Fire and Water

Blue-garbed and surly, he stood encircled, black hair obscuring blacker eyes. If any of the Eldar were to stand among us all, so outwardly unmoved by the very presence of the Ainur, it would be none other than he. The Spirit of Fire had long ago learned arrogance. He wielded it now in form of sullen countenance and stance. Unarmed he stood, empty-handed and fragile-limbed, yet without any intent of bending himself to the Twelve.

Behind us, on Ezellohar, stood horrific and plain to the senses the rotting remnant of our highest glory, the handiwork of Yavanna so brutally undone by Ungoliant and the malevolence of her hunger. The Two Trees lay dead, their Light extinguished; its only echo lay in the possession of the one who stood here at the summons of our lord.

The elf's face glanced over mine, two faces shrouded and cowled.

Manwë put the choice to him plainly. Beside him, Varda's gaze could have shattered stone, yet the Noldo barely winced beneath it.

In the wake of the elf's mute stare, hasty Tulkas urged him to put forth a reply—was not the Light, which the Noldo had imprisoned in his gems, a mere loan from the Queen of the Earth? Whether yea or nay, we should reap an answer from him.

Aulë would have granted the Noldo reprieve from hasty thoughts, but even as he spoke, Fëanor was already rising to the occasion we had set against him. Bitter rejection he spat at us, sullen for our greatness, likening his accomplishment to Yavanna's in it uniqueness, declaring his heart linked to the work of his hands, so that if they should be broken, so should his heart be, and with it his life—the first of the Eldar to be slain in all Aman.

Not the first. Three dark words from Mandos drew questioning glances from us all, but there was only silence as we fixed upon the brooding of Fëanor.

At last he rose up, and with an angry vehemence I knew not how to interpret, he denied us his jewels, saying that only if we were to constrain him would he give up the Silmarils to us, and threatened us with everlasting association to Melkor if we so turned ourselves to thievery. My brother the Doomspeaker finished the conversation, curt as ever, with words that were both a judgment and a promise: Thou hast spoken.

Ungoliant's filth, which reeked like murk and excrement and hissed stagnantly like spider's venom, crusted over the dulled laurë and telpë of the Trees. Throwing back the hood of grey that I always wore, I went up to them and supinated myself at their feet, and poured out the lament in song and tears which I was accorded for this moment. By my mourning the blackness was washed away, but no glory could even my gifts of healing restore to the stumps.

Messengers! Running from the north, now upon us—elves, coming unbidden to the Ring of Doom, white-faced at our majesty, but with urgent tidings fit for the ears of elf and Vala alike.

A storm had come to Formenos, wrought of nameless power and evil, and at its heart came Melkor: now gone from Arda was the life of Finwë, Noldor-king, and the Silmarils.

With howled words so bitter I wondered that they did not sear the air, Fëanor cast the name Morgoth—Black Foe—upon Melkor, and cursed the summons that had placed him in safety at Máhanaxar rather than in the thick of death at Formenos. Could the tide have been lessened by his presence, as if Fëanor were the moon of fate? From Námo's dark eyes, I thought it could not be so, and that if he had been there Fëanor would be the second blood to be spilled in the Blessed Realm. Yet Fëanor seemed not to see this. He railed at all of us, utterly wroth.

Even in the wind of his rage, I sorrowed on his behalf. The fire stoked in that one was wrought of love, at its deepest—love shaped by a deep and overmastering pride, but though his actions often brought loss and sorrow to those in his way he did not always mean it so. His eyes pierced me like Varda's stars, and I felt within me his grief, for his father had held in him a higher love than any other, even his love for the Silmarils.

The darkness of his wild heart meshed with the darkness of the night as he fled, swift-footed, back to his homeland.

The weeping with which I was so familiar had come onto the face of Yavanna, and even Aulë's touch could not assail her grief at the loss of the Two Trees. Yet in her there was left no healing; her song now silenced by fate, her tears were only sorrow, and no more. Grief found now a harbor in all of our hearts, for the losses Arda had suffered and would yet suffer.

Manwë looked soberly upon Námo, who bore the faraway countenance that signified his communion with the will of Eru. He spoke out of shadow into darkness.

The Doom of the Noldor is nigh.