Chapter Nine

Now he wore chainmail such as all the warriors of the Gnomes have ever loved and still do wear, yet it turned not all those ill shafts, and already was he sore hurt when Flinding fell pierced suddenly through the eye; and soon too had he met his death -- and his weird had been the happier thereby -- had not that great drake coming now upon the sack bidden them cease their shooting; but with the power of his breath he drove Turin from those doors and with the magic of his eyes he bound him hand and foot. Now those drakes and worms are the evillest creatures that Melko has made, and the most uncouth, yet of all are they the most powerful, save it be the Balrogs only. A great cunning and wisdom have they, so that it has been long said amongst Men that whosoever might taste the heart of a dragon would know all tongues of Gods or Men, of birds or beasts, and his ears would catch whispers of the Valar or of Melko such as never had he heard before.

Few have there been that ever achieved a deed of such prowess as the slaying of a drake, nor might any even of such doughty ones taste their blood and live, for it is as a poison of fires that slays all save the most godlike in strength. Howso that may be, even as their lord these foul beasts love lies and lust after gold and precious things with a great fierceness of desire, albeit they may not use nor enjoy them. Thus was it that this loke (for so do the Eldar name the worms of Melko) suffered the Orcs to slay whom they would and to gather whom they listed into a very great and very sorrowful throng of women, maids, and little children, but all the mighty treasure that they had brought from the rocky halls and heaped glistering in the sun before the doors he coveted for himself and forbade them set finger on it, and they durst not withstand him, nor could they have done so an they would. In that sad band stood Failivrin in horror, and she stretched out her arms towards Turin, but Turin was held by the spell of the drake, for that beast had a foul magic in his glance, as have many others of his kind, and he turned the sinews of Turin as it were to stone, for his eye held Turin's eye so that his will died, and he could not stir of his own purpose, yet might he see and hear.

Then did Glorund taunt Turin nigh to madness, saying that lo! he had cast away his sword nor had the heart to strike a blow for his friends -- now Turin's sword lay at his feet whither it had slipped from his unnerved grasp. Great was the agony of Turin's heart thereat, and the Orcs laughed at him, and of the captives some cried bitterly against him. Even now did the Orcs begin to drive away that host of thralls, and his heart broke at the sight, yet he moved not; and the pale face of Failivrin faded afar, and her voice was borne to him crying: "0 Turin Mormakil, where is thy heart; 0 my beloved, wherefore dost thou forsake me?" So great then became Turin's anguish that even the spell of that worm might not restrain it, and crying aloud he reached for the sword at his feet and would wound the drake with it, but the serpent breathed a foul and heated breath upon him, so that he swooned and thought that it was death.

A long time thereafter, and the tale telleth not how long, he came to himself, and he was lying gazing at the sun before the doors, and his head rested against a heap of gold even as the ransackers had left it. Then said the drake, who was hard by: "Wonderest thou not wherefore I have withheld death from thee, O Turin Mormakil, who wast once named brave?" Then Turin remembered all his griefs and the evil that had fallen upon him, and he said: "Taunt me not, foul worm, for thou knowest I would die; and for that alone, methinks, thou slayest me not." But the drake answered saying: "Know then this, 0 Turin son of Urin, that a fate of evil is woven about thee, and thou mayst not untangle thy footsteps from it whitherever thou goest. Yea indeed, I would not have thee slain, for thus wouldst thou escape very bitter sorrows and a weird of anguish." Then Turin leaping suddenly to his feet and avoiding that beast's baleful eye raised aloft his sword and cried: "Nay, from this hour shall none name me Turin if I live. Behold, I will name me a new name and it shall be Turambar!" Now this meaneth Conqueror of Fate, and the form of the name in the Gnome-speech is Turumart.

