Origins of the Nine - Khamul

<p style="margin-left: -27pt;" class="MsoBodyText">In S.A </p><p class="MsoBodyText">In S.A 1744, Mûl Tanûl, the high Lord of the Easterling Womaw tribe, was granted a son. It was said that Mûl Tanûl was unable to bring forth a child, even though he changed wives several times in order to do so. As legends tell, he went to a dark and mysterious sorceress named Jadashala for a spell, or at least assistance in this endeavor. Therefore, she agreed to bring him a son, but only if she could raise him herself. Mûl Tanûl agreed to this, and, true to her word, Jadashala brought him a child.<span>&nbsp; </span>Three years later though, she returned, and took the boy, named Komûl, to her forgotten lair. Under her guidance, Komûl became a great warrior above her expectations, and was highly attuned with all manner of dark magic.<o:p /></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><o:p>&nbsp;</o:p></p> <p class="MsoNormal">After over 15 years living with the dark sorceress, Komûl returned to his father. However, he found that his father was dying from a terrible sickness. Though he had not known him since he was a young child, Komûl dearly loved his parent, and went to Jadashala for help. She said that she had no such potions for the illness, but she knew a place where it could be cured. Far to the east, in the shadow of the mountains by the shores of the sea there was a mere, she said, of great healing powers. After explaining in full the directions to the enchanted place, Jadashala took Komûl aside and said:<o:p /></p> <p style="margin-left: 0cm;" class="MsoList"><o:p>&nbsp;</o:p></p> <p style="margin-left: 0cm;" class="MsoList">&#8220;When you reach the enchanted mere, Your destiny will be made clear?&#8221;<o:p /></p> <p class="MsoBodyText"><o:p>&nbsp;<br /></o:p>So it was that Komûl began a long and dangerous trek eastward from his tribe&#8217;s home by the <st1:place w:st="on"><st1:placetype w:st="on">Sea</st1:placetype> of <st1:placename w:st="on">Rhûn</st1:placename></st1:place>. With him went his father, and a handful of his best and most trustworthy soldiers.<o:p /></p> <p class="MsoNormal">The journey was long and tiresome, with hardly any settlements to stop at, and they could only gather supplies from roaming warbands they had defeated. Yet, after almost a year of traveling, they arrived at a vast inland sea, shadowed by a serious of enormous mountains. They had nearly reached the mere, when they heard the sound of marching feet before and behind them. It appeared that Elves dwelt by this mere, and they were to face extermination from the hosts of Mordor. Before they knew it, Komûl&#8217;s party were in the middle of a bitter battle, and both sides were potential enemies. They began to cut their way out of the chaos, but as man after man fell, only Komûl made it through the path of foes, carrying his dying father. Even as Mûl Tanûl was laid down by the banks of the mere, a black arrow came whistling from the battle, and pierced the body of Komûl&#8217;s father, ending his life.<o:p><br /></o:p><br />Such was Komûl&#8217;s grief and anger in that hour that tales tell the water about his feet turned black, and it was mingled with the crimson blood of his father. Taking a long drink from the mere, Komûl drew his sword and let out so savage a cry that it can still be heard echoing the mountains of the east. With no heed for his own life, the young warrior plunged into the battle, cutting down both Orc and Elf with heedless destruction. All fled before his wrath, and soon all his foes were dead or too far away to catch up to. That night, he buried his father and all his comrades who had fallen by the shores of the mere, and wept long into the night. Yet, his cries were heard, and as Komûl sat at his campfire, a fair form emerged from the gloom, tall, yet strangely alluring and commanding. As Komûl drew his sword, the figure raised his hand in peace and asked if he were the great warrior that massacred through the battle. The young Easterling nodded, and the robed form said:<o:p /></p> <p class="MsoBodyText">&#8220;The Orc that slew your father is still alive. The name of this creature is Knakfûr, and whilst he lives your father&#8217;s soul will be crying out for vengeance. You have drunk from the mere, yes?&#8221;<o:p /></p> <p class="MsoBodyText">Komûl again nodded in reply.<o:p /></p> <p class="MsoBodyText">&#8220;Very good. In two hundred years, come to the great tower in a land wreathed in shadow. There, you will find revenge, and your destiny.&#8221;<o:p /></p> <p class="MsoBodyText">Before Komûl could speak, the figure turned and disappeared into the gloom.