A Middle-earth Short Story: “The Battle of Dale” by Steven Guas
The Honors Imaginative Literature class challenges each student to compose a short story that grows the mythical world of Middle-earth created by JRR Tolkien. Below is one of three superior creative pieces. Enjoy.
The Battle of Dale
By Steven Guas
The field across the Redwater felt very solemn as King Brand scouted the horizon. The sinking feeling he felt for endangering his people weighed on him like an Oliphaunt, which, speaking of, would probably come to decimate his army in the next few hours. As these thoughts began to run through his head, Dain II Ironfoot, King Under the Mountain, stepped out next to him. The two looked out, neither speaking, both frightful of the outcome of the imminent battle. The city was terribly quiet, the wind blowing through the stone cracks of Dale could be heard all around, gently keeping all the men alert. With an army of 50,000 men and dwarves, the two Kings were left waiting for the ensuing slaughter.
It was now when Brand thought back two years, when the Black Riders rode into Esgaroth wanting a word with King Brand son of Bain, son of Bard the Bowman, who killed the dragon Smaug which had first rained hell upon the city of Dale and took the Dwarven kingdom Under the Mountain. In the years that Brand was king, he maintained good relations with the Dwarves of the Lonely Mountain, becoming close with Dain II Ironfoot, King Under the Mountain. He also stayed on good terms with King Thranduil of the Woodland realm, sharing good access to trade and passage in Mirkwood. During his reign, the borders of the Men in the North expanded to include Celduin to the south and Carnen to the east. During the day in which the Nazgul rode into Esgaroth, they had wished to speak with the King concerning hobbits. Following the torture of the creature Gollum, the Nazgul rode out with the intention of finding a Hobbit by the name of Bilbo Baggins. Brand knew of the hobbit that had once come into Lake Town with the dwarves who would recapture the Lonely Mountain, but knew nothing of any ring of which they spoke. He would later find out that they were after the One Ring, which Bilbo had found and kept on him during his retaking of the Mountain. King Brand would not give any information to the Riders, sending them away from the town, although he was fearful of the repercussions. Knowing the Riders were from Mordor, he feared an assault from the Black Lands allies in the east. Although it took some time, he began to make preparation for war, along with the dwarves of the Lonely Mountain.
Dain II Ironfoot could also recall the day Two of the Nine appeared at the gates of the Lonely Mountain. Dain was crowned King Under the Mountain after the death of Thorin, he was a descendant of Durin, but was not in direct line to be King. Upon appearing, they gave a better offer than the one requested of Brand, if he agreed to give information about Bilbo Baggins and anything concerning hobbits, the dwarves of the Lonely Mountain would be granted an alliance with Sauron and the Men of the East, along with three Rings of Power that had originally belonged to the dwarf lords. Furthermore, Moria would be returned to the dwarves, and all orcs would be removed from its premise. Dain immediately refused, wanting to protect the burglar that Thorin had held dear. After the Riders left, he sent Gloin to Rivendell to consult with Elrond, while he prepared for war. Gloin took along with him his son.
The two Kings are now both in a terrible situation. Across the Redwater, they see the massive army that has come to destroy the North. 200,000 Easterlings were on the horizon, marching for the destruction of Dale and the Dwarven Kingdom. It was March 17, 3019.
Dain II and Brand began to lead their armies, setting out to meet the Easterlings in battle. The army had already attacked the settlements in Carnen and Celduin, brutally killing all those that had not fled to the safety of Dale. While the defending army was shorthanded, the armor for the 50,000 soldiers was all dwarven forged. The 80 years since reclaiming the Mountain had been good for both the Men of Esgaroth and the Dwarves Under the Mountain. Also, in preparation for an assault in the North, the men and dwarves had created large organized, specialized infantry, along with the bowmen of Dale. An army of 30,000 stout dwarves in phalanx formation was able to hold up against the oncoming Easterling force. The 200,000 pushed against the dwarves, throwing thousands of men to their deaths with a spear in the chest. The first day of fighting was over while the Easterlings retreated to regroup and mount a second attack. The men and dwarves did not take many casualties with both Brand and Dain leading their men to a strong victory over the attacking army.
The second day did not fare so well for the defending host. Again they marched to defend Dale on the battlefield, but 4 Oliphaunts decimated the front line of the dwarves. After the phalanx had been shattered, the thousands of Easterlings were met with less resistance when fighting the dwarves and men in close combat. The archers of Esgaroth fired volley after volley into the 150,000 Easterlings that continued the assault, but after a short time, their aim was redirected at bringing down the Oliphaunts. Even after being pierced with countless arrows, the beast continued to rampage through the lines of dwarves and men. Three of the large beasts were finally brought down, after half a day of fighting, and numerous casualties to the defending force. It was now when Brand sounded the retreat, pulling everyone back to the Lonely Mountain. The fighting continued as they made their retreat, Easterlings flooded Dale, leaving almost every structure standing because they needed a place to stay during the siege on the Mountain.
Refusing to leave their army to die, Dain and Brand took up the back of the retreat, fighting off hordes of men. While Dain was at the age of two-hundred and fifty-two, yet he still fought like he was a young dwarf, having the great blood of Durin in him. With one swing of his great Red Axe, he could cleave a person in two. The Easterlings did not stand a change, blocking a blow on your shield would result in a broken arm, the dwarf fought harder than a cornered dragon. At last they were at the gate of the Lonely Mountain, with one Mumakil left. This is where Brand and Dain made their last stand, if the beast were left alive, it would be too short a time before the gate was broken. With each heavy swing from Dain cleaving into the Oliphaunt tusks, it would shatter everywhere, leaving it staggering with pain. While not at an advantage, the Oliphaunt was too large to freely move about in front of the gate on the bridge. Dodging blows and swings from the beast, Brand and Dain switched exchanging blows aimed for the swinging head and the legs. The Easterling army chanted as the beast was fighting it’s opponents, knowing a victory was shortcoming. Brand aimed at the head of the beast with his great sword, trying to lunge past the swinging tusk. He was caught on the edge, and with one swift movement, was gutted and thrown back against the wall of the Lonely Mountain. In his dying moments he looked to see Dain, overcome with rage, split the skull of the Mumakil with his axe. The Easterling army was silenced as the beast fell with great agony, blocking the bridge. Dain stumbled over to Brand, tossing down his axe and collapsing next to the King of Esgaroth. The last words were then uttered by Dain were “For the future of our people.” To which Brand replied “And to dying close to a great King.”
“You and I both,” whispered Dain, as their last breaths escaped them.
The two were both brought inside the gate, as the Easterling army was stuck behind the fallen Oliphaunt. 24,000 Dwarves and Men had fallen. 75,000 Easterlings were scattered dead on the fields. The ending of the second day was filled with an overwhelming sadness.
On the third day, the new Kings, Thorin III Stonhelm, son of Dain II Ironfoot, and Bard II, son of Brand, received word that the army that had laid siege on Gondor had been defeated. Reinvigorated, the dwarves and men assaulted the Easterlings, who were disheartened by the same news at the loss of their comrades in the south. The moment the gate opened, the remaining 125,000 men fled, but 25,000 were chased down by the raging defenders. The 25,000 killed on the last day would ensure no regroup could be performed. In total, the army of Dale lost 25,000, while the Easterling army lost a little over 100,000 men. By March 27, 3019, the Easterling army had been driven from the eastern territory of Carnen. The victory ensured the survival of the dwarves and men, while also protecting the elves who were at war with the armies of Dol Goldur and Angmar. Although the two fallen Kings would be lamented, this story preserves their heroic victory, in the face of an inevitable defeat.