Now the Valar indeed had taken the paths that Melkor’s feet had trodden from Formenos through the Calacirya and beyond, but no sign of Melkor was to be found in Valinor or the Hither Lands. So it was that there was an uneasy peace in Aman, yet Manwë, looking down from Ilmarin on high, would fain heal all hurts and distrust among the Eldalië.
So it was that at the time of the first fruit-gathering that Manwë called for a great feast, yet to be more splendid than any since our coming to Aman. To this the Vanyar came and the Noldor of Tirion, as well as the Maiar, to sing and dance praises to Eru before the Valar, set in majesty upon their thrones. It was indeed a great and glad feast that promised bliss and joy yet to come. But one thing only marred Manwë’s great design.
He had commanded Fëanáro alone to come, and Fëanáro came indeed, for despite all distrust, Manwë was King of Arda. But Finwë came not as neither did the Noldor of Formenos for Finwë upon receiving the invitation of Manwë said, “While the ban lasts upon Fëanáro my son, that he may not go to Tirion, I hold myself unkinged, and I will not meet my people.”
Great was my grief upon hearing these words. I had sorely desired for Finwë to come and partake of the festival with Ingwë, his brother, and I. Further was my grief deepened as I saw the Prince Fëanáro enter the Halls of Manwë.
Song and laughter halted as he entered the hall and all looked to greet the Son of Finwë in joy, yet he came in raiment of sable and bore no jewels or ornament, verily even the Silmarils, and denied us that sight. He was cold and hard as adamant as he stood before us, yet Nolofinwë stood and received him with reverence. Then he lead his half brother before the Throne of Manwë and forgave him all grievance saying, “As I promised, I do now. I release thee, and remember no grievance.” There was silence from Fëanáro, yet he grasped Nolofinwë’s hand all the tighter as Nolofinwë continued. “Half brother in blood, full brother in heart will I be. Thou shalt lead and I will follow. May no new grief divide us.”
Finally, Fëanáro’s lips curled slightly and his eyes shone and he spoke, “I hear thee. So be it.”
Even as they clasped hands tightly and I smiled at seeing them so joined together, the Mingling of the Lights came and all was lit with silver and gold, yet the last thing I saw of light was the gleam in Fëanáro’s eye.
Suddenly, the Darkness came. The Light of the Trees failed and all things disappeared from sight as if one cast a black veil over the Sun. Yet this was not darkness. I had experienced darkness by the shores of Cuiviénen with only the faint stars to illumine it ever so faintly. This was a Darkness of malice; malice of light! All sound fell dead and the will was strangled as if wrapped in a net.
As I felt this, I began crying to Manwë for aid, and as I did, he spoke, “Be calmed, young one. I shall call the winds so that they may gather these foul vapors out over Belegaer and we may have the light of the stars.” As he spoke, I heard the howling of the great West Wind and it blew in and around us, plying and tossing our hair, taking along with it the black substance that had so choked us a moment before.
As I began to see by the light of the ancient stars, I heard the wailing of the Falmari far below us upon the strands of Alqualondë, bemoaning the loss of the Light and crying for comfort.
Then the hunt began; a great riding in pursuit of Melkor. I was in that host with Oromë and Tulkas as were many of the Vanyar and Maiar. Our spears glinted like ice below the stars and the thunder of horses’ hooves filled the night, yet when we drew close to our quarry, we were again enmeshed in black vapors and were lost in the night. I heard the Valaróma falter and fail and we were powerless until the Winds of Manwë freed us from our captivity, but it was unavailing, for Melkor had already come and gone.
It was hours later when we returned thence to Valimar where all others had gathered. We had gone through the Calacirya north to the boundaries of the Helcaraxë but no sign of Melkor and his unseen ally were to be found. The airs were clear and the Valar were gathered round Ezellohar in Máhanaxar as we gazed upon Yavanna mournfully laying hand on each Tree, first Telperion the Eldest, and now Laurelin, the Fire Golden, trying to recall them. But to no avail. As she touched them, branches would break and fall at her feet and in dismay, many voices wept and lamented the fate that had befallen.
Then lo! Yavanna spoke: “The Light of the Trees has passed away, and lives only in the Silmarils of Fëanáro. Foresighted was he! Even for those who are mightiest under Ilúvatar there is some work that they may accomplish once, and once only. The light of the Trees I brought into being, and within Eä I can do so never again. Yet I had but a little of that light I could recall life to the Trees, ere their roots decay; and then our hurt should be healed, and the malice of Melkor be confounded.”
