THE FALL OF DORIATH - Part One
Now it has been told that Beren son of Barahir along with Luthien daughter of Thingol & Melian brought a Silmaril out of the depths of Angband & this was given to Thingol upon Berens death. Yet Beren & Luthien returned beyond all thought & hope to Middle-earth & dwelt for a time in Tol Galen in the midst of the river Adurant that was the last of the six tributary rivers of the mighty Gelion.
As the years passed the thought of that great jewel weighed the heavier upon Thingols mind for such was its power. The years also brought many strange & sorrowful things to pass, the Battle Of Unumbered Tears, the coming of Turin son of Hurin to Menegroth & his subsequent departure, the ruin of Nargothrond & the demise of Glaurung the mighty worm & Turin himself. It was a year after his sons death that Hurin had come to Thingols halls bearing another great jewel of renown. That was the Nauglamir (Necklace Of The Dwarves), made by the dwarves of the Blue Mountains for Finrod Felagund Lord of Nargothrond & it was the most renowned of all their works of beauty in the Elder Days. After Hurin had departed it came into Thingols mind to have the Silmaril set within the Nauglamir & so join together the most renowned works of elves & dwarves. He therefore summoned the dwarven smiths of Nogrod to achieve his vision yet a perilous doom was laid apon the Silmaril & the Nauglamir was among the treasure cursed by Mim the dwarf & the echo of Glaurung's evil dragon lust was also bound to the necklace for he had lain long upon the hoard of Nargothrond. So it was that Thingol was slain deep within his own halls by the very dwarves he had commisioned to bring his vision into being. This terrible deed led to that grievous battle between the dwarves of Nogrod & the elves of Doriath in which the dwarves won the day. Yet their victory was short lived for the dwarf army was waylaid at Sarn Athrad by Beren & the Silvan elves of Ossiriand & not one dwarf came ever back over the mountains to their city. Beren & the elves were victorious, the Silmaril was recovered & taken to Tol Galen where Luthien wore it until her passing. It was sometime after the death of Thingol & the sack of Menegroth that Dior, son of Beren & Luthien bade farewell to his father & mother & departed from Lanthir Lammath with Nimloth his wife, his two young sons Elured & Elurin & his infant daughter Elwing. They journeyed to Doriath where the remnant of the Sindar welcomed them & Dior set himself to raise anew the kingdom of Doriath.
He gathered there all he could find who now wandered the great forests of the land in sorrow & despair with only the memories of their realms past glory for comfort. He found more than was expected for the dwarves had not slain Doriath's maidens & children & there were still few companies of warriors who had escaped the rout of battle. All these were gathered again at Menegroth & there was begun a great work of restoring the "Thousand Caves." Much had to be done for the battle had wrought great destruction to the many fair halls & chambers yet the elves laboured with unwavering purpose under Dior`s direction & will & the restoration swiftly came to completion. It is said that time heals wounds of both body & mind for soon song & laughter could be heard in the forests & halls of the land yet their mirth was halting for the grief of memory was still near to their hearts. Many of Menegroths halls & chambers that were once filled with merry elven folk now stood empty, shrouded in darkness as a testament to their dwindled numbers.
For Dior however, a grief long feared was visited upon him far sooner than he had hoped. There came a time of Autumn during Doriaths newfound tentative happiness when a messenger came from Ossiriand bearing a coffer. With hardly a word he laid it in Diors hand, bowed low & took his leave. Hesitantly, Dior opened it & behold, therein lay the Silmaril within the Nauglamir & its holy light blazed forth to greet him, filling his chamber with its brilliant radiance. Yet tears of grief were loosed from Diors eyes for he knew that its coming to him was a sign that his father & mother had indeed died & gone to that place beyond the circles of the world where go the race of men after their time of waiting. Arda had lost Luthien the fair forever!
