14. The Nauglafring

But after a while some folk murmured 'Eärendel', but others said 'Nay — what of the Nauglafring, the Necklace of the Dwarves.' Therefore said Ilfiniol, leaving the chair of the tale-teller: 'Yea, better would the tale be told if Gilfanon would relate the matters concerning that necklace,' and Gilfanon being no wise unwilling thus began, looking upon the company.

'Remember ye all how Urin the Steadfast cast the gold of Glorund before the feet of Tinwelint, and after would not touch it again, but went in sorrow back to Hisilome, and there died?' And all said that that tale was still fresh in their hearts. 'Behold then,' said Gilfanon, 'in great grief gazed the king upon Urin as he left the hall, and he was weary for the evil of Melko that thus deceived all hearts; yet tells the tale that so potent were the spells that Mim the fatherless had woven about that hoard that, even as it lay upon the floor of the king's halls shining strangely in the light of the torches that burnt there, already were all who looked upon it touched by its subtle evil. Now therefore did those of Urin's band murmur, and one said to the king: "Lo, lord, our captain Urin, an old man and mad, has departed, but we have no mind to forego our gain." Then said Tinwelint, for neither was he untouched by the golden spell: "Nay then, know ye not that this gold belongs to the kindred of the Elves in common, for the Rodothlim who won it from the earth long time ago are no more, and no one has especial claim' to so much as a handful save only Urin by reason of his son Turin, who slew the Worm, the robber of the Elves; yet Turin is dead and Urin will have none of it; and Turin was my man."

At those words the outlaws fell into great wrath, until the king said: "Get ye now gone, and seek not O foolish ones to quarrel with the Elves of the forest, lest death or the dread enchantments of Valinor find you in the woods. Neither revile ye the name of Tinwelint their king, for I will reward you richly enough for your travail and the bringing of the gold. Let each one now approach and take what he may grasp with either hand, and then depart in peace." Now were the Elves of the wood in turn displeased, who long had stood nigh gazing on the gold; but the wild folk did as they were bid, and yet more, for some went into the hoard twice and thrice, and angry cries were raised in that hall. Then would the woodland Elves hinder them of their thieving, and a great dissension arose, so that though the king would stay them none heeded him. Then did those outlaws being fierce and fearless folk draw swords and deal blows about them, so that soon there was a great fight even upon the steps of the high-seat of the king.

Doughty were those outlaws and great wielders of sword and axe from their warfare with Orcs, so that many were slain ere the king, seeing that peace and pardon might no longer be, summoned a host of his warriors, and those outlaws being wildered with the stronger magics of the king and confused in the dark ways of the halls of Tinwelint were all slain fighting bitterly; but the king's hall ran with gore, and the gold that lay before his throne, scattered and spurned by trampling feet, was drenched with blood. Thus did the curse of Mim the Dwarf begin its course; and yet another sorrow sown by the Noldoli of old in Valinor was come to fruit. Then were the bodies of the outlaws cast forth, but the wood- land Elves that were slain Tinwelint let bury nigh to the knoll of Tinuviel, and 'tis said that the great mound stands there still in Artanor, and for long the fairies called it Cum an-Idrisaith, the Mound of Avarice. Now came Gwenniel to Tinwelint and said: "Touch not this gold, for my heart tells me it is trebly cursed. Cursed indeed by the dragon's breath, and cursed by thy lieges' blood that moistens it, and the death of those' they slew; but some more bitter and more binding ill methinks hangs over it that I may not see." Then, remembering the wisdom of Gwenniel his wife, the king was minded to hearken to her, and he bade gather it up and cast it into the stream before the gates.

Yet even so he might not shake off its spell, and he said to himself: "First will I gaze my last upon its loveliness ere I fling it from me for ever." Therefore he let wash it clean of its stains of blood in clear waters, and display it before him. Now such mighty heaps of gold have never since been gathered in one place; and some thereof was wrought to cups, to basons, and to dishes, and hilts there were for swords, and scabbards, and sheaths for daggers; but the most part was of red gold unwrought lying in masses and in bars. The value of that hoard no man could count, for amid the gold lay many gems, and these were very beautiful to look upon, for the fathers of the Rodothlim had brought them out of Valinor, a portion of that boundless treasury the Noldoli had there possessed. Now as he gazed Tinwelint said: "How glorious is this treasure! And I have not a tithe thereof, and of the gems of Valinor none save that Silmaril that Beren won from Angamandi."

