a look with different eyes on the Nirnaeth Arnoediad... 
(highly recommended that you read Silmarillion)


Aurë entuluva


            A pair of figures was striding weakly across the dusty wasteland. The plain  Anfauglith looked as bleak as they remembered it years ago. They had been walking all day and still had the impression that they could not get from under the curtain of black clouds covering the sky. The stinking fumes rising from Thangorodrim took away their strength, which they had anyway only a little.
"We have to find water," said the taller quietly and unnecessarily. Despite the horror of where they came from, sparks still shone in his gray eyes. Lights of life, hope, will, or perhaps a little of everyone.
"Um," growled the other. It was uncertain whether he understood the first one at all and agreed resignedly or just mumbled in delirium. His figure was not reaching such a height, but his shoulders were wider. Black hair and dark skin also revealed that he came from the East.
Surprisingly, after a long imprisonment in Angband, they got this far. Such a long expedition across the dead plain would exhaust even rested pilgrims.

Areas of gray ash alternated with brown spots of dead, parched earth. The wind was swirling  whirls of dust and blowing it into their eyes. They walked like without soul. The light-eyed man seemed to have retained more common sense. He seemed to know at least a little bit about what he was doing. He walked first, looking for a way, and sometimes supporting his companion.

Finally they reached the first hills with live vegetation. Low twisted birches and bird cherries  struggled with the inhospitable climate. The wind died down and the black clouds thinned to a turbid haze. There was even a squeaking whistling of a bird in the trees. Even though they recognized in the sound only a scavenger, it was a good sign, because it was already an ordinary warm-blooded creature and no monster.

The black-haired man suddenly fell and remained motionless, with face down. Despite his exhaustion, his companion leaned forward and shook his shoulder.

The Easterner raised his head weakly before it slammed helplessly on the ground again.

So his companion went on. He had already exhausted his reserves of strength, but he was still driven forward by one essential thing. They're out of Angband. Free. At least partially. Freedom did not have the taste he expected at all. His thoughts were still weighed down by the cover of a dark dream.

Then he entered a small terrain depression, where his feet sank a little more. Although the bushes around him didn't look much greener, he threw himself to the ground. With his hands with broken nails and a rusted orc dagger, which he had picked up somewhere in the dust and ashes of the ancient battlefield, he began to dig in the soft soil. He rummaged slowly but steadily. He was not in a hurry anymore.

When he had done a pit knee-deep, a mercury puddle shimmered at its bottom. He waited a moment before it grew and took the water in his hands. It was muddy and tasted bitter, but he didn't need more at the moment.

Strengthened a bit, he returned for his companion and dragged him to the primitive well. The easterner dipped his mouth greedily into the dirty puddle and drank until the mud taped his entire face.

They were saved, at least for the next day.

They spent the night in the same pit, huddled only in their own thoughts. And these were so black that they made their mimicry in the moonless night. Whether this was true or not is not certain. In any case, none of Morgoth's minions could threaten them that night, though the couple still camped relatively close to their former prison.

They didn't sleep. At times, they fell into lethargy, then waking again in terror.

Still they gained some strength. And after the dark clouds reluctantly released first relentless rays of the sun, they moved on.

They didn't talk. They didn't care too much about the direction of their journey. Subconsciously and in unspoken agreement, they simply headed furthest from the terrible fortress of the dark ruler. And that was south.

They didn't say a word all day. Both of them were burdened with memories. Their escape was not easy and was not for free.

Only Manwë knows how much they needed to lighten their gloomy mood. How they would need to speak out the huge grief and mortal fear. However, telling of at least a few words of relief was hindered by an invisible wall that was thicker than the walls of Gondolin.

The landscape gradually changed. It rose into hilly highlands. The trees grew greener and greener, rodents rustled here and there in the bushes, or the wings of the frightened bird fluttered.

At least the tall man perceived his surroundings and took care of their couple so that they would not starve and thirst.

He noticed traces of game. But with no means of catching it, he dug at least up some roots and found bird eggs. The second man accepted the meal, but then lethargy took over him again.

