Carnifinde Istanis 'Danel'
Jewel Smith, and Mistress of Lore
Born in Thargelion, in the year 282 of the Sun.
The Halls of Numastaya, a short distance from Celondim
Born during the Long Peace - in Thargelion, in the citadel of the Noldor built by the shores of Lake Helevorn - Danel’s early years were happy ones. She was nurtured by loving and learned parents, by a mentor, Quentaro of Tirion, who spoke often of the might and courage of High King Fëanor; by ladies who had once sat in debate in the shade of Galathilion, or sang and danced in the halls of King Finwë; and to a lesser extent, by stern lords, who seemed to carry the weight of the containment of Morgoth upon their capable shoulders, yet could still ride to the hunt, and dance and make merry, given chance.
Danel was taught much of art and of the lore of the Noldor by her mother. Her father encouraged her desire to craft jewels - a skill he had some interest in himself. It was through her early pursuit of this craft that Danel first came to know any of the folk of Ered Luin. Though the common-held view of the inhabitants of Belegost and Nogrod was not a complimentary one – save in respect for their crafting – Danel came to think of the envoys from Belegost as cultured and honourable folk in their own right. From early youth she looked kindly upon the children of Aulë, who, though secretive and often gruff by nature, warmed more to her childish enthusiasm than to the haughtiness of her elders. For a short time she learned a little from her distant cousin, Celebrimbor, though was nowhere near him in skill. She studied hard with other jewel-smiths of Caranthir and was eventually recognised as having considerable talent of her own. Her parents and their Prince, were proud of her, and she added some considerable wealth to trade with her creations.
From early youth she was taught to ride and hunt, to dance and sing, though she was never blessed in the later. Her education was that of a Lady of the Court, though her heart was always in less elite matters; in nature and her horses and birds, in time learning in the Great Library of Thargellion. And soon enough with a strong--willed, wild haired boy who stood out from all the others, at least in her eyes. Though events decreed them not to be together, she never changed her mind about him.
But her joy in life, like the Long Peace, was soon to end. The Dagor Bragollach saw the destruction of most that she had known – of her home and lands of her childhood which were ravaged and defiled by the Orcs of Morgoth; of many friends and kin - and of her mother.
Caranthir was to lead his remaining people to join with his younger brothers, in the South. Danel and her father went with them. Eventually Caranthir fortified and settled his people on Amon Ereb, a hill of great strategic importance. And for a while with assistance from the Green Elves, life was rebuilt.
While her father resumed his duties as one of Caranthir's Captains, Danel sought to be of use among the scouts, using her youthful knowledge of hunting to much avail. Though she never mastered the bow as she had the sword, she was adequate in it's use. She rarely ventured out alone, but rather hunted with her two cousins on her mother's side, Brenior and Triwath who had dwelt among the people of Ambarussa.
Then came a fateful day for her. The wild-haired boy had returned from battles in the West, now full grown. But to Caranthir's fury he had lost all but one of Thargelion's valued armour smiths under his first command. So it was he was exiled until he could earn back his name. And in her own anger at what she considered a miscarriage of justice, Danel faced down her long-time advocate and protector. It was utter folly on her behalf to challenge any of the Princes, let alone that one. She parted then on bad terms with Caranthir, who confined her to her house for five years. It was no way to improve her temper, but she learned a valuable lesson. She also learned to speak Nandorin, to use a spear, to cook, and the best method to remove the hopefull suitors sent her way. Her father all but dispared of Caranthir ever forgiving her. Yet the care of that harshest of the Princes for his young relative was enough like that of a much elder cousin that he spoke with Danel at some length shortly before the five years were up. "You liked not any of the Lords I sent you that you returned them to me saying you have the strength of Mahtan himself" he had said. "Send me the one I want and I shall not do so, my Lord Prince." He had laughed at her audacity, but he would not budge. "You will needs wait for that one a very long time," he had eventually replied. "Choose another, for you are past the usual age of betrothal, and I would see you happily wed." Danel stood her ground, though that time without insult. She much regretted that they never really saw eye to eye again.
But eighteen years after their arrival, Caranthir's forces were to depart Amon Ereb, for the most part, to join with others in the Union of Maedhros in a planned attack upon Morgoth and Angband. With them marched many Men. Danel knew not of Men in general. Some she had spoken with were honourable and strong, others of a more 'slippery' nature that she could not quite fathom them out. But for Elf and Man, in those days, there was a rending of warriors from families, though in great hope of finally crushing their greatest foe. Danel remembered the banners as they departed. With her father and cousins among the number heading west, she grieved over being refused a place with them. Her father had been glad, however, not wanting her exposed to the horrors of any battlefield if possible. It was Caranthir's hand, of course, that had sealed her fate. And so she remained with several hundred others, mostly women and children, while their readied army headed for what should have been the most glorious of battles. Had it not been for the Men, and those allied to Caranthir.
