Edhellond and its encircling woodland of Eryn Laegol were collectively known to the Men of Gondor as Dor-in-Edhil (S. "Elvenland"). Watered by the Caleneithel from the Pinnath Gelin, the sacred grove of Eryn Laegol formed a gently sloping valley on either of the stream's banks, until the latter reached the Morthond-Ringló estuary just above Edhellond. The woodland extended north and westward from the haven for between fifteen and twenty-five miles.
Though surrounded by the lands of Men, Dor-in-Edhil remained widely untainted by the association and retained a wholly Elvish character. Galadriel and Celeborn had once made their home in the Tirith Aear.
In the year 474 of the First Age, Morgoth's had overwhelmed and destroyed the havens of the Falathrim in Beleriand, forcing Cirdan the Shipwright's folk to leave southward. One Company, led by Cirdan's son Cirdur. sailed farther than the rest, and at last entered the sheltered waters of Lond Cobas, opposile the mouth of its rivers. Because of the enduring threat of Morgotb in the north, Cirdor sought out a defensible site where he might build a fortified refuge for his people. Cirdor chose to found his refuge upon a rocky islet near to the western bank of the river mouth, and he named it "Lond Duilin" (S. "Haven of the Rivers").
During the beginning years of the Second Age, after the threat of Morgoth had been vanquished by the Valar in the War of Wrath, Cirdor's haven was enlarged by many Sindar corning from the wreck of Beleriand. These were the refugees from Doriath and were led by Amdir and his son Amroth. Because of their enmity with the sons of Feanor, Amdir and his people had refused to acknowledge the high kingship of Gil-galad over the Elves of the Westlands and had wandered south in search of a dwelling apart. Because of the ancient friendship between the Falathrim and Sindar of Doriath, Cirdor welcomed Amdir's folk, joining them to his own.
With the aid of the Falathrim, the Sindar built houses for themselves on the river bank opposite the fortification of Lond Duilin, and eventually constructed a larger and more permanent haven, which they named Edhellond. Since the threat of Morgoth was no more, the greater part of the ship-building Falathrim and the woodland Sindar chose to live side-by-side on the western bank, maintaining Lond Duilin as a secondary refuge only in times of need: thereafter, both settlements were referred to collectively as Edhellond. Despite Amdir's distrust of Gil-galad, there was much contact between Edhellond and the Grey Havens of Lindon. Along with its sister haven to the north, Edhellond came to serve as one of the principal points of embarkation for Elves desiring to leave Middle-earth for the Undying Lands, and Cirdor was its Chief shipwright.
In S.A. 1780. following the war between Sauron and the Elves in Eriador in which both Cirdor's and Amdir's people participated, Celeborn the Wise, Amdir's kinsman in Lindon, persuaded the latter to take up residence in Lothlórien, over which he became king, leaving behind Amroth his son to care for the remnant at Edhellond. Years later, after the War of die Last Alliance took the title of Amroth's father, the Sinda prince departed the haven to assume his father's lordship over Lórien. The Elves of Edhellond gradually dwindled, as more and more departed into the West. The last great wave of departure took place in 1 T.A.-1981, when the wakening of the Balrog in Moria drove many of the folk of Lórien southwards. Amroth himself was among their number, seeking to escape Middle-earth with bis beloved Nimrodel. When Amroth came to Edhellond, he went first to Galadriel and Celeborn, who were then dwelling in Tirith Aear, the Sea-ward Tower which he himself had built so many centuries past. Amroth bade his trusted allies to take up the lordship of Lórien in his stead, as they were the greatest of the Eldar now remaining in Middle-earth. With the departure of its last ship, Edhellond lay empty and forsaken, but in the following year, with the union of Imrazôr the Númenórean and Mithrellas, the Elven handmaiden of Nimrodel, Lond Duilin at least was occupied and maintained by the prince's men. The ancient grove of Eryn laegol itself was left untouched by the Dúnedain and it retained its Elven beauty even into the Fourth Age.
