It is known that as Melkor set his eyes upon the Silmarils, his heart was fast bound to them and he began to desire them greatly. This desire grew and grew till it engulfed his fëa like a hungry flame and he began to make great designs for the estrangement of the Valar and the Eldar.
Indeed, I do wish that I had seen the many signs of Melkor’s influence over the Noldor. The foremost of these came in the form of Istyaro, one of the foremost loremasters of the Noldor. He had come to Valinor in the selfsame journey from the Hither Lands that I had taken and I had a great respect for him dating from the days in which we dwelt by the shores of Cuiviénen.
Istyaro is a teacher, first and foremost. He held many open air gatherings where all could come, learn, and debate. Arafinwë and Nolofinwë as well as Nerdanel the Wise were frequent listeners and it chanced that one day Arafinwë was making visit to Ingwë and I upon Taniquetil when he asked me if I would like to attend one of Istyaro’s discussions. Eagerly I did agree for I had not seen the loremaster in far too long. It was quickly agreed that I would journey to Tirion with Arafinwë to hear Istyaro in the shadow of the Mindon Eldaliéva.
“…and he sought for the Flame Imperishable,” Istyaro said as Arafinwë and I entered the courtyard of the Tower of Ingwë, my ancient home in my earliest days in Aman. Immediately, at our entrance, his voice stilled and all eyes were cast upon Arafinwë and I.
As Istyaro looked steadily at me, I smiled and spoke, “Make no notice of my presence. I am here to listen to wisdom so please continue, my friend.”
At this, he smiled broadly and said, “Thank you, my Lord! I will continue, but I would speak to you afterwards.”
Quickly I nodded agreement, “Most certainly, but please do continue!”
Immediately upon the conclusion of the discussion, Arafinwë stood to depart, but I lifted my hand and asked, “Where are you going, Arafinwë?”
He replied, “I depart because I thought you would wish to speak to Master Istyaro alone?”
I laughed and said, “No, my young one. I wish for you to stay with me. You are the son of Finwë and I would have you by my side. It is far too uncommon to see the children of my Eluwioni.”
As I finished, Istyaro appeared behind the young Arafinwë and said, “Shall we speak, my Lord?”
“We shall, Istyaro. Come with me into the Mindon Eldaliéva and we shall talk there, looking out to the Sea. I have a desire to see it; the waves and the foam. Come.”
“Very well, my Lord; a pleasant setting for troubled speech!”
At this, my heart foreboded and it was a long climb for me up the winding staircase of the Tower as memories leapt up through the long ages that I had dwelt in Aman in this very edifice. With each step and each room that I passed, an old image forgotten before, but cherished in memory, would appear to my mind’s eye. There, in one room, was Indis weaving her gentle song with a small host of fair ladies with hair of spun gold. In another, there I was telling a favorite tale of Eluwën’s to three small híni. Finally, we arrived to the very last section of the tower, a large room walled by a clear crystalline substance that contained the Lamp of Ingwë and was ringed by a wide outside walk where one could look out upon the Belegaer, the Sea that separated Aman from the World of star-illumined Twilight. Here, I could see the long gone ghostly image of Ingwë upon his throne staring out to Sea, watching for Elwë, whom he had great love of, to come to Aman unlooked-for even after it was known that he had been lost to the deceits of the World Outside.
The thought of it filled my eyes with salty tears, which is but one proof that the Quendi and Atani are brethren under Eru Ilúvatar. Upon seeing the glistening in my eyes, Istyaro spoke gently and asked, “Is something wrong, my Lord? We can remove elsewhere, my King.”
At this, I looked steadily at my old friend and replied, “I weep at the remembrance of the moment shortly after we learned that Elwë would not come into the West. Do not concern yourself for me. It is merely memory.’
“Also, my friend, you should not refer to me as King. That title properly belongs to Ingwë, son of Imin, first of the Quendi to awake, and Iminyë his spouse.”
Istyaro laughed, “Make no mistake, my Lord, I acknowledge Ingwë’s Lordship as rightly he has it and rightly as you bestowed it, but I remember when you were King by Cuiviénen.’
“Thou art the eldest of the Quendi still in Arda and in that, you have a natural right to Lordship, but beside that, you ruled wisely and with a fair hand. I think that perhaps in some time yet unforeseen, you shall regain that Title which you once held in the Ages of our youth.”
I smiled kindly and spoke, “No, my friend. Ingwë shall be at the feet of Manwë ever and be accounted High King of the Eldar for all Time. I am but his vassal.”
