The book of lost tales p.., p.32
The Book of Lost Tales, Part Two, p.32J. R. R. Tolkien
This then was the design; and by his deeds have the Dwarves been severed in feud for ever since those days with the Elves, and drawn more nigh in friendship to the kin of Melko. Secretly he let send to the Indrafangs that they prepare their host against a day that he would name, whenso the time should be ripe; and a hidden forging of bitter steel then was in Belegost the dwelling of the Indrafangs. Moreover he gathered about him a great host of the Orcs, and wandering goblins, promising them a good wage, and the pleasure of their Master moreover, and a rich booty at the end; and all these he armed with his own weapons. Now came unto Naugladur an Elf, and he was one of Tinwelint’s folk, and he offered to lead that host through the magics of Gwendelin, for he was bitten by the gold-lust of Glorund’s hoard, and so did the curse of Mîm come upon Tinwelint and treachery first arose among the Elves of Artanor. Then did Naugladur [?smile] bitterly, for he knew that the time was ripe and Tinwelint delivered to him. Now each year about the time of the great wolf-hunt of Beren Tinwelint was wont to keep the memory of that day by a hunt in the woods, and it was a very mighty chase and thronged with very many folk, and nights of merriment and feasting were there in the forest. Now Naugladur learnt of that Elf Narthseg, whose name is bitter to the Eldar yet, that the king would fare a-hunting at the next high moon but one, and straightway he sent the trysted sign, a bloodstained knife, to Bodruith at Belegost. Now all that host assembled on the confines of the woods, and no word came yet unto the king.
Now tells the tale that one came unto Tinwelint, and Tinwelint knew him not for the wild growth of his hair—and lo! it was Mablung, and he said: “Lo, even in the depths of the forest have we heard that this year you will celebrate the death of Karkaras with a high-tide greater than even before, O King—and behold I have returned to bear you company.” And the king was full of mirth and fain to greet Mablung the brave; and at the words of Mablung that Huan captain of Dogs was come also into Artanor was he glad indeed.
Behold now Tinwelint the king rode forth a-hunting, and more glorious was his array than ever aforetime, and the helm of gold was above his flowing locks, and with gold were the trappings of his steed adorned; and the sunlight amid the trees fell upon his face, and it seemed to those that beheld it like to the glorious face of the sun at morning; for about his throat was clasped the Nauglafring, the Necklace of the Dwarves. Beside him rode Mablung the Heavyhand in the place of honour by reason of his deeds at that great hunt aforetime—but Huan of the Dogs was ahead of the hunters, and men thought that great dog bore him strangely, but mayhap there was something in the wind that day he liked not.
Now is the king far in the woods with all his company, and the horns grow faint in the deep forest, but Gwendelin sits in her bower and foreboding is in her heart and eyes. Then said an Elfmaid, Nielthi: “Wherefore, O Lady, art thou sorrowful at the hightide of the king?” And Gwendelin said: “Evil seeks our land, and my heart misgives me that my days in Artanor are speeding to their end, yet if I should lose Tinwelint then would I wish never to have wandered forth from Valinor.” But Nielthi said: “Nay, O Lady Gwendelin, hast thou not woven great magic all about us, so that we fear not?” But the queen made answer: “Yet meseems there is a rat that gnaws the threads and all the web has come unwoven.” Even at that word there was a cry about the doors, and suddenly it grew to a fierce noise…by the clash of steel. Then went Gwendelin unafraid forth from her bower, and behold, a sudden multitude of Orcs and Indrafangs held the bridge, and there was war within the cavernous gates; but that place ran with blood, and a great heap of slain lay there, for the onset had been secret and all unknown.
Then did Gwendelin know well that her foreboding was true, and that treachery had found her realm at last, yet did she hearten those few guards that remained to her and had fared not to the hunt, and valiantly they warded the palace of the king until the tide of numbers bore them back [and] fire and blood found all the halls and deep ways of that great fortress of the Elves.
