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The Fifth of the Nazgûl

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Akhôrahil

Khorahil

Location(s)
Language(s)
Birth
S.A. 1888
Death
T.A. 3019
Gender
Male

The Fifth of the Nazgûl (Q." Ulaire Lemenya") was also known as the Blind Sorcerer, the Undying and The Gloom of Núrn.

His true origin is unknown, but a collection fragmented written records known as the Parma Úlairion has preserved an old Legend about a fallen Númenórean Lord from the South, however it is unknown if this legend - or how much of it - is reliable.

Names, Identities, and Titles

  • Akhôrahil - the name Herundil took as one of the King´s Men
  • the Blind Sorcerer - the name Herundil earned after sacrificing his eyesight
  • Fifth of the Nine
  • The Gloom of Núrn - his name as Stewart of Núrn
  • Gothmog the Ringwraith
  • Herundil - according to Legend, his birthname in Númenor
  • the Storm-King - his name as Rebel-King of Chennacatt
  • Ulaire Lemenya - his name among the High-Elves
  • the Undying - his name as a Warlord of Mordor

The Legend of the Blind Sorcerer

The Origin of Akhôrahil

Akhôrahil, the second of the fallen Númenórean lords to fall under the enduring spell of Sauron’s Ruling Ring, was born at a manor overlooking the waters of Nisinen in Númenor is S.A. 1888. His father was Ciryamir, the third Friend of Tar-Ciryatan’s brother Ciryatir (making him a cousin of Murazor, the future Witch-King). An obviously brilliant young man, Akhôrahil was spoiled at an early age, for his family enjoyed great wealth and reaped many of the benefits derived from Tar-Ciryatan’s aggressive overseas plundering.

Ciryamir was awarded the license to create and administer a Númenórean Baronate in Middle-earth on the very day his son reached the age of fifteen, and the next year (S.A. 1904) the family sailed east to the haven of Hyarn in southwest Middle-earth. They landed at Midyear's and journeyed up the river Aronduin to the newly-built citadel of Marath Carnadune (Q. “Tower of the Red Sunset;” S. “Barad Carannun”). There, Ciryamir founded the kingdom of Ciryatandor along the northern flank of the Ered Laranor (S. “Yellow Mountains;” Q. “Orolanari”), becoming a Client-Lord of Númenor.

Akhôrahil loved the new land and reveled in the virtually absolute power his father wielded over the subject peoples of the area. Like most of Ciryamir’s Adan followers, he assumed himself to be superior and grew proud of his name – as if it were a title. The Friend of the Lord became rich in his own right and began to experiment with enchantments and incantations.

Unfortunately, the young man’s thirst for wealth and power spurred him to covet his father’s throne. Each year of waiting hurt more than the last. Then, in the year S.A. 1918, Akhôrahil acted upon his desires. Signing a perverse pact with an aged Haradan priest, he exchanged his eyes for two great gems – the Eyes of the Well. These artifacts enabled him to cast deadly spells and to become the most powerful Sorceror in the realm. Akhôrahil acquired control of his father’s mind and instilled such despair that King Ciryamir took his own life.

Physically blind, but capable of magically sensing things like a seeing man, Akhôrahil ascended the throne of Ciryatandor on the first day of S.A. 1919. He proclaimed himself the Storm-King and married his sister Akhoraphil within a week. Then, he levied a huge tax in order to placate the Númenórean court. Securely in control, the Blind Sorceror proceeded to arm his young kingdom and conquer the neighboring lands along the southern edge of Far Harad: taking Chennacatt in S.A. 1929, Isra in S.A. 1933, and Kirmlesra in S.A. 1979. By S.A. 1999, his armies conquered Harshandat and claimed the western shores of the wide Bay of Ormal.

The campaigns waged by Akhôrahil’s captains incited Sauron to move against Ciryatandor. A sage emissary journeyed south from Mordor, offering the Black Númenórean a wealth of knowledge regarding magic and bearing the unlikely promise of immortality. Excited, the Blind Sorceror agreed to ascribe to the Dark Lord’s secretive treaty, thereby betraying his own king Tar-Ciryatan. The pact between Ciryatandor and Mordor was sealed when Akhôrahil accepted the Ring of Power from Sauron in S.A. 2000. Thus, the Storm-King became the fifth Lord of Men to become a Nazgûl.

