Part Two: Moria and Beyond
That spring a daring group of dwarves set forth on their journey to Moria. Joining them are Folco, Thorin and Strory. Passing through the dangerous wilderness, they soon reach the outskirts of Misty Mountains, near the old gates of Moria. Here Folco and Thorin once again meet Olmer and Sandello. Thorin recognizes a daring and fierce warrior, whom the dwarf once met long ago in his wanderings in Olmer. Olmer had been known under the nickname "The Evil Archer."
The four of them sit down and talk. Olmer requests that Sandello and Folco cease their hostilities and shake hands. As a token of his friendship Olmer presents Folco with an ancient elven dagger. Olmer confesses that he was interested in those who would dare enter the haunted mines of Moria.
"I like to be a friend of the brave", states Olmer. Olmer presents Thorin with his staff, which was carved from the bone of an unknown creature that was much stronger than wood and much lighter than steel.
The four part and the dwarves enter the Mines of Moria. After many adventures underground and fights with fearsome orcs, they find a hidden forge and a vast supply of legendary mithril. With time on their side they proceed to fire up the forges and make armor for themselves.
They soon discover that some ancient creatures, rumors about which they had heard even in Annuminas prior to the journey, are devouring the very rock, slowly making their way northwest toward the Gray Havens. A captured orc tells them that a "new lord" has appeared and that "he" is gathering everyone who was once in Saruman's service. The orc makes such statements as "the last battle against the elves" and "everyone shall rise up." Folco, Thorin, and Strory decide to investigate the ruins of Isengard, Saruman's fortress, in hope that there they will find a clue.
On the way to Isengard Folco, Thorin, and Strory spot a strange host of a cavalrymen - short, stout people on pony-like horses, armed with great bows. The three companions witness the destruction of a force of Rohan Riders by these short mounted archers. Among them were others, ordinary men speaking Westron, the common language of the West. Overhearing the conversation the companions learn that the united force is the Angmar cavalry crossbowmen and mounted archers - khazgz they were called, and that they are acting under the rule of one will, guiding the whole course of the war.
The two dwarves and the hobbit proceed to the ruins of Isengard. In the forest surrounding the fortress, they meet Treebeard. The Ent gives Folco the same liquor he used long ago for Merry and Pippin. Unfortunately, Treebeard knows nothing about the "new lord." He only adds that there are many more troubles now than there used to be. Inside the Orthank they find traces of an attempt at a break-in.
On the way back the three wanderers take a shortcut, going back to the North by sea on a ship of the Sea People. The road to Arnor is blocked in part by disturbances and fighting, so the sea seems to be the only real option.
On the vessel of the Sea People Folco learns their story. The Sea People sense the very presence of The Straight Way (i.e. the road to Valinor) but they cannot follow it. This is the cause for their anger and frustration and so they rebel against any bans or limits enforced by any so-called Higher Powers.
Folco and his friends reach Arnor in a dark time. War has broken out and a mysterious enemy has united the orcs, the people of Angmar, and those tribes who worships Barrow-Wrights. All possible enemies of Arnor have been brought together and are eager for revenge.
In a battlefield the two armies collide. The army of Arnor - noble knights in shining armor unite with their allies, the dwarves from the Mountains of Lune (the Blue Mountains). Against them fights the army of someone called the King Without a Kingdom. After a long and bloody battle, Arnor's army prevails but the price of victory was tremendous, and victory itself was not decisive. The enemy was able, by a cunning maneuver, to move its major forces away from battle prior to Arnor's final strike.
During the battle Thorin comes face to face with the humpback Sandello fighting for the other side. After the battle Thorin, Folco, and Strory thereby come to the conclusion that Olmer was the leader of this invading army.
The three companions decide to follow Olmer and finish him, once and for all.
Here ends the first volume.