|The Battle of Mirkwood|
|Conflict: The Mortality Crusade|
|Date: 1586 SA|
|Outcome: Elven victory|
|Bane's legion||Thranduil's army|
|Bane IV Chainbiter||Thranduil|
|750 Dwarves, 200 Spiders||2,000 Elves, 1 Skin-changer|
|650 Dwarves, 90 spiders||1,650 Elves|
The Battle of Mirkwood was a battle between the Elves and Dwarves during the Mortality Crusade. It took place in the mysterious Mirkwood near Erebor.
Bane IV Chainbiter had taken a host of his people from Moria to visit Erebor, where his distant relative Dain V the Beardless. They crossed the Great Plain to reach Erebor and spent the week there, to celebrate the Dwarven victory against the Goblins that ended in the Misty Mountains. On their way back, tehy were waylaid by a vicious storm, which spread across the Great Plain in its entirety. They had to dare to cross through Mirkwood, which was already renowned for being extremely dangerous. They made a plan that the non-military folk in the company would take a different route through the Iron Hills, whilst the military would brave Mirkwood.
The non-military were given hospitality in the Iron Hills by their cousins, but the military group met another party entirely. They were spotted by a patrol of Elves in the Wood, and the Elf sentry who saw them rushed to warn Thranduil. Meanwhile, Bane, who was at the head of the party, was starting to experience unusual feelings of paranoia and fear that he had never experienced before. The spell of Mirkwood was beginning to infect the Dwarves, and Bane was the first victim. Bane then saw movement in the trees and saw a Dwarf emerge from the bushes: Threnn, his long-dead friend and comrade. Bane was so distracted by the appearance of his friend that he didn't notice when a volley of Elven arrows suddenly pierced his great beard and nearly felled the Dwarves at the front of the group. The Dwarves panicked and the Elves emerged, drawing their blades and screaming war-cries. They surrounded the Dwarves, who immediately attacked. The Elves saw the Dwarves as intruders on their land, and sought to either drive them out, or kill them where they stood. The Dwarves gathered and, on Bane's orders, charged.
The Skirmish in the Elven City Edit
The Elves were almost immediately driven back by the Dwarves, right to the walls of their own city. There, Thranduil watched, horror-struck, as his people were backed against the walls of the city, and ordered for reinforcements. A squadron of Elven warriors burst from the city and attacked the Dwarves from behind. Bane came at them wildly, drawing his sword Karsil and hacking at their shields with a blind fury. A single Dwarf managed to get over the wall, but Thranduil drew his sword and killed the intruder with a slash to the throat that felled him into the river.
Bane gave a great cry and ordererd his Dwarves to draw the Elves away from the city, which succeeded in balancing the odds. The Elven archers were forced to draw spears and swords, which they lacked experience with, and the Dwarves became more confident in having an advantage. Thranduil was ordered to issue more reinforcements, but he refused. He had seen one bloodshed that had no meaning, he didn't want to see another. Thranduil turned to his commander and demanded that he 'draw them into the web'. There, the Elves were ordered to create a semicircle around the Dwarves and draw them further into Mirkwood. There, the Dwarves were met with a brand new, terrifying intruder: the spiders.
The Attack on the Spider's Nest Edit
The spiders were awoken from hibernation by the cries and screams of war. Since the Mirkwood had been given such a name, the spiders had created an elaborate, systemic web that spanned nearly a third of the Mirkwood. The Dwarves found themselves pinned against that web, and when they pulled threads by accident they alerted the spiders. The spiders, contrary to Thranduil's expectations, saw the Elves - who had long troubled them and tried to take their territory for themselves - as the attacking party, and scaled the trees, bearing down on the Elves. The Dwarves climbed the trees to find high ground, but the Elves decided the better strategy of scaling the webs themselves. This may have given them high ground, but it also infuriated the spiders even more.
The spiders attacked, and the Elves tried to set up a better position around the Dwarves without running into the arachnids. The Dwarves delved deeper into the web, using the maze of nets and threads as cover and as obstacles for the Elves. They went to the heart of the nest, where they sat and regained their bearings, for they were tired by the skirmish at the gates of the Elven city. Meanwhile, the Elves were forced to fall back, firing arrows desperately at the spiders to keep them at bay. Thranduil saw that this part of the plan had worked against him, and instead ordered for his men to pick up any fallen weapons of the Dwarves and go to the bee pastures of Beorn's House. There, they hacked at the bee pastures with the axes of the Dwarves, then retreated before Beorn woke up. When he did, thinking that the Dwarves had attacked his hives, he flew into a rage, transformed into a bear and set off into the woods to find the 'intruders'.
