HARROWDALE VALLEY IN FLAMES
2:00 in the morning, June 13
Mautor Ufang is awakened from his sleep and is not pleased at the disruptions. Throwing a cloak around himself, he arises from his bed and goes to the Golden Hall. He sits at his great table, and by the light of the torches on the wall and a candle beside him, he reads the reports from the valley patrols. At first he looked at them in amazement and shock, and then unable to restrain himself, he shouts, "TWENTY DEAD, WOUNDED, MISSING, OR UNACCOUNTED FOR! NAZGUL SPYING ON THE PATROLS! THE GREAT LORD, SHAKH GAKH, SLAYING ORCS AT RANDOM!"
The members of his staff tremble in fear as they see his fury, but Mautor Ufang is not finished yet. "WHAT MADNESS IS THIS!" he screeches. "SIX-ARMED DEMONS ON UNDEAD HORSES! EASTERLING SPIES!" He pauses for breath and then goes on. "THE VALLEY IS FILLED WITH MADNESS! HOW DARE YOU BRING ME REPORTS LIKE THIS!" he screams. "URK! URK! URK! These Mordor orcs will say anything to hide the fact that they shirk their work and go forth into the woods to drink and gamble! They send me reports like this to try to hide the fact that they fight amongst themelves and slay each other in drunken brawls!
"My orders - let the backs of all those who try to deceive me this way feel the lash!
"These orders are from above! Burn both sides of the Snowbourn. Let all vegetation be consumed in flames! Press back the Rohirrim to Dunharrow and leave not a man, woman or child living when you are through! Let all the Rohirrim valley patrols be consumed in fire! Let not one tree or blade of grass be standing when you have finished!"
His commanders bow to him and then still bowing, back all the way from the table to the door, then turn and go out to carry out their tasks.
Ufang commands one of his slaves, "Bring me parchment, ink and quill! I must send messages!" and as an afterthought, he adds, "And bring me a bottle of the best wine from Nurn and a goblet!"
Before nightfall that day, barrels of oil are used to ignite the trees and grass, yellowing now from a week of little rain and no sun. Soon, the vegetation of the valley is in flames, and the glow can be seen for miles.
Battle for the Harrowdale Valley
Writing by Eowyn; concept idea, story guidelines and reviews by Wraith
A deadly silence falls upon the northern
Harrowdale Valley, stilling the cheerful singing of birds, frogs
and insects. No woodland creature now dares make a sound this
dark morning, and the sound of the rushing river echoes painfully
in the ears of the Rohirrim out-riders patrolling both sides of
the river in the northern march. A fell wind blows from the north.
The horses are uneasy; they paw the ground, ever looking in that
direction. The riders are ready, their faces grim, hands upon
sword hilts, staring out into the darkness, every muscle tense,
bracing themselves for whatever might come next.
And then they come. The orcs. Creeping through the darkness, a horde of evil spreads through the valley, coming from the north, like in the old days when their masses poured out of Angband over the plain of Anfauglith. They come now from Edoras though and not from the Hells of Iron. Never before had they come in such numbers. What was happening? Were they attacking? Panicked riders break away from the out-riders, set spur to their horses and fly upon the road, alerting the patrolling eoreds as they ride south.
The third eored, the northernmost guard, rides forward to aid the out-riders. The stillness of the valley is broken as swords clash, metal upon metal, and men and orc cry out in agony as their flesh is riven by sword or pierced by arrow. The riders swing their swords and black blood flies into the sky and gruesome heads fall to the ground. Yet the orcs keep coming, on both sides of the river. There are not enough men to stay their bloody course. The Rohirrim fight fiercely but waves of enemies crash and flood over them. The commander of the third eored calls a retreat, but an arrow pierces his throat and his horn drops from his hand. The retreat becomes a rout, and panicked men spur their horses into reckless gallops as they flee.
Rally cries to battle begin to ring out through the valley on both sides of the river. The messengers reach the second eored in the middle part of the valley, and then the first in the southern part of the valley. A great force of orcs is coming! They are attacking! They are rushing in through the upper march, trying to break through to the last leagues before Dunharrow!
Men on foot leap upon horses; riders are assembled in orderly fashions. Horns rent the heavy air, and the riders prepare to go to battle. The second and first eoreds advance forward, making haste to come to the aid of their comrades. The horses' hooves sound like thunder pounding upon the road, and the men cry out with dreadful yells of war and battle. "Forth Eorlingas!" they cry, shields to their sides, spears and swords ready.
The orcs have breached the northern march and hundreds of iron-shod footsteps trample the dry, yellow grass as they advance into the last leagues before Dunharrow. The Rohirrim upon the road charge the advancing orcs, fell looks upon their faces, their spears drawn. They break the line with an impact of spear and galloping horse, and orcs scatter from the strawheads. The riders in the trees along both sides of the river fight with swords, slaying fleeing orcs that have the misfortune of running into their lines by mistake. The routed men from the third eored fall in with the other riders and join the fight once again.
However, the orcs quickly rally together and wild fighting ensues; the riders desperately trying to hold their ground and drive the black horde back, the orcs pressing the riders back towards Dunharrow with a fierce fury. The two groups collide and become one seething mass of fighting and bloodshed. Strong arms swing swords, scimitars and halberds feverishly, meeting the metal of their enemies and the flesh of man, horse and orc.
