The Black Spear

Volume II, Chapter 5.

Somewhere in the East of the Middle-Earth, by the foot of

low mountains covered by the forest, the small fire was burnt,

skillfully hided from strange eyes in a deep pit among the old pine

tree's roots. Dry wood gave almost no smoke; the food was

bubbling in a shabby, sooty pot. Three unsaddled undersized

Hazg's (1) horses nibbled the grass nearby.

Lying on his back, Folko stared thoughtlessly at the sky,

high and clear, only slightly covered with light clouds hanging on

an enormous height. The dwarves talked to each other in a low

voice near; Thorin polished his axe as usual, the Small Dwarf

slowly stirred in a pot.

The situation the friends found themselves in could be

called hopeless - that is how Folko characterized it, but despite

that, strange, deathly calm controlled him as if his own fate became

unimportant to him. Had cast aside everything, they strived for

their aim - the enemy proved to be stronger, and now they found

themselves in unknown parts of Middle-Earth where they knew

neither roads, nor rivers, nor peoples, nor languages; their food

sacks showed them the bottoms already; their only non-enemies,

the Black Dwarves (2), turned them out the door without a single

word... The friends have lost too much time, the trace of the

Leader (3) was already lost.

In earlier times Folko would fall into a black despair of all

these thoughts, but now they caused him to act only. They are lost

in unknown world's end - but even here there is somebody on

whose help they could rely on. Folko remembered the Eastern

Elves. The gift of Forve, the Prince of Avari, the ring tuned on the

hobbit's gist, and the blade crafted by a tutor of this great person's

craft masters - they were near their birthplace now, and the strange

confidence strengthened in him that they will help him to find a

way towards the hidden Elvish fortresses. He recollected

thoroughly all the little that he knew about this country - according

to all signs, they already were not far from the borders of the

Middle Kingdom (4) and from Cuivienen, the Waters of


Folko sat and looked to the East. The forest plain went

down smoothly, the countless tree's tops merged in a uniform blue

cover far away. Even experienced hobbit's eyes failed to find any

hint for a path there.

All three understood now that their hunt for the Leader

finally failed. What to do now? Either break through back to the

West and try to expiate their involuntary sin joining Gondor's

army, waiting for the inevitable beginning of the bloody fight

somewhere on the banks of Anduin? Or to give up and return to

the Shire? (This opportunity, however, was thrown away by Folko

from the very beginning.) Or to offer their service to the Middle

Kingdom following Naugrim's (5) advice?

The hobbit scratched his teeth. Unfulfilled Duty made him

bend to the ground better than any Ring, and, maybe because of

understanding of intolerableness of this burden, the most ridiculous

idea for their situation came to Folko's head.

The Great Orlangur, the Spirit of Cognition, the Golden

Dragon of Those Who Seek the Revelations, the last among the

last hopes. If even he gives no answer - then nobody in the world

would give it, except only if they would probably reach the

Valinor itself.

But how to find him? Where to search for his magic cave

encircled by the crowds of the terrible monsters? Who could help

them except the Avari?

Folko took out Forve's ring. The stone in it became blue

again, and the fiery butterfly flapped its wings slowly and

regularly according to the hobbit's breath. Carefully he put the

precious thing right before him on the white rag spread above the

grass. Then the most difficult task was ahead. The vague guesses

that it is possible to make the ring's previous owners know about

themselves were not more than guesses and it was nothing that

could give a hint how exactly he can do it. The only thing left to

rely on - the intuition.

The hobbit closed his eyes and tried to imagine the stone as

clearly as possible. The fiery butterfly was the hobbit's gist, his

mysterious twin - the time had come for it to break the ties and set

off for a journey. The hobbit's will shut off the strange thoughts

one by one, concentrated on the stone and only on it. It proved to

be not simple, unwilled senses tried to break into the consciousness

from all directions like sharp needles - and retreated breaking

against the hard barrier of his own will. And then it seemed to him

that the stone is growing little by little, hiding the golden setting,

the complicated iridescent interlaces of fiery threads inside the

body and the wings of the butterfly became visible. Overcoming

dizziness, Folko glanced over the edge of the ledge on which the

creature was sitting - his breath stopped, but the sickness

disappeared at once because it was no stone anymore! Under the

azure dome of the sky the beautiful creature was soaring like a

fiery eagle. Folko did not feel his own body any more; the fresh

wind was blowing into his face, invisible wings spread out and he

flew up.

His perfect guide rushed along before him cleaving the air.

And somebody's voice, calm and sensible, began to whisper to

hobbit's ears:

"Two days of travel to the North. One day to travel up the

river. Turn to the East from three yellow cliffs. Wait near the Eight

Oaks in one day of travel away from the river."

And he rushed over the land, seeing all these signs and had

noticed tiny silver figures standing by the mighty row of the forest

giants on the top of the hill. The Elves heard and recognized him.

Yet he had time to see them raising hands in greeting, and

then the vision had disappeared at once.

So the friends moved to the North, exactly following the

directions. Two days passed - and they saw the river, wide and

slow that stayed nameless for them. They turned to the Dawn from

the yellow cliffs going deep into the free oak forests intermitted by

the wide meadows. Folko was perplexed - the landscape like this

could be found somewhere in the South Enedwaith but not here,

in the severe and cold North-East.

- The Elves labored here, no doubt - remarked the hobbit.

For a very long time didn't they see cheerful countries. The

Darkness was remembered here but its creatures dared not to show

themselves here, retreated before the proud power of the giant

oaks that raised like the fortress' towers.

The light South wind was blowing, silver ripples wrinkled

the mirrors of small ponds scattered here and there; the springs

hidden in the green grass bubbled going to the East and the giant

eagle was soaring very high above, in the sky unusually high and

clear, making wide circles.

- The Waters of Awakening are near. - said Folko in an

excited voice. - I feel it.

- Well - well... - murmured Thorin uncertainly. - As for me,

I don't care, Awakening or Slumbering, if only it could give any

result, if only they could show us the way.

- According to Naugrim, Forve and the others, the Great

Orlangur must know everything. - objected the hobbit.

- We'll see. - answered Thorin still skeptically. - Strictly

speaking, it's not about him, although all these Dragons are very

suspicious to us Dwarves, no matter whom they may be. And do

you remember that it is necessary to break through the crowds of

unknown monsters to his cave?

- Unfulfilled Duty is worse than any monsters. - answered

the hobbit gloomily, and Thorin fell silent, agreeing with his


- Wait a minute, what's there, before us, aren't there those

eight oaks we are searching for? - the Small Dwarf has meddled

in the talk pointing to the East.

Behind the small lake covered by a light haze the mighty

hill towered, nut-grove was on its green slopes and on the naked

top, amidst the young growth, so great eight oaks were standing

that even imperturbable Small Dwarf whistled with amazement.

Their tops joined, the branches intersected forming the real tree

castle on the height more than a hundred feet. It immediately

reminded to the hobbit the description of the Fair Lorien given in

the Red Book.

When the friends walked round the lake and went up by the

smooth and very long slope, finally reaching the feet of the Great

Oaks, the silver figures of the Avari appeared silently from the

green depths of the foliage not disturbing even a single leaf, like a

night shadows, and one of them raised his hand - just in the same

gesture that the hobbit saw following the strange air routes behind

the fiery butterfly from the ring.

- So, we met again, Folko Brendybuck, son of Humfast! -

said Forve the Prince in a clear and loud voice and the hobbit

bowed low before the king like Elf. - Did my gift help you? You

can feel a lot, a lot of things are opened to you - even if you don't

always understand it by your mind, but it's not always necessary.