Long did Dior sit there, grieving in silence with bowed head, now gazing at the jewel that was rescued by his father & mother from the iron hell of Angband, now closing the coffer in deep sorrow. So Nimloth found him mourning in the deep of night.
"What ails you my lord, that you should sit so, seemingly bowed with grief & come not to retire?," she asked.
Dior looked up at her & she started, seeing his tears but he gestured to the coffer & said,
"Therein lies the cause of my grief Nimloth. Open it & see for yourself what has come to me!"
Fearfully, she took up the coffer & opened it & her eyes widened with wonder on seeing the great jewel. She stood a moment, mesmerised by its beauty & wondered how such a wondrous thing could fill her husband with such sorrow. Yet as she slowly turned her gaze towards him the enamouring spell of the jewel was broken & a sudden realisation came upon her.
"It has come then," she said sorrowfully.
"Yes, it has come to me," replied Dior,
"It no longer graces her fair person or brightens Tol Galen & the lands about. They are gone Nimloth & i their son am now doomed never to see them again!"
She set the coffer down & went to her husband & set her arms about him.
"To be sure my lord, it is hard & my heart grieves with yours, yet it is a doom of sorrow long foreseen."
"Even so that makes it none the easier to endure," said Dior,
"They are gone & shall not return this time.
Those twain who humbled the very might of Morgoth upon his throne! Those twain whom death itself could not conquer!"
He sighed & turned to his wife,
"Nimloth, I am king yet have lived no longer than those of men who are deemed newly come to full manhood. I am young in years as in policy & would have it that my father were still living to council me from afar as I would still have the gentle knowledge that my mother still graced this world. It grieves me deeply that they were granted too few years to enjoy the happiness they so deserved."
"Indeed my husband," said Nimloth,
"And all of true heart shall grieve with you, yet do not fall to despair for you are far more than you know yourself to be. You are a king of a great people, all of whom revere & love you. Do you not see what you have achieved Dior? Doriath has been raised from ruin & its people are joyful again, yet you are the mover of all these things O` wise lord & your people do not forget it. Now the great jewel has come to you & rather than receive it in sorrow i would say receive it now in hope as i deem your father & mother would have desired. Did we not witness the power of the jewel as it was worn by Luthien, how the land became an unrivalled vision of light & beauty! It shall surely give added hope to your people & aid in healing the wounds of your realm. And though they are gone, let us take comfort that they have left you this legacy in memory of their hope beyond hope that their love would be fulfilled, & so Dior Eluchil came into the world & i Nimloth became his wife."
Dior gazed long at Nimloth & a faint smile came to his face,
"Indeed joyful was the day i laid eyes on you, singing by the sparkling waters of the Esgalduin."
Nimloth smiled back at him,
"And ever joyful & blessed is the memory of that day in my heart Dior Aranel. Now let us look to make this & all the days we have together joyful & blessed for ourselves as well as our people & in so doing, honour the memory of Beren & Luthien well!"
The next day Dior summoned all his people to the great hall that was his throne room & when all were come he brought out the coffer & held it before him.
"Elves of Doriath! You have been summoned to witness that which signifies an eternal grief & yet a hope beyond reckoning!"
He opened the coffer & held the Silmaril aloft for all to see. Its light blazed forth & the countless gems of the Nauglamir in turn reflected its radiance in marvellous hues that filled the great hall with a living light more glorious than that which Melian had devised for Menegroth before its ruin. Now many who stood there had seen the Silmaril at such times as Thingol had revealed it & these now wept with joy on seeing its return. Yet there were many who now saw the rumoured Silmaril for the first time & they gasped in wonder for it seemed to them as if a star of Varda had been drawn down from the Ilmen into their lords outstretched hands.
"Behold!," cried Dior, "Here is the jewel that Beren & Luthien rescued from the perils of Angband!
Here is the jewel that was coveted by the dwarves who in their malice slew our king & destroyed his realm. Yet they won it not from Thingols people but paid for their folly & evil deeds."
