Lord of the Rings: Mirkwood (Greenwood)

In the years before the rising of the Sun,
when the world was illuminated by the two trees of Valinor and the Stars in the sky,
the Eldar Elves made their great journey west, bound for the paradise of the Undying Lands. Upon reaching the Misty Mountains, some of
the Teleri Clan abandoned the great journey to settle along the river anduin, becoming
the Nandor, tribal forest dwellers who mixed with the Avari of the far east, to create
the Silvan, Wood Elves with a deep connection to the natural world, less wise then their
kin who travelled west, and more prone to violence. As the world changed throughout the years
of the trees and after the rising of the sun, many of the Silvan went to live in the Greenwood,
while others populated Lorien to the south. After the destruction of Beleriand at the
end of the First Age, the surviving Noldor, Sindar and Laiquendi Elves of the west resettled
in the Kingdom of Lindon under High King Gil Galad. Yet as some of the Elves started to explore
further east, they came into contact with the Silvan who welcomed them with open arms. Learning much from the more advanced Elves
of the west, the Silvan took the Amdir as King of Lorien, and Oropher as King of the
Greenwood, both Sindar noblemen who lived in Doriath during the First Age. Building his stronghold at Amon Lanc, Oropher
named his Kingdom the Woodland Realm, and ruled with the aid of his son and heir Thranduil,
and for many years maintained peaceful relations with their neighbours, allowing the Dwarves
of Durin’s Folk to build the Old Forest Road, so they could move supplies between
their colonies in Erebor and the Iron Hills to their homeland of Khazad Dum. But war eventually came the lands of the Middle
Earth, as Sauron, a former Lieutenant of the First Dark Lord Morgoth, unleashed his armies
upon the Free peoples of the West. In response, the Last Alliance of Elves and
Men was formed, assembling the greatest army since the war of Wrath, to meet Sauron at
the Battle of Dagorlad. Among the many fighting for the Last Alliance,
the Silvan of the Woodland Realm were led by Oropher and Thranduil, while those of Lorien
followed Amdir. Unfortunately, Oropher and Amdir were unwilling
to submit to the authority of the Noldor King Gil Galad in command and so broke and charged
against the enemy early, leading to many unnecessary casualties. Though the Last Alliance won the battl, the
early charge of the Silvan, led to the death of King Oropher and 2/3rds of his army, while
Amdir and half his forces were slaughtered in what came to be called the Dead Marshes. After the defeat of Sauron, the surviving
Elves of the Woodland realm retreated to the Greenwood under their new king Thranduil,
and with their greatly diminished population slowly receded into the north, abandoning
Amon Lanc to settle in the northern mountains. As the Wood Elves became more withdrawn throughout
the first thousands years of the Third Age, the Greenwood was populated with the new peoples,
including both hobbits and men who settled the western edges of the forest and the outskirts
along the river Anduin. In time, some of these men formed the Kingdom
of Rhovanion, a realm of Northmen allied with the Dunedain of Gondor, until their fall at
the hands of a great plague and Easterling invasion. Yet while men, hobbits, and Elves prospered
in and around the Greenwood, an old threat re-emerged to once against bring doom upon
them continent. Having been separated from the One Ring of
power, Sauron struggled to recover after his defeat in the War of the Last Alliance, but
after a thousand years was ready to make a home for himself in the abandoned capital
of the Woodland Realm. Posing as the Necromancer, Sauron built a
fortress at Amon Lanc, which then became Dol Guldur and started gathering his orc armies. The corruption of Dol Guldur then spread throughout
much of the forest which was renamed Mirkwood, causing great spiders to populate the southern
area, leaving trees covered in cobwebs. Meanwhile, the corruption led Dwarves to stop
using the Old Forest Road, hobbits and men to migrate away and the Silvan Elves to retreat
further north, settling in and around Elvenking Hall, an beautiful stronghold built within
a cave system, inspired by the city of Menegroth from the first age, where Thranduil lived
in his youth. Though most stayed away from southern Mirkwood,
some men settled along the northern outskirts in the Kingdom of Dale and town of Lakeshore,
while the Dwarves made their home in Erebor after losing Khazad Dum to the orcs. However tragedy once again struck the great
forest in the year 2770, when the dragon Smaug the terrible destroyed Dale and took Erebor
for itself. Having learned that Sauron was back and once
again preparing to conquer Middle Earth, his chief rival Gandalf the Grey made his own
plans to counter the Dark Lord and protect the Free Peoples from his tyranny. And so in 2941, Gandalf took decisive action,
joining others from the White Council to expel Sauron from Dol Guldur, while also organizing
a party of dwarves, along with the hobbit Bilbo Baggins, to follow their King Thorin
Oakenshield on a quest to retake Erebor from the Dragon Smaug. Though both plans were successful, many died
in the Battle of the Five armies that resulted from the liberation of Erebor and Sauron was
only momentarily halted, as he simply retreated to Mordor, and a few years later sent the
Nazgul to once again settle Dol Guldur, amassing a great orc army in the southern half of the
forest. When at last the War of the Ring erupted in
3018, the forces of Dol Guldur attacked the Woodland Realm and Lothlorien, with reinforments
meant to arrive from the East to help crush the Elves. However the great Easterling army was detained
by the unexpected ferocity of the Dwarves of Erebor and Men of Dale, who even after
retreating to the lonely mountain continued to fight at its gate, resulting in the death
of both their kings. This delay, allowed the Elves under Thranduil
to repel the Orcs of Dol Guldur, while Galadriel and Celeborn did the same in Lorien, afterwards
cleansing all the forest of their corruption. With their victories in the north, as well
as those of others in the South, and the ultimate destruction of the One Ring of Power, Sauron
was at last defeated, and so celeborn and Thranduil met to decide the fate of Mirkwood,
which was renamed Eryn Lasgalen or the wood of green leaves. The northern third of the forest went to the
Woodland realm, while the Beorning, men who helped the free peoples during the war, were
given the center and the Elves of Lothlorien took the South, renaming it East Lorien under
Celeborn. For years many thrived in and around the wood
of green leaves, but as the fourth age continued, more Elves began to depart Middle Earth and
sail to the Undying Lands, while those who remained behind became increasingly withdrawn
and elusive, leaving the forest and lands beyond under the dominion
of men in the coming ages.

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