Edhelion was the last royally-confirmed Captain of the Faithful in Pelargir (S.A. 3251-3320) and the first Prince of Belfalas (S.A. 3320-T.A.96). His enfeoffment by Elendil served to secure the authority of Isildur Elendilion and Anárion Elendilion over the South-kingdom; but it also provoked his wayward sons, Fuinur Stormheart and Herumor Windsword, to rebellion, and their theft of the Karma of Aldarion proved a grievous price to pay for the peaceful years that followed the establishment of the Realm-in-Exile. During the War of the Last Alliance, Eldarion led the Faithful into battle, the first time that all the hosts of southern Gondor were to be united in war. Eldarion grew to manhood under the good and benevolent reign of Tar-Palantir of Numenor in whose time the royal garrison of Pelargir was subordinated to the authority of the Council of the Faithful. Eldarion received his own appointment to the captaincy of the haven by Tar-Palantir, following the death of his father in S.A. 3251. But four years later Ar-Pharazon seized the scepter from the rightful succession of Tar-Miriel, and he restored the supremacy of the Pelargir garrison, subjecting the Faithful to tribute. In S.A. 3319, when Ar-Pharazon withdrew much of his garrison for his expedition against the Valar, Eldarion organized and led a revolt against the remaining King's Men of the haven. Yet despite his bold initiative, Eldarion refused the urgings of the Faithful that he declare the Pelargirean League independent from Númenor. "Instead," he counseled, "we shall wait upon the will of the Valar, and abide by whatever sign through which they may reveal their will to us." That sign came with the arrival of Isildur and Anarion from out of the deeps of the sea; and, when the fate of Númenór was learned, Eldarion declared to the people that, by their lineage and by the grace of Uinen that had preserved them through the changing of the world, the Lords of Andúnië were surely favored by the Valar to assume the sacral kingship over all the Faithful. "For," said Eldarion, "though my blood also is mingled with the line of Elros Tar-Minyatur, it comes by way of Ciryatan and of Atanamir, whose rule gave birth to Númenor's Downfall. But Elendil and his sons possess a royalty purer and more ancient, for Silmarien was their foremother. Moreover, the task of my house has been that of a steward, preserving a sanctuary for the Faithful in their exile. But now we are all exiles, and though the Lady of the Seas will not nullify her covenant with us, who now will call upon the One? And what man among us now possesses the authority to choose a hallowed place for our worship? Not I." With many such words Eldarion exhorted the Faithful to accept the claims of Elendil's sons, denying to his own house what honors had not been bestowed upon it by the Powers of Arda. Yet not all accepted Eldarion's arguments. His two sons, Fuinur and Herumor, retorted that the line of Imrazor possessed an equal if not greater right to the hearts of the people; for, the brothers argued, their house had endured the exile in Middle-earth for many lives of men, whereas Elendil and his sons, noble though their lineage and piety might be, were but newcome from Númenor, and ought therefore to be joined to the league by the laws that Veantur had established. "Then," they said, "when the Lords of Andúnie have proven their worth and goodwill through many years of loyal service to the league—then, if they will, let the Faithful take them as kings." Though many in Pelargir were of a like mind with Eldarion's sons, the word of their father prevailed; and Uinen herself came forward to bear witness to the truth of his judgment. Then at last the Faithful gave their assent to Elcndil's claims. But even Eldarion, for all his lofty soothsaying, did not lose sight of the practical need to preserve the political rights of the league; rather, he conferred with Elendil's sons, laying before them in no uncertain terms what concessions he and the Council of Pelargir expected to receive in exchange for their acknowledgment of Isildur's and Anárion's authority. By means of his shrewd bargaining, Eldarion brought the Elendili and the league to a wise and just settlement, which was to repeatedly define Gondor's relationship to its northern, royal counterpart ever after. Fuinur and Herumor's defection to Umbar was a grievous blow to Eldarion. He loved his sons, but he perceived that their rebellion and their theft of the Karma could put an end to the peaceful settlement which the council had reached with the new kings. This fear, however, was not realized for another eighty years, when Sauron revealed himself in Mordor and began sending emissaries to Umbar to coax the brothers to challenge both the league and Elendil's sons for supremacy. In light of this growing peril, Elendil himself in S.A. 3400 named Eldarion Prince of Belfalas, intending thereby to secure his own sons' western flank against an alliance between recalcitrant members of the league and Eldarion's sons in Umbar. Eldarion ruled Belfalas in peace for ninety-six years after the War of the Last Alliance; and in T.A. 13 his wife bore him a third son, Mettestel, who succeeded him as prince. Together with Imrazor before him and Edrahil after, Eldarion's life represented a key turning point in the destiny of Gondor, and his legacy would leave its enduring mark on the realm in his inauguration of its most important noble lineage. Through Eldarion, the line of Imrazor became the equal of the kings.


Original form in MERP:Edhelion

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