<o:p /></p> <p class="MsoNormal">In several months time, Komûl returned to his father?s tribe, and took his title as Lord of the Womaw. Using his father&#8217;s coin, he hired a handful of experienced mercenaries to train the warriors of his tribe, and wishing to boost his numbers, allowed the women<o:p /></p> <p class="MsoNormal">of his tribe to become soldiers, which became a tradition of the Easterling Empire. Komûl was determined to find this Orc that slew his father, and he did not intend to wait two hundred years to do so. Forging a mighty force, the Womaw tribe set out to hunt the<o:p /></p> <p class="MsoNormal">murderer of Mûl Tanûl. In time, Komûl found he must cross through the territories of many rivals in order to find the Orc, and so with unrivalled tactics he crushed the forces of his enemies and gained much territory. All the while, more warriors flocked to Komûl, hearing tales of his great power and majesty, and soon the Womaw tribe was one of the largest dominions of the east. But the great Easterling lord would not stop his hunt, and as he searched for the Orc even more tribes fell before his wrath. Within a matter of years, the Womaw tribe was the largest power in the east, and Komûl had done what none had done before; forge the Easterlings into one people. Though he had become the most renowned captain of the east, he still had not found his quarry.<o:p>&nbsp;</o:p></p> <p class="MsoNormal">It was one hundred years after Mûl Tanûl&#8217;s death that Komûl, whohad now been regarded as a god for his longevity, was approached by Jadashala. She was withered and dying, and though was able to stall death could not outrun it entirely. She was amazed at Komûl&#8217;s age whilst still retaining youth, and gathered it was the result of drinking from the mere. Jadashala then told him that she had visited the dark tower in the land ringed by mountains, and she had a message from the lord who resided there:<o:p /></p> <p class="MsoBodyText">&#8220;Before you can enact your vengeance, you must slay the Khandish Emperor and all his subordinates, for they have become hostile to my rule. Only if you do this can I grant you what you seek.&#8221;<o:p /></p> <p class="MsoBodyText">Even as Komûl prepared for his war on Khand, Jadashala passed away.<o:p /></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><o:p>&nbsp;</o:p>Gathering the full might of the east to him, the son of Mûl Tanûl began his invasion of Khand. For many long years, the outer keeps and towers that protected the Khandish borders were brought under siege by the Easterling tribes, and though the stone was strong the forts finally fell, and the armies of Komûl flooded into the plains of the Variags, burning as they went. For years they searched far and wide for all those personally loyal to the Khandish Emperor, for they wished to weaken his strength before assaulting his mighty citadel, which was still strong with many men. Over fifty years passed, and soon the Khandish land became fractured, and strong states degraded into lowly tribes, but still the Emperor&#8217;s stronghold stood firm. Praying to put an end to this long personal war, Komûl resolved to send his full strength against the citadel, and soon a great and bloody battle ensued before the gates of the Emperor&#8217;s hold. Led by the might and strength of Komûl, the Easterlings were victorious, and so began a long and bitter siege, which took nine dark years of fire. On the last day of the ninth year, however, a Khandish messenger shouted down from the walls a message of surrender. Komûl, however, would not be stopped so easily, and ordered to the man that he must face the Emperor in single combat before any end to the siege was made. The Khandish overlord agreed to this term, and decreed that they fight before the city walls at noon.<o:p /></p> <p class="MsoBodyText"><o:p>&nbsp;</o:p>So it was that the two bitter rivals dueled before the gates of the Khandish capital. The Emperor was not easily daunted, being a master of combat and an expert in the ways of the sword. Komûl however was tired and desperate, and though an unrivalled fighter was beaten and worn. Yet, spurred on by his vengeance, he was a worthy opponent to the Emperor, and whist the eastern sun burned down above the lands the song of battle was played. Those who saw that<o:p /> duel said that the two men were so fast that their movements blurred, and not even their shadows could keep up with them. For one heart-stopping hour, the two fought in the dusky sand, and soon a desert storm had enveloped around the combat. When the winds died, it was Komûl that stood victorious, but mysteriously the body of the Emperor was never found again.<o:p /></p> <p class="MsoBodyText">Then, Komûl marched into the citadel with all the greatest warriors of theWomaw tribe, and none dared to defy them. Standing atop the<o:p /> Emperor's hall, the Lord of the East cried out so clear that it was said even those in Harad heard his voice:<o:p /></p> <p class="MsoBodyText">&#8220;Komûl rules supreme!