Findekáno's silent tears fall until we pass the city gates. His hands clutch the reins at the withers of his pony, and his crumpled little face tips forward, letting his hair spill over it to hide the shame he feels at weeping so openly as we pass through the lower streets of the city. Away from his parents and any chance of salvation, I know he feels weak in the presence of my father, as so many do.
Atar speaks to him dutifully, asking questions: "Are you hungry?" or "Do you wish for a bit of water?" to which Findekáno only shakes his head.
Past the city gates, I ask, "Would you like to ride with me for a while, Káno? I can loosen those braids for you if you'd like," and he looks at me with confusion.
"R-ride with ..." His words stumble into incomprehension, and his eyes shine like big blue marbles.
We stop, and I lift him from his pony onto my horse, in front of me. I feel him stiffen with alarm, and I pretend that it is only a child's simple fear of falling. "Do not fret," I say in his ear and draw him back close against me, "I will not let you fall."
I hold the reins with my left hand as we ride and with the right untwine the braids from his hair. His hair is like warm silk spilling between my fingers, alike to Tyelkormo's in texture, almost as dark as Atar's. When the braids are loose, he shakes his head with the joy of an animal released from a barn into freedom and I laugh and am grateful that he laughs awkwardly in reply.
Another Man's Cage by Dawn Felagund link
Another lovely part of this epic fanfiction. Findekano is so very adorable in this one, he's around 14, but small for his age and he is going away from his parents for the first time and isn't terribly happy about it, the poor darling!