Beyond Canon

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When it came time the next day for breakfast, there was one less chair pulled up to the table and no sign of Celegorm either. Nothing was mentioned regarding this, but Maedhros later assured Fingon that Celegorm was either hunting in the woods somewhere or had been sent to Grandfather Mahtan’s house to cool off a little. It seemed not uncommon for Celegorm to have sudden bursts of anger for no good reason that neither Nerdanel nor Feanor quite knew how to control, and the best way to handle the situation was to let the problem go elsewhere.

As Fingon helped Maedhros to clear the breakfast dishes away, Feanor said, “I suppose your parents will want you to return eventually. Shall I send you and Maedhros off on horses, or in a carriage?”

The plan Fingon had come up with the day before came to mind again, and he shook his head. “I am to stay in the city and help with grandfather’s upcoming celebration.”

“What a selfless act. I am proud of the charity of your time,” said Feanor. He winked at Fingon, and the young elf knew he was found out. However, being discovered by his uncle was not something to worry about, he soon realized. “Maedhros, if you have no plans for the next week, why not go with your cousin and offer your aid as well?”

Fingon and Maedhros glanced at one another, and then looked up at Feanor. “Really? I thought I was supposed to help you in the forge tomorrow,” said Maedhros.

“It can wait, or I can have Curufin help me,” said Feanor. “You should go and pack, then, Maedhros, I can take care of these few extra plates with Fingon.” He lifted the stack from his son’s hands before Maedhros could object. Once Maedhros was out of the room, Feanor looked at Fingon and said, “Oh, but you did not bring anything along with you for travel, unless I am mistaken.”

“I... right, I came directly from the competition,” Fingon remembered. The real story spilled forth, and Feanor laughed at how his half-brother had been deceived.

“Very clever,” he commended. “However, it still does not solve the trouble that you have no other clothing than what you have on your back. When you and Maedhros leave, stop at the marketplace and buy a few things. Have them put it on my credit.”

“That is very generous, uncle, but I—“

“—will be very appreciative and do as you are told, or I will lock you in the tool shed as I did with Celegorm.”

Fingon stood absolutely still, clutching the plates, his eyes wide. “Y-yes, sir,” he stammered.

Feanor gave a stern nod as he deposited the plates onto the counter, but it was not long before he was smirking. “You do not really think I would do that to one of my own sons, do you?”

“Uhh... n—uhh, well...”

“I tossed him in there for five minutes and stood against the door until he stopped thrashing about and had calmed down. He has a tendency to hit or bite me otherwise. Then we had a long talk, and he still got to go hunting as he wanted. I would never lock them in the shed, and I would not hold them there long unless there was reason to. In fact, Celegorm is the only one who has ever given me enough trouble to be tossed into there for any amount of time.” When Maedhros returned, Feanor walked the pair to the door and gave Maedhros specific instruction that Fingon was not to simply buy the least expensive items found. “Do not scandalize your grandfather,” warned Feanor to Fingon. “Your grandmother... do what you wish,” he added tersely, the word grandmother sounding more like a curse than a title. “Farewell; we shall see you in a week,” he said cheerfully before shutting the door and leaving the pair on the porch.

They headed down the path toward the market, and Fingon asked, “Why is it that our fathers hate each other?”

“Sibling rivalry,” answered Maedhros easily, as if it was not the first time someone had posed the question.

“That seems so silly,” decided Fingon.

Maedhros considered this. “You must have disputes with Turgon at times, and even Aredhel.”

“Not really. Sure, we argue or disagree, but nothing like our fathers do. Sometimes I wonder if it will come to blows one day.”

“It has already, from what I am told,” said Maedhros. “When they were much younger, but they did get into a few fist fights. Actually, a few might be an understatement. Imagine Celegorm’s antics from last night, but ten times worse. Speaking of Celegorm, there is a case of sibling rivalry for you. He truly dislikes Maglor and I; he hates Caranthir passionately, and he seems to tolerate the twins, but I do wonder what will happen when they are grown.”

“Why does Celegorm hate Caranthir? That seems even more ridiculous than our fathers’ dislike for one another.” Fingon could see the marketplace coming into view, and it was obviously larger than the one he visited on the side of Valimar that his family lived on. The tents looked newer, and some of the structures appeared permanent as well. “You do not think we will cross paths with Celegorm on our way, do you?”