They were both still silent. They didn't even look at each other. Everyone was locked in their gloomy world, but they still needed the other's company. Only the closeness of another person prevented them from going crazy from dark memories. In particular the blackhead was drowning in them.

They were wandering on the fourth day, when the higher one finally broke the heavy silence.

"I'm going to see my people. You can come with me.” The wall of silence was torn down, though nothing new was actually said. The smaller man followed him the whole time. Though numb, he still hadn't lost all vigilance.

Now he looked up and finally they looked into each other's eyes. Two strangers who share only a terrible experience. They know that the Dark Lord interrogated, tortured, and looked into each other's thoughts.

Despite knowing nothing about themselves, they are now in this place together. But none of them, nor anyone else, would be able to say if it was just for fear of loneliness. Also, each of them was extremely worried about disobeying the persuasive words with which their torturer poisoned their minds. That was something not to talk about. It was the greatest personal loss, the deepest wound. They both sensed that the other had a similar purulent wound to his soul. In fact, it united them, their mutual suspicion.

Then the Easterner nodded. "I will go with you."

"I am Fandhir," the gray-eyed one continued.

"Me Norast."

  "The place is located on the plains of Himlad, near the river. So we still have a long way to go, because I don't know these hills. "

"We'll just go south and find the river. Near it, we will find everything else. "

Fandhir had to agree.

Even though it was only a few sentences, they distracted them for a moment. They were torn from the claws of their nightmares.


When Anar stroked Middle-earth with his rays again, Fandhir awoke. However, he found himself alone in the lee of three trees, where they had fallen asleep yesterday.

He called for a while, but then stopped. He didn't want to give signal to enemy patrols, if there were any. Then he realized he was missing his dagger.

"Damn, cursed Easterner!" he scolded.

It wasn't a proper weapon, a crooked blade cleaned a bit from rust by digging the well, but it was the only thing that could stand between him and a potential enemy. He even re-sharpened it a little on a piece of stone yesterday to make it a decent blade again.

He looked around for a moment.

In his unhappy situation, it was the worst thing that could happen to him. His supposed friend was obviously waiting for an opportunity to turn him around and disappear. Or wait for him and kill him.

He must have returned to the enemy. Or he looked for orcs to seize me. Helplessness flooded his legs with lead, and hoarfrost-covered tendrils grew into his spine.

Suddenly he heard a rumble from the forest.

Fandhir crouched down and moved behind one of the massive oaks.

It's here, he despaired.

The twigs continued to crack, and the dry leaves rustled in the undergrowth. A cluster of long sticks first appeared among the trees, then a black-haired figure.

Norast threw the bunch of wood the ground. He looked around curiously, looking for his friend. He called him by name twice, but when there was no response, he began to focus on his catch.

He brought half a dozen hazel and maple trunks a little over an inch thick and longer than himself. In his hiding place, Fandhir began to wonder what for would it be, but watched the blackhaired man in silence.

Norast cut one end of each stick to point. He worked intently and quite carefree. Then he worked the tips of the spears with stones to make them as smooth as possible. In the meantime he placed the orc weapon calmly on the ground.

It was obvious how simple handwork soothed everything. Fandhir watched him at work. Even that was calming. I was wrong, he breathed out. Although he may have a shadow in his mind like me, he didn't want to rob me or hurt me.

Then he slowly emerged from the hiding place, as if he had just returned from a walk in the opposite direction.

The hunter from the east smiled imperceptibly at him.

"Good idea. We'll snatch something with this," Fandhir welcomed his surprising work.

"It would be great if we had a fire," added Norast.

"It would be great if we had a bow," sighed Fandhir, "if I had a string, I'd make it. I would catch something right away. "

"The string might be soon," muttered Norast.


They tried to keep the noon direction. In a few days they crossed the mountains, and Fandhir saw from above the known curves of the river. He showed Norast a place covered in haze.

"There's a ford over Aros. We'll reach Celon in the next two days. "

"The names are unknown to me," Norast said.

"My family lives on the shores of Celon."

The Easterner nodded.

"I can not wait. I long for a hot meal," he added after a while.

