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Autumn came and went, and winter too, but they were no longer wrapped in gloom and in subdued, hopeless waiting. There was life bustling around now, new houses raised where tents had been, and instead of a forest path there soon was a road running along the lakeshore and a stone bridge built at the river crossing. There were oft comings and goings between our camps, and by the new road messengers on horseback would pass from the northern to the southern shore. Both camps had horses now; Nelyafinwë had sent to the King half of the steeds that we had brought over on ships, in atonement for the wrongs we had done.
My eldest uncle would now and then go and see the King, sometimes one or several of his brothers accompanying him, and Findekáno would come to our camp often. Their friendship was restored, and it was oft even as in days before - he and my uncles hunted together or, as Makalaurë's harp sounded softly in the corner, they sat in a heated debate, exchanging words for the sheer joy of their power, both winning and losing an argument a matter of kindly jest and laughter. And, watching them thus, at ease, it was at whiles tempting to forget that our deadliest foe was still close and gathering his strength, that our errand was still unaccomplished.
But, even if I was sometimes lulled into false sensation of peace, Nelyafinwë did not forget his war, and neither did the King. Counsel they took together, and together they set watch around Mithrim and sent forth messengers to explore the land of Beleriand and to treat with the people that dwelt there. It was clear that we needed allies to confront Moringotto but waiting and idleness irritated my eldest uncle.
It was near spring; the Sun warm upon the face, little streamlets on the southern side of the rocks were already free from ice, and patches of open water loomed on the surface of the lake. We were out hunting today, Nelyafinwë, Findekáno, my father and me. Having climbed higher in the encircling hills we were overlooking the camp and the plains on the lakeshore when the sunlight suddenly was obscured by a cloud, creeping over from the northern shore. Nelyafinwë clenched his hand in fist.
"I wish we could march upon that stronghold and raze it to the ground!" His voice quivered in anger.
Findekáno who was a few steps ahead of the others now turned back and regarded him with concern.
"Can we?" he quietly asked.
For a long time Nelyafinwë stood silent, looking northward with a darkened gaze.
"No." When he spoke at last, his words were heavy, reluctant. "No, we cannot. We lack the strength, even all our forces together. Fear not, brother," he added bitterly, perceiving worry in Findekáno's eyes. "I would not risk such defeat. I have taken enough rash decisions to last for some time. I will threaten neither others, nor myself."
We climbed still higher; a westerly breeze carried away the haze, and together with the returning Sun our mood lightened too. Yet my eldest uncle was still deep in some thought. At length he spoke it aloud.
"We may not have the strength to confront Moringotto now, yet how long shall we remain here, confined in this valley? We have fortified the shores of Mithrim, true, but the lands to the East may still be under his sway, unless the Sindar have succeeded to keep them safe."
"From what I have heard of the Grey Elves, I believe it not," my father said scornfully. "They have neither strength, nor wisdom to withstand a Vala."
"What we have heard of the Sindar, Curufinwë, is very little," his elder brother replied. "For myself, I will refrain from judgement ere I know more. And even if the lands east of Ered Wethrin are unprotected, is it not our duty to give aid? To lend our greater strength?"
My father snorted in disdain, but Findekáno nodded thoughtfully.
"I agree with you, Russandol," he replied. "We should indeed expand our lands. Speak to my father; I believe you will find him of like mind as well."
And so it came to pass that a few weeks later they all sat in Nolofinwë's hall in a council, the lords of the Noldor, – my uncles, Arafinwë's children, save Angaráto who was travelling, both sons of the King. Turukáno was present this time as well, but he sat silent with his head bowed and avoided even looking at Fëanáro's sons. The King was the first to speak.
"My kinsmen, we are here today to decide what is to be done next," he said. "We have established a strong dwelling on the shores of Mithrim, nay, two dwellings rather, but should we be content to remain here? Some of you are willing to depart, and if I should speak for myself, that would be my desire too. But whither shall we go?"
"Eastward our mind is bound, lord," Nelyafinwë replied. "So that we may keep safe the lands beyond Ered Wethrin and set our vigilance upon Angamando."
At his words Nolofinwë nodded, but now Turukáno raised his head, his eyes glinted hard and cold in his pale face.
"If any of the house of Fëanáro will travel east, me and mine, we shall go westward! Never will I take the same road as traitors and kinslayers!"
To that Nelyafinwë replied naught, merely frowned slightly, but there was anger on his brothers' faces, even though they kept silent for now.
"Peace, son!" The King's face was stern. "Your own road you may surely choose, but the Noldor will be stronger if standing together."
"I will not stand together with them," replied Turukáno, unrelenting. "The Enemy I will confront by my own strength if needs be. The western shores of Valariandë need protection too."
The King sighed.
"We shall speak of this later," he said. "But even of the lands to the east and to the south we know little."
