The Battle of the Crossings of Erui
Stories > Prologue > 1 > in progress
The bright stone walls of the great capital of
Viddarnath stood strong in the light of the morning sun. This was the
greatest city of men in all of northern Rhovanion, so large that it
could contain all the thousands of villages in the Kingdom of Viddgar.
The great city, lying halfway between Mirkwood and
the Celduin, would be usually bustling with new visitors and large
number of arms men. But today in front of the great south gate, there
was a great force of men in huge pavilions and tents assembled all over
the plains to the south. As far as the eye could see, the tents were
put up in various colours from bright red of the Yatars to the dark
grey of the Dahians; they completely covered the great plain.
Even in mid-morning, a great band of men were
marching from the city and on to the plain, from the southern citadel,
past the sparkling fountain containing a twenty foot statue at its
centre. The statue depicted a man, wearing a crown in flowing robes,
yet holding a buckler in his left arm and a hoisting up a long spear in
his right. This was no ordinary man. This was Vidugavia, the
founder of both the Kingdom of Viddgar and its capital Viddarnath.
He was the one who, along with Romendacil of Gondor,
defeated the Easterlings at the great battle of Rhanamon, two hundred
years past. He it was that bought it a great number of men from Gondor,
ar in the south, to improve his homeland. He far succeeded his design
by turning his clan into this great kingdom and made the three other
kingdoms of Rhovanion his vassal states. He even went so far as to call
himself the King of Rhovanion. Some of the men of his time called him
‘Vidugavia the Great’, though Vidugavia refused the title.
Vinitharya, one of the princes of Viddgar, stood on
battlements above the great gate. He looked at the great host camped on
the plain. This part of middle-earth had not seen such a force till the
time of Romendacil. Here was gathered the great strength of men that
could be spared from all the four Kingdoms of Rhovanion, along with the
mercenary cavalry from the northern vales of Anduin, also the men whom
Vinitharya had brought from the south. A great force it was – but
Vinitharya wondered whether it would be enough for what he had in mind.
He was interrupted from his musings by a
light-footed man coming up the stairs of the gate. He was a messenger,
for only they and the captains would have been allowed up here. He
looked up at his bright, young and handsome face and recognized him
“What news have you for me, Eral?” Vinitharya asked of the messenger.
“Captain Nalsan sends word that nearly all of his
men have marched onto the plain and the ones passing through the gate
are the last company” replied the messenger eagerly, the sweat lining
his forehead glittering more sharply now.
“What else? Nalsan would not have sent you to tell
me that the Dunedain have marched forth, which I can plainly see” he
“The captains have assembled in the Agarnath. They
are waiting for your arrival for the final meeting to begin” he
“All of the captains – even Ferlow and Rhuac?”
“Yes, my Lord”
In spite of himself, Vinitharya whistled under his
breath. So both King Ferlow of Dahia and Rhuac had been made to stand
under the great tent. He never thought that would happen. He looked
towards the Agarnath, the great tent where the all the captains of his
great force were gathering for the final talks before the great march
south. He observed the tent once again. Very tall it was, almost as
tall as the statue of Vidugavia. It was fitted with vertical stripes of
blue and brown. The great wooden pillars held it aloft in spite of the
incessant summer wind blowing across the plain. It was so far
away from the gate that he could barely see the horses stabled beside
He was aware of the messenger staring at him and he turned his
glance back to him, considering for a moment. “What of Jahar?” he
The messenger gave a startled expression at hearing
the King of Viddgar addressed thus, but he quickly covered his surprise
and replied promptly:
“As we speak, King Jaharwin is riding north towards the great tent and will reach it in minutes.”
“Then send word to him that I shall be there soon.”
“Yes, my lord. Honour to serve.” He bowed as he said these words and turned to go
down the stairs. Soon he would mount his stallion, stationed near the
gate, and reach the Agarnath within minutes. The messenger need not
have bowed for Vinitharya as he was not his lord. The messenger’s lord
was Captain Nalsan of Arthedain . But the messenger had bowed out of
awe of the great Vinitharya, the man about whom numerous stories spread
throughout Rhovanion in the past ten years, most of them false and
He waited till all of the Dunedain of the north had
passed clear through the great gate. As soon as the last of the
Dunedain of Arthedain had passed clear through the gate …he closed his
eyes in silent prayer … it was done … after all the plans and
stratagems he had made in the past ten years, it was done. In reality,
it was only half done for the great march south had not yet commenced
and there were still many battles awaiting him.
But the relief had come onto him because the great
army he had envisioned had finally assembled on the great plain. The
uncertainties that had plagued him for so many years had been
vanquished. All the tools he needed were now given to him by the grace
of the Valar. Now within a few weeks his fate would be decided
and even if he failed , he would die knowing that he had done all he
could. But no, he could not let himself think of failure … failure here
would mean disaster for Middle-earth.
Making another small prayer to the Valar, he turned
back to the stairs and started the slow descent to the archway and onto
“No, Ferlow we march south with all speed possible
and we will not dawdle on the way” stated Vinitharya firmly, looking at
the King of Dahia who was glaring at him.
The heavy-set King clenched his fists in frustration
and ran his fist across his bald head. Whatever Ferlow or his advisor
suggested to him, he would not let that fool change his plans … not
after he had come so close. The fool was actually saying that the army
should wait until spring to commence the march south, two months away.