They still had no fire or chance to start it. Even though Norast caught something, they didn't eat anything in the end. Raw meat was inedible for them even after the experience of Angband.


The young oaks pulled out and thickened a little, the mud in the bend of the river smelled a bit more, but otherwise nothing had changed and Fandhir knew the homeland safely. A hundred paces away, a low hill surrounded by a wooden wall peered out through the gap between the trees.

Fandhir spurred his friend and headed up the long slope. The pair of men must have been visible from the river, but so far no one seemed to notice their arrival. So Fandhir happily called toward the settlement.

But the call did not have the result he expected. He heard the hiss he knew so intimately, but he had never heard it from that perspective. An arrow stucked in the ground a few steps in front of them.

They both froze in place, and Norast fell to the ground and stayed laying in the grass.

Fandhir continued. He was reluctant to believe what was happening.

"Stop! Who are you and what do you want? ”A hoarse baritone growled.

"I am Fandhir," he shouted.

"You're lying!" A woman shouted from behind the wall now.

"I'm not lying, it's me!"

"Fandhir is dead!" The soprano sounded again.

"Don't you know me? I was in captivity! ”An undertone of uncertainty crept into his voice. He sensed that his face looked a little different after the years.

"Let the other one get up and come closer," the baritone ordered again.

Fandhir motioned to Norast, and together they advanced to the settlement. Only from thirty paces he noticed several hidden residents behind the wall.

"It can't be," the woman's voice muttered. Otherwise there was silence.

"We have been going for a long time and we are hungry. Let us in, please.”

Fandhir couldn't help but beg. Then he remembered and finally recognized a deep voice.

"Ondar, is that you? You have to remember… "

There was a little whispering noise in the settlement. Then, at last, some showed their faces behind the pointed logs of the fence. The stout and bearded man, to whom the voice really belonged, said:

"I recognize you. You are the one who was once Fandhir. But you are no longer him. Leave."

The pilgrims stood doubtful. Fandhir clueless, Norast actually even more clueless.

"Why?" He said to himself. A terrible sea of ​​emptiness and ruin began to pour in his eyes.

"We cannot accept you. Especially not when you bring foreigners from the East with you."

"I do not understand…"

Ondar paused for a moment, then continued, "But even if you come alone - no one who comes from the enemy can be welcomed here," he said firmly, but there was little movement in him either.

Forgive me, my friend, you have it written on your face, he added in his mind. Moreover, I can't tell you that when a group of similar people came to the fraternal settlement a little further downstream, strange ways spread in that homestead during the year, and originally our relatives became completely estranged from us.

"Your wife and children are dead and you are not. How can you live with that? ”a well-known soprano accused him. Fandhir now recognized his wife's sister in that woman.

Her question eroded Fandhir's already troubled heart, for the thorny branches of remorse had encircled it from the moment he lost his family.

How can he live with that? He cannot. And at the same time he must.

He was taking a breath to say something, but then he swallowed his bitterness. Those people did not deserve any outpouring of his grief. Someone else is to blame for his suffering.

"You know very well that of all the people who may miss them, I miss them the most," he concluded bitterly.

"We'll give you food, but then you have to leave," the bearded man concluded.

Norast was silent all the time, knowing it was not his duty to say anything. But now he leaned toward his companion in poverty and whispered something to him.

Fandhir nodded, then said, "I've never hurt you and now I don't want to as well. So at least I want to ask you a favor. Give us a tinderbox. We will not survive without fire. "

A half-voice muttering came again from the settlement.

"We'll trade him for catches. A dozen hares or a deer? Tell me," the exile raised his voice.

"You have always been a good hunter," the strong voice of their leader cut through the murmurs of the settlers again. "We'll give you a tinderbox, we don't have to change it for anything. But you must never again enter the lands between Aros and Celon. "

Fandhir stood motionless for a moment as the weight of inevitability of his fate fell on him.

Then he nodded.

In the end, in addition to the tinderbox, Ondar eventually left them a cauldron in which they brought them stew with herbs and even a knife. The trackers escorted them at a safe distance to the Aros river, although they lost two days. They were consistent. They waited for the exiles to cross the river and leave only when the two disappeared among the trees on the opposite bank.