“I very much doubt we will,” replied Maedhros. “As for why Celegorm is as he is... he was used to being the little one for longer than the rest of us. He actually quite certainly believed he was going to be the last child – you know what they say about three children in the family.”

“One for mother, one for father, one to keep them all together,” recited Fingon from a nursery rhyme every Elven child had heard growing up.

Maedhros nodded. “Growing up, when he heard that, he used to shout ‘that one is me!’ when someone read the last part. Since I was constantly in the forge with father, and Maglor had interests similar to mother, Celegorm just thought he was that final piece to the puzzle. And then, oh my word, you should have been there when we found out Caranthir was on his way.”

“What happened?” asked Fingon.

They paused at one of the benches along the path. “Forgive me for stopping; I do not want to retell this tale in the midst of the market.”

“We can wait until we reach grandfather’s house,” offered Fingon.

“No, I might not remember to tell you if we wait that long.” Maedhros set his pack onto the bench, while he and Fingon remained standing. “Celegorm thought at first it was a joke. When mother’s stomach began to swell months later, he became less outgoing and retreated more and more to his room and to the forest. At one point, he kept making these horrible sarcastic suggestions, like, ‘It would be just terrible if mother took a tumble down the stairs and lost the baby’. He actually set some traps in the yard in hopes she would fall into them and hurt herself. Father found and destroyed most of them. Then, when Caranthir was born, Celegorm declared he was the ugliest baby ever and that it would be a blessing to the child if he was drowned in the well.”

Fingon covered his mouth in disbelief. “No,” he said. “He could not have been so cruel.”

“Oh, but he was,” Maedhros assured him. “He was extremely upset. Then, when Caranthir started to get older, grandfather took such a liking to him. As you know, Caranthir is practically a spitting image of grandfather, just a little taller and minus the mole on grandfather’s chin. Celegorm was furious, and when mother started to dress Caranthir in Celegorm’s old clothes and give him Celegorm’s old toys to play with, it was the final straw. Celegorm used every opportunity to make Caranthir upset, and he would laugh if he could make Caranthir cry. It got so bad at one point that father sent Caranthir away for a few weeks to stay at Grandfather Mahtan’s house. To this day, I think Caranthir prefers it there, where he is at least an individual and not overlooked as one of seven.”

“Is he really overlooked, as you say? I cannot imagine that your father is neglecting any of you,” Fingon said.

The pack was hoisted back up again. “Not neglected, no, not in the sense that father is sure we are all fed and clothed and have all the necessities that we need. However, it is easy for him to spend time with me, and with Curufin and Caranthir, because we share his interests and have skills we can use in the forge and in his workshop. Maglor is content with mother, studying his music and singing with her in the garden. Right now, the twins are too young to know quite what they want to do, but they enjoy playing in the garden while Maglor is practicing, or sitting and reading when mother works on her stitchery or mending clothes or something of that sort. Anyhow, the twins have each other, and they are very close. I do not see that bond breaking.”

“But Celegorm wants to be out in the forest hunting,” said Fingon.

“Exactly. It is a very good thing your sister came along, because I honestly do not know what we were going to do with him otherwise.”


They started down the path again as Maedhros said, “Your sister has brought a little peace to the family. Celegorm has a hunting companion, and does not feel so left out of things. Still, those scuffles like the one you witnessed last night still occur.” They were not far from the market, so they both decided to resume the private conversation later, and now discussed the outcome of the competition the previous day.

Since the event was so fresh in everyone’s minds, Fingon was recognized by more than a few people out shopping. Some of them merely smiled as he passed by, or nudged their companions and motioned for them to look. A few, mostly young ellyth, approached the pair and held a brief conversation with the gymnast. Though the competition results were not all that favorable for Fingon, his overall career had a number of high points. The ellyth were all able to recall their favorite moments, or a particular trophy or accolade, and so the excursion through the market took far longer than anticipated. Maedhros tried to step back every time someone came up to Fingon, not wanting to ruin the moments or make his partner feel rushed. It also allowed Maedhros to hide his laughter each time an ellyth began to flirt, and Fingon blushed and stumbled through the rest of the conversation.

“Should we pick out one of those for you to take home, too?” teased Maedhros when he first had a chance to whisper into his cousin’s ear.

“Shut up,” replied Fingon as he blushed and hid his smile.

