Lord of the Rings: Second Age (Part 4 of 4)

Using the secret knowledge provided by the
Dark Lord Sauron, Numenoreans devised new engines and built greater ships, growing their
wealth through their colonies in middle earth which plundered and enslaved their neighbours,
performing ritual sacrifices to honor their god Melkor. Yet their pursuit of material wealth and military
power only furthered their corruption and fear of death, and the Dunedain began to lose
the blessings bestowed upon them, suffering from madness, illnesses and shorter lifespans. As they interacted with one another, they
grew increasingly greedy, jealous, angry and violent, quarrelling and killing each other
over minor provocations. As the Dark Lord travelled throughout the
island, he spread further hatred and stirred up rebellions against the nobility, which
in turn caused the Lords and King of the Island to take cruel revenge upon the people. For years Ar-Pharazon ruled as the greatest
Tyrant since Morgoth in the First Age, though in truth Sauron ruled from the shadows. Despite having everything a man could want,
the King’s fear of death intensified as he grew older, and ready to prey on this vulnerability,
Sauron one day approached him to reveal yet another secret truth. Ready to begin the final stage of his plan,
Sauron explained the Lords of the West lied about the nature of eternal lives and that
if a being as mighty as Ar-Pharazon were to conquer the Undying Lands, he would gain immortal
and rule the world in place of the Valar. For nine years, Ar-Pharazon prepared his Great
Armament and planned the invasion of Valinor, and in response, signs were sent to warn them
of their folly, like earthquakes, darkened skies, violent winds, torrential rain, hail
storms, and clouds in the shape of eagles with lightning beneath their wings. Yet in the face of all this Ar-Pharazon remained
defiant, claiming “The Lords of the West have plotted against us. They strike first. The next blow shall be ours!” When at last the Great Armament was complete,
a final warning fell upon them, when the Eagles of Manwe came forth arrayed as for battle
with a terrible red sky behind them, shining so bright that the Numenoreans glowed as if
lit with a flame of great anger. But the King ignored the sign and hardened
his heart further, boarding his ship and sailing for war. As all this occurred, the Lord of Andunie
watched from afar, knowing that the King was bringing doom upon them all, and devised his
own plan to save their people. Leaving his son Elendil in command, he sailed
in secret to the Undying Lands, in hopes of replicating the success of his ancestors Earendil,
who convinced the Valar to save Middle-earth from Morgoth in the First Age. Though he knew it was dangerous to defy the
Ban of the Valar, he hoped that because his people remained Faithful to Eru, he might
yet convince them to save Numenor. Following his father’s instructions, Elendil
then prepared a fleet of ships at the port of Romenna, and readied the Faithful to depart
if necessary, taking with them as many island treasures as possible. To explain their actions, they claimed Amandil
left to prepare a new home for their people in Middle Earth, and the other faithful were
preparing ships to follow. Departing the island on a small ship with
his 3 most loyal servants, the Lord of Andunie was never heard from again, and while the
Valar once answered the call of a man in the First Age and saved the Edain, they would
not do so a second time. With Amandil gone, Elendil was called by the
king to bring his warriors forth and join the Great Armament, but he refused, and so
after the ships departed Sauron sent his soldiers against the Faithful who retreated to their
ships and sailed eastward, waiting to see what was to come. In the year 3319 of the Second Age, Ar-Pharazon
and his mighty fleet arrived in the Undying Lands, finding it haunted by an eerie silence,
as the Elves who lived along the coast pulled back to a nearby city. Though the King hesitated and wavered, nearly
turning back at the last moment, his pride would not allow it, and so he marched into
Valinor and declared himself ruler of the continent, before ordering his men to make
camp around Tirion. In response to the High Men of Numenor ignoring
their warnings, violating the Ban and invading their homeland with weapons of war, Manwe,
King of the Valar called upon their creator Eru who unleashed his terrible power, causing
Numenor to fall beneath the waves and the Undying Lands to physically detach itself
from the world. As all this occurred, the ships of the great
Armament were swallowed by the sea, while Ar-Pharazon and his warriors were buried beneath
falling hills, trapped within the forgotten caves until the final battle at the end of
the world. In later years, when men once against began
sailing west, hoping to find the fabled land of Aman or else the remains of Numenor, they
failed to do so and instead reported back that all roads are now bent, meaning their
once flat world was now round and populated with new lands and seas. Yet while the mortal races could no longer
travel to the Undying Lands, a hidden, Straight Road remained, accessible only to the elves,
though some humans told stories of great mariners who stumbled upon this secret path, and were
able to glimpse the shores of Valinor before they died. While Eru reshaped the world, the people of
Numenor were destroyed, including their Queen, the Faithful Miriel, who died trying to escape
the waves by climbing Meneltarma, her dying screams lost in the roaring winds. Though Sauron was fearful when he felt the
fury of Eru, it soon turned to mirth, laughing at the ruin he brought upon his enemies. When his Temple finally collapsed and his
body died, the Maia spirit within emerged, still in possession of the One Ring of Power,
and made its way to Middle-earth and his home of Mordor. Having lost the ability to take fair form,
Sauron made himself a body to inspire fear, and started rebuilding his armies to conquer
middle-earth. Yet the peoples of the west continued to oppose
him, not only the Elves, who under King Gil-Galad grew mighty during the years of the Dark Lord’s
absence, but also Elendil, son of Amandil, and his followers the Faithful of Numenor
