The Battle of the Crossings of Erui


by Barahir-(V)
October 26, 2008

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 immediately.

“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 inquired sharply.

“The captains have assembled in the Agarnath. They are waiting for your arrival for the final meeting to begin” he answered breathlessly.

“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 it.

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 queried.

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 exaggerated.

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 the Agarnath.


“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 clenched teeth.

“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 Ferlow. 

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 Costra.

 “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 numbers.”

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” breathed Ferlow.

“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 grimly.

“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.”