Author's Note: Minor revision 08-06-2006: As RavenLady
helpfully pointed out, Narsil was not made by the Númenóreans
but by dwarves in the First Age. I've corrected this in the
Disclaimer: All characters, with the exception of the dwarf Buri, belong to Tolkien. The name of Oropher's wife is mine. Translations of Elvish (Sindarin unless otherwise stated) and additional notes are found at the end. Links to websites referenced in my notes can be found via my home page.
Imladris, SA 1701
"My heart counsels me now as it did when first I heard of these Rings," Círdan told the assembled elves. "Then, we could not destroy them. Now, their connection to Celebrimbor is no longer an issue." The ancient elf searched the assembly for Celeborn, who met his eyes with understanding. "As long as Sauron wears the One Ring, protection of the Three becomes a greater onus than even the protection of our land and people." (1)
"Yet should Sauron be deprived of the One Ring, much good might be done with the Elven Rings," Galadriel said. "Sauron never touched them - they were made by Celebrimbor alone. We might still put them to the purpose for which he intended them."
"That seems slim hope - the risk outweighs the benefit," Celeborn argued.
Círdan had guessed the Sindarin lord would agree with him. He wished that he had been able to persuade Celeborn's cantankerous cousin to quit his seclusion in the Greenwood and attend the Council. The Noldor had forged the Rings for interests peculiar to the Noldor; the voice of reason would come from the Sindar. (2)
"To heal the hurts of Ennor is no small benefit," Gil-galad responded.
Círdan frowned. 'Or to heal hurts of the soul? Your pain clouds your judgment, my foster-son,' he thought. "It is true that Sauron never touched these Rings. Yet, his influence was upon Celebrimbor in their forging, and he persuaded the son of Curufin to do what he should not have done - what his heart should have warned him not to do. To manipulate the very elements, to manipulate time itself - such powers are reserved by the Ainur and the One." (3)
"Yet in such powers lay our hopes, if elves are to remain in Ennor. The grace to pass into the West is not equally shared - duty or the Ainur themselves deny it. The Rings shall not be destroyed," the High King decided.
In just a few rounds of the sun, warriors and lovers had worn this path smooth. Here, the river cut deep into the valley, revealing a breathtaking stratum of stone in the walls of the canyon. A thicket of greenery grew under the spray of the falls, and more than a few elves had emerged from those trees with promises of betrothal on their lips.
Upon the Council's adjournment, Elrond had come here in the hope that the beauty of this place would ease his heart. The healer in him shared the sentiments of Galadriel and Gil-galad. Yet, no elf did he so respect as he did Círdan. Moreover, had not Pengolodh warned against this failing of the elves, this love for their own creations?
"You have been avoiding me, Elrond Peredhel."
He started; so wrapped in his thoughts had he been that he had missed the elf perched near the falls. "You surprised me."
A silvery laugh answered him. "Well, that is evident - else you should have found some pressing matter requiring your attention at the house. Am I so dreadful to you?" Celebrian teased.
"That could never be so, hirilen," he answered earnestly.
Her tone changed to match the seriousness of his. "I did not come to Imladris for the Council, Elrond. I came to see you.
"I have known this forever," she continued, unmindful of the Peredhel's gaping stare. "As our friendship deepened, I saw that what I felt for you, I would never feel for Gil-galad."
"Say no more," Elrond said urgently. "If you truly care for me, then you will not mention this again. You broke trust with Gil-galad - I will not do the same."
"You speak of trust, yet you would have the three of us unhappy in a lie."
"Nay - I wish only to explain…why I cannot," he faltered, deliberately using the elf-maid's own words.
Celebrian winced. "You do not love me."
"Hours I passed, when we were still called young, my eyes unable to look away as you bent over your books or worked in your garden. Still, my breath catches at the sight of you, and your mere presence brings joy I cannot explain.
"But he would know in a moment that any bliss we might find together has been long in coming," Elrond continued regretfully. "He would know that the last soul he calls 'mellon' has been the instrument of his festering sore - and he is nearly a brother to me."
"You love him more."
"My love for him is older, wrought in the ruin of everything we once held dear. I will not betray him. One cannot make a bond out of broken trust."