Hail to you! I am glad to see you and your friends here, in these

lands belonging to our realm! But now, while refreshments are

being prepared, tell me: what had happened to you after our first

meeting? We followed the events as it was possible - the news of

fights and campaigns, of creation and destruction reach us, and we

know about the skirmish that took place on the grey banks of

Hoar(6) - but tell me what did you learn about the Leader!

Not soon could Thorin and the Small Dwarf overcome

their amazement - both saw the First Born for the first time and

gazed at them with admiration.

Several variously armed Elves surrounded the friends; one

of them looked at Thorin's armour as a real expert and gave him

the full goblet.

- Oh, yes! - smiled Forve. - Let's drink some invigorating

juices of Earth - for the success of what we had begun!

The hobbit felt giddy of extraordinary, subtle aromas that

came down to him like a wave when he made a first sip from a

finely crafted cup. Meanwhile, while other Elves have placed

food and drinks on a field table covered by a green table cloth. By

a welcoming gesture the Prince invited the friends to the meals.

But it was not Avari's habit to postpone the serious talks.

Had Forve heard the rest of the friend's story, he fell in thought,

his fair face dimmed.

- Well, if you are seeking the Great Dragon - it's my duty

to show you the way to him. But he is worried a little by small

scuffles between the Men. So. If all your suspicions are groundless,

he will simply answer nothing to you.

- But wouldn't the Great Orlangur warn you or the rulers

of the Middle Kingdom of so great a danger approaching? - asked

Folko with a full mouth.

The Prince hung his head in thought.

- The Great Orlangur is not our ruler. He doesn't wrap us

up in the suffocating curtain of his universal care... The blows that

fall on us we must parry by ourselves. That's why he might not

send a warning - because according to his inconceivable plan we

also must pass severely suffers. So don't expect an answer from

him as a direct order! He will eagerly tell you about deep stratums

of Universal Powers, but only if you are wise enough, in this case

his answers will be useful for you, only then you can get some use

for yourself from them.

- On the way here, - began Thorin gloomily, - we met both

friends and foes. But if all the foes are ready to join the Leader all

as the one, then our friends... everybody could find a thousand and

a one reason why he in no way can march with armed force against

this newly-appeared Black Spear. Why it is so?

- The thing is, my honorable Dwarf, that the Free were your

friends. In the first instance, Freedom is the presence of their own

immutable Duty. It is not the habit of the Light to attack first, it

only parries the blows, that's why all who gave you shelter

answered like that they would fight if they are attacked themselves

only. There are too many other worries for them now.

Thorin tried to raise an objection but the Small Dwarf

stopped his friend:

- Durin will judge between us, but would the Great Dragon

show us the way to the Leader anyway? Would he reveal the root

of his power? Would he explain us how to save the world from

Olmer? If yes, then we are three times stupid that lost the time

instead of going to bow him as a first thing. But if we hear the

vague magic idle talks again - what's the purpose for us to drag

along there?

- And by the way, - meddled Thorin again, not giving even

a second for the Prince to answer the Small Dwarf. - What about

your citizens, the mighty and glorious Prince Forve? Wouldn't

you, who already had fought with the Leader's detachments when

Oton tried to break through to the House of the Tall (7) - wouldn't

you move with all your great strength against him?

- We will maybe, - said Forve slowly, looking firmly and

directly to the Dwarf's eyes. - It will happen probably. That's why

the answers of the Great Orlangur are of the great importance for

us as well. That's why I personally was seeking a meeting with you

and why we met each other so easily here, on the very North-Eastern

border of our domain. We will pass the way to the Golden

Dragon together.

Noiseless, like a forest ghost, one of the Prince's warriors

appeared near him and said a several words in an ancient Elvish in

a low voice. Forve turned to the friends, his big eyes narrowed.

- The eagles have noticed the ulag (8) coming down, - said

he in a low voice and his tone promised any good neither the ulag

himself nor those whom it flew to. - We must intercept them! For

a very, very long time nobody dared to walk in our lands...

- So what, will we pursue them? - inquired the Small


The Prince nodded and then the Small Dwarf spoke again:

- But what about the Great Dragon? I would like to hear

anyway whether he would give us an answer or not? And if yes,

then what answer?

- The Great Orlangur can reveal the nature of this Leader

to you. - answered Forve. - But don't hope too much that he will

be imbued with your passion to destroy him! Try to understand,

tangar (9), the Golden Dragon is on neither side, he is neither

Light nor Darkness, he is the Third Power! How can I tell you

beforehand what he will proclaim to you? We must reach him -

and hear everything by our own ears!

The feast was over just in a few minutes. The horses were

brought from somewhere and Forve led his small unit to South-East.

The Elves rode in silence. Shining armours were hidden

under shabby grey cloaks, gems did not shine, the silver of

incisions did not sparkle, only wonderful hair of the warriors itself

like both gold and silver but much fairer because of its life curled

in the air.

The hobbit couldn't understand for the first time how the

Elves can choose the right direction, but then he noticed the small

black dot above the horizon - the eagle circled above one place,

showing the way.

Before the sunset Forve ordered to make a short halt. Some

nice scenting liquid was give to their horses - and they cheered at

once. The beverage restoring strength was presented to the friends

as well. Folko immediately how the pain leaves his tired legs as if

he didn't spent long hours in a saddle.

They rode until the deep dusk leaving free oak forests

behind, crossing small rivers, overcoming ravines barring the way

sometimes. Despite the beverage, the strength began to leave Folko

little by little - and the Prince have given the order to stop as if

guessed his thoughts.

- We can't go closer. - said he by his lips only but was

heard by everybody. - We must find out, who are they and how

numerous. Then we'll decide what to do.

The hobbit and the dwarves looked at each other and Folko

stepped forward resolutely.

- I'll penetrate there. - said he, looking into the Prince's

eyes firmly.

Forve was not smiling as the hobbit feared but nodded


- Very well. But Amrod and Bearnas will cover you. Fixing

their armours, the dwarves settled themselves in the first row of the

warriors ready to attack. The bushes closed behind the hobbit and

his two companions. The scouts crawled forward with caution

merging with the grey night shadows. Firstly they were forced to

crawl along the slope smoothly going up, in the thick young

growth but soon the slope changed into a flat top - and they

noticed a watchman. A short figure was sitting on a stumb in the

shadow of the oaks. When saw the big bow, Folko recognized the

Hazg and was just about to take out his throwing knife but Bearnas

softly stopped him. The Elf took a pinch of a white, sharp smelling

powder out of the box on his belt. Having said to Amrod and the

hobbit to wait, Bearnas disappeared in the bushes. Just a little time

after that it seemed to Folko that a light cloud wrapped up the

watchman's head and disappeared at once. The watchman began

to bend to one side until he fell from the stumb. His sleepy snoring

reached the hobbit's ears. Bearnas stood up from the shrubbery in

two steps from the watchman and waived to the friends to come


The forest ended. They were looking down into the narrow

hollow between two mighty hills: down there, in the midst of nut-grove

the small fire was burning, hardly could be seen. Couple of

dozens of the Hazgs were sitting around, their horses nibbled the

grass a little further.

By the gesture Amrod showed that they may return - the

task proved to be easier that they expected but the hobbit stopped


- I want to listen what they are talking about. - said he, - it's

not that thing during interrogation... And to say more, what if we'll

not manage to capture that one who knows more than the others?

