In Middle-Earth, there are many factions that are familiar to the average player. Gondor, Mordor, and Isengard are all familiar names; yet little is known about many others. Have you ever wanted to know the origins of the Half-Trolls of Pertorogwaith? Are you interested in the rise and fall of the ancient Taurethrim Empire? And what about the Golden Easterlings of Rhúdel? If so, you have come to the right place. The history of those unfamiliar to most inhabitants of Middle-Earth are soon to be revealed.
The Lost Chronicles were started by a group of moderators and Wiki staff (including Mevans, Boyd, Karseius, Grievous, Noah, Gruk, and Ithilion) in an attempt to flesh out and bring more attention to the lesser-known and mod-created factions of Middle-Earth. They are currently a work in progress.
Please note that none of these are official Tolkien canon, but should be considered official backstory in the mod itself.
The lands of Far Harad are a mystery to those living in the Westlands, who rarely travel further south than the kingdoms of Near Harad. But the Grasslands and Jungles of Far Harad are by no means uninhabited, and the peoples that live there have many stories behind them. The histories of the Taurethrim of the Great Jungles, the Morwaith of the Sunlands, and the Half-Trolls of Pertorogwaith are recorded here.
Mevans himself, in addition, created a document called "On the Names and Languages of the Haradrim," which explores the etymology of the various Haradrim people and provides context for some parts of the following historical texts. It can be found here.
The Taurethrim of the Jungles
The Taurethrim we know today are descendants of the third tribe of the original Haradrim, called the “Forest Peoples”. These people split from the “Plain Peoples” (the ancestors of the Morwaith and Cerinrim) and the “Desert Peoples” (the ancestors of the Southrons of Near Harad) in the First Age, and settled the many swamps and forests of Far Harad. It is thought that the Forest People settled at first around Lake Chunha. In the late First Age and early Second Age, the Forest People suffered a decline due to a great flood in the swamps, and so they wandered south and settled the Jungle and Mangroves of Far Harad. Over the course of generations, the Forest People diverged until they formed two distinct tribes: the Taurethrim of the Jungles and the Limwaith of the Mangroves.
In their early days, the Taurethrim lived in small and isolated villages, which differed little from those used by the other Far Haradrim. But after years of living in the unusual Jungles of the South, the Taurethrim began to develop a more unique way of life. They began building larger cities, the first of which was Ya'ash Kâh, which the ancient Taurethrim founded shortly after their flight from Chunha. The Taurethrim slowly started to unite under the rule of Namakush, a great chieftain who declared himself the first High King of the Taurethrim. He united the Taurethrim and made his people into an empire, which quickly branched out into the jungles, building more cities deep in the woods and an extensive network of roads.
Tûnich Kâh, a great city of stone, was built to the southeast of Ya'ash Kâh, while merchants founded Otoch Kâh in the west, and Shaman Pâh was built to the northeast, a great outpost home to many great warriors, who honed themselves in raids against the plains-dwellers to the north. The great city of Nohoch Kâh was built deeper in the jungles than any of the other early homes of the Taurethrim, and it was there that the Men of the Jungles first encountered the Mûmakil. They were awed by these great beasts, who they viewed as children of one of their chief gods, and so Nohoch Kâh quickly became the new capital of the Empire and the seat of all future High Kings.
In SA 800, during the reign of High King Kozamalotl, the Taurethrim first encountered the Númenóreans. Trade opened up between the Men of the West and the Men of the Jungles, with the Númenóreans desiring exotic goods and the Taurethrim desiring knowledge. Númenórean teachings led to great technological advancements among the Taurethrim, which saw their cities transformed into wonders of the world. Otoch Kâh became a hub of trade activity, as it was close to Taurelondë, one of the earliest Númenórean havens.
The new power and wealth acquired by the High Kings of the Taurethrim made them eager to expand their influence outside their forest. Around the year SA 1200, High King Tekwetli II rose to power, and announced that it was gods-given destiny of his people to conquer all of Harad.
His first target were the Limwaith inhabiting the Mangroves to the east. Although they were close relatives, the Taurethrim looked down on the Limwaith and considered them primitive, inferior by their very nature, destined only to be Taurethrim subjects. The Taurethrim army had no great difficulties in subduing the poorly-organized warriors of the Limwaith, and claimed all the Mangroves as part of their empire, taking the Limwaith as slaves. The Limwaith, under Taurethrim rule, would experience centuries of oppression, including several attempts to exterminate their culture and to assimilate them into the Taurethrim way of life, attempts that only ended with the Fall of the Empire. The city of Lakin Pâh was constructed to keep watch over the Mangroves, and in the immediate aftermath of the conquest of the Limwaith the Taurethrim also built outposts at the Ethir Haraduin.
The sons of Tekwetli II continued his wars, and they targeted the Morwaith tribes living along the mighty Haraduin river. In the past, small Morwaith raids against Taurethrim border villages had been not uncommon, and the warriors of Shaman Pâh had long been obliged to respond likewise, but the Taurethrim High Kings had not bothered to intervene before. This quickly changed, and Taurethrim forces attacked the southern tribes if Morwaith, those that dwelt closest to the jungles. Most of conquered tribes were forced into vassalhood, and were made to pay a great tribute to the Taurethrim High Kings, chiefly consisting of exotic animal materials and slaves. Their lands were claimed for the Empire, and their people were enslaved. The attention of the High Kings turned to the Cerinrim of the Bushlands to the south, and they expanded their Empire southwards, building estates near the Emerald Lakes, the great military city of Pishan Kâh, and Aktun Kâh, the southernmost city of the Empire, built among caves in a break in the range of mountains that rose through the midst of the jungles.
In the year 1311, the warlike and greedy High King Necalli was assassinated, and a period of peace reigned in the empire. King Moyolewani I took his place, and he became the first of the Splendour-Kings, a line of generous and beloved regents that brought a period of stability to the Empire. The Splendour-Kings greatly improved the infrastructure of the Empire, and they began to hoard valuable materials, most notably gold, which they began to mine in great quantities from the mountains.