&#8221;<o:p /></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><o:p />Soon after Komûl had claimed rulership of both Khand and Rhûn, in 2000 S.A, whilst securing his hold on the east, he recalled Jadashala&#8217;s message, and noted it was nearly a century since her passing. Taking a few of his best warriors, Komûl rode towards the land of shadow. In two months, the company beheld the dark tower of that land in all its black glory. Wary for any ambush, the band crossed the stone bridge over the river of fire, and standing before the gates of the tower was the shadowy shape of the figure that had approached Komûl<o:p /></p> <p class="MsoBodyText">after his battle far in the east. The robed figure thanked the Easterling for his victory over Khand, but taking a much darker tone said that if he delivered Knakfûr the Orc who slew Komûl&#8217;s father <span>&nbsp;</span>to him, then he would become the everlasting servant of the <st1:place w:st="on"><st1:placename w:st="on">Dark</st1:placename> <st1:placetype w:st="on">Tower</st1:placetype></st1:place> and it&#8217;s great lord. Komûl?s desire for revenge was so blinding that he did not think twice about refusing the offer, and so the Orc Captain who had caused this man so much grief and pain came before him, heavily armed for war. Automatically, Komûl leapt from his steed and charged savagely towards Knakfûr, raising his glittering sword like a fell star. The old Orc, however, was too an esteemed soldier, and skillfully made the Easterling&#8217;s brutal strikes obsolete. But such was Komûl&#8217;s rage, he dealt blow after blow upon the Orc&#8217;s heavy defence, and such was his might that Knakfûr dared not open his desperate parries. Weary but hateful, the Easterling raised his sword for one final strike, and such was his strength that the sword shattered through his enemy&#8217;s swords, clove through the Orc&#8217;s body and hit the hard ground, making a large dent in the unimpenetrable rock of Barad-Dûr. Finally, Komûl had his vengeance, but at a great price.<o:p /></p> <p class="MsoBodyText"><o:p />As Komûl fell to the floor in exhaustion over Knakfûr&#8217;s mutilated corpse, the dark robed figure&#8217;s outline began to twist into a vortex of shadow, and when the storm died his true form looked menacingly down on the Easterling. Revealed for the first time to Komûl was the Dark Lord Sauron. Speaking in a voice of purest darkness, the blackest of shadows said:<o:p /></p> <p class="MsoBodyText">&#8220;Congratulations, little man. You have earned my interest, and as agreed you will now become my undeniable slave. Take this ring as a token of reward, and be pleased, for this ring is more powerful than anything you possess in all of your backward land of an empire.&#8221;<o:p /></p> <p class="MsoBodyText">Finding himself enslaved to Sauron, he had no choice but to take the ring, which was the second greatest of the nine mortal rings. Over the centuries, Komûl, now known as Khamûl in accordance with the Black Speech, became responsible for the administration, maintenance and defence of Barad-Dûr, and during this time he gradually lapsed into the shadow-world, and soon he became the second of the Nazgûl. He kept his position of High Warden until he was sent on more urgent errands and replaced by Ûrzahil of Umbar, the Mouth of Sauron, in S.A 3350.<o:p /></p> <p class="MsoBodyText"><o:p />At the Last Alliance, Khamûl, titled &#8216;The Black Easterling&#8217;, fought against the hosts of the west with the Witch-King and the Mouth of Sauron at the Battle of Dagorlad, where he was critically wounded by the blade of Celeborn. During the last years of the Second age and the first years of the Third age, Khamûl wandered the earth as a formless shadow, until he was called back to his master&#8217;s side. Heavily wounded from his defeat at the Last Alliance, Sauron wished to forge a great empire dedicated to his goals, which he could rely upon to harass his enemies in Gondor whilst he focused on his other schemes. So, taking Khamûl and Dwar, he went to the far east, beyond the sight of the wise, and began to forge the tribes of the east into one, dedicated people under the guise of the Gatherer. In Khamûl&#8217;s absence, his empire had devolved back into their old ways, and after a rebellion in Khand led by Ûvatha (before he became a Nazgûl), had been driven back into their old lands and their disparate tribes. Spreading the word of Sauron as a great deity of power to his followers, Khamûl and Dwar spread his worship to tribe after tribe, until soon they were all united by his cause, and so began the Easterling Empire.