The Elves looked at each other and nodded silently. Having

said goodbye to them by a glance and having the knife in his teeth,

Folko crawled cautiously down the slope hiding in the thick nut-grove;

the Elves put arrows on their bows being ready to shoot.

Soon Folko was in the bottom of the hollow. He didn't feel

fear like earlier; even the usual excitement disappeared. He had a

task and was obliged to fulfill it in the best way. Hidden in a tall

grass he began to listen. The Hazgs were talking in their strange

dialect, though not completely, Folko could understand what they

are talking about - not for nothing had he spent several months in

the same unit with the warriors of this tribe (10). An old, grey-haired

Hazg was speaking, four young warriors were listening to

him; the rest most likely were sleeping after the supper. All the

calm flew away from Folko after the very first phrases understood

by him, the heart began to beat hard, his forehead covered with

perspiration - the talk was about the Celestial Fire and how the

Leader is binded to it!

- The great power is hidden in the Celestial Fire, - told the

old man in a slightly singing voice, - great is it and vague to the

Mortal man. It is well known that Earnil, our great Leader is

searching for the places of the fall of this Fire, a lot of units were

sent to find them - like mine. (Here Folko grasped that obviously

two different units met here.) And we found it! We found this

place! From the ancient times, far away over Mordor where I

happened to be for trade... - then the unclear names of countries

followed, they told nothing to the hobbit, - there existed strange

legends about how in the year of the Great Battle on Anduin the

great fire came from the sky and burned the soil to its stony

basement. For a long time I thought that it is lies only - until I

visited this place by myself. Let the fate save you from that, my

brothers! If it were not the Leader's task, I would never approach

this place closer than three distances of the bow shot. The dead

terror is drowsing in this hill, half-cut as if the fiery sword of the

Powers of the Sunset had fallen again on our world like in the days

of the Fall of the Northern Fortress (11) long time ago. I only

could glance into that hole - and I felt myself so sick that even now

I can't remember how I managed to get out of there. And the local

dwellers say that in dark autumn nights the slightly glowing shape

of the warrior in the wonderful armour can be seen in the bottom

of that pit... But only two such brave men were found during all

three hundred years that passed... And we sent the ulag and

received an answer and a lot of gold was given to our families in

the Free Region (12), and the Leader personally rode there. There

he must have got something really important for the war - like that

it was said to us.

- Yeah... - one of the warriors shuddered, - And how many

places of this sort exist?

- A lot, - answered the old man, - I personally ran into these

places not once and not twice. But not any Celestial Fire is needed

for the Leader. Only eight places like that were found until this

time, and my unit have found the ninth, and, as I understood from

the Leader's words, it's the last one.

The words were said. The talk beside the fire was going on

while the hobbit clutched the iron of the knife with his teeth in

order to suppress a shout. Like blinding lightning had flashed up

in his mind driving away the darkness of ignorance densed there

long time ago. Losing consciousness, Folko squeezed his head by

both hands, his mouth was full of blood from cut lips but he didn't

pay attention to that - the terrible guess burned his mind like a

scorching iron and he wanted to howl, to cry out, to shout because

all their wise reasonings proved to be useless; the single talk,

eavesdropped due to the will of blind fate - and everything was set

on their places. NINE! The number of doom for the Middle-Earth.

The number of the terrible Nazgul whom the Darkness gave the

birth to, the Black Riders of Sauron! Did they really not... Did

they not leave the world in the days of the end of the Third Age?

Did the all-burning flame of the Mountain of Doom not devour

them? Did their dark remains really return to the world somehow -

and now Olmer is collecting the certain parts of their ancient

supernatural power? How simple is all this! How simple!

Folko didn't remember how he crawled away from the fire.

It was not right indeed - he had to listen to the complete talk and

so on... but the hobbit could think of one thing only in these

minutes. He slipped in the grass like a grass-snake - and soon he

found the Elves waiting for him. Hardly speaking with his shaking

lips, he could say only one thing: "To the Prince! Hurry!". Amrod

and Bearnas did not understand what had happened but what they

learned at once is that it's something important. Their faces

changed, eyebrows knitted; not losing a second, they hurried back

nearly dragging the hobbit on their hands.

Forve, the Dwarves and the other Elves listened to the

hobbit's story, indistinct against his will, without interruption. The

Prince's face became even more gloomy, his eyes widened nearly

to the half of his face, severe warriors' spirit was rising from the

depth of his thoughts becoming stronger.

For a long time nobody dared to break the silence. Only

Thorin groaned scratching his beard furiously.

- Well, so this is supposed to be the answer... - said Forve

in half-voice as if talking to himself, looking somewhere in the

space. - If all this is true...

- Looks like that. - began Thorin hoarsely. - Whatever you

look at - it's quite resembling! Do you remember, Folko - they

said to us: the Leader changes, changes so much that even his

companions in arms begin to frighten! It was you who said - looks

like the One Ring is in his hand! What can he search for in the

places where remains of these damned Nazgul lie? Their Rings

probably or what? Aren't all the Nine Deadly Rings belong to him


- Save us the Great Orlangur from that! - muttered the

Prince becoming visibly pale.

- Looks like he didn't. - remarked Thorin gloomily

clenching his axe with excitement. - We must go to him, now! And

as for the Elves - they soon will be forced to clean the rust from

their swords if it appeared there by chance!

- Yes, we will... - echoed Forve.

- Where to now? - inquired the Small Dwarf in a business

like manner, being the first to come to himself. - Is it so necessary

now to drag ourselves to this Golden Dragon if we already know


- But what else to do? - wondered Thorin.

- What do you mean what? To raise the Elvish armies! If

the noble Prince himself considers that his people will be forced

to fight!

- No, we must go to the Great Orlangur in any case. -

objected Forve. - Firstly, all this is not more than our guesses.

They are looking very, very like the truth, terribly near to it, I dare

say, but we must be completely sure. And as for my people, they

can't fight alone against the whole, - the Prince stressed the last

word, - I repeat, against the whole East. We need the Union! The

armies of the Middle Kingdom, of Gondor, Arnor, of the Western

Elves and Dwarves, of the Black Naugrims are necessary - then we

will stop Olmer. I must talk to my grandfather as soon as possible!

He is the High Kink of the Waters of Awakening, he is the witness

of all the Middle-Earth's ages, I think we can find the way out

basing on his wisdom and the Great Orlangur's advises. Let's not

loose our time!

- What about this Leader's unit, my Prince? - asked one of

the warriors.

- Let them go. - said Forve without hesitation. - They are

scouts, they have fulfilled their task. Let them go. Let Olmer stay

ignorant concerning us, the Avari. We yet will not attack him

openly - we'll strike suddenly and so that our blow will be

remembered for a long time by him.

- It is not my habit - to let the enemy go without forcing

him to try my axe's sharpness on their own neck. - grumbled

Thorin. - You Elves are the wonderful archers - why not to shoot

all these guys right now, using the darkness?

Folko noticed an open disgust on the faces of the Elves -

not towards Thorin and not to the way of his thoughts but to the

supposed deed. The Dwarf felt that and became tensed at once.

- As far as I remember, the Elvish archers shoot quite

skillfully from the ambush when Oton's unit was breaking through

to the House of the Tall. - said he angrily. - What prevents you


- You even can't imagine what could happen if Oton breaks

to the House of the Tall. - answered Forve in a low voice, shaking

his head. - It's against our habit to strike from ambush, to the back,

and believe me, we suffer much when we are forced to do so... But

the treasures of the House are too precious! Would they come to

the dirty hands - nothing will survive - probably the Great

Orlangur only. That's why we keep watch there. But this unit is

not dangerous for us. We have found out why it is here. Now we

must think what to do further.