And Manwë added, “Hearest thou, Fëanáro son of Finwë, the words of Yavanna? Wilt thou grant what she would ask?” But Fëanáro remained silent and made no move to speak.
And Tulkas then exclaimed, “Speak, O Noldo, yea or nay! But who shall deny Yavanna? And did not the Light of the Silmarils come from her work in the beginning?”
But then Aulë spoke. “Be not hasty! We ask a greater thing than thou knowest. Let him have peace yet awhile.”
Barely had Aulë spoken when Fëanáro broke his silence. “For the less even as for the greater there is some deed that he may accomplish but once only; and in that deed his heart shall rest. It may be that I can unlock my jewels, but never again shall I make their like; and if I must break them, I shall break my heart; and I shall be slain; first of all the Eldar in Aman.”
And Mandos said: “Not the first”. But none comprehended the meaning of his words. For a while all was silent as Fëanáro stood upon Ezellohar until he raised his head again to meet the gaze of Manwë.
He cried then, “This thing I will not do of free will. But if the Valar will constrain me, then I will know indeed that Melkor is of their kindred!”
Mandos replied, “Thou hast spoken.” And all wept as Nienna went upon the Green Mound and washed the carcasses of the Trees clean of Ungoliantë’s defilement with her grey tears.
Suddenly the sound of horses’ hooves galloping, galloping from the North was heard and in another moment the Sons of Fëanáro burst through the crowd and gasping, Maitimo cried, “Blood and darkness! Finwë the King is slain, and the Silmarils are taken!” As these words rang through the air, Fëanáro collapsed heavily upon the grass as if he had been struck by a lightning bolt and did not move.
Maitimo continued speaking and addressed Manwë. “My lord, it was the day of festival, but the king was heavy with grief at the departure of my father; a foreboding was upon him. He would not go from the house. We were irked by the idleness and silence of the day, and we went riding towards the Green Hills. Our faces were northward, but suddenly we were aware that all was growing dim. The Light was failing. In dread we turned and rode back in haste, seeing great shadows rise up before us. But even as we drew near to Formenos the darkness came upon us; and in the midst was a blackness like a cloud that enveloped our father’s house.’
‘We heard the sound of great blows struck. Out of the cloud we saw a sudden flame of fire. And then there was one piercing cry. But when we urged on our horses they reared and cast us to the ground, and they fled away wild. We lay upon our faces without strength; for suddenly the cloud came on, and we were blind. But it passed us by and moved away North at great speed. Melkor was there we do not doubt. But not he alone! Some other power was with him, some huge evil: even as it passed it robbed us of all wit and will.’
‘Darkness and blood! When we could move again we came to the house. There we found the king slain at the door,” and at these words, I gasped and I saw Ingwë to my right suddenly tense as he continued, “His head was crushed as with a great mace of iron. We found no others: all had fled, and he had stood alone, defiant. That is plain; for his sword lay beside him, twisted and untempered as if by lightning stroke. All the house was broken and ravaged. Naught is left. The treasuries are empty. The chamber of iron is torn apart. The Silmarils are taken!”
Suddenly, Fëanáro rose and then raising his fist to the sky, he cried cursing Melkor and naming him Morgoth, the Black Foe of the World and continued to curse the summons of Manwë and the hour of his coming to Taniquetil, for he thought that mayhap his strength would have availed to repel Morgoth from Formenos. Yet, that was in vain for he would have been slain in hand as well which was plainly part of Morgoth’s purpose in coming to Formenos. Finally, utterly distraught, he cried again, cursing his Enemy and ran out into the night from the Ring of Doom.
As Fëanáro disappeared, Maitimo cried to his brothers to mount up, but I stood and stayed them. Then swiftly coming, I came to Maitimo and asked, “Finwë had no assistance? None?”
Young Nelyafinwë cast his eyes away in shame and said, “None, but his sword, Atarinya! That I have brought, but it has been forgotten up to now,” and he reached over his horse’s saddle and pulled out a badly twisted sword whose light had perished. It was indeed the selfsame sword that Finwë used to vanquish Kosomet when I had lain at his mercy. He continued, “Ye may have it, my Lord Eluwë, as a token of your second lost foster-son. He who bore it fought bravely when none would face the danger.” And he delivered it into my hands and said, “But, my beloved Elder, I must leave you and try to apprehend my father. I fear for him!”
