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Ohtacárë i nwalmë úquétima: The Battle of the Gulf of Lhûn

Turgon

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Agarloth Serewing stood upon the deck of his flagship, Alcarondas, a rich red cloak wrapped tightly around his shoulders. A cold wind was blowing, strong but steady, from the south - driving his fleet onward with fat-bellied sails, but the Lord of Umbar was tired and chilled to the bone. The Fleet of Mornclaur had been on the move for many weeks now, and Serewing had never been worked so hard.

'Gaernur!' The Corsair yelled. 'Gaernur! Get your worthless hide out here - or by Ossë you'll be sleeping with the fish tonight.'

'Coming Master, coming...' A gilded door on the forecastle swung open and out hobbled a withered old uruk, dressed, rather improbably it must be said, in a black velvet frockcoat and dirty lace shirt. In his hands he carried a silver plate, and upon it stood a goblet of mulled wine steaming in the cold night air. This creature was Serewing's manservant, an orc of Mount Gundabad whom the Corsair had taken pity on during his days of service with the Lord Snaga.

'At last...' Serewing muttered as he snatched the goblet and took a deep draught of it's contents. 'Listen well, Gaernur... Tomorrow we will be in sight of the Ered Luin, and by noon we will begin the first stage of our operation. The Black Ships have reached their destination and wait only on my signal - but I have half a mind to command them myself. I want you to prepare for our departure, we must be ready by dawn. Salahir will command the Fleet of Mornclaur until my return.'

'Master... do you mean to take me with you? What use can I be? The days when Gaernur could strike fear into the enemy are long passed - would it be better for me to stay here and keep an eye on Salahir?'

'You are base born coward, uruk, Salahir needs no watching over; it's a pity the same cannot be said about you - be ready at dawn. Do you understand?'

'Master...' With this Gaernur bowed and scurried back into his cabin, but the Corsair stood upon the deck long into the night, gazing northward, ever northward - a crooked smile playing across his face.
 
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Turgon

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Dawn broke cold and clear, finding the Corsair bleary-eyed and somewhat the worse for wear. Indeed this day had brought the fleet of Mornclaur to its destination. As the pale winter sun began its lazy crawl over its steep heights, the Ered Luin were already looming large on the Alcarondas' starboard side.

Serewing found the deck of his ship buzzing with activity as he finally roused himself from the plush comfort of his cabin, and true to his word Gaernur had everything ready for his Lord's departure. Salahir too had arrived, to say his goodbyes and take command of The Corsair flagship.

'Lord Serewing!' Salahir yelled. 'I see you have finally decided to join us... do you mean to go ahead with your plan?' Salahir was a corsair captain of the old school, who had cut his teeth in daring raids along the Belfalas coast, and although past his prime, few mariner's in Middle-earth could hold themselves as sea-crafty as this old dog. The fleet would be in good hands.

'Indeed Master Salahir...' Serewing replied, his voice languid and full of sleep. 'I am Lord of Umbar first and foremost, my place is with our kinsmen, I will join the Black Ships and you will stay here in command of the Ships of Mornclaur. Consider yourself commissioned Admiral.'

The Black Fleet of the Corsairs lay at anchor some leagues to the east, in the shadow of the mountains of Harlindon. Being much swifter than the Great Ships of the Dark Lord, the Corsairs acted as both Vanguard and Scout to Serewing's Fleet, and though not great in number, none there were in Middle-earth who knew the ways of the sea like the Men of Umbar, in them alone was the glory of the great Sea-lords of Númenor kept alive.

'Ha!' Salahir belowed. 'I see what is in your mind my Lord. Too long has it been since a Lord of Umbar led his men forth to raid the lands of our foes. May Ossë's rage foam in your belly!'

'And in yours...' Serewing smiled. Then girding Bloodflower about his waist, he turned and with a wild laugh made his way to the small galley waiting to transfer him to the Corsair Fleet.
 
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Ciryaher

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Jahrdur broke the arm of the messenger with a swift blow. "What do you mean they just appeared?!" he roared, looming to his incredible 7-foot height.

