There have been many great battles and mighty wars fought on the shores of middle earth: the war of the three Jewels and the War of the Ring, being only two among many. The tale we tell here today is of one such war, many years in the making, and all those events that did spark it. For like most great wars it was not begun with one act of evil by a single soul, but of many. A chain of such acts cumulating until finally they combust in a wave of bloodshed and fire; such was the case for The War of the Dead and all that did take part in it.
Valinor, Halls of Mandos; 2980th year of the third age of Middle Earth
It was a point of fact among the fëa of Námo's halls that no one escaped Mandos. That wasn't to say no one left Mandos, indeed so long as you released all your anger and bitterness, choosing to leave and be reborn was a common enough practice. But the fact was that nobody ever escaped Mandos, no one ever forced their way past those eternal gates and out into the world beyond... no one sane at least. Then again whatever else you might say of him, no one could ever accuse Fëanor son of Finwë of being sane.
It took longer than one might have expected for the Lord of Mandos to realise something was wrong. Three days had passed and no soul in his halls had heard nary a peep from any Fëanorian residing there. At first it had been too peaceful to spark suspicion in him, but after the second day without the screams of some outraged Fëanorian piercing his eardrums, a gnawing sense of foreboding began to settle over him. If he had been someone else, we might have even called it fear, but he was Námo the Doomsayer, and he did not have the luxury of indulging in fear, especially where these fëa were concerned.
It took the whole of the next twenty-four hours, again far longer than Námo was comfortable with, for Mandos and his Maiar to comb the vast halls of his domain and discover that, yes, Fëanor was in fact no longer there. No one could come up with any explanation of how this could have possibly happened, and his sons remained as silent as they had been for the last three days. The mighty gates of the Doomsman's realm were under constant surveillance and it wasn't like the Halls of Waiting had a window you could climb out of.
Truly it was a riddle for the ages, but one sadly that would have to be answered later. For now, what mattered most was not how he had escaped, but what he was going to do now that he was out. There was no other choice, Námo would have to call a council of the Valar. Oh Eru, he was not looking forward to this.
Valinor, Manwë's chambers of council; Four days since Fëanor's escape
'And…let me just see if I've got this clear…you never realised he was missing.'
Varda had seen many things in her eternal life, many objectionable things… but non before, not even the evil of Morgoth, had left her quite so flummoxed. This shouldn't have been possible, the halls of Mandos were impermeable to everyone but Námo or one of his Maiar, and they were like that for a reason. What would the world come to if the dead could walk amongst the living however and whenever it so pleased them. More than that though, what disturbed her most of all was that this happened on Námo's watch, the Valar who she had considered the most professional.
'I won't make excuses for myself; it was a lapse in judgment and one that I take full responsibility for. I will bow to whatever punishment you deem fitting for me, but Fëanor has been missing for four days now,' said the Valar in question, his voice grown tired and hoarse after hours of repeating himself.
Tulkas squinted at the Lord of the Dead and snorted through his nose. 'All the past aside Mandos, Fëanor son of Finwë is naught but a spirit now, not even with an inkling of power, what true harm could he bring to the living?'
Mandos met the fiery eyes of the Valar of War and answered him on the out breath of a sigh.
'Aye that he is, but you seem to forget Tulkas who we speak of, Fëanor will never be naught but a spirit. He caused far more than enough damage in life, there's no telling where his path of destruction will lead him now that he lacks the restraints of a physical body. Also, I find…' Námo's voice petered out and his whole body sagged, as if a great weariness of spirit had at long last taken hold and overcome him.
But Tulkas was never one to let things rest where they will. 'Yes?' The great hulking Valar prodded, leaning forward in his high seat to gaze emphatically at his faulting colleague. Námo's voice was shaky when he spoke again.
I find…I cannot see past the now. The visions of futures that may come no longer whisper to me, as if the world, the timeline and everything in between, is in an eternal state of flux. No one can say what lies before us, no one can say what path the son of Finwë will lead us down, most certainly not I! All is silent within me now, and I am Doomsayer no more.' Námo sank back down into his own chair, where he remained steadfastly mute for the rest of the council.