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User:Narfil Palùrfalas/Fanfictions/Wind of Fire, Oath of Blood pt 3

Wind of Fire, Oath of Blood pt 3: The Doom of the Noldor

[edit] A Taste of Death

The host moved quickly, and before long they came to the sea. Alcawë was happy to see it, and his heart cried out “Alatairë! Alatairë!” This feeling surprised him.

They moved down the coast, but despite their speed they thoroughly soaked in and enjoyed the sights and sounds: the gull, the lapping of the waves, the cliffs, the rain, the music of the birds, and the bright-colored shells they found in great abundance.

After several days, a scout’s sharp eyes spotted something on the beach. Coming closer, they saw it to be the burned-out prow of a ship. But the swan’s figurehead still stood proudly, though blackened.

“We can have no doubt,” said Fingolfin. “It was near to this place that Fëanor burned the ships two days after he left us. I wonder where he went? Do you think he could have gone over the mountains?”

“I would look for a pass through them,” said Fingon. “But an elf of Fëanor’s determination – or what I would call madness – might do anything.”

“At any rate, we shall look for a pass,” said Fingolfin. “We are now to warmer lands, though not so warm as in Tirion. Let us head down the coast for a day or so and see what we shall find.”

“We have already found something,” said Turgon. His father and brothers looked at him in surprise.

“What have we found?” asked Argon.

“An enemy army,” said Turgon solemnly, pointing. True to what he said, there was a great force of orcs marching southward, just short of the mountains.

“They have seen us, I believe,” said Fingolfin tensely. “They are changing their march to our direction.”

“Do you think Morgoth knows of our presence?” asked Alcawë.

“No,” said Fingolfin. “I’m afraid we have had the bad luck to fall in with another force. My eyes tell me it must be almost a hundred thousand in number; wouldn’t you say, Argon?”

“Yes,” said Argon, who had the sharpest eyes of Fingolfin’s sons. “How many do we have?”

“I have not counted,” said Fingolfin. He turned and surveyed his followers. “About fifteen to twenty thousand.” He suddenly sounded his horn. “Let us have them form into battle-lines. They shall be here in twenty minutes.”

“It might be better to meet them on the solid ground instead of along the beach,” said Fingon. “I shall call them, and we shall go to meet the enemy.”

“Not you, your brother Turgon,” said Fingolfin sharply. “You are wounded, and cannot wield a sword. Argon shall stay beside me, with my squires.”

Alcawë was both horrified and excited by the prospect of battle. He glanced at Turotulco, whose look was eager. Then he turned to see if he could spot Alatelen and Teleporno. He could not.

He stood beside Fingolfin, and touched the gem in its pouch. He felt the power pulsating through his hands, and gripped his sword-hilt the tighter.

The horns sounded, and the Ñoldor fell into lines. Fingolfin drew his sword, and with it the other elves all flashed out their weapons, creating a hedge of white steel.

“Hold fast,” ordered Fingolfin to his bodyguard and squires. Alcawë saw Eruanno to the side, holding high the floating banner of Fingolfin. Eruanno looked at him and nodded. Alcawë drew Ristatëa and waited.

Fingolfin sounded several notes on his horn. Instantly a cloud of arrows sailed over their heads and fell among the orcs. Many fell, but still more came. Alcawë saw the orc-chieftain, a great orc nearly as tall as a man, with his mighty bodyguard around him. They carried great axes let to blacken, while their blades were stained red.

The orc-chieftain gave a cry, and charged at Fingolfin, his bodyguard following. Fingolfin and his house braced themselves for the attack.

Then the orc-line struck the elves hard. There was a flash of swords, and Alcawë was bewildered as he flailed wildly with his sword. He gradually got control of his senses, and soon his strokes were more steady and even. He could see, now. He saw the orc-chieftain had cut down three of Fingolfin’s retainers, and was headed for Fingolfin, Turgon, and Argon. Alcawë saw a squire about his own age fall to the axe of one of the bodyguard, and fall to the ground. There was a red mark on his head, a fatal blow that cut to the brain. Alcawë felt sick.

Fingolfin slew two of the bodyguard, and his sons were doing equally well. Suddenly the orc-chieftain dashed forward, and in a single stroke cut down Argon, who fell with a cry of pain. Fingolfin attacked with a rage that astonished the orcs, and slew the orc-chieftain with one sweep of his sword. Three others came, and three more of the bodyguard fell. Then the elves broke their lines and pressed forward, for the orcs were weakening.

The battle passed over the body of Argon, and Fingolfin knelt by it. He touched Argon’s motionless form in the neck and the wrists, and held his hand above Argon’s mouth. Then he stood up. Alcawë watched him.

“He is dead,” Fingolfin said simply, and though the words were without a sad tone, Alcawë could detect the sorrow behind his voice. He bowed his head.

The battle continued, and despite the superior strength of the orcs neither side seemed to be winning. But despite the initial blow, the flame still was alive in their eyes, and gradually they pushed back the orcs.

Anganáro and his Vanyar charged into the conflict. Suddenly Anganáro gave a cry, such that Alcawë looked to see what had frightened or excited him.

He saw them. Great man-like beasts tall as young trees, with tough skin and thick, stony shoulders. They carried clubs or axes, and their strokes were mighty, if slow.

“What new terror is this?” cried Fingolfin.

“Attack!” sounded Anganáro’s Vanyarin horn. The well-trained Vanyar threw themselves upon the beasts. One stroke from the leader sent seven of them sprawling.

Anganáro’s bow was up, and an arrow lodged square in the troll’s chest. The monster gave a howl, but did not fall.

“Fall back!” ordered Anganáro. He sounded his horn in several quick notes, apparently giving the order to form into some sort of formation.

And the Vanyar did so with excellent skill and speed. They created a hedge of bright swords on the front and two sides, behind which was three rows of archers with drawn bows. They launched a volley, then two at the sounding of the horn, filling the hides of the trolls with arrows. One of them who had received an arrow through the eye gave a great groan and tumbled to the ground, crushing orc and elf beneath it. The Vanyar did not have another chance to shoot, for the heavy weapons of the trolls smashed into them, each stroke throwing elves high. Before long the formation was in ruins, and the elves were fighting desperately, hacking at the legs and the midsection of the trolls.

Anganáro sailed toward his enemy like a flame of gold. His sword swung in a quick arc that cut into the belly of the leader of the trolls. He drew it out as it could not go farther, and watched the troll sink to the ground. Anganáro then chopped off its head.

