B2ME Day 24 - Animal Symbols by Erulisse

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Disclaimer:  Tolkien built the sandbox, I only play with the bucket and shovel that he left for me.  No money, profit or non, is made from the publication of this story.  



A Gift for Findekáno

Maitimo sat alone in the darkened room, deep in thought. It had not been long since he had been released from Thangorodrim and he still caught himself looking at his surroundings as if he was only experiencing a dream while still being tortured by Morgoth. Yet, if this was a dream, it was one that he could touch and feel; one that had heat and cold, and one that held Findekáno: his savior, his cousin, his everything.

Findekáno’s begetting day was approaching and Maitimo wanted to give him something very special, something that would celebrate his valor yet not be ostentatious. They were in a new land, living in primitive conditions. They needed practical gifts such as weaponry and armor, not jewelry and gemstones. Suddenly an idea popped into his head: Helyanwë. His niece was a talented and practical woman. She would be able to fabricate the perfect begetting day gift.

Helyanwë did not live with the rest of the Finwëan clan on the southern shore of Lake Mithrim. Instead, since she had fled from her father at the docks of Alqualondë, she had allied herself with their cousin, Turukáno, and lived in Nolofinwë’s encampment on the northern shore. Still, messengers passed between the settlements regularly and meetings could be arranged.

He composed and sent a message to her with a request to come and meet with him for a commission. He asked as her uncle, hoping that she would come for her uncle where she might not wish to obey the command of her King. On a fair, early summer day, she rode into the central courtyard with a small escort. Maitimo came out to greet her, raising her up as she bowed to him.

“Helyanwë, niece, how very good it is to see you again” he said gently to her as he drew her forward into his embrace. “I had feared we would never meet again.”

“I am grateful that you have been returned to us, uncle, but the days since we last met have been filled with darkness for both of us and do not merit us dwelling on them,” she responded with warmth. “If there is an area where I might freshen up, I will then be available at your convenience to discuss your project.” She wrapped her arms around him and whispered, “I am SO grateful to be able to embrace you once again.”

After a short time, she approached the corner of the common room that he was calling his study. He poured her a goblet of wine and sat down next to her while she pulled out a drawing slate and writing stone.

“Findekáno’s begetting day is quickly approaching. I would like a wrist guard made for him, backed against firm leather and tied, as if it is a bracer," he said. "I've been trying to think of symbols that could illustrate his valor and I am hoping that you might have some ideas."  He had obviously put some thought into this gift, she realized.

“Symbols. We have always looked at various kelvar as having attributes specific to each animal. What about this?” She pulled open her slate and, continuing to speak, began drawing with sure strokes. “Two animals facing each other, nose to nose. A badger for courage and tenacity, traits that Cousin Findekáno certainly showed when he left to find you,” she murmured almost to herself. “And the second one…bear? No, boar. Boar would be perfect. He represents leadership in battle and cunning decisiveness,” and she continued drawing.

“What do you think?” she asked, showing him the slate.

“Yes, that’s exactly what I was looking for. Now, I want you to add one more thing. I want a broken chain placed above and between the two animals. Yes, just like that. That will be a symbol of his having broken the chain that bound me and rescuing me from the prison of our Enemy.”

“Now, would it be possible to have the completed item back to me within four six-days? I will leave the methods of making the image, and any decorations on the leather backing completely up to your best judgment.”

She appeared lost in thought for a moment. “That is tight timing, but not impossible. I can shift some other work around a bit and have it to you within that time. My studio is already set up and I have most of these colors already made, so I won’t be delayed by having to make additional colors of glass for the project.”

“I will bring a final drawing to you for your approval tonight, and if all is to your liking, I will leave at sunrise tomorrow so that I can return home and begin work.” She stood, bowed, and left the room.

Three six-days later a package was delivered to Maitimo. When he opened the fine fabric covering, he saw a carved green stone box with an eagle carved into the stone lid. Opening the box he saw the wrist guard nestled within. The metalwork, painted with fused glass enamel, was detailed, precise, and very sturdy. The metal was attached to a thick leather band that had been carved into an elaborate knot work and darkened, emphasizing the design. It laced together at the inner wrist. The entire wrist guard was made so that the leather could be replaced as needed just by moving the enameled artwork to a newly cut band.

He had wanted the best for Findekáno, and Helyanwë had delivered it. He felt a smile come across his face, one of the first since he had left the cliff face.


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