In the camp of Eonwe, the fire the guards sat by was dying. King Finarfin, High King of the Noldor, looked at the fire in slight annoyance. Those men should know better, he thought. Morgoth might have been defeated, and he might have been chained by Tulkas with the great enchanted chain Angainor that Aule had wrought in ages past but that did not mean all evil was gone from Middle-Earth. And thus, Finarfin considered the guards took an unnecessary risk, gathered as they were around the dying fire, talking, in front of the tent in which lay the iron bound box that held the Silmarils.
Even through their heavy container the great Jewels made by his brother Feanor gleamed, and Finarfin thought that of all the possible dangers that lay in the woods, wargs, wolves and orcs who had escaped the slaughter the greatest danger lay in two men of his own kin, his nephews Maedhros and Maglor, the only two yet living of Feanor's seven sons. They had sent a message to Eonwe, Manwe's herald demanding the Silmarils be yielded to them in fulfilment of their Oath. However, the brothers had returned no answer to Eonwe's own demands that they yield themselves to go back to Aman for judgement. This worried Finarfin, for he had heard of the cruel deeds in Middle-earth of the Sons of Feanor in their so far futile attempts to regain the Silmarils.
As the King walked closer to the fire, he was able to hear the conversation of the guards. They were spooning stew from a pot next to the fire, and arguing hotly over the merits of that particular recipe. The two dark haired Noldor guards, men from Finarfin's own household complained that wine should never be used as a flavouring ingredients in stew, stating it was a substitute for the correct long and slow simmering necessary to draw out the tenderness and natural flavouring of the meat. Their Vanyar companions were defending the marinating of game meat such as venison, that the wine was necessary to correctly cook such an old stag as the hunters had foolishly slain. The discussion was becoming very lively, the subject of venison being dropped in favour of cakes and various desserts. The recipes being tossed around were enough to make Finarfin wish for some of the delicious foods, but something was nagging at the King's mind, the night seemed too still and quiet.
Two shadowy figures burst suddenly from the trees near the fire. They were covered in heavy cloaks, which they did not fling aside until they drew long swords and slew the guards. Finarfin saw them coming but he was too late in his warning. Too late to assist the guards as he ran towards the tent. Too late to stop his nephews, for such he realised the two men were, reclaiming the Silmarils.
As he fell to his knees in shock at the sight of the slaughtered guards he was too late to ask Eonwe not to let Maedhros and Maglor flee. He did not want his kinsmen slain, but captured. He struggled to his feet, not really wanting to face the sight of more dead elves killed by their own kind, he suddenly understood two words represented his life.
Too late to stop the Kinslaying, or the Curse of the Noldor. Too late to come to Middle-Earth and see his children; too late to see his sons for they were all dead. His daughter was married to a Sindarin Prince, and although he had sent messages it seemed it was too late for her to forgive him turning back to Aman all those years ago, for she would not see him.
And last, all those years ago, he was too late to try to stop his brother and his seven sons swear their dreadful oath which started all the horrible killings of elf by elf. Sobbing, Finarfin collapsed by the dead guards, too late again, his tortured mind screamed at him. Too late to save the lives of these men, too late to save the last of his brothers' sons from their Oath, too late too late, all was in Illuvatar's hands but it was too late for the One's help too? Finarfin did not know, and found he did not care. All he could hear was two words: too late, too late.