While this battle was occurring, Fingolfin and those around him managed to put the orcs to flight. Alcawë felt hope surge up within him – when suddenly a line of orcs with long pikes advanced on them.

Alcawë felt a stabbing pain in his chest as the lines met, but killed his orc. The formation was broken up, and most of the orcs dropped their pikes and drew out wicked crooked knives.

Three more trolls fell but over half the Vanyar were out of action; dead or seriously wounded. Turgon made a move with his bodyguard to come to their aid, but the orcs, seeing this, charged and cut the Vanyar off.

The Vanyar continued to fight, and at last the trolls drew back. Anganáro had a deep cut in his forehead, but that did not appear to hinder his sword-arm. He rallied all his elves to him, and found that only a quarter were left. The orcs were spearing the fallen; there would be no wounded.

Then the great-orcs were sent in to fall upon them. Cut off, Anganáro and his last seven elves stood in wait for their doom.

And the doom came. One by one they fell, even as Fingolfin watched them amidst the tumult, until only Anganáro was left, a small golden flame amidst a great cloud of blackness ever attempting to quench it. Then Anganáro received a spear-thrust in his side, and he gave a last gasp of air, and collapsed upon the pile of those he had slain, and it was a large one.

But the Ñoldor, eager to avenge the deaths of the Vanyar, attacked with renewed force. The trolls came, but no longer had they any fear of them, and though a number were slain the trolls were all brought down. The orcs fell into retreat, being covered by a small band of black-suited archers.

Alcawë was running beside Eruanno, when suddenly Eruanno gave a sharp cry and stumbled.

Alcawë wheeled instantly and came beside his grandfather. He saw a long black-feathered arrow protruding from Eruanno’s chest. Eruanno groaned and sank to the ground. Alcawë caught the standard as he fell.

“Grandfather,” he said, kneeling, with the standard still in his hand. Eruanno opened his eyes.

“Alcawë,” he said. “Son of Cemendil.” He coughed, and blood came up.

“No, grandfather, you must not speak,” said Alcawë. “We have surgeons, and they shall look after you.”

“No,” said Eruanno. But he closed his eyes. “Ah, Alcawë. I see thee standing at the head of a shining host. And a beam of light is in your hand. A voice speaks, and it says ‘Behold, the Son of Light shall come forth.’ And I wonder if it is thee, who stands so proudly. But the voice speaks again. ‘He and his heirs shall be a lantern in the darkness.’”

“What do you mean, grandfather?” asked Alcawë, and he grasped Eruanno’s hand.

“A light shall come from my line,” said Eruanno. “I am at peace.” He opened his eyes, and looked at Alcawë. A smile crossed his features, and then the light went out. Alcawë, weeping softly, resting his head on his grandfather’s chest, letting the standard droop. The orcs were beaten, but he did not care. He had lost two protectors already, both of which he loved.

Alcawë woke to feel a hand on his shoulder. He looked up to see Fingolfin standing there. The silvery globe in the sky had disappeared, and the stars were dim. Mist hung about the bloody field.

“Alcawë,” he said. “We must bury him. Many have fallen; do not think you have felt grief alone.”

Alcawë nodded blindly, and stood up. Fingolfin drew the arrow out, and they carried his body over two where a row of mounds stood. Upon each was a flat rock, on which was roughly carven a name. Among them there was one that said ARAKÁNO son of ÑOLDOFINWË. Argon’s mound. Beside it was one with the title ANGANÁRO lord of the EXILED VANYAR. Soon another was raised with the name ERUANNO son of CALINÁRO.

Fingolfin soon learned that two hundred and forty-six had fallen, not counting the thirty Vanyar; less than first believed, but still many to the deathless elves. But over five hundred were wounded in body, and all of them in spirit.

“Alcawë,” said Fingolfin as they walked back to the camp, “Until I find another, could you be my standard-bearer?”

“Yes, my lord,” said Alcawë quietly.

“Alcawë, you needn’t call me your lord any longer,” said Fingolfin, turning to him. “We have endured much together. Your grandfather foresaw that you would be a great elf-lord, and told me that. Mistatelmë my nephew saw it as well. You are more than a squire to me, or even a lord of my house. You are a friend, Alcawë, and perhaps eventually much more. When we settle, I shall make you a Lord of the House of Fingolfin. When you gather your own following in the years to come I shall consent to let you go out and find your own city to rule, and your own banner to fly. But you needn’t fear that I or my descendants shall forget you. Many more deeds shall you do, unless my foresight has failed me this once. But I can no longer be your master, save in title.”

Alcawë kneeled before Fingolfin and drew his sword, extending it hilt-first toward Fingolfin.

“I will forever be true to you and your descendants,” he swore. “You shall not find any more loyal than Alcawë son of Cemendil son of Eruanno son of Calináro son of Cananóno, who awoke at Cuiviénen.”

“That I believe,” said Fingolfin, touching the pommel. “Keep your sword Ristatëa, for you shall need it in time. The battle is over, but the war is not yet.”

Morgoth leaned down from his throne. “Do I hear you aright, Dínendúath?”

“You do, my liege,” said a sinister hissing voice. A batlike form moved in the dark beneath the Dark King’s seat. “They were defeated. I doubt if a single one of those elves were killed. A light seemed to burn in their eyes, and I saw fire flash. It burned me, yes, it tortured me. But I got away from those piercing eyes.”

“The Light of the Trees is in them,” said Morgoth. He sat back. “We still do not know their purpose. Spying? Hardly. Perhaps they are come to beat me to my knees, as the army of the Valar. That is ridiculous. The Valar know how unassailable I am. Still, there is the possibility they come without the consent of the Valar. Unless I am mistaken Fëanor Finwë’s son is among them. Revenge must be their purpose.” Suddenly doubt crept into his mind. If an elven army could easily defeat an army four times their size with no apparent hurt, then they might be able to march through the gates of Angband. He felt a wave of fear pass over his body, but he controlled it and said calmly, “Thank you, my daughter.” The dark form gave a terrible screech and passed away out of Morgoth’s chamber, while the Dark King still sat brooding. Then he called.

“Othrod,” he said. The orc came. “I want all our armies up to meet those Ñoldor in combat. Send the forces besieging the Falas. Send half of those surrounding Doriath. Send all those in Angband we can spare, save my own guard.”

“That would amass an army of perhaps two hundred thousand!” said Othrod. “Surely we can defeat five thousand with that.”

“Othrod,” said Morgoth simply, and with a chilling stare, “If the Valar have sent them, then they believe that they can beat me. I shall not let that happen. But if they are so powerful, then we shall require full strength for this operation. This time, I want you to lead it. I know you shall not fail me. If you succeed,” he gave a slight wave of his hand, “I shall make you my high general.”

