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Library: The Shamebearer and the Balrog

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Author: nosunrise
Date:Apr 25 2020

It is said that a small group of Hurin's people were driven apart from
their kin during the fifth battle, Nirnaeth Arnoediad. Lead by Bergoland
the Swift, they retreated in the face of the overwhelming enemy;
bitterly leaving behind the remnants of the House of Hador, whom the
forces of Angband drove to Fen Serech. Sorrowfilled was the retreat as
many were slain and captured and taken to the dungeons of the north and
so they fled until their legs gave on them. So it was that Bergoland the Swift
gathered his men in grievous spirits, such was the shame and grief of
the men that an oath they swore to live a life of peace and never to
return to their kin, for whom they could not bare to face. Bergoland forsook
his name and took on the title of Shamebearer, for he alone bore the shame
of his men. Their weapons were wrought into ploughs and shiny mails into
tools and they learned to hew down the wood and to sow the seeds of Yavanna
and they learned to hunt the creatures of Orome and Ulmo. And a fair
vale, guarded southwards by high mountains, westwards by the ragings
seas and northward by great woods, became their dominion and this
land they named Dor Camdagor, Land of the Battleless. In that time the
Camdagor lived in bliss, becoming adept in their skills and trades and a
solemn people they were, burdened by the shame and grief of their
retreat from the fifth battle. At length they prospered by their labours
and so it was that the spies of Angband took notice and brought tidings
to the ear of Morgoth and Morgoth was angered to see the beauty of the
land and the great skills of the Camdagor. Thus it passed in the year
that ended Turin that out of the north came a host of orcs lead by a fiery
balrog and Dor Camdagor was ravaged, its men slain and its lands
defiled. The orcs hewed the heads of the fallen men and piled them and the
land they salted so nothing grew there for a hundred years. Bergoland the
Shamebearer and some of his men were at the shores of the great sea
capturing the creations of Ulmo and so they escaped the fall of the
Camdagor and to smouldering ruins they returned and with grim faces they
buried their fellow men. Now the Camdagor had lost all and they wandered
aimlessly through the hills, words were not spoken and tears were not
shed, for long ago had their tears run out. Then the remnants of the
Camdagor came upon a host of orcs and a terrible creature with fiery
wings and eyes so horrible none dare look into them. And the creature, a
lesser balrog from the deeps of Angband took notice of the men and turned
its eyes towards them and exhaled a single word: "Burzuhm" and a vile
darkness fell upon them. In the darkness the fiery whip of the small balrog
shone bright cutting the flesh of mortal men and the laughter of orcs
rang coldly in the air. And as the darkness dissolved all men lay dead
upon the hills, save Bergoland who lay bleeding under the foot of the
balrog. Then the balrog spoke and said: "Here ends the last of the
Camdagor." And slowly the fiery whip rose high in the air. "Nay, balrog
of Angband", said Bergoland, "not all have fallen and the day will not
come." Then the balrog lifted Bergoland high in the air and said, "Thy
life you will keep, mortal man, shall thou lead us to those not fallen."
Now Bergoland made no answer for grief gripped his throat and when the
balrog raised its fiery whip again Bergoland spoke: "I shall lead thee
to my host, servant of Morgoth Bauglir, if thee spare my life." To this
the balrog let out a cold laughter: "cowardly mortal, I shall let ye
live for this" and the orcs mocked Bergoland. So it was that Bergoland lead
the host of orcs through the hills towards the high mountains in the
south, and two days and one night they journeyed until upon a deep chasm
they came. There Bergoland turned to the balrog and spoke with a high
voice: "I lead thee here, betraying my kin, now keep thy promise and set
me free and thou will never see me again." The balrog answered:
"cowardly man, deserter of thy kin, I see a chasm before me but not the
men thou promised. Thou hast betrayed me and shall be slayed for that."
"Thou can not see the secrets of my people from here", answered
Bergoland hastily, "but unshackle me and I can lead thee down the chasm
to the hidden gates." "Thou lies betray you, for if I set thee free,
thou shall escape." "Nay, mighty balrog, I can point ye to the gates of
my people if thee set free one of my weak arms", Bergoland begged. Then
the balrog gave a sign and an orc came and let loose one of Bergoland's
arms and Bergoland pointed towards the bottom of the chasm. And as the
balrog leaned closer to look, Bergoland gripped its fiery wing and
pulled the balrog with him down the chasm. As they fell, the balrog let
out a terrible cry that shook the mountains and a great wind swept the
place. The orcs screamed in terror and scattered, some falling into the
gaping chasm and none of them ever returning to Angband. So ended the
tragedy of Bergoland the Swift, forgotten, sung by none.


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