08 · Avenues of trade

The major tho­rough­fare in this region is the Men Mithrin which winds its way along the feet of the Ered Mithrin. It tra­verses the thin strip of open woo­dland known as the Nar­rows, bet­ween the moun­tains and the forest of Mirk­wood. During the summer months (from c. 1350 to 1975) wains from Rhûn travel in large cara­vans bound for Angmar. They are clo­sely guar­ded by Eas­ter­lings under Var­chaz during the day, and by Orcs (under Ukog — see 6.1) at night. The supply trains travel along the Men-Rhûnen to the point where it meets the Men Mithrin, seve­ral miles east of the Nar­rows. The Men Mithrin crosses the Taur­duin (S. « Forest River »), in the center of the Nar­rows, by the means of a stout bridge. The bridge is wide enough for two wains to cross at once, but cannot sup­port the weight of two wains fully laden. This means that the Rhûn­nish wag­go­neers often have to under­take the tedious pro­cess of loa­ding and unloa­ding their goods. After the fall of Angmar, in T.A. 1975, the bridge is no longer pro­perly main­tai­ned. As such it becomes unsafe in the fol­lo­wing years, and by the time of the War of the Ring, in T.A. 3018–3020, traces of the bridge have all but disap­pea­red.

Other roads in the Grey Moun­tains region are less fre­quently tra­ve­led and arc gene­rally in a worse state. The trails made by the Orcs are ser­vi­ceable at best, at worst they are blo­cked by rock falls, ava­lanches, and even floo­ding. The Ice-orc trails are little better, but at least they are usually open. Travel on these trails are but two thirds of the normal speed for non Ice-orcs or Orcs).

The Dwar­ven roads, typi­cally, are well made. They link the Men Mithrin to the set­tle­ments of Sil­ver­plunge, Thun­der­cleft and Norr-dum. Other roads also link the set­tle­ments of Long Peak and Sil­ver­pit to Norr-dum and Thun­der­cleft. They are well tra­vel­led (at cer­tain times during the Third Age — see 2.0) and are pro­vi­sio­ned with res­ting caves every seven to four­teen miles, depen­ding on the ter­rain.


Trade bet­ween the peoples of the region is vir­tually nonexistent, although prior to the Plague years (1635–1639) there was a ser­vi­ceable (and unique) agree­ment bet­ween the Dwarves of Sil­ver­plunge and the Beor­nings.

The Ice-orcs trade with Angmar ; expor­ting Los­ran­dir and Herbs co the capi­tal, Carn-dum. Howe­ver, it is more accu­rate to call this trade” tri­bute, as the Ice-orcs have a quota of Los­ran­dir that must be met each month, or the next month it will be dou­bled. The ship­ments of herbs are actually the poison called Kalmog’s spoor (see 4.14), which makes an inter­es­ting tor­ture imple­ment.

In the later years, when the Dwarves have a grea­ter pre­sence in the moun­tains (c. 1994–2600), trade is more com­mon­place. The Dwarves pro­duce little of their own food, and trade is vital to them. They receive regu­lar sup­plies of food and drink from the North­men groups of Dale and the Long Lake, or from the Eas­ter­lings of the Dor­wi­nion region. In return they export raw mine­rals, wea­pons and other metal-work. Gene­rally, most trade is car­ried out through the cen­tral colony (and capi­tal), Norr-dum.


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