Never Look Back by Independence1776
Now Elros and Elrond his brother were descended from the Three Houses of the Edain, but in part also both from the Eldar and the Maiar; for Idril of Gondolin and Lúthien daughter of Melian were their foremothers. The Valar indeed may not withdraw the gift of death, which comes to Men from Ilúvatar, but in the matter of the Half-elven Ilúvatar gave to them the judgement; and they judged that to the sons of Eärendil should be given choice of their own destiny.
Elenna by Lyra
Then the Edain set sail upon the deep waters, following the Star; and the Valar laid a peace upon the sea for many days, and sent sunlight and a sailing wind, so that the waters glittered before the eyes of the Edain like rippling glass, and the foam flew like snow before the stems of their ships.
Eönwë Among the Edain by Fiondil
Eönwë came among them and taught them; and they were given wisdom and power and life more enduring than any others of mortal races have possessed.
How the East Was Won† by Pandemonium_213
Then Sauron was ashamed, and he was unwilling to return in humiliation and to receive from the Valar a sentence, it might be, of long servitude in proof of his good faith; for under Morgoth his power had been great. Therefore when Eönwë departed he hid himself in Middle-earth; and he fell back into evil, for the bonds that Morgoth had laid upon him were very strong.
Anadûnai by Darth Fingon
Thus the years passed, and while Middle-earth went backward and light and wisdom faded, the Dúnedain dwelt under the protection of the Valar and in the friendship of the Eldar, and they increased in stature both of mind and body.
Tenn' Ambar-Metta by Fiondil
But they did not thus escape from the doom of death that Ilúvatar had set upon all Mankind, and they were mortal still, though their years were long, and they knew no sickness, ere the shadow fell upon them. Therefore they grew wise and glorious, and in all things more like to the Firstborn than any other of the kindreds of Men; and they were tall, taller than the tallest of the sons of Middle-earth; and the light of their eyes was like the bright stars.
Seek the Horizon, Númenor's Sons by Dawn Felagund
Above all arts they nourished shipbuilding and sea-craft, and they became mariners whose like shall never be again since the world was diminished; and voyaging upon the wide seas was the chief feat and adventure of their hardy men in the gallant days of their youth.
The Ban of the Valar by Fiondil
At times, when all the air was clear and the sun was in the east, they would look out and descry far off in the west a city white-shining on a distant shore, and a great harbour and a tower. For in those days the Númenóreans were far-sighted; yet even so it was only the keenest eyes among them that could see this vision, from the Meneltarma, maybe, or from some tall ship that lay off their western coast as far as it was lawful for them to go. For they did not dare to break the Ban of the Lords of the West.
Into This Wild Abyss: The Measure of Dreams by Pandemonium_213
In this Age, as is elsewhere told, Sauron arose again in Middle-earth, and grew, and turned back to the evil in which he was nurtured by Morgoth, becoming mighty in his service. Already in the days of Tar-Minastir, the eleventh King of Númenor, he had fortified the land of Mordor and had built there the Tower of Barad-dûr, and thereafter he strove ever for the dominion of Middle-earth, to become a king over all kings and as a god unto Men.
Mavoinë by Fiondil
Thus it was that a shadow fell upon them: in which maybe the will of Morgoth was at work that still moved in the world. And the Númenóreans began to murmur, at first in their hearts, and then in open words, against the doom of Men, and most of all against the Ban which forbade them to sail into the West.
Brothers by Dawn Felagund
Then Tar-Ancalimon, son of Atanamir, became King, and he was of like mind; and in his day the people of Númenor became divided. On the one hand was the greater party, and they were called the King's Men, and they grew proud and were estranged from the Eldar and the Valar.
The Embalmer's Apprentice by Lyra
Yet they achieved only the art of preserving incorrupt the dead flesh of Men, and they filled all the land with silent tombs in which the thought of death was enshrined in the darkness.
Into This Wild Abyss: The Talisman† by Pandemonium_213
Now he learned that the kings of Númenor had increased in power and splendour, and he hated them the more; and he feared them, lest they should invade his lands and wrest from him the dominion of the East.
