"For one season of the year, the Vale of Coiraliar is a pale brown, blurred by constant cool mists cupped in the valley like wine in a goblet, and the sounds of man and beast are muted by the Jog. For another season, all is soft white, and the hills have the look of clouds brought by strange powers to touch the earth. The skies are luminous a labaster, and the crack oj a yeoman's axe striking wood echoes for miles from hill to bluff to steading. For the Awakening and the Poem, the valley is green, lush shades of it blurring as though tinted by a painter's brush from hillside to grove to meadow, changing with the waning of the season and every passage of storm and rain, so a man might never tire of watching its moods." -Kenrith of Dol Belassith T.A. 1260
For all that the power and wealth of Arthedain flew from Fornost Erain, jewel of the North Downs, the heart of the nation had always been the Hills of Twilight (S. "Emyn Uial"). Here were hills of which the greatest poets sang, and the rippling waters whose sounds musicians attempted to match on their lyres and mandolins. It was an unproductive land by southern standards, where steep hillsides strained the knees of the shepherd, and narrow vales possessed soil too thin to forgive a farmer's careless seeding or over-sharp hoe. Every sheaf of grain and basket of apples, every rack of mutton and bundle of herbs was brought forth from the hill country by dint of hard, careful labor. Fields were surrounded by stone walls composed of rocks that once were strewn amongst the crops. Streams were dammed to prevent flooding, slopes were terraced to retain their soil, groves were planted and thinned to ensure the growth of wood. In spite of it all, the hills gave an impression of wildness, as though the gorse, heather, and grass, if not carefully watched, were ready to spring forth and engulf the little works of Men. In fact, the Twilight Hills, if not as wild as lands closer to the Angmarean frontier, were not so tame as the fields of the Ethir Gwathlo or of Lebennin in Gondor. Steadings were a half-day's march apart here. Increasingly harsh winters caused the more exposed hills to acquire a permanently brown cast, forcing shepherds to bring the flocks in closer to the valleys. The rain that gave the hills their lush green covering seemed eager to wash away the soil behind the terraces and retaining walls. The constant cool dampness bred a hardier stock of Men by taking away the newborn and the aged alike with chilling fevers and fluxes of the throat and lungs. Yet, the Commons of Arthedain, and particularly the Men of the Twilight Hills, were said (for all their reputation for bland frugality of speech and coin) to be happier than most. Law and peace ruled in Arthedain—amazingly so to folk from other parts of strife-torn Eriador. "In that Realm [they say,] a man can still walk the country from the River to the Downs with naught in his hand but a stick to ward off the stray dogs." The Dunedain who ruled were stern and aloof, but also just and fair-spoken to all. The lords of the the Twilight Hills would have words with strangers who caused a fuss among their people, but would repay a fair answer with hospitality freely given and advice, whether requested or not, for the road. The roads in this part of Arthedain were hardpacked earth when crossing flat terrain, stone-shouldered and paved where steep, which was fairly often. A traveller would always arrive where he was headed, or so said the locals; as a feudal state in constant threat of war, Arthedain needed a good road net to mobilize swiftly on any of its frontiers. Tinkers and peddlars were common wayfarers, moving from steading to steading, selling their goods and doing odd jobs They were a good source of news, equal to the merchants who shared the roads, and a good deal friendlier. For a small fee, a tinker worth his salt could also provide local gossip as well as less savory knowledge about activities that might be beyond good manners or outside the law. Even in such a peaceful land, strange and unsettling events did occur.
