Thus Beren came before King Finrod Felagund; and Felagund knew him, needing no ring to remind him of the kin of Bëor and of Barahir. Behind closed doors they sat, and Beren told of the death of Barahir, and of all that had befallen hi in Doriath; and he wept, recalling Lúthien and their joy together. But Felagund heard his tale in wonder and disquiet; and he knew that the oath he had sworn was come upon him for his death, as long before he had foretold to Galadriel. He spoke then to Beren in heaviness of heart. 'It is plain that Thingol desires your death; but it seems that this doom goes beyond his purpose, and that the Oath of Fëanor is again at work. For the Silmarils are cursed with an oath of hatred, and he that even names them in desire moves a great power from slumber; and the sons of Fëanor would lay all the Elf-kingdoms in ruin rather than suffer any other than themselves to win or possess a Silmaril, for the Oath drives them. And now Celegorm and Curufin are dwelling in my halls; and though I, Finarfin's son, am King, they have won a strong power in the realm, and lead many of their own people. They have shown friendship to me in every need, but I fear that they will show neither love nor mercy to you, if your quest be told. Yet my own oath holds; and thus we are all ensnared.'
Then King Felagund spoke before his people, recalling the deeds of Barahir, and his vow and he declared that it was laid upon him to aid the son of Barahir in his need, and he sought the help of his chieftains. Then Celegorm arose amid the throng, and drawing his sword he cried: 'Be he friend or foe, whether demon of Morgoth, of Elf, or child of Men, or any other living thing in Arda, neither law, nor love, nor league of hell, nor might of the Valar, nor any power of wizardry, shall defend him from the pursuing hate of Fëanor's sons, if he take or find a Silmaril and keep it. For the Silmarils we alone claim, until the world ends.'
Many other words he spoke, as potent as were long before in Tirion the words of his father that first inflamed the Noldor to rebellion. And after Celegorm Curufin spoke, more softly but with no less power, conjuring in the minds of the Elves a vision of war and the ruin of Nargothrond. So great a fear did he set in their hearts that never after until the time of Túrin would any Elf of that realm go into open battle; but with stealth and ambush, with wizardry and venomed dart, they pursued all strangers, forgetting the bonds of kinship. Thus they fell from the valour and freedom of the Elves of old, and their land was darkened.
And now they murmured that Finarfin's son was not as a Vala to command them, and they turned their faces from him. But the curse of Mandos came upon the brothers, and dark thoughts arose in their hearts, thinking to send forth Felagund alone to his death, and to usurp, it might be, the throne of Nargothrond; for they were of the eldest line of the princes of the Noldor.
And Felagund seeing that he was forsaken took from his head the silver crown of Nargothrond and cast it at his feet, saying: 'Your oaths of faith to me you may break, but I must hold my bond. Yet if there be any on whom the shadow of out curse has not yet fallen, I should find at least a few to follow me, and should not go hence as a beggar that is thrust from the gates.' There were ten that stood by him; and the chief of them, who was named Edrahil, stooping lifted the crown and asked that it be given to a steward until Felagund's return. 'for you remain my king, and theirs,' he said, 'whatever betide.'
Then Felagund gave the crown of Nargothrond to Orodreth his brother to govern in his stead; and Celegorm and Curufin said nothing, but they smiled and went from the halls.
On an evening of autumn Felagund and Beren set out from Nargothrond with their ten companions; and they journeyed beside Narog to his source in the Falls of Ivrin. Beneath the Shadowy Mountains they came upon a company of Orcs, and slew them all in their camp by night; and they took their gear and their weapons. By the arts of Felagund their own forms and faces were changed into the likeness of Orcs; and thus disguised they came far upon their northward road, and ventured into the western pass, between Ered Wethrin and the highlands of Taur-nu-Fuin. But Sauron in his tower was ware of them, and doubt took him; for they went in haste, and stayed not to report their deeds, as was commanded to all the servants of Morgoth that passed that way. Therefore he sent to waylay them, and bring them before him.
Thus befell the contest of Sauron and Felagund which is renowned. For Felagund strove with Sauron in songs of
power, ad the power of the King was very great; but Sauron had the mastery, as is told in the Lay of Leithian:
He chanted a song of wizardry,
Of piercing, opening, of treachery,
Revealing, uncovering, betraying.
Then sudden Felagund there swaying,
Sang in a song of staying,
Resisting, battling against power,
Of secrets kept, strength like a tower,
And trust unbroken, freedom, escape;
Of changing and shifting shape,
Of snares eluded, broken traps,
The prison opening, the chain that snaps.
Backwards and forwards swayed their song.
Reeling foundering, as ever more strong
The chanting swelled, Felagund fought,
And all the magic and might he brought
Of Elvenesse into his words.
Softly in the gloom they heard the birds
Singing afar in Nargothrond,
The sighting of the Sea beyond,
Beyond the western world, on sand,
On sand of pearls on Elvenland.
Then in the doom gathered; darkness growing
In Valinor, the red blood flowing
Beside the Sea, where the Noldor slew
The Foamriders, and stealing drew
Their white ships with their white sails
From lamplit havens. The wind wails,
The wolf howls. The ravens flee.
The ice mutters in the mouths of the Sea.
The captives sad in Angband mourn.
Thunder rumbles, the fires burn
And Finrod fell before the throne.
Then Sauron stripped from the their disguise, and they stood before him naked and afraid. But though their kinds were revealed, Sauron could not discover their names or their purposes. He cast them therefore into a deep pit, dark and silent, and threatened to slay them cruel, unless one would betray the truth to him. From time to time they saw two eyes kindled in the dark, and a werewolf devoured one of the companions; but none betrayed their lord.
In the pits of Sauron Beren and Felagund lay, and all their companions were now dead; but Sauron purposed to keep Felagund to the last, for he perceived that he was a Noldo of great might and wisdom, and he deemed that in him lay the secret of their errand. But when the wolf came for Beren, Felagund put forth all his power, and burst his bonds; and he wrestled with the werewolf, and slew it with his hands and teeth; yet he himself was wounded to the death. Then he spoke to Beren, saying: 'I go now to my long rest in the timeless halls beyond the seas and the Mountains of Aman. It will be long ere I am seen among the Noldor again; and it may be that we shall not meet a second time in death or life, for the fates of our kindreds are apart. Farewell!' He died then in the dark, in Tol-in-Gaurhoth, whose great tower he himself had built. Thus King Finrod Felagund, fairest and most beloved of the house of Finwë, redeemed his oath; but Beren mourned beside him in despair.
In that hour Lúthien came, and standing upon the bridge that led to Sauron's isle she sang a song that no walls of stone could hinder. Beren heard, and he thought that he dreamed; for the stars shone above him, and in the trees nightingales were singing. And in answer he sang a song of challenge that he had made in praise of the Seven Stars, the Sickle of the Valar that Varda hung above the North as a sign for the fall of Morgoth. Then all strength left him and he fell down into darkness.