The Temptations of Eönwë

by Enerdhil-(TV)
April 30, 2007, revised October 18, 2007

    Eönwë walked past the jubilant throngs of Vanyar and Noldor at the base of Mt. Taniquetil. Arrayed in full battle-dress, Eönwë seemed alike to his lord Manwë, but his was not the most glorious vision that day. For his mighty right hand held a long leash, which connected to what used to be the Iron Crown of Morgoth, and was now the Iron Collar. And it was serving its purpose well. For behind Eönwë, humbled and broken, crawled Morgoth Bauglir, the Dark Enemy of the World.
    Eönwë began to ascend the high mountain of his lord, with Morgoth crawling silently behind. His eyes, once so dark and full of malice, as they were when the children of Húrin were seen by their father through them, were dull, and tired. They scanned the crowd of the victorious and found there the High King of the Noldor in Aman. Finarfin’s gaze fell upon Morgoth with vengeance, and burnt him with a cold fire. In this all the sons of Finwë were avenged.
    When they had ascended for a long while, Morgoth fell upon his face, and spoke thus to Eönwë: “Have mercy, lord. Mightiest in arms and deeds, allow me to rest before we go further. For my throat hurts, and this collar is tight.”
Eönwë, tired himself from his long conquest, assented, and sat upon a stone of the mount, holding Morgoth’s chains ever tighter. After a while, Morgoth said, “Blessed be you, son of Manwë. Alas, I do not hope for your lord and king to be so gracious.”
    “You would do well to not speak thusly of the Lord Manwë. I will not deign to talk such with you.”
    “Forgive me, Eönwë. It is only that it has been so long since I have been to Valinor, and I have forgotten my brother. Is he still so grand? Is he still so just?”
    “Aye, as much as ever. The Elder King is grandest, and does not boast of this.”
    “Indeed. Manwë was ever the modest one. It pains me to see his modesty wasted on a thankless beneficiary.”
    “Do not mock Eru Ilúvatar, Morgoth. I will not tolerate it.”
    “Again, forgive me. But you misunderstand me, Eönwë. I am not mocking my Father, whom I love, but rather I am mocking the beneficiaries of the grace of the Ainur, the Children of the All-Father. The Elves, most of all the Noldor, and Men, especially the line of those of the House of Hador. Most thankless are these peoples.”
    “How do you mean? The Elves are gracious and grateful, and the Men are truly strange and beautiful things.”
    “Have you forgotten Curufinwë and his rebellion? Perhaps you do not recall the boastfulness of Turukáno and his trust in his hidden kingdom rather than in Ulmo. Perhaps you also do not remember Túrin Turambar, and how he mocked the doom that the Vala set for him.”
    “But you set Fëanor in rebellion, and you ended Gondolin and Turgon. And it was your curse upon Turambar, not the doom of the Vala.”
    “Am I not Valar also?”
    “You are not counted among the Lords of the West.”
    “Ah. Well, in any case, I am rested. Let us go on.”
    So they trekked on for a while, until Morgoth said, “Hold, if you will, son of Manwë. My leg will not service now, for it recalls the wounds dealt by Nolofinwë before the Black Gates of Angband.”
    So Eönwë again relented, and sat upon another stone, and allowed Morgoth to gather his breath. After a while, Morgoth said, “What became of the Silmarils, Eönwë, that you took from my crown, which I now wear about my neck?”
    Eönwë said, “I took them away, but Maedhros and Maglor stole them with another Kinslaying, and left. But the Silmarils would not tolerate their ownership, and burned their body and their soul. Maedhros ended his life with his Silmaril in a fiery pit, and Maglor cast his into the waters, renouncing his claim as a son of Fëanor.”
    “Ah. I do not blame them. The Light was in there, perhaps, of the Father, and not just the Two Trees. Who could resist their beauty?”
    “I do not know. I lusted after them not.”
    “ For that, Eönwë, I am happy for you. Whoever feels their embrace never knows peace in life without them. Not even I, and you know of my might.”
    “Perhaps,” Eönwë said, and from the depths of his heart, he felt pity of Morgoth, for he was not always as such, but was once Melkor, and Eönwë knew this. “But that cannot account for your troubling of us in the years prior to the coming of the Firstborn, for there were no Silmarils then.”
