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Half-brother in Blood, Full Brother in Heart

Chapter 1: Half-brother in Blood, Full Brother in Heart

by Alassante

A/N: This is the first time I've ever written anything from Fingolfin's perspective versus Fëanor's but I wanted to try to understand why he would follow Feanor to Middle Earth after this event. I had a hard time getting Fingolfin to let me into his head (worked on this for months!)so I must thank those in the GoI, at the CoL, and in the HoF for their input on the many earlier revisions. And Gwynnyd, Sulriel, Lissa, and Viv with the extensive help on the final version. (hope I didn't forget anyone!) This ended up getting finished in perfect time for this challenge!

~*~

'See, half-brother!' he said. 'This is sharper than thy tongue. Try but once more to usurp my place and the love of my father, and maybe it will rid the Noldor of one who seeks to be the master of thralls.'


Fire of fury flickered in his brother’s eyes, and Fingolfin remained silent. Deep within him was anger, but deeper still the sense of loss and heartbreak swelled. As he left the square in search of Finarfin, he pushed through the crowd, dismissing the stares he received, blocking them out of his mind as he gritted his teeth to prevent himself from screaming in rage.

This could not be excused as petty argument or sibling rivalry. He had long accepted that his father favored Fëanor, but that he could stand idly by as one son threatened the life of another. His jealousy of his brother's accomplishments paled by comparison to Fëanor's absolute hatred for his brothers and their children.

His chest tightened. He had stood by when he should have stayed his brother’s hand. Was he not their king as well as their father? It was Finwë’s place to make peace amongst the brothers, for the sake of the Noldor, if not for their own sake.

He felt Finarfin’s presence as his footsteps fell in line with his while he stormed through the crowd. After they were through most of the throngs of elves, his brother spoke softly, almost under his breath. “Brother, I do not believe what I have heard from others. Tell me that Fëanor did not really draw a sword on you.”

Fingolfin nodded curtly. “Not only did he draw it, but he would have used it if I had not backed down.”

Finarfin shook his head firmly, disbelief showing in his eyes. “No. No. No! I do not believe Atar would allow harm to come to either of us, especially at Fëanor’s hands. We are of the same blood!”

Stopping short, Fingolfin turned on his younger brother and he spoke through clenched teeth. “Are you blind? He does not see us as his brothers. He sees us as his enemies! And Atar did nothing to stop him. I am no longer sure that he would ever stand against Fëanor.”

“Then Melkor was right…”

“I do not trust all that he has said, but I trust what I see with my own eyes. I would have denied it could be possible. Then I saw our father stand aside and do nothing.” Fingolfin sighed, feeling defeated.

One of his captains came up beside the brothers. “We have many swords too, my lord. We are in your service and, if Fëanor wants on a fight…”

“Yes! Let us show him the might of your lords as well!” Another yelled to the crowd around them. The crowd’s angry response and words towards Fëanor and his sons swelled around Fingolfin. He began to worry that he would not be able to calm them before this matter got out of control.

After a few moments of listening to the intensity of anger grow, Fingolfin held up his hands. “No!” His voice was loud and firm as his gaze swept the crowd. “I will not have my people fighting his in the streets like enemies. Unlike my brother, I know that violence amongst us is not the answer.”

The crowd listened to him, but he heard their murmuring as some of them fingered their swords. Adopting his most rational stance, he continued in a reassuring voice. “Calm yourselves and do not react rashly.”

Although many appeared conflicted, they did not want to disobey their lord. Placing his hands on the shoulders of the ones closest to him, Fingolfin urged. “Go now to your homes. I will meet with my lords tomorrow. Let us settle this matter when cooler heads prevail.”

The crowd slowly dispersed. Fingolfin breathed a sigh of relief before looking at Finarfin again. Seeing the pain and confusion in his brother’s face, he placed his hand on his shoulder and squeezed lightly. He mentally pushed his anger deeper and tried to use a comforting tone despite his words. “I know it hurts that Atar does nothing. But we have each other, Finarfin, as always.”

“Perhaps if Ammë talked to Atar, she could…”

“No. We will not ask her to fight our battles. If Atar is deaf to our words, we must show him. We cannot involve others in this,” Fingolfin replied with firm resolution.

