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The Great Escape  by Calairiel Malromiel

~Still in Mandos~


Fëanor had shared his notion that Fingolfin’s ability to travel through the walls of Mandos might be their best option to at least find the outer wall.


“For you, out of all of us, are the only one who can pass through the walls here. If you come to a barrier you can’t pass it’s very likely that’s the outer wall.” 


“And on the other side of that wall is freedom. That’s good thinking. Welcome back, brother.”


“I really wish you two could have worked more together when you were younger.” Finwë said, sadly.


“What are you talking about, atta? We worked together quite a few times!” Fingolfin said impishly.


“Pranks and mischief wasn’t what I meant by working together.” Finwë said dryly.


“That’s hardly fair, atar. Our interests are divergent enough that working together on things other than mischief was unlikely.” Fingolfin objected.


“Highly improbable.” Fëanor agreed.


“Well, as to your suggestion, I have to see if something works or not. And experiment, if you will. If it doesn’t work the logistics will be a pain in the ass.” and ignoring his father’s disapproving look, he knelt and touched the floor. Immediately everybody he’d claimed over the years lit up.


“Very well, then. I need a volunteer. No, not you, Celebrimbor. You’ve only just joined us and you’re still too weak. No! Not you either, Curufin. You need to take care of your son. Never mind! I’ll pick my own.” and looking around an ellon stepped forward and said, “Choose me, lord.”


“Who are you?”


“Absolutely no one, lord. And since there are far more like me than there are like you mighty lords, I think it would be best to know if the least among us can do as the most wise.”


A surprised laugh burst from Fingolfin and he said, “If we get out of here I’d love to offer you a job if you find yourself looking for one.”


“Thank you, no. I’m just a lowly Nandor and if you find a way for us to escape I’ll happily go back to the nearest forest I can find.”


“Not so lowly, I think.” and looking around he directed the ellon to walk through the nearest wall without him and then to return. “And if you don’t return immediately, I’ll come and fetch you.”


And the ellon nodded and followed Fingolfin's directions and to everyone’s surprised delight, the ellon not only passed through the wall but did, indeed, return.


And Fingolfin grinned fiercely and said, “All right then! Now let us all begin walking in one direction. Turn neither left nor right. Eventually we should hit the outer wall or we’ll walk straight out of here. Win-win!”


And as a group they all started moving forward.


~Operation Jail-Break~


Finarfin, along with his followers and those of Fingolfin all left Formenos to travel west to Andúnië Bay. This had been the first opportunity Finarfin had had to travel any distance on the road his son had created and he was duly impressed. Both by the craftsmanship of road and the bridges, which had obviously all been retrofitted into works of art, as well as durability. And also by all the small towns and villages that were in the process of springing up along the way.


The journey was smooth and without incident and they eventually came to the city that had been crafted for his brother Fingolfin.


Realm of Fingolfin


And Finarfin thought it a true work of art and had no hesitation in staying a few days to settle his brother’s people and to take a look around. He was well pleased with all that had been accomplished and took to the road with renewed enthusiasm for he wished to finally see the city of Andúnië Bay!


They had set out almost immediately after Lord Irmo’s visit. Apparently their actions were nowhere near as unobserved as they’d thought and it had been him, personally, who had sent the dreams to their people regarding their building projects. Considering how advanced some of the plans had been, Finarfin was amazed the Vala had sent them.


Then he handed over a phial filled with a glowing substance that all within the room gasped as soon as they saw it. “Is that what I think it is?”


“Some of the dew drops from Laurelin? Yes. That is what this is.” Irmo smirked.


“Why are you giving us this?” Finarfin asked suspiciously.


“I want to know why you have it? Wasn’t the whole point of wanting the Silmarils was so Fëanor could break them to bring the trees back?” Lalwen asked hotly.


“The trees are dead. I have no idea what game they were playing and I don’t care. But I can tell you we all have loads of this stuff. Fëanor wasn’t the only one who liked to experiment with light. That story of the trees producing one last flower and fruit didn’t happen. They just took some of the dew drops Aulë, himself had. Then he made the globes and vessels. Manwë sent them aloft, Vardo set the was a group effort.” he shrugged, and then, “It’s something we should have done in the first place! Leaving the rest of the world in darkness was ill advised!”


“I agree, especially in seeing how much world is actually out there. And I know I only saw a portion of it. My atar told me of the great journey and there were at least two vest mountain ranges and vast swaths of land between them and another that led to the sea.”


“And your atar didn’t even make it to the west coast of Beleriand. He and the others went south after a few hundred leagues, down to the Bay of Balar. But all this is besides the point. I know what you are doing and I’m giving you this to open a door in my brother’s domain.”


“But why?” Finarfin asked.


