Chapter Five - 183rd Cycle of the Trees, 1273


Could any sister ever be more proud? Raimë, my youngest sister, attended her first ball today. Indeed, it was not such a very big one - not at the house of any of the noble familes of the Noldor - but it was her very first, and she was so excited that I did not think she would make it until the ball began. She wore the blue silk gown I had hastily put together for her - it was lovely, although perhaps the embroidery was not as intricate as I would have liked. It had taken me a good deal of time to save up for the fabric, and time had been short. Still, she looked nearly as one of the Valar in it, with her joy and excitement radiating from her like the light from the Trees. It made me glad to see her thus, and to know that I had a part in that beauty.

But that was not all I had to be proud of - for I was not the only one who noticed her beauty that night. As her chaperone, I had plenty of time to watch as dance after dance she was taken by yet another marriagable young man for a turn around the dancefloor. Some were highborn, some not - but on each she turned her lovely smile and held them transfixed. She did not sit out one dance! It warms my heart to see her so adored, and to know that she, too, certainly will find love. It is all I wish for her - that she find this love that I feel, and see it reflected in the eyes of the one she loves. Could anything be more sublime than that?

I danced tonight as well, although I was not nearly as popular as Raimë. I was not hurt, though - none of the men I danced with held any particular interest for me. I found myself comparing each one to Prince Nolofinwë, and each one came up sadly short. But I must say that I enjoyed this ball more than I have ever enjoyed one before. There was no fear of rejection, no anxiety at having to impress my dance partner - there was only the joy of the music and the dance, and the rejoicing of the harmony of hröa and fëa that such movement entails.

Less happily, however, did news come to me tonight of Prince Nolofinwë. It appears that a few days ago, he and his half-brother, Prince Fëanáro, quarrelled on the streets of Tirion, not far from the market where I was selling my crafts. My heart clenched as such news was related to me, and anger built in my heart at the unkind and unfair words of Prince Fëanáro. Fëanáro is great - there is no doubt of that - but he is Elda, and has not the wisdom or foreknowledge of the Valar. How does he think that he has the right to challenge the Valar's statute, or to impugn Prince Nolofinwë's birth, or question his legitimacy? I could almost feel in my fëa how much this would upset him (yes, I know that it is silly to think I can be so connected to one who does not even know my name, but alas, I cannot help it), and I hurt for him, hearing these cruel words and taunts. I found myself wishing I could be there to soothe him, to heal him, to tell him that he was loved, to hold him and run my fingers through his thick black hair...

Anairë! Again you are letting your thoughts run wild with dreams, silly girl! One would think you were a girl instead of a grown woman!

To bed! The morning comes sooner than I might wish and there is a great deal to be done if I am to be ready to return to the market and sell my goods again in only five cycles.

Goodnight, dear Nolofinwë. Tonight, in my dreams, I shall sleep in your arms and soothe your hurts.


Business Agenda for this morning's meeting: Letter of apology after the Ball.
Attending: Father, Arafinwë, myself.
Proceedings: Decided upon the main contents of a letter of apology to Maitimo. Arafinwë is given the task of writing the actual letter.
Meeting adjourned after two hours.

It was one of the most difficult meetings we've had for a long time. I don't like discussing Fëanáro's insults with father. I know that he knows that his first-born son dislikes his second marriage, and I'm sure that it hurts him, although he never talks about it. I don't like being the one to remind him.

It's strange that even with what Míriel did to him, he still loves her so much. I can tell. I sometimes wonder whether he loves her more than mother - although perhaps not. It seems to me that he loves them in different ways, which cannot really be compared. I've never dared talking to mother about it. It would be even more difficult than talking to father.

Perhaps it's because of what Míriel did to them, that he makes sure always to let Fëanáro know in what high regard he holds him. Perhaps he feels that he has to give him the love of both parents, since she's not there to give him her part. I fear that if he - the Valar forbid - would ever have to choose between us, he would choose Fëanáro and abandon my siblings and I. But I cannot see what might ever force him to have to make such a choice.