I replied, “Then go, young Nelyafinwë, with my blessing. With the foresight that is given unto me, I say, we shall meet again soon. May Eru be with you!”
Now I went to young Nolofinwë and spoke, “You are now truly King of the Noldor, for Curufinwë is exiled still. You must return to Tirion with the Noldor and order it so that the White City may be at peace, as much as it may in this day of darkness.”
Nolofinwë replied, “Yes, I perceive that I must do this; take up my father’s lordship truly. But it would comfort me if you would accompany me and assist me.”
I smiled then and said, “If it is in accordance with Manwë’s will, I will do so. Besides, it is time that I saw to Nerdanel, wife of Curufinwë. She will want to know what has befallen.”
Suddenly, I felt a thought penetrate my mind. It is well, Eluwë, that ye may go to Eldamar! Go with my goodwill. Great was my surprise for I had rarely had one speak to my fëa so since the loss of Eluwën, but I knew that this was easily within his power. All thoughts aside, I would do what Manwë wished!
It was dark in Tirion when we entered the Gates and the winds blew chill around our host as a fog moved in and wreathed the city in obscurity with only the pale light from the Tower of the Mindon penetrating the gloom.
Then I felt a presence that I recognized. “Nerdanel!” I cried as I dismounted and strode forward. I stared forward into the gathering gloom and nothing could my eyes perceive, yet my fëa told me that it was otherwise.
A gentle voice replied then, “Atarinya! Eluwë! Eluwë!” and I felt the presence moving swiftly toward me. In another second, I dimly discerned a cloaked shape that wrapped its thin but strong limbs around my neck and kissed my cheek.
“Nerdanel! How do you fare,” I asked clasping her face and looking into her face. It was the same face, full of wisdom for one so young, that I remembered. I took her hand and led her to my horse, barely giving her the opportunity to speak until she had mounted and was firmly upon my steed. Again, I repeated my question as I took my horse by the reins and rejoined the party of Nolofinwë and Arafinwë, “How do you fare, wise one?”
She spoke soberly, “Not well, my lord! I fear much has befallen, much grief. Is that not so? For the light faileth, and beyond that, I fear more evil to be and to come.”
Nolofinwë then spoke, “It is so, sister! But I will let my Lord Eluwë speak of these things!”
I spoke. “It is true what Nolofinwë says. Doom has overtaken us. Melkor, whom your husband nameth Morgoth, has called upon some aid outside of Arda and has slain the Trees as well as murdered Finwë and taken the Silmarils! Woe to Curufinwë, for he had made peace with his brother, but in that very moment, the Light failed. Now I fear he will do some dreadful thing!”
Nerdanel said, “Alas! I fear the same. Fëanáro has a willful spirit that does not brook misfortune and evil. If I know my lord, he will seek revenge upon the Morgoth!”
And truly she spoke, as then I heard the powerful voice of the Prince, Fëanáro son of Finwë, commanding all in Tirion to hearken to him below the Mindon!
There a great crowd gathered with many torches, and foremost before all was I, and Nerdanel and the rest of the Children of Finwë to hear the words spoken. And fiery and cunning were they indeed. My heart did indeed give ear to him, but fortunately, I was not steeped in the lies of Morgoth as he was! Much of his hatred was given to Morgoth, but little did he know then that much of what he said was derived from the tongue of the Deceiver. He claimed the Kingship of the Noldor then and spake against the Valar and urged the Noldor to swift deeds to flee then from Valinor and pursue Morgoth to the ends of the World with War undying til the Silmarils should be taken and they be the Lords of the wide Lands to the East, even to the exclusion of Man.
Finally, he swore a terrible oath and immediately his sons leapt to his side and repeated it along with him. So swore Curufinwë Fëanáro the father, and Nelyafinwë, Kanafinwë, Turkafinwë, Morifinwë, Curufinwë, Pityafinwë, and Telufinwë:
amp;quot;Be he foe or friend, be he foul or clean,
brood of Morgoth or bright Vala.
Elda or Maia or Aftercomer,
Man yet unborn upon Middle-earth,
neither law, nor love, nor league of swords,
dread nor danger, not Doom itself,
shall defend him from Fëanáro, and Fëanáro’s kin,
whoso hideth or hoardeth, or in hand taketh,
finding keepeth or afar casteth,
a Silmaril. This swear we all:
death we will deal him ere Day’s ending,
woe unto world’s end! Our word hear thou,
Eru Allfather! To the everlasting
Darkness doom us if our deed faileth.
