THE FALL OF GONDOLIN

 

Of the Treachery of Meglin(Maeglin)

Meglin was the son of Aredhel, sister of the king, and Eol, a dark elf who lived on the outskirts of Beleriand. As it happened, Aredhel left Gondolin to seek the world one day, with a group of Noldor warriors. There was a raid, and she became seperated from her bodyguard. She stumbled upon the dwelling of Eol, and there she married him and bore him a child, Meglin. After awhile, Aredhel desired to return to Gondolin, but Eol would not let her. One day, Eol left on a trip that was to take many weeks, and it was then that Aredhel gathered up her belongings, and Meglin, and hurried away, back to Gondolin. Unfortunately, or perhaps fortunately, Eol came home early. Finding his wife gone, he tracked her and came, eventually, to the hidden city. He came before the king, and pleaded his case, and the king said that he must stay. Hearing these words, Eol fell into a rage, siezing a spear, he hurled it at Meglin with all his strength. Aredhel, seeing the deadly dart in flight, leaped directly in its path, and was smitten in the side. Turgon placed Eol in confinement, to await trial in the morning. As the wound was
seen to be minor, Aredhel and others tried to convince the king to be merciful. Then, in the night, Aredhel sickened and died, the dart being poisioned, and Turgon, in a towering rage, had Eol thrown off a cliff. Meglin lived and prospered in Gondolin, for he was skilled in arms, and seemed good, but he had one fault. He was enamored of the beauty of Idril his first cousin and daughter of Turgon. Jealousy gnawed at his heart, as he knew he could never have her, and when Tuor married Idril, Meglin's jealousy was turned to him in full force. Meglin worked long and hard, hewing the rocks of Amon Gwareth, and delving into the dark secret places to find precious gems. As it happens, one day he delved to far, and was taken by Melkor. The torture he was subjected to was great, and though he was not a craven, he eventually succumbed, and provided the enemy with the location of Gondolin, and how it might best be assailed. Melkor released him back to Gondolin to further his treachery, and to wait for the day when Melkor would take over.

 

Of the Lords and their Battle Array

The White Wing

Tuor was lord of the folk of the White Wing, they bore the shape of wings on their helmets. They were of the stoutest of folk. Little is said about them however, except that Voronwë was in that band, the elf who many years ago brought Tuor to the city of the Gondolithrim.
 

The Folk of the Mole

Meglin (Maeglin) was lord of the folk of the Mole. Sable was their harness, but they bore no sign or emblem of any sort, save that their round caps of steel were covered in moleskin. They all wielded double-sided axes. They were all however, utterly loyal to their lord, who was a traitor.
 

The Twin Folk of the Swallow and the Heavenly Arch

These were the greatest bowmen, and their numbers were strung out along the outer wall. The folk of the swallow bore feathers on their battle-helms, and their colors were white, and dark blue, and purple, and black, and they bore a purple arrowhead upon their shields. Their lord was Duilin, fastest runner and surest archer of the Gondolithrim. The men of the Heavenly Arch are a people of uncounted wealth. They were arrayed in a glory of colors, and every single soldier had arms covered and encrusted with gems. Every shield was blue and its boss a jewel built of seven gems, rubies, and amethysts,
and sapphires, crysoprase, topaz and amber, and an opal of great size adorned ever helm. Egalmoth was their chieftain, and he bore, alone of the Noldoli, a curved sword, but he trusted more to a bow, and could shoot
farther then any others among the host.

 

The Twin Folk of the Pillar and the Tower of Snow

Little is said about these, except that both were under the command of Penlod, tallest of the Noldoli.
 

The Folk of the Tree

A great house, their rainment was green. They fought with iron studded clubs or with slings. Their lord was Galdor, and he was held to be the most valiant of the Noldor, save Turgon alone.
 

The House of the Golden Flower

Their lord was Glorfindel, who later in the retreat from Gondolin, saved the lives of many by fighting on a narrow pinacle of rock with a balrog, where both fell to ruin in the abyss, and whos body was retrieved by Thoronder, the king of Eagles himself, and buried with honor. They bore a rayed sun on their shields, on Glorfindel wore a mantle so broidered in threads of gold, that it was diapered in Celadine as a field in spring, and his arms were damascened with cunning gold.
 