In Later Years
"This is a grey wasteland, where every day brings fog and drizzle, and every scrap of cloth drips cold moisture. Most of my soldiers are striken with an evil flux, and every damp morning the army rises with the drumbeat and, as one voice, begins to cough. It is a great, rolling, rumbling sound, like the moaning of a Vala in tormented sleep, perhaps wondering why he was cursed to make his rest in such a rocky, "I am in agreement with my Old Knights, that only an Arnorian or a Troll would deliberately choose to fight for such a forsaken realm, and if any of either breed are still taking air when this business is finished, we shall leave it to them." -Crown Prince Earnur of Gondor, T.A. 1974
Through the long years between the Second Northern War and the Third, the weather grew increasingly cold in Eriador, and the Twilight Hills grew browner and more barren. Villages shrunk, and many fields were abandoned. Frost-heaves pushed more stones out of the ground and buckled terraces, permitting erosion to sweep away the few remaining gardens. Sod was used to thicken the walls of the houses—they appeared to squat and huddle against the long winters. Diseases, some natural and some formented by angmarean magic, took a grim toll of the people and animals of the Hills. When the climatic battle was fought at Fornost, most of the local militia was pinned down on the frontiers, and no organized evacuation could be made before Angmarean Trolls and wolf-riders swept in from the east to slaughter and destroy. The people of the hills fled westward across the frozen Lhun towards the Dwarven towns in the mountains and down the river to Caras Celairnen, where a Gondorian and Elvish garrison maintained fortifications and a supply of food. When the weather broke, and Prince Earnur and the main Gondorian army arrived, Elven and Arthadan scouts counterattacked back through the hills to lead the Prince on his great flanking manuever around Nenuial, resulting in the total destruction of the Angmarean armies. Peace found the Twilight Hills too ravaged to support organized human society. The few months of occupation allowed the Angmarim time to destroy every building and cut down virtually every tree in the country. The Banes of Angmar, the blights and diseases afflicting much of Arthadan flora and fauna, concentrated their effects in the Emyn Uial. For many years after, the Bloodeye Ravish might rise up and slay a horse that stopped at the wrong spring or berry-bush squeezing up out of a crack in the paving stones. The surviving people of the Twilight Hills fled southward, taking with them to Saralainn and Gondor only their lives and the poems telling of their lost homeland. Over the remaining centuries of the Third Age, the weather improved sufficiently to permit the Shire, at least, to blossom. The Banes of Angmar retreated to some degree from the Emyn Uial, and a few trees and, wild sheep appeared on the hills. The continuing prescence of the Banes and regular raids by Orcs, wargs, and other unclean terrors kept the land abandoned. A few sheltered, easily-defended vales provided havens for religious orders to refound their lonely monasteries, and the Rangers of the North retained a few secluded villages for the raising of their families. Rivermen, and hunters or trappers from the Shire and Bree traveled carefully through the land. It was not until the Fourth Age that real resettlement occured. Then, as the Banes faded and the Wargs were driven out, a few people living far to the south heard old poems about a land of mists and green splendor. They answered the call, and life began anew in the North.
Cirith Rhîw Eave-mere Emyn Gelin Fief of Eketyar Fief of Formenyar Fief of Noirinanyar Fief of Oromenyar Fief of Tarmear Gladelands Highmoor Lakemoors Meadow Downs Nan Orngon Neffwin Wood Northern Emyn Uial Rammas Formen Rushingdale Southern Emyn Uial Taur Faemar Tûm Fuin Twisted Grove Tyrn Fornech Vale of Coiraliar
Places of Note
About T.A.l 1640: Annúminas Athilin Bar-i-Dagorath Barad Garan Bareketta Bauruin Bodroth Cerin Balgrist Cloudbreak Watch Dol Belassith Faemar Faeneldor's Beech Faranel Felemgil Foros Heleb Himsiril Keep Ladyford Lakehead Lelmoth Maenthiros Minas Ongoth Nelvorin Rond Hyarr Tarmabar Wenyabar
About T.A. 3018: Amon Môth Arthobel Bullroarer's Sward Bullroarer's Throat Dol Haedír Duskencleft Even-rills Eavespires Echad Garthadir Glass-blowers' Camp Gloaming Falls Gwindethrond Northcotton Farm Northcotton Market Ost Forod Stonecrop Tor Swiftbrook Tham Laegamon Whitshards
- MERP:the Shire