Now more softly he said,
"Here also is the jewel which thereafter was worn by Luthien the fair, who so became a vision of such beauty & loveliness as to compare to a vision seen only in the ancient West of song!"
He fell silent, overcome by his grief for he had dearly loved his mother & the elves wondered for they did not yet understand the full meaning of the Silmarils return.
"Now that jewel has come to me," began Dior as he urged himself on,
"And so signifies the end of Beren Erchamion, son of Barahir & Emeldir of the house of Beor & Luthien Tinuviel, daughter of Thingol Lord Of Beleriand & Melian the Maiar!"
A great silence fell across the great hall as the elves were stunned into disbelief.
"To my father i say the memory of your courage & your great deeds shall be honoured & never fade though time immeasurable should pass!
To my mother i say that ever shall your passing be a grief to elvenkind for you are now forever lost to your people, yet your song, your beauty, your love & sacrifice shall remain imperishable in our hearts memory & endure in song & tale even to the appointed end & beyond!"
Dior fell silent & all heads in the hall were bowed. There rose the murmur of weeping maidens & lamenting elf lords as it finally dawned on them that Beren & Luthien were no more. For many, this new grief now brought old half forgotten sorrows to the fore in their hearts & many being overwhelmed, cast themselves to the ground in their despair though they stood within the very light of heaven.
Yet Dior who was indeed the son of Luthien to look upon now took the Nauglamir & clasped the Silmaril to his neck & behold, now he appeared as the fairest of all the children of Iluvatar.
All looked up at their king in amazement for the jewels rays seemed to well through his body & the light of Aman was in his face. Then all despair was cast away from that people as the light of a descended star would cast aside the shadows of the deepest dungeon & hope was kindled in their hearts.
All that host now cried out in one voice,
"Hail Dior Eluchil! Now surely is Doriath risen to glory once more!"
Then Dior spoke,
"Indeed to witness an eternal grief i said yet also a hope beyond reckoning! See now the power of the Silmaril has healed the hurts of our hearts, yet it shall also heal the hurts of our land, fostering the growth & wellbeing of old that was lost to Doriath.
Now hearken to me!, for this is a new beginning for us all as we are come out of the shadows, back into the light & long may we dwell within its power. However, let us know that though our hearts shall never forget our loss, the holy jewel shall serve as a memorial to those twain who won it in hope for themselves & so sent it to Doriath in hope for us all!
And i say to you with the foresight granted to me now that, whatever may betide after this blessed day, the fate of the Silmaril shall lead even unto the heavens, where it shall remain a sign of hope to all of true heart in Middle-earth, though the darkness would devour the world!"
As he said these words, it seemed a change now came upon him. A great majesty was now revealed, the noble hardihood of the fathers of men, the dignity & beauty of elves & the reverential wisdom & power of the Maiar. He was indeed the heir of Thingol now fully revealed before his people & all bowed low before him & cried again in one voice,
"Hail Dior Eluchil! Let the king now rule us in great glory & bliss!"
So it was that the Silmaril of Feanor now resided once more in Doriath & its power was felt again in the woods of Neldoreth & Region, for the king wore the jewel always & rode far & wide about his realm. Its holy light healed the dreary mood of the forest that had taken hold since Melians departure.
Festivals long celebrated yet lately abandoned were renewed & at the time of midsummer, the king & his people would gather beneath the mighty boles of Hirilorn even as Thingol & Melian had done of old & there would be song, dance & great merriment. There their fair music would echo softly within the quaint walls of the tree house high up in Hirilorns lower branches that were made aforetime for Luthien Tinuviel.
Thus led by Dior, Thingol's Heir, & with the aid of the Silmaril, Doriath indeed regained its glory of old & its people were content.
Yet outside their realm, word slowly spread like a meandering breeze that blows from a warm place out into the open wilderness, gathering strength yet growing evermore colder. So too were the ears that heard the tale of Doriath's rise from ruin. Sindarin elves were the first to hear the rumour & many forsook the now perilous wilderland & repaired to Menegroth swelling its numbers. Yet soon word reached the cold ears of the people of Feanor, who in turn went to their lords & told them all they had heard.
