The Battle of the Crossing of Poros

Chapter 8: The Battle of the Crossing of Poros

by Barahir-(V)
November 26, 2005

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    Dawn had arrived. In the growing light, Hallas saw the main hidden, but new come to battle field, host of the Haradrim. They were more numerous than the regiment of the Haradrim that they were fighting now. The Host was marching towards the fray. This host might have measured at least five-thousand with pikes. Hallas feared they would suffer great losses from them.      
    But what really worried Hallas was not the Host of the Haradrim or their pike men. It was a sight that he had seen further across the ford of the river…                  
     No one could miss the huge bulking figures that were attempting to cross the Poros. There came at least seven of those vast creatures of which only rumor came to Gondor and Rohan. But the like of the great Mumak of the Harad does not walk in Middle-earth freely now. Indeed it was of vast bulk, tall as the hillock next to Edoras. There were the like of siege towers on the back of these huge creatures, and there were taut ropes between the tusks of the monsters to sweep away any unsuspecting victim caught between their gargantuan tusks…
    Thus Hallas became among the first riders of the Mark to see an Oliphaunt, as legends name them. The first few of these almost reached the crossings of the Poros.            
      Behind them was an army of another type, like but very unlike the Haradrim. They were the Variags that he had heard of, again only in tales. They were wielding axes and were bearded like dwarves. A small host of them were marching behind the Mumak of the Harad. He estimated the overall host of the entire host, southrons and their allies, to be about ten-thousand, at a very conservative estimate. They were outnumbered almost two to one.
    The eoreds of the sons of Folcwine had just seen the new threat and, even from a distance, Hallas could easily see that they were already taken aback. They were surrounded. The vanguard, or the first host that were fighting, surrounded them from north and west, and the new strength coming from the river was cutting them off from any way of escape, and the Haradrim outnumbered them three to one.
    Hallas wondered how this could come about, even as he rode in the charge. They had strength far greater than  predicted. He did not know that the Haradrim had camped near the Harnen for three days to wait for an army from the Kingdom of Khand. He did not know that this was the reason that it had taken them so long to reach the river of Ithilien. He did not know they were bidden to keep their strength secret at the bidding of the Lord of the Nazgul, or Darth Magmar, in the tongue of the south. He did not know that he also informed the Haradrim about the Rohirrim and their alliance with Gondor. He did not know that this invasion was well thought out. He did know that they were stirred by the emissaries of Sauron. In short there was a lot that he didn't know.
    The host of the sons of Folcwine stirred and the horn was sounded and the whole army clashed against the main host that was attacking them from the south. They drove them like a storm on a plain or lighting in the sky. South they rode and south the enemy fled. But they soon encountered the pikemen and many of their riders were slaughtered. The guard of the princes drove out some of the pikemen but even the mighty princes were attacked and driven back.
    But now Hallas had to look towards his own host. Their eored had just driven through the vanguard of the Haradrim that had just turned their back on Hallas as they were pressing the trapped eored.
    Hallas' host met a success greater than expected, because this regiment of the Haradrim had been surrounding eoreds of the sons of Folcwine. They drove through them like wind on the meadow. They slew in great numbers. Hallas' regiment finally broke through and neared the army of the sons of Folcwine. Indeed, great wedges of his riders had passed clear through the ranks of the Southrons, discomfiting their horsemen; riding their footmen to ruin. They had won the banner of that regiment of the Haradrim and the Haradrim along with the black serpent floundered.
    But more grievous harm was done to eoreds of the sons of Folcwine. They were pinned and many of their horses caused havoc among themselves for they had no place to move and they were being pressed by the pikemen to whom they could offer no offensive. But the princes still fought on along with their lords. They drove through the pike men and were not scathed, by their fortune and the skill of their arms, for no one could abide the wrath of their faces. Hallas now had reached the sides of the princes, but was not better off there.
    And lo! Suddenly Folcred's horse was felled by a pikeman. The guards contested with them but were held off by the cavalry of the Southrons. The eored of Fastred was flung into madness as his eored sprung towards his brother who was thrown down but still living. Then one of the enemy cavalry rode near the fallen prince and speared him. Thus passed Folcred, son of Folcwine, Prince of Rohan. Now the guard of Folcred were slain or driven off and the guard of his brother had reached the place where Folcred fell. They drove off the enemy for awhile by the rage of their loss to win the body of Folcred with Hallas coming in the rear. Fastred himself killed many.
    But suddenly cavalry from the main and the north-coming host drove through them. They slew the guards till none were left. All save one…Fastred still fought on but was finally knocked of his horse and was grievously hurt, but in his torment cried, "To me Eorlingas. To me! Fear no darkness!"