On the holy mountain hear in witness
And our vow remember, Manwë and Varda!"
Indeed, I and many others feared to hear such words; they swore even by Eru Ilúvatar himself! Such an oath may not be broken and it pursueth oathkeeper or oathbreaker to the End! So it was then that Nolofinwë and Turukáno his son spake fiercely against those words. Words would have come to the point of swords if it had not been for wise Arafinwë and I. Arafinwë, as always, sought peace and spoke with gentle words to persuade the Noldor to consider before rash deeds were done that could not be revoked.
Many of the princes of the Noldor in that day were divided, but most of all, I remember Artanis! She alone, amongst the princes, stood tall and debated with even Curufinwë Fëanáro himself. She swore no oaths like his sons, but Fëanáro’s words had pierced her heart as an arrow, and even though she was forever disdainful and suspicious of Fëanáro’s motives, she was eager to begone and come even to Middle-earth.
Finally, the debate was over. Fëanáro had won the day and prevailed, despite many others’ protestations including mine, and he had set aflame the hearts of the Noldor so that they were restless. So that when Arafinwë spoke again, a great shout went up, “Nay, let us be gone!” And many went immediately to prepare for the march.
As Fëanáro began to depart with his sons from the courtyard, I strode up to him and demanded, “What madness is this, son of Finwë?” It was a mistake for I was overly wrathful.
He in turn became angry. “So! my Lord Eluwë is cozened by the Valar! Manwë is who your loyalty belongeth to. Leave me lest I become overly wrathful!” And he made to turn from me!
But then Nerdanel sprang up with a cry and pled with Fëanáro not to depart. It pained my heart greatly to see the daughter of Urundil with tears in her eyes, beseeching her beloved not to depart forever from her. I could see that her sad words had an effect for the hardness of Fëanáro’s eyes was softened and he held her narrow waist gently as she clasped his neck. Then in a moment, all tenderness was gone.
For Fëanáro then said, “Melmenya, wouldst thou swear loyalty to your lord and husband and come with me to the Hither Lands instead of staying here in the land of the Valar who have deceived so many? Come, it would comfort me greatly to know that thou were at my side!”
And Nerdanel with shining tears now falling freely said, “Finwion, I cannot!” With that, anger came into Fëanáro’s eyes and he pushed her roughly away. Yet she continued, “It is you, husband, who is deceived! It is the one named Morgoth who has blinded you. Will thy not stay and lead our people through this darkness with the death of Finwë and the Trees? You, who are accounted the greatest of the Eldar? Stay and do not divide our family!”
She paused to consider Fëanáro’s countenance and she spoke, “Leave to me our two youngest, the twins Ambarussa, or if thou wilt not, at the very least, one if thou will not remain!”
As Nerdanel spoke, Fëanáro’s demeanor became increasingly wrathful till he said: “Were you a true wife, as you had been till you were cozened by Aulë, you would keep all of them, for you would come with us. If you desert me, you desert also all of our children. For they are determined to go with their father.”
Now Nerdanel was bitter and said, “You will not keep all of them. One of them at least will never set foot upon Middle-earth!”
And Fëanáro replied, “Take your evil omens to the Valar who will delight in them. I defy them!”
I then spoke when I had been silent, “This thing you plan to do, it has an evil taint upon it. I ask you, son of Finwë, consider one more time what you would do. Above all, do not come to such a parting with your beloved. Remember mine!”
Fëanáro then exclaimed, “Did I not tell you to leave my presence!?” Yet I stood silent, looking unceasingly upon his white face, orange by virtue of the light of the torches that so lit Tirion that the walls appeared to be on fire.
Suddenly, two friends and lords of the Prince that I knew, Vëatuo and Alcarin, came forward and took me roughly by the arms as if to drag me out of Fëanáro’s presence. But Fëanáro cried, “Leave the Lord Eluwë! I would not have him dragged away like a vagabond! Let him depart of his own will.”
At this, I smiled sadly and came up to him and grasped his hand warmly. “You have my love, Finwion! This is a parting that is beyond my power to see to the end. Long may it be, even to the end of the world, that we may meet again. And so it is with great sadness, that I bid you farewell.” And with that, I bowed deeply and then departed from Fëanáro’s presence for the last time.
As I departed with Nerdanel at my side, I heard a great cry. “Amillë!” It was Maitimo and the rest of the sons of Fëanáro who came swiftly up to meet us.
Maitimo spoke again, “Amillë, where do you go? Are you not coming with us? And mayhap, the Lord Eluwë will too? That would be a great stroke against Morgoth! But I doubt he will!”