Then did those Orcs and Dwarves ransack all the chambers seeking for treasure, and lo! one came and sate him in the high seat of the king laughing loud, and Gwendelin saw that it was Ufedhin, and mocking he bid her be seated in her ancient seat beside the king’s. Then Gwendelin gazed upon him so that his glance fell, and she said: “Wherefore, O renegade, dost thou defile my lord’s seat? Little had I thought to see any of the Elves sit there, a robber, stained with murder, a league-fellow of the truceless enemies of his kin. Or thinkest thou it is a glorious deed to assail an ill-armed house what time its lord is far away?” But Ufedhin said nought, shunning the bright eyes of Gwendelin, wherefore said she anew: “Get thee now gone with thy foul Orcs, lest Tinwelint coming repay thee bitterly.”
Then at last did Ufedhin answer, and he laughed, but ill at ease, and he looked not at the queen, but he said listening to a sound without: “Nay, but already is he come.” And behold, Naugladur entered now and a host of the Dwarves were about him, but he bore the head of Tinwelint crowned and helmed in gold; but the necklace of all wonder was clasped about the throat of Naugladur. Then did Gwendelin see in her heart all that had befallen, and how the curse of the gold had fallen on the realm of Artanor, and never has she danced or sung since that dark hour; but Naugladur bid gather all things of gold or silver or of precious stones and bear them to Nogrod—“and whatso remains of goods or folk may the Orcs keep, or slay, as they desire. Yet the Lady Gwendelin Queen of Artanor shall fare with me.”
Then said Gwendelin: “Thief and murderer, child of Melko, yet art thou a fool, for thou canst not see what hangs over thine own head.” By reason of the anguish of her heart was her sight grown very clear, and she read by her fay-wisdon the curse of Mîm and much of what would yet betide.
Then did Naugladur in his triumph laugh till his beard shook, and bid seize her: but none might do so, for as they came towards her they groped as if in sudden dark, or stumbled and fell tripping each the other, and Gwendelin went forth from the places of her abode, and her bitter weeping filled the forest. Now did a great darkness fall upon her mind and her counsel and lore forsook her, that she wandered she knew not whither for a great while; and this was by reason of her love for Tinwelint the king, for whom she had chosen never to fare back to Valinor and the beauty of the Gods, dwelling always in the wild forests of the North; and now did there seem to her neither beauty nor joy be it in Valinor or in the Lands Without. Many of the scattered Elves in her wayward journeyings she met, and they took pity on her, but she heeded them not. Tales had they told her, but she hearkened not over much since Tinwelint was dead; nonetheless must ye know how even in the hour that Ufedhin’s host brake the palace and despoiled it, and other companies as great and as terrible of the Orcs and Indrafangs fell with death and fire upon all the realm of Tinwelint, behold the brave hunt of the king were resting amid mirth and laughter, but Huan stalked apart. Then suddenly were the woods filled with noise and Huan bayed aloud; but the king and his company were all encircled with armed foes. Long they fought bitterly there among the trees, and the Nauglath—for such were their foes—had great scathe of them or ever they were slain. Yet in the end were they all fordone, and Mablung and the king fell side by side—but Naugladur it was who swept off the head of Tinwelint after he was dead, for living he dared not so near to his bright sword or the axe of Mablung.12
Now doth the tale know no more to tell of Huan, save that even while the swords still sang that great dog was speeding through the land, and his way led him as the [?wind] to the land of i·Guilwarthon, the living-dead, where reigned Beren and Tinúviel the daughter of Tinwelint. Not in any settled abode did those twain dwell, nor had their realm boundaries well-marked—and indeed no other messenger save Huan alone to whom all ways were known had ever found Beren and obtained his aid so soon.13 Indeed the tale tells that even as that host of the Orcs were burning all the land of Tinwelint and the Nauglath and the Indrafangin were wending homeward burdened utterly with spoils of gold and precious things, came Huan to Beren’s lodge, and it
Then did both Beren and Tinúviel weep bitter tears; nor did the full tale of Huan dry their eyes. When then it was told to the end leapt Beren to his feet in white wrath, and seizing a horn that hung at his belt he blew a clear blast thereon that rang round all the neighbouring hills, and an elfin folk all clad in green and brown sprang as it were by magic towards him from every glade and coppice, stream and fell.