Celebrian bowed her head. "But love is sweeter for sacrifice. It will endure, Elrond - to the end of Arda, if it must." She looked up, her silver and gold hair falling back, her grey eyes, unguarded at last, shining with love.
Elrond allowed himself to meet her eyes, to appreciate her loveliness without fear of discovery. "That is a long wait," he sighed.
"Indeed - but what else can we do? The whims of the fëa are not ours to direct. We are not fickle as men - our hearts do not give up so easily. Healing shall come to him, Elrond, with time, and for time, we do not lack.
"It is left to us to decide whether we will let the past consume us, or make what we can of the future," she added.
Elrond took her hand and raised it to his lips in a chaste kiss. Her declaration of love brought such happiness to him that he wanted to dance and sing silly songs of love.
Later, in his quarters, he smiled to himself at the shock of his advisors and captains should they find the serious loremaster in such a state.
"What is so amusing?"
He looked up to see Gil-galad at the door. A single glance at the High King's face reminded Elrond of his guilt, if not in deed, then in thought.
"It troubles me to be at odds with Círdan over the fate of the Rings," the elf continued.
Elrond relaxed, thankful that his friend was too distracted to pursue his initial question. "I feel the same."
"Yet, if the Three can do all that Celebrimbor intended--." Something like hope flitted across his face, and Elrond realized with a sinking feeling that hope looked utterly out of place in the High King's mien.
Celebrian was wrong. Healing would not come to Gil-galad; the elf would not allow it. He was mired in the past, unable to shake the sense that everything he loved would abandon him. Elrond's love for his friend could not heal this; to break his trust would destroy him.
Imladris, SA 2350
The rooms across from Elrond's apartments belonged to the High King, though he came to occupy them less often these days. Still, no other guest used them - not Galadriel, not Gildor or any other elf-lord. At this time, Gil-galad was in residence. The footman had retired for the night, and after a perfunctory knock, Elrond let himself in, following the flicker of candlelight to the study.
He knew the elf would be awake. He had seen the High King pacing the halls in the dark hours. Cold bathwater, meals of the simplest fare - his friend had become an ascetic in body as in spirit.
Hair unbound, clad in his dressing gown, the elf bent over a book on his desk with such rapt attention that he did not notice Elrond's presence until the latter spoke.
"I see now why it is so draughty in here. I will call for a servant to relight the fire."
"No," Gil-galad said sharply. "That is not necessary."
"I would at least take the chill off the air."
Gil-galad said nothing, absorbed in his book. Elrond glanced over his shoulder.
The elf looked up, raising his eyebrows at this intrusion. "Mellon?"
Though it came from his own library, Elrond had doubts about the value of the tome that held the High King's interest. Written by a mûl liberated from Tol-in-Gaurhoth by Lúthien, its author's loathing for Sauron was unquestionable. Nonetheless, Morgoth and his lieutenant had often released captive elves to spread lies and dissent among the Noldor. The book offered much insight into the Maia's habits, but Elrond wondered if such insight reflected Sauron's manipulation of the unfortunate author rather than true revelation. (4)
Not for the first time, Elrond questioned his friend's judgment. Vengeance on behalf of Gil-galad's father and Finrod obsessed the elf to a fault; still, Elrond perceived an overwhelming sense of loss buried beneath hatred and righteous anger.
"Rather grim late night reading."
Gil-galad set aside his book with a sigh, resigning himself to Elrond's presence. "I have wanted to talk to you about Númenor," he said. "Relations with Armenelos have grown cold, and I cannot decipher the reason for it."
Elrond sat down and pondered the High King's question for a long moment. "What have you been able to learn about the Rings that Sauron took from Celebrimbor?"
"I cannot discover the disposition of the Nine," Gil-galad said slowly, "but on the fingers of Númenor's king or any pure-blooded descendant of Elros, such trinkets would prove an invaluable weapon to the holder of the One Ring."
"I cannot but wonder if that has come to pass."
"I do not think so. The Lords of Andúnië still come to Forlond - if anything, we have become more closely allied. They find themselves out of favor in Armenelos for their friendship with the elves, but they assure me their lord is no friend to Sauron. Ancalimon knows he would subjugate and destroy Númenor if he could."
The High King's dispassionate tone unnerved Elrond. As enemies, the Maia and the High King were all too well matched. In their deadly game of chess, they moved their pieces with care, each recognizing the impasse they had reached, each counting on chance to rattle the board and reset the game in his favor. And each would risk great loss to have mastery of the other.
