The Nazgûl ~ A Dark History of the Ringwraiths ~ The Nine

 

Nine Kings of Men Who Fell Into Shadow

Nine Rings were gifted to the race of Men, who above all else desire power

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Nine mortal men enslaved by Sauron the Deceiver

They were once men and each fell one by one under the power of the One Ring and became slaves to the will of the Dark Lord.

TolkienLegend3The Nine Nazgûl or Ringwraiths were the most loyal and terrible servants of the Dark-lord. In origin they were all mortal men, great and powerful lords in their own right, who ruled many lands throughout Middle-earth. Each was seduced by the gift of one of the Nine rings of Sauron, which imbued its wearer with great powers of sorcery, and an almost unlimited life span. But like all of the Dark-lord’s gifts it was tainted, for each of the Nine rings was ruled by the One, and thus the nine wearers became slaves of the overbearing will of Sauron. Ultimately, by the end of the Third-age the Nazgûl were terrifying undead creatures, existing in a terrible twilight world between life and death,with no thought or desire save that of the Dark-lord himself. Their fate was by this time completely bound up with that of their master and that of the One ring, whose recovery and restoration they arduously sought.

Here you will find a brief history of the origin of each of the Nine Nazgûl. Though these histories do not fill under the Tolkien Canon, they have become part of the larger legendarium of Middle-earth the has grown with radio, films, stage, games and trading cards. A portion of these Ringwraith Biographies are from early Middle-earth Role Playing games and Lord of the Rings Trading Card Game, as well as out own interpretations and additions made here in Mordor ~ The land of Shadow.

The names  of the Nine Nazgul are as follows: The Witch-king of Angmar, Khamûl the EasterlingDwar of WawJi Indûr DawndeathAkhôrahilHoarmûrath of DírAdûnaphel the QuietRen the Unclean and Ûvatha the Horseman, but only The Witch-king of Angmar and Khamûl the Easterling come from Tolkien’s writings.

The Nazgûl each have a number beginning with The Witch King of Angmar ~ Úlairë Minë , Úlairë Attëa, Úlairë Nelya, Úlairë Cantëa, Úlairë Lemenya, Úlairë Enquëa, Úlairë Otsëa, Úlairë Toldëa and Úlairë NertëaÚlairë is a reconstructed Quenya singular “Ringwraith” (the singular of Q. pl. Ulairi is not directly attested), and the second word is simply an ordinal number from one to nine.

 

The Witch-king of Angmar ~ Úlairë Minë  (One of Nine)

Race: Black Númenórean

In origin, a prince of the Royal House of Númenór in the Second-age, the Witch-king was seduced by the power of the nine rings and fell thrall to Sauron, as the price paid for that terrible gift. The Witch-king became the greatest of the Nazgûl and second only in power to the Dark-lord himself. During Sauron’s final attempt to become Lord of Middle-earth during the Third age, the Witch-king played a vital role in his master’s designs. As a plan to subvert and finally destroy the Northern realm of Arnor, the Witch-king established himself in the north of Eriador in the barren land of Angmar, where he gathered his power and sent out spies. His evil machinations were largely responsible for the fragmentation of Arnor into three successor kingdoms each of which was confronted and finally destroyed by the power of Angmar. During the War of the Ring, the Witch-king led the Dark host to battle at the Pelennor fields and perished there at the hands of Eowyn Dernhelm with some help from Merry Brandybuck.

Chief of all the servants of Sauron, the Witch-king was, in origin, one of the Black Númenóreans,who the Dark-lord seduced to his own service by the gift of one of the Nine rings. The rings conferred great power upon their wearers but also subjugated them forever to the will of Sauron. As well as his great talents in sorcery the Witch-king was Sauron’s ablest military commander. He founded the Northern Kingdom of Angmar and was the architect of both Arthedain’s and Cardolan’s destruction. He also successfully wrestled from the Southern kingdom of Gondor the great citadel of Minas Ithil.

He was also the greatest sorcerer among the Nine and was able to wield great power through the use of Morgul Spells.

 

Khamûl the Easterling ~ Úlairë Attëa (Two of Nine)

Race: Rhûn

Rank, Nazgûl Lieutenant. Emissary to the peoples of the East and the Variags, he was Lieutenant to the Witch-king and second among the Nine; a potent Mage in his own lifetime, now bound to the cause of Mordor forever.