Curufinwë then added, cunningly, “I daresay my brother is correct. My Lord Eluwë would never betray Manwë, not even for any love! And our beloved Amillë is now come to a great sundering!”
With great emotion, Nerdanel replied, “Curvo is correct! Deep does he see beyond what eyes may see. Eluwë will not be departing to the Hither Lands and neither will I! Even as I see great folly in your father’s plans, I still love him as you do. But your father says you are accompanying him. Is this true?”
The twins Ambarussa began to speak with great consternation, but Maitimo and Makalaurë exchanged quick looks and Maitimo said with some slow hesitation, “Yes, Amillë. We will not leave Atar to face the Morgoth alone!”
Makalaurë added, “And we have sworn solemn vows by Eru Ilúvatar Himself that Manwë and Varda are witness to and we are doomed to the Darkness if we do not keep our oath! Nay, we will not swerve aside from our Doom.”
Suddenly I heard a great shouting come from the concourse below the Mindon and I exclaimed, “What is that?!”
Tyelkormo replied, “That would be Nolofinwë and Arafinwë, arguing again with Atar about what actions are to be taken even as we are nearly ready to depart. They do not wish to undertake this War, craven as they are, but since the Noldor are of such mind as Atar, they must go or lose their people! One of my father’s loyal captains, in fact, overheard Nolofinwë saying to Arafinwë that he would not leave the Noldor to Atar’s tempers.”
I then said, “And of course, this captain would report this to Fëanáro?” Tyelkormo nodded. “Then I must take my leave of you, and I fear for the last time!”
Makalaurë cried, “My Lord, fare well! And mayhap, we shall meet again!”
I came and grasped his shoulder as I said, “I shall, and I put the same blessing upon you, O Child of Song! Be filled with nolmë and let it guide you through what comes!”
When I had said farewell to the Sons of Fëanáro and spoken words of comfort to Nerdanel, I departed thence and approached the Court of the Tower of Ingwë and heard more of the argument. It appeared that Tyelkormo was correct in what the issue of contention was between the sons of Finwë.
But as I was about to come upon them, I heard a powerful voice crying, the voice of Eönwë, Herald of Manwë!
“These are the words of Manwë! Hearken, ye Noldor: ‘Against the folly of Fëanáro is set my counsel only. Go not forth! For the hour is evil, and your road leads to sorrow that ye do not foresee. No aid will the Valar lend you in this quest; but neither will they hinder you; for this ye shall know: as ye came hither freely, freely shall ye depart. But thou Fëanáro Finwë’s son, by thine oath art exiled. The lies of Melkor thou shalt unlearn in bitterness. Vala he is, thou saist. Then thou hast sworn in vain, for none of the Valar canst thou overcome now or ever within the halls of Eä, not though Eru whom thou namest had made thee thrice greater than thou art.'”
Fëanáro began laughing incredulously and cried, addressing the Noldor, “So! Then will this valiant people send forth the heir of their King alone into banishment with his sons only and return to their bondage? But if any will come with me, this I say to them: Is sorrow foreboded to you? But in Aman we have seen it. In Aman we have come through bliss to woe. The other now we will try: through sorrow to find joy; or freedom, at the least.”
Now turning to Eönwë, he spoke again, his voice rising, “Say this to Manwë Súlimo High King of Arda: If Fëanáro cannot overthrow Morgoth, at least he delays not to assail him, and sits not idle in grief. And it may be that Eru has set in me a fire greater than thou knowest. Such hurt at least will I do to the Foe of the Valar that even the mighty in Máhanaxar shall wonder to hear it. Yea, in the end they shall follow me. Farewell!”
And Eönwë now bowed before Fëanáro and made to depart even as Fëanáro motioned for the trumpets to be blown in signal to the Noldor to move out of Tirion! But swiftly did I come to Eönwë’s side.
Much joy was upon his shining face when he saw me. “”Eluwë, I am glad to find you well! I feared for thee since it seems that the Noldor have verily been set aflame by the words of Curufinwë Fëanáro!”
I replied, “I am well, friend! I did have hands laid upon me,” and Eönwë’s face darkened, but I continued, “but Fëanáro stayed them and commanded them to let me be! He is still Elda, and the greatest of our race, but he is maddened by the lies of Morgoth and the death of Finwë!’
‘But come, friend! We must report what we have seen and heard to Manwë!”
