Eöldrim, the Dark Folk

Auteur : José Enrique Vacas de la Rosa (arthadan@gmail.com) 
© 2009 per the terms of the CC license: b n a 

Eöldrim, the Dark Folk or Gwaith-i-Fuin

In the great family of the Mori­quendi and, par­ti­cu­larly the Sindar — Teleri that stayed in Bele­riand, exis­ted a small elven group that walked a path dif­ferent from that of their bre­thren. Those were the mem­bers of the house of Eöl, the Eöl­drim, ser­vants of the Lord of the gloomy forest of Nan Elmoth, rela­tive of Elu Thin­gol, king of Doriath.

Eöl loved the night and the stars and among the First­born he had the most friend­ship with the Dwarves of whom he lear­ned and to whom he taught some arts. His big­gest crea­tion as smith was a new ally called gal­vorn (black cris­tal), a black metal, stron­ger than iron but light and duc­tile. He and his people wore armours for­gued with this metal. He des­pi­sed the Noldor, accu­sing them of inva­ders and res­pon­sibles of Morgoth’s return. This contempt was mutual, because for the Noldor him and his people were sinis­ter and gloomy.

The mis­for­tune of Eöl was shaped when he kid­nap­ped a Noldor to make her his wife. She was Ared­hel, sister of Turgon, king of Gon­do­lin. She concei­ved a son, Mae­glin (Sharp Gaze), with whom she esca­ped from Nan Elmoth when her hus­band was visi­ting the dwarves in the moun­tains. Eöl, as is writ­ten in the Lay of Mae­glin, looked for her and finally found her in the hidden city of Gon­do­lin, where he deman­ded their return. He freed her from fol­lo­wing him but he orde­red his son to return with him. As Mae­glin refu­sed, Eöl hurled a jave­lin against his son, but Ared­hel to save Mae­glin, shiel­ded her son and the poi­so­ned jave­lin killed her. This costed Eöl being thrown from the top of the cliff of Carag­dûr, where he cursed his trea­che­rous son to follow the same path.

The curse was ful­filled and as is told in the Balad of the Fall of Gon­do­lin, when the love that the cou­ra­geous Mae­glin felt for his cousin Idril, daugh­ter of Turgon, wasn’t retur­ned and, for worse, she loved a mortal, Tuor, a brave war­rior of the house of Hador. The jea­lously made­ned him and he lis­te­ned to the pro­mise of Mor­goth for which the Dark Enemy pro­mi­sed him the lady Idril in exchange for the secret path that took to Gon­do­lin. That was the end of the city, but Maeglin’s too, as Tuor, during the battle, threw him down the Carag­dûr, the same cliff where his father had been exe­cu­ted.

This unfor­tu­nate events marked the his­tory of the Eöl­drim. When his lord went to Gon­do­lin, his assis­tant and dis­tant rela­tive and the only friend that Eöl had until the arri­val of Ared­hel, was left in charge of the fief­dom. This ser­vant of Eöl was Herudú (Night­lord), son of Godwen, and for long years he occu­pied the place of his lord and friend, belie­ving him to be mis­sing, until he lear­ned of his fate in Gon­do­lin, killed by the hated Noldor because of his nol­do­rin step­mo­ther, through the dwarves. This har­de­ned Herudú’s heart and the contempt that he had pre­viously felt for the Deep Elves was turned in hatred.

When the armies of the Free Peoples rea­died for the Nir­naeth Arnoe­diad, Mablung and Beleg Cutha­lion, vas­sals of Thin­gol that where going to the war under the banner of Fingon, arri­ved to ask, because of their kin­ship, help against Mor­goth with their excellent wea­pons and armours of gal­vorn. But Herudú mocked them, cal­ling them slaves of the Noldor, and denied them any help, as he didn’t want nothing with the mur­de­rers of his father and he had sworn to chal­lenge and kill his step­bro­ther Mae­glin may they met some­day. In such situa­tion, he deci­ded not to go to a war in which the house of Turgon of Gon­do­lin would involve. When Beleg and Mablung told this, the other elven peoples began to call Herudú, almost in mockery, Heru­fuindü (Lord of the Gloomy Night). Because of this, his people star­ted to be known as the Gwaith-i-Fuin.

After the disas­ter in the Nir­naeth Arnoe­diad, Nan Elmoth became a dan­ge­rous place for elves, because the orcs and other crea­tures of Mor­goth increa­sed in number as they lurked around Melian’s Waist pro­tec­ting the forests of Doriath. Herudú brought toge­ther his people and left the place, bla­ming yet again the Noldor. They seeked haven in the houses of the Nau­grim in Ered Luin, where they were well recei­ved because of the long friend­ship that Eöl and Herudú him­self had had with the lords of Nogrod and Bele­gost. There they crea­ted a king­dom under the moun­tain, with gates where sor­roun­ded by a forest of towe­ring trees of twis­ted roots, the daeorn, trees that were born from the seeds and cut­tings that they had saved from their home in Nan Elmoth. They called their king­dom Taur­groth (Caverns of the Forest) and for years they kept their friend­ship with their dwar­ven neigh­bours until the Curse of the Sil­ma­rils inter­ve­ned again : the Nogrod dwarves made war against Doriath to reco­ver the Nau­gla­mir — simbol of friend­ship bet­ween dwarves and elves- in which it was moun­ted the Sil­ma­ril that Beren pulled out of the Iron Crown. In this war died the rela­tive of Herudú, Elu Thin­gol, which made the Eöl­drim to renounce their alliances with the nau­grim and to close their gates. And while only the dwarves from Nogrod had betrayed the elves and the folk of Bele­gost had refu­sed to take part in the ruin of Doriath, the Eöl­drim no longer confi­ded in the dwarves, fea­ring that one day the greedy dwarves would betray them as they had done with their rela­tives.

