Friday, 24 July 2009

The Mistress, Chapter I: Smith of too great skill

It’s hard for me even to start writing about Amarthiel because I feel that my word-smith skills are not sufficient to address a subject so complicated and so important for me. This piece lore, even though coming completely from Turbine, not only seems to fit perfectly into the puzzle of lore left by Tolkien, but also – at least in my humble opinion – is worthy of other works of the Master.

I also must admit that I got mesmerized by Amarthiel – I have a soft spot for villains in general and it grows even softer for beautiful, strong femme fatale. And the Lady in Red – well, she hit right into the bull’s eye… I can remember exactly the first time she sent a little shiver down my spine, long ago when my Silirien was still wielding a bow and when she first reached Fornost – and I didn’t even got to know her name back then, nor if she was anyone important. A shade of a traitorous warrior from the time of the Battle of Fornost mentioned a Champion of Angmar for whom he betrayed, using a she as a reference. I picked that line immediately, because the lore of Middle Earth is characterized by a strange absence of female characters.

The story evolved slowly, first as a background-lore of side quests and later taking over the main stream of epic books by storm. I also well remember the confusion once it turned out that both currents of the story seemed to differ from each other. But as I began to give the story more and more thought, I began to think that even if this difference was due to a mistake Turbine storywriters made, it didn’t compromise the tale, but in fact it gave it more depth. But I shall keep those remarks for later. I gave in into by boyfriend's plea to publish the story in chapters; maybe this will motivate me to elaborate a bit more on the story covered by epic books - I didn't see much need in going into details of something everyone can dig up easily and at first I simply concentrated on the facts hidden between the lines.
I'm also holding back an awesome character design made by Gorrem, it will make the last chapter.

The tale of Amarthiel begins in Eregion of the Second Age, where a Noldor* maiden by the Name of Narmeleth, daughter of Laerdan lived in Mirobel**. She was a Forge-Maiden (as Glorfindel refers to her when he tests her heart few thousand years later), a Smith of too great skill by the words of her father who, like many artisans of Eregion, fell under the spell of Sauron.
For somewhere in the around year 1900 of the Second Age, after recovering from the loss of his Master, Sauron initiated a scheme that he hoped would enable him to subjugate the Elves to his power. Assuming a beautiful appearance and calling himself Annatar "Lord of Gifts" (Antheron “Gift-lord” in game) Sauron befriended the Elven-smiths of Eregion, led by Celebrimbor, and counselled them in arts and magic. Some of the Elves distrusted him, especially the Lady Galadriel and Gil-galad, the High King of the Noldor. The Elves in Eregion, however, did not heed their warnings.
Among them was Narmeleth, who – as I dare to say, even though no direct hints to this have been given in the game lore – fell for him not only like an apprentice falls for the Master and his knowledge as he promised to show her how to make things not even the mind of Fëanor has imagined, but also like a woman falling for a man. How else would one break a woman’s spirit so completely, if not through love? Was there any other reason for Tolkien’s heroines to disobey their fathers to such extent, if not love? But in the end, the reasons are of lesser importance here. In her session play, we see Narmeleth sneaking out into the woods to meet Sauron, disobeying her father who already forbade her to speak with the Gift-lord – still in his beautiful appearance – secretly, but followed by Laerdan. After a confrontation, Narmeleth decides to leave with Sauron against her father’s wishes, and Laerdan doesn’t stop her. As I believe, they then set out for the Mount Doom in Mordor, because once Sauron left Eregion to forge The One Ring, he never returned: as soon as he wore the Ring, the Elves became aware of his true intent. While they are leaving, Sauron promises her that They shall begin her learning immediately - how bitter this sentence sounds! Narmeleth herself confesses in Book 15 Sauron took me away... and broke my mind…

* Not only were the elves of Eregion of the Noldor lineage, but also Narmeleth herself in her session play comments 'Dost thou see? No uruk can withstand the might of the Noldor!'
** Also in Narmeleth session play Laerdan urges her ‘Come, Narmeleth. We are returning to Mirobel at once!’

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