Even as the army of the West gathered in Gondor, Gandalf looked over the plains northward and westward with his long sight, hoping to see that which he had long foreseen. The debate of the Captains had just ended, and Gandalf was standing on the citadel of Minas Tirith. Not for the first time in many days, he turned his eyes towards his old friend, the Lord of the Great Eagles of the Misty Mountains. He scoured the skies, hoping to see a sign that the Eagles were not idle.
He looked hard towards the eyries at the tops of the misty mountains, out of reach of other mortals. But, the veil still lay heavily over the forest of Fangorn and over Isengard, and the Ents were still doing their work around Orthanc. The view of the misty mountains was obscured, even to the most far-seeing of eyes. It was for this reason that Gandalf could not see Gwaihir the wind-lord ordering his Eagles as he saw war preparing at the gates of Mordor.
Gandalf saw that even his long sight was useless to see through the ancient shroud of the Ents’ will. Instead, he went over to the houses of healing and spent some time chatting with Merry and Pippin. The signs of rapid recovery which Merry was showing came as a surprise even to Gandalf, and he remembered his words to Frodo which he had spoken on a summer morning long ago in the shire: “My dear Frodo! Hobbits really are amazing creatures, as I have said before. You can learn all there is to learn about their ways in a month, and yet after a hundred years they can still surprise you at a pinch.”
While Gandalf was engrossed in thought in Minas Tirith, Gwaihir the wind-lord was busy marshalling all his forces. All the Eagles from all the eyries of the misty mountains had been called to their Lord Gwaihir. Scouts were ranging high over the fields of Middle-earth from Western coast-lands to the sea of Rhûn in the East, and from Angmar and the Grey Mountains in the North to Khand and even Near Harad in the South. The Great Eagles – Landroval, Meneldor, Thorondor II and others were flying over far lands and bringing back tidings of all there was to see.
Meneldor had just returned from a long flight which had taken him from over the Blue Mountains and along the coast all the way to Belfalas and then wheeling back North and flying over Edoras to Fangorn and then back to the eyries. He had borne silent witness to the fall of the witch-king from a height at which even the eyes of the Nazgûl could not see him. He had seen the Oliphaunts of Harad and the plight of the forces of Gondor. But, he had not tarried there for long, knowing that he could play no part in this battle. He had flown down instead to the woods of Fangorn and thence to Isengard, asking tidings of Treebeard along the way.
Treebeard greeted his old friend with much joy, and told him all that he knew, with a haste to which he was wholly unaccustomed. Meneldor was greatly surprised, though he did not show it. “This is indeed grim tidings.” he thought, “Much counsel must be taken on the eyries ere we set out to war this time.”
Gwaihir listened quietly to all that his swiftest scouts had to say. Landroval had told him already of the great mustering of orcs and trolls gathered behind the black gate, ready to pour out into the Morannon. Thorondor had come with news of large hordes of easterlings approaching Esgaroth and Erebor. Landroval had been flying over Mordor with a few of the very swiftest, unseen by the Nazgûl, and had gathered much knowledge of Sauron’s troops. Thorondor, Gwaihir’s sister-son, and one of the greatest and swiftest among the Eagles, had flown over Esgaroth and Erebor and thence over the lands of Grimbeorn the Old till the fords of Carrock, and back to the highest eyries.
Thus it was, that Gwaihir the wind-lord had tidings of all doings and goings-on in Middle-earth at the time of the war of the rings. The Great Eagles of the misty mountains were the noblest of all creatures, and Gwaihir knew that the time must come soon when all would be decided of the fate of Middle-earth. But, he was still in doubt as to whether the Eagles should now act. He knew better than anyone that the Eagles would be least affected even if Sauron obtained the One ruling ring. Their eyries were too high, and no armies of orcs could ever reach them. Even Sauron’s hand was not long enough for that.
While he was thinking thus, all the other Eagles left for their eyries one by one, and only Landroval was left now. Presently, Gwaihir came out of his reverie and realised that Landroval was still there. He asked his brother: “Why do you wait here, Landroval? Your eyrie awaits you.”
Then, Landroval answered in his deep voice: “Brother Gwaihir, I bear one more piece of news which I felt was for your ears alone. When I flew back over the lands, I sensed Gandalf calling to the Lord of the eagles, and I looked down and saw him on the Citadel of the men of Gondor. He was aware of me and I sensed that he was trying to tell me something. I wheeled around off my course and started circling downwards. He mounted his horse, and sped off down the city and then up the mountainside to the flat shelf of the kings. We met there and exchanged tidings. It is the message of Gandalf which I bring to you.”