    And Hallas answered and gathered his regiement. They drove of some cavalry and but he still fought stiff competition from the ugly, desert dwellers. To his horror, he saw the enemy cavalry riding over Fastred; their hooves were reddened with his blood…. Thus passed Fastred, Prince of Rohan.
    Hallas was then kindled to madness. Giving the job of securing the body of the fallen princes to his guards, he ordered his regiment to charge the main host of the Haradrim. Adrahil was still alive and followed him. They crashed through the remaining cavalry and stampeded over the infantry. They drove through the enemy but got nowhere, though slaying many. Meanwhile they were again beginning to be surrounded. Thus Hallas, Lord of the Rohirrim in Gondor found himself trapped. This looked ill. Worse, One of the Mumak had managed to cross the ford and was charging at the Rohirrim. Adrahil was suddenly thrown down by the enemy.
    Hallas, not wanting to lose him as well, rode towards him and drove the enemy back. He turned and saw Adrahil getting up and charging towards the enemy on foot. Hallas rode to him and scooped him up and placed him in front of him and said menacingly but softly, "NO! It's too soon for you to die".
    Then he set him down and gave him a free horse and Adrahil mounted and prepared to charge with his lord.  But Hallas said, " Though all of Ithilien be lost, you shall not fall. For from you shall spring the Prince of Ithilien."
    Then one of his Marshals approached him and asked, "Lord, what shall we do? Shall we charge or hold a defensive position?"
    Hallas did not answer immediately, but looked south. There he saw the Haradrim, who were driven back for the moment, stirring and beginning to form ranks. Hallas saw the Mumak charging through his riders along with the Haradrim. There were bodies flying in the air. Two of the Mumaks had already crossed the fords
and the rest had all reached the fords. The armies were making way for the Mumak to charge at the Rohirrim. The Infantry and the cavalry began to charge.
    The remaining of the guards of the fallen princes took the bodies of the sons of Folcwine upon spare horses and bore them to Hallas upon the field in great honour, and said to Hallas, "Now thou art Lord. What doest thy command of us?"
    A great debate raged in Hallas's mind: Should they fight on till they all died or should they flee like cowards, but save many to fight for another day. "There is no fighting another day" he remembered Folcred saying three hours ago. Should he fight till the death? Should he fight alone? Should he fight ….unaided?
    Unaided…Unaided..the words brought back the dream to Hallas: "War Unaided will not result in Victory."
    That was what the figure in black had told him. Then at last, amidst all the ruin and havoc, the long wisdom of Mandos reached him. He understood that Mandos was helping him with the decision. He understood at last what the dream meant. The dream did not say that they should not fight the Haradrim, but it said not to fight the Haradrim alone or unaided. It was warning him to flee, to save as many as possible and retreat back to the fastness of the north and there to fight along with Gondor. To be not over proud to fight till death and waste the short, precious lives of men. To fly where there was still some hope and fight another day, but not alone. But even now he felt he was missing something. Something else the dream was telling him, but he couldn't figure out what.              
    He suddenly seized a horn from the Marshal. It was the Horn of Retreat. Then blew it so hard that it burst asunder. The distinct and very clear note of the retreat horn reached the ears of all the riders. Then the other Retreat Horns burst into song. Then the whole host formed ranks and began to retreat….
    Two-hundred yards from them Maul, the Lord of the Haradrim, smiled seeing their retreat.
    More than two-thousand Leagues away, Mandos also smiled seeing their retreat…              
    The whole remaining host of the Rohirrim followed the banner of Hallas. They all gathered around him and they hewed out of the battle with grievous loss, for well nigh two-thousand of their riders lay dead near the river bank, but they finally came through the ranks of the of the Haradrim and headed unopposed, but followed, into the north. They were in sight of the place where the road from Harost met the road from Lebinnnin.
    To his dismay, Hallas saw the cavalry force in the vanguard that was till now unfought charging at them. Now he understood. They were to kill anyone fleeing from the battlefield. Now they, unfought, unchallenged and full of guile and energy charged at them, who were weary or wounded.
    Hallas took his horn and blew the retreat horn again.
    As if in answer, another but different horn blew from the northeast. As if out thin air, marching companies of men in the glittering mail of Gondor could be seen coming from the road from Lebinnin.
    Another horn like the one before blew out, and then again from nowhere the marching companies of men in the same glittering mail of Gondor could be seen on the road from the Harost.
    But, to the wonder of Hallas, another sight he beheld on the same road. He threw his sword up and sang as he caught it. The enemy cavalry halted. Then he pointed it northwards and all eyes followed him….
    Horns, Horns, Horns. The horns were blowing in the north, but this one they recognized. It was the very charge horn that they had blown three hours ago, but it was not coming from the marching companies of men, but from the riders who were riding to the succor of Hallas. Ceorl was blowing the Horn of Charge
in the North.  Horns of the north, wildly blowing; dimly echoing on Mount Belegond's side….
    Gondor and Rohan had come at last….

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