A great and destructive force drifted over on the tide toward what is now the beach of Hashadir near the elf haven of Edhellond, close to the future site of the grand city of Dol Amroth close to the end of the second age of Middle Earth. How it ended up there no one knew. A single staff it was purposefully and perfectly cut from the branch of a tree with bark dark and smooth and a sheen about it that seemed polished. The head of the staff branched off with sticks strong bearing no leaves; much like a desiduous tree in the midst of the months of winter.
The night it washed ashore, elves had visited the shore, in what the elves called Brandlith, to pay tribute to the stars above, for the stars where what they loved and the shore was where they could see endless stars from one end of the earth to the other stretching towards their havens of Valenor. It was there that a young elven girl first saw a sheen in the water with the likes she had never seen before. Foreign it was to her as she approached the staff without regard to what it was or where it came from.
She approached the staff and as she reached out for it her mother and father wanted to approach the little elven girl as they knew not the perils of what their daughter was doing. But it was too late. She touched the staff and an electric dome of light burst forth from the staff engulfing little elf. She tried to hold on to the staff as long as she could not know why she was holding on to it. The heat she felt was unbearable and she could not bear it any longer. She let go, the dome faded and all seemed fine. But the hands of the girl’s, which were once as smooth as silk, were terribly singed and blackened. The parents of the little girl wrapped her in a soft elven cloth and proceeded to take her to Edhellond where non heard of her again. It seemed that in time, rumors spread of the little elven girl’s passing soon after her encounter with the staff.
The staff seemed to hold an ill reputation for the men of small Gondorian villages and the elfs of Edhellond. None could hold it, not man or beast had the ability to touch it. Over time, the men of the villages and elves of neighboring Edhellond built a shrine around the staff that could not be touched. Men named it the Staff of Storms. The elves of Edhellond named it, Gildingul, or the Spark of Sorcery. And there it remained as the staff that none could touch.
Near the end of the second age, the rising power of the east threatened the peaceful prosperity of the lands in the west. Those who stood against the rising threat from the east banded together in an attempt to end the threat. Those who aided in the final battle were the elves and men. Elves of Linden and of Lorien fought alongside Men of Gondor and of Arnor. The war took the free peoples to the very foot of Barad Dur where, at last, the enemy of the free peoples of middle earth was vanquished.
With the death of Elendil, his son Isildur who was the new king of Gondor, was distracted by the death of his father and a new trinket he aquired on the field of battle for which to adorn himself, the rest of the men returned to their homes while some took other paths. Three men of Arnor, the Marshals of Annuminus, ventured to see the proud elven city of Edhellond by the sea and to witness the majesty of the staff that could never be touched.
But something happened as they approached the staff. Seemingly out of nowhere, a light shined upon the staff. Inexplicably, the inhabitants of the small villages gathered upon the shores of Brandlith that evening when the three arrived at the site of the staff. The leader of the group reached out his hand but it shocked him. He soon gave in saying it was too powerful for his might. The second tried to reach out for it but he too was shocked by the odd staff.
Finally, the youngest of the group, and the meekest of the three, approached the staff and reached out his hand. Sparks stretched out to him too but nowhere near the amount and intensity the others received. And upon that evening, as the sun sank down toward the sea and the light of that day died, the third marshal of Annuminus wrapped his hands around the staff and pulled it from the soft sand of the beach of the Bay of Belfalas. He held it up high as the men and women of both men and elves bowed down to their knees in reverence to the new bearer of the staff as winds and light swirled around him in an event that brought tears to all who witnessed it. The Marshal’s name who finally bore the staff was Angol II.
With his new staff, Angol and his two companions Rhudul and Clandbel, returned to Arnor where, once again, they took up their positions in defense of the city of twilight, Annuminus. There, the three remained while also being adorned with badges. In recognition for their bravery and their steadfast courage in the field of battle at the foot of Barad Dur, they were honored with their badges. Formally of the elves, they each received an Amar Calad, one red went to Rhudul, blue went to Clandbel, and green went to Angol II.