- What's further... - grumbled the Small Dwarf digging the

ground by his boot's toe. - How much can we really think out?

What else this your Dragon can tell us?..

Forve looked at him attentively.

- Don't give in to dejection, my friend. - said he. - Your

suspicions will vanish like a smoke if you talk to the Great

Orlangur personally. It's a great luck, believe me, - to talk to the

Third Power. You can count by your fingers all those Mortals who

dared to do that - and two hands will be quite enough.

- And how long will it take us to reach his cave? - asked

Folko impatiently, eaten by the eternal hobbit's curiosity.

- Twelve or fourteen days from here. - answered Forve. -

And then I must go to the Waters of Awakening, I would be happy

if the circumstances were favorable and you could be my guests.

But alas! I foresee that the dark days are ahead for all of us. -

finished the Prince in a sad half-whisper.

- So why we are standing here? - inquired Thorin in a

caustic manner. - If we really exercised clemency to these Hazgs -

why do we linger? To Orlangur - well, let's go to Orlangur!

- You're right. - answered the Prince and ordered to leave.

The days of the journey with the Elves along their

flourishing, cared and peaceful country were the real bless after the

long months of wandering. They didn't idle but didn't rush either.

The Elves sang in the evenings - sometimes in a choir, sometimes

solo, and their songs, more fair that the hobbit had ever heard,

made tremble the strings of his soul unknown before; he marched

to the depths of the centuries with the singers, he heard the shouts

of battles that left unknown to the West, the histories of great

passions, meetings and partings, bitter victories and defeats making

you to clench the teeth and hold the sword more firmly...

The landscape changed little by little. The forests became

thicker, the clear spaces became scarce; the oaks gave place to

mixed thickets, nearly impassable. The marshes appeared, the

black stagnated pools where the fallen trees decayed slowly in the

dark water; the heather grew on higher places, the ripe red

bilberry reddened on the stumbs. More and more often the dark-green

spears of firs pierced narrow tops of the trees covered by not

yet yellow leaves.

- Our border is here. - said Forve answering the silent

hobbit's question. - The Great Orlangur changes nothing by

himself, he doesn't improve or alter. The wild nature is his world;

this is it on which his thoughts visible to us are concentrated, but

who knows what really his all-penetrating mind is worried of? Be

ready, the Golden Dragon cave is guarded - his own offsprings, the

terrible creatures of the other world's origin... it is known that the

Great Orlangur had surrounded his dwelling by them in order not

to be disturbed for nothing; that who have the strong will can pass

anyway. Don't fear anything! The Orlangur's envoys don't kill.

And, as if in respond to his words, the strange winged

shadow slipped above their heads sprawled in fast and noiseless

flight and disappeared behind the tops of the trees. Folko just

seized his bow but Amrod hold back his hand.

- It is not necessary. - said the Elf calmly.

In the night Folko sleeplessly fidgeted from side to side on

his couch made of a fern in a hurry. For the first time he mused on

seriously on whom he has to talk with about his nearest future. The

stories about the Spirit of Cognition stayed nothing more than

wonderful, slightly dreadful tales until the last days. And then, now

he goes himself to this supernatural creature of another world; he

is going to ask questions and to get the answers. Folko didn't know

from where did the awareness that it is he who must ask came -

simply one more invisible burden have been laid on his shoulders.

Despite the Prince's warnings, the night passed quietly.

And in the morning, when they continued their journey, hardly

breaking through the fallen trees, the forest was still quite and

lifeless around them.

- So, where are these monsters? - addressed Thorin to


The Elf shrugged his shoulders silently, but astonishment

was in his eyes.

The place became higher gradually, the black stagnate

marshes disappeared, giving place to the dry pine forests. The

horses' hoofs stepped upon the solid carpet of moss; the raspberry

bushes could be seen on the edges of the grassy spaces, but they

disappeared soon, the dense layer of fallen needles has spread

before them, the giant mast-like pine trees have raised their tops

somewhere to the very sky making a slight noise in the Eastern

wind. The Prince stopped his horse and wiped perspiration from

his forehead while it was not hot at all.

- For the first time it's like this. - said he voiceless, and the hobbit

saw how the slim white Elf's fingers squeezed his sword's shaft

decorated with mithril. - This ever happened neither to me nor to

anybody of our people. It's unprecedented! Not even a single


- Maybe they will appear further? - supposed Thorin.

- I doubt. - the Prince shook his head. - These forests are the

nearest place to the cave. If you reach this place - then the Great

Orlangur will accept you...

The Small Dwarf who kept the gloomy silence all the way

long, made an ugly face and spitted in anger.

- For nothing did we drag ourselves here. - proclaimed he. -

No, you do what you want, I'll not make even a single step further.

I don't trust these Dragons! Watch for yourself, cause they gonna

swallow you! Maybe he lured us here for that purpose!

- You ought not to speak so confidently about the matters

that you don't know well enough. - the Prince upbraided the

Dwarf softly. - The Great Orlangur doesn't need the food like that,

I assure you.

- You Elves look how lean you are, maybe he doesn't need

you while me and Thorin he will swallow for sure, and will take

a bite of the hobbit as well!

Forve sighed slightly one can hear, looking down at the

Small Dwarf like at a disobedient child; and the Dwarf has felt

that obviously because he frowned and sniffed obstinately.

- Don't be stubborn, Strori. - said Thorin in a half voice. -

What came upon you?

The Small Dwarf still kept silence and it seemed to the

hobbit who looked at him with astonishment (the Small Dwarf

always was famous for his common sense), it suddenly seemed that

not at all the fear to be swallowed alive stops him but something

much more deep, not only the fear for his life but also...also...

Folko finally failed to define that. The Small Dwarf obviously

feared to meet the Dragon but it looked like that he feared not for

all three of them but for himself only, as if it was him, the Small

Dwarf, whom some danger threatened there. Found himself in

complete confusion, Folko said nothing.

They could not persuade the Small Dwarf finally. At last

Thorin, being driven to distraction, waved his hand.

- I never thought that you are such a coward! - growled he.

The Small Dwarf twitched as if slapped in the face but

replied nothing while Thorin certainly thought he will.

- Well, fine! Be here then! Wait for us! U-uh... - Thorin

swore intricately in a strange language and turned off.

The Prince left three warriors with the Small Dwarf and the

company moved on. Folko rode lost in guesses. The Small Dwarf

threw himself fearlessly in all desperate and hopeless fights that

happened not once on their long way, but it was him who always

called for their prudence, called them not to run into trouble when

it was possible to avoid it - but, being put in his oar, he never

retreated. For the long time the Small Dwarf hold back Thorin by

all means from the suicidal attempt to murder the Leader in his

own camp but when it came to fight - he didn't waver. What could

frighten him now? To frighten so much that he even forgot the firm

law of their company: "Where two of them go, there goes the third


Having no answer, the hobbit looked askance at Thorin.

The Dwarf rode being extremely gloomy, he crumpled the shaft of

his axe and muttered something illegible.

