Welcome to LOTRO Epic A Day, where I guide you on an epic journey through Middle-Earth, one day at a time. Each Book of the Epic quest is separated into its own Day, with Side-Days for leveling up to the next book. Any plot spoilers are contained within the story overview in “Turning the Pages”. Gather up your belongings and hit the road, a new Day awaits!
Our search over, Narchuil’s fate has yet to be sealed. Laerdan tells us his plan to take the ring to the forges of Eregion, where he can destroy it at long last.
Chapter 1: The Long Road South
The planned destruction of Narchuil leads us to Eregion, south of the Trollshaws. Before we depart preparation must be made; we must travel to Evendim, Angmar, and an Elf in Rivendell to gather belongings for Laerdan. Each person you meet begins a separate quest to regain the items you seek before you can return to Laerdan.
The Heraldry of Lindon: We are sent to Golodir in Gath Forthnír, but he no longer has Laerdan’s breastplate. It may yet remain at Dolendath, where the Rangers took shelter during their earlier incursion into Angmar. The location is a short distance south, through a door at the bottom of the hills just southeast of Imlad Balchorth. Entering the door begins a fellowship or Inspired solo instance, in which we clobber our way through rats and tomb-wights to reach the armor piece. Narrow corridors make it easy to attract too many enemies at once; move slowly and cautiously to avoid being overwhelmed. Search any locker you come across for the breastplate. Our actions become noticed and the master of the cave reveals a path to him and the treasure. While fighting the gaunt-lord he will summon a number of wights, so defeat him as quickly as possible. His morale level is low enough that it isn’t helpful to clear out the allies first. Step out of the convenient exit after the battle (a rock at the back of the cave opens to an exit outside). After returning to Golodir with the equipment we can finish collecting the other items and speak to Laerdan when we have them all.
Many Provisions: Filegnaneth is the Elven chef in The Last Homely Home’s Hall of Fire. We must obtain some drops of fine clover honey for her before she can cook lembas for the journey. An expert cook, found in Michel Delving, sells these for a small fee (in fact you might want to head there first, so you have them before speaking with Filegnaneth). Hand over the honey to be promised supplies for our travels.
The Steed Arel: The Stable-master Nat Collop has taken care of Laerdan’s horse for him, but it will need new shoes before it can bear its master. Nat sends us to Thorin’s Hall for shoe moulds, obtainable from an expert metalsmith near the forges inside the hall. Take the moulds back to Nat Collop (or buy them before visiting him in the first place) and head back to Laerdan if you have completed the other assignments.
When we return to Laerdan’s room we find the door locked, a note pinned outside and Laerdan already departed. He tricked us into giving him the opportunity to sneak away and venture after Narmeleth on his own while we were attending to less than necessary tasks. Show the note to Elrond and ready yourself to follow in Laerdan’s wake.
Chapter 2: Laerdan’s Trail
Laerdan’s goal is not to destroy the ring but to return it to Amarthiel, hoping to bring Narmeleth to the surface. He must be stopped before this can be accomplished – his plan is borne of a broken mind and has no reason to succeed – so speak with Rivendell’s Stable-master and then again with Elrond to find Laerdan’s trail.
Chapter 3: Shedding Light
Elrond has given us permission to examine Laerdan’s before beginning our chase. Inside the guest room examine the pack, coil of rope, map of Eregion, and lastly the open journal.
Chapter 4: The Prisoner of Sammath Baul
Laerdan’s journal was left open at an account of his torture. When we read the entry we begin a session play and witness the events firsthand. Do not be frightened by our sudden appearance inside Sammath Baul – we will be playing out these memories from the perspective of an Angmarim Bloodletter. Look over your new skills before clearing out vermin from the dungeon; your standard class skills have been replaced temporarily. After defeating the vermin and waking lazy orcs, we watch the interrogation of Laerdan. It is a disturbing sight as Amarthiel plays into Laerdan’s deepest emotions through the guise of Narmeleth, but it gives us insight into his most recent actions.
Chapter 5: Laerdan’s Fall
Go to Elrond to understand the vision better. The enemy broke him through his own love and compassion, and may soon use that love to wield a terrible power.
Chapter 6: The Fate of Laerdan
Elrond leads us into another short session play, this time following Laerdan’s journey into Eregion. The Dunlending enemies may have the advantage of numbers, but Laerdan retains enough power to deal with them easily. However, this strength does not hold up against his daughter and we see Laerdan captured once more by the Angmarim.
Chapter 7: The Ravages of Time
The enemy plans to re-forge the ring Narchuil, but Elrond is unsure whether this will be successful. Our task is to speak with Eglamír in Celondim to learn the Ring-lore of Eregion. The elf is not too welcoming, but will aid us due to Elrond’s involvement.
Chapter 8: An Elf-Friend of Eregion
Eglamír is hesitant to share the Ring-lore, a subject taught by the Dark Lord in Ages past. He does share information about a ring shaping tool, given to a Man in Bree. Speak to the mayor, who points us to Newbold Leafcutter inside the Scholar’s Stairs.
Chapter 9: The Barrows of Haudh Iarchith
The tool given to a Man of Bree has been buried with him inside Haudh Iarchith. We travel cautiously into the southern Barrow-downs to retrieve the item. The tomb is a dangerous place; signature enemies roam freely, but there is no Inspired Greatness buff nor is the quest marked for a fellowship. This can pose a significant challenge unless you work your way through the tomb slowly, taking on one enemy at a time, or find a small group of friends to help you through the Barrow. Preparing yourself with quality food and item buffs can also help you survive. Our usual running like a scared chicken tactic doesn’t work here, because there are too many enemies near the crypt (and even play-dead skills don’t work to avoid the last group of enemies). Once you make it to the crypt, examine it and return to Newbold in Bree.
