In the beginning of the Third Age, as the verdant kingdom of Arnor mourned the loss of Elendil and healed its hurts from the devastating War of the Last Alliance, a growing threat began to mount on the northern borders of the realm.
A cruel and warmongering race of men had become known of, the cursed survivors of a darker time, who dwelt in the ancient mountain castle of Carn Dum. It was well known that tribes of lesser men dwelt in the foothills of the Misty Mountains and the Ettenmoors, but they had been relatively passive to the coming of the Dunedain. But this new strain seemed to have a darker purpose – barbaric, yet possessed with cunning abilities and potent weaponry. Their ancestry is hazy at best, yet many steeped in lore have managed to piece together some of their past.
It was said that in the late First Age to the early Second Age there was a desperate war in Eriador between three factions of men. The victorious side was a race steeped in evil and darkness, and a malignant demon was their lord. They went to war against Lindon, but were defeated, scattered and slain, their demon master so severely wounded by the powers of Cirdan that it was left little more than a cunning beast – yet a demon nonetheless. The demon took up abode in the mountains and slept for centuries, and the survivors disbanded.
However, towards the end of the Second Age, a great warrior rose up from the scattered colonies of this dark race. Histories record his name as Moghurak the Shadow – for he was so elusive that his existence is still questioned by the Wise. With an iron will and an iron fist, he forged his people into one again. Returning to their old capital of Carn Dum, the dark people began to multiply and advance under Moghurak’s leadership. He led several key victories over the Orcs of Mount Gundabad and the northern holds of the Dwarves, obtaining much land and power and creating the kingdom of Carn Dum.
Though Moghurak died relatively young, his line was preserved through the General-Kings of Carn Dum. With the passing of each of his descendants, the kingdom grew more in power and size, and raids against Arnor’s north border became more and more frequent. By the time of Carkurath, the twenty-second General-King of Carn Dum, the kingdom extended from the Mountains of Angmar to the Grey Mountains.
It was in the reign of Carkurath that the men of Carn Dum truly became formidable instruments of darkness. For in the year 1300, the Witch-King, chief of the nine, came to the north.
Shortly before the coming of the Witch-King, Carkurath banished his younger brother Khazal from his kingdom, for whispers had reached his ears that Khazal wished to assassinate him and take Carn Dum for his own. It so chanced that when the Witch-King came to the north, he crossed the path of Khazal. The treacherous man gave the Nazgul Lord information on Carn Dum, and it was then that the Witch-King proposed to use this kingdom as his power base.
With Khazal at his side, the Witch-King entered the fortress of Carn Dum. They entered the startled court of Carkurath, and the black terror of the Witch-King kept the blades of Carkurath’s guards stationary. Silence fell on the court as the Lord of the Nine spoke.
"General-King Carkurath, ye are to hand over thy lordship of this paltry kingdom to me. If thou dost not agree, thy head will be mine for the taking".
Upon his iron throne, the General-King was silent for a moment. And then he burst into laughter.
"I can only guess that this is but a jest and a joke. For what fool would burst into a court of kings, demanding lordship of a land he can lay no claim to? My guards will stake you upon the battlements of my fortress".
But the guards did not move, held as they were by the terror emanating from the Witch-King, who again focused the endless void of his face upon the throne.
"Ye have been warned. Thou shalt pay for thy mockery".
And with a swift sweep of his hand, Carkurath was transfixed in place, frozen by the Nazgul’s black will. Khazal then unsheathed his blade, and struck his brother’s head from his neck. Grasping the severed head, he pronounced to the court, "Carkurath is dead, and the lordship of Carn Dum rightfully passes to me. However, I hand all my powers and title to the Witch-King".
As a token of this, he handed the head of his brother to the Nazgul lord. Taking the spiked crown of Carn Dum, he placed it upon his faceless head.
"I am the Witch-King! I am your lord and master! All hail!"
And the court of Carn Dum hailed him.