Around them silence fell as the elves around them turned to the father and son, their eyes wide in shock at Findekano's words.
Nolofinwe was unsurprised, his eyes narrowing thoughtfully as he watched his son. "How did you come to such a conclusion?"
Findekano sighed, his voice quiet. "I dreamt it," he answered reluctantly. "In a dream of shadow and flame, of blood and betrayal I saw the ships burn, Feanaro held the torch. When I woke… I knew… and found the ships gone. "
"You dreamt it and expect us to accept it as truth? No offence, brother," Turukano interrupted irritably, "but I for one am not prepared to draw conclusions based on your dreams. I had thought you had grown out of your nightmares by now."
Findekano turned slowly, his eyes burning with intensity as he looked at his younger brother. "I am not asking you to believe anything. The ships are burning. What you chose to believe is your own choice. I will tell you this," he continued, his voice growing in strength if not in volume, "Those fires burn strong and brightly and they are large. You know they are not cooking fires but tell me, why would they light so many fires of such size only to signal to us? If they had wished to send such a message one fire would have been sufficient. You all know this."
Turukano shook his head in disgust. "You put too much importance on your dreams, Findekano. They will send the ships back for us, perhaps then you will no longer scare people with your dreams."
Findekano watched his brother. "You still have much to learn" his voice quiet and pitying.
Around them the elves murmured, voices filled with doubt and suspicions, most of them agreeing with Turukano. Dreams were not proof, dreams should not even count as suspicions, the ships would return. Feelings were slowly coming to a boil.
Nolofinwe raised his hand. "Enough." his commanding voice cut through the growing calamity. "We gain nothing by arguing among ourselves. For now we wait, time will solve this quarrel for us. Does anyone carry an hourglass?"
Elenwe’s brother stepped out from the crowd, raising his hand. "I did," he admitted in his deep voice. "I thought it may be useful in such darkness." He reached into the bag slung over his shoulder and pulled out a small hourglass, surrounded by an ornate golden frame.
Nolofinwe smiled gratefully as he took the hourglass and set it into the sand, firmly. "We wait," he repeated. "Until we have turned the glass fifty times we will wait and keep peace. If no ships have appeared by the time the sand is running out the last time we will presume that Findekano dreamt true and the ships burnt."
"Maybe we could mark the turnings?" Elenwe asked shyly. "We could gather one stone for every time the glass is turned, building a cairn while we wait."
Nolofinwe smiled at her, he always had a soft spot for this intelligent, shy young woman that had married his son. "One stone for every hour," he agreed. "It is a very good idea."
Elenwe returned to smile as she walked over to Findekano, carefully lifting her daughter out of his arms. "Thank you for minding her, brother," she said softly.
Tiredly Findekano nodded at her before he turned, making his way back to the fire. He felt wrung out and there was a painful throbbing behind his eyes, which was not unusual after his nightmares. He closed his eyes and sat down; trying to shut out the voices that still argued on the beach, although they sounded calmer now, the threat of violence had gone.
His father joined him quietly, wrapping a comforting arm around his shoulders as if he was a child in need of comfort.
"Are you certain?" Nolofinwe asked quietly. "Did the ships burn?"
He nodded in reply, words feeling too distant and hard to shape. Distantly he was aware of a blanket being wrapped around him and a gentle kiss against his temple.
"Rest Findekano," his father said softly. "We will still be counting the hours when you wake."