"And now came
the monsters across the valley, and the white towers of Gondolin reddened before them."
Long had Morgoth prepared in secret for this
battle, and had crafted, through Meglin's cunning, the first of the
great serpents, to use in this battle. The stoutest of the Gondolithrim
in dread of those great dragons of bronze and fire, and sent arrow
after unavailing arrow at them. Yet there was hope yet, for the
not ascend the steep hill of Amon Gwareth. Yet they lay at the base,
great steam arose where the fire of the serpents and the water of the
of Amon Gwareth mingled. There grew such a heat that women became faint
and men sweated to weariness beneath their armor, and all the fountains
city, save only the Fountain of the King, grew hot and smoked.
Then Gothmog, Lord of Balrogs, gathered all his things of iron that could coil themselves around and above all obstacles before them and bade them to pile themselves before the northern gate. Their great heaviness caused the gate to fall in a great clamor, yet most of the walls held firm.
The siege machines of Gondolin poured fire, boulders and darts upon those creatures and yet to no avail, for their iron bodies would not break.
Then the topmost of the iron things opened around their middles, and countless orcs poured out and into the breach.
Then did Rog of the Hammer of Wrath, and Galdor of the Tree leap at the foe. There, it is said, the hammer and clubs felled the orcs like so many leaves upon the wind, and the folk of the Swallow and the Arch poured down arrows like rain upon them, and both Gondothrim and Orc fell amid the confusion.
Yet for all their valor the Noldoli were steadily pushed backwords, merely by the dint of the great number of foemen, till the Orcs held a part of the northernmost city.
All this time Meglin was not idle; he had found out
about Tuor's secret delving, although he knew
not all, and that proved well. He deemed that Tuor's tunnel must
lead to the anciently prepared Way of Escape, which was there, many
ere Tuor came to the city. Thinking this, he sent many secret messages
to Melkor, advising him to fortify the Way of Escape so that none
leave by it.
Then he went to Tuor's dwelling, thinking to at long last seize Idril for his own and gain the secret of the passage, and thus to escape the fire and slaughter and to cast Earendil into the flames. Of Tuor's death in the burning he was sure, for he had constrained Salgant to delay him in the Hall of the King, and egg him into the deadliest and fiercest part of the fray.
Unfortunately for his designs, Salgant fell into a great terror of death and rode home and lay aquake on his bed, and Tuor rode home with the folk of the Wing.
Although Tuor's valor leapt to the noise of war, he flew home to take farewell with Idril and Earendil and to speed them down his secret way with a bodyguard, ere he returned to the battle to die if he must.
Returning, he found a press of the folk of the Mole about the door, who were the worst that Meglin could find in the city. Yet they were not thralls of Melkor and would not aid Meglin in his design, but neither would they constrain him. Meglin had Idril by the hair and struggled to pull her to the battlement so she could see the fall of Earendil in the flames, yet he struggled with her, for for all her grace and beauty, she fought like a tiger.
Tuor, seeing this, gave a shout so great that the Orcs heard it from afar and wavered from the sound of it. Then the men of the Wing, though less in number, were upon the men of the Mole like a tempest.
Then Meglin tried to stab Earendil with a shirt knife he had, but a hidden coat of cunningly crafted mail, given to Earendil by Idril, deflected the blow. Then Tuor was upon him, and his wrath was terrible to see: he siezed the arm holding the knife, broke it and then, grabbing Meglin by the middle, he cast him over the wall. Three times Meglin smote the slopes of Amon Gwareth as he fell, and perished. All the men of the Mole were then destroyed as well.
Tuor went back into the fray, but left Voronwe and some other swordsmen to guard Idril and Earendil as they left.
Now was the battle at the gate very evil indeed.
Duilin, Lord of the folk of the Swallow, was felled
by a fiery bolt from a Balrog who leapt upon the base of Amon Gwareth
he fired arrow after arrow from the wall. And the Balrogs continued to
loose fiery arrows and burning rocks upon the Gondolithrim; worse were
of the Balrogs who leapt upon the coils of the serpents to fire farther
and set the city aflame to the back of the defenders.
