Ceolwulf of Rohan, age 25, son of Elfwine, was a King's Knight and fought valiantly at the First Battle of the Fords of Isen on February 25, 3019, and the First Battle of Helm's Deep on March 3, 3019. At the Battle of Pelennor Fields on March 15, 3019, he rode with King Theoden in the center of the charge, but his horse bolted in fear at the presence of the Witch-King of Angmar and ran away. Ceolwulf, overcome by fear and suffering from the Black Shadow, struggled to control his horse and turn it back, but then he, too, fell to the power of the overcoming presence of evil eminating from the Witch-King and his will to fight left him. He put spurs to his horse and did not allow him to stop until he had galloped halfway across the field. Then, recovering his nerve, Ceolwulf had tried to turn back but failed, and found himself surrounded by enemies. They dragged him down with their halberds, and he would have died had the Rohirrim not made a counter charge.
Ceolwulf lay dazed upon the ground. After the battle, enemy soldiers had found him and took him captive. He and other captives were herded into slave pens, where the men were subjected to the indignity of having their heads shaved and their beards shorn.
Later, forced to march to Nurn with other slaves, he and the others were branded on the left shoulder with the mark of the Great Eye, signifying they were slaves of Mordor.
His father, Elfwine, two brothers and three uncles still were living at the beginning of the Second Battle of Helm's Deep on June 14, 3019, but they had given up hope of ever seeing Ceolwulf alive again.
Ceolwulf is in love with Elfhild, another of Frodo's slaves, but he cannot tell her of his affections, because he feels that their prospects for happiness are slim because of their servitude and his fear that the West is failing. Ceolwulf is racked with self-doubts and questions of his own bravery. His nature is already a fiery one, but because of his self-loathing, he feels impelled to take the offensive against the men of darkness in every possible confrontation. His beligerance has earned him more than one beating, one severe whipping and a sojourn in several dungeons.
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