Being busy with thoughts of the Small Dwarf, the hobbit

did not look aside at all; the ascent was over meanwhile, the forest

also, the unit has ridden to the spacious grassy plateau. Far away,

beside the group of the high elm-trees, some black patch could be

seen. Folko's heart began to beat hard - it was the entrance to the


Folko looked around. The grass that could hide him

completely had spread in green waves; in still warm sunlight - it

was the last week of August - the small flying creatures enjoyed

their existence thoughtlessly. Something rustled, scratched, darted

in the depths of the green thickets, invisible life of those was

humming there, for whom this meadow was a really thick forest.

No any traces of paths or roads, no buildings anywhere. The

hobbit's horse stepped forward once, twice - and, like some

sharply outlined circle was passed, the blinding light of giant alien

Power broke into the hobbit's mind. Folko screwed up his eyes

covering them by his hand like against the Sun. He never faced

anything like that earlier; and if the power of the Great Orlangur

exposed to the World is so strong here, a great deal far, then how

does he look like himself, in his dwelling?

But a short time later Had felt himself at home in this

stream of power flowing to him and through him, like one can get

accustomed to the bright light of day after the full darkness. He

tried to feel this Power, he tried to reach its source with invisible

fingers of his own feelings - but could understand nothing, the only

thing left in his mind was tranquility. Unprecedented, impossible

tranquility of such a giant Building that the dark Morgoth's and

Sauron's depositories and the shining palaces of the Rulers of

Valinor grew dim before it. Everything real, everything happening

and taking place did this Power absorb - everything was its food

for reflections, inconceivable for the mind of the Mortal or the

First Born. Universal comprehension and tranquility... Tranquility

and universal comprehension...

The hobbit forced his horse to go forward. Forve, unusually

stern and tensed like a bow ready to shoot moved beside him.

Thorin followed them, with the armour mask on his face for some

reason. All other Elves stayed by the border of the circle of Power.

It was hard to ride - like moving apart the viscous marsh...

to say more precisely, not the marsh, the marsh is something vile,

sticky and cold, full of ugly creatures; in this case the air itself

became dense and like pushed the walker to his sides, and then the

sky has changed its color. From the blue, high, with the giant

towers of clouds here and there it became softly green - exactly as

the grass in the spring. The bright lights began to shine through the

greenish glow, the hobbit recognized the familiar constellations.

Not having time to surprise, he noticed some stirring by the

entrance, his hand rushed to the weapon by itself and, like

answering to his reckless move, the shadow sprang forward with

the growl, appearing right before him.

Dumbfounded, Folko gazed at an unbelievable miracle: the

creature consisted like of three bodies, it had three heads, six hands

and legs; but the most striking was that these three bodies belonged

to nobody else but to the twins of the hobbit, the Elf and the

Dwarf. And, according to all signs, these twins were in quite an

unfriendly mood: the Dwarf raised his axe for strike, the Elf

unsheathed his sword, the throwing knife was in the hobbit's hand.

- Take off your weapons. - heard Folko the whisper of

Forve, light like a wind. - I was terrified myself but now - take it

away! I know the creatures of this sort.

Obeying, the hobbit and the Dwarf got the better of

themselves and the terrible creature retreated immediately,

growling with satisfaction. And they heard a short phrase - each of

then in his own language - "come in".

The entrance to the cave, wide, overgrown by the strange

emerald-colored moss opened before them welcoming. The fluent

descent was laid with smooth river stones. Somewhere from the

depth the slight golden shine was going mixing with the emerald

glow of the walls and ceiling. Forve dragged the hobbit by the

sleeve. It was necessary to go inside.

It would be not correct to say that Folko Brendybuck

entered the Great Orlangur's dwelling in a firm pace and with his

head raised proudly. His heart was beating hard, his mouth was dry

and his knees shivered perceptibly. He looked at Thorin stealthily -

and felt some sort of relief because the Dwarf was not looking too

confident either. Forve was pale as well although he probably

entered the cave not for the first time; anyway it was no time for

the hobbit to think of new fears anymore. He forced himself to

raise his eyes, looked forward - and saw the Great Orlangur!

There, in the depth of the giant cave that was impossible to

take in, brightened by the soft greenish shimmer emitted by the

dense mosses hanging down from the walls, on the stony eminence

covered by the wonderful grass-carpet, the infinite winds of the

long and proportional body were shining with a golden light. The

heavy head with a scintillating crown rested on a low parapet, the

heavy eyelids were half closed - but even in the narrow split

between them the hobbit could see the wonderful clear blue color

of the Golden Dragon's eyes.

- Come closer, the Born. - the hobbit have heard the low

and quite voice speaking the words inside his mind. - come closer,

sit down and ask your questions.

Only now did the hobbit notice the stony benches beside

the parapet located so that the looks of the guests and the host

were on the same level - the Great Orlangur did not need even the

smallest signs of subordination and submission of those who come

to him seeking knowledge.

The Dragon's eyes stayed half closed all the time while the

Elf, the Dwarf and the hobbit went to their places. When they sat

down, the Great Orlangur talked again:

- You aspire to make a change in the world. You have

conceived an action. Tell me, what help would you like to get?

The silence fell. Folko tried to open his mouth but some power, a

hundred times stronger than his own, had clenched his jaws. Not

turning away his look, mesmerized, he stared in the narrow at the

narrow split between the heavy eyelids of the Golden Dragon. He

couldn't move and felt only one thing - impossible, unimaginary

rest that filled everything around. No powers, no Rings, neither

Ungoliant (13), nor Valinor could declare themselves here in this

cave. Cognition and comprehension only... Forve had said that

Orlangur is above both the Good and the Evil, he is neither Light

nor Darkness - and not a mixture of them.

The time had slowed its rush, the seconds lasted as an

hours; Folko didn't turn away his gaze, the Great Orlangur waited


The Prince's voice reached the hobbit's ears:

- Hail and respect to you, the Great Orlangur. We came

here to seek your advice in this moment, really hard for the

Middle-Earth. The new Power have risen between the Men and we

suspect that its bearer, the man named Olmer, or Earnil, or the

Leader - he is named differently by the different tribes - have

gathered the remains of the Power belonged to the Nine Spectres,

to the Nine Dark Servants of Sauron. He calls the numerous armies

together in the East preparing invasion to the West, aspiring to do

away with the Elves - firstly in the West, then probably in the East

as well. These two valiant warriors tried to murder him while

knew nothing of the magic he really possesses. We reckoned that

when murder him, they will pull out the root of the poisoned

cereal of the bloody war that might turn into dust the homes of

Folko Brendybuck and Thorin Dartul. They had accomplished the

attempt to murder him but had no success. Olmer, the man with the

terrible gifts of the Vanished darkness have disappeared

somewhere in the spaciousness of the Middle-earth. Could you

please give us a hint where to search for him? Where to find, and

the most important thing - how to manage him? Because I foresee

that the Avari would not to stay above the fight, they will be

forced to join it like in the ancient days of Sauron's offensive.

What would you answer us, or I must tell you the whole story from

the very beginning?

The words said by the Prince like have drew off the

hobbit's numb, he turned red of the sudden shame blaming his

shyness. He felt much hurt - to be fair, it was him who had to

address the Spirit of Cognition!