"You curry favor with these men, yet you keep a vital secret from them. Do not forget that these men - and the elves of your realm - are not mere pawns in this game you play."
The elf sighed. "I do not mean to sound callous. Yet such things as friendship and fairness have no meaning in times of war."
"I know your intentions are noble. Yet, I sense a coldness in your heart that chills me more than these rooms. The fire of your anger brings you no warmth, my friend."
"I do not seek warmth."
Hours later, Elrond sat before a roaring fire in his own rooms, unable to stop shivering.
Forlond, SA 3430
"Elendil." They clasped arms in familiar greeting.
"Come. We have much to discuss." Gil-galad clapped a hand on his back with a heartiness he did not feel. They went into his library. Gil-galad shut the door carefully and locked it. He took a box from his robes and laid it on the desk.
Of all the men he had known, Elendil had come closest to piercing the hard shell of his heart. Gil-galad had not wanted this, had resisted it, but something in the man - his righteousness, courage and hatred of the enemy - reminded him of himself. Like him, Elendil had come of age in a time of horror; like him, he had lost many he loved. Their pasts lay under the sea, lost forever in a struggle between powers greater than both kings.
Now, he was to test Elendil's friendship as few friendships had been tested.
He spoke simply, without embellishment. He spoke of events that had occurred over a thousand years before the man's birth. He spoke of the box that sat before him.
Elendil sat in silence; given to careful thought, he let Gil-galad complete the tale before he spoke.
"These Rings - made by the hands of the elves - have been used to corrupt men of Númenor - used to control these things that slew my son's people and forced him into exile." Elendil stood, turning his back to the elf. "And you did not think to warn my forefathers of this, lord?" (5)
"You must understand that I feared to lose Númenor's aid in the war."
"Yes, I understand. Whatever it took to save Eriador and the elves, Númenor be damned."
"How long could Númenor have lasted alone, had Sauron driven us from Ennor?"
Elendil turned to face the elf. "Well, we have seen, not long. Certainly, we had no help from Forlond when Númenor hosted Sauron."
Gil-galad stood, anger washing over him. "You know that the corruption of your kinsman's line began without Sauron's aid. Had Pharazôn been a friend to the elves and called for our help, we would have aided him. We could do little with your king turned against us. I do not have that kind of strength at my disposal. I do not have the numbers, Elendil."
"But do you not see that secrets become suspicion, and suspicion, fear and finally hate? Perhaps the One Ring aided him, but you had already prepared the way for Sauron. And perhaps you, too, were affected by the Ring, persuaded against trust."
The man placed his hands on the desk, leaning forward until their faces nearly touched. The elf turned his head, uncomfortable with Elendil's nearness.
"Do you trust me?"
Elendil did not move. His gaze did not relent. Gil-galad forced himself to meet Elendil's eyes. "I trust you."
He sat down and rested his chin on his hands pensively. Elendil studied him for a moment before taking his seat.
"And now, you need our numbers, is that it?"
Gil-galad shifted uncomfortably. "We must strike soon, I think. Sauron has not yet had time to build an army. Once he has done so, he will bring war upon Gondor. We cannot let that happen."
Elendil had spoken of such things with Isildur, but he would not give away his hand. This time, the partnership of men and elves would not be made by the wishes of elves alone. "I can promise Anárion's alliance. But it will take much more to bring down Barad-dûr."
"I have been in contact with Durin. I believe he would be willing to commit the dwarves of Hadhodrond to such an endeavor." (6)
"And what of the elves of the Greenwood?"
The Silvan elves had not fled Ennor as had many of the Eldar during the Dark Years; Oropher had at his command a sizeable army. "Sauron's allies have not left them in peace - they must see that we share the same goal."
"You will have to tell them everything you have told me."
"It is a late hour to secure their loyalty. We may lose it." They would be furious, Gil-galad realized. Elendil was his ally, his...friend. The dwarves were fiercely independent, ultimately unpredictable; he grimaced in anticipation of Oropher's reaction. The forging of the Rings would only confirm the Sinda's suspicions of the Noldor.
"We march on Mordor, under the very Shadow. Mistrust would put a powerful weapon in the hands of the Deceiver."
