The Lord of the Rings: Shadow of the East
Son of Altan
“Are you afraid of the Darkness? I’m not… The Darkness is afraid of me.”
“There doesn’t have to be honor in the way I kill, but there must be honor in the way I live.”
Ganoveth is a determined monster hunter. Trained by his father to be fearless and cunning, so that he may one day stand against an unknown evil his father would not speak of. Through use of martial prowess and various poisons, Ganoveth is a guerrilla fighter of growing skill. He can take on groups of foes alone where others would perish. His is the way of the sword, not for honor or fame, but to see evil slain and coin put in hand for a job well done.
His father did not speak about their clan back east at length. As such Ganoveth thirsts for knowledge about his clan to which he is chieftain. The family heirloom he carries, Ebronrath-Sahil, makes his word law within the clan. As of yet, all he has been able to ascertain is that his clan is know as “Black Spirit Hunters”. He suspects that while the training he has is a good way to earn coin and food for both himself and his sister, the true purpose of such skills and of his clan serves a higher purpose. He can only wait and prepare until such a purpose is revealed to him.
While his sister is intent on making eastward to find their home, Ganoveth is in no hurry to do so unarmed with knowledge. He believes their father left them this far west with purpose, that something is happening in the east of great consequence. To head back their without knowledge of it could prove fatal. Instead Ganoveth has chosen to seek out others of his tribe on the path of the monster hunter, according to his father many clansmen travel abroad, to learn all that he can of his history and what may be waiting for him upon his return.
As for his father Altan, he disappeared without a trace leaving Ganoveth a suit of leather armor, Ebronrath-Sahil, and a small manuscript written in an ancient language few recognize. He believes the manuscript contains many answers, and that he must find someone capable of translating it.
The Tale of Years
NOTE: Ganoveth’s past continues to reveal itself. The most recent update is T.A. 1640, Late Autumn
Summer – Ganoveth, Son of Altan, is born in Far Rhûn. He is the first-born.
Winter – Ariunaa, Daughter of Altan and sister to Ganoveth, is born.
Spring – Altan takes Ganoveth and Ariunaa (still a nursling) and begins his exile, traveling west and leaving his tribe and wife behind.
Early Winter – Altan and his children approach a great mountain range which spans the western horizon. Altan wishes to cross it, but must wait for spring. They set up camp to wait out the winter. Some days later, Altan blindfolds Ganoveth and leads him on a miles-long trek into the wilderness. When Altan removes the blindfold, Ganoveth sees he’s been led into a deep canyon and it is snowing. Altan orders him to spend the night and find his way back to camp in the morning.
During the night, Ganoveth is woken by the sounds of a beats stalking him. He tracks it to the heights of the canyon and there he encounters a great cat. To his surprise, the cat transforms into a beautiful seven-foot tall woman with catlike pupils that glimmer in the starlight. When she speaks, her voice comes as if an echo from the canyon. She calls herself the “Daughter of the Canyon” and she knows his name, for she touched his mind as he crossed her canyon. She tells Ganoveth that she is a spirit, a lesser Maia, who has become one with the canyon itself. She is lonely and wishes for Ganoveth to stay with her. If there is evil pursuing them, she can protect them. There were once many people who dwelt near the canyon and brought her gifts and children to bless, but that was long ago. Men in ships came and took them away.
Gano explains that he cannot stay with her, but he offers to spend the night with her. She is pleased with this. When morning finally comes, she bids him farewell and gives him a kiss and a boon: He can now see as well in the dark as is within the capability of Men; he is night-sighted. Ganoveth grants her a gift, as well. As she is the canyon, the boy picks up a smooth red stone and declares he will take it with him wherever he goes so that the Daughter of the Canyon can see the world and never be alone again.
When Ganoveth finds his way back to camp, Altan is waiting for him. He laughs when he sees his boy, and asks how his night was. Ganoveth tells him what happened and Altan says he knew something was there. Altan explains that not all monsters are hideous, and that not all creatures are wholly good or wholly evil. He tells Gano that there are many lesser spirits – originally servants of the Valar – who came to Middle-earth to assist in its shaping, but chose to remain. Some are also spirits corrupted by Melkor to do evil. It takes wit and sometimes patience to see which is which.
Early Spring – Although they’ve successfully crossed the mountains, Altan has come down with a terrible flux. His children try to treat him but he’s lapsed into fever. It seems likely he will soon die. Then, out of the darkness of the surrounding plains comes a strange man that calls himself Sumay. He asks to share their fire and tells them a strange story, then confesses that he was drawn to them because death is stalking their camp. He tells them that he can help their father, but for a cost. He doesn’t wish gold, but a simple favor — one he may call upon at any time. After deliberation (and Sumay almost offering the choice to Ariunaa), Ganoveth agrees. The old man performs a strange and frightening ritual, then departs. The next morning Altan awakens, cured.