The other messenger had stayed behind, and therefore was not the recipient of any bodily harm. "We do not know, Lord! The dwarves were usually watching from their tall towers, and we did not know of their arrival until the tower upon the downs spotted them!"

The Southron growled. The thought of having to deal with his kindred was not a pleasant one, but at least he knew their tactics. "Very well. I shall depart for Mithlond at once. Ready my chariot, and send word to Goldhram Onyxhelm that he is now Lord of Arnor."
 

Turgon

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A great cheer was raised as the Lord of Umbar joined his countrymen, and on the ship Adûnakhôr he found a merry welcome had been prepared for him. A council of his finest captains had been called and they greeted him in true corsair fashion, pushing a large flagon of wine into his had the moment he climbed onboard.

'Hola! Ye pampered jades of Umbar!' Serewing cried as he took a deep draught from the flagon. 'Ossë smiles upon us today, the seas are as smooth as an elf-lord's chin - how fares the preparation?'

'Well my lord,' replied a tall, dark-haired youth. 'We are ready to move at your command. But come, a meal has been prepared for you, and there are letters from Umbar that require you attention. Will you not rest a while before we begin our council?'

'Indeed Sorontil - sage advice! Will you not join me cousin?'

The Adûnakhôr was Sorontil's ship - a cousin of Serewing's who had risen to prominance on the Lord of Umbar's coat-tails. He was a promising youth though, if somewhat green, and his fellow captains had high hopes for the young man's future, as did Serewing himself.

____________________


The two kinsmen sat down in the captain's cabin and took a light meal together. Sorontil chattering aimlessly about life in the fleet, while Serewing read the various missives lately come from the south - a deep furrow plowed into his brow. Sorontil guessed that some news had come which displeased his lord, and he was not wrong.

As the Lord of Umbar laid aside the final letter, he stood and beckoned for a servant to remove the empty plates from the table. His face was flushed red - though whether it was the strong wine, or some hidden anger that made it so was anybody's guess.

'Call the Captains and give word to ready the fleet,' he growled to his cousin. 'We must tarry no longer. I have recieved grave from Umbar, something that will affect all our plans.....'
 
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Turgon

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Agarloth Serewing stood before the council of assembled captains, his sea-grey eyes stormy, promising wrack and ruin to any unlucky enough to be caught in their depth.

'Gentlemen...' he began. 'Our time is at hand. Too long has the Strength of Umbar slept beneath the somnulant rule of meek and mild men. The days of the Merchant and the Guildsman are over and once more the ship of state is guided by hands more suited to the task...'

The company let out a great cheer, as Serewing knew they would. Yet was he merely softening them for the blow that would follow, something was rotten in the State of Mornclaur.

'My friends,' he began again. 'Grave news has reached me from the south - Rohan is lost and Ciryaher of Annatorë has claimed lordship of its lands...'

There was some murmuring here, although General Saew was making great gains in the South, the Northern war was slow and sluggish, the holding of Rohan played a great part in Serewing's plans, yet now it was lost... and the thought of the Armies of Atannorë having a free reign in the west left a bitter taste in all their mouths.

'You heard me right. Nothing stands between Arnor and Gondor now but the green grass of Rohan. The storm has broken and we will be hard pressed to ride out its fury. But we are men of the sea, our lives depend on mutual trust. When the storm comes we band together to weather it out, and come out the other side all the stronger. Is it not so?'

'But this is treachery!' some cried, and others. 'Let us return home this is not out war...'

'Go home?' Serewing smiled. 'To what? To wait until the Lords of Atannorë come banging at out gates, demanding out city. Would you have an elf-lord ruling in Umbar? A spiteful Ghost of the Eldar Days? Or a money grubbing mountain dwarf sitting on our coffers? Believe me, Atannorë will not rest until all of Middle-earth lies nestled in it's palm. It is in Mornclaur that we must trust. Lord Goroth has ever been a friend to Men.'

'Shall I tell you why we lost the War in Rohan? The Dark Lord sent forth an army of Uruk maggots, what else can be expected of them? But we are Men and what's more Men of Umbar, the Blood of Númenor flows in our veins. We live in the Age of Men, these land belong to us by right. By decree of the Powers in the West. Lord Goroth told me as much, and is he not one of them, does he not know their councils?'

