Of The West and the War of Second Darkness
By Eowyn
Night of June 14 into the month of October

The sun disappears behind the western horizon in a glorious sunset of crimson mixed with deepening blue and night falls upon the land at last. The day of June 14 has finally ended, marking a triumphant victory for the forces of the West at Helm's Deep. The four armies of the West - Gondor, Rohan, Lorien and the Army of Western Lands - make camp upon the Great West Road not too far from the Deep, for after intense fighting since dawn, both man and horse are spent. Indeed, only months of suppressed hatred for the evils of Mordor could drive men to fight so furiously and so long without rest.
The soldiers of Mordor who threw down their arms and sued for mercy were granted pardon and put to work amending the hurts caused by their land, after taking oaths never to assail again the free lands of the West.
That night, hundreds of wounded men lay upon piles of straw in the Hornburg, as healers desperately try to tend to the hurts of those whom they think have a chance to live.
When the morning of the 15th comes, the main part of the Armies of the West rest and their commanders hold counsel. A smaller group is sent out to ensure the Army of Mordor continues their eastward retreat. For once in many a long age, the forces of elves and men are actually greater than the hordes of darkness. However, they know that this change in the balance of power will last only a fleeting moment.
The elves and all those in their armies decide to continue to aid their southern comrades until the end of the war, when they will return to their lands. The men of Dunland wish to return to their woods and hills, but decide that it is best to aid Rohan...for if Rohan were to fall to Mordor, the next lands to be ravished would be their own.
The ents hold counsel amongst themselves, their deep, creaking voices in a long entmoot. They decide to stay in the Deeping Coomb and aid in clearing the field as they did in the first battle of Helm's Deep, but once that task is complete, they will return to Fangorn and the treegarth of Orthnac. No longer does the threat of destruction lie greatly upon them, and they wish to return to their forests, especially as the dominion of Middle-Earth shifts to men. The eagles, too, realize that a new age is drawing nigh, and decide to return to their eyries in the Misty Mountains. Perhaps, in the dark days to come, they shall set a watch upon Rivendell like their sires guarded Gondolin of old... and, of course, come to the aid of wizards in distress.
The day of the 15th is spent resting and clearing the field. The heralds of the armies sort through the fallen, ordering the bodies to be grouped and prepared for burial. Repairs are made to the two Mounds of the Riders upon the Dike and new mounds are raised beside each one for the fallen of the Westfold and Eastfold. The fallen of Gondor and those of Elvish lands each have their own mounds, below the Dike, left of the road. The men of Mordor are buried between the Mound of Dunlendings and the Death Down of the first battle of Helm's Deep. The field is then cleared of dead orcs, which are buried beneath a mound of stone and rubble near the Death Down.
Refreshed after two nights of peaceful sleep, the Armies of the West break camp on the 16th and continue pursuing the greatly reduced hordes of darkness. Both armies draw near the occupied city of Edoras. Yet the Army of Mordor does not fight for the prize that it once delighted so much in having, and splash through the ford, continuing their flight upon the Great West Road. Two-thirds of the forces of the West give chase; the rest stay behind and contest Edoras.
Scouting parties are sent into the Harrowdale Valley. Upon reaching Dunharrow, they return with tidings of the attacks made upon the mountain refuge. The people there rejoice when they hear news that the second Battle of Helm's Deep was a victory for the West.
On June 18, a group of horsemen is sent out under a flag of truce to parley with the Mordor occupational forces in Edoras. Terms of surrender are given, yet they are rejected by Mautor Ufang. The party returns to the army, and soon the siege begins.
The great gates of Edoras are broken down four days later and the siege draws to an end. During the closing moments of the battle that eve, the occupational forces set the city on fire and burn the Golden Hall. Few of the men surrender, most either fighting to the death or throwing themselves upon their swords in despair. The victory of the battle is more bitter than sweet, and the men of the West feel more somber than triumphant.
That night, another counsel is held between the commanders of the West. Wulfhelm and the commanders of the eoreds of the Valley are in attendance. They give tidings of the burning of the Harrowdale just nine days before. It is with great sadness that Wulfhelm informs King Eomer that his sister and the hobbit Peregrin had ridden with the eoreds and had fallen in the battle. Eomer relives the shock of his sister's death anew - the hobbit Peregrin had ridden with her to Helm's Deep in secrecy. He had survived but she had fallen. "So she escaped one death, only to find another," Eomer wonders, shaking his head in grief and astonishment.