Out of the corner of his eye, he saw his daughter hurrying to him. “We will speak of this later. Until then, do nothing. We will act with honor, befitting of sons of Finwë, no matter how Fëanor tests us. He may not see us as his brothers, but he will always be my brother in my heart.”

Aredhel’s eyes had filled with tears by the time she reached them. Finarfin left the two alone and Fingolfin put his arm around his daughter’s shoulders as they continued along the path to their home.

“Is it true what they are saying, that the House of Finwë has been divided forever? Has Haru truly turned against you?” Aredhel whispered, her voice shaky.

Fingolfin struggled to find the right words. Finally he attempted a weak smile and answered, “Let us hope the events of today will pass into memory and the winds of tomorrow will bring resolution to our kin.”

“I do not think that will happen so easily. Has he shown you any kindness in your life? No, he has not. And today he drew a sword on you! He accused you of trying to usurp him in his position and with Haru, as if either could be done.” Aredhel choked back her bitter tone, even as intense anger reflected in her eyes. “Atar, you must realize now that Fëanor does not possess one drop of love for any of us. You give him too much credit. You always have.”

“How many times did I hear you say to your brothers, 'I hate you forever’? Angry words are spoken in times of passion and I, for one, will not speak ill of my brother. If he were to ask my forgiveness…”

“He will not! And I said I would hate my brothers when I was a child. Fëanor is not a child, despite the fact he acts like one. He is never repentant, yet always forgiven. You taught me and my brothers to be forgiving, but you are too forgiving. I think if he had run his sword through you, you would forgive him with your dying breath!”

Aredhel stopped and studied her father before placing her hands on his chest. She looked intently into his eyes for a long moment before she continued. “Atar, I love you. I admire and respect your wisdom greatly. But do you not see that we suffer watching Fëanor treat you like you are the dirt beneath his boots? I know you do it out of nobility, but I think the time for peacekeeping has come and gone.”

Fingolfin raised an eyebrow at his daughter. Although her face now appeared calm, her eyes spoke the truth; her heart was one filled with fire.

“Aredhel, it is not in my nature to react violently to every slight that Fëanor makes to me. I will not be the one to divide this family or our people. I hope that others will be inspired by my actions to forgive him as well.” Gazing off into the distance, Fingolfin was quiet as he thought about his conflicting emotions toward his half-brother.

“Fëanor will be a great leader someday. And when that happens, I will follow him loyally. He is my brother! I cannot begrudge him for not behaving the way I wish him to if I am not willing to forgive him for what he is lacking.” Fingolfin squeezed her hands gently.

Aredhel’s mouth tightened in frustration but she shook her head and kept silent, saying no more on the matter.

~*~

Fingolfin refused to discuss the matter with Anairë, other than to tell her that what happened would be forgotten eventually. He did not want to burden her with his doubts of what this confrontation would mean to the Noldor. He had not been so lucky or easily dismissive with his sons. Both Fingon and Turgon cornered him in his study after a tense and silent supper.

“Atar, you must do something, someone must act. Fëanor is out of control. He speaks of rebellion against the Valar and people are listening! Haru’s silence is as much a confirmation to Fëanor’s beliefs as if he had spoken the words himself. Even those loyal to the Valar feel that if the king does not condemn Fëanor’s words, they may have merit. You must speak out against him publicly,” Fingon pleaded with Fingolfin.

“I do not think that is the best plan. Besides, give Haru a chance to respond first. If you and Finarfin speak to him together, presenting a united front, it would hold more sway with him,” Turgon argued, dropping in the chair in front of his father’s desk. “But doing nothing is not an option.”

Fingolfin leaned forward, resting his hands on the desk. While struggling with his own doubts, having to convince his sons that he was right was proving to be a stressful task for him. “And cause further division within the Noldor? I do not want to force people to choose their allegiance between myself and my brothers. Their loyalty is to their king and the Valar, not to us. I will not push that matter further.”

Fingon walked over to the window and muttered, “You might not force them to chose, but Fëanor will.”

“Maedhros is like a brother to you. Would you speak out against him?” Fingolfin asked, turning to observe his son’s stiff back. At first he thought Fingon would not answer before he turned around and looked at him firmly.

