Riders of the Last Hope
A Landroval RP event
The bards tell us that Cirion became Lord of Mundburg in the year 2489 of the Third Age. The menace from the North and East was ever in his mind, and he gave much thought to ways that might be devised against the threat from those quarters as the strength of Gondor diminished. He put a few men into the old forts to keep watch upon the Undeeps, and sent scouts and spies into the lands between Mirkwood and Dagorlad, and thus became aware in the winter of the year 2509 that a great movement against Gondor was being prepared: hosts of men were mustering all along the southern eaves of Mirkwood. They were only rudely armed, and had no great number of horses for riding, using horses mainly for draught, since they had many large wains, as had the Wainriders (to whom they were no doubt akin) that assailed Gondor in the last days of the Kings. But what they lacked in gear of war they made up in numbers, so far as could be guessed.
At that time, the land of the Éothéod lay north of Mirkwood, between the Misty Mountains westward and the Forest River eastward. Southward it extended to the confluence of the two short rivers named Greylin and Langwell. Greylin flowed down from Ered Mithrin, the Grey Mountains, but Langwell came from the Misty Mountains, and this name it bore because it was the source of Anduin, which from its junction with Greylin we name Langflood.
In this peril, Cirion's thought turned at last in desperation to the Éothéod, and he determined to send messengers to them. But they would have to go through Calenardhon and over the Undeeps, and then through lands already watched and patrolled by the Balchoth, as those Easterlings were then called in Gondor. This would mean a ride of some four hundred and fifty miles to the Undeeps, and more than five hundred thence to the Éothéod, and from the Undeeps they would be forced to go warily by night until they had passed the shadow of Dol Guldur.
Cirion had little hope that any of them would get through. He called for volunteers, and choosing six riders of great courage and endurance he sent them out in pairs with a day's interval between them. Each bore a message learned by heart, and also a small stone inscribed with the seal of the Stewards, that he should deliver to the Lord of the Éothéod in person, if he succeeded in reaching that land. The message was addressed to Eorl son of Léod, for Cirion knew that he succeeded his father some years before.
Yet Cirion had but faint hope that even if the message were received it would be answered. He had no claim on the Éothéod beyond their ancient friendship with Gondor to bring them from so far away with any strength that would avail. Saying no more, he ordered what strength he had to meet the storm. He gathered as great a force as he could, and taking command of it himself made ready as swiftly as might be to lead it north to Calenardhon.
The first pair of messengers left of the tenth day of Súlimë; and in the event it was one of these, alone of all the six, who got through to the Éothéod. He was Borondir, a great rider of a family that claimed descent from a captain of the Northmen in the service of the Kings of old. He was pursued as far north as the Gladden Fields, and often waylaid by men that came out of the Forest and forced him to ride far out of the direct way. He came at last to the Éothéod after fifteen days, for the last two without food; and he was so spent that he could scarce speak his message to Eorl.
It was then the twenty-fifth day of Súlimë. Eorl took counsel with himself in silence; but not for long. Soon he rose, and he said: 'I will come. If the Mundburg falls, whither shall we flee from the Darkness?' Then he took Borondir's hand in token of his promise.
At last the whole host was assembled. It was then the sixth day of the month Víressë. On that day in silence the great éohere set out, leaving fear behind, and taking with them small hope; for they knew not what lay before them, either on the road or at its end. It is said that Eorl led forth some seven thousand fully-armed Riders and some hundreds of horsed archers. At his right hand rode Borondir, to serve as guide so far as he might, since he had lately passed through the lands. But this great host was not threatened or assailed during its long journey down the Vales of Anduin.
As it drew southward and passed by southern Mirkwood, which was now infested by the Balchoth, still there was no sign of men, in force or in scouting parties, to bar their road or to spy upon their coming. In part this was due to events unknown to them, but other powers also were at work. For when at last the host drew near to Dol Guldur, Eorl turned away westward for fear of the dark shadow and cloud that flowed out from it, and then he rode on within sight of Anduin. Many of the Riders turned their eyes thither, half in fear and half in hope to glimpse from afar the shimmer of the Dwimordene, the perilous land that in legends of their people was said to shine like gold in the springtime. But now it seemed shrouded in a gleaming mist; and to their dismay the mist passed over the river and flowed over the land before them.