Now not even Beren knew the tale of those myriad folk that followed his horn in the woods of Hisilómë, and or ever the moon was high above the hills the host assembled in the glade of his abiding was very great, yet were they lightly armed and the most bore only knives and bows. “Yet,” said Beren, “speed is that which now we need the most” and certain Elves at his bidding fared like deer before him, seeking news of the march of the Dwarves and Indrafangs, but at dawn he followed at the head of the green Elves, and Tinúviel abode in the glade and wept unto herself for the death of Tinwelint, and Gwendelin also she mourned as dead.
Now is to tell that the laden host of the Dwarves fared from the place of their ransacking, and Naugladur was at their head, and beside him Ufedhin and Bodruith; and ever as he rode Ufedhin sought to put the dread eyes of Gwendelin from his mind and could not, and all happiness was fled from his heart that shrivelled under the memory of that glance; nor was this the only disquiet that tortured him, for if ever he raised his eyes lo! they lighted on the Necklace of the Dwarves shining about the aged neck of Naugladur, and then all other thoughts save bottomless desire of its beauty were banished.
Thus did those three fare and with them all their host, but so great became the torment of Ufedhin’s mind that in the end he might not endure it more, but at night when a halt was called he crept stealthily to the place where Naugladur slept, and coming upon that aged one wrapt in slumbers would slay that Dwarf and lay hands upon the wondrous Nauglafring. Now even as he sought to do so, behold one seized his throat suddenly from behind, and it was Bodruith, who filled with the same lust sought also to make that lovely thing his own; but coming upon Ufedhin would slay him by reason of his kinship to Naugladur. Then did Ufedhin stab suddenly backward at hazard in the dark with a keen knife long and slender that he had with him for the bane of Naugladur, and that knife pierced the vitals of Bodruith Lord of Belegost so that he fell dying upon Naugladur, and the throat of Naugladur and the magic carcanet were drenched anew with blood.
Thereat did Naugladur awake with a great cry, but Ufedhin fled gasping from that place, for the long fingers of the Indrafang had well-nigh choked him. Now when some bore torches swiftly to that place Naugladur thought that Bodruith alone had sought to rob him of the jewel, and marvelled how he had thus been timely slain, and he proclaimed a rich reward to the slayer of Bodruith if that man would come forward telling all that he had seen. Thus was it that none perceived the flight of Ufedhin for a while, and wrath awoke between the Dwarves of Nogrod and the Indrafangs, and many were slain ere the Indrafangs being in less number were scattered and got them as best they might to Belegost, bearing scant treasury with them. Of this came the agelong feud between those kindreds of the Dwarves that has spread to many lands and caused many a tale, whereof the Elves know little tidings and Men have seldom heard. Yet may it be seen how the curse of Mîm came early home to rest among his own kin, and would indeed it had gone no further and had visited the Eldar never more.
Lo, when the flight of Ufedhin came also to light then was Naugladur in wrath, and he let kill all the Gnomes that remained in the host. Then said he: “Now are we rid of Indrafangs and Gnomes and all traitors, and nought more do I fear at all.”
But Ufedhin ranged the wild lands in great fear and anguish, for him seemed that he had become a traitor to his kin, blood-guilty to the Elves, and haunted with the [?burning] eyes of Gwendelin the queen, for nought but exile and misery, and no smallest part nor share had he in the gold of Glorund, for all his heart was afire with lust; yet few have pitied him.
Now tells the tale that he fell in with the rangers of Beren’s folk, and these gaining from him sure knowledge of all the host and array of Naugladur and the ways he purposed to follow, they sped back like wind among the trees unto their lord; but Ufedhin revealed not to them who he was, feigning to be an Elf of Artanor escaped from bondage in their host. Now therefore they entreated him well, and he was sent back to Beren that their captain might…………his words, and albeit Beren marvelled at his [?cowardly]……14 and downward glance it seemed to him that he brought safe word, and he set a trap for Naugladur.
No longer did he march hotly on the trail of the Dwarves, but knowing that they would essay the passage of the river Aros at a certain time he turned aside, faring swiftly with his light-footed Elves by straighter paths that he might reach Sarnathrod the Stony Ford before them. Now the Aros is a fierce stream—and is it not that very water that more near its spring runs swiftly past the aged doors of the Rodothlim’s caves and the dark lairs of Glorund15—and in those lower regions by no means can be crossed by a great host of laden men save at this ford, nor is it overeasy here. Never would Naugladur have taken that way had he knowledge of Beren—yet blinded by the spell and the dazzling gold he feared nought either within or without his host, and he was in haste to reach Nogrod and its dark caverns, for the Dwarves list not long to abide in the bright light of day.
