Audio Journals

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Overview

Once placed in your house, an audio journal housing item such as the one above will play the entire audio for the relevant region.
Introduced with Update 21, the Mordor Expansion, Lost Lore books are new audio log journals that can be found to provide context to and depictions of historical events. Every time you collect pages of a tome, a short audio journal will play. When all the pages of a region are collected, you will receive a completed text and a housing item that plays the entire audio.
The Audio Journal category contains quests that are automatically bestowed within a specific area for clicking a ground item. While levelling your first character through Mordor, before they hit level 115, these quests are the most efficient way of obtaining Allegiance Points.
Be aware that, currently, there's no way to turn off the lore-tomes once started; the sound persists even if you leave your personal home. They also overlap each other when activated simultaneously.
* The Deed: The Lost Lore of Mordor awards the Bookcase 1-icon.png Mordor Lost Lore Bookcase
When completed, this deed which requires you to collect all eight of the Mordor Audio Journals, will allow you to store them all in one location and to control access to them.
The following provides an overview of the relevant quest, housing item and a transcript of the voiced audio logs, sorted by region.


Mordor

Udûn

Evils of Udûn
"We believe it was in the Second Age, after Sauron came to Mordor, that he set to work building an army to make war against the kingdoms of Men and Elves.
In the valley of Udûn, Sauron ordered great pits delved and forges and furnaces made. Here would be the parade-ground of his Orkish hordes and the great forge-works for their weapons and armour. Great wheels turned, bellows worked, and fires smoldered and belched. One forge, one hundred, one thousand.
Strange ores Sauron found, which had been laid bare when the earth had trembled and broken, and these he smelted into secret alloys with dark enchantments: Morgul-steel. The wicked knife, Gulthauk, and Mormagáth the Shadow-hammer were foremost among the fearsome weapons forged with this new alloy, so he took them for his own.
Udûn was yielded quickly, heedlessly, after our victory in the War of the Last Alliance, as the dark host fled back to make its ultimately doomed stand at Barad-dûr. We quelled forges and collapsed mines as we went, but in the end Udûn’s best defense was our own haste to pursue the Enemy.
Over seven years later, after siege, strife, and victory, did Isildur return as king and conquerer to the vale of Udûn. There he commanded Durthand, the Black Shield, be built as an ever-vigilant watchtower of Gondor. For sixteen centuries, the Thandrim, its keepers, dwelt here. But war, plague, and other attritions weakened the Kingdom of Men, and in time, the Watch on Mordor faltered.
By cunning, force, and treachery did Ugrukhôr, the Captain of the Pit seize Durthand and Udûn. The tower he made his own and renamed to Durthang, the Dark Oppression. The Captain strengthened the fortifications of Udûn, restored the old, and built anew. Anglach arose and Mornaur towered under his command.
Sauron returned, and once again the forges blazed. Great stockpiles of Orc-arms were smithied, but the old alloys and dark enchantments were remembered, too. Deep in Anglach, with great works and dark sorceries, Grond, the fearsome battering ram which broke the gates of Minas Tirith, was forged. New Morgul blades and other evil implements were hewn from the cursed iron mined from the Pit and hidden away in dark places.
Who knows what evil is still locked away in these mountains..."


Dor Amarth

The Nazgûl
“When the great, mighty, and inimitable Lord Sauron first lay claim to the lands of Mordor, he didst reshape the slopes of Orodruin and form Sammath Naur, the Chambers of Fire. Deep in Sammath Naur, amongst the fire and the dark, in the forge of his own devising, the Dark Lord wrought the One Ring. The One to rule all others.
Long in sight, deep in cunning, did He don the One Ring and with his newfound power made war against the Elves and therein seized the Nine rings, and the Seven. Then to Rhûn and Harad Sauron roamed, gifting six of the Nine Rings to kings and chieftains, yoking peoples and armies under his command. Seven to Dwarf-lords, in their hidden halls. Three rings of the Nine yet remained, and these he bestowed upon Númenórean Men, proud and tall, who had bowed before him well and faithfully since times of old.
Then upon the pinnacle of Barad-dûr did Sauron stand, rightful lord of all. He raised the One Ring high, spoke dark words, and a wreath of shadow and storm were all about the Tower's top. With the raising of the Ring, the Nine Kings, all upon their thrones, were called henceforth to the Dark Tower and lo! they were become wraiths and servants of my Lord. One by one the Nine Kings abased themselves before their Lord and Master, for they were Nazgûl, Ringwraiths, now, and all marvelled at the One Ring's might.
Timeless and changed were the nine Nazgûl; their old names forgotten, their old titles and reigns turned to dust. New names they would earn, for their deeds in Sauron's service. The Bane of Rhûn, The Woe of Khand, and The Cursed Rider did the Easterling Chieftains become. Their rings are Sâkhla, The Cruel One, Adâsh, the Foe-maker, and Orôm, the Warmonger. The Grim Southron, The High Sorcerer of Harad, and The Forsaken Reaver were the Southrons named. Their rings are Jûru, the Herald of Mourning, Mêbat, the Mirth-eater, and Khânto, the Pain-giver. And the Númenórean kings became The Black Blade of Lebennin and The Gloom of Nurn, wielding Sapthân, the Foolstone, and Nitîr, Terror's Sting. The Lord of the Nazgûl, who wields the sorcerous power of the ring Ûri, the Heart-stopper, was titled Witch-king of Angmar, and justly so, for Angmar quivered under his wrathful gaze.
Thus, were the Nazgûl, the Great Lord Sauron's most powerful servants, made. Each in his own keep in Mordor they dwelled, and in Minas Morgul they gathered, a fell and terrible host!”


