The Annals of the Black Kings

Approved Contributors

Naraal, Jexson, Khahaynd

Chronicle Summary

The false must be displaced by the true. It was the crowning of Eldacar which proved false, but it has been foretold that one will come who is strong enough to bind together the two divided kingdoms. 

Chronicle Content

Also referred to as the Lost Book of the True Kings, herein is written the story of Azrazôr, heir to the throne of King Castamir I. It chronicles the events of his life and all that he did. 

Azrazôr is descended from the ancient 'Ship-kings,' the rulers of Gondor between the ninth and twelfth centuries of the Third Age. Under their rule, the period of Gondor's greatest maritime expansion took place, and Gondor prospered. Their Númenórean ancestors had always been great mariners, and journeyed back to Middle-earth many centuries before the founding of the Realms-in-Exile; and the harbours at Umbar and Pelargir had  been founded a full thousand years before Minas Anor or Osgiliath.

Throughout the Second Age, the Númenóreans turned their attention eastward to realize their imperial ambition, and oppressed the men of Middle-earth, levying heavy tribute. Their tall ships brought back precious metals, gems, timber and slaves, and they established a great harbor at Umbar. When the Shadow fell on Númenór, most of those Númenóreans that were called the 'King's Men' perished in its downfall, but those who had taken up residence in Middle-earth survived. The King's Men were ever afterwards called the 'Black Númenóreans,' and were said to be "enamoured of evil knowledge" and worshipped Sauron.

The first Ship-king was Tarannon, twelfth King who constructed the first fleets and conquered the coastal areas south and west of the Mouths of the Anduin; in token of his victories he took the name Falastur, 'Lord-of-the-coasts.'

He was succeeded by his nephew Eärnil I in T.A. 913. Eärnil improved on Falastur's work, restoring the ancient Númenórean haven of Pelargir upon Anduin and capturing the rival Haven of Umbar two years after succeeding to the Throne, driving the lords of Umbar into exile. In 936 Eärnil I was lost at sea and his son Ciryanil succeeded as the third Ship-king. But he fared no better, and fell in battle in Umbar defending the Haven from an attack of Haradrim in T.A. 1015, which was led by the heirs of those lords that had been exiled from Umbar by his grandfather Eärnil I. 

Hyarmendacil I, born Ciryaher, Ciryandil's son, became the most powerful ruler in Gondor's history. He set in hand a program of fleet-building, all the while waiting to avenge his father. Hyarmendacil completely defeated the Haradrim and took their sons to live as hostages in the court of the King of Gondor. He reigned for one hundred and thirty-four years, the longest reign of all the Kings of Gondor of the line of Anarion, except one.

The Ship-kings' influence was such that, at the end of the reign of Hyarmendacil I, fourth and last of the Ship-kings, Gondor had reached a peak of strength and power that it would never again surpass. Indeed, the reign of the Ship-kings was followed by a period of stagnation, disasters, and wars that led to its decline. When Hyarmendacil died at the age of two hundred and fifty, he was succeeded by his son Atanatar II, "the Glorious." Atanatar was such a lover of idleness and luxury that people said, "precious stones are pebbles in Gondor for children to play with." A lazy, inept ruler, nothing was done to maintain the power that his ancestors had built, and his two sons Narmacil and Calmacil inherited their father's love of ease and neglect of political affairs. Calmacil's son Calimehtar succeeded the throne, but he is not mentioned in any annals of his own time at all; he is only notable in that his grandson Castamir attempted to gain the throne of Gondor during the bloody civil war known as the Kin-strife.

During this tumultuous period, in T.A. 1477 Pelargir was seized by the King's Men, but was regained after a year-long siege when the pretender Eldacar returned to Gondor at the head of an army composed of the barbaric Northmen and many of the folk from the northern fiefs of the realm. Castamir gathered the valourous peoples of the coasts, especially from Pelargir and Umbar, and met the usurper Eldacar's forces at the Crossings of Erui on the road between Pelargir and Minas Tirith. There Eldacar avenged his son Ornendil by slaying beloved King Castamir, but his sons escaped from the battle and held out at Pelargir. After enduring the Siege of Pelargir in T.A. 1446, their heirs to the Southern Kingdom and their followers sailed away to Umbar, for King Eldacar had no ships to stop them, and Umbar became a haven for the Black Númenóreans for generations. 



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