The Lord of the Rings: Shadow of the East
Located on a steep rise on the southern slopes of the North Downs, Fornost is as much a fortress as it is a city. Fornost was chosen to be the royal seat of Arthedain after the sack of Annúminas in T.A. 1409. Since then, a somber mood has permeated every aspect of life in court, for the Dúnedain stand ever ready to meet another assult by the Witch-king. Despite, or perhaps because of, the omnipresent threat from Angmar, the people of Arthedain are a spiritual folk given over to introspection. The wisest scholars and greatest library of the Men of the North are to be found in Fornost. The city itself is not large, housing a population just over 3,000.
The capital of Arthedain after the division of Arnor in T.A. 861, Fornost has long been the largest and busiest city north of Tharbad. The tin and lead deposits underlying this part of the North Downs drew Eriadorian and Dwarven miners here as early as S.A 1000. For obscure reasons, the Dwarves got no support for their claims from their kinfolk in Moria, and the Eriadorians drove them out after a series of minor wars. Much later, religious mystics from Númenor arrived and received permission to build an astronomical observatory on Fornaer (S. “Lament of the North;” coll. “Norland’s Glower”), the highest crest of the downs around the headwaters of the Nen Erain, the most important local river. Númenórean power kept the peace locally, and the Eriadorians got used to the idea of their leadership. Around S.A. 3250, a Sauronic minion used the mystical lenses of the observatory on Fornaer to summon an elrog (S. “star-demon”). It ravaged the countryside until slain by a Dúnadan mage, Calvellon Glornor. Calvellon was elected Lord of the Tyrn Fyrn by the grateful locals and eventually willed his domain to his nephew, Elendil of Andúnië, who later combined the title with several others when he made himself the first king of Arnor.
The actual name of “Fornost Erain” first appears in Elendil’s original plans for the defense of Arnor against the Orcs of the Misty Mountains. He ordered a fortification, the “Citadel,” built along the highest ridge of Norland’s Glower, and added a series of defensive walls around the hill as local settlement moved, from the towns on either side in the valleys below, uphill towards the center of local power. Valandil, the first king of Arnor in the Third Age, built a palace within the citadel for use in the summer, to enable him to get away from the heat and biting insects that troubled his official capital at Annúminas. Over the centuries, Arnor’s kings transferred more and more of their officials to Fornost, seeking the knowledge of the religious mystics dwelling in the area.
After Arnor was divided, the military problems of the kingdom were also best handled from its northern citadel. By the time Annúminas fell to the Angmarrim in T.A. 1409, all that remained was to move the palantír of Annúminas northeastward for the transfer of power and government to be complete.