Now the sons of Feanor's oath of old were wakened again from sleep. Each tale of the light & joy brought to Doriath by the Silmaril & of Dior the king riding hither & thither about his realm wearing the jewel in his pride, stung their hearts for they themselves were become a wandering people who camped in the wilds of the south, cursing their hard fate in bitterness as they remembered their glory days of old. Therefore, the seven sons gathered again at Amon Ereb where their greatest strength was held under Maedhros. There they took council with one another while spies were sent ahead to learn the ways of the land. Soon messengers were sent out to Doriath to claim their own.
Now there was a small folk of Sindarin elves who dwelt hard by the eastern eaves of Region, the mighty southern forest of Doriath. There was a small forest sundered from the main wood by the river Aros that flowed from the north near the pass of Aglon. Beneath the woods eastern eaves flowed the Celon that began in the northern hills around Himring where Maedhros once held his fortress before its fall.
The Celon flowed into the Aros & the point at which they met was the beginning of that wood named "Outer Region". This stood between those two rivers, spreading wider as one went north until it became the sprawling land of Himlad that the sons of Feanor once held. On the eastern shores of the Celon stood the westmarches of Estolad where a mingled people of the Edain still dwelt. There was a curious friendship between the Sindar of Outer Region & the Edain of Estolad &, at that time, the elves journeyed to that land, giving what aid they could to the troubled remnant of men who were at times harassed by orcs that came down from the north.
So it was that one such elf was waylaid by two riders as he journeyed alone to Estolad. He was named Haldir, son of Falathar, & he was one who had taken special pity on Estolad's people & so journeyed to that land more often than any other, for he was a master of healing & of great service to the beleagured men.
Now the two horsemen swiftly rode up barring his way. Then one alighted from his horse & strode up to face him.
"You are an elf of Doriath are you not?," he asked in a stern voice.
"I am lord," replied Haldir.
"Then you are one of those whom we seek," said the stranger.
He eyed Haldir a moment then asked,
"Are we known to you wood elf?"
Haldir studied the two elves with great interest. They were clad in plain attire that was travel-stained from a seemingly long journey yet Haldir surmised that they were elves of importance for they had a lordly air about them & the one who spoke was fair of face, even for an elf. They seemed as high lords of the Noldor but Haldir could not tell to which house they belonged.
"Well, are we known to you or no?," asked the elf impatiently.
Haldir dared not chance a guess for fear of giving offence for they seemed proud & wilful.
"Forgive me lord," he said.
"I do not wish to offend, yet I am not accustomed to meeting lords of other elven houses as I so take you &, therefore, know not who you are. Long have iIdwelt within the Girdle of Melian who is now gone & never ventured far beyond our borders, even in the peaceful days of the long siege. News from without has always come faintly to those of us who give half an ear in Doriath & the little I know of the Noldor is through the many tales & songs of their great deeds against the dark power of the north. Yet tales may only give names to unknown faces & speak of matters far removed from the quiet of the wood."
"So it has always been with you elves of Doriath!," said the elf on horseback.
"Cozened into storytelling & idling behind the power of Melian whilst leaving the perilous deeds of war to the rest of us! Indeed I take offence that you know not the lords of those who aided the Sindar in their time of need when Morgoth loosed his power over starlit Beleriand before the Sun & Moon!"
The elf who stood before Haldir raised a hand, checking his companion.
"Nay! Blame not Doriaths people overmuch. Thingols haughty mood towards the Noldor was well known for he shunned us all save those of the house of Finarfin. Yet being his loyal subjects his people could only follow their lord. However, Thingol is dead & the girdle removed. Doriaths time apart from the rest of Beleriand is at an end and its people would do well to heed this."