But suddenly, I beheld a gleam in Istyaro’s eye and he chuckled, “We shall see, my humble friend! For all Time you say, and that is quite true, but what about beyond Time?’
“But we draw on a different path then I intended. As you have probably surmised, something troubles my heart deeply and I would fain speak to you for counsel.”
I furrowed my brow and asked, “What counsel is it that you ask of Eluwë? Why not Ingwë?”
“I ask of your counsel because it is you who most knows of Melkor beyond all the Quendi: you who had your Lordship in the Twilight of the Hither Lands and you whose spouse was slain by Melkor’s machinations.”
At this, I sighed softly and said, “Very well, Istyaro, if it may avail so, my counsel is yours. What of Melkor should concern me beyond what occurred before we came to the Blessed Realm?”
Istyaro replied, “My Lord, I will attempt to be brief, but it is a long tale. Arafinwë knows some of it and indeed, it was he that brought this matter to my attention. Arafinwë, speak of what ye have told me!”
Arafinwë started in surprise and cried, “My master!”
“Speak! You are not to be merely a listener. It is best that Eluwë should hear the beginning as I have.”
Arafinwë stared at Istyaro for a moment and still looking upon his countenance, he began. “My Lord Eluwë, I will be forward in this matter. Melkor has been speaking to others of the Noldor as well as I against the Valar. He has spoken to them of things such as that the reason the Valar took us into Aman was to restrain us because they were jealous of the power that Eru hath given to us and also so that they may open up the Earth for a weaker, lesser race that would prove easier to influence. He has also attempted to speak to me of Fëanáro.’
Fëanáro, he said, was plotting to turn our father against Nolofinwë and I and cast us out as beggars. As for me, my Lord, I do not believe such things, but I fear for Nolofinwë. He believes or half believes these things that Melkor has spoken of. Of late, I have heard the same thoughts from the mouths of our fellow Noldor. Now, I do believe that Master Istyaro can take up the tale for I have told all that I can.”
Istyaro then spoke, “And so he has. Well done, son of Finwë! As I have said, it was Arafinwë who first brought these things to my attention. For long, I had heard whispers of this sort for a long while but could not determine the source. Anger and enmity are present in many hearts in Tirion and the source of the poison is Melkor!’
Now, Eluwë, render your counsel! For I am sorely in need.”
At this hearing, my heart was inflamed against Melkor and I reached for something to grasp to contain what threatened to come forth. Melkor had done me many injuries already, and now to hear that he spake against Manwë and the Valar and the Secondborn, our brethren! And not least of all, he spoke against that Flame who I held in love. Quickly my temper cooled however and I turned back to my companions to speak.
“All that ye have heard from Melkor is of a certainty false. For I know the Valar hold us in love and that is why they wish us to be in Aman in company with them. As for this ‘weaker’ race, the Secondborn, they are Children of Ilúvatar as even we are! Manwë has spoken to me of them on occasion, and they are to be our brethren. Melkor only wishes to cause a sundering in our kindreds! Do not let it be so.’
“As for Fëanáro, I will allow that he is intemperate, but have pity for young Curufinwë. He hath much tragedy in his life and his father is as Arda to him. I have no doubt now from Fëanáro’s words that somehow Melkor’s venom has found its way into the deepest depths of his heart and this is the source of the trouble between the Sons of Finwë.”
Istyaro spoke, “That is true of a certainty. But my Lord, what is to be done? Even Hlárleru, one of my ancient friends and great in lore, is now influenced by these lies being bandied about!”
“Of a truth, my friend, I do not know what is the right course. In my heart, my first inclination would be to speak to Manwë of these-“
Suddenly, we heard a shout rise up from the stairwell crying, “My lords! My lords,” and a moment later, a young Noldo with hair of gleaming gold leapt up from the stairs in view and exclaimed, “My Lord Arafinwë!” In another instant, he recognized me and cried, “Hail, my Lord Eluwë! Hail!”
I spoke quickly, “Do not be distracted by my presence! You have come here on an errand of great haste. Speak to the Lord Arafinwë of your news!”
For a second, the young Elda averted his eyes in embarassment and then they lit up with fire again and he spoke, “Lord Arafinwë, the Lord Glorfëo, my father, commanded me to come and ask you to come to the House of Finwë with haste!”
Arafinwë spoke decisively, “Very well, what Glorfëo asks of me, I shall do. Lead us to my father’s house,’ and turning to Istyaro, he spoke, “I am sorry to take leave of you so swiftly, but I must see to my father!”
Istyaro replied, “I pardon you, Arafinwë, and I hope all is well with Finwë and your family. Go with all haste!’