Lhingris

Shelob's Hunger
“Sauron the Great has granted me His blessing: I... am Gúrzyul! By His blade, I now take the name Rûkhor the Pale Herald!
At my begging, he has shared with me his knowledge of Lhingris, for beneath the towers and Orc-paths is the shadowed spider-haunt, the web-rift, and Ungwetári’s kingdom of filth. Ungwetári, the last child of Ungoliant - this is the name He has chosen for Her, but Her Ladyship has been known by many names, and even He has not learned Her true name. To the Alashi of Mordor, She was Tor-Kralicha. To the Orcs, She was once Takhborkhlob, but now She is known to most by another name: Shelob.
Long before Lord Sauron came to Mordor, and long before the first stone of Barad-dûr was cast, She lived - a creature of evil in the form of spider. Once She dwelt in the Mountains of Terror with the nameless horrors of that lost Age, but when its peaks were drowned, Shelob alone escaped the ruin that consumed the rest of Ungoliant’s children.
When first She fled from Beleriand, Shelob came to the Greenwood. It was there She spawned the first of Her vile children, and together they devoured it from within. In time, She became as Ungoliant, and Her hunger grew insatiable. She spawned numberless spiders and crawling terrors both to serve Her... and to feed Her. It was then She came to the Mountains of Shadow, and upon its dark peaks and within its cavernous depths, She felt a grim familiarity. Thus, it is there She has made her home ever since...
Centuries later, when at last Lord Sauron came to Mordor, He knew at once that something terrible and powerful lurked in the Mountains of Shadow. Lord Sauron soon learned that Shelob dwelt within them, and in His wisdom, He sought Her aid in conquering the Elves and Men of the West. Driven only by Her hunger, Shelob desired neither an alliance nor conquest, and to Lord Sauron’s amusement, She chased Him from Her lair in the mountains. After returning to Barad-dûr, Lord Sauron considered destroying Her, but He soon realised Shelob and Her viciousness might still serve him, wittingly or not...
Indeed, through His wisdom, She became the guardian of the western pass into Mordor. In return, He sent Her His Prisoners and lesser Orcs to feast on. Thus, as Lord Sauron tells it, Shelob became his ’cat’. And so, She kept Mordor free of its foes for many years, all for the price of a few Orkish sacrifices and a supply of curious or unwary travellers. In the year that Lhaereth unleashed the Great Plague, the Orcs of Cirith Ungol sought to expand the great tower’s tunnels, and they foolishly delved into Her lair. In Shelob’s wrath, Her children flooded the passages beneath the tower, killing all they encountered. However, She relented before Her children reached the cellars of Cirith Ungol - a mercy later repaid in sacrifices by Orcs seeking safe passage.
As Lord Sauron reminds me, Shelob serves no whims but Her own. At times, a single Orc can sate Her hunger, but when She desires it, She will devour a company of Orcs and betray their foolish trust in that imagined bargain. Indeed, woe be the day when Shelob’s hunger grows too great, for when at last She comes before Lord Sauron, he shall destroy Her utterly.”


Talath Úrui

Journal of Túmak
“Word is, we move out tomorrow. Lugbúrz wants more citadels built to re-fortify the southern plain, now the hateful Men of Gondor are swept out. Me and my boys are taking orders from that Urudanî Stonemaiden. You can smell the stink of arrogance on all these Black Númenórean types. She's got us off in Talath Úrui, digging an underground fortress out of the Mithram. Ah, but the heat down below. You'd think we were digging into Mount Doom itself! The slaves keep collapsing and asking for water. We have a good laugh at them then whip them back to work.
The construction on the upper floors has started, but something happened today. We seem to have dug into a large chamber, separate from the main cavern. There's runes carved all around, on the walls, the floor, the ceiling. Mistress Urudanî finds them interesting enough. If it were up to me, we'd leave them well enough alone.
Here's what you get for poking your nose where it shouldn't go. That Urudanî woman had some slaves digging into the floor of the runed chamber, and next thing you know, it was flames everywhere! Well those slaves were ash faster than you could cut a throat, and not a few Orcs and Uruks, too.
Well to this day I'll never quite know what happened next. There was a roaring voice, and Urudanî's, all defiant as ever. Whatever it was, she fought it and I don't think she won. There was still fire and heat everywhere in that wreckage, mind you, and most of the Orcs and slaves were dead as roast pigs. I reckoned our fool of a headmistress was too. So, imagine my surprise when at last I thought I'd found my way out of all the flames and debris, and there Urudanî was!'
She was Urudanî - and not Urudanî. Can't find a plainer way to say it! She was wreathed in flame. No, she was made of flame. And when she bade me halt, I sure as well did it!
We serve a new lord now, that's what she told me. And we must be suited to the task. That's when I felt the searing heat rip through me like so many jagged, burning blades.
Ghâsh-hai, that's what we've become - me and the boys left living after all the fire and falling stone. We are strong - stronger than we've ever been, with arms and bones of flame. Strength and fire aside, we Ghâsh-hai and Lady Urudanî are still at it, if you can believe it: building the citadel of Nargroth. The work's nearly done.
And strangest of all, we still serve the Eye. Or at least, that's what our new master says. All commands come down from him to Urudanî. Nar! Orders are orders, that's what I've always said.”


