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Rên-Iey

Ren Jey

Location(s)
Language(s)
Birth
S.A. 1969
Death
T.A. 3019
Gender
Male

The Eighth of the Nazgûl (Q."Ulaire Toldea") was also known as The Unclean or The Tainted.

His true origin is unknown, but fragmented written records, the so-called Parma Úlairion, have preserved an old Legend about a mad Wizard from the Lands southeast of Mordor, however it is unknown if this legend - or how much of it - is reliable.

Names and Identities

  • Al-Khey-Sârt
  • The Bane of Rhûn
  • The Black Shadow
  • Eight of the Nine
  • the Fire-King - his title as ruler of Khey Sârt
  • Rên-Iey - his birth-name according to Legend
  • Rên the Unclean - his name among his enemies
  • the Tainted - his name as survivor of the first plague
  • Ulaire Toldea - his name among the High-Elves
  • the Unclean

The Legend of the Unclean

RentheRingwraith

Rên-Iey the Enchanter

Rên the Unclean
was born in ûlk Iey Ama in the eastern Ered Harmal in S.A. 1969. The son of Bîr and Sên-Iey the Illusion-weaver, he grew up near later Heb Ârân, amidst the enchanters who taught beside the magical Springs of Fog. His apprenticeship ended in S.A 1987, when the eighteen-year-old Illusionist went east to visit his uncle Ùl-Fén-Iey, a lord who held sway over the Ahar of the Nûmahar River vales. There, near the legendary Grass Tombs, Rên met the woman he married in S.A. 1992, Elyen-Iey.

Rên and Elyen returned to Ûlk Iey Ama in S.A. 1994. Raising two children – a son Fén and a daughter Fyen – they remained in the cool mountain town for four years. The Illusionist composed a tome of enchantments while his wife raised horses and sheep and mastered the Khailûzas’s favourite instrument, the multi-chambered drum.

This idyllic repose ended in S.A. 1998, when the worst of many plagues swept through the central plains and struck the Iey households. Overwhelmed by fever, Rên barely survived the year. He prevailed, though, and briefly returned to his work. All seemed well, for the Illusionist was ostensibly healed.

Sadly, the illness twisted Rên’s mind, instilling him with delusions that slowly eroded his sanity. He began to fancy himself as superior to other Men, and spoke of himself as the Fire-King – the son of the exalted Volcano (later known as Ûlk Khey Sârt (Ch. “Home of the Khey Nation”)) that stood in the center of the southern Chailûza plateau. Horrified, Elyen attempted to restore her husband’s mind and sought the aid of healers from lands as far away as Rycolis and western Kha-on.

RentheUnclean

Ren the Fire-King

Rên’s lucidity eventually disappeared and the Illusionist left home on a pilgrimage to his purported mountain home. He gathered a cult of followers throughout the winter of S.A. 1999-2000 and declared himself Overlord of the Khailûza. As Fire-King, he plunged into a campaign of ruthless subjugation that played on the themes of nationalism, prosperity and terror. Ioriag warlords who held sway over the northern Khailûzan territories fled as the tribes quickly fell under Rên’s control. By the end of S.A. 2000, the Illusionist was truly King of the Khailûza.

Sauron of Mordor watched Rên’s march across Khailûza and saw great potential in the insane enchanter. He sent his agents to the Fire-King’s refuge at Ûlk Khey Sârt, offering greater prospects for conquest, wealth and power. Rên agreed to a coalition and exchanged gifts. In S.A. 2001, the Illusionist accepted a Ring of Power from the Dark Lord and became the eighth of the immortal Nazgûl.

Rên the Nazgûl

The transition that gripped the Khailûza brought terrible forces to the forefront of their society, since many of the superstitious herders embraced the religious fervour that elevated Rên to the throne. Unbelievers (the so-called “Unclean”) died in countless purges and many, including Rên’s family, had once been close to the Fire-King. The Iey-clan suffered dearly, for the Illusionist refused to protect those who resisted his quest. Between S.A. 2001 and 2102, the already weakened population of the thirty six tribes fell in number by a full third. Their count stood at half of what it had been before the plague of S.A. 1998.

