LEAD Volume II Book 4: Fire and Water
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!
Volume II Book 4 begins with us dealing with the details of Balin’s demise by preparing Moria’s defenses for a similar attack from the orcs. It begins at level 58, so you may require some leveling before being ready to start the book.
Chapter 1: Preparations for the Western Halls
Bósi is quick to prepare the dwarves’ defense after hearing Ashpar’s threat. There are three dwarves to assist in the Chamber of the Crossroads: Slóthi, Sigdan, and Thálfi.
Maintaining the Supply Chain
Slóthi is in charge of keeping supplies in stock and asks us to help arrange for more food to be sent into Moria; the dwarves depend on food from the outside and an extended orc siege could cause trouble. Thórgnyr has arrived outside of Moria with a delivery of food, so head out the Hollin Gate exit in Durin’s Threshold to meet him. Return to Slóthi with the supplies to continue forward.
The Bottom of the Well
Thálfi is concerned that the well in the Chamber of the Crossroads could be used as a point of entry by scheming orcs. We need to find a way down to the bottom of the well and make sure the orcs can’t climb up, so make your way to the Water-works. Although Thálfi says not to jump into the well, that really is the fastest way down. Swim and walk southwest from the spawn point at the Rotting Cellar hub to get to Narag-kheleb. A dwarf, Melmar, is waiting for us. He’s reached the same conclusion you probably have, that the orcs are unlikely to sprout wings and fly up through the well, so it the Chamber is safe from that threat at least. We, however, are not; toads and lizards rush in from the water. Defend Melmar from their vicious attacks before returning to the Chamber of the Crossroads.
Scouting the Approaches
The status of the orcs is unknown to the dwarves – the could attack at any time. Sigdan asks us to help scout the approaches into the Chamber with his cousin Sporr and watch for any signs of an orc attack force. Meet Sporr just outside the chamber and follow him on his patrol. Ready yourself to meet an orc scout, defeat it and then…. return to Sigdan. Well, we did discover that the orcs are scouting the area, so the objective is complete after all.
The preparations made, return to Bósi to complete the chapter. The dwarves are now ready to make a stand against Mazog, in the Great Delving at least.
Chapter 2: Bósi’s Recommendation
We must use what time remains to make further preparations and assist in the defense of other regions in Moria. Travel to the Silvertine Lodes and into the Heart of Fire to help establish a defense at one of the orcs’ primary targets. Find the Heart of Fire inside the Way of Smiths by entering the large doors on the first ledge of the bottomless pit in the center of the Silvertine Lodes. It may sound confusing, but the pit is impossible to miss which makes finding the doors fairly simple. Stóthkell welcomes us and is eager to put us to work defending the Heart of Fire.
Chapter 3: Preparations for the Heart of Fire
Stóthkell sends us to assist his lieutenant Rink Stronghammer with the defense of the Heart of Fire.
Runners in the Deep
Rink in turn asks us to disrupt our enemies’ communications. Hunt down and stop 5 goblin-runners in the Water-works to break up their lines of communication, lessening their ability to coordinate attacks. After climbing out of the pit travel south from the Way of Smiths to reach the Water-works. The goblin-runners are a short distance from the entrance, marked as usual on the map, but be wary of hard-hitting lizards, turtles and toads. Chase down the messengers and then return to Rink and Stóthkell in the Heart of Fire.
Chapter 4: Hasten to the Twenty-first Hall
With the Silvertine Lodes and the Great Delving prepared for an attack it is time to ready the defenses of the Twenty-first Hall. Speak with Brogur in the Chamber of Leadership. Brogur is finally of a mind to bolster the dwarves’ defenses, but has an additional plan in mind to carry out while preparations are being made.
Chapter 5: Into the Fire
On the defensive side, Brogur wishes to construct more barricades to keep orcs out of the Twenty-first Hall. We need to collect materials in the Flaming Deeps to build the barricades, so travel through the distant southern exit of Zelem-Melek to enter the lava-filled depths of Moria (if you’ve been there already, travel to Anazârmekhem via the Stable-master). The bars and slats are found throughout the areas marked on the map, ready to be picked up. After getting enough iron and wood we need to clear out some of the orcs in the Flaming Deeps before returning to Brogur. Defeat twenty orcs for the dwarf and then take the materials back to Brogur in the Twenty-First Hall.
Chapter 6: Bori’s Suspicion
Brogur’s nephew has exciting news to tells us so speak to Bori in the Chamber of Leadership. He has read an interesting line in the Book of Mazarbul that might indicate Zigilburk’s resting place. Bori thinks the axe could be a great aid, believing that Balin may have succeeded had his expedition retrieved the weapon. We are sent to the Water-works to study several room plaques that should point the way to a hidden armoury. Defeat some of the dangerous beasts roaming the Water-works after finding the plaques and then return to Bori in the Twenty-First Hall. Bori is excited to hear of the Hall of Mithril, where he assumes the axe must be.
Chapter 7: The Drowned Treasury
Bori’s desire for Zigilburk is great. With it he would fear little, especially not any orc attack. Unmentioned is the fact that the axe had been sealed away and kept secret when the dwarves previously possessed it. However, Bori’s enthusiasm is great and so we join him on an expedition to the Hall of Mithril. Speaking to Bori again begins a fellowship or inspