Welcome back to everyone’s favorite www.isleyunruh.com Monday feature! Middle-earth being the place of enchantment and wonder that it is, each month I will use my love of fictional cartography to transport you to another time and place. So why not take a moment to fill your head full of knowledge that will have no bearing at all on the real world?
This month I’ll be discussing the lands about the Icebay of Forochel and the reclusive Lossoth who populated its frozen shores.
But the Snowmen were uneasy; for they said that they smelled danger in the wind. And the chief of the Lossoth said to Arvedui: ‘Do not mount on this sea-monster! If they have them, let the seamen bring us food and other things that we need, and you may stay here till the Witch-king goes home. For in summer his power wanes; but now his breath is deadly, and his cold arm is long.’
Beyond the Hills of Evendim between the frost crusted Northernmost peaks of the Ered Luin and Misty Mountains was the land of Forodwaith, the Northern Waste. It was an ever frozen place of bitter cold that extended for 700 frostbitten miles north of Carn Dum, where none but the Lossoth, snow-men of the North, were able to dwell.
After the drowning of Beleriand at the end of the First Age, the great Northern plain of Lothlann (where lay Melkor’s first fortress, Utumno) was almost entirely submerged by the great sea Belegaer. All that remained of Lothlann was the region of Forodwaith on the western shores of the ice bay of Forochel, a narrow promontory of land a mere 30 miles wide at its southernmost tip. This promontory, called the Cape of Forochel, stretched and curved to the Northeast, enclosing the ice bay of Forochel.
The Lossoth, also known as the Forodwaith (for the Sindarin “waith” could refer to both a region and its peoples), primarily inhabited this Cape of Forochel, for the ice bay offered a natural defense against possible invaders. Though it was frozen solid long into the Spring, few enemies could equal the snowcraft of the Lossoth. With their ice houses, bone skates and “wheel-less” carts, the Lossoth were at home in the lands surrounding the ice bay like few others on middle earth.
The little that is known of the reclusive Lossoth comes from that dark time of 1974 T.A. when the rising power of Angmar had all but destroyed the North realm and overrun Arthedain. Though I have sketched out a brief outline of this story before, the role of the Lossoth must now be told.
With the fall of Arthedain, king Arvedui and his surviving guard had fled north to hide in the old dwarven mines at the far end of the Ered Luin. At last, driven forth by hunger, the king came to the shores of the ice bay where he met the Lossoth. At first they were reluctant to help Arvedui, for he had nothing to offer and invoking the Witch King’s fell wrath upon their people was no trifling matter.
However, perhaps out of pity, the Lossoth did help the king and his men, giving them what little provisions they had and teaching them the means to construct a dwelling out of the very snow itself. Thus Arvedui and his guard were able to hold on until Círdan the shipwright, informed of the king’s plight by the king’s son Aranarth, sent his ill fated ship to rescue the frozen survivors.
The bay, even in April was barely thawed and the ship was forced to moor far from shore. Despite being warned of an oncoming storm by the Lossoth, the king and his men set forth in the vessel, though not without repaying the kindness of the Lossoth by gifting them with an ancient ring of immeasurable value. True to the warnings of the Lossoth, a great storm came up and drove the king’s ship into the ice where it sank into the frozen depths of the bay. And to this day, the ship along with the Palantíri of Annúminas and Amon Sûl that Arvedui had fought so hard to save from the Witch King still lays in those frigid ice bound waters. It makes one wonder if the deep places of the world do not all contain such treasures…