“As for my Lord Eluwë, I suspect you should accompany Arafinwë. We shall speak again soon, that I am sure of. Namárië!”
As we neared the house of my foster-son striding at a great pace, I came up alongside the young Noldo who had so brashly intruded upon us and spoke to him gently. “Be not shamed, young one. I merely tire of the ‘respect’ so many accord me when it precedes other matters of greater importance. Now, tell me of your name. I know your father, Glorfëo, from across the Sea and he is a worthy Elda.”
At my words, he swelled up with pride and spoke, “My thanks to my Lord! My name is Glorfindel, son of Glorfëo!”
I smiled at his bright face and said for foresight again came to me, “My pleasure, Glorfindel! Certainly, you are your father’s son and I have no doubt that you will live up to Glorfëo’s measure.” As indeed he did for songs are sung of Glorfindel of the House of the Golden Flower who fought a Balrog of Morgoth and sacrificed himself for the remnant of Gondolin still in the Halls of Manwë.
Again he smiled and made as if to speak, but I interrupted for we were in the concourse below the House of Finwë. “There is your father with Silwë at the door. Remain with us for it is crowded here and the people are restless.”
As it turned out, my words were not needed for the crowd parted swiftly for our group once they saw Arafinwë and I. So swiftly, we came to Glorfëo and Silwë, Finwë’s Steward. Glorfëo spoke first, “My lords, I give you welcome. Lord Arafinwë, your brother Nolofinwë has just left seeking you. I would advise you find him and speak to him. Glorfindel my son will accompany you.”
Arafinwë said, “My thanks, Glorfëo. I will go to my brother and see what has befallen!” And with that he and Glorfindel turned and went away amongst the crowds of Tirion.
Once they were out of sight, Silwë then spoke. “My Lord Finwë would like very much to speak to you, my Lord! With your consent, come.”
I replied, “Of course, I shall. Lead me to my son with all speed.” And so he did.
Silwë stood before me at the doors to Finwë’s private room and he cried, “The Lord Eluwë is here to speak to your Lordship!”
A noble voice, yet tinged with sadness then answered, “Let my father enter!” All of a sudden, the door opened and there before me was Finwë with tears in his eyes.
All other thoughts and concerns then fell from my mind as I beheld my Eluwion and I spoke tenderly as I had when he was but a child and held my arms open to his embrace. “Come, my child. Don’t speak yet of what has befallen.” With those words, Finwë let the tears run freely down his face and embraced me tightly as he had not for years without count.
When I sensed that he was comforted, I gently took his arms and held him apart from me and said, “My Eluwion, what has chanced? Speak to me of it.”
Finwë then removed himself from my grasp and began to speak, with trembling voice that grew stronger. “Atarinya, Fëanáro has gone too far now. He has done irresponsible things in the past that I have disregarded, but alas, he has gone too far!’
“For you see, he set sword to Nolofinwë! This is what happened; Nolofinwë was speaking before my Lords and I about how Fëanáro has been speaking of late against the Valar and crying that he should deliver the Noldor from thraldom to the Hither Lands and just as he requested me to restrain Fëanáro’s rash words, Fëanáro himself walked in and he spoke harshly to Nolofinwë and as Nolofinwë made to depart my House, Fëanáro followed him and set his sword point to Nolofinwë’s chest and made threat to him.’
“I fear now for my son, Atarinya! The Valar will not pass this over! O, the many regrets I have now, not the least of all that I did not try to restrain my son’s fire.”
As Finwë spoke, I understood his pain and felt it keenly. But I did know one thing and so I said, “My Eluwion, do not fear! Manwë is just as is Mandos! Have faith in the Valar, my son. What I do fear, however, is that Fëanáro will not see mercy when it is before him and he will see Justice as Injustice.”
At these last words of mine, Glorfëo came in and exclaimed, “My Lord Finwë, the Valar have sent summons for Curufinwë to come to Máhanaxar!”
Finwë then looked at me solemnly and said, “Atarinya, so it begins.”
I replied, “And justice shall be done, Eluwion, that I can promise you!”
It was a somber scene that Finwë and I gazed upon as we stood within the Ring of Doom. The Valar were set upon thrones, glorious in their majesty, but their countenances were far from glad as they considered Curufinwë before them. Many others of the Noldor were present as well for they had been summoned verily as Fëanáro had been and questioned, but the matter of the deeds of the son of Finwë was foremost in mind. It was Manwë who now questioned him of how these things should come about, and at the last, the malice of Melkor was plain for all to see, and with that, Tulkas leapt up and left Máhanaxar in haste to bring Melkor again to the judgment of Manwë.
