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Carved in the Mind, by Himring

Author: Himring

Title: Carved in the Mind

Rating: PG

Theme: Bunny Hutch

Elements: (no. 57) First Age, Children of Húrin: Sador's first encounter with the child Túrin. How did the old thrall and the young child become friends? (Dreamflower)

Summary: In Nargothrond, Turin tells Finduilas, daughter of Orodreth, how, when he was a boy in Dor-lomin, he made friends with Sador, a crippled woodworker.

Word Count: 900+ words



The Mormegil’s step, usually so confident, faltered midstride. Before them arose a cluster of vines and slender branches, so lifelike, so delicately entwined that it was difficult to recognize that together they formed a pillar that supported the ceiling. And in the midst of this, positioned carefully so that passers-by would spot it only at second glance, the sculptor had added a mouse that seemed to be scurrying upwards and away—but the tiny animal, too, was motionless, captured in stone.
‘You are admiring the skill of the sculptor, Mormegil?’ asked Finduilas.
It was outstanding work, of course. Nargothrond was as elvishly splendid as Menegroth, but without a forest around it to roam free in.
‘His skill is truly admirable,’ responded Turin. ‘But I fear that was not what I was thinking of…’

***
It had stung, that reproof over time wasted. It had hurt even to listen to.
‘Now, Morwen,’ Rian had protested, rather weakly.
Little Turin was already used to Aunt Rian occasionally protesting and often being ignored. She was only a visitor, after all. But he had noticed tears in Sador’s eyes. A grown man, crying! And it was easy to see the physical pain he was in as he dragged himself away on his crutches.
Turin said nothing to his mother. Morwen, unlike Turin, unlike Sador, never, ever cried, no matter how much things hurt. But when there was honey cake for afters that night, he kept some of it back and, after supper, he crept out to find Sador, quiet as a mouse.
He got a little lost, but just when he thought he would have to give in and ask someone, he saw Sador sitting in front of his hut—and to Turin’s astonishment, Sador looked calm and content, peacefully whittling away at a piece of wood, not brooding over the events of the day, as Turin himself would have done. Almost, Turin turned away. But that would have been to leave his errand undone, even if it was not as necessary an errand as he had thought, so he walked forward.
‘Hail, Turin!’ said Sador, lifting his head and recognizing him. ‘You are out late tonight. Where are you going?’
‘I was coming to find you,’ said Turin. ‘I brought you honey cake.’
Sador’s dark eyes met his, entirely surprised. And suddenly Turin was abashed—so greatly that he could not rightly understand what Sador answered. A stream of words washed over him, engulfed him and lifted him up—and then he found himself sitting beside Sador, eating the rest of his honey cake—for Sador had accepted no more of his gift than a polite small bite—and watching Sador’s hands as he went on whittling, while Sador talked about this and that to put him at his ease.
And it did succeed in putting Turin at his ease, perhaps more than he had ever been. This was, Turin supposed, dawdling, as much as the delay Sador had been scolded for earlier today. Although it pained Turin to disagree with Morwen about anything, he could not help feeling, even on that first evening, that dawdling might be a good, a helpful thing to dosometimes at least, if you knew how to do it, as it seemed Sador did.
‘Look,’ said Sador, eventually. ‘Can you see what this is?’
‘A mouse!’ said Turin.
It was indeed a mouse. It had a neat pointy face and a sleek curly tail.
‘Who do you think it is for?’ asked Sador.
‘Lalaith,’ answered Turin, with certainty. In his world, all such things were for his little sister or perhaps, sometimes, for Aunt Rian. But Sador would not be giving presents to Rian!
‘No, Turin, it is for you!’ said Sador.
Turin thought he might give the mouse to Lalaith anyway. He liked the thought of having a present to give Lalaith. But he slept that night with the mouse under his pillow, and in the morning he found he had decided to keep it.

