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Three days ago, the fallen Maia Sauron the Deceiver, formerly known as the Black Hand, the Necromancer, Gorthaur the Cruel, et al. led a mixed Man-Orc army against his former colleagues and friends entrenched in aptly-named city Ost-in-Edhil.

Sauron was last seen one hundred years ago fighting with his lover and confidante, Celebrimbor of Eregion. Celebrimbor was last seen fighting for his life at the center of the city two hours ago as Orcs burned down as much as they could in a city mostly made of stone. The cause of their strife was unknown but is assumed to have been dire.

“This is really shocking,” kinswoman Galadriel (née Artanis, née Altáriel, née Nerwen) said when reached for comment. “We had no idea that this man was secretly Gorthaur, much less that he had not, in fact, come in peace.”

Sauron the Deceiver, formerly identified as Aulendil, Artano, and Annatar, could not be reached for comment.

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Local property owner Morgoth Bauglir, formerly Melkor of the Ainur, claims that he didn’t have any suspicions about an unnamed woman who bypassed the security systems of his dark fortress and got all the way to his living room before attracting attention.

“Look, I thought she was a stripper,” Bauglir claimed. “She danced really pretty, and she did this thing with her hair in front of her face, and she even sang – no of ******* course I don’t remember what it was about, do I look like I keep track of those kinds of things? Why are you even still here? Why is no one looking for my Silmaril?”

Primary suspect Luthien Tinuviel and an unnamed accomplice, a mortal man tentatively identified as trespasser and would-be kidnapper Beren Camlost, escaped Bauglir’s home with a jewel rumored to be worth the loyalty of four Fëanorians. Camlost allegedly slept through the heist, though Tinuviel woke him in time to make their escape.

Further damages were incurred to Bauglir’s face and his prized guard-dog Carcharoth, last seen fleeing the scene with a bloody mouth. Tinuviel is also suspected of arson at Tol-in-Gaurhoth earlier this month.

Bauglir’s lieutenant, the groundskeeper of Tol-in-Gaurhoth, could not be reached for comment.

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A new species has been discovered in the forests of Ossiriand encroaching on the territory of the Laiquendi.

“This was completely unexpected!” enthused discoverer Finrod Felagund, better known as the ruler of Nargothrond despite his reputation as an amateur explorer and musician. “I was wandering around the springs of Thalos and saw fires, and had to go check it out because usually no one around here is stupid enough to light fires. And bam, what do you know, there they were!”

According to Felagund, the new species appears bipedal in stature and patriarchal in structure. Its members exhibit most semblances of sentience, including the use of clothing to signify rank, the ingenuity to make anything into weapons, and enough avarice to clout one another over the head for a bit of well-polished rock.

“And an appreciation of music, which really cinches it,” Felagund said. “So even if they don’t look much like us, they act like us! I’m calling them the Atani.”

Atani, plural of the Quenya Atan, means “Second People,” and in the Eldarin scheme of creation, signifies that Felagund’s new species are being hailed as children of Eru beneath only the Elves themselves. Felagund’s Khazad neighbors are alleged to have sent several politely-worded inquiries inquiring as to their own rank in this schema, and how it might affect trade with Nargothrond.

“Not that we’re complaining about being the children of Mahal, you understand,” a Khazad spokesdwarf offered, on severe condition of anonymity. “But if these new buggers can claim better prices for whatever it is that they’re coming around selling, we want to know.”

Little progress has been made determining what Felagund’s Atani are doing in Ossiriand, but Felagund himself remains optimistic.

“Music is supposed to be the one true language, right?” he said. “So there’s hope yet. I mean, they liked mine!”

Felagund played the Atani his renditions of the Noldor’s Greatest Hits, minus the Noldolantë, while seated around their campfire.

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Elu Thingol, king of Doriath and current record holder for most marriages to a Maia, issued a ban last Tuesday barring the House of Fëanor from entering the forests of Neldoreth, Region, and Nivrim. 

“I don’t know why they thought they could just come over here and set themselves up in my woods,” Thingol said earlier in a prepared statement. “But we’ve recently discovered that they are all kinslayers, and Doriath has a zero-tolerance no-murderers policy.” 

The royal family’s spokesman and bard Daeron corroborated the statement yesterday, adding, “This has been an enormous affair for all of us. Discovering the truth about these new neighbors of ours has been an enormous letdown, but rest assured that we will do our best to get to the bottom of this. This ban will be modified as more details are discovered.” 

Experts believe Thingol’s statements are due to a combination of societal pressures from his new neighbors, increased Orc raids from the north, and persistent rumors that the entire continent was doomed by the gods. Nonetheless, they remain hopeful that relationships can be repaired. 

No Fëanorians could be reached for comment. 

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Earlier today, recently-arrived prince and intrepid explorer Findekáno, well-known harpist and first son of current High King Ñolofinwë, unexpectedly returned to camp on the back of a giant eagle while carrying most of his cousin, also current High King Nelyafinwë Maitimo.