"You need not remind me, mellon."
Imladris, SA 3434
They had sent away the scholars and brought noise to a place that usually heard only the scratching of quills. Maps covered nearly every surface of the library. Commissars bent over long scrolls, matching troops to provisions and weapons. A merchant from Hadhodrond checked deliveries against his own lists. Celeborn stood by a table with Elrond, discussing movement of the great army over Hithaeglir. A young scout from Imladris pointed to the map, marking places in which snipers were likely to hide.
At another table, Elendil studied a map of the Vale of Anduin. "We should be able to cross the river at Laffirien," he pointed. "The bridge is held by the townsfolk." (7)
"Do we have their alliance?" Gil-galad asked.
Celeborn looked up from his discussion with Elrond. "The men of the Vale will follow Oropher; there has long been friendship between their peoples." (8)
The day's golden light retreated from the library, leaving long shadows as Arien descended. Isildur, a man of action, gave his apologies and left early in the afternoon. Buri of Hadhodrond toiled on, as if to prove that a dwarf could withstand as much tedium as an elf, but now, even the elves were beginning to look a bit weary.
In the end, Gil-galad and Elendil were left alone. Gil-galad felt no fatigue; passion for detail, for careful weights and measures, for learned guesses as to the movements of the enemy - these obsessions had made a great commander from an untried warrior.
Elendil had more elf-like patience than his son, but eventually, he too grew restless. "You may do well enough on bread and water, but I would enjoy the works of Imladris' chef as long as I can before we are forced to rely on army rations."
Gil-galad gave in; he knew he would return to the library in the late hours. Sleep would not come to him this night or many nights hence.
Celebrian stepped into their path as they quit the library. "My mother wishes to speak to you."
"Tell her I will meet her in her rooms after the evening meal." Gil-galad moved as if to continue on his way, but the elf-maid put her hand on his arm.
"Might we also speak a moment, Tauren? Alone," she added, with a glance at Elendil.
Long dormant, his body stirred at her touch. He shook off her hand. "I think we have little to discuss."
"Perhaps you do not, but I do."
"Then it should have been said long ago." He cringed at the thought of enduring her apologies, her pity; he cursed himself for feelings he could not master. "Good day."
Elendil's eyes narrowed as he studied the elf's face. "If the grudge you bear Sauron holds as much bitterness, then he would be wise to fear your coming."
She awaited him on the balcony, her famous mirror conspicuously placed between them.
"If it is my future you would show me, I do not wish to know."
Galadriel smiled as one who is older and wiser. "And I would not allow it. Some things must be left to chance. That is not why I called you here."
Gil-galad swallowed his irritation. He imagined that if he were wearing his circlet, it would have slipped down his forehead like a father's crown on a child.
"Imladris must hold," she began briskly.
The haven would shelter the remaining leaders of elves and men - Isildur's youngest son, Galadriel herself - but to lead what if all were lost in Mordor? No, Imladris would guard over something more precious, something that could turn everything if its defenses fell.
"His minions will be coming for them, seeking them in every quarter of elf-kind in Ennor." She leveled her eyes with his. She knew, then, that he had given Vilya to Elrond.
"I do not intend to leave Imladris without defense." He hesitated. "Nor do I leave it without a leader. Order things as you will, gwanur. You waste my time if you ask for my authority. You have never recognized it." (9)
Galadriel's face softened. "There, you are wrong. I have never spoken against you - what advice I give remains between us."
"And what of the advice you gave your daughter? Did you not speak against me then?" He groaned inwardly at his words. Perhaps she had reason to treat him as a child.
"You have been a great King, but as an elf, you have been found wanting." She held his eyes; he found it impossible to turn away from their piercing light. "Idsarnin, 'Stoneheart', the Silvan people call you. Is it death you seek in Mordor? Revenge? Then you shall have it. Yet much more than your injured heart hangs in the balance. Do not forget that you hold the hopes of all Ennor." (10)
Mordor, SA 3441
Day had come, or what passed for day under the noxious clouds that hid the sun over Mordor. The Alliance had Sauron pressed to the wall - for several days, they had seen only isolated sorties. The orcs looked starved; they were not warriors, but the lesser slave breeds.
"Perhaps we will at last see the end, if such troops are all that Sauron has left to him," Elendil suggested hopefully.