But Gwenniel who stood by said: "And that were worth all that here lies, were it thrice as great." Then arose one from among the company, and that was Ufedhin, a Gnome; but more had he wandered about the world than any of the king's folk, and long had he dwelt with the Nauglath and the Indrafangs their kin. The Nauglath are a strange race and none know surely whence they be; and they serve not Melko nor Manwe and reck not for Elf or Man, and some say that they have not heard of Iluvatar, or hearing disbelieve.

Howbeit in crafts and sciences and in the knowledge of the virtues of all things that are in the earth or under the water none excel them; yet they dwell beneath the ground in caves and tunnelled towns, and aforetime Nogrod was the mightiest of these. Old are they, and never comes a child among them, nor do they laugh. They are squat in stature, and yet are strong, and their beards reach even to their toes, but the beards of the Indrafangs are the longest of all, and are forked, and they bind them about their middles when they walk abroad. All these creatures have Men called 'Dwarves', and say that their crafts and cunning surpass that of the Gnomes in marvellous contrivance, but of a truth there is little beauty in their works of themselves, for in those things of loveliness that they have wrought in ages past such renegade Gnomes as was Ufedhin have ever had a hand. Now long had that Gnome forsaken his folk, becoming leagued with the Dwarves of Nogrod, and was at that time come to the realms of Tinwelint with certain other Noldoli of like mind bearing swords and coats of mail and other smithyings of exquisite skill in which the Nauglath in those days did great traffic with the free Noldoli, and, 'tis said, with the Orcs and soldiers of Melko also.

As he stood in that place the spell of the gold had pierced the heart of Ufedhin more deeply than the heart of any there, and he could not endure that it should all be cast away, and these were his words: "An evil deed is this that Tinwelint the king intends; or who hereafter shall say that the kindreds of the Eldalie love things of beauty if a king of the Eldar cast so great a store of loveliness into the dark woodland waters where none but the fishes may after behold it? Rather than this should be, I beg of thee, O King, to suffer the craftsmen of the Dwarves to try their skill upon this unwrought gold, that the name of the golden treasury of Tinwelint become heard in all lands and places. This will they do, I promise thee, for small guerdon, might they but save the hoard from ruin." Then looked the king upon the gold and he looked upon Ufedhin, and that Gnome was clad very richly, having a tunic of golden web and a belt of gold set with tiny gems; and his sword was damasked in strange wise, but a collar of gold and silver interlaced most intricate was round his neck, and Tinwelint's raiment could in no wise compare with that of the wayfarer in his halls.

Again looked Tinwelint upon the gold, and it shone yet more alluring fair, nor ever had the sparkle of the gems seemed so brilliant, and Ufedhin said again: "Or in what manner, O King, dost thou guard that Silmaril of which all the world hath heard?"

Now Gwenniel warded it in a casket of wood bound with iron, and Ufedhin said it was shame so to set a jewel that should not touch aught less worthy than the purest gold. Then was Tinwelint abashed, and yielded, and this was the agreement that he made with Ufedhin. Half the gold should the king measure and give to the hands of Ufedhin and his company, and they should bear it away to Nogrod and the dwellings of the Dwarves. Now those were a very long journey southward beyond the wide forest on the borders of those great heaths nigh Umboth-muilin the Pools of Twilight, on the marches of Tasarinan. Yet after but seven full moons back would the Nauglath fare bearing the king's loan all wrought to works of greatest cunning, yet in no wise would the weight and purity of the gold be minished. Then would they speak to Tinwelint, and an he liked not the handiwork then would they return and say no more; yet if it seemed good to him then of that which remained would they fashion such marvellous things for his adornment and for Gwenniel the Queen as never had Gnome or Dwarf made yet.

"For," said Ufedhin, "the cunning of the Nauglath have I learnt, and the beauty of design that only can the Noldoli compass do I know — yet shall the wages of our labour be small indeed, and we will name it before thee when all is done." Then by reason of the glamour of the gold the king repented his agreement with Ufedhin, and he liked not altogether his words, and he would not suffer so great a store of gold to be borne without surety out of his sight for seven moons to the distant dwellings of the Dwarves; yet was he minded nonetheless to profit by their skill. Therefore suddenly he let seize Ufedhin, and his folk, and he said unto them: "Here shall ye remain as hostages in my halls until I see again my treasury." Now Tinwelint thought in his heart that Ufedhin and his Gnomes were of the utmost service to the Dwarves, and no covetice would be strong enough to bring them to forsake him; but that Gnome was very wroth, saying: "The Nauglath are no thieves, O King, nor yet their friends"; but Tinwelint said: "Yet the light of overmuch gold has made many thieves, who were not so before," and Ufedhin perforce consented, yet he forgave not Tinwelint in his heart.