After the flames subside and the smouldering embers cool, the Rohirrim and their comrades search through the rubble of the destroyed city. The ground is littered with the charred bodies of orcs and men and the smoking remains of severed heads and limbs.... the bodies of the Gondorian thralls, cruelly hewn to pieces.
A garrison is left at Edoras and the grim prospect of clearing the land of charred rubble and burying the dead begins. The remainder of the three eoreds left to guard Dunharrow are divided into two eoreds of one-hundred and seventeen men each and once again freely patrol the land from the valley to Edoras. The men begin to clear the scorched Harrowdale Valley of the blackened remains of trees and aid in the cleansing of the ruined city of Edoras. The refugees of Dunharrow are saddened when they hear that Medusled had been destroyed, but they are glad that the enemy is being driven out of the Mark.
The main part of the forces of the West continue fighting the rearguard of the Mordor Army as it retreats eastwards on the road. Message-riders are sent back and forth from the armies to Edoras and Helm's Deep to bring tidings of the war. The months of June and July pass as the forces of the West drive the repulsive black worm of the Army of Mordor towards the dark land where it was spawned. By August, the forces of darkness have fled into the Firien Wood.
Then forward scouts detect great numbers of the enemy approaching in endless ranks - the reinforcements from the Dark Land that all had feared. "We can hold them no more than we can the rushing of the waves," murmur many a man in despair. Messages are sent back telling the garrisons at Edoras and Helm's Deep to be ready, and to send any men that they can spare. Yet, the army of Mordor makes no move.
The armies of the West hold their ground on the eastern border of Rohan, and once again their commanders hold counsel. Autumn is drawing nigh and there is little time to plant crops for the winter. There had been little time to plant in the spring and summer, since all the able-bodied men were fighting and the women and children hiding in mountain refuges. The men of Rohan and Gondor had lost too many men in the war and to continue fighting would be futile and a waste of life while their people starved. Gondor and the lands to the east of the Misty Mountains cannot be reclaimed... at least not anytime soon.
East and West glare at each other across the border, but neither makes a move. Winter is more on the minds of both armies than war at this time. Gradually through the early part of September, the main parts of both armies disperse, leaving Rohirrim and Mordorian border guards to patrol the marchlands. After a few last counsels and feasts of bittersweet celebration, the forces of the West begin to return to their own lands. The elves, the few who choose to stay in Middle Earth, go to Rivendell to further fortify it as a stronghold against the attack they know will someday come. The hobbits return to their lands and tell their people tales of their brave exploits in battle, recounting in excited voices their adventures which made them dreadfully late for dinner, and regretfully informing relatives of those who will never sit at the dinner table again. The refugees of Gondor who had been waiting out the war in the White Mountains come out of their hiding places and into the fields of the Westfold.
All through September, buildings are quickly constructed to house the refugees of Gondor and Rohan. Wood is cut from wherever it can still be found or brought in from the woodlands west of the Gap of Rohan. Turnips had been planted in late August in Dunharrow and other mountain refuges, the first crop that will be ready for harvest in November. Winter wheat and oats are planted in the barren fields for the spring harvest. Arrangements are made with the northern peoples of Eriador to send any supplies and foodstuffs they can spare for the winter. The hobbits, many of whom fought in the war, readily agree to help their new southern comrades in their plight. The Dunlendings are also willing to share food with the Rohirrim, but for an entirely different reason: they still remember the old tales that during the fell winter of many years before when Helm's Deep was besieged, Helm Hammerhand would sneak out of the fortress at night and eat their people.
By October, all who remain in the plains of Calenardhon are the people of Rohan and Gondor. King Eomer and all those of his household abide in Dunharrow until Edoras can be rebuilt. Aragorn and many nobles of the former realm of Gondor decide to winter around the Fords of Isen, making their temporary residences in the tower of Orthnac and the fortress of Helm's Deep. Life resumes some semblance of what it had always been, yet all know that the world they had once known had been destroyed forever. So begins the second watchful peace.