“And what does that clever old wizard have to say?”
“Only this, that when the Captains of the west ride forth to battle with the Dark Lord, the Lord of the Eagles must not remain idle. He must muster every Eagle of the eyries of the misty mountains and bring them to the aid of the Captains against the orc-armies, even as he had done in the battle of the five armies. Gandalf also bids you look over the lonely mountain and the city of Dale, for he senses some mischief there.”
“And indeed we find that this is true. Thorondor has told me verily the same thing. I shall send a very few with Thorondor at their head to the lonely mountain and the kingdom of Dáin Ironfoot. But the rest of us will fly south to the aid of the Captains. Even the ring-bearer may avail of us if all is not lost.”
“Then I shall fly forth now to keep watch on the black land and await your coming.”, said Landroval.
“ Farewell then, brother, and may your eyrie find you in the end unharmed by this foul shadow.”
On this note, the brothers, mightiest among the Great Eagles, parted company.
Gandalf had thought deeply before advising the Lord Aragorn on his course but now he was troubled. He was once more the bent old man Frodo had seen leaving Bag End many years ago. Olorin he had been in his youth in the west which is forgotten, and as Olorin, he had been afraid of facing Sauron. That fear had been dispelled to a great extent by his constant labours against all evil things, but now it had begun to grow on him again. He had learnt many new things after being sent back as Gandalf the White, and though he did not fear any of Sauron’s servants, he knew that he wasn’t powerful enough to face Sauron himself.
It was at that moment that he looked up and saw Landroval. Landroval also saw Gandalf. At first, as he rode out to meet the eagle, Gandalf thought him to be the wind-lord himself, but soon realised that it was Landroval. Having given his message to Landroval, he felt a certain lightening of his heart, as if a great shadow had been lifted from it. He went back to the city and went off to rest. He was to be the chief herald for the march starting on the morrow. He took one more look out of his window at the receding shadow, and fell into a deep and well-earned sleep.
In the course of his keeping watch, Landroval could see much of the armies of Sauron, but the Eye did not see him (and even if he had been seen, there was little that Sauron could have done). He saw the Host of the west marching along the road to the Morannon and the Black Gate. He also saw the plain of Udun and the Plateau of Gorgoroth teeming with orcs, trolls and other fell creatures thick as ants.
It was the sixth day of the march from Morgul vale and the Captains of the west stood in front of the black gate. The heralds went forth with a witness for each of the free peoples. Then the gate opened, and out came an ambassador, the Mouth of Sauron he called himself, and he was followed by a small host of orcs. The events from here on are recounted in the Red Book, but Pippin later wrote a poem on it, based on a comic rhyme which Bilbo had written on hearing of Gandalf’s fight with the Balrog in Moria.
‘Twas Morannon, the orcsy-slaves
Did outnumber the company:
The Captains nearly in their graves
And hope wasn’t any.
“Beware Old Sauron’s Mouth, my son!
The hideous speech, the blackish grin!”
Frodo’s clothes he has every one,
What trouble we are in!
Gandalf then asked him, “Where is he?”
A moment he spake not a thing.
And then he laughed in fantasy
But with a nervous ring.
And as thus laughing out he stood,
Old Gandalf went with hand of flame,
And got the sword, and coat and hood,
And back to us he came.
“These we will take, foul Sauron’s mouth!
But foolish terms we do dislike,
So flee thee yonder east and south
Or be barbed with a spike”
After that, of course, Sauron’s messenger turned and fled, and Sauron loosed all his forces to break out like a black tide upon his enemies. It was just as the first wave of Sauron’s assault broke upon the Captains and their men that Gwaihir the wind-lord, flying alongside Meneldor and leading a great force of Eagles from the north reached his brother Landroval and they circled down upon the battlefields of the Morannon; and cries broke out among the men:
“ The Eagles are coming! The Eagles are coming!”
This is a work of fan fiction, written because the author has an abiding love for the works of J R R Tolkien. The characters, settings, places, and languages used in this work are the property of the Tolkien Estate, Tolkien Enterprises, and possibly New Line Cinema, except for certain original characters who belong to the author of the said work. The author will not receive any money or other remuneration for presenting the work on this archive site. The work is the intellectual property of the author, is available solely for the enjoyment of Henneth Annûn Story Archive readers, and may not be copied or redistributed by any means without the explicit written consent of the author.