Dark Men ~ Evil People of Rhudaur
“These are dark spells, Gandalf. Old, and full of hate. Who’s buried here?”
The Hobbit: DOS Scene in the High Fells
The Northern Kingdom of Arnor eventually split into three three successor kingdoms, Rhudaur, Arthedain and Cardolan. It was not long before they began to fight amoug each other. To the east lay Rhudaur, to the west lay Arthedain and to south Cardolan. With the Watch Tower of Amon Sûl at the center of the three kingdoms. The line of Isildur was maintained in Arthedain, but it is said that in Rhudaur and Cardolan the line faded quickly. Rhudaur was the weakest of the three kingdoms and fought against Arthedain over the strategic watchtower at Weathertop and it’s Palantir, which was the greatest of the seeing stones in the North Kingdom. Whoever controlled the Weathered Hills, held a distinct advantage over the other Kingdoms.
Sauron, seeing the discord, division and war in Arnor sent the Witch-king north to Angmar to prepare for war upon the north kingdom. Over the next 100 years he built the fortress of Carn Dûm and gathered a vast army of Uruks from the Misty Mountains and Dark Men who lived among the mountains of Angmar. The Witch-king also recruited the Hill-men from the Ettenmoors to attack Rhudaur and in time they conquered it. Most of the Dúnedain fled to Arthedain and Cardolan, those who remained mixed with the blood of Hill-men and their decedents became lesser men.
Now Rhudaur was peopled by men of dark powers allied with Angmar, who fought for the Witch-king in his war upon the remnants of Arnor. With the forces of Rhudaur and Angmar combined, the Witch-king was able to launch a devastating assault and destroyed the watch tower of Amon Sûl, but not before the Palantir was taken to safety in the West.
Finally, the Lord of the Nazgûl absorbed Rhudaur into the Kingdom of Angmar and Cardolan was left ravaged and nearly destroyed. Only Arthedain remained to stand against the Witch-king.
In 1974 of the Third Age of Middle-earth, the Witch-king invaded Arthedain, capturing Fornost and driving the remaining Dúnedain back across the Gulf of Lhûn. King Arvedui held out for awhile in the North Downs until he and his guard were driven far into north.
The Witch-kings victory was short lived. Only a year later the power of Angmar was crushed at the Battle of Fornost, when Gondor sent a great fleet to their aid. However, even with the victory over the Witch-king, the realm of Arthedain had been ravaged beyond repair and so came an end to the North Kingdom of Arnor. Because of war with Angmar and the great plague, these lands remained mostly empty and its people became the wandering Rangers of the north. The only place that prospered during this time were the lands of the Shire.
Most of the Hill-men and the people of Rhudaur were wiped out during the Battle of Fornost. However, some survived and their decedents would later settle in Bree and the surrounding area.
There are some who believe that the Witch-king did not flee into the East after his defeat at Fornost, but was instead buried in a dark tomb by the remaining men of Rhudaur in the haunted hills of the High Fells. It is said there were Nine Tombs all told and upon the crest of each were runes of dark magic. Some believe these were the Nine Nazgûl, who remained hidden, waiting for their Master’s call. These reports remain unsubstantiated and some believe are merely old wives tales, that came out of Bree, when all roads east became dark.
These evil men of Rhudaur, were thought to still be haunting the High Fells, working strange and dark magic passed down to them over generations.
The White Council discusses the rise of the dark powers in Middle-earth…
Elrond: What is that?
Galadriel: A relic… of Mordor.
Elrond: A Morgul-blade!
Galadriel: Made for the Witch-king of Angmar and buried with him. When Angmar fell, the Men of the North took his body and all that he possessed and sealed it within the High Fells of Rhudaur. Deep within the rock, they buried him. In a tomb so dark, it would never come to light.
Elrond: This is not possible. A powerful spell lies upon those tombs, they can NOT be opened.
Saruman: What proof do we have this weapon came from Angmar’s grave?
Gandalf: I can find none.
From The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey in the scene ‘The Meeting of the White Council’