Rangers of the North
The Lone-lands is the name among Men and Hobbits for the wide region of northern Middle-earth that lay between the Blue Mountains in the west and the Misty Mountains in the east, stretching a hundred miles north, east, and south of Weathertop. Their southeastern portion is flat and featureless enough that crossing the plain can be as dangerous as traveling the deserts of Harad. The soil here is thin and rocky, the grasses short and tough; the land is drier because much of the rain drains away underground through cracks and passages in the limestone bedrock. The rivers and streams that do exist cut ravines and narrow valleys, with stands of small poplars and willows growing near the water. The Great East Road crosses the Lone-lands between Weathertop and the Last Bridge over the Hoarwell. The old Arnorian engineers provided culverts over the ravines and cisterns every five miles where there were no streams. The Haywall, the Cardolanian border hedge, has a defensive road running southeast from Weathertop that also has cisterns. These two routes provide the best means of crossing the lower Lone-lands.
The name ‘Lone-lands’ is a close translation of the Elvish name for this region, Eriador.
Historically, this part of Middle-earth had fallen within the North-kingdom of Arnor, and was ruled over by Elendil and his descendants from their capital at Annúminas on Lake Evendim. Dissent and warfare caused that kingdom to break apart, and an invasion by the forces of Angmar wiped out even the remnants of the earlier kingdom. Angmar was itself defeated by the armies of Gondor, but when those armies returned into the south, what had once been a prosperous country was left barren and deserted. It is presumably at this time (the years after III 1975) that the names ‘Eriador’ and ‘Lone-lands’ were first used for the newly empty wilds.
Even after this time, isolated pockets of civilization remained among the Lone-lands, most notably in the Shire and the Bree-land. Outside these enclaves, the lands of the lost realm of Arnor had reverted for the most part to a dangerous wilderness, peopled by wanderers. Among these wanderers were the Rangers, the descendants of the Kings of Arnor,
The most regal and prominent of the Lone-lands rises above the road like a symbol of the land’s sad legacy: Weathertop. It was a proud tower of vision and vigilance and the home of the strongest palantír of the north. However, it fell in battle under the Witch-king of Angmar and sat derelict in the wild since then. Today, countless orcs prowl through the place’s rubble, and the few Rangers who defend it cannot often deter them.
While the Lone-lands has no capital town, in the ruined fortress of Ost Guruth a strong remnant of the Eglain has made it a settlement with many excellent services. Bordering to Bree-land the The Forsaken Inn provides their visitors with some services … and its notorious, inedible food. Furthest to the east the Last Bridge still spans river Mitheithel.