THE EVACUATION OF EDORAS
Through June 6 to June 7...
All of the possessions of the royal family are being removed and loaded into the wains.... tapestries stripped from the walls, the king's throne removed from the dias. "Let the orcs sit on the throne of the Mark -now- and proclaim themselves king! No foul creature of mordor shall disgrace the throne!" thought Eomer as he watched the throne being carried off to the wains.
The Rohirrim are a simple people, large amounts of furniture do not adorn their spacious halls and rooms. A stool, a bench, a chair.... a heavy wooden table, a curtained bed, chests for clothing and belongings...a few fancy rugs... candles and torches... items of historic value. All of value is being loaded into the wains. The orcs will not spoil the heirlooms of house of Eorl! the armory is cleaned out, all of the weapons loaded upon wains to go with the army. the men of Rohan shall not fall by their own swords wielded by the hands of their enemies!
The kitchen and storerooms are cleaned of food and cooking utensils... pots, pans, cauldrons... but all is left a mess. Let the orcs clean it up. Even the torches are removed from the walls. If Mordor likes darkness so well, things should be nice and homey now for them when the evil host arrives in the city. Soon all that will be left in the Golden Hall will be what was not boarded down or profitable to take... anything that could not be used, trash and refuse... a few reed mats that were starting to show their age.
After the last wain exits the walls of the city, a few men remain. After locking it and taking the key, they nail boards over the gate, and place several large bolts of wood in their holders. Chains also bar the way, and devices of cunning design. Poles are driven into the ground and rubble piled up around the gates. They exit by way of portable ladders, making sure to knock over the ladder on the inside as they climb over the walls, and taking the outside ladder with them as they go.
Soon the entourage will be going to relative safety, the army to certain death. But really... does it matter who is safe and who is not? ...for safety is only a temporary thing, and only prolongs the inevitable.... the black host of Mordor sweeping in like a foul flood, destroying all in its path. What is safety, but the choice to have a slow, agonizing death instead of a quick one in battle?
June 7; before dawn
The city is all astir.... full of movement and activity... but this is no day of festival but one of sadness... for the proud city of edoras is being abandoned.... almost given to the Enemy. It seems to be the end of all things.... there are few choices to be made now.... to submit to slavery under the Nameless Enemy's rule, to be slaughtered while waiting for the black hordes to come, or to be slaughtered in battle fighting them. the men (and, doubtless, some of the women, unbeknownst to the men) choose the latter choice.
Gondor and the White City had fallen.... a plague of dire sickness and death hit the southern fiefdoms.... But, at least not all was completely lost.... not yet anyway. Many civilian refugees survived and hid in the White mountains and messengers have told King Eomer that an army of men from gondor are marching through the mountains to come to their aid. Rohan had always come to Gondor's aid, and Gondor had come to Rohan's aid.... the time comes to Eomer's mind many years before when Gondor helped Frealaf and the Rohirrim drive out Dunlending invaders after Edoras was regained after being captured and occupied.
Eomer feels sadness in his heart for the fate of Gondor... the country now in ruins, its people hiding out in the mountains. And now the black horde comes to do the same to Rohan, and after Rohan, no doubt the long leagues of Eriador and all lands in the west of Middle-earth. Then all of middle-earth would belong to the Enemy, the Lord of the Nameless Land, and all would be His slaves.
They had already enslaved his sister.
Yes, he believed that the woman who called herself "Maltriel" was really his sister and that she lived and breathed, and was not a wraith or an evil spirit possessing the dead body of his sister like some among the people claimed. She did not appear fey, only ill and weak... she spoke coherently, almost too so, when she spoke the foul language of the orcs, and proclaimed her undying loyalty to Mordor and Sauron.
His hands inadvertently clenched into fists when even the faintest thought of the Black Captain entered his mind, for he believed that the Nazgul was behind his sister's malady. He had been told of the horrible things that had befallen his sister and his uncle on the battlefield of the pelennor... his uncle beheaded, his body eaten by the fell beast of the Nazgul... Eowyn had challenged the dreadful Captain, but she had been struck down by his mace, then carried off to the Dark Tower to fate unknown... Meriadoc the halfling was crushed into the ground by many heavy blows when he had tried to defend Eowyn. The rumor from the battlefield of the fates of these two unconventional Riders of Rohan horrified all who heard it... for no one had known that either Eowyn or Merry had ridden with the army in secret, and the news caused great shock. But all had thought that Eowyn had been dead since the middle of March, for it was thought that none who went to the Dark Tower ever lived to tell the tale.