Then up leapt Rog of the Hammer of Wrath and called in a great voice, "Who now shall fear the Balrogs for all their terror? See before us the accursed ones who have tormented the children of the Noldoli and now set a fire at our backs with their shooting. Come ye of the Hammer of Wrath and we will smite them for their evil."
Then the men of the Stricken Anvil came behind like a wedge, and sparks came from their eyes from the fury of their rage. A great deed was that sally, and many Orcs were born backwards into the fires below. Rog and his men leapt even upon the coils of the great serpents and came at those balrogs and smote them grievously and battered them into nought or, catching at their whips, wielded them against them, and they tore them, even as aforetime they had torn the Gnomes.
And the number of Balrogs that were slain were a marvel and a dread to the host of Melkor, for ere that day never had any Balrog been slain by man or elf.
And Gothmog ordered thus, a few Balrogs came before the men of the Hammer and fell before them, but a great number contrived to come behind them so that Rog could not win back to the city without great slaughter among their troops.
Yet Rog, seeing this, essayed not to win back but to fall on those whose part was to fall before him, and they fell back, no longer out of craft but out of dire need. Down onto the plain were they harried and their shrieks rent the air of the vale of Tumladen. Then the folk of Rog went about, hewing and smiting the astonished bands of Melko, till they were hemmed at last by an overwhelming band of Orcs and Balrogs, and a fire drake was loosed upon them. There did they perish, hewing to the last until iron and flame overcame them, and it is sung that each of the Hammer of Wrath took seven foemen to pay for his own. None of the Hammer of Wrath lived ever to carry the tale from the city.
At the loss of Rog and his battalion, dread fell
heavily on the Gondolithrim, and they gave back further into the city,
there Penlod perished, with his back to the wall, and about him, many
of the Pillar, and many of the Tower of Snow.
Now Melkor held the gate and much of the walls to either side, where numbers of the folk of the Swallow and the Rainbow were thrust to their doom, arching from the walls to the last. (editor's note: equating Rainbow and Heavenly Arch for the other group of archers.)
And within the city they held a great space, reaching nigh to the center, and even to The Well, which was adjacent to the Square of the King. There they halted and took council, and their plan was to hold what they had won, for the valor of the Noldoli had done away with many more foemen then was ever expected, and they had lost many more then the defenders. Yet such were their numbers that they still had much the greater number even then. Fearful too were they of the slaughter Rog had done among the Balrogs, for of those great demons they had great courage and confidence of the heart. However, they knew that whatever they had to do, they must do quickly, for the fire of the great serpents could only be replenished in the Wells of Melkor, and they were running out.
But even as their messengers spread the plan, they
heard sweet music, and the enemy feared what it
might mean. And Lo! It was Ecthelion and the people of the Fountain
Turgon had held in reserve, and the crystal and silver of their array
was most lovely to see in the red of
the fire and black of the destruction.
Then the music stopped, and the host of Ecthelion drew their swords in one motion and, before the Orcs might foresee the onslaught, the pale blades were flashing among them. 'Tis said that Ecthelion's folk slew more Orcs in that one battle then fell ever in all the battles of the Eldalie with that race, and his name is still a terror among them and a warcry to the Eldar.
Tuor and the Silver Wing came amongst this grisly scene and ranged themselves alongside Ecthelion and the men of the Fountain, and those twain did many a hard blow strike.
Then there was a quaking and a trampling, for the serpents labored mightily at beating a path up the Amon Gwareth, and the remnant of the Arch of Heaven and the Swallow still fought there or contested the walls taken by Melkor to the east and west.
Even as Tuor came near driving the Orcs off, a great serpent of bronze heaved against the western wall that shook and fell, and behind it came a snake of fire with Balrogs astride it.
The Orcs took heart at the coming of the drakes and mingled with the Balrogs in their wild charge, and assailed the Gondothrim greviously.
There Tuor slew the Orc captains Othrod, Balcmeg, and Lug; and Ecthelion shore through two captains with one blow, and cleft the head of Orcobal their chiefest captain. So valorous were those twain that they came even among the Balrogs. Ecthelion's sword took three, for it cleaved the iron of them and did injury to their fire, but they were even more afraid of Dramborleg, Tuor's axe, for with it he slew five.
Yet in the end the numbers began to tell. Ecthelion was wounded in the arm and dropped his shield, and he must lean on Tuor who could not leave him, even as the trampling feet of the dragon of fire passed overhead, and it seemed as if they would be crushed.