“If he were to try to divide our people for his own needs, then yes I would. This is not about brotherhood or family. This is about doing what needs to be done. The longer you and Finarfin try to keep the peace with Fëanor, the more people doubt your leadership. And if Fëanor is willing to assume leadership over the Noldor, you are delivering them to him by your silence. Trust me when I say this, Fëanor is already dangerous. If he gains any more influence…”

Fingon’s words drifted off, but he did not need to say them. Looking from one son to the other, Fingolfin realized that they were in agreement. Nagging doubts in his mind that had been growing over the last few days were now demanding resolution. His head ached and throbbed as his thoughts spiraled.

“Our cousins…our true cousins not poisoned by Fëanor’s malice, agree that this problem will grow until neither you nor Finarfin can contain the will of the people against their own self-destruction,” Turgon added.

Fingolfin sat back in his chair and stared at the ceiling. The silence grew until the tension appeared to crackle between them all. Finally, when the throbbing in his head subsided, he answered his sons.

“You each have spoken your minds and I know where you stand. I ask that you do not feed the flames of discontent within our people. Allow me time to resolve the situation before…before it grows out of control.” Returning his gaze to rest on Fingon, he added. “I will do what I think is best and I need your loyalty.”

“You have our loyalty and we will give you time to resolve this. But do not delay too long Atar. As we speak, Fëanor is aligning himself with as many as he can. The battle lines have been drawn and the Noldor will follow the strongest leader. They need assurance that placing their loyalty with you is best for them, for all of them.”

~*~

Everywhere Fingolfin went the next day, there were whispers and curious looks from those he saw. He continued to move amongst his people as often as he could, attempting to comfort their fears and silence speculation about the king or the House of Finwë. He met with Finarfin and they each spoke with the lords of influential families. The movements of Fëanor and his sons were noticed as well and word came to Fingolfin that the Valar would address the matter. Still, Finwë remained silent, which caused more discontent than Fëanor’s words.

Although Fingolfin, and Finarfin, strove to keep their people loyal, Fingolfin often felt as he talked to them that they, too, had grown arrogant. They were parroting the desires Feanor had roused in them and they said they longed for what they were entitled to, lands of their own and freedom from the Valar. Some of the strongest-willed leaders insisted that the two brothers were still ensnared in the Valar’s thralldom, and Fingolfin felt his words often fell on deaf ears.

One of these frustrating meetings had driven Fingolfin to march halfway to his father’s house to demand action when he encountered his mother as he reached the square. So intent was he on his own thoughts he almost walked straight into her before he stopped short.

Grasping her arm so she did not lose her balance, Fingolfin exclaimed, “Ammë! Forgive me, I did not see you.”

His mother frowned as she pulled her arm from him. “There seems to be a lot of that going on these days.”

“What do you mean?”

Turning to look around them, she gestured to a secluded path. They walked in silence for some time before his mother spoke.

“Your father does not see me, does not see the pain he causes me. He cannot see through the webs of deceit that Fëanor weaves around him. You and your brother are meeting with the leaders of the Noldor, but you do not come to me to ask my thoughts on this matter?” Indis sniffed indignantly. “I suppose it is natural for you to not discuss matters of importance with your mother or even your wife. It seems to be something you learned firsthand.”

“Forgive me Ammë. I did not wish to put you in the middle between your husband and your children. I did not want to cause you more grief than you already have.”

Indis laughed bitterly. “This is not a simple argument between brothers Fingolfin. The Valar expect you and Fëanor before them tomorrow!”

“I have heard whispers of that as well but I did not know for certain…”

“You would have if you had not been too busy with the more important residents of Tirion to talk to myself or Anairë. The messenger came earlier and I have been attempting to find you ever since.” Indis’s hurt tone cut him deeply. “I saw Mahtan in town today. He said that Nerdanel has been staying with them.”

“Oh?” Fingolfin was surprised. He admired Nerdanel’s peaceful nature and attempts to restrain Fëanor’s fiery spirit, but had heard the rumors that his brother’s temper was driving even her to her breaking point.