'The Lord Goroth is all that stands between us and the chains of empire. Are we to desert him now in his hour of need? Do we need a pack of maggots to guard our backs? Have the Men of Umbar sank so low? I say no! Let us go forth and seize our destiny. What say you?'

'Cry Hola! for Umbar, Mornclaur and Lord Goroth!' came the reply (somewhat dramatically it must be said.)

But he had got them - they would follow him now even to the Doors of Night.

'Gentlemen! To your ships... It begins!'

And with a wild laugh for a battle-cry, the Lord of Umbar made ready.
 
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Turgon

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Agarloth Serewing stood on the Prow of the Adûnakhôr and watched the great fleet of Mornclaur sailing Northward under a glowering winter sky. Salahir had orders to hold the Mouth of Lhûn at all costs - it wouldn't do for Serewing's ships to be caught like so many rats in the great gulf of Mithlond.

In the waters around the Black Ships of Umbar - the raiding parties readied themselves for a landing. Five hundred men in all, veterans of Corsairs raids upon the Coasts of Gondor - and Serewing would lead them himself. The black ships would sail on without him - under Sorontil's command. Even now his boat was ready to leave - he could see his manservant, Gaenur, huddled in the bows of a narrow hulled transport - shivering in the cold sea-spray.

'Sorontil!' Serewing turned to his cousin, who stood nearby watching the preperations, a smile of youthful glee playing across his face. 'Sorontil, it's time to for me to leave. You have my orders, and the command. Fight well, this is your chance to shine, may Ossë guide your heart and hand! So fare thee well!'

With this the Lord of Umbar climbed down into his transport. The Shores of Harlindon were less than a league away they would make good speed...


_________



Serewing was the first man ashore. As his booted feet crunched into the coarse sand of the Lindon beach - he let out a mighty Hola! To the west he could see the black sails of the Corsair fleet sailing swiftly towards the Grey Havens, and to the south and east the great expanse of the Ered Luin.

As his men disembarked he took a moment to take in the scenery - it was a beautiful land, reminding him of Gondor, nestled between the mountains and the sea. Legend had it that these lands were once a part of Beleriand, which had sunk beneath the waves in ages past. It was a legend that he had loved as a child, he often wondered as he sailed upon the great oceans what lands and wonders lay lost in the deeps beneath him... but no matter... perhaps in a happier time he could return here and wander at leisure along the strand.

But it was battle that called him now - and the spoils of war. He smiled as he saw Gaernur, loping towards him, his knuckles almost scraping on the ground as he bent double beneath the weight of his packs.

'Master...' the uruk croaked. 'The men are ready - but what shall we do with the transports? Shall we torch them?'

'No.' Serewing replied. 'It wouldn't do to give our position away so soon, we will not need them anyway, we shall rejoin the fleet in Mithlond. Let us make for the mountains... the sooner we are out of sight the better. Let's go. We must be there by night fall.'
 
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Ciryaher

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Eárkaraxë was being loaded with supplies and ammunition, as well as troops. The other dromunds of the Arnorian fleet were being treated similarly. Over the past several years, the Emperor had taken a great affection for building the mighty ships of Umbar, but with improvements both in design, defense, and armament made by the Ship-lord himself.

Nearly ten-score of the gargantuan warships had been build, and over half of these were moored in the vast harbours, and those were complimented by hundereds of triremes and galleys. It had been whispered among some Arnorian sailors that Emperor Hyarmendacil was trying to outdo Ar-Pharazôn of Nûmenorë, and perhaps in his mind that was what he intended.

Nevertheless, it was Jahrdur's duty to ready the fleets and do what he could. Long ago, he had been one of the most highly reputed naval commanders in all of Harad. He was still a great sailor, but he claimed that if he was one of the best, he was only second to his Lord.

Secret messages had been sent out, and nearly all the preparations were complete. Jahrdur was waiting for his signal. Ships prowled the harbour, which was blazing with a thousand lamps, the towers and walls of the havens were manned with sharp-eyed sentries of both hobbit and elven-kind. Garrisons of infantrymen and archers were ready for anything...there would be no sneaking raids under Jahrdur's command.
 