The ensuing battle was to be one of the biggest tragedies of her life. Though Danel had known much of what was at stake, she had great hope in Prince Maedhros' plans. The Elven armies were strong. Turgon was to join them from Gondolin, Fingon the Valiant from Hithlum. They were the finest of the Noldor in Middle Earth. Many a Naugrim, most fierce in wrath, marched with them. Many a man clad in fine armour and with brave heart, marched with them. What could stop them? Alas for the traitors, that turned on the Elves to join with Morgoth, and hold back the Feanorians from joining their cousins for three long days. The forces of Fingon and Turgon were assailed by a host thrice their size, and despite great courage and perseverance the battle was lost. There were Men who stood brave and true to the end, and the Naugrim proved themselves time and again. but it was not enough. It was said by those who survived that the traitors were eventually cut down, and that the chief of those, Ulldor the Accursed, was slain by Prince Maglor, though the earliest accounts say it was Dark Caranthir himself. (1)
Sorrow filled was the day those at Amon Ereb espied a weary band of less than six hundred on the distant horizon. They knew. They should have received word of the great victory, but days had passed, days upon days. Like many others, Danel dropped what she was doing, gathered her skirts, and ran out of the fort towards the incoming folk. Some others in the stronghold took horse, and rode with urgency, but her mind could only move her legs, and with urgency. The Captain leading the survivors raised a hand in greeting, and she almost fell to her knees as she realised it was her father. He was covered in dirt and blood, and the sweat of many a day's slow riding, but he was one of those coming home. She looked at those following; some walking, some on horses, some on stretchers. 'The Dagor Bragollach again' Danel had thought, covering her face briefly with her hands. But this was worse by far. The Noldor's strength to give battle was forever crushed. Her father swept her up on his horse and kissed her. 'Be strong, dear one. We are defeated in battle, but will still stand." "So few alive?" She sought through the crowd for the faces she knew best. "Brenior and Triwath are well enough, though he took a wound in the leg. They are both with the Princes though, as are most of those still able." "The Princes, they all live?" Danel asked with a near despairing voice. Her father nodded. "You know them, dear one. They banded together, though hard was their battle to lead us away from utter devastation. They are gathered at Mount Dolmed now. All of them." She had nodded with much relief, then she asked "Did he join them? Does he yet live?" Knowing her mind, her father drew her close, "Oh my dear. Amidst the horror there is this small news i can give to gladden your heart. Indeed he was there, and did such acts against the enemy in his battle fury that not only has Caranthir restored him, but given him the name 'Bloody Spear'. He is forgiven. The Prince knows how terrible a warrior he can be, and has him at his side now whenever he rides." And Danel's heart was indeed glad at the news, but she also knew her duty. Embracing her father, she slid from his horse. "I go attend to the wounded" she said. "We meet again at star rise?" And she did, and they did. Life went on, though not joy. Only ill news reached the Princes' ears, and the remnant at Amon Ereb. There were comings and goings between the two locations, Danel's father travelling often. Maedhros spent some time at the Lonely Hill. Caranthir did not return. Some simply wandered, alone, or in one of many small groups who sought what safety they could find. orcs and wargs roamed the lands also , it seemed that there was nothing to be done to prevent the utter fall of Beleriand. Yet into the darkness came a further darkness. News had come forth that Dior, now King of Doriath, had his parent's stolen Silmaril, and dared to wear it openly. At Mount Dolmed, Celegorm stirred his brother's oaths that they determined to reclaim their father's jewel. Prince Maedhros sent letters to King Dior, asking that what was rightfully his and his brothers was returned to them. He warned of the consequences should this not happen. There was no reply. Danel was far from alone in understanding what this would mean. She spoke a little with friends, and with her father on one of his many visits. But the Princes would do this thing, they were Oathbound so to do, as were many others. As was she. "I come with you," She told her father. "I doubt not your courage nor your skill, daughter mine, but this, with this action we will damn ourselves." "How so?" She had replied."It is the arrogance of Dior that will slay his people, not us." "Nonetheless it will be mayhem and madness," her father said. "And know that your cousins journey not on this, but seek to join with a wandering company." Still she was adamant. So he told her the one thing he thought may change her resolve. He told her the wild haired warrior had been slain in a skirmish. "Travel with your kinfolk, Danel, and start a new life. There is nothing for you here save tears."