Every Wish by Independence1776
For Ar-Gimilzôr the twenty-second king was the greatest enemy of the Faithful. In his day the White Tree was untended and began to decline; and he forbade utterly the use of the Elven-tongues, and punished those that welcomed the ships of Eressëa, that still came secretly to the west-shores of the land.
Falling Stars† by Independence1776
They desired to end all friendship between their people and the Eldar of Eressëa, whom they named the Spies of the Valar, hoping to keep their deeds and their counsels hidden from the Lords of the West. But all that they did was known to Manwë, and the Valar were wroth with the Kings of Númenor, and gave them counsel and protection no more; and the ships of Eressëa came never again out of the sunset, and the havens of Andúnië were forlorn.
Even Roses Have Thorns† by Lady Roisin
There was a lady Inzilbêth, renowned for her beauty, and her mother was Lindórië, sister of Eärendur, the Lord of Andúnië in the days of Ar-Sakalthôr father of Ar-Gimilzôr. Gimilzôr took her to wife, though this was little to her liking, for she was in heart one of the Faithful, being taught by her mother; but the kings and their sons were grown proud and not to be gainsaid in their wishes. No love was there between Ar-Gimilzôr and his queen, or between their sons.
The Far-Seeing King by Lady Roisin
Inziladûn, the elder, was like his mother in mind as in body; but Gimilkhâd, the younger, went with his father, unless he were yet prouder and more wilful. To him Ar-Gimilzôr would have yielded the sceptre rather than to the elder son, if the laws had allowed.
To Stand Fast Against the Night by Fiondil
But when Inziladûn acceded to the sceptre, he took again a title in the Elven-tongue as of old, calling himself Tar-Palantir, for he was far-sighted both in eye and in mind, and even those that hated him feared his words as those of a true-seer.
The Day the Numenoreans Left by Aiwen
For Pharazôn son of Gimilkhâd had become a man yet more restless and eager for wealth and power than his father. He had fared often abroad, as a leader in the wars that the Númenóreans made then in the coastlands of Middle-earth, seeking to extend their dominion over Men; and thus he had won great renown as a captain both by land and by sea.
In the days of their youth together Amandil had been dear to Pharazôn ...
Prisoners of Conscience by JDE
And it came to pass that Tar-Palantir grew weary of grief and died. He had no son, but a daughter only, whom he named Míriel in the Elven-tongue; and to her now by right and the laws of the Númenóreans came the sceptre. But Pharazôn took her to wife against her will, doing evil in this and evil also in that the laws of Númenor did not permit the marriage, even in the royal house, of those more nearly akin than cousins m the second degree. And when they were wedded, he seized the sceptre into his own hand, taking the title of Ar-Pharazôn (Tar-Calion in the Elven-tongue); and the name of his queen he changed to Ar-Zimraphel.
Hostage by SurgicalSteel
And Sauron came. Even from his mighty tower of Barad-dûr he came, and made no offer of battle. For he perceived that the power and majesty of the Kings of the Sea surpassed all rumour of them, so that he could not trust even the greatest of his servants to withstand them; and he saw not his time yet to work his will with the Dúnedain. And he was crafty, well skilled to gain what he would by subtlety when force might not avail. Therefore he humbled himself before Ar-Pharazôn and smoothed his tongue; and men wondered, for all that he said seemed fair and wise.
The Last Temptation by Fireworks
Yet such was the cunning of his mind and mouth, and the strength of his hidden will, that ere three years had passed he had become closest to the secret counsels of the King; for flattery sweet as honey was ever on his tongue, and knowledge he had of many things yet unrevealed to Men.
His Own Dark Designs by Independence1776
And Ar-Pharazôn said: 'Who is the Lord of the Darkness?'
Then behind locked doors Sauron spoke to the King, and he lied, saying: 'It is he whose name is not now spoken; for the Valar have deceived you concerning him. His name is Melkor, Lord of All, Giver of Freedom, and he shall make you stronger than they.'