Suddenly the Dragon raised his eyelids quickly and looked

straight at the hobbit with his bottomless eyes, blue like the sky

itself - directly into his soul; the last depths of mind had reached

this gaze, and everything that formed the hobbit's gist became like

doubled and Folko understood that his bodiless twin has appeared

in the Great Orlangur's mind. It was impossible to hide or conceal

anything and Folko opened himself going to meet this piercing

stare - in order to the Great Orlangur knew that he has nothing to


- Since long I've been waiting for you. - heard Folko the

soundless voice of the Golden Dragon in his mind. - I even ordered

my children not to disturb you in order you came here without

efforts unnecessary in this case. The strong indignation arose in the

balanced being of the World, the Scales (14) have oscillated. This

man whom you named in the different ways - this Leader really

possesses the great power. Valiant you are going against it! I can

feel his power and feel yours as well that is growing mature there,

on the very sunset edge of the Middle-Earth, the power aimed at

the Leader. I watched him and you and when you turned your way

to me, I decided that you must reach me. So, you want to know

what is the nature of the Leader's power, isn't it the new

embodiment of the Eternal Enemy?

Orlangur paused and, despite the fact that the hobbit

listened at this voice as did never before, the thought flashed that

perhaps the Golden Dragon is somewhat too loquacious.

- Yes, I'd like to tell you, - went on the Great Orlangur

meanwhile, - that his power is really from the Nine. I knew them -

both as the Men and as the Spectres. They were the famous

warriors and generals, having mighty will, fearless and power

loving. Aspiring to the power with passion, they took the Rings of

Power from the hands of Sauron - as you call him although his

name is completely different. This story is well known by you. But

I doubt that you know not only the Rings affected their bearers but

the Men wearing them affected these really terrible creations of the

mighty Spirit as well. Because action is equal to the counteraction,

something, acting on something can't stay unchanged, it is the

subject for the influence of the object of its actions. This is the

universal law and it is inexorable. The Rings had changed their

bearers, the bodies had scattered into dust - only the skeletons

supported by the magic powers retained the likeness of life, the

Nine Ring-bearers had become the most terrible and faithful

servants of Sauron, absolutely loyal to him because he was the

source of their existence. They became the creatures of Darkness

everything human was erased in them - but the Rings didn't stay

unchanged too. For the power of the Men had transformed them as

well, very little, but did however, carrying the human principle in

them. And little by little, from the initially destructive substance,

the Rings turned into the complicated of to the first glance

incompatible essences. The bearers added to the power of the

Rings - to the ability to rule and subordinate, to the ability to

control the other world's powers - the ability to fascinate the

people, the art of the warship and the art of building the states, the

ability to go deep into the needs of the small and weak, everything

without what no leader can succeed... And the initial substance of

the Rings was not itself anymore. No, it didn't vanish anywhere,

it still dominates in the remains of the Rings threatening its owner

by the terrible end but much human was added to it. You would

ask me - how did Olmer acquire these powers? I'll tell you.

When the Omnipotent Fate had decided the lot of the One

Ring and it fell down to the fiery abyss of Orodruin along with the

creature named Gollum, the time was called for the other Nine as

well that were totally subordinate to the One and depended on it.

The Sauron's power was ruined, he was depersonifying leaving

our world and going to the Nothingness for a time. And the Nazgul

couldn't not to follow their ruler. I remember - the deepest of the

deepest bones of the world shuddered when the Purple Flame, the

Fire of the depths set by Melkor himself took the Great One Ring.

The initial gist of the Nine Deadly Rings attracted them inexorably

to follow the Main One and in this very moment the most terrible

thing happened. For now, when lost the power of Sauron

maintaining their being, the Ring-bearers suddenly, for the last

short seconds, had got the ability to comprehend and to feel like

the Men again, they had remembered their human past - and

became aware of those unimaginary - by your minds - depths of

requital where they were going to fall. That was the retribution

imposed by Iluvatar according to Manve Sulimo's request. I

remember their cry - the terror inexpressible by words was in it.

And then the raging Fire took them - many saw this, as well as

those two little ones from the far country to the Sunset who

managed to bring the Main Ring to Orodruin.

But then something had happened that happens sometimes

in our world, defeating all intentions of the Powers of the Sunset

who like the rest too much and think that they can foresee

everything at all. The Purple Flame did not devour the Ring-bearers.

The union of incompatible gifts, the union of the initial

powers and the human will be proved to be too hard for it. The

raging depths blew up in the fiery spasm not seen before and those

eight Nazgul who had plunged into the fire were thrown back into

the world by the strength of this explosion. They perished but the

fire had only licked their skeletons, only partially had gnawed the

Rings. As the flashing meteors they crossed the sky and collapsed

to the ground like the Celestial Fire coming down from the upper

spheres from time to time. That's how they ingraved in the memory

of those who saw the places of their fall. The Rings remained in

the World, free, left to their own. They were not golden anymore,

they became black and charred as if were made not of metal but of

plain wood. But they remained whole! They left to lay waiting for

the hand that will dare to pick them up. The Powers of the West

forgot about them thinking that all labors of Sauron were

destroyed completely but it was not so. The Rings themselves,

been in the second time in the furnace that gave birth to them, had

changed much. It was the initial darkness put in them by Sauron

that perished first in the flame. It was akin the Purple Fire and

those invisible parts put in these slim golden rims by the Master of

Mordor were burning and melting in it. But that what was given by

the Men to the Rings proved to be much stronger, as I knew

before. It couldn't escape the partial destruction but much more

came off unscathed. This is the point explaining why the Leader

didn't turn into the precise likeness of the Nine.

- And the Ninth Ring? - asked Folko greedily. - It must

belong to the Ghost King himself who was slain on the Pelennor


- That's true. - answered the Great Orlangur, - It was that

Ring that was the last to be found by Olmer. The thing is that the

Ghost King did not vanish without leaving a trace either. The

empty armour and cloak left where he was slain while he was

thrown far to the East and fell to the ground there, exactly like his

companions several days later.

- But how did Olmer acquire the power? - asked the hobbit


He already felt himself quite at home and had no fear. The

Golden Dragon spoke without a hurry and in details - like the old

and wise councellor, Gandalf probably could speak so.

- You already guessed much by yourselves. - The Spirit of

Cognition began, - Yes, he was searching for the places where the

Nazgul fell, firstly unintentionally, then with the purpose - and

took the remains of the Rings. His power grew as he found each

new Ring and finally he became capable of what was possible for

the Spirits only in the ancient times.

- But what it began from? When? - asked Thorin in a hoarse

voice, - For I knew Olmer long time ago, when I myself was


- How it began? Wondering in the East with the company

of gold-diggers, he ran into the place of one of the Nazgul's fall.

The belief exists among the hunters for the yellow metal that the

gold attracts the Celestial Fire, the veins must be found where the

Flame from the Spheres had stroke. That's why it's the gold-diggers

who have the most precise knowledge about the Celestial

Fire. They searched for these places with purpose.

That's how the first Ring found itself in Olmer's hands.

Most likely, he didn't understand at that time what exactly had he

found. He could consider it as the magic talisman, for his business

had improved dramatically. Distinguished by the great abilities

even without the Ring, he united all free and dashing people of the

Rhun lands around him. But as soon as he picked up the first

Deadly Ring, the Balance of the World started. The new weight

had fallen to its dark pan - from your point of view.

Quite soon Olmer understood that the thin black rim that he

found is the thing far not simple and began trying to find out what

is this and where it came from. But then he found the second one -

and felt how his power had increased. The further is simple. The

mighty and power loving mind had got the desired magic means to

embody his plans. For a long time was Olmer delirious of power,

of his own kingdom - but not only that led him. He began to raise

the neighboring tribes tempting them by the struggle with the

Elves, playing on the ancient fear of death, for a long time

possessing the tribe of the Younger Children of Iluvatar. But these

were not the empty words for him that are said for deceiving. He

believes in them reverently - and that's why he is especially

dangerous to those who think in a different way. The people feel

his sincerity - and the more willingly do they follow him. The

Rings only had improved his natural abilities - and for a long time

not more than the mighty, lucky and fearless Leader was before

Olmer's supporters, acquiring new and new power, finding the

way to the people's hearts not by the fear and lies but by the

boldness and understanding. For a very, very long time was the

destroying work of the Rings go on unperceptibly. Only recently

something visible began to appear.