But over time, the descendants of Necalli grew in strength. They started a cult devoted to the worship of their creator god Uz-Belehu, which spread quickly among the Taurethrim. In SA 1522, they retook the throne, with Tizok becoming the first of the line of Blood-Kings. His reign and those of his descendants were exceedingly bloody, but the Empire nonetheless grew stronger under them. It was Tizok who, after years of friendship, declared war on the Númenóreans, and began taking their goods and knowledge by force. The Númenóreans fought back, but they were never able to properly retaliate, as any army they sent into the jungles was quickly thwarted by the unfamiliar environment and the guerrilla tactics of the Taurethrim warriors.
During the reign of the Blood-Kings, the Taurethrim began building great temples, and their religious ceremonies once more began to involve human sacrifice, a practice they had abandoned under Númenórean influence. Among these many monuments were a series of massive pyramids built deep in the jungles, in which the High Kings began to hoard their greatest treasures, and which the shamans of the Taurethrim protected with ancient rites. These pyramids were built by slave labour, and frightening numbers of Morwaith and Limwaith died in the construction of the great monuments of the Men of the Jungles. Mûmakâh, the last of the great cities of the Empire, was built in the far south of the jungles during this time.
The Taurethrim Empire reached its zenith in the middle of the Second Age, around SA 1700. By this point, the influence of the High Kings extended far beyond the borders of the jungles, out into the savannahs, mangroves, and even some of the lands beyond. The Taurethrim grew rich off both the resources of the lands they ruled and off tribute from their vassals and neighbors, and aside from the Númenóreans, they were the mightiest force in all of Harad.
The Fall of the Empire
In the year 1750 of the Second Age, the ruling High King died of a black sickness that none could treat him for - a plague that, some claim, came out of Mordor, though the truth of that claim is unknown. In the wake of his father's death, a young boy became High King; his name was Kozawik, and even at that young age he had already become known as cruel. During his coronation, Sauron himself arrived from Mordor, greeting the new king and offering an alliance. Kozawik, seeing an opportunity to increase his power, agreed to ally and send tribute to Mordor, in exchange for guidance from Sauron and the destruction of his enemies. Among the Taurethrim, it is said that from that day forth a madness took him, a madness that turned him against his own people. He had been brutal before, in his own respect, and enjoyed the torment of living things, but now, through the power of Sauron, he had become an incredibly sadistic ruler. He slaughtered his own people for amusement, and in after-days was called Kozawik the Despised. How Sauron dominated him so is uncertain. Some say he was ensnared, as Ar-Pharazon of Númenor was. Other claim some fell magic of Mordor was to blame. Still more say that, at this first meeting, Sauron offered Kozawik a Ring to seal their alliance, a gift that Kozawik greedily claimed.
Years passed, and despite his brutality, the rule of Kozawik was very promising. The Empire flourished, and the Taurethrim were without question the rulers of Far Harad. Whatever power Sauron had over him was effective indeed, and it became apparent very quickly. Kozawik was able to lead his armies like none before, earning stunning victories against all that opposed him. Despite his brutality, revolts and attempted coups were few and far between, and always crushed in short order. But the power Sauron gave Kozawik, slowly at first, began to twist his mind,
Kozawik's bloodlust evolved into outright brutality. Once he had killed thousands of the Limwaith, Morwaith and Cerinrim around the Empire, he started killing his own people. Mighty Taurethrim families were killed when he felt they threatened his rule. People were executed purely for his amusement. The Taurethrim suffered greatly under the hands of their own High King, yet the power of the Dark Lord prevented any uprising. As if to add insult to injury, Kozawik lived an extraordinarily long life - which he mostly used to devastate his own realm. His terrible rule started to bother Sauron, who wanted to let the Taurethrim bleed in his wars and not for the amusement of his puppet. After more than a hundred years of his terrible reign, Kozawik disappeared without a trace.
Kozawik the Despised left the Taurethrim Empire as a shadow of its former self, for which Sauron had no use anymore. He had massacred his own people for entertainment, and with his disappearance the Taurethrim were left without a ruler, for Cozahuic left no surviving children, as he had killed his only son in a blood-rage. The Taurethrim Empire descended into chaos. A long and bloody civil war broke out, in which petty Chieftains and self-declared Kings struggled for power while further destroying the Taurethrim people and bringing their culture to the brink of death. Simultaneously, the Far Haradrim tribes that the Taurethrim had enslaved seized at the chance to regain their lost freedom.
The Limwaith of the Mangroves expelled the weakened Taurethrim from their lands, and took their bloody revenge by slaughtering any Taurethrim they found. Even more impactful was the uprising of the Morwaith around the Haraduin, who had suffered much under the rule of the Taurethrim. No matter what the scattered Taurethrim armies did, the Morwaith constantly defeated them, until the plains were abandoned entirely.
The Morwaith flooded into the northern Jungle, and killed, raped, and pillaged their way through many Taurethrim villages. This state of chaos lasted for nearly two centuries and had great impact on the Taurethrim: Much of their knowledge, culture and language was lost, and most of their cities became ruins. The great internal war that the Taurethrim had fought with themselves had caused the burning, collapse, or abandonment of most major cities, but it was the Morwaith that dealt the final blow. The remaining cities were sacked, and in a great battle the invaders wiped out the inhabitants of Nohoch Kâh, destroying the Taurethrim Empire forever.
The migration of great numbers of Morwaith into the jungles led to a merging of the two peoples. The Taurethrim, as they were, ceased to exist, though the new peoples adopted their culture. Many Morwaith rulers started slowly to adopt ancient Taurethrim traditions, seeking legitimacy in the history of the fallen Empire. The original Taurethrim language was lost, and the new Taurethrim people spoke a new tongue, one which combined the languages of the Morwaith and the Low Taurethrim speech, a language which had been spoken by the unlearned during the days of the Empire. The old names were forgotten, and the only remaining traces of the Taurethrim language were the names of the great cities, which now lay in ruins. Over time, all the peoples of the Jungle started to again call themselves Taurethrim, although the people inhabiting their lands were not truly, not anymore.
The Empire of Kimen Kâh
Seeing that the Jungle had not brought the Taurethrim any fortune in the past centuries of war, the Chieftain Acalan, who was considered one of the few true Taurethrim left in existence, looked into finding a new home for his people, and commanded his kin to leave the jungle and cross the Haraduin. There they founded a new city in the Far Harad Forest, which eventually became known as Kimen Kâh. It was the first time since the fall of the Taurethrim Empire that the Taurethrim had built a new city for themselves.
During the next few centuries, the city flourished and became known as the new and last true Taurethrim Kingdom. Acalan's dream had come true, and after his death in SA 2153 his son Ixbalnake became king. Only four years after the beginning of his reign, however, this new civilization came under threat. Unlike in the past, this threat was not Morwaith raiding parties or rival Taurethrim chieftains, but new creatures that were inhuman and terrible. The Taurethrim called them the “Grey Demons”, but they were known elsewhere as Half-Trolls.
These creatures had wiped out any Morwaith tribes living in the lands that became known as Pertorogwaith, and by the time of Kimen Kâh they were beginning to raid further and further westwards. The attacks of these Grey Demons intensified over the next few years, until finally, in SA 2161, the mighty city fell to the Half-Trolls. The Half-Trolls completely burned all that remained of the original Taurethrim civilization, and slaughtered the entire population of the city. It is for this reason that the site became called Kimen Kâh - the City of the Dead.
The fall of Kimen Kâh marked the end of Taurethrim attempts to settle the Far Harad Forest, as well as the end of the pureblooded Taurethrim. The last branch of the original Taurethrim Empire was completely destroyed, and with the city was lost grievous amounts of artifacts and texts from the old Empire. The river at which Kimen Kâh was built turned red with blood during the massacre, and so forever after it became known as the River of Blood, the Seregduin.
The Third Age
The situation in the Jungles started to improve at last in the early Third Age. Centuries of war, migration and chaos had led to irreversible change among the Men of the Jungles, and although by now they had little in common with their ancestors from long ago, they still proudly called themselves Taurethrim, claiming to be the very people who were once the undisputed rulers of Far Harad. They adopted the culture, the trappings, and even the way of life of those that came before, but they were not the same, and the Taurethrim would never again rule an empire.
The Taurethrim began to live in much greater isolation than they had before. They built their villages only in great clearings deep in the forests, usually around old monuments built during the time of the Empire. They rarely ventured outside the Jungles, and anyone that ventured beyond the treeline was, more often than not, greeted by blowgun-darts and daggers. Though they lived in peace compared to the time of civil war, the Taurethrim tribes were regularly disturbed by Southern Morwaith tribes, who sent and still send their warriors into the Jungles to capture Mumakil. This infuriated the Taurethrim, who still saw the Mûmakil as holy creatures, and they did everything in their power to stop the thefts, with little success.
Around TA 2500, tensions between the two people increased, as Morwaith incursions became more frequent, as they had begun to sell their captured Mûmakil to the Southrons. Even worse, in the eyes of the Taurethrim, was the havoc the Morwaith wreaked on the edges of the jungles. Wide swaths of land were deforested, as the Morwaith needed the wood from the jungles to send as tribute to the Southrons, and later to Mordor. The Taurethrim have effectively been in a state of war against the Morwaith and their Southron allies ever since.
The Taurethrim see Sauron as the ultimate reason that their great Empire fell, and as the root cause of all their suffering. For this reason, the Taurethrim are aligned against Mordor, and oppose any Haradrim allied with him to this very day. However, the struggles that the Taurethrim have endured have also given them a strong distrust of outsiders, and trust none other than themselves.
Religion and Culture
Not much is known about the Taurethrim's religion and culture. Only few tales survived the Fall of their Empire, including the creation myth of the Jungle: they tell of a colossal pillar of fire, which one day shattered and blanketed the earth in ash. From this ash came life, and this life grew and spread across a large swath of land. Some suspect this to refer to the destruction of the Lamps of the Valar - yet how would they know about these events?
The Taurethrim worships mysterious gods, which demand regular blood sacrifices. The only Jungle god known to the early Númenórean sailors was the goddess Uza-Mumaathu, who appeared as a Mumak and guarded the Jungle against evil spirits.
The Taurethrim language today is related to those of the Morwaith and Cerinrim, with mixes of the Low Taurethrim language (which was spoken by the poorer classes, and said to have been the tongue of the very first inhabitants of the jungles). The ancient Taurethrim language, which was closer to the Limwaith language, was lost after the Fall of the Taurethrim Empire, with all that remains in the daily speech a few words of half-remembered origin. The last speakers of this language or at least fragments of it are the shamans said to live in the mysterious city of Mumakaah in the deepest part of the Jungle, which is avoided even by most Taurethrim. It is said in whispered rumor that alone of all the Taurethrim cities Mumakaah, the most remote, was never destroyed, though it was abandoned for centuries.
The Morwaith of the Great Plains
The Morwaith are descendants of the second tribe of the original Haradrim, which we now call the "Plains Peoples." In the very early First Age, the Plains Peoples split off from the other two tribes - the "Desert Peoples", who settled in Near Harad and became the ancestors of the Southrons, and the "Forest Peoples", who, at the time, settled the Swamplands around Lake Chunha, who became the ancestors of the Taurethrim and Limwaith. The Plains Peoples settled the wide Grasslands and Bushlands of Far Harad, and over time they diverged into two separate peoples - the Morwaith of the Grasslands and the Cerinrim of the Bushlands. Of all the Far Haradrim peoples, the Morwaith were spread out the most by far, even after the Taurethrim migrated to the Great Jungle.
