Dark Isle, The: 1. Canto I

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1. Canto I

A flowing river, with torrents strong
‘gainst rocks and stones through hills and valleys,
the water black like ice shining
in night starless clouds hovering over:
the loud stream rushes ‘tween mountain peaks
and in a green valley cleaves into two,
and flowing separates, again meeting
forming an isle ‘midst waters torrential.
Once ‘twas green a stronghold mighty
of elven arms, swords shining
and shields blazing of Gnomes valiant,
foes of Morgoth bright and fierce.
A tower tall iron crownéd,
‘twas beautiful once, white and high,
but now in shadow and darkness cloaked:
a citadel feared, the Isle of Werewolves.

His dark abode there Thû had made
haunting the valley. A fortress of stone
iron crownéd, the house of torment
the Lord of Wolves the vale filled
with haunting terror. The stones groan
lamenting their fall. Mists of horror
o’ershadow the tower, vast dark-pinioned.
Thû’s flaming eyes rove the land
over rock and hollow all things piercing,
uncloaking, demasking. His wolves prowl in wait
white teeth gleaming like pearléd ivory,
hungry, slavering, filling with horror
and terror unmasked the haunted valley.

Lo! In dungeons vile, black pits deep
‘midst stones engraved with Thû’s horror
to the wall chainéd lie two companions
choked with desperation, iron bonds biting,
devouring flesh on bleeding wrists.
Only two are left of the twelve travellers
on a dark quest, valiant but hopeless;
for on the road were overtaken by Thû’s roving eyes
and brought to his seat. None would betray
their lord belovéd, and were thrown in dungeons.
One by one a pair of eyes kindle in the darkness;
the silent wolves would inward creep,
devouring the men, rending their limbs
with slavering sating the blood-thirsty lust
for human flesh; with bones crushing
pools of blood reek a halitus noisome.
Only two now remain: King Finrod Felagund
fairest of Elves fulfilling his oath whatever betide
to Beren son of Barahir. Now hopeless they lie
in gloom and desperation. A light in the darkness
like two pale lamps appears in the dungeon:
Beren’s doom draws nigh. A great dark wolf
has come at last to rend his flesh
and steal his life. Closer is draws.
The quiet tread of its loathsome feet
echoes on the stones. And there Beren sits helpless,
awaiting his torment, the searing pain.
Closer it draws. Suddenly King Finrod
with a surge of strength, with power unnatural
descended of old from the Elves of Valinor,
bursts his heavy bonds from the walls of stone
and locks in combat with the great wolf,
snarling and biting, howling in pain
with his last strength he fought his oath to fulfill
to the bitter end. With his hands and teeth
he tore at the wolf while the horror unfolding
Beren watch helpless held by his bonds
in a corner by the wall.

The yammering ceases,
the wolf shudders and in death lies still.
Beren watches in sorrow as Finrod lies before him
with mortal wounds gaping and Beren’s heart is torn
with sorrow wrenching when Finrod speaks his final words:
‘To the Timeless Halls beyond Western Sea
and tall mountains of Aman I go to long awaited rest.
It will be some time before I walk again
among my Elven kindred. But Beren, I fear
that in death or life not again shall we meet,
for sundered is the fate of our kindreds.
Farewell!’ Thus he passed: Finrod Felagund,
of the Gnomes most belovéd, the fair and faithful
in dark Tol-in-Gaurhoth whose tall strong walls
he himself had built. And to this grey world
of tears and war he returns not.
Into dark despair fell Beren, and mourned.
But lo! A song he hears of enchanting beauty,
innocence sweet and strong of shining stars
and nightingales singing in green woods and leas!
From whence did it come? With receding strength
he answers and sings calling out to the darkness
of Valacirca, the Sickle that Varda
in the stars placed to adumbrate the fall
of the Dark One, long awaited.
Then his strength is spent from torture and sorrow.
In a dark swoon he falls on the floor of the dungeon.

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.

Story Information

Author: Nerdanel

Status: Reviewed

Completion: Complete

Era: 1st Age

Genre: Poetry

Rating: General

Last Updated: 01/02/04

Original Post: 06/20/03

Go to Dark Isle, The overview

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