The siege of the valley of the riven dell, now named Imladris, was broken. Sauron's forces had been driven back by the fighters of Lindon and the great hosts of the Númenoreans. The first White Council had met; Gil-Galad, Celeborn, Elrond, Galadriel, and Celebrían. They had exchanged many sombre words. Most glad had been the bestowing of the blue Ring, Vilya, to Elrond; most painful had been the decision that shattered Eregion would not be renewed. Instead, Imladris would stay manned as an elvish stronghold, a refuge at need for wandering folk, and to hold part of the pathway to Khazad-dûm and Lorinánd secure. Nobody envied Elrond his post there in the lonely wilds, despite the buildings the surviving crafters of Eregion had raised.
Elrond lightly touched the ring he wore on a chain around his neck. The room was very peaceful, as if time had slowed and sweetened. "Even unworn, I still feel its power," Elrond said.
"As lost Celebrimbor had promised," Galadriel said.
Gil-Galad fingered the ring Narya that he bore. "You say that as long as Sauron is strong, we dare not don these rings to use them fully."
"To do so is to be in bond to Sauron, through their link to him. Yet through that link, if Sauron falls, these rings will then have no more power than an empty snail's shell," said Galadriel. "An irony it is, that we endure without fading, as long as Sauron does."
And the high ones of the council looked away as Galadriel said, "We are bound to him. Bound..."
Pengolod and Erestor sat at a table in the new halls of Imladris. During the long siege, the bored crafters who had survived the sack of Eregion had been ordered to create shelter. The results far exceeded the need, halls and pavilions that were almost defiant follies, high-timbered and airy, ornamented with statues, images of the lost elves of Eregion.
The two loremasters had started up a chronicle of the siege, writing on paper they made from the reeds of the valley's river. A greater task awaited them, describing the fall of Eregion. "These are all the notes I have for that tale," said Pengolod, handing over a few sheets of paper. "Strange, isn't it? After the fall of Gondolin, I wrote reams and reams, many a verse and many a word. But this time, words failed me." He looked at the notes dismissively. "Not a very good start." The fall of Eregion had a face for him, a private loss that made the memories bitter to bear.
Erestor browsed the sheets. "Something is better than nothing, and I have not written much more myself. Will you write more in Lindon?" Pengolod was leaving with the rest of Gil-Galad's forces.
"I am not staying in Lindon. I am going over Sea," Pengolod said. He raised his hand against the protests Erestor began. "My works are done here, and the ground has no pull beneath my feet. I am the last of the Lambengolmor. This war slew those of us who did not leave. And I am near to the last of the Gondolindrim." He grew sad and silent at that.
Erestor looked out one of the wide-open arches. "Myself, I cannot leave the memories that Middle-Earth holds for me, yet. My lost wife loved the season's turns, and as I watch them, I remember her..."
Pengolod sighed, thinking of his own long lingering in Middle-Earth. "I understand what it is to be held by memory." In memory's very arms, he thought.
"And by vengeance," Erestor added. "I shall stay here and fight. Elrond will have my spear." He turned to the papers with the scanty notes about Eregion. "I shall sort this out one of these days. When I have the heart to think about it properly."
The great camp of the Númenoreans spread its tents of blue and gold around the rich pavilions of the sea-lords. In the centre of the camp, a host of their leaders and allies gathered to watch in awe as Sauron surrendered himself to their King, Ar-Pharazon the Golden. They had not expected that their foe would be so fair of face and body, more beautiful even than an Elf, behind the branching black armour.
Sauron knelt before the tall king clad only in a tight tunic and leggings of leather, with bare feet. As the first sign of his complaisance, he had shed his armour. When he had taken the measure of the men from the Sea, he decided that they were both strong enough to be a problem and proud enough to be vulnerable. He had bidden his forces to go to ground, sending news to the Númenoreans that they were fled for fear, and that Sauron himself came to surrender to them.
Everyone leaned in to hear his soft words of submission. "Your army has humbled me, King of Middle-Earth, and I kneel before you. Never have I seen one greater than you! I know when I am bested." With that, he knelt and kissed Ar-Pharazon's gilded, armoured foot. He lingered at his homage, then drew back serene.
The king of Men looked down at him astonished, then roared out for chains to bind his prisoner. As they waited, Ar-Pharazon never looked away, fascinated by the seductive being obedient before him.
Sauron dropped his head so that his long golden hair veiled his smug smile, and joined his hands together, to conceal the simple ring that was his only ornament. What he had done before, he could do again, seducing, corrupting, turning his enemies into his tools.
And it looked like it would take far fewer years, this time.
*** THE END ***
Story Notes for Part 5 and Epilogue:
Many of the events in "Of Galadriel and Celeborn" are fleshed out here; whatever reconciliation was between Celeborn and Celebrimbor so that they were united in the defence of Eregion, Celebrimbor's counsel with Galadriel, the distribution of the Rings, Celebrimbor's torment and what is done to his body, are all noted in that essay.
Gondolindhri = Person of Gondolin.
The climactic battles take place in 1697 Second Age.
Glamhoth = A Sindarin word meaning, literally, "din-horde," used to refer to a host of Orcs.
I shall sort this out one of these days = The fall of Eregion is described in "The Council of Elrond" in LOTR seems to be noted almost exclusively in oral elvish tradition. Hard-core Tolkien fans are persistently unhappy about the very little information about Eregion and the Rings' making in Tolkien's notes.
Sauron's submission by choice as a hostage to the men of Númenor is noted in "Alkallabeth", The Silmarillion, and in the Tale of Years in ROTK. After he surrendered to them, he was taken as prisoner to Númenor and it is noted: "Years 3262-3310 - Sauron seduces the King and corrupts the Númenoreans."
This is a work of fan fiction, written because the author has an abiding love for the works of J R R Tolkien. The characters, settings, places, and languages used in this work are the property of the Tolkien Estate, Tolkien Enterprises, and possibly New Line Cinema, except for certain original characters who belong to the author of the said work. The author will not receive any money or other remuneration for presenting the work on this archive site. The work is the intellectual property of the author, is available solely for the enjoyment of Henneth Annûn Story Archive readers, and may not be copied or redistributed by any means without the explicit written consent of the author.