Disclaimer: Arda as described in the Silmarillion belongs to JRR Tolkien. Kindly do not try to sue me, as I make no money from this anyway.

Chapter One: The Mariner from Middle Earth

I was walking in Yavanna's gardens when the summons came. I had been hoping for it ever since the messenger had told me that a traveler from beyond the sea had come to Tirion and been called before the Valar.

"Arafinwe son of Finwe, your presence is required at the Ring of Doom. There is news that you should learn for the guidance of your people."

I bowed to the messenger. "I will come."

"Follow me," he said, beckoning me to follow him up the long winding path to the Ring of Doom. I followed after him. When we arrived, I saw that Ingwe also was present, as well as the newcomer from beyond the sea. He was rather odd looking, and I wondered why before realizing that he lacked the light of the Two Trees in his eyes. His features also were strange to me, being coarser than is usual in one of the Eldar, although they appeared not uncomely on his face. Chairs had been placed within the Ring of Doom, one of which had been left empty, presumably for me. Clearly whatever they planned would take some time...

"Ingwe of the Vanyar, Arafinwe of the Noldor, you are summoned here today to hear tidings from the outer world. We have decided that it is time to overthrow Morgoth, and to overturn the ban on the Noldor's return. Olwe of the Teleri is receiving the news in Alqualonde as we speak." Manwe gestured to the stranger. "This is a messenger from Middle Earth. You should hear what he has to say. His name is Earendil and he is Idril's son, though his father is one of the Aftercomers."

Earendil stood, and bowed to us and to the Valar before sitting down again. "It is hard to know where to begin," he said softly, "save to say that I am very glad that the Valar have decided to do something about Morgoth. Without action, all Middle Earth will fall under his yoke. It is very close to being thus already. Those left behind are helpless refugees caught between his minions on one side and the sea on the other - those that do not already labor in torment for Morgoth's gain. All of the Noldor realms have fallen, and those of the Teleri's relatives the Sindar likewise lie in ruins. As for the Hildor, those who dared defy Morgoth are in a similar state, while others worship Morgoth as if he were Eru."

It looked like my worst predictions had come to pass. "How did it happen?" I found myself asking calmly.

"Morgoth was too strong for us. The oath of Feanor and the Doom of Mandos did the rest. We were never strong enough to overthrow Angband or completely surround it, with the result that he was constantly inventing new things to throw at us. His orcs breed like flies, and no matter how many we killed there were always more. Perhaps I should start at the very beginning. When the Noldor arrived in Beleriand they found the Sindar already present, with a large kingdom under Olwe's brother Elwe."

"Elwe is alive?" I exclaimed. "How can that be?"

"He was alive then. It is a long story, but the reason he went missing is that he fell spectacularly in love with a maia named Melian. They later married and founded a realm called Doriath. Even before Morgoth's return, the people of Doriath had been fighting with his creatures. These creatures had been increasing in number in anticipation of his return. I presume that you know the story of the Doom of Mandos and the kin slaying at Alqualonde?"

Ingwe and I nodded. Oh, we knew that tale too well already.

"The Noldor who went forward argued and many were angry with Feanor. He returned their ire, taking the ships he had stolen from the Teleri and slipping away across the ocean with his sons and their followers. They burned the ships, stranding the rest of the Noldor in Araman. Due to Feanor's carelessness in making sure that everybody was out of the ships, they also burned Umbarto."

"Feanor did what?!" said Ingwe in horror. "He burned his own son alive?"

"I am told it was an accident. As it was long before I was born, I really cannot offer an opinion."

"What of those left behind in Araman?" I asked. My children, my brother and Lalwende, what of them?

"They crossed the Helcaraxe on foot. Many perished during the crossing, but most made it alive to the other side." I breathed a sigh of relief.

Earendil continued speaking, and we learned of Feanaro's death, of Maitimo's captivity, his rescue by Findekano and the healing of the feud between the Noldorin factions, and of the long peace. I learned that both Arothir and Artanis had married Sindar, and that I had two great-grandchildren that I had never met. Then he told us of the Dagor Bragollach that ended it.

