Artakáno Astaldo "Annúngil"
Warrior and smith
Annúngil was born in Aman, in a time when the bliss of Valinor seemed to be everlasting. Both of his parents were of Finwë’s people: Tinweriel and Alyakáno. The former was a scholar dedicated to the study of language and music, while the later was a smith and trusted advisor at the court of the king of the Noldor.
It did not take long for his parents to realize Annúngil was likewise in bearing and manner to his mother, for Tinweriel was wise, yet bold and restless, quickly led to both anger and laugh; whereas Alyakáno was stoic, swift in understanding and willing to listen, but unyielding in his opinions. However, Annúngil displayed little interest in matters of lore and erudition in his childhood, being more often found in the halls of Aulë among the craftsman of the Noldor, and the Ainur at his service.
Although but a child, he was filled with wanderlust, wandering farther from Tirion upon Túna after each trip he took away from the city. In the halls of Aulë he found another boy who seemed to have a similar interest in exploring Aman. That was Aicalion, and they would often journey afar, camping in the wild for days, which became weeks and even months once they were older and allowed more leeway. As the years advanced, his love and interest for the works of Aulë turned to smithing, and he proved to be an ingenious and eager apprentice. Alyakáno was his greatest mentor, but he was tutored by others at times in more specific subjects. Failure was a source of constant frustation for Annúngil, which often proved to be a hindrance in developing his skills.
Thus were his years in Aman spent, until tragedy took the blessed realm by assault, when Finwë was slain and the Silmarilli stolen. Annúngil was greatly moved by Fëanor’s speech in Tirion, and was eager to leave; for revenge, for glory, and for the thought of so many unexplored lands East of the Great Sea. He was blinded by the glory of the Noldor, convinced not even Morgoth could withstand their might. Alyakáno and Tinweriel were not so eager to depart, not out of fear of the hardship which waited on the road, but for deeming it to be unwise. Yet, it was not their wish to be sundered from their people, least of all from their son, and thus they joined the flight.
Annúngil admired Fëanor for his charisma and skill, but he had little love for him. The loyalty and love of both Annúngil and his family was to the children of Indis, and to Fingolfin most of all. As long as he was to lead they would follow, even through storm and fire, and that, indeed, came to pass, for Fingolfin led his people through Hellcaraxë. Fëanor himself had dared not to take that route, tainting Aman with elven-blood to take the ships of the Falmari to make the crossing. The child of Míriel had departed to Endor with his people in secrecy, leaving Fingolfin’s behind. No ships were sent back, instead, they were left to burn in Losgar, and thus those whom had been left behind knew treason had taken place. Twice Annúngil felt admiration being turned into hatred on that journey, and he could see it in the eyes of his comrades that they shared the same feelings.
Fëanor had wished to avoid betrayal, but had accomplished so by committing betrayal himself. It was a bitter reminder of the words of Mandos, and bitter also was the price Fingolfin’s people paid in crossing the Helcaraxë. But the Noldor were a valiant and resilient people, and among them, Annúngil and his family endured the passage through that frozen terror, arriving at last in Endor when the moon reached the sky for the first time. In Lammoth the Noldor did battle against the host of Morgoth, and Annúngil earned renown for his valiance. He marched always at the vanguard of his people, under the guidance of Fingolfin and his sons, pursuing the servants of the enemy to the very gates of Angband.
When the Noldor set camp in Mithrim, he was sent out to explore and map the regions to the South, where he made contact with the Sindar. Although they understood little of each other at first, they named him “Annúngil”, West-Star, for the fiery radiance in his eyes. Hithlum became his dwelling, and long did the Noldor there labored. Annúngil resumed his studies as a smith, learning of the forging of weaponry, which his father had not been willing to teach him in Aman.
The peace the Noldor enjoyed in Beleriand was a hard earned one. Thrice did Annúngil take upon arms to the defence of his people: in the Dagor Aglareb, the Dagor Bragollach and at the Nirnaeth Arnoediad. In that last battle, Annúngil’s father was slain, and he lead those people from Hithlum he could rally in the chaos to join the folk of Turgon, thus retreating to the hidden city of Gondolin.
In Ondolindë, as it was named in Quenya, Annúngil became more withdrawn. He grew to love that city, for it was an image of Tirion upon Túna, but he found little peace while being locked within Tumladen. The forge became his escape and balance, and the smiths of Gondolin had much to teach, which kept him busy through the years he dwelt there. During the siege of Gondolin, Annúngil escaped to the Mouths of Sirion, the last refuge in Beleriand for both men and elves. But the Noldor were doomed, and all they built was fated to end in tragedy. During the Third Kinslaying Annúngil was gravely wounded, but was rescued by the Falathrim who came to the aid of the haven.
Annúngil was then brought to the Isle of Balar, and for a long time his fate remained uncertain. He recovered from his wounds aided by his mother and sister. They were helping tend to the wounded that had just arrived when they found him bloodied but still with sword in hand.
Despite his recovery and warlike disposition in joining the fray for the defence of the Noldor, Annúngil took no part in the War of Wrath. The Thangorodrim were destroyed, and Morgoth’s host defeated, but proud as he was, Annúngil did not return to Valinor. Tinweriel, on the other hand, was weary and grieved by the tragedy of Beleriand and the loss of her husband, accepting the pardon of the Valar and taking a ship to Erëssea after remaining a while still in Lindon. Annúngil swore his fealty to Gil-galad and there labored to build a new realm, hoping that it would last. For the first time he took apprentices, teaching them as he had been instructed in the past.
While peace lasted, he would travel often, exploring the wild lands, or at times journeying to the dwellings of the dwarves. Their company was welcome to him, for the Casari shared with the Noldor the love for metal work and other crafts. Their halls reminded him also of days past, of the glory of Aman, and the Halls of Aulë. Much did he learn among them, but no more than he himself was willing to teach.
Twice in the Second Age did war threaten the Eldar, and twice did Annúngil take upon arms again. On the march back from Barad-dûr, he chose to remain in Imladris, rather than return to Lindon. The High King was slain, and the glory of the elves diminished with the beginning of the Third Age. Victory had been achieved, but the past repeated itself, and the battles of old proved to be incomplete. The Witch King of Angmar rose to destroy the weakened realms of the Dunedain of the North, and Imladris was besieged. This seemed to Annúngil as a warning, a prelude to another great war. It was around this time Amroth left his realm and was lost in the Sea, and Galadriel and Celeborn took rule of Lórien. Annúngil crossed then the Hithaeglir to dwell among the Galadhrim. Galadriel and Celeborn were of the same mind. He was given leave to help strengthen the defences of that realm and train a group of elves for whatever waited the Eldar in the coming years.
All foes of the Eldar, be them orcs or men.
Makanare. The Noldor; the lands and history of the Eldar. Hunting, exploring. Horses; riding out in open plain. A busy forge; to wield the smithing hammer and bring shape to metal. The company of soldiers and other craftsmen.
Indiscipline, cowardice, the Enemy, his servants and devices.
To defend the lands of the Eldar until the last spawn of Morgoth is vanquished.
"Hope endures when plans falter."