“Yes, my lord,” said Othrod. He gave the customary salute. “Ash Burzum!

Alcawë watched the silver globe peer up from the horizon as he sat upon a fallen log, and again the earth was filled with light. He reached over and placed his hand on his chest, when suddenly he drew it back sticky and wet. He saw that his tunic had blood on it. He must have been wounded in the battle, for it was not orc-blood.

He leaned down and gently touched the wound. He felt it hurt sharply, throb a little, and then settle down.

“It must have been one of those spears,” he muttered. “Ah, well, it is not deep.”

Turotulco sat down beside him. Alcawë turned and saw that his eyes were strangely thoughtful, and it seemed to him that his cousin’s mind was not present.

“Turotulco,” said Alcawë softly. The youth turned his head to look at Alcawë.

“So much death,” he managed to say.

“Indeed,” said Alcawë quietly. “My grandfather was among those that fell.”

“I am sorry,” said Turotulco. He sat silent for a while. “We have not had so much light since the death of the trees,” he said at last. “Though the stars are rather dimmer, and the night is blacker when the vessel of the sky fades away. I deem that some of us shall live to see a new light rising from the east.”

Alcawë looked at his cousin in astonishment, for rarely did Turotulco speak with such a tone as this in his voice.

“I broke my sword in the battle,” said Turotulco. He raised up another weapon. “I took this axe from the hand of a dead elf, though I don’t suppose it shall compare to your Súrlindë.”

“Ristatëa is a good blade,” said Alcawë, drawing it. “It seemed to leap in my hands as the orcs charged, and with that blade shining before my eyes I felt that none could stand before me.”

“Alcawë,” said Turotulco quietly, “I want you to keep this for me.” He drew out a silver ring. Alcawë looked at it curiously. It was shaped like three silver vines braided around in a circle to make the place for the finger. At its top was a silver square, on which was a dark green gem. The gem was cut with the shape of a swan. “As the oldest I received this ring from my father, Erwaheno. It was made for him by Mahtan Aulendur, a smith of Tirion, at the order of Finwë. The reason for this action I do not know, but I have known ever since my father gave it to me that it rightfully belonged to Ranyar. He is quiet, but wise. Yes, very wise. He is not as skilled as you in many things, such as weapons and leadership, but can write poetry and epics, and carve stone into beautiful shapes. I know in my heart he shall survive.”

“Why do you give this ring to me?” asked Alcawë.

“I may not live to give it to him myself,” said Turotulco, and Alcawë started, putting his hand on his cousin’s shoulder. “You will live. I know it. You succeed in everything you do. You have been blessed by Fingolfin son of Finwë, and Turgon his son. You have been given a marvelous sword and a gem of fire. I do not believe Ilúvatar would let it go to waste.”

“But you are strong, and bold,” said Alcawë, gripping him tighter. “Why should the Father of All call you?”

“Perhaps there is a purpose beyond the understanding of us,” said Turotulco, and he seemed almost to Alcawë a different person, and yet the same. “I shall live to fulfill my purpose, and be at peace. Then will death not be evil, and a noble fall the more glorious.”

Alcawë then had no words to say, and tried in vain to comfort Turotulco.

“Nay, Alcawë,” said his cousin, and smiled at him queerly. “It is not me who shall need the comforting.” Then he rose and left, but Alcawë remained there and stared, for he had no more tears to weep.

Suddenly he reached into the pouch and drew out the gem. It flashed brightly, and Alcawë wondered at its power.

Aiya Varda, eleni-tintallë,” he whispered. Suddenly he turned and saw Alatelen standing there.

“’Tis not good to be alone,” she said, looking into the dark. “Yrch may lurk here.”

“They would fear the light of the Alcarmir,” said Alcawë. “And they could not stand long after being decapitated by Ristatëa.”

Alatelen sighed and shook her head.

“Did Lord Teleporno survive the battle?” asked Alcawë.

“Yes,” she said. “And he is unwounded as well.”

“That is good,” said Alcawë, turning back to look into the flaming gem. “So many have not survived. Argon son of Fingolfin, Anganáro of the Vanyar – Eruanno the standard-bearer of Fingolfin.”

“He was your grandfather,” said Alatelen sympathetically. “I am sorry for you.”

“I shall no longer be able to weep due to being used to it, if this continues,” he said.

“I should never get used to it,” said Alatelen, shivering slightly.

“Soon we shall be in green fields again,” Alcawë said, as if to himself. “And we may build great cities and towers, and have peace.”

“You seem healthier than when we spoke in the northern wastes,” Alatelen observed.

“Yes, I feel that I am,” he said, and he smiled softly. He felt as if a great weight had dropped off his shoulders, and he stood up, thrusting the gem into the pouch.

“What shall you do after we defeat Morgoth?” he asked.

“I suppose I shall dwell with my cousin, wherever he shall live,” she replied.

“I shall stay by the side of Fingolfin my master,” Alcawë said. “Despite my losses, for once I am at peace about what is to come.”

Then he began to walk past Alatelen, back to where Fingolfin rested, when the elf-maiden started.

“You have blood all over your tunic,” she said.

“I have a cut in my chest,” he said. “It is not deep, and I shall bandage it when I return to my place by Fingolfin.”

“Lord Teleporno is a master healer,” said Alatelen, ignoring him. “I shall take you to him, and he shall examine it.”

“Yes, my lady,” said Alcawë, bowing respectfully. There was no humor intended in what he did, but the elf-maiden smiled.

Teleporno soon proclaimed Alcawë’s wound to be, while not serious, something that should be taken care of gently.

“The spear gashed you pretty well,” he said. “It is a good thing you knocked it away, or he did not hit you closer to the heart, or it might have gone ill.”

“Thank you, my lord,” said Alcawë gravely. “Your descendants shall bind with healers, and from them shall come the hope of men.”

Teleporno looked at Alcawë, and Alcawë suddenly wondered at what he had just said.

“Your words are strange, Alcawë son of Cemendil,” said Teleporno softly, “But I see that foresight is upon you.” He grasped Alcawë’s shoulder, and they looked into each other’s eyes for a long while, as if measuring or trying to detect something. Then Alcawë rose, and, bowing to Teleporno, departed back to where Fingolfin rested.

“He is a strange young Ñoldo,” said Teleporno, watching after him. “But he is also so much more than that.”

“You needn’t be the one to tell me so,” said Alatelen quietly.

They soon found the firth up which Fëanor had marched, and took it as well. At last they reached the waterfall and the cave.

