Posts Tagged ‘Halls of Mandos’

#66: It’s a Fixer-Upper, But I Think I’ll Take It

Jun
11

Date: January 1, 701 S.A.
My Mood Is: ecstatic

Happy New Year and New Century!

The Men of Middle Earth count the current “Second Age” calendar from the Sinking of Beleriand by the faithless and lunatic Valar. Most Men never saw nor heard of Beleriand of course, but they did notice the massive earthquakes and weather disruptions when their entire continent shifted 300 feet to the left. And by Second Age, they mean the era after the glorious First Age, when Melkor was rightful Lord of the Earth.

Some idiot Men wanted to celebrate the end of the century in 699, but I set them straight. It’s called math, people!

Anyway. I’m no longer in Harad, but let me tell you about it before I get to the big news. After I spent some time lording it over the Easterlings, I left them with my hand-picked priesthood in charge, and very specific instructions to keep building armies and preparing fortifications. This is for their own protection – you never know when some crazy Elven exiles from Valinor will show up demanding shiny rocks and killing everyone whose skin doesn’t have an albedo over 70%.

I traveled south to the Haradwaith, a dusty desert land ruled by the hearty Haradrim. Let me tell you, these people can build a freakin’ pyramid. They were harder to bring around to my way of thinking than the Easterlings, being prideful and devoted to the worship of Námo in various mythological guises. Killing the Haradrim indiscriminately didn’t do anything to gain their loyalty, as they all thought they were going to a blissful eternity in the Halls of Mandos. Yeah, right – as if the Valar would condescend to let the Younger Children of Ilúvatar set foot in Aman, much less hang out in the “blissful” little slice of Hell that is the Elven afterlife.

In the end it was money that brought them around. I taught them how to mine for gold, which they had never seen before; and then how to trade with the Easterlings for jewels, which were also a novelty. Now the Haradrim adorn their graves with the riches of the East and dedicate them to me, which is nice.

But I had been gone from Eriador for a long time; and I missed the forest, believe it or not, and Young Man Willow. Plus, I did not want to leave the Elves out of my plans for too long — I still needed a plan to deal with them. So, leaving my proxies behind as sheiks, I set out to return to Eriador.

My Haradrim friends warned me to avoid something they called the “Fenced Land,” a vast plain surrounded by mountains that sat smack in the middle of my way home. Intrigued, I decided to check it out.

Holy Crapping Eru. Friends, I am HOME.

I mean, forget Tol Sirion, that was a freaking marsh. Angband? Nice, and pretty impressive for its era, but in the end it failed, didn’t it? Utumno? Yeah, that was just a big hole in the ground.

This place, this “Fenced Land” — well first of all it’s not a “plain,” it’s a whole country. It’s roughly square, about 300 miles by 200 miles; and there are high, tall mountains on three sides, North, South and West — all the directions the Valar might attack from.

Much of the plain itself is covered with various kinds of unpleasantness — forests, glades, glens, brooks, reflecting pools, meadows, blah blah blah, all stuff I can get rid of. But there’s water, which I now understand is important if you need servants (remind me to tell you about that little disaster back when we first set up in Angband — hundreds of Orcs dead of dehydration, and we had no idea what was going on). In fact there’s a big inland sea in the South.

But best of all, and here’s the kicker — in the northwest of the land, there’s a volcano. A big ‘ol beautiful active subduction stratovolcano, just like Pappy Sauron used to make, right where the Belegaer Plate slams into the Endorian Plate, forming the Ephel Dúath. It’s magnificent.

I have no recollection of the making of any of this. It may have been formed by the collapse of the Two Lamps at the end of the Second War. Who knows? But if I had sat down and designed my own country to rule over, a country that could also serve as a fortress, I could not have done a better job.

This is exactly the stroke of good fortune I’ve been waiting for. I’m going to call it Mordor, the “Black Land,” because of all the lovely volcanic obsidian.

I forgot to mention there are some Orcs already living here, refugees from Beleriand who fled before the War of Wrath, an act of faithlessness for which they will have to pay with sincere apologies, community service, and prolonged beatings. Also there are some Men here, the descendants of Edain who refused to fight with the Noldor. That’s good because it means I don’t have to feed the Orcs.

My plan is beginning to come together. First it’s time to return West, see what the Elves have been up to in my absence, and check if they’re more receptive to the overtures of Annatar, Lord of Gifts. Then we’ll see.

Mordor is SO COOL!