LotRO Volume 1, Book 11: The Search for Narchuil

For the one or two folks out there looking for non-Legion posts, over the weekend I completed another book in LotRO: Volume 1, Book 11.

(Spoilers ahead if for some reason I’m not the last person in the world to do these quests from c. 2007.)

LotRO is a great game to play in the morning with your coffee when you don’t have anything pressing to do for a few hours. The music is really good and it’s nice and relaxing to crank up the tunes* and wander around in the scenery. This time I even paid more attention to what was going on (since I planned to eventually write a post about it).

To reiterate (and yes I’m looking this up on a wiki because I don’t remember), after Angmar, we went to Evendim in Book 9 to learn more about Sara Oakheart and Amarthiel, then in Book 10 we captured Amarthiel’s henchman Mordrambor (who I called “Mort”) and recovered a palantir.

Amarthiel (the Big Bad in this part of the story) was using that palantir to find the ring Narchuil. She learned that the ring is in the Trollshaws (aka. the zone containing Rivendell). For um … reasons … it’s important for us to get that ring before she does. (I assume Narchuil is one of The Rings but I don’t really know.)

To the surprise of nobody but the story NPCs, early in Book 11, Amarthiel’s henchman Mordrambor, who previously let himself be captured, escapes in a fiery killing frenzy. This leads to a touching if somewhat drawn out instance where we bury the dead under cairns beneath a scenic purple sky.

Funeral in Evendim

Our job then becomes to find Narchuil before Amarthiel and her Angmarim (the bad people of Angmar) do, so off we go to the mountains and forests and rivers of the Trollshaws, stopping off at a few scenic spots on the way.

Weathertop

Our contact in the Trollshaws is a woman named Candelleth. She first sends us to a cave populated with wood-trolls, but there’s no sign of Narchuil there (we are obliged to destroy the biggest wood-trolls while we’re in the neighborhood, though, for the betterment of mankind, or something).

Scenic route to a cave

Candelleth next sends us to an underground ruin called Delossad, where we find a locked door that won’t open. Candelleth doesn’t know how to open the door, but surmises that the Angmarim searching the area might be looking for the key. One such group was defeated at the Crumbled Cellar, so Candelleth sends us to investigate.

(I don’t know how these people all seem to know what everyone else is doing all over the map… I guess they have something like cell phone technology in Middle Earth.)

Among the debris of the Crumbled Cellar is an old diary of Sara Oakheart, which tells of ‘N’ being held in the Delossad. This eventually leads to a puzzle and a bag of broken keys. (I couldn’t figure out the puzzle and only solved it by clicking every possible hiding place.) Naturally nothing is ever simple in Middle Earth, so we have to traipse off to Rivendell to find an Elf who can repair the broken keys.

This particular Elf won’t fix important keys for free, of course, and asks us to journey way up into the far reaches of the Misty Mountains to collect some gems from Goblin-Town, a place that I had to Google to even find. Returning to the Elf with the gems we find that she’s fixed the keys (reminding us in that haughty Elvish way of how difficult it was and that not just anyone could have done it).

Opening the door

We take the keys back to the ruin Delossad and open the door, which leads to a fairly interesting montage of flashback scenes in which we see Laerdan (who died getting the palantier in the last chapter) secretly holding his daughter Narmeleth (‘N’) captive and trying to free her from the evil spirit of Amarthiel who possesses her. It turns out the infamous old woman Sara Oakheart was a nurse hired by Laerdan to take care of Narmeleth. In the end, as misguided plans often do, everything went wrong and Amerthiel escaped in the guise of Sara Oakheart.

Before we leave Delossad, we’re visited by Mordrambor, who taunts us by revealing he knows where the ring Narchuil is. At the end of the chapter we take all of this news to Elrond in his Homely House library, where he permanently stands next to his shelves.

Thus endeth Book 11.

Most MMORPG stories are pretty lame, but I kind of enjoyed this portion of LotRO, especially the flashback scenes. ‘N’ turning out to be daughter Narmeleth instead of the ring Narchuil was most unexpected, and I found myself genuinely curious about what was going on there. Poor Laerdran: First he lost his daughter (presumably), then he went and got himself killed.

* I have a new appreciation for MMORPG music now that I bought some nice speakers. Mackie Creative Reference Monitors–I got the CR3s–are way better than any computer speakers I’ve ever owned.

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