Agarnaith

Song of the Stained
“Sing, sisters, of Lhaereth the Stained, maker of pestilence and poison, mother of our brood, loyal above all others the Dark Lord.
In the distant depths of time, before us, before Mordor, memory whispers of her first poisons, concocted in service to Sauron, laying low rivals and foes. Over centuries and ages Lhaereth served and stayed true, and in reward for this Sauron built among the trees of the Broken Vale: Seregost, the Blood-fort.
Sing praise to the Lady of Blight, oh my sisters, and tell when the Dark Lord bade her brew up dread diseases to lay low whole kingdoms and arméd hosts. Our Lady Lhaereth toiled in Seregost and wandered the woods of the Broken Vale, sowing plagues and reaping miasmas, pestilences, and deadly venoms. Slowly, wondrously, the land changed. Trees blistered and wept, streams ran dark and then red, new things limped and anguished there. Broken Vale no more, it was Agarnaith,the Bloody Gore.
And then, at long last, sisters, our lady found it: the affliction the Dark Lord had asked of her, waster of kingdoms, bane of armies, the Great Plague.To the vast vat Lhaereth called her bats, sleek of pelt and dark as night. Upon their wings she cast the disease, and sent them forth beyond the mountains to the world.
These are names, O Sisters, of lands where Lhaereth's great plague laid waste: Rhovanion and Gondor, the remnants of Arnor, the northern kingdoms of Cardolan and Arthedain. In the northern lands, between the Plague and the Witch-king, toppled were kingdoms of men, their vestiges scattered and fled. In the south, the Great Plague raged across Ithilien and Anórien both, and by the time all was done, had claimed the lives of paupers, knights, bread-bakers, and kings.
The hateful Men of Gondor were thinned and driven from their walls and towers. All that they left - Moon Fort and River Palace - the Dark Lord took. Their towers taken, their watch weakened, Gondor lowered its blade from Mordor's neck and crouched cravenly behind its shield. All this from Lhaereth's Great Plague.
Sing with me sisters, of our Lady of Blight. Sing of her works, her loyalty, her hunger, and her strength. Sing of the Great Plague that went before any other and made all Sauron's conquests possible.
Sing of our beloved mother, Lhaereth the Stained, truest and deadliest and first of them all.”


Mordor Besieged

The Sundering of the Gates
Long had we been friends, and many battles had I fought beside him, but not until the fall of the Black Gate did I behold Gil-galad's true might.
It was upon the battle-plain of Dagorlad, where for months we had spent our blood against the Enemy, that at last I understood the Elven-king's power. Through smoke and blood we pressed, but against Mordor's gates even the Great Alliance broke like waves upon the strand. Though we long strove, besting even the Dark Lord's mightiest servants, those fell ramparts yielded not. Surely the halls of Barad-dûr rang with Sauron's laughter at our despair.
A shadow fell upon Gil-galad's brow as we met that morn, above fields sown with the dead, and gazed upon that grim bastion. Never in all our days together had I seen him in a mood so grim. "It has come to this, then," he said, leaning upon Aeglos his spear. "Since first we rode to war, I have dreaded this day." We Men who stood with him did not yet understand, but Gil-galad's captains knew, and they sorrowed. They sought to discourage him, but he would not be daunted, and so, though it pained them, Elrond and Círdan both came forward.
Each bore in his hand a golden ring - the Lord of Imladris' set with a gem of deepest blue; the Shipwright's with a stone of flaming red.
"These," Gil-galad said, "are Vilya and Narya, two of the three Great Rings saved from Sauron's vengeance when he brought Eregion to ruin."
"Celebrimbor vouchsafed them to me ere his death, then I to those I trusted, for I feared that I might be tempted to use them."
"Rightly so," said Círdan. "For the Enemy will see."
The Elvenking nodded.
"Still, what other choice remains? How many more of our people must die because of my doubt?"
"Yet to don both," Elrond said. "Never did even the mightiest of the Gwaith-i-Mírdain dare to wear two!" But Gil-galad's mind was set, and he would not be swayed. He took those dread jewels and, standing on the stony hilltop above the plain's foul reek, slipped them on his fingers, each to one hand.
They blazed as bright as stars, crimson and sapphire, and he too shone, silver-white. This, then, was the unveiled wrath of the Eldar, not seen in Middle-earth since the Elder days. A silence fell upon the Dagorlad as Gil-galad raised his hands and spoke words of power: "Lachalagos dan in ennyn vyrn!"
At his beckoning, the storm came - a vast column of fire and rushing wind that fell like a hammer from the wrack above. Terror and awe filled my heart as the storm fell upon the haunted pass, hurling our foes like children's toys, and at last smote the black gates themselves. The battlements, which had for so long withstood all our cunning and strength, rent asunder with a roar, and were flung to the earth as splinters and dust.
So, at last, was the Land of Shadows laid bare - but Gil-galad's eyes filled not with triumph but with anguish. He sank to his knees, and Elrond and Círdan at once took hold of him. His strength spent, he let them wrest the Rings from his hands. His light dimmed, and to my eyes he seemed wearier than ever I had seen him before.
"What did you see?" Elrond asked. "Did you behold his mind?" Gil-galad nodded, then grew stern again.
"But so, too, did he behold mine. And though Sauron's own Ring is powerful, he now fears what I might do with mine."
"And what will you do?" asked Círdan. Gil-galad sighed and shook his head.
"Naught, save at fearful need. I doubt I should survive it a second time. But that he guesses not. It may help us before the end." The foe fled before us, and we marched to the last great siege.
Gil-galad nevermore spoke of that day, nor did any behold his full power again. But since, his words have burned in my mind - Sauron's own Ring. And this thought now haunts my dreams: if the Elf-rings hold such power, what strength might dwell within that of the Dark Lord himself?


Mordor Instances

Court of Seregost

Responses to the Word
Dulgabêth, Dulgabêth. I am far too shaken by the loss of our dear lord Sauron and our utter defeat for all this talk of rightful heirs. Save it.
You are the Mouth of Sauron and will talk. Very well. You wish to talk of heirs? One was promised me by the Dark Lord himself after the war was won.
Know that I am of the first days and last of my kind. It is I who was worthy to be his bride, stand next to him, give him an heir. And remind me: why were you worthy?
You, husband me and rule Mordor together in Sauron's place? Ah ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha.
Forgive me, Dulgabêth. I was over-hasty and in my grief and loss, cruel. Be my consort and king. Together, we shall conquer and rule.
Banners of the white tree crawl all over Gorgoroth. If you are so worthy of the throne, so something about it while I arrange the meeting of our peers.
Yes, once again I insist we stand before what remains of the Dark Lord's lieutenants and sanctify our troth. Or would you have them band together and war against us?
Welcome to Seregost, O Black Word, Mouth of Sauron, Red and Scarred of Face, simpering wretched fool. Did you really think I would wed the likes of you?
You who failed in battle, who failed in strategy, in diplomacy, in foresight - in all but vainglorious strutting - I have you now, Dulgabêth, right where you belong.
You have your wish, Dulgabêth, my dear. You will rule Mordor with me. Not by my side, it is true, but at my heel.


