Characters: Maedhros and Fingon
Scenery: First Age, Lake Mithrim, after the rescue from Thangorodrim
We're riding on horseback through the autumn forest, biting up the leaves. They are rustling and giving off a scent – wet and somewhat bitter. Findekano calls them: oak leaves. I take it on trust because I have forgotten the names of many things.
My cousin is keeping beside me all the time – he is afraid I can't handle the reins.
I cannot get used at all to how long his hair has become. If braided it runs down almost to the saddle and if loose even further down. A river of hair. When Findekano puts on his helm he winds it around his head and pins at the back of his neck. It looks very funny. Like a pie. I'd be glad to do the same but it's a long way to the pie for me – my disheveled locks barely reach my shoulders and below the ears curl relentlessly.
"Are you not tired?"
Finyo's braids and the whole mass of his hair are bouncing as he goes and from the very start of the ride I've been watching that movement like one mesmerized.
"No, I'm fine".
"Does your hand trouble you?"
"No, everything is good".
I'm lying. My hand hurts. It's aching because I'm on horseback, because we went riding into the wet forest, because I couldn't hold back and started off the horse at a trot. But I take such pleasure in watching those glistening dark braids slapping like ropes against his lean shoulder-blades under the blue fabric, that I will gladly suffer the pain.
Finyo has changed a great deal. He is always tired, even if he has slept enough, and there are many tiny wrinkles around his eyes. I haven't asked but I guess it's because he often had to narrow his eyes up north.
I cast down my eyes and stare at the horse's mane.
Could I have stopped father throwing the fire-brands? Could I have wrenched them away, brought all my weight to bear and pressed his wrists to the ground? The worst thing he could have done to me at that moment would have been breaking a couple of my ribs and fingers. I would have been able, surely, to cross the gangway after that.
I came running when three of the ships were still unharmed. Why did I stand stock-still and watch?
Finyo's palm is warm and even through the fabrics of my shirt and cloak I feel it descending onto my shoulder. I raise my head trying to assume a nonchalant look and avanir at the same time. I don't want him to remember that march right now.
The grey eyes are studying my face so closely that I feel the touching of our looks almost with my skin. A barrier? What barrier?.. Between the two of us everything was always clear even behind the barrier…
With a sigh I lower my guard. Mentally Finyo pulls me close at once: as if out of a chilly yard into a warm house. He asks nothing, he says nothing, just stays like this. He turns away without drawing away his hand. That is right, one of us should be watching the road.
As for me I'm not watching anything at all. There's no word, no image in this flooding warmth. What is he thinking about? He can't be thinking of nothing at all.
Finyo smiles, but keeps silent. I can't stop myself and ask him the question. My brother gives me a penetrating glance but no answer dawns on me, so he says:
"It's you. I'm thinking about you".
My mouth literally falls open.
But Finyo gives me no chance to start resisting, allows no objections – he reaches out his hand and presses it to my lips. For some time we keep riding this way, gazing at each other, linked by his hand stretched out towards my face. Then Finyo removes his palm and says with a smile:
"And you know – your locks are bouncing as you move. I've been watching it ever since the morning".