Chapter 25 Synopsis
The party ambushes a patrol of Angmarim Orcs and a Troll. Ganoveth’s mother, Shria, uses her powerful magic to vaporize the Troll’s head with a lightning bolt. After retreating with the horses, Langston is attacked by a Goblin, whom he eventually defeats—though only just! He also finds a new friend in the hole where the Goblin lived—a smelly ferret he names Luthien.
Coming upon the maze of narrow passes where they assume Glorfindel will make his ascent, Ganoveth decides to take one Elf to search for the great warrior. He finds the party a shelter location to camp, the ruins of an old Dwarven watchtower. Langston identifies it as likely belonging to the Ironfist clan, as they once dwelled in these mountains before Angmar became the domain of the Witch-king.
Langston continues his research into the secrets locked within the mysterious book. To this end, he interviews Shria. However, during this conversation, Altan unexpectedly appears. He draws his sword—possibly to attack—and Shria instantly strikes him with her magic, disarming and burning him. Claiming Altan is an outcast and a kidnapper, she prepares to meet out his punishment: Death.
“He took my children from me, Saelon Shaper. That is a kind of murder.” – Shria
Thinking quickly, Langston reluctantly cuts her with the assassin’s knife. She is paralyzed for a few moments, just long enough for Langston to convince her to wait until Ganoveth’s return. Unfortunately, they have to move from their sheltered position because Shria’s magic will draw the attention of the Enemy. They leave, but Langston leaves a note in charcoal for Ganoveth summarizing what has happened.
After searching the snowy mountains of Angmar for three days, Ganoveth and his Elven companion locate Glorfindel. Ganoveth convinces the Elf Lord to return Ebonrath-Sahil to him so they may try his mother’s gamble to reintegrate the Speaker’s two halves. If they are wrong, the Speaker will be free of Ebonrath-Sahil’s binding and will regain all of her past strength.
Upon returning to the Ironfist watchtower, Ganoveth discovers Langston’s note. Angered by this new development, Gano decides to investigate the watchtower more thoroughly. He finds a nearly invisible secret door in the floor. Recalling the Khuzdul word his friend Prince Thélor used in the Nacker lair to open the a gate, Ganoveth says, “Bazik.” The door opens inward and a set of stairs ascend. Glorfindel and Ganoveth decide to investigate before leaving, sending their Elf companion to search for the rest of the party.
The watchtower passage goes on for miles. Ganoveth quickly ascertains it probably leads to Zarak Dûm, where the Speaker is reportedly courting a dragon. It seems fate has smiled on them for once. They go in search of the rest of the party.
By the time they locate Langston and the others, night has fallen. Langston is completely floored to meet the legendary Glorfindel, but there is no time for hero worship! He fills Ganoveth in on all that’s happened, and Gano wades into the dispute between his mother and father. Through an impassioned speech, he manages to convince Shria to show mercy on Altan as a way of reminding her that redemption is what the Black Spirit Hunters always fight for. Altan, however, remains convinced that Gano is acting selfishly, and leaves.
“Father, your punishment will be living to see you’re wrong. And if you’re not wrong, well, then you can gloat for a few seconds before we all die.” – Ganoveth
When Ganoveth tells them all of the passage to Zarak Dûm and Langston mentions the rumored dragon that dwells there named Scorba, Shria says this makes sense. The only thing hot enough to destroy Ebonrath-Sahil is dragon’s fire.
Since the quest he set out on has ended in an unexpected fashion, Glorfindel and the other Elves give their farewells. Despite the danger involved, Langston decided to accompany Ganoveth and his mother into Zarak Dûm. The chance to meet a dragon and a Maia is simply too good. Think of the knowledge they have!
“Preparations must be made. Whether for celebration or war depends on how well your heart guides you.” – Glorfindel
Returning to the watchtower, the party is dismayed to find Angmarim investigating the area. They hide until they depart, then descend into the Ironfist passage. It is dark and dusty but otherwise undisturbed, with no branching passages. Gano recognizes the architectural style; it is much like how Thelor described his homeland.
On the third day of the journey through the passages, Langston has a sudden insight during his research. Everything “clicks” and the secret writing of the manuscript melts away—he can suddenly read it! Through a little more careful study he realizes that contained within is an alchemical formula to reconstitute Ebonrath-Sahil’s spiritual bindings. If he gains access to his alchemical laboratory in Fornost—and if Ariunaa is in control of her body—he could grant her full control again!
Shria is very against this. She again reminds them of the terrible power rising in the south which they’ll need the Speaker to fight. Langston wonders if this “merging” is simply a different way of killing Ariunaa, since the personality that emerges will not be hers. Ganoveth decides he will have to ask Ariunaa.
Two days later the passage widens into a great hall. It is strangely warm, and they soon realize they’ve entered the Scorba’s lair.
“Leave me to my rest, Bright One.” – Scorba the Worm
Scales outlined in fire move in the dark. Soon they are pelted with a great head and Scorba is upon them. It depends to know who they are. Ganoveth says they are seeking an audience with the Speaker. The dragon—unthreatened by their presence—is amused and asks them to get her to leave him alone.
Suddenly, the Speaker zips across the long cavern and lands before them. She is naked, and wreathed in flame. Shria is brought to tears by the sight of her long lost girl.
“You surprise me by coming here, Ganoveth. Have you learned the futility of fighting destiny?” – The Speaker
Ganoveth shouts for Ariunaa to come forward, but the Speaker claims she’s gone forever. Ganoveth will not believe it and keeps trying, but to no avail. Langston draws the Speaker’s interest and she draws him to her. Terrified, he babbles, telling her he has the knowledge to free her from Ariunaa forever. Tellingly, this entices her to keep the Hobbit alive.
Ganoveth and Shria again try to get Ariunaa to emerge, but this only infuriates the Speaker. She tells the Scorba to kill them and he spits a gout of fire at them. As the dragon flame consumes them, Ariunaa—not the Speaker—screams out in terror.
“No!” – Ariunaa
In the last instant, Shria erects a shield of light to protect them. When the flames clear, Ariunaa is standing before them, naked and terrified.
“How very amusing!” – Scorba the Worm