Fingolfin's Last Stand

by Vega

Counted among the ranks of heroes old
Is the fair child of Indis, Fingolfin the bold,
Son of the Noldor who forsook Aman
And trod upon Middle-earth at the rising of Sun.

Steadfast friend and warrior true,
His great deeds are surpassed but by few,
For long ago he made a desperate stand
And fell before Morgoth at the gate of Angband.

The Sudden Flame, Dagor Bragollach
Smote Beleriand in deep winter's dark.
Rivers of fire consumed Ard-galen,
Rendering green pasture ever barren.

Thus the Enemy broke forth and ended the siege,
The Noldor's defense his minions did breach.
Elves and Men were scattered far
And the sons of Finarfin perished in the war.

But from the ruin and waste of the north
Came an Elf-king consumed with great wrath;
Like wind-borne fire his steed raced on,
Wreathed in terrible glory rode Finwë's son.

Over Anfauglith he passed like a gale,
All who beheld his passing quailed,
For as Oromë he was filled with rage,
Eyes of light flamed from wrathful visage.

And none dared halt Fingolfin's progress.
For, thinking the Noldor sundered beyond redress,
He forsook all; now despairing and grim,
Came alone to the knees of Thangorodrim.

At last he stood before the hideous gate,
Still his consuming fury did not abate.
His silver horn sang with voices shrill,
Its music echoing through rock and hill.

Upon the iron bolts his hand did smite,
"Come forth, accursed foe, and show thy might!
Or dost thou fear Fingolfin's sword
And shrink before his wrath, ye craven lord?"

In answer came only a hush like death,
All creation seemed to hold its breath.
But the Elven king shouted, with nary a care,
His challenge to draw the Dark Lord from his lair.

At last, a tremor shook the ground,
Drums in the depths began to pound;
Heralded by great fear and dread,
Iron feet ascended with heavy tread.

The great gates opened into yawning gloom,
Gaped its maw like the jaws of doom,
And from the Iron Fortress there issued forth
The foe of the earth, the Vala Morgoth.

Clad in black armour, iron helm upon brow,
Bearing a shield of the blackest shadow;
Wielded in his gauntleted hand
Was Grond, terrible Hammer of the Underland.

Morgoth strode forth, awesome in strength
As darkness before him grew to great length,
While in his train followed malice and hate;
Above, looming, the maw of death of Angband's gate.

There the Enemy loomed in fell splendour,
Tall and forbidding like a bastioned tower;
But Fingolfin Finwë's son was not dismayed
And stanced his ground, valiant and unafraid.

From the dark shadows he blazed with light,
Glossed in silver, his mail shone bright;
Many crystals were laid in his shield
That flamed like stars upon the blue field;

And Ringil leapt up, the Cold Sword,
Glittering blue in the hand of its lord.
Beneath the cloud light could be seen afar,
Fingolfin's radiance like a star.

Now Morgoth swung his hammer, down he smote
With sudden fury as a thunderbolt,
But away leapt Fingolfin in a single bound,
And Grond rent a mighty pit in the ground.

Thus began the duel of Vala and Elf.
Craters in the earth the hammer did delve,
But every strike Fingolfin would evade
And assail the Dark Lord with glittering blade.

Seven times Ringil flashed as lightning,
From seven wounds blood flowed like a spring,
Seven times in his anguish Morgoth cried aloud
And the hosts of Angband quaked in doubt.

But the Elf-king's strength began to wane,
Wearied by wounds and sapped by pain.
Morgoth, seeing the wavering of his foe,
Brought down his dark shield in a lethal blow.

Though three times crushed by stifling shadows,
Three times Fingolfin from his knees arose,
Bearing up cloven shield and pierced mail;
Alas! his strength could no more prevail,

And he stumbled before the Enemy
Who swooped upon him in triumphant fury,
Lifting up an iron-shod foot,
Set it on the fallen warrior's throat.

But Fingolfin, a desperate light in his eye,
Lifted Ringil with a final cry,
Smote Morgoth's foot, rendered it maimed,
Before his life was so tragically claimed.

Here ends a tale of unspeakable woe
And all who remember are filled with sorrow.
Of this the Elves do not yet sing,
The desperate battle of Fingolfin.

Delivered by Thorondor to Gondolin,
Buried by Turgon beneath a high cairn;
There his body lies on a high mountain crest,
And his spirit in Aman now finds rest.