Through Sorrow to Find Joy by Dawn Felagund

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Story Notes:

In Aman we have come through bliss to woe. The other now we will try: through sorrow to find joy; or freedom, at the least.

This has always been my favorite quote from The Silmarillion. Always having been very conscious of the ways that people hurt and oppress each other, Fëanor's decision in this moment to empower himself to seek joy (even if he miserably, miserably fails at that) has always inspired me. In this moment--still innocent of the Kinslaying and what will come after--he breaks the stranglehold upon him, and all becomes possible.

I will confess that now--working full-time and also a full-time graduate student attempting to become certified as a teacher--I often need to remember this moment and come "through sorrow to find joy." Zipping from task to task and deliberately silencing my muses takes its toll on me. I hope that this series will provide a place where, when I can spare a few moments for myself and my writing, I can store and share the results.

Author's Chapter Notes:

Tyelkormo's first winter outside of Valinor draws him to ponder the circle of the seasons and their meaning to one immortal. A series of four drabbles.


Tyelkormo plunged his hands against the door so hard that his bones hummed. High in the trees the last of the streamers from the Gates of Summer were swiped by a breeze and disappeared against the bold light of Laurelin.

Yes, it was Valinor; yes, it was perpetual summer here, but Tyelkormo felt a vestigial leap in his blood at the change-of-season, as though his marrow would surge unto bursting its bone-lock and scatter him upon the breeze. He turned and turned and turned upon green grass, swathed in golden light, palms upturned, embracing the sky. He wished for it.



The leaves fell in Formenos and the festivals took their old shapes but the lanternlight, the leaping shadows of the dancers, the jolt of cold air on wine-fevered flesh would not rouse Tyelkormo.

The leaves fell and made a sharp-scented bed amid the oaks and he spread himself thin upon it. "You will not pass like them," Nelyo reassured him, thinking he feared their deaths. "You are bound forever to this form."

The leaves fell and cloaked him in rainbow hues: scarlet and gold and purple for kings.

"That is it," he wept to the silver sky. "That is it."



Winter would be hard, they said, but life in Valinor had not prepared him for the brutality of the cold in the north. An ice storm had passed the night before, and in Telperion's zenith, the trees might have been wrought of silver, not of wood and flesh, like him.

He imagined Vána of the Springtide dancing among them. She exhaled a song, and the ice poured away.

He paused, took a twig upon his palm. Exhaled upon it.

A drop of water shivered at its tip, and his breathe steamed heavenward, dissipating, until all that was left were stars.



His sorrow should have lifted with the coming of spring, but it did not. He heard Nelyo whisper such to his mother as he passed, an inappropriately thin cloak upon his shoulders, out-of-doors.

Only silence hung amid the trees. Is this my fate, to persist while all else dies and lays sodden, barren? He returned to the oaks and lay upon the leaves there, soaked and shivering. He listened for the workings of the world but heard nothing.

Yet there was a tiny leaf, puckered shut like a fist, arisen from last year's leaves. Without a sound it sprang open.

Chapter End Notes:

Tyelkormo is Celegorm's attested Quenya name, and Nelyo is one of several for Maedhros (HoMe XII, The Shibboleth of Fëanor.

Regarding my placement of Formenos outside of Valinor, this has been a convention I have used in my stories since I started writing them. We know that there was ice and nasty things (like enormous light-sucking spiders) in Aman, so I have trouble believing that the relatively mild insult of the leaves dropping from the trees did not occur in parts of Aman as well. Lacking a clear map of Aman, I have chosen to place Formenos far enough north that it experiences normal seasonal patterns for that latitude.

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