We came finally to Máhanaxar and it was Calio, a Maia of Manwë who admitted us to our Lord’s presence. I reported all that had chanced since I had left for Tirion with the host of Nolofinwë and the Noldor and then Eönwë told of the answers of Fëanáro to Manwë’s message. It was then that Manwë bowed his head and wept, a most grievous sight for Ingwë and I! But when the last words of Fëanáro were told, of the Noldor doing deeds that would be the matter of song for ages yet to come, he raised his head with clear eyes and spoke, “So shall it be! Dear-bought those songs shall be accounted, and yet shall be well-bought. For the price could be no other. Thus even as Eru spoke to us shall beauty not before conceived come into Eä, and evil yet be good to have been.”
But Mandos added, “And yet remain evil. To me shall Fëanáro come soon.”
Then it was that the Valar and Maiar remained silent, in their deep thought that flows from the beginning to the end, as the Vanyar sang mournfully of the Bliss that had been and lamented the Death of the Trees and of Finwë, the Theft of the Silmarils, and of the Flight of the Noldor; our ancient friends. Long it was that we stood there in the Ring of Doom.
But Mandos stirred and spoke again: “Now Doom fast approacheth. Blood and Blood! It would be well if the Vanyar rode to Alqualondë! There is need there.”
So it was that Ingwë and I and some of the Maiar rode at the head of a host of Vanyar to the succor of the Teleri. I feared something dreadful had been wrought by the fleeing Noldor, but my thoughts were but shadows compared to what had happened. Even as we came through the Calacirya and turned north along the coasts towards Alqualondë, we heard the sad eerie wailing of the Falmari in endless lament and beheld great smokes rising from the City of the Swans and our hearts were tight with apprehension.
As we entered the pearly gates of the City, horror beyond comprehension greeted us. Burning and fallen buildings, white Telerin ships with flaming sails run aground, and dead and dying Teleri in the streets and on the piers. Those of the Teleri who were unhurt or less grievously injured began crying with fresh hope, “The Vanyar come to our aid! King Ingwë and the Lord Eluwë come!”
So then we dismounted and went about assisting our fallen brethren as much as we could. Before long it was that many of our white robes were stained deep with red blood! But glad were we to be able to render aid in their utmost need. So it was that I met Gaerion, childhood friend of Nerdanel!
I found him as I walked along a pier that ran alongside a burning ship; the golden tengwar runes upon its bow named it the Uinenlindë. He was badly wounded, run through by a sword! He spoke in jumbled sentences. “…slew Father! But I fought him…better swordsman….Makalaurë, O gentle son of his father, slew mine.”
At these words, my face was drained of blood, and even in his condition, he recognized me and asked, “Is my Lord well? I am sorry if I am causing you distress.”
I smiled, despite my deep concern, and spoke gently, “No, you are most certainly not! It is what has been wrought here that distresses me so. Who was your father, O Teler?”
“Gilfanon was my father! And a great Captain of Ships was he! I am Gaerion his son.”
And now my heart sank even more. This was a Teler I knew from the Great Journey. He had come across the Belegaer with King Olwë upon Tol Eressëa to Aman. A great and glad Elda was he and grieved was I to learn of his death, and at the hands of gentle Makalaurë!
I spoke again and bluntly. “Gaerion, it is no secret that you are gravely hurt and beyond my arts. Permit me to carry you from this place to where others can assist you.”
“But the Uinenlindë!” he protested.
Firmly I said, “The ship will remain where it is, son of Gilfanon. We are here now, not the Noldor. We will assist the Teleri, no more. Now permit me to assist you.” After a moment’s reflection, he sighed and nodded and allowed me to pick him up and carry him back to the City where the Maiar were at their work.
I laid him into the care of a Maia of Aulë named Curumo; you know of him in these later days. It was he that was surnamed Saruman, but back then, he was yet uncorrupted and loyal to the Valar. It was then as I conferred with Curumo on Gaerion’s condition that Eärtur and Eärcáno, the sons of King Olwë and brothers of the Lady Eärwen wife of Arafinwë, rode up in great haste.
It was the elder of the two, Eärtur that spoke first, “My Lords Ingwë and Eluwë, my father King Olwë, bids you come to his house. He has need of your counsel!”
Ingwë replied, “And he shall have it! Lead us there, brave sons of Olwë!”
As indeed they did. It was only after some minutes of hard riding that we reached the pearl-wrought mansions of Olwë and entered his white gates. Some servants, one with a bleeding forehead, came and took our horses for stabling. This prompted Ingwë to comment: “Strong and enduring are the Teleri!”
