Cirion and Eorl swear oaths of alliance on the Hill of Awe
Event Type: Political
Age: 3rd Age - The Stewards
Date: August 1, 2510
An event in the aftermath of the Invasion of Calenardhon by Balchoth and Orcs; see that entry for an overall timeline:
In the days of Cirion the Steward there came a great assault by the Balchoth, who allied with Orcs crossed the Anduin into the Wold and began the conquest of Calenardhon. From this deadly peril, which would have brought ruin upon Gondor, the coming of Eorl the Young and the Rohirrim rescued the realm.
When the war was over men wondered in what way the Steward would honour Eorl and reward him, and expected that a great feast would be held in Minas Tirith at which this would be revealed. But Cirion was a man who kept his own counsel. As the diminished army of Gondor made its way south he was accompanied by Eorl and an éored of the Riders of the North. When they came to the Mering Stream Cirion turned to Eorl and said, to men's wonder:
"Farewell now, Eorl, son of Léod. I will return to my home, where much needs to be set in order. Calenardhon I commit to your care for this time, if you are not in haste to return to your own realm. In three months' time I will meet you here again, and then we will take counsel together."
"I will come," Eorl answered; and so they parted.
As soon as Cirion came to Minas Tirith he summoned some of his most trusted servants. "Go now to the Whispering Wood," he said. "There you must reopen the ancient path to Amon Anwar. It is long overgrown; but the entrance is still marked by a standing stone beside the Road, at that point where the northern region of the Wood closes in upon it. The path turns this way and that, but at each turn there is a standing stone. Following these you will come at length to the end of the trees and find a stone stair that leads on upwards. I charge you to go no further. Do this work as swiftly as you may and then return to me. Fell no trees; only clear a way by which a few men on foot can easily pass upwards. Leave the entrance by the Road still shrouded, so that none that use the Road may be tempted to use the path before I come there myself. Tell no one whither you go or what you have done. If any ask, say only that the Lord Steward wishes for a place to be made ready for his meeting with the Lord of the Riders."
In due time Cirion set out with Hallas his son and the Lord of Dol Amroth, and two others of his Council and he met Eorl at the crossing of the Mering Stream. With Eorl were three of his chief captains. "Let us go now to the place that I have prepared," said Cirion. Then they left a guard of Riders at the bridge and turned back into the tree-shadowed Road, and came to the standing stone. There they left their horses and another strong guard of soldiers of Gondor; and Cirion standing by the stone turned to his companions and said: "I go now to the Hill of Awe. Follow me, if you will. With me shall come an esquire, and another with Eorl, to bear our arms; all others shall go unarmed as witnesses of our words and deeds in the high place. The path has been made ready, though none have used it since I came here with my father."
Then Cirion led Eorl into the trees and the others followed in order; and after they had passed the first of the inner stones their voices were stilled and they walked warily as if unwilling to make any sound. So they came at last to the upper slopes of the Hill and passed through a belt of white birches and saw the stone stair going up to the summit. After the shadow of the Wood the sun seemed hot and bright, for it was the month of Úrimë; yet the crown of the Hill was green, as if the year were still in Lótessë.
At the foot of the stair there was a small shelf or cove made in the hillside with low turf-banks. There the company sat for a while, until Cirion rose and from his esquire took the white wand of office and the white mantle of the Stewards of Gondor. Then standing on the first step of the stair he broke the silence, saying in a low but clear voice:
"I will now declare what I have resolved...." [See the Gift of Cirion.]
"Then let us go now to the high place," said Cirion, "and before these witnesses take such oaths as seem fitting."
Then Cirion went up the stair with Eorl and the others followed; and when they came to the summit they saw there a wide oval place of level turf, unfenced, but at its eastern end there stood a low mound on which grew the white flowers of alfirin, and the westering sun touched them with gold. ...
"... this is [the tomb of Elendil]," said Cirion; "and from it comes the awe that dwells on this hill and in the woods below. From Isildur who raised it to Meneldil who succeeded him, and so down all the line of the Kings and down the line of the Stewards even to myself, this tomb has been kept a secret by Isildur's command. For he said: 'Here is the mid-point of the Kingdom of the South, and here shall the memorial of Elendil the Faithful abide in the keeping of the Valar, while the Kingdom endures. This hill shall be a hallow, and let no man disturb its peace and silence, unless he be an heir of Elendil.' I have brought you here, so that the oaths here taken may seem of deepest solemnity to ourselves and to our heirs upon either side."
Then all those present stood a while in silence with bowed heads, until Cirion said to Eorl: "If you are ready, take now your oath in such manner as seems to you fitting according to the customs of your people."
[See the Oath of Eorl and Oath of Cirion.]
When all was done and shadows of evening were falling Cirion and Eorl with their company went down again in silence through the darkling Wood, and came back to the camp by the Mering Stream where tents had been prepared for them. After they had eaten Cirion and Eorl, with the Prince of Dol Amroth and Éomund the chief captain of the host of the Éothéod, sat together and defined the boundaries of the authority of the King of the Éothéod and the Steward of Gondor.
Unfinished Tales, Part 3, Ch 2, Cirion and Eorl and the Friendship of Gondor and Rohan: Cirion and Eorl
[Note: the exact day of the month is not cited, but it is said in the narrative that it was in the month of Úrimë, i.e. the eighth month, when this event took place.]
Elena Tiriel 26Jul04