"Barahir! Assemble your forces and march toward Emyn Arnen!" called out Cemendur. One week had passed, and Cemendur’s assembled army had left Minas Tirith and marched into Osgiliath, reinforcing the city. Cemendur and Barahir, the long-lived steward of Gondor, paced across the battlements. Barahir, while 116 years of age, still had the vigor of a young man and enjoyed fighting alongside his men. However, he knew caution well, and wasn’t entirely in agreement with his King’s decision.
"Emyn Arnen? Are you sure my lord? The city is well defended, and our forces are spread thin as it is." It was true, Cemendur thought. The combined rallying had brought up only 2000 soldiers to go on the offensive, 1500 under Cemendur and 500 under Barahir.
"Neither do I my old friend, but we must fight anyway, the longer we wait the more secure my brother’s armies will be. Let us show them our strength, I have faith in my men.”
“But should we wait for more soldiers to come?”
“The southern cities of Gondor cannot spare many troops out of fear of the Corsairs."
"What of Dol Amroth?"
"The old Prince is away in Anfalas. His son is in charge. But they do not have many troops either, and more problematic is that it would take them several months to reach us here. We must make due with what we have." Cemendur continued to ride forward, but Barahir followed.
"But wouldn't it be wiser my king to wait to attack. It would give us time to regroup and rasie more men from Minas Tirith."
"That would be the cautious tactic, wouldn't it?"
He continued at his pace. Barahir, confused, posed yet another question. "So why don't you do it?"
"Because we seek to surprise Amandil and his men,” responded Cemendur, “we will catch them before they can recover from their revolution, and -"
“My lord I understand your reasoning, but I believe your emotional investment in the situation is clouding your judgement. If I were Cemendur, I would station my troops in Osgiliath and wait for the enemy to come and let them crash upon our ranks.”
Cemendur did not slow down his pace, but sat in deep thought for a few moments. Finally, he turned and responded to his old advisor and friend: "So would I, if I were Barahir. I'm afraid I cannot my friend, I move forward to strike, and that is my decision. If you wish to stay behind, you may. But if we are not united then how can we defeat men who’s conviction broke our kingdom"
Barahir, sighing deeply, replied, "I would follow my king to the death. I will do as you wish, my young friend." Cemendur chuckled and smiled, "Thank you my friend, though I am not as young as I would wish."
As they walked, they heard a horn sound throughout the ruins of the city, but it was no horn of men. This was the horn of legends that Cemendur did believe in, ones that filled him with wonders and hope. The elves of Emyn Arnen, some of the last defenders of the first born Children of Illuvatar. Their leader, a Noldor Elf named Finrod, had long been a respected advisor of the court, and one of the most skilled warriors Cemendur knew. Now there is a point to be made about this particular Elf. For one he was of the Noldor, the Elves that had entered Beriland in the First Age, and all, save for very few, departed into the West by the end of the Third Age. But Finrod had not. There were rumors that he was a reincarnated legend from the ages of legend, with the soul of the same Finrod who was a King of the Noldor in the First Age of the world, and stood firm against the darkest shadow the world had ever seen. Now, at the utter twilight of the ages of the elves, he brought back by the Valar to remain a protector of the race of men, which he had deep respect for. Indeed, the long line of Cemendur had traces back to legendary men who Finrod fought with in ages lost. Now he had assembled elves of all kinds into a valiant fighting force, defenders of legends and songs of old. In a clear voice that seemed as if it were a song, the elf spoke to the king.
"Cemendur, King of the Reunited Kingdom and Elf-friend, the Shadow deepens, and we now stand ready to aid you against it, and honor the old friendships. Indeed, our blades seek to vanquish those that worship our immortal enemy.”
“We gladly welcome your aid, O Finrod, and assure you that the thirst of your blades will be sated soon enough.” Cemendur responded. The Elves formed in ranks with the rest of the army, and after some organization, the armies of Cemendur and Barahir left Osgiliath.
The plan was thus: Barahir’s army would march into Southern Ithilien and attack the city of Emyn Arnen, which had fallen to rebellion. Barahir was the most fitting for this task, since he was the lord of Emyn Arnen, but the cultists had a deep following there. While this occurred, Cemendur would march his army into Northern Ithilien, hoping to lure out Amandil, then besiege Minas Ithil, cutting off the beast’s capital and opening up a pass into Mordor. As Barahir’s force marched south, Cemendur hoped his old friend’s caution would aid him in his battles. He had faith in the Steward’s command talent, but still he did not know what awaited him in the southern forests…
In the dark court of Minas Ithil, Herumor the Lord Black, Ageless Advisor to the King of Andunbar and Prophet of the Shadow Cult, approached the throne of the King, Amandil. "My lord," he spoke with a voice that caused shadows to shudder,
“Ah my trusted advisor,” said Amandil with a dark regal calm, I’ve heard you edited your title again. The Ageless wasn’t good enough for you?”
"Well you do know I enjoy the accumulation of titles, my lord,” said he, his voice adding the smallest effect of sarcasm and guile, “but that should not be your concern. The foolish armies of the Reunited Kingdom dare cross the Anduin and challenge well earned position.” Amandil still sat calmly, betraying no emotion.
"Does my brother lead them?"
"Yes, the heretic does. He is stationed in Northern Ithilien. His Steward takes a smaller force and attacks Emyn Arnen."
"My son commands our loyal soldiers in Emyn Arnen, he will not let it fall.” Stated Amandil.
"Yes, my lord, your son commands 2000 troops who will fight to the death for our faith, whereas Barahir, the old fool, commands only 500 cowards, too ignorant to acknowledge the truth. It will be a massacre." Amandil agreed with the Dark Prophet’s words.
"Indeed, but a shame really. I rather liked Barahir, if only he wasn’t so loyal do those downfallen heretics, he would have been spared...so tell me my wise advisor, what of my brother?"
"Once Barahir is defeated, I will send your son to attack Cemendur –“
“And I will also send a force under my command to aid in the crushing of the heretics, including those vile elves."
“Yes my lord, but we have immortal allies as well, the orcs have flocked to our banners.”
“I do not care for their immortality, I only care for their strength and promise of loyalty and victory. I hardly trust them enough.”
“Do not worry, my lord. We will destroy these treacherous men that oppose us, and you will have your victory, I assure you.”
“Very well, it shall be done. Send the word for the generals to march, I hunger for this war.”
“As you should my lord, as you should…” With those words Herumor left the room. The following day Amandil ordered his loyal generals to march with their forces to face the banners of his brother. At once they obeyed, and Amandil smiled, pleased that his purge eliminated all those that officials that would not follow him. The loyal and corrupted citizens of Andunbar, under the indoctrinations of the Shadow Cult, prepared for war, and a dark shadow fell upon the horizon.