There were many vendors in the market selling clothes, and Fingon strolled through all of their booths before considering which ones he wanted to go back to. Maedhros, on the other hand, purchased things as he saw them. Everything went onto his father’s credit, and everyone knew who he was. Here and there, they would happen to stop by a confectioner or a fruit stand, and the proprietors would already begin to gather items long before Maedhros reached them, quite familiar with the tastes of the prince’s eldest son.

At midday, they stopped to eat and watch a group of musicians and a juggler perform. Fingon had not yet purchased anything, while Maedhros had two bulging sacks with him. “Was there nothing you found that interested you?” asked Maedhros.

“There were a few items,” Fingon said, “but everything here is so expensive.”

“You need not worry about the prices,” Maedhros assured him. “My father will pay for everything.”

“I do not want to make him pay for too much,” insisted Fingon. “He has been quite generous already.”

Maedhros smiled. “He wants you to find some things that you like. If you knew how much people pay for just one of those gems he polishes, you would not feel bad about taking the money at all.”

“I understand that, but I still want to spend his money wisely.”

There was a snort from Maedhros. “Why? He never does.”

“I guess it is different since I am just his nephew.”

“A nephew, yes, but he treats you like one of us. He wishes at times that you were his son... he thinks you would be better off that way, although then our relationship would be even stranger than it already is.”

“Aye,” agreed Fingon.

Maedhros picked up a carrot and bit off the end. “Would you indulge me? If you are uncertain about spending his money and picking things out, will you allow me to choose some clothing for you?”

Fingon considered the idea. “I suppose,” he said. “I trust your judgment.”

“Good. Once we have finished, I know exactly where to take you.”

Following lunch, Maedhros led Fingon to one of the shops that were permanently built within the marketplace. A bell on the door rang as they entered, and the shop was empty until a calm looking ellon pushed back a curtain that separated the front from the back and gave them a serious look. “Good day,” said Maedhros, and the tailor nodded in recognition. “My father sent us to buy a few things for my cousin; are the garments in the window for sale?”

“Certainly,” replied the tailor. “Which ones are you interested in?”

Maedhros pointed to a jerkin made of dark blue fabric, paired with a black shirt and black leggings. “We would be interested in seeing belts for that as well,” added Maedhros as the tailor went to the window to retrieve the items.

With a nod, the tailor draped each garment carefully over his arm, and then motioned with his hand to the curtain he had appeared from behind. “You may try them on in the chamber back here. Follow me, please.”

Fingon nervously followed when prodded gently by Maedhros, and was glad when he looked over his shoulder to see that Maedhros was following him. They curtain was held back for them, and they were led in further to a spot with a few chairs. Mirrors surrounded the entire space on three sides. “You need to undress, if you are to try these on,” said the tailor when no one moved for a few moments.

“Right,” said Fingon, and he slowly took off his tunic, and then his shirt, waiting for something to be said. He was slender, there was no doubt in that, but he had been scolded more than once by his mother for not eating enough. His muscled arms and legs from so much training could not hide the fact that there was nothing but skin between his ribs and open air. The tailor said nothing as he knelt down and held the leggings so that they could be stepped into.

As it turned out, the leggings had to be taken in around the waist and let out at the cuffs; the shirt and tunic posed similar problems, but as Maedhros had suggested, a belt fixed this predicament. The tailor was making his final notes on the adjustments when the bell at the door rang. “Just a moment; I will be right back with you,” he apologized before leaving the room to tend to the new set of customers.

Fingon rocked back and forth on his heels while Maedhros stood up and circled him. “Does it look good on me? I usually do not wear anything so fancy,” said Fingon.

“It looks great on you.” Maedhros pulled a bolt of fabric that was sitting on a shelf out and held it up in front of Fingon. “I think I am going to have him make you another set, in another color. Maybe burgundy.” He set aside the fabric and pulled another of his selected color off of the shelf.

“Do you think you should be doing that? He might have that set up in a particular way,” warned Fingon.

Maedhros did not heed the warning. “I will put them back. Besides, I think he should be happy that I am making such a purchase. His wares are not cheap.”

“Maybe we should not buy this, then,” fretted Fingon. “I do not want to ungratefully spend your father’s money.”

“Relax. You should see the prices on the clothing that Celegorm wears and then ruins when he hunts. It is fine.” Maedhros brought over a bolt of deep green velvet and held it up. “This is nice. Maybe we should have him do one in green and one in burgundy.”

