– by Lereglis, Rohir aide to Beregast, Senator for Anorien. FA 158
In under five short years, the Gap of Rohan wall has come into being across the fells and plains between the White Mountains and the magnificent spurs of Maethedras [sic]. It hugs the lay of the land on the eastern valleys in sight of the River Angren (or Isen), twisting and curving to accentuate the defensible ground or spanning the wide dry valleys common in the Westfold.
It is a stout fortification, merely shoulder-height in most places, and wide enough for two men to pass on top. One could walk the length of the wall without setting foot on solid ground, except for the interruptions of gatehouses, where locked doors may bar further passage. Basic crenellations are present in lower stretches of the wall but they are for small cover only.
The engineers and the armymen have ensured the terrain on either sides of the wall are clear of forestry for a bowshot’s distance. Some effort has also gone into improving the Rohan-side terrain for cavalry travel at speed, though this work is not complete at the time of this report (and not all of the wall’s length will ever be traversible in this manner)
It is important to note that the wall is not designed to withstand attack without the men to defend it. And mile-castles stretch along the entire length of the wall (I am told 77 in total) each manned and patrolled by a cohort. There are three new settlements behind the wall, begun as construction towns, but intended for permanent garrison by Gondorian and Rohirrim troops. The least said about life in these towns the better – they have yet to lose their air of frontier spirit.
The southern wall climbs high into the White Mountains, ending interlocked with a northern spur of the mighty mountain Thrihyrne – almost in mimicry of the deeping wall that used to lie on the other side of this mountain, where it snaked from the Hornburg to the valley below.
At the northern end, there is but one mountain ascent to the final outpost. The mountain here provides a natural defensive cliff of over a hundred feet, and from the low turret one can see the spire of Angrenost (Orthanc) across the sea of whispering, uninviting green that is the Isengard forest.
The wall is in large part symbolic; it proclaims that the border of the civilised world shall not be challenged by the heathens in the North. Whether it is truly the last resort in defending against the conflicts of the northmen, as many in Minas Tirith argue, it is hard to concur. While not on the scale of the buildings of ancient Numenor, it is a dazzling sight, and a confirmation of the authority and the will of the King.