The Nírnaeth Arnoediad and the Founding of the Khazad Guard

King Azaghal of Gabilgathol and the Nírnaeth Arnoediad  

 In the first age of the world, far to the west in the Blue Mountains, Azaghal was Lord of the Dwarves of Gabilgathol. Gabilgathol was known more commonly amongst the other free people as Belegost, the Sindarin name given to it by the Elves of Beleriand, though in later days Men refered to it as Mickleburg. Gabilgathol was a great stronghold, and in those days the works of the dwarves from the blue mountains was unrivalled in weapon smithing and armoury. King Azaghal was stout-hearted, bold, and faithful, and had two sons Azbaruk and Izaghal. Azbaruk was most alike to him in stature and prowess on the battle field, but Izaghal was more akin to him in temperament, particularly in his defence of nobility and justice. Azaghal was particularly friendly to Maedhros, an Elf Prince of the Noldor and one of the sons of Feanor, who lived with brothers at Himring in what became know as the march of Maedhros, after moving from Mithrim in Hithlum. Maedhros and Azaghal became friends after Maedhros rescued Azaghal from an Orc Ambush when he was out hunting, and this sealed a firm alliance between the two. It was Izaghal, Azaghals youngest son, who learnt most from this alliance and would often be found advancing his craft with the Elf smiths and learning much of what they knew about Runes and Letters.     

Map of Beleriand Showing Places Mentioned

 

 By the year 468 of the First age the Armies of Morgoth, the Great Enemy, had over run much of Northern Beleriand, and the people were powerless to stop the hordes of rampaging Orcs which troubled the land. Against this, Maedhros began to forge an alliance to take back Beleriand and to crush Morgoths forces in Arms. In friendship and debt, Azaghal agreed to lend his Arms in battle. However Maedhros was no statesman, and the ill deeds of his brothers Celegorm and Curufin, meant that the army that finally marched on the North was weaker than it could have been, though made of some of the stoutest and most renowned Elves, Dwarves, and Men ever to walk in Middle Earth. The army began to march on Morgoths triple peaked mountain fortress of Thangorodrim, however, the treacherous actions of Maedhros’s number; Uldor son of Ulfgang, an Easterling, began to come into play. He had delayed and hampered the armies plans, and allowed Morgoth to learn of the armies plan, and to prepare against the assault. Maedhros’ plan was to use the main force to draw out Morgoths army, and then assault it from western flank with an army hidden in the vales of the Ered Wethrin and destroy it. A company of Elves lead by an Elf named Gwindor, lay in wait in the Vales of Ered Wethrin with the army of elves and men from Hithlum, lead by Fingon. However, Morgoth sent an Orc force to provoke a premature attack, and with them he sent a prisoner; Gelmir, Gwindors Brother. As ill fate would have it, the Orcs Mutilated and beheaded Gelmir right in front of Gwindors position and in a rage Gwindor attacked. Fingon ordered his force to join Gwindors advancing force to prevent a massacre, and despite the poor timing, the ferocity of the assault drove back the might of Angband before them, unto the very gates of Thangorodrim, almost overthrowing all of Morgoths plan. However when they reached the gates Morgoth sprung his final trap, from hidden passages his main force began to issue and surround the Elves and Men of the army of Hithlum began to fall back. Fingons army fought a desperate retreat throughout the night, and were thrown back across the great plain of Anfauglith, the gasping dust, which lay before the mountain. Turgon then threw the army of the Hidden city of Gondolin into the fray, shortly followed by the main host under Maedhros, and the tide began to turn in the alliances favour, until Morgoth launched his final assault. Glaurung; the father of dragons, issued forth with his brood and the remaining forces of Angband, and at the same time Uldor and a host of his Easterlings turned full traitor and began to attack the rear of the alliance army and the army of Maedros broke and fled. However, small host of Noldor under the sons of Feanor, and the Dwarves of Gabilgathol, stood firm and fought their way our, and the dwarves then formed a rearguard, telling the Noldor and the sons of Feanor to escape whilst they held back the tide. The Dwarves under Azaghal and his sons, cut a swath into the Gaurungs brood with their sharp axes, protected by their snarling fire-proof face masks and enduring nature, and finally managed to surround Glaurung the dragon. Glaurung then assaulted Azaghal, throwing him down and crushing him, but not before Azaghal had smote the great dragon a terrible wound to the stomach. Glaurung fled back in pain and fear to Angband though, to the Dwarves dismay, Azaghal was dead. With the majority of Maedhros’ remaining army free, Azaghals sons and the remaining dwarves picked him up and bore him away singing a funeral dirge.  

