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!
A strange dwarf living in the mountains of Enedwaith knows more about the Grey Company than he should. We search for an answer to the mysteries surrounding Nár, but hope to move on quickly to reach Aragorn.
Chapter 1: Secrets of Zudrugund
Corunir does not like Nár’s words. There must be some clue to the source of his knowledge, so we speak to Frithgeir again. Frithgeir points us to several bookshelves that Nár had browsed and we look through them ourselves, finding little of use. Nár is still oblivious to reality, so we return to Corunir. The Ranger sends us to Candaith to learn about the Paths of the Dead, which Nár mentioned during our venture into the mine. Candaith has setup a campsite east of Lhanuch; the Ranger is frustrated that there is still no solution to the mystery, but hopes that a better understanding of the history of the Oathbreakers and the Paths of the Dead will lead to an answer.
Chapter 2: At the Stone of Erech
Candaith begins the history lesson by telling us about Elendil and his sons, who left Númenor after its destruction in the Second Age. They founded the kingdoms of Arnor and Gondor, and it was within Gondor at the hill of Erech that Isildur placed a stone taken from Númenor. Speak to Candaith again to begin a session play at that stone during the latter years of the Second Age.
We play the role of Iarvund, one of Isildur’s soldiers who is fitted in the best Gondorian armor and skilled in the art of war and healing. Urcheneb leads the way up the hill to Isildur. We find him standing in front of the Stone of Erech; it must have taken an extraordinary amount of effort to bring the stone up this hill. Isildur waits for the Men of the Mountain to arrive, hoping to gain their allegiance in case Sauron returns. Head to the north side of the hill and the men will come, arriving in a small group with their leader King Rioc. Rioc promises to come to Gondor’s aid should Sauron return.
The years pass, and Candaith’s tale leads us to Garth Lotheg. This Gondorian fortress has been overrun by the enemy, so we fight alongside Isildur to reclaim it and avenge the fallen. There are numerous orcs and trolls guarding the captured fort, but they fall quickly before our sharp blades.
The Men of Gondor return to Erech after the battle. Isildur summoned the Men of the Mountain to fulfill their oath, but they feared Sauron’s power and trusted in his strength over the Númenorians’. Isildur curses them as they leave and the story ends. We now know why spirits roam the Paths of the Dead, lingering long past when their deaths should have taken them from Middle-Earth.
End of Spoilers
Chapter 3: Nona’s Request
Candaith doesn’t want the mysterious Nár to delay our progress, but does think we still owe our time to others we have encountered in Enedwaith. He has not forgotten the grief Nona is feeling over the loss of her brother and sends us to comfort her in whatever way we can. The woman is found in Lhanuch, but is not stricken with grief as Candaith feared. She is proud that he had found glory in his last moments and wishes to honor his memory through the use of his sword. The sword is resting at a tree near Suvulch, but we can pass by him for now and return to Nona. Nona wishes to come with us, desiring to avenge her brother by fighting against Saruman and his allies. We ask Halbarad if she may join the Grey Company, but the Ranger refuses. He does not offer us any debate or argument, but simply does not let her join our quest.
Chapter 4: Ergothorn Elf-friend
Radanir has discovered a letter addressed to the Rangers. Read it for Halbarad and discuss the strange message with him. A man claiming to be of Gondor and friend to the Elves tells us of a messenger who was beset by enemies in the Lich Bluffs. The note is suspiciously lacking in details, especially since its author has not shown his face, so it should be investigated carefully. Speak with Halbarad again to be directed to Lhaid Ogo in the Lich Bluffs. Entering the cave begins a fellowship or inspired solo instance. Fight past ugly kergrim and haunted wights to reach a bridge with a gap that we can jump through to reach a lower level. After defeating a final kergrim we find the lost messenger. He bears word from Lheu Brenin of Tûr Morva urging the Uch-lûth not to be swayed by Saruman’s lies. Agents have been sent to the Dunlending clans to buy their loyalty, and while Lheu Brenin has refused many others have accepted the bribes. Return to Lhanuch with the messenger and speak with Glynn Brenin in his Hall; the Uch-lûth leader is glad to learn that they still have allies.