But Eowyn was not dead... she was just a thrall of Mordor now with no memory of her past, and a false identity and love which she clung to desperately. Indeed, she could remember nothing of Rohan... she could not understand their language, their songs were unfamiliar. Everything was new and strange to her... sunlight made her uneasy, and she thought it was evil.
That foul Black Captain was behind all this, for eventually, after much evasion, she admitted that she was betrothed to Lord Angmar. She now spoke about him freely, her eyes shining with joy as she showered him with praise and compliments. Eomer fumed and wondered what horrible torments, tortures and abuses that his sister endured in the Nameless Land. What would break her so and reduce her from a proud, fearless woman to a cringing thrall.
She was convinced that the Rohirrim, her own people, were going to torture her and burn her alive, and there was nothing anyone could tell her to convince her otherwise. Saruman told similar lies to the Dunlendings. Eomer sighed. It took but one fiend, like Saruman or those of the Dark Land, with words like honey to poison the mind of many, and the Black Captain had claimed the heart and mind of one whom Eomer held dear.
Eowyn was leaving the city with the entourage. Eomer worried for her health and safety. She suffered from some illness, and was convinced that she was dying. She felt there was no hope for her... not even the medicine that Angmar gave her had the ability to preserve her life. Eomer wondered about this "medicine" and what it really was.... some work of devilry, no doubt. she often became feverish, and was too weak to walk great distances. Her sleep had been plagued with nightmares and she would cry out in terror... in her good dreams she softly babbled things about Angmar, her beloved. As to whether Eowyn really was dying....The best healers tended to her, and her health had been slowly improving since the date of her capture on the 2nd.
Eomer hoped for the best. Just being away from the foul hordes of Mordor would do her well. Her skin was often ghostly pale, and she looked half-starved. When asked of her treatment by Mordor, she claimed she suffered no ill and that she was treated kindly. But that type of statement would always be spoken by a true thrall.
Eomer sighed. He wondered if there was any hope for his sister, or if she would always think she was being held captive by her own people, and that they sought to harm her. Soon he would be going with the army, and she would be going with the entourage to a place of safety. If he could find the Lord of the Nazgul, oh! His foul presence would no longer taint Middle-earth. But Eomer knew that Angmar was not a living man, but an evil creature of the undead... and for now the one who brought such disgrace to his sister would roam freely abroad, spreading terror upon all near.
Edoras to 6 miles from River Snowbourne beyond the road from Edoras to Entwade
Several eoreds have been sent down the road from Edoras, to help protect the refugees who hide in the refuge of Dunharrow and surrounding mountain vales. The people fear the worst.... truly, these dark days grow ever darker. What few arms could be spared from the main army are given to the women and children.... for soon, everyone feels, it will come to that, for it appears that there is no hope left, and all is lost. Now come the dreadful hours of waiting.... waiting for doom, waiting for death... for the hordes of Mordor will descend upon them and slaughter them all.
Scouts lie in wait to spy on the Mordor army from vantage points behind the hill of Edoras and in the surrounding mountains. They are clad in dark green, camoflauge in the darkness.
Cloaked by the darkness of Mordor, the main force of the Rohan army leaves the area of Edoras at nine in the morning, crosses the ford over the river Snowbourne and heads north into the open country. they bring wood with them, and their eyes look upon the deserted homesteads along their march. the men feel sad when they must demolish them, but they have much need of timber..... kindling for the fires.
The army stops in an area six miles from the River Snowbourne beyond the road from Edoras to Entwade, and begin piling many piles of wood, set far apart... but the camp-fires are not to be lit yet.
Men of Rohan and Dunland tend to the barricades built between the easternmost spur of the Misty Mountains near Isengard and the northernmost part of the White Mountains, further strengthening them from attack. The garrisoned men at Helm's Deep further fortify the area, fixing any repairs that have not already been mended.
The morning of June 7
Two hours before dawn
"It aint nothin' but dried meat for breakfast again. No fresh game 'ere since they all ran," says Bashrash.
Returning from a foraging trip, Lugag comes into the group of orcs and says, "Nothing good out there to be found, but the 'Igh Ones say there will be fresh meat a-plenty in a couple days. I did find this one, though, mates." He holds a land tortoise in one hand, its reptilian eyes and limbs refusing to come forth from its shell.
Bashrash says, "Ain't much, is it, mate? 'Ere, bring it to the fire so we can get a good look at it."