From early on, the Morwaith were very sectarian. Due to how vast a swath of land they were spread over, they quickly splintered into hundreds of tribes, each with their own chieftains and village networks. But remarkably, they have maintained many customs that their people have practiced since the beginning, and differences between the tribes aren't as pronounced as one could reasonably expect. The Morwaith live lives based around hunting and gathering, which has made their people into natural warriors. Morwaith tribes are usually rather small, generally no larger than the population of a single village, though larger tribes with multiple villages are not unheard of. The greatest warriors of these tribes become Chieftains, who prove their worth by killing the fearsome lions of the grasslands and wearing their fur. These tribes frequently compete with each other, though enemy tribes will usually band together against any sort of external enemy.
Central to Morwaith culture is the concept of the Great Lion. Though some Morwaith, especially younger members of more northerly tribes, have begun to worship Sauron, as many of their Southron allies do, most Morwaith worship the Great Lion, a deity they consider a symbol of strength, who both created the world and will destroy it in time. The Morwaith believe that the Great Lion grants strength to the worthy, and will devour the souls of all Men when their time is come. Of particular importance, especially to the western tribes, is the belief that the Great Lion waits beyond the mountains in the west, waiting to arise and swallow all the earth, ending the world of Men.
The Grasslands of Far Harad are perilous, and so travel between Morwaith villages is fairly infrequent, and usually only done by warriors. As a result, contact between Morwaith tribes is limited, and no sort of centralized government or community has ever developed between them. This, of course, complicates the matter of tracking and recording their history. As a result, their history is recorded here geographically, with the Morwaith divided into four regional subgroups.
The Northern Morwaith
The Northern Morwaith dwell in the Arid Grasslands just south of the river Edrainnen, which forms the border between Near Harad and Far Harad. The Arid Grasslands are a harsher environment than the more fertile lands to the south, and so the Northern Morwaith tribes were forced to band more closely together from the beginning. The average Northern Morwaith tribe is much larger than the average tribe of any other Morwaith subgroup, and they frequently include multiple villages and hunting-camps, but there are fewer of them than there are in other parts of the Grasslands.
In general, the Northern Morwaith are much less traditional and much more pragmatic than their southern brethren, likely due to Southron influence. The conditions of the Arid Grasslands and the history of their tribes has made them the greatest warriors of the Morwaith, greatly skilled at hunting both beasts and Men. The Emyn Haecharad, a range of hills that cuts across the western half of the Arid Grasslands, are considered somewhat sacred by many northern tribes, for reasons that have been mostly lost. The greatest settlements of the Northern Morwaith are in the plains north of the Emyn Haecharad, where their hunters often hunt and trade with Southron poachers, and near the Hill of the Sun, a site in the eastern part of the Arid Grasslands where, the Morwaith hold, the first chieftain of the "Plains Peoples" lies buried.
From very early on in the Second Age, the Northern Morwaith developed close ties with their Southron neighbors. The kingdoms of the Southron Coasts and the Gulf of Harad made alliances with Northern Morwaith tribes, who gave them exotic goods like lion fur and rhino horns in exchange for weapons. This alliance with the Southrons has long been a major source of strength for the Northern Morwaith, who have become the most advanced of the Men of the Grasslands and, recently, the most powerful. Though few Morwaith have bothered to learn the art of metalworking, the northern tribes are always eager to acquire new weapons from their Southron friends, seeking ever to become better hunters.
Over the course of the Second Age and into the early Third Age, the Northern Morwaith continuously drew closer to the Southrons. Many Morwaith tribes aided them in their conflicts with the Númenóreans during the Second Age, and some even marched north with the kingdoms of Near Harad during the War of the Last Alliance. As a result, some Northern Morwaith tribes have even begun to adopt aspects of Southron culture, including their reverence for Sauron. This became especially true in the early Third Age, when wars began to break out between the Southrons and the Kingdom of Gondor.
It was in the early Third Age that Morwaith Mercenaries began to appear in Near Harad, travelling in small groups and setting up camps in the lands of the Southrons. For most of the Age, these mercenaries have left their tribes in the Arid Grasslands to join the Southrons, adopting Southron equipment and selling their services out to the highest bidder. These mercenaries became renowned across Near Harad as brave and reliable warriors, whose skills at assassination were second to none. It is said that, prior to her departure for Gondor, Queen Berúthiel of Harad maintained a personal guard of Morwaith Mercenaries, though some report that these were simply warriors from a powerful tribe, whose chieftain - one of Berúthiel's many lovers - had granted her their services as a gift.
Morwaith Mercenaries became infamous on a much larger scale during the Siege of Umbar in TA 1015. Ciryandil, the fourteenth King of Gondor, was slain in that battle by a Morwaith Mercenary, dealing a major blow to Gondorian forces. Unfortunately for the Southrons, this enraged Ciryandil's son, who ended up vassalizing the kingdoms of Near Harad and naming himself Hyarmendacil I. Warriors of the Northern Morwaith fought with the Southrons in this war until its end in TA 1050, after which Hyarmendacil sent envoys south to the Chieftains of the Northern Morwaith. These envoys were always violently rebuffed, and in several cases the Morwaith killed them outright.
As Gondor's hold on Near Harad weakened over the centuries that followed, the Southron kingdoms began to fight back and free themselves, and the Northern Morwaith tribes played a major role in this rebellion, especially the Morwaith Mercenaries, who were often sent to assassinate key Gondorian military figures in the region. Morwaith tribes sent groups of warriors to aid the armies of the Southrons in their fight against Gondor frequently, and with their help the Southrons were eventually able to drive Gondor out of Near Harad entirely. These long years of war have left their mark on the Northern Morwaith, whose loyalty to their Southron allies has been joined by a burning hatred for Gondor.