The People of the Fountain

Ecthelion was their lord, and the lord of the Fountain of the King, and Silver and Diamond their delight. They bore longswords and went into battle with the music of the harp.
 

The Folk of the Harp

A battalion of brave warriors, yet their leader Salgant was a coward, and fawned upon Maeglin. It must be pointed out, that Salgant himself remained true to Gondolin, and did no treachery, and would sing and joke with the baby Earendil to make him smile. They were dight with tassels of silver and gold, and a silver harp shone in their blazonry on a field of black. Salgant
himself bore one of gold, and he alone of the Noldoli rode into battle, and was heavy and squat.
 

The Hammer of Wrath

Their leader was Rog, strongest of the Noldor, and scarce second in valor to Galdor of the tree. Of these many were smiths, and they reverenced Aule the Smith, more then any other Ainur. They fought with great maces like hammers, for their arms were very strong due to all their work at the anvil. In older days, many of this host were Noldoli who were rescued from the mines of Melkor, and their hatred for him and his Balrogs were very strong. Their sign was a stricken anvil, and their shields bore a hammer that smiteth sparks about it. Very numerous was this house, and none had a faint-heart, and in the struggle against doom, they won the greatest glory, yet none were fated to return from the battle alive, of all that great host..

The House of the King

Little is said of this house, except that their colors were white and gold and red, and their emblems the moon, the sun, and the Scarlet Heart, the heart being in the earlier version, the heart of Finwe Noleme, Turgon's father, cut out at the battle of Nirneath Aronediad, and retrieved by Turgon himself. The nearest parallel I can draw in the Silmarillion, would be that
of Fingon, Turgon's brother, slain as he grappled alone with Gothmog lord of Balrogs.

 

Of the Preparations Made Before and During the Battle

Many years before, Idril had had what we mortals would term a premonition. She asked Tuor to prepare a secret way through the Vale of Tumladen to safety. Just before the battle, a council of war was held. Tuor counciled that the city be adandoned as lost, and to issue forth in a mighty sally upon the plains before the heat of Melkor and his balrogs grew to great, but asked council on whether it should be a concentrated effort of the entire force with the maids and children in the center, or composed of diverse bands seeking out in many different directions, and to this last Tuor leaned, and most among the chieftans likewise. Meglin and Salgant alone spoke of staying to the city and trying to protect what they held, Meglin out of guile and an attempt to make sure that none of the Noldor escaped alive, and Salgant out of fear. Meglin spoke to the kings one weakness, and spoke of all the beauty of the city, and the things crafted therein that they would leave behind. And Turgon groaned, for Meglin had known his great love of the wealth and jewels of that city upon Amon Gwareth. And thus, that
was the plan he put forth.

 

The Fall of Gondolin

"Gondobar am I called, and Gondothlimbar, The City of Stone, and the City of the Dwellers in Stone; Gondolin the Stone of Son and Gwarestrin am I named, The Tower of the Guard; Gar Thurion, for I am hidden from the eyes of Melko..."