The outcasts camped for the evening. Fandhir started a fire, but was unable to do almost anything else. There was silence. I'm an exile, Fandhir's thoughts were still circling around one thing. The injustice of such punishment and hopelessness of their situation came upon him more and more. He was not yet fully aware of the long, dark tentacles of Morgoth's plots.

At least the fire was on and warming now. It dispelled the worst nightmares, melting the black ice of fear. But they did not look behind them, because the fire intensified shadows.

Norast didn't look so gloomy, but he couldn't move his friend in any way. He ran out of words. His own dark memories were more than enough for him. So he relied on what alone helped a little. Activity. When he concentrated on some handwork, it calmed him down.

With the help of fire, he was finally able to finish the javelins. He slowly toasted each tip over the flames to gain hardness from the heat. It took almost the whole evening, and his mind was separated from the gloom.

The next day, the couple found a hidden spot in a grove near the right bank of the Aros. The densely growing trees sufficiently covered the dwelling they had built on the lowest floor of the branches. They gained shelter, which hid them from the beasts moving on the ground.

Norast now took care about everything. The Easterner did most of the work on the shelter. Fandhir was still full of grief, rather obeying his instructions. He just watched passively as Norast sealed the walls of the shelter with dirt and moss, processed catches, or procured firewood. It helped him, though not as much as he needed to. However, each dawn ignited a tiny embers again, a bit of will to live.


After a few days, Norast came up with a new thing. He made two water skins from caught prey hides. Fandhir brightened a little, but not for long.

However, another handmade product finally broke through the carapace of clouds.

"You've been talking about a bow recently," Norast said to the other, "look, could we make  a string out of this?"

He showed several gray, knotty cords.

Fandhir's eyes widened. "How's ... what is it?"

"Sinews and bowels. I cleaned them, they're pretty solid. What do you think?"

"Definitely!" He took the twisted strings in his hand and examined them in detail.

"Our people make ropes from the fibers of some plants," he explained, "unfortunately I don't know how. But this might be enough. "

Fandhir suddenly had a new goal. Although a small task, he could finally focus on something.

The next day he was fully immersed in work on a new bow. He prepared several straight young trees. He knew that the first product would not be perfect, and he also knew that more mature wood would be better for the weapon. When the evening was over, he had a raw wood bow ready, two more ready to dry, and a few strings. Norast, meanwhile, helped him prepare straight arrow sticks.

Fandhir's hands soon remembered his former skill, knocking down two wild rabbits the next day.

Their vigilance towards others, but also the necessity of mutual society, gradually crystallized into something else. They didn't realize it yet, but they were becoming friends.

As they stared into the flames again one more evening, Norast spoke:

"I am also an outcast. I was him before I was captured. "

He waited. He knew it would get Fandhir's attention. He really stared at him curiously.

"I killed my brother. He loved the same woman as I did.” He paused.

Fandhir urged him to continue.

"I wanted it to look like an accident. But someone saw me. My kin rejected me. Then I wandered through the wilderness for about a month.” He kept quiet after a few sentences, and it was hard to speak so openly.

"Loneliness is terrible. I already thought I was going to die, but then I was caught by an orc patrol,” he clutched his hands in fists.

"That's why I couldn't take you to my family, even if I wanted to."

Then he took a breath. "I didn't even thank you. You saved me on those ashen plains, I wouldn't cross them myself. "

Morgoth's servants released two prisoners in quick succession to make their work easy. But neither of the two knew it. But it caused them to meet. And thanks to that, they have survived so far.

Fandhir just nodded.

"What happened to your wife and children?" Norast surprised him with a sincere question.

Fandhir, who was just breaking branches, stopped. Then he put them on the fire and began to speak in a monotone voice, as if someone else was speaking for him.

"Hinwen and I lived away from the village. At that time it was not yet fortified with a wall and the houses were farther apart. One day a squad of orcs attacked us. Before our people could stand to defense, they murdered several families and set the log cabins on fire. I was hunting at the time and came too late. I shot five of those black beasts before they disarmed and stunned me. Then..."