Then uttering these words he made a second time at the drake, thinking indeed to force the drake to slay him and to conquer his fate by death, but the dragon laughed, saying: "Thou fool! An I would, I had slain thee long since and could do so here and now, and if I will not thou canst not do battle with me waking, for my eye can cast once more the binding spell upon thee that thou stand as stone. Nay, get thee gone, 0 Turambar Conqueror of Fate! First thou must meet thy doom an thou wouldst o'ercome it." But Turambar was filled with shame and anger, and perchance he had slain himself, so great was his madness, although thus might he not hope that ever his spirit would be freed from the dark glooms of Mandos or stray into the pleasant paths of Valinor;" but amidst his misery he bethought him of Failivrin's pallid face and he bowed his head, for the thought came into his heart to seek back through all the woods after her sad footsteps even be it to Angamandi and the Hills of Iron. Maybe in that desperate venture he had found a kindly and swift death or perchance an ill one, and maybe he had rescued Failivrin and found happiness, yet not thus was he fated to earn the name he had taken anew, and the drake reading his mind suffered him not thus lightly to escape his tide of ill.

"Hearken to me, 0 son of Urin," said he; "ever wast thou a coward at heart, vaunting thyself falsely before men. Perchance thou thinkest it a gallant deed to go follow after a maiden of strange kin, recking little of thine own that suffer now terrible things? Behold, Mavwin who loves thee long has eagerly awaited thy return, knowing that thou hast found manhood a while ago, and she looks for thy succour in vain, for little she knows that her son is an outlaw stained with the blood of his comrades, a defiler of his lord's table. Ill do men entreat her, and behold the Orcs infest now those parts of Hithlum, and she is in fear and peril and her daughter Nienori thy sister with her."

Then was Turambar aflame with sorrow and with shame for the lies of that worm were barbed with truth, and for the spell of his eyes he believed all that was said. Therefore his old desire to see once more Mavwin his mother and to look upon Nienori whom he had never seen since his first days" grew hot within him, and with a heart torn with sorrow for the fate of Failivrin he turned his feet towards the hills seeking Dor Lomin, and his sword was sheathed. And truly is it said: "Forsake not for anything thy friends -- nor believe those who counsel thee to do so" -- for of his abandoning of Failivrin in danger that he himself could see came the very direst evil upon him and all he loved; and indeed his heart was con- founded and wavered, and he left those places in uttermost shame and weariness. But the dragon gloated upon the hoard and lay coiled upon it, and the fame of that great treasure of golden vessels and of unwrought gold that lay by the caves above the stream fared far and wide about; yet the great worm slept before it, and evil thoughts he had as he pondered the planting of his cunning lies and the sprouting thereof and their growth and fruit, and fumes of smoke went up from his nostrils as he slept. On a time therefore long afterward came Turambar with great travail into Hisilome, and found at length the place of the abode of his mother, even the one whence he had been sundered as a child, but behold, it was roofless and the tilth about it ran wild.

Then his heart smote him, but he learned of some that dwelt nigh that lighting on better days the Lady Mavwin had departed some years agone to places not far distant where was a great and prosperous dwelling of men, for that region of Hisilome was fertile and men tilled the land somewhat and many had flocks and herds, though for the most part in the dark days after the great battle men feared to dwell in settled places and ranged the woods and hunted or fished, and so it was with those kindreds about the waters of Asgon whence after arose Tuor son of Peleg. Hearing these words however Turambar was amazed, and questioned them concerning the wandering into those regions of Orcs and other fierce folk of Melko, but they shook their heads, and said that never had such creatures come hither deep into the land of Hisilome." "If thou wishest for Orcs then go to the hills that encompass our land about," said they, "and thou wilt not search long. Scarce may the wariest fare in and out so constant is their watch, and they infest the rocky gates of the land that the Children of Men be penned for ever in the Land of Shadows; but men say 'tis the will of Melko that they trouble us not here -- and yet it seems to us that thou hast come from afar, and at this we marvel, for long is it since one from other lands might tread this way."