"And now came the monsters across the valley, and the white towers of Gondolin reddened before them." Long had Morgoth prepared in secret for this battle, and had crafted, through Meglins cunning, the first of the great serpents, to use in this battle. The stoutest of the Gondolithrim were in dread of those great dragons of bronze and fire, and sent arrow after
unavailing arrow at them. Yet there was hope yet, for the Serpents could not ascend the steep hill of Amon Gwareth. Yet they lie at the base, and a great steam arises where the fire of the serpents and the water of the stream of Amon Gwareth mingle. There grew such a heat that women became faint and men sweated to weariness beneath their armor, and all the fountains of the city, save only the Fountain of the King, grew hot and smoked. Then Gothmog, Lord of Balrogs, gathered all his things of iron that could coil themselves around and above all obstacles before them and bade them to pile themselves before the northern gate. Their great heaviness caused the gate to fall in a great clamor, yet most of the walls held firm. The siege machines of Gondolin poured fire, boulders and darts upon those creatures, and yet to know avail, for their iron bodys would not break. Then the topmost of the iron things opened around their middles, and countless orcs poured out, and
into the breach. Then did Rog of the Hammer of Wrath, and Galdor of the Tree leap at the foe, their it is said, the hammer and clubs felled the orcs like so many leaves upon the wind, and the folk of the Swallow and the Arch poured down arrows like rain upon them, and both Gondothlim and Orc fell amid the confusion. Yet for all their valor, the Noldoli were being steadliy
pushed backwords, merely by the dint of the great number of foemen, till the Orcs held a part of the northernmost city. All this time Meglin was not idle, he had found out about Tuor's secret delving, although he knew not all, and that proved well. He deemed that Tuor's tunnel must eventually lead to the anciently prepared Way of Escape, which was there, many years ere
Tuor came to the city. Thinking this, he sent many secret messages to Melkor, advising him to fortify the Way of Escape, so that none might leave that way. Then he went to Tuor's dwelling, thinking to at long last, sieze Idril for his own, and gain the secret of the passage, and thus escape the fire and slaughter, and thinking to cast Earendil into the flames. Of Tuors death in the burning, he was sure, for he had constrained Salgant to delay him in the Hall of the King, and egg him into the deadliest and fiercest part of the fray. Unfortunately to his designs, Salgant fell into a great terror of death, and rode home and lay aquake on his bed, and Tuor rode home with the folk of the Wing. Although Tuor's valor leapt to the noise of war, he flew home to take farewell with Idril and Earendil and to speed them down his secret way with a bodyguard, ere he returned to the battle to die if he must. Returning, he found a press of the folk of the Mole about the door, who were the worst that Meglin could find in the city. Yet they were not thralls of Melkor, and would not aid Meglin in his design, but neither would
they constrain him. Meglin has Idril by the hair and struggles to pull her to the battlement so she can see the fall of Earendil in the flames, yet he struggles with her, for for all her grace and beauty, she fights like a tiger. Tuor, seeing this, gives a shout so great, the Orcs here it from afar and waver from the sound of it. Then the men of the Wing, though less in number, are upon the men of the Mole like a tempest. Then Meglin tried to stab Earendil with a shirt knife he has, but a hidden coat of cunnigly
crafted mail, given to Earendil by Idril deflects the blow. Then Tuor is upon him, and his wrath was terrible to see, he siezed the arm holding the knife, broke it, and then grabbing Meglin by the middle, he casts him over the wall. Three times Meglin smote the slopes of Amon Gwareth as he fell, and perished. All the men of the Mole are then destroyed as well. Tuor then
goes back into the fray, but leaves with Idril and Earendil, Voronwe and some other swordsmen, to guard them as they leave. Now is the battle at the gate very evil indeed. Duilin, Lord of the folk of the Swallow, is felled by a firey bolt from a Balrog who leapt upon the base of Amon Gwareth as he fires arrow after arrow from the wall. And the Balrogs continue to loose