Therefore was the gold now borne to Nogrod by folk of the king guided by one only of Ufedhin's companions, and the agreement of Ufedhin and Tinwelint spoken to Naugladur, the king of those places. Now during the time of waiting Ufedhin was kindly entreated in the courts of Tinwelint, yet was he idle perforce, and he fretted inwardly. In his leisure he pondered ever what manner of lovely thing of gold and jewels he would after fashion for Tinwelint, but this was only for the greater ensnaring of the king, for already he began to weave dark plots most deep of avarice and revenge. On the very day of the fullness of the seventh moon thereafter the watchers on the king's bridge cried: "Lo! there comes a great company through the wood, and all it seems are aged men, and they bear very heavy burdens on their backs." But the king hearing said: "It is the Nauglath, who keep their tryst: now mayst thou go free, Ufedhin, and take my greeting to them, and lead them straightway to my hall"; and Ufedhin sallied forth gladly, but his heart forgot not its resentment. Therefore having speech privily with the Nauglath he prevailed upon them to demand at the end a very great reward, and one thereto that the king might not grant unhumbled; and more of his designs also did he unfold, whereby that gold might fare in the end to Nogrod for ever. Now come the Dwarves nonetheless over the bridge and before the chair of Tinwelint, and behold, the things of their workmanship they had conveyed thither in silken cloths, and boxes of rare woods carven cunningly. 

In other wise had Urin haled the treasure thither, and half thereof lay yet in his rude sacks and clumsy chests; yet when the gold was once more revealed, then did a cry of wonder arise, for the things the Nauglath had made were more wondrous far than the scanty vessels and the ornaments that the Rodothlim wrought of old. Cups and goblets did the king behold, and some had double bowls or curious handles interlaced, and horns there were of strange shape, dishes and trenchers, flagons and ewers, and all appurtenances of a kingly feast. Candlesticks there were and sconces for the torches, and none might count the rings and armlets, the bracelets and collars, and the coronets of gold; and all these were so subtly made and so cunningly adorned that Tinwelint was glad beyond the hope of Ufedhin. But as yet the designs of Ufedhin came to nought, for in no wise would Tinwelint suffer or him or those of the Nauglath to depart to Nogrod with or without that portion of the unwrought gold that yet remained, and he said: "How shall it be thought that after the weariness of your burdened journeys hither I should let you so soon be gone, to noise the lack of courtesy of Tinwelint abroad in Nogrod? Stay now awhile and rest and feast, and afterward shall ye have the gold that remains to work your pleasure on; nor shall aught of help that I or my folk may afford be wanting in your labour, and a reward rich and more than just awaits you at the end."

But they knew nonetheless that they were prisoners, and trying the exits privily found them strongly warded. Being therefore without counsel they bowed before the king, and the faces of the Dwarf-folk show seldom what they think. Now after a time of rest was that last smithying begun in a deep place of Tinwelint's abode, which he caused to be set apart for their uses, and what their hearts lacked therein fear supplied, and in all that work Ufedhin had a mighty part. A golden crown they made for Tinwelint, who yet had worn nought but a wreath of scarlet leaves, and a helm too most glorious they fashioned; and a sword of dwarven steel brought from afar was hilted with bright gold and damascened in gold and silver with strange figurings wherein was pictured clear the wolf-hunt of Karkaras Knife-fang, father of wolves. That was a more wonderful sword than any Tinwelint had seen before, and outshone the sword in Ufedhin's belt the king had coveted. These things were of Ufedhin's cunning, but the Dwarves made a coat of linked mail of steel and gold for Tinwelint, and a belt of gold.

