Noldor's father was a broken man even if he was not financially broke. In fact, he was very much well off with enough wealth to ensure comfort for generations if care was taken. He hailed from an unbroken line of Lords and Kings and Great Warriors from remarkable battles. He ,himself, had participated in quests of incredible merit that would have garnered him a mighty reputation.
Yet, for the greater part of Noldor's memory, his father had been a broken man.
Within the man who was Noldor's first hero laid a deep seeded shame and eternal self-loathing that only faded a mite with the passing of the years. He gazed at the world around him with a distant detachment of a passing by observer. His movements slow and words few and far in between. When words were spoken, they mirrored those of one in shock even as the cause of such a reaction had been done decades past.
"He murdered a man in cold-blood," the shadows murmured.
"An important man he killed with a dagger," the wind whispered and sighed.
"Mad with greed he was," supplied the swaying branches of old trees.
"Only thing that saved him from a similar fate: his insanity," rumbled the old earth.
"Is it no small wonder she left him?" echoed the empty blue sky.
"A crazed murderer indeed," sang the dark fowls of the air, "Among other black-stains on his name."
It was true no matter how much Noldor wished to be able to deny the claims. For he only had to look upon his father to see the purposefully marred face in accordance to their people's laws and punishments. His father never spoke of it and only gave wise sayings if he could bring himself to do so.
A broken man was Noldor's father and a broken man he would remain to the end of his days but Noldor would not have it so if he could do anything within his power to prevent such a fate.
And from such a vow he sought to devout his life to bringing honor to his family's name. That through him, others would look upon his father in a more positive light. That his great deeds could somehow cleanse his father's name of the black stains that tainted it. For the name was as much as his father's as it was Noldor's. From the ashes of shame and dishonor, would rise pride and greatness. Thus was his creed and thus did he carry it out in a fervent and secret hope that his father would come back from whence he hid himself in the recesses of his mind. That his father would once more put upon a golden raiment of pride and cast off the cloak of disgrace.
Noldor set himself to learning everything that could be taught to him. Of what laid deep in the earth, beyond their skies, and the matter around them. He attended his lessons diligently and worked hard. There were long nights where he burned the midnight oil reading books of philosophy and poetry and other mindful things. He resisted the temptation to skip his lessons to go fishing or venture into places he should not be. It was hard. O how hard it was! For there were many a time where he would linger for seemingly eternal moments before his teacher's door or willingly cast his mind to a place as far from his circumstances as possible. There were days where he felt as though he was a slave bound to a worn-out cycle that never faltered and dragged him any which way. It was only his iron resolve that got him through those times, though there were exceptions where it snapped in two and no one could find him for hours on end as he sought reprieve from everything. In the end this cultivated into good marks and praise (along with no small amount of contempt) from his fellow peers and betters.
He engaged in the battle of wills and opinions. Debating with wise and learned men alike. Devising arguments and proposals with dazzling solutions. Finding compromises to even the blackest of arguments.
When it came time to find a trade to dedicate oneself to, Noldor was quick to pick the path of a warrior. For there laid epic quests and important battles to be fought that would grant him glory and a reputation that may put him in the annals of history. By blood, sweat, and tears he forged unbreakable bonds with his fellow warriors and won the hearts of fair maidens with tales of bravery and unfathomable danger. Never did he falter as he became well-versed with the clash of steel, the inevitable carnage of battle, and the ways of war.
When the daunting White Mountain campaign first began, Noldor was among the first to respond.
"He refused to surrender even when they were cornered into a cave," murmured the shadows.
"He possesses a wit as sharp as his sword," the wind whispered and sighed.
"He heroically saved the King's son ," supplied the swaying branches of old trees.
"'Tis a pity for a bright young man as himself to have such a father," rumbled the old earth.
"To be abandoned by his mother." echoed the empty blue sky.
"A crazed murderer is his father," sang the dark fowls of the air, "Among other black-stains on his name."
At the end of the campaign, when blood began to cool, tempers were stitched back together, and the brave soldiers returned in hard won glory and triumph, Noldor came back a changed man with private horrors.
