It began with the Great King Thengel, the Ancient and Cunning One. He ruled Rohan with a kind, but firm fist until the end of his days. Though his rule was long, Rohan did not prosper as much as it may have. No, alas, the Mark was besieged throughout the majority of his reign. It was only near the end of his life that the Rohirrim could finally go on the offensive.
Throughout his lifetime, he repelled three invasions of Rohan: all three targeted at the great capital of Edoras. All three times hordes of the Dark Lord descended upon Rohan: the foul Uruk-hai of Isengard, the wicked men of Harad, the Orcs of the Misty Mountains, the crazed men of Rhun and their thick plate armor, and last, but not least, the foul Orcs of Mordor and their beastial trolls.
There were many battles. In some of them, the brave soldiers of Rohan to the death not for victory, but to buy time for the rest of the Rohirrim to regroup. In some, both the Rohirrim and the enemy were equally bloodied. While both of these cases did indeed occur, far more often did the horsemen of the Mark smash into the ranks of Orcs and evil men. In and out of the fight the cavalry would charge, wearing down the resolve of the enemy. And then it would break and what was once a battle would turn into a terrible rout. For each horseman who fell in battle, ten enemies of Rohan were killed or captured.
Many of the enemies died. Those who did not fled. All who turned their backs to the Rohirrim were captured. All who were captured were put to the sword. The horsemen gave no quarter, and took none in return. When the enemy marched against Rohan, none returned. Only silence told the tale of the Horselords’ wrath.
The nobles thought that Thengel King would not last, for time had withered the limbs of the great king. Still, the old man refused to die. Wounds, illnesses, travel in the depths of winter; it all made no matter. Thengel embodied the resilience of Rohan: he lived to a ripe old age of 90, where he died not from a meager cough, or even from a lazy strike of steel, no, Thengel died in a thunderous burst of flame, as he, along with several of his chief guardsmen, fell victim to a cowardly catapult attack. They had charge first across the river, to face the enemies of Rohan head on and ended in a blazing glory.
Even his death was not in vain, for the remainder of his forces rallied and carried the day. Through the coming days, all Rohirrim raised glasses to honor their fallen lord, and to wish wellness and to wish for the safe continuation of his line.
Alas, to be king is to never sleep soundly.
Thengel left his heir, Theoden, with a sturdy position. Though Isengard had been defeated, the Orcs of Mordor still threatened from the East, as did the men of Rhun. The Orcs in the Misty Mountains had been contained, at least for now. But containment was not what Theoden King had in mind. He moved swiftly, consolidating his powerful cavalry and pressed further into the Misty Mountains and the surrounding forests. Even when all that remained were the ruins of Moria, the assaults continued.
There the horsemen encountered Balrogs, monsters born of flame and shadow. Once, twice, three times the horsemen besieged the ancient dwarven hold, but twice were repelled. The horsemen knew not how to fight along the mountaintops and in the caverns of Moria, much less how to combat the seemingly invincible demons. During the third and final assault of Moria, Theoden himself fell victim to assassination. Cruel tricks for cruel foes.
In the eleventh hour the troops rallied, and drove home into Moria, smashing the wicked Balrogs with ballistas, catapults, and a rain of arrows so thick that it obscured the Sun. When all ammunition had been expended, the Rohirrim charged and bloodied themselves against the Balrogs, taking territble, terrible losses. When the last Balrog had been slain, the warriors of Rohan rejoiced for their victory, but they still mourned the recent loss of their King. They had crushed the Orcs of the Misty Mountains, and now they had a new King to bring them even greater glory…
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Yet again, it took me a bit longer than I’d like to get this post out. My life has been pretty crazy (and will continue to be so for the next few weeks). Apartment hunting sucks. And then my computer exploded. Yeah, it’s been one of those weeks.
While my graphics card may have given out, it did not do so before Rohan could claim victory! Victory and the defeat of the Dark Lord Sauron and all of his little minions. I hope you enjoyed Part 1, and I will try to get some more images for part 2 and get it up in the next week.
Then it’ll all be blogging about Starcraft 2, Battle.net 2.0, and building a new gaming rig. Good times.