Rangers of the North
(S. “Land of the Elf-point”) or just “Egladil” (S. “Forsaken Point”)
A thin strip of fertile land that stretches along the rivers Mitheithel and Bruinen, from Tharbad all the way to the Trollshaws, called the Hoarwell Marches by the soldiers and politicians of Eriadior. It has been the the focus of economic and military activity in eastern Eriarod for thousands of yers.
The northern end of the marches forms the Angle of southern Rhudaur. The Mitheithel and Bruinen both leave the fells, the broken country lying along the western flangs of the Misty Mountains, and wander some sixty miles through rolling country before merging at Fennas Drunin. Along their banks and in some of the small valleys inland farming is possible, and so the angle between the two rivers has been fought over since the Elder Days.
The Angle consists of rolling, grassy hillsides broken here and there by jagged fells and occasional stands of trees. For the most part, the constant wind from the northeast and the: rain cascading off the fells carries away the topsoil. so agriculture is difficult except in the reIatively protected and fertile areas along the riverbanks.
The swift and sparkling Mitheithel is born in the snows of the Ettenmoors and the springs of the Ettendales. In spring, when the snows melt, it becomes a raging torrent, but even in the early fall it cannot be forded between the Last Bridge (S. «Iant Methed") and the Ettendales. The Mitheithel does freeze over in the worst cold of winter, but the force of the current under the ice makes any crossing dangerous, and few will try that trick except in desperation.
The Bruinen (S. “Loudwater”), rising in the snows of the Misty Mountains. is far more sedate than her sister, whom she joins at the very apex of the Angle. The Hillmen consider this river to be under the magical influence of the Elves of Rivendell and so try to avoid it.
Weather in the Angle, is quite different from the rest of Rhudaur. Here, spring is warm and pleasant, and summer is hot and humid. Snowfall is found only in mid-winter, and much more precipitation falls in the form of rain. Bogs appear in mid-spring, and the melting snows of the north cause considerable flooding along the river banks. Fortunately, the plains of the Oiolad also see much less snow than elsewhere in the region, as the storms blow through very quickly.
What snow that does fall presents a problem because of the heavy drifting caused by the constant north wind; yet these same winds tend to keep the plains cool in the summer.
Traditionally, the Hillmen and anyone controlling the upper Gwathló basin raid downriver, pillaging the farming communities of the southern marches; the civilized peoples campaign upriver to punish the raiders and to conquer their lands for settlement. The angle has changed hands repeatedly over the last five years as the fortunes of Rhudaurri and Cardolandrim wax and wane.
The Hillmen are wiped out in Rogrog’s War of TA 1689-98. Thereafter, the fortunes of all the peoples of the Hoarwell Marches depend, for most of the later Third Age, on the Trolls. As a general trend, whenever the Troll population of the Rhudaur is on the downswing, mannish
settlement, either Dunnish or Eriadorian, pushes up the Hoarwell at least as far as the Last Bridge. When it is on the upswing (usually when Sauron is active), men must flee downriver or be slain and devoured.
One such Troll invasion begins around T.A. 2940, just in time to trouble Gandalf the Grey and Thorin Oakenshield on their guest to retake Erebor from Smaug the Dragon. The Rangers of the
North fight back this invasion over the next few decades, but renewed Orc-raids from the Misty Mountains keep the Angle relatively uninhabited for the rest of the century.