firey arrows and burning rocks upon the Gondolithrim, and worse are those of the Balrogs who leap upon the coils of the serpents to fire farther out, and set the city aflame to the back of the defenders. Then up leaps Rog of the Hammer of Wrath, and calls in a great voice, "Who now shall fear the Balrogs for all their terror?  See before us the accursed ones who have tormented the children of the Noldoli and now set a fire at our backs with their shooting. Come ye of the Hammer of Wrath and we will smite them for their evil." Then the men of the Stricken Anvil came behind like a wedge, and sparks came from their eyes from the fury of their rage. A great deed was that sally, and many Orcs were born backwards into the fires below, and yet Rog and his men leap even upon the coils of the great serpents, and come at those balrogs and smote them greivously and batter them into nought, or catching at their whips, wielded them against them, and they tore them, even as aforetime they had torn the Gnomes. And the number of Balrogs that were slain were a marvel, and a dread to the host of Melkor, for ere that day, never had any Balrog been slain by man or elf. (In context remember, that one Balrog was enough to slay even one of the most powerful of the Maiar, Gandalf himself.)  And Gothmog ordered thus, a few Balrogs came before the men of the Hammer, and fell before them, but a great number contrived to come behind them, so that Rog could not win back to the city without great slaughter among their troops. Yet Rog, seeing this, essayed not to win back, but to fall on those whose part was to fall before him, and they fell back, no longer out of craft, but out of dire need. Down onto the plain were they harried and their shrieks rent the air of the vale of Tumladen. Then the folk of Rog went about, hewing and smiting the astonished bands of Melko, till they were hemmed at least by an overwhelming band of Orcs and Balrogs, and a fire drake was loosed upon them. Their did they perish, hewing to the last until iron and flame overcame them, and it is sung that each of the Hammer of Wrath took seven foemen to pay for his own. (Remember again, Gandalf and the Balrog.) None of the Hammer of Wrath lived ever to carry the tale from the city. At the loss of Rog and his battalion, dread fell heavily on the Gondolithrim, and they gave back further into the city, and their Penlod perished, with his back to the wall, and about him, many of the Pillar, and many of the Tower of Snow. Now Melkor held the gate, and much of the walls to either side, whence number of the folk of the Swallow and the Rainbow were thrust to their doom, arching from the walls to the last. (There was no folk of the Rainbow, so I think what he must mean is the folk of the Heavenly Arch, the other group of archers, but as I am not sure, I leave it as it was.) And within the city they held a great space, reaching nigh to the center, and even to The Well, which was adjacent to the Square
of the King. There they halted and took council, and their plan was to hold what they had won, for the valor of the Noldoli had done away with many more foemen then was ever expected, and they had lost many more then the defenders. Yet such were there numbers that they still had much the greater number even then.  Fearful too were they of the slaughter Rog had done among the Balrogs, for of those great demons they had great courage, and confidence of the heart. However, they knew what they had to do, they must do quickly, for the fire of the great serpents could only be replenished in the Wells of Melkor, and they were running out. But even as their messengers spread the plan, they heard sweet music, and the enemy feared what it might mean. And Lo! It was Ecthelion and the people of the Fountain, whom Turgon had held in reserve and the
crystal and silver of their array is most lovely to see in the red of the fire and black of the destruction. Then the music stopped, and the host of Ecthelion drew their swords in one motion, and before the Orcs might forsee his onslaught the pale blades are flashing among them. Tis said that Ecthelions folk slew more Orcs in that one battle then fell ever in all the battles of the Eldalie with that race and his name is still a terror among them and a warcry to the Eldar. Tuor and the Silver Wing come amongst this
grizzly scene and range themselves alongside Ecthelion, and the men of the Fountain, and those twain did many a hard blow strike. Then there is a quaking and a trampling, for the serpents labor mightily at beating a path up the Amon Gwareth, and the remnant of the Arch of Heaven and the Swallow still fight there or contest the walls taken by Melkor to the east and west. Even as Tuor comes near driving the Orcs off, a great serpent of bronze heaves against the western wall shakes and falls, and behind it comes a snake of fire, with Balrogs astride it. The Orcs take heart at the coming of the drakes, and mingle with the Balrogs in their wild charge, and assail the Gondothlim greviously. There Tuor slew the Orc captains, Othrod, Balcmeg, and Lug, and Ecthelion shore through two captains with one blow, and cleft the head of Orcobal their chiefest captain. So valorous were those twain, that they came even among the Balrogs. Ecthelions sword took three, for it cleaved the iron of them and did injury to their fire, but they were even more afraid of Dramborleg, Tuors axe, for with it he slew five. (Gandalf and Balrog, yet again.) Yet in the end, the numbers began to tell, Ecthelion was wounded in the arm, and dropped his shield, and he must lean on Tuor, who cannot leave him, even as the trampling feet of the dragon of fire pass overhead, and it seemed as if they would be crushed. Tuor hewed at the foot of the monster, and flame sprouted forth, and it screamed and lashed with