Khamûl’s origins are veiled in mystery save that he was of one of the races from beyond Rhûn in the furthest east of Middle-earth. Like all the ringwraiths he was bound to Sauron by one of the nine rings of power and his fate was thus tied to that of his master. So when Sauron went into the shadow at the end of the Second-age, Khamul also disappeared from Middle-earth appearing with his master after a millennium of the Third-age.

He served the Dark Lord in the tower of Barad-dûr during the Second-age and with his master, was forsaken at Gorgoroth, during the Battle of the Last Alliance. At the end of the first millennium of the Third-age, Khamûl re-appeared with Sauron at the ruins of Dol Guldur, and dwelt there with him while Sauron’s power grew in secret. After the Dark Lord’s return to Mordor, the Nazgûl Lieutenant Khamûl and Adûnaphel returned to Dol Guldur, where they were to hold in check the power of Lothlorien. When the War of the Ring broke out, the Nazgûl lieutenant Khamûl was sent out to search for the Shire, and if possible to locate the One Ring. Khamûl and the other Nazgûl tracked the Halflings through The Shire but lost their track as the latter departed through Buckland. Later he stood with the Witch-king at Amon Sûl when the Morgul Knife struck Frodo. Later during the War of the Ring, he would orchestrate three attacks on Lothlorien from Dol Guldur.

As with the other Winged Nazgûl, he perished at the end of the Third Age along with the remaining Ringwraiths in the fiery ruin of Mount Doom when the One Ring was destroyed and Sauron fell for the last time.

 

Akhôrahil ~ Úlairë Nelya (Three of Nine)

Race: Black Númenórean

Like the Witch-king, Akhôrahil was of old, a lord of Númenór, who was corrupted and ensnared by one of the Nine Rings of Sauron. After Sauron’s fall at the end of the Second age, Akhorahil disappeared from Middle-earth. He returned after long years and awaited his master’s return in the far South of Middle-earth.

When Sauron himself reappeared he ordered Akhôrahil and the other Nazgûl to reoccupy Mordor and to secure it for the Dark Lord’s return. He remained at Minas Morgul until the War of the Ring when, with his fell companions, he sought out for his master, the bearer of the One Ring. Unhorsed at the Ford of Bruinen, he fled back to Mordor and was given a Fell Beast by his Master and so brought terror to the skies of Middle-earth. When the Witch King marched on Minas Tirith he remained in Minas Morgul as messenger to Barad-dûr.

As with the other Winged Nazgûl, he perished at the end of the Third Age along with the remaining Ringwraiths in the fiery ruin of Mount Doom when the One Ring was destroyed and Sauron fell for the last time.

 

Adûnaphel the Quiet ~ Úlairë Cantëa (Four of Nine)

Race: Men of Eriador

After the great plague ravaged Eriador in the mid Third-age, Gondor’s watch on Mordor became less vigilant and Sauron sent Adûnaphel to the Black Land to prepare for her eventual return. Adûnaphel dwelt secretly in Nurn until the arrival of the Witch-king; whose coming heralded the Nazgûl’s assault on the tower of Minas Ithil. Its fall signified the end of Gondor’s hold on the Mordor. After Sauron’s return to Barad-dûr, Adunaphel was commanded to make fast the ancient stronghold of Dol Guldur under the eves of Mirkwood, and later just before the outbreak of the War of the Ring, he was involved with the other Nazgûl in attempting to recapture the One Ring.

Watcher in the Forests and sometimes leader of the evil forces of Mirkwood and Captain of Dol Guldur, he would often fly upon his fell beast to Orthanc to carry message from the Dark Tower. it is believed the it was his steed the was shot down by the Elf Legolas beside the River Anduin. Adûnaphel the Quiet was know to carry a black bow of Yew and a quiver of poisoned arrows. One of his infamous Black Arrows is thought to have been found by the men of Esgaroth and kept as a family heirloom. Some believe this arrow was used by the Man, Bard, who slew Smaug the Dragon.

As with the other Winged Nazgûl, he perished at the end of the Third Age along with the remaining Ringwraiths in the fiery ruin of Mount Doom when the One Ring was destroyed and Sauron fell for the last time.

 

Dwar of Waw ~ Úlairë Lemenya (Five of Nine)

Race: Men of Umbar

Dwar of Waw came from a sea-faring race of men, whose pirate ships plundered and waged war upon the lands of the south. Known as a great warrior in the south, he was a tyrant and King to his people. A Black Captain of the Corsairs of Umbar and one of the first to fall under the spell of the Dark Lord. He gained Sauron’s favor by bringing the lands of Harad under his rule through trickery and cunning wars against the men Númenór.

