The Sixth of the Nazgûl (Q."Ulaire Enquea") was also known as The Black Threat and The Ice-King.
His true origin is unknown, but fragmented written records, the Parma Úlairion, have preserved an old Legend about a fallen King from the Far North, however it is unknown if this legend - or how much of it - is reliable.
Names and Identities
- The Black Threat
- the Cold-One
- the Dwimmerleik - his name as the ancient Nemesis of the Northrons
- Hôarmûrath of Dír - his true name according to Legend
- the Ice-King - his name as Ruler of the Northern Lands
- The King of Urd - his title as Lord of Urd
- The Lord of the North
- the North-King
- Sixth of the Nine
- Ulaire Enquea - his name among the High-Elves
The Legend of the Ice-King
The Origin of Hôarmûrath of Dír
Hôarmûrath was born in the Forest of Dir in the land of Urd in S.A. 1954. His home, one of the northernmost settled domains in all of Middle-earth, spawned a rugged race of hunters and trappers. Hôarmûrath’s band spent much of their time roaming the southern flanks of the Iron Mountains (S. “Ered Engrin”; Q. “Orongreni”) and plying the vast, icy waters of the Sea of Illuin and the Bay of Utum. His mother, Emurath of Uab, commanded the allegiance of most of the Urd clans, and served as the Matriarch of the Urdar until her death in the Umli Wars (S.A. 1962-75). Her daughter Amurath replaced her according to the Urd matriline, permitting Hôarmûrath to become the Master of the Household. As brother of the queen and uncle of her heir, he enjoyed the highest status accorded a male of the Urdar.
Hôarmûrath’s close relations to the Avar Elves to the south, however, influenced his views and set him on a course of rebellion against his family and Urd traditions. The Avari taught him much about magic and power, and opened the young animist’s eyes to the ways of the rest of Middle-earth. In time, Hôarmûrath quarrelled with his sister over the course of relations with the Umli and other neighboring peoples. He preached war, hoping to extract valuable territory from the Myri and Angcla tribes. Amurath ordered her brother exiled, but he refused to leave. A struggle followed and Hôarmûrath’s zealous retainers slew his sister.
Rather than face the penalty of death on the frozen sea, the Master of the Household proclaimed himself the first King of Urd. Supported by Avari warriors and a strong faction among the more warlike bands of Urdar, Hôarmûrath of Dír crushed his opposition and ordered the slaughter or banishment of the Urd Priestesses. In S.A. 1992, he became the Lord of the Urdar.
Urd war-bands struck out into the surrounding lands during the next five years and, by S.A. 1997, Hôarmûrath ruled much of the great wooded territory between the Northern Seas. Avari groups retained their dominion and extended their influence with the Ice King’s aid, but the union soon gave way to bitterness. Elven immortality and wealth haunted Hôarmûrath, and the Urdar turned on their allies in S.A. 1999. Two great battles followed, but both resulted in Avar victories. Desperate, the King of Urd invited help from Sauron of Mordor.
Sauron sent Khamul to the court of the Ice King in S.A. 2000. The Easterling – still fair-seeming and glowing with the power of his own Ring – approached his future compatriot with the gift of a Ring of Power and the prospect of eternal life. Enamoured by Sauron’s offering, Hôarmûrath accepted the Ring and fell under the sway of the Shadow. He became the sixth King of Men to become an Ulair.
Hôarmûrath the RingwraithHôarmûrath’s new prize invigorated him. Two years after Khamul’s visit, the Urdar were stronger than ever, and the Ice King led his army southward. The War in the Woods (S.A. 2002-2053) ended with an Avar retreat, leaving Hôarmûrath with a vast kingdom. Styling himself Lord of the North, the reclusive Urd King savored his successes and erected a strong royal government over the course of the next two centuries.
In S.A. 2250, Hôarmûrath departed a cool, forested domain punctuated with stone citadels. His long reign as Sauron’s client established a new order in northeastern Middle-earth. Once his kingdom and successor seemed sure, the Sauron called him to Mordor. The need to confront the growing might of Númenor outweighed any considerations the Dark Lord reserved for the North.
For the next 1,011 years, Hôarmûrath resided in Mordor beside Sauron. The Ice-King frequently visited his home to reorder the kingdom he had left behind, but the majority of his tasks centered on Mordor in the West. He oversaw the construction of the defenses surrounding Udun, including the Gates of Mordor (the foundations of which were strengthened with the power of the Ruling Ring), and briefly lived in the citadel that the Dunedain razed to make way for Durthang. The Nazgûl fled eastward, however, following Ar-Pharazon’s invasion in S.A. 3261 and Sauron’s surrender the next year. With the Lord of the Rings imprisoned on Númenor, the Ice King returned to Urd.