Howe­ver, one of the sons of the self­pro­clai­med king Herudú, Curu­gond (Skilled in the Stone) disa­greed with that deci­sion and left the home of his father with some loyals and toge­ther they sear­ched for the dwarves of Khazad-dûm, that had had nothing to do with the Ruin of Doriath. Again, they were well recei­ved and Curu­gond foun­ded a king­dom in the sou­thern Misty Moun­tains, in the slopes of the old forest of Fan­gorn, Heled­hiâ, the Cris­tal Chasm, for the caves where they built their king­dom in exile were filled with glit­te­ring cris­tal.

When the exiled Noldor built Ere­gion, Curu­gond betrayed the oaths of hate of his father and star­ted to trade with them and Cele­brim­bor highly appre­cia­ted Curugond’s wisdom. Even it is belie­ved that Curu­gond may have taught him the secret of gal­vorn. Howe­ver, the friend­ship bet­ween both kings did not last after the arri­val of Anna­tar (Sauron), who was warmly recei­ved by Cele­brim­bor and of who sus­pec­ted Curu­gond as Anna­tar wanted with flat­te­ring pre­sents and kind words to learn the secret of Eöl’s strange metal. Curu­gond warned Cele­brim­bor (as did Cirdan and Elrond), but the smith-lord did not pay aten­tion and the Gwaith-i-Fuin retur­ned to the moun­tain…

All but one, Mîrîa (Jewel of the Abyss), the bea­ti­ful daugh­ter of Curu­gond, who had mar­ried Tar-Gildor, Cap­tain of the Ere­gion Guard. When the armies of Sauron sor­roun­ded Ere­gion, it is said that in the caves of Heled­hiâ was heard the crying of prin­cess Mîrîa for her hus­band, killed during the siege. Then, his bro­ther Kalnar (Bright Fire) rebel­led against his father, who had for­bid­den to help the Gwaith-i-Mir­dain or his daugh­ter –who had chosen the fate of Ere­gion mar­rying Tar-Gildor-, and gathe­ring all the brave men willing to follow him to save his sister. Many fol­lo­wed him and no one retur­ned. That marked the fate of the king­dom of Heled­hiâ.

Of Kalnár’s expe­di­tion, few sur­vi­ved the war (only Kalnár, his sister Mîrîa and twelve cou­ra­geous war­riors). The others where vic­tims of the fire and steel of the orcs or where cap­tu­red and sent to the Barad-dûr to wrench from them the secret of gal­vorn. They were tor­tu­red for months, but none of them revea­led the secret. This sur­vi­vors tried to return to Heled­hiâ, but the gates were closed and they conti­nued until they rea­ched Riven­del. There they were recei­ved by their remote rela­tive, Elrond Hal­fel­ven, with the other refu­gees from Ere­gion. But soon they left Riven­del making good use of the peace that Middle Earth enjoyed when Sauron was taken to Nume­nor as hos­tage, as some of the nol­dori refu­gees has been smiths in Ere­gion and they still cove­ted the secret of gal­vorn and Kalnár accep­ted to teach them where they willing to accept him as their lord and to follow him to a new land to create a new king­dom. They cros­sed the Misty Moun­tains and set­tled in sou­thern Green­wood, far from the domains of the Sîr­gil­taur (Oro­pher?), father of Thran­duil and lord of the elves in that forest. There they crea­ted Palan­ba­ror (Land of the Fara­way Home). Some arti­facts and wea­pons were craf­ted there and where given to Sîr­gil­taur, to Cele­born when he did found Loth­lo­rien and car­ried to Riven­del to pay Elrond’s hos­pi­ta­lity.

With the Great Disas­ter that was caused by the Fall of Nume­nor and the Change of the World, Taur­groth sur­vi­ved in the north of the Blue Moun­tains, in the bir­th­place of the Lhûn river, near the frozen lands of the los­soth, where those bar­ba­rians tell the tra­ve­lers about the mis­te­rious naydui, black spi­rits who roam in the forests and moun­tains under the moon­light.

When Isil­dur and Ana­rion foun­ded Gondor and star­ted to build the for­tresses that would pro­tect the bor­ders of their king­dom, an expe­di­tion explo­red the south of the Misty Moun­tains while Orthanc was being built and they found a « Caves of Cris­tal where silence lives, near the fores­ted slopes of Fan­gorn ». Heled­hiâ was empty or the few who lived there seeked refuge in the depths of the Earth… And per­haps it suf­fe­red the very fate that the neigh­bou­ring Khazad- dûm would suffer thou­sands of years later.

When the Necro­man­cer of Dol Guldur star­ted his reign of terror, the elves of king Thran­duil lost contact with the eöl­drim of Palan­ba­ror and belie­ved that they had left or suc­cum­bed to the sha­dows expan­ding in the forest. There were even rumours about the pre­sence of a dragon in the area who slept over the trea­sures of the gwaith-i-fuin.


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