“Yes. Fingolfin, I am afraid that…” A guilty look passed over his mother’s fair face. “I have reached the limit of my tolerance as well. If your father does nothing to resolve this soon, I will not stand by and watch him push my sons out of Tirion. He has chosen Fëanor over my children too many times. I am forever reminded that I was not his first or only wife. If it were not for you and your brother, I would wish that I had never bound myself to him.”

Tears glistened in her eyes and Fingolfin took her in his arms. “Ammë, do not attempt to fight my battles for me. I am no longer a child who needs protecting. Atar needs you, whether he realizes that or not. He cannot contain Fëanor’s will anymore than anyone else can.”

“I feel completely helpless in this matter. He shuts me out and will not even discuss things with me anymore. I do not want us to be parted, but Fëanor’s hatred for me knows no bounds. And I no longer wish to fight for my husband. I should not have to.”

Although reluctant to speak against his father, Fingolfin had often thought the same thing about his parents’ relationship. As a child, he watched his father ignore the disgraceful way his half-brother treated his mother. Even in her own home, her position was usurped by Fëanor.

“No, you should not. I always thought that eventually this would all pass. Since Feanor created the Silmarils, he does not care for his family or his people like he should. That is why Finarfin and I can no longer remain silent. He is not merely hurting those close to him, now he is dividing us all.”

Wiping away her tears, Indis shook her head, her jaw set firmly. “The Valar will settle this tomorrow. They simply must. Then we will not have to worry about his actions anymore. I do not care what he says to me, I gave up long ago trying to win his affection. But we cannot keep silent as he destroys the peace of Aman with his speeches against the Valar.”

~*~

The following morning, Fingolfin answered the Valar’s summons and met before the gates of Valmar. With Fingolfin came his sons, as well as Finarfin and his sons. Anairë insisted on going with the other wives and daughters. Fingolfin did not want his family embroiled in this nightmare any further but as Anairë pointed out, Fëanor would bring his seven sons and his grandson with him. In his heart Fingolfin knew there would be no compromise. The House of Finwë would be reunited or completely divided by it.

All those who had witnessed his altercation with Fëanor were also summoned and for the first time since it had happened, he faced his half-brother and father. Finwë’s face was unreadable. It cut him deeply that his father would not look him in the eyes and, once again, Fingolfin felt the sting of his rejection. Fëanor’s expression was one of anger and hatred for his brother as well as disgust at being summoned.

“As word spreads like fire through the streets of Tirion, I doubt anyone questions why you were summoned here, Fëanor,” Mandos spoke while looking sternly at the elf before him.

Fëanor raised his head defiantly. “Should the actions within the House of Finwë be questioned by anyone other than Finwë, the King of the Noldor?”

Varda gracefully arched an eyebrow, as if bristling at his manner if not his words. “We have rights to question anyone who draws a sword in anger. These are our lands to govern and you will answer to us.”

“Then what was said is truth! You expect to hold the Noldor here in Valinor, not by our will but by your choice, to govern us only as you see fit. Our king is Finwë, is he not? If that is the case, we do not have to answer to anyone other than he. Do we not have rights to question the Valar’s intent? What of our right to freedom?” Fëanor demanded, his eyes reflecting his contempt for the situation.

Varda looked at Manwë, who had been silent until now. The Vala leaned forward in his throne and said, “The Eldar are free, and have always been free, to stay or leave. We do not wish you to depart, but we will not stop you. It would, however, be foolish and likely end in the death of the Noldor. We brought you here for your protection.”

“Protection from what? From Melkor? Is he not your brother, a Vala also? He resides in Aman, not in the land beyond.” Fëanor spread his hands wide, gesturing to the other Valar in the Ring of Doom, fire flickering in his eyes. “Or do you wish to hold the Noldor here in thralldom for your own designs? We are not yours to command!”

The Noldor surrounding him gasped aloud and Fingolfin and Finarfin looked nervously towards each other. The Valar sat silently, although Tulkas’ face flushed red as his eyes narrowed. Fingolfin imagined that if he was capable of killing one with a look alone, then Fëanor would be dead.

Manwë put a restraining hand on Varda’s arm before she could answer Fëanor. He sighed and sat silent for a few moments before speaking. All those assembled nervously waited for his answer.