When Sauron returned and once more declared himself the Dark Lord of Mordor, the kingdoms of Near Harad flocked to his side, and most of the Northern Morwaith tribes eagerly flocked to join them. Many of the Northern Morwaith youth have forsaken the Great Lion entirely in favor of worshipping Sauron, and are eager to prove themselves in service to the Eye. As the Southrons push further north, the Morwaith of the Arid Grasslands oftentimes join them, and they await the day when Mordor will call them forth to war with the Men of Gondor.
The Eastern Morwaith
The tribes of the Eastern Morwaith live in the fertile grasslands and forests around the Great Lakes of Far Harad, a land full of beasts for the Morwaith to hunt. Until recently, they lived in relative isolation from the other Morwaith, and they remain the most primitive of the Morwaith subgroups. They warriors are skilled in stealth tactics, and even their civilians are known for their ability to hide, both skills that the Eastern Morwaith have developed due to millennia of hardship. They hold the Great Lakes around which they live to be holy sites, great sources of life that they fiercely protect from invaders. The largest settlements of the Eastern Morwaith are situated between the two northernmost lakes and near the Haraduin Bridge, an ancient Taurethrim construct that Morwaith Beast-Chainers have since rebuilt.
For the first half of the Second Age, the Eastern Morwaith lived more or less in peace. This changed in SA 1800, when monstrous creatures known as Half-Trolls started raiding the mainland from Tol Torog. The Half-Trolls gradually drove the Morwaith out of the lands east of the river Seregduin, which in later days became known as Pertorogwaith, and continued to raid westwards. The Eastern Morwaith were completely outmatched by the Half-Trolls and routinely slaughtered. They fearfully began calling the Half-Trolls the Grey Demons, who were more beast than man and devoured men whole. Many Eastern Morwaith villages fell victim to the Grey Demons, and the Morwaith were forced to adopt stealthier tactics to survive the raids.
Around SA 2130, Taurethrim refugees settled in the forests west of Pertorogwaith, and there built a city that, in later days, would be called Kimen Kâh. The Taurethrim of Kimen Kâh made peace with the Eastern Morwaith tribes, promising protection from the Half-Trolls in exchange for their service. Tribe by tribe, Eastern Morwaith gladly accepted, and their lands became the Empire of Kimen Kâh. Morwaith warriors were pressed into service to fight for the Empire and to provide Kimen Kâh with food, but there were few objections to this arrangement among the Morwaith, for while the Empire lasted it did indeed provide them with respite from Half-Troll attacks. Unfortunately for the Eastern Morwaith, it didn't last long. Around thirty years after the founding of Kimen Kâh, a huge army of Half-Trolls swarmed into the forests and attacked the city, burning it to the ground and slaughtering its inhabitants.
With their Taurethrim allies now completely wiped out, the Eastern Morwaith tribes were forced to unite out of desperation, and so they were able to prevent the Half-Trolls from conquering any of the lands beyond the rivers that bordered Pertorogwaith. Later in the Second Age, they allied with the Limwaith of the Mangroves and struck back against the Half-Trolls, who were crippled by infighting at the time. They were able to secure the Seregduin completely and weaken the Half-Trolls further, but they were unable to advance into Pertorogwaith, and by the start of the Third Age the Half-Trolls began to get stronger once more.
To make matters worse, the Limwaith began to focus more on getting revenge on the Taurethrim than holding off the Half-Trolls, and the tribes of the Eastern Morwaith gradually began to fracture. The Half-Trolls exploited this resumed their raids into the Grasslands, annihilating a number of Morwaith tribes and driving others into hiding. The Eastern Morwaith managed to keep the Half-Trolls away from the two northern Great Lakes, and to this very day that region is kept secure by their greater hunters, but the Half-Trolls ran rampant in the forest, and all the tribes of the Eastern Morwaith suffered at the hands of their raiders for most of the Age.
About midway through the Third Age, many of the Eastern Morwaith began to tire of this devastating cycle, and sought a way out. When Southern Morwaith tribes began making alliances with the Southrons, they got their chance. The kingdoms of Near Harad demanded tribute from the Southern Morwaith in exchange for aid against the Taurethrim, and the Southern Morwaith provided them with wood from the jungle and captured Mûmakil. A group of Eastern Morwaith inserted themselves into this arrangement, acting as middlemen between the Morwaith and the Southrons. They became known as the Beast-Chainers, for they came to specialize in the transport of captive Mûmakil, which the Southern Morwaith sold to the Southrons for use as war-beasts. The Beast-Chainers rebuilt the Bridge of Haraduin, and to this day Southern Morwaith hunting parties hand their captive Mûmakil off to the Beast-Chainers at this site. The Beast-Chainers then lead the Mûmakil north across the plains and sell them to the Gulfings of Khopazûl, who often trade them off to the other Southron kingdoms. The Beast-Chainers built their own settlement at a site where they frequently met the Gulfings, a strange village that the Gulfings nicknamed the Town of Bones. With war brewing in the North, the Beast-Chainers are thriving, and the Town of Bones is often visited by Gulfing traders and Northern Morwaith hunters.
For the rest of the Eastern Morwaith, life became even harder in the late Third Age, as Half-Troll attacks began to intensify for reasons unknown. To the dismay of the Morwaith, the Half-Trolls had organized, more so than they ever had before, and in their unity they threatened to destroy the eastern tribes. But even as these attacks grew worse, the Chieftains of the strongest of these tribes received envoys from Sauron, the Dark Lord of Mordor, who promised that he would free them from their Half-Troll enemies if they swore allegiance to him. They readily accepted, as, eventually, did almost all of the Eastern Morwaith tribes, and the attacks ceased almost immediately. In gratitude, the Eastern Morwaith joined with their Northern brothers in the service of Mordor, eager to aid their savior against the Men of Gondor.
