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Of Gold and Wood

Chapter 1: Of Gold and Wood

by ladyperedhel

Disclaimer: this is a story based on and inspired by J.R.R. Tolkien's work; he's the owner of everything you'll read in this fic. I do not claim anything as mine, except my original characters. I do not seek profit, the only rewards I get are reviews and personal satisfaction.

A/N This story is the first of a cycle devoted to Finrod & Amarie's romance.

Thanks and curtsy to the people who beta'ed this for me, Maid of Ainur, Lily Anguirel, Khazar-Khum and AfterEver. Do you think I had too many betas? I think not.

Curtsy also to Finch, for the precious support and suggestions and also to the anonymous reviewer who suggested that bit about AmariŽ's family.

Thoughts in italics.

Of Gold and Wood
Finrod and AmariŽ cycle, part 1

AmariŽ's tresses glinted like sunlit water as she wove between the beech trees, her golden strands moving in a merry dance that enraptured her companion's eyes.

Finrod walked some steps behind, eagerly following the lady wherever she would lead him. He had asked her to bring him to a special place, and so she was now guiding him through a small wood. Amarie had a habit of journeying afar when disputes arose at home. She travelled on foot or with the company of her mare, preferring introspection and internal debates to confrontation. For this she had found several hiding places, every single one peaceful and isolated. By now, Finrod knew them all, for AmariŽ had lead him in all of them.

He could see a cliff beyond the line of trees; and the sea, cobalt blue sprinkled with luminous white. Ah, he knew where she was going. This was one of his favourites. He smiled as he remembered the first time they went there. He had told AmariŽ that she should learn to cope with problems instead of running away from them. That had led to a long quarrel in which young AmariŽ had defended her opinions with vehemence in front of one of the Noldor princes.

As they neared the edge, AmariŽ turned to him, smiling to see him so enthralled by her hair. She watched his lips curve upwards as he caught her amused glance. A sudden gush of salt-scented wind whipped AmariŽ's hair onto her face, and she swept it away with a slender hand.

Finrod quietly approached AmariŽ as she walked to the edge of the high cliff. Finally he stood beside her and, feeling the need of physical contact of any sort, wrapped an arm around her waist.

AmariŽ leaned closer to him. Her own hand sought his stronger one and rested atop it. Lovingly, gently, their fingers threaded together, as always happened each time they were with each other. Only this time, they were utterly alone; and no need for discretion could restrain them.

"Does my choice please you?" AmariŽ asked. She smiled inwardly at the self-assurance in her voice, something she had lacked during her first meetings with Finrod. He always had the effect of tangling her words! However, she had to admit there were things that had remained the same, and she could feel them in that moment: the warmth that enveloped her in his presence, the fluttering in her stomach at his touch, the pleasant sense of protection and safety, the tingling in her nerves; sensations no one -- save Finrod -- had ever been able to kindle in her heart.

"It pleases me most," Finrod answered, lowering his head slightly, allowing his breath to tickle AmariŽ's ear. "You have fine taste, as usual."

Such a bold move, she thought, quivering lightly under his gentle ministrations.

The wind grew stronger. Soon the gulls flying in the bay were struggling against the vortices of air, lines of pearly white against the boundless blue of sea and sky.

Tugging gently at AmariŽ's hand, Finrod stepped backwards, putting a secure distance between the edge and their feet. She followed him, holding his fingers with hers. Gracefully she sat upon the emerald grass. Finrod paused for a moment, taking in the beauty of the Vanyarin lady.

AmariŽ had not let go of his fingers while she shifted on the ground. She looked up at Finrod, her glance inviting him to sit down beside her, pleading with him to hold her closer, to welcome her into his arms.

His intense gaze caught her off guard, and she saw within, into the depths of his eyes. She saw herself, her likeness reflected in his dreams and desires. A rosy blush came to her cheeks. Finrod smiled. He sat with her, taking advantage of the movement to draw her hand to his face, brushing her fingers ever so lightly with his lips.

