CARCHAROTH AND THE SILMARIL,presented by Finch
A hitherto unknown fragment of the Lay of Leithian, recovered by A.Nesnop and R. Kniv, scholars of the University of Unquendor in the Lower Marshes of Middle-earth. (Who recovered what remains a matter of conjecture.) To be temporarily superimposed on the unfinished Canto XIV as found in The Lays of Beleriand, HoMe, Volume 3. It must be observed that the perpetrator, or perpetrators, unknown have heavily based themselves on the works of Master Scholar J.R.R. Tolkien.
A terror stark, and naked dread
fell upon them, and so they fled,
Beren and Lúthien, with the gem,
and no one moved to hinder them.
Through many a room unlit they sped
heedless, and their disguises shed.
The arts of Lúthien were unmade:
no wing of bat, nor wolfish shade
sped through those caves: instead there ran
the graceful forms of Elf and Man.
One single urge upheld their flight:
their wish once more to see the light,
to cast the darkness from their eyes
and gaze upon clear northern skies.
No creature marked their passing feet
and none pursued them. But to meet
the fugitives before the Gate,
his eyes ablaze with boundless hate,
Carcharoth on the threshold stood,
most fell 'mongst all of Morgoth's brood.
And ere the two became aware
of that grim wolf-hound's wrothful glare,
he spied them, and with dripping fang
as they ran by, upon them sprang.
Lúthien, now, was tired, spent.
The magic that her power lent
had all been used in that last spell:
she stumbled forward and she fell.
She sensed the shadow of that shape:
the wolf, that barred their escape.
She smelled his foul and stinking breath
and then she thought: 'So this is death.'
She was so weak now, she resigned,
but still some voice inside her mind
suggested words in ancient tongue,
beginnings of a mighty song.
But as she tried, the words just slurred;
she looked up, but her vision blurred.
How could she now that beast defy?
Then she heard: 'Get you gone and fly!'
She felt how Beren past her swept
and with two great strides forward leapt,
attacked the wolf with his full will.
His right hand clutched the Silmaril.
He held aloft the gem he won
and cried out: 'Flee, and get you gone!'
The light that shone ere Elves and Men,
ere Sun and Moon existed, then
leapt forth with Beren; in his gaze
was mirrored that eternal blaze.
'Here is the all-consuming fire
before which evil must retire.
Beware, fell wolf, that you don't spurn
the cleansing flame, or you will burn!
But Carcharoth, undaunted, stared
at the white jewel as it flared;
he did not flinch before its sheen.
And while his heart before had been
a cauldron filled with smouldering ire,
it now awoke to burning fire,
and suddenly his gaping jaws,
with rows of teeth sharper than saws,
enclosed upon both hand and gem,
bit off them, and devourèd them
as if another bent his will
to feed on Fëanor's Silmaril.
But with a flame of deadly fear
the stone his inmost part did sear,
scorching his flesh, accursed and foul.
Then Carcharoth sent up a howl
of pain, of bottomless dismay
and turned his tail, and sped away.
The mountain-face above the dales
echoed the clamour of his wails.
To such a strength his madness grew
that every living thing he slew
that found itself upon his path
to be the victim of his wrath.
So all the creatures Morgoth bred
in terror from the valley fled
and hid themselves from where he raged
as if a war 'gainst them he waged.
Then Morgoth's hell-warg from the North
with ruin upon the world burst forth,
and of the terrors that of old
the lands of Endor did behold
before the day of Angband's fall
his madness was the worst of all,
most dreadful of all fears of yore,
because the burden that he bore
within him, Fëanor's Silmaril,
filled him with light against his will.
Within the Gate lay Beren, swooned,
his life-blood oozing from the wound.
The treacherous venom that had lurked
in the wolf's deadly fangs, now worked
its way into his veins, and nigh
drew now the hour that he would die.
But Lúthien crept up by his side
and though her powers failed her, tried
to bring him back to life. She drew
first with her lips the poison out. Anew
gripped was she by anxiety,
for this might well their parting be.
She sang a feeble healing song
while in the lower caves the throng
of Morgoth's fearsome creatures crept
up from the places where they slept.
A murmur, then a rumour grew.
it was perceived by Lúthien, who
sang louder. Down the corridor
the sounds of wrath grew more and more.
Awakened now were all that dozed,
that most abominable host.
't Was likely now that all too soon
the noble quest would end in ruin.
The stone gone, Beren dead, so there
was nothing left but dark despair.
But Lúthien's song, mixed with the cries
of Morgoth's monsters, reached the skies,
where two great eagles and their lord
on journey northward high up soared.
They now appeared on outstretched wing
Over the valley's wall to bring
more swiftly than the wind indeed
the rescue in that hour of need.
A watch had kept the king of birds,
Thorondor, mindful of the words
of Huan, truest of all hounds.
So when he heard below him sounds
of terror and of wrath from both
the foaming mouth of Carcharoth
and from the mouth of that dark cave,
he came down rapidly to save,
Carefully lifting Lúthien.
His vassals took the wounded man.
They bore them up into the clouds...
And here endeth the fragment.
PS: Those familiar with the extant Lay will no doubt see why it was discarded by the compiler.
PPS: A. Nesnop and R. Kniv really exist; they were not invented by Finch.