Chapter Four - 177th Cycle of the Trees, 1273


Today was a successful day at the market! I sold all of my statuettes of the Valar, a pair of cups, and three bowls. Now the work must begin again in order to have enough goods that I may do as well next week. With my earnings, I was able to buy a length of silk cloth with which to make Raimë a new dress. I must start on that as well. Tomorrow, in addition, I must meet with my father's mother who has promised to give me yet another lesson on the healing powers of herbs. There is much to do, but I enjoy being busy and feeling useful.

I think I shall always look back on last week's ball as the day my life changed. As the day I grew from a girl into a woman. After the initial shock of what had happened, it has not been so painful; indeed, it has been the opposite. I have found myself singing more, laughing more, feeling more. The world has seemed more joyful, the lights brighter, my family more dear. Everything seems to have taken on a new gleam, as if this love inside me is shining on the world. How could I possibly regret that? I am a woman, I am alive, the world is a lovely place, and I love! Whether or not he returns that love seems almost unimportant.

I have not seen him since the ball, but I think about him often. What is he doing this moment? Is he happy? Sad? Lonely? Perhaps Eru will smile on him as well, and grant him the joy that is warming my heart. I would be speaking untruths if I did not say that I wish, if He did, Prince Nolofinwë would love me, but most of all I simply wish him happy.

This must be the joy of which Makalaurë sings. This freedom, this life, this knowledge that my heart has been touched by the very hand of Eru. For is there anything that tells us more clearly that Eru loves us than this? It is, perhaps, our closest glimpse of the very spirit of Eru and his everlasting love.

The candle flickers; I must sleep.

Nolofinwë, to you I wish the sweetest of dreams this night, and that you may find love for yourself to match that which you have awakened in me.

Goodnight, my love, and may Eru hold you this night in the palm of his hand.


Business Agenda for this morning's meeting: Evaluation of the Ball.
Attending: Father, Arafinwë, myself.
Proceedings: The Ball was successful. Arafinwë keeps a list of minor items to remember for next time.
Meeting adjourned after an hour.

I had a horrible start of the day. Will I ever be able to stay out of quarrels? What is it about my younger brother, that he's always able to just take those comments in his stride, and walk away unperturbed? Sometimes I think that the Vanyarin blood runs stronger in him, giving him a gentler nature. I'm altogether too much of a Noldo ...

I was at the market, looking for a birthday present for Findis. There's still a fortnight to go before I need it, but I like to have time to look for something really nice. She's teasing me, I know, but I still love her dearly - the same goes for my other sister. On both points.

My attendant told me that he had seen some very good statuettes of the Valar, and he was about to take me to the stall where he had found them, when we were interrupted by my brother. My half-brother, that is. Fëanáro. Often when he meets me, he makes a point of pretending not to see me. Not today.

"I talked to my son about the Ball," he said. "I asked him whether he was given the honor of the second dance with Findis - after father, of course."

I paled. We hadn't even thought about there being any ranking other than father having the first dance with her. I remembered vividly Maitimo and myself standing next to each other, watching them dancing. They had the floor to themselves for that first dance, almost like the bride and groom at a wedding ball. When they finished, they came straight over to us, and Findis thrust herself into my arms, and I swept her back onto the dancing floor, while the other couples started dancing as well. I enjoyed our dance - she's a good dancer, and she does not see me as a potential husband. Unlike most of the ladies I danced with at the Ball.

I assume that Maitimo danced with her as well at some point, but he did not do so straight after me - he was already dancing with someone else then. He hadn't seemed to have any problems with the proceedings. Had he complained to his father? It wouldn't be like him to do so without notifying us first.

"He tried to avoid the issue," Fëanáro continued, a degree of contempt clearly present in his voice. "But in the end he answered that no such honor had been given him. I want you to make sure that this is rectified next time there is a similar event. He does after all belong to the legitimate branch of Finwë's house."

I bristled.

"But you still see a dance with Findis as an honor?" I asked. "With your attitude, I would have thought that you would rather not touch her."

He told me what I could think about his attitude, I answered in kind, and soon we were rehashing the usual list of insults.

People in the market were staring at us with that mixture of worry and fascination that is common under such circumstances - staying close enough to hear any good tidbits of the quarrel, but sufficiently far away not to risk becoming involved. My attendant - poor man - has developed a suitable stance for himself for such occasions. He has, after all, heard it all before.

When Fëanáro left - after getting the last word as usual - I was in no fit state for handling fragile pottery. We decided to leave the statuettes for next week. My attendant told me that there would be pots and vases as well, if the statuettes were all gone.

I've told Arafinwë about it, of course. He always sighs, and wonders when I will learn. I fear I never will. When I think about Fëanáro's attitude - yes, exactly, his attitude! - it makes my blood boil. Even now. I suddenly think of that maiden at the Ball. My healer, I called her. Yes, I could do with her healing presence right now. I need to relax.

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