AmariŽ felt the skin of her hand tingle under the petal-soft touch. "And I had thought…," she murmured.

"What?" Finrod asked, caressing her hand.

AmariŽ closed her eyes and smiled. "Has anyone told you that you are not supposed to really kiss the hand?"*

Finrod's lips curved in a lopsided-smile. "I am aware of that, but the temptation was such that I could not resist." He drew AmariŽ closer, not finding peace until her head was tucked beneath his cheek.

AmariŽ sighed and rested against him. "What temptation?"

"Your skin," Finrod explained, raising her hand. "White and soft as the new-fallen snow upon Taniquetil." He placed another kiss on the juncture of thumb and palm, lingering a moment more, pressing his lips further.

"You are bold," AmariŽ said. His touches, though sometimes lingering, had never been so intimate. Finrod looked up at her.

"If this displeases you, say the word, and I will stop at once," Finrod whispered.

AmariŽ wished for time to go back, so that she could hear again the dulcet voice caressing her ears and her senses. Speak to me again, Finrod.

"I do not wish for you to stop," AmariŽ admitted.

Finrod inhaled deeply, his nose obscured by the golden threads of AmariŽ's head. She shifted against him and he tightened his arms around her. Everything around them seemed to stop, in the instant of perfect peace within the two Elves' souls. Neither of them had yet voiced their feelings, but what purpose had mere words in a moment such as that?

"You are beautiful, AmariŽ," Finrod said reverently. "May the One help me, if I daresay your beauty rivals that of Elbereth Star-Kindler."

AmariŽ's heart leaped with joy. She straightened up, facing him. Finrod, eyes sparkling, brushed his fingers over her cheeks.

"If I truly am of such beauty," AmariŽ murmured, "then I was created solely for your precious gaze."

Finrod smiled, as his long fingers loosely intertwined in her beloved's hair. Such is the fate of the Eldar, to experience the greatest of joys….

His lips merged with hers gently. AmariŽ wondered how was it possible for him to have such pliant and warm lips. It was but a fleeting touch, yet it held unmeasured tenderness and love. So much love that AmariŽ felt herself faltering before the vastness she had felt; she eased her forehead against Finrod's.

Finrod almost could not believe that it was actually happening; AmariŽ had received a rigid education and, as Finrod knew very well, she would not dare kissing someone if she was not more than sure that it was something serious. The fact that she was kissing him was the clearest declaration of love he could expect from her.

It was hard for him to tell where her bright eyes gave into the sky. Finrod wondered idly if he was dreaming, if the lady before him was not just a vision, a trick of Destiny, an illusion placed for him to relish until the spell ended. But no, it could not be; for he felt her quiver beneath his touch, tiny goosebumps formed beneath his fingers caused both by excitement and the air lashing against her skin.

AmariŽ felt bold like never before; that kiss was not only proof of her love for Finrod, but a challenge: her family had reservations about him. They were not fond of the Noldorin Elves: they had lost contact with the true values of the Blessed Realm, so much that they prefered to dwell in Tirion, to pursue wealth, instead of living in the light of the Valar. Moreover, in their eyes, the House of FinwŽ had lost respectability. FinwŽ had married twice and his firstborn FŽanor, according to founded rumours, had business with Melkor himself, since the creation of the Silmarilli.

AmariŽ's heart cried out in bliss and she leaned to steal another kiss from Finrod, letting him reach the deepest recesses of her soul as she yielded to his touch. Passion flared in the union of their lips. Long years it had taken them to nurture their friendship, and the seeds so carefully planted and cherished had now blossomed into something deeper and more fragile.

Love.

The love that could now surface in its whole power and sweetness, for they had been patient, following the ways of their people.

Gently, the leaves of the beeches rustled above their golden heads, whispering in the tongue of Yavanna, the only witnesses of the blessed union between the Vanyarin maiden and the Noldorin prince.

They parted, breaths ragged, skin against skin, hair tangled in the breeze.

"I love you, AmariŽ," Finrod said huskily, finding the words between his harsh expirations. "I always have."