Then was the king's heart gladdened, but they said: "All is not finished," and Ufedhin made a silver crown for Gwenniel, and aided by the Dwarves contrived slippers of silver crusted with diamonds, and the silver thereof was fashioned in delicate scales, so that it yielded as soft leather to the foot, and a girdle he made too of silver blended with pale gold. Yet were those things but a tithe of their works, and no tale tells a full count of them. Now when all was done and their smithcraft given to the king, then said Ufedhin: "O Tinwelint, richest of kings, dost thou think these things fair?" And he said: "Yea"; but Ufedhin said: "Know then that great store of thy best and purest gold remaineth still, for we have husbanded it, having a boon to ask of thee, and it is this: we would make thee a carcanet and to its making lay all the skill and cunning that we have, and we desire that this should be the most marvellous ornament that the Earth has seen, and the greatest of the works of Elves and Dwarves. Therefore we beg of thee to let us have that Silmaril that thou treasurest, that it may shine wondrously amid the Nauglafring, the Necklace of the Dwarves." Then again did Tinwelint doubt Ufedhin's purpose, yet did he yield the boon, an they would suffer him to be present at that smithying.

None are that yet live,' quoth Gilfanon, 'who have seen that most glorious thing, save only Littleheart son of Bronweg, yet are many things told thereof. Not only was it wrought with the greatest skill and subtlety in the world but it had a magic power, and there was no throat so great or so slender whereon it sat not with grace and loveliness. Albeit a weight beyond belief of gold was used in the making, lightly it hung upon its wearer as a strand of flax; and all such as clasped it about their necks seemed, as it hung upon their breasts, to be of goodly countenance, and women seemed most fair. Gems uncounted were there in that carcanet of gold, yet only as a setting that did prepare for its great central glory, and led the eye thereto, for amidmost hung like a little lamp of limpid fire the Silmaril of Fëanor, jewel of the Gods. Yet alas, even had that gold of the Rodothlim held no evil spell still had that carcanet been a thing of little luck, for the Dwarves were full of bitterness, and all its links were twined with baleful thoughts. Now however did they bear it before the king in its new-gleaming splendour; and then was the joy of Tinwelint king of the woodland Elves come to its crowning, and he cast the Nauglafring about his throat, and straightway the curse of Mim fell upon him. Then said Ufedhin: "Now, O Lord, that thou art pleased beyond thy hope, perchance thou wilt grant the craftsmen thy kingly reward, and suffer them to depart also in joy to their own lands."

But Tinwelint, bewildered by the golden spell and the curse of Mim, liked not the memory of his tryst; yet dissembling he bid the craftsmen come before him, and he praised their handiwork with royal words. At length said he: "'Twas said to me by one Ufedhin that at the end such reward as ye wished ye would name before me, yet would it be small enough, seeing that the labour was of love and of Ufedhin's desire that the golden hoard be not cast away and lost. What then do ye wish that I may grant?" Then said Ufedhin scornfully: "For myself, nothing, O Lord; indeed the guestkindliness of thy halls for seven moons and three is more than I desire." But the Dwarves said: "This do we ask. For our labours during seven moons each seven jewels of Valinor, and seven robes of magic that only Gwendelin can weave, and each a sack of gold; but for our great labour during three moons in thy halls unwilling, we ask each three sacks of silver, and each a cup of gold wherein to pledge thy health, O King, and each a fair maiden of the woodland Elves to fare away with us to our homes." 

Then was King Tinwelint wroth indeed, for what the Dwarves had asked was of itself a goodly treasury, seeing that their company was very great; and he had no mind thus to devour the dragon's hoard, but never could he deliver maidens of the Elves unto illshapen Dwarves without undying shame. Now that demand they had made only by the design of Ufedhin, yet seeing the anger of the king's face they said: "Nay, but this is not all, for in payment of Ufedhin's captivity for seven moons seven stout Elves must come with us and abide seven times seven years among us as bondsmen and menials in our labour."

Thereat arose Tinwelint from his seat, and calling summoned his weaponed thanes and warriors, that these surrounded the Nauglath and those Gnomes. Then said he: "For your insolence each three stripes with stinging withes shall ye receive, and Ufedhin seven, and afterwards will we speak of recompense." When this was done, and a flame of bitter vengeance lit in those deep hearts, he said: "Lo, for your labour of seven months six pieces of gold and one of silver each shall have, and for your labours in my halls each three pieces of gold and some small gem that I can spare. For your journey hither a great feast shall ye eat and depart with good store against your return, and ere ye go ye shall drink to Tinwelint in elfin wine; yet, mark ye, for the sustenance of Ufedhin seven idle months about my halls shall ye each pay a piece of gold, and of silver two, for he has not aughth imself and shall not receive since he desires it not, yet methinks he is at the bottom of your arrogance." 