Dungeons of Naerband

The Master
Before the Mountain raged, I was called Thraknûl. I was the warden of Naerband, the greatest of Lord Sauron's prisons. By His command, I devised pains and torments unequalled in any of the Ages of the world.
Before the Mountain raged, I was the master of all that transpired within the iron walls of the Direhold. I was the greatest of the Dark Lord's torturers. But on the day that the Mountain was rent asunder and its fires cascaded, when the iron walls of Naerband became not just a prison, but an oven. When the screams of the roasting doomed filled the air, I beheld that savage masterwork and knew that Sauron, even in death and ruin, was truly the master.
I have much to learn if I am to become Shakh Thraknûl, and surpass the Dark Lord in the arts of pain. I need some new captives.


Abyss of Mordath

Seven Rings
Seven years... A mere seven years, and I heard the truth in Sauron's words. Gil-galad had left me to die, and Sauron in His kindness wrought for me a new form and granted me a place among His greatest servants. Seven years, and He was defeated... but He will return.
Long after Sauron's fall, the Lord of the Nazgûl decreed that it was His will to gather the Seven Rings to Mordor. Sindya and Taurya had been wrested from the unworthy fingers of Dwarf-kings in the East, but none in Mordor -- not even the Nazgûl -- dared to seek the Ring of Durin, Angya.
Four of the Seven remained lost and hidden in the Dwarf-kingdoms of Middle-earth, and so it was that the Lord of the Nazgûl ordered one of the Gúrzyul, the Weeping Warrior, to find them.
To the East, the Nazgûl had spied the Dwarf-kingdoms in possession of the Rings Tínya and Tulcya left in ruin, but they ventured no nearer for they sensed an ancient, terrible power lurking within each of the dwarves' broken halls.
Indeed, it was Dragons that had laid claim to Tínya and Tulcya. A fire-drake, Thostír the Rank, and a cold-drake, Hrímil Frost-heart, had destroyed the Dwarf-kingdoms of the eastern mountains, and knowingly or not, they swallowed the Rings of Power as well as the Dwarf-kings who wielded them.
As Sauron had willed it, the Rings could not be unmade by dragon-fire. Thostír and Hrímil were soon subdued, and the Weeping Warrior dragged them beyond the Lithannon into the deepest dungeons of the Mordath. Thus, Tínya and Tulcya were returned to Mordor.
With the Ring-drakes imprisoned, only Úrya and Vanya remained lost. The Lord of the Nazgûl soon revealed that a great Worm had survived the breaking of Thangorodrim. Desperate to escape the wrath of the Elves in the Elder Days, the Worm had sought shelter in the depths of the Ered Luin.
Long had the great Worm remained hidden in the Ered Luin, indeed long enough to be forgotten, but as the hoards of those wielding Úrya and Vanya grew, so too did his greed. Heedless of all peril, the Worm sacked the Dwarf-kingdoms and devoured the last of the Seven.
And so, the Lord of the Nazgûl granted the Weeping Warrior the Dwarf-ring, Sindya, to draw the Worm from the Ered Luin. Powerless to resist his greed, the great Worm followed the Weeping Warrior into the East. When at last the Worm tired in his pursuit, he fell broken before the Ephel Dúath.
Thus, the great Worm was cast into Glurnákh, the Pit of Greed. For countless years, the Weeping Warrior brought his greatest tortures upon each of the Ring-drakes, but none yielded the Rings. Neither death nor mercy shall be granted to them, not before they surrender the Rings of Power.
And thus it has been. The slaves of the Mordath mine the Ered Lithui, and stone by stone, Barad-dûr shall be rebuilt. When Sauron the Great at last returns, He shall know His servants did not forsake the Lord of the Rings!


Strongholds of the North

The Dale-lands

The Black Arrows
"Long ago, there lived a simple archer named Bródda. One day, he came across the Dwarf-king Thrór beset by Orcs, and with his arrows saved the Dwarf-king's life. Thus was Bródda made Lord of Dale, and by the Dwarf-king Thrór gifted the name Geirjarn Ironbolt and a Black Arrow, thrice forged, hard enough to pierce through stone. King Thrór promised such a gift to each Lord of Dale.
Trade grew and thrived between Men and Dwarves, and for seven more lords, seven more Black Arrows were forged. And then the dragon came. Fire and ruin did Smaug rain on Dale and Erebor, for he had set his heart upon the riches under the mountain. Now the Lord of Dale when Smaug attacked was Geirjarn, third of his name. Seven Black Arrows he loosed upon that worm, and each fell short of its mark, the last leaving only a scratch, before he perished in the flames.
Smaug's Desolation fell over the vale. Men fled to Lake-town and the Dwarves fled farther. Geirjarn became known as Girion, his sad and shameful tale spread far and wide. What few knew was that one Black Arrow survived. Eight Lords, eight arrows. Did you count? It fled the fires with Brandjarn, Girion's son, who survived. Brandjarn took the name Brand, hiding all his lineage for shame of his father's failing. And so the Black Arrow passed secretly from father to son, father to son.
Many years went by, and Bain, Brand's grandson, came out of the woods to be an archer of the Lake-town guard, like his distant ancestor before him. Father to son and father to son again the Black Arrow was secretly passed, until the day the dragon sleeping within the mountain awaked.
Roused from slumber, Smaug took to the sky, and all the Lake-folk would have died but for your great grandsire, named as you are: Bard. Fire around him and dragon above, Bard stood just as Girion had done long before. Yet Bard's aim was true, and his one Black Arrow struck Smaug down.
After the slaying of Smaug, Bard's true lineage was revealed, and so he was named Bard the Bowman, new king of new-built Dale. Great were the gifts of the new Dwarf-king, Dáin Ironfoot, not least among them new Black Arrows, thrice forged, one for each new Lord of Dale. And so this arrow was forged for you, my son. May you never need it, yet keep it well, for some distant day, it may save us all."