He fought many battles with the Land of Gondor over the long years of war. Their black fleets ruled the waterways of the South Kingdoms for many years. He built up a final great Fleet of Black Ships meant to bring a final end to the rule of Gondor during the War of the Ring. this fleet was meant to bring down the fall of Minas Tirith during the Battle of the Pelennor, but his desire was cheated by Aragorn and the Dead Men of the Dwimorberg when the took this fleet with the men of Amroth and so came at unawares and turned the tide of war.

As with the other Winged Nazgûl, he perished at the end of the Third Age along with the remaining Ringwraiths in the fiery ruin of Mount Doom when the One Ring was destroyed and Sauron fell for the last time.

 

Ji Indûr Dawndeath ~ Úlairë Enquëa (Six of Nine)

Race: Men of Harad

Indûr Dawndeath was born in the Second-age in the far south of Middle-earth, where he ruled a tropical kingdom despite the growing threat of Númenórean power.

After being ousted from his throne, he fled to Mumakan and sought refuge with the agents of the Dark Lord who resided there. Here he was offered one of the Nine Rings of Sauron, and all its accompanying power. He accepted and with its power, he reestablished himself over both Mumakan and his previous realms, Indûr was now fully under the thrall of the Dark Lord. He accompanied Sauron to Mordor at the end of the Second-age and fought for him at the Battle of the Last Alliance. When the One Ring was cut from the hand of Sauron and he was overthrown, the nine servants vanished also from the face of the earth. When the Dark Lord began to reemerge during the Third-age, the Nine reappeared also, as terrible beings of shadow and invisibility, and bound even more completely to the will of their lord. Indûr the wraith ruled Mumakan once more and held the land in fief to his master. During the war of the Ring, he led the Mumakil assault on the Gondorian citadel of Minas Tirith.

It was by his cunning, that the the great Mumakil of the Southlands were tamed and trained for warfare, gilded with armor and painted in evil runes of the Black Speech, with massive fortresses upon their backs they marched to the West in the Battle of the Pelennor Fields. Many were also bred and housed in the southern plain of Mordor, near the inland Sea of Núrnen.

Indûr Dawndeath was named Captain of Barad-dûr and chief defender of Mordor  and a chief champion of Sauron. Said to have some Elvish blood and possibly to be related to the half-Elven Elrond, Lord of Rivendell, whom he hated and blamed for Sauron’s fall at the Battle of the Last Alliance.

As with the other Winged Nazgûl, he perished at the end of the Third Age along with the remaining Ringwraiths in the fiery ruin of Mount Doom when the One Ring was destroyed and Sauron fell for the last time.

 

Ûvatha the Horseman ~ Úlairë Otsëa (Seven of Nine)

Race: Men of Khand

Originally a Variag from Khand, Ûvatha was, like all his people, a great horseman. He fought in civil war in his native Khand and eventually united all the tribes under his own rule. He accepted the gift of the Ring of Power shortly after achieving this. The Variags were useful allies to the Dark Lord protecting his eastern and southeastern borders and were later to prove a valuable addition to the armies of Mordor, their fearsome and bloodthirsty reputation alone striking terror into the hearts of many of their enemies. When Sauron fell at the end of the Second-age Uvatha also passed into the shadow of the east, but reappeared along with the Dark Lord after a thousand years has passed. He reestablished his rule of Khand and expanded his kingdom into northern Harad.

He took part in the Nazgûl attack on Minas Ithil, and reoccupied the Tower of Sorcery when Sauron returned to Mordor. He also was responsible for the raids upon Rohan in search of black horses. Within the walls of Mordor, in a vale east of Barad-dûr, was a place known as the Plain of the Black Steeds. Here the horses of Mordor were raised upon fell grains and trained to endure the horror of the Ringwraiths. Ûvatha greatest achievement was the black steed gifted to the Mouth of Sauron, a horse bred with a warg, one of the hellhounds of of Mordor and imbued with the power of a Morgul Wraith. A creature huge and hideous, it’s face a frightful mask more like a skull then a living head, and in it’s eyes and nostrils there burned a flame.

