The Dwarves of the line of Durin delve too deep under the Misty Mountains and awaken an ancient evil. After millennia of prosperity, the vast halls of Khazad-dûm, Wonder of the Northern world, are abandoned the following year, its inhabitants driven out by fear and death.
Thráin I, King of Durin’s folk and distant ancestor of Thorin Oakenshield, comes to the Lonely Mountain and founds a dwarf-kingdom. There, the Dwarves discover their most prized treasure, the Arkenstone, known also as the Heart of the Mountain.
In the past centuries, the increase in power of the Necromancer of Dol Guldur has been responsible for the slow but steady diminishing of the inhabitants of the vales of the Great River. In the year 2063, the wizard Gandalf finally enters the fortress to investigate the matter (songs and legends of the Woodmen have him led through Mirkwood by the young son of a hunter).
The shadow over Mirkwood weakens and many folks that were forced to leave return to their lands: the Woodmen multiply and prosper in the following years, establishing settlements both east and west of the Great River.
Thorin I, son of Thráin, removes the royal house of Durin’s folk from Erebor to abide in the Grey Mountains. He carries the Arkenstone with him, as part of the royal treasure.
Mirkwood darkens once again as evil things are called back and creep into the forest. In the following decades, many people choose to leave the region and go south.
At the request of the Lady Galadriel, a White Council of the Wise and Powerful is formed to unite the forces of the West against the Shadow. Saruman the White, who has long studied the Enemy and his servants, is chosen to lead it. The Elvenking of Northern Mirkwood is invited to join, but refuses.
Answering commands issued from their master in Dol Guldur, the Orcs begin to spread in the dark places beneath the Misty Mountains. From Mount Gundabad in the north to Moria in the south they secretly strengthen every stronghold, barring all the passes into the lands west of the mountains.
To respond to the increasing threat from the mountains, the Woodmen of the western river vales raise their burg at Mountain Hall, building upon the foundations of an older fortification.
Following a great battle, Eorl the Young, lord of the Horse-folk of the north, leads his people from the upper vales of the river Anduin to live as free Men in the plains of Calenardhon, far in the distant south. He becomes the first King of the Mark of the Riders.
Late in the reign of Náin II, a plague of Dragons begins to afflict the Dwarven mansions in the Grey Mountains. The Dwarves face a long and terrible war.
The Dragons of the northern waste spread south to prey on the Dwarves. King Dáin I and his second son Frór are slain by a Cold-drake while barring the gates to their halls.
Thrór, the eldest son of Dáin I and heir to the kingship, restores the royal house to its ancient seat in Erebor. The Arkenstone is brought back to its place in the Great Hall
of Thráin, and with it returns a great part of Durin’s folk. They mine and tunnel the roots of the Mountain, enlarging the subterranean kingdom building huge halls and greater workshops. Another group of Dwarves is led eastward by his brother Grór, the third son of Dáin: under his rule they eventually settle in the Iron Hills.
About this time, several clans of Northmen living along the River Running move north to be closer to the Lonely Mountain. They befriend the Dwarven colony of Erebor, attracted by the opportunities offered by the prospering trade with the Iron Hills. The city of Dale prospers, and the following hundred years see it become the capital of a strong kingdom extending far and wide to the East and South.
Dismayed by the increasing forces of both Dwarves and Men of the North, many Orcs resort to raiding the regions west of the Misty Mountains. This threat comes mainly from their stronghold of Mount Gram.
At the Battle of Greenfields, Hobbits of the Shire face and defeat an Orc-band from Mount Gram. Their king,
the Orc Golfimbul, is killed by Bandobras Took, better known as the “Bullroarer”.
About this time, the wild folks of the East move against their enemies. In the North, the armies of Dale muster under the banner of King Bladorthin, but between the end of 2758 and the first months of 2759, stiff, relentless winds hit the North, covering the lands with snow and ice. The Long Winter has come, and King Bladorthin dies before he sees the end of it. He is succeeded by his young son Girion, who drives his enemies back to the eastern frontiers of the realm.
In five months, the Long Winter causes great suffering and inflicts grievous losses on many peoples. Gandalf the Grey himself intervenes, coming to the aid of the Shire-folk.
One night, Smaug the Dragon descends on the Lonely Mountain spouting flames. The Dwarves are caught by surprise and Erebor is sacked, its inhabitants slain. Warriors from Dale are destroyed too, and Girion their lord is killed. Thrór, the King under the Mountain, escapes the slaughter by secret means with his son Thráin. They are joined in exile by Thorin, the young son of Thráin. The Dragon claims the underground halls of Erebor as his lair, and its treasure becomes his hoard. From the Mountain, Smaug starts preying upon the neighbouring lands, killing people and livestock and reducing the surrounding area to a wasteland. Some time later, Dale becomes deserted and slowly crumbles to ruins.
Thrór, Dwarven King in exile, is captured and slain in Moria by the Great Orc Azog. Preparing a war of vengeance, his son Thráin calls for a great muster of Dwar ves.
The Dwarves of Durin’s Folk, strengthened by great forces sent from the Houses of the other Fathers of the Dwarves, begin a long and cruel war against the Orcs of the Misty Mountains.
The final battle of the War of the Dwarves and Orcs is fought before the East-gate of Moria. The Dwarves are victorious, and a very young Dáin Ironfoot distinguishes himself by killing Azog singlehandedly. But victory has a bitter taste: the war has greatly reduced the number of Orcs still dwelling in the mountains, but at the cost of a frightful number of lives.
After the battle, the various Houses part ways without attempting to reclaim Moria, and the Dwarves are dispersed again to the four winds: Dáin Ironfoot returns to the Iron Hills. Thráin and his son Thorin wander westwards, to eventually settle in the Blue Mountains to the northwest.
A lust for gold slowly takes possession of Thráin. He resolves to return to Erebor and convinces Balin and Dwalin and a few others to leave the Blue Mountains with him. Their wanderings bring them again beyond the Misty Mountains, until on a dark night Thráin disappears in Mirkwood.
After almost eight hundred years, Gandalf the Grey once again enters Dol Guldur in secrecy. Inside the evil fortress, he finds his darkest fears to be true: the dreaded Necromancer is indeed the dark lord Sauron. Before fleeing the black stronghold, the wizard encounters the missing Heir of Durin: a dying Thráin entrusts him with a map and a key and then dies.
Bilbo Baggins of Bag End is born in the Shire, son of Bungo Baggins and Belladonna Took.
Despite the danger of these lands, many bold men and women make their way back into the vales of the Great River from the South. They are welcomed by Radagast the Brown to ‘live in amongst the more pleasant woods in the valleys and along the river-shores’.
An extremely fierce and long cold season begins in November. Remembered as the Fell Winter, its frozen grip doesn’t release the regions of the North from snow and ice for five months. Rivers and lakes are frozen over, and white wolves descend from the frozen wastes of the far North.
When the frigid winds finally relent in March of the following year, rivers overflow with the melting of the snow and many lands are flooded as a result. It is about this time that the Long Marshes spread extensively, extending from the Old Forest road to the Forest River.
Aragorn, son of Arathorn, is born on May 1st. He is the direct descendant of Isildur, the last High King of the Men of the West. Two years later, his father is killed while riding against the Orcs of Mount Gram with the sons of Elrond Halfelven. His mother Gilraen takes Aragorn to Rivendell, where he is received by Elrond as foster-son. He is given the name Estel (Hope) and his lineage concealed.