by Michael Blomquist.
Lord Daonghlas of the Dunlendings sat in his chair around the War Council of the Free Peoples of Middle Earth situated in the recently established citadel-capital of Angrenost. It had gotten too risky to keep the capital at Larach Duhnnan as the Dark Servant agents were numerous and most dangerous.
Looking over his reports as the last few war council members arrived, Daonghlas grimaced as he saw the body count at Morannon but took grim pleasure in seeing that the trap that the War Council had planned at the Northwest gate of Mordor was firmly and predictably moving forward. The supply caravans had arrived safely and stocked up the defenders to soon improve the forward base to a city-citadel to stab the eye of Mordor. The agents and curse squads of the Free Peoples were becoming just as skilled as the Dark Servants and had started to whittle away at the Dark Servants as they found them, especially at Morannon. Daonghlas planned to push the council to stick to the plan to bleed the Dark Servants dry as they tried to attack and harass Morannon. The final report indicated that the Dark Servants had indeed paid a heavy price at Morannon with several critical players of the Dark Servant emissary corps had been neutralized including Adunaphel, the Quiet Avenger.
The War Council reported that indeed the tide was turning in their favor as the Dark Servants had been reduced to the gates of Mordor, the realms of Haradwaith and the Corsairs and the side-show of Greenwood that the Witch King and Dark Lieutenants forces continued to be a distraction for the main war efforts. The western nations of the Noldo Elves, Arthedain, Cardolan, and Rhudaur agreed to continue the push of mighty cavalry armies into the southeast into Mordor and the realms of the Haradwaith. All nations also agreed to make plans to shift capitals and/or build up forward bases towards to front in order to shorten the supply-lines for the war efforts. With the tide of battle turning towards the Free Peoples, the recruitment efforts were stepped up and the call for heroes to step forward to lead the Free to victory only got louder!!!
Lord Daonghlas convened the War Council and went over the battle reports for the Free Lords. The Dark Servants had rallied their remaining armies in South Gondors region at Morthondost which had been retrofitted as a Cardolan forward base of operations and upgraded to a city-castle. Cardolan’s commanders stood ready with very well equipped heavy cavalry to deal with this final push.
Closer to Mordor, the Dark Servants brought one of their final decent cavalry forces from the Corsairs, Haradwaith, and Quiet Avenger to bear against North Gondor’s city-castle of Osgiliath. The Rhudaur fielded a decent heavy cavalry force in the attempt to defend the North Gondor city.
At Morannon, the blood-bathe continued for both sides. The Dunlendings spies and agents kept giving their all in springing the trap onto the Dark Servants which kept showing up each turn. It was like a moth to the flame as the Dark Servant minions kept returning for more punishment. The fanatical loyalties of the free folk of Morannon aided the war efforts in making it very hard for Dark Servant agents to operate. The blade swung both ways as there were casualties on both sides but those lost to the Dark Servants were veteran assassins who could not easily be replaced. With the constant recruitment of new heroes, the Free Peoples were able to continue the hiring of new armies to send into Mordor to start burning out the insides to prepare for the ultimate renovations planned for the near future. The Dunlendings capital at Angrenost was only a solid fortnight of travel to Morannon so there were always new heroes arriving each week to replace those lost to take up the cause for the Free.
The battles in the North from the distractions of the Quiet Avenger, Dark Lieutenants, Long Rider, and Witch King were troublesome, but the forces of the Noldo, Sinda, Rhudaur, Woodmen, Easterlings, and Northmen kept them very busy thinking they were hurting the Free Peoples as they were getting their names and battles into the reports of the Mordor Times. The Sinda lost the city-fort of Aradhrynd in Greenwood as the Dark Servants rallied their northern hordes with two dragons. It was a valiant effort and loss by the Sinda Elves, but this loss enabled our efforts and focus on Mordor and the South. We wanted to keep them that way too as their capitals were far to the south so the lines of communications required long logistics to bring in new heroes as we whittled them down at our own pace.