its tail, slaying many, Orcs and Gnomes both. Tuor then gathered the remnant of the folk of the Wing, lifted Ecthelion, and led them to escape the drake. "Thus it was that Tuor son of Peleg gave before the foe, fighting as he yielded ground, and bore from the battle Ecthelion of the Fountain." Then marauding bands wandered the streets and did much ransacking, or slew in the dark men, women, and children, or, if occasions warrented, bound them and took them to the Hells of Iron, to serve. Now Tuor reached the square of the Folkwell, and found there Galdor, denying the entrance of the Orcs by the Arch of Inwe to the west, but about him were none, but a few of his men of the Tree. There did Galdor become the savior of Tuor, for he fell behind, carrying Ecthelions body, and stumbled in the dark. The Orcs would have taken them both, but for the rush of that champion, and the dint of his iron-shod club. There stood the last remnant of the Wing, and the Heavenly Arch, and the Swallow, and the Tree, and the Fountain, and by Tuors advice, they left the Well, to fortify the adjacent Square of the King. There came the last stout gathering of the defenders, before the Square of the Palace of Turgon. And there are many wounded, and Tuor is weary, for the labors of the night, and the weight of Ecthelion who is in a deadly swoon. Even as he
lead the battalion in by the Road of Arches, their came a great noise, and Lo! Glorfindel is driven in with the last of the men of the Golden Flower. They had been ambushed, and Glorfindel had only been able to cut himself free with great loss. It is said that Turgon had sent the men of Salgant, the craven, the folk of the Harp, to their aid, because of the urgency of the messages sent by Glorfindel. Salgant, however, had lied to his men and said that they were to garrison the Lesser Market, where Salgant had his home. Now however, they break from Salgant and come to the Square, which is very timely, for a press of triumphant foemen are following Glorfindel to finish him off. On these the men of the Harp fall with great eagerness, and utterly redeem the craveness of their lord. However, Salgants treachery may have turned out well in the end, more on that later. Leaderless, some fought with over wrathfully, and many were trapped in flames, or sank before the breath of the serpents that revelled there. Now from the south comes Egalmoth, whos job it had been to man the siege engines, long since having given that up, he had decided that situations merited hand-to-hand fighting, and had gathered those that remained of the Swallow and the Arch and fought away with that curved sword of his. Then, suddenly, a great drake burst through the barrier to the north. Tuor stood in the way of the great beast, but became seperated from Egalmoth, and, being steadily beaten back, even to the center of the square, where he was overcome by the heat, before the Fountain of the King, and beaton down by a great demon. Gothmog himself, Lord of Balrogs, and Son of Melkor(So it says before it is eventually decided in later stories that
the Valar cannot bear children.) It seemed as if Tuor would be killed, but Lo! Suddenly Ecthelion, The Lord of the Fountain, his face the pallor of grey steel, and his shield arm hanging useless at his side,  came before Tuor as he fell, and strove with that great demon. Yet he did not kill Gothmog, recieving rather a wound in his sword arm. Then, Ecthelion, Lord of the Fountain, fairest of the Noldoli, wounded in both arms, leapt, full at Gothmog, even as that Balrog raised his whip, to give Ecthelion his deathblow, as he had so many others, (Fingon, Prince of the Noldoli, for one.) Ecthelion leapt, and drove the spike on his helm full into Gothmog's breast,(Amid cries of "Thats using his head" Eonwe continues.(Im sorry guys, I've been typing for awhile, and I needed a joke, not that this is not a voluntary action...anyways, continue reading) twining his legs around Gothmog's, and hurled himself backwards into the Fountain of the King. The Balrog yelled, and fell forward, and the fire of his being was extinguished in the Fountain, and he perished, along with Ecthelion, who, steel laden, sank into the depths, and so perished the Lord of the Fountain, after fiery battle in cool waters. Now Tuor had arisen again, at the fall of Ecthelion,