“What shall we do here?” asked Turgon. “Surely our path ends here.”

“Nay, dear brother,” said Fingon. He kneeled and pulled something out of the sand.

“What is it?” asked Fingolfin.

“An arrow,” said Fingon. “Ñoldorin in make. Fëanor passed through here.”

“He must have turned around,” said Turgon.

“I’m not so sure,” said Fingon. He turned to Fingolfin. “With your leave, father, I shall attempt to ascend to the mouth of yonder cavern, and see if I can find what I look fore.”

“In the name of Eru go,” said Fingolfin. Fingon walked back and forth along the walls of the ravine, until he found a path leading up. He followed this, and finally made it to the mouth of the waterfall. He entered the cave a short ways, and gave an exclamation.

“Five thousand elves cannot pass through such a narrow gateway and not leave signs!” he cried to his father below. He raised up a piece of red cloth, and then a bow snapped in two, perhaps broken in the climb.

“There are also tracks undisturbed by the weather,” he called over the roar of the waterfall. “They lead only one direction – into the cave.”

“Where they met their death, no doubt,” muttered Turgon, who did not care for caves.

“Surely they have found some exit on the other side,” said Fingolfin. “Let us take that way.”

“How shall we get all our people up?” asked Turgon. “It would be hazardous to have the women and children come up the same way Fingon did.”

“Yes,” mused Fingolfin. He thought a minute. “How much rope do we have?”

“Many yards,” said Turgon. “Besides the personal collections, we brought a great deal of it in case of need, and to help establish ourselves.”

“We shall construct a rope ladder,” said Fingolfin. “It should not be difficult, with all the people working to tie knots or cut rope. And it may come in useful later on.”

Under Fingolfin’s direction, a rope ladder was quickly completed. Fingon came back down and then went all the way back up, carrying the rope ladder coiled about his arm.

Upon reaching the top he secured it to a firm rock and let its end fall to the ground with three feet to spare. Then, Fingolfin leading the way, the Ñoldor began the ascent.

Fingolfin, upon reaching the top, did not hesitate, due to lack of room. He immediately entered the cave, giving orders to Fingon to come up at the tail of the column and take the rope ladder with him.

Alcawë looked with wonder upon the marvels of the cave, and saw that Turgon had lost his dread of it. They passed on, and eventually reached the cavern’s entrance.

“Onward, then,” said Fingolfin. “Let us head eastward, and meet what comes to us.”

They marched for a while through the fields, thoroughly enjoying their travels. But then a scout reported to Fingolfin that there was a band of about fifty orcs lightly-clad and armed with bows.

“Send two hundred of the scouts to meet them,” ordered Fingolfin.

“And I shall follow with two hundred infantry to back them up,” said Turgon.

The four hundred elves marched off, and Alcawë suddenly guessed that Turotulco was among them, recognizing the company standard that Turotulco was in. He whispered a prayer to Ilúvatar to protect his cousin.

They could not see anything more for a while, but at last Turgon returned.

“Have you lost anyone?” asked Fingolfin.

“Twenty scouts, and six of my own,” he said. “Their bodies we buried. The yrch shot quickly at the scouts, and the scouts fell back. But we marched up and gave them the sword-blade, so to speak. But five fell in the charge to well-aimed arrows.”

Alcawë didn’t need to ask. “And the sixth?”

“It was Turotulco, your cousin, I believe,” said Turgon, turning to him. “The archers had no chance to use their bows at the close range, so they drew out their knives. Turotulco may have saved many of our lives, for he took out his axe and halted their spearhead in a weak place in our line. He must have slain almost a dozen before he was stabbed in the chest, but by that time we had refocused our attention to that point.”

Alcawë did not weep, for he had wept himself dry. But he turned and walked away, the other squires, and Fingolfin, looking sympathetically after him.

“He has lost much during our journey,” said Fingolfin. “Yet his time of return is coming.”

Alcawë walked away from the others, and once out of their sight he drew his sword and repeated the words of the oath.

“‘By the Holy Mountain Taniquetil we swear that we shall follow Lord Fëanor, until our quest be accomplished, the world end, or death take us all, and never desert our master or another in our company. And let none stand in our way, or their blood is on their own heads.’” He groaned. “For this oath have we traveled. For this oath hast thou died, Turotulco, my cousin, my friend. Cursed be all who swore it, cursed forever. And this be our doom: that it would follow us to death, and perhaps beyond.”

Suddenly he was plunged into darkness, and Alcawë could see nothing. Then he saw a light off to his left, and saw a white, slightly translucent figure approaching. It was Fëanor. Alcawë drew his sword.

“You caused us to swear this oath,” he said, growling, fearing not his glowing opponent. “You led us to our deaths, and abandoned us.”

“Am I to blame?” asked Fëanor’s form. “Seek not mercy from the Valar, but revenge on Morgoth. It was not I who slew your guardian, Mistatelmë, but a serpent of the north. It was not I who killed Turotulco your cousin, but the very monsters we seek to kill.”

Suddenly Alcawë saw that across Fëanor’s face were many scars and burns, and along his hands. Suddenly Fëanor turned into the form of a great, ravenous wolf, blacker than night, blacker even than the darkness which surrounded them both. The glistening fangs were advancing toward him, and Alcawë stepped backward in sheer terror.

Suddenly another form advanced, this one brighter than the light of the stars, brighter than Varda’s eyes. The wolf gave a howl and fled as the light pursued it. But the figure remained motionless before Alcawë, until the young elf raised his eyes.

There stood a tall, silvery form. He must have been eight feet tall or higher, and well-proportioned. He could not have been a phantom, and almost seemed more real than real life. He bore no weapon, but a staff carved of living wood was in his hand. Alcawë could not see his face, though; it was as if it were veiled in a cloud.

“Who is it?” asked Alcawë weakly. The answer came more through his head than his ears.

The Light, replied the figure. There is restoration in my hands.

Suddenly Alcawë felt two great hands rest on his shoulders. He felt power surge through his body, and suddenly the figure’s face became clearer, though his eyes were too terrible to look at.

Look to the East, Alcawë son of Cemendil, the Man of Light told him. Alcawë obeyed, and saw, to his surprise, a clear view of a great lake, at the side of which was a partially-built city of stone and wood. Alcawë looked harder, and saw people. Then he could make out their faces, and saw to his amazement that one of them was Ranyar. Then the picture faded.

Look to the West, Alcawë.