Now came all that host to the banks of Aros, and their array was thus: first a number of unladen Dwarves most fully armed, and amidmost the great company of those that bore the treasury of Glorund, and many a fair thing beside that they had haled from Tinwelint’s halls; and behind these was Naugladur, and he bestrode Tinwelint’s horse, and a strange figure did he seem, for the legs of the Dwarves are short and crooked, but two Dwarves led that horse for it went not willingly and it was laden with spoil. But behind these came again a mass of armed men but little laden; and in this array they sought to cross Sarnathrod on their day of doom.
Morn was it when they reached the hither bank and high noon saw them yet passing in long-strung lines and wading slowly the shallow places of the swift-running stream. Here doth it widen out and fare down narrow channels filled with boulders atween long spits of shingle and stones less great. Now did Naugladur slip from his burdened horse and prepare to get him over, for the armed host of the vanguard had climbed already the further bank, and it was great and sheer and thick with trees, and the bearers of the gold were some already stepped thereon and some amidmost of the stream, but the armed men of the rear were resting awhile.
Suddenly is all that place filled with the sound of elfin horns, and one……16 with a clearer blast above the rest, and it is the horn of Beren, the huntsman of the woods. Then is the air thick with the slender arrows of the Eldar that err not neither doth the wind bear them aside, and lo, from every tree and boulder do the brown Elves and the green spring suddenly and loose unceasingly from full quivers. Then was there a panic and a noise in the host of Naugladur, and those that waded in the ford cast their golden burdens in the waters and sought affrighted to either bank, but many were stricken with those pitiless darts and fell with their gold into the currents of the Aros, staining its clear waters with their dark blood.
Now were the warriors on the far bank [?wrapped] in battle and rallying sought to come at their foes, but these fled nimbly before them, while [?others] poured still the hail of arrows upon them, and thus got the Eldar few hurts and the Dwarf-folk fell dead unceasingly. Now was that great fight of the Stony Ford……nigh to Naugladur, for even though Naugladur and his captains led their bands stoutly
Then said Beren: “Ward thy life an thou canst, O crook-legged murderer, else will I take it,” and Naugladur bid him even the Nauglafring, the necklace of wonder, that he be suffered to go unharmed; but Beren said: “Nay, that may I still take when thou art slain,” and thereat he made alone upon Naugladur and his companions, and having slain the foremost of these the others fled away amid elfin laughter, and so Beren came upon Naugladur, slayer of Tinwelint. Then did that aged one defend himself doughtily, and ’twas a bitter fight, and many of the Elves that watched for love and fear of their captain fingered their bowstrings, but Beren called even as he fought that all should stay their hands.
Now little doth the tale tell of wounds and blows of that affray, save that Beren got many hurts therein, and many of his shrewdest blows did little harm to Naugladur by reason of the [?skill] and magic of his dwarfen mail; and it is said that three hours they fought and Beren’s arms grew weary, but not those of Naugladur accustomed to wield his mighty hammer at the forge, and it is more than like that otherwise would the issue have been but for the curse of Mîm; for marking how Beren grew faint Naugladur pressed him ever more nearly, and the arrogance that was of that grievous spell came into his heart, and he thought: “I will slay this Elf, and his folk will flee in fear before me,” and grasping his sword he dealt a mighty blow and cried: “Take here thy bane, O stripling of the woods,” and in that moment his foot found a jagged stone and he stumbled forward, but Beren slipped aside from that blow and catching at his beard his hand found the carcanet of gold, and therewith he swung Naugladur suddenly off his feet upon his face: and Naugladur’s sword was shaken from his grasp, but Beren seized it and slew him therewith, for he said: “I will not sully my bright blade with thy dark blood, since there is no need.” But the body of Naugladur was cast into the Aros.
The Book of Lost Tales, Part Two by J. R. R. Tolkien / History & Fiction / Fantasy have rating 4 out of 5 / Based on32 votes