Turgon

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So it was that the Black Ships sailed onwards. Driven now, not by the Mercurial Lord of Umbar, but by the dark rage of the corsair heart. And though Sorontil led the van in his swift ship Adûnakhôr, the truth was that these men needed none to guide them on to victory, they had been born to battle on the sea.

Sorontil stood in the bows of his ship, whetting the blade of his sea-axe as he watched the Coasts of Lindon drifting by. The gulf was was narrower now, they would make the havens soon enough. He could hear the yells and holas of the fleet echoing in the mountains hard by, like the wild laughter of the Storm Lord it seemed to him. He only wished for that Serewing was with him now to savour this moment.

'Captain!' came the cry. 'We can see the havens! There is a fleet in port!?!'

'A fleet!' Sorontil scoffed. 'Of what order? What are they doing?'

'Sea-castles for the most part my lord, and they appear battle-ready!' The lookout paused for a moment as he surveyed the scene before him. 'Ossë's Beard! There are hundreds of them! The harbour will be choked...'

'Excellent!' Sorontil called back. 'Send the word to the other ships! We have the wind - attack at once! Ready the troops and prepare the Drakes... And may the Lord of Storms grant us victory!'
 
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Ciryaher

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Two fleets closed in on the mouth of the Gulf of Lhun, one from the north and one from the south. Together, they were two thirds of the Arnorian fleet. Even the smallest scouting ship they leapt out and destroyed as they began to near the mouth of that great body of water between the Ered Luin.

-~-~-~-~-~-~-~-~-~-~-~-~-~-~-~-~-

In the Havens, Jahrdur was alerted to the coming of the Umbarian fleet. The Dromunds prevented many other ships from passing between them, but no other ships were actually out in the water. The larger triremes and war galleys were lined in front of the berthings of the less-defended ships, with their weapons pointing out into the water to attack any ships that passed through.
The Dromunds made roaring noises as they began to release volleys of ceramic jars containing burning pitch into the sky, flinging them towards the oncoming ships. The attack ramps on several ships were ready to be extended onto the decks of other vessels, and sturdy marine soldiers, with their gear of war, readied for battle.
 

Turgon

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'Ossë's Beard!' Yelled Sorontil, as the ship directly to port was engulfed in a sudden flash of flame. 'Númenórean Fire! What devilry is this?' The Corsair cursed loudly in the Adûnaic tongue, they were the self-same tactics he had planned to use himself, and he was never very good at hiding his disappointment. But no matter, they were prepared for a blaze on their own ships, it is often is the case with fickle winds blowing that ones own vessels were set alight by stray burning hulks. Serewing had made plans for just such an event before his sudden departure. Each of the Corsair ships carried on its deck, barrels of a foul yellow liquid, stored up over the long weeks at sea... a perfect antidote the the searing heat of the pitch - casualties were minimal. Most of the blazes were soon under control. As for those less fortunate... they knew the drill, under full sail and with the oarsmen pulling for all they were worth, they headed straight for the huddled masses of the Arnorian fleet.

Sorontil hooted as he saw the enemy ships lying idle in the harbours. 'Save your Fire until I give the word!' He yelled. 'Prepare for engagement! Target the larger vessels first! Now forward - Somebody has to greet the Lord of Umbar when he makes his entrance into the city - I doubt the dogs that bark upon it's walls will give him much of a welcome!'

Sorontil could make out the mariners on the enemy decks now, looking on aghast as a dozen blazing corsair galley drifted relentlessly towards them. Then with a tormented scream, hail upon hail of black shafted arrows were launched towards they Arnorian fleet. Sorontil aimed his ram at the largest of the enemy ships and braced himself for a collision...
 
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Ciryaher

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Jahrdur growled and stepped down from the deck of Eárkaraxë into the command room. There was a ship headed straight towards the most powerful ship ever built by the hands of Westerners (by the legends, it even exceeded the flagship of Ar-Pharazôn in power and size).

Horns rang throughout the two cities, and what had appeared to be clumps of bushes along the shores were actually all manner of catapult and ballistae. From the towers and seawalls of the havens, the black clouds of arrows were rivaled by the blue and white of the Arnorian volleys.