Erebor

Dragons
"Many are the enemies of dwarves: goblins, Wargs, spiders, Orcs. But oldest and greatest of our foes, yes, maybe greater even than Durin's Bane, are dragons. Where dwarves toil tirelessly, dragons sleep. What dwarves have mined and wrought, dragons steal. What dwarves barter and bestow, dragons hoard. Truly, they are our natural foes. And, like all of dwarf-kind's greatest sorrows, the curse of dragons was brought on by ourselves, and cost us all we dreamed and held most dear.
For it was we, of Durin's Folk, who woke the great dragons in times of old, and in doing so lost the Grey Mountains that we called home. To Khazad-dûm we retreated then, but at last the wakened dragons came and found us there. With the aid of Elves and Men, we bested them, though the cost was great, and for a time knew peace. Centuries of peace passed, and the memory of dragons faded. So it was that to the Grey Mountains we sojourned a second time, unknowing that the dragons who had lived and fled lay slumbering there. Again we fled the dragons' wrath and this time came to Erebor, the Lonely Mountain. But the great Scatha, wakened, wandered far and wide, troubling all.
It was a Man, Fram, son of Frumgar, Chief of the Éothéod, who ended the dragon Scatha. A great deed to echo through the ages, and a dragon's hoard as prize. Now much of Scatha's hoard was taken from Durin's Folk, and so a messenger was sent to the Men of the Éothéod, begging our share. What was their reply? A necklace made of Scatha's teeth and nothing more. This was the final dragon's curse: a sickness of greed that turns those who should be allies into foes.
Time went and our dreams of the North would not die. So yet again, in the days of Thorin I, to the Grey Mountains we ventured again. This time, the dragons whose lives and memories are longer than ours, bided their time and waited.
In a time of quiet, when the new king, Dáin I thought all safe, when the Men of the Éothéod were off at war, then the dragons struck, and much was lost. The cold-drake Vethúg Wintermind slayed both King Dáin I and his son, Frór. Their Grey Kingdom was lost, and we fled again, tears in our eyes, to return north no more.
Now Thrór II built anew in Erebor, and Grór his brother in the Iron Hills. Our dreams were dead or abandoned, but in time Smaug the Golden awoke and to the Lonely Mountain came. The tale of Smaug in Erebor, and how upon Thorin Oakenshield's return, Smaug woke and was slain, is well enough known in these times, I will say only: let this be the last dragon and last of our sorrows. Some may say I am cautious or old and weary, but still I say: let us dream no more dreams that may bring ruin on Durin's Folk. Let dragons sleep, and dwarves toil fruitfully where they dwell, and the work of our hands suffice."


Felegoth

The Gweriamir
"Listen, and you shall hear the tale of strife and friendship between Elves and dwarves, circling back over the long years, in the shape of a single emerald necklace. It was a necklace of ancient make, wrought by the dwarves of old. Fine and gleaming was the gold, encrusted with five hundred perfect glittering emeralds, maybe more. Perfect, wondrous, radiant. A gift the emerald necklace was, given freely in times of good will. But friendship, far more fragile than any metal or gem, did not endure.
What memories remain of those first years are but fragments. The emerald necklace was lost in war, given in marriage, tainted by treachery, and cast aside in sorrow. Gweriamir we named that necklace then, the Jewel of Betrayal, and no sign of it was seen or heard for years beyond counting.
Time went on. To the Great Greenwood we came, and, sorrow and misfortune ever at our heels, finally to caverned Felegoth, near Erebor, and so, near to dwarves. Thus an ancient bond was reforged. The eternal story of Elves and dwarves took its familiar path: friendship, distrust, strife, and then, betimes, friendship again.
On just such a peace-weaving visit did I come to Thrór's mountain halls. The feast was set, words of courtesy prepared - and then he stood, where upon his breast I saw the Gweriamir, gleaming green and gold! It was given to him by Men, Thrór said. Men chanced upon it in some troll-hoard, he claimed. I was wroth and had no ears for such tales. Over that cursed necklace, blood was nearly shed that day. Truly, it may have come to blood thereafter, had not the dragon come and scattered the dwarves far from Erebor.
Years flowed by once more, and we tended to our woodland realm, forgetting friendship, emeralds, and grievances for the time. Yes, years ran together until one day, everything changed. The news came: the dragon was slain, there was a king under the mountain. And that day we remembered - remembered friendship, grievances, and debt. To Erebor from Mirkwood we came, armed, righteous, bent on reclaiming what was ours. I do not like to think what might have happened, if true enemies had not appeared.
The Battle of Five Armies it is called, but there were only two sides in that hour: Elves, Men, and dwarves against the throngs of evil, until the Eagles came. After the battle, the dragon's hoard was divied up, and though I would have forfeited all our share for it, the Gweriamir went not to Elves but to Men. It was then that Bard, the leader of Men, did the wise and unthinkable: he broke apart the necklace, handing its gold to the dwarves and to the Elves its gems. Perhaps the age of Men is truly come. Or so it seems to me when the greatest wisdom is to break what you hold dear and to loose your shackles with forgetfulness."