Once secure as master of Khailûza, Rên pursued the goals that most pleased Sauron. Attacking to the northeast and south, the Fire-King’s mounted warriors overran the later lands of Dalpygis, part of Khargagis Ahar, Heb Ârân and Orgothrâth in the First Khailûzan Expansion (S.A. 2155-2693). Rên built an empire rooted in the Shadow, establishing an elaborate system of horse-roads and garrison holds in order to insure the consolidation of his conquests. Then came the Second Khailûzan Expansion (S.A. 2899-3261), when the kingdom of Khailûza grew to its height. Later Vâg, Akhâna and western Gâthgykarkan fell in the first few decades, and Rên’s armies turned northward to concentrate on the incorporation of the Kargagis Ahar and the rich territory of Rycolis. These wars raged for two centuries, until the Ioriags of Ûvatha joined the Khailûzans and turned the tide of resistance. Rên was at the apogee of his career when Ar-Pharazôn of Númenor landed with his Adan army at Umbar and captured Sauron.

During the Dark Lord’s imprisonment in Númenor, the Illusionist remained at Ûlk Khey Sârt but, after the Akallabêth of Númenor, the Ringwraith left his domain and joined his Master in Mordor. Rên stayed in the Mordor throughout the War of the Last Alliance (S.A. 3429-3441), fighting on behalf of Sauron in Ithilien (S.A. 3429) and at the great battle of Dagorlad (S.A. 3434). This period marked the last portion of the early years of the Fire-King’s glory. When Barad-dûr fell after the seven-year siege and Sauron fell before Isildur, his One Ring cut from his evil hand, Ren and the other Ulairi passed into the Shadows outside Arda. The Illusionist did not return to Middle-earth until T.A. 1050.

The Third Age

RenUnleashed

Rên returned

After his long exile, the Dark Lord stirred again and resurfaced in Middle-earth around T.A. 1000. He summoned the Ringwraiths from his covert throne in Dol Guldur fifty years later. Like his brethren, the Illusionist re-entered Middle-earth, arriving at his old volcanic hold of Ûlk Khey Sârt. There, he began rebuilding his strength and plotted a renewal of the Ķhey Kingdom. Rên expanded his lair into a great underground citadel and laid the foundations for his future capital on the wide ledges surrounding the fiery mountain. He marshalled an army of disenchanted Ķhey warriors and began subjugating the neighbouring tribes in T.A. 1235, all the while concealing his identity behind his guise as the “Fire-King”.

Rên unified the six major tribal groupings in T.A. 1264. As Al-Khey-Sârt, he ruled his kin through 1640 and again between T.A. 2062 and 2941. These eras constituted periods of relative prosperity for the thirty-six Khey tribes, for they frequently extended their rule into the grasslands of the Kargagis Ahar and they avoided the oppressive spectre of Variag or Nuriag dominance that haunted them during other times.

The Fire-King stayed in Mordor (1640-2000) and at Minas Morgul (2000-2063 and 2941-3019) throughout the other years of the Third Age. Rên rode with the Witch-King on the search for the Ruling Ring in T.A. 3018, and was one of the five Ringwraiths to assail the company on Weathertop. Later, he was swept away in the magical flood that determined the skirmish at the Bruinen Ford.

During the last part of the War of the Ring, the Fire-King helped organize Mordor’s main army. Rên stayed at Barad-dûr while the Witch-King led the grand but doomed assault against Minas Tirith. Following the routs at Pelennor FieldsLórien and northern Mirkwood, he joined the remaining seven Nazgûl for the aerial attack at the Battle of Morannon, where they fought the Great Eagles. In the end, however, Rên the Unclean perished with the Dark Lord and the other Fell Riders in the wake of the cataclysmic unmaking of Sauron’s One Ring.

Artifacts

Notes:

Original form in MERP: Ren Jey


References

  • MERPLords of Middle-earth Vol II:The Mannish Races
  • Games Workshop - The Lord of the Rings: Strategy Battle Game