who survived the doom. Standing aboard their ships, during the reshaping
of the world, the Faithful saw their island home collapse into the sea, before the tempest
overtook them. Though it cannot be certain why they were
sparred, some believe Amandil’s voyage to the Undying Lands was not entirely in vain,
and for his sake the Valar protected the Faithful from the terrible storms and brought them
unharmed to the shores of Middle earth. With their ships split in two groups, Elendil
and his followers sailed into the Kingdom of Lindon and were greeted warmly by the Elven
King, while Isildur and Anarion arrived at the mouth of the river anduin. In the north they established the Kingdom
of Arnor, populated settlements like Annúminas, Fornost, Cardolan, and Rhudaur. While in the south they formed the Kingdom
of Gondor, with the brother kings ruling from the capital of Osgiliath, though Minas Ithil
was the home of Isildur and Minas Anor the home of Anarion. Though the Sceptre of the King was lost when
Ar-Pharazon attacked Valinor, the Faithful were able to save the Sceptre of Andúnië
which was then held by the Kings of Arnor, as well as many other Numenorean treasures,
like the 7 Palantiri gifted by the Elves. Stones which allowed the user to see and communicate
over great distances, with those of great power able to use them to see almost anything. The Faithful also saved the white tree groein
from the seedling of Nimloth, and it was planted in Minas Ithil with Isildur and his people. Furious that his Numenorean enemies survived
and were prospering in the west, Sauron launched his attack earlier then originally planned,
and descended upon Minas Ithil, burning the White Tree and forcing Isildur into retreat,
though he was once again able to save a seedling before departing to seek reinforcements. The Dark armies also attacked Osgiliath, but
Anarion led the defense and held his ground, though it was clear they could not last much
longer. Learning of the attacks, King Elendil met
with King Gil Galad and formed the Last Alliance of Men and Elves, gathering the largest army
assembled since the War of Wrath to engage Sauron’s armies at the Battle of Dagorlad,
where it seemed as though all the races and beasts of Middle Earth were represented on
both sides, save for the Elves who were entirely in opposition to the Dark Lord. Fighting for Last Alliance, was King Elendil
with the Dunedain of Arnor, the Kings Anarion and Isildur with the Dunedain of Gondor, King
Gil Galad and Lord Elrond with Noldor and Sindar Elves of Lindon and Imladris, as well
King Amdir and King Oropher with the Silvan Elves of Lothlorien and the Woodland Realm. Fighting for the Dark Lord were Orcs, trolls,
wicked beast and men of the east and south, both those who served him and Morgoth in the
past and the Black Numenoreans who now populated the coasts, Dunedain who were in the colonies
and therefore survived the doom of their island. While some of those colonists were Faithful,
like those in Pelargir, the Black Numenoreans of the south were King’s Men, and easily
won to the side of Sauron. Among these recruits were the men of Umbar
as well as Herumor and Fuinur, who became great Lords of the Haradrim. Though few Dwarves participated in the war,
some few served Sauron, while the Longbeards of Durin’s Folk emerged from their mountain
to join the Last Alliance. Though the battle of Dagorlad was won by the
Last Alliance, it was a devastating conflict made worse because the Silvan Elves did not
feel any particular loyalty to the Sindar and Noldor of the West, and therefore disobeyed
orders and attack prematurely, resulting in the death of King Oropher, while Amdir and
half his army were slaughtered in what came to be called the Dead Marshes. Despite winning the battle, the war was not
over and so they entered mordor and laid siege to Barad Dur. For seven years the Dark Lord mounted an impressive
defense, peppering them with projectiles and raids resulting in significant casualties
including the death of King Anarion, but at long last Sauron finally emerged, prepared
to face his enemies directly. Answering his challenge, the Kings Elendil
and Gil Galad fought valiantly and gave their lives to slay the dark Lord. With all three fallen, Elendil’s last surviving
son Isildur, picked up the shards of Narsil, his father’s broken sword, and cut the one
ring of power from Sauron’s finger, destroying his physical body. However Sauron’s spirit survived as it was
linked to the One Ring, and so both Elrond and Cirdan urged Isildur to destroy it in
the fires of Mount Doom. But the corruption of the ring and the allure
of its power quickly took over his mind, and he kept it as wergild for the loss of his
father and brother. With the death of Gil Galad, the Noldor Kingdoms
of Middle Earth were at an end, and so many decided to leave and return the Undying Lands. Of the Elves who remained behind, some lived
in the Grey Havens under Cirdan, or else Imladris under Elrond, Lothlorien under Amdir’s son
Amroth and the Woodland Realm under Oropher’s son Thranduil. The Dunedain lived under Isildur as King of
Gondor and Arnor, while Durin’s Folk returned to Khazad Dum, and the servants of Sauron
scattered into the east and south. Defeated but determined to have his revenge
upon the free peoples of Middle Earth, the Dark Lord slowly recovered and made new plans,
awaiting the day he might return to full strength by reuniting with the One Ring of Power.

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  2. First Age (Complete): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dSPlIdRX_c0

    Second Age Part 1: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Vc2qJLVC-Zs

    Second Age Part 2: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ri5lcNJAl4I

    Second Age Part 3: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8MN1MS6z7yo

  3. Men, men are weak. The race of men is failing. The blood of Numenor is all but spent, it’s pride dignity forgotten.

  4. In 1.15 does the text really say "King of Bangs, Ar-Pharazon"? I didn't know hairstyle played such an important part in Tolkien's legendarium.

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