Eärcáno said then with pride, “That is true, my Lord! But we are grieved beyond grief and sorely in need. Great evils have befallen us. First the Light fails, and now this!”
I spoke for the first time, “Yes, these are most evil times. All wrought by Melkor who is now named Morgoth. Hold the Noldor not entirely accountable for this. They have been driven to madness. This does not excuse their actions however, and it may seem cold comfort to you. But I tell you, tainted though as it may seem, happier times will come again!”
Eärtur replied, “I would hope so, my Lord! But in times such as these, it is indeed cold comfort. Blood has begotten blood. But we come to my father’s hall and should enter quietly. Heavy does grief lay on the King’s shoulders.”
Eärtur and Eärcáno then went before us and drew open the heavy doors revealing a long hall with a pearly throne set upon a black dais. Seated upon the throne was a tall Elda with flowing silver hair with bowed head and a white crown in his lap; deep in thought did he appear to be. Ingwë and I approached slowly while our escorts remained at the doors, watching.
Barely in a whisper that even Elven ears could hardly perceive, Olwë spoke: “The betrayed now doth betray. Great evil has been done as I am sure you have seen, my father and brother. Long ago it was that I pledged everlasting friendship to Fëanáro son of Finwë. Yet he has accused me of forgetting it for not giving him our treasured ships and remaining loyal to the Valar. Why has this happened? Nay! I wish not to know, Atarinya!’
“You would ask me to consider Curufinwë as if through a many-faceted glass and not to see him as the monster he was. But I do not wish to see. He slew many of our valiant mariners for what was not his. Indeed, his people nearly came into this hall even by the valour of Eärtur and Eärcáno! It was only by the House of Arafinwë that my family and I were saved! Alqualondë will be remembered by all the Eldar!”
“You speak truly, brother! But remember: the Valar do not forget. And it is they who shall judge the Noldor. Not you, Olwë! You are free to do as you wish, but also remember this: the Noldor shall suffer manyfold what you have, so Manwë has proclaimed! If that comforts you, let it be so. I would hope that the wisdom of King Olwë could though, in time, come to forgive these deeds. I am not speaking of forgetfulness, but forgiveness,” Ingwë sighed and continued, “But now is not the time for thought. The Falmari are in need. Tell us what we can do, beloved brother.”
At this, Olwë raised his head and smiled a wan smile. “You ask the impossible, Ingwë, for now. Your wisdom is full grown and you have a generous heart, but I do not possess these things. Perhaps in time, I will come to them. But as you say, it is the time for action. Let us go forth!”
Days later, as you mortal men would say, our host was still only merely beginning to heal the grievously wounded when a runner, a young Teler, came through Alqualondë claiming the banner of Arafinwë had been sighted in the North making its way towards the ruined havens.
And indeed, Arafinwë it was! Soon, his host was within the city with Arafinwë at its head and he marched to meet Ingwë, Olwë, and I upon the steps to his hall. With bowed head, he approached us and his banner was furled. I also noticed that many of the Noldor in his following kept their eyes averted for the most part while the Teleri looked at them askance and with much animosity.
Silent we stood for some minutes: the Vanyar with neutral expressions, the Teleri with anger, and the Noldor with shame-filled countenances. Finally, Arafinwë raised his head to meet Olwë’s steady gaze and began to speak, with fair face drained of color, but Olwë raised his hand and cried in a great voice: “My people, hear the words of Olwë! These are not the Kinslayers! They defended the House of Olwë and Alqualondë from Fëanáro and his folk! In matters that pertain to us, they are guiltless. Let no Noldo here be judged by any Teler! For other matters, it is the part of the Valar to judge!’
“Hearken now, Arafinwë son of Finwë! The Teleri have but one request of the Noldor. Wilt thou now take and use your own hands to help heal our hurts that have been given us by your kinsfolk?”
As Olwë spoke, Arafinwë’s eyes brightened and the Noldor raised their heads and all looked upon Olwë with wonder in that hour. At Olwë’s request, Arafinwë all but sang, “So far as my hands will go, they shall go and be at the service of the noble King Olwë!” and turning, he spoke to the Noldor behind, “What do ye say, O Noldor?”
And as one voice, the people of Finwë cried, “Our hands too will we lend to Olwë!”