There was no need to continue. Norast knew. Then he experienced Angband.

They were still silent. However, both perceived how sharing dissolves their worries.

Fandhir moved and clenched his fists. A quiet but clear thought flashed through his head. Short. Before it was covered by the gloomy ones that prevailed, it left a clear trail like a meteor. Catch her quickly, don't forget. Yes.

The thought looked so fragile and unlikely.

But he was too tired. So they went to sleep.


Fandhir awoke as the sun tickled the larks in the nests and began to heat up. However, the germ of the thought arose overnight, and the light hidden in the seed brightened his mind.

"I already know what I'm going to do."

Norast opened his eyes and looked at him. Something had changed in Fandhir, but it was not immediately visible.

"So, what are you going to do?" He asked sleepily.

"I will go back north and hunt orcs." Fandhir's voice was determined. His gray eyes reflected the sun and something else nameless.

It didn't take neither two heartbeats for Norast to get excited about the new plan.

"I am going with you."

Fandhir looked straight at him, and for the first time since they met, they shook hands.

"May no one mourn their murdered family anymore." It sounded like an oath.

"May no one experience the suffering in Angband anymore," confirmed Norast.



Shortly afterwards, Angband patrols began to disappear in the hills to the northeast of Taur-nu-Fuin. Nothing was usually found at the scene of the assault. Only the trampled vegetation was black from orc blood.

Thanks to their tracking skills, the pair of hunters always managed to escape their potential pursuers. They carried away the bodies and buried them in shallow graves, sometimes taking weapons, arrows always. Norast, who once used rather cutting weapons, began to train archer Fandhir in close combat. Although the orc blades were not meticulous in workmanship or balance, they both knew that in emergency these weapons could be useful. Nevertheless, they continued their covert assaults, and thanks to it Norast learned to be deadly also with a bow in addition to spear and sword.

The avengers also moved every few nights. They conceived each of their camps very simply, so it was not a problem to leave it in a hurry.

Only after a while did the elven scouts uncover the mysterious pair, as they themselves searched for the enemy's units and destroyed them. When they were pursuing one such group of about fifteen heads, and all of a sudden there was only a bloodied clearing, the elves had something to think about. Once they had tracked down the avengers and found that there were only two, they had to pay a silent homage to the strangers.

The elves never showed up to the hunters, but tolerated their presence on the borders of their empire. Their existence was beneficial to them and the whole region.

After many months, Fandhir and Norast wandered to the northern part of Taur-nu-Fuin. The elves left no traces behind, at least not ones that human hunters would be able to read. Once, however, the pair of exiles came across something of enormous size and significance.

Footprints of hundreds of feet.

"This must have been a large army," said Fandhir as he looked up from the ground.

"It still is," corrected him the eastman. "It's only been two days since they passed."

"To the north," Fandhir's eyes widened. Also Norast shook.

Nevertheless, they followed in the footsteps. In secret, as they were used to. In the shadows of the trees, quietly and carefully.

The road led for several hours between low hills and then slightly climbed. The sky began to dress in gray-and-black clouds. Fandhir didn't notice at first, but Norast remembered, "That's the suffocating smoke from the towers."

The road no longer climbed, heading to a shallow saddle between the hills. As they entered, they heard the distant noise of immense commotion in front. When they could finally look around, the look upset them so much that they both shook.

In front of them they saw the wide plain of Anfauglith. However, it was not the same color as usual. The weapons of the armies of probably whole Beleriand gleamed there.

Beneath the ugly towers of Thangorodrim in the north, they saw Morgoth's army. They immediately recognized the brown-black masses of orcs. From the south, immense ranks in shiny armor attacked, their swords and spears reflecting the sunlight with blinding lights.

"How many are there?" Norast didn't count. "I don't know such a big number."

Fandhir guessed for a moment, then said, "There are thousands of them - but who are they?"

"They are humans, but also elves. None of ours have such shiny metal armor… “

Lured by a strange spectacle, the exiles could not move. They stood motionless for at least an hour. The battlefield stretched from horizon to horizon. However, the view to the east was still obscured by a hill above the saddle. They climbed the gradual slope to have a better view.