A Game of Risk by Lyra
Isildur said no word, but went out by night and did a deed for which he was afterwards renowned.
A Struggle with Darkness by Fireworks
But Sauron caused to be built upon the hill in the midst of the city of the Númenóreans, Armenelos the Golden, a mighty temple; and it was in the form of a circle at the base, and there the walls were fifty feet in thickness, and the width of the base was five hundred feet across the centre, and the walls rose from the ground five hundred feet, and they were crowned with a mighty dome. And that dome was roofed all with silver, and rose glittering in the sun, so that the light of it could be seen afar off; but soon the light was darkened, and the silver became black.
While We Live by JDE
And the first fire upon the altar Sauron kindled with the hewn wood of Nimloth, and it crackled and was consumed; but men marvelled at the reek that went up from it, so that the land lay under a cloud for seven days, until slowly it passed into the west.
Sacrifice† by SurgicalSteel
Thereafter the fire and smoke went up without ceasing; for the power of Sauron daily increased, and in that temple, with spilling of blood and torment and great wickedness, men made sacrifice to Melkor that he should release them from Death.
War Children by Fireworks
And they sailed now with power and armoury to Middle-earth, and they came no longer as bringers of gifts, nor even as rulers, but as fierce men of war. And they hunted the men of Middle-earth and took their goods and enslaved them, and many they slew cruelly upon their altars.
Into This Wild Abyss: This Mortal Coil by Pandemonium_213
Now came the hour that Sauron had prepared and long had awaited. And Sauron spoke to the King, saying that his strength was now so great that he might think to have his will in all things, and be subject to no command or ban.
A-chibi-bêth in August: A Comic Interlude by Whitewave
And Sauron, sitting in his black seat in the midst of the Temple, had laughed ...
At the Edge of the World by Lady Roisin
It is said that Amandil set sail in a small ship at night, and steered first eastward, and then went about and passed into the west. And he took with him three servants, dear to his heart, and never again were they heard of by word or sign in this world, nor is there any tale or guess of their fate.
Fear and Wonder by Lady Roisin
But Elendil did all that his father had bidden, and his ships lay off the east coast of the land; and the Faithful put aboard their wives and their children, and their heirlooms, and great store of goods.
Into This Wild Abyss: A Tempest's Name by Pandemonium_213, Illustrated by Lady Elleth
And out of the west there would come at times a great cloud in the evening, shaped as it were an eagle, with pinions spread to the north and the south; and slowly it would loom up, blotting out the sunset, and then uttermost night would fall upon Númenor. And some of the eagles bore lightning beneath their wings, and thunder echoed between sea and cloud.
Small Expectations by Noliel
But pride was now his master, and at last he left his ship and strode upon the shore, claiming the land for his own, if none should do battle for it. And a host of the Númenóreans encamped in might about Túna, whence all the Eldar had fled.
Bedtime Tales of the Sun by Dawn Felagund
But Ilúvatar showed forth his power, and he changed the fashion of the world. And those that sailed furthest set but a girdle about the Earth and returned weary at last to the place of their beginning; and they said:
'All roads are now bent.'
Zimraphel by Noliel
And last of all the mounting wave, green and cold and plumed with foam, climbing over the land, took to its bosom Tar-Míriel the Queen, fairer than silver or ivory or pearls. Too late she strove to ascend the steep ways of the Meneltarma to the holy place; for the waters overtook her, and her cry was lost in the roaring of the wind.
I who loved her by Dawn Felagund
But Ar-Pharazôn the King and the mortal warriors that had set foot upon the land of Aman were buried under falling hills: there it is said that they lie imprisoned in the Caves of the Forgotten, until the Last Battle and the Day of Doom.