The Southern Morwaith
The Southern Morwaith are the most populous Morwaith subgroup, the inhabitants of the fertile grasslands along the river Haraduin. Though they are primarily hunter-gatherers, like all Morwaith, they rely on agriculture to a greater degree than the other subgroups, and are especially fond of yams. Frequently, their hunters raid the jungles for exotic prey and plants; in recent millennia, they have begun chopping down trees and capturing Mûmakil, much to the ire of the Taurethrim. Many of the local legends of Southern Morwaith tribes prominently feature the Gates of Fire, a small range of volcanic mountains that lies near the center of the Grasslands; many Morwaith believe that the Gates lead down to the heart of the earth, and some of the tribes that dwell close to the volcanoes send their young warriors there to prove themselves. There are several powerful large tribes among the Southern Morwaith; their largest settlements lie in the Upper Floodplains, in Deep Harad near the Gates of Fire, and at Nan Hardagorath, a lush green valley that has been the site of many battles.
The Southern Morwaith lived in relative peace until around SA 1250, when the Taurethrim Empire turned its eyes northwards, seeking to conquer all of Harad. On the orders of the Taurethrim High King, the armies of the Empire swarmed north into the grasslands, conquering any Morwaith tribes they encountered. Many battles between the Morwaith and Taurethrim were fought, including several at Nan Hardagorath, but the Taurethrim were stronger due to their superior equipment and unit cohesion. The Empire quickly conquered all of the lands south of the Haraduin, and then they pushed farther, moving north past the Gates of Fire and stopping only when they reached the borders of the Arid Grasslands.
All Morwaith tribes south of the Haraduin were outright enslaved, as were many north of it, and the rest of the Southern Morwaith were forced to become vassals of the Taurethrim Empire. Morwaith slaves were forced to grow corn and yams for their Taurethrim masters, and in the days of the Taurethrim Blood-Kings they were used also to build monuments, most notably the great pyramids of the jungle, an undertaking that came with a high cost in lives. Few Morwaith rose above slave status under the Taurethrim, and though there are tales of a few that became prominent warriors, these cases were rare. The Morwaith came to hate the Taurethrim for their cruel treatment of their people and the high tributes they demanded, and rebelled several times, only for each rebellion to be completely crushed. By SA 1600, all of the Southern Morwaith were under the dominion of the Taurethrim Empire, and they had little hope of breaking free.
But this was soon to change. In the year 1750 of the Second Age, the ruling High King of the Taurethrim Empire died of a black sickness that none could treat him for. In the wake of his father's death, a young boy became High King; his name was Kozawik, and even at that young age he had already become known as cruel. During his coronation, Sauron himself arrived from Mordor, greeting the new king and offering an alliance. Kozawik, seeing an opportunity to increase his power, agreed to ally and send tribute to Mordor, in exchange for guidance from Sauron and the destruction of his enemies. Among the Taurethrim, it is said that from that day forth a madness took him, a madness that turned him against his own people. He had been brutal before, in his own respect, and enjoyed the torment of living things, but now, through the power of Sauron, he had become an incredibly sadistic ruler. He slaughtered his own people for amusement, and in after-days was called Kozawik the Despised. How Sauron dominated him so is uncertain. Some say he was ensnared, as Ar-Pharazon of Númenor was. Other claim some fell magic of Mordor was to blame. Still more say that, at this first meeting, Sauron offered Kozawik a Ring to seal their alliance, a gift that Kozawik greedily claimed.
Kozawik was, at first, a very promising leader; he was able to lead his armies like none before, earning stunning victories against all that opposed him. Despite his brutality, revolts and attempted coups were few and far between, and always crushed in short order. But the power Sauron gave Kozawik, slowly at first, began to twist his mind. Kozawik's bloodlust evolved into outright brutality. Once he had killed thousands of the Limwaith, Morwaith and Cerinrim around the Empire, he started killing his own people. The Taurethrim suffered greatly under the hands of their own High King, yet the power of the Dark Lord prevented any uprising. As if to add insult to injury, Kozawik lived an extraordinarily long life - which he mostly used to devastate his own realm. His terrible rule started to bother Sauron, who wanted to let the Taurethrim bleed in his wars and not for the amusement of his puppet. After more than a hundred years of his terrible reign, Kozawik disappeared without a trace.
Kozawik the Despised left the Taurethrim Empire as a shadow of its former self, for which Sauron had no use anymore. He had massacred his own people for entertainment, and with his disappearance the Taurethrim were left without a ruler, for Kozawik left no surviving children, as he had killed his only son in a blood-rage. The Taurethrim Empire descended into chaos. A long and bloody civil war broke out, in which petty Chieftains and self-declared Kings struggled for power while further destroying the Taurethrim people and bringing their culture to the brink of death. But where the Taurethrim saw disaster, the Morwaith saw an opportunity - an opportunity to regain their long-lost freedom.
As the Taurethrim Empire collapsed, the Morwaith drove their former overlords out of the Grasslands, and then they began raiding the Jungle, seeking revenge for centuries of torment. Morwaith hordes flooded the northern Jungles, and many tribes even settled there. The Morwaith razed any Taurethrim cities or villages that they found, and over the course of a century the old Taurethrim Empire was completely destroyed, victim to the people it had once enslaved. Soon, the entirety of the Great Jungle fell under the rule of Morwaith chieftains, and the Taurethrim that were left were forced to integrate with them.
But gradually, those Morwaith that had moved into the Jungle diverged from those that had stayed in the Grasslands. As they merged with the remnants of the Taurethrim, they started to adopt Taurethrim empire, eventually coming to call themselves the new Taurethrim, the heirs to the fallen Empire. As the Empire of Kimen Kâh, the last holdout of the original Taurethrim civilization, rose and then fell, the Morwaith of the Jungles became a new people, one that had more in common with the ancient Taurethrim than with the Morwaith. Over the course of centuries, both they and their enemies stopped differentiating between the Taurethrim of old and the new rulers of the Jungle.