Soon, a strange noise began to emerge from the distant mix of sounds. The rumble of metal hitting metal, into which a strange cry mingled. The hunters had already climbed the hill, and now they had a view of the eastern part of Anfauglith.

They saw another army dressed in silver and gold, biting into a flood of black dots of goblins. It rumbled from a distance and the screams grew louder. "Hoo haha! Hoo haha! ”

Fandhir was driven by curiosity, but they were still afraid of detection.

In their tattered rags, partly made up of the clothes of slain goblins and partly made of poorly worked furs, they probably wouldn't look like allies. They descended a long slope to the northeast, covered with boulders and draws. They stopped on last ridge, further was beginning uncovered plain. The place was dominated by twisted beech and large stones surrounded by bushes. From here, the battlefield was almost within reach, yet they were hidden.

They climbed into the treetop, fascinated by the amazing spectacle.

“Hahoo hazad! Hahoo hazad! ”Hundreds and thousands of throats roared more clearly now.

Fandhir finally understood. Khazâd? Even among Haladim, they were known, though rather only

from stories.

"Dwarves," he breathed out.

"Who?" Apparently the Easterner had never met them yet.

"They live mostly in the mountains. They have small stature, but great strength and skills. "

This was starting to look like a really big thing. He didn't even remember from his fathers' stories that both dwarves and elves would go to war. Their armies were obviously less numerous than the Angband mobs. But Fandhir knew that the bravery of both races equals five times as many orcs.


The hunters kept watching one of the most horrific battles ever fought on Arda.

They just sat for hours, watching in silence. Despite the initial wave of battle lines on both sides, the allies' armies were now slowly but surely pushing the orcs back north.

At that moment, however, there was a strange roar. Even though it came from afar, it must have been huge. It rumbled like several thunders at once.

Gates that had not yet been seen opened in the walls of Angband. More black dots began to flow out. However, some were larger, significantly larger. Even from a distance, one could tell that they were some terrible creatures. Then it rumbled again until the earth shook and then appeared the largest creature ever seen in Middle-earth. Of course, Fandhir did not know that the dragon Glaurung was already crawling on Anfauglith. Because he had grown to truly monstrous proportions during that time, he looked like a small lizard many miles away. Compared to both smaller and larger dots, it was something immense. The elven army faltered, the dwarven army slowed. The dragon suddenly released a bright yellow fire, under which several rows of elven troops disappeared.

The cruelest fight had just begun, and Fandhir was in despair.

"By all the gods," Norast growled. Until now, they had been staring in fascination at one of the battles that would be told for ages. But now something had risen in him, like a spoiled dinner that had to go out. He wanted to be there. He wanted to shed orc blood.

Norast turned to his companion in arms, but found that there is something wrong.

Fandhir´s face turned to ash color. His jaw shook and wrinkles etched runes of helplessness into his face. He began to climb down without a word, and Norast roughly guessed what he was thinking.

So he went down too, and tried to be faster than his friend.

He managed it and jumped on the ground first.

Fandhir fell from the last branch due to his excitement. Then he squatted and breathed quickly and shallow. He didn't even notice much when Norast's strong hand fell on his shoulder.

The Easterner shook him.

Fandhir looked up. Resentment blazed down from him, as it had once had from Morgoth when they met face to face. But at the same time a deadly fear. The blackest, most suppressed secret surfaced. The task the dark lord had given him before he released him. Fear, distrust, betrayal. To sow them and let them bloom to harm. And eventually to kill.

And Fandhir disobeyed it. He deliberately disobeyed and opposed his will.

Norast read it all in his face. He saw himself there, too, because he also had Morgoth's poisonous words etched into his mind. But something helped him look at them from a distance. Like an old scar that sometimes hurts.

He has to do something. He has to stop it!

“Fandhir! Fandhir, wake up! ”

The friend's eyes were still blazing with dark fire. His hand slid to his waist, where his orc saber hung.

Norast bounced deftly and drew weapon with years experienced movement, while at the same time raising the blade for parry.