The Free People mages of the Noldo, Sinda, and Dunlendings continued to summon curses to destroy their enemies and shifted to the central fight to secure the Cardolan front in the Southern Gondor area of operations. It was a delicate dance that the curse teams on both sides played as they didn’t want to commit to engage each other for fear of losing the veteran mages. South Gondor continued to recover and rebuild characters as they had been sorely hurt by the Dark Servant assassins in the past few months.
As the War Council started, the Northern Gondor’s representative grimly reported that Osgiliath had fallen and that a Corsairs navy had moved onto Minas Anor with a host of assassins in tow. Fortunately, the Northern Gondor agent corps had arrived as well to defend the capital and proved resilient in their efforts.
The battle of assassins continued at Morannon. Most notable was the Dunlendings agent Ligera who called forth a public challenge to Tel Azef, an enemy assassin, to dispatch him and then later finish the day as she terminated another Dark Servant agent Keemac trying to ply his evil ways. The double kill was most encouraging for all the Free Peoples of Morannon to rally their spirits in this trying times!!! The supply trains continued to arrive intact with timber, metals, mounts and leather to once again raise the defenses and armies to make the trap even more formidable and tempting… Dunlendings Heavy Cavalry armies continued to pour into Mordor from the forward base of Morannon with standing orders: “If you see an orc, burn it down.” This operation proved to work very well over the weeks to come.
The battle at Morthondost, Cardolan’s forward base of operation, went very well for the Free Peoples. Cardolan forces destroyed the invading Corsairs. Cardolan and South Gondor forces were able to start mopping up enemy forces and population centers as they cleansed the region of pirates and orcs.
In Greenwood, the Sinda forces caught and contained the Lidless Eye armies as both sides continued to lose heroes to assassins. On a positive note, the Dark Servant dragons appeared to have flown away after the previous battles.
The Free Peoples decided to make a statement and convened a pivotal War Council at the new City – Citadel of Morannon. Having secured the north-west passage into Mordor for several months now, the Dunlendings made a statement to the remaining Dark Servants as the population center was increased to a city and the fortifications were improved to a citadel! The Dunlending hero assassin Ligera yet again outdid herself and called challenge at the ribbon cutting of the city-citadel commencement ceremony. Ligera called forth and challenged Carfe, another notable Dark Servant assassin, to personal combat and finished him before the large public gathering. As the ribbon was cut with all the visiting council of the Free Peoples present and cheering crowds, Gaurhír, a vile dark servant agent was spotted by Ligera trying to slip away but was cut-down by the legendary blades of Ligera and yes, Artifact(s) were discovered on the body of Gaurhír J
Later, at the War Council of Morannon, the Free People leaders decided to a refine the battle strategy. All means and efforts would be made to start removing Dark Servant capitals to make things very, very hard on their well-being and continued existence. Companies were formed and refined to hone the abilities of agents and emissaries in order to bring the Dark Servants to their knees. The Noldo mages under Lord-Mage Elrond also started to seek the One Ring as well.
In the North, Rhudaur forces started removing Quiet Avenger holdings as Sinda and Noldo armies cleansed Greenwood of the Dark Servant ilk. Northmen positions held time and time again against Dark Servant assaults on their population centers. Noble efforts by the Noldo Elves yet again secured backup holdings to afflicted nations to keep all Free Peoples alive and well!
The War Council continued to convene at Morannon to be closest to the fight to ensure quick reactions to all information incoming from the many sources and song birds. Dunlendings continued to send heavily equipped and fed cavalry into Mordor to remove enemy population centers. Arthedain cavalry continued as well inside Mordor to destroy all opposing dark servant forces met. Dwarven and Rhudaur also marched armies into Mordor to add to the destruction of the Dark Servants.
The discovery of numerous Quiet Avenger holdings and capital locations set up the first major hit on the Dark Servant capitals. Free People Agent/Emissary/Mage companies and armies all positioned themselves to hit the Quiet Avenger hard!!! Potentially we would remove the Quiet Avenger capital twice causing huge loyalty issues. The Ice King was designated to be number two for capital removal operations.