Tuor hewed at the foot of the monster and flame sprouted forth, and it screamed and lashed with its tail, slaying many, Orcs and Gnomes both. Tuor then gathered the remnant of the folk of the Wing, lifted Ecthelion, and led them to escape the drake.
"Thus it was that Tuor son of Peleg gave before the foe, fighting as he yielded ground, and bore from the battle Ecthelion of the Fountain."
Then marauding bands wandered the streets and did much ransacking, or slew in the dark elves of any gender or age or, if occasions warranted, bound them and took them to the Hells of Iron, to serve.
Now Tuor reached the square of the Folkwell and found there Galdor, denying the entrance of the Orcs by the Arch of Inwe to the west, but about him were none but a few of his men of the Tree. There did Galdor become the savior of Tuor, for he fell behind, carrying Ecthelion's body, and stumbled in the dark. The Orcs would have taken them both, but for the rush of that champion and the dint of his iron-shod club. There stood the last remnant of the Wing, and the Heavenly Arch, and the Swallow, and the Tree, and the Fountain. By Tuor's advice, they left the Well, to fortify the adjacent Square of the King.
There came the last stout gathering of the
defenders, before the Square of the Palace of Turgon. And there were
many wounded, and Tuor was weary, both for the labors of the night and the
weight of Ecthelion who was in a deadly swoon. Even
he led the battalion in by the Road of Arches, there came a great
and Lo! Glorfindel was driven in with the last of the men of the Golden
Flower. They had been ambushed, and Glorfindel had only been able to
himself free with great loss.
It is said that Turgon had sent the men of Salgant the craven, the folk of the Harp, to their aid, because of the urgency of the messages sent by Glorfindel. Salgant, however, had lied to his men and said that they were to garrison the Lesser Market, where Salgant had his home. Now, however, they broke from Salgant and come to the Square, which was very timely, for a press of triumphant foemen were following Glorfindel to finish him off. On these the men of the Harp fell with great eagerness, and utterly redeemed the craveness of their lord. However, Salgant's treachery may have turned out well in the end, more on that later. Leaderless, some fought over-wrathfully, and many were trapped in flames, or sank before the breath of the serpents that revelled there.
Now from the south came Egalmoth, whose job it had been to man the siege engines. Long since having given that up, he had decided that the situation merited hand-to-hand fighting, and had therefore gathered those that remained of the Swallow and the Arch and fought away with that curved sword of his.
Then, suddenly, a great drake burst through the barrier to the north. Tuor stood in the way of the great beast, but became seperated from Egalmoth and was steadily beaten back, even to the center of the square. There he was overcome by the heat, before the Fountain of the King, and beaten down by a great demon, Gothmog himself, Lord of Balrogs, and Son of Melkor (So it says before it is eventually decided in later stories that the Valar cannot bear children.)
It seemed as if Tuor would be killed, but Lo! Suddenly Ecthelion, The Lord of the Fountain, his face the pallor of grey steel, and his shield arm hanging useless at his side, came before Tuor as he fell, and strove with that great demon. Yet he did not kill Gothmog, recieving rather a wound in his sword arm. Then, Ecthelion, Lord of the Fountain, fairest of the Noldoli, wounded in both arms, leapt full at Gothmog, even as that Balrog raised his whip, to give Ecthelion his deathblow as he had so many others, even Fingon, Prince of the Noldoli. Ecthelion leapt, and drove the spike on his helm full into Gothmog's breast. (Amid cries of "Thats using his head" Eonwe continues. I'm sorry guys, I've been typing for awhile, and I needed a joke, not that this is not a voluntary action...anyways, continue reading).Twining his legs around Gothmog's, Ecthelion hurled himself backwards into the Fountain of the King. The Balrog yelled and fell forward, and the fire of his being was extinguished in the Fountain, and he perished, along with Ecthelion who, steel-laden, sank into the depths, and so perished the Lord of the Fountain, after fiery battle in cool waters.
Now Tuor had arisen again, at the fall of Ecthelion, and he was much grieved, but being wrapped in battle, he scarce cut his way to the folk about the palace.
