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The Silmarillion(13)
Author: J.R.R. Tolkien

The Eldar prepared now a great march from their first homes in the east; and they were arrayed in three hosts.

The smallest host and the first to set forth was led by Ingwe, the most high lord of all the Elvish race. He entered into Valinor and sits at the feet of the Powers, and all Elves revere his name; but he came never back, nor looked again upon Middle-earth. The Vanyar were his people; they are the Fair Elves, the beloved of Manwe and Varda, and few among Men have spoken with them.

Next came the Noldor, a name of wisdom, the people of Finwe. They are the Deep Elves, the friends of Aule; and they are renowned in song, for they fought and laboured long and grievously in the northern lands of old.

The greatest host came last, and they are named the Teleri, for they tarried on the road, and were not wholly of a mind to pass from the dusk to the light of Valinor. In water they had great delight, and those that came at last to the western shores were enamoured of the sea. The Sea-elves therefore they became in the land of Aman, the Falmari, for they made music beside the breaking waves. Two lords they had, for their numbers were great: Elwe Singollo (which signifies Greymantle) and Olwe his brother.

These were the three kindreds of the Eldalie, who passing at length into the uttermost West in the days of the Trees are called the Calaquendi, Elves of the Light. But others of the Eldar there were who set out indeed upon the westward march, but became lost upon the long road, or turned aside, or lingered on the shores of Middle-earth; and these were for the most part of the kindred of the Teleri, as is told hereafter. They dwelt by the sea or wandered in the woods and mountains of the world, yet their hearts were turned towards the West. Those Elves the Calaquendi call the Umanyar, since they came never to the land of Aman and the Blessed Realm; but the Umanyar and the Avari alike they call the Moriquendi, Elves of the Darkness, for they never beheld the Light that was before the Sun and Moon.

It is told that when the hosts of the Eldalie departed from Cuivienen Orome rode at their head upon Nahar, his white horse shod with gold; and passing northward about the Sea of Helcar they turned towards the west. Before them great clouds hung still black in the North above the ruins of war, and the stars in that region were hidden. Then not a few grew afraid and repented, and turned back, and are forgotten.  Long and slow was the march of the Eldar into the west, for the leagues of Middle-earth were uncounted, and weary and pathless. Nor did the Eldar desire to hasten, for they were filled with wonder at all that they saw, and by many lands and rivers they wished to abide; and though all were yet willing to wander, many feared rather their journey's end than hoped for it Therefore whenever Orome departed, having at times other matters to heed, they halted and went forward no more, until he returned to guide them. And it came to pass after many years of journeying in this manner that the Eldar took their course through a forest, and they came to a great river, wider than any they had yet seen; and beyond it were mountains whose sharp horns seemed to pierce the realm of the stars. This river, it is said, was even the river which was after called Anduin the Great, and was ever the frontier of the west-lands of Middle-earth. But me mountains were the Hithaeglir, the Towers of Mist upon the borders of Eriador; yet they were taller and more terrible in those days, and were reared by Melkor to hinder the riding of Orome. Now the Teleri abode long on the east bank of that river and wished to remain there, but the Vanyar and me Noldor passed over it, and Orome led them into the passes of the mountains. And when Orome was gone forward the Teleri looked upon the shadowy heights and were afraid.

Then one arose in the host of Olwe, which was ever the hindmost on the road; Lenwe he was called. He forsook the westward march, and led away a numerous people, southwards down the great river, and they passed out of the knowledge of their kin until long years were past. Those were the Nandor; and they became a people apart, unlike their kin, save that they loved water, and dwelt most beside falls and running streams. Greater knowledge they had of living things, tree and herb, bird and beast, than all other Elves. In after years Denethor, son of Lenwe, turned again west at last, and led a part of that people over the mountains into Beleriand ere the rising of the Moon.

At length the Vanyar and the Noldor came over Ered Luin, the Blue Mountains, between Eriador and the westernmost land of Middle-earth, which the Elves after named Beleriand; and the foremost companies passed over the Vale of Sirion and came down to the shores of the Great Sea between Drengist and the Bay of Balar. But when they beheld it great fear came upon them, and many withdrew into the woods and highlands of Beleriand. Then Orome departed, and returned to Valinor to seek the counsel of Manwe, and left them.

And the host of the Teleri passed over the Misty Mountains, and crossed the wide lands of Eriador, being urged on by Elwe Singollo, for he was eager to return to Valinor and the Light that he had beheld; and he wished not to be sundered from the Noldor, for he had great friendship with Finwe their lord. Thus after many years the Teleri also came at last over Ered Luin into the eastern regions of Beleriand. There they halted, and dwelt a while beyond the River Gelion.

Chapter 4

Of Thingol and Melian Melian was a Maia, of the race of the Valar. She dwelt in the gardens of Lorien, and among all his people there were none more beautiful than Melian, nor more wise, nor more skilled in songs of enchantment. It is told that the Valar would leave their works, and the birds of Valinor their mirth, that the bells of Valmar were silent and the fountains ceased to flow, when at the mingling of the lights Melian sang in Lorien. Nightingales went always with her, and she taught them their song; and she loved the deep shadows of the great trees. She was akin before the World was made to Yavanna herself; and in that time when the Quendi awoke beside the waters of Cuivienen she departed from Valinor and came to the Hither Lands, and there she filled the silence of Middle-earth before the dawn with her voice and the voices of her birds.

Now when their journey was near its end, as has been told, the people of the Teleri rested long in East Beleriand, beyond the River Gelion; and at that time many of the Noldor still lay to the westward, in those forests that were afterwards named Neldoreth and Region. Elwe, lord of the Teleri, went often through the great woods to seek out Finwe his friend in the dwellings of the Noldor; and it chanced on a time that he came alone to the starlit wood of Nan Elmoth, and there suddenly he heard the song of nightingales. Then an enchantment fell on him, and he stood still; and afar off beyond the voices of the lomelindi he heard the voice of Melian, and it filled all his heart with wonder and desire. He forgot then utterly all his people and all the purposes of his mind, and following the birds under the shadow of the trees he passed deep into Nan Elmoth and was lost. But he came at last to a glade open to the stars, and there Melian stood; and out of the darkness he looked at her, and the light of Aman was in her face.

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