Winter – Ariunaa convinces Ganovath that she, too, must be trained to defend herself. Ganoveth approaches Altan about this, but is rebuffed. After this, Ariunaa pleads with him and Ganoveth agrees to train her himself. She convinces him that they must drug their father so that he will sleep very deeply and they can train at night. He is hesitant, but agrees to her plan.
Late Spring – Ganoveth has trained his sister for six months and she’s showing some skill. The family has reached an area of wide plains and a group of shepherds hire Altan to discover what’s preying on their flock. It turns out to be a half-starved Hill-troll. Altan and Ganoveth fight it, but the Hill-troll escapes. Later that night, while Altan is deep in one of his drugged sleeps, the Hill-troll attacks their camp. Together, Ganoveth and Ariunaa are able to defeat it, but not before the beast completely shreds and smashes their tent. At first they fear Altan was crushed, but they soon spot him in the field nearby. He was not drugged, and in fact watched the whole battle and knows Ganoveth disobeyed him. He leaves the two siblings alone for the rest of the night. When he returns at dawn, he strikes Ganoveth and demands to know why he’s been disobeyed. Ganoveth explains his reasoning, and Altan — at last — sees the wisdom in it. Even so, he tells Ganoveth that he must be able to trust his son. When Ganoveth returns from collecting their payment from the shepherds, Altan is training Ariunaa. (Read the Opening and the Conclusion )
Late Autumn – Ganoveth returns hom from his first sojourn as a monster-slayer. The plague is everywhere in Bree-land, killing thousands. He’s surprised to find the farm empty, the fields fallow, and all the livestock but the horse, Rosie, gone. Inside the farmhouse, Ebonrath-Sahil lay against the wall wrapped in an old blanket. Ariunaa is nowhere to be seen. Gano ventures into the surrounded forest and observes Ari stalking a doe. She shoots it through the heart. As she prepares to take it home, Gano sneaks up behind her and scares her.
Ari is absolutely delighted to see him; Father went missing! He started having his nightmares again, and this time he even requested the tea — it didn’t help. Four months ago he left without a word, leaving his sword and a strange codex in an indecipherable language. Unable to run the farm herself, Ari was forced to sell the livestock.
The next morning, Ganoveth is rudely woken by a farmer. The farmer tells Gano that Ariunaa owes him a gold crown and twelve silver pennies from food she purchased for the winter. He wants it, or he’ll have the reeve give him the farm. When confronted, Ari admits that it’s true. She needed enough hay for Rosie to last the winter. Ganoveth is angry with her, but she tries to convince him that it’s time for them to return east. Father has clearly and finally abandoned them. Gano won’t hear it; he wants to find out why Altan left the codex and his sword. They return to the farmer and Ganoveth forfeits their land; he and his sister were made to work the blade, not the land.
Autumn – While visiting the Shire to learn more information about the scrolls left by their father, Ganoveth and Ariunaa encounter Thélor Ironfist and Azagri, Dwarves of the East. At first there is tension between the Easterlings and the Dwarves, but they soon find themselves with the same goal: To locate Gresham Shaper, Mayor of the town of Wibbleham. They soon locate him in Swanswong Nape, being held prisoner by ruffians in Swanswong Nape
Late Autumn – Now Shiriff’s (to earn coin for their journey), Ganoveth, Ariunaa, and the Dwarves investigate a series of suspicious deaths in the eastfarthing of the Shire. They uncover a dark threat: Nackers — creatures of the First Age spoken of only in faerie tales — have broken loose from their ancient prison and are raiding the countryside, abducting Elves and killing livestock. The Nackers hunger for Elven blood, which will allow them to breed an army beneath the marshes of the eastfarther.
In the process of investigating the Nackers, Ganoveth discovers that Ariunaa possesses the soul of a corrupted Maia. The Ariunaa persona is only that portion of the Maiar soul which has either been redeemed or remained pure, the vast majority of her spirit is utterly evil and calls itself the Speaker. The Speaker has been in communication with the Nacker-wives and also with Angmar, who have come to the Shire to aid in releasing the Speaker from its spiritual bonds.
In the process of cleansing the land of the Nackers for once and for all, Ariunaa is captured by the Nacker-wives and Ganoveth is grievously wounded while trying to save her.