Jahrdur leapt to the deck once again, and oars shot out the sides of the dromunds as the infantry ships settled in behind them, under the cover of the triremes and galleys. "Ramming speed!," the man of Harad shouted at the top of his lungs in high-elven (to mock his former comrades), and the great dromunds slowly obeyed. Slots on their forward hulls slid open, and volleys of razor-sharp ballistae were flung out, impaling the Umbarian ships before bursting into flame from their coatings of pitch and oil.

The Dromunds and Umbarian frontal ships were less than a hundred yards from impact when the marine transports and war galleys raced forward. The second largest ships in Arnor, the triremes, held back, though incredible in number.
 

Turgon

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'Never trust a dwarf?' Serewing laughed as he ripped his dagger from the dead man's throat. 'I take it back - it seems they do have their uses after all...'

He was refering to the wretched creature now quivering at the feet of his manservant, Gaernur; captured in the mountains of Ered Luin not long after the Corsair's landing. He had proved useful indeed, giving Serewing some 'interesting' information in exchange for his life.

'Shall I kill him Master?' Gaernur hissed. 'Been a long time since I tasted dwarf-flesh... please master... can I?' The dwarf fainted away at this. He was a mere stripling, and the sight of a blood-thirsty orc slavering his still living bones, was just too much to bear.

'You know Gaernur,' Serewing muttered. 'Sometimes I despair of ever making a gentleman of you. We are not savages! Wake the fellow up, cross his palm with silver, and send him on his way. You really must try harder...'

The Corsair shook his head and turned his attention to the task at hand. Serewing had been alerted the presence of the seige engines concealed on the coast, the wandering dwarf had been all to eager to speak once the strong law had been set upon him - leading them by circuitous routes to the Arnorian positions. Their own secrecy had played into the Corsair's hands, as silently, under the cover of the undergrowth used to conceal them, the engines had been seized, and their operators slain. Now the corsair reavers had turned them upon the Arnorian fleet still sitting in harbour. All within sight of the Walls of Mithlond! A dangerous play by the Lord of Umbar perhaps, but that was his style.

Volley after volley the corsairs fired - right into the heart of the idle ships. Soon a merry blaze was burning, as the fire spread amongst the tightly packed vessel with alarming speed - unnoticed at first amidst the chaos of battle. By the time the Guard of Mithlond had realised the danger, Serewing was gone, the damage had been done, and the seige engines put to the torch.

He would be hard pressed to escape any pursuit, but had time enough to find some ground for a stand should it come to that...
 
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Ecthelion

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Ecthelion only watched for a moment as the Corsairs fired the Arnorian siege weapons. He quickly got together a plan in his head, but should he go through with hit, as he hastily thought a message came to him by bird. He read it and quickly shoved it in his pocket. He yelled, "Everyone get down to the gate we are going to stop the Corsairs!" Most looked happy and determined, but still some were shaking. Ecthelion gave orders to have the gate opened. Ecthelion took off to get Arathin as he was blowing his horn to call Nain to join them. When Ecthelion made it to Arathin he spoke quickly, "Arathin, The Corsairs, they captured some siege weapons on the coast not far from here, they are attacking the Arnorian fleets. I recieved a letter from Jahdur, we must go help now! I am going to take most of the miltia with me, my men and 325 of Heren Istarions forces, The Heren Istarion leaders will stay behind in the city with their other men, also 800 of your miltia and 100 of my heavy armored men will stay behind just in case, you may stay here with your Dunedain or you may come with us." Ecthelion quickly ran off back to the gate. Now the gate was finally open. All warriors walked out under the gate Ecthelion leading them, every once and a while he would pick up the pace. As he walked he spoke a plan he had to all leaders of the armies as the walked at a good pace. The were walking past the mountain side now, the siege was having its way. Ecthelion stopped them at the edge of the mountain to position. Ecthelion looked over his shoulder at the siege weapon that had started burning. Ecthelion and the other leaders slowly walked forward with about 2,500 of the miltia 325 men of Heren Istarion forces and 750 of the Ranger Army. The other 1,500 militia and 150 Ranger Heavy Armored Warriors walked with Nain a little farther North. They would attack once Nain gave his horn blow signaling he was ready. Ecthelion looked behind him and thought he saw the Dundedain coming. he hoped they were. Minutes later Nains horn blew loudly and mightily. The Corsairs were just finishing their burnings when they heard it. Ecthelion and his men charged from the west and Nain and his men from the Northwest.
 