It was noon and Vinitharya was sitting at the large
round table assembled within the Agarnath. Inside the great tent were
all the captains of his army and also King Jaharwin, who was silently
sitting opposite to him and was presiding over the meeting.
“But if we were to march as quickly as you propose,
the men would need travel lightly … that too in summer before the
harvest … we would be starved halfway to Lake Einos,” said Ferlow through
“We have already told you of the supply wagons which
King Jaharwin has arranged for us and they will continue to supply us
till we reach the Einos,” interrupted Romenar much to the displeasure of
Vinitharya glanced at Romenar, considering him for a
moment. Of all his generals who served him from the time
when had ruled in the south, Romenar was the only general who had
survived. He indeed was the one had suggested the idea of supply
wagons constantly coming from Genna, the capital of Costar which was
another of the Kingdoms of Rhovanion, to feed his army while it marched
south. He was wearing his usual attire, the silver armour and scabbard
of Numenor which he had been wearing for the past hundred years.
“But to march south at nearly eight leagues a day ….that
through the wilderness of Rhovanion, how can that be possible for
such a large army … we number almost ninety thousand … our vanguard
itself numbers seven thousands,” challenged Ferlow.
Hardening his gaze, Vinitharya replied, “I have already told you, Ferlow, that I have sent three thousands of
your grain harvesters south, two days ago now. They shall clear away
all the bushes and most of the trees that lie in our way till we reach
Einos. Thus our forces shall not be hindered and there would be no
other work for our soldiers besides marching.”
“A large army you say, Ferlow, but even this might
not be enough to achieve a victory … By the time we reach Ithilien we
might be facing an army still greater than ours, ” stated Rhuac Aran,
leader of the force sent from Mastul, the capital of Yatar to the
south-west of Viddgar.
“Yes, Castamir in the south has great resources at
his disposal and it far outstrips ours since we are taking battle to
him. But even he would require a great time to assemble it… my purpose
is to deny him this time,” replied Vinitharya confidently.
“But how can you do this? A large army such as ours
will carry tales of its passage like bushfire to the south. He might
learn of us as soon we reach the Einos,” asked Geran, the Marshal of
“Yes, but with our speed we will be past Einos within
two weeks. The numerous horses available to us will carry the baggage
from Einos, which Mahar shall supervise. From there, after dispersing
the wagons and harvesters, we will march straight from Einos through
the Brown Lands at even greater speed till come near the Morannon. We
shall be in Ithilien before Castamir has time to assemble half of our
His last statement made both Ferlow and Geran gasp.
Even Jahar, who had been silent till now, raised his eyebrow at him.
Mahar only nodded as if some question he had asked had been
answered. Only Rhuac and Romenar remained unperturbed, as if they were
expecting this all along. Of course, Nalsan remained silent but started
flexing his arms.
“An army … through the Brown Lands … madness,” muttered Geran .
“Inconceivable … even if we are only going through a
small length of the Brown Lands … we might still not be quick enough”
“Agreed. But the men who gathered to us from the
northern parts of the realm all say that there is strife in Anorien and
Ithilien. When the news of our army reaches them, it will flare into
open rebellion and thus I hope to rally more men to our cause”
“Hope … that is all your plan is based on. Hope and
luck. If you fail, how many thousands of our men will die because of
your foolish dependence on luck!” shrieked Ferlow.
“Only a fool makes his plans based on luck and only a bigger fool dismisses it,” quoted Romenar.
“True. Yet Ferlow has a valid doubt. What if we do
fail to gather the men of Anorien or Ithilien?” asked Rhuac Aran.
There was a collective gasp around the table, as
they looked from Rhuac to Ferlow. Vinitharya could barely contain his
surprise . Who would have imagined that Rhuac would agree with Ferlow
of all people, thought Vinitharya.
Transferring his gaze back to
Rhuac, Vinitharya calmly replied, “The army we will bring into Ithilien would be large
enough to beat Castamir’s hastily assembled one. The Valar willing, we
will beat them even without men from Ithilien. But without them, we
might be forced lay siege to Osgiliath, which we cannot do without
siege engines or miners. If we have the men of Ithilien on our side, we
can force Castamir to fight us on the field. If all goes as planned,
that would be near the Crossroads of dusk. In truth, I hope to march
forth by first light tomorrow.”
King Jaharwin finally looked up from the table and
said to him “A bold plan, with many layers. Such a plan will easily
strangle you as well as your enemy.”
“A bold plan and even bolder action is what we
require in these times, Jahar. If we do not stop Castamir now, darkness
would be fate of the next age. This my heart forebodes,” he announced
“But can they be beaten? Lore tells us that even the
Dark Lord failed to subdue them and we certainly know that Gondor’s
armies have never been beaten in the Third Age, ” voiced Geran.
All the captains went rigid, staring at Vinitharya, as if their deepest fears were voiced.
“No, Gondor cannot be beaten,” said Vinitharya gravely.
“But my lords, you forget that it is not Gondor that
we will fight. No. Gondor has been enslaved by Castamir the Usurper and
its people are suffering under his reign. We march to save Gondor and
crush the tyrant. Yet, do not fear failure. It is no brigand or
mercenary that shall lead our army. Remember, I shall lead you till the
end, be it sweet or bitter; for I am not only Vinitharya, a prince of
Viddgar, but also the King-in-exile of Gondor. “I am Eldacar, son of Valacar, son of Romendacil.”