I'm his second-born. I know that I can never become anything more than second. But I can live with that. He still has great love for all his other sons and daughters.

But what I don't like, is his difficulty in admitting that Fëanáro may have done something wrong. He never - at least not in my presence - tries to stop him from insulting us. And he lets me understand that when quarrels arise, they are usually my fault. I've taken things in the wrong meaning - I should accept the truth of some of what my half-brother tells me - I should generally accept Fëanáro's superiority.


I know when Fëanáro is trying to insult me. It's not my fault that there is ground for quarrels. Incidentally, Arafinwë agrees that the quarrels are my fault, but not because I should accept everything from Fëanáro - I should just walk away without accepting it. I know that it would be better if I could - Arafinwë never quarrels with him, so I know it would work then - but I cannot. They say I'm a lot like my father in his early youth. He is as proud now as he was then, they say, but fortunately with time he became a lot more level-headed. Which could be why he was later chosen to lead his people on the Great Journey.
When he announced that this morning's meeting would be about apologizing for the dance incident, I knew things could be awkward. And when he said that we ought to do send Fëanáro a letter of apology for what had happened to his son, I got nearly as upset as during the quarrel.

"Not to Fëanáro!" I yelled. "If anything, Maitimo was the offended part, not his father. I don't see why we have to apologize at all, but we certainly needn't apologize to Fëanáro!"

"I should have realised that my eldest son would see this as a question of rank," father said. "And he's right, you know - his line is the eldest and should have supremacy."

With father, I can sometimes stop myself from saying too much. So I didn't say 'but not the only one with legitimacy'. Instead, I told him that I might agree to introducing a pecking order for the next ball, provided it didn't go on into the ridiculous, but left a girl a chance to choose whom to dance with - but the present issue was to see whether we needed to say we were sorry for what we had done. And I didn't see the need.

"Maitimo wasn't even offended," I said. "His father was - but he always is - but Maitimo wouldn't have raised the issue if Fëanáro hadn't."

Father began to tell me not to pick on Fëanáro, but Arafinwë stopped us.

"It's not difficult to see that Fëanáro sees himself as the offended part on behalf of his son," he said. "But formally speaking, Maitimo is the offended part. And I think that Fëanáro should accept the apology for himself, even though we direct it to his son. If we need to apologize at all, I think we should do so to Maitimo."

It took some persuasion to make father agree, but he did in the end. But he insisted that a letter should be sent. I was not so sure.

We went over the facts of the matter, discussing back and forth what could have been different and what was to be expected. I pointed out that nothing had been done with the intention to slight Fëanáro or his offspring, so that an apology should not imply that we admitted any such thing. Father agreed that no offence was intended, but he could see how Fëanáro might not be so certain.

Why must he have us walk on egg-shells whenever Fëanáro is involved? Why can't Fëanáro be expected to see reason for once? Why should we always be the ones to tread carefully?

It's Arafinwë's work that we reached an agreement about the letter at all. Always the diplomat. We have agreed that we only apologize for not having had more than one place of honor on Findis' dancing list, and that we promise to create another for next time. To be offered to father's eldest son or his representative.

I still don't feel good about it, but I suppose that's what a compromise is like. I feel we're accepting Fëanáro's accusations to a large degree. If Maitimo had been the only one involved, he wouldn't have seen it as such a big deal, but his father is always looking out for some chance to slight us. Why cannot father see him through? Or doesn't he want to?

I need to relax. I thought about my healer again several times this morning. What would it have been like if she had been around? I might still have reacted to the wrongs I see committed against us, but I might have been less tense.

I try to remember exactly what I felt those few minutes at the Ball. The feeling of friendship - of companionship - of being with someone who was wishing me well, someone I could relax with completely ... I need to feel that again.

And it is as if I am feeling it again - as if from afar, she can still reach me and wish me well. It's ridiculous, probably. She may not even know who I am any more than I know who she is. If she had her back to me like I had my back to her. But it wouldn't have made any difference to our fëar. They would have met anyway.

And I would like to meet her again.

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