The Dark History of Durthang
The castle stood empty until the Nazgûl returned to Mordor.
Hôarmûrath of Dír and Ûvatha the Horseman led several companies of Orcs to the fortress, and occupied it.
This page written and edited by our Dark Historian Grievous
The castle Durthang was built high on a lifeless spur of the Mountains of Shadow by the Men of Gondor in the early Third Age, intended to watch over the now-empty Vale of Udûn, and to guard the mountain-pass that led over the spur past the fortress. Of the three fortresses that Gondor built within Mordor – with the other two being the Tower of Cirith Ungol and the Towers of the Teeth – Durthang was the greatest, and featured a considerable garrison of veteran soldiers of the South Kingdom.
Durthang was a strong fortress, and large armies could be housed within its walls, despite the fortress seeming too small for such a purpose from the outside. The tall towers of the fortress were supplemented by large underground caverns, used in later days as barracks and mines by the Orcs of Mordor. In the days of Gondor these caverns were sealed off for fear of Orcs, and the towers of the fortress were tall and fair.
However, the might of Gondor waned, and the watch on Mordor slept. The fortresses within the Black Land, though they had once been strong, faded and were poorly garrisoned. The Towers of the Teeth and the Tower of Cirith Ungol were abandoned altogether after the Great Plague devastated Gondor, but the guard at Durthang continued, though greatly depleted. However, the fortress grew ever more isolated, and in later conflicts the garrison was forgotten. Whether they starved or were slain by enemies is unknown, but the guard of Durthang was soon no more.
The castle stood empty until the Nazgûl returned to Mordor. Hôarmûrath of Dír and Ûvatha the Horseman led several companies of Orcs to the fortress, and occupied it. The Nazgûl regathered the armies of Mordor slowly and in secret, occupying the Black Land once more and preparing to strike at Minas Ithil. Until the City of Isildur fell in TA 2002 and became Minas Morgul, Durthang was used as the effective capital of Mordor.
Over the next thousand years Durthang became a strong fortress once more – but not under Gondor. The Orcs of Mordor took the castle as their own. They uncovered and expanded the caverns beneath the fortress, making massive barracks, mines, and armories. The Vale of Udûn became used as the great war-camp of Mordor, as it had been in the Second Age, and Durthang became its chief stronghold and the administrative center of the Vale. By the War of the Ring it was said that thousands of Orcs had made Durthang their home.
The armies of Durthang were generally considered reserve armies, and were used chiefly to maintain and guard Durthang and Udûn on a whole. However, every Orc in Durthang was sent down into the Vale to prepare for the Battle of the Black Gate, and rallied with the armies of Sauron to crush the Host of the West. But before they could achieve victory the One Ring was destroyed. The ensuing destuction scattered the Orcs of Durthang and destroyed the Vale of Udûn. The earthquakes that shook Mordor during this caused the mountain-spur on which Durthang stood to shatter, sliding down into ruin in the vale below and taking Durthang with it.