The years passed, the units, especially sent to all sides had

found the new Rings one by one, not knowing what they are

searching for. The hidden channel of communication appeared

between the Ring-bearer and the Tied, with Melkor himself whose

body, whatever it is - is chained but the spirit is free. Stealthily the

Chained began to give Olmer a shove towards the more resolute

deeds but at this moment "the scythe ran onto the stone" as they

say. The spirit of the Chained is weak - and the Leader is of those

who resist any violence from the outside. Olmer continued to act

according to his own mind.

Not only the Men began to reach for him little by little. The

Orcs also felt that the "new Master" had appeared. I am sorry for

them - as for all who lives in the Middle-Earth and I'd like to save

them from the final destruction. You know what happened then.

Olmer had gathered the big army, fortified in the lands behind the

Empty Mountains in the far East - and proceeded with the hunt for

the Rings. Little by little, step by step, he had puzzled out their

secret - but not completely. He still doesn't understand what

exactly he will turn into. He supposes that despite everything, the

Nine were the Men. The truth is hidden from him yet, although he

understands that he will be forced to part with much of his human

past. And just recently his scouts have found the last, the Ninth

Ring, the Ghost King's Ring - and he rushed for it. As soon as it

will be in his hands - the exterminating war will break out. Did I

answer your question?

The voice speaking in the hobbit's mind became silent and

for some time all of them sat motionlessly, trying to comprehend

what they have heard. Their guesses proved to be true - but what

to do now?

- Thank you for the answer, the Great, - Thorin broke the

silence. - We have learned everything that we waned to know

about the nature of this power, where it came from, why and how

it arose. But now we'd like to ask more - how we can manage it?

How can we defeat Olmer?

- You had lost the last opportunity to kill him when he

slipped by you in the canyon. Now you can't reach him. I can't

foresee the future in such small details to tell you where he will be

in some definite day. But... he has found the Ninth Ring and it will

definitely drive him to Dol-Guldur. The black chain must be

completed there.

- Why ?! - surprised the hobbit.

- Because it is Dol-Guldur where the Nazgul nested for

long centuries - while their master, Sauron, was depersonofied,

Dol-Guldur is the symbol of the freedom of the Nazgul, there the

parts of their power changed by the Fire of the Depths can unite

into the new gist. Something stronger than knowledge will drive

Olmer there. But nobody knows when he will be there. You may

try to intercept him there, by the Castle on the Marshes.

- The Great, but why don't you, so omnipotent, so all-knowing,

so invincible, why don't you leave this cave and help


Folko understood that it's senseless to speak like that but

these words came from him against his will. He wished so much

that somebody powerful had come and brushed off this Leader

saving them from this heavy burden. Everybody refused but the

hope still remained that some time they will meet the more

powerful who will agree. This hope vanished now - nobody was

more powerful that the Great Orlangur in the Middle-Earth. The

weak hope certainly remained - for the Ents and for Tom

Bombadil who is still living in the Old Forest...

The Dragon's eyes closed slowly.

- To help you? - echoed he, - But don't I actually help you?

- But it's not enough! - exclaimed Folko with passion,

paying no attention to the warning handshake of the Prince. - For

your appearance only can restore the peace and calm! And

otherwise - it was you who told that - it will be exterminating war,

thousands perished, the cities burned down, the blood, the death,

the grief! What all this for if we can avoid it?

- You offer me to become the universal supervisor and to

deprive the Men of the greatest gift of Iluvatar - the free will?

- Don't distort the meaning of my words! - the blood rushed

to Folko's head, - But why wouldn't you prevent this war?

- But what's the difference between this war and those that

were before it or the future ones? Once meddled, one can't stop

himself. Try to understand, hobbit, the Men are free and the power

that could order them how to behave doesn't exist. It is far, very

far to those times when the wars will disappear. The force now is

the only mean to resolve the contradictions among the powerful.

It will be no Olmer anymore - then somebody else will arise. It

was just a chance that it was him who found the Deadly Rings, but

even if they really vanished without a trace, the Men will never

reconcile themselves to their Fate. Deep, very deep had Iluvatar

put the nonremovable root of the hidden enmity between the

Mortal and the First Born. Painful is the parting with the

wonderful World, hard and exhaustive is the strengthless old age,

illnesses, famine - all this is following the Human race. But at the

same time the wonderful, immortal First Born Elves are near!

Why, for what great merits the eternal life was given to them? For

a lot of centuries does this question torture the Men. And while the

Death is not defeated, until that time the desperate Men will arise

who will desire to revenge the Elder Children of Iluvatar - or, as

the worst case, their allies. This is the first.

And the second. Everything that happens is well founded

and well grounded always. Everything is based on something, there

are no causes without consequences and no consequences without

causes. The mighty states of the Sunset broadened their borders

with sword and fire not for one century attacking the East - and the

Eastern tribes have forgotten nothing and nothing have forgave. I

am not a judge in the Men's arguments - the strongest must win.

Would Gondor fall - but the Nature doesn't tolerate the emptiness

- the new young states will arise on its place, neither better nor

worse than it. The wicked and kind kings - according to your

measures - may change each other but the essence is the same. And

to say more... the first king of the United Kingdom of Arnor and

Gondor, that who was called Elessar in this life, yet before the

beginning of his reign, had accomplished something that had

pushed down the dark pan of the Scales - and this had to echo in

the next centuries inevitably. You remember that - he had thrown

the spectres into the fight, those who were obeying the oath given

to one of the ancestors of Aragorn. And they wiped out the

Sauron's allies that had come from Umbar...

Folko remembered that, and Thorin as well. The tower of

Orthanc muttered (15) something about that, making hints about

the terrible Aragorn's mistake.

- It's useless to wait for the help from the Valars, - went on

the Great Orlangur, - Aragorn had violated their Precept. One can

discuss for a long lime whether it was inevitable or not - the fact

remains the fact. And the father's sins will strike the children.

Folko was silent, depressed, his cheeks were in fire but the

excitement and anger that made him fearless were dying away. The

inexorable logic of the Great Orlangur didn't leave any loop-hole.

"He doesn't care anyway, - thought the hobbit, - What's the

difference for him how the kingdom in the mouth of Anduin will

be called? The world, bubbling as a boiler, eternally changing, is

his pleasure. Yes, he is cruel - according to our measures. He will

not provoke the war - and he will not prevent it. Neither Light nor

Darkness for sure!"

- The Great, but what we, Avari, should do? - asked Forve

with caution, - We can't leave our sunset brothers to the mercy of

fate! And you always was gracious to us remembering about the

great Duty that is jointly laid on us - to prevent Dagor Dagorrat.

Give us a hint, what to do?