Gil-galad shook his head. "He will come forth." He could not suppress a shudder. As a child on Balar, he had seen the awesome power of Ossë. He did not underestimate the Maiar, and such a being in possession of the One Ring…he refused to finish the thought.
In his tent, he found Elrond awaiting him.
"Something is astir. The dwarves hear noises in the stones of Orodruin - they feel the rock under their feet trembling."
The High King sat down heavily, resting his head in his hands. He had not the gift of foresight, but the same certainty that had pressed Vilya into Elrond's hand before the march now assailed him: he would not see the end of this war.
Morannon Gate, Late 3434 By the
green standard of Eryn Galen, Gil-galad easily located the tents of
the wounded. Bodies lay under grey cloaks of Lórien or green
cloaks of Oropher's folk. To find their King was another matter. At
last, in a corner undistinguished from the pallets on which the other
elves lay, Gil-galad caught sight of a blond elf speaking to one with
silver hair. With a nod, the blond elf stood to make way for
him. "So you come to see your old nemesis a last time
before he passes into the care of Mandos. How pleased you must be
that defiance brings my death. Yet my grandson tells me that the
Morannon has fallen, so perhaps this old elf is not so foolish as you
thought." "We are kin. We should not have been
enemies," Gil-galad frowned. Oropher snorted.
"Kin has strange meaning to the Golodhrim." "You
speak of crimes of another Age, crimes in which I had no part." The
older elf looked at him with pity. "Stone remembers its hurts
but cannot feel, Idsarnin. A wife slain is a grief that lingers
across the Ages. You, too, have known grief, but not love. "My
heart is at ease. My son takes up my standard, and I go to my
Anórieth. For what do you live or die? Who awaits you at this
By the green standard of Eryn Galen, Gil-galad easily located the tents of the wounded. Bodies lay under grey cloaks of Lórien or green cloaks of Oropher's folk. To find their King was another matter. At last, in a corner undistinguished from the pallets on which the other elves lay, Gil-galad caught sight of a blond elf speaking to one with silver hair. With a nod, the blond elf stood to make way for him.
"So you come to see your old nemesis a last time before he passes into the care of Mandos. How pleased you must be that defiance brings my death. Yet my grandson tells me that the Morannon has fallen, so perhaps this old elf is not so foolish as you thought."
"We are kin. We should not have been enemies," Gil-galad frowned.(11)
Oropher snorted. "Kin has strange meaning to the Golodhrim."(12)
"You speak of crimes of another Age, crimes in which I had no part."
The older elf looked at him with pity. "Stone remembers its hurts but cannot feel, Idsarnin. A wife slain is a grief that lingers across the Ages. You, too, have known grief, but not love.
"My heart is at ease. My son takes up my standard, and I go to my Anórieth. For what do you live or die? Who awaits you at this journey's end?"
Who, indeed? Oropher's words still haunted him. Was this a futile endeavor? At times, the clear vision that had guided him - from the first discussions with Elendil, through the impossible Council at Imladris and into the very heart of Mordor - at times, this vision deserted him. Doubts arose with every setback; the defeat of Sauron seemed impossible and Gil-galad knew he had chanced everything on the Alliance.
"'Nor shall anything of my realm endure that a son should inherit.'" (13)
"Finrod saw his death, he saw the futility in all the Noldor had done in Beleriand. Am I but heir to foolish pride, a vengeful king who has led all of Ennor into darkness?"
Elrond bit his lip. "You forget that Finrod's death was not in vain. Though we have not seen Eärendil these long years, his light is steady and does not desert us. Nor is your death, if that is truly your fate, in vain. We will defeat Sauron."
"I leave no heir, Elrond," the elf answered tiredly. "I leave no heir, and my body can find no heat to overcome the coldness that seeps from my soul. For what purpose have I endured these long years?"
"For this," the Peredhel answered, waving his arm in the direction of the tents and their inhabitants. "The free peoples could not long endure Sauron's threat. In time, with his strength amassed he would cover the land. You alone have seen the way through these years. Your vision is our hope."