Alcawë turned to the west, and saw, far off, high Taniquetil, shining in the light of the stars. He saw eagles circling around it, and suddenly his vision zoomed in to see Manwë and Varda themselves. And they reached out to him, so that Alcawë wanted to touch them. Then the picture faded.

Look to the North, Alcawë.

Alcawë turned the north, and might have felt fear, were not the hand of the Man of Light upon his shoulder. He saw three great towering mountains letting off foul black smoke into the air. And he saw on a cliffside a figure hanging by a chain of black iron about his wrist. Though the figure was bloodied and nearly naked, he thought he recognized it. But before he could see any closer, the vision turned to down below, where there were great gates opening forth, and a black army marching out. Hundreds, thousands, perhaps tens of thousands. Then the picture faded.

Look to the South, Alcawë.

Alcawë looked and saw a forested cape, at the end of which was a low, rocky outcrop protruding out onto the water. Suddenly a city and fortress appeared upon it, with a harbor and a great wall. The fortress showed immense strength, but at the same time something in its design projected grace and beauty, and it seemed as if it belonged to the sea and the wood, as well as the stars above. A great tower came up from the keep, which in part was topped with a beautiful white dome. The city itself was encircled by a wall, after which was a long distance clear before it reached trees. But inside the city were gardens and fountains, and many fair things. But it also seemed in harmony with the waves of the sea, for beyond the great gate of the port were many channels into the city crossed by stone bridges. Alcawë thought it was beautiful, if smaller than Tirion.

Then there was a voice in a tongue unknown to Alcawë, apparently coming from the Man of Light. “Aglaru Bregolharn, Calad nedh Fuin, Hîr Caras-Giliath, Odogêl, hervenn Faenêl, i pen ad cuinant.” Then the figure added “Bear my message.”

Then Alcawë felt a rush of wind about him, and woke lying on the green grass of Hithlum. He raised his head and saw the Ñoldor mulling about, apparently not taking notice of him, but he saw also Alatelen walking toward him. She looked at him in amazement as he raised himself to his feet. She gasped and stepped back.

“What is the matter?” asked Alcawë, turning to see if there was something behind him.

“Do you not know? Your face is shining like the light of Telperion, and your eyes are like stars,” she said, and her voice quivered, but not from fear.

Then Alcawë turned, hearing another walk up behind him. It was the golden-haired Finrod. He looked at Alcawë with wonder.

“Who is it that stands there?” he asked in an awed voice.

“Alcawë son of Cemendil,” replied Alcawë, and he wondered at the change. His voice was the same, but it seemed to ring fair and clear. “I have spoken with you many times.”

“Forgive me, Alcawë,” said Finrod, still gazing at him. “At first I took you to be one of the Ainur, for your face glows so. Even now it fades.”

Alcawë drew his sword and looked at his reflection in the blade. It stunned even himself. He placed it back in its sheath.

“I have seen the Father of All,” he said. “I have spoken with him, or at least he spoke to me, and he laid his hands on my shoulders. And he gave me a message to bring to Lord Fingolfin.”

Finrod instantly took him to Fingolfin, who showed as much amazement as the others who had met him.

“I bear a message passed not through the Valar,” said Alcawë. “It comes from Eru Ilúvatar, the Father of All, and it comes to you. Thus did he say:

“‘Time grows short. Hasten eastward to the aid of your brothers, the Sons of Fëanor, and forgive them their wrongs against you. Look for the Light of Laurelin rising in the east, and that shall be the sign of the beginning of the age, and the doom of the Ñoldor.’”

Alcawë stood silent, while Fingolfin pondered these words.

“It is clear that we must move quickly,” he said. “Rally the soldiers. With winged speed we shall pass over these plains, and reconcile ourselves to our brethren who deserted us.” Then he looked at Alcawë, but said nothing out loud. But to himself he said “Strange are the ways of Ilúvatar, though all to the good of his people, and in my small understanding here I would say he has chosen well.”

[edit] Wrath beneath the Stars

More days passed. The palace was completed, and much of the city. Fëanor then ordered the construction of encircling walls. It was not long ago that Alcawë had rescued Turgon from the icy waters, but this was not known to the Ñoldor of Fëanor.

Fëanor had put all the Ñoldor on alert, and so it was not a surprise when the horns began to blow.

“Another attack?” he asked Maitimo.

“Another army, larger than the first, is advancing on us,” Maedhros replied. “Put on your helm. We may have need of all our swords.”

As the Ñoldor rushed to arms, Ranyar caught sight of a friend.

“Andúmir!” he exclaimed. “I have not seen you since we shared the same ship!”

“Ranyar,” said Andúmir in surprise, as he tightened the belt around his waist. “Well, I’m glad to see that you have survived our perilous adventures.”

“And I you,” Ranyar replied.

“I’ll talk to you after the battle,” said Andúmir, raising his sword in salute. Ranyar did the same, and then they parted.

But when the Ñoldor were formed, Ranyar standing close to Maitimo, he saw that Andúmir was not far off; just a little to his left with his company under Narcalimon. Andúmir saw him and nodded.

“We shall have a time pulling this win off,” said Maitimo, looking at the advancing enemy army. Ranyar just kept looking forward grimly. Suddenly there was a shout from somewhere to their left, toward the north side of the army.

“What is wrong? What has happened?” cried Maitimo. At last the rumor came to their ears.

“Another army marches from the north!” was the cry. Then the enemy on both sides charged.

The Ñoldor were completely startled and unready for this attack, and several were killed, the whole force being borne backwards. But then Fëanor spurred them forward with the cry “Finwë! Finwë!”

Ranyar cut down his first two foes, and again the battle frenzy overtook him. The orcs quailed before the steady strokes of the Ñoldor, and seemed terrified by a look in their eyes. Fëanor was laughing, and the orcs were flying at his approach. The standards were floating in the newly-arisen west wind, and the orcs on both sides suddenly fell back with great cries of dismay. A shout rose in Ranyar’s throat, and as if with one voice the whole of the Host of Fëanor shouted in joy and triumph, and they began to pursue the orcs, who were still greater in number.

The slaughter of the orcs was great, and beneath the stars their strokes flew. Ranyar found himself beside a laughing Andúmir, and Ranyar knew that he could hardly have felt better by resting in his fair house in Tirion. After what seemed like a short time the mountains loomed up before them.

The orcs were breaking apart, trying to gain the mountains. Tens of thousands had been slain, and their bodies spread out over the gray fields. But there were still over a hundred thousand more than the Ñoldor. Ranyar wondered that some captain didn’t rally them and stand them firm against the Ñoldor. He did not yet understand that it was the Light of Aman in their eyes that made them quail, for it still shone brightly.

