Politics of Arda
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Rangers of the North: 9. A Legend of the Lost Realm
compared to the Fornost road. In four days travel
they'd come across a goose girl watching her flock
feed beside a waterlily choked pool, invisible in her
grass green gown and kerchief until she'd spoken; a
patrol of four Rangers who'd shared their fire for a
night before vanishing again into the Wild; a mother
and son on horseback, on their way to visit kin at
another holding; and an old man fishing peacefully on
the bank of a meandering stream. When Hurin commented
on this to Ellenion the Ranger laughed.
"Any of our people who happened to be on the Old
North Road would have taken good care to avoid you."
he said, his gesture encompassed both the range of
high rugged hills, some crowned by crumbling ruins of
ancient fortresses, marching along one side of the
road and the bog patched lowlands dotted with stands
of alder and willow and fragmentry walls of long
abandoned farmsteads sloping away on the other.
"This is old Endorien, the Midlands, once the most
populous of all the ancient domains and still quite
heavily settled as we reckon such things."
Hurin looked at him thoughfully. 'Our numbers
dwindle,' Prince Armegil had said, 'but we are still
much more than a few thousands.' "How many of our
people are there here in the North?"
Ellenion shrugged. "I don't think anyone really
knows. We can still field enough Men to walk patrol
and guard the Line so the total cannot be much short
of one hundred thousands all told, and could be a bit
Hurin stared. It was unlikely there was even a
third so many Men of pure Dunedain stock left in all
As the sun began to sink westward, dyeing the land
gold, the company came upon a stream barring the old
road. It was shallow and easily forded but instead
their guides turned the horses eastward, towards the
"The Warden of the Weather Hills has his holding
near here." Ellenion explained. "We will pay our
respects and sleep under a roof again tonight."
The stream cut its way into the hills through a
winding ravine that at times grew so narrow they had
to walk the horses in the streambed itself. Suddenly
they emerged into a small vale half filled by a
shimmering mere. And floating upon the grey water was
a rambling house of fieldstone and half-timbering
linked to the bank by a rope bridge.
A pair of Rangers materialized out of the hillsides
to take the horses and exchange a few quiet Sindarin
words with the princes. Then they went across the
gently swaying bridge and through the windowless
cobble floored gate tower into a central court where
they were greeted by a very tall golden haired Man in
the now familar Ranger leathers who introduced himself
as Galdor and bid them welcome to Mithaelin, the
In Gondor fair hair was a sure sign of Northman or
Rohirric blood but this Man had classic Dunedain
features and his blue-grey eyes held the fugitive
silvery glimmer the Gondor men now recognized as
characteristic of the Royal House.
His hall was far larger than those of Gwathlad or
the forester's holding, a lord's hall meant to seat
hundreds of retainers, but this was no survival of
lost splendour like the Chieftain's villa at Arnost.
The flagstone floor was strewn with rushes and sweet
smelling herbs, the plain plaster walls hung with
woven cloths richly patterned in blue, green, gold and
scarlet. Men in white and yellow livery were busy
setting up trestle tables for the evening meal and a
brace of wolfhounds dozed before the fire at the foot
of the hall. There was a second fireplace on the dais,
with three banners hanging above it; the star of
Elendil, the new moon of Isildur, and between them a
white standard emblazoned with a black sword beneath
an arc of seven silver stars.
Hurin stared transfixed. This device he recognized,
the Maglavorn (2) of the House of Turin. He turned to
stare at Galdor talking with Cemendur and the two
princes near the door of his hall. The lord of
Mithaelin had his yellow hair from Hador Goldenhead
and his name and height from Hador's son Galdor the
Tall. A shiver went down Hurin's spine as he realized
he was looking at the heir to the oldest Mortal line
in Middle Earth, older even than the House of the
Only a handful of Ancient Houses had survived the
Kinstrife and the Great Plague, and not one of them
dated beyond the establishment of the realm. Hurin
wondered how many truly ancient Noble Houses, tracing
their lineages back to Numenor or even to First Age
Beleriand, had outlasted the Lost Realm here in the
The lady of Mithaelin was not Galdor's wife but a
sister, golden haired and nearly as tall as himself,
either early widowed or never wed. Her name was
Galadris. There was also Galdor's son, Ingloron, an
old friend of the twins to judge by their banter and
near to them in age; and an orphaned niece, Lorilas,
some years his junior and that was all. A far cry from
the five generations of the humble forester family. As
in Gondor casualties ran highest among the nobility.
The princes and lords of the Lost Realm had laid aside
their titles and trappings but not their duty.