***
‘I thought Sador amazingly skilled when I was a young boy in Dor-lomin,’ said Turin. ‘But Sador’s mouse was just a simple wooden toy, nothing like this…’
‘I do understand, Mormegil’, said Finduilas. ‘This mouse and the pillar were carved by my uncle. I love them because they are the work of his hands as much as because they show his skill and his art. And yet, among his works, this is not the one that is closest to my heart. Let me show you...’
She caught hold of Turin’s hand and, after a startled moment, he let her pull him along, deeper into the heart of Nargothrond. He gazed at the back of her head, her golden hair. So fair—like his long-dead sister—as fair as an elf-child, they had called her, before she died...
Finduilas stopped.
‘See?’, she asked expectantly.
He was not sure at first what she was talking about. She had been going to show him something, he remembered. He began to take closer notice of his surroundings. The walls of this chamber were mostly unhewn but, on one wall, the sculptor had begun to depict a nocturnal forest. At the edge, there was an owl, hovering and struggling, it seemed, to take flight, but its left wing was still encased in stone.
‘Do you see?’ Finduilas repeated. ‘This is where my uncle Finrod stopped working, just before he went away with Beren...’



Author's Notes: The story as Turin would actually tell it to Finduilas would probably omit a lot of details, most crucially his and his relatives' names. The flashback is therefore supposed to represent his memories, which he is editing as he speaks.

Comments

( 21 comments — Leave a comment )
blslarner
Jun. 19th, 2014 03:24 pm (UTC)
What a beautiful memory to hold. I love the idea of the little wooden mouse being kept for himself as Sador intended, and I love the owl not quite free of the stone as it was left by Beren. How beautiful these must have been. I've always loved mice, you see.
hhimring
Jun. 21st, 2014 09:15 am (UTC)
Thank you! I'm so glad you like Turin keeping the mouse! That bit has partly to do with a later scene in CoH involving a gift by Turin to Sador, but I hoped it would work on its own, by itself, whether readers had that little detail in mind or not.
And I have a fondness for mice as well, as I'm sure you could tell!
tehta
Jun. 19th, 2014 03:33 pm (UTC)
Hmm. I must say, I experienced this as a crispy Turin-flavoured wrapper encasing a savoury core of Finrod feels. (Which is great, really. Fic fusion.)
hhimring
Jun. 21st, 2014 09:23 am (UTC)
Hmm.
I have strong Finrod feels, obviously, but I was trying to use them to say something about the way Turin and Finduilas communicate. Not sure how clear that was? I'll have to consider whether the frame story needs a slight tweak.
Anyway, I'm glad you liked the taste of this dish!
tehta
Jun. 22nd, 2014 09:05 am (UTC)
No, no, I got that! It is just that my Finrod feels are much stronger than my Turin feels!
hhimring
Jun. 22nd, 2014 09:59 pm (UTC)
Thank you! I had already done a slight tweak, but it's ok, I don't think I overdid it.
heartofoshun
Jun. 19th, 2014 08:41 pm (UTC)
Heartbreaking to imagine that Finrod had left work unfinished. Turin's memories are painfully close to what I imagine his childhood was like--to think he feels like Lalaith always comes first and even Rian comes before him.
hhimring
Jun. 21st, 2014 09:31 am (UTC)
I do get the impression that, however foresighted he was, Finrod was not really done with Nargothrond, emotionally at least, when Beren arrived. So I'm imagining that there's this unfinished work as well.

As for Morwen and Turin, I think they were close--but she saw that he was in some ways like her and made the mistake of treating him like a miniature edition of herself, without always considering what other needs he might have--whereas Lalaith and Rian were so clearly different that Morwen recognized that she had to cut them some slack. I don't know whether that makes sense?

Thank you very much for reading and commenting, Oshun!
heartofoshun
Jun. 21st, 2014 01:41 pm (UTC)
That makes perfect sense. Of course, as a modern parent I was appalled at the some of the things she said to him! Like, "‘Because Urwen is dead, and laughter is stilled in this house,’ she answered." Terrific, lady! Great thing to say to a six-year-old (?). Would not want to sugar coat it.