The remaining Southern Morwaith despised the new Taurethrim, and set out to finish what their ancestors started. Over the course of the Third Age, many battles were fought between the Morwaith and Taurethrim, as Taurethrim chieftains sought to expand the scope of their power and Morwaith raiders sought to wipe out their ancient enemies. During one such conflict between the two groups, many Southern Morwaith tribes began working with the Northern Morwaith, and with their Southron allies, in hopes of gaining an edge over the Men of the Jungles. The Southrons of the Gulf of Harad promised aid in exchange for tribute, which the Morwaith gladly provided in the form of wood from the Jungle and Mûmakil, which their hunting parties captured in Jungle raids and sent north to be used as warbeasts by the Southrons. Typically, Southern Morwaith hunters will capture Mûmakil and bring them to the Bridge of Haraduin, where they trade the beasts off to Eastern Morwaith Beast-Chainers and collect their payment.
In recent years, the Southern Morwaith tribes have also come into contact with Sauron, who, like the Southrons, offered aid in exchange for tribute. In exchange for some of their warriors, Sauron has promised to help the Morwaith completely annihilate the Taurethrim, an offer that made most of the the Southern Morwaith tribes allies of Mordor in short order. But though the Southern Morwaith are becoming increasingly involved with the Shadow, their primary focus is still on the Taurethrim, with whom they are still in a state of perpetual conflict.
The Western Morwaith
The Western Morwaith, the final cultural subgroup of the Men of the Grasslands, are few in number, and little is said of them. They alone of the Far Haradrim dwelt west of the great Mountains of Harad, from the lands around Taurelondë to the foothills of Mount Astras. They are much more peaceful than their relatives across the Mountains, and most western tribes are deeply religious and thoroughly devoted to the Great Lion. These were likely a contributing factor in the fate that ultimately befell them.
The Western Morwaith had the most contact with the Númenóreans, who set up many colonies in the rocky western coasts of Far Harad. At first, this was a positive influence, and the Western Morwaith gained much from trade with the Númenóreans. But when the Shadow began to fall over Númenór, it is said that it fell first and hardest over the colonies in Harad, and the Western Morwaith suffered greatly for this change. Black Númenóreans took over Taurelondë and its subordinate colonies across the western coasts of Harad, and they began pillaging the interior of the continent. Most of the Western Morwaith were enslaved by them, and the Black Númenóreans often used them as human sacrifices, spilling their blood in the name of Melkor.
Black Númenórean dominion over the Western Morwaith lasted for the rest of the Second Age, but the colonies quickly died out between conflict and decreasing populations. The Western Morwaith tried to recover, but the Corsairs of Umbar filled the void that the Black Númenóreans had left, taking over the coasts and pillaging the strip of land that the Western Morwaith occupied. Many of the Slaves of Harad sold by Corsair slavers come from Western Morwaith tribes, few of which now remain.
The Half-trolls of Pertorogwaith
The Half-trolls are a mysterious and brutish race unlike any other in Middle-Earth, the inhabitants of the volcanic land of Pertorogwaith on the eastern coasts of Far Harad. They are monstrous creatures that resemble stunted trolls with tusks, dark skin, and Orkish customs. All of the Far Haradrim tribes hate and fear them, and many call them Grey Demons, telling many legends about their origins and claiming that they devour men whole. Their origins are shrouded in mystery, and from Far Harad to the lands of Gondor many tales are told of how the Half-trolls came to be. But most of them are less horrible than the truth: the Half-trolls are the results of an experiment conducted by Sauron.
In SA 1702, Sauron had recently lost the War of the Elves and Sauron, in which the armies of Mordor invaded Eriador but, eventually, were successfully repelled by the High Elves and the Men of Númenór. His defeat made clear to him that he needed new types of Morgul-spawn to improve his armies, which at the time were almost entirely composed of simple Orcs. Sauron had already experimented in the crossing of Orcs and Men, resulting in the Uruk-hai, but he had been unsuccessful at breeding them in large numbers, and his enemies had learned of their existence. To avoid their scrutiny, Sauron left Mordor in secret and travelled south to Tol Torog, a desolate volcanic island off the eastern coast of Far Harad.
Whether Sauron genuinely crossbred Trolls and Men or whether his experimentation was performed through other means cannot be said for certain. What is known is that the results were impressive. Sauron's Half-trolls were twice the size of Men and four times as strong, and they were resistant to sunlight, as Sauron had hoped that they would be. But the experiment was not a complete success. Sauron had hoped that his Half-trolls would be able to lead the armies of Mordor, but the Half-trolls soon proved to be rather unintelligent, less so than Orcs and Uruks, and just as quarrelsome as his other servants were. The nail in the coffin, however, was that the Half-trolls bred slowly. It would take centuries for them to reach numbers great enough for them to be of any use, and Sauron did not have centuries to spare. Deeming the Half-trolls a failure, he abandoned them, returning to Mordor and leaving Tol Torog to them.
The Half-trolls quickly seized Tol Torog for their own, dotting it with their simple one-room houses and hunting several local animal species to extinction. It didn't take long for their warlords to begin to look southwards across the narrow channel that separated Tol Torog from the mainland, and about a century after Sauron left the Half-trolls to their fate, they crossed it and began raiding the land beyond. The Eastern Morwaith tribes that dwelt in the region were no match for them, and soon the Half-trolls drove them from that part of the coast entirely. They swept down from Tol Torog to the river Seregduin, and from there they claimed a long, crooked volcanic peninsula that lay further south. Fearful Númenórean mariners named these lands Pertorogwaith, and they quickly became desolate.