Then Turambar was in perplexity at this and he doubted the deceit of the dragon's words, yet he went now in hope to the dwelling of men and the house of his mother, and coming upon homesteads of men he was easily directed thither. Now men looked strangely at his questioning, and indeed they had reason, yet were such as he spoke to in great awe and wonder at him and shrank back from speech with him, for his garb was of the wild woods and his hair was long and his face haggard and drawn as with unquenchable sorrows, and therein burnt fiercely his dark eyes beneath dark brows. A collar of fine gold he wore and his mighty sword was at his side, and men marvelled much at him; and did any dare to question him he named himself Turambar son of the weary forest,* and that seemed but the more strange to them. Now came he to the dwelling of Mavwin, and behold it was a fair house, but none dwelt there, and grass was high in the gardens, and there were no kine in the byres nor horses in the sheds, and the pastures about were silent and empty. Only the swallows had dwelling beneath the timbers of the eaves and these made a noise and a bustle as if departure for autumn was at hand, and Turambar sat before the carven doors and wept.

And one who was passing on to other dwellings, for a track passed nigh to that homestead, espied him, and coming asked him his grief, and Turambar said that it was bitter for a son sundered for many years from his home to give up all that was dear and dare the dangers of the infested hills to find only the halls of his kindred empty when he returned at last. "Nay, then this is a very trick of Melko's," said the other, "for of a truth here dwelt the Lady Mavwin wife of Urin, and yet is she gone two years past very secretly and suddenly, and men say that she seeks her son who is lost, and that her daughter Nienori goes with her, but I know not the story. This however I know, and many about here do likewise, and cry shame thereon, for know that the guardianship of all her goods and land she gave to Brodda, a man whom she trusted, and he is lord of these regions by men's consent and has to wife a kinswoman of hers. But now she is long away he has mingled her herds and flocks, small as they were, with his mighty ones, branding them with his own marks, yet the dwelling and stead of Mavwin he suffereth to fall to ruin, and men think ill of it but move not, for the power of Brodda has grown to be great."

Then Turambar begged him to set his feet upon the paths to Brodda's halls, and the man did as he desired, so that Turambar striding thither came upon them just as night fell and men sat to meat in that house. Great was the company that night and the light of many torches fell upon them, but the Lady Airin was not there, for men drank overmuch at Brodda's feasts and their songs were fierce and quarrels blazed about the hall, and those things she loved not. Now Turambar smote upon the gates and his heart was black and a great wrath was in him, for the words of the stranger before his mother's doors were bitter to him. A note on the manuscript referring to this name reads: 'Turumart-go-Dhraethodauros [emended to bo-Dhrauthodavros] or Turambar Rusitaurion.')

Then did some open to his knocking and Turambar' strode into that hall, and Brodda bade him be seated and ordered wine and meats to be set before him, but Turambar would neither eat nor drink, so that men looking askance upon his sullenness asked him who he might be. Then Turambar stepping out into the midst of them before the high place where Brodda sat said: "Behold, '1 am Turambar son of the forest", and men laughed thereat, but Turambar's eyes were full of wrath. Then said Brodda in doubt: "What wilt thou of me, 0 son of the wild forest?" But Turambar said: "Lord Brodda, I am come to repay thy stewardship of others' goods," and silence fell in that place; but Brodda laughed, saying again: "But who art thou?" And thereupon Turambar leapt upon the high place and ere Brodda might foresee the act he drew Gurtholfin and seizing Brodda by the locks all but smote his head from off his body, crying aloud: "So dieth the rich man who addeth the widow's little to his much.

Lo, men die not all in the wild woods, and am I not in truth the son of Urin, who having sought back unto his folk findeth an empty hall despoiled."Then was there a great uproar in that hall, and indeed though he was burdened overmuch with his many griefs and wellnigh distraught, yet was this deed of Turambar violent and unlawful. Some were there nonetheless that would not unsheathe their weapons, saying that Brodda was a thief and died as one, but many there were that leapt with swords against Turambar and he was hard put to it, and one man he slew, and it was Orlin. Then came Airin of the long hair in great fear into the halls and at her voice men stayed their hands; but great was her horror when she saw the deeds that were done, and Turambar turned his face away and might not look upon her, for his wrath was grown cold and he was sick and weary. But she hearing the tale said: "Nay, grieve not for me, son of Urin, but for thyself; for my lord was a hard lord and cruel and unjust, and men might say somewhat in thy defence, yet behold thou hast slain him now at his board being his guest, and Orlin thou hast slain who is of thy mother's kin; and what shall be thy doom?" At those words some were silent and many shouted "death", but Airin said that it was not wholly in accord with the laws of that place, "for," said she, "Brodda was slain wrongfully, yet just was the wrath of the slayer, and Orlin too did he slay in defence, though it were in the hall of a feast.