Ered Mithrin and Withered Heath

The Iron Hills

Iron Cold
'The wealth of Khazad-dûm is known
'Fair gems and mithril deck its throne
'And yet that gold-rich kingdom lacks
'The heart of hauberk, sword, and axe


'And so we went forth seeking Iron
'Iron hard and iron cold


'Farin, Blackmattock, fared afar
'By shining sun and sheen of star
'And found what once was merely myth
'That red-veined peak, the Rusted Lith


'And stayed among the Hills of Iron
'Iron hard and iron cold


'His delvings found a wealth of ore
'Its worth a hundred hoards and more
'A carven keep he wrought to last
'Hewn from hillside: stout Járnfast


'Blackmattock became Lord of Iron
'Iron hard and iron cold


'For years in Járnfast all was well
'But ages end, and times grow fell Black
'Thangorodrim fell in thunder
'And split the world's stone spine asunder


'Shattered was the Hold of Iron
'Iron hard and iron cold


'Still through long years of dauntless toil
'Lord Grár the Grave dug stone and soil
'The Fast was mended, whole once more
'And grander even than before


'And so returned our wealth of Iron
'Iron hard and iron cold


'Alas, the peril had not passed
'Morgoth's moaning host amassed
'In cracks and cleavings under hill
'Nameless beasts, with yearnings ill


'Fell things moved ’neath seams of Iron
'Iron hard and iron cold


'The cleft collapsed; Grár was no more
'His mattock fell upon the floor
'Morgoth's monsters shrieked and spit
'Imprisoned in the Howling Pit


'The horde remains entombed in Iron
'Iron hard and iron cold


'Lord Frár took up his liege's maul
'He called his council, wise dwarves all
'To bid them bar his father's grave
'So no fiend could escape the cave


'The crack was bound with bonds of Iron
'Iron hard and iron cold


'Above the Pit, three gates of steel
'Upon the last, a mithril seal
'Graven rune-spells guard that curtain
'Break them not, or doom is certain


'Thus is writ the Rede of Iron
'Iron hard and iron cold


Ered Mithrin

Thafar-gathol
Beryl, bloodstone, sapphire, sard,
'Darkest onyx, diamond hard
'Gold and garnet filled their hoards
'And shone upon their shimm'ring swords


Yet tales they tell of greater treasure
'Matchless wealth past mind and measure
'Mighty mithril, blazing bright
'That drenched the darkened depths with light


'The harps grow still, the embers dim
'Our ballads glad grow black and grim
'For in the north and far away
'Our days drew short ‘neath Mountains Grey


'Now heed and hearken as I speak
'Of times that turned from blithe to bleak
'Fast and fearful came the fall
'Of fair, forlorn Thafar-gathol


Thikil-gundu

The Pretender
Lord Sauron, what a legacy you have left behind! Your servants quarrel and seek in vain for dominion of Mordor, and the would-be Free Peoples pour through the Morannon to pick at your bones. If not for me, your grip on this realm would have slipped long ago. It was not your loss of the Ring that unmade you, nor the armies of Men, but your pride and pettiness. Ah, but I sensed that weakness long ago... when you hid in frailty beneath Dol Guldur, desperate to wield the dragons that lingered in this realm.
You spoke of a survivor of the Elder Days, a great Cold-dragon: Hrímil Frost-heart. Terrible in size and might, Hrímil had slain the Longbeards of the Steel Keep and now slumbered atop their hoards. It was she you desired above all. In the halls of the Steel Keep, I learned that Hrímil had remained faithful to your master of old: the Dark Lord, Morgoth. Though you had claimed his title, she thought you a pretender... a failed servant who had imagined for himself some greater purpose. You were still weakened, Lord Sauron, and when your feigned kindness did not avail you, you thought instead to bend Hrímil to your will. How fortunate you were then that Durin would soon slay her brother, Thorog the Mighty, at Helegrod....
Once again I returned to the halls of the Steel Keep, and once again Hrímil denied you. The loss of Thorog wounded her greatly, but her will remained unbroken. It was then Hrímil swore that she would never serve you, Lord Sauron. And it was then you learned that Hrímil had devoured the Ring of Power, Tínya, along with the King of the Zhélruka who bore it. Diminished as you were, my lord, I have still not forgotten your fury.
In the depths of Dol Guldur, you essayed to wield your craft-skill anew. You forged a massive chain and etched it with runes of fell magic. For such brazenness, Hrímil would not be your servant... she was to be your prisoner. Heedless of all peril, Hrímil had fallen into a deep slumber atop the hoards of the Steel Keep. Bound by your chains, Hrímil rose in sudden agony, shrieking as if she were consumed by unseen flame. Though she had devoured the Ring, Tínya still answered to its true master: Hrímil was yours at last.
It would be many years before you shed the guise of the Necromancer, and so I imprisoned Hrímil beneath the razed remains of Barad-dûr to await your return. There, she endured countless tortures, but never did she surrender the Ring. Upon your return to Mordor, Barad-dûr rose anew and the Gaunt-lords crept out of the shadows of the Elder Days. One among them, Drugoth the Black, wielded the powers of necromancy, and it was then you devised your final vengeance against Hrímil Ring-eater.
At your bidding, the Gaunt-lords laboured to draw a powerful fell-spirit into this realm. It was to be drawn to Helegrod where rested the remains of Hrímil's brother, Thorog the Mighty. Where Hrímil had resisted, Thorog would now serve in death. And so Thorog served, if but for a moment, and now the Gaunt-lords are banished and Thorog returned to death. You are defeated, Lord Sauron, and the hated Hrímil flies free... but not for long. You see, my lord, I will succeed where you have failed. I will turn the children of Hrímil against her, and she will serve me alone! Hrímil once said that you were a pretender, Lord Sauron. I think now she was right.


