The Man of Rhûn stood upon the plain and watched the Courier from the Dark Tower ride hard down the mountain pass.
The man’s name was Rùtar and he was the master of the Black Steeds of Mordor upon the plain east of the Dark Tower.
For many days now he had felt the great Eye in the Dark Tower turned towards the east… he knew that an order for more horses would soon be coming.
At the very foot of the mountain spur sat the Tower of Barad-dûr. This slash of rock jutted off the larger range of the Mountains of Ash, that formed the northern wall of Mordor. To the east it looked down upon the Plain of the Black Steeds, You can find this just east of the Dark Tower upon the Map of Mordor
The Eye of Sauron had been turned to the east, looking out upon this plain. Here the Black Horses of Mordor roamed. Many were stabled, fed and cared for by a group of men from the land of Rhûn and captained by one named Rùtar.
There were well over a thousand horses upon the plain. Housed in special stables along the black hills, were nearly a hundred select steeds held ready to be sent to his Dark Tower when called for.
With a heavy heart Rùtar made his was to the stables to await the courier. He was loth to send his charges to the Dark Tower, for he knew what was done to them there. Once under the Shadow of Barad-dûr, they were fed fell grains, their hides carved and tattooed with ancient runes of power and harnessed with Morgul Spells. With his own eyes, he had seen one of his most favored stallions taken to be the steed of the black Lieutenant Barad-dûr. The poor beast had been transformed into a creature that could no longer be called a horse. It had been changed into a thing of Flame and Shadow. It was no longer the great stallion, proud and strong that he had raised and cared for, it had become something monstrous. A beast with eyes of fire and flame exhaled from it’s maul. A thing festooned with black armor and wild with hate, tamed only be the powerful sorcerer who was the Emissary of the Dark Tower.
Upon one of the dark hills that sat to the north of the plain, Rùtar stood waiting as the dark messenger from the Barad-dûr came up the the ancient mud road. He too was a man… from Harad by the look of him. As he got down form his horse which was sweating and nearly lame from being ridden so hard, his men took the steed into the stable to care for it, as fresh one was brought out.
The messenger handed him a scroll written in the Black Speech. There it listed what was required, nine of the VERY BEST and strongest Black Steeds to be had. The messenger took a drink from his water skin and sat down upon a stone. He said he was to ride back immediately and report.
“You had better send the very best you have straw-head, these are for the Eye’s favorites… the Nazgûl.” The man whispered conspiratorially as if he was afraid of being heard. He licked his lips and cowered as he said the words. “You send him any bad horses and you’ll end up in the Houses of Lamination, they’ll skin you alive. You better take heed, I tell you somethings afoot and it’s big!”
Rùtar shuddered as the name of the wraiths… he had seen one of the Nine only from a distance, as he traveled a the Road from Udûn to the Tower of Barad-dûr. He had felt his breath and his blood run cold as the figure passed upon his black steed. Even now, he felt a deep chill at the memory, however he was not going to let this filth of Harad speak to him in such a manner.
“You know more than is good for you and you talk too much. Perhaps you should be relived of that wagging tongue! Speak not to me of my concerns. Get back on you horse Snaga and ride or I will horse whip you were you stand!”
The man hissed at him and jumped upon the back of the fresh steed brought to him. He spat at the feet of Rùtar and then his horse reared, turned and road hard, leaving a cloud of dust in his wrath. Rùtar looked down at the written words on the scroll once more. It said 100 of the Black Uruks of Barad-dûr were coming at nightfall to escort the horses to the Dark Tower.
He shook his head… but there was nothing to be done. War was coming. Some said the final War! The great Eye will soon come to rule all of the lands to the West! Many will die, including the horses he cared for, but there was nothing to be done for it… only to obey his orders and try to keep out from under the sight of the Eye in the Dark Tower!
Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.