Also called Fangli (Av. "Many-bearded one"?) or Fúkil (E. "Hoard-man"?) The evil Maia that trained Storlaga in the dark arts. Fankil (Il. "Phantom shape"?) was a Leader of Morgoth's Army at the Battle of Palisor and a key figure in his corruption of the Hildor.
Fankil, who was the Herald of Melkor and had been one of the Folk of Irmo, survived his Masters fall and built in Ûlish the hidden fortress of Umata. In this time he began breeding an army of orcs and other foul beast. Still, he kept his army in check for he feared being discovered by Oromë and his hunting companions. However, he also feared Mùar, Warlord of Gorogrod. Fankil hated the Shadow Flame, who was certain to make Fankil submit to his authority in the absence of Melkor. So Fankil hid in secret, silently hiding in wait of better times. Fankil traveled amongst the Mornârin tribes, and presented himself as Telear, the Lord of Glory, who was the Herald of Ardutor, the Master of the World. He appeared as a tall, elderly man with great strength and wisdom. He began to plant into the minds of these men visions of uniting their tribes into a great kingdom that would be strong and powerful to oppose the fell forces of the north. He lured them on, exploiting their desires and weaknesses. Not all of the men succumbed to his lies, but many did, and to these he taught many secrets, including the working of bronze into weapons and armor. These men soon beat back the orcs (which Fankil had commanded to fall back before the men), and they turned against their brethren which had resisted Fankil's lies. Soon their dreams of a great kingdom in the north were coming to fruition.
During these days, the elves of Thûrlornar withdrew more and more into their forest, sensing the evil desires which were growing in the minds of the humans. Fankil understood that the Hwendi were one of the greatest threats to he and his master's hold over the north, so he began to turn the minds of the Mornerin tribes against the elves. He told them that the elves were "demons" of the forest, and that they were corrupting the land and causing it to grow infertile. He convinced the Men that the elves were the great foe in the north in their superstitious hate for the Demons who brought Winter and who were given by evil lords such gifts which were refused to humanity: immortality, grace, power beyond imagination. He then convinced them that the demons of the wood were a greater threat than even the orcs, and soon these men were joining with the orcs to raid into the realm of Thûrlornar. The humans slowly became more hostile towards the elves, until finally they began to attack the elves.
During this time the elves began to limit their wanderings to the lands near Thûrlornar, and soon as the human attacks continued, they withdrew into their homelands and began to defend themselves against the attackers. Soon the Mornerin even began to side with orcs as the attacks grew from small raids to larger fights as they tried to enter into the lands of the Thûrlornar.
The Hwendi were strong and defended themselves with great skill, and the men and orcs suffered great loss in their raids. At his fortress of Umata Fankil was gathering a great army of orcs and trolls and other fell beasts to join with the scattered bands of men to assail Thûrlornar and end forever the threat of the elves. However, before that could happen the Host of the Valar returned to Middle Earth to aid the Noldor in their war against Morgoth. The fight that followed altered the shape of Middle Earth. In the north a great earthquake shook the world. Much of the Iron Mountains crumbled and broke, sinking deep into the earth.
Fankil's fortress of Umata was destroyed, but it's ruins survived on an island in this new bay, and deep within evil is said to still be buried there. Fankil himself managed to escape, but his great army was destroyed with a few survivors following him or escaping to the lands beyond. The Mornerin tribes were decimated, and even the Hwendi suffered some loss. The First Age ended in dramatic fashion creating the new bay of Urheldor (or Illuin), and leaving chaos reigning in the region.Other tribes of men came to the bay, and some sided with Fankil, while others stood against him. The Agrinak and the Duranak settled immediately south to the island of Ûlish in Desdursyton and south of Thûrlornar. Not really convinced by the Herald of the Master of the World, but a bit impressed by the power demonstrated by "Telear", the Udahir settled in southern Barl Syrnac and the Chegri in Nylren (or future Vothrig). The Hwendi remained suspicious of all men due to the violent acts committed by the Mornerin.
Many bloody fights soon came as the scattered men fought each other and the elves of Thurlornar. These early men were divided into smaller tribes or clans, and were quite nomadic in nature. Many of their battles came as one group intruded upon another's hunting lands. At first their weapons were quite primitive being crafted from wood and stone or bone, but Telear introduced the concept of bronze weapons to these groups, and soon the fights began to focus on taking these weapons, and the battles began to escalate. The elves of Thurlornar alone had knowledge of iron making, and their stronger weapons as well as their skills in their woodlands kept many of the humans from entering into their lands.
So the First Age came to an end with the increasing influence of men on the Bay, and the Hwendi elves withdrawing into the safety and shelter of their woodlands. Fankil's power was growing and his influence on the scattered, and nomadic tribes of men was ensuring that the Bay of Illuin would soon be a stronghold of evil unless some other power could oppose him.