"You speak gravely lord," said Haldir solemnly,
"For that may indeed be how it was with my people, yet be that as it may we of Doriath heed well the end of our protected peace from the sorrows of the greater realm, having just borne the brunt of fates cruel blow ourselves."
The seated rider gave Haldir a dark look,
"And perhaps it were a good thing that you and your people finally felt the dint of battle at your own door, thus curbing the churlish pride & disdain of your people towards the Noldor whom many ever blamed for stirring the evil of the north, though it were ravaging your lands ere we came!"
"Peace my brother!," said the fair elf,
"We are not yet come with harsh word to these folk but come only to deliver our message to their newly appointed king."
Haldir started at that, "They are brothers, come with a message for Dior our king!," he thought. His mind raced swiftly over the lords of the Noldor. They were not of Finarfins house as all its princes were slain. Only Turgon yet lived of Fingolfins sons thus leaving the princes of the eldest house of Finwe. Haldir blanched a little yet he chanced his guess.
"Permit me to ask my lords, yet could it be that you are lords of the mighty house of Feanor?"
A faint look of surprise passed over the fair elfs face.
"Well guessed wood elf," he said,
"I am Celegorm who was Lord of Himlad on a time."
Haldir bowed low before him,
"Forgive my ignorance my lord Celegorm, but the quaint life of the wood so blinded me. This is indeed a great honour!"
"Then you are doubly honoured this day for i am also come with Lord Curufin."
Haldir turned & bowed again yet his mind was filled with doubt. The coming of powerful lords of Feanor's house did not bode well for Doriath. Also the mood of these two sons of Feanor was known to all that people for their part in Luthiens tale was not forgotten. Moreover their threat to Thingol over his keeping of the Silmaril was still fresh in their minds. Indeed it was an unsaid fear in their hearts ever since the Silmaril returned to their land, that the sons of Feanor could now make true their threat of war against Doriath as the protection of the girdle was no more. Haldir guessed that this was undoubtably the purpose of their journeying & the content of their message. A dark forboding crept into Haldirs heart yet he hid his dismay and greeted them with as fair words as came to his mind.
"Indeed I am doubly honoured this glad day to stand before such high lords of the Noldor. And i would say to my lord Curufin that though the mood of many of my kin may be as he so put it, I for my part am of a different mind & hold the Noldor in high honour & esteem for their valiant deeds & rendered service to the Sindar of Beleriand."
Curufin said nothing but Celegorm smiled,
"Well said my wood elf yet who are you?"
"I am Haldir son of Falathar & dwell within the small forest of Outer Region that lies between the the rivers Aros & Celon."
"I see," said Celegorm,
"Yet for one so road shy, we find you far from your home."
"That is true lord," replied Haldir,
"However I was almost at my journey's end for I was on my way to Estolad where the Edain still dwell. It may be accounted a long journey on foot as you see me, yet not so far from my home by steed. Alas my people have no horses to speak of & so we make do on our own two legs. Yet do not think I deceived you my lord for Estolad is indeed the furthest I have ever ventured beyond the forests of my home."
"And what business would you have with the Edain who dwell there?," asked Celegorm.
"There has been a friendship between my folk & theirs that began soon after the main hosts of their people left for their later realms."
"I find that hard to believe as your kings mood towards men was perhaps harsher than was towards us," said Celegorm.
"My lord Thingols mood towards men was indeed unfriendly in those days, yet he saw our friendship as being harmless enough in his policies & so let it be, though none of the Edain were ever permitted to pass the girdle, even to our small forest. Be that as it may, our friendship grew closer still after Morgoths power was loosed upon the world again. Throughout the perilous years my folk have given aid & comfort to that people and of late they in turn have comforted us in our own sorrows of the day."
Curufin scowled, alighted from his steed and strode up to Haldir.