The weapons crashed as Norast defended a cut on his head. He also parried another attack on the abdomen without any problems, the opponent's anger revealed direction of each attack.

Because he was still much better at sword fighting than Fandhir, he did a feint around his arm and gripped it. It didn't take three heartbeats to twist it behind his back and disarm him.

Then Norast slapped him on both cheeks.

Fandhir stopped. "What…"

"Remember, Fandhir!" Norast shouted. "May no father ever experience what you did!"

He held him with his hands and his stare at the same time, whilst speaking with clear voice, "That's why we're here. We will help them. That is our task."

Gray eyes slowly regained their sanity, but hatred did not leave them.

"Fandhir, by all the gods, we must help them! We must take revenge! We have nothing to lose!”

However, Fandhir did not yet fully perceive his companion's words.

"I'll take revenge, that's what you said!" Norast shouted at him closely. "Remember Hinwen! Hinwen!!!”

It worked. Fandhir's facial muscles tightened into a mask of suffering for a moment.

But then he relaxed, and that unnameable brightness came back into his eyes again.

Even pain can sometimes heal.

Norast could let him go, he saw that his mind was finally beginning to return.

Fandhir now looked at his friend again. There are rare moments in life when you understand more than one whole year in only one breath. His mind was like a deep deposit of dirty clay, that under enormous pressure in the depths of the earth turns into a pure, hard, noble crystal.

He clenched his fists.

"Thanks friend. I once saved you, now you saved me. Let's go! ”

At the same moment, horns blew from the northeast. Some new ones, the sound was different. The exiles picked up their bows and ran in that direction, diagonally down the slope. About a mile in front of them, they could see the dwarves' rear troops. And then they noticed that there was a great commotion from the direction they were going, and they recognized other armies of elves and humans.


It looked like that. The fight has not yet been decided.

"Shooting from a distance? As always?” shouted Fandhir as he ran.

Norast nodded and grinned.

They ran for a long time before they even came within range. Along the way, they collected arrows of the fallen, knowing that ammo consumption would be great. Each now carried three stuffed quivers.

"Look, dwarves are resisting the dragon!"

Crowds of bearded warriors formed strangely shaped offensive formations, then surrounded the dragon in a circle. Apparently, they were protected against his fire with powerful armor. They were chopping into him with their own vigor. And although some of them fell here and there, struck by a terrible blow of a claw or tail, they did not let up the attack.

Norast and Fandhir relied on their speed in the attack. They always fired one or two precisely aimed arrows, then quickly moved hundreds of paces away not to draw attention to themselves. Spotty gray-brown rags turned out to be an advantage in the end. In addition, the battle chaos covered their clothes with dust, so they could use the diversion tactics for a relatively long time with impunity.

Before one of the many warg riders noticed them.

Fandhir saw the huge animal rushing at him from about fifty paces. On his back sat a grimacing orc, a saber outstretched to chop. Because Fandhir just had an arrow in place, he fired. He was unlucky and lucky. The bullet that was supposed to hit the beast's eye just scratched the frontal bone and slid down it. However, in the track was the belly of the orc rider, who was ejected from saddle by the great energy of the arrow.

Thirty steps, another strain of the bowstring. This time, arrow stuck in warg's shoulder, but didn't slow him down significantly. Despite the commotion all around, the hunter had already heard the animal's dark growl.

Fandhir took last arrow from his quiver. At a distance of ten steps, the monster was already opening its mouth. The shot flew into it and disappeared deep into the beast's maw. At the same time, its ass jerked a little as Norast's arrow hit her groin.

Warg's hind legs dropped, but by inertia he knocked Fandhir to the ground. Plus, he wasn't dead yet. Its drooling mouth snatched at the human body beneath. The archer had his legs trapped under the animal, so he weakly defended himself with the bow, which broke after second such maneuver. The animal growled triumphantly and opened its mouth wide to fully bite.

At that moment, however, Norast landed on its back and clenched the orc saber in his neck. The warg finally died.

