1. The Walls Will Serve I
The first time, they came there in spring—the season of exploration. The Sinda who was their guide led the way down from the hill-top, with the confident assurance of one who knows his own territory. The small group of strangers followed him down the faint track, disciplined and in single file, until they all stood by the cleft in the rock where the stream bubbled out, welling up strongly from the heart of the hill to flow away southwards into lands they had as yet barely heard of.
'This is Little Brother Gelion,' said the guide. 'His elder brother rises to the east, in the mountains, over there, and the two of them join up to make Big Gelion, down there. Gelion is little here, but his water is good to drink and never fails, even in times of drought. Is he what you were looking for?'
'Yes, indeed, my friend', said the tall, red-haired, one-handed stranger. 'May the stars shine above your path, always, for the good guidance you have given us!'
The Sinda had, of course, sensibly refused to tell them his name. They, on the other hand, had come out with their own names straight away—as if they had nothing and no one to fear!—but those names were in their own incomprehensible language, impossible to pronounce or remember. The red-haired one was called something like… Mae? Rus?
The Sinda shrugged.
'You did say you want to build walls up there?' he asked curiously, pointing back up the hill.
'Yes,' said the red-haired one. 'I will build walls up there for protection and defence. I hope in time they will come to serve you and yours, too.'
The Sinda shrugged again. They were truly strange folk, these, and they had the strangest ideas, but they seemed to mean well, mostly, most of the time.
'I will come back and see how you are faring, lord', he said, 'about two moons from now.'
And so he parted from them and walked away south-west to re-join his own people.
Nelyafinwe Maitimo Russandol said to those of his household: 'We will stay here beside Gelion tonight and tomorrow we will return to the hill-top and begin.'
Ceredir answered: 'That will be a slow business—building a large fortress on a bare hill-top in an empty land!'
'We will have time, I hope', said Maedhros. 'Tirion was not built in a day. But as for the land, I could wish it were emptier… We will have to take thought how to defend ourselves as we build.'
And they all looked northward, briefly, and then away.
'I will go look for firewood', said Naurthoniel.
'I will take care of the horses', said Celvandil.
The others dispersed and Maedhros remained alone for a moment, staring at the hill top. The whole range of hills was much, much lower than the Ered Wethrin that fenced Hithlum or the sheer mountain slopes that protected Dorthonion. Nor did Maedhros have a Girdle of Melian to defend his people. But he was a Noldo and Noldor build in stone, so he would build walls on Himring Hill, strong walls to fend of all attacks.
Maedhros Feanorion feared Morgoth. Perhaps even more than Morgoth, he feared failing everyone, again. And yet eventual failure was—probably, almost certainly—inevitable. Sometimes, as now, that knowledge threatened to paralyse him completely, as if he were still chained to the top of Thangorodrim.
Noldor might build in stone, in Valinor, but his people had no future in these empty, hostile lands. Why attempt to raise walls with great labour only to know they will fall? Truly, was not the Sinda right to consider his plans foolish and vain?
Beside his feet, Gelion rushed and bubbled. Maedhros shook his head. No, the land was not empty. It offered rock to build on and stone to build with. It offered a steady water supply for his as-yet-unbuilt fortress. It had offered guidance and friends in need, careful, cautious friends, to be sure…
He remembered, back in Valinor, his cousin stabbing his index finger at a map and asking: 'And what is here?'
He had shaken his head and answered: 'I have no idea.'
Now he was standing right in the middle of that blank space –and it was not blank at all.
Perhaps you would even like this place, Findekano? I will try to look at it with your eyes.
He lifted his face to the wide expanse of pale, chilly sky that stretched above the Marches. The walls of Himring would serve. He would make them serve, at least for a while.
He sat down and started writing a letter to his brother Curufinwe. Curufinwe was skilled in making. More recently, he had turned out also to be good at improvisation and making do when it could not be helped, despite the occasional heart-felt profanity.
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.