“I can’t tell you. I’m sorry.” he said apologetically, and then, “You should sail down the coast past my sister’s domain. There is a bay that I believe your son has added to his map. That is where you will need to disembark. It is very close to my brother’s domain. Go to the back of it, that is where your kin are congregating. The phial isn’t a special kind of crystal - it can break. So be careful with it! 


“Once you are close to the wall throw the phial at it - hard! It must break on the wall. Then you just have to wait. Bring lots of water! They’ll be thirsty! That is all - smooth sailing to you and good luck!” and then he was gone. The stunned silence only lasted a moment before they went about ordering everybody to pack up! They were leaving in the morning!


Now traveling on the last part of their journey before they set out by ship, their host reduced by half with the loss of Fingolfin’s people, there was a sense of urgency and anticipation in those remaining. The towns and villages now began to be more frequent, as though they were spreading out from the coast, and glancing at his son, he could see that Finrod was well pleased by this. This is what he had hoped for.


And finally, as they crested a hill, they beheld the sea! An unexplored sea that was so vast it stretched out into infinity! Intellectually, he knew their world was flat and there was a mighty gate far out in the distance where both Ithel and Arnar were berthed until their appointed times to set sail. And he saw ships! The largest fleet of ships he’d ever seen in his life and he could hear his wife exclaim in delight beside him, and he turned to smile at her glee.


View of Finarfin's Realm From the East


“Oh, Ara, look! It’s beautiful!” she breathed. And indeed it was!


“I think we are going to be happy here, my beautiful swan maiden.”


“Wow! Look at that! They’ve exceeded even my expectations and my expectations were pretty high!” Finrod grinned.


“Indeed! After the job they did on Formenos, I put the architect and engineer, Þamne and Tuvindo, in charge of the other two projects. It’s amazing to me that none of the three even resemble Tirion, nor each other, in the least. And I’m happy to say they’ve decided to settle right here!”


“I’ve met them! They’re brilliant. It’s good to have brilliant people living in a community.” his son nodded sagely.


“Aye and now that we are almost done with our purpose I just want to get on with it.” Finarfin said.


“Perhaps we should take our time to settle our people and then we can leave to complete our task.” Eärwen suggested.


“Nay, sister! Lord Irmo advised haste. Those already here can settle our people while we board those ships and head south.” Lalwen said.


“She’s right, Eärwen. The sooner we get there the sooner we get our loved ones back.” Anairë agreed.


“Can we at least stop to bathe and eat?” she asked plaintively.


“Yes, beloved. That we can do. Finrod? Find out how soon the ships can be ready to sail.”


“Will do atar!”


~Marching in Mandos~


They’d been walking for what seemed years. It was an exaggeration, but how could they really know? Time passed differently here. It had seemed a few days between the time they’d taken Glorfindel to the time Celebrimbor arrived. But according to Tyelp it had been a century.


Perhaps it only felt this way because they actually had a goal now. But the thought had occurred to many of them that Mandos knew what they were doing and was somehow able to manipulate the halls so they were walking in a giant circle.


Fëanor hoped not because that would suck! But then he looked over and noticed that his brother was looking a lot more substantial.


“How are you doing that?” he asked.


“Huh? What are you talking about?” Fingolfin asked, not having the slightest idea what he was talking about.


“You look…... solid! How?”


“I look the same as you do. Wait…. This is it!” he called out, and then, “Fingon! Go see if you can find a crack. A light.”


“Yes atar!”


“What…?” Fëanor was confused. Fëanor didn’t like to be confused.


“Don’t ask questions! Just look for a light!”




“Just do it!” Fingolfin hissed and Fëanor needed no further encouragement.


Word passed along quickly and soon enough nearly everybody was starting to push forward, spreading out and looking for a crack of light that meant they’d reached their destination. Those within the Halls were roused with hope and the host began looking for a crack of light. Any crack! 


And then…”Fëanáro? Ñolofinwë?”


“Ara?” the brothers chimed. Then they grabbed hold of their father, gave him a quick hug, and before he could ask what was going on, he was being hustled forward.


And then, “I found it atar!”


“Excellent Fingon! Let’s go everybody! Follow me!”


“Who’s Fin-gon?” Finwë asked, puzzled.


“My eldest - Findekáno. Keep up, atta!” Fingolfin chided and then he saw it! A crack of light! And then he was through and felt the slam of his hröa and reeled and before he could recover he was in the arms of his wife! “Anairë! Oh my love. Please forgive me.”


“Shhhh!” she whispered in his ear before pressing her lips to his hungrily.


“Alright, that’s enough you two! There’s a whole line of people waiting to get out. Move aside.” Finrod said jovially.


“Hello brothers! Atar! It’s good to see you again.” Finarfin said happily.


“I can’t wait to see Tirion again.” Fëanor said.