“The Ainur serve Ilúvatar and our duty is to protect his First-born children, not enslave them,” Manwë answered. “Finwë, King of the Noldor, you led your people here of their own free will, did you not?”

Finwë nodded curtly. “I did, my lord.”

“You have province over your people, as you always have. But the Ainur have dominion over all people of Valinor, including High Princes in the line of Finwë. I command you now, Fëanor, son of Finwë, to answer our questions.” Manwë’s voice echoed within the crowd, adding to the tension already in the air.

“Ask your questions, for I do not fear the truth,” Fëanor replied, stiffening under Manwë’s gaze.

“Is it true that you drew a weapon on Fingolfin, son of Finwë, and your brother?” Mandos asked directly.

“It is true. For he, son of Indis, was planning to usurp my position and that of my sons.”

“And who spoke of his desire to seize your position?” Varda asked, her gaze drifting over Fingolfin before returning to Fëanor.

Fëanor, shifted uneasily before answering, showing doubt for the first time. “Melkor spoke these words to me. He said that Fingolfin and Finarfin planned to supplant me, by the leave of the Valar.”

Tulkas jerked to his feet, his face full of fury, startling those closest to him. Manwë held up his hand and, after a moment of indecision, Tulkas slowly sat back down on the edge of his seat.

“Fingolfin, please step forward,” Manwë commanded and Fingolfin walked to stand before him, but a distance away from his brother. “Is this accusation true? Did you plan to usurp the elder line of Fëanor?”

“No, it is not, my lord. I swear my unwavering allegiance to my father, Finwë, King of the Noldor. I only sought out my father’s council when I heard Fëanor speak out against me,” Fingolfin said evenly. Turning to Fëanor, he continued, “Melkor warned us to beware and said Fëanor held no love for the sons of Indis and would attempt to drive us from Túna.”

The Valar exchanged looks as Manwë studied both elves. Finally he said, “I see Melkor has worked hard to plant seeds of doubt between brothers. Was there more that he said?”

“He said the Valar would take the Silmarils, my creations, from my keeping. And he told us to create weapons to defend ourselves against the treachery of the Ainur.” Fëanor glared at Fingolfin. “And betrayal from our kin.”

Varda sighed and asked, “Did he also warn you against your brother, Fingolfin? Did Melkor speak of weapons to you as well?”

“He did.” Fingolfin nodded.

After a moment, Manwë looked at Tulkas, who rose and left the Ring of Doom.

“We will bring Melkor before us for judgment. But you, Fëanor, are not held guiltless in this matter,” Varda replied.

Mandos, sitting to Manwë’s right, conferred with him for a few moments. Fingolfin glanced over at his father, whose forehead was wrinkled in concern. For a brief moment Finwë’s gaze landed on him before he turned away again. Fingolfin scanned the faces of the Ainur, looking for any sign of what was to happen before he breathed in deeply and bowed his head with shame.

He was a fool! Melkor had caused this rift with his brother. How could he have been so reckless to believe the fallen Vala? He is the weaver of lies! Melkor could have no reason to protect Feanor or Finarfin, but he certainly stood to profit if he caused conflict between the brothers and discontent within the Noldor. Fingolfin should never have taken the conniving Vala's word as truth.

Studying his hands, he remembered the first time he had held his sword, the weapon he crafted because of this deceit. The weight of it drained his strength of heart even before his hands and the blade was sharp but not as sharp as the wounds to his soul knowing that he might have to spill blood of another.

Looking up he saw that Mandos had risen and stood before them to voice the judgment of the Valar. First he turned to Fëanor, calmly saying, “Thou speakest of thraldom. If thraldom it be, thou canst not escape it; for Manwë is King of Arda, and not of Aman only. And this deed was unlawful, whether in Aman or not in Aman. Therefore this doom is now made: for twelve years thou shall leave Tirion where this threat was uttered. In that time take counsel with thyself, and remember who and what thou art. But after that time this matter shall be set in peace and held redressed,” turning to Fingolfin he continued, “if others will release thee.”