In the North, the Rhudaur moved into position to hit the remaining Quiet Avenger holding of Mt Gram, an old Witch King haunt. The Easterlings, Noldo, and Sinda moved to counter Witch King and Dark Lieutenant army movements. Again, the Greenwood theater was doing great keeping the Dark Servants busy and away from the critical battle unfolding in Mordor and the South.
Cardolan formed an elite emissary company aka “The Girls” and started a “Join our side and WIN” campaign in the South. Haradwaith, Corsairs, and Quiet Avenger holdings lined up the see “The Girls”!!! Not to be outdone; the Arthedain, Rhudaur, and Woodmen employed emissary companies as well in the South to great effect.
A most successful double cursing of two of the vilest Dark Servant assassins occurred killing both Tormog and Gontran to the deadly “black-lung” sorceries. There was much rejoicing at these tidings!
The War Council met and cheered the reports that the One Ring was discovered by Elrond of the Noldo Elves in the northern parts of Southern Gondor. We dispatched agents and mages to converge on the location with all haste!
Additionally, our efforts against the Quiet Avenger went very well removing a city-castle-capital of Lugarlur and a major town of Barad-wath, a former Fire King holding. Free People forces moved onto an additional two major holdings of the Quiet Avenger! Nothing like multiple capital loses to hurt morale badly across the board!!!
Emissary companies continued to sway dark servant holdings to our causes across the realm and we started sending commanders to raise armies to hold the loyalty from enemy emissaries. The tide was moving strongly for the Free!!!
Free People Agents continued to remove more Dark Servants and we started winning the body count across the board. The only area where the Dark Servants held power was in their curse squads but when you can only kill a few a turn….it was a losing battle as we could replace loses faster than they could kill us.
The War Council was convened in Morannon after the final dispatches and spies had reported in concerning all war fronts in the realms of Middle Earth. Orders were given to capture a few Dark Servants so as to question them for the whereabouts of potential capital locations so we could keep up the pressure.
Apparently not all the Corsairs got the memo that their home shores were under attack as they had a wayward fleet of black ships land pirates on the beaches of Southern Gondor and take out their final population center. Cardolan cavalry had already been dispatched to intercept and deal with this incursion.
The assaults on the Quiet Avenger city-tower of Jug Rijesha and major town of Mt Gram went according to plans. Four major population centers in the last month had now fallen and the last known Quiet Avenger holding of Vamag lay in our sights with agents camped within the holding. Additionally, the Ice King capital at Lag-majakul was leveled by the Rhudaur and numerous other major towns and capitals were besieged either by companies or armies – Witch King at Sarn Goriwing, Dark Lieutenants at Minas Durlith, Cloud Lord at Ostigurth, Dragon Lord at Lug Ghurzun, Haradwaith at Methir, and agent companies at two other Haradwaith major towns…it was not looking good for the Dark Servants!
Our One Ring crew were almost on sight to start the excavation!!!
The first order of business for the War Council was the report on the arrival of the One Ring recovery crew. No sign of Dark Servants was reported as the Free People agents and mages started scouring the hills for clues to the whereabouts of the elusive One Ring. Fortunately, there was a Dunlendings camp already in the proximity of the reported One Ring location.
The Witch King city at Sarn Goriwing was reduced to rubble and the sun immediately started to shine brighter upon Greenwood! The Dark Lieutenants was discovered to have been busy in the far north above Greenwood in rebuilding the old Dwarven ruins that the Free People had chased them out of a few months past. Those emissary artifacts were working overtime on their orc pits. Pity we would soon burn them down again…
The Cloud Lord and Dark Lieutenant capitals in Mordor were cleansed of characters and prepped for assault. Free People armies pushed into Mordor to keep up the fight while the search for the One Ring continued.
In the far South, we started building and raising armies on holdings that we had influenced away with emissaries. This tactic kept the Dark Servants in the react mode and unable to effectively retake their Southern Dark Servant bread basket. The Free People continued to grow economically and sustain their loses while it became increasingly clear that the Dark Servants struggled to stay afloat as the Free People agents now dared to camp out in their own capitals.
