Awakening of the Wyrms – The North is Re-ordered
On the other side of Rhovanion, disaster is come. Dale is ravaged and Erebor assailed, but its new gate, built with just this situation in mind, holds. First the cold drake Agburanar is slain in a crossfire of bolt throwers and then the titanic Itangast is driven off, though not before burning Dale to the ground. Seeking easier pickings, Itangast tests the Wood Elves hospitality. The little rafting village of Celebannon is wiped out and then the gates of Aradhrynd itself are sundered. Thranduil’s halls are captured by Itangast, but many Elves escape its labyrinthine passages and flee into the wood.
Laketown is terrorised by a small Cold Drake that swims out to the town. An unknown shield maiden of Dorwinion perishes by leaping into its gaping mouth but drives her weapon deep, fatally choking the Drake.
Further east, Ruingurth, eldest son of Ancalagon, captures Barak-Shathur, an Iron Hills Dwarf settlement. The main Iron Hills fortress city of Azanulinbar-dum bars and reinforces its gate. Like Erebor it enters into a state of siege. Itangast and Ruingurth repeatedly try their luck on the Dwarf holds whilst bringing flames and famine to the land.
High in the Grey Mountains, the Werewolves desire the power of the Wind Thrones and Aelindur’s Gem and Orb. They attack and slay most of the exhausted Uthrael Beoac team, but leave the Thrones intact. Aelindur escapes with Morgoth’s gem and the Palantir. She flies in Vampire form back to the south. It will be some months before she is recovered from the ordeal. The Weres begin experimenting in an effort to use the Thrones. In the meantime the Dragons are no longer impelled to move and begin to lair up, some returning to the Ered Mithrin.
Over the next few months many of the roused Dragons find new homes. The injured Lomaw nests in Framsburg, but is later slain by Celeborn. A few Dragons permanently lair in the Wood of Greenleaves: Ando-Anca makes some overgrown Edain ruins in the north west his base; while Haurnfile stalks the north eastern glades gradually moving south; and Itangast, based in Thranduil’s Halls, slithers about creating havoc from Erebor to the Mountains of Mirkwood. Daelomin lairs in the Three Sisters mountain peak west of Framsburg, but restlessly flies out as far as the Trollshaws and Eryn Lasgalen. Khuzadrepa crosses the Misty Mountains and inhabits the ruined fortress of Penmorva in the Ettenmoors. Throkmaw’s capturing of Gundabad is a mixed blessing– the surviving Orcs flee and reinforce holds closer to civilisation: the High Pass, Mount Gram and Carn Dûm.
Aelindur’s Half-Orc son escapes the wreck of Gundabad and briefly joins the retreat to Fornost. Fytaris considers an attempt on King Elessar’s life but departs quickly when Radagast senses the glamour upon him. Aelindur’s Half-Elf Daughter Calindel is held in thrall by the Werewolves of Uthrael Beoac. They attempt to subvert her in an effort to use the Wind Thrones themselves. The Were’s efforts are hampered by Calindel’s recalcitrance and the exploration of Dynca, a scarred Cold-drake, who is now lairing nearby.
The demoralised Army of Eriador salvages something of the expedition during its retreat by trapping the harrying wolf riders in a huge cavalry envelopment near the ruin of Eldanar castle. Elessar establishes contact with the remnants of the Army of the Anduin via the Palantiri and hears their terrible news. Radagast is able to provide preternatural information about the grave developments elsewhere in Rhovanion. A month after the battles of Gundalok the Army of Eriador camps at Fornost. Their march is not over – they prepare to redeploy before winter hits. Radagast advises Elessar and a council of the Wise that a new power is behind this awakening. They all agree that radical tactics will be required to defeat the Wyrms.
The North is irrevocably changed as Dragons raid at will from their new lairs. Erebor and Dale wither from starvation and Laketown is soon torched by Itangast. The land of the Bardings faces total ruin. Some survivors join the Dwarfs whilst many others flee far to the south or west. The men establish ramshackle villages at the Celduin ford, the East Bight, and on the Forest Road within the Wood of Greenleaves. The Dwarfs batten down the hatches and grind their axes. Many persist with dangerous supply runs to feed Erebor and Azanulinbar-dum in the Iron Hills.
Great swathes of Northern Greenwood are burnt. Thranduil’s Elves resettle their old capital of Caras Amarth in north-west Mirkwood but it is a bleak, warlike refuge. Many Eldar flee to Lorien, Imladris or across the sea. However both Dwarfs and Elves are more commonly seen in mannish towns as the free peoples again unite in the face of this new threat.
Goblins, Wargs and Trolls are on the move, partly to escape the Dragons but also, with the motivation of the Ulukai, they sense weakness and loot to the south. The Trollshaws are once again infested by their namesakes. The Ettendales become an Orc haven. Elladan and Elrohir lead the fight from Rivendell, assisting Arthedain forces holding the road. The High Pass becomes a boneyard contested by all. Dragon sightings become more than hearsay in Rhudaur and even Fornost. The forts along the Great East Road are reinforced and some are equipped with ballistae. Patrols out of Fornost, Amon Sul and Imladris are strengthened.
Maethelburg, on the upper Anduin, is greatly reinforced by Rohan. Work is begun on stone gate-towers, the inner ramparts are repaired and three ballistae are emplaced. The formerly sleepy hamlet becomes a frontier fortress, north of which is the Wyrm-Vale. Large patrols of Northmen and Beornings regularly move up the High Pass and eastward out to Mirkwood. Beorning settlement retracts south of Maethelburg – the successful concerted action against their old foe Bairanax has given them some solace and food for thought. Lorien patrols the Redhorn and Gladden Passes. Celeborn accompanies stealthy probing missions into the north, notably killing Lomaw at Framsburg only three months after the awakening. However it is not long before the old town is occupied by Hyarleuca, son of Scatha. His noxious presence torments the Northmen.
King Elessar fortifies the frontiers in Eriador and provides military aid to the Anduin Vale, basing more troops and constructing artillery in the north. He orders the opening of the Barrow Downs in the search for dragon-slaying weaponry. Old scrolls are hauled out and dusted off in the search for any and all Dragon-banes. Massive land grants in Arnor are offered for Dragon slayers: a call for heroes is heard across Middle Earth.
Meanwhile Aelindur recovers from the Dragon raising ordeal and prepares for the second stage of her plot. Gondor has been seriously weakened and the free folk of the north all but neutralised. The sorceress now prepares to initiate revolts in Harad, Umbar and Dunland. She has readied an equine virus to negate the cavalry of the Rohirrim and experimented with black powder weapons salvaged from Isengard. And now comes word from east of Rhûn. Her ally, Red Alatar, the fallen Istarii, reports he has become the ruler of the reinvigorated Balchoth Federation…
End (of phase 1)
The story from here can be continued with Anders Blixt’s Queen of Shadows plot-line, or from the new second phase update on this site…
See also the Discussion/FAQ page and/or the Roleplaying resource page…