War of Dwarves and OrcsWar of Dwarves and Orcs (2790-2799 T.A.) - After Smaug captured Erebor, King Thrór, returned to Moria in hopes of making the old Dwarven hall their home once again.  But he was killed by the Orcs who had taken up residence there, and that set off a great war.

 

"That was the beginning of the War of the Dwarves and the Orcs, which was long and deadly, and fought for the most part in deep places beneath the earth.  Thráin at once sent messengers bearing the tale, north, east, and west; but it was three years before the Dwarves had mustered their strength.  Durin's Folk gathered all their host, and they were joined by great forces sent from the houses of other Fathers; for this dishonour to the heir of the Elders of their race filled them with wrath.  When all was ready they assailed and sacked one by one all the strongholds of the Orcs that they could from Gundabad to the Gladden.  Both sides were pitiless and there was death and cruel deeds by dark and by light.  But the Dwarves had the victory through their strength, and their matchless weapons, and the fire of their anger, as they hunted for Azog in every den under mountain.  At last all the Orcs that fled before them were gathered in Moria, and the Dwarf-host in pursuit came to Azanulbizar.  That was a great vale that lay between the arms of the mountains about the lake of Kheled-zâram and had been of old part of the kingdom of Khazad-dûm.  When the Dwarves saw the gate of their ancient mansions upon the hill-side they sent up a great shout like thunder in the valley.  But a great host of foes was arrayed on the slopes above them, and out of the gates poured a multitude of Orcs that had been held back by Azog for the last need.  At first fortune was against the Dwarves; for it was a dark day of winter without sun, and the Orcs did not waver, and they outnumbered their enemies and had the higher ground.  So began the Battle of Azanulbizar (or Nanduhirion in the Elvish tongue), at the memory of which the Orcs still shudder and the Dwarves weep.

 

War of Dwarves and Orcs"The first assault of the vanguard led by Thráin was thrown back with loss, and Thráin was driven into a wood of great trees that then still grew not far from Kheled-zâram.  There Frerin his son fell, and Fundin his kinsman, and many others, and both Thráin and Thorin were wounded.  Elsewhere the battle swayed to and fro with great slaughter, until at last the people of the Iron Hills turned the day.  Coming late and fresh to the field the mailed warriors of Náin, Grór's son, drove through the Orcs to the very threshold of Moria, crying 'Azog! Azog!' as they hewed down with their mattocks all who stood in their way.  Then Náin stood before the Gate and cried with a great voice, 'Azog!  If you are in come out!  Or is the play in the valley too rough?'  Thereupon Azog came forth, and he was a great Orc with a huge ironclad head, and yet agile and strong.  With him came many like him, the fighters of the guard, and as they engaged Náin's company he turned to Náin and said: 'What?  Yet another beggar at my doors?  Must I brand you too?'  With that he rushed at Náin and they fought.  But Náin was half blind with rage, and also very weary with battle, whereas Azog was fresh and fell and full of guile.  Soon Náin made a great stroke with all his strength that remained, but Azog darted aside and kicked Náin's leg, so that the mattock splintered on the stone where he had stood, but Náin stumbled forward.  Then Azog with a swift swing hewed his neck.  His mail-collar withstood the edge, but so heavy was the blow that Náin's neck was broken and he fell.  Then Azog laughed, and he lifted up his head to let forth a great yell of triumph; but the cry died in his throat.  For he saw that all his host in the valley was in a rout, and the Dwarves went this way and that slaying as they would, and those that could escape from them were flying south, shrieking as they ran.  And hard by all the soldiers of his guard lay dead.  He turned and fled back towards the Gate.  Up the steps after him leaped a Dwarf with a red axe.  It was Dáin Ironfoot, Náin's son.  Right before the doors he caught Azog, and there he slew him, and hewed off his head." ~The Return of the King (Appendix A)