He faced be squarely and told me that Angarato and Aikanaro died in it, taken by the flames with no bodies left to bury. That Findarato had barely escaped with the aid of the Aftercomers, that Nolofinwe had died in single combat with Morgoth. I stared at the floor feeling sick and stricken. Of course I should not have expected my family to be spared, for they too came under the Doom of Mandos. More than most, given that they were of the house of Finwe. Even if they did no wrong save to allow duty to kin and curiosity to pit them against the will of the Valar. That of course, was quite enough... At least Findarato, Artanis and Arothir were still alive.

But the next tale he told me robbed me of that comfort. Findarato was dead in the depths of a foul dungeon far from light. Artanis had left over the mountains of the east and Earendil said he did not know her fate. Were all my children dead? How was I going to tell Earwen?

The tale of ruin continued. I lost track of which of my relatives had died - it was starting to sound like none of them had survived. Lost battles, burnt cities, destroyed peoples, treachery and yet more kin slaying. Were the sons of Feanaro mad? It certainly sounded like it. Finally, Earendil came to the end of his tale. Ingwe and I stared at him silently, with tears staining our cheeks.

Manwe spoke. " In order to free Middle Earth, there will be an army needed. Are you willing to lend your aid to destroy Melkor, and free Middle Earth of his taint forever?

"I am willing," I answered. "I have no doubt that my people will be also."

"And I," said Ingwe. "The Noldor have suffered enough, let alone the rest of Middle Earth's population."

"Then go forth, and make these things known to your people."

We stood and bowed, then turned and strode away.

Earwen was waiting for me in the gardens when I returned. "Why did the Valar summon you?" she asked. "Did the messenger from Middle Earth bring news? Is it bad? You look terrible."

I looked away, and willing to meet her eyes. Instead, I studied the patterns the elanor made in the grass before my feet. When I spoke, it was in a monotone. "The Valar are sending an army to destroy Morgoth. I've called a meeting for tomorrow, to ask the Noldor for their aid." I had never imagined I'd be asking for an army to go to Middle Earth to bail out our relations - what few of them were still alive.

"Why did the Valar changed their minds? What has been happening in Middle Earth?"

"They didn't entirely explain, but basically Morgoth has destroyed everything and everyone in his path and and sentenced every single inhabitant of Middle Earth to death or slavery until the end of time. We're going to have to rescue them. Damn Feanor!"

"So long as he stays in Mandos, I don't particularly care what happens to him," said Earwen.

"You haven't heard half of it," I answered. "He betrayed most of the Noldor, then accidentally burned his youngest son to death before getting himself killed through sheer stupidity. He didn't even have to live with the consequences of his deeds!"

"And worst of all... They are dead, Earwen. Findarato, Angarato, Aikanaro, Arothir, even a great-granddaughter we have never met. They say Artanis might be alive, but Earendil doesn't know... I should have asked lord Namo. He would know. My brother and my sister are dead. The Noldor in exile are being ruled by a son of Arothir's who is not even a hundred years old because everyone else is dead!"

It felt strange, looking into the sea of faces and remembering another mass meeting which called all too many of the Noldor to their deaths in Middle Earth. It is different this time, I told myself. We go with the will of the Valar not against it. At least the morning sunlight did not remind me of flickering torches in the gloom. I was no Feanor, to whip my people into fury to act against their own wills, so I laid out the facts simply and straightforwardly. If they wanted to follow me, they would do so of their own free will and no other.

There was silence when I finished. "Will you come?" I asked.

The resulting cries of "Yes! Of course we will!" nearly deafened me. I wondered how Ingwe had fared.

Glossary of Quenya names of characters usually known by Sindarized forms:

Arafinwe Finarfin

Lalwende/Irime Lalwen (one of Finarfin's two sisters. A late invention of Tolkien, she journeyed to Middle Earth but her fate is not mentioned.)

Findarato Finrod

Arothir Orodreth

Aikanaro Aegnor

Angarato Angrod

Nolofinwe Fingolfin

Feanaro Feanor

Elwe Elu Thingol

Umbarto Amras