    “Do you think of the Years under the Lamps, and before as a part of my shameful rebellion? Do not think so, dear Eönwë. I was just mistaken in my part, for I did not agree with the designs that the rest of the Vala had decided upon, and thought, mistakenly, that it was my right to change them as I saw fit, for I was given enough power to do so, even against all the rest of the Ainur. And I repented of that, truly, when I was pardoned. No, this new rebellion that you have ended so justly is simply an unfortunate coincidence, and believe me, I thank you. You rescued me from that which I hated most but could never separate from. I was addicted, you see, to the Light, and you are blessed from freeing me from it by force.”
    Then Eönwë marveled at this account, and felt confusion stir within his heart. But before he could say anything, Morgoth said, “But, in any case, I am rested. Let us go.”
    So on they trekked, until, in sight of the Gates of Mount Taniquetil, Morgoth spoke, “Hold, once more, most beloved Eönwë. I wish to be rested when I speak at last to my brother, and seven pains have suddenly sprung from within my body, no doubt also from Fingolfin and Ringil.”
    In the end, Eönwë’s heart gave way to pity, and curiosity. When Morgoth had gathered his breath, he began to rise, as if indicating willingness to press on, but said, “Oh, Eönwë. Would that I could undo all of my crimes and my sins. Would that I could undo all actions of my servants, and repair all of the hurts of the world, even beyond what I did myself. Oh, Eönwë, I wish that very much.”
    Eönwë said nothing, but concerned himself with the new affection in his mind that had grown during the long trek up Mount Taniquetil. Affection for Melkor, who Eönwë felt perhaps had survived long years of torment and imprisonment at the hands of the addiction of Morgoth. Finally, Eönwë spoke, “What mean you, Melkor? What would you do with freedom?”
    “Serve, noble Eönwë, and nothing more.”
    Eönwë pondered this, and concerned himself with Morgoth’s answer. Who knows, then, what thoughts burned within this noble servant of the Vala, Herald and Banner Bearer of Manwë Súlimo? All that is known is Eönwë’s answer: “I know what you would now ask, and it would seem wise, and fair, as all your words have seemed thus far. But I know you, Morgoth Bauglir. All of your words have been lies, each one a snake priming the next snake for striking. And if I were lesser, or greater, I would have fallen to your pleas and lies, and would have become one as you. No, Bauglir, you may yet be spared, but you shall win no such pardon from me, even if it was mine to give. Now, if you are rested, let us go on.”
    At this, Morgoth was unable to hide his anger at being discovered, and writhed upon the floor defiantly, cursing Eönwë, saying, “Fool! You ignore my pleas at your peril! I would have made you as the Most High, and you would have no lord save for me! Cast your lot not with the Valar, cowardly and weak! Unfit to rule! All of Arda is for the Master of Fates, who is named Melkor, the Most High himself!” Thus did Morgoth speak, but Eönwë heeded him not, and dragged him into the fortress atop Mount. Taniquetil, and even to the foot of his lord.
    And there, at the foot of the Elder King, did Manwë Súlimo look upon his brother after long years apart. Morgoth stifled his pleas, with pride, and said nothing, but contented himself with observing the ground. Manwë said to his herald, “Go now, noble Eönwë, good and faithful servant. You have done a great deed, and deserve much rest.” And so did Eönwë bow, and leave the presence of his lord and his enemy.
    Long hours passed. Morgoth looked up finally from the ground at his brother, whose form was so fair, and so beautiful, and felt hatred rise anew in his heart. “Hello, Lapdog.”
    “Hail, Prodigal Son. Though you do not return as willingly, and the festivities are not for you.”
    “I will give you no satisfaction of remorse, if that is what you wish.”
    “You misunderstand me, Melkor. You do not understand my heart. If you did, you would know I wish you no remorse, but only repentance, so that you might live at last.”
    “You shall not have that satisfaction, either.”
    “Perhaps not. Who knows, though, what the end of days holds? Only the Father, and I am not as wise as he.”
    “I do, and am. ‘Behold, like a great burst of light, fell Manwë Súlimo, before the Lord of All Fates.’ That, my brother, is the end of days.”
    “Again, perhaps. I fear the end not, though I perceive you do.”