Eorl did not halt. 'Ride on!' he commanded. 'There is no other way to take. After so long a road shall we be held back from battle by a river-mist?'
As they drew nearer they saw that the white mist was driving back the glooms of Dol Guldur, and soon they passed into it, riding slowly at first and warily; but under its canopy all things were lit with a clear and shadowless light, while to left and right they were guarded as it were by white walls of secrecy.
'The Lady of the Golden Wood is on our side, it seems,' said Borondir.
'Maybe,' said Eorl. 'But at least I will trust the wisdom of Felaróf. He scents no evil. His heart is high. And his weariness is healed: he strains to be given his head. So be it! For never have I had more need of secrecy and speed.'
Then Felaróf sprang forward, and all the host behind followed like a great wind, but in a strange silence, as if their hooves did not beat upon the ground. So they rode on, as fresh and eager as on the morning of their setting-out, during that day and the next; but at dawn of the third day they rose from their rest, and suddenly the mist was gone, and they saw that they were far out in the open lands. On their right the Anduin lay near, but they had almost passed its great eastward loop, and the Undeeps were in sight. It was the morning of the fifteenth day of Víressë, and they had come there at a speed beyond hope.
Thus they came to the battle of the Field of Celebrant. There the northern army of Gondor was in peril. Defeated in the Wold and cut off from the south, it had been driven across the Limlight, and was then suddenly assailed by the Orc-host that pressed it toward the Anduin. All hope was lost when, unlooked for, the Riders came out of the North and broke upon the rear of the enemy. Then the fortunes of battle were reversed, and the enemy was driven with slaughter over Limlight. Eorl led his men in pursuit, and so great was the fear that went before the horsemen of the North that the invaders of the Wold were also thrown into panic, and the Riders hunted them over the plains of Calenardhon.
The days grow dark once again. The Shadow in the East has taken shape again and returned to the old fastnesses of Mordor. In the Eastemnet, Orcs and Easterlings raid across Langflood, seizing horses, slaying men, and burning homes and towns. In the Westfold, Dunlendings and Orcs throw themselves against the garrison at the Fords of Isen at the behest of the traitor Saruman, who now holds Isengard against us in imitation of the Dark Tower of Mordor. At Edoras, Théoden King wastes away into dotage, poisoned against his land's interests by the whisperings of the Wormtongue.
In this dark hour, who shall help the Eorlingas defend the Riddermark from its foes? Who will cleanse the land of the enemies which prowl it at will? Gondor cannot lend aid, for they are even more sorely beset. The Men of Dale and the Dwarves of the Lonely Mountain cannot aid, for the Easterlings march also on their borders. The Elves of Dwimordene will not aid us, for they hide in their woods, recking nothing of the troubles of the outside world.
Help must come from an unlooked-for quarter.
Help must come from the North, as in the days of Eorl.
Overview of the Event:
-This Landroval server-wide event is being organised by the Éored of the West-mark kinship. However, joining the kinship is not required to take part in the event. Characters from all kinships and none, and of all races, classes, and levels, are welcome to join. The only requirements are an interest in RP and a desire to aid the Mark in their dark hour. Any Eorlingas who are seeking a home, however, are more than welcome to join the Éored and pledge their swords to the Lord of the Mark.
-The event will be a massive riding from Bree-town to Rohan, going in-character the whole way. Naturally, we can't hope to make the journey in a single push, so we will make camp several times along the way to stop for RP and to allow anyone who needs it a chance to level their characters. We would stay at each camp for a decent amount of time in order to allow for levelling and anyone else who wants to join us.
-The Éored is currently encamped near the Hengstacer Farms in the Northern Bree-fields. They have already begun IC preparations for the Ride, but it will be officially announced IC in Bree-town on Saturday, 24 January at 10:00 pm servertime.
I tried this last year on Crickhollow and the event failed miserably. I'm hoping that with the success of recent community-wide RP plots like the Fell Season this will go over better here on Landy. Naturally, this sort of thing is almost too big for one person to handle, so I would welcome assistance GMing and organising this event.
Arise! Arise, Riders of Théoden!
Dire deeds awake, dark it is eastward,
Let horse be bridled, horn be sounded!