Yet now I fear that this man must get him swiftly from among us nor ever set foot upon these lands again, else shall any man slay him; but those lands and goods that were Urin's shall Brodda's kin hold, save only do Mavwin and Nienori return ever from their wandering, yet even so may Turin son of Urin inherit nor part nor parcel of them ever." Now this doom seemed just to all save Turambar, and they marvelled at the equity of Airin whose lord lay slain, and they guessed not at the horror of her life aforetime with that man; but Turambar cast his sword upon the floor and bade them slay him, yet they would not for the words of Airin whom they loved, and Airin suffered it not for the love of Mavwin, hoping yet to join those twain mother and son in happiness, and her doom she had made to satisfy men's anger and save Turin from death. "Nay," said she, "three days do I give thee to get thee out of the land, wherefore go!" and Turambar lifting his sword wiped it, saying: "Would I were clean of his blood," and he went forth into the night. In the folly of his heart now did he deem himself cut off in truth for ever from Mavwin his mother, thinking that never again would any he loved be fain to look upon him. Then did he thirst for news of his mother and sister and of none might he ask, but wandered back over the hills knowing only that they sought him still perchance in the forests of the Lands Beyond, and no more did he know for a long while.

Of his wanderings thereafter has no tale told, save that after much roaming his sorrow grew dulled and his heart dead, until at last in places very far away many a journey beyond the river of the Rodothlim he fell in with some huntsmen of the woods, and these were Men. Some of that company were thanes of Urin, or sons of them, and they had wandered darkly ever since that Battle of Tears, but now did Turambar join their number, and built his life anew so well as he might. Now that people had houses in a more smiling region of the woods in lands that were not utterly far from Sirion or the grassy hills of that river's middle course, and they were hardy men and bowed not to Melko, and Turambar got honour among them.

Now is it to tell that far other had matters fallen out with Mavwin than the Foaloke had said to Turin, for her days turning to better she had peace and honour among the men of those regions. Nonetheless her grief at the loss of her son by reason of the cutting off of all messengers deepened only with the years, albeit Nienori grew to a most fair and slender maid. At the time of Turin's flight from the halls of Tinwelint she was already twelve" years old and tall and beautiful. Now the tale tells not the number of days that Turambar sojourned with the Rodothlim but these were very many, and during that time Nienori grew to the threshold of womanhood, and often was there speech between her and her mother of Turin that was lost. In the halls of Tinwelint too the memory of Turin lived still, and there still abode Gumlin, now decrepit in years, who aforetime had been the guardian of Turin's childhood upon that first journey to the Lands Beyond. Now was Gumlin white-haired and the years were heavy on him, but he longed sorely for a sight once more of the folk of Men and of the Lady Mavwin his mistress. On a time then Gumlin learnt of the with- drawal from the hills of the greater number of those Orc-bands and other fierce beings of Melko's that had for so long made them impassable to Elves and Men. Now for a space were the hills and the paths that led over them far and wide free of his evil, for Melko had at that time a great and terrible project afoot, and that was the destruction of the Rodothlim and of many dwellings of the Gnomes beside, that his spies had revealed," yet all the folk of those regions breathed the freer for a while, though had they known all perchance they had not done so.