And so began Danel's years of sorrow upon sorrow. She was not to know then, nor for more than two ages, that her father had lied to protect her. Though she had not thought overly of that warrior in the thirty four years since his return, she had caught herself wondering at times between duty, how he was and if he were safe. And her hope was in part transferred to a dream they would one day be together. Her hope died with that news. Grieved was her father at what he had done. But he held to his course, and died in the tunnels of Doriath, along with his Prince, Celegorm and Curufin. It was over six thousand years before she found out the truth.
Danel departed Amon Ereb that night, never to return. She joined with her cousins in what was to be the first of many wandering companies. The urge to head north, to ruined Thargelion, was strong, but they all knew only death awaited them there. So her group headed south and west. When news reached them of what had transpired in Doriath, Danel mourned, knowing Caranthir had fallen, and her father most likely too. She mourned for all those she knew who had followed that fell course. Even though she put the blame at Dior's feet, she mourned also for his slain people. And it was all for naught. The Silmaril was elsewhere. Had it not been for Brenior and Triwath she may well have succumbed to despair. And weeks and months and years flew by, became one camp after another. One encounter with another group, exchange news, and on to another place. She grew used to it. Her home was under the stars, her family her fellow travellers. Twenty eight years passed in such a manner, and then, one day came news that the remaining Princes had attacked the Havens of Sirion, having known for a short time the location of the illusive Silmaril, and yet forswearing their Oath until that time. Little consolation was there for Danel, save the knowledge that her father, and her still mourned for warrior, would not have been among that host. They would not have fallen so deep into darkness. News from those who knew Amon Echad was no better, for the hill fortress had been overcome by servants of Morgoth, and the remaining inhabitants fled or died.
But matters were to change. Unbeknown to Danel or her companions, the control of Beleriand by Morgoth was about to be challenged. The horn blasts could be heard for many a mile when the Host of the Valar, and the armies of the Vanya and Noldor of Aman arrived. Hope sprang anew in many a heart, as the news spread to the forest and hill hidden.
The Great War, the War of Wrath as it became known, few were those who could totally avoid its reach. Many of Danel's Wandering friends left the groups to join with one of the remaining Feanorian Lords, or with those Noldor newly disembarked from Teleri ships. It was strange, it was heart-rending to see long parted family and friends great each other, but it was also joyful beyond words. She rode to the main camp, knowing there would be none to greet her, but yet supporting her friends. To her surprise, she was approached by two tall and fair Noldor, Lelyaro and Arnone, who claimed they were there on behalf of her great grandsire. They were tasked with finding, and bringing back to Aman, any of his descendants who would travel. Although she would not join with the couple at that time, she found them honourable and trustworthy, and would seek them out on later occasions. Danel looked to the camps of the two remaining Princes, thinking of joining them, yet she turned away to the company of her cousins, and other's of Ambarussar's folk. They determined they could serve best as a swift strike team having already fought in that manner for some years. For over forty long years the forces of Morgoth did battle with the Host of the Valar. Many terrible things came to pass, as did many noble things. And in the end Beleriand was laid waste, most of it sinking into the sea, it's inhabitants fleeing East. Great were the celebrations when Morgoth was finally overthrown. Great was the sorrow too at all that was lost in achieving that victory. And so began a new Age, the Second Age, and much changed. Danel drifted back to her kin, and a few close friends who had also survived. The Grey Havens were being built at the new coast, and the Kingdom of Lindon, under Gil-Galad was set up. Danel felt drawn to neither, and continued her wandering ways, with new lands to explore. And so life continued for her, until, around 750 years later, the Realm of Eregion was set up. Now Eregion to the south east, had attractions for Danel that Lindon did not. (At least to her knowledge at that time.)
(WIP) 1. The History of Middle-earth, Volume V: The Lost Road. Quenta Silmarillion, "Of the Fourth Battle: Nirnaith Arnediad," §15.
Anything or anyone who threatens her people. Ignorance, and the inevitable long defeat.
Her people, certain of her memories, her crafting. The lands of the Eldar, the stars and the sea. Estarfin since her youth.
Witnessing the decline of the Noldor over the Ages.
Her people, their history, her craft. She is still not ready to leave Middle Earth, and will only do so because she has given her word.