The orcs started to pour into the mountains, and the Ñoldor would have followed instantly, had not Fëanor halted them.

“Now,” he said, “Let the hunt begin. Keep to your companies, and do not rest until all the orcs are dead. Do not let any hide from your eyes, lest you pass them over.”

But the orcs had no thought of hiding. At the top of their minds were the terrible eyes and swords.

Ranyar did not know how long the battle – or rather, the pursuit – went in the mountains. Later he learned that it was almost the equivalent of three days, but they were never tired or hungry, and they had water with them.

Ranyar stayed near Andúmir, for Narcalimon’s company was under Maedhros. And Maedhros stayed near his father, and at last the seven companies stood on the other side of the mountains, overlooking a green plain that stretched beyond their line of sight. But on the horizon, and slightly to their left, were visible two great mountains from which spewed black smoke.

The orcs were trailed out in front of them, fleeing northeast, toward the mountains whose bowels released foul black smokes and fumes. Without hesitating Maedhros charged forward, and his company followed.

Ranyar was filled with the pursuit. His sword was swinging when he caught up to an orc. The thought of avenging Finwë, the Two Trees, and the Silmarils was in everyone’s heads, and it seemingly moved their hands for them.

Ranyar turned and saw the mountains behind him, already slightly blue. They were covering ground in amazing time. He turned back forward and saw that some of the orc-companies had managed to form, and were beginning to group and move toward each other. Maedhros charged the closest group.

They entered it like a spear through a layer of glass, smashing it as they plunged through. Ranyar was all over in blood that was not his own, and he did not know how many of the enemy he had killed. The close-knit group split in two, and broke, fleeing in terror. They were almost instantly cut down.

It went on like that for a while, when suddenly an elf-courier (mountless, of course) rushed up to Maedhros.

Yrch advancing from the south, a great army!” he cried.

Maitimo growled. “How far are they?”

“There is a great marshland where two great mountain ranges come nigh one another,” the courier replied. “You would reach there if you followed the mountains southward.”

“I’ll go,” said Celegorm, who was close nearby, and had paused to listen when the messenger had come. “I have the fastest and strongest company in the host.”

“I’ll believe fastest, but that is probably because they are so light-headed,” remarked Maitimo.

“Not the time for it,” said Celegorm sharply, though he smiled in the midst of the slaughter surrounding them, some relief to the troubles of their past. Ranyar noticed how handsome he looked when he smiled, but at the same time how strong and powerful. He also noticed the pointed features of Curufin not far off. It seemed as if they were always near one another.

“I’ll go,” he continued. “They won’t be able to use their superior numbers to their advantage against my troopers.”

“Go then,” said Maitimo. He saluted his brother, and Celegorm hurried off.

Ranyar hardly felt the rest of the pursuit. There was blood everywhere – on him, on the green grass, and on the blades of the Ñoldor. But the blood was that of the orcs.

How many days passed Ranyar did not know. But another might have told him that eight days had passed since they left the encampment, when at last the Ñoldorin army halted by a little pool, watching the last remnants of the orcs fleeing toward the black plain before the towering mountains. They now could tell that there were actually three of them spewing fire heavenward.

Suddenly Ranyar felt a great weariness fall on him. He had not eaten or slept, and had drunk very little. He felt the urge to fall down upon the grass and sleep. Almost all the other Ñoldor had the same idea. Just as he began to slump, however, Maitimo grabbed his arm. Ranyar looked up to see Fëanor with a small party had not halted, but was still moving quickly after the orcs.

“We must follow him,” said the elven-prince.

“My lord,” said Ranyar, “We cannot go on without rest.” He saw Maitimo’s eye wink with sleepiness.

“All right, but just for a short time,” he said. Ranyar fell asleep almost before he hit the ground.

When he woke, it was cold out. Celegorm had returned, reporting that the orcs had been ambushed and driven into a fen. They were quickly destroyed. He was not aware of any casualties on his own side.

“We must move on,” urged Maedhros. “Father continued on.” Celegorm sighed, but sounded the call to arms.

Suddenly they were attracted by a light at the foot of the smoking mountains. It flashed red and gold, and black smoke had arisen, obscuring their view.

“Devilry,” cried Maglor.

“Forward!” shouted Maedhros. The Ñoldor, thoroughly refreshed even though they had hardly slept twenty-four hours, lifted up their blades once again, and marched on toward the place of smoke and flame.

It took them many hours to reach it, but at last they saw amidst the dimness orcs, and great monsters of flame and shadow, bearing long, fiery whips, and many of the Ñoldor stopped short in horror.

But their captains spurred them forward, sounding their horns. They were still a very great host, and the demons looked up in amazement. The orcs fled, and then at last the monsters did as well, for already there were arrows loosed amongst them.

Laying along the ground lay many bodies, most of them orkish. But somewhere near the center of the ring was a pile of elven corpses, almost one on top of another. In their midst was the silent form of Fëanor. He was hardly recognizable. The whips had left long black marks all across his face and hands, and his clothes were burned and tattered. There was also much blood on him, both his own and that of his adversaries. But he was still alive. Maedhros fell to his side.

“Father,” he whispered. Fëanor opened his eyes. His helm was cloven as if by some great blow.

“Balrog,” he whispered, speaking for the first time that name that would in the years to come strike fear into the hearts of men and elves.

Ranyar suddenly knelt down beside a body he thought he recognized. He turned it over. To his grief he found it was the Teler, Fernaráto. He would not return ever again to Alqualondë.

But the sons of Fëanor bore him away on a rough litter from the blackened field, even to the mountains they had crossed from their encampment. But as they ascended it near the river Fëanor raised his hand. His face had been cleaned off, but now he sweated heavily. He beckoned to his sons, and they all gathered around him.

“Halt here,” he said. “You need go no further. My hour is come.”

Curufin, perhaps, was the most deeply affected, for he fell weeping by his father’s side. Young Amrod did likewise. The others looked on grimly. But tears were in their eyes as well.

“Turn me toward the peaks of Morgoth,” Fëanor said, his voice growing a bit faint. The fire in his eyes was already dying. His sons turned the litter so that he could see the smoking mountains, far off, and yet far too near.

“No power of the Ñoldor shall ever fell him,” he whispered, but only his sons heard him. Then the fire blazed up in his eyes, and for a moment he seemed even more alive than he had been when he dwelt in Aman. “Curse Morgoth, hand and heart! Curse him, blackness incarnate! Curse him, thief in the darkness, and king of evil! Swear to me, O my sons, that you will hold to your oath that you sword in Tirion, and will avenge my death.”

