The Ghost in the Helm by Iavalir

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Story Notes:

I do not know how humorous this is. Very light humor, I would rank it. Hope you still enjoy this. :) Was written in January 2012, and was among the very first fanfiction I wrote featuring the House of Fëanor. I use their Quenya names here, which since then I’ve reverted to using their Quenya names only in speech.

The world was blanketed in the early peace of morning, and it was to this image that MakalaurŽ opened his eyes. A babe of no more than three months he was, yet his mind already was sharp with thoughts. He regarded his mother’s face above him, her hair redder than her cheeks. There was another, one who looked his mother but younger. The words he could not understand that came from the younger elf, but the expression of love was certain; and MakalaurŽ reached out to grab his brother’s hair, laughing at feel of the soft strands in his little fist.

To this Maitimo reveled in. He took his long strands and brushed them against his brother’s face and toes, stopping only when the babe laughed till he spat; and their mother IstarniŽ chastised Maitimo to retrieve a towel, and then to leave her be. Though he had reached his manhood, Maitimo was still young of heart, and with a rueful expression he watched his mother tend to his brother; and he wished he could get his turn to play with MakalaurŽ, whom he was already growing a deep love for.

At that moment his father rushed past them, too engrossed in his thoughts to pay them any attention. His heart lifting, Maitimo ran to his father and called out to him.

“Atar! I had thought you were still in the smithery,” Maitimo said. “Art thou done then with thy project? What have you made and may you show it to us?”

FŽanŠro, startled from his son’s outburst, spun around. “No! That is, busy I am still and would rather not be interrupted.”

At that Maitimo thought his heart would burst, being rejected twice by his mother and father. “But surely there is something which requires my help!”

FŽanŠro regarded Maitimo for but a moment, taking pity in his son’s restlessness. “Very well. I will need someone to retrieve the old set of armor I fashioned twenty years ago. There is something in which I need to alter. It lies stills in the shed on the other side of the lake.”

“I will have it in thy smithery not before long,” Maitimo said. He ran back to the glade to find IstarniŽ speaking with a presumable client.

“I wish not to leave MakalaurŽ alone, but also I cannot pass up this offer,” she told Maitimo. “Never has my imagination been sparked by such an offer!”

“Then give me Maka to look after,” Maitimo said. And though IstarniŽ had her suspicion that such a task may not bode well, she nonetheless settled her child in her eldest son’s arms. Then they separated, IstarniŽ to the house where she kept her sculpting tools, and Maitimo to the shed. Laughing, he swung MakalaurŽ into the air as he strode to the shed, taking care not to let his brother slip. The child, gleeful of such an adventure, clung on to his brother; and he snatched more of the red locks whenever he had the chance.

Maitimo rested the babe against his hip, much in the manner he had seen his mother do before, as he single-handedly gathered the requested armor pieces. He knew not what his father wanted from such a thing.

“It is too beautiful on its own,” Maitimo said as he studied the smoothness of the surface. “What does our father has in store for this?”

Laughing, MakalaurŽ pounded his fists against the shiny surface.

Though Maitimo much loved finally being able to have his brother to himself to play with, he wondered if it was a good idea to bring the child along for this task. For gathering the armor, much less having to drag it to his father’s smithery with one hand while also carrying a much hyper elfling in the other arm. He settled instead to place MakalaurŽ in the helm, tugged snuggly in the sack. And off he went, carrying the bag over his shoulder. He kept his long hair spread over the sack, to entertain MakaleurŽ, whose shrieks of glee echoed in the helm. And Maitimo was happy once more, knowing he was helping both his parents.

But suddenly there was a yell, and turning around Maitimo caught sight of his cousin FindekŠno rushing towards him. He had not yet reached his manhood, young FindekŠno, and in his heart was all the recklessness of youth. He collided with Maitimo, flinging his arms about him in an embrace; and the sack was knocked from Maitimo’s grip and it flew in the air.

Maitimo’s screamed and without explanation he searched the armor pieces in tears. But the helm was no where to be found.

“Cousin, are you well?” FindekŠno asked uncertainly.

“In this bag was my young brother, but now he is gone!” Maitimo said. “Do you see a helm anywhere?”

“Nay, I was too busy nursing my ear from your Valar-blessed voice!”

And as the two elves argued and searched and called out for the infant, little MakalaurŽ crawled away, or as best as he could in such young age. For though tiny he was, as an elf he had already grown some control of his body, and very much he enjoyed seeing the world through the helm (from what little he could see.) A black mail had been sown over the face of the helm, ensuring that child was unable to crawl out on his own. But it distressed not the child, and he set off, crawling with as much strength as he could, and he called out to his brother - “Ai!” Ai!” - as he went.

Now FŽanŠro, much renowned in Valinor for his great talents, had begun to think he was losing his mind. For countless hours he had worked at this project - something he wished not to share with anyone lest the experiment ended in disaster - and he had not bothered to take some time to rest.

But at last the fatigue had begun to settle in, and no longer could FŽanŠro work, and soon he found himself with his head rested on his work table as the world before him blurred. He felt as though he had drunk all the mead in the blessed realm, for the world about him spun slowly and he very much wished his pulsating pain about his temples would subside.

“Long have these horrible visions haunted me!” he thought. “But if they are not to come to pass, then surely in my madness to prevent the future I will perish! And oh! What is this foul thing?” For he had just heard a fell voice of some ghost, it seemed, that howled unceasingly; and along with it were the clanking of chains that sent FŽanŠro standing upright.

“The doom of Valinor has come to pass!” he said. “I have failed in protecting this land - ai!”

“Ai!” called out also the ghost as the head of a fallen warrior crawled into the smithery.

With a yell he scrambled to his feet. He blinked several times and shook his head, yet the vision never disappeared.

“What is thy name and what doth thou need of me?” he demanded.

“Ai! Ai!”

FŽanŠro inched backwards till he was pressed against the wall. “I have done no wrong to anyone, so leave me be!”

“Ai!” The bodiless head crawled still towards him, its cries growing louder and more frantic.

“What devilry has befallen us?” FŽanŠro wondered just before an incredible and agonizing scream filled the smithery. In his horror, FŽanŠro could not find it in himself to cover his ears, for the shriek seemed to paralyze him in his place. Then there was rattling in the helm. And in his mind shrouded by fatigue, FŽanŠro perceived it the spirit fought to get out. But as the seconds passed, his mind registered the sounds as something entirely different and more familiar. Very familiar, that often kept his beloved IstarniŽ awake at night.

And crouching down, his heart hammering, he took the helm and yanked it off, revealing underneath a very tearful MakalaurŽ. The elfling blinked in the sudden light, and seeing his father he yelled out, “Ai! Ai!”

With shaking hands FŽanŠro lifted his son, studying him in disbelief.

“A fool I was made!” he cried out. “Now I recognize the helm! It was from the armor I had sent Maitimo to get me!”

“Ai! Ai! Maitimo!” The child reached out for his father’s hair, though he much preferred the red locks of his brother. As he continued to babbler it occurred to FŽanŠro then that his child was already speaking.

“Already you live up to your name, CanafinwŽ!” FŽanŠro said, and he could not suppress the laughter that overtook him. “And I thought you a phantom! Your words shall someday haunt the hearts of many, as it had done to me on this day! Eru bless your heart!

“Perhaps I have spent more time than was necessary here and away from you. Now we journey back home for you to eat, and I to get my rest!”

And off he went with his second son, leaving behind the remnants of a failed project he may not undergo for some time yet, for much time was required to make these most spectacular jewels any would ever behold.

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