Of the Return of the Noldor
Fëanor and his sons, upon coming to Lammoth and setting fire to the ships, drew the attention of both Fingolfin still in Aman and the Orcs of Morgoth. After Fëanor’s people had settled in Mithrim, they were assaulted by Morgoth’s minions in the Battle-under-Stars, and though they’d been taken at unawares, the Noldor were swiftly victorious.
Fëanor, though, in his wrath, kept pursuit, thinking to come to Morgoth himself, and Balrogs came upon him. Fëanor was wounded but fought bravely, and before he was killed, his sons arrived and drove away the Balrogs. Before he died, he asked them to renew their oath and avenge his death and three times cursed the name of Morgoth. So strong was the fire of his spirit that it burned his body to ash.
In the hour of Fëanor’s death, Morgoth sent a messenger conceding defeat, and Maedhros—the eldest son of Fëanor—wished to feign treaty with him. But Morgoth was also treacherous in his intent, and he arrived with a larger force than Maedhros and captured him, holding him hostage until the Noldor agreed to depart from Beleriand and forsake the war. The sons of Fëanor, knowing that Morgoth would not release their brother and being bound by their oath, could do nothing, and Morgoth hung Maedhros from a precipice of Thangorodrim by his right hand in a band of steel.
Meanwhile, Fingolfin had returned to Middle-earth, and the servants of Morgoth fled in terror from the light of the sun. Fingolfin and his people smote upon the gates of Angband but were not answered and so retreated to Mithrim. There was much animosity toward the people of Fëanor by the people of Fingolfin, who had endured much hardship in crossing the ice. The people of Fëanor marveled at the return of their kinsmen, and indeed, many repented of the burning but would not meet with Fingolfin’s folk for shame.
It was as the curse had said: that fear of treachery should impede what the Noldor may accomplish. But Fingon, the eldest son of Fingolfin and once a good friend of Maedhros, vowed to heal the divide between their people. Alone and telling no one of his intentions, Fingon went to Thangorodrim under a cover of darkness to search for his cousin. In defiance of Morgoth, he sang a song of Valinor and Maedhros sang back in answer. Fingon found him then, but could not reach his cousin high upon Thangorodrim. Maedhros begged Fingon to kill him with his bow, but even as Fingon prepared to do so, Thorondor of the Great Eagles of Manwë flew down and bore Fingon to Maedhros. The steel of Angband would not be released from the rock, so Fingon cut Maedhros’s hand off at the wrist.
Maedhros was healed over time and Fingon justly won renown for his deed. Maedhros also begged the pardon of Fingolfin for the desertion of Araman and turned over to him the kingship of the Noldor, healing the feud between their people. The united Noldor set watch upon Angband from the east, south, and west and began to explore the realm of Beleriand.
King Thingol in Doriath did not like the idea of so many princes arrived from the west and, under the wisdom of Melian, did not trust that the peace would last and would not remove the Girdle from Doriath. Only the children of Finarfin were allowed in his realm, for their mother Eärwen was the daughter of his brother Olwë. Angrod was the first to visit Doriath, and he told Thingol of the Noldor but not of the exile, oath, and kinslaying. Thingol gave leave for the Noldor to dwell north and east of his realm but would not give permission for any to live in Doriath or to assume control over his people living elsewhere in Beleriand, making a claim as king of all of Beleriand.
The Noldor held council in Mithrim, and Angrod returned bearing Thingol’s message, and it angered the sons of Fëanor, though Maedhros held that Thingol would be glad to have descendents of Finwë as his neighbors, protecting his borders. The Noldor then took their realms. Maedhros chose the northernmost realm called the March of Maedhros where attack from Angband would fall first. Caranthir also met the first Dwarves, and although they did not like each other, they formed an allegiance out of mutual hate for Morgoth, and the Dwarves learned much of the Noldor while great riches came to Caranthir.
After twenty years, Fingolfin held a festival to which all the Elves of Beleriand came, and there was joy and peace for Morgoth was shut behind his gates. Thirty years after the festival, Turgon and Finrod journeyed together along the River Sirion, and Ulmo came to each in dreams, bidding him to seek secret strongholds. Admiring the caves of Menegroth, Finrod sought Thingol’s counsel and was told of a series of caves along the River Narog, and Finrod there built his underground realm Nargothrond with the help of Dwarves from the Blue Mountains. The Dwarves also made for him a necklace called Nauglamír of exceptional loveliness, and he was afterwards known as Felagund, “hewer of caves.”
When Finrod went forth into his realm, but Galadriel would not follow for the great love between her and Celeborn, kinsman of Thingol. In Doriath she remained and learned the wisdom of Melian.
Turgon remembered and longed for Tirion, and Ulmo came again to him and had him go again into the Vale of Sirion, where he found a hidden place encircled by mountains with a hill of stone at its center. In secret, he began to devise a realm located there, fashioned after Tirion.
Morgoth, meanwhile, decided to test his strength again, but his forces were assailed on either side by the people of Fingolfin and Maedhros and quickly defeated in what would later be called the Dagor Aglareb, the Glorious Battle. The Noldor then drew closer to Angband and maintained for four hundred years the Siege of Angband when no servant of Morgoth dared past its gates for fear of the Noldorin wrath. They could not, however, hold their leaguer to the north, where there was impassable snow and ice, and through this area, he sent orcs to take alive as many of the Eldar as they could. Setting fear in them, he released them again among their people to spread foul rumors and ignite dissension. The first of the dragons, Glaurang, also came upon the Elves at this time, but was driven back by Fingon and his archers.
Great peace and prosperity lay upon Beleriand for hundreds of years, and wonderful things were accomplished. In places, the Noldor and the Sindar became as united as one people, although the Noldor were stronger and wiser. The Sindar, though, possessed greater love of natural things and were more skilled in music.