“We swear!” cried his sons with one voice. Fëanor nodded, and the fire seemed to die in his eyes. He went limp, and lay motionless on the pallet. But as Maglor reached over to close his eyes, thinking him dead, suddenly they shot open, and the fire burned so brightly it seemed to darken all else. A long wail, or scream, passed through the lips of Fëanor, and then there was a great shudder, and to the amazement of all within view the body suddenly fell into ashes that were blown away in the wind. All shielded their eyes and turned away as if a great fire had blazed up before them. They all felt the passing of that fiery spirit, but at last they turned, and all that was left of Fëanor’s body was a few ashes floating in the wind.

“Thus he passes,” said Maglor slowly. He had little love for his father, save for the sake of Nerdanel, yet he was grieved. “No burial shall there be for his body. Alas that a stronger body was not given to such a mighty spirit, a spirit of flame!”

It was a sad party that returned to the lake. There casualties were estimated, and it came to about forty-five, counting Fëanor. Morgoth had been defeated, but already the light in the eyes of the Ñoldor seemed to fade. They had lost their greatest captain that had ever led them, or would ever lead them, but also the instigator of their greatest woe.

But to their surprise when they returned they found other elves there, elves from the south. It took several days, but soon they could converse, though with difficulty.

They learned that the lake they were near was called Mithrim. They were followers of Círdan, Lord of the Teleri in Beleriand (for such were the lands across the Sea called). Elu Thingol reigned in Doriath as a great king, but before had it been under siege, as had the Falas where the Teleri dwelt.

“Surely,” said their leader, an elf named Elvegil, “You are emissaries of the Valar, come to deliver us! The Falas are free once again, and we have word that the rest of the orcs surrounding Doriath have fled.”

While they were speaking, an elf of Fëanor’s house came up to Maedhros and touched him on the arm.

“My lord,” he said, “There is someone that has come to meet with you. He says that he is an emissary of Melkor.”

“What!” exclaimed Maedhros, springing to his feet. “An emissary of Morgoth? Does he intend to treat with us?”

“To offer us surrender,” suggested Maglor.

“It’s a trick of some sort, I’ll warrant,” said Caranthir, laying his hand on his sword-hilt.

“We shall meet with him,” said Maedhros to the elf. “But make sure this emissary is well guarded. If he makes a false move, he is doomed.” The elf bowed and left.

Maedhros and his brothers followed, Ranyar walking near his master.

“Do you think it really is a trick?” he asked.

“We shall see,” Maitimo replied.

The emissary was waiting just outside the camp. He was truly quite impressive. He appeared like a man or elf of great majesty. His frame was almost seven feet tall, but he was well-proportioned. His beardless face was pale white, and of immense beauty and power, while long silvery hair was thrown over his shoulder. He wore no armor, but robes of white and silver. He seemed the most handsome and the most royal person Ranyar had ever seen.

“I am Thû, the emissary of Melkor,” he said in perfect Quenya. His voice was fair to listen to, and only increased the admiration of the elves. “I have come from my master, Lord of Heaven and Earth, who has seen your work and delighted in you. He does not wish to fight you, and humbly admits your superior power. Therefore he has offered to submit, and give himself up to the commander of these elves. He would speak with him personally of terms, even to the surrendering of a Silmaril.”

Maedhros’ eyes glistened. “And where would this parley take place?”

“As you may have noticed,” said the emissary, “The plane that the cave-elves call Ard-Galen is flat. But to the south is a rise of hills across a fen. If you will go to the first of these hills, my master will meet you there. But he requires that you bring no more than twelve of your bodyguard, and he shall do the same.”

“Await our answer,” said Maedhros. The emissary stepped aside as Maedhros had a conference with his brothers.

“I do not trust Morgoth,” Maedhros said. “But this could be a great chance. If they bring the Silmaril we shall seize it and flee. If not, we shall feign to treat with Morgoth, and perhaps we can learn something of his plans.”

“I don’t like this,” said Maglor.

“Come, now,” said Maedhros. “As a precaution, we shall bring more than Melkor demands.”

“Very well,” resigned Maglor. “Who shall go?”

“I will go alone of us brothers,” said Maedhros. “I’ll take perhaps fifty well-armed elves.”

Then he turned back to the emissary. “Tell your master that we accept his proposition of a parley. We shall meet him at the appointed place in two days, counting by the stars.”

The emissary bowed and departed.

“May I go with you, Maitimo?” asked Ranyar, then turned red at addressing his master by his mother-name in the hearing of so many others. Maedhros did not seem to notice, though a few smiled.

“It may be dangerous, Ranyar,” he said, “And you are overyoung. I have another purpose for you.”

“And what would that be?” asked Maglor.

“Makalaurë,” he said, turning to his brother, “Ranyar is strong, and has seen battle, but is still young. I want you to train him in my absence.”

“But you shall not long be gone,” said Maglor. Maitimo just smiled, and Ranyar suddenly wondered if Maitimo was pressing down his own forebodings, the same that touched him as well.

Then Maedhros turned to face the rest of his brothers. “Celegorm, Tyelkormo, doughty and fair. Curufin, Atarinkë, sharp in tongue and mind. Caranthir, Carnistir, brave and proud. Amrod, beloved Ambarussa. My brothers, we are now fatherless. We have defeated the enemy, but lost our father, our mother, and one of the Ambarussa. We must now rule for the Ñoldor, and fight for them, for it is upon us.” Maedhros paused, and Ranyar knew that despite their regal birth, they were still considered young men, with all the faults that come with that age. Now there was no-one to look up to, to guide the people. They were princes, and it was their duty. It was their fate, and their doom.

Three days later word came back that all in the party were slain.

The brothers were grief-stricken, but on the fourth day the messenger, Thû, returned. Celegorm became the spokesman.

“Dog,” he spat at the handsome emissary. “You have murdered our brother, and the peaceful party he brought with him for a parley! Is your master so gracious now that he will redeem their lives? Is he so kind that he will release them from the death he has sent them to?”

“That may be arranged,” said Thû, and a smile crept across his face, no longer gentle and wise, but cruel and cold. “Your brother is alive, yes indeed. But he is in the power of the Lord of the Earth, King of the Iron Crown, Prince of Beleriand, God of Thunder and Power, Ruler on the Black Throne, and Master of the Eastern Realms.”

“Indeed,” said Celegorm hotly. “Fancy titles for a thief and liar. So your master has decided to offer terms, or see us wither in sorrow at the loss of our brother? I say that, brother or no, we shall not wither!”