Preparations started at Barad-done, formerly Barad-dur, for the reception of the One Ring into the mountain of fire, Mount Doom. Cardolan’s “The Girls” pulled up into position and supply caravans were sent to start some serious condo improvements in a scary place on the side of a volcano!!!
A hurried War Council was convened after reports of a Blind Sorcerer emissary showing up at the sight of the One Ring. No searchers had discovered the ring and this arrival of a lone emissary was highly suspect that maybe the Dark Servants had gotten wind of the location…just not the exact location was the consensus of a notable Noldo mage who suggested that it was probably a lesser scry of locate artifact rather that the more potent locate artifact true. The unknowing Blind Sorcerer emissary was targeted for removal
At Barad-done, “The Girls” of Cardolan improved the population center loyalty and size to a village and added a tower for fortification. Two Dark Lieutenant emissaries arrived at Barad-done as well….coincidence?
The Rhuduar emissary company transferred the ownership of the Cloud Lord capital at Ostigurth to themselves only to have the Free People agents to discover that the new Cloud Lord capital had been relocated to the Corsairs region at the population center of Marös on the coast. Plans were made to target the “new” Cloud Lord capital very soon….We had something special for them planned J
Noldo, Woodmen, Sinda, and Northmen forces continued to keep the scattered Dark forces busy in and around Greenwood. The Woodmen had just pulled up onto the “new” Ice King capital at Stalingrad…formerly Mt Gundabad. A lukewarm reception awaited them…
Continued harassment of any known Dark Servant capitals continued with agent and emissary companies making life suck even more for the dwindling Lidless Eye legions now thinking about crawling back into their holes in the dark earth.
The War Council saw a flurry of activity on behalf of the Dark Servants across the realm of Middle Earth. It appeared as if this was a last-ditch effort.
At the sight of the One Ring, the Blind Sorcerer emissary was kidnapped only to be replaced by a Ice King mage apparently looking for the One Ring as well. Next door to our crew, a well-known Dragon Lord curse mage named Orduclax appeared at a Dunlendings village and also tracked by the artifact he was carrying called Tinculin. We prepared for the worst as we need he was probably not alone. Orders were given to remove the mage in the region with us as we continued the search for the elusive One Ring.
At Barad-done, Cardolan’s “The Girls” were ever busy and again improved the loyalty and improved the population center to a town and again increased the fortifications now to a fort! The agent and population report now reported that three of the old guard assassins from the Dark Servants pulled into position at Barad-done: Old Green Tooth, Soulkiller, and Crow. “The Girls” made plans to avert any friendly casualties and to make things stayed very warm for the Dark Servant agents.
In the North, it seemed the Dark Servant remaining armies confronted the Free Peoples across Greenwood. This would prove to be the last major battles across the North. The rebuilt Quiet Avenger major town called Zarak-dûm (an old Dwarven population center), the Ice King city-fort at Mt Gundabad, and a major confrontation at Maethelburg, the Woodmen capital, comprising of a large Witch King army and Dragon Lord army. The Dark Servants had not planned on Noldo Heavy Cavalry riding through Maethelburg J In addition there were several other minor army engagements at old Northmen population sites. It would prove to be a busy fighting last hurrah that sealed the North for the Free People.
The Quiet Avenger retook Olbamarl with emissaries and the council directed Free People agents, emissaries, and mages had converged on taking this yet again from the persistent Dark Servants.
Again the War Council was disappointed by the search for the One Ring. No traces to be found by any searcher and the only good news was that the Ice King mage in the region had been found and assassinated. In addition the Dragon Lord mage Orduclax had apparently done nothing in the neighboring region. Speculation went wild that the Dragon Lord nation had collapsed due to the crushing pressures from the Free Peoples.