The heat was unendurable, and brave warriors drew back, their skin already scorched. Gil-galad looked to his left and saw that only Elendil remained. The man gave him a mirthless grin and cocked an eyebrow. "Fortune favors the brave - and Eru takes care of the foolish." (14)
With the clarity of one whose death awaits him, Gil-galad saw the flaw in all his careful planning. The ordering of Ennor would fall to men, and the elves would fade. Already it had begun; it had begun the moment Sauron had stepped forth. Sauron had needed no sword or mace to defeat Orodreth and Finrod and no force to beguile Celebrimbor. What hope had their Moriquenderinwa kinsman? (15)
Such thoughts, he knew, were of Sauron's design, yet as ever, there was a kernel of truth amid the Dark Lord's lies.
'You hold the hopes of all Ennor.'
He could not defeat the Dark Lord; he could not defeat the Doom of Mandos. He fought not for elves, but Men.
"Nin estel Edain!" With a cry, he launched himself into the searing heat beside Elendil.
Together, they battled with Sauron, Aeglos and Narsil finding weaknesses in their foe as if guided by a providential hand. Blistered, his hair alight, Gil-galad drew in close, striking the fatal blow even as Sauron's heat engulfed him. From a distance, he heard Elendil's last brave shout of triumph. Narsil shattered like glass; Gil-galad's body burned. (16, 17, 18)
'So this is warmth,' he thought.
All but the insistent call of Námo faded to darkness.
"I have failed him."
"The fate of the Ring now lies in the hands of men," Círdan said. "The fate of Ennor now lies in the hands of men."
"I should have been more persuasive. I could have thrown Isildur to the fires."
"No," Círdan said sharply. "The moment you thought to do this, you would have been a thrall to the Ring yourself."
Elrond nodded, understanding perfectly. "But I wonder if somehow I meant to fail, meant for the ends for which he gave his life to prove as ephemeral as all that he loved."
Círdan put a hand on his shoulder. "You gave him far more than he had right to ask of you." The mariner's face moved with sorrow. Elrond recalled that he had lost a friend and his King. Círdan had lost a son. "Not even Celebrian could have healed what was lost in Beleriand. You are stronger than he was. Have no shame in that, Elrond.
"Bond yourself to her, and make the home you have always wanted out of the house. Let the past lie, lest your heart grow cold and the years a bitterness to you."
Above, the sky had cleared at last. In the early hours of the morning, Eärendil glowed brightly in the east: a father who had abandoned his family, a father who had brought hope to all.
"It is left to us to decide whether we will let the past consume us, or make what we can of the future."
As long as the Ring remained intact, his journey in Ennor would not be complete. This, Elrond could do for his King. Time stretched before him. He meant to make the most of it.
(1) "Now, their connection to Celebrimbor is no longer an
I've assumed that Celebrimbor invested part of his fëa in the Rings as Sauron invested himself in the One Ring. There is no evidence for this.
Two lines in LOTR seem to imply that Legolas and Celeborn are kin: 'I am an Elf and a kinsman here' (FOTR, Book 2 Ch VI, p 339 pub. Houghton Mifflin); 'Welcome, son of Thranduil! Too seldom do my kindred journey hither from the North'. (FOTR, Book 2 Ch VII, p 346 pub. Houghton Mifflin) Celeborn is kin to Thingol, (LOTR, 'Appendix B, The Second Age' p 1057 pub. Houghton Mifflin) and Tolkien refers to Oropher and Thranduil as 'Sindarin Princes'. (Unfinished Tales, 'The History of Galadriel and Celeborn, Appendix B' p 270 pub. Ballantine/Del Rey) It seems likely that Oropher, like Celeborn, is a descendant of Elmo. (Unfinished Tales, 'The History of Galadriel and Celeborn' p 244 pub. Ballantine/Del Rey) I've written them as cousins, though there is no reason to suppose this particular relationship.
(3) "To manipulate the very elements, to
manipulate time itself - such powers are reserved by the Ainur and
Tolkien implies that Círdan never used his Ring: '...In two domains the bliss and beauty of the Elves remained still undiminished while that Age endured: In Imladris; and in Lothlórien... .' (The Silmarillion, 'Of the Rings of Power and the Third Age' p 358 pub. Ballantine/Del Rey) He surrenders his Ring upon Gandalf's arrival. As an Ainu, Gandalf has the right to use the powers conferred by the Ring.
(5) "And you did not think to
warn my forefathers of this, lord?"
