Many Defeats, and Many Fruitless Victories: Gateway
#1
Quote:
Quote:The master of the house was an Elf-friend - one of those people whose fathers came into the strange stories before the beginning of History, the wars of the evil goblins and the elves and the first men in the North. In those days of our tale there were still some people who had both elves and heroes of the North for ancestors, and Elrond the master of the house was their chief.

He was as noble and fair in the face as an elf-lord, as strong as a warrior, as wise as a wizard, as venerable as a king of dwarves, and as kind as summer.


-Bilbo Baggins, as related in part of the Red Book of Westmarch, and translated by Prof. John R.R. Tolkien as The Hobbit.


Episodes or chapters, of the translated alleged memoirs of Elrond, son of Eärendil.


An Embassy to Fate

This is the first installment to be published, long in length, and long in the posting. As of this writing it is the tenth most viewed fanfiction thread in the Sf-Fandom forum.

In the year SA 2248, the Kings of Númenór and many of the people were becoming ever more estranged from the Eldar and the Valar, being covetous of their deathlessness and bliss.  Battles flare in Middle-Earth, as ambitious lords of the Númenóreans as well as indigenous despots of Men increasingly wage war for their own interests. Even more disturbing, strange tales are heard concerning uncanny powers wielded by certain Men in Middle-Earth. Sauron surely continues to plot mischief, having been checked but not decisively vanquished in the war of Eregion in which he took sixteen Rings of Power, but even the Wise concede the nature of his new scheme is obscure.

In these times, the Númenórean vassal king of Umbar has invited Elrond the herald of Gil-Galad to bear an embassy from Lindon. Why did this King of Umbar request this embassy and make these overtures? Mysteries abound in the ancient seaport stronghold of Umbar; are answers to be found there as well?




The King Receives His Gift


It is early in the first millennium of the Second Age. The Choice of Elros to be counted among mortal Men and to serve as the first King of Númenór had many ramifications. That Choice necessarily foreshadowed terrible tidings for Elrond. Now those tidings have arrived, and Elrond will go to Númenór to visit his brother the High King one last time.


The Perian Comes Forth

Bilbo Baggins has produced his tale of the expedition to Erebor in TA 2941 which led to the War of the Ring and Sauron's overthrow, presented to us as The Hobbit, or, There and Back Again. Gandalf's account of the matter has also been given to us ("The Quest of Erebor"). Now Elrond relates the events he saw and participated in, or learned of, concerning the mission to Erebor and the overthrow of Smaug, and the discovery of the One Ring.

Like Gandalf, Elrond is dismayed by the depredations of the Dragon Smaug at Erebor, and that Sauron "the Necromancer" has been increasing his ill influence at Dol Guldur, and surely preparing to declare himself and resume his warring for supremacy in Middle-Earth. Between the two, Wilderland and the East of Middle-Earth are in serious disarray and chaos, vulnerable to imminent invasions by hordes of Orcs, and Men who are of Sauron's worshipers.  

What could be a more effective agency to take the field against the Dragon, but a complacent, middle-aged hobbit from the Shire? Bilbo Baggins once dreamed of adventure but came quickly to realize one should be careful what one asks for! What could possibly go wrong? Varda Starqueen and all the Valar preserve us!



The Deathless Twins

While accompanying the forces of Prince Minastir who are routing the hordes of Sauron in SA1701, Elrond learns a singular tale of long-lived kings of Men in the White Mountains, whose images resemble Elrond himself!



On Our Interview with the Dowager of Nargothrond

The young twins Elros and Elrond spend the only time with their father Eärendil that doom permits. They sail to the Isle of Balar where they meet Círdan, Gil-Galad, and some other nobles of the High Elves. While there they learn that not all High Elves are fond of Men, or tolerant of mixed unions and their offspring. They also hear tales concerning the relations of Men with Melkor and Eru, and of strange conjectures or prophecies concerning the lengths to which Eru will go in time to finally eradicate the taint of Morgoth upon Men and His other Children in Arda.
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For I was talking aloud to myself...the old...choose the wisest person present to speak to...
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#2
Foreword from the translator:

Nearly as regrettable as the inevitable passing of the late Professor Tolkien himself, has been the ensuing loss of the original Red Book of Westmarch documents. Until very recently, those documents translated by Prof. Tolkien were virtually our sole source of information on an otherwise nearly lost and highly controversial period conventionally considered to be prehistory, to which this scholar customarily refers as The Arda Epoch. Some lament that Prof. Tolkien chose to publish some of the material as imaginative fiction. Others, this one included, concede that this subterfuge could have been a supremely astute move on the late Professor's part. It has brought the Arda Epoch before the public, as well as the academic establishment, as any direct attempt to present Arda's peculiar history and cultures as sober objective fact could probably never have hoped to accomplish.