In Mordor at Barad-done, “The Girls” had yet again worked their vexing magics and no dark servant agents had been able to resist their wiles….and the population center was increased to a major town. Beautiful bungalows lined the scary volcano overlooking the desolation of inner Mordor. Of the three killers that had been present last turn, two had slipped and fell into the volcano by some freak accident! The third ran away in terror last seen heading east from the mountain. Scouting reports that the Dark Servants sent in their reserves of agents including the last few super agents: Lomëlindë, Thergor, Kadida, Jukath, Hargrog, Zuzar, Slucrac, and other of the last remaining Nazghul, Ûvatha. Clearly, the Dark Servants feared we had the One Ring and were coming soon. Plans were made to prioritize targets…women and children were not first!
Olbamarl fell to the Dunlendings emissary assault yet the Quiet Avenger was like a “wack-a-mole” as two more major towns were flipped by his emissaries at Caras Mirilond on the Haradwaith coast and Linhir on the Southern Gondor coast. Both were targeted and plans made to move onto Vamag; the last known remaining Quiet Avenger major town as Zarak-dûm was leveled by the Rhudaur in the North. Loyalties had to be in the crapper for many of his few remaining holdings.
The battle at Maethelburg was epic and with the Noldo cavalry present the Witch King and Dragon Lord forces melted under the Elven lances! The Woodmen also helped seal the deal in Greenwood by taking Dale back from the Witch King and improving it to a major town to rub salt in the wound.
Discussions amongst the Free People Lords wondered if the Dark Servants would fold under the pressures…time would tell and the search for the One Ring continued.
The War Council was doubly disappointed with the reports from the field. First a moment of silence was held for the loss of Lord-Mage Elrond of the Noldo Elves as the Dark Servant mages had caught him in their vile magic and the Free People agents still reported no clues or whereabouts of the elusive One Ring. Another Ice King character appeared at the sight and was promptly slated for removal. The Dragon Lord mage Orduclax remained in the neighboring region and had not moved in the past few weeks. Suspicions grew that the nation of the Dragon Lord had collapsed.
At Barad-done in Mordor, the Dunlendings army commander died in his valiant mission of distraction as another army was dispatched from Morannon to head to Barad-done. His sacrifice was not in vain as three confirmed super agents for the Dark Servants slipped into the volcano as they had been chasing one of “The Girls” they thought…Kadida, Zuzar, and Thergor were no more. Surprisingly the remaining Dark Servant crew of Lomëlindë, Hargrog, Slucrac, and other of the last remaining Nazghul, Ûvatha remained. Plans were made to remove the survivors as the volcano gods were not yet slated J
The Quiet Avenger lost his coastal major towns in Harad and South Gondor. His remaining major town of Vamag was staring down at an angry Cardolan army that was there for the BBQ and they had forgotten that they had already eaten…oh well fires were cool!!! It looked like the end for the Quiet Avenger possibly…
The surprise the Free People had been working on arrived at the “new” Cloud Lord capital of Marös, a former Corsairs population center; the newly flagged HUGE Rhudaur navy arrived to party!!!
The discussions continued and questioned if this battle for Middle Earth would ever end. The War Council cried for the One Ring to be found to bring peace to Middle Earth!!!
The final War Council was summoned at Morannon to celebrate the news that the One Ring was found!!! The remaining Dark Servant agents at Barad-done including Ûvatha, one of the last surviving Nazghul, finally slated the volcano gods as they were all terminated chasing after “The Girls” along the slippery slopes of Mount Doom. As icing “The Girls” improved Barad-done to a city-fort to prepare for the One Ring party as many extra condos would be needed as the entire War Council and entourage would want to come to bear witness. Vamag was reduced to an ash heap at Vamag proved to be quite toasty to a bunch of angry Cardolan soldiers would wanted their “Girls” back! Was this the last Quiet Avenger capital? The Blind Sorcerer’s capital at Luglûrak fell to Dunlendings and it was reported that their nation had collapsed.
The few remaining Dark Servants realized that their fate was inevitable and chose to return back into their holes to surrender Middle Earth to the Free Peoples.
The Free Lords queried Lord Daonghlas before the War Council concluded, “Shall we hunt down the last remaining Nazghul Hoarmûrath?” Lord Daonghlas smiled and stated cooly, “No need. The dirty bird has been our puppet all along in this fight. Let us retire to the Meadhall!”