The Half-trolls were bloodthirsty and savage by nature, and so their warlords constantly attacked the Eastern Morwaith tribes that bordered Pertorogwaith, seeking to turn the blades of their people against something other than each other. Entire tribes were massacred by the Half-trolls, and the Morwaith quickly became their favorite targets, as they were close at hand and couldn't match the sheer strength of Sauron's monstrous creations. The Half-trolls, from the beginning, had a hatred for all men, and for most of their history they would kill any that they encountered, making no alliances save amongst themselves.
The Eastern Morwaith, however, had no such reservations. When a Taurethrim king led his people north to the forests west of Pertorogwaith and founded the Empire of Kimen Kâh, the Eastern Morwaith allied with them out of desperation, and the Taurethrim and Morwaith worked together to keep the Half-trolls at bay. And they were successful - the Half-Trolls were unable to break out of Pertorogwaith for decades, as the armies of Kimen Kâh constantly kept them beyond the borders of the forest. Rage and hatred for the Taurethrim began to build up among the Half-trolls, and it got to the point that, for the first time, they united. In SA 2161, the greatest warlords of the Half-trolls met at Durfalas, a site on the eastern coast of Pertorogwaith where sacrifices to Sauron were frequently performed, and there made an alliance against Kimen Kâh.
The Half-trolls gathered their armies and swarmed Kimen Kâh, crushing the troops of the Taurethrim and Morwaith in a battle on the edges of the forest before besieging the city itself. The Taurethrim recalled all of their armies to defend the last bastion of their once-great empire, but it was of no use. Kimen Kâh fell, and the Half-trolls slaughtered its entire population, killing so many that the river at which the city was built ran red, for which reason it was named the Seregduin, the River of Blood. The Half-trolls burned Kimen Kâh to the ground, and the parts of the forest that had once been the heartland of its empire became cursed, slowly withering due to an unbreaking shroud of fog. This forest, the Taur-na-Torogrim, remained under the control of the Half-Trolls for millennia.
With the Taurethrim gone, the Eastern Morwaith were now faced with united Half-troll armies, and their hope seemed slim. But in desperation, the Morwaith tribes united, and so they were able to prevent the Half-trolls from progressing beyond the Taur-na-Torogrim. This lack of process infuriated the Half-trolls, and the alliance between the warlords fractured as the Second Age came to a close. The Half-trolls began to fight amongst themselves, coating Pertorogwaith with their own blood, and the Morwaith took advantage of this. Allying with the Limwaith of the nearby Mangroves, the Eastern Morwaith struck back, driving the Half-trolls back beyond the rivers that bordered Pertorogwaith, which they held. The victorious Far Haradrim were unable to advance into Pertorogwaith itself, but the Half-trolls had nonetheless been weakened as the Third Age dawned.
By the start of the Third Age, Pertorogwaith had been more or less completely converted into the Half-trolls' new home. The volcano-ridden land had already been somewhat desolate, but the Half-Trolls finished the job, driving out many animal species and desecrating the land. They made few large-scale settlements; the Half-trolls, for the most part, lived alone, and their tribes were often spread out over large swaths of land. There were, however, a few exceptions. A larger village was built at Durfalas shortly after the fall of Kimen Kâh, near the great black rock that marked the site where the warlords had made their alliance. Similar villages, at one point, were built along the Seregduin and on Tol Torog. Tol Torog itself was crudely fortified, and near the southern tip of Pertorogwaith several Half-troll tribes banded together and built Hartorogost shortly after the start of the Third Age, a crude city that quickly became the heart of power in Pertorogwaith.
As the Third Age began, the Limwaith began to turn their attention away from the Half-trolls and towards the Taurethrim, and the Half-trolls seized on their chance to rebound. They swept back into the forests of the eastern Grasslands and resumed their raids on Morwaith villages, terrorizing the tribes of the east, who barely managed to keep the hordes of Pertorogwaith from destroying their civilization. The Morwaith managed to prevent the Half-trolls from desecrating the Great Lakes, but they ran rampant in the forest, and the Morwaith tribes were at their mercy for most of the rest of the Age.
Seeking more of a challenge, the Half-trolls began raiding the Mangroves as well, razing several Limwaith villages and teaching the fisher-folk to fear them. As they began cutting south across the coast, however, they discovered more worthy opponents - the Cerinrim. The Men of the Bushlands, who worshipped a brutal War God, despised the Half-trolls above all else, and war broke out between the two immediately, with the Limwaith often getting caught in the middle. Over the course of the Third Age, many wars were fought between the Half-trolls and the Cerinrim, and the two came to hate each other fiercely. For the Cerinrim, nothing held greater honor than sacrificing a Half-troll to the War God, and the warlords of the Half-trolls were united in their desire to see the Cerinrim utterly exterminated.
At the end of the Third Age, as Sauron returned to Mordor and began rebuilding his base of power, he remembered his long-abandoned creations, and sent emissaries to Pertorogwaith. The Warlords of the Half-trolls met with these emissaries at Durfalas, and once more they entered into an alliance, this time in the service of Mordor. Sauron's servants told the Half-trolls tales of a land far to the north, a land inhabited by Men opposed to Mordor. The Half-trolls pledged to aid in Sauron's war against them, and in turn Sauron promised the Half-trolls that they would be given all of Far Harad to rule. Immediately, the warlords began sending companies north to join the Southrons to aid in battles at the Crossings of Poros, and once more the Half-trolls became wholly devoted to Sauron.
But Sauron had a task for the Half-trolls to perform in Far Harad, as well. He ordered them to increase the frequency and size of their attacks on the Morwaith, and the Half-trolls gladly complied. At the same time, Sauron sent emissaries to the chieftains of the Eastern Morwaith, promising to bring an end to the attacks if they swore allegiance to him. The Morwaith eagerly complied, and Sauron ordered the Half-trolls to halt their attacks on the Morwaith, and even march alongside armies of them on the way to the war that brews in the north. The Half-trolls are hungry for blood, and the coming war with Gondor is sure to sate their bloodlust.