4. Chapter 4
"We are ready to advance at your word, Sir," Meneldis said, the second among Finarfin's captains. Her son and daughter had followed Fingolfin and died in the Dagor Bragollach. "If the Lord Maitimo4's Words of Unmaking bring down the walls we can attack at once. The Easterlings do not have the force to withstand us without stone to hide behind."Ravendë, the third captain, leaned forward to stare at the plan of Himring spread out on the low table before them. She said, not looking up,
"The Easterlings may not be able to withstand us in the end, but they will fight hard before then, walls or no walls."
Her troops had taken the brunt of the second assault on the walls, and had lost many to the stinging arrows of the Men. The Easterlings poisoned their darts, with some venom that burned elven flesh and resisted healing.
"It will take some time to bring the walls down," Maglor said in his muted voice.
"From what Findarato has said, and what I have myself Seen, the Enemy's Servant has laid its own enchantment upon them. Much will depend on how many of your people are able and willing to join their voices with ours in the Song of Unmaking."
"Enough, I think." Finrod looked around at the company. Edrahil nodded.
"The Companions are with you, Sir, as always."Vanamirë said, "There are Singers in plenty in the host, Sir." Maedhros set down his cup, and reached for the Easterling arrow on the table before him. One long finger touched the dried blood on its head.
"There may be fewer than you think to sing our song, little cousin."Finarfin spoke before Vanamirë could reply.
"I can well guess, nephew, that any Song of your devising would weigh upon the hearts of Singer and hearers alike."
Maedhros looked up at the unexpected harshness of the High King's words, but
"Nonetheless, we accept and thank you for the aid that you give, in the hope that we may thereby attain our end with expedition and without greater loss."
Finarfin's gaze gathered in the company."We of Finwë's House will Sing the Words of Unmaking, with all who can join us. Meneldis, you have command. Make your dispositions as you see fit, in readiness for the falling of the walls."
.. . . .
The Song began at what would have been Sunset, had She been visible. All those who would take part, some five dozen Elves, were gathered on the hillside under the occluded sky. A handful of the renegades had come to join their lords; the rest were of the host of Tirion.The Words of Unmaking were beautiful in their poetry, and their music, and terrible in their meaning. Their touch upon the greater Song that shaped the world, the Song that needed no bodily voice, was appalling, a desecration in itself. The Amanyar shuddered as they Sang, flinching in horror and pity. As Maedhros had predicted, not every Singer in the host had proven able to bear the weight of the Words. The Sons of Fëanor Sang the slow wearing of time; of stones ground to pebbles, mortar crumbled to dust, iron rusted and broken. They Sang of walls and towers fallen to grass and bramble, deeds and names forgotten in the wind and the waste of years. They Sang death, fruitless, unmarked, unmourned, unredeemed by valour or memory. They Sang hope withered, and courage lost and a final sunset, drowned in blood and fire. But even as Finarfin felt the walls begin to give, as foundations shivered and mortar fell like sand, another Voice answered from the fortress, thin and faint and defiant. A woman, Singing alone in an alien tongue. Her voice was harsh and strange, as if Cärc the Raven were to sing a lullaby; but in the nature of what they did, the elves understood her words. She Sang of the strength of shaped stone, of shelter granted against storm and malice, of steady endurance and guiding purpose. She Sang of oaths kept and honour unbroken, brief lives offered freely that others might continue. She Sang of bright cities under an unclouded sunrise, alien, many-towered cities of Men, teeming with the ephemeral flames that would yet outlast the undying Eldar in the world. She Sang against them, and though her voice grew yet more hoarse and grating as the hours passed, when dawn shed its dim, impeded light over the world, the walls still stood.
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