huinare: (serious business!)
Here is my entry to “We’re Sorry, Celebrimbor” Month, at the very last minute!
This is very rough, as I wanted to at least meet my own challenge on time*. Please feel free to nitpick. Some things I could use input on are listed following the story.
Note: late fanworks are welcome! I will do a final post tomorrow, and read the stories I’ve not gotten to yet; sorry I am pressed for time.
Title: [undecided]
Word count: 1,116
Characters: Celebrimbor, Finduilas, Gwindor, Huan, Curufin, OAC (original animal character).
Warnings: I don’t think so?
Summary: Celebrimbor finds a kinder, gentler application for a mind of metal and wheels as he helps an injured dog.
There was a short span, about twenty-five years, when I was contented in Nargothrond. This period is bracketed by the exile of my father and uncle, and the luckless return of Gwindor.
Free from the severe gaze of my father, I wrought at last after my own fashion, discovering a method and a project which suited me and brought gladness to others. This was not to last, for the militant Man whom Gwindor brought back to Finduilas in place of his hand began advising Orodreth that all our resources and craft must be put toward arming our people to the teeth (or building bridges for dragons); yet for a time, even in the wake of Finrod Felagund’s loss, I experienced a sense of purpose.

One could say it began, or at any rate the seed was sown, when Orodreth ordered my father and Celegorm to depart. Nargothrond wasn’t nearly big enough for both Curufin and myself, in my opinion. The man was a genius, and cold, and controlling even as he was aloof; he scorned all sentiment and expressions thereof in me, although he excused them in his elder brother Celegorm, with whom he enjoyed a close and codependent relationship. Finrod told me once that this was because Celegorm was the only person in the my father’s immediate family who appreciated him on his own merits rather than treating him as a lesser copy of Fëanor. At any rate, I had not taken the Oath–indeed I did not remember its infamous swearing, being very small at the time–and it pained me little to disavow the sons of Fëanor and their deeds in order to remain in Nargothrond. My father and uncle were ill pleased with me, but I ignored their parting glares; the gaze which struck me then was that of their companion, Huan.

The ridiculously large deerhound, being Celegorm’s other close friend, was the only beast my father had ever liked; usually Curufin, content to design and build frighteningly efficient and unlovely machines, was put off by animals. I had never paid Huan much mind, but as I looked on him a final time, his eyes rose to mine with a deliberation and intelligence that suggested he understood all that had occurred and knew he was bidding me farewell. Surprised, I nodded to the hound mechanically, and then he was gone.

Yet the thought of Huan’s uncanny awareness remained with me, prompting me to consider for the first time how other, less preternatural animals might experience the world. This was still in my mind early the next year as I prowled about Nargothrond in a daze, uplifted by the absence of my father while stooped under that of Finrod, and Finduilas came to me with a sorry tale:

“My dog has met with an accident, Tyelpo. Gwindor and I were out with her, over by that ravine we like to walk along when it’s dry, and we hadn’t yet come to the place where we usually climb down. She went closer to the edge than usual–usually, she’s very good about that, so I didn’t think much about it until I realized she was too close and it was too steep there. I cried out, but I was too late, and she fell. She broke her left front leg in two places, and they had to amputate it.”

Finduilas spoke all this as matter-of-factly as one can speak of a recent calamity, but a few unshed tears rested above her lower eyelid. I wasn’t sure whether she was moved by pity for her pet, relief that the dog was still alive, or both.  I patted my friend’s shoulder and sympathized, “Poor dog! But she’s out of immediate danger, I hope?”

“Yes, as long as the wound is kept clean. We’ve dressed it well. She’s sleeping now.”

I told Finduilas to let me know if there was any way I could help, a courtesy which usually implies moral support if anything. But during the next few days, I fell to thinking that maybe there was some really concrete way I could help. The half-formed idea which came to mind seemed almost absurd, so I didn’t follow its course farther–not until I visited with the dog in Finduilas’ apartments a fortnight after the mishap and saw the animal’s early attempts limp haltingly around on its three legs. The dog had always been energetic and inquisitive, and Finduilas clearly regretted to see it slowed down.

