Awakening of the Wyrms – The Second Battle of Gundalok
Whilst Eomer and Thranduil were approaching Gundabad, across the Misty Mountains the Army of Eregion were engaging in their own struggles. After crushing a premature ambush by Goblin forces from Mount Gram, the Allies entered the Gundabad passes. The Rohirric vanguard lures a mob of Hill Trolls into a devastating archery kill box. Then the Knights of Dol Amroth run down the lumbering remainder. It is the Rohirrim’s turn next when they are startled by a lesser Cold-drake that crawls out of the mountains. They recover from their surprise and charge it en-masse, spearing the lizard to its doom. At this point Radagast rides up from the south into the line of march and belatedly advises the king that the Dragons have awoken. Cautiously the army crests the pass.
They are a day late. Before them is the wreckage of the battle upon the plateau. Thousands of Goblins pick over the corpses of free folk and foul. The keen eyes of the sons of Elrond can make out the retreat of the allies far to the east and south. The Goblins on the plain form up to engage the men exiting the mouth of the pass, whilst more hideous troops issue from the Drake gate.
Elessar draws up the Gondorian infantry in the front whilst archers on the upper slopes thin out the Orcs. A huge pack of Wolf-riders comes howling up the pass from behind the Army of Eregion, pursuing the rear guard. Hobbitry in arms and Bree folk quickly form a
wagon laager of the baggage train. The defensive wall and Shire archery holds long enough for the Blue Mountain Dwarfs to counter attack and drive off the wolves. Meanwhile on the slopes of Mount Gundabad, the Rohirrim and cavalry of Imladris chase off the disorganised flanking Wargs. The Orc regiments withdraw hoping to lure the men into open ground, but now it is the Goblins’ turn for a nasty surprise…
The huge fire-drake Throkmaw wings south out of Forodwaith, glides around the mountain fortress and descends upon the throng. It immolates swathes of Goblins and more than a few pursuing Rohirrim. The huge lizard lands greedily amidst the shrieking Orcs and begins feasting.
Elessar and the Army of Eregion recoil from the rampaging Fire-drake and back off toward the pass, but in her mountain eyrie, Aelindur watches through the palantir and senses that this is her chance. The Queen of Shadows uses the Edain Throne and Morgoth’s Gem to nudge Throkmaw towards the Army of Eregion.
The Dragon shakes its head trying to resist the foreign urge but still lurches forward. Then the ancient lizard espies the glittering panoply of the lords of Gondor and Rivendell, and launches itself in a greedy low glide upslope.
Radagast sees the danger and shouts to the army in a preternatural voice “HOLD!” The free folk nervously stand their ground. Anduril is drawn and flames lick up its glittering blade. The Elves shoot first and at a word from Elessar they are joined by hundreds of Gondorian archers. Throkmaw breathes and incinerates most of the shafts. The Brown Wizard steps forth muttering “This will not do” and holds his arms aloft causing the very air to shimmer.
Dozens of sparrows, finches, crows and vultures spring up from rock, hollow and branch. They hurl themselves at the eyes of the wyrm. Another volley of arrows sleet across the drake’s approach, most recoiling from the hard scale but some sink deep into crevice and muscle. The birds suicidally peck, and the dragon’s flight becomes erratic as it shakes its head in confusion, spurting fire and venom. Soldiers scatter left and right when Throkmaw glides inelegantly into the ground where Elessar has made his stand.
Elessar shouts and spurs his horse forward followed by his personal guard and the Sons of Elrond. Throkmaw rears up and breathes fire but Radagast’s staff thrums with power and a searing white light engulfs the black lizard of a bygone era. Momentarily the Wyrm writhes away from the blinding shaft. The dragon-fire, instead of immolating the King, sears across the shielded spear-men of Anorien on the right flank. Aragorn leaps from his charging horse and cleaves a bloody furrow across the dragon’s breast, the enchanted blade shearing scale, muscle and meat like butter. Elrond’s sons do likewise, one rending a wing pinion and the other driving an heirloom glaive deep into the lizard’s side. The soldiers cheer and surge forward, spears bristling like a vast hedgehog.
Again Radagast chants aloud and the army is wreathed in shimmering light, fickle and fearsome to even a dragon’s eye. The Ring of Barahir blazes on Aragorn’s hand lending the King strength and purpose whilst daunting the Wyrm’s mind. Throkmaw flails at his assailants crushing knights and horse alike but Elessar stands fast and shears a talon and toe from a striking claw. In pain and fear the Wyrm turns, whipping his serrated tail across the face of the Army of Eregion, then flees down slope, dripping gore. The triple peaks of Mount Gundabad echo with the sound of bellowed rage.
Aelindur sees her gambit fail and sets her mind to turning the stymied Wyrm about. One good stream of dragon flame from aloft will decimate this army, and if directed properly will kill the King. She again exerts the Dragon Ward and also attempts a ranged compulsion on the beast. Radagast halts, sensing the wizardry. He incants a blend of counter spells. Between Radagast’s spell neuter, the vast mind of Throkmaw and the Shadow Queen’s own exhaustion, the moment is lost.
The Dragon follows its own path. Throkmaw takes its anger out on the shrieking orcs. It blasts and hungrily follows the fleeing Goblins across the plain and into Gundabad itself.
Radagast is trembling with exertion as the army surges downhill. He steadies the Captains of the West and points out yet another Drake far off swooping down out of the Ered Mithrin. “Tis another dragon come out of the Withered Heath. We have prevailed for now but cannot hope for more such luck against this gathering of monsters”.
In the face of the still ravenous Urulóki before them, and another approaching, the western allies make the difficult decision to retreat and abandon their allies in the Anduin Vale. Elessar and the Army of Eregion hastily turn away from the injured but angry Fire-drake and march back into the pass to Angmar. Up in her mountain eyrie, Aelindur slumps in exhaustion bemoaning the lost opportunity to end the King, but still savouring the devastation she hath wrought.
Elessar’s forces escape and retrace their steps south west, across Angmar, harried by Wolf riders. The Army of Eregion has taken minimal losses, and inadvertently seen Gundabad purged, but now must face a changing world order.
Continued in Part 5