Bane's Regrets Edit
Back in the heart of the spiderweb, Bane was busy awaiting the next attack from the Elves, when he saw Threnn again. Threnn grinned at him and then beckoned to follow. Overjoyed but shocked, Bane followed him out of the web. Threnn calmly walked away from Bane, prompting the great Dwarf to follow him. Bane called for his friend's name but Threnn didn't answer. He followed Threnn to a great river, where in centuries to come Bilbo Baggins and Thorin's Company would make their famous escape from Thranduil's cells. Bane stopped at one end of the river, which was undergoing a violent overthrow, making the currents vicious and dangerous to cross. Threnn stood there, smiling at him, and beckoned.
Bane, dazed and deluded, tried to take one step into the river so that he could cross it, and was immediately knocked over by the current. Bane rolled and thrashed in the river whilst Threnn walked through it, undisturbed and unharmed by the current at all. Threnn calmly taunted him that he was unable to save their friends in the Orc prison that they were kept in all those years ago. Threnn sneered at his friend that he wasn't strong enough to save them, or to save Threnn. He also said that Bane's lust for his people's salvation would be his undoing. This finally snapped Bane, and the great Dwarf threw himself out of the water, wrestling his friend through the current, not caring for the fact that the rushing water made him lose his footing repeatedly. The two of them engaged in a brutal fist fight, in which Threnn - who had inexplicably gained superhuman strength - easily won and beat Bane down with his fists and feet, knocking him into a deep lagoon, where Bane struggled to gain distance from his opponent.
Threnn sneered, saying Bane would never be strong enough to surpass him, and never had been strong enough even when they were children. Bane tearfully cried out that he was sorry that he couldn't save them all, and that he had failed to protect Threnn. He was sorry that he had dragged them into the Orc stronghold and nearly got them killed. He was sorry that he had failed Threnn, in the end. With that, Threnn only smiled and stepped forward to deliver a killing blow. Bane roared and threw himself at his friend once more. He passed right through Threnn, as if the latter were no more than mist. Thinking that he had tackled his friend down and finally had the chance to beat him. He pummelled at his friend's face, screaming with desperation, until he finally realized that his friend had vanished. It had been the Mirkwood playing with his mind the whole time!
The Toppling of the Trees Edit
Whilst Bane recovered from the terrifying experience with the Mirkwood's mind-breaking, the Dwarves were finally ready to return to the battlefield. The Elves had found themselves locked in combat with the spiders, but were quickly gaining an advantage. However, they soon found themselves cornered when the Dwarves surrounded them and attacked from the blind side of the Elves. Caught between the spiders and the Dwarves, the Elves struggled to maintain a defensive position when an earth-shattering roar. Atop a hill, the Dwarves saw Beorn tear down towards them, ripping through bushes and toppling down trees. Beorn crashed down on the Dwarves, but moved right past them and ambushed the spiders with a vicious intent that the Dwarves had never seen before.
Beorn forced the spiders into retreat, but not before ripping apart and crushing a great many of them. He then turned and encircled the Dwarves. Beorn roared and charged towards the Dwarves, but then Bane jumped down out of nowhere and landed right in front of Beorn. Bane spread his arms and roared at the top of his voice. For the first time in the recollection of the Free Peoples of Middle Earth, Beorn stopped dead in his tracks in front of the Dwarf general. Recognizing his old friend, Beorn lowered his head, and charged back out of the war zone.
The Elves and the Dwarves faced one another, unsure at what either one's next move was. Then, the Dwarves turned tail and sprinted out of the Mirkwood with the Elves in hot pursuit. Bane turned to fight off any Elves that came too close to them, until they were clear of that cursed forest. The Elves stopped, screaming cries of triumph, ordering them never to come back. Bane could only just see Thranduil stnading atop his palace, serenely watching them run. Bane swore to himself that this wasn't over, and that the Elvenking and he would have their reckoning one day.
It took several weeks for Bane to properly recover from his ordeal with Threnn's ghost. He spent half of that week without saying a single word to anyone, even to his own children. The Elves viewed this as a victory, but also as an intrusion that would not go unavenged. The Dwarves saw this as an unforgettable lesson in strategy, and as an inspiration not to have to endure any crippling defeats ever again.