Smaug

Smaug's Lament
'The war is lost, Thangorodrim broken, the glorious hosts fled. Sister Etterfang and I are the last of our proud line. But it is not over. Oh, no, for we will bring such terrible vengeance upon them... upon them all! We will bide our time high up in these mountains. This is a home for dragons. We will feast and gather treasure and grow strong. We will learn to cover where we are soft. But for now, sleep, and dreams of our revenge.'
'Awakened! Disturbed by little pests, scraping in the walls of my mountain. I can smell them, but I do not know the smell. It is not Men, no, nor Elves, nor Orcs... Dwarves! How busily the noisy little insects carve up my peak, stealing my rightful wealth! They will see how Smaug the Golden welcomes intruders. Aha, but how industrious these dwarvers were while I slumbered! Carven halls of stone, gold and gemstone shaped and shined. It is worthy of my spledor, this new lair.'
'Awake, again! What is this? I hear you, Etterfang! My sister is in battle, in pain! Rragh! I cannot reach her, my lair is sealed by fallen stone. Rend with all my fury, I still cannot carve an exit fast enough. Oh sister, sister, burn them all! Sister Etterfang is not in her lair. There was a struggle. I see the sheared stone from her thrashing claws, the ground scorched by her breath. The smell of a dwarf! She is still alive, I feel it. I will find you, sister.'
'The Orcs whisper of a great dragon in the Misty Mountains. Perhaps it is Etterfang. I am loath to leave my hoard unguarded, but I must find her. It is good to stretch my wings and soar.'
'There is no sign of Sister Etterfang. Men here worship a dragon they name Draigoch. How amusing. Perhaps I will find my own clan of followers, though I so prefer to toy with them and then eat them.'
'What disturbs my slumber now? Rumbling. Am I trapped again? Grragh! What is this? The heads of five dragon-whelps, left before my cave... dwarf-axes sunk into them? Now, now at last, they have truly wakened Smaug's wrath! Sister missing, dragon-whelps slain... I have known only sorrow in these grey peaks. Let sorrow take wing. I am fury, I am vengeance, I am Smaug the Golden, mighty and merciless. I will roam until I find dwarves - and then let them cower before my wrath!'


Vales of Anduin

Old Mad Ubb

Old Mad Ubb
Now hear the lay of Old Mad Ubb
Drowned his brother in the washing-tub
Sunk his bones in the boggy pools
Stole his silver, gold and jewels
Caught a-thieving by his kin
Cried cravenly to keep his skin
Squawk and simper, squeal and sob,
He fled a-howling from the mob
They drove him deep into the bog
Now he feasts on toad and frog
Wriggling maggot, worm and grub:
What a feast for Old Mad Ubb!
For titbits tender still he yearns,
With eyes that flare among the ferns:
For foal and filly, kid and neat,
And most of all, for children sweet.
In blackest shadows, his eyes burn
Rav’ning hungry to return
Lurking among ling and shrub:
Weeping, creeping Old Mad Ubb.
When cold wind wails and fir-tree creaks,
Through the gloom of night he sneaks.
O’er wooden wall and rooftops thatched,
Unlocked window, gate unlatched.
Old Mad Ubb, so quick and deft,
Snatches, catches, leaves bereft
The mothers of the babes he claims
And leaves them crying out their names.
So bolt your doors, make fast the shutters,
And listen for his moans and mutters.
Then light your lantern, torch, or lamp,
To drive him back to dark and damp.
Somewhere yet he lurks and lingers,
Scrabbling with his scabby fingers.
’Neath forest dark or dusky hill
Old Mad Ubb, he hungers still.
Keep close your sons and daughters dear
Mind the moors and marshes drear
For when the night grows black and cold
Comes crawling Ubb the Mad and Old.


Tauralindalë

Tauralindalë - Song of the Wood
Anda i Lúna-taureva enyálië;
Lúna i óri i yárë aldaron.
Nordo ar neldo, sánë ar tasar
Amárië andvaë randan fuinessë.
Apa i vinya luina sír sirë,
Sirë olla cemen, sirë olla ondo.
Lencar i auri, núrar i lómi,
Ai! i orontë avafanyar.
Nén, a nén, tínala calima,
Nén, tercáno cuiviëva ceutana!
Oiovistala, visto ilyaron,
Poito niëron ar saurana taurëo.
Nainala alda, nainiët hlarelmë.
Lertatyë lasta i sírëo alassë?
I yernë yéni lennar lintiënen.
I enwinar alcari ve hisië sintar.
Allinta i luimë valima yassë
Ilyë nwalmai cólar Eárenna.



Long is the Black Wood’s memory
Dark are the hearts of old trees;
Oak and beech, pine and willow grey
Have dwelt for an age in shadow
Ah, but the new white stream flows,
Flows over earth, flows over stone;
The days are slow, the nights are deep
But lo, comes the dawn without clouds
Water, O water, bright-glinting,
Water, herald of life renewed!
Ever-changing, changer of all,
Cleanser of tears and wood befouled.
Mournful tree, we hear your lament.
Can you hark to the river’s joy?
The elder time passes swiftly;
The glories of old fade as mist.
Yet swifter is the blessed flood
That carries all woes to the Sea.