Then Gumlin the aged fell to his knees before Tinwelint and begged that he suffer him to depart homeward, that he might see his mistress of old ere death took him to the halls of- Mandos -- if indeed that lady had not fared thither before him. Then the king" said yea, and for his journey he gave him two guides for the succouring of his age; yet those three, Gumlin and the woodland Elves, made a very hard journey, for it was late winter, and yet would Gumlin by no means abide until spring should come. Now as they drew nigh to that region of Hisilome where afore- time Mavwin had dwelt and nigh where she dwelt yet a great snow fell, as happened oft in those parts on days that should rather have been ones of early spring. Therein was Gumlin whelmed, and his guides seeking aid came unawares upon Mavwin's house, and calling for aid of her were granted it. Then by the aid of the folk of Mavwin was Gumlin found and carried to the house and warmed back to life, and coming to himself at length he knew Mavwin and was very joyful. Now when he was in part healed he told his tale to Mavwin, and as he recounted the years and the doughtiest of the feats of Turin she was glad, but great was her sorrow and dismay at the tidings of his sundering from Linwe" and the manner of it, and going from Gumlin she wept bitterly.

Indeed for long and since ever she knew that Turin, an he lived, had grown to manhood she had wondered that he sought not back to her, and often dread had filled her heart lest attempting this he had perished in the hills; but now the truth was bitter to bear and she was desolate for a great while, nor might Nienori comfort her. Now by reason of the unkindness of the weather those guides that had brought Gumlin out of Tinwelint's realms abode as her guests until spring came, but with spring's first coming Gumlin died. Then arose Mavwin and going to several of the chiefs of those places she besought their aid, telling them the tale of Turin's fate as Gumlin had told it to her.

But some laughed, saying she was deceived by the babblings of a dying man, and the most said that she was distraught with grief, and that it would be a fool's counsel to seek beyond the hills a man who had been lost for years agone: "nor," said they, "will we lend man or horse to such a quest, for all our love for thee, 0 Mavwin wife of Urin." Then Mavwin departed in tears but railed not at them, for she had scant hope in her plea and knew that wisdom was in their words. Nonetheless being unable to rest she came now to those guides of the Elves, who chafed already to be away beneath the sun; and she said to them: "Lead me now to your lord," and they would dissuade her, saying that the road was no road for a woman's feet to tread; yet she did not heed them. Rather did she beg of her friend whose name was Airin Faiglindra* (long-tressed) and was wed to Brodda a lord of that region, and rich and powerful, that Nienori might be taken under the guardianship of her husband and all her goods thereto. This did Airin obtain of Brodda without great pleading, and when she knew this she would take farewell of her daughter; but her plan availed little, for Nienori stood before her mother and said: "Either thou goest not, 0 Mavwin my mother, or go we both," nor would anything turn her from those words.

Therefore in the end did both mother and daughter make them ready for that sore journey, and the guides murmured much thereat. Yet it so happened that the season which followed that bitter winter was very kindly, and despite the forebodings of the guides the four passed the hills and made their long journey with no greater evils than hunger and thirst. Coming therefore at length before Tinwelint Mavwin cast her- self down and wept, begging pardon for Turin and compassion and aid for herself and Nienori; but Tinwelint bade her arise and (* In the margin is written Firilanda.) seat herself beside Gwedheling his queen, saying: "Long years ago was Turin thy son forgiven, aye, even as he left these halls, and many a weary search have we made for him. No outlawry of mine was it that took him from this realm, but remorse and bitterness drew him to the wilds, and there, methinks, evil things o'ertook him, or an he lives yet I fear me it is in bondage to the Orcs." Then Mavwin wept again and implored the king to give her aid, for she said: "Yea verily I would fare until the flesh of my feet were worn away, if haply at the journey's end I might see the face of Turin son of Urin my well-beloved." But the king said that he knew not whither she might seek her son save in Angamandi, and thither he might not send any of his lieges, not though his heart were full of ruth for the sorrow of Urin's folk.

Indeed Tinwelint spoke but as he believed just, nor meant he to add to Mavwin's sorrow save only to restrain her from so mad and deadly a quest, but Mavwin hearing him spake no word more, and going from him went out into the woods and suffered no one to stay her, and only Nienori followed her whithersoever she went. Now the folk of Tinwelint looked with pity on those twain and with kindness, and secretly they watched them, and unbeknown kept much harm from them, so that the wandering ladies of the woods became familiar among them and dear to many, yet were they a sight of ruth, and folk swore hatred to Melko and his works who saw them pass. Thus came it that after many moons Mavwin fell in with a band of wandering Gnomes, and entering into discourse with them the tale was told to her of the Rodothlim, such as those Gnomes knew of it, and of the dwelling of Turin among them. Of the whelming of that abode of folk by the hosts of Melko and by the dragon Glorund they told too, for those deeds were then new and their fame went far and wide. Now Turin they named not by name, calling him Mormakil, a wild man who fled from the face of Tinwelint and escaped thereafter from the hands of the Orcs.