Norast tried to pull his friend out, but the monster was too heavy. After a moment of futile effort, they gave up and rested to gain strength. The corpse of the warg laid far from the battlefield, so no one was threatening them. Norast gradually began to dig under his friend so that he could get from under the fallen beast.

As they watched the battlefield from the distance, they noticed that the enemies were clearly beginning to have the upper hand, at least according to the colors of the fighting. The silvery gloss of the elven steel gave way to black of the orcs and black of the…

"This is Ulwarth's battalion! That's not possible..." said Norast. "That traitor!"

The two exiles now had no choice but to cling to the huge stinking corpse, but it was the only hiding place in wider area. They had no chance against the superiority.

They laid for many minutes, and the cacophonic roar of the orcs soon took over the battlefield. Finally, they managed to free Fandhir's legs, which fortunately did not suffer any fracture.

At that moment, the dragon's terrible rumble deafened the entire battlefield. His previous roaring was only the murmur of a bear cub compared to this.

The dragon tossed and fluttered its tail furiously around himself. Then he roared again, whirling the dust around two hundred paces, and headed for Angband, leaving behind a black stream of his stinking blood.

However, the dwarves did not rejoice. The hunters noticed that he was concentrating entirely on one of the bodies left in the puddle of dragon blood. The fighting in that part of the plain has now stopped. The dwarves gathered and kept shouting something again and again.

"Someone important fell there," Norast estimated.

The exiles took advantage of that moment and began to crawl away. The balance of power was clear, this battle will be decided soon.

Within minutes, they were hundreds of paces away, and then they could be sure that no one could see or chase them. Then they continued to the familiar ridge with the lone beech.

Along the way, they looked back to see the gathered dwarf troops slowly marching off the battlefield in the direction of southeast. Although the army showed rear to its opponents, the orcs let it pass and did not attack. It was very special and impressive moment.

On the remaining expanse of Anfauglith, the black ranks destroyed the last remnants of the Allies. Small and large groups managed to retreat and flee here and there, but many people, even the elves, fell. Nevertheless, the hunters noticed from their vantage point that in the western part of the plain, far away, on the edge of visibility, they could still see the glitter of bright swords.

They were exhausted from the battle, and their all-day thirst, intensified by inadvertently swallowed quantums of dust, took their strength. Nevertheless, they headed east along the hillside.

They walked for several hours, and still on the plain to their right they saw immense black regiments of orcs, driven by balrogs four times the size of an adult man. The hunters advanced relatively quickly. They found out that they didn't have to take any particular cover, all of Morgoth's scouts went with the army in anticipation of triumph. Nevertheless, the couple's march lasted several hours.

However, when they saw the shiny mirrors of the ponds of the Serech swamps, they recognized the last ranks of humans and elves near it.

"Something's going on there."

"They are still fighting - against a hundredfold superiority," added Fandhir.

They walked on, driven by curiosity and expecting an exceptional moment.

By the time they got close enough to start recognizing figures, only the last hundredth of the army remained. When they began to see bright small wheels of faces, only a handful resisted.

In the end, only one last man was confronting the enemy. He stood alone on top of the fallen bodies of the orcs. His stature was so tall, that the orcs were reaching only to his belly. He was gripping a large axe with both his hands and was reaping the attackers like grain field. He shouted something with each chop. The strength of his voice was so powerful that even in the surrounding turmoil of thousands of orcs, words could almost be recognized.

"What does he say?" asked Norast. "I think I hear, but I don't understand the words - something like ent of love?"

"I don't know," Fandhir listened. "It's definitely Elvish, but I don't understand it."

"The guy is incredible," Norast said. Then they silently watched the immense heroism of the last warrior. His grim harvest resulted in well over fifty orcs before he was finally defeated. The hunters then only had to watch as he was captured and tied up.

They had no idea what his name was or how much important will be his story in Middle-earth history. However, his heroic deed confirmed them in their mission. Every severed orc's head, every scar caused to a balrog helps, that no one would mourn his murdered loved ones anymore.

They are just like two drops in the sea. Two bumps of a surf hitting a cliff. But after a millionth impact, the cliff breaks down, and at first glance indomitable rock eventually collapses.

And day will come again.