"I love you, Finrod, my fair prince," AmariŽ said, caressing his smooth face with the back of her hand.

Again they sought each other's mouth, and delighted in the feeling of being so close for the first time. Impassioned and long kisses were interspersed by soft, tender touches to soothe the flames and then rekindle them. Their hands skimmed over their bodies, over pale skin and rich fabric. Finrod and AmariŽ glowed with the force of their love.

Finrod tenderly laid down AmariŽ on the turf and there they stayed. Finrod's kisses never wandered beyond AmariŽ's graceful neck, for no desire could push the Firstborns to rush. Gazing up at her Finrod, stretched along and against her, AmariŽ was seized by the enchantment.

Was this magic? She had never believed it could be so intense. She was so lucky to have Finrod. He had been the first to make her feel important, to admire her for something that went beyond her physical beauty. AmariŽ knew he had ultimately won her heart because of this; she had always been fond of music and loved to compose pieces with her harp. Finrod was a proficient and popular harp player and he had encouraged her to continue to play and compose.

Since when he had known about her passion for music, they had met several times to play together, to compose and to sing. Finrod, definitely more skilled than her, had taught her with kindness, treating her as an equal, never letting her feel inferior in skill. It was definitely for their common passion that they had become so close.

Upon their first meeting, AmariŽ was afraid she had to nurse a broken heart, for she had fallen under his spell. Whenever she laid her eyes upon Finrod she was helpless before his fairness. Tall, his form muscular yet graceful, the stream of his golden hair inviting her to sink her fingers into it; his eyes of pure blue, his smile disarming. Finrod had captivated her also with the beauty of his fŽa; noble of heart, generous and brave. No wonder he was so loved among his people.

"AmariŽ?"

"Yes?"

"Do you think we need rings now?"

AmariŽ chuckled and drew him down for a brief kiss.

"I believe we do, Finrod," she answered.

Finrod assisted her up while he went to the stump of an old tree nearby. AmariŽ propped herself up on her elbows and watched him curiously.

Finrod produced a small knife from his belt and cut a piece of wood from the stump, but not before sending an apology to Yavanna. He then returned to AmariŽ's side. Quickly, precisely, he carved two wooden rings. On their surface, he cut small beech leaves.

His talent once again amazed AmariŽ, for this was not the first time he carved some gift for her. There was a wooden shelf in her bedchamber, on which sat all of Finrod's creations for her; the first was a bracelet of coloured wood pearls, which she had received on their first meeting, centuries ago. The last was a swan, painted in brilliant white, which Finrod had carved during a recent stay in AlqualondŽ. Many other small sculptures, little boxes and jars, a small mirror with a wooden frame, crowded the shelf.

When he finished, Finrod brushed the chipped wood from his clothing and hands, while AmariŽ collected the splinters caught in his hair.

"I know it is not much, but these rings should serve until we receive the silver ones," Finrod said, sounding slightly apologetic.

"They are beautiful and I shall treasure this ring along with my most beloved possessions," AmariŽ replied.

Finrod smiled and slipped his ring onto her index finger, his action mirrored by AmariŽ. A long kiss ended their exchange.

"See?" Finrod whispered. "I caught the size perfectly!"

"Am I to guess this is the reason why you lavished so much attention on my hand before?" AmariŽ asked wryly.

"Indeed," Finrod answered mischievously. "But now, my lady, there are other parts of your fair body that I wish to cast my attention upon."

"As you wish, Finrod," said AmariŽ and she was caught in a fiery embrace.

~~~


It might have been a fragment in the boundless count of the years, but those moments were the most cherished by a lonely lord, who sat in majestic caves, built with sweat and blood. By a solitary golden maiden, sitting beneath the trees at the roots of Taniquetil, kissed by cold moonlight, looking at the same stars her lover could see.

~~~
Note

* My beta brought to my attention that this kind of etiquette is typical of Renaissance society and that it might be puzzling to find such a rule in Elven society. She's right, but I felt that this could be accepted, considering that Tolkien modeled Middle-earth also after medieval society.

~~~

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