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Raven Hair and Silver Eyes

Chapter 1: Raven Hair and Silver Eyes

by ellie

Many thanks to Julie my beta.

Disclaimer: Most of this is Tolkienís. I make no money from this.

Author's Note: The was written for the 2005 Winter Challenge at HaldirLovers where it won third place.


I first saw Nolofinwë when King Finwë presented him and his elder half brother Fëanor to our people as the high princes of the Noldor. Easily as tall as his father, Nolofinwë stood proud, strong, broad of shoulder, and fair of face. But what I noticed most were his raven hair and shining silver eyes. He did not notice me in the crowd of thousands gathered in the Square of the King that day.

I begged my father, the lord of our House, to allow me to accompany him when he met with the other lords at court shortly thereafter. None of the other daughters of the lords of the Noldor joined their fathers at council, but my father allowed it for my brothers were as yet too young to join him. I believe he thought his darling Anairë fancied some unwed lord or lordís son, but he indulged me just the same.

For many seasons, I followed the younger high prince and watched him. I would sneak glances at him during council as he presented himself regally, with wisdom in his words and knowledge on his high brow. I would hide in the shadows and watch as he wrestled with other young ellyn, his muscles rippling in his naked arms and torso, raven hair dancing, silver eyes flashing as his superior strength made him the champion time and again.

At the next festival of harvest celebrated on the slopes of Taniquetil, Nolofinwë at last looked upon me. I was dancing on the first day, garbed in my favorite green dress with flowers in my hair. My partner spun me away into the waiting arms of the next ellon in the circle. I looked up into shining silver eyes as raven hair mingled with my brown, and he did not spin me away. We spent the week dancing in each others arms, never changing partners again.

Nolofinwë courted me for seven seasons, and with the passing of each, it became harder and harder to be away from him. His indomitable strength and quiet charm drew me closer to him each day. I learned he could be quite stubborn and easily angered at times, but I soon realized that this mainly happened when he was pitted against his elder brother for the attentions of their father. This was a covert but constant conflict, which only occasionally erupted to the surface and just as quickly dwindled away with calm words and gentle counsel either from me or from his younger brother Arafinwë. Still, I loved my prince, and when our requisite one year of betrothal was spent, I gladly married him, binding raven hair and silver eyes to my heart.

His passion as a lover made me feel wanton. He never left me wanting, yet always left me aching for more of him. In his strong arms, I felt safe and warm, protected by his brave and fiery heart. In my arms he was at peace, secure in the love and attention that he found there but profoundly missed from others in his life.

Four times he filled me with life and four times I returned it to him in the forms of three sons and a daughter. In their personalities and in their demeanor, I saw glimpses of myself, but mostly their fëar were of his kin. All of the children were tall, strong, and proud with raven hair and silver eyes like his. They were his pride and joy and my delight.

As our children grew and explored, gaining close friendships with the sons of my princeís brothers, I became close friends with the wife of his younger brother Arafinwë. Eärwen the swan maiden of Alqualondë she was called. Despite our physical differences - she was tall and musical with the slender grace of the Teleri and the rare silver hair and blue eyes of the kin of her father, Olwë their king - she was my dearest friend and sister of my heart.

Over the years, the subtle conflict between my husband and Fëanor grew as well. Jealousyís ugliness joined my family, too as my prince and his elder brother envied each other his rights, possessions, and, most of all, their fatherís attentions. Fëanor had beauty, knowledge, skill with his hands, and was gifted beyond measure for an elf. My Nolofinwë strove daily, raven haired silver eyed with a deep green envy, to measure up in any way he could, but it was never enough. Sometimes when my husbandís frustrations grew great, I would remind him that his brilliant elder brother had failed in his seed by never producing a daughter in spite of the six pregnancies he gave his wife. I found that this attack on Fëanorís masculinity occasionally settled my husband when nothing else would.

