(Consider #6 to be something of an AU - a ‘what if’ scenario, if Blessed Hands had gone slightly differently. Prompt me?)
“Lie to me then.”
“All right,” Tyelkormo said, hopping up onto the table and fixing Tyelperinquar with a self-satisfied smirk. “Your father isn’t a murderer, and neither am I, and we’re all one happy family here in the happiest underground city on the hither shores.” When his nephew glared at him, he laughed. “You asked for a lie. I just bothered to make it a good one.”
Another glare, before Tyelperinquar turned his attention back to his hammer and chisel and the curling wood sconce he was carving.
“What,” Tyelkormo asked, “was that not good enough for you? Did you actually believe any of that horseshit?”
“Leave me alone, would you?”
“Why? You’re better company than your father, who insists I’m the cause of all his woes.”
“Even your dog thinks you’re a horrible person now,” Tyelperinquar muttered, driving the chisel deep into the wood with a heavy blow to its end. “Can’t you figure it out? We don’t want you here.”
“No, Tyelpë, you don’t want me here,” Tyelkormo said, bitterness creeping into his tone. “You’re the only one who hasn’t accepted that we’re damned.”
“I never took your Eru-forsaken Oath, did I?” the other nér asked. “It’s not me who’s damned, and if I’m lucky, it never will be.”
“You have to leave right now.”
“Oh, trust me,” Írissë said, “I know.” She glanced nervously over her shoulder, as if she expected someone else to appear out of the woods at any moment. She drew her cloak tight about her shoulders, and looked far more vulnerable than Curufinwë had ever known her to be before. “I only - I have to know the truth, Curvo, and I hope that you’ll at least be honest with me.”
“I’ll try,” he said, and he meant it. She unsettled him, in ways he was wholly unfamiliar with. None of her familiar bravado was present, and instead the nís before him looked like she might snap in half if she spoke too forcefully.
“Did - did Tyelkormo kill my brother?”
“What?” he asked, astonished. Of all the things she might have asked him, this was not what he anticipated.
“I - I said what I said. Findekáno has vanished. Did - do you think Tyelko might have - ?”
“Oh,” Curufinwë answered, all the air leaving his lungs at once. The ground rose and fell beneath him like waves. “I - you…”
“Be honest with me, if you know something,” she said. “Atya is frantic, though he won’t say it. After Arakáno died - !”
“Arakáno is dead?!”
“Slain by orcs, when we arrived.”
She blinked back tears that he could barely see in the moonlight. “You mean that, don’t you.”
“I don’t want to think it was him. I don’t. But he fled into the woods, and - !”
“And Tyelko spends every waking moment in them, I know.”
Írissë nodded. She looked as if she might collapse.
“I have to know,” she said. “If - if he killed Finno, I can’t - !”
“He didn’t,” Curufinwë answered. “At least, that’s my best guess.”
“What?” There was hope in her face suddenly - real hope, unlike anything he’d seen since before the Darkening. “You’re sure?”
“If he’d killed Findekáno, do you think he’d shut up about it for a moment?”
She did collapse then, clinging to her cloak.
“You’re right,” she said. “You’re right. I - he’s alive, then. He must be. But where did he go?”