and he was much grieved, but being wrapped in battle, he scarce cut his way to the folk about the palace. Then, seeing the wavering of the enemy at the fall of their Captain and Champion, the Royal Guard came down and laid on, and The King himself came down in great splendor, and hewed with his men, for he was great in arms, and they swept back much of the Square. Of the Balrogs, they slew 2 score, which is very great prowess indeed, but still greater deeds did they do. They hemmed in a fire-drake, for all its flaming, and forced it into the Fountain of the King, where Gothmog and Ecthelion had
recieved their end, and their it recieved its end, for the fire of its heart was quenched, yet therein, the Fountain recieved its end as well, for it, like all the other fountains so early in the battle, like the hope of the Gondolithrim, went up in smoke. Then dread fell on all, for the doom of the fountain, and the all the Royal Household were killed by the heat, and by the foe, and by the serpent,and by one another in the confusion of the scalding mists and burning smog, but a body of them protected the King, and there was a rally of them beneath Glingol and Bansil (Stone replicas of the Two Trees.) Then said the King "Great is the Fall of Gondolin," and the people shuttered, for such were the words of Amnon the Prophet of old. And Tuor spoke in a wild ruth, and for love of the King "Gondolin stands, and Ulmo will not suffer it to perish." But Turgon replied "Evil have I brought upon the Flower of the Plain in despite of Ulmo, and he now leaves it to whither in fire. Lo! No more hope is in my heart for my city of loveliness, but the children of the Noldoli shall not be worsted forever. Fight not against doom, O, my children. Seek those who may, safety in flight, but let Tuor have your lealty. Tuor replied "Thou art King." To which Turgon replied "Yet no blow shall I strike more," and cast his crown at the roots of Glingol, and Galdor picked it up again, but Turgon would not accept it, and bare of head, acsended the white tower that stood nigh his palace. There he shouted in a voice like a horn, and the Encircling Mountains rang with his call "Great is the Victory of the Noldoli!" Tis said, that it was then midnight, and the Orcs laughed with derison. Tuor then spoke of the tunnel he had long labored on, and begged the King to have other mind, and lead the Noldor through it. Yet the King resisted all efforts to move him, and the remnant of the Royal House refused to leave with out him. Then Tuor, torn between leaving and his reverence for the King, stood for a moment undecided. In the end it was the wailing of the women, and his pity for the sad remainder of the Gondolithrim that decided him. WIth a sad heart, he turned away, to lead them to salvation... or death. Glorfindel and the men of the Golden Flower held the rear manfully, on the long retreat, and many of the Flower fell there. Then Tuor came to Gar Anion, the place of the Gods, and looked for an evil stand. Yet their is none, and the enemy seems already to slacken and scarce any follow them, and that is a wonder. Then they come to the place of Wedding, and Lo! There is Idril before him, her hair unbraided, as the day they were wed, and great is Tuor's joy. But Idril saw nought Tuor, for her gaze was locked upon the Palace of the King, then all the host halted, and looked back, and their hearts froze, for now they saw why the foe had pressed them so little. Lo! A drake was coiled even on the very steps of the palace, defiling their whiteness, and all about, roaming bands of Orcs ransacked and destroyed. The King's Tower was beset. High up, they could decry, with their keen elven eyesight, the form of the King, but below lay a great serpent of brass, wrapped around the base, sawing and rowing with its tail and spouting flame. And Idril spoke and said, "Woe is I whose father awaiteth doom, even upon his utmost pinacle, yet seven times woe whos lord hath gone down before Melkorand will stride home no more." And Tuor replied "Lo Idril, it is I, and I live, yet now will I get thy father hence, be it from the Hells of Melkor!" And distraught with the grief of his wife, he made as if to walk down the hill alone. And yet Idril, coming suddenly to her senses, clasp him about the knees with much weeping and cries of My Lord, My Lord, and halted him. Yet even as they spoke a great noise arose from that  place of anguish, and the tower leapt into flame and in a stab of fire it fell. Great was the fall of Turgon, King of the Gondolithrim, and for that hour, the victory was to Melko. Thus fell the city,  "Gondobar am I called, and Gondothlimbar, The City of Stone, and the City of the Dwellers in Stone; Gondolin the Stone of Son and Gwarestrin am I named, The Tower of the Guard; Gar Thurion, for I am hidden from the
eyes of Melko..." Until that terrible day.

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