"So you would deal with that traitorous race, though it surprises me little as you dark elves are as lowly as the accursed race of men & suit each other well. Yet as if that were not enough, you would now claim our birthright in your insolence & so gain a joy, happiness & strength from it while its true heirs suffer in the wilderness, their realms destroyed and their people & lords bereft of all their power & glory of old through battles waged not only for the Noldor, but all the free peoples of Beleriand.
Answer me this O` Sindar, who instructed your wandering kin in their advancement from the rude ways of the dark wilderness to the noble ways of the light of Aman!?
Yet know this dark elf, the ancient light that was there before Arien and Tilion rode the pathways of the sky does not belong to you and your people.
A skill and labour beyond the furthest reach of your thought went into preserving it!
An oath beyond all oaths was sworn to claim it, and many a grim deed was done on the long road to retake it!
You elves of Doriath do not fully comprehend your peril by witholding the Silmaril from we the sons of Feanor!"
He turned to his brother,
"Celegorm, give him our message & let him begone, we did not come all this way to exchange niceties with these elvish thieves!"
Celegorm produced a rolled up parchment, sealed by a wax emblem stamp of the house of Feanor.
"Receive now this Haldir son of Falathar," he said as he handed it to the wood elf.
"Herein lies the word of all the seven sons of Feanor, urging yet again the surrender of the Silmaril to the house of its maker. We are come to claim our own Haldir & yet mark you, we come in peace, hoping that your king shall be fair and return what is ours to us in good faith. I see your dismay at my brothers harsh words yet take heed for he has much cause for his anger and grief.
Our father left it to his sons to retrieve his great work. Should we now leave it in the hands of yet another who would withold it against his dying wish? Our oath of old was not spoken lightly Haldir but remains the scion of the Noldors grave choice in treading the long road to Middle-Earth forsaking even the blessed realm of Aman!
Do you hear Haldir! This business of the Silmaril is well above the simple minds of the quaint forests of Doriath. Yet I would blame Thingol who named it and Dior who now keeps it for it is only by their grasping choices that the quiet of your woods is threatened.
I implore you son of Falathar, go to your king & persuade him if you must to see clearly in this matter for much shall rest on his answer for good or for ill.
Either way the Silmaril is ours, not only by our desire for our fathers unimitable work, but of greater import it is by our very right as his sons that we so claim it!"
He paused a moment, his fair face tense & his eyes flashing. Haldir looked at the two princes fearfully for it seemed that under their fair countenances was a perilous fey mood that would stop at nothing to regain their fathers work.
"There!," said Celegorm as he seemingly mastered himself,
"We have spoken, you have heard & now you must go! However be swift for we await Diors answer here!"
Curufin put in,
"Indeed make haste for you would not want to keep the sons of Feanor waiting or we may enter into Doriath ourselves and unbidden, seek for what is ours as the way is now open to all!"
Haldir bowed low before them and said,
"My lords, I have indeed taken heed to all you have said & admit that these high policies are far above me, yet what I do fully grasp is that one war was enough for Doriath which suffered so because of it. Far more grievous would it be for another to be waged against Thingols realm & evermore so were it now between elf and elf!"
Curufin looked at him with a stony face,
"That came to pass once before dark elf as you well know & so shall again if we are refused a second time by the Teleri! Yet you are overbold to berate the sons of Feanor however subtly & swiftly would i have dealt with your insolence had we not needed you to run our errand.
Go now I tell you and pray your king be wise for his people as well as himself!"
Haldir bowed again & said,
"I shall deliver your message to Dior my king & pray that wisdom shall prevail for us all!"
With that, he turned and began the long journey to Menegroth.
The sons of Feanor stood silent as they watched Haldirs form fade into the twilight of dusk. Afar off could be seen the forest line of Region, crowned with the reddened sky of sunset that darkened as it merged with the starlit night overhead. There was the sound of approaching horses but the brothers did not stir. Soon ten riders had pulled up beside them and there they sat, silent, their fair elven faces grim to look upon yet their eyes shone in the mounting dark as they stared intently towards Doriath......