Then was the heart of Mavwin filled with hope and she ques- tioned them more, but the Noldoli said that they had not heard that any came alive out of that ransacking save such as were haled to Angamandi, and then again was Mavwin's hope dashed low. Yet did she nonetheless get her back to the king's halls, and telling her tale besought his aid against the Foaloke. Now it was Mavwin's thought that perchance Turin dwelt yet in the thraldom of the dragon and it might fall to them in some manner to liberate him, or again should the prowess of the king's men suffice then might they slay the worm in vengeance for his evils, and so at his death might he speak words of knowledge concerning the fate of Turin, were he indeed no longer nigh the caverns of the Rodothlim. Of the mighty hoard that that worm guarded Mavwin recked little, but she spake much of it to Tinwelint, even as the Noldoli had spoken of it to her. Now the folk of Tinwelint were of the wood- lands and had scant wealth, yet did they love fair and beauteous things, gold and silver and gems, as do all the Eldar but the Noldoli most of all; nor was the king of other mind in this, and his riches were small, save it be for that glorious Silmaril that many a king had given all his treasury contained if he might possess it. Therefore did Tinwelint answer: "Now shalt thou have aid, 0 Mavwin most steadfast, and, openly I say it to thee, it is not for hope of freeing Turin thereby that I grant it to thee, for such hope I do not see in this tale, but rather the death of hope.

Yet it is a truth that I have need and desire of treasury, and it may be that such shall come to me by this venture; yet half of the spoil shalt thou have 0 Mavwin for the memory of Urin and Turin, or else shalt thou ward it for Nienori thy daughter." Then said Mavwin: "Nay, give me but a woodman's cot and my son," and the king answered: "That I cannot, for I am but a king of the wild Elves, and no Vala of the western isles." Then Tinwelint gathered a picked band of his warriors and hunters and told them his bidding, and it seemed that the name of the Foaloke was known already among them, and there were many who could guide the band unto the regions of his dwelling, yet was that name a terror to the stoutest and the places of his abode a land of accursed dread. Now the ancient dwellings of the Rodothlim were not utterly distant from the realm of Tinwelint, albeit far enough, but the king said to Mavwin: "Bide now and Nienori also with me, and my men shall fare against the drake, and all that they do and find in those places will they faithfully report," -- and his men said: "Yea, we will do thy bidding, 0 King," but fear stood in their eyes.

Then Mavwin seeing it said: "Yea, 0 King, let Nienori my daughter bide indeed at the feet of Gwedheling the Queen, but I who care not an I die or live will go look upon the dragon and find my son"; and Tinwelint laughed, yet Gwedheling and Nienori fearing that she spake no jest pled earnestly with her. But she was as adamant, fearing lest this her last hope of rescuing Turin come to nought through the terror of Tinwelint's men, and none might move her. "Of love, I know," said she, "come all -the words ye speak, yet give me rather a horse to ride and if ye will a sharp knife for my own death at need, and let me be gone." Now these words struck amazement into those Elves that heard, for indeed the wives and daughters of Men in those days were hardy and their youth lasted a great span, yet did this seem a madness to all. Madder yet did it seem when Nienori, seeing the obstinacy of her mother, said before them all: "Then I too will go; whither my mother Mavwin goeth thither more easily yet shall I, Nienori daughter of Urin, fare"; but Gwedheling said to the king that he allow it not, for she was a fay and perchance foresaw dimly what might be. Then had Mavwin ended the dispute and departed from the king's presence into the woods, had not Nienori caught at her robe and stayed her, and so did all plead with Mavwin, till at length it was agreed that the king send a strong party against the Foaloke and that Nienori and Mavwin ride with them until the regions of the beast be found.

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