<o:p /></p> <p class="MsoBodyText"><o:p />Soon after completing his lordship of the east, Sauron found the location of several slumbering Balrogs, their lairs cocooned in great chasms within the Mountains of the East. Gathering Khamûl, Dwar and his greatest acolytes in the east, he prepared to awake them in a great summoning. However, Morinhetar and Romestamo &#8216; the Blue Wizards&#8217; <span>&nbsp;</span>and their valorous followers found the location of this summoning, and in a small but desperate battle in the shadow of the mountains the followers of Sauron were cast out from the east. Though Dwar returned to his homeland to rebuild his power, Khamûl followed Sauron to the ancient fortress of Dol Guldur in <st1:city w:st="on">Greenwood</st1:city>, and along with Adûnaphel and Ûvatha began to corrupt and twist the noble forest into the fell <st1:place w:st="on"><st1:placetype w:st="on">forest</st1:placetype> of <st1:placename w:st="on">Mirkwood</st1:placename></st1:place>. Through the following years, the three Nazgûl crushed the Elf settlements on the south side of the <st1:street w:st="on"><st1:address w:st="on">Forest Road</st1:address></st1:street>, and for many centuries after Khamûl harassed the last holdings of Thranduil&#8217;s folk. As the Wood Elves? power waned, Sauron&#8217;s waxed, and kept obsolete by his title of the Necromancer, he thought himself safe.<o:p /></p> <p class="MsoBodyText"><o:p />Though Khamûl grudgingly took part in the siege of Minas Ithil under the Witch-King&#8217;s command, he returned to Dol Guldur, and many years later he captured the Dwarf King Thraín II in the southern eaves of Mirkwood. However, Gandalf, whilst searching for the king, entered Dol Guldur, and not only found Thraín, but the true identity of the Necromancer. As the White Council began to move against him, Sauron panicked, and tried to crush the Elves of Thranduil before they reacted against him. Sending Khamûl with a great army, Sauron?s forces broke the defences at the <st1:place w:st="on">Forest</st1:place> road and spilled into Elvish land. Yet, as Khamûl&#8217;s host met the outnumbered army of Thranduil, the White Council entered the forest, and a host from Rivendell led by Elrond assaulted Khamûl&#8217;s army from behind, crushing and scattering them. Hastily returning to Dol Guldur, Khamûl prepared the garrison of the fortress as an army of Elves from Lindon, Rivendell, Lórien and Mirkwood marched to do battle against it. As a chaotic battle swirled about the tower, the members of the White Council came before the gates of Dol Guldur itself, and beneath its shadow dueled against Sauron, Khamûl and their greatest servants. Though the power of Dol Guldur was not broken, Sauron was intensely weakened, and fled to Mordor, where by use of the palantír of Minas Ithil became the great Eye of Sauron, leaving the Black Easterling as Lieutenant of Dol Guldur.<o:p /></p> <p class="MsoBodyText"><o:p />For many long years the power of Dol Guldur lay silent, re-gathering its strength, but continuing to spread its vileness through the forest. In Sauron&#8217;s absence, Khamûl gained lordship of the tower, and under his guidance the minions at his disposal harassed the Wood Elves time and again. However, in the year T.A 3009, Khamûl received word from Mordor that the creature Gollum had been captured, and that Sauron suspected his ring was in the lands where his captive had originated from. In all speed, the Black Easterling and Adûnaphel rode to the Gladden Fields, and once there they found a scarce few Halflings preparing to leave. Unschooled in the ways of mercy, the two riders slaughtered all they found, and though they spent years continuously searching the abandoned settlements, no trace of the One could be found. Nine years later, the Dark Lord ordered that an assault should be made on Thranduil, as he had Gollum in his keeping, and Sauron wished to take the creature back into his possession, to either gain additional information or rid his enemies of him forever. Though Adûnaphel and her forces destroyed Gollum&#8217;s guards and captured him, he had escaped by his own means and evaded both the Elves and Dol Guldur.<o:p /></p> <p class="MsoBodyText"><o:p>&nbsp;</o:p>After a few months, the seven Ringwraiths that dwelt at Minas Morgul crossed the river, and joined Khamûl and Adûnaphel in the glades of Mirkwood. The Black Easterling told the Witch-King that Gollum had escaped, and said that the lands where Sauron thought the ring was hidden were abandoned. He did not speak of slaughtering the survivors, as secretly he hated and envied the Witch-King, and wished to gain an advantage over him. Yet, the Lord of the Nine decided to search there anyway, and hopefully come upon Gollum. His quest failed, but with information from Wormtongue came to find the location of the Shire. In order to cover more ground, the Witch-King divided the Ringwraiths into pairs, and so Khamûl went with Adûnaphel, and as the Rangers&#8217; guard on the Shire was driven off, they entered the Shire. After splitting up, the Black Easterling almost caught the Ringbearer after leaving his home, but gathered from the Hobbit Gaffer Gamgee he had left his home. In hot pursuit, Khamûl again almost came upon the Ringbearer again in the Green Hill Country, but he was driven away by a company of Elves led by Gildor Inglorion.