Nuradan was feeling weak and frustrated. His wounds were healing slowly and the Nazgul wanted to get on the road. Nuradan's Kharna levies had fought a dozen battles against elves and men trying to keep the Dark Lord's road through Ithilien clear. This last one had gone well, except for his own part in it.
The battle had been in the south of Ithilien, among some long forgotten and crumbling Gondorian settlement; remnant of Gondor's past glory, and the still bitter subjugation of the Tribes by the men of the White City. The Haradrim, Nuardan's own Kharna levy as well as the Betrayer and his Abrakhan guards, had arrived first and occupied the ruins. The heir of the Stewards, Faramir, had detected the movement of the Southrons and brought his battle company to destroy this isolated band.
|The initial deployment.|
|"There does not seem to be a lot of cover here, but we outnumber them, right?" Famous last words.|
Faramir's rangers took up position in some ruins, though there was not a lot of cover for them there. Their skill in archery would keep them safe, or so they thought. They did not realize that the warriors of Kharna practiced with the bow from the time they could draw fletch to ear and were the match of the Elves themselves.
|According to the survivors, this is likely what the Harardim were shooting with.|
Nuradan's forces waited until the enemy was very close, to open fire, pouring a deadly hail of poisoned arrows into the ranks of the advancing veterans of Osgiliath. The Rangers took the brunt of the fire but several, more heavily armored, warriors also fell. As the soldiery of Gondor closed, lapping around both flanks, the Haradrim fell back on the right while advancing on the left. The Gondor hornblower was felled by arrow fire.
|The Gondorians at bottom, led by Cirion, swept around both sides of the ruins to their front. This is where Nuradan fell.|
Nuradan advanced to stabilize his right flank, where Cirion of Gondor was hacking down warriors right and left. This is where Nuradan's fate turned black. He was able to stabilize the line, encouraging his levies to stand and fight, but was cut down by overwhelming numbers while trying to hold the center of the line by himself. His example, however, had emboldened his troops and they were able to hold a little longer, before running for the cover of the ruins in which the main body were fighting.
|Nuradan's last moments. He will be completely surrounded in the next turn.|
On the left the Betrayer, living up to his name and reputation, whispered in the mind of Faramir, clouding his judgement and forcing him to wander away from the battle line. Here, the poisoned arrows of the levies could strike him down, laying low the heir of Denethor. The Nazgul, proving his power, as he had in every battle, forced the enemy's leaders into stupefied bewilderment again and again.
|The Haradrim shooting was dreadfully effective. The rangers killed one Haradrim all game.|
The armor of the sons of Minas Tirith stood up to a rain of blows, but even the best armor can't protect every joint, deflect every strike. The Haradrim's shooting had evened the numbers quickly. The loss of their leaders had disheartened the men of the White City and the poison and bright spears of the Southrons had taken their toll. In the end, the remnants of Faramir's band filtered back through the woods and glens to take the ill news to the White Tower, Denethor had no heir. The line of the Stewards was at an end.
|The door in the center is about to disgorge ten more Southrons. It's a bad day for Gondor.|
The Dark Lord's road remained open.
This was a fight between the Traveling Man and myself. He is learning the tactics of the game and the nuances of the rules that can make all the difference in actual play. He, again, used my army and my list. I think next time we play we will switch armies and see how he does, now that he has played against the Haradrim enough to know most of their tricks.
P.S. If you like this style of battle report, or not, please comment and let me know.