|"Vale of Erech" by Rob Alexander|
|Location||Northern Lamedon, south of the White Mountains and Edoras|
|Description||Hill capped by a great black stone|
|Inhabitants||Originally Men, later abandoned|
|Gallery||Images of Erech|
Erech was a hill in Gondor situated at the mouth of the Blackroot Vale, far to the west of Minas Tirith. It lay near to the southern entrance to the Paths of the Dead. Upon the summit stood a smooth black globe, the Stone of Erech.
In the Second Age, Isildur brought with him the stone as a symbol of his lineage. The Stone of Erech was a great black stone, spherical in shape and roughly six feet in diameter. He set it upon the hill of Erech and made the local hill tribes swear an oath of loyalty on the stone. It was there that the King of the Dead swore allegiance to Isildur's cause at the time of the Last Alliance. Because he failed to fulfil his oath, the Oathbreakers haunted the hills until they made good their promise.
The Stone became a mysterious and eerie place, shunned by the people of the valley, who claimed it had fallen from the sky, and was haunted by restless spirits. The area was completely abandoned by the end of the Third Age. During the time of King Arvedui of Arthedain, a prophecy was made regarding the arising of the dead during the War of the Ring. In this prophecy the Stone of Erech was mentioned:
- "The Dead awaken; for the hour is come for the oathbreakers: at the Stone of Erech they shall stand again and hear there a horn in the hills ringing."
- ― Malbeth the Seer
After waiting through the long years of the Third Age, at midnight on 8 March T.A. 3019, the heir of Isildur, Aragorn, came to Erech to hold the Dead to their oath again, promising that upon its fulfillment they would have peace. The next day they left Erech for Calembel. Indeed, on 13 March, they held true to their oath and formed the Host of the Dead to help Aragorn defeat the Corsairs of Umbar at Pelargir. After the battle at Pelargir, Aragorn released them from their oath and they were allowed to rest.
Portrayal in Adaptations
In The Lord of the Rings Online game, the Stone of Erech is reimagined as part a collection of seven Vandassari, or Oath-stones. This is based on the idea that the “Seven Stones” did not specifically refer to the Palantiri, but also the Oath-stones.
Players interact with the Stone of Erech in a flashback sequence, and two other Vandassari are seen. One is during a flashback to the Last Alliance where a stolen Stone is used by Sauron to hold an army of Easterlings to their oath to serve him; the second is in the Narrowcleave instance in Forochel.
For more information, see the LOTRO-wiki.
- J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, The Return of the King, "Map of Rohan, Gondor, and Mordor"
- J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, The Return of the King, "The Passing of the Grey Company"
- J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, Appendix B, "The Great Years"
- J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, The Return of the King, "The Last Debate"
- J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, Appendix F, "The Languages and Peoples of the Third Age", "Of Men"