Cirion sends for aid from the Éothéod for the Invasion of Calenardhon
Event Type: Military/Strategic
Age: 3rd Age - The Stewards
Dates: March 10, 2510 ~ March 25, 2510
An early event in the Invasion of Calenardhon by Balchoth and Orcs; see that entry for a description of the enemy and the overall timeline:
It was thus not until the winter of the year 2509 was past that Cirion became aware that a great movement against Gondor was being prepared: hosts of men were mustering all along the southern eaves of Mirkwood. ...
In this peril Cirion's thought turned at last in desperation to the Éothéod, and he determined to send messengers to them. But they would have to go through Calenardhon and over the Undeeps, and then through lands already watched and patrolled by the Balchoth  before they could reach the Vales of Anduin. This would mean a ride of some four hundred and fifty miles to the Undeeps, and more than five hundred thence to the Éothéod, and from the Undeeps they would be forced to go warily and mostly by night until they had passed the shadow of Dol Guldur. Cirion had little hope that any of them would get through. He called for volunteers, and choosing six riders of great courage and endurance be sent them out in pairs with a day's interval between them. Each bore a message learned by heart, and also a small stone incised with the seal for the Stewards,  that he should deliver to the Lord of the Éothéod in person, if he succeeded in reaching that land. The message was addressed to Eorl son of Léod, for Cirion knew that he had succeeded his father some years before.... Yet Cirion had but faint hope that even if the message were received it would be answered. He had no claim on the Éothéod beyond their ancient friendship with Gondor to bring them from so far away with any strength that would avail. The tidings that the Balchoth were destroying the last of their kin in the South, if they did not know it already, might give weight to his appeal, if the Éothéod themselves were not threatened by any attack. Cirion said not more,  and ordered what strength he had to meet the storm. ...
The first pair of messengers left on the tenth day of Súlimë; and in the event it was one of these, alone of all the six, who got through to the Éothéod. He was Borondir, a great rider of a family that claimed descent from a captain of the Northmen in the service of the Kings of old.  Of the others no tidings were ever heard, save of Borondir's companion. He was slain by arrows in ambush as they passed near Dol Guldur, from which Borondir escaped by fortune and the speed of his horse. He was pursued as far north as the Gladden Fields, and often waylaid by men that came out of the Forest and forced him to ride far out of the direct way. He came at last to the Éothéod after fifteen days, for the last two without food; and he was so spent that he could scarce speak his message to Eorl.
It was then the twenty-fifth day of Súlimë. Eorl took counsel with himself in silence; but not for long. Soon he rose, and he said: "I will come."
Unfinished Tales, Part 3, Ch 2, Cirion and Eorl and the Friendship of Gondor and Rohan: The Ride of Eorl
1. So these people were then called in Gondor: a mixed word of popular speech, from Westron balc "horrible" and Sindarin hoth "horde," applied to such peoples as the Orcs. [Author's note.]
Unfinished Tales, Part 3, Ch 2, Cirion and Eorl and the Friendship of Gondor and Rohan: Notes, Note 24
2. The letters R • ND • R surmounted by three stars, signifying arandur (king's servant), steward. [Author's note.]
Unfinished Tales, Part 3, Ch 2, Cirion and Eorl and the Friendship of Gondor and Rohan: Notes, Note 25
3. He did not speak of the thought that he had also in mind: that the Éothéod were, as he had learned, restless, finding their northern lands too narrow and infertile to support their numbers, which had much increased. [Author's note.]
Unfinished Tales, Part 3, Ch 2, Cirion and Eorl and the Friendship of Gondor and Rohan: Notes, Note 26
4. His name was long remembered in the song of Rochon Methestel (Rider of the Last Hope) as Borondir Udalraph (Borondir the Stirrupless), for he rode back with the éoherë at the right hand of Eorl, and was the first to cross the Limlight and cleave a path to the aid of Cirion. He fell at last on the Field of Celebrant defending his lord, to the great grief of Gondor and the Éothéod, and was afterwards laid in tomb in the Hallows of Minas Tirith. [Author's note.]
Unfinished Tales, Part 3, Ch 2, Cirion and Eorl and the Friendship of Gondor and Rohan: Notes, Note 27
[Note: the dates were set by directly translating Súlimë to March; no attempt was made to adjust for the differing lengths of the months.]
Elena Tiriel 25Jul04