Akhôrahil the Ringwraith

Akhôrahil’s greed led to the quick transformation of his position in the court at Barad Carannun. Although he had always been considered bizarre, and while both his retainers and his immediate family feared him, the Storm-King still interacted with his aides and household. This all changed after S.A. 2000.

Akhôrahil became a virtual recluse and his wife eventually fled the kingdom with her children, taking them to the Númenórean haven at Elorna. A purge ensued, and the men closest to the Númenórean King perished alongside the courtiers that the Ring-wraith considered too bold or independent. New governors assumed control of Ciryatandor’s five provinces. Behind the scenes, Akhôrahil directed the careful metamorphosis of his realm, staying wary of upsetting the Adan monarch in Númenor. Tribute continued to flow westward over the sea to Armenelos, and no open relations with Mordor occurred during the next 250 years.

By S.A. 2250, the Storm-King presided over a client kingdom that was ostensibly Dunadan but was in fact Black Númenórean. Akhôrahil ruled a domain that stretched from the Great Sea Belegaer to the huge Bay of Ormal on behalf of the Lord of the Rings. These strategic lands straddled all routes across the Yellow Mountains and into southernmost Middle-earth. Sauron’s hopes of keeping the Men of the West out of Far Harad rested with his Wraith-servant, and preparations for the conquest of Harad the regions along the northern and east coasts of the Ormal Sea neared completion when Akhôrahil declared himself independent of Númenor.

Tar-Atanamir the Great of Númenor died in S.A. 2221, the first King of Númenor to pass without first relinquishing the sceptre. His death brought Tar-Ancalimon to the throne and fostered a renewal of the programs that Tar-Atanamir had abandoned during the infirm years preceding his demise. After reordering Númenor, the new King turned to his colonies in Middle-earth and sought a reaffirmation of their loyalty. His special envoy to Ciryatandor arrived in the spring of S.A. 2250.

Akhôrahil realized that Númenor’s desire for conquest remained unabated, and that Tar-Ancalimon planned to crush pretenders who sought to rule in his stead in the lands claimed by Númenor. The Nazgûl ordered the Númenórean emissary held as a hostage and renounced his ties to his island birthplace. Ciryatandor became an official ally of Mordor.

Tar-Ancalimon ransomed his messenger and proceeded to plan the reconquest of the territory held in thrall by the Storm-King. In S.A. 2280, the same armada that reinforced Umbar brought a fleet that landed in Tulwang, only 200 miles to the northwest of the Ring-wraith’s citadel. Akhôrahil sent an army to contest the debarkment, but they arrived too late. Scouts reported the landfall and the Nazgûl’s warlord ordered a retreat to the foothills of their kingdom. Unfortunately for Akhôrahil’s host, the Númenórean’s force-marched and caught them in arid lowlands near the Oasis of Fult, The Men of the West crushed the Akhôrahil's forces, leaving Ciryatandor’s western borders virtually defenseless.

Akhôrahil fled his kingdom and went north to join his master in Mordor before suffering the embarrassment of seeing his own capital razed. His flight ended the brief era of Ciryatandor’s independence and preserved the prospects for further Adan exploitation in Far Harad and the lands to the south.

Akhôrahil oversaw Nurn in Mordor for the next 981 years. The slave-state served as the Black Land’s breadbasket and the Storm-King exacted torment from any subject who threatened Sauron’s plans. His ruthless rule insured the supply of precious food for Sauron’s burgeoning armies. Vast herds of wild beasts fed the vast Orc hordes, while grain from the fields around Nurnen nourished the Men of Mordor.

Ar-Pharazon’s invasion in S.A. 3261 precluded the completion of Sauron’s armament, and he was forced to surrender in the face of superior Adan arms (S.A. 3262). Sauron journeyed out of Mordor in order to avert the destruction of his kingdom at the hands of the Númenórean invaders, enabling the Nazgûl to flee into hiding. While Sauron went to Númenor in bondage, the Ringwraiths patiently awaited his return.

After the downfall of Númenor in S.A. 3319 and the reappearance of the Dark Lord in Middle-earth, Akhôrahil returned to his castle of Luglurak on the southern shores of the Nurnen. He remained there until S.A. 3429, when he led the host of Nurn in the army that assailed Ithilien in Gondor. Although the invasion proved successful, the Last Alliance under Gil-galad and Elendil eventually crushed Mordor’s mightiest forces and laid siege to the Dark Tower. Barad-dûr’s defenses yielded in 3441, and both Sauron and his Nine Ring-wraiths passed into the Shadows as the Second Age ended.