hhimring
Jun. 21st, 2014 05:31 pm (UTC)
Very true!
But it's the same age that Rian was, apparently, when the Dagor Bragollach first broke out and Morwen wasn't an adult at the time yet, either. Not much opportunity for sugar-coating then--and Morwen is clearly still living in that same war, in her mind.
heartofoshun
Jun. 21st, 2014 05:48 pm (UTC)
I guess if Morwen were one extreme and the whole Life is Beautiful scenario were the other, I fall somewhere between the two of them--truth tempered by hope in the presenting of this kind of grim reality to a child. I have always had a difficult time occupying Morwen's head space. You handle it beautifully here. You really caught me with this one. What a view of Turin! It's a beautifully constructed story.
lindahoyland
Jun. 19th, 2014 09:55 pm (UTC)
I liked young Turin's concern for Sador.
hhimring
Jun. 21st, 2014 09:32 am (UTC)
Thank you, Linda! I'm glad Turin's concern for Sador came across!
aliensouldream
Jun. 19th, 2014 10:21 pm (UTC)
I love the memory interlude, the triggering of thoughts and his respect for the wood carver. Something important was preserved in the memory as well as the stone. Then the last evocation of flight. Clever, sad and lovely.
hhimring
Jun. 21st, 2014 09:42 am (UTC)
I'm happy that this worked for you--the frame story as well as the memory interlude itself!
Thank you very much for reading and commenting!
dreamflower02
Jun. 19th, 2014 10:36 pm (UTC)
Oh, I've often longed for something like this, that would explain that unusual friendship!

But he had noticed tears in Sador’s eyes. A grown man, crying! And it was easy to see the physical pain he was in as he dragged himself away on his crutches.
Turin said nothing to his mother. Morwen, unlike Turin, unlike Sador, never, ever cried, no matter how much things hurt. But when there was honey cake for afters that night, he kept some of it back and, after supper, he crept out to find Sador, quiet as a mouse.
He got a little lost, but just when he thought he would have to give in and ask someone, he saw Sador sitting in front of his hut—and to Turin’s astonishment, Sador looked calm and content, peacefully whittling away at a piece of wood, not brooding over the events of the day, as Turin himself would have done. Almost, Turin turned away. But that would have been to leave his errand undone, even if it was not as necessary an errand as he had thought, so he walked forward.
‘Hail, Turin!’ said Sador, lifting his head and recognizing him. ‘You are out late tonight. Where are you going?’
‘I was coming to find you,’ said Turin. ‘I brought you honey cake.’
Sador’s dark eyes met his, entirely surprised. And suddenly Turin was abashed—so greatly that he could not rightly understand what Sador answered. A stream of words washed over him, engulfed him and lifted him up—and then he found himself sitting beside Sador, eating the rest of his honey cake—for Sador had accepted no more of his gift than a polite small bite—and watching Sador’s hands as he went on whittling, while Sador talked about this and that to put him at his ease.
And it did succeed in putting Turin at his ease, perhaps more than he had ever been. This was, Turin supposed, dawdling, as much as the delay Sador had been scolded for earlier today. Although it pained Turin to disagree with Morwen about anything, he could not help feeling, even on that first evening, that dawdling might be a good, a helpful thing to do—sometimes at least, if you knew how to do it, as it seemed Sador did.


So sad that such a sweet and compassionate child should grow up under the burden of a curse that cut away all his gentleness.

This was just wonderful!
hhimring
Jun. 21st, 2014 09:08 am (UTC)
I'm so very glad that you liked it, Dreamflower!
I confess when I signed up for this prompt, I had forgotten how unkind Morwen seems to have been to Sador. That was a bit painful to rediscover, as I admire Morwen, but afterwards I found that it actually gave me a way in.
I agree with you that Turin's friendship with Sador shows him as such a generous, vulnerable child! And his love for his mother and sister is touching. It's really cruel that the curse, later on, twists these emotions to such terrible and destructive effect--as when Glaurung persuades Turin to abandon Finduilas to her fate.
silver_trails
Jun. 22nd, 2014 11:46 pm (UTC)
This is beautiful!
hhimring
Jun. 23rd, 2014 08:20 pm (UTC)
Thank you very much! I'm happy you like it!
huinare
Jun. 30th, 2014 03:19 am (UTC)
I love all the animal carving imagery. And the scene between Túrin and Sador is lovely; I like how Sador is the one to comfort Túrin, when the latter thought it would be the other way around.

...to Turin’s astonishment, Sador looked calm and content, peacefully whittling away at a piece of wood, not brooding over the events of the day, as Turin himself would have done.

I find that quite telling. Also, your characterization of Morwen and how/why she treats people differentially (and your remark about that to Oshun up thread) seem spot on to me.
hhimring
Jul. 2nd, 2014 05:53 pm (UTC)
Thank you very much, Huin!

I'm glad that that scene with Sador worked for you! Despite his later efforts to shake off his past, Turin certainly seems to me to have a strong tendency to brood over things.

And good to hear that you agree about Morwen!
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