Flora and Fauna
Enriched by seedlings rescued from Beleriand, the Eryn Laegol was an Elven wood in the truest sense of the word. Its animal life was also plentiful, and wildlife population growth was carefully monitored by Bladorthin of Edhellond's folk, so that the forest and the Elves could live in harmony with one another. The swans of Ulmo were a unique species that glided along the Caleneithel and the waters of the great estuary beyond.
But most notable of all the region's natural glories were the gwingyrn (S. "spindrift-Trees"), which Osse first gave as a gift to Cirdan the Shipwright in Beleriand. These were the trees which the Falathrim felled solely for the purpose of building their beautiful swan-ships. The gwingorn was so-called not only because of its association with the sea and shipbuilding, but also because in the springtime it bursted forth with great clusters of tiny white blossoms that resembled the foam flying off of crested waves. Gwingyrn were evergreens and their silvery minks grew to a height of up to a hundred feel; their leaves were broad and five-pointed, and were often used for making garlands.
Politics and Power
The haven of Edhellond (and the Tirith Aear on Dol Amroth, when inhabited by the Elves) was the only settlement within southern Gondor not under the power of Dúnedain. Indeed, unspoken tradition held that reverence and respect for the Eldar were essential to the well-being of the realm (since these virtues were universally believed to have been one of the reasons the Elendili were spared from Númenor's Downfall). The respect shown to Cirdors folk were essential to the conviction of the Dúnedain that the avoidance of any impingement on the affairs of Edhellond was part of what it meant to be "the Faithful" as for the governance of Edhellond itself, Cirdor was the acknowledged master of the haven.He did not, however, lord it over the inhabitants as would a mortal ruler; rather as was traditional with Elven society, authority inhered according to a kinship-based hierarchy, centered upon patrilineal household of the kindred from which they derived; Falathrim, Doriathrim, or Nandor. Each of these groups was presided over by the eldest or most respected member (usually, though not always, a male).Each of these leaders mediated disputes that would arise among their own kindred, whereas the leaders themselves gave council to Cirdor (who leds the Falathrim) on matters that affected the haven as a whole.
Although Lond Duilin, the forerunner of Edhellond, was founded as a refuge in time of war, the Elven community had little need to concern itself with martial matters (these having been left, for the most part, to Amroth son of Amdír in the establishment of the Tirith Aear). With the Dark Lord vanquished at the close of the Second Age, Cirdur's folk were left with no foes against which to protect themselves. Their surrounding Númenórean allies were masters of the mightiest realm in all of Middle-earth, and Lesser Men feared them too greatly to seek their harm. Only the sea-power of Umbar—and only when it was subject to the direct will of Sauron—posed a significant threat to Edhellond's security. This was not to suggest that the Eldar of Edheilond were ever unskilled in the ways of war—far from it. Many of those that attached themselves to Cirdor's folk had participated in the wars of Beleriand or had Come from ever-darkening Wilderland.Due, however, to rhe fact that concerted defense of the haven was an infrequent and irregular affair, the Elves of Edhellond never developed a formal military structure, apart from those traditional, kin-based arrangements that were already cusromary to its inhabitants.
On oinly two occasions had Cirdor's tolk ever joined forces with the Dúnedain for the purpose of open war, and then only because the foe posed a common threat; to all of the Free Peoples. The first of these was the War of the Last Alliance. In that epic conflict, Amdir and Amroth led the Doriathrim by land to the Battle of Dagorlad, whereas Cirdor himself led the ships of the Falathrim to the riverborne defense of Pelargir, both forces achieving deeds of great renown.The second and final war in which he Elves of Edhellond were to stand alongside the Dúnedain was the struggle to liberate Arthedain from ultimate annihilation by Angmar in T.A. 1975. In this conflict, the hosts of Edhellond were borne by Cirdor's ships to the aid of Imrazor at Vinyalonde, after which they marched, side-by-side with the prince's army, to the Battle of Nenuial, cutting off the escape of the Witch-king's defeated forces.
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