The Lord of the Rings: Shadow of the East
Chapter 29 Synopsis
Azagri makes his way deep into the enemy occupied portions of the mountain, skillfully avoiding Orcs and Blacklock mercenaries alike. Once reaching the dig site where they’re holding Mîra, he uses King Varin’s armor to deceive the commander into thinking he is the King. He learns that Varin traveled west with a retinue of six other Seaspike Dwarves, and his right-hand man was sent to search out the Bilak-kahld. After he learns this—and before Mîra has a chance to slit her captor’s throat—Zag tricks the commander into releasing her into his custody. He learns she was captured due to her knowledge of these tunnels; they wanted her to help them search for Glaurung’s Horde in exchange for not killing her friends; a deal they did not honor.
They avoid discovery on the way back, only to find the upper halls empty. Venturing outside, Brógan intercepts them and relates the dramatic turn of events of the last day. They hurry on to Nurunkhizdín to try to help Thélor.
They find him coming up from the tombs. Mîra is overjoyed to see him, though he is taciturn as usual. She tells him about how bad his brother’s policies were to the so-called “dirt-born.” Mîra implores him to accept exile and join her in revolution, but Thélor doesn’t believe it’s come to that yet. He believes he can change things from the throne. Mîra also disagrees with his offering refuge to the Blacklock Dwarves.
“They work with Orcs and they murder Dwarves. They lack all honor. I know you fear for our homeland, but you cannot save it by injecting poison into its veins.” –Mîra
Bored by politics, Zag retires to make his true homecoming… to the Gemstone Mine!
“Ladies, I’m back!” –Azagri
The next morning, Thélor is summoned to the Adamant Council, who are preparing to vote on his legitimacy. Thélor delivers an impassioned speech promising to return Nurunkhizdín to its former days of glory and—more inspiringly to these wealthy Dwarves—fortune. This sways the majority of the councilors and Thélor’s coronation feast is scheduled for one week hence.
Meanwhile, Zag sneaks into the King’s chambers with Mîra’s help. He hopes to find evidence indicating Barin was in league with dark forces. Instead, he’s confronted by an unexpected guest! A tall, coldly beautiful Easterling woman with strange powers. She compels Zag to answer her questions, whereby she discovers his connection with Ganoveth and Ariunaa. The woman tells Zag she worked with King Barin and would like to continue her partnership with the Ironfist crown now that his brother has deposed him. She commands Zag to bring Thélor to her so they can discuss business.
Knowing it’s likely a trap, Thélor agrees to meet with the mystery woman. She introduces herself as Syra, a Half-elf witch and servant of the Speaker. She thanks Thélor for killing Varin, whom she describes as a King serving under the banner of the High King of the Sunrise Kingdom, the foe of the Speaker. Although Syra’s first mission is to retrieve a weapon of great power from Glaurung’s Horde, something King Barin was supposed to help with. Ultimately, however, he betrayed her. If Thélor not had killed him, she would have.
Syra also wishes to find Ganoveth and Ariunaa. She asks for Thélor’s assistance in this matter, promising a partnership that will benefit them both. After all, she doesn’t wish him to end up like his father—whom she claims to have driven mad!
Thélor requests time to think on this issue, and she agrees to give him three days. She melts into the shadows, and Thélor wonders aloud whether he did the right thing killing Varin. They decide to send Brógan on a quest to find and warn Ganoveth of this new danger.
They soon depart to recover Thélor’s axe, which Brógan has buried outside. They then march down the mountain and speak with Attack-lord Bwalin of Khazad-dum. Thélor thanks the Longbeard host for their help and asks that Bwalin pass his appreciation on to King Bain of Khazad-dûm. Thélor also receives a writ for Brógan to obtain passage through Khazad-dûm to speed him on his quest.
Unfortunately, they still have to deal with the six retainers of King Varin, one of which is on a mission to find and possibly use the deadly bilak-khald. Thélor hopes they are a forgiving folk…