By Varnafindë

Chapter 1: Alqualondë

There couldn't ever have been a day like this one.

It started off well enough.

"We shall reach Alqualondë today," Fëanor announced when they had broken their fast. "When the Teleri have lent us their ships, we shall sail them towards the North. We should cover a good distance before needing to rest again. And if the Teleri will do the manning of their ships for us as well, so much the better - they are the more experienced mariners. Perhaps they will want to fight Morgoth, too."

Calimon was excited. His father Vórimon had been to Alqualondë before, but he himself hadn't. He hoped to get at least a glimpse of the city - but with the light of the Trees gone, and the urgency of their errand, there wouldn't be much chance of really seeing it.

But at least there would be the voyage along the coast up north, until the Sundering Seas were narrow enough to be crossed without too much difficulty. Calimon had lived all his life in Tirion. He had joined his father on some of his travels, being part of Curufin's staff - but never to the sea. Was he imagining things, or was there a salty smell already coming on the breeze?

Like his father, Calimon was trained as a scribe. Vórimon was Curufin's secretary. They were kin as well, Vórimon's father was the brother of Nerdanel's mother, so Calimon and Curufin - and Curufin's brothers - were second cousins. Calimon had no fixed position yet, but did services to all of Fëanor's sons - he had even taken down a letter for Fëanor himself once.

Strange, perhaps, that a scribe should be a good swordsman - but Calimon was. Ever since Fëanor had started making fell swords, Calimon and his father had been among those trained to use them. He enjoyed the swordplay, sparring with his opponent, fighting him until he could knock the sword out of his hand. Occasionally a less than careful move would draw blood - but never anything serious. This would be different when they got to Middle-earth and started fighting their enemy in earnest.

Calimon and Vórimon were right up at the front of the host of the Noldor. Curufin walked next to Fëanor, and the people of Curufin's household were right behind him, together with Fëanor's household and personal guard. Thus Calimon could hear every word when Fëanor demanded the ships and the Teleri refused to give them up.

Now what? If they had been only a select group of trained warriors, maybe they could have walked all the way north, and then with great care have crossed the ice of the narrow strait of Helcaraxë - but with a host this size, it was impossible. They had to use vessels. And apparently Fëanor thought the same. After some consultation with Curufin and some of his other sons, he gave orders to seize the ships.


They ran towards the ships, Calimon and Vórimon being part of the group that went with Curufin. Behind them, the Teleri had realised what was happening, and ran after them.

There were also the mariners on board the ships to reckon with.

They were met with raised fists when they boarded the ship. Within moments, Calimon could see men wrestling with each other all around him. Then there was a loud splash of someone being thrown into the sea. People were screaming, shouting, yelling.

Calimon could never tell afterwards whether he saw arrows or swords first. He couldn't even remember drawing his own sword. It just suddenly was there, in his hand, and someone tried to knock it out of his hand, and he reacted automatically, as in the training ground, bringing it down on his opponent, and as no other blade connected with it, his blade went home.

There was no time to ponder what he had done. Someone else was fighting him from the other side, but this one he managed to only push off.

He could see that his father had drawn his sword, too, striking down men who tried to get too close to Curufin. There was blood on Vórimon's sword.

The Teleri were good hunters and deadly archers. Calimon heard arrows flying and saw Noldor falling. But bows aren't very practical for close combat. Soon there were more Teleri falling than Noldor. There was blood and swords everywhere.

Some of the Teleri were still pressing on to try to board the ship and get the Noldor off it. That was where the arrows were coming from now. Calimon had worked his way back to Curufin and Vórimon. He was just turning to speak to his father, when an arrow pierced Vórimon's chest.

All Calimon could see for the next few minutes was blood and red mist. He didn't know how many Teleri he had killed before he finally returned to his senses - four or five at the very least. But that was the end of it. They had mastery of the ship now. There were no more Teleri alive on board, and the archers had been driven back to the quay.

Curufin put a hand on Calimon's shoulder.

"Well done, cousin," he said.

Calimon went back to his father. Vórimon was trying to sit up, breathing heavily. Calimon knelt down next to him.

"Father!" he exclaimed. "I thought they had killed you!"

"They have," Vórimon coughed. "They hit my lungs. It's just taking me a little while to die. Get me some water, my boy. I need to talk to you."

Calimon managed to find some water, brought it back to his father, and helped him to drink.

Vórimon sighed.

"I will meet Mandos soon," he said. "There will be many new arrivals in his Halls today, more than he ever has seen on one day before - and of both Kindreds ... The Teleri are also our kin, my son! What were we thinking of, fighting them? I shouldn't have drawn my sword. There is blood on my hands now - will there be enough water in the Halls of Mandos ever to wash that blood away?"

"But they withheld their ships from us, father!" Calimon cried out. "There was nothing else we could do. And then they shot you! If ever I find the one who did it ..."

"No, Calimon," his father coughed. "Do not think of revenge. It will only perpetuate the feud. It was my own fault for drawing my sword. We shouldn't have stolen their ships."

"We shouldn't?" Calimon said, incredulously. "They shouldn't have held them back - they should have given them up! Why couldn't they see that for the fight against Melkor - against the Morgoth - it's necessary that they help us? Why would they hold their own creations more important than that fight?"

"And have we not been doing the same?" his father said, his breathing becoming more strained. "Fëanor's oath was not an oath to fight against Morgoth, it was an oath to fight for the Silmarils. I have been leading you astray, my son, and I am sorry for it. I should have turned away from Fëanor's son when he joined his father in that dreadful oath. You ought to turn away from him as well."

"I will do no such thing!" Calimon exclaimed. "Curufin is our Lord - and our kin. He was loyal to his father, and I want to be loyal to him."

"Be loyal to your own father instead," Vórimon coughed. "Promise me that you will not seek revenge. It wouldn't be right."

Calimon didn't answer at first.

"Seeking revenge would not be right?" he finally asked. "You're asking me to let them kill you unrevenged? You're asking me to go against my honor?"

"You're forgetting that it was all my own fault," his father whispered. "When I face Mandos, I would like to plead with him that at least I did this, at the end, to stop the feud. Promise me - nay, swear to me - that you will not try to seek for the one who did it. This will be my only excuse."

And I won't have the time to seek for him either, Calimon thought. Father isn't asking me to forgive the Teleri - he's just asking me not to single out one of them. I suppose I can live with that.

"If it eases your mind, father, I will give you that promise," he said gently. "I swear that I will not try to find out who did it."

"As Manwë is your witness," his father prompted.

Calimon hesitated. This made things more serious than he had meant them to be.

"As Manwë is my witness," he slowly repeated after a while.

"Thank you, my son," his father whispered. He coughed again, blood and foam seeping out of his mouth. "Farewell. Remember that I love you."

His eyes glazed over, and his fëa left him.

Calimon closed Vórimon's eyes.

"Farewell," he whispered. "May Mandos see kindly to you in his Halls."

Curufin came over to them.

"So they killed him?" he asked.

Calimon nodded.

"He said it was his own fault. For drawing his sword."

"Nonsense," Curufin snorted. "If they had given us their ships right away, none of this would have happened."

"Exactly!" Calimon exclaimed. "And then he would have sailed with us, to the North and then across the Sundering Seas. Now, instead, we have to leave him here ..."

They buried him on the beach, next to other fallen Noldor. They stood silent for a minute, bowing their heads in respect for the dead. Then they went back to the ship.

For some reason, Calimon chose not to tell Curufin about the oath he had taken.

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