After his defeat by the hands of the Ulshyans, and the terrible wound which Uvaxshtra inflicted him, maiming him forever, Fankil had fled in hiding. Although he still possessed his power over the dreams of Men, he had lost forever his seducing voice. In fear of returning to his Master in Angband, Fankil wandered over Middle Earth, thus escaping capture in the War of Wrath. No one knows for sure where his feet tread in those times, but after seven centuries, he returned in his secret fortress of Gulkaju with a powerful ally, which would later been known as the “Unlife”.
He placed his ally beneath the mountains of Ûlish, for the revelation of the Unlife was not yet come, and travelled secretly throughout the Bay, where he enjoyed the situation, as no one could rule over him, now the most powerful living being in the North. Still burning of hate towards his enemies, Elves and Ulshyans, Fankil gathered spies, but as his fierce Duranak and Agrinak lacked the wit and cunning he needed, he searched, and found, better agents in Desdursyton. Fankil sent his spies in all the realms, charged to introduce the seeds of division into the hearts of Men.In the following centuries, war waged across in the Bay: the Ulshyans were threatened on all sides, and the Ulgath fought desperately to keep their territories against the Baradhrim and the Ioriags. The primitive and violent nomads were easy prey for the words of malice spread by the agents of Fankil.These petty wars were seen with satisfaction and interest by Fankil and his agents (some of them having a high rank inside the Ulgath tribes, enjoying a particular status of counselors to the chief tribe), who encouraged it through mysterious assassinations or abductions. War extended for centuries in the Bay, and the Vothrig began their first acts of piracy against Desdursyr cities (in SA 928). Fankil in the meantime established U-Lyshak as a true kingdom, lead by a human king, whose people has a Duranak and Agrinak ancestry.While Fankil gathered his Orc troops for a control of the Bay, the Shadow Flame suddenly awoke in the East. The seals that kept Múar bound to His prison of rock were broken in SA 1100. Soon he rallied all the Orc tribes of the Eastern Iron Mountains, and gathered a huge army. Fankil burned of hate and envy seeing Múar’s power back in the East, as his projects of domination on the Bay risked to be vain. He dared not to challenge the lesser Balrog, though, and hiding in shadow as he was used to do, he forbid the Orcs of the western Iron Mountains to join the Host of Múar, and gave an order to kill everyone, Orc or human who would want to join the Múar Host.
Mùar was enraged by this, but could only suspect the hand of Fankil, unable to locate him and punish his arrogance. Yet the Shadow Flame had more important affairs, searching for revenge against his enemies, the Elves, the Dwarves and their Mannish allies. From SA 1101 to 1130, Mùar spread death and terror in the lands East of the Bay. Mannish tribes worshipped him as a God, as he razed all the cities of Drùhar’s Folk and besieged Luindor, home of the Luindrim Elves.During this period, Fankil experienced troubles in keeping his domain, threatened by migrating peoples and the Orcs of Mùar. Finally, the migration ceased, and Mùar left for southern lands, searching for a Dwarven people who, like no other one in Arda, could defeat him. But Fankil was far from relieved. In fact, he found a greater threat than Mùar: Sauron, first servant of Morgoth, who had established his domain in Mordor. Fankil decided that the best thing should be wait and hide, meanwhile gathering power and influence.Finally, the island of Utum was held by the Mornerin peoples subject to the invisible will of Fankil. To these added the Númenóreans in their haven of Azarirthônlôni, the Dwarven holds of Drùhar’s Folk, the Umli and the Elves of Thûrlornar. The general state was war between nearly all these peoples, to the great satisfaction of Fankil, who was able to achieve his darkest projects with the "Unlife".The Baradhrim resumed their Empire under the worship of the Dark Lord, and only the Easterlings of later Lòtan and Dyr remained secure from Mordor’s grip. It is said that Fankil’s agents made a good work in converting the nomad Easterlings: yet, the Seducer feared for his power, and didn’t accept the conversion of his last Utumian servants, instead keeping his grip on them, as the lord of ancient Utum.A few decades after the end of the Ôm conflict, a messenger from Sauron met with Fankil, in order to incitate him to place under Sauron’s orders for the control of Middle Earth. From the first, Sauron recognized Numenor and the kingdoms of the Elves as his chief rival for domination of Middle Earth. Fankil accepted the suggestion, in condition to remain the absolute Shadow Master in the Bay. The messenger returned then to Barad-dur with Fankil’s response, and Sauron devised the Binding Rings, powerful artifacts that could bind the spirit of a Mannish servant to Middle-Earth indefinitively.
Fankil was only briefly mentioned in the Book of Lost Tales as a servant of Melko sent by him to corrupt the early men, Ermon and Elmir.He could be considered a precursor of Gorthû and essentially Sauron, just like Kuruki and Langon.
- MERP: Lords of Middle-earth Vol III: Hobbits, Dwarves, Ents, Orcs & Trolls
- Fan Modules: Eastern Bay of Illuin and the Iron Mountains (by Eric Dubourg)