'I do not think Ar-Pharazôn knew anything about the One Ring. The Elves kept the matter of the Rings very secret, as long as they could.' (The Letters of J.R.R. Tolkien, No. 211 p 279 pub. Houghton Mifflin)
(6) "I have been in contact with Durin."
We do not know who ruled Khazad-dûm at the time of the Last Alliance - I've just guessed that it might have been one of the Durins.
(7) "The bridge is held by the townsfolk."
This bridge was located at the ford where the dwarves crossed in The Hobbit. In Bilbo's time, obviously, the bridge no longer existed, but Tolkien tells us that it was used by Gil-galad's army on the way to Mordor. (Unfinished Tales, 'Disaster of the Gladden Fields' p 294n pub. Ballantine/Del Rey) The town of Laffirien is my invention.
(8) "The men of the Vale will follow Oropher;
there has long been friendship between their peoples."
Tolkien never mentions the participation of the men of the Vale in the Alliance, but they would have had good reason to join in the effort to defeat Sauron. Like the elves of the Greenwood, they lived a precarious existence during the Dark Years. We do know that they were not strangers to Oropher's people.
During the First Age, the Wood-elves were friendly with men as they made their way west to Beleriand (where Finrod would remark on the similarity of their languages). (The Silmarillion, 'Of the Coming of Men into the West' pp 163-5 pub. Ballantine/Del Rey) Not all of these men went west with Bëor, however, and those who remained behind became the Woodmen and Beornings. (The Peoples of Middle-earth, 'Of Dwarves and Men' p 311 pub. Houghton Mifflin) In TA 2, 'there were certain Woodmen who got news to Thranduil by runners' regarding the attack on Isildur, confirming that the elves of the Greenwood and the Woodmen were neither strangers nor hostile to one another at the time of the Last Alliance. (Unfinished Tales, 'Disaster of the Gladden Fields' p 288 pub. Ballantine/Del Rey)
It seems more likely to me that these scattered and independent villages of men would have marched with Oropher's people, whom they knew, rather than with the Dúnedain, who tended to interact with the native peoples of Middle-earth only as colonists and usurpers.
kinswoman (also kinsman)
lit. heart of stone (neo-Silvan). Constructed from CE sarnâ, 'of stone' + CE îdî, 'heart' (with the implication of thought or feeling). CE long vowels appear to become short in Danian/Nandorin words; the fate of -î cannot be determined, but it would disappear in any case due to syncope of identical vowels in Danian/Nandorin. The genitive ending -in (replacing CE genitive ending -â) is presumed from Tolkien's translations of Silvan Lórinand and Lindórinand. (The Lost Road, 'Etymologies'; The War of the Jewels, 'Quendi and Eldar'; Unfinished Tales, 'The History of Galadriel and Celeborn'; Helge Fauskanger's site: Ardalambion, 'Nandorin')
(11) "We are kin."
If Celeborn and Oropher are kin through Elmo, Gil-galad would also be kin to Oropher through his great-grandmother Eärwen.
Noldor (class plural) - this is the not-so-polite version of the word; the Noldor preferred Gódhellim.
"'Nor shall anything of my realm endure that a son should
(The Silmarillion, 'Of the Noldor in Beleriand' p 151 pub. Ballantine/Del Rey)
favors the brave."
source: Virgil's Aeneid
Dark-elven (Q). This variant is based on constructions such as Sindarinwa and Noldorinwa, which distinguish adjectives from nouns referring to elves and languages.
(16) "Nin estel Edain!"
"For the hope of Men!"
Aeglos appears in LOTR as Aiglos, but Sindarin words derived from Old Sindarin ai (CE aj) come out as oe or ae, and Aeglos is the word that appears in The Silmarillion. Aiglos may be an orthographic concession - ae has the sound of English 'ai', which is the intended pronunciation. This would not be obvious to the English-speaking reader when spelt with the Sindarin diphthong. (Didier Willis' site: Tolkien - Hiswelókë - Le Dragon de Brume, 'Sindarin Dictionary')
Gil-galad's body burned
'The Ring misseth, maybe, the heat of Sauron's hand, which was black and yet burned like fire, and so Gil-galad was destroyed... .' (FOTR, Book 2, Ch II p 246 pub. Houghton Mifflin)