Then, seeing the wavering of the enemy at the fall of their Captain and Champion, the Royal Guard came down and laid on, and the King himself came down in great splendor and hewed with his men, for he was great in arms, and they swept back much of the Square. Of the Balrogs they slew two score, which is very great prowess indeed, but still greater deeds did they do. They hemmed in a fire-drake, for all its flaming, and forced it into the Fountain of the King, where Gothmog and Ecthelion had received their end, and there it received its end, for the fire of its heart was quenched; yet therein the Fountain received its end as well, for it, like all the other fountains so early in the battle, like the hope of the Gondolithrim, went up in smoke.
Then dread fell on all for the doom of the fountain, and all the Royal Household were killed by the heat, and by the foe, and by the serpent, and by one another in the confusion of the scalding mists and burning smog.
But a body of them protected the King, and there was
a rally of them beneath Glingol and Bansil (stone replicas of
the Two Trees.)
Then said the King, "Great is the Fall of Gondolin," and the people shuddered, for such were the words of Amnon the Prophet of old.
And Tuor spoke in a wild ruth and for love of the King, "Gondolin stands, and Ulmo will not suffer it to perish."
But Turgon replied, "Evil have I brought upon the Flower of the Plain in despite of Ulmo, and he now leaves it to wither in fire. Lo! No more hope is in my heart for my city of loveliness, but the children of the Noldoli shall not be worsted forever. Fight not against doom, O, my children. Seek those who may, safety in flight, but let Tuor have your fealty.
Tuor replied, "Thou art King."
To which Turgon replied, "Yet no blow shall I strike more," and cast his crown at the roots of Glingol. Galdor picked it up again, but Turgon would not accept it, and bare of head, ascended the white tower that stood nigh his palace. There he shouted in a voice like a horn and the Encircling Mountains rang with his call, "Great is the Victory of the Noldoli!"
'Tis said that it was then midnight and the Orcs laughed with derison.
Tuor then spoke of the tunnel he had long labored on, and begged the King to have other mind, and lead the Noldor through it. Yet the King resisted all efforts to move him, and the remnant of the Royal House refused to leave without him.
Then Tuor, torn between leaving and his reverence for the King, stood for a moment undecided. In the end it was the wailing of the women and his pity for the sad remainder of the Gondolithrim that decided him. WIth a sad heart, he turned away, to lead them to salvation...or death.
Glorfindel and the men of the Golden Flower held the rear manfully on the long retreat, and many of the Flower fell there. Then Tuor came to Gar Anion, the place of the Gods, and looked for an evil stand. Yet there was none, and the enemy seemed already to slacken and scarce any follow them, and that was a wonder. Then they come to the place of Wedding, and Lo! There was Idril before him, her hair unbraided, as the day they were wed, and great was Tuor's joy.
But Idril saw not Tuor, for her gaze was locked upon the Palace of the King. Then all the host halted and looked back, and their hearts froze, for now they saw why the foe had pressed them so little.
Lo! A drake was coiled even on the very steps of the palace, defiling their whiteness, and all about, roaming bands of Orcs ransacked and destroyed. The King's Tower was beset. High up, they could decry, with their keen elven eyesight, the form of the King, but below lay a great serpent of brass wrapped around the base, sawing and rowing with its tail and spouting flame.
And Idril spoke and said, "Woe is I whose father awaiteth doom, even upon his utmost pinnacle, yet seven times woe whose lord hath gone down before Melkor and will stride home no more."
And Tuor replied "Lo Idril, it is I, and I live, yet now will I get thy father hence, be it from the Hells of Melkor!" And distraught with the grief of his wife, he made as if to walk down the hill alone.
And yet Idril, coming suddenly to her senses, clasped him about the knees with much weeping and cries of "My Lord, My Lord", and halted him.
Yet even as they spoke a great noise arose from that place of anguish, and the tower leapt into flame and in a stab of fire it fell. Great was the fall of Turgon, King of the Gondolithrim and, for that hour, the victory was to Melko.
Thus fell the city.
"Gondobar am I called, and Gondothlimbar, The City of Stone, and the City of the Dwellers in Stone; Gondolin the Stone of Son and Gwarestrin am I named, The Tower of the Guard; Gar Thurion, for I am hidden from the eyes of Melko..."
Until that terrible day.