“Oh, we aren’t going to Tirion! Our first stop is to the coast where we will all board ships and travel up to my city in Andúnië Bay. There we will rest up before we ride to Ñolo’s realm to drop off him and all his people. Then we’re going to Formenos. Though you’ll have to rename it. Personally, I like Orehtelë.” Finarfin grinned.


“So it is exile then?” Fëanor sighed.


Finarfin crossed his arms and said archly, “I didn’t break you all out just to go back into captivity. We’re free now!” and then as he started to walk away, he threw over his shoulder, “Hurry up! I didn’t break you out of there just so you could gawk at everything!”


Fingolfin and Fëanor exchanged a confused look and hurried after their brother, dragging their father with them.


But then Fingolfin stopped suddenly and said, “What about the Sindar? And the other Teleri?”


“No need to fear on their behalf. I will take care of them.” a female voice said. And turning to see who spoke they beheld Melian. Smiling, she added, “I want to thank you for your decision to take matters into your own hands. I owe you….everything.”


Finarfin relaxed and smiled, now understanding Irmo’s visit. Bowing he said, “Our pleasure my lady. I will leave them in your capable hands.”

~On to Andúnië Bay~


The walk to the coast wasn’t overly long, but it was onerous to the newly re-embodied which meant many stops along the way. Still, even though they were a large host, they nonetheless made it to the coast with enough time to spare that they were able to board the waiting ships that would carry them up the coast to Andúnië Bay.


And with the help of the sea-ainu their passage was smooth and swift. They were standing at the prow, mostly due to the sea sickness his brother, Fëanor and their father suffered. Fingolfin was as fit as ever and snuggling with his wife and they were all in prime position to get a first glance of Finarfin’s realm. And Finarfin was enchanted, himself, with the beauty of his realm. And yes! He knew it was his realm. He may not wear the crown any longer, but he knew he was the lord here and he could see it was a rare gem, indeed!


View of Andúnië Bay from the Sea


Throwing out his arms, he said, “Welcome to Andúnië Bay!”


“It’s beautiful, son.” Finwë said in awe, for he’s never seen anything like this. Not even Tol Eressëa.


~King Delivery Service~


They spent several weeks in Andúnië Bay - Finarfin would have to come up with a name for the city - before they set off with his brothers, atar and their followers. But in all the chaos of the jail-break, no one had noticed that Aegnor wasn’t among those who had left the Halls. Angrod said he suspected he was keeping to his promise of not returning because of an atani maid he’d met and fell in love with. 


Finarfin and Eärwen were distraught, but there was nothing they could do about it now. This had been a one-off and there was no way to go back in and drag him out. They would have to be content with having Angrod, Orodreth, their wives and Finduilas back home with them. 


When they finally set off they travelled with the host of both Fingolfin and Fëanor, led by Finarfin and Finrod. Once completed the two would ride back to the coast where it would be a very long time before they would ride out of the city again. They’d both had quite enough travel to last them several centuries, thank you very much! 


Some chose to ride, but many more had to opt for the carriages. Not to mention the large caravan of supply wagons. For though both realms were now growing their own food, they still needed stuff. The ride was long but smooth with many stops along the way. As Finrod knew, the re-embodied needed time to acclimate which meant plenty of rest. But they’d planned for that! 


It took about a week to reach Fingolfin’s realm where they would all rest up for a bit before continuing on to Formenos. As they approached the city Finarfin grinned and said to Fingolfin, “This is your new city. Happy rebirth day, brother!”


“It’s beautiful!” Fingolfin said in wonder.


“Do you like it? It not only has plains but also forestland, rivers, lakes and the Pelori Spur ends here which means there are many caves of quartz. So you can start making your beautiful glass again.” he said proudly, adding, “Eärwen and I wish to be your first clients!”


“And the Valar didn’t try and stop you?” Fingolfin asked, surprised they hadn't met any oppossition.


Irmo had warned them not to mention he’d been involved in their little jail-break, so Finarfin answered carefully, “I think they found it prudent to let us be. To let us remove ourselves and set up our own realms so they could avoid future conflicts. I think half our problem was we were crammed into a single city and we just got on each other's nerves. Fëanor was the only one who had the right idea of making a new realm, though that may not have been your intent at the time.”


“Besides, from what I’ve been hearing the Second Song is about to play and the time of man will be upon the world. A world with no place for elves. That means a whole load of people will be coming here. They need to know they can settle anywhere they want.” Finrod added.


“But who is ruling Tirion?” Fëanor asked, while Finwë didn’t look as though he cared.


“The three queens - Findis, Indis and Nerdanel. They’ve done a very good job of it. But forget about Tirion! This land is vast. Exceedingly vast. But for whatever reason the Valar have kept us pinned up in a tiny speck of it. I felt it was time to branch out a bit.” Finarfin said firmly.