The hopes of the pro-Arda school has been greatly bolstered in recent years with the discovery of various documents outside the Red Book corpus (the so-called Extra-RedBook documents, or ERB) that seem indeed to collaborate the Ardaic model of archaic history established by Tolkien and his Red Book Derived (RBD) documentation. The ERB manuscripts translated and presented herein are, in the considered opinion of this researcher, particularly fascinating because they purport to relate the memoirs, first-person, of one of the central characters of the Ardaic sagas; the author claims to be no one less than Elrond Halfelven son of Eärendil.

Whether this claim is true or not, this researcher for now leaves it to the reader to decide, while further studies proceed on this question of authenticity. It is indeed ironic, that the few scholars willing to treat the Arda Epoch as possible true history in the face of certain ridicule and ostracism from the historical and archaeological establishments, must in our turn debate within our own scanty numbers questions of authenticity and canonicity of new discoveries within our own controversial paradigm.

This researcher has included a number of comments and annotations as general clarifications, and particularly where details related in this work seem to have obscure or subtle points of agreement with classical Red Book Derived material that may not be obvious to neophyte or very casual Arda scholars. It is being released in chapters or episodes, much as its author arranged it, as they are translated.

The work consists of a number of manuscripts. They include a document we might nowadays term a "cover letter" or a letter of transmittal, and a number of neat books that seem to proceed in a more-or less chronological order covering selected periods and events from the six and 1/3 millennia that (according to the Red Book sources) Elrond lived in "Middle-Earth." This researcher has chosen to entitle the entire collection with the wistful remark attributed to Elrond in the Red Book-derived Lord of the Rings, in which he summarizes his own autobiography to Frodo Baggins: "I have seen three ages of the world, and many defeats, and many fruitless victories."

A translation of the "cover letter" now follows:



To the Reader,

In the aftermath of the final fall of our Enemy two years agone, joy and sorrow have come once again intermingled for me as they ever have. I lately have found myself nearly idle for perhaps the first time since my childhood in Arvernien, with time to take thought and meditate upon my life here in the Hither Lands, and what it has meant to me and to those I have known and cherished.

I have spent my long life, when other matters did not oppress, collecting and compiling all such song and history of former days as has survived the vicissitudes of the ages and come into my hands. Furthermore, I have myself added somewhat to that store of knowledge, leaving a number of tomes of lore and observations regarding this world, and the peoples, creatures, things, and crafts found within it.  Much of this knowledge I compiled and sought for the pleasure it gave me, but I now deem it was destined to be a gift, one of the last bequests as it were, of the Elder People who are Departing or Fading, for the edification of the Younger Folk whose dominion now waxes. To the custody of my son-by-marriage and his descendants, I bequeath this archive.

For perhaps the last time I meditate now at sunset, gazing out of the window of my study high in my fabled House. The window faces West, across the narrow gorge which contains and conceals the seat of my demesne. It gathers the last waning light into itself before the Sun disappears behind the western ridge. As I have reflected on countless such previous occasions, the dawn even now begins on the shore of the Blessed Realm, soon to illuminate the ancient spired city of my undying forbears in the Pass of Light, and shortly thereafter the fair city of the Powers themselves. I have always envied the Sun these sights I myself have yet to see, though those who have seen them had described them to me many times since my childhood ages ago.

The clutter of books and papers, which had once seemed a permanent feature of this study while my guest the elderly hobbit-scholar labored, is now stored away neatly again. His work being now completed also, he anticipates his rest as I do. As he has compiled and translated much material into the vernacular for his people, it may well prove that his opus will be the only assemblage of lore and history of our time that long survive this age.

Even as I write these words, I am informed Galadriel my mother-by-marriage is now already close to the precincts of Imladris, but she hastens not, for though we Depart rejoicing to our long home and the bosom of the Guardians and our kindred at last, we would say farewell to this world as we leave it.

