Page 19 of The Silmarillion



It is told that for a time Melkor was not seen again in Valinor, nor was any rumour heard of him, until suddenly he came to Formenos, and spoke with Feanor before his doors. Friendship he feigned with cunning argument, urging him to his former thought of flight from the trammels of the Valar; and he said: 'Behold the truth of all that I have spoken, and how thou art banished unjustly. But if the heart of Feanor is yet free and bold as were his words in Tirion,  then I will aid him, and bring him far from this narrow land. For am I not Vala also? Yea, and more than those who sit in pride in Valimar; and I have ever been a friend to the Noldor, most skilled and most valiant of the people of Arda.'

Now Feanor's heart was still bitter at his humiliation before Mandos, and he looked at Melkor in silence, pondering if indeed he might yet trust him so far as to aid him in his flight. And Melkor, seeing that Feanor wavered, and knowing that the Silmarils held his heart in thrall, said at the last: 'Here is a strong place, and well guarded; but think not that the Silmarils will lie safe in any treasury within the realm of the Valar!'

But his cunning overreached his aim; his words touched too deep, and awoke a fire more fierce than he designed; and Feanor looked upon Melkor with eyes that burned through his fair semblance and pierced the cloaks of his mind, perceiving there his fierce lust for the Silmarils. Then hate overcame Feanor's fear, and he cursed Melkor and bade him be gone, saying: 'Get thee gone from my gate, thou jail-crow of Mandos!' And he shut the doors of his house in the face of the mightiest of all the dwellers in Ea.

Then Melkor departed in shame, for he was himself in peril, and he saw not his time yet for revenge; but his heart was black with anger. And Finwe was filled with great fear, and in haste he sent messengers to Manwe in Valmar.

Now the Valar were sitting in council before their gates, fearing the lengthening of the shadows, when the messengers came from Formenos. At once Orome and Tulkas sprang up, but even as they set out in pursuit messengers came from Eldamar, telling that Melkor had fled through the Calacirya, and from the hill of Tuna the Elves had seen him pass in wrath as a thundercloud. And they said that thence he had turned northward, for the Teleri in Alqualonde had seen his shadow going by their haven towards Araman.

Thus Melkor departed from Valinor, and for a while the Two Trees shone again unshadowed, and the land was filled with light. But the Valar sought in vain for tidings of their enemy; and as a cloud far off that looms ever higher, borne upon a slow cold wind, a doubt now marred the joy of all the dwellers in Aman, dreading they knew not what evil that yet might come.

Chapter 8


Of the Darkening of Valinor When Manwe heard of the ways that Melkor had taken, it seemed plain to him that he purposed to escape to his old strongholds in the north of Middle-earth; and Orome and Tulkas went with all speed northward, seeking to overtake him if they might, but they found no trace or rumour of him beyond the shores of the Teleri, in the unpeopled wastes that drew near to the Ice. Thereafter the watch was redoubled along the northern fences of Aman; but to no purpose, for ere ever the pursuit set out Melkor had turned back, and in secrecy passed away far to the south. For he was yet as one of the Valar, and could change his form, or walk unclad, as could his brethren; though that power he was soon to lose for ever.

Thus unseen he came at last to the dark region of Avathar. That narrow land lay south of the Bay of Eldamar, beneath the eastern feet of the Pelori, and its long and mournful shores stretched away into the south, lightless and unexplored. There, beneath the sheer walls of the mountains and the cold dark sea, the shadows were deepest and thickest in the world; and there in Avathar, secret and unknown, Ungoliant had made her abode. The Eldar knew not whence she came; but some have said that in ages long before she descended from the darkness that lies about Arda, when Melkor first looked down in envy upon the Kingdom of Manwe, and that in the beginning she was one of those that he corrupted to his service. But she had disowned her Master, desiring to be mistress of her own lust, taking all things to herself to feed her emptiness; and she fled to the south, escaping the assaults of the Valar and the hunters of Orome, for their vigilance had ever been to the north, and the south was long unheeded. Thence she had crept towards the light of the Blessed Realm; for she hungered for light and hated it.

In a ravine she lived, and took shape as a spider of monstrous form, weaving her black webs in a cleft of the mountains. There she sucked up all light that she could find, and spun it forth again in dark nets of strangling gloom, until no light more could come to her abode; and she was famished.

Now Melkor came to Avathar and sought her out; and he put on again the form that he had worn as the tyrant of Utumno: a dark Lord, tall and terrible. In that form he remained ever after. There in the black shadows, beyond the sight even of Manwe in his highest halls, Melkor with Ungoliant plotted his revenge. But when Ungoliant understood the purpose of Melkor, she was torn between lust and great fear; for she was loath to dare the perils of Aman and the power of the dreadful Lords, and she would not stir from her hiding. Therefore Melkor said to her: 'Do as I bid; and if thou hunger still when all is done, then I will give thee whatsoever thy lust may demand. Yea, with both hands.' Lightly he made this vow, as he ever did; and he laughed in his heart. Thus did the great thief set his lure for the lesser.

A cloak of darkness she wove about them when Melkor and Ungoliant set forth; an Unlight, in which things seemed to be no more, and which eyes could not pierce, for it was void. Then slowly she wrought her webs: rope by rope from cleft to cleft, from jutting rock to pinnacle of stone, ever climbing upwards, crawling and clinging, until at last she reached the very summit of Hyarmentir, the highest mountain in that region of the world, far south of great Taniquetil. There the Valar were not vigilant; for west of the Pelori was an empty land in twilight, and eastward the mountains looked out, save for forgotten Avathar, only upon the dim waters of the pathless sea. But now upon the mountain-top dark Ungoliant lay; and she made a ladder of woven ropes and cast it down, and Melkor climbed upon it and came to that high place, and stood beside her, looking down upon the Guarded Realm. Below them lay the woods of Orome, and westward shimmered the fields and pastures of Yavanna, gold beneath the tall wheat of the gods. Bat Melkor looked north, and saw afar the shining plain, and the silver domes of Valmar gleaming in the mingling of the lights of Telperion and Laurelin. Then Melkor laughed aloud, and leapt swiftly down the long western slopes; and Ungoliant was at his side, and her darkness covered them.

Now it was a time of festival, as Melkor knew well. Though all tides and seasons were at the will of the Valar, and in Valinor there was no winter of death, nonetheless they dwelt then in the Kingdom of Arda, and that was but a small realm in the halls of Ea, whose life is Time, which flows ever from the first note to the last chord of Eru. And even as it was then the delight of the Valar (as is told in the Ainulindale) to clothe themselves as in a vesture in the forms of the Children of Iluvatar, so also did they eat and drink, and gather the fruits of Yavanna from the Earth, which under Eru they had made.

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