There, the three Marshals along with the staff they continued to call Gildingul, after the elven name, stayed. Century after century the three kept peace in the lands of Arnor and in Annuminus, even after the death of Isildur. They continued to serve the kings of Arnor until the very last king Earandur, in 861 of the third age. It was then that the kingdom, which had stood together for millennia, ended.
The three sons of Earandur, Amlaith of Fornost, Celion of the Rivers, and Etheraid of the Forest Realm, met in the company of Elrond the Lore Master and Gandalf the Grey to discuss who was to be the true successor of the realm of Arnor. There too was the faithful barer of the staff, Angolist III. He bore witness and testified to his brothers upon his return what had happened in the counsel between the five.
“I have called this meeting here in the elf refuge of Rivendell,” Elrond said, “so you may come to an agreement as to the rightful heir of Arnor. Amlaith, the eldest son of Earandur, should be the fit heir to the throne, the one man who has the full right to the seat at the head of Arnor. Now I hear Celion, the second son, disagrees.”
“That is correct, Lord Elrond,” Celion said addressing the meeting. “For many years my father had looked up to my strength in leadership of his military. He depended on me and my willingness to work as long and as hard as it took to do the bidding of my father, the king. It is no secret that father favored me more even telling me that I should have been his first son.”
“He favored you more for your military might and genius on the field, not for your wisdom in ruling a country,” Amlaith said. “For all your love for country you have not the skill to run it. Having ruled at father’s side, I am not only the rightful heir to the throne but have experienced the many duties it takes to rule the country.”
“We both know father saw your attempt at ruling as impossible,” Celion rebuked his brother. “It was a waste of time and effort to teach you how to rule. You had not even the skill to rule Fornost. He needed to bring in Etheraid from the southern lands to help you.”
“But with many pitfalls comes wisdom,” Gandalf said. “He has had many defeats, yes, but a man who has been through many falls can learn the skills it takes to pick up himself and his country.”
“I know not what you mean, wizard,” Celion said angrily. “Father has seen my many qualities and trusted me with his army. Father had trusted me to defend him on his many journeys to Gondor and all around Middle Earth. His faith to lead and to follow was always in me. The charge he gave was always to me because he knew in his heart that I had a better rule than Amlaith.”
The meeting turned quiet but soon after the bickering began. The rivalry between the two brothers became heated and boiled over almost to a physical fight between the two while their youngest brother, Ethelraid sat idly by and watched while shaking his head. Elrond then stood between the two brothers and held his hands out to each of them, staving off any physical advancement. “Have you learned nothing of why you are here. We are here in good council to bring an end to this pointless bickering and to come to an agreement.” Elrond then turned to Ethelraid. “Ethelraid, you have remained surprisingly quiet during this meeting. Have you wisdom to this stalemate?”
Etheraid sat quietly for a while contemplating his words carefully. He did not want to sound like a fool to his brothers or the masters of lore and magic. “I understand the rules of succession. Amlaith, though he has many faults, is the rightful heir to the throne. But I believe Celion has the strength to lead Arnor. I am forced to agree with Celion that father had no love for Amlaith. He saw less qualities in him than Celion and that had led father to favor him. I am the youngest of the sons,” Etheraid said meekly. “I know my chances to become the king of Arnor are few. I only wish to be of good aid to which ever brother deserves it.”
“Spoken very eloquently, Etheraid,” Elrond said. “I see wisdom in your words and much power in your voice. Perhaps if things were different I would believe you would be the rightful heir to the throne.” He looked at each of the brothers and at Gandalf. “If you will, you three may depart this meeting. Gandalf and I will exchange ideas for the evening is coming and we have much to discuss.” The three brothers left the meeting area along in the escort of elven guards. “Have you any wisdom to impart, old friend?”