The fighting of the Rohirrim is intense and furious, but the orcs come upon them like an evil torrent of black water. Men are pulled off their horses with cruel hooks upon fell halberds. Men and horses scream as they tumble downward, but cleaving strokes of the halberd's cutting blade silences their voices forever. The orcs rush upon the fallen, savagely hewing their bodies as they lie struggling upon the ground.
The withering grass becomes covered with blood, the black and red mingling in large splatters, in murky puddles upon the valley floor. The orcs keep coming, pressing in on the Rohirrim, forcing them to fall back southward. The riders do not give up ground without a fight, and each span of the valley gained by the orcs is dearly bought. But even the victory of a mere fathom spurs the orcs on to a vicious passion, and they fall upon the Rohirrim with even greater fury.
At last the horde overpowers the remaining members of the eoreds, and they fall back to the last league before Dunharrow, preparing themselves for a desperate stand against the orcs at the very feet of the Stair of the Hold. But the orcs do not pursue as strongly, and seem to break off in smaller groups. Fire breaks out on the edges of the valley on both sides of the river, and the riders realize what is happening: the orcs are dousing the ground with oil and setting fire to dried grass and shrubs.
The Rohirrim on both sides of the river quickly regroup and charge the orcs, seeking to slay as many as they can before the fire becomes too intense and they must retreat completely. Once again sword meets sword, and flesh is cut and ripped asunder. Horses dance madly in circles at their masters' commands, their riders deflecting blows with shields and striking back at the attackers that hew at both man and beast. Trails of fire upon the ground light the night with a fell amber glow, as riders and orcs careen in and out of burning thickets of shrubs. Flames illuminate the faces of orcs and men, making both look like evil demons from the pits of Utumno, like the Valaruakar, the balrogs of old.
Fire spreads upward, withering and consuming the leaves of trees. Soon whole sections of the forest are aflame, and riders narrowly escape being crushed under falling, burning trees. Riders whose garments have caught on fire throw themselves in the river in desperation, and soon the waters are filled with men and horses seeking sanctuary from the flames on both sides of the river. Horses whose masters have either died or been thrown off run riderless through the blazing forest, mad with terror. Soldiers are separated from comrades by the fires, finding themselves suddenly among enemies who fall on them with killing fury and lust for blood. Both men and orcs become trapped in rings of fire, their comrades unable to rescue them as the ever-growing walls of flames close in about them.
The orcs fall back, but the riders cannot pursue, for now an overpowering wall of fire separates them from the retreating horde. A wind from the east fans the flames on both sides of the river, and soon the southern half of the valley is aflame. The fire spreads northward as the orcs flee back to Edoras, and the remaining riders of the three eoreds retreat towards Dunharrow to avoid dying in one massive pyre. The men on the west side of the river cross the ford and converge with the other riders as they begin to ride up the Stair of the Hold. The fires may whip against barren stone cliff, but there is little vegetation growing upon its sheer sides to fuel the fire. Civilians rush forward to the edges of the Firien-field, horrified to see their once-proud men scurrying up the Stair in defeat, the valley ablaze behind them. Darkness has fallen; yet the valley glows with amber fury in the night.
at a 40% rate.... dead, wounded, missing
Mordor - force 800 strong - 320 dead - now 480
Rohirrim - force 390 strong - 156 dead - now 234
Both the first and second eoreds sustained heavy losses; third eored almost decimated
First eored patrolled southern part of valley nearest Dunharrow (first part of the 10 miles); second eored patrolled second part of the 10 miles; third patrolled northern march (5 mile contested zone)
The Battle of the Harrowdale Valley was a VICTORY for Mordor
JUNE 12 - JUNE 13 - (partial) SERIES OF
June 12 - 6:00 - 9:00 - night - Dunharrow - Funeral feast
June 12 - 10:00 - night - Eowyn and Pippin leave Dunharrow
June 12 - 11:00 - night - Siege of Helm's Deep begins
June 13 - 2:00 - night - Eowyn and Pippin escape Harrowdale Valley and head west, then north, making haste and covering as much ground as possible
June 13 - 2:00 - early morning - Reports go back to Ufang
June 13 - 5:00 - before dawn - Eowyn and Pippin stop to rest and eat
June 13 - mid-morning - Eowyn and Pippin resume search for the army of Rohan
June 13 - all day - battle for the Harrowdale Valley
June 13 - before nightfall - entire Harrowdale Valley in flames
June 13 - nightfall - Rohirrim eoreds wait out the fire in the Firien-Field; orcs retreat to Edoras
"The Aftermath of Harrowdale"
Morning comes to Dunharrow, and most of
the fires in the valley have subsided, though all the land below
smokes and smoulders and is aglow with fiery embers. The healers'
pavilion is filled with wounded men who fought valiantly to keep
the valley below.
One hundred fifty-six men are counted as dead, for none could survive the blaze, save by some strange miracle of fate. Among them are counted two who disappeared the day before, and it is with a heavy heart that the news is told to the people. Eowyn, daughter of Eomund, sister to the King, and Peregrin Took, son of Paladin, of the Shire, apparently disguised themselves as Riders and joined the eoreds in the valley, and subsequently perished in the battle.
All those in Dunharrow mourn and grieve for great are their sorrows, and many are the tears that are shed for the men who have fallen in battle at the hands of the merciless enemy and the beloved Lady of Rohan who shall never be seen again within the circles of the world.
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