Morgul Vale

Cirith Ungol

Snare of the Spider Queen
“Galadriel, elanor nîn,
I sorrow to be parted from you, and long to feel again your embrace in the star-lit gardens of Eregion our home. Even to share the grace of your thoughts would be a balm to me, but I dare no such risk. Powers of night yet linger in this world, and one such lies near. Thus I send this message; may the blessings of the Valar guide it into your hands.
As you beheld in your mirror ere my company rode forth, a stain attaints Imlad Ithil, a shadow among the mountains that darkens the valley below. That it lies on the threshold of the Shadowed Land cannot be mere accident. Dark forces are moving, and though Morgoth's domain is ended, his servants abide still.
When I and the Bright Company battled the children of Ungoliant in the Ered Mithrin at the dawn of this age, I thought we had slain them all. Now I know that one, at least, escaped. The fiend that bedevils the Vale of the Moon has a spider's likeness, though far more terrible. It lurks in the darkness, coming forth to hunt only in darkest night, but its spawn swarm over the mountains, a fell, crawling pestilence. My fellows and I toil to scour the land of them, but always more come to take their place. One might more easily drain the Sea with a ewer.
My lady, I fear the mother of this plague to be Ungwetári, that most loathsome of Ungoliant's brood that troubled our kindred in Beleriand. Should my fears prove true I will need aid against her, for I am loth to lead my Company to slaughter as I did in the disaster of Udûn.
Two nights ago we hazarded to stalk her beneath the moonless sky, but when we sprang upon her our blades would not pierce her hide. Being sly she caught us, and would have feasted upon our bones, but by chance the cloud-wrack rent and the stars were unveiled. When the light of Eärendil shone upon her she quailed and fled back to the gloom of her caves, as if the glimmer itself hurt her. This, I deem, is our best hope. For while slaying her may lie beyond our power, still we may hem her in.
Once, when first we were betrothed, you lit the caverns of Doriath with Star-glasses, filled with Eärendil's glow, the Gilgelair of song. It would take but a few such glasses, cunningly ensconced within her caverns, to keep Ungwetári penned and stay her offspring from befouling the land.
While I await your reply we will battle on against the scourge of Torech Ungol, but the sullying of the vale cannot be stemmed forever. I beseech you to send help with speed, that I might sooner return home and know once more the bliss of your touch.
I remain your beloved,
Celeborn"


Minas Morgul

The Vow of Galadriel
“My lady Valardis,
In time of darkness and doubt, I send thee tidings of hope. The war wears on all, and many battles yet lie ahead. Our Enemy if cruel, and his throngs know naught of mercy. Still have I seen the courage of my people and thine proven many times. Thy husband Isildur fought alongside mine own before the gates of Minas Anor. Should we defeat the Shadow, minstrels shall long sing of their valour.
We have come at last to the lands whence Sauron's servants drove thee. Long have the Elves esteemed the Ithil-vale, for we walked here in the Elder Days. So much did we love the moonrise there that when first I heard that Isildur had bidden a city built therein, I grieved that the vale had been sullied. I say now that I was wrong to sorrow. I have beheld Minas Ithil, and it wakes in my heart an ache I had thought never again to feel. I knew Gondolin of old, and while no city of Elves of Men can equal its splendour, thy stronghold is as like to it as any could now build.
I wept to see it Orc-befouled. I have watched many lands fall into ruin and decay. When I saw Ithilien, I knew my part in this war was its rescue. Now I say to thee: rejoice, for thy city is freed. With what power we wield, Celeborn and I have taken back Minas Ithil. Those who defiled it are slain, or else driven back to Mordor. The banners of Sauron darken its parapets no more.
Some of the evils visited upon this place cannot be undone. The White Tree, scion of Telperion, we found hewn and burnt. Thy beloved libraries are plundered, and much wisdom forever lost. Not all harms can be healed, yet much of worth can still be saved, should those with power will it.
My lady, I fear thy husband is of harsher mind. When he saw the Moon-tower so afflicted, he deemed it must be razed rather than allowed to linger. He loathes what Minas Ithil has become, and believes it forever tainted. When I claimed otherwise he grew grim and would not be moved. Oft it is the way of men to destroy that which no longer pleases them, rather than taking the care to mend it. Yet it is my hope that some fondness for this vale endures in thee. Mayhap thy words might cause Isildur's heart to yield.
In return, this is my vow: that the Galadhrim will tarry in Ithilien. For while growing things endure, with care we can wash the Enemy's foulness from the land. More, I will bestow virtues, known to the Noldor, upon the city. Its stones shall shine with the Moon's light, caught and held by the craft of my kin. In this way it shall be a Gondolin renewed: a beacon against night, under thy care, and that of thy daughters after thee.


Thuringwath

Tale of the Dark Tree
“I have forgotten my name. It matters not. The frail thing I was is best forgotten - a cage of flesh and blood. I have moved beyond it. I serve the Eye, though never have I beheld the Dark Lord. His day is yet far off, but that is well. There is much yet to do.
When the Nine claimed Minas Ithil, I was there. I marched through its riven gates. I watched its towers darken, heard its people's cries of anguish. Such music. I serve the Eye, but only of late did I know my place in his designs. A priestess I was then, my knives red from work in his name.
When Eärnur, that vainglorious fool, rode to the Dead City to challenge the Captain, I did not yet fathom the weaving of our fates. After they took him, the Nazgûl gave him to me. To me! The King of Gondor... its last, if the whispers were true. Never would I have dreamed of such an honour. Less still what was to come. For I was not to kill him; death was not their aim.
'If we wished him dead, he would die,' they whispered. 'A task awaits, one he alone can accomplish. You will compel him. Use all your skill.'
The labours that followed were hard, their fruit disappointing. A King's screams, it happens, sound little different from any other man's. In the end, though, he did what the Nazgûl bade. When I was finished, he had become Mordirith... only a husk of despair, a wretched thing. But it sufficed.
They turned him loose; not to return to Gondor, for he was too ruined even to want that any longer, but to flee into the mountains. The Nine knew what he would find. They knew a King's uses. For two thousand years the White Tree had grown in that hidden vale, beyond the ken of Men. He sniffed it out like a hound. When he saw the Nine had followed him, he clawed its bark, as if he might tear it down with his bloody fingers. I watched the Nazgûl befoul that Tree, reveled in the King's sobs as I beheld what their sorcery made of it: Morloth the Black, the Dire, the Profane.
In our master's honour we built this fane, this Woeful House where I have ever after worked my craft. A shrine of pain, of tears, of mingled death and life. As reward, I was blessed to be the first to bleed there. I gave myself freely, gladly. I sang as I writhed in my throes before the Dark Tree. Even as I perished, I felt the Black Breath upon me. It held shut death's gates, unmade and made me again, in likeness to the Gaunt Ones of old.
I have forsaken my name. It matters not, for I am named anew. I am Agath-kali, Shadow-woman, Mistress of Lamentation. And still I serve the Eye."