Minas Morgul ~ The Tower of Black Sorcery
“In that valley of shadow and cold deathly light it seemed unbearably violent and fierce.”
LOTR: TTT B4 C8
This page written and edited by our Dark Historian Grievous
Minas Morgul quickly became a place of evil, corrupted by the Nazgûl and the power of the Nine Rings. The imprisoned moonlight that had once made the city beautiful was now replaced by a corpse-light, a sickly green glow that radiated from the city walls. The Orcs of the city added their own touches to the defenses, replacing the battlements of the high city walls with spiked steel fixtures driven onto the rock. The top of the Tower of the Moon was altered, and was made by secret machinery to revolve, like a ghastly head looking through the shadows of the Morgul Vale. At the head of the bridge over the Ithilduin – now the poisoned Morgulduin – were placed two statues of hideous form. Throughout the city all that had once been beautiful became corrupted and loathsome. Even the vale and river were ruined, and the flowers that had once blossomed in the meads on either bank of the river were replaced by poisonous flowers of sickly hue.
Minas Morgul grew to become a powerful place of evil. Minas Anór now was set against it, and was renamed to Minas Tirith, the Tower of Guard. Ever the two were at war with each other. The City of the Nazgûl becamed filled with Morgul Orcs, which were cunning and equipped with well-made armor and deadly weapons. It is said by some that among the numbers of the armies of Minas Morgul there were also Black Númenoreans, who came to the city when they learned of its downfall and so entered into the service of the Nazgûl. It is said that they received the mansions of the Inner City to dwell in, and formed a cavalry unit known as the Morgul Knights.
As the Lords of Morgul grew strong, the Witch-King sent a message to Eärnur, King of Gondor, and challenged him to personal combat in Minas Morgul. After much persuasion, the king was dissuaded from accepting the challenge; yet seven years later it came again, and Eärnur could not be held back. With a small group of knights he rode to the Morgul Vale, passed the gates of Minas Morgul, and was never seen by any living man again. It is rumored that his company was slaughtered by the Nazgûl, who seized him and took him to the dungeons of their city. Some go on to state that he was dealt a Morgul-wound and became a wraith, ever to be tormented in the Witch-King’s dungeons. Others simply state that he was killed.
Minas Morgul and Minas Tirith spent the next thousand years at war with each other; and Osgiliath, which lay between them, was ruined and abandoned in the constant fighting. Ithilien gradually was deserted as attacks from Morgul increased. A large amount of its people fled in TA 2475, when the Black Uruks of Mordor – which had been bred long ago in Seregost – were sent out into Ithilien to raid it, followed by roaming armies of Morgul Orcs. Nearly all major settlements in Ithilien were destroyed, and for a time the Orcs had captured Osgiliath as well, before being driven back by Gondor.
From Minas Morgul the Nazgûl coordinated the secret reconstruction of Mordor, and prepared it for the return of their Dark Lord. After the recapture of Osgiliath the eastern side of the city, and Ithilien with it, became disputed between Gondor and Minas Morgul. There was constant fighting there and in the Land of the Moon, yet aside from this Minas Morgul made no significant assaults past that point. Nonetheless, all intruders in the Morgul Vale were noted, as the watchful eyes of the City of the Nazgûl could not be escaped.
But in TA 3018 the relative peace was broken. Sauron had declared himself in Barad-dûr years ago, and Gondor knew an attack was imminent. Yet they could not withstand the assault that came. Armies of Orcs out of Minas Morgul and Udûn overran Ithilien and captured East Osgiliath. Through the valiant efforts of the Men of Gondor, the last bridges of the city were destroyed in the retreat to the west, but only at great cost. For the Nazgûl themselves led the armies of Morgul, and charged first into battle. None among the defenders could stand against them.
Minas Morgul was a major rallying point for the armies of Mordor. A great host of Morgul-Orcs and fell men was gathered there in the next months, until the Nazgûl had an army of over ten thousand warriors. In TA 3019 the storm was loosed. The Morgul-signal, a blast of sorcerous light long prepared, went up, and Mount Doom answered. The Witch-King himself led the Morgul-Host through the gates of the Dead City to East Osgiliath, while the other Nazgûl terrorized the city of their enemies. There they crossed the river on rafts in the night, slaughtered the defenders, and led the attack on Minas Tirith. But there, in the Battle of the Pelennor Fields, the Witch-King was slain, as was Gothmog, the greatest Orc-General of the city, and the Armies of Minas Morgul were scattered.
After the battle Minas Morgul became a ghost city, as few Morgul Orcs remained, and those that did were too few to do much. The Nazgûl returned under Khamûl the Black to the city, but soon they were abroad again, and would never return. When the Host of the West arrived at the Crossroads of the King, a small group was sent to Morgul Vale, and the bridge over the Morgulduin was destroyed, and the fields on either side set aflame. After Sauron’s final fall the city was left empty, though it and the Morgul Vale were still places of evil, where no man could walk sane. For long years it sat empty, and eventually was ruined, and to the City of Isildur none would ever return.