“So we are to be exiled.” he said flatly.


“You have a one track mind, you know that?” Fingolfin said wryly. Then looking at Finarfin he asked, “Do you think it’s at all possible that some of the Valar might have inspired you to do all this?” he asked flinging his arm out indicating all this.


“Yes, of course it occurred to me. But it doesn’t explain the anger. I gave up the crown and started this when Finrod was released. Only Finrod.”


“Actually, you really rebelled after the war. When they wouldn’t let me go back to help.” Finrod grinned, and added, “Yes! I believe we were inspired. Especially when we first arrived at the Bay of Andúnië. We all started receiving dreams that all involved building and designing in new and unique ways. All three realms use water power. They all have running hot and cold water in the comfort areas as well as our kitchens. We’ve even developed public time pieces that keep the hour with water. Though most ignore them since we can tell the time by the position of Anar and Ithil. But they’re still wonderfully marvelous inventions.”


“Yes, well, it doesn’t matter who inspired me - us- and I’m not discounting that there was inspiration. All I know is nobody tried to stop me, so I continued to do what seemed to me a very good idea. Including opening that door to let you all out. Now come on! There’s a whole lot of people who really need to have a bath, a change of clothes and something real to eat!”


~Last Stop~


Having left Fingolfin and his family, along with his followers in his new realm, the remaining host continued on until they started climbing up into the mountains where Formenos was located. Fëanor was amazed at the road his brother and nephew had constructed. Much better than the rough trail he’d made from Tirion to his stronghold. Then again, he’d really not meant to stay there permanently and he didn’t know how he felt about it now. His brother had assured him that it had been remodeled to include many amenities. The forge had been expanded and remodeled and there was also a place of learning for his people.


View of Formenos from the Northeast


What he wasn’t prepared for was the sight of it. It was spectacular and his brother said it was even more impressive from the southern view. Though he admitted it had a very nice view from the north! 


As soon as Fëanor entered his city he was greeted by a cheering throng of thousands of his followers and looking around he saw how truly beautiful this city was. There were waterways and fountains everywhere. There were falls within the city! But his bemused observations were cut short when Finrod blew a clear note on his horn - right next to Fëanor’s ear. Throwing his nephew a look of pained outrage, Finrod grinned apologetically, but his attention was drawn back to his brother, for Finarfin was speaking.


“I know my brother is touched and gratified by your gesture of support and affection. But I would beg your indulgence to allow him to settle in before he addresses you.”


But Fëanor smiled and laid a hand on his brother’s arm before he turned to the crowd, who were everywhere, and simply said in a clear voice, “I’m touched by your welcome, my people. And on behalf of myself and my sons, I thank you.” and as he took a breath the crowd went wild. He let them go on a moment before raising his hand, which silenced the crowd instantly, “As my brother has stated, we are all weary from our travels and there are many of our people who have yet to enter the city. I beg that you show them the same enthusiasm you showed me and welcome them. That is all, thank you, again.”


Finarfin and Finrod stayed long enough to show Fëanor around his new realm before they left to return to the coast. Fëanor promised he would visit them often as he hoped there would be healthy commerce between the three realms, adding, “I can’t thank you enough for helping us get out of that dreary dungeon, brother.”


“Don’t mention it! Just….be happy!” Finarfin said before taking his leave with his son.




There had been many years of peace and quiet in Aman when suddenly there was the sounding of great horns and a tremendous boom. So deep was the sound it could be felt as the shockwave hit them causing a sense of vertigo so intense the entire population of Aman blacked out. When they came to, they knew at once something had changed.


The news would be slow to reach them, but when it did they marveled at these appalling events. For it seemed that those men who had been given the Gift of Elenna, having been corrupted by the malice and vice of Sauron Gorthaur and had convinced them to rebel and seek to invade Aman.


Then the Valar had put their stewardship aside and the Hand of Ilúvatar had buried the army under the Pelori, put to sleep until the End of Days and He had taken the island and broken it, sending it beneath the waves. Then the very nature of their world had changed - bent and bowed into a sphere - and Aman had been removed from Arda forever. A pathway had been installed that was called the Straight Road and this would be the only means by which the eldar would be able to access Aman, which was to be their ultimate homeland as the time of the elves was coming to a close.


The loss of such an immense amount of life was appalling. The innocent along with the guilty had lost their lives and it was no matter that a small handful of the faithful had escaped and survived.


But some among the eldar were convinced that it was the Valar, themselves, who had destroyed the land and its people and it was then that Ilúvatar took the stewardship from them and removed them to a place where they could do no more harm. And in the next several millennia those now empty Halls of Mandos would fill right back up because of the wars that would erupt all over Endor.


It was then thought that perhaps the Halls of Mandos were not so infinite, after all.



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