Chapter Three - 171st Cycle of the Trees, 1273


A great deal has been accomplished today. I fired my last batch of cups, and thankfully, all of them survived the process. There is nothing more frustrating than going to the trouble of sculpting and painting a piece, only to have it crack in the kiln. I also finished three small statues of the Valar, with which I am well pleased. They should earn me a fair bit at the market.

Marisë my sister visited today with her new husband, as well. They seem quite happy with each other. Father seemed well pleased to see her. Although she was the middle child, I have always felt that she was father's favorite. I suppose it is not so odd, really, as they have a great deal in common. I, too, am glad that she is happy, and while I wish in my heart that I, too could find such contentment, I do not begrudge my sister her happiness.

Contentment. Is it the same as happiness? Is it less? Is it more? Can one be happy without being content, or content without being happy? I suppose I could say that I have been content, as I have never lacked anything I need, and I enjoy my craft and being close to my family. And yet...and yet I fear that my contentment has been shattered. Today, nothing has seemed as simple as it was, or as comforting. Today, when I saw my sister, I felt - not envy - but...but it was a desire to have someone look at me in the same way that her husband looked at her. To be first in someone's eyes. To share my deepest thoughts and dreams with someone who I know will understand. To be able to share my fears and faults with someone, and know that they will love me despite them. I do not begrudge my sister this happiness - alas, I am overjoyed that she has found it - I only wish that I could find it for myself, as well. I have always dreamed of someday finding love, but I am not sure I knew what that meant before last night.

Of course, he does not even know who I am. He did not show up on my doorstep this morning, a lovelorn swain, desperate to see me and take me as his wife. Reality is not a ballad. I do not blame him for not noticing me - it is laughable, really, to think that he would see me across a crowded ballroom and suddenly our fëar would meet and all would be well. Life does not work that way.

And while there is pain in knowing that I shall spend my life loving him from afar (for I see no end in sight to this affliction, nor am I sure I would want to see the end), there is also joy. Joy that I have experienced this feeling - this part of life that I had never known before. Joy that my heart is capable of feeling such a wonderous thing. Even the pain is of a special sort, and even in its worst moments makes me feel more alive than I have ever felt before.

But enough, Anairë! What good can possibly come of moping and pitying myself for my plight? None at all.

I love Prince Nolofinwë. I cannot escape that. But my love does not change who I am, or my responsibilities. It does not give me leave to wander around with my head in the clouds when there is work to be done. I have estel that Eru acts for a reason, and that somehow this experience is for the best. I must leave it at that.


No meeting this morning. There usually isn't after Balls.
We can all have a lie-in instead.

I said that there was a strange incident at the Ball - after thinking about it for some hours, I still don't know what to make of it. I should write down all the details, perhaps I will understand more of it later, but then I need to remember exactly what happened.

It happened as I entered - no, that's not where it started. My state of mind when I entered the room is probably significant, too.

I was approached by a man who didn't immediately introduce me to a daughter, which was a relief. He mentioned a son, so I hoped that they were there for the son to seek a bride - there should be a few to choose from! I took great care not to mention the subject of daughters - but I was tense, worried that he would mention it himself after all.

He started telling me a story, while we were going towards the next room. I got even more tense - would Fëanáro be there after all? It's almost an instinct with me now - even when I've talked to his son, and I should know that he won't be around, I still get tense ... And I was also worried about the next crowd of maidens that might be waiting right inside the doorway to throw themselves at me.

Then we crossed the doorstep to the next room - and immediately I relaxed. There was a presence in that room - another fëa, one that I could relax with, one that could soothe my own very tense fëa. It was a female fëa, a maiden. She was somewhere behind me. I wanted to turn around and see her, but the man I was talking to, was still telling his story.

I was polite, I didn't turn away from him, but I must have given him less than my full attention. I was basking in the soothing effect of that other fëa. What should I compare it to? The closest I can get, is the feeling in my shoulders when I go to the healers to have them massaged. Only this wasn't physical like my shoulders - this was a relaxation of my fëa, not just my hröa.

She meant comfort, friendship, comradeship. My fëa just knew. And still I hadn't seen her.

I knew that as soon as the man finished, I would turn around and see her, and go over to her and welcome her in person. But he took his time, and I had to be polite ...

And suddenly the presence disappeared. The maiden had left the room. My fëa knew that her fëa was no longer in my close vicinity. As soon as I could, I disengaged myself from the man - hoping that I didn't seem too abrupt - and turned around to look for her.

But what should I look for?

I don't know what she looks like. Even if I would try to ask someone who was present, who she is, I have no way of telling them who I mean. I have no description to give. And yet I know that my fëa will recognise hers immediately if we ever meet again. My healer.

If only I had known by what door she had left, I would have tried to go after her. But there was no telling - she could have left in any direction. And not only that - but I had this strange feeling that she had fled. I suspected that I wouldn't be able find her in the palace at all.

So what do I make of it? I believe that she could become a good friend, if only I could find her. To find a companion who could have that sort of effect on me - my fëa knew right away how valuable such a person could be. Should I search for her, to see whether we could develop such a friendship - such a companionship?

But I don't know - maybe this was something that was meant to be - something that either was meant to be only for those few moments tonight, or something that will become a more lasting friendship on some later occasion. Maybe I shouldn't try to find her at all, but wait for the providence of the One to bring us back together again. If it was meant to be at all, and not just coincidence - which I don't really believe in.

And there isn't much I can do to try to find her anyway.

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