However, Fëanáro was not forgotten by the Valar and now Mandos spoke to him, “Thou speakest of thraldom. If thraldom it be, thou canst not escape it; for Manwë is king of Arda, and not of Aman only. And this deed was unlawful, whether in Aman or not in Aman. Therefore this doom is now made: for twelve years thou shalt leave Tirion where this threat was uttered. In that time take counsel with thyself, and remember who and what thou art. But after that time this matter shall be set in peace and held redressed, if others will release thee.”
Nolofinwë then arose saying, “I will release my brother.” And I was much pleased with him, but Fëanáro made no answer and stood before the Valar silent for a few moments before turning and departing from the Ring of Doom.
In the time following his exile, Fëanáro went forth from Tirion to a strong place north of Valimar that was set upon the knee of the last mountain of a spur jutting out from the main march of the Pelóri. This he fortified into a great fortress called Formenos. With him went his seven sons, and Finwë King of the Noldor for love of his firstborn; also a part of the Noldor of Tirion removed thence as well. Lost to all who dwelt in Aman were the Silmarilli as well for Fëanáro kept them in a great iron vault and begrudged the sight of them to all but his sons and his beloved father.
This however did not include Nerdanel Istarnië for she saw her husband’s wrongs; yet do not think she was cold at heart! She loved Fëanáro with all her fëa and despaired at his exile, but in the end, she did what she did for love of the Valar as did Indis, wife of Finwë. For Indis’ part, she removed back to the Halls of Manwë with her daughters, Findis and Irien, while Nerdanel remained in the fair dwelling where she dwelt with her husband and raised her seven sons. This was only the beginning of the great parting, and a great sadness it was to Nerdanel the Wise.
The sentence of Mandos was just, yet to Fëanáro it was further proof of the truth of the lies of Melkor that besotted his fëa for Nolofinwë was King in Tirion since Finwë cast away his kingship to be with his firstborn in exile.
For two years* after the exile of Fëanáro, Melkor fled from all light and knowledge into unknown shadows so that he may escape from the wrath of the Valar. None knows of a surety where he fled, but it is my belief that he came even to Beleriand at times, under the faint light of the ancient stars, and commanded all evil things to move and come forth from the North and East into Beleriand so that all may be made ready for his return. For as was told to me by masters of lore who survived the destruction of Doriath, it was at this time that the Naugrim spoke to King Thingol of Avari fleeing West over the Ered Luin from darkness in the East that even as they was moving west.
Once his work was done, Melkor all of a sudden came to Formenos, asking of Fëanáro’s audience. There he said many words of friendship and seeming wisdom. “Behold the truth of all that I have spoken, and how thou art banished unjustly. But if the heart of Curufinwë is yet free and bold as were his words in Tirion, then I will aid him, and bring him far from this narrow land. For am I not Vala also? Yea, and more than those who sit in pride in Valimar; and I have ever been a friend to the Noldor, most skilled and valiant of the people of Arda.”
It was said by Makalaurë, son of Fëanáro, that verily his father wavered in his hate of Melkor and considered his visitor silently for some moments till Melkor seeing deep into his heart spoke with a seeming fair voice, “Here is a strong place, and well guarded; but think not that the Silmarils will lie safe in any treasury within the realm of the Valar!”
But upon these words, any blindness that remained upon Fëanáro’s fëa was loosed and his heart blazed up in anger as he perceived, through the shadows of Melkor’s mind, a lust for the Silmarilli. Hatefully he spoke, “Get thee gone from my gate, thou jail-crow of Mandos!” With that, he slammed his door shut in the face of Melkor, greatest of all in Arda and black was Melkor’s anger at this.
But he was afraid for he was in peril, having shown himself openly in Valinor so he departed thence. And Finwë was much disquieted by these events so he sent messengers to Valimar to bring tidings even to Manwë of what had befallen.
I was there with Ingwë as the messengers rode up crying that they had great tidings for Manwë’s ears. He bade them to reveal these and they spoke of Melkor’s coming to Formenos. At once, Tulkas and Oromë made to leave, but more messengers came then in haste from Tirion saying that Melkor had passed through the Calacirya and then northward by the havens of Alqualondë in a shape of power yet wreathed in black shadow towards the regions known as Araman.
So it was that Melkor indeed departed from Valinor and the Light of the Trees shone unsullied and all was light again as it was before the fateful day at the Ring of Doom. But joy was now marred for all the people of Valinor as all felt that doom hung but by a narrow thread.
Atarinya- my father
*Valian years- equivalent to roughly 10 Years of the Sun