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Adûnabêth

Adûnabeth

Location(s)
Language(s)
Birth
S.A. 1823
Death
T.A. 3019
Gender
Male (female to some sources)

The Seventh of the Nazgûl (Q." Ulaire Otsea") was also known as The Dark Messenger, The Knight of Umbar and The Quiet Wraith.

The Wraith's true origin is unknown, but the Parma Úlairion has preserved an old Legend about a fallen Númenórean knight. However, it is unknown if this legend - or how much of it - is reliable.

Names and Identities

  • Adûnabêth the Quiet - according to a different variant of the Legend, the name of the Bar of Vamag
  • Ard the Vain - the name of the Ruler of Umbar in the Second Age
  • Ard Once Vain - the name of Ard among the Haradrim
  • Black Specter
  • the Dark Messenger - the name of the Messenger of Morgûl
  • the Knight of Umbar - a name of the fallen Rebel-King of Umbar
  • Númendil - according to a different variant of the Legend, the birth-name of the Dark Messenger
  • the Quiet Avenger - the seventh name among the Black Númenóreans
  • the Quiet Wraith
  • Seventh of the Nine
  • Ulaire Otsea' - the seventh name among the High-Elves

The Legend of the Quiet Avenger

Adûnabêth the Quiet

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Adûnabêth was born in his uncle Adûnazil's home (Bar Forowing) on Númenor's North Cape in Forostar in the year S.A 1823. His family possessed noble blood and owned extensive lands in Forostar and Orrostar. Even as a young child, he was recognized as being exceptionally beautiful, but his youth was scarred by the death of his father Adûnahil, who was murdered by Adûnazil.He dwelled in remorse for many years and fought with his unstable mother Alcariel, whose ties with the Eldar had disturbed her father and had been the source of marital strife. Adûnbêth's despair over his father’s death and the blame he attributed to his mother contributed to his fervent support of her uncle’s small “Adûnaic” faction in the court of Tar-Ciryatan (r. S.A 1869-2029).

Like Adûnazil and his ally Prince Er-Mûrazôr, the future Witch-King), Adûnabêth sought to sever Númenor’s close ties with the Elves, in hope that the Edain could build along their own cultural line and expand their military and economic strength. His ultimate hope, of course, was to see Númenórean dominion over all Men. This aim drove would soon force him to leave Númenor.

In S.A. 1914, Adûnabêth planned to seek his own crown from his uncle, but no such opportunity existed in his homeland.He followed the course of many of his royal allies under Adûnazil's command and ventured east towards to Middle-Earth. Landing with his retainers at the haven of Umbar, including a small Númenórean anchorage, he was forced to settle at Vamag (Har. “Blood Fell”) on the northwestern tip of the kingdom's peninsula while his uncle took control over Umbar's capital city. There, he erected a citadel that became the focus of his expanding domain.

By S.A. 1939, Adûnabêth and his uncle Adûnazil overtly controlled much of Middle-earth’s coastal lands between the land of Umbar and the river Harnen, while his agents in Umbar manipulated the growing trade center and the territory to the south. The Lord of Vamag became a major influence among the Haradrim as well, his power and rapacious nature overwhelming the primitive Haradan fishermen and nomads. However, he was forced to watch as his uncle became the ruling "King of Umbar" and ruled much of western Near Harad as Ard the Vain, preparing for the eventual conquest of Umbar and Far Harad. All seemed well to the Lord from the West.

Forty-eight years later, King Tar-Ciryatan of Númenor demanded that Adûnabêth paid him both homage and taxes which was part of his uncle's plan to remove him since he feared that he would learn the truth of his father's death. He ordered him to remove his warriors from the kingdom of Umbar and to submit to Númenórean rule. This edict drove Adûnabêth into a rage and he refused to abide by the harsh terms issued from Armenelos. Instead, he sent envoys to Armenelos in hope of reaching a compromise. For the next fourteen years, Adûnabêth and his overlord engaged in diplomatic sparring and quiet intrigue, all the while recognizing Númenor’s supremacy.

