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Korb Taskral, ('Stone Kings City' in Har. before S.A. 2280) also later called Amrûn (Sin. 'Sunrise'), Korb Devral and Ayn Arom.Amrûn had a permanent population of almost 20,000 people;however, at any given time this could be augmented by an additional transient population of l.OOO to 4,000.

Traditionally this city had been the capital of the most powerful Haruzani kingdoms of Near Harad on many occasions, this large city is located at the junction of three major trade roads, the Rath Khand, Men Harad and Men Harnen, and also where the Ode Pezar river joins the Harnen river serving as a trade nexus between Gondor,Harad, Khand,and Umbar.

History

Prior to Adûnaphel's rebellion in S.A.2280, Amrûn was known as Korb Taskral (Har."Dwelling of the Stone King').For over a thousand years,it had been the capital of a large Haruzani kingdom that controlled much of the upper Harnen and lower Ode Pezar river valleys as well as all trade with Near Harad and Khand.The Farijim of Korb Taskral had sided with Adûnaphel in her rebellion against the King of Númenor.The Taskral (Har."Stone King") and his sons were slain at the Dagor Glinfalas in Umbar, while most of the realm's army was captured by the King's Men and disbanded.The Númenóreans marched on Korb Taskral, breached its walls and seized the city for their own,renaming it Arûna and later Amrûn although many common folk still called it 'the capital'.

Arûna was given a new wall and several public buildings,including a fortified palace for the Númenórean Cáno.Although ordained by the King of Númenor, this Cáno's rule over the city and its hinterland was subject to the Barûn of Umbar.This situation rankled Amrûn's Cánor,and they often pushed the boundaries of their authority.Thus they were closely watched and greatly distrusted by their superiors in Umbar. Númenórean trade with Haradwaith and Khaon increased despite Sauron's waxing power and influence in neighboring Mordor,and Arûna's fortunes grew in proponion.So close to Sauron's domain, the Númenóreans were careful to protect their interests with fortifications and troops.Yet,even though Amrun had secured itself from a direct assault,still Sauron's minions infiltrated the city coming along with tradegoods from Khaon,slowly corrupting the Númenóreans there and turning many of them towards the worship of Melkor long before Sauron's corruption of Ar-Pharazôn. After Sauron was taken to Númenór, the Númenóreans of Arûna embraced the Cult of Melkor with a fervor unequaled by any,sacrificing the Farijim at any opportunity.After Númenór's Downfall,this same cult was forced out of Umbar and most of its surviving adherents retreated to Arûna. Umbarean lords attacked the city and many of the native city-dwellers rose up against both the Cult and the rest of the Númenórean inhabitants.The Númenóreans in Arûna were forced to flee, and most found their way into Sauron's service. Overextended and preoccupied with issues at home, the Umbareans were unable to hold Arûna against a hostile populace.They retreated,leaving the Farijim of Arûna to their own devices.The city suffered several years of internal warfare.Finally,a single charismatic leader of mixed Farijan and Númenorean ancestry named Akil emerged as the victor and was named king by popular acclamation.Akil also claimed to be a descendent of and heir to the long deceased Stone Kings of Korb Taskral.Few disputed his claim, as he closely resembled the statues of those kings situated near Tirith Argon. Taskral Akil ruled Arûna for twenty-oneyears,but was slain when a confederation of neighboring Farijim under Sauron's influence attacked The city.

The people of Arûna, aided by the Númenoreans of Tirith Argon, avenged Akil's death and named his son, Ared, as his successor. Taskral Ared, and later his own son and grandson, waged a long,expensive, and largely successful war against Sauron's Khaonian and Farijan minions.Thus, with the fall of Sauron.Amrûn was strategically positioned to become the dominant power in the region. Likewise, the dynasty founded by 'Taskral Akil was firmly accepted by the people of Arûna. Arûna benefited greatly from the renewal and expansion of trade with Harad and Khaon.Taskral Akil's dynasty also expanded their dominion westwards along the banks of the Harnen.The Taskrals of Arûna were careful to make alliances with their trading partners and the neighboring Farijan kingdoms. As in the days before the fall of Númenor, Umbar was Arûna's largest trading partner. However, early in the Third Age, the Umbareans began to reclaim the territories once controlled by Númenor, causing the Taskrals of Arûna much concern. Refore Umbar's acquisitive eye turned towards Arûna, the Captain of the Hosts began expanding Gondors borders beyond the Poros. Treaty obligations were called upon by Arûna's allies, and troops were dispatched to fight the Gondorians.Lack of a unified command and highly variable troop quality fatally hindered the resistance, despite the strong support of Umbar. As losses mounted, the Haruze of Arûna withdrew to consolidate their defenses against the day that the kings of Gondor might also seek to dominate their city. That day was long in coming, as war escalated between Gondor and Umbar. The fall of Umbar in T.A 933 was very fortuitous for Arûna, as many Umbareans retreated to Tirith Argon and to Umbarean lands along the Harnen, which provided a strong military buffer against any Gondorian aggression towards the city and it's territory. The men of Gondor did establish a fort Tiras Amrûn, across the Harnen to pressure Arûna, but it was largely ignored until the Gondorians' final victory was almost realized.