After the Downfall of Númenor and the Dark Lord’s return in S.A. 3319, Hôarmûrath flew back to Mordor and participated in the campaigns waged by Sauron’s troops in Rhovanion. Later, he commanded the northern flank of the horde that invaded South Ithilien in 3429, but Barad-dûr’s fall twelve years later ended his early life. Hôarmûrath passed into the Shadows when the Lords of the Last Alliance overthrew Sauron at the end of the Second Age.
The Third Age
Hôarmûrath returned to Middle-earth around T.A. 1050. Entering his ancient hold in the Forest of Dír, he slowly reassumed his strength and refounded his lost kingdom. For the next 590 years, Urd tribes and subject peoples ravaged the North. Avari warriors contested the resurrected realm’s plans, but once again felt defeat. By T.A. 1640, the Kingdom of Urd was again strong and secure.
Gondor abandoned the Watch on Mordor after the Great Plague that ravaged northwestern Middle-earth in 1635-37. The retreat gave Sauron (who then resided at Dol Guldur in Rhovanion) the opportunity to send eight of the Nazgûl (those other than the Witch-King, who stayed in Angmar) into Mordor. Hôarmûrath joined the other Ulairi there, where they quietly prepared the land for Sauron's return. The deserted Dunedain tower of Durthang served as the Ice-King’s new lair.
All of the Nine gathered upon the return of the Witch-King to Mordor in T.A. 1975. Assembling for the surprise assault on Minas Ithil in T.A. 2000, they stormed the stronghold that served as the last bastion of Gondorian guardianship. A two year siege followed, but the marble fortress city finally fell. Ithilien’s capital became Minas Morgul, the Tower of Dark Sorcery, and served thereafter as the stonghold of the Ringwraiths. It’s prized palantir eventually went to Barad-dûr.
Sauron left his threatened fortress at Dol Guldur in T.A. 2941 and returned to Mordor. Ten years later, his minions began rebuilding the Barad-dûr, and three of his Ringwraiths flew back to Dol Guldur to reopen the citadel. Hôarmûrath stayed in Minas Morgul.
In mid T.A. 3018 the Ice-King accompanied the horde that attacked Gondor’s defenses along the Anduin at Osgiliath. Although the forces of the South Kingdom lost the ford that joined the districts of their abandoned capital, they fended off their assailants attempts to extend the war into Anorien. The battlelines stabilized and the Nazgûl turned to their search for the One Ring.
Hôarmûrath rode with the other eight Black Riders up the Nan Anduin in hope of finding the Shire - they turned south, skirted Lorien, and rode through Rohan and past Isengard into Eriador. Their search took them up the Greenway to Tharbad and beyond to the crossroads in old Cardolan that served as the junction with the road to the land of the Hobbits. There, Hôarmûrath, Adunaphel and Khamul split from the others and rode towards the Stone Ford. As the three headed into the Shire’s South Farthing and on to the Sackville, the Witch-King and the other Riders went directly north towards Andrath and Bree.
Hôarmûrath and his companions nearly captured the Hobbits as they travelled through the Green Hill Country. Khamul’s acute sense of smell almost uncovered Frodo’s hiding place below the road, but the Hobbits escaped into Woody End in Tookland. Although Hôarmûrath and his companions tracked them through Buckland (where they entered the Bolger yard in Crickhollow), the three Black Riders did not see the lucky Halflings again until the challenge at the Bruinen Ford.
Hôarmûrath and the other two Nazgûl met Uvatha on the Great East Road beyond Bree, and joined the other five Ringwraiths in Dyr Erib (S. “The Lone Lands”). Running their prey down at the Bruinen Ford just west of Rivendell, the Ulairi – including Hôarmûrath – found themselves engulfed in the magically summoned floodwaters that Elrond used to cover the Hobbit’s flight.
After the disaster at the Bruinen Ford, Hôarmûrath returned to Minas Morgul, mounted a Fell Beast, and briefly resumed the search for the Ring while Sauron’s armies prepared for the assault on Minas Tirith. The attack against the Gondorian capital stalled when the Witch-King died on the Pelennor fields and Aragorn II led the Army of the Dead in a charge that broke the Mordorean horde. Hôarmûrath fled homeward with the other Fell Riders that participated in the onslaught. A more climactic battle occurred less than two weeks later, as the Army of the Free Peoples assembled on the arid slag-plain before Morannon. There, the eight Nazgûl briefly engaged the Great Eagles above the chaotic conflagration but, at the height of the duel, Hôarmûrath and others turned away to follow the Dark Lord’s orders. Flying to stop Frodo and Sam from destroying the One Ring in the fires of Mount Doom, the Ringwraiths broke off the attack. Their Lord’s fears proved true, though, and their desperate journey ended before they reached their goal. With the Ruling Ring’s destruction, Hôarmûrath and his brethren passed out of Ea.
- Games Workshop - The Lord of the Rings: Strategy Battle Game
- MERP:Lords of Middle-earth Vol II:The Mannish Races