The company that sat down to dinner had more the
look of a garrison than a noble household, most of the
Men seated at the lower tables were dressed in Ranger
green, but there were also a number of Women and girls
who might have corresponded to his mother's waiting
gentlewomen and maidens sitting near the high table,
and the food was served by young Men in white and
yellow like the pages and squires of his father's
Hurin had supped in many halls and even in the most
decorous the noise was tremendous, the very rafters
ringing with the babble of voices and laughter, but
not here. The Rangers ate for the most part in
silence. Those who spoke did so in voices deliberately
pitched to carry no farther than their listeners' ear,
Hurin saw a few smiles but heard no laughter.
Stern and silent and regal as kings these Northern
kinsmen intimidated Hurin, seeming to him more like
figures from legend and song than Men and Women of
mortal flesh. And he envied them too, sensing they'd
hung on to some elusive quality the Dunedain of Gondor
had lost. Something he could not name but whose
absence he felt almost as a pain.
"Elves love beauty," Ingloron was telling the
little princess teasingly, "they will write songs in
praise of yours."
"I don't like those kind of songs." she answered, a
note of disgust clear in her voice. "Or love songs
either. They're boring."
Ingloron concealed his amusement, barely. "You may
feel differently when you're a little older,
"I won't." she said firmly.
"I prefer the lays of Elder Days myself." Hurin
agreed quickly, adding with a sidelong glance at his
host. "The Narn I Hin Hurin was a favorite of mine,
because of my name no doubt."
"Turin was wet." Erien said calmly.
Hurin choked on a mouthful and Cemendur gave the
little girl a sternly chiding look, but Turin's
descendants(3) seemed unperturbed.
Ingloron smiled as he shot a glinting look at the
young princes. "Now I wonder who told her that?"
Ellenion returned his gaze innocently. "Erien has a
great deal of natural judgement, she didn't need to be
"Turin was brave, passionate, impetuous - and I'm
afraid a bit of a fool." Galdor said judiciously,
cracked a wry smile. "'Wet' describes him very well.
The pity is he didn't live long enough to learn
After dinner Galdor took Cemendur, Hurin and
Ereinion down a long flight of stairs to a small,
bare, stone walled room. Deep niches had been cut in
three of the four walls, closed by heavy ironbound
doors. Galdor produced a key and opened one of them.
Inside was a great helm of grey steel bound and
ornamented with gold. It had a snarling dragon's head
crest, gilded masklike visor and strange runes carved
upon the brow band. This was the Dragon-Helm of Hador
wrought seven millenia ago by Telchar, master smith of
And on the shelf below it was a sword in a sheath
of gleaming black galvorn inlaid with runes in mithril
and gold giving the name and lineage of the blade
within. The hilts too were of galvorn, polished and
smooth, the grip molded to the hand, with stars of
adamant upon the guard and a great adamant stone set
in the pommel. Maglavorn, the Black Sword, wrought in
the deeps of time by Eol of Nan Elmoth, born by Turin
Turambar and Urin his son.
Galdor drew the blade smoothly from its sheath. It
shone blue-black, the candlelight awakening a glitter
of azure sparks down its length.
"So the Maglavorn survives," Cemendur said
reverently, "which we'd thought lost these thousand
years. The sword that will slay Morgoth and avenge the
marring of the world at the End."
"So it is said." Galdor agreed, a little drily.
Cemendur looked at him sharply. "You doubt the
prophecy, my Lord?"
"A sword, even such a blade as Maglavorn, is but
steel." the Heir of Turin answered. "I find it
difficult to believe the Evil of the World can be
destroyed by so simple a means." He resheathed the
blade and returned it to its place.
"Yet that does not mean the prophecy is false,"
Ereinion observed, "just incomplete. There may be more
to the matter than we can now know."
"Doubtless all will be made clear at the End."
Galdor agreed. "But that is not yet come, however
black these present days seem."
It was strange, Hurin thought, that the Northern
Dunedain who had lost all, found it easier to hold to
hope than the Men of the south, clinging grimly to the
tatters of their ancient glory.
(1) I know this sounds like an awful lot but believe
it's not, especially when spread over the nearly
250,000 square miles of Old Arnor. It must have taken
a lot of Men to effectively police such a vast area,
and when you factor in Women and children and the
elderly you get a number in the high tens of thousands
- at least.
(2) Maglavorn, the Black Sword.
(3) Yes I know Turin left no descendants, but this is
an AU - besides as the Silmarillion was never
completed, (by the Professor, who was in the process
of some major revision at the time of his death) so I
feel a fanfic writer has a lot of wiggle room here.
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