“Maedhros, that is too expensive,” hissed Fingon now that he had found and read the price tag dangling from one sleeve.

His cousin shushed him and set the two bolts he preferred onto a chair. “My dear, you worry too much. Look how lovely you are in this outfit.” Maedhros came around behind Fingon and wrapped his arms loosely around his torso. “You look quite princely in this.” He lowered his voice and whispered to his cousin, “I wish there was no chance of the tailor coming back for a while, for I would ravish you here on this floor.”

“Maedhros...” replied Fingon warningly.

A hand slid down and caressed between Fingon’s legs. “I love this fabric,” crooned Maedhros into his lover’s ear. “So soft... you like it too, right?”

“Hmmm... mmmhmm,” he agreed.

Maedhros whispered a few things into his cousin’s ear that left a blush that remained when the tailor returned. As Maedhros gave a list of what he wished to order, Fingon kept silent and hoped that the bulge in the yet to be mended leggings was not noticed.

They left the shop a little while later, carrying with them two packages in addition to the sacks of goods that Maedhros bought earlier. It would be another hour until the pants would be ready, so they ventured through the scattered booths again to inspect the various crafts and to purchase a few shirts and a pair of pants of lesser quality for Fingon.

It was there that they ran into someone who was looking for them, or for one of them at least. “Fingon Fingolfinion, I have been trying to find you,” said the sandy-haired ellon. His hair was windblown from riding and he thrust his hand out toward the youth. “Ardim, Coach of the Red Ferns. I heard you will be joining us.”

“I... well, yes, I was considering the offer that was made,” he said as he clasped the coach’s arm. “I did not have a chance to speak to anyone about it yesterday.”

“I know,” said the coach. “I just came back from your house. I was hoping to find you there this morning, so I arrived early. Your mother is a lovely lady; makes excellent scones. I stayed for early tea and spoke to your parents. It seems there was a little miscommunication; I was told we were supposed to meet here in the city, but I must have neglected to write that appointment down. It was a good thing I called upon you before leaving for home to make the offer to someone else. They told me how excited you were to begin assisting us, especially since your own team did not think to offer you a position.”

“They did?” Fingon blinked and tried not to look too horrified. His plan to stall for time had been foiled by his father. It seemed the decision had been made for him.

“Yes, they did. I was glad to learn of your answer. Now, your mother said that you had a family commitment to attend to for the next few weeks. I strongly believe in keeping promises, so I see no reason for you to miss this celebration. I will expect you to start work as soon as you are able to. You do know we are located quite a ways west, correct?” asked Ardim.

Fingon nodded. “Yes, I had been at the gym twice for local meets when I was with the Poison Fist,” he said in reference to the team that had first recruited him. “I know that you have a dormitory for those who are not from the region.”

“We do, but we try to reserve the dorms for our students and team members. Of course, you will be allowed to stay there to begin with, but eventually you would be advised to find your own living arrangements in the area.”

“I see. I will get to work on that immediately.”

Ardim smiled, somewhat. It was actually hard to tell if he was smiling or just had a nervous twitch at the corner of his mouth. “Good idea. I have a copy of the key for you,” he said as he pulled a thin chain with a key attached to it from his pocket. “Do not lose this. Guard it with your life. In fact, put it around your neck this instant and do not remove it even when you sleep or bathe.”

Fingon would have laughed at how serious Ardim was, except for the fact that he was deadly serious about it. Not only did Fingon put the chain around his neck, but he also tucked the key down the front of his shirt. “Thank you, Ardim,” he said.

“Another thing,” added Ardim sternly. “You call me coach if you have to; otherwise, you call me sir. I expect complete respect from everyone in the gym. There is no familiarity between myself and the rest of the team. That includes assistants as well. Is that understood?”

“Yes, sir,” replied Fingon.

“Good.” Ardim extended his arm to Maedhros now that he noticed that he was not about to go anywhere. “Ardim, coach of the Red Fern team.”

“So I have heard,” said Maedhros. “Maedhros, son of Feanor. Nice to meet you, Ardim,” he said, enunciating Ardim’s name. Fingon held back a snicker.

“Likewise.” Ardim clasped Fingon’s arm again. “Welcome to our team, Fingon.”
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