Wanting to help them both, I picked up my half-formed thought and went quietly with it to my study, where I spent all night sketching diagrams and consulting texts on engineering and natural philosophy. I showed the drawings to Finduilas the next morning and explained that I would like her permission to test prototypes on the dog.

“There should be negligible risk in preliminary trials. Used long-term, there may be a risk of chafing or inflammation, but we could monitor it and tweak the design.”

Finduilas peered at me with a half-smile, both hopeful and skeptical. “And you said you didn’t get any sleep?”

“I am possibly of perfectly sound mind. May I try? It won’t hurt, and it might help.”

Several months–and several prototypes rejected at various stages–later, the dog was trotting again down the halls of Nargothrond, its gait somewhat awkward but much improved over its three-legged pace, its jointed prosthetic limb making a soft and rhythmic clicking noise. The new leg was fashioned from molded brass tubing and gears, hard leather pads on the foot, and a replaceable suede pad with wool batting where the device was strapped on.

“We cannot thank you enough,” beamed Finduilas.

“I would thank you more if the bloody animal looked less ridiculous,” mumbled her betrothed.

“Please, Gwindor, she looks stylish,” Finduilas shot back. She and I had conceived of purely aesthetic embellishments to the leg over a couple carafes of pink wine while Gwindor drank silently in despair over our creativity. The brass limb now bore complex etchings of vines and leaves, in addition to jeweled bracelets above the ankle and elbow joints.

“I think Tyelpo has cornered a new market,” Finduilas went on.

“If I ever lose a limb, keep him well away from me,” said Gwindor. We all laughed, oblivious to the prophecy, and the dog capered around us, and I was glad. As it turned out, clockwork need not be stern and joyless, and jewels need not be closeted and useless.

“One of my handmaids’ cats had a litter recently,” said Finduilas, “and she is smitten with the runt, a little grey thing with one lame hind foot…”

- I don’t usually write Elves. They’d be speaking Quenya in Nargothrond, yes? Debating whether I should have Celebrimbor use everyone’s Quenya names (is Finduilas a Quenya name??).
- I have no idea how a vaguely steampunk prosthetic dog leg would go over (health-wise and technology-wise), and I did minimal google research trying to guess. If anyone knows that I have erred, let me know.
- The dog obviously needs a name. Again, the language thing. Also, did they have dogs other than hunting hounds? No clue what this dog even looks like.

Date: 2015-07-01 07:01 am (UTC)From: [personal profile] hhimring
hhimring: (Default)
I like the idea of Celebrimbor and Finduilas working together!

Nitpick: missing "to" in "attempts limp"

They would probably not be speaking Quenya--I suspect they obeyed Thingol's ban in Nargothrond and Finrod counted Sindar among his subjects. Finduilas's mother was probably a Sinda. I think neither Finduilas's nor Gwindor's name are Quenya, although I have no time to check things right now to make sure.

I'm not aware of any details on other dogs in the Legendarium besides Huan, but it's clearly said there were others. I think you're free to invent.

In the tradition of wonkily prophetic names, this one could perhaps be called "Brass-foot"--possibly with a footnote that this must really be a nickname she was given subsequently.

Date: 2015-07-06 03:19 am (UTC)From: [identity profile]
Thanks, for the comments and for catching that typo, Himring!

Yep, after doing a pretty rudimentary check of my own, it appears Gwindor is a Sindarin name and Finduilas is a bit more uncertain. I guess I can just leave the names as they are without getting all worried about it.

Wonkily prophetic names, haha, I'll have to consider that. Or perhaps the dog has golden or brassy-colored fur to begin with.

Date: 2015-07-01 08:04 am (UTC)From: [identity profile]
ext_189645: (Default)
That's lovely!