However, after fourteen years passed, Adûnabêth would eventually learn the truth about what happened to his father from Fuinur Stormheart, who betrayed Adûnazil. This forced to go berserk, in which he confronted his uncle in the Haven of Umbar and killed him.He then commanded his own garrison and traveled back to Númenor to confront his brother for being involved. Upon confronting him, he ignored his brother's plea and told him that he brought this upon himself and killed him.

Sauron of Mordor saw the dispute as an opportunity to achieve two goals: first, the defeat of a rival for Haradan favor; and secondly, a means of delaying the expansion of a much more potent potential enemy. Sauron’s minions fought a number of small wars with Adûnabêth for control of Near Harad, and the Dark Lord hoped to seize the initiative in the land. More importantly, Sauron desired a delay in Tar-Ciryatan’s planned expansion around the strategic firth of Umbar. Only Númenor rivaled Mordor for control over the realms of the Secondborn and, after Sauron’s defeat in Eriador in S.A. 1700, he required a great deal of time to rebuild his shattered strength. He saw in Tar-Ciryatan what he had long feared – a prideful and hungry Adan monarch bent on taking Middle-Earth.

Sauron’s agents, including a pair of Adûnabêth’s captains, kept him well informed about the Lord from the West. He learned of his vanity and his hatred of the Eldar and discerned his yearning for immortality, so in S.A. 2001 he approached him with the gift of a Ring of Power and the prospect of eternal life. Reviled by his own King and desirous of the gifts offered by the Dark Lord, Adûnabêth accepted the Ring and fell under the sway of the Shadow.He became the seventh King of Men to become a Nazgûl.

Adûnabêth the Ringwraith

Adûnabêth remained at Vamag for nearly three hundred years after becoming a Ringwraith, and it was during this relatively brief period that he became known amongst the Haradrim as Ard Once Vain. His Black Númenórean subjects called him Adûnabêth the Quiet. While he had once boldly displayed his beauty and strength, the fallen Númenorean lord cloaked himself behind a suit of black armour, never showing his face and never appearing during daylight hours. The man that claimed kingship over much of Near Harad retreated into seclusion and dealt with both friends and foes through selected minions. Mornings at Vamag no longer rang with the pleasant call from his melodious lute.

In early S.A. 2280, Adûnabêth, ruling as Ard, ordered the tribes of his realm to assail Umbar (then a royal haven of Tar-Atanamir). Although he counted few Númenórean warriors in his fold, his army outnumbered the proud defenders. Quality prevailed, though, when Adûnabêth's forces fell into a trap in the narrow defile at Cirith Glingalas. The well-disciplined Dúnedain broke the lightly-armed Haradrim with spear volleys and turned the ensuing melee into a rout. Adûnabêth’s superior cavalry proved of little use.

The Dagor-i-Glingalas (“Battle of the Gleaming Shore”) effectively ended Adûnabêth’s hope of ruling Harad. Two weeks after the fray, he abandoned Vamag and moved northward, leaving the great peninsula to his enemy. King Tar-Atanamir (r. S.A. 2029-2221) ordered Umbar strengthened and expanded, making it the greatest citadel in the region.

For the next 981 years, Adûnabêth ruled the arid reaches of central Near Harad on behalf of Sauron. He established his new hold and capital at Lugarlur on the south bank of the Harnen, about 400 miles from Mordor. The Kingdom of Ard lasted until Ar-Pharazôn’s invasion (S.A. 3261) and the surrender of the Dark Lord (S.A. 3262) before the might of Númenor. With the defeat of her mentor, he retreated into the Black Land.

After the downfall of Númenor and the return of Sauron in S.A. 3319, Adûnabêth directed the campaigns waged by Sauron’s troops in Harondor and Near Harad, and he commanded the southern flank of the horde that invaded South Ithilien in 3429. His fate however, was tied to his Master’s, and he passed into the Shadows when Barad-dûr was broken and Sauron was overthrown at the end of the Second Age.

The Third Age

Adunabeth2

Adûnabêth in the Twilight-World

Adûnabêth returned to Middle-earth around T.A. 1050 and entered his ruined home at Lugarlur just after the armies of Hyarmendacil I of Gondor conquered Harad. The removal of Gondorian strength from the Southland occupied him for the next 590 years. From his base in the upper Harnen valley, Adûnabêth slowly reasserted his power in Near Harad and coerced and misled the Haradrim to rebel. His machinations were interrupted by the Corsair takeover of Umbar in T.A. 1448, but by 1634 even they unwittingly pursued her goals. In that year, Corsair raiders slew the Gondorian King (Minardil).