The Hidden Lady by Rhapsody
In that time those of the Númenóreans who were saved from destruction fled eastward, as is told in the Akallabêth. The chief of these were Elendil the Tall and his sons, Isildur and Anárion. Kinsmen of the King they were, descendants of Elros, but they had been unwilling to listen to Sauron, and had refused to make war on the Lords of the West. Manning their ships with all who remained faithful they forsook the land of Númenor ere ruin came upon it. They were mighty men and their ships were strong and tall, but the tempests overtook them, and they were borne aloft on hills of water even to the clouds, and they descended upon Middle-earth like birds of the storm.
Into This Wild Abyss: On the Perilous Edge by Pandemonium_213
But Sauron was not of mortal flesh, and though he was robbed now of that shape in which he had wrought so great an evil, so that he could never again appear fair to the eyes of Men, yet his spirit arose out of the deep and passed as a shadow and a black wind over the sea, and came back to Middle-earth and to Mordor that was his home.
The Wrong Way to the Indies by Fireworks
Thus it was that great mariners among them would still search the empty seas, hoping to come upon the Isle of Meneltarma, and there to see a vision of things that were. But they found it not.
A Mighty Bridge Invisible by Noliel
And tales and rumours arose along the shores of the sea concerning mariners and men forlorn upon the water who, by some fate or grace or favour of the Valar, had entered in upon the Straight Way and seen the face of the world sink below them, and so had come to the lamplit quays of Avallónë, or verily to the last beaches on the margin of Aman, and there had looked upon the White Mountain, dreadful and beautiful, before they died.
Coda by Marta
Thus in after days, what by the voyages of ships, what by lore and star-craft, the kings of Men knew that the world was indeed made round, and yet the Eldar were permitted still to depart and to come to the Ancient West and to Avallónë, if they would.
The Man Who Grew Tomatoes by Pandemonium_213
And those that sailed far came only to the new lands ...
Akallabêth in August began in August 2006 on the Silmarillion Writers' Guild as a challenge aimed at enticing authors to write stories, poems, and ficlets set in the Second Age. The challenge was repeated for the next two years and, as the SWG became home to more writers constructing pieces set in this period, in 2008 was also used to spotlight existing Akallabêth stories on our archive.
The Second Age is one of the darkest, most tumultous, and--as a result--most interesting periods in the history of Middle-earth and Arda. Yet it is often overlooked, falling into the cracks between most Silmarillion-based fiction--usually set in the First Age or earlier--and most Lord of the Rings-inspired fiction, which focuses on the events at the end of the Third Age. This year's project, we hope, will give our Second Age writers and artists the opportunity to tell the story of the turbid period in history as only they can.
This year, we invited our Second-Age authors on the archive--and anyone else who wished to contribute--to "retell" the story of the Akallabêth. But when we say "retell," we don't mean recapping the events that we can all read about in the book. Instead, the authors and artists who have contributed to this year's project have taken the familiar tales of the Akallabêth and illuminated them, showing them from unfamiliar perspectives or in greater detail or with new interpretations. Throughout the month of August, we will present at least one new piece every day, taking all of us as readers on a journey through the Akallabêth and to the dark culmination of the Second Age.
We would like to thank Lady Roisin who, in conjunction with her group the Númenórean Writers and Researchers Guild provided invaluable advice and guidance througout the project, in addition to contributing the gorgeous banners and icons for event participants to display. Dawn also owes thanks to the co-moderators of the SWG, who are always endlessly patient and enthusiastic when putting together events like these, and their support and ideas are the reason we can hold these events at all. Special thanks are due to Angelica, who converted most of the event's stories into HTML while never losing her good cheer and, right up to the end, continued to insist that it was "good practice."
But, as always, our primary thanks go to the authors and artists who contributed to this year's project: Independence1776, Lyra, Fiondil, Pandemonium, Darth Fingon, Lady Roisin, Aiwen, JDE, SurgicalSteel, Fireworks, Whitewave, Lady Elleth, Noliel, Rhapsody, and Marta (with extra-special gratitude owed Fireworks and JDE, who acted as "pinch hitters" and often had only a few days' notice to complete the stories that they wrote). We hope that you will enjoy their contributions as much as we have!