<o:p /></p> <p class="MsoBodyText"><o:p>&nbsp;</o:p>The Black Easterling continued to hunt throughout the Shire for many days, but after Gandalf passed through Bree, the Witch-King gathered the Nine to him, and they pursued him to Weathertop, where they bitterly fought him. Against their efforts, the Grey Wizard escaped into the wilds. To prevent any further intrusion, Khamûl, Adûnaphel, Ûvatha and Hoarmûrath were sent to guard the <st1:place w:st="on"><st1:placetype w:st="on">Bridge</st1:placetype> of <st1:placename w:st="on">Mitheithil</st1:placename></st1:place>, but after a few days Glorfindel of Rivendell battled them over the bridge, and even though Khamûl wounded the Elf Lord, letting fall one of his tokens, the four guards were driven away. After attempting to pick up Glorfindel&#8217;s trail, the Witch-King and his companions began to pursue the Ringbearer&#8217;s company before they crossed the Ford of Bruinen, and so Khamûl and his group swiftly followed. However, they were too late, and a great spell summoned by Elrond washed the Nine away, breaking their mortal forms. Yet, they survived, and though their quest was abandoned they returned to their lands to heal their power. Khamûl and Adûnaphel came to Dol Guldur, and gathered their minions for Sauron&#8217;s great war. The Black Easterling was assigned to lead the attack on Lothlórien, and some months after his return to Dol Guldur, he and many of Dol Guldur&#8217;s forces marched on the realm of Galadriel and Celeborn.<o:p /></p> <p class="MsoBodyText"><o:p>&nbsp;</o:p>In the first assault upon the Golden Wood, the vanguard of Khamûl met the armoured forces of Caras Galadhon upon the plains before their home. Though outnumbered, the Galadhrim knights and warriors broke the initial attack, and as the main host of Dol Guldur encircled Lórien the sallying Elves retreated back into the woods, having made great hurt upon the Black Easterling&#8217;s army. Infuriated by this act, Khamûl ordered the second assault, with the full strength of the army marching into the borders of the Golden Wood. With the advantage of the forest, the Elves, under Celeborn&#8217;s command, broke the army, and sent the survivors reeling back in dismay. Yet, as Khamûl retreated, he felt the Witch-King&#8217;s death upon the Pelennor. Knowing that now he was Lord of the Nine, he let out a terrible laugh, and all the Elves who heard it went running for sanctuary, or were frozen in greatest dread. However, the army of Dol Guldur was shattered, and was on the brink of extermination when a great Goblin horde came from Moria, making Khamûl&#8217;s army even greater than before. And so, six days after the second assault, the third assault began. Such was the need, that the Lady Galadriel herself came forward, all her power revealed, to combat this direst of threats. The evil host was vast, but none could withstand the power of Galadriel, yet her troops were beginning to fall. Sensing victory, Khamûl fought with Celeborn upon the hill of Cerin Amroth, and after a long and bitter duel the Ringwraith wounded the Elf, just as he wounded Khamûl at the Battle of Dagorlad. Ready to land the final blow, Galadriel came to her beloved&#8217;s aid, and such was her power that not even the Black Easterling could withstand her. Though grievous hurt was inflicted on the borders, none could deny Galadriel, and the forces of darkness went reeling from the Golden Wood. Defeated, Sauron called Khamûl away to Mordor, where he was to lead the army that was to crush the west before the Black Gate.<o:p /></p> <p class="MsoBodyText"><o:p />As the host of Elessar came before the Morannon, the Nazgûl, led by the Black Easterling, soared from the land of shadow, but at that moment, the Eagles of the mountains came into the fray, combating the wraiths in an aerial melee. Sensing the One Ring close to <st1:place w:st="on"><st1:placetype w:st="on">Mount</st1:placetype> <st1:placename w:st="on">Doom</st1:placename></st1:place>, Khamûl broke from the attack and sped towards the mountain of fire. As the power of Sauron began to dissolve, Khamûl at the last fought Gandalf, mounted upon Gwaihir the Windlord, but after a terrible battle was overcome, and perished from Middle-earth with the last of the Nine.<o:p /></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><o:p>&nbsp;</o:p></p>
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