Chapter 5: News from Dunland
The Brehur and Brehures (clan leaders) will decide what should be done regarding Saruman and what to recommend to the Grey Company. Speak with each person to learn their opinion. Guladus doesn’t trust the word of Ergothorn, Siorus has spoken against Saruman’s promises for a long time, Neirin believes our group is strong but offers caution as we travel further south, and Penlhun says that the Uch-lûth must stand strong against Saruman because Morva has remained firm this long already. Speak to Halbarad outside the Hall and he will ask us to inform Nona of his decision. She calls him a fool for not thinking she can match the strength of any man in the company, and says she will have the greater glory at the end of the fight.
Chapter 6: For Wadu
Nona is angry at just about everyone at this point, including Halbarad for refusing her request, the Brehur for waiting to act against Saruman, and her father for avoiding her and treating Wadu so cruelly. She tells us to give these words to her father, who stands outside of Lhanuch next to the tree where Wadu’s sword had been placed. He will not respond to Nona’s words, but instead challenges us to fight enemy Dunlendings. Only after both of us have killed many will he speak.
Find and defeat Dunlendings in Enedwaith. If we seek vengeance for Wadu we can kill many, or we can simply defeat two and return to Suvulch. Regardless of how many we killed, Suvulch is overwhelmed by the effort and is glad to have dealt with the foes for Wadu’s sake, even if it was but a small measure. Radanir spoke with Wadu while we were goner, and Wadu tells us we have been asked to meet him east of Lhanuch. Ergothorn has written another message, this time warning us of uruks with orders to climb Thrór’s Coomb. Radanir is concerned that Nár might be captured and give up information about our company.
Chapter 7: Attack on Zudrugund
Radanir is afraid of the uruk threat; speak with him again to begin an instance (fellowship or inspired solo) heading to Zudrugund immediately. We fight several uruks on our way up the mountain with Radanir at our side. Be careful because the Ranger is timed to kneel down after reaching a certain point if not in combat and will not participate in the battle even if there are still enemies around. He seems to always do this by the time the second wave arrives, no matter what, so face the archers by yourself and then continue on to reach Candaith. Two uruks somehow leap down from the cliff above without breaking their backs and attack us. Saruman must be training an Olympics jumping team or something. In any case, defeat them and run further up the mountain to deal with the troll at the top of the bridge. We join up with Calenglad and fight off the final group of uruks at the entrance to Zudrugund. Make sure to watch Calenglad’s morale during the fight – while strong, he can’t take on the uruks without our help. After repelling the attack we enter Zudrugund. Nár has been kept out of the hands of the enemy and the Rangers have survived the attack, making this day something of a success.
Chapter 8: Further Secrets
Nár seems to have found something interesting among the many shelves on Zudrugund’s upper floor. Corunir points out which shelves we should search. We try talking to Nár after searching the bookshelves but he is still catching up from the battle we just fought. Return to Corunir, who is perplexed by the books Nár was reading. Nothing about his actions seem to be coherent or guided by any sane mind. All we can do for now is to return to Halbarad and tell him that Zudrugund is safe again. We give him our good news and he gives us bad news – Ergothorn is dead.
Chapter 9: Ergothorn’s Last
Ergothorn has been found dead, apparently killed from behind while he was hiding. We never met him, but his information saved the Grey Company on more than one occasion and his passing will be mourned. There are, unfortunately, practical needs and so we must examine his remains to see if there is anything to learn about his fate. Ergothorn’s body is inside the crafting hall and his hand is still clutching a small note. He used his last moments to warn us of the enemy’s knowledge and present a possible solution. Take the letter to Halbarad so the situation can be discussed.
Our foe has followed our steps through Enedwaith, killed our mysterious informant, and gathered information from Nár that will lead him directly to us. Perhaps the only way out of this is to turn to the Oath-breakers, the spirits haunted by the curse Isildur put on them after they failed to give aid in the battle against Sauron. Can they be turned to assist us? Halbarad doesn’t know, but given that some have traveled into Enedwaith it is worth the risk to find out. He sends us to Radanir, who agrees to the plan. We will visit the dead and demand that they assist the living heir of Isildur.