Lugag says, "You ain't gettin' none of this. It's mine and I'll eat 'im shell and all."
The other orcs say, "So, that's nothing to boast about. Wouldn't be more than a mouthful."
Lugag glares at the group and places the turtle in his open mouth, biting down hard, cracking the shell and rending the flesh in one bite. "Ain't bad," he says as he wipes off his mouth and crunches loudly. The other orcs roll their eyes and spit on the ground.
"It's fresh meat we want, both man and 'orse!"
Soon horns will sound and drums will beat, and the long ranks of the army of Mordor will resume its march to Edoras.
Number Eight, Angmar's Messenger, vaguely remembered that he once had a name, but that was not important anymore. He knew his name now, the one that had been given to him by the Master, and that was enough. All that really mattered now was that power was his, something that he had desired more than anything back in the dim reaches of the past, a past he could not remember. He sat upon his beast in the darkness and waited for the message Angmar wanted him to deliver to Lugburz. Through the darkness he could see the lights of the fires of the camp and figures moving to and fro, the camp just stirring after hours of rest. The smells were strong, the pecular smell of the wargs penetrating into his nostrils; the scent of horses, of men and orcs registering upon his senses. There were other things, too; the scents of many made him feel uneasy, for he could read unease in their smell. The beast squawked with irritation, impatient to be off. All nearby avoided the Rider and his beast, unless they had good reason to go near. He could see Lomin come out of Angmar's tent a distance away.
Lomin comes beside the beast, looks up and then bows, saying, "Shakh, the message!" Soundlessly he reaches down and takes the offered letter. Lomin steps back and then the beast flaps his wings and lifts off.
The news the scout brought yesterday did not please Angmar. The woman yet lived, and had been heard screaming as the scout and his beast swooped low over Medusled.
"They let her live! But perhaps that could still be put to some good use. The spells of enchantment will hold her as long as she lives, and her thought will ever be towards Mordor. Her country will soon belong to Mordor anyway, and she can always be fetched and brought back." Still, he did not like it; things were not going quite his way. The fate that he had planned for the woman had not taken place. He put his thoughts of her aside, and thought of her brother, now King. Angmar wanted him for himself, to kill as he pleased, in ways that he pleased. "Curse their family anyway, for they came to the aid of Gondor, though it did none of them any good!"
He thought of the letter detailing the plans for the day's march that would be sent to Lugburz. "The Great One will be pleased with the good speed that we have made, in spite of some difficulties." His army would soon be set in motion for the day. He left his tent and went to the beast that was waiting for him, mounted it and flew off towards Medsuled. He had taken a bow and quiver of poisoned arrows with him.... just in case. It was never known before the hunt began just what quarry might be taken.
The Night of June 7, in the Riders'
The army of Rohan is camped around 7 miles from the river snowbourne north of the road from Edoras to Entwade, a mile away from the area of the false camp-site.
Smoke belches forth from Orodurin and travels hundreds of miles to the West, covering the land with a heavy blanket of darkness and gloom... choking the light of the Sun, Moon and Stars... as well as hope and morale. However, even though the mirk weights down the spirits of the Rohirrim, they find hope underneath it, for even though the thick, black clouds are the devices of Sauron, they also aid the forces of the West.... concealing them as they ride over the grassy plains of the Mark.
The men lay hidden under their evil blanket, setting up camp for the night.. Not a campfire is lit, nothing to show their presence to the enemys ever watchful aerial scouts and any land scouts that might be lurking near-by.
Eomer stares out into the darkness... the air is filled with an uneasy brooding anticipation... the enemy must be close to Edoras now, if not in the city itself... he wonders if there is any hope for the West against the Black Army of Mordor... it seems no strategy will avail the Dark Lord upon His dark throne, for in His power lay superior numbers, never-ending hordes of evil.... indeed the arm of the Enemy had grown long, and His hand now stretched out, seeking the land of the Horse Lords.
THE NIGHT MARCH BEGINS
June 7 - 8
Dusk til shortly after daylight (if there were any)
Maugoth Furlin and his staff rode behind the Army of the 7000. Furlin was glad that there was some measure of road to follow, because his vision was no better than those of his kind, Easterlings by origin. The thought crossed his mind, "Sometimes the Great One causes as many problems for us as He does for our enemies, but I know there is great wisdom behind all that He does. At least this darkness will not hinder the orcs!"