“I see strength in letting a rightful heir to the throne keep his seat, be it the wrong decision such a decision has been made that has not sent the country into decay. This will be a sign that Arnor will, in fact, remain the rightful kingdom under Earandur’s family rule. But I see also the will in Celion’s words. He is a strong man and was obviously in Earandur’s favor. He is quick to anger, though, and sees not but his own way. Etheraid, on the other hand, has wisdom in his speech. He is not persuaded by rightful ownership for his eldest brother nor the power hungry struggle of his middle. He sits by quietly contemplating what needs to be done rather than spontaneity. Such a quality could be very kingly.”
The two continued for a while longer through the night. They spoke of each person as they would be fit for ruling the kingdom. In the end, though, only advice would they be able to impart to the three siblings as they would not want to meddle in the affairs of such a kingdom. At last, in what was a decision that took the entire night of deliberating between the two, their talk finally came to a head and Elrond sent for the three brothers, who had been waiting patiently in the main hall of the Last Homely House.
“Amlaith,” Elrond addressed the eldest brother. “I know you have the right to rule the kingdom of Arnor. It was rightfully passed down to you when your father passed. Celion, you have the strength with which to rule the kingdom. Your strength and passion to lead is greater than your brother’s passion and strength, and Earandur saw this in you. Etheraid, Gandalf and I saw a wisdom in you that we did not expect. Your quiet demeanor is only the exterior to a wider breadth of knowledge you possess. So this all brought Gandalf and I to an impasse. All three with the right to rule and only one kingdom. So our solution to your issue is this. Each of you will rule a portion of the land. Amlaith, because you are the rightful successor to your father, you will remain at the high seat in Annuminus. Celion, because you are most familiar with the eastern portion of the land, you will rule there amongst the trees and forests near our borders. Etheraid, we saw wisdom in your speech and felt your rule would be a strong and solid rule. Because of this, we feel you may take the southern portion of the land.”
And thus it was, with very little bickering at the end, and with the help of Elrond Half-elven and Gandalf the Grey; the three brothers broke up the land into three. Amlaith would take the western portion and name it Arthadain to signify nobility of his father. Etheraid would take the southern portion and name it Cardolan for the rivers Baranduin and Gwathlo. And Celion would claim the eastern portion and named it Rhudaur for the eastern end of the kingdom.
Each of the separate kingdoms met at a single point in the old kingdom of Arnor. Amon Sul was their meeting point. It was where their ancestors kept one of the Palandiri and a location of many meetings between all matters of leaders. Now, it will be a meeting place for the leaders of each of the three kingdoms of old Arnor.
With the aid of the three Marshals of Annuminus, Amlaith moved the capitol of Arthadain to a more familiar setting. He moved it back to the fortress of Fornost in the North Downs. And there the king of Arthadain remained. But with the break up of the kingdom, it was feared that such a weapon as the staff was, it would be used to a terrible power by someone else. So it was hid. The three Marshals, with the leadership of the king of Arthadain, elves, and dwarves, excavated a small cave in the side of the tower of Amon Sul. And the only key to its location was hidden within the scepter of Annuminus with the aid of all three Marshalls and given to Elrond in his safe keeping away from knowledge of the other two brothers.
There, at the very end of the cave, was placed the staff Gildingul, where it was to stay until all the lands were unified under one rule again. And a wise decision it was for in 1356 of the third age the last kings of Rhudaur and Cardolan had died off and as the king of Arthadain, Argaleb I came to rule, he attempted to unite the three kingdoms again. It was in the attempt to reunite the kingdoms that he learned Rhudaur had allied itself with the dangerous northern kingdom of Angmar and under the Witch-King’s rule, Angmar and Rhudaur resisted Argaleb’s reunification. For his attempt, only seven years into Argaleb’s rule, he was slain in battle. As the countries of the fractured Arnor fell deeper into decay, it appeared there was no returning to its former glory. It appeared that as time went on there was no hope to return to the once great kingdom of Arnor. So the staff lied in wait for not just as a fractured land of Eriador, but a united land of Arnor.