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INTRODUCTION Below the towering heights of the Ered Nimrais¸ the White Mountains¸ lies the Morthond (Black-root) Vale¸ a rich land of rolling¸ fertile fields and rushing alpine streams. This was¸ long ago¸ the land of the Daen Coentis (Dn. People of Skill)¸ the folk who later became known as the Dunlendings. Their tribes ranged these rich valley lands and farmed these fields¸ hunted the mountain forests¸ herded in the meadows¸ and mined the cliffs and gorges. The Daen Coentis were never very many¸ but they were skilled workers in stone and keen observers of the seasons and the night skies. They erected hundreds of massive stone observatories that served as both calendars and as temples to the Valar¸ whom they worshipped as gods. Their peaceful existence came to an end in the middle of the Second Age¸ during the Dark Years of Sauron. The devout but primitive religion of the Daen Coentis made it relatively easy for the Dark Lord to subvert the worship of these people. With the passing of years the Evil One preyed upon their superstitions.