13. The Lost City of the Winds
"I said it was in ruin." Dan reminded Beomann a
"I know, I know. I wasn't expecting Annuminas -" he
looked up at the steep, rock strewn hillside, "but you
can't even tell there was a city here."
"Five times Minas Sul was overrun, and four times
retaken and rebuilt." Lightfoot, the Lady Aranel, said
softly. "When the Enemy was driven back for the fifth
time we discovered he had had the city razed to the
ground, so scarcely one stone was left atop another,
and we did not rebuild it. Time finished what the
Enemy began, but we do not forget."
There was a little silence, broken by her young son
Daeron. "You can't see it from below like this, but
when you look down from above you can see the outlines
of houses and streets."
The boy was right. Standing at the edge of the flat
top of the hill and looking down Beomann could indeed
make out a tangle of lines, light against the slightly
darker grass, that might have been the foundations of
buildings with streets and alleyways snaking between
them - more like Bree really than Annuminas. The city
had only reached about two thirds of the way up the
hill. Above the other buildings but still a few
hundred feet short of the top was a massive shelf or
terrace built out from the hillside on which Beomann
could see the outlines of larger buildings.
"That's the citadel," Daeron told him, "where my
ancestors lived from the time Urin founded the city to
the end of the Witch Wars."
It took Beomann a minute to place the name. "Urin?
the Lord Urin who they say ruled the land before the
King and fought the Dark Lord himself? He was a real
The boy gave him a reproachful look with grey eyes
very like, had Beomann only known it, the Lord Urin's
own. "Of course he was real, I am his heir."
"Urin's House, the Maglavorni, is older even than
that of the Kings, the most ancient Mortal lineage
surviving in Middle Earth." said Daeron's mother. "And
they have governed the midlands since the end of the
First Age when Urin led his people across the
mountains from foundered Beleriand and built the City
of the Winds."
"How long ago was that?" Beomann demanded, though
not at all sure he really wanted to know.
"Something over six thousand years." was the
He shook his head. "And we've always said in Bree
that we were the oldest settlement west of the Great
"You are." Aranel said even more astonishingly.
"There was a village on Bree hill when Urin passed
through, and it was old even then. There's been a
settlement at Bree from the time Men first came into
the Westlands." she smiled at Beomann, dazzling him.
"Your town is far older than the Dunedain."
Once again he had a vertiginous glimpse of the
depths of time underlying his world, but this time he
saw also a little village on the side of a hill
outlasting war and pestilence and the rise and fall of
Kingdoms and felt a sudden fierce pride in his
"Not much to work with I fear." Gil said, glanced
at his sister. "As for the tower..." and they all
turned to look at what remained of the great
Watchtower of Elendil.
It stood near the middle of the plateau upon a
rocky knoll, but the fragmentary walls reached no
higher than Belegon's head. It was as if the tower had
been sheered away and the upper parts carried off by
some titanic force.
"There was a watchtower on Amon Sul from Urin's
time," Gil told Beomann, "but they were simple, wooden
structures. It was Elendil who had built the Great
Tower of Amon Sul, surrounded by a shell keep to house
the garrison he set here to guard his eastern
Belegon and Dan, with little Lalaith tagging
happily after them, walked a great circle around the
tower stub, studying the ground. Arriving back at
their starting place, Belegon looked at Gil and shook
"The keep's completely gone. They even dug up the
Aranel, rather startlingly, smiled. "They would."
"I must admit a watchtower here would be very
useful." Gil mused. "But I fear rebuilding city and
tower keep is beyond our power, even with the help of
the Dwarves." saw the disappointment on Beomann's face
and smiled apologetically. "I'm sorry but we just
don't have the resources Elendil had."
"Aragorn is now King in Gondor." Aranel reminded
him, but doubtfully.
It was Belegon who answered. "Gondor's little
better off than we, from what the refugees say. She'll
have all she can do to restore herself."
"I don't really care," Daeron said seriously, "as
long as we can rebuild Greymere." looked worriedly at
Gil smiled gently down at him. "That much we can
and will do." Continued briskly. "In fact I would much
prefer to concentrate on rebuilding our strongholds
along the Line and leave more ambitious plans for
later. Much later."
"Aragorn is King." his sister reminded him.
"So he is, but that doesn't mean he can command the
Though bitterly disappointed Beomann couldn't help
but see Gil's point. Clearly building a whole new city
in the middle of the Wild, which was what it amounted
to, was impossible. And if they did, who would want to
live in it? Not Breelanders, and apparently not the
They spent the night in a cave hollowed into the
knoll beneath the foundations of the tower, and the
next morning climbed back down the hill, crossed the
road and headed south-west towards the ruins of
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