June 18 - The Armies of the West arrive at Edoras
June 18-22 - Siege of Edoras
June 22 - Edoras falls to the West
June 23- Mid-August - Fighting continues, Mordor driven back to Firien Wood and the border of Rohan
Mid-August - Reinforcements from Mordor arrive
Throughout August - Turnip crops planted in mountain refuges
Throughout September - Temporary shelters built for refugees in Rohan...wheat and oats planted
Early September - Main bodies of both armies disperse, leaving behind border guards and patrols
Throughout October - All leave Rohan save for Rohirrim and displaced Gondorians

Casualties of the Conflict
Submitted by Eowyn

June 9
Night - Nazgul fly by Dunharrow and inflict many with the Black Shadow....Deor, a rider of one of the eoreds guarding the valley, and several refugees die from the Shadow the night of the 9th and early morning of the 10th
June 11
Three men killed in ambush in Harrowdale Valley

June 12-13
Harrowdale Valley
June 12 - 6:00 - 9:00 - night - Dunharrow - Funeral feast held for those killed in ambush on the 11th and those who died of shadow from the attack of the 9th
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
Casualties 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 12-13
First assault upon Helm's Deep
Night of June 12 - Early morning of June 13
Initial numbers:
Gondor: 9,100; Mordor 27,000
Gondor - 2,800 lost; Mordor - 4,000 lost
Gondor - 6,300 total; Mordor 23,000 total

June 13
Nazgul attack on Rohirrim camp, 30 miles northeast of Helm's Deep
10 dead men (and elves among their numbers) from poison arrows
15 dead horses from poison arrows
3 men dead from accidents
1 man dead from heart attack
Many men and horses hurt (from miscellaneous causes)
3 horses dead from non-arrow causes
50-60 horses lost
12 missing men

June 14
Battle of Helm's Deep
Before dawn - Deeping Wall breached, all men of Gondor killed or driven inside the walls of the Berg
Dawn - Morning sky is red, distant thunder heard
8 AM - Rain begins
9 AM - Storm is over; sun begins to shine in fullness
9 AM - The Mordor army quickly sets up camp behind the Deeping Wall to protect the orcs from the sunlight, waiting for darkness to assault the back gate with battering rams. Archers and uruks stand at the ready
9 AM - The army of Rohan/Lorien smashed through the warg and easterling cavalry
9-11 AM - The ents and Army of Western lands approach the hornrock and clear away the rubble in the road. The uruks who were on the plateau of Helm's Dike are driven back.
Noon - Rohan/Lorien arrive at the Deep, charge over the drawbridge, through the outer court and through the back gate. They charge into the enemy camp, followed by the Gondorians
Early afternoon - Eowyn wounded
Evening - Forces of Mordor driven back towards the Great West Road
Nightfall - Mordor Easterling cavalry rearguard fights a delaying action against the armies of the West
Battle of Helm's Deep Initial numbers:
Gondor: 6,300; Rohan: 7,000 (rounded up); Army of Lorien: 1,000; Army of Western Lands: 6,000.......TOTAL COMBINED NUMBERS: 20,300
Mordor: 23,000
Mordor losses: 13,800........9,200 remaining after battle at a 60% loss
Estimated end totals....
Rohan: 4,500.........losses 1,750
Gondor: 4,725........losses 1,575
Lorien: 750........losses 250
Armies of Western Lands: 4,500.......... losses 1,500
Total Combined Losses for Armies of the West: 5,075...... 14,475 remaining after battle at a 25% loss
The Battle of Helm's Deep was a definite VICTORY FOR THE WEST.

June 15 - Day of rest after Helm's Deep
June 16-18 - Armies travel towards Edoras
June 18 - The Armies of the West arrive at Edoras
June 18-22 - Siege of Edoras
June 22 - Edoras falls to the West
June 23- Counsel held between commanders of the West, day of rest
June 23 - Mid-August - Fighting continues, Mordor driven back to Firien Wood and the border of Rohan
Mid-August - Reinforcements from Mordor arrive

June 15 - Mid-August
Mordor: 5,190; Armies of the West: 14,475
Mordor: 3,114.......losses 2,556 (This includes the 480 remaining troops at Edoras)..... ADD 50,000 reinforcements....
Mordor end total: 53,114
Total combined forces of the West remaining after the Battle of Helm's Deep:
Total losses sustained for the West: 5,790;
Men Remaining at the end of the war: 8,685
Individual Tallies:
Rohan - After battle: 4,500; Losses 1,800; End total 2,700
Gondor - After battle: 4,725; Losses 1,890; End total 2,835
Lorien - After battle: 750; Losses 300; End total 450
Army of the West - After battle: 4,500; Losses 1,800; End total 2,700
Beating back the Army of Mordor to the border of Rohan was a phyric victory for the West.

Throughout August - Turnip crops planted in mountain refuges in Rohan
Throughout September - Temporary shelters built for refugees in Rohan...wheat and oats planted
Early September - Main bodies of both armies disperse, leaving behind border guards and patrols
Throughout October - All Western forces leave Rohan save for Rohirrim and displaced Gondorians. All others return to their own lands

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