I would suggest that the dog should be a large heavy one, maybe a mastiff-type or a wolfhound (maybe someone got it for Finduilas as protection, after the whole Celegorm/Luthien Incident, which you'd think would be a great advert for Dogs as Elf-maiden protection... )

Small dogs usually cope pretty well with amputation, but for large dogs it's much more difficult, I think a big dog would be more likely to need a prosthetic. I can't see any reason why Celebrimbor wouldnt' be able to make one.

Dog DNA is so plastic, after a few hundred years in Middle Earth even if they only started out with Huan and some sort of Sindar-hound they could easily have bred everything from bassets to chihuahuas...

Date: 2015-07-06 03:36 am (UTC)From: [identity profile]
Thank you!

(maybe someone got it for Finduilas as protection, after the whole Celegorm/Luthien Incident, which you'd think would be a great advert for Dogs as Elf-maiden protection... )

HAHAAA. I rather like that.

Thanks for the helpful dog comments. I'm now sort of picturing the dog as something like an Irish Dane.

Date: 2015-07-01 01:04 pm (UTC)From: [identity profile]
I really like this. The artificial leg is a great idea. :)

As for dogs in ME, I'm sure there must have been others besides Huan, all in a wide variety of shapes and sizes.

If it's a really big dog, you might want to give it a size-related name. (In one of my fics, I gave Gil-galad's dog the name Roch because he was the size of small horse. :) Maybe the dog's name could be Ollie (for oliphaunt). I don't know how to really shorten mûmakil though.

Date: 2015-07-06 04:00 am (UTC)From: [identity profile]
Thank you. :)

I gave Gil-galad's dog the name Roch because he was the size of small horse.


I think Wombat's idea downthread about some sort of equivalent of "Lucky" might be funny for its irony...

Date: 2015-07-01 05:38 pm (UTC)From: [identity profile]
I love engineer!Celebrimbor and how relaxed his relationship with Finduilas is. The omen is just too funny. (Does that make me a bad person?) :D

Date: 2015-07-06 04:02 am (UTC)From: [identity profile]
Celebrimbor and Finduilas popped up in my mind as having a sort of sibling or cousin type relationship, and I decided to go with it, as I thought it'd be nice to see the younger generation not being all tense about the dramas of their forebears.

The omen is just too funny. (Does that make me a bad person?) :D

Hehe, nope. >:D

Date: 2015-07-01 07:08 pm (UTC)From: [identity profile]
I wrote a comment at lunchtime but then crashed - and coming back it looks as if My computer crashed before the comment got here, sadly!

So, basically I said I thought this was fun, I agreed with Hhhimring about the names, loved the idea of Elven steampunk, and thought the dog might have a name that proved ironic- like Lucky, or Swiftfoot!

Date: 2015-07-06 04:05 am (UTC)From: [identity profile]
Thanks! And thank you for doing a repeat comment after your first didn't take (blasted machines).

I really rather like the ironic angle for the name. Lucky would be straight up ironic, and Swiftfoot or something similar would be (at first) accurate and (later) ironic. *ponders*

Date: 2015-07-09 10:06 pm (UTC)From: [personal profile] zdenka
zdenka: The Doors of Khazad-dum. (tolkien)
Aw. :) I like seeing Celebrimbor and Finduilas being friends here (and I think it's quite plausible that they were). I also like how Celebrimbor is awkward in expressions of sympathy but almost immediately turns his mind to practical ways to help.

I wonder whether Celebrimbor was also inspired at all by what happened to Maedhros (and any attempts to adjust for the loss of his hand). I've always wondered whether Curufin made Maedhros some kind of prosthetic hand -- you'd think he'd at least have experimented with it.

Date: 2015-07-10 06:02 pm (UTC)From: [identity profile]

I hadn't given much thought to Celebrimbor as a person (I mean, the only other time I wrote him, he was just kind of there, attempting to put on a brave front as Bad Things Happened To Him) before writing this. Now that I've written him as this helpful-in-a-practical-way guy, it is that much worse to think about what happens latter. *erases last phrase and replaces it with "sunshine and happy bunnies everywhere!"*

Curufin as I picture him might be too involved in his own brain to think about trying to apply his engineering skillz to a living being.


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