Chapter 10: Trailing Angmar
The theft of the ring-shaping tool is an ominous sign. Might have Laerdan brought it to the enemy? We should bring this troubling news back to Eglamír in Celondim.
Chapter 11: The Great Bellows of Eregion
The Angmarim must obtain special dragon-hide to repair the bellows of Eregion’s forges. If we can keep them away from the dragon (thought to be found in Forochel), we might prevent much tragedy. Speak to Yrjänä in Sûri-kylä to find this beast.
Chapter 12: Skin of Bregmor
Yrjänä shares the location of the dragon: far to the west, near the Ice-giants and the Dwarven fort Zigilgund. Entering the cave begins an instance – solo with Inspired Greatness or together with a fellowship.
Worms and Gauredain fight inside the icy caves, eventually leading to small waves of both types of enemies. Further along are more powerful Gauredain with wolf allies. All of the enemies in this cave can be deadly, but be especially wary of the larger groups – stay back as far as possible to avoid attracting additional foes when possible.
After heading up a steep incline we fight Mawgan the Hunter, a standard Gauradan, and two wolves. It can help to begin the battle and then head back down to the first floor, finishing the allies before Mawgan can do too much damage. Hicca the spirit-master should be slightly easier, if you focus on him before his wolves (he will constantly add more during his fight). Finally we reach the end of the cave, fighting the leader of the pack and learning that Bregmor has already been slain. Leave as we came in and return to Yrjänä with the bad news. The events trouble Yrjänä, but he is also perplexed by the return of Mordrambor. Last seen fighting Amarthiel in these same frozen lands, why is he now lending aid to Narchuil’s reforging?
Chapter 13: Frustrated Hopes
Yrjänä urges us to return to Eglamír swiftly, bearing the ill tidings with us to Celondim. Eglamír’s words do not serve to inspire us when he tells us we have but little hope of success.
Chapter 14: The Heavy Burden
Eglamír has nothing more to offer us, merely reminding us of our failure before we return to Elrond. Despite the grim outlook, Elrond’s resolve remains firm. Amarthiel must be stopped, no matter her power.
Chapter 15: The Doom of the North
Eregion is found just south of the Trollshaws. Reaching here can be a bit tricky at first, until you have visited the Stable-masters. You will need to find the path atop the cliffs heading south along the Bruinen at approximately 38.2 S, 14.5 W. Once in Eregion you can simply follow the main path to Mirobel.
Inside the instance (designed for groups or Inspired soloers) we find Laerdan, gravely injured but still clinging to the hope that Narmeleth might be restored. He tells us how to enter the forges inside Tham Mírdain before we hurry onward; we will have to defeat the Gorthorog named Strok and claim his keys. There are a large number of Orcs guarding the perimiter, but they can all be avoided by passing as far around them as possible on our way to the key bearer. He is liable to heal for a large amount, so have an interrupt skill at the ready.
After Strok falls enter the large doors and face the Angmarim and Pale-folk inside. The Hornblowers is a priority target – defeat it before it can summon powerful allies. The groups of Angmarim and Pale-folk can be fought on their own, provided you defeat or stun any enemies that run off to warn the others. In the small fork at 53.4 S, 19.3 W find and finish off the Gorthorog Champion at the left side of the room and continue through the gate behind it. The next gate is to the right side of the hallway, leading to the room in front of the forges. An Elite-Master Priestess guards the way into the forges and will not let us through without a challenging fight. To make matters worse, she calls all of the Angmarim in the room to her aid. Do not let her gain this advantage; defeat the enemies in the corners before approaching her to cripple the Angmarim numbers. Even with the Angmarim cleared out beforehand she can prove tricky. While her two scouts remain she is able to absorb damage, so quickly defeat them at the beginning of the fight before focusing on her.
Our reward is entrance into the forges, where we confront Amarthiel. Unfortunately, we are to late. The ring has been forged anew and Amarthiel wields it against us. We have no power to stand against her might, so merely spend the next few moments trying to maintain your morale and survive. Should you hold on to life the story will continue and this chapter will come to a close. There is but one book left in our story’s first volume, so get some rest and prepare for the final day in the first step of our journey.
Turning the Pages
As we play through the penultimate book the situation grows ever more dire. The challenges faced within are among the greatest so far in the game and this danger is reflected in the story. We may have begun with quests to fetch items, but nothing in this book is quite so simple. After all, those small annoyances were part of a ploy of Laerdan’s, diverting us from our main goal, while later chapters ramped up the difficulty level several times. The plans of our enemies are also not simple; they have been fighting amongst each other, back-stabbing and pretending at new alliances, all to grasp at power for the most important person, themselves.
All of the challenges and tense moments of the volume seem to come to a head in this book: Laerdan’s folly; the dangers of Middle-Earth from the Barrows of Bree to the snowy embrace of Forochel; Angmar’s reclaimed power; and finally the return of Mordirith, member of the Nine. What chance have we at standing up to Angmar’s full power under Mordirith and Mordrambor, wielding rings of power and armies of doom?
What hope remains?
And yet in the darkest hour, when our fear is at its peak and the enemy is closing in, light shines through. What may have been folly was borne of courage; Laerdan’s plan has perhaps come to fruition at the end.
Amarthiel’s spirit is breaking and Narmeleth has woken.