Then were the Dwarves paid their reward like common smiths of bronze and iron, and constrained to yield once more therefrom payment for Ufedhin — "else," said the king, "never shall ye get him hence." Then sat they to a great feast and dissembled their mood; yet at the end the time of their going came, and they drank to Tinwelint in elfin wine, but they cursed him in their beards, and Ufedhin swallowed not and spat the wine from his mouth upon the threshold.

Now tells the tale that the Nauglath fared home again, and if their greed had been kindled when first the gold was brought to Nogrod now was it a fierce flame of desire, and moreover they burnt under the insults of the king. Indeed all that folk love gold and silver more dearly than aught else on Earth, while that treasury was haunted by a spell and by no means were they armed against it. Now one there had been, Fangluin the aged, who had counselled them from the first never to return the king's loan, for said he: "Ufedhin we may later seek by guile to release, if it seem good," but at that time this seemed not policy to Naugladur their lord, who desired not warfare with the Elves.Yet now did Fangluin jeer at them mightily on their return, saying they had flung away their labour for a botcher's wage and a draught of wine and gotten dishonour thereto, and he played upon their lust, and Ufedhin joined his bitter words thereto.

Therefore did Naugladur hold a secret council of the Dwarves of Nogrod, and sought how he might both be avenged upon Tinwelint, and sate his greed. Yet after long pondering he saw not how he might achieve his purpose save by force, and there was little hope therein, both by reason of the great strength of numbers of the Elves of Artanor in those days, and of the woven magic of Gwenniel that guarded all those regions, so that men of hostile heart were lost and came not to those woods; nor indeed could any such come thither unaided by treachery from within. Now even as those aged ones sat in their dark halls and gnawed their beards, behold a sound of horns, and messengers were come from Bodruith of the Indrafangs, a kindred of the Dwarves that dwelt in other realms. Now these brought tidings of the death of Mim the fatherless at the hand of Urin and the rape of Glorund's gold, which tale had but new come to Bodruith's ears. Now hitherto the Dwarves knew not the full tale concerning that hoard, nor more than Ufedhin might tell hearing the speech in Tinwelint's halls, and Urin had not spoken the full count thereof ere he departed.

Hearing therefore these tidings new wrath was added to their lust and a clamour arose among them, and Naugladur vowed to rest not ere Mim was thrice avenged — "and, more," said he, "meseems the gold belongs of right to the people of the Dwarves." 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 Mim 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 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 Mim 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, at 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.

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 Tinuviel 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. 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 was dusk. Lo, Beren sat upon a tree root and Tinuviel danced on a green sward in the gloaming as he gazed upon her, when suddenly stood Huan before them, and Beren gave a cry of joy and wonder, for it was long since he and Huan had hunted together, But Tinuviel looking upon Huan saw that he bled, and there was a tale to read in his great eyes.

And she said suddenly: "What evil then has fallen upon Artanor?" and Huan said: "Fire and death and the terror of Orcs; but Tinwelint is slain." Then did both Beren and Tinuviel 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 Hisilome, 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 Tinuviel 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 Mim 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 hear his words, and albeit Beren marvelled at his cowardly 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 Glorund — 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 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 never might they grip their foe, and death fell like rain upon their ranks until the most part broke and fled, and a noise of clear laughter echoed from the Elves thereat, and they forebore to shoot more, for the illshapen figures of the Dwarves as they fled, their white beards torn by the wind, filled them with mirth. But now stood Naugladur and few were about him, and he remembered the words of Gwendelin, for behold, Beren came towards him and he cast aside his bow, and drew a bright sword; and Beren was of great stature among the Eldar, albeit not of the girth and breadth of Naugladur of the Dwarves.

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 bow-strings, 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 Mim; 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. Then did he unloose the necklace, and he gazed in wonder at it and beheld the Silmaril, even the jewel he won from Angband and gained undying glory by his deed; and he said: "Never have mine eyes beheld thee O Lamp of Faery burn one half so fair as now thou dost, set in gold and gems and the magic of the Dwarves"; and that necklace he caused to be washed of its stains, and he cast it not away, knowing nought of its power, but bore it with him back into the woods of Hithlum. But the waters of Aros flowed on for ever above the drowned hoard of Glorund, and so do still, for in after days Dwarves came from Nogrod and sought for it, and for the body of Naugladur; but a flood arose from the mountains and therein the seekers perished; and so great now is the gloom and dread of that Stony Ford that none seek the treasure that it guards nor dare ever to cross the magic stream at that enchanted place.