“Being in absolute knowledge of all hearts and minds,” continued Thû smoothly, “He has been grieved that such noble warriors such as yourselves should continue to fight and fall in a vain effort to unseat him of his wrath. He has decided that rather than let your brave race suffer and diminish to nothing, he will give you the opportunity to return over the Western Sea without harassment, and even with his aid.”

“We have no means to cross over the Western Sea,” Curufin spoke.

“Of course, if you are unable, Melkor the Invincible has thought of yet another option in your benefit,” replied Thû. “There are wide lands south – good lands, where the air is warm and the ground is rich. Even the simple-minded elves who dwell in this land will tell you so. What is more, it is beyond the borders of Melkor’s realm: out of Beleriand. He has little need of farmland at this time, and it is far enough south as to not bother him.”

“I do not see that if he is Lord of the Earth he does not rule the South,” replied Celegorm dryly.

“Accept these terms, and your brother will be returned safely to you,” finished Thû. “If not, we may have things in store for him, methods that have been perfected during our wars with the petty wood-rulers. You might call them… unpleasant to the receiver. There are things worse than death. Can you imagine immense pain all over you, every finger, toe, hand, foot, arm, and leg of your body sending messages of terrible torture up to your brain. What is more, imagine that happening for five years. Lingering there, never getting better, wishing you could die, but are unable to in your misery, kept alive by the powers granted to my Master. Your bones are breaking, twisted into horrible positions. You have only enough water to keep you alive, and this is in tiny draughts, as to never quench your thirst. You have almost no food, and yet you hardly think about it. You cannot faint from this constant –”

“Enough!” cried Amrod suddenly, leaping forward, his voice agonized. “Please, Makalaurë, agree to the terms. We must save our brother.”

But Maglor was silent, pondering. At last he spoke.

“Tell your master that we know his desire,” Maglor said, fire rising in his voice. “He is in fear of us, and seeks to remove us like a splinter from his eye, or a dagger from poised above his heart. But we are held by an oath sworn under most constraining circumstances, an oath sworn on the deathbed of our father. And we know that he lies, just as he lied then about the ‘parley’, which was a trap and a massacre. We will not treat with you any longer, mouth of Morgoth! You shall not be pleased when ye and your master are thrown into the Everlasting Darkness, the Void beyond the spheres, from which there is no escape. You shall have the darkness you love, and much more than even you can stand.”

The power in even that gentle poet’s voice was such that the haughty messenger stepped back. But then his eyes hardened.

“Fools are elves,” he snorted. “Elwë Gray-cloak chirps desperately like a bird in a cage. Círdan the Sea-elf struggles in vain as he is pushed back into the element he sings about. Soon all the realms east of the Sea will be under Morgoth’s rule, and then who – even the Valar – can challenge him?”

“There is one higher than the Valar, even than thou,” replied Maglor softly. Then he suddenly flamed up again. “Now leave us, and bring our contempt to your lord!”

Thû started walking away, but threw over his shoulder “Melkor the Omnipotent thanks you for the gems you gave up to him. They have caused a whole race to be destroyed! Your precious brother will not be the first.” From his lips came a maniacal laugh that grew louder and more beast-like, and suddenly he transformed into a terrible winged creature, black as the night. His shining white robes turned into terrible batlike wings. And it joined another that appeared to have been waiting for it, and they flew away, the emissary’s laugh dying gradually away in the distance. But it still rang in the ears of those gathered nigh for many nights.

Amrod threw himself down and wept openly. Maglor was silent, but turned away and covered his face. Curufin’s face was stone-hard, never having been particularly close to any of the brothers except perhaps Celegorm (and that was a different sort of closeness indeed). Celegorm showed some emotion, while Caranthir sat scowling, cursing Morgoth silently.

There seemed little else to do.

But Ranyar walked a ways from the camp and sat on a rock overlooking the lake. He pondered his memories, all that had happened. He had lost all he loved: his brother Turotulco, his cousin Alcawë, his father Erwaheno, his mother Istelë, and now his lord and friend, Maitimo.

Suddenly he turned to see Maglor behind him, tall and beautiful in his blue, silver, and green robes, the same as he had worn on that day so long ago.

“Ranyar,” he said softly, “May I sit nigh you?” Ranyar nodded dumbly, and Maglor took a seat on another rock nearby. Ranyar noticed that in his hands was a small harp carried with him all the way from Tirion (his larger one had been left behind).

“I know he was close to you, and you to him,” said Maglor. “But you must understand that Morgoth would not return him whether we left or not. Now we have lost two brothers to us forever.”

“You are the Lord of the Ñoldor now,” said Ranyar. “Why don’t you attack him: march up to his gates, and break them down if need be.”

“I was one of the few who witnessed the last words of my father,” said Maglor. “Do you remember? There were many demons of fire against which even the mighty Fëanor could not stand. It will not be by any power of the Ñoldor that Morgoth shall fall, yet we are constrained by an oath. Let us hope for some miracle from the Valar, and bide our time. It is the right thing to do.”

Then Maglor began to sing softly, plucking his harp.

O Death, O Death, why art thou strong?
Why dost thou take the right and wrong?
A mighty hand was lost tonight,
a lord of elves cast from the light
into the darkened pits of hell
where shriek the voices cold and fell;
yet hope of ours lies in the west
which we forsook, we failed the test.
Nelyafinwë, Maitimo
to hells of iron thou didst go;
yet ever in our passing thought
we shall remember what thou sought:
revenge for death of father great,
achieving of the oath of fate,
retaking of the Silmarils,
and ruling over fields and hills.

Then he left Ranyar alone, but Ranyar still brooded. As he thought he suddenly envisioned a great white city like to Tirion, in a great green valley. He saw upon the white walls three figures in particular as his view came closer. Two were elves, tall, strong, and handsome. The other was an elf-woman in a white garment. Suddenly Ranyar was struck with the realization that one of them was he, no longer a youth of not more than fifty, but a stern and tall elf-warrior, grown wiser and fairer with age. Suddenly he noticed down below, upon the road, two figures striding firmly. There was a flash of silver, and then the vision faded.

Suddenly he saw another picture. He saw the great towers of Morgoth, spewing smoke. They grew clearer and closer, and twisted around to the side facing inward on one of them. He saw a great, unscalable cliff from which hung a tiny figure. It grew closer, and Ranyar saw it was the limp body of a naked elf, covered in open scars and wounds. The elf was suspended by a chain of iron clasped around his right hand. From the lips of the elf came a groan, and suddenly, to his horror, Ranyar realized who it was – Maitimo.