who is she?" He fired a stream of questions towards his father. It was someone new. Two new people in one day; the prince could not believe his luck!

"Slow down and allow yourself to breathe," Finwë chuckled. "I am quite certain that the guard outside your door heard your questions. Speaking of which, I heard you gave your new guard quite the welcome."

"Yes, yes I did. I simply allowed him to understand my genius," he deadpanned. "Though you have still not answered my questions. Who is she?" he pressed, waiting for an answer.

Taking a deep breath, Finwë smiled. "SHE is the sister of High King Ingwë, and a friend of your mother – by extension she is my friend as well." He paused and then asked in puzzlement, "Who told you that the Vanyar eat clouds?"

Feanaro raised an eyebrow. "I did. I am fifteen years old." He explained, seeing that his father needed to be enlightened: "Niquessë told me that the Vanyar live among the clouds. That helped me to understand that they eat fowl, and the easiest water to drink would be from the clouds. So technically, they eat clouds."

"That does make sense." Children had the strangest ideas; Finwe knew it was best to go along with them. "Though, I believe that clouds are not her favorite food, and neither are fish."

"She doesn't like fish? Well, than I believe that we will be great friends."

It was always great fun to have new friends; it could become quite boring having only his father, Rúmil, and Niquessë to talk to. Of course there were other children, but they were prosaic and uninteresting. Fëanáro only deigned to play with them to appease his father and fulfill his princely duties. The other children did enjoy playing with him, so it was not too hard to pretend that he and they had a good time when his father would ask. After all, they made great experiments.

"That is my most sincere hope. Her name is Indis, by the way." Setting the boy down, he continued, "Come, we must welcome our guests. Are you ready?"

"Yes father. Let us greet–" a smirk, "–the fish and golden emissaries." Those were good titles. Good titles indeed.

"That may not be the best way to greet them. I believe their names will suffice." He winked, adding, "However, you are free to think that."

The prince watched with great pride as his father straightened himself, took his hand and smiled. Looking proud, and commanding attention they walked towards the banquet hall. He knew that his father truly was a great king.

Fëanáro shifted uncomfortably in his seat. This feast was boring. He looked down into the crowd that laughed and ate happily, then looked toward his father who seemed to be deep in conversation with the Lady Indis. It appeared that no one had time for an elfling.

Feeling rather bored, he began shaping the halibut on his plate to form an eight pointed star.

"Halibut, smelly butt, gross, stinky halibut," he muttered, smashing the already dead fish into a greasy paste. Smiling at the chaos he had created, he turned to the abalone. It was not as tasty as Niquessë had promised – not repulsive, exactly, but still too rubbery.

"You do not like the fish, do you?" a small voice questioned to his left.

Turning to face the inquisitor, he saw that it was a small, shy-looking elfling with silver hair. He wrinkled his nose. He was not a fan of this gaggling, googely eyed, and goosey girl.

"Try the tuna. You might like it better." The little girl said with a smile, "my name is Eärwen."

"I know whom you are." He glowered at her. "I just don't like halibut."

"I can see that, Curufinwë. That's why you need to try the tuna," she insisted.

Glaring at the annoying Teler, he viciously stabbed a piece of tuna and popped it in his mouth. He did not like that name; he preferred Fëanáro. Chewing grumpily, he found to his surprise that the tuna was not that bad. Swallowing he spoke, "It is not as foul as the halibut. Though I still do not like it."

Eärwen smiled. "See. I knew you would like it. You're just too spoiled to say it."

Fëanáro clenched his little fists. "I am not spoiled. I am simply opinionated." See, that'll show her. He could already see her tiny brain trying to detect even the smallest amount of sass.

Tossing her hair, she humphed at him. "We did not bring the fish for you anyway." Looking to her mother, she said, "Ammë, is it alright if I go to the gardens?"

Patting her daughter on the shoulder, the Teler woman smiled. "I would prefer it if you would stay here. We are guests and this is not our home, so please sit and be polite."

Chuckling at the interlude to his right, Fëanáro picked up his glass of juice, and, swirling the contents, winked at the princess. "Care to try the berry tarts?"

Eärwen was about to open her mouth in response when the music ceased. Both elflings looked to see that Finwë had signaled for the dancing to commence. The children grimaced; they knew the custom. As the only prince and princess in attendance it was their obligation to dance at least one song with one another.

Standing, Fëanáro turned to the red-faced princess and gave a gallant bow. "May I have this dance, my lady?" If his father wanted him to be polite, he would give all in attendance a show that would prove his maturity.

"I would be honored, my prince," she replied with a flutter of her eyes that was accompanied by a graceful curtsey.

Taking her arm in his, Fëanáro escorted Eärwen to the floor. Their entrance was accompanied by coos of adoration from many of the elves in attendance.

"Why are grownups so strange?" Fëanáro wondered aloud. "They're giggling like a gaggle of geese."

"I don't know. Why don't you ask one?" Eärwen was quite fed up with Curufinwë's snarky attitude.

"I already have; there answer is always the same. They laugh." That was the most annoying thing. It was something that made him decide that is he became an father. he would never laugh at his children even if they studied music.

"After this dance, I am going to the garden," Eärwen announced. "Do you want to come? We could feed the birds."

"Do as you please." Fëanáro smiled, looking for another mode of conversation. He felt of sigh of relief when he thought of one. Girls were all the same, crazy about love. Maybe that would get her to stop jabbering about his garden.

"Look at your parents. They look happy." Both elflings looked at the King and Queen of the Teleri, whose eyes were only for one another. It made the boy curious – had his Atto looked at Ammë in that manner?

"They do look happy, just like your Atto and Lady Indis," she remarked. "You're actually being pleasant; that tart must have done you good."

"What do you mean about my Atto and-" He froze, seeing that his father was dancing with the golden nís. "What of it?" he asked. "It is his obligation; he is, after all, king." What the prince would not let on is that this was indeed a surprise. He had never seen his Atto dance; he usually sat and smiled as his subjects made merry. He was not one to dance openly with other níssi.

"Nothing. She just looks happy. One day I will be that happy, and I will marry a handsome prince." Eärwen smiled with the look of a dewy-eyed schoolgirl.

"Well, it won't be me. Girls are gross." He wrinkled his nose. Females were weird, especially princesses – they were the strangest kind.

"Of course it won't you, silly. Besides, I like golden hair." She curtsied. "Thank you for the dance. I am going to go feed the birds now. Do you want to come?"

Looking over at his Atto he waited for a moment, gauging what his father's next move would be. Standing with bated breath, he felt his heart sink as Finwë was still dancing. The music had stopped. His eyes widened as he saw the next dance begin. It was the dance of lovers; as far as he could tell his father had no thought of vacating the floor. He had to get out of there. This was something he did not wish to see.

Guarding his thoughts from prying eyes, he turned to the waiting princess. "Yes, of course I will join you. I can't let you go by yourself; you're a girl."

"What is that supposed to mean?" Eärwen asked, folding her arms.

"Girls get lost easily. So of course I will join you," he said, thankful to get away from having to see his father looking so happy with that woman. Fëanáro had never seen him that blissful. Not even with me.

"I grow tired of this fare," he declared quite grumpily. "Let's feed the fish."

"Ducks," Eärwen corrected, surprised that the prince would even want to play with her.

Choosing to ignore her correction, Fëanáro took Eärwen by the hand and fled the banquet hall, dragging her behind him. For the first time in his life, Fëanáro felt jealousy in its purest form.

Finwë belonged to him, not to Indis.

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