Ûvatha was a skilled rider from the East, he was a messenger and spy across the Plains of the Rohirrim, whose heads he is said to collect and leave hanging from the branches of Fangorn. He was responsible for preparing the way when the Nazgûl left Mordor in search of the Ring. He was sent along with rest of the Nine to seek for the One Ring and was caught up in the white waters at the Ford of the Bruinen, that destroyed his precious black steeds.

As with the other Winged Nazgûl, he perished at the end of the Third Age along with the remaining Ringwraiths in the fiery ruin of Mount Doom when the One Ring was destroyed and Sauron fell for the last time.

 

Ren the Unclean ~ Úlairë Toldëa (Eight of Nine)

Race: Men of the Men of Brown Lands

Ren the Unclean was said to pronounced a curse upon Sauron before he succumbed to the power of the Ring. Some say he was fated to destroy the Dark Lord, others that he was simply doomed to his service until the End of Arda. To what end he may have come if the War of the Ring had favored the Dark Lord instead of the men of the West, none can now say for he perished as did the rest of the Nine in the flaming ruin of Mount Doom. Ren the Unclean is even more disturbing than most of the fearsome Nazgûl. It is believed that he was a Princeling and son of the King to the people who once live in the lands below Greenwood the Great. This small kingdom of men lay along the eastern edge of the great river Anduin and their southern border was the Emyn Muil. The Dark Lords wars ravaged their lands and all of it’s people are now gone, because of the greed of King Ren, none now remember their name. This forsaken place is now known as the Brown Lands.

As he fell into Shadow, Ren became known as the Lord of the Marshes and was the guardian of the secret ways into Mordor. He was a corrupter of the River Folk (the Stoor Hobbits that remained along the river), who became like Gollum and now serve Mordor in the Dead Marshes. He was known as a “Swamp Dweller” or “Mewlips”.

It is believed that by his foul craft, the Dead buried on the Dagorlad after the Battle of the Last Alliance, were somehow made into shadow wraiths that haunted the Dead Marshes, which had crept over many years  into the northern reaches of the Dagorlad. These shadow wraith struck fear into the hearts of men and protected the northern border of Mordor.

When Sauron rose once more in power, he was named Guardian of the Morannon, the Black Gate of Shadow. He was known as the Captain of the Teeth of Mordor, the towers that flanked that Iron Gate, control all that went upon the Dagorlad and through the Dead Marshes. He was the overseer during the building of the massive Black Gate into Mordor and fortifying the two towers originally built by the men of Gondor. He commanded the armies of Udûn during Battle of the Black Gate.

As with the other Winged Nazgûl, he perished at the end of the Third Age along with the remaining Ringwraiths in the fiery ruin of Mount Doom when the One Ring was destroyed and Sauron fell for the last time.

 

Hoarmûrath of Dír ~ Úlairë Nertëa (Nine of Nine)

Race: Men of Rhûn

Hoarmûrath of Dir was born of the race of  Rhûn in the East of Middle-earth. Much like Khamûl the Easterling, his origins are veiled in mystery. He is believed to have lived upon the Sea of Rhûn near its Northern Shores, whose people were often apt to evil. They waged many wars with the people of the Long Lake, the Elves of the Northern Wood and the Dwarves of the Mountains. He is thought to have received the last of Nine Rings and so was one of the last to fall fully into shadow.

It is said that he helped the Witch-king of Angmar destroy the North Kingdom and when Angmar fell, the two fled into the East to await the return of Sauron.

He took part in the Nazgûl attack on Minas Ithil, and reoccupied the Tower of Sorcery when Sauron returned to Mordor. In the year before the war if the Ring at the end of the Third Age, he was sent as mesnager to the Gate of Erebor in the Lonely Mountain to deliver a message to King Dain from Sauron, who now knew that the Ring had been found and that a creature named Baggins possessed it. The stubborn dwarf king refused to speak and his insubordination was met with war. When the Armies of Morgul were assaulting Minas Tirith under the command of the Witch-king, Hoarmûrath of Dír was commanding another finger from the Black Hand of Mordor. A massive army came from the sea of Rhûn and marched upon the Men of Esgaroth and Dale, besieging the Kingdom of Erebor. They would soon have fallen, except that terrible news came from Barad-dûr that the Witch-king was dead and that the remaining Nazgûl were to return to immediately to Mordor!

As with the other Winged Nazgûl, he perished at the end of the Third Age along with the remaining Ringwraiths in the fiery ruin of Mount Doom when the One Ring was destroyed and Sauron fell for the last time.

 

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 Posted by at 4:02 pm