“I was wandering around the mountains near Thangorodrim, looking for a nice place to sit down and maybe hitch a ride with a passing Orc patrol, when suddenly this great shadow descended upon me and Thorondor showed up,” Findekáno said earlier, pointing to the giant eagle he rode in on. “He even showed me where Cousin Russandol was, which was pretty nice.”

Findekáno, fifty-second place winner of the All-Valinor Archery Competition three hundred and fifty years in a row, had been last seen setting foot in Beleriand and was rumored to have run away to search for his missing cousin three weeks ago. High King Nelyafinwë Maitimo, colloquially known as “Cousin Russandol,” disappeared when his supposedly fool-proof ambush was counter-ambushed by the Dark Lord Morgoth over a century ago.

Findekáno reportedly found his cousin hanging from one hand on a mountain and was about to prove his archery skills when the Eagle suggested he use a melee weapon instead. Findekáno, who placed ten thousandth in the All-Valinor Knifework and Lockpicking Competition a hundred and twelve years in a row, apparently missed his blow, hitting his cousin in the wrist instead of the chain he’d been aiming for.

“It was a good blow,” Findekáno insisted. “I managed to take off his hand in one cut, which I’ve never been able to do before. And I didn’t even drop the knife! Thorondor managed to catch Cousin Russandol, although he accidentally swallowed his hand, so I guess they’re not reattaching it anytime soon. And Thorondor was so sorry about it he even offered to give us a ride home!”

Thorondor, colloquially known as the greatest of Eagles and quite possibly the hand of the King of the Valar in Middle-earth, added that he would love to give more rides to Noldor, especially those who are “going hunting or expected to lose a limb or two in the near future.”

He then added, “I would like to clarify that we are not a ferry service, however, and should not be ridden lightly. Also, no journeys longer than three days.” To summon Thorondor, just go to an open field with at least a hand’s worth of meat and shout his name until he responds.

Neither possibly-still-current High King Nelyafinwë Maitimo, nor any members of his court, could be reached for comment.

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A local woman has been forbidden from dating unless her provisional boyfriend steals a priceless artefact from the most high-security location in Northern Beleriand, according to anonymous sources named Daeron this past Tuesday.

“Is the stupid Silmaril that great? Nope. Is it even my dad’s? Nope,” said Lúthien Tinúviel, a half-angel and half-elf princess. “But is he demanding that Beren [Camlost] get it anyway? Yup.” 

Tinúviel has been seeing Camlost in secret from the first day of spring, according to local musician Daeron, who voices reasonable doubts about the match.

“The King’s demands may seem extreme, but unfortunately, extreme measures are the only way to get through that Man’s thick head,” said Daeron, who claims to be Tinúviel’s ex. “I think it’s the only way we’ll get things back to the way they should be around here.” 

Tinúviel’s father, Elu Thingol, had Camlost arrested Tuesday for trespassing in his Teleri- and Maia-only kingdom, but Tinúviel forestalled a formal trial by snatching Camlost away from his guards and walking him right into her parents’ room. Thingol’s demands to know who the Man was and what he was doing in Menegroth were apparently met with Tinuviel’s “he’s that pain in Morgoth’s ass you keep talking about congratulating” and Camlost’s slightly more formal “it was true love that brought me here.”

Allegedly, it was the phrase “true love” that ignited Thingol’s rage, not “Morgoth’s ass.”

Thingol, best known for the centuries-long disappearance in which he was the sketchy boyfriend,  eventually admitted that Camlost’s inheritance, a green snake ring from Finrod Felagund’s Hot Topic phase, was inconveniently legitimate. An impossible quest seemed like the ideal solution after hours spent brandishing sovereign immunity with no effect.

“That’s how little you value your daughter? Whoah, I’m doing us both a favor,” Camlost is rumored to have said before being chased out of Menegroth by angry trees. “We’ll meet again, your majesty.”

In order to stand any chance at dating his One True Love™ and maybe getting started on some one-quarter-angel, one-quarter-elf, and two-quarters Atani children, Camlost is now bound to recover a Silmaril from the crown of Morgoth. (For any readers who have been living in an isolated forest kingdom for the last several thousand years, Morgoth is the rogue god currently terrorizing Northern Beleriand in hopes of consuming all Beleriand.)

Tinúviel has since been confined to her childhood treehouse until the matter is settled. Her guards report that she has been combing her hair excessively, but is otherwise quiet.

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Finrod's

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Do you have any friends or family who have gone missing recently? Been feeling hostile eyes staring at you while alone frolicking in the woods? 

Well, good news! 

We here at The ‘Tater understand your fears and have come up with a handy-dandy list of everything you need to know to keep you and your loved ones safe(r) from the returned Dark Lord Morgoth! 

(Oh, and all those symptoms? Definitely due to Morgoth’s interference. Not our fault, I promise!) 