But in the vales of Hithlum was there gladness at the home-coming of the Elves, and great was the joy of Tinuviel to see her lord once more returning amidst his companies, but little did it ease her grief for the death of Tinwelint that Naugladur was slain and many Dwarves beside. Then did Beren seek to comfort her, and taking her in his arms he set the glorious Nauglafring about her neck, and all were blinded by the greatness of her beauty; and Beren said: "Behold the Lamp of Fëanor that thou and I did win from Hell," and Tinuviel smiled, remembering the first days of their love and those days of travail in the wild. Now is it to be said that Beren sent for Ufedhin and well rewarded him for his words of true guidance whereof the Dwarves had been overcome, and he bid him dwell in among his folk, and Ufedhin was little loth; yet on a time, no great space there-after, did that thing betide which he least desired. For came there a sound of very sorrowful singing in the woods, and behold, it was Gwendelin wandering distraught, and her feet bore her to the midmost of a glade where sat Beren and Tinuviel; and at that hour it was new morning, but at the sound all nigh ceased their speaking and were very still.

Then did Beren gaze in awe upon Gwendelin, but Tinuviel cried suddenly in sorrow mixed with joy: "O mother Gwendelin, whither do thy feet bear thee, for methought thee dead"; but the greeting of those twain upon the greensward was very sweet. And Ufedhin fled from among the Elves, for he could not endure to look upon the eyes of Gwendelin, and madness took him, and none may say what was his unhappy weird thereafter; and little but a tortured heart got he from the Gold of Glorund. Now hearing the cries of Ufedhin Gwendelin looked in wonder after him, and stayed her tender words; and memory came back into her eyes so that she cried as in amaze beholding the Necklace of the Dwarves that hung about the white throat of Tinuviel. Then wrathfully she asked of Beren what it might portend, and wherefore he suffered the accursed thing to touch Tinuviel; and told Beren all that tale such as Huan had told him, in deed or guess, and of the pursuit and fighting at the ford he told also, saying at the end: "Nor indeed do I see who, now that Lord Tinwelint is fared to Valinor, should so fittingly wear that jewel of the Gods as Tinuviel." But Gwendelin told of the dragon's ban upon the gold and the staining of blood in the king's halls, "and yet another and more potent curse, whose arising I know not, is woven therewith," said she, "nor methinks was the labour of the Dwarves free from spells of the most enduring malice."

But Beren laughed, saying that the glory of the Silmaril and its holiness might overcome all such evils, even as it burnt the foul flesh of Karkaras. "Nor," said he, "have I seen ever my Tinuviel so fair as now she is, clasped in the loveliness of this thing of gold"; but Gwendelin said: "Yet the Silmaril abode in the Crown of Melko, and that is the work of baleful smiths indeed." Then said Tinuviel that she desired not things of worth or precious stones but the elfin gladness of the forest, and to pleasure Gwendelin she cast it from her neck; but Beren was little pleased and he would not suffer it to be flung away, but warded it in his hand. Thereafter did Gwendelin abide a while in the woods among them and was healed; and in the end she fared wistfully back to the land of Lorien and came never again into the tales of the dwellers of Earth; but upon Beren and Tinuviel fell swiftly that doom of mortality that Mandos had spoken when he sped them from his halls — and in this perhaps did the curse of Mim have potency in that it came more soon upon them; nor this time did those twain fare the road together, but when yet was the child of those twain, Dior the Fair, a little one, did Tinuviel slowly fade, even as the Elves of later days have done throughout the world, and she vanished in the woods, and none have seen her dancing ever there again.