    

The Dwarves legendary resilience against the fire of Worm kind

 

Far on the other side of the battle field the remaining hosts of Fingon from Hithlum, and Turgon from Gondolin stood alone. Then the Balrog Gothmog, high Captain of Angband, drove the two armies apart and fell upon Fingon and his body-guard slaying them all. The leaders of the Men of Dor-Lomin; Huor and Hurin, part of Fingons Hithlum Army, then spoke to Turgon and told him to retreat back into their hidden city with his army and as many men as could be gathered, whilst they fought a rear guard. Reluctant though Turgon was, he agreed as he understood Huor’s prophecy that out of Gondolin the future hope of elves and men must come, and that some must be left to guard the future.   

The Nauglamir and the troubles between Elves and Dwarves   

In later years Dwarves from the Nogrod, close to Gabilgathol in the Blue Mountain, were asked by the Elven King Thingol of Doriath to combine the Silmaril his daughter Luthien Tinuviel and Beren One hand had cut from Morgoths Crown, with the Nauglamir. The Nauglamir was a necklace and the finest work of the dwarves of that age, which had been presented by the dwarves to Finrod of Nargothrond. Thingol had acquired the necklace from Hurin, who found it in the ruins of Nargothrond, and gave it to Thingol as payment for caring for his family. The Dwarves completed this work, but so beautiful was the end result that the dwarves greed got the better of them, and they demanded the finished necklace as a price for their work, claiming that Hurin had no right to re-appropriate a gift anyway.  Angered, Thingol denied them this, and grossly insulted them, dismissing them from his sight with no payment. The dwarves flew into a rage, slew Thingol and fled with the Necklace. Most of them were soon caught and slain by the Elves, and the necklace returned, though such did this slaying anger the dwarves of Nogrod when they heard that they sent out an army, to march to Doriath and sack Thingols cave stronghold of Menegroth. The sons of Azaghal, and the dwarves of Gabilgathol attempted to prevent the Nogrod dwarves from this rash action, but to no avail, and when the army set out they remained in Gabilgathol and took no part in it. The rampaging dwarves did not get far after their destruction of the stronghold, as when Beren One Hand heard of Thingols death he set out with a company and slew the Nogrod dwarves on their return journey.  

The Sons of Azaghal Part  

Though the Dwarves of Gabilgathol did not join in the sacking of Doriath relations between the elves and the dwarves soured greatly from that day forth. More disgusted than most, and foreseeing the troubles ahead, Izaghal; Azaghals youngest son, began to make plans to depart Gabilgathol, and travel over the mountains into Eriador. Azbaruk tried to dissuade him, saying that dwarves should defend one another in these times of need, but this further grieved Izaghal as it was this very behaviour which had led to the slayings. With this he bade his brother farewell, and set forth with a small company of like mind, towards Durins folk at Khazad Dum. They named themselves the Khazad Guard, and believing many dwarves had now begun to diminish their nobility with greed, and having seen such desolation and dismay caused by Oathsworn ties, held without consideration, Izaghal swore that the Khazad Gaurd would be beholden to no Lord except themselves. They swore to fight the Great Enemy and his allies wherever they found them, but not to lift a blade otherwise, save in self-defence.   

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