So there I was in Agmar having sent Mordirith packing back to Mordor and sitting around with Golodir wondering if I should just shuffle off to Forochel or Eregion to finish out my run to level 50. I was already well into level 48 by then, had explored deeper into Angmar than I had ever done before, and was starting to feel as though a bit of a break might be in order before SSG decided to unlock Moria for us.
But there was the starter for the Volume I, Book 9 series of quests, complete with a new set of related deeds indicating that Volume I stretched out into a total of 15 books. And, well, I’ve never finished Volume I of the epic quest line before, but I’ve done Eregion and Forochel in the past, so I figured I might as well go with something new… new-ish… to me.
Also, UtlrViolet is clearly daring me to carry on with this.
As I left off last post we had Sara Oakheart appear out of nowhere and steal the palantir from Carn Dum without any rhyme or reason that I could grasp. So, of course I had to go to Rivendell to seek advice. The change up this time was speaking to Gandalf. I guess we cannot have Elrond carrying the whole load on the Rivendell rubber stamp front.
Gandalf was about as helpful as I had come to expect. After a bit of “Wait, what?” from him, he sent me back to Golodir. You know, back where I just was. I did stop for a bit to way good-bye to the fellowship, as the start of the Volume II quest line was at hand.
After that, it was back to Angmar to carry on.
Golodir hadn’t been idle while I was away. His scouts had found Sara Oakheart out by Barad Gularan, that creepy multi-spired place I commented on in the last post. It looks very cool.
Naturally, my job is to go find her.
Fortunately, in that last round of quests about Barad Gularan, where I had to fetch Golodir’s missing gear, I had gotten a feel for how to get about without getting stomped by an elite master giant or anything, so I was able to wend my way around to where Sara was waiting.
Naturally, on checking in with her, she asked me to follow her. This was just what I was dreading, another Sara Oakheart slow motion escort quest. But this time Sara doesn’t hang about.
She led me off to a room inside the tower with an altar and some people in rows like pews and some clearly Mordor-esque characters hanging about. There she stuns me… again… and stars he routine.
And, as it turns out, she is not Sara Oakheart at all… and probably never was… or something.
So there we go. That slow walk escort quest way back in Bree… it WAS a plot by Mordor just to annoy us.
Anyway, in her Amarthiel guise she immediately gets on the palantir to Mordor to speak directly with Sauron, just in case anybody wasn’t clear on which side of the war she was on.
Her thing is apparently the ring Narchuil, one of the lesser rings. Not the one or the three or the seven or the nine, but one of the practice rings made by the elves when Sauron was in his Annatar guise and helping the elves along with their ring lore before they figured out his scheme.
Then, after the whole Bond villain reveal sequence she kills me.
Well, she doesn’t kill me. She defeats me. Or something. I don’t know. Nobody dies in LOTRO, you don’t have health points, just morale, and when you lose that you retreat. So while this seems like very much a point in time where a baddie might try to kill the hero, necessitating an unlikely rescue or escape scenario, here Turbine just defaults to the rules of the game and lets me be defeated to re-appear elsewhere.
Seems like a bit of a cheat, really. But there you go. We’re well outside of Tolkein’s works with this already. This is all Turbine “keep people busy while we finish Moria” lore.
And speaking of keeping people busy, the whole thing devolves into a search of the various zones in Eriador in an attempt to find Narchuil before the forces of Angmar. This starts off with finding and slaying some random champions of Angmar salted about in some earlier zones. They’re related to Mordirith who is tied up in this somehow. So there is a guy holed up in a corner of the Lone Lands with the trolls, who seem surprisingly chill about this guy just setting up in one of their caves.
He isn’t much help. I slay him… or maybe I just defeat him… and his buddies hiding in Ered Luin and in the North Downs.
Eventually we end up in Evendim because Annuminas is key in this somehow. There we eventually track down Sara or Amarthiel and hatch a cunning plan to get back the palantir.
But there is no “you’re all crazy” dialog response option in LOTRO, so off we went into Barad Tironn Worlds to find the palantir.
Even Amarthiel seems a bit surprised that we have arrived. But there is the palatir sitting in its regulation size palatir stand. Seriously, it is identical to the one in Carn Dum.
Then the fight starts and Laerdan says to grab the damn thing and I do and it looks like I am running through Annuminus with a bowling ball.
I make it to the finish line, the instance is declared a success. Palantir secured.
Of course, Laerdan gets captured and we eventually have to rescue him. We also have to get the whole story, via an instance full of flashback creating braziers, to tell the story of Laerdan and his daughter Amarthiel and the ring Narchuil… and Sara freaking Oakheart.
In the flashbacks we learn, ever so slowly, how Laerdan hid Amarthiel away because she had been possessed with the evil in the ring and how Sara Oakheart had one simple set of instructions to follow.
Of course, she screws this up.
And so on. We find that Amarthiel gets away, but is as pissed about having to be around Sara Oakheart as the rest of us… she was probably as ploddingly slow with the room service as she was with that prologue quest… so she burns Sara’s house down on the way out.
And… well.. a bunch more stuff happened, I ran around the Trollshaws quite a bit, turning level 50 along the way, then it was back to Angmar to rescue Laerdan and eventually end up in Barad Durgul where I found half of the ring Narchuil.
Apparently though the ring halves still have some power and could still aid the enemy. Anyway, it was back to Rivendell after that for a grand consultation and discussion. You know it is a big deal when you get both Elrond AND Gandalf in the same room.
There we got some more exposition straight from the mouths of various people in the room before we ended up with the idea that the other half of the ring is in Forochel.
And so, at last, I set out for the coldest zone in Eriador to find half a ring.