Before the last Umbarean possessions fell to Gondorian forces, Taskral Akil VI negotiated an agreement with Hyarmendacil's representatives at Tiras Amrun. He was recognized as the legitimate King of Amrûn, which would remain independent of any Gondorian control. In exchange, Amrûn would cease to support the Umbareans still fighting the men of Gondor and would cede all claims to lands west and north of the Harnen. Between T.A .1050 and the beginning of the Kin-strife, Amrûn, though independent in name, gradually became a satellite princedom of Gondor.Trade with Harad and Khand was both plentiful and profitable, but the Taskrals were forced by treaty obligations to send their sons to Gondor as hostages. Each subsequent Taskral,raised and educated in Gondor, became more and more isolated from the people he ruled. Desiring to modify the treaty with Amrûn to suit his own military needs, Castamir voided the Taskral's hostage obligation in exchange for the permanent loan of 1,000 infantry and 2,000 cavalry.An additional 1,000 infantry and 1.000 cavalry could be called upon for up to six months. Castamir would sustain these troops in Gondor as mercenaries, but payment for their services would be sent directly to the Taskral at Amrûn.

With the death of Castamir, Amrûn continued to suppon his heir Castaher. However, with the latter's mysterious demise in TA-1450, Amrûn recalled its troops, an action welcomed by Umbar's Regency Council, who wished to terminate payments for their services. Relations between Amrûn and Umbar remained close, linked by the mutual benefits of peaceful trade,but in T,A.1540, King Aldamir seized Harondor and reoccupied Tiras Amrun.Taskral Ared III adopted a more distant relationship with Umbar, but established closer ties with Gondor.He was a master of subterfuge and statesmanship ,playing the two rivals against one another. He thus eventually established a neutral trade policy. Umbareans and Gondorians were welcome to trade in Amrûn, but no disruption of the peace would be tolerated. Amrûn became one of the few places where commerce between the two hostile realms could be conducted openly until the Gondorian withdrawal from Harondor in T.A . 1944. However,Amrûn gradually fell under Sauron's shadow. Worship of "the Dark Lady" ,thought to be long forgotten, was reborn among the peasants and herders near Adûnaphel's fortress, poised upon Amrûn's northern frontier, and slowly spread throughout the realm until it threatened to infest the city itself. The Taskrals failed to suppress this revival of the Shadow and by T.A 1810 the cult's political influence over neighboring potentateswas so widespread that the Taskrals held only the city and its immediate hinterland with certaincy.The adherents of the cult fornented violent rebellion against the Taskrals, but were defeated (or so it was thought) in a great battle in T.A.1935. Scarcely eight year slater, however, the worship of the Dark Lady had spread to the Taskral's most trusted counsellors,who engineered his assassination and turned themselves into the regents of his young son.At the command of Adûnaphel's minions, this cabal used their position to declare war upon Gondor, marching against Harondor in alliance with the Khandians and Wainriders in T.A .1944. The Gondorian victory failed to lift the shadow over Amrûn. Though trade with Umbar, Harad, and Khand flourished, so did worship of the Dark Lady.The Taskrals ruled the city in name, but it was the Cult of the Dark Lady that ruled in fact ,much to the resentment of Akil's heirs. The inhabitants of Amrûn became a cynical and more warlike people. Their neighbors were likewise changed, and Amrûn was embroiled in a dozen small wars over the next few centuries and seized considerable new territories, including much of what had been eastern Harondor.The only conflict they consistently avoided was with Umbar, leaving alone the lands it controlled. InT.A.2885,the men of Amrûn led an army of the Harwan against Gondor, but were defeated at the Battle of Athrad Poros, when the Rohirrim reinforced the Southkingdom's forces and shattered the center of Amrûn's line. The surviving commanders who returned to Amrûn found the headsman's axe waiting.Shortly thereafter, Taskral Abit III and his family escaped from Amrun just before they were to be assassinated by the Cult of the Dark Lady. In secret, the people of Tirith Argon gave them sanctuary, successfully hiding them from the priests of the Dark Lady.In the War of the Ring the Harwan marched on Gondor, allied with the more southern confederacy founded by the Serpent-Lord, who commanded most of the other Haradrim in the invasion force. In the Battle of the Pelennor Fields, he was slain by Théoden Ednew of Rohan, and his serpentbanner was trampled by the victorious Rohirrim. With most of its army dead in Gondor, Amrûn was left largely defenseless following Sauron's defeat.Taskral Fatih, based in Tirith Argon, organized a rebellion in Amrûn that the priests of the Dark Lady were hard pressed to put down.In a decisive battle within the city walls, Fatih slew the chief priest and burned the Dark Lady's temple. Fatih, restored to his throne, was quick to root out the remnants of the cult and to enforce the peace along the traderoutes.


references

  • Fanmodules:UMBAR & NEAR HARAD GAZETTEER
  • MERP:Southern Gondor - The Lands
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