The Battle of the Crossing of Poros

Chapter 7: The Battle Begins

by Barahir-(V)
November 26, 2005

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    The sons of Folcwine decided to split the army into two groups: Archers and Non-archers. The Non-archer groups included the entire eored of the sons of Folcwine and Hallas. The Archer group included all of the archers in the host. The archers under Ceorl, who himself was the surest archer of the Rohirrim, and a man coming from Ithilien, were to guard the road leading to Endost just a few leagues north of the place where the road from Endost met with the road from Lebinnin. They were to guard the place in case the Haradrim escaped the guard and invaded Ithilien, until reinforcements arrived. The rest were to move south until they reached the fords or encountered the Haradrim. Fifty riders along with Gundor were to ride to Harost to order reinforcements for the guards of the fords. The host of Ceorl began to prepare dikes and trenches to prepare their defense of the road while Gundor and his men set out for Harost saying, “A star shines on the time of our departure”, and they went off in a cloud of dust as they sped towards the Harost that lay on the Northwestern side of the Belegond. It was the fortress at which Earnil, the later king of Gondor, hid his forces when the First Invasion of the Haradrim took place. He decided to surprise the Haradrim by leaving the fords unguarded and then ambushing them in Ithilien. With this he utterly routed the Haradrim. He kept all his forces in Harost, which was forty miles from the crossings of Poros.
    The sons of Folcwine sounded the charge horn as the eored of Fastred, Folcred and Hallas left the camp and rode south to the fords even though they would reach it only at the dawn of the 15th of March. They had sent two scouts to the fords to inform the guards of the fords that the hosts of the Rohirrim were coming. They camped near the place where the road from Endost met with the road from Lebinnin. At two hours past dawn they set up camp. Just when they finished setting up and had been sleeping for six hours, during which Hallas and the sons of Folcwine were in deep counsel, the scouts returned unexpectedly and announced: “When we were going south, we came in sight of the Poros. We saw the bank of the river filled with corpses of men. They were strewn all over the bank of the river. They were mostly the corpses of the men of Gondor. The two camps set up by the men of Gondor were destroyed to rubble…but the Haradrim were nowhere in sight. No man was found alive north or a few miles south of the Poros. There may be five-thousand men dead on the banks of the river”
    The leaders all stood up and exclaimed “WHAT!”
    The scouts said “’Tis true. But we have seen naught of the Haradrim save their corpses. It is a mystery. A real mystery. Who will solve the riddle for us?”
    Folcred said, “ If what ye say is true; methinks that the Haradrim had just enough host to defeat the guards of the Poros. After the battle they had too few left for an invasion of Gondor. So they retreated.”
    Fastred said, “But they would not have come a long way just to defeat the guards of the Poros and leave. They came to invade Gondor. So they must have brought a large force here. The guards of the river alone could not have defeated them. They might have gone north-west or east for some reason.”
    Hallas said, “But they were not sighted till yester eve. So they came just after the scouts departed to Endost. They quickly defeated the guards and went off…somewhere. But whether East or West or South we do not know.”
    The scouts asked: “What do you counsel us to do now?”
    Fastred replied, “We must muster our folk quickly. Many in this camp are asleep. We must wake and muster them and make them ready for battle. Summon the horns of Galdor. Muster the host. Awaken the Marshals. Meanwhile, ye scouts will go north immediately and send word to Ceorl. Bring help from the Harost if you can. Take fresh horses. Go north swiftly! Lest we perish. It may take Ceorl almost eight hours to reach us here, for there are quite a few leagues between us, and his riders might be resting, but muster and hasten them here nevertheless” The riders immediately set off.
    Folcred “Now I curse myself for sundering our army. For now they would serve great use against the Haradrim if they attack us now. We should have never left the fastness of Endost or come afar from the Harost. Woe is I. We should have never come here unaided.”
    Unaided…those words bought back the dream in Hallas’s mind.
    But Fastred gave instructions for the ordering of the army.
    The leaders quickly sent word to wake everyone of the Host and to make them prepared as the others were setting up defenses. Two hours before dawn, when they were almost ready, the watchers to the south spotted the bright flames of torches. They tolled the bells and the host held back their panic and arranged themselves to their respective eoreds in the plain. They prepared to do battle, for the sons of Folcwine ordered them to do battle and not flee in the pride of their hearts against the counsel of Hallas.
    For they refused to flee for they thought they would be overtaken or would have to do battle at a disadvantageous position, and, if they lived, they would have to live as cowards who fled. They could not understand, like many, the concept of fleeing and fighting another day for they believed there was no ‘another day’.
    The eored were positioned only half fittingly for they had little time to organize.
    But they were near. Near enough to discern that the bearers of the flames were not men of Gondor, but not enough to discern what they were doing.  The eored of Hallas was on the right of the eored of Fastred, and the eored of Folcred was left of the eored of Fastred. Meanwhile the sons of Folcwine were giving their pep talk to the whole Host: “Men of Gondor and Rohan. Prepare for battle. Prepare for war. Prepare to defend your homeland. Men of Gondor, though you fight under an alien lord, the glory you reap shall be yours alone. Men of Rohan, though you fight on an alien field, the glory you reap shall be yours alone. Beware, the Host you shall fight are merciless. Though the watchers estimate that there are about four-thousand in the Host, you shall fight the enemy till death. Now forth for lord, land, light and league of friendship”
    Then all the charge horns in the entire host burst into music and the spears of the Rohirrim gleamed like stars in the red glares of their fires. The whole host burst into a chorused war cry. The captains and Marshals began to ride. The eored of the sons of Folcwine thundered forth. But Hallas was commanded not to charge until the host of the sons of Folcwine had broken through the lines of the enemy.
        Their eoreds thundered on with Folcred, Folcwine, and Adrahil at their head as Hallas watched. The whole of their eored arranged themselves as an arrow that would break the armour of the enemy. The host crashed into the enemy driving them with fear and surprise of the might and splendor of their knighthood. They drove through the enemy like a stampede in a meadow. All those infantry caught in the onslaught were killed.
    But then the cavalry of Rohan encountered a new threat. It was almost dawn and with the dim light of dawn they saw something they had not expected…. Cavalry of the enemy, arranged in all their desert attire with horses like ugly beasts, some thousand were charging at them. Then the sons of Folcwine sounded their horns and charged against their southern counterparts. There was a great clash, but the Sons of Folcwine came off the better due to the skill of their knighthood. But still they met with losses.
    Hallas sounded his horn of charge and all of his eored blazed across the grass to meet the enemy, as was customary to surround the enemy and attack from both sides.       
    In the growing light Hallas was watching the eored of the sons of Folcwine, as he turned his eyes further north and the sight he saw blinded, astounded, quailed and almost killed him…

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