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This ancient Númenórean town, home to over 1,500 people, was the most southerly Númenórean settlement on the trade route between Umbar, Khand, and parts of Haradwaith. The town was heavily fortified atop a low plateau with restricted access through three ravines and was located astride both the Rath Khand and Men Harad. Tirith Argon (S. "Watch of the Stone King") was founded by Umbar's governor soon after The Seventh of the Nazgûl's rebellion as a check on the power of the new governor of Al Amrûn. A small fort was built atop the ruins of a Harûzani watchpost near the fifty-two stone statues of Korb Taskral's dead kings. As Númenórean trade grew with Khand, much of it flowed through Tirith Argon on its way to Umbar. The fort was expanded and a settlement grew outside its walls. The settlement grew into a town exclusively comprised of Númenórean traders, military personnel, and their servants. With the fall of Númenor, the troops in Tirith Argon were instrumental in ejecting the Cult of Melkor from Al Amrûn. Unable to maintain troops so far afield, Umbar's Council of Captains recalled most of the town's garrison. However most of the populace of Tirith Argon had a military background and were able to augment the garrison when it was required. Upon his ascension to the throne, Taskral Akil acknowledged the assistance of the people of Tirith Argon in throwing off the evil yoke of the Cult of Melkor. During his rule, Tirith Argon came under the Taskral's personal protection and was given considerable independence. Strong bonds of friendship were forged between Taskral Akil and the Númenórean en- clave. These bonds were preserved by his successors well into the Fourth Age . Throughout the early Third Age, Tirith Argon was a vital link in Umbar's trading empire. Though under the protection of the Taskrals of Amrûn, the people of Tirith Argon retained close cultural and familial ties with their Númenórean kin in Umbar. When Eärnil I seized Umbar, some Númenóreans found sanctuary among relatives in Tirith Argon. Many of the refugees used the town as a base for attacks against Gondorian forces in Umbar. Relations between the town and the Taskral of Amrûn were severely strained, particularly after Gondor built Tiras Amrûn, because the Taskral wished to avoid con- flict with Gondor. Despite the threat Gondor posed, vital military resources were supplied by both Amrûn and Tirith Argon. In T.A. 1050, the last of Umbar's military forces retreated to Tirith Argon. King Hyarmendacil I, after gaining the tacit acquiescence of the Taskral of Amrûn, marched on the town and defeated the last opposition. To commemorate his final victory, Hyarmendacil erected a seventy-fivefoot high pillar, inscribed with a description of Gondor's victories in the war, at the intersection of Tirith Argon's two main streets. In the years after T.A. 1050, Tirith Argon reverted to a lifestyle like that which existed much as it had been in the years before Eärnil's attack on Umbar. Relations with the Taskrals were mended and trade once again dominated its culture. Though close ties continued to be kept with families in Umbar, the Kin-strife had little effect on the inhabitants. Caravan trade with Harad and Khand was considered much more important. It was not until T.A. 1540, when King Aldamir retook Harondor, that Tirith Argon once again became militarily important. The Gondorian presence at Tiras Amrûn threatened Umbarean interests, and the military garrison was a potential threat to Tirith Argon itself. However the military threat was never actualized. Instead, spying and deception prevailed, and Tirith Argon became a center for Corsair intrigue. For the rest of the Third Age, the military importance of Tirith Argon remained significant. Though the Gondorian presence waned and then ceased, the rise of the Cult of the Dark Lady in Amrûn and the increasingly warlike tendencies of the Harûze forced the people of Tirith Argon to rely on their friendship with the Taskrals of Amrûn more and more. The return of the Cult of Melkor to Umbar and Sauron's increasing influence in Harad left little mark on the inhabitants of Tirith Argon. Tradition-bound and extremely conservative, the people remembered Sauron's deception and role in the destruction of Númenor. Though publicly they acknowledged his messengers, privately they refused to listen to his message. However, in a increasingly brutal and hostile world, they were forced to act accordingly.

The dynasty founded by Taskral Akil never forgot the aid provided by the people of Tirith Argon against the Cult of Melkor, nor did the people of Tirith Argon forget the friendship of the Taskrals. As both the Cult of Melkor and that of the Dark Lady expanded in power, each used the other as a shield against an increasing list of potential enemies. When Taskral Abit III fled assassins in Al Amrûn, the folk of Tiras Amrûn secretly gave him and his family shelter from the Cult of the Dark Lady. Sauron took little note of this town, and the few minor acts of rebellion failed to distract his minions from preparing for war against Gondor.

With the dawn of the Fourth Age, little changed in Tirith Argon. The Taskral of Amrûn, restored to his throne, publicly reconfirmed the bonds of friendship, independence, and royal protection first bestowed by Taskral Akil in the Second Age upon the Númenórean enclave. Trade resumed and the inhabitants continued as they had for most of the previous four thousand years. The town eventually became known under it's Haradaic name Muzd al Ifar in these days.

References

  • Fanmodules:UMBAR & NEAR HARAD GAZETTEER
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