The High Fells of Rhudaur
Up in the cliffs, along the sheer walls of the High Fells, the wicked men of Rhudaur built tombs
deep into the rock for the dead Kings of this fallen land.
The North Kingdom of Arnor struggled after the fall of Isildur following the Battle of the Last Alliance. The kingdom eventually fell victim to internal strive after the death of its tenth king Eärendur, in the Third Age 861 of Middle-earth. Arnor was consumed with civil war, when the dead kings three sons battled for power. Amlaith, the eldest son claimed Kingship over all Arnor, but was reduced to ruling only the region of Arthedain as his kingdom, while his two younger brothers set up the kingdoms of Cardolan and Rhudaur. There was much strife and war between the three kingdoms as they warred over control of what remained of Arnor.
Rhudaur was the weakest of the three kingdoms, claiming the lands east and north of Weathertop. The line of Númenor was eventually lost in this land and the last remaining kings of Rhudaur, were descents of the Hill-men from the Ettenmoors, who were in service to Angmar. They aided the Witch-king in his long war against Arnor, but they were eventually betrayed by him when the Witch-king of Angmar absorbed the kingdom in 1409. By this time the Númenóreans were gone from the region, as well as most of the other peoples, who fled the wars and plague that beleaguered the north.
The men who remained were fully under the thraw of Carn Dûm and it was they who built Nine Tombs in honor of the Witch-king. After the Battle of Fornost, when the Witch-king’s victory seemed certain, a great fleet came north from Gondor and the armies of Númenor marched on Fornost, driving the witch-king from the North. Many say that having achieved his goal of destroying the North Kingdom of Arnor, the Witch-king fled into the East. Yet others claim that he was buried within a tomb in the High Fells along with the eight other Nazgûl. Some even say that the Nine Ringwraiths were imprisoned there by some great spell. However, it is the belief of this observer, that it’s more likely that when the Witch-king fled the Battlefield, he left behind his clothing and armor, perhaps even a Morgul Blade, vanishing into the east in wraith form. The lesser men of Rhudaur, then buried his empty cloths, armor and weapons within a tomb in the High Fells.
In a meeting of the White Council in Rivendell, the rise of the Necromancer was discussed…
” ‘You carry something, it came to you from Radagast, he found it in Dol Guldur.’ said Galadriel.
‘Show me.’ whispered Galadriel to Gandalf.
Gandalf slowly lifts an object wrapped in a leather cloth and places it upon the council table.
‘What is that?’ said Elrond.
‘A relic of Mordor!’ said Galadriel.
‘A Morgul Blade!’ said Elrond in dismay.
‘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.’ said Galadriel.
‘A powerful spell lies upon those tombs, they cannot be opened!’ exclaimed Elrond.’ “
From The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey in the scene showing the meeting of the White Council.
Some claim that during the quest of Erebor, while Bilbo and the dwarves traveled through Mirkwood, Gandalf went to the High Fells in search of answers.
‘Why am I here Gandalf?’ said Radagst
‘Trust me Radagast, I would not have called you here without good reason.’ answered Gandalf.
‘This is not a good place to meet.’
‘No… it is not.’ sighed Gandalf.
‘These are dark spells Gandalf, old, and full of hate. Who is buried here?’ asked Radagast.
‘If he had a name, it has long since been lost. He would have been known only as a servant of evil. One of a number, one of Nine!’ Gandalf said with a deep dread in his voice.
‘Why now Gandalf?’ I don’t understand.’ said Radagast.
‘The Ringwraiths have been summoned to Dol Guldur.’ said Gandalf.
‘But it cannot be the Necromancer, a human sorcerer could not summon such an evil.’
‘Who said it was human?’ Gandalf said with finality. ‘The nine only answer to one Master. We have been blind Radagast and in our blindness the enemy has returned.”
From The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey in the scene showing Gandalf and Radagast in the High Fells.
Searching among the dark cliffs of the High Fells