But Beren searched all the lands of Hithlum and of Artanor ranging after her; and never has any of the Elves had more loneliness than his, or ever he too faded from life, and Dior his son was left ruler of the brown Elves and the green, and Lord of the Nauglafring. Mayhap what all Elves say is true, that those twain hunt now in the forest of Orome in Valinor, and Tinuviel dances on the green swards of Nessa and of Vana daughters of the Gods for ever more; yet great was the grief of the Elves when the Guilwarthon went from among them, and being leaderless and lessened of magic their numbers minished; and many fared away to Gondolin, the rumour of whose growing power and glory ran in secret whispers among all the Elves. Still did Dior when come to manhood rule a numerous folk, and he loved the woods even as Beren had done; and songs name him mostly Ausir the Wealthy for his possession of that wondrous gem set in the Necklace of the Dwarves.

Now the tales of Beren and Tinuviel grew dim in his heart, and he took to wearing it about his neck and to love its loveliness most dearly; and the fame of that jewel spread like fire through all the regions of the North, and the Elves said one to another: "A Silmaril of Fëanor burns in the woods of Hisilome." Now fare the long days of Elfinesse unto that time when Tuor dwelt in Gondolin; and children then had Dior the Elf, Auredhir and Elwing, and Auredhir was most like to his forefather Beren, and all loved him, yet none so dearly as did Dior; but Elwing the fairy have all poesies named as beautiful as Tinuviel if that indeed may be, yet hard is it to say seeing the great loveliness of the elfin folk of yore.

Now those were days of happiness in the vales of Hithlum, for there was peace with Melko and the Dwarves who had but one thought as they plotted against Gondolin, and Angband was full of labour; yet is it to tell that bitterness entered into the hearts of the seven sons of Fëanor, remembering their oath. Now Maidros, whom Melko maimed, was their leader; and he called to his brethren Maglor and Dinithel, and to Damrod, and to Celegorm, to Cranthor and to Curufin the Crafty, and he said to them how it was now known to him that a Silmaril of those their father Fëanor had made was now the pride and glory of Dior of the southern vales, "and Elwing his daughter bears it whitherso she goes — but do you not forget," said he, "that we swore to have no peace with Melko nor any of his folk, nor with any other of Earth-dwellers that held the Silmarils of Fëanor from us. For what," said Maidros, "do we suffer exile and wandering and rule over a scant and forgotten folk, if others gather to their hoard the heirlooms that are ours?" Thus was it that they sent Curufin the Crafty to Dior, and told him of their oath, and bid him give that fair jewel back unto those whose right it was; but Dior gazing on the loveliness of Elwing would not do so, and he said that he could not endure that the Nauglafring, fairest of earthly craft, be so despoiled.

"Then," said Curufin, "must the Nauglafring unbroken be given to the sons of Fëanor," and Dior waxed wroth, bidding him be gone, nor dare to claim what his sire Beren the Onehanded won with his hand from the jaws of Melko — "other twain are there in the selfsame place," said he, "an your hearts be bold enough." Then went Curufin unto his brethren, and because of their unbreakable oath and of their thirst for that Silmaril (nor indeed was the spell of Mim and of the dragon wanting) they planned war upon Dior — and the Eldar cry shame upon them for that deed, the first premeditated war of elfin folk upon elfin folk, whose name otherwise were glorious among the Eldalie for their sufferings.

Little good came thereby to them; for they fell unawares upon Dior, and Dior and Auredhir were slain, yet behold, Evranin the nurse of Elwing, and Gereth a Gnome, took her unwilling in a flight swift and sudden from those lands, and they bore with them the Nauglafring, so that the sons of Fëanor saw it not; but a host of Dior's folk, coming with all speed yet late unto the fray, fell suddenly on their rear, and there was a great battle, and Maglor was slain with swords, and Maidros died of wounds in the wild, and Celegorm was pierced with a hundred arrows, and Cranthor beside him. Yet in the end were the sons of Fëanor masters of the field of slain, and the brown Elves and the green were scattered over all the lands unhappy, for they would not hearken to Maidros the maimed, nor to Curufin and Damrod who had slain their lord; and it is said that even on the day of that battle of the Elves Melko sought against Gondolin, and the fortunes of the Elves came to their uttermost waning.

Now was naught left of the seed of Beren Ermabwed son of Egnor save Elwing the Lovely, and she wandered in the woods, and of the brown Elves and the green a few gathered to her, and they departed for ever from the glades of Hithlum and got them to the south towards Sirion's deep waters, and the pleasant lands. And thus did all the fates of the fairies weave then to one strand, and that strand is the great tale of Eärendel; and to that tale's true beginning are we now come.' 

Then said Gilfanon: 'And methinks that is tale enough for this time of telling.'