The Great Plague that ravaged northwestern Middle-earth in 1635-37 weakened Gondor and led to the abandonment of the Watch on Mordor. Sauron, residing in Dol Guldur, sent Adûnabêth and the other Nazgûl (except the Witch-King in Angmar) into his ancient kingdom so that they could surreptitiously prepare the land for his return. Adûnabêth, like Ûvathar and Khôrahil, went to Núrn, in the south of the Black Land.

With the arrival of the Witch-King in Mordor (T.A. 1980) the Úlairi gathered for the attack on the stronghold that served as the last vestige of Gondor’s guardianship over the Black Land. The surprise assault through Cirith Ungol in T.A. 2000 and the subsequent two-year besiegement of Minas Ithil ended with the taking of the fortress city that served as Ithilien’s capital and housed one of the prized Seeing-stones. Renamed Minas Morgûl, the marble-shrouded town became the new home of the Ringwraiths.

In T.A. 2941, Sauron returned to the Dark Tower, leaving his threatened hold at Dol Guldur in Rhovanion. Ten years later, however, he felt that the fortress was once again safe. Leaving six of the Nazgûl at Minas Morgûl, he commanded Khamûl the Easterling and Adûnabêth to reopen the fortress in Mirkwood.Ûvathar the Messenger served as the link between the two Wraiths and their Lord in Mordor. Adûnabêth’s return to Dol Guldur in T.A. 2951 marked his last permanent move, for he resided there until his demise.

In T.A 3018, he rode into the Anduin valley, Rohan, and then Eriador during the Black Riders search for the Shire and the One Ring. His journey took him past Isengard and through Tharbad across the Stone Ford, and into the land of the Hobbits. Riding with Khamûl and Hôarmûrath into the Bolger enclave at Crickhollow, only to be turned to flight by the horns of the Bucklanders. Joining Ûvathar on the road to the east of Bree, the group rejoined their brethren (who had assailed the company on Weathertop) in the Lone Lands beyond the Weather Hills. The Rider’s pursuit culminated at the Ford of the Bruinen, where Elven magic and the valor of Glorfindel the Golden enabled the wounded Ringbearer to escape. The skirmish by the riverside ended when the flood-waters claimed the Nazgûl’s horses. Like those of her brethren, Adûnabêth’s steed perished in the foam summoned by Elrond.

During the months that followed, he resumed his residence at Dol Guldur and prepared for the attacks against the Elven Kingdoms in Lothlórien and Northern Mirkwood. Adûnabêth led part of the army of Orcs that assailed Galadriel’s realm across the Anduin, but his assault proved futile. His retreating horde fled south into the Wold, where they were destroyed by the Ents. The Nazgûl went north, joining Khamûl’s host and the onslaught against Thranduil’s woodland domain. Once again, the forces of Darkness lost the day, compelling Adûnabêth to retire. Events at Pelennor Fields and in North Ithilien forced his recall to Mordor.

The Witch-King perished before the gates of Minas Tirith, and the eight remaining Nazgûl engaged the army of the Free Peoples at the Battle of Morannon. Attacking atop Fell Beasts only ten days after Adûnabêth’s return, the Ringwraiths duelled the Great Eagles above the raging battle before the Gates of Mordor. Their melee invoked images of the great skyborn warriors of the Elder Days, but the fight was short. As Frodo Baggins, Samwise Gamgee, and Gollum stood upon Mount Doom and threatened the destruction of the Ruling Ring, the Dark Lord sent his Nazgûl into a wild flight southward, hoping that they could stay the loss of the One Ring. They failed, and Adûnabêth passed out of .

Artifacts

Notes:

In MERP, the seventh was identified as a númenorean Lady, "Adûnaphel" or "Númeniel". This is however in stark contradiction to the Legendarium in which clearly is stated that the Nine were nine Kings.


References:

  • MERP:Lords of Middle-earth Vol II:The Mannish Races
  • Games Workshop - The Lord of the Rings: Strategy Battle Game
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