"Somewhat more now." A new voice suddenly spoke. Angaráto had entered the hall, still clad in the travelling clothes. He bowed before the King and set on the table a folded parchment. "I bring greeting and maps of the eastern lands from the King of the Sindar. He allowed me inside Lestanórë and spoke to me, yet his welcome is cool. Elwë Singollo will allow none of the Noldor in his realm, save such as he calls his guests. In the lands east of Lestanórë he has granted us leave to dwell, and in Hísilómë, and in highlands of Dorthonion, and he names himself the Lord of Valariandë, saying that his word should be heeded throughout the land."
At this message anger flashed in the eyes of Nolofinwë, yet he sat silent. My father had less restraint, and he spoke harshly against the King of Lestanórë, but then Nelyafinwë laughed.
"Anger is of no avail," said my eldest uncle. "From this welcome much we may learn. A king is he that can hold his own, or else his title is vain. Elwë Singollo does but grant us lands where his power does not run. Indeed Lestanórë alone would be his realm this day, but for the coming of the Noldor!"
The King nodded at his words.
"You speak true, brother-son," he said. "Let Elwë Singollo reign in Lestanórë and be glad that he has the sons of Finwë for his neighbours, not the Orcs of Moringotto that we found. Elsewhere it shall go as seems good to us."
Nods of consent and murmurs of approval of the King's words sounded in the hall, but then Morifinwë rose to his feet.
"And why should the Noldor beg this woodland king leave to dwell in Endórë at all?" he asked sharply. "Even as my brother and the King have said, we shall go where we will! Yea more! Let not the sons of Arafinwë run hither and thither with their tales to this Dark Elf in his caves!"
"King Elwë is our kinsman!" Anger glinted in Angaráto's gaze. "You forget yourself, cousin!"
"Do I?" Morifinwë's eyes narrowed in contempt. "Nay, you forget yourself, Angaráto! Who made you our spokesman to deal with Elwë Singollo? Forget not that your father is a lord of the Noldor, though your mother be of other kin!"
"Speak not of my mother!" Angaráto's face paled, his voice quivered in anger.
Morifinwë laughed scornfully.
"I will speak of whom I will and what I will! You will not command me, Arafinwion!"
Hands clenched into fists, Angaráto made a step towards my uncle. My father sprang to his feet and stood beside Morifinwë, the other children of Arafinwë rose too, and fear welled sharply in my chest, fear that it will happen again, that the horror will repeat, that once again there will be violence and bloodshed.
The King brought his fist hard down on the table, but the voice that spoke was not his. Quiet and cold it carried through the hall, resonated in all its corners.
"Silence, Morifinwë! Be silent and sit down. How Moringotto would laugh now, seeing the grandsons of Finwë at war with each other!"
The edge in his brother's voice and the fire in his eyes swept away Morifinwë's arrogance at once. Red-faced with shame and anger, he sank in his chair and looked away. Nelyafinwë turned towards his cousin now.
"Angaráto, I apologize for my brother's bearing. He may not have the wits to do it himself."
Angaráto nodded sharply.
"But for the respect I have towards the King and towards you, Nelyafinwë, I will lay this matter aside," he replied. "Yet for me this council has ended." And he went forth from the hall, slamming the door behind him.
Heavy silence fell. Nelyafinwë sat with a frown on his face, then reached for the map that Thingol had sent. He unfolded it and spread it upon the table. After a while he raised his head and looked at the King, firm resolve in his eyes.
"It is vain to hope for Elwë's alliance against Moringotto; that is plain now," he said. "Therefore, we must build our own strength and seek for allies elsewhere. Me and my brothers, we shall move east, here, beyond the second mountain pass," he pointed to a spot in the map.
The King looked too.
"Are you certain?" he then asked doubtfully. "We still know near to naught of the lands north-east of Lestanórë."
"Yes, I am fully certain," replied Nelyafinwë. "And we shall know more within a year."
Quenya forms of names and place-names:
Valariandë – Beleriand
Lestanórë – Doriath
Hísilómë – Hithlum
Elwë Singollo – Elu Thingol
“A king is he that can hold his own, or else his title is vain. Elwë Singollo does but grant us lands where his power does not run. Indeed Lestanórë alone would be his realm this day, but for the coming of the Noldor!"
“Let Elwë Singollo reign in Lestanórë and be glad that he has the sons of Finwë for his neighbours, not the Orcs of Moringotto that we found. Elsewhere it shall go as seems good to us."
“Yea more! Let not the sons of Arafinwë run hither and thither with their tales to this Dark Elf in his caves!"
“Who made you our spokesman to deal with Elwë Singollo? Forget not that your father is a lord of the Noldor, though your mother be of other kin!"
– are quotes from The Silmarillion, only Sindarin forms of Doriath, Thingol and Morgoth are exchanged for Quenya equivalents.
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