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Ciryaher

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Most ships that had been caught aflame had been doused. A few had burned until they sank into their berthing, but the mass and strongest part of the fleet remained intact.

The dromunds, triremes, marine transports, and galleys immediately poured out of the harbour in pursuit of the Umbarian fleet.

-~-~-~-~-~-~-~-~-~-~-~-~-~-~-~-~-~-~-

At the Mouth of the Gulf, the Second and Third fleets formed a barrier. The ships were in wedge formations and were aimed in at the Gulf. They sailed forward, where they knew the Umbarian fleet was going to come from.
 

Anamatar IV

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A single horseman clad in mail yet bearing no arms rode forth from the city gates. On his hauberk he bore the Star of Heren Istarion. He had far to ride and soon. He was seeking those who had recently left the same city, to bring them tidings.
Over the plains he rode and soon he saw the army looming ahead, resting briefly.
The messenger rode on. He rode to the front of the soldiers and sought out the leader. Of the many strong and great men that was hard to find, if he had not found the messenger himself.

"I have word from Ingolemo, of Heren Istarion. Here is a message." With that the messenger bowed and was off.
 
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Ecthelion

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Ecthelion shook his head at the messenger, he had other plans. The Corsairs were gone and the siege weapons let off lots of darke black smoke. Ecthelion looked over the water and could see quite far away the Corsairs in their boats sailing away, Ecthelion grinned a little. Ecthelion told the men to rest and counciled with the leaders and captains there. The spoke for nearly an hour when they finished. Ecthelion would be went off to the southside of the Gulf Of Lhun with 450 of the Ranger Army, 2,000 miltia, and 175 of Heren Istarions warriors. Nain Ironfoot started off to the northside of the Gulf, a little past the mountain's slope with 450 of the Ranger's Army, 2,000 miltia, and 150 of Heren Istarions warriors. Nain also sent infront of him a quick elf to tell Arathin and Heren Istarion what they were doing and to be on alert.
 

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Ecthelion spoke to his men on one side of the Gulf while almost at the same time Nain was talking to his men the same thing, "I have simple words for you all. Enimies may be coming a shore for one reason or another. Slay any underlings or normal orc warriors, but if you come across any men of high positions take all weapons, injure them if you must, then bound their wrists and ankles then send as small amount of men as you can to bring them back here where we will make camp." All the warriors nodded and construction on a crude camp began on both sides.
 

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As the camp on the North side was setting up their camp a watch man called aloud that a number of horses were riding.

"Surely that is Heren Istarion!" Nain told those near him. Indeed the remaining 225 soldiers of Heren istarion, 50 swords men, 50 arches, 125 spear men, and the council of Heren Istarion of whom were back away West had come, though in little number. Soon they blended in with the green and brown cloaks of the Rangers.
 

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Nain welcomed Heren Istarion's coming and quickly went to find Ingolemo, when Nain found him Nain said, "It may be helpful to Ecthelion if you sent some men and some of your council to help on the other side of the Gulf." Nain watched as Ingolemo pondered on the statement and thought of an answer.
 

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An hour after Ingolemo arrived with the Helen Istario's forces, a new shadow of horsed riders were seen in the east. Soon it was apparent that it was Arathin and her Dunedain. She had remained at the city the longest to secure it and its people, but now she was furious that those Umbarians had gotten past her. She met with Nain, Ingolemo, and her Lord Ciryaher's trusted captain, Ervurkea. "We must defend this land!" She stated with such contained anger in her voice that it was as venom dripping from a freshly dipped blade. "I will not have these vile, servicers of the Dark Lord ravage my land and slaughter my people. We must leave the camp soon. I want all, ALL, officers or their servants brought directly to camp and an eagle sent to inform me of their capture immediately after they are caught. All captains will have an eagle messenger with them."
 

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