It has been said that when an Elf of the Hither Lands begins to be conscious of the passage of Time and the aging and dissipation of all things living and not, and the loss of kin and those we love, then he or she is ready to quit the mortal lands and Depart, lest he or she begin to Fade instead. I have for quite some time felt Time's erosion here in the mortal lands, in spite of various supports mercifully granted me. Only they, and my dedication to duty (if I may express it thus), have kept me from seeking the Havens many yén ago. Though ere the Downfall of Westernessë I first felt a longing to Depart, I deemed I had significant tasks to perform here in the Hither Lands. Only now, with the dissolution of the detestable Ring and the fall of the Abhorred One, have I to my own satisfaction fulfilled them. Now the labor is accomplished, the supports are all withdrawn, I am gravely weary, and I would at last be reunited with my beloved who awaits me in the Blessed Realm, her healing surely achieved now.

I have endured losses alien to the very nature of the Quendi, losses that no one of the Elder People should ever need to bear. My dual heritage, partaking of both the Elder and the Younger People, has brought great joy at times, and facilitated (as I have come to realize) the manifest will of the Allfather. However, the high price it carries has borne down upon me in recent years with cruel force. I do not of course ask your pity, but your understanding; that though I Depart reluctantly and regretfully, with love and hope for those I leave behind, I must nonetheless Depart anon.

You who read this epistle must realize that in the days of my earliest youth it was a way still strange and new among Elves and Men to produce written records for the benefit of those who would come after we ourselves were gone from Middle-Earth. Until the High Elves came to Beleriand for their tryst with sorrow, they wrote almost solely for their pleasure, as knowledge and art dies not in Aman. There, any young Elf encountering mention of a thing observed or accomplished ages ago usually had but to find and question the one originally concerned. (Sometimes, rarely, as it is said to be with Fëanor, that was not so, and those who remember him would have been consulted instead). From the lingering Elves of the East, Men learned to preserve their peoples' common fund of experience in song for their descendants, but the art of writing they knew not in the West of Middle-Earth, it is said, until they reached Beleriand.

It was only after disaster overtook Beleriand in the Elder Days, that princes, and masters of lore and crafts, thought it necessary to leave books of their memories and wisdom, for the succor of those who otherwise might suddenly be reft of them entirely by the chances of war and treachery. Men, of course, quickly learned that they might thus preserve their lore and memories from the stern inevitability of their own mortality, as well. Now the opposite of disaster has befallen, a sudden and profound benison in the wake of the dissolution of Sauron's Shadow, that which the Elder People name "eucatastrophe". Therefore, I now pass my accumulated knowledge to those who follow after, ere I myself Depart.

I have come to realize, since my return from Minas Anor, that though I had written much and compiled much, of my own life and times I heretofore had not written save some particular accounts of particularly momentous occasions. Until then, the thought had not come to me that my own experiences and reflections in themselves might be of interest or benefit for Men yet to come. All too well do I remember that in the Two Kingdoms, after the passing of the generation that fought in the War of the Last Alliance, the memory of Sauron's malice and the true threat he embodied dwindled among mortal Men to a mere fable with which to frighten unruly children. I would not have the lessons of experience, so dearly bought, again lightly forgotten ere only a yén has passed, if I might through my last labor in Middle-earth contrive otherwise.

The memories have come, in the manner that memories come to the Elder People, clear and sharp as though I were again present in those vanished days. I have rendered them into the written Sindarin and Quenya still recalled by scholars in this age, as best I may. In a time when the sons of the sons of Estel have passed, someone may rediscover these memoirs and renew acquaintance with matters otherwise forgotten or dismissed as hearth-tales of old wise-women. My father-by-marriage, among others, often admonished me not to disregard that ancient wisdom now only recalled in the guise of myth and fable by the elders, and to you now I transmit that admonition in my turn.

I have indeed endeavored to make this work as comprehensible to the Men of Middle-Earth I leave behind as I might. Know that the Quendi, though they regard tongues and modes of audible speech as another field for artistry and aesthetic effect, often communicate among themselves by means of expressions and gestures and vocal melody scarcely audible rather than explicit words, particularly those Elves who are close kindred, espoused, or long and closely associated. Men not well acquainted with the ways of Elves seldom discern such dialogue taking place, thus their common belief that Elves can speak by thought alone directly mind-to-mind. In this account I have rendered converse of this kind into equivalent spoken words, but understand that this mode of communication often does take place, particularly in situations where Elves seem to be exchanging secrets openly before Men or Dwarves without the latter overhearing them.

