Rangers of the North
Area: 900 square miles
Nenuial is a tranquil lake in central Arthedain, known for brilliant optical effects accompanying sunsets on clear days. The lake is sacred to most Dúnedain, and several of Arthedain’s noble houses built their manors around Nenuial. The sack of Annúminas left the region around Nenuial depopulated for over a century, with most local farmers fleeing to the safety of Fornost Erain. Even with the best efforts of King Argeleb II, the region around the lake remains largely deserted.
The beauty of Nenuial has awed travelers for thousands of years. Ents and wandering Elves first paused on its shores at the dawn of time. Laiquendian scouts from Ossiriand camped by its waters early in the First Age. Then, as now, the less rugged eastern shore of the lake was favored for settlement by hunters, small farmers, and fishermen; their view of the new-born sun setting over the blue waters and rugged hills of the western shore gave the lake its name: Nen-Uial, or “Lake Twilight.” The Edain who arrived in the area a century or so later translated the Elvish term, and, with time, it became “Lake Evendim,” the Westron name.
Nenuial is situated on the edge of a great break in the Arthadan hill country. The Emyn Gelin, to the east of the break, boasts rolling chalk hills, covered with sinblas grass and supporting trees only along watercourses. Westward, the Emyn Uial rises hundreds of feet above an esscarpment, its limestone caps anchored by granite. The granite underpinnings are particularly evident along the shores of Nenuial and the west bank of lake’s tributary, the River Forthor. The Forthor runs along the Pinnon Gilwing all the way from the Rammas Forod southward to the lake, providing most of its water. Nenuial itself is sixty miles long below the face of the great scarp, and twenty miles wide from that vaulting shoreline to the relatively shallow King’s Bay, on the east. Here the Baranduin leaves Nenuial through a passage of reeds and cat-tails under the walls of ruined Annúminas. Near the western shore, the lake plunges to depths of almost a thousand feet. Most of its eastern bays are much shallower; their vast reed-beds hold the larger share of the lake’s life.
Abundant trout, pike, salmon, and roughfish provide a steady living for the fishermen of dozens of small villages along the lake shore. Gulls and waterfowl flock here in large numbers. During the spring and autumn migrations, Nenuial serves as a collection point for the birds who summer on the Forodwaith, and during these few weeks of the year ducks, geese, plovers, and cranes swarm the lake in flocks large and dense enough to shade the sun. Only a lack of practical harbors has kept the lake-villages small. Mar Eketyaron, the seat of House Eketya on the northeastern arm of the lake, and Annúminas before its ruin in T.A. 1409 both maintained large artificial breakwaters, but these suffered constant siege from autumnal gales. Lake shipping was and is invariably done in smaller vessels.
A well-manned lake boat can sail from one end of Nenuial to the other in the course of a day. However, if the day is ill chosen, thunderstorms flying down off the Emyn Uial whip up waves as high as a tall man in a few minutes, overthrowing the most seasoned lake-sailor and taking all to the bottom. This peril is greatest in the fall and winter. In the coldest seasons, ice forms in the northern end of the lake, but a greater risk is posed by snowsqualls, which can blind sailors and founder ships under a sheath of frozen spray.