Unfortunately, the strife between the brothers finally came to the point of a sword when his elder brotherís jealousy became so great that he threatened my Nolofinwë in public with death at the very door of their fatherís house. As usual, Finwë did nothing to address this, nothing to quell this, nothing to punish this. But the Valar finally did. Fëanor was exiled, but this minor victory was bittersweet for his father followed him into exile. My husband took the kingship of the Noldor; raven hair and silver eyes beneath a crown of gold, firmly resolved to prove to their father that he was worthy in every way of the love and attention that was always bestowed upon Fëanor.

In time, my husband forgave the wrongs done to him by his elder brother and pledged his loyalty to him publicly before the Valar. I was proud of my love for his growing wisdom and for the healing I saw and felt in his fëa because of his words. His brother, in typical fashion, accepted what was said, but made no apologies for his actions. More healing might have come about had it not been for the sudden loss of the light of the Two Trees at that moment and the receipt of the horrible news that King Finwë had been slain by Melkor. That night the raven hair fell forward to hide the tears that ceaselessly streamed from those silver eyes for now there was no chance of Nolofinwë gaining his fatherís love and approval ever again.

The Noldor were angry, confused, and afraid at the loss of our light and the loss of our king. My husband sought to calm them, but his elder brother returned, violating his exile against the will of the Valar, and claimed the kingship for himself. Using his powerful gift for words, Fëanor manipulated the chaos and moved our people to rebellion. Raven hair and silver eyes strove against the elder line of Finwë and the words came near to the point of swords once again.

As with all other battles of word, wit, and skill that my love had fought against his brother, Nolofinwë lost. However, his wisdom finally persevered and might have won out over the folly of his elder brother had not our children, their hearts afire with lust for adventure and revenge, not persuaded him otherwise. Neither for himself nor for his own gain did he finally decide to go, but rather to protect his people from the rash counsels of Fëanor who was now fey in his madness and grief at the loss of their father. But to me, raven hair and silver eyes still possessed a heart of gold.

Thus it was that our people set forth in two divided hosts filled with folk who had each chosen a different son of Finwë as their lord. None of us were truly prepared for the road to Middle-earth and vengeance against Melkor, now called Morgoth, for the slaying of Finwë. But the second host, that of my husband, was even less prepared for what we found at our first stop on the journey in Alqualondë, the childhood home of my dearest friend.

There was carnage and chaos in the city by the sea. The arch of pearl was stained with the blood of the Teleri and the blood of my people. The host of my husband joined the fray seeing that our own kin were falling to the bows of the mariners, and some believing that the Teleri indeed had sought to waylay the Noldor on this foolhardy quest. We did not know the truth until too late. We did not know that the fell Fëanor had started the fight himself. We did not know that we were slaying our Telerin neighbors all because of a spoiled eldest sonís tantrum at not being given the ships he had requested of the Teleri. We did not know we had doomed ourselves by our rash actions until it was too late. Raven hair and silver eyes were stained with the blood of our sea-faring kin.

The Valar interceded once again, with words of doom for all who failed to sue for pardon and turn back now, and promises of death and worse for all who continued on. I looked on my dearest friend in the arms of her husband, her broken fëa and her inconsolable sobs at the slaughter of her people and kin. I saw her husband Arafinwë, golden hair and silver eyes, come into his own and the fullness of his wisdom, face down his brothers and children with words of loathing and disgust. I watched him and much of his following turn back and begin the slow guilty trudge back to Tirion, though none of them had so much as raised a bow or sword in the fray.

I stood before my husband and children, unable to find any words to convey my shame and anger at what they had done. They stared back at me as they cleansed their blood-stained hands, slimy wet swords, and bloody spent arrows. I looked on the five of them - raven hair and silver eyes - then I turned my back and walked away.



Fëa/fëar Ė spirit/spirits

Ellon/ellyn Ė male elf singular and plural

Melkor Ė the original name of the evil Vala who was renamed Morgoth by Fëanor after Melkor slew Finwë at Formenos and stole Fëanorís silmarils.