Chapter 10: Echoes of the Dead
The Oath-breakers we seek are found among the Lich Bluffs, having wandered into these lands after leaving their fellow dead behind in Gondor. The Grey Company will try to make use of Aragorn’s authority to compel them to our side; the assistance of the dead will be a boon when fighting whatever foes are between us and Rohan. Speak to Radanir to begin this fellowship or inspired solo instance.
Walk along the Forsaken Road with Radanir. Spirits come out to see who dares walk among them, but Halbarad arrives and tells them of Aragorn, heir to Isildur’s legacy. We prove ourselves to the spirits by defeating them in combat, though they are stubborn and require multiple beatings to relent.
We ultimately find their leader at the end of the Forsaken Road. Candaith catches up to us. Wave after wave of spirits come forth to fight us, though we can put most down easily enough. Candaith holds up well, fighting and maintaining high morale throughout the battle.
After defeating numerous waves, Candaith has had enough. Proclaiming himself to be Isildur’s heir, the Ranger boldly commands the Oath-breakers to follow his orders. The Oath-breaker leader agrees, but strikes Candaith when the Ranger’s back is turned. We must flee from the treacherous dead, running past fallen Rangers to the entrance of the Forsaken Road. Escape from this wretched place, leaving Candaith behind. After leaving the instance we speak to Halbarad in Lhanuch and inform him of the tragic end to our plans.
End of Spoilers
Chapter 11: Grief and Insight
Our time in Enedwaith is over. Halbarad sends us to tell Corunir to return from Zudrugund. The Grey Company shall leave these lands behind, despite the danger that lies ahead. As Halbarad says, Nár has given our mission away and there is a strong foe waiting for us ahead, but we will continue on our journey. There is no easy way to victory, no hidden path nor secret weapon that will simply win the war for us. Return to Zudrugund one final time to speak with Corunir, who feels he must know more about Nár’s knowledge before we depart. Nár is under the effects of Frithgeir’s brew, but the potion will not last long so we use this opportunity to ask him what he knows.
Our questions reveal the disturbing truth: Nár met Saruman in the mines below Zudrugund. The Wizard has been behind every hindrance that has beset us in Enedwaith. It was Saruman who clouded Nár’s mind, led us in a chase around Enedwaith, and eventually brought doom to Candaith by initiating the suggestion that we deal with the Oath-breakers.
End of Spoilers
There is nothing more to be done here. The Grey Company ventures forth, leaving Enedwaith behind and entering Dunland in the next Book. The situation grows ever more dire the closer we get to Saruman’s home, but we must not despair and we must not give up or our friends have died in vain. Rest here for now – in the next book we will leave from Zudrugund and travel south.
Turning the Pages
The Grey Company has suffered misfortune and loss during our short stay in Enedwaith. Our delay led to Candaith’s death, but we must cast aside our fear and grief to survive the coming days; we cannot expect Dunland to be any easier on our party than Enedwaith was. There is much that could trouble us at this point: Saruman has tricked us into wasting time and energy to chase after a foolish dwarf’s mutterings, there seem to be enemies at every turn, and even the tribes that don’t try to kill us when we first meet are very unwelcoming despite that the suffering they endure comes from our mutual foe. What little progress we have made seems to be for nothing; our quests have involved circling Enedwaith in search of an enemy we have no hope to defeat. Yet we must overcome these obstacles and not give up.
If there is anything we can learn from our time in Enedwaith it is that the Rangers are made from stern stuff. The Grey Company might be ridiculed by some (well, most), but they have shown remarkable courage in the past few books. Summoned from their homes (some chosen, some lived out of a sense of duty), the Rangers have traveled well beyond the limits of most other inhabitants of Middle-Earth. The lands they must pass through are unfamiliar to them, full of hostile tribes and treachourous foes. There is also no great reward waiting at the end of the journey, but instead they travel to meet their leader so that they can participate in even harsher battles. Death awaits them, either the multitudes who fall before their swords or their own fate at the hands of the enemy. But do they falter? Do they question their orders or debate ending their journey? Not once do we see hesitation among the members of the Grey Company, whether they are mourning for their lost loved ones or missing the long, lonely plains they left behind. We can gain strength from their presence and we feel sorrow over the passing of any of their number. So remember Candaith, but keep your eyes on the road ahead; the Grey Company faces even more danger as the Epic Quest continues.