However, they were mostly forgotten when he saw a spark return to the eyes of his father.
And the spark remained for a time before growing bigger and bigger. Reigniting a pride that had not been seen for years.
Slowly, his father's countenance began to change. He was more solid and no longer a shade from an age past that walked the grand halls of his ancestral home. He was freer with both his words and actions. Mind more fully directed towards the present with a hint to the future. The cold grip of winter loosening it's hold just enough for warm breezes to come through. Leading to a great amount of astonishment for young boys to find the 'mad lord' walking about his courtyard for the first time in years and, even greater still, was inexplicably still alive to begin with.
To Noldor, he seemed to be like a man who had completely woken up from whatever dream that had laid siege upon him for a very long night. And bit by bit, that awakened man described untold dreams to an eager audience.
"Have I told you about the time I saved the Kings' life during the battle of the Illith Plains? Your uncle would say it was done with a death wish but I beg to differ-
"This one time, when I was still fairly young, I found a horde of treasure under our very noses! It's quite laughable, looking back, that none of us suspected-
"-and that is how accounting saved my life and got me a wife-
"-do you remember that? You were still fairly young but-"
And many more were retold and shared over this reawakening but even then, an almost indistinguishable taint was ever present in his words and tone. All stemming from a dream that would never be realized into the light of day at Noldor's fathers silent and solemn behest.
The closest Noldor got to hearing the tale was one evening as they gathered around the hearth. His father had fallen into a melancholic mood. Staring quietly into the fire while a roaring wind could be heard whipping around outside.
" I did many things in my younger days." His father murmured, "Foolish things, brave things, good and bad things. But there is a series of actions I committed that forever plague and shame me... afterwards I threw myself into any situation that guaranteed a glorious end that would redeem myself. That would take away the dishonor I had brought upon our family ... but it never came." He bent his head down in contemplation. His sight still lost in the fire. "Where others had or would have perished, I prevailed... I used to rue it. But now..." Here he lifted up his head to gaze at his son with a soft fondness, "I am glad that I have stayed here long enough to see you grow into who you are today."
They passed the rest of the evening in contemplative silence before fully retiring for the night.
A fortnight passed when the letter arrived. Noldor had gone on a boar hunt with friends and so was not present when his father broke open the familiar red wax seal embedded upon it with trembling hands and read the message contained within the sheaf of parchment.
Noldor was there later that evening and found him collapsed into a chair. Grief drew deep lines on his face, aging him back into his former self. He had gone back into the recess of his mind. A broken man once more even as he clutched the letter like a lifeline.
"She is dead." He choked out. Those three words took all the strength he had left for he would say no more. Unmoving for a moment of eternity. Unconsolable in his newfound grief. The drawbridge that had been let down was pulled up once more to create the old familiar impenetrable fortress where Noldor's father barricaded himself with his heart and mind.
Noldor felt a similar grief. This grief however, began to change into a red, dark weight that felt like fire seared through him. For possibly the first time in his life, Noldor held unbidden resentment for his father. He could see now that he had devoted a great part of himself to a foolish cause. Had defined his life by that of another's. Pursued an unattainable goal that if he continued to try and grasp, would ultimately destroy him.
No more, he resolved to himself. No more would he continue forth upon this shaded path. He would use the fire he felt within him to blaze a new one under a golden sun. He would rise by His choices, His decisions, His actions... and fall by them.
Quietly, Noldor withdrew from his father's side and dealt with his personal griefs and horrors alone as his father dealt with his respective ones by the dead embers of what was once a roaring fire as a storm raged and thundered outside.
The storm did not die away that night or the next or the many others that ensued. Instead, it transcended from a literal force of nature to a more figurative force that laced the air like mist and lighted upon the minds of Noldor's and his father. Thickening and thinning as was its want to do. Sometimes raging with all the power bestowed upon it to wreak and strew about any being, alive or otherwise, caught within its domain to dark clouds that brooded around as a permanent stain upon the horizon, where it rested its rain and thunder laden self until the next fit that riled the storm up.