Pizdur (Captain) Adunai (equivalent of chief of Furlin's staff, basically) speaks to Furlin. "Shakh, all goes well as planned. First our forces will occupy the city, which should be easy since there is no opposition.
"The officers have told their men to loot what they will in the city, but to keep the walls and Medsuled intact. Nothing there is to be spoiled. All is as you have commanded. Wise indeed are you in the ways of war." He continues his flattery.
Furlin becomes impatient and asks, "And what about Shakh Krul's horse?"
"Yes, the High One's horse is being cared for by a squire and given all due respect. It is irony, Maugoth, that the horse himself was bred in Rohan!"
Furlin nods to him. "Good," he says as he thinks, "I have never liked Adunai with his fawning ways. Always he seeks promotion and tries to impress me with his knowledge of lore and his attempts at wit, but he knows I will not suffer him to babble on and on. Never trust a man like that."
"Pizdur Adunai, Number Two Himself wishes to greet his troops when they reach Edoras. He wants the honor of being the first to be inside the gates. The city will soon be an outpost, fully garrisoned with ample strength to quell any rebellions among the Rohirrim."
Shortly after dawn, June 8
Eomer's spies near the city and in the hills around feel a sinister chill far colder than the dawn air. A sense of dread comes over them, and the spies feel that the darkness that surrounds the city now seems strangely darker with the light of dawn than it did during the night. "A fell presence is nearby," they murmur among themselves.
The Army of Rohan
The army of Rohan left the area of Edoras at 9 the morning before, crossed the ford over the river Snowbourne, and headed north into the open country. In the afternoon they stopped in an area 6 miles from the river Snowbourne around the road from Edoras to Entwade, and began the building of many piles of wood and constructed what appeared to be a camp-site for the army. They camped nearby, but light few fires, and made few signs of their presence as possible.
The next morning, the Riders of Rohan quickly leave the area of the camp-site with its many unlit piles of wood.....the riders move north, then curve around and go south-west, and camp a good distance away from the false camp-site, camping about 10 leagues from Edoras diagonally to the northwest
That afternoon, a few riders who had remained behind the main army light the camp-fires near the road from Edoras to Entwade, then gallop away and return to the main army. Perhaps the enemy will think that the Rohirrim had camped here but fled to the north, and go on a wild goose chase for them, at least for a time. No matter what Mordor was to do, an empty camp would definitely confuse them.
A FAINT GLIMMER OF LIGHT
Afternoon; Army of Mordor of 20,000
East of Edoras
Clad in the sable livery of Mordor, Maugoth Lomin rides with his escort near the middle of the army of 20,000 on its march to Edoras. Riding beside him, his second-in-command, Mautor Vardnir speaks, "Maugoth, things go smoothly."
Lomin says, "Perhaps too smoothly. Eomer and his army are out there somewhere, but as yet, they have made no contact with any of our forces."
Vardnir says, "Our information says that the horse lords have only a small army."
Lomin says, "Yes, but sometimes small forces can do great damage if their commanders know how to use them. We will see if Eomer is as dangerous a foe as his uncle was. I do not think he is."
"Aye, Maugoth." Vardnir thinks of Theoden and the fields of Pelennor. He had wished only that he had been the one to kill him, but no. An enemy rider had attacked him with such ferocity that Varndir thought he was doomed. Vardnir had had to retreat in fear, but not before his enemy had slashed his face. Now his once handsome dark features were forever marred by a wicked, jagged scar across his right cheek.
Days of the monotony of the dim landscape lit only by the light of the torches begin to press upon Vardnir. For the first time since setting out from Lugburz, he begins to feel uneasy. "Strange, the air seems more heavy than usual," he thinks to himself, and the closeness of the sweating orcs seems even more foul today.
He had always felt comfortable with the darkness of Mordor, but now in enemy territory, shrouded in darkness that made day seem like twilight, he thought he could feel the eyes of enemies upon him. "I wish I could see better. Now our Master's devices serve the enemy as well as they do us!"
Up ahead in the gloom, the faint glow of light appears. "Maugoth, what do you think is the meaning of this?"
Lomin says, "We have found the enemy, or perhaps the enemy has found us. Order reconnaissance patrols out and probe these unseen forces!
"Aye, Maugoth, it will be done as you commanded."
Filtering down through the cloud above, they hear the sound of a lone Nazgul screech, and it is soon joined by others. "At least they can see better than we can," Vardnir thinks, and feels more confident.
Lomin says, "The Morgul Lord is with them today, and he has vowed that soon Eomer's head will be joining that of his uncle."
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