1. DO NOT GO ALONE AND UNARMED INTO THE WOODS

It’s Spring, the flowers are finally blooming now that the Sun is here, and birds are chirping in the woods. We get it. You want to frolic. So does your significant other or one night stand. But is getting a helping hand worth the eternity of pain and suffering you both will feel after Morgoth captures you? We think not. 

2. IT’S NOT A KINSLAYING IF THEY’RE ORCS!

Look, we understand. “Orcs were once Elves!” “They didn’t have a choice!” “Maybe they aren’t fully corrupted!” “Aunty Mindi, is that you?” and so on and so on. 

The question here is, do you think that the chance of you maybe being the one exception for redeeming an Orc* is comparable to the chances of you dying a horrible death or worse? No? Then stab those Orcs like there’s no tomorrow! Otherwise, for you, there won’t be. 

3. TRUST YOUR NEW NOLDORIN NEIGHBORS

They have centuries of experience fighting with Morgoth! And if most of them happen to be over minor civic infractions, at least it’s better than ten thousand years of absence! 

So go out, find your friendly neighborhood Feanorian warrior, and trust in them to guide you to a new and better tomorrow! It’s either them or the Orcs

4. DO NOT GO NORTH

We’re not saying you can never head in any direction that is vaguely North, just that you are more likely to run into Orc patrols or other assorted nastiness the further North you go. You’re better off leaving the Northern defence to your friendly new Noldorin neighbors! 

Recruits can sign up at the fortress of Himring. Armor and survival not included. 

5. SHUN STRANGERS

...or old friends suddenly showing up, or strange malformed humanoids claiming to be from the Southeast. You never know who has been influenced by the Dark Lord! Do not trust “escapees,” no matter how trustworthy or traumatized they seem, and definitely do take everything with a grain of salt!

(protip: if it’s ugly, it’s probably the Enemy!) 

6. RESIST THE ENEMY

Sometimes, despite your best efforts, you can’t help being captured, kidnapped, or otherwise inconvenienced. When that happens, you should do your best to defend your friends and family who are still free. Lie to your captors and sabotage their best efforts. If you can, pretend to be an Orc until you can escape. Definitely do warn the local populace about these unfriendly invaders encroaching upon their territory and make sure you have not been secretly suborned by the Dark Lord or his many minions. 

And remember, an honorable death fighting against the Dark Lord’s hordes is a much preferable fate to the shame of living under his shriveled, burnt fist! 

“I can guarantee that these are completely factual and useful pieces of advice,” local scientist and shapeshifting demigod Gorthaur the Cruel said when asked for comment. “The Dark Lord is never going to see through any of this, and neither are his Orcs. So definitely do follow this advice!” 

Orcs, escapees, and the Dark Lord Morgoth were not asked for comment. 

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A member of the Istari, demigod guardians recently dispatched to Middle-earth, has just flouted the strict dress code by which ordinary citizens could recognize the do-gooders.

“White is bland, and boring, and inescapably infused with associations of lawful good,” said the wizard Saruman, née Curumo, in a prepared statement. “I refuse to be bound by the strictures of a single hue any longer, and from this day forward you shall refer to me only as *drumroll* Saruman of Many Colors!”

The original parchment was enchanted with an actual drumroll for dramatic effect.

In making this statement, Saruman breaks with a long-held tradition that the leader of this immortal boy-band wears white, the backup vocalists wear gray and/or brown, and the session musicians wear blue. Instead, his trademark white wardrobe has been replaced with glowstick-studded robes that flash different colors as Saruman moves, dizzying audiences.

Sources hypothesize that in-fighting among the group itself might have prompted this surprising move. Other band members include Gandalf the Grey, formerly a Maia of Manwë and Varda; Radagast the Brown, formerly a Maia of Yavanna; and Alatar and Pallando the Variously Blue, formerly Maiar of Oromë. Of these four, only Radagast could be reached for comment; Gandalf is the focus of a current missing persons case, and Alatar and Pallando disappeared in pursuit of groupies several hundred years ago.

“He did what, now?” Radagast said when asked. “Oh, that’s actually pretty smart. Many animals adopt different colors in response to different seasons or environments, you know; it’s a camouflage technique! And I’ve told Curumo many times that his white robes really don’t match that whole black-on-black-on-black aesthetic he has going on at Isengard. I’m so happy he’s finally listening to me!”

Back in Valinor, Aule of the Valar is being investigated, as Saruman is the second of his Maiar to fall from grace. The first was Mairon, now better known as the Sauron whom the Istari were sent to oppose.

“Look, I don’t know,” Aulë said. “These kinds of things just happen around here, sometimes – it’s one of the risks associated with a creative atmosphere. Remember the Dwarves, though? At least that turned out pretty well, right?”

The Vala is referring to his slapdash creation of the Khazad, which Eru Ilúvatar only sanctioned following some serious groveling.

The sign outside Aulë’s forge in Valinor has been reset to “0 Days Since The Last Incident.”