Noldor began to take leave of his ancestral home just as the sun peaked above the far distant mountain range and only returning in the pitch black of night with an equally dark disposition about him.
His life, it seemed, had been thrown into disarray by the removal of a, previously unthought of, important cornerstone to his being. He stewed and simmered whilst his countenance became sharper and quite harsher in contrast to his relative youth. Coiling further and further within himself with each passing day, waiting for some abstract moment for something to happen, until he was almost a stranger to his own home and those that knew him.
His friends could not let this be. It is a hard thing indeed to see a friend in need of relief from an unknown ailment with no basis to give a cure for. Thus, they strove together to procure a temporary balm to relieve Noldor of what so great a thing ailed him.
In the light of a setting sun, they called out to him in joyous merriment. Faces shining bright in eagerness.
"Noldor!" They called out, "Noldor! Raise up your weary head, Noldor!"
"Come! Come!" One of his friends, Raoul, entreated. His hair as wild as flickering fire. "We reign victorious tonight. Come! and we shall relive the days of old and ages past as we partake of the finest nectar and ambrosia afforded to us this day."
" Hmm. As much as I find your winged words to be pleasing to my ears, it must needs be for I to retire early and visit the land of Morpheus." Intoned Noldor.
"Don't make yourself bereft of happiness and glad times now, friend," one of them chuckled.
"At least humor us for a short season before you truly must go," pleaded another.
With a huff, Noldor replied,"What friend would I be to dismiss your offer so coldly after such pleadings? Fine. You can have your way tonight but if this is a feast worthy in caliber of that in ages past, then I will join you latter in clothing more suited to the occasion."
"And so will we. Now off with you until next we meet!"
With several more similarly worded farewells, they parted to their respective places in preparation for the main occasion of interest as the sun continued to sink and a tapestry of stars arose and covered the sky.
Noldor made his way home with haste. Quickly choosing a manner of dress that pleased him, he set back out as to not keep his friends waiting.
Yet, before he exited the ancestral grounds, he stopped in front of his father's 'throne' (as he had dubbed the chair that his father held court in ever since the letter had came with its unwelcomed ill tidings). Lingering in silence whilst his mind searched for an answer to this action.
Noldor cleared his throat to announce his presence although he rather doubted that his father was aware enough to register it. Nonetheless, he persisted on.
"I'm going to attend a feast with friends... Do you wish to come? It has been ages since you have left home. It will be had in good company and with good food, or so I am told."
His father lifted his eyes away from the roaring flames in the hearth.
His face had wizened considerably. His whole constitution had been furiously chipped away by time. Old age had caught up to him.
"No...thank you..." He croaked. "I wish to remain... by the fire... They ease the cold...from my bones... and keep them at bay..." His eyes drifted from Noldor to stare accusingly at the shadows cast by the flames.
A sick warmth welled up on Noldor's shoulders as they slowly sunk down. He glanced from his father, his first hero, to the taunting shadows on the wall that reduced him back to a child afraid of monsters held within the realm of darkness and obscurity.
"If you wish, I will stay by your side until morning light. When the sun shows her smiling face and banishes them away."
"If you don't mind..."
Feeding the fire more fuel in the form of solid oaken logs, Noldor settled down to stand guard by his father and wait for the coming morn.
"You... are a good man... my son. How blest I am..." Noldor's father trailed off. "Do you hear them?"
"And the old trees and old earth... the empty blue sky... and the dark fowls of the air... Do you hear them?"
"I can't say that I do father."
"Good...Good...that's...very...good..." the words ghosted from his lips whilst his eyes drifted away to a realm of twilight imaginings.
The night passed on in silence filled by crackling sparks and roaring flames. Noldor standing guard over his father ever faithfully until morning came.
The hearth was silent. Smoke still listlessly floating aloft from dim coals.
Golden light stretched across bricks and filled the room with its long awaited light. Taking away not only the shadows, but Noldor's father as well.