This I must tell you, reader whom I will never meet, well do I know that Men, when faced with ancient tales and histories which relate matters outside their experience, tend to dismiss them as symbols, metaphor, and allegory, if not fanciful fiction entirely. My kindred, the royals of the Noldor and of the House of Thingol, raised symbolism and metaphor to a sublime art, but I promise you that I have taken care to eschew allegory and symbolism as much as possible, and to employ only such metaphor as is common in the idiom of Men of these times. At least I have undertaken to warn you explicitly if of necessity I did write in such modes, as some truths can indeed only be expressed thus. I hope you can otherwise be confident that what I present as history represents literal fact as I have known and witnessed it, strange though it may seem to your minds when you will read this in the latter days to come. May my account bring you joy and enlightenment!

The lower curve of the Sun's disk even now touches the crags of the gorge's western rim. The light begins its slow fade to the premature gloaming familiar to dwellers in such deep vales as this. Thus twilight comes to Rivendell. I hear now the songs that greet the evening being raised in grove and garden and hall below my lofty seat, and I see the earliest lamps being kindled anon. Perhaps even this very dusk, torches and lamps and glad anthems will seem to flow under the stars down the path on yonder side of the dell like a joyous hillside stream, as the procession of Galadriel's retinue approaches my House at last. When she arrives, we will linger but briefly before commencing our final journey onward to the Grey Havens, and over the Sundering Seas at last to Elvenhome.

I am of the Quendi, by blood and by Choice, scion of the ancient royal houses of the Noldor and of the Sindar. I deem that by your own time many Men will believe such beings are products of fancy that never walked alive beneath the sun and trod the earth that is now yours, for the time for our last departures and fading approaches anon. I myself, and my mother-by-marriage, and High Elves of our estates, and well-nigh all the remaining memories that touch the Elder Days, even now Depart this Middle-Earth irrevocably. I leave therefore this final testament, in witness to our lives and labors here among Men in the morning of their destined dominion. Farewell, and may our Star-Queen ever intercede for you!
Many Defeats & Many Fruitless Victories Memoirs Gateway
For I was talking aloud to myself...the old...choose the wisest person present to speak to...
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#3
At last, a gateway to your amazing stories! Please break "An Embassy to Fate" into its original "chunks" (aka postings) and post them that way as well. I know it would be a pain in the butt, and perhaps as Mister Tenth-most-viewed you do not feel the need, but it would make your stories more accessible, IMO.
"Never ask an Elf for advice, for he will say both 'Yes' and 'No'." - Frodo Baggins to Gildor Inglorion
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#4
Mordomin Wrote:...Please break "An Embassy to Fate" into its original "chunks" (aka postings) and post them that way as well. ... perhaps ... you do not feel the need, but it would make your stories more accessible, IMO.

Hmm. Interesting take. (Or should I say, in view of my current avatar, "Fascinating"?)

I have given some thought to your suggestion (and had a good chuckle over "Mister Tenth-most-viewed" LOL! Big Grin ). I assume that "Embassy", which had grown to almost a novella, is the only thread so far that arguably needs this treatment.

Frankly, from a stylistic view I personally had rather preferred my approach over yours for long episodes. I suppose each has advantages and drawbacks, and different readers might have different opinions on what is more "accessible".

I don't know if either approach particularly taxes board resources, although I'd observed in the past that threads maybe 4x or more the length of "Embassy" have been cut off by admins because they create technical issues.

Maybe this is an issue worthy to be put in front of the community for their opinions and feedback.

But thanks for your interest and constructive comments!
Many Defeats & Many Fruitless Victories Memoirs Gateway
For I was talking aloud to myself...the old...choose the wisest person present to speak to...
Reply
#5
Perhaps "accessible" was an ill-chosen word. If so, I apologize.

As for how my "Mordomin and the War of the Ring" stories were organized and sized, that was driven in part by the fact that I found that I could not post more than 20k characters into a single post. So some of the chapters end rather abruptly, despite my efforts in editing them to fit to that restriction.
"Never ask an Elf for advice, for he will say both 'Yes' and 'No'." - Frodo Baggins to Gildor Inglorion
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