Fëanor’s jaw tightened in anger and he cut his gaze to his brother. All eyes fell on Fingolfin and silence filled the Ring of Doom. His emotions tightened his chest and words failed him for a moment. He was shocked his brother would be banned, but his feelings were conflicted because he had also believed the lies of Melkor. He had not drawn a sword on his kin, but he had created one, had he not? Had he not held it within his grasp many times thinking he might some day need it to defend himself or his position?

Silently, he gathered his strength within. He knew they all waited for him to speak and he was torn by his own failures and misdeeds. His eyes rested on his father and he knew what he must say.

“I will release my brother.” Even as the words issued from his lips, Fingolfin felt the tightness in his chest grow to the point where it drove the breath from his lungs.

"I go, but the Silmarils are mine alone." Fëanor turned, storming from the council. His sons followed him, some reluctantly. Fingolfin noticed the way Maedhros turned towards Fingon before leaving. As they watched one another, Turgon nudged Fingon, who’s gaze then turned icy and he turned away from his cousin.

“No…” Fingolfin heard Curufin’s wife argue as he grasped her elbow and pulled her with him, Celebrimbor following in solemn silence.

When all of the line of Fëanor had left, silence resumed before Finwë rose stiffly. He removed his crown and held it, studying it, before he walked towards the Valar. Stopping before Fingolfin, he turned to him and said in a low voice, “Lead them with honor, my son.”

Fingolfin shook his head slowly as his father held the crown out to him. Finwë nodded, in a movement so slight it was barely seen by those around him. He continued to speak softly to his son. “I cannot remain, while one of my sons is banned. Until the ban is lifted, I will serve this punishment as well. But you, you will heal this division of the Noldor.”

“But Atar, what of me? What of Finarfin and Ammë? Do we not deserve your loyalty as well?” he replied, his words almost choking his throat.

“Yes, you do. And I have failed you once more. But I have failed my people as well. I am no longer deserving of the position of king. You have always put your honor before your desires so I ask you to do so again. Lead them, as I no longer can.”

Fingolfin hesitated until he scanned the crowd around them. The Noldor looked confused and hopeless by the events that had taken place. He reached his hand out and took the crown his father offered. Finwë smiled sadly before he turned and began to follow Fëanor and his sons.

When Indis stepped in his path, Finwë stopped and studied her for awhile. Gently he brushed his hand across her cheek, wiping away the tears that had fallen there.

“Forgive me, my love,” he said before moved around her.

Indis stiffened, and despite the tears that continued to fall, she raised her chin proudly. Walking over to Fingolfin she took the crown from his hands and placed it on his head. She took his arm and began leading him through the crowd. Heads bowed until he reached Anairë. Indis stepped back and Anairë took his arm. She smiled reassuringly at him as he once again scanned the crowd. Although a few elves seemed unsure, the majority seemed accepting of the change in leadership.

“They will learn to follow you,” Anairë whispered. “You must learn to lead them without trying to gain your father’s approval. You are the king now and your people need you greatly.”

When Finarafin and Eärwen stood beside him and the rest of his family all stepped in line behind him, Fingolfin felt relieved by their support. Leaving the Ring of Doom, he returned to Tirion to begin the arduous task of healing the hearts of the Noldor.

Although he led them as king, Fingolfin allowed no word to be spoken against his father. He wanted the loyalty of the Noldor to be based on his actions and words, not on their dissatisfaction in Fëanor and Finwë. Those loyal to Fëanor and his ideals followed him into exile so the division within the Noldor that Melkor worked so hard to achieve had the affect he desired; they were forever separated.


~*~

Direct quotes from the Silm:

~'See, half-brother!' he said. 'This is sharper than thy tongue. Try but once more to usurp my place and the love of my father, and maybe it will rid the Noldor of one who seeks to be the master of thralls.'
~“Thou speakest of thraldom. If thraldom it be, thou canst not escape it; for Manwë is King of Arda, and not of Aman only. And this deed was unlawful, whether in Aman or not in Aman. Therefore this doom is now made: for twelve years thou shall leave Tirion where this threat was uttered. In that time take counsel with thyself, and remember who and what thou art. But after that time this matter shall be set in peace and held redressed if others will release thee.”
~“I will release my brother.”

Atar - Quenya for father
Ammë - Quenya for mother
Haru - Quenya for grandfather