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Sundry Scrolls
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II. Family Jewels (Faramir)

'Fair shall the end be,' he cried, though long and hard shall be the road! Say farewell to bondage! But say farewell also to ease! Say farewell to the weak! Say farewell to your treasures! More still shall we make. Journey light: but bring with you your swords! For we will go further than Oromë, endure longer than Tulkas: we will never turn back from pursuit. After Morgoth to the ends of the Earth! War shall he have and hatred undying. But when we have conquered and have regained the Silmarils, then we and we alone shall be lords of the unsullied Light, and masters of the bliss and beauty of Arda. No other race shall oust us!'

Then Fëanor swore a terrible oath. His seven sons leapt straightway to his side and took the selfsame vow together, and red as blood shone their drawn swords in the glare of the torches. They swore an oath which none shall break, and none should take, by the name even of Ilúvatar, calling the Everlasting Dark upon them if they kept it not; and Manwë they named in witness, and Varda, and the hallowed mountain of Taniquetil, vowing to pursue with vengeance and hatred to the ends of the World Vala, Demon, Elf or Man as yet unborn, or any creature, great or small, good or evil, that time should bring forth unto the end of days, whoso should hold or take or keep a Silmaril from their possession.

Thus spoke Maedhros and Maglor and Celegorm, Curufin and Caranthir, Amrod and Amras, princes of the Noldor; and many quailed to hear the dread words.

The Silmarillion, Quenta Silmarillion: The History of the Silmarils: Chapter 9 Of the Flight of the Noldor

Faramir shut the book to end this evening‘s reading. The account of Fëanor’s Oath had always moved him. As a child, it had thrilled him, since the oath spurred the return of the Noldor to Middle-earth and the perilous adventures and great deeds that resulted from it. As a man, more aware of the folly of wasting lives, he had wondered at the terrible purpose of the sword-sealed Oath.

“What does unsullied mean, Ada?” Elboron asked sleepily, his head relaxed against Faramir’s left shoulder. Míriel lay in turn in Elboron’s arms. Though she was but a babe, nearly a year old, Faramir deemed that Míriel‘s tender mind could be enriched by hearing the old tales, even if she did not yet understand them.

He smiled down at the boy. “Unsullied means pure, untouched by stain or sin.” Like you and your sister. Faramir thought suddenly of the contrast of the Silmarils’ purity with the cruelty of the oath sworn to retrieve them.

“Think upon the oath of Fëanor and his sons,” Faramir urged. “Tomorrow I shall read again; but for now, you must go to sleep. He set down the book, then took his daughter from Elboron as the lad sought his nearby bed. As Elboron lay down, Faramir set the babe upon the bed, near her brother, and pulled the coverlets up to their chins. He would soon return Míriel to her nurse, but first he would see the boy fall asleep.

Unsullied, he thought, watching Elboron yawn and Míriel close her bright eyes. Looking at his golden-haired son and raven-haired daughter, the words he had just read tore at Faramir‘s heart. How could Fëanor have ensnared his sons in so dire an oath, bound them to a purpose that would slay all, even innocents, to recover the holy Jewels?

Fëanor had been a father! Had he not seen his sons, when they were blameless children, sleeping peacefully, and known the same love that now burned within Faramir? He knew all too well that fathers must risk their sons in times of war. But a father’s sacrifice of his sons’ fates, their very souls, to regain stolen jewels, was a tale that now chilled Faramir’s blood.

Gazing upon his sleeping children, Faramir sighed. He bent over the bed and kissed Elboron’s brow before he gathered up Míriel. She is the fairest Jewel I could ever have; and you, Elboron, are my brightest Star.

He sought again the pity he had once held for the Elves’ greatest artificer. It lay muted in his heart, but tinged with a familiar anger. No, Faramir willed. He would not allow that spark to blaze again, he was done with it!

The Spirit of Fire was quenched long ago, reduced to storied legends and a ghost of memory in a black stone. I am not Maglor; Faramir remembered; feeling the warm weight of his own little Jewel safe in his arms. I survived my father‘s Doom with a clean heart. And I can forgive.


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