For many months, while Fëanáro and Nolofinwë along with the rest of the Exiles toiled in the North and treachery drew close, the Vanyar and Noldor of Arafinwë worked gladly with the Falmari to heal hurts and rebuild the Haven of the Swans. Shortly before the Vanyar and Noldor were to leave Alqualondë for their homes, Olwë summoned Ingwë, Arafinwë, Eärwen, Eärtur, Eärcáno, and I to a private feast in his hall. There was much joy and many blessings were given freely from one to another. Near the end, Eärcáno laughing said, “So it seems the Lord Eluwë possesses much wisdom and foresight! Just a while before, all seemed hopeless, but as my Lord said, ‘Happier times will come again!’ That has been proven true. We shall never forget the Kinslaying, but we shall never forget what followed!”
Arafinwë then said, “Well spoken, son of Olwë and brother! This time has been beyond my greatest hopes. Not even a shadow of a dream of this came into my mind as we trudged down from the North after the Prophecy of the North. But marred is my joy for my children have not come with me. They have dared to put the Ban of the Valar upon them; fair Findaráto, the twins Angaráto and Aikanáro, and wise Artanis have all followed Nolofinwë my brother to the Hither Lands. I fear for them.”
And as Arafinwë spoke, Eärwen put her fair hand upon his and said, “They are your children and mine, but it was their choice. If they come to evil, so be it. As for me, I have hope that they will find what they seek and be content, but if they do not, then I say that they will have high destinies and deeds set before them. Great will the children of Arafinwë be!”
To this I added, “The Lady Eärwen speaks true. I have known your children since their births back in the Days of Light and they are of a line high and fair. No ignominious doom is in store for them. And even if indeed they perish, they shall walk in Tirion with thee, their father before long in the life of the Eldar. Fear not!”
Arafinwë replied, “Much comfort do these words bring me, yet also shall they suffer much before they may come to this blessed land of their birth. Nonetheless, let us all pray for their well-being and for the Valar to watch over them, even if Valinor is kept shut before them.”
And Ingwë said, “It shall be so, son of Finwë! Even if the ban is set upon them, Manwë who sits upon Taniquetil has them ever in his heart and will not lightly forsake the Noldor utterly.”
Of some length was the march from Alqualondë to Valimar and so we halted in Tirion so that Arafinwë could gain some rest and peace of mind before facing the Valar in the Ring of Doom. He alone would accompany the Vanyar to Valimar where the Valar still sat in seeming repose, ringed round the corpses of the Trees. Think not that the Valar were merely idle! They are of an order of power far beyond us, of the Eldar and Edain. They can work much in their minds and speak thence to each other as we Eldar can to an extent as well as some few Edain. But little can any Elda, even mighty Curufinwë, come close to match the Valar in power of mind.
Now, it was in these first days that Tirion was reoccupied that I now truly saw how few the people of Finwë had become. For every house retaken, another dozen remained empty. Long gone were the many feet of the great and industrious people that had dwelt there and now Tirion was a city of memory: memory of light and memory of high kings, bright princes and ladies, and laughing elven-children. Many a Vanya wept at the sight; their ancient home being but a shell of what remained in memory. But Arafinwë was lord now and he must, as the Edain now say, ‘make the most of it’.
After some short time of refreshment, the Vanyar and the new lord of the Noldor marched to Valimar, to Máhanaxar. Grave were the countenances of the Valar as Arafinwë came to stand before Manwë and long was the silence before Arafinwë spoke. “My lord, I come to seek pardon for myself and the Noldor who have returned with me as Mandos said we had the freedom to do. I come with a humble heart and do know that we have made a grave mistake and have caused much grief to thee, my lord Manwë. If you will, speak now, for we crave your forgiveness and pardon!”
Immediately, Manwë replied: “Arafinwë son of Finwë, thou and thy people already have my pardon. Thou have returned of your own will and regret. Thou are not guilty of the Kinslaying in Alqualondë. Thou have assisted the Teleri despite thy knowledge of their likely anger against the Noldor. And most importantly, thou hath humbled thyself and come verily here and made plea for pardon. It seemest to me that thou are, in truth, the noblest and wisest of the Children of Finwë so it pleases me that thou shall be set as High King of the Noldor even over those who have departed this realm. Go forth to Tirion and rule your people well as thy beloved father did!”
And Mandos spoke, “Well is this for the Kingship that Manwë speakest of in the Hither Lands shall perish in the changefulness of the world. Only here shall it endure.”
Kosomet- ancient name for Gothmog, Lord of Balrogs
Falmari- Teleri of Aman