The Third Age

Akhôrahil took form again in Middle-earth around T.A. 1050, but for the next 590 years he resided in the far south at Ny Chennacatt in the northern cliffs of the Yellow Mountains. Sauron called him north in T.A. 1640, and ordered the Storm-King to return to Nurn and quietly replenish the strength of the fief in anticipation of the Dark Lord’s reopening of Mordor. He joined four of his brethren and entered Gorgoroth later the same year. After slowly rebuilding the Dark Lord’s strongholds on the adjoining plateau of Nurn, the Blind Sorceror received a visit from the Witch-King in T.A. 1975.

The Lord of the Nazgûl arrived in Mordor after the fall of his kingdom in Angmar earlier that year. He gathered the Ulairi and plotted the final moves required to secure their master’s home. During the next 25 years, they assembled their forces and laid the plans to surprise the Dunadan city of Minas Ithil.

The Fell Riders struck in T.A. 2000, startling the valiant Gondorian garrison but failing to take the city. A two-year siege ensued, culminating with a tremendous melee before the shattered gates of the marble-walled town. The last battle claimed every remaining defender. Minas Ithil and it’s palantir fell into the hands of the Ring-wraiths in T.A. 2002, thereby ending any hold the south Kingdom retained over Mordor. From then onward, the city was called Minas Morgul.The Fifth now took the Title Gothmog of Morgûl or Lieutenant of Morgûl and became the Steward of the City of the Dead.

Akhôrahil stayed in Minas Morgul until the end of the Third Age. Although he frequently journeyed to both Luglurak in Nurn and Barad-dûr in Gorgoroth, the Storm-King kept to the side of his captain, the Witch-King. Both fallen Númenórean Lords shared a similar past and enjoyed their special rapport. Each was a Sorceror; so it was only natural that they spent a great deal of time together. Finally, although only fifth in rank among the nine, Akhôrahil became the Witch-King's most valued lieutenant, passing over his position as the Gothmog or Master's Voice] to the Halftroll Gothmog.

In T.A. 3018, the Storm-King took part in the search for the Ruling Ring and eventually rode with the Witch-King to the borders of the elusive Shire in Eriador. The ultimately unsuccessful sojourn carried him through the Anduin Valley, past Isengard and the Gap of Rohan, and then through Tharbad and Andrath to the Shire. Akhôrahil stayed close by the side of the Lord of Morgul throughout the search. He entered Bree and was one of the five Ringwraiths to encounter the Company on Weathertop. When the Nine rendezvoused in the Lone Lands and tried to cut off Frodo at the Ford of the Bruinen, Akhôrahil and his black mount were the last to be drawn into the turbulent floodwaters summoned by Elrond.

The fight at the ford cost the Ringwraiths their horses but, more importantly, it cost them valuable time. Forced to return to Minas Morgul, the Storm-King would never again encounter the Ringbearer. The Nazgûl retired and thereafter relied on their Fell Beasts for transport. Akhôrahil and four other Ringwraiths continued the search for the One Ring from the sky, but the others prepared Sauron’s warriors for the coming invasion of the Free Lands.

The Storm-King was one of the four Ulairi to take part in the epic battle of the Pelennor Fields , and there he saw his Lord perish in single combat with Eowyn of Rohan. After the ensuing defeat and retreat, Akhôrahil flew to Udun and joined the other seven remaining Nazgûl for the cataclysmic strike against the Army of the Free Peoples at Morannon. The Fell Riders attacked out of the cloudy sky, but the subsequent melee with the Great Eagles was cut short, for Sauron realized that his end was sealed unless the Ringwraiths could stop Frodo and Sam from casting the One Ring into the fires of Mount Doom. All the eight surviving Nazgûl flew southward, but never arrived. The Ruling Ring, and all that was tied to it, perished in the wake of its fiery unmaking. Thus, Akhôrahil passed out of Ea.

References

  • MERP:Lords of Middle-earth Vol II:The Mannish Races
  • Games Workshop - The Lord of the Rings: Strategy Battle Game

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