- Nobody has the power to hinder you from realization of

your free will, - answered the Golden Dragon patiently. - If you

consider that you must defend the West with the weapons in your

hands - well, nobody can stop you. But you should remember that

the Western Elves always had where to retreat, they are awaited

there, behind the Sea - while you have only one home. And you

will be much needed when the time comes and the success of

saving the World from the destruction, inevitable in the opposite

case, will depend on the strength of your spirit. You can't cover

everybody who is attacked by the bodies of far not numerous

armies of the Waters of Awakening. If Olmer turns to the East...but

he won't. The Rings will drive him to the West inevitably. The

Sauron's and Melkor's hatred is not turned to you, the Elves of the

Sunrise despite the fact that you stopped the attack of his armies

some time taking to flight the Nazgul themselves. However, if

Olmer defeats Gondor and Arnor, he might want to strike you the

next... But I doubt that he will realize this wish.

- Why? Why wouldn't we meddle in immediately if sooner

or later he drives his armies against us in any case?

- Do I forbid you? If this is your wish, make it real! But

remember the one thing only: now it is yet possible to turn the

Olmer's war with the west to the channel of the war of the Men.

But if the united forces of the Middle Kingdom, of the Black

Dwarves and of the Avari are thrown to the pan of the scales - the

strength of the push to the Light pan might be so much stronger

than the Olmer's push that the Scales may completely lose the

balance. And then... - the Orlangur's voice fell to a whisper, - the

power of those who is aspiring to break the chains of Melkor will

increase dramatically. And if he receives the freedom suddenly -

all your plans worked out so carefully and so carefully carried out

would collapse, the long centuries of labors would become

senseless - Dagor Dagorrat would break out when we are not ready

to prevent it yet.

The terrible silence fell - more precisely, it almost has not

been broken, but when the voice of the Great Orlangur became

silent in their minds, Folko felt the blood got cool in his veins.

How complicated this World is! It proved to be useless to try to

extinguish forever that he considers as the Evil - otherwise that he

considers the Good will not survive either.

- Olmer's fate will be defined in the West, - went on the

Great Orlangur, - The Elves, the Dwarves and the Men have the

means to stop him here, in the Eastern lands without breaking

balance of the Scales. But the Sunset countries will be forced to

think about their defense by themselves, not counting on the help

from the outside.

"Don't believe in the East", - suddenly the Radagast's (16)

words said to the hobbit in the first day of their acquaintance three

years ago came to the surface of his memory. Now he understood

the meaning of the strange prophesy. "Fear the North" - it became

true; the danger came from Angmar and the new blow will fall

from there as well probably; "Don't believe in the East" - means

not "don' trust" but "don't believe that the magic escape will come

from there". "Don't wait for the South" - it still remained vague...

- How soon may Olmer reach Dol-Guldur with the last

Ring? - asked Thorin in a hoarse voice, - I have understood your

words, the Great, but tell us at least this so we had something


- It's sixty days on horseback from the place of the Ghost

King's fall to the ruins of Dol-Guldur, - answered the Dragon.

- Will he start there as soon as he has the Ninth Ring? -

went on the dwarf with his questions.

- It's hard to say. The thing is that the Junction of all of the

Deadly Rings in one will increase their destroying, unhumanizing

strength many times while Olmer fears this outcome instinctively

and wishes to have a victory being a Man still. That's why he

might not to make this Junction right away. Only if his cause turns

bad - then, only then he will do it in order to attract the most

faithful servants of Sauron to his side who now inhabit the far

countries to the South-East from Mordor and yet not recognized

him as a "new Master" and, the most important thing, to increase

his own power a hundred times.

- Will it be possible to murder him when the deadly Chain

is completed? - didn't stop to ask Thorin.

- Yes. But the different means will be required for that, not

the ordinary swords and spears. The elvish weapons will be deadly

for him only - like those arrows that the hobbit has.

Thorin nodded his head silently. The Golden Dragon's eyes

have closed completely meanwhile. The three outcomers

understood that it's time to leave.


(1) The Hazgs. It is one of the Eastern tribes. Famous archers.

Long time ago (after the Fall of Tangorodrim) they inhabited

Eriador. Then they were driven to the Far East by the


(2) The Black Dwarves. The most powerful tribe of the Dwarves.

They don't belong to the family of Durin's Children tribes.

Supported by Aule himself who often visits them. According to

Perumov, it was the Black Dwarves who crafted Nauglamir and

fought for it with the Elves of Elu Tingol. They were the first to

meet the Great Orlangur while he entered the Middle-Earth.

(3) The Leader. Olmer of Dale. One interesting detail: later in this

book it is said that he is the descendant of Boromir and the story

about it is introduced.

(4) The Middle Kingdom. The very first Kingdom of Men in the

Middle-Earth. Was visited by Orome once in the ancient times

who gave a lot of skills to its people. Now it had isolated itself

from the outer world devoting itself to prevention of Dagor

Dagorrat. During the meeting of its kings (described earlier in this

book) the Great Orlangur said:

"You, the Mortal Men, must become equal to the Gods

(Valars). For a long centuries you and your descendants must

collect power and knowledge and after that break through the

Walls of Arda, find Morgoth outside and tie him forever so that he

never would get freedom again, and even to take the consciousness

from him if you are strong enough... Not for nothing did Eru

Iluvatar consider the death as the greatest gift. Your spirit that

leaves Arda is very strong but these strengths are slumbering in it.

But it is possible to wake them up - and then the two Worlds will

belong to you and the nature of Valars will become your nature

and you will become equal to them in power..."

(5) Naugrim. An interesting character invented by Perumov. He is

the son of one of the Blue Wizards.

(6) Hoar. The great river of the East. Goes from the North to the

Sea of Helkar.

(7) The House of the Tall. The Tall - one of the Spirits who aided

the Valars in the building of the Middle-Earth. Then he settled in

the far East. Living there, he devoted himself to crafting of various

magic things. Forve said: "Palantiri... are only a miserable likeness

of what was crafted by the Tall..." He was a friend of Aule. Then

he left for a long journey "to the feet of the World", as he said.

Nobody knows when he will return. All things he created are still

in his House and the Elves, the Black Dwarves and the men of the

Middle Kingdom guard all the paths to it.

(8) The ulag. The small creature, a sort of the winged lizard. It can

fly extremely high using the strong streams of air in "the

stratosphere". Thus it can reach very distant places just in a few

days. Olmer used them as a means of communication with his units.

(9) Tangar. Another name for the Dwarves belonging to the family

of the Durin's children.

(10) In order to reach and murder the Leader the three friends

came to the territory controlled by him. The Leader was not there.

So they were forced to pretend to be his supporters. Then they

were included in the unit sent to get the treasures of the House of

the Tall.

(11) The Northern Fortress. -Tangorodrim.

(12) The Free Region. The territory in the far East controlled by

the Leader.

(13) Ungoliant. Perumov uses this term to name the domains of the

darkness outside the Walls of Arda.

(14) The Law of the Scales. One of the basic concepts introduced

by Perumov in his book. According to it, the final victory over the

evil is impossible and will be fatal for the entire World. It must be

eternal balance between the Good and the Evil.

(15) Sometime before he left, Saruman gave his dwelling the

ability to memorize and repeat in the random order everything that

was spoken inside. That was one of the purposes for Aragorn to

forbid anybody to enter the Tower. But the three main characters

managed to enter it (with the help of Treebeard) and heard a lot of

things there.

(16) According to Perumov, Radagast stayed in the Middle-Earth

refusing to return to Valinor. But as far as the Wizards' mission

was completed (as the Valars thought), he was deprived of the

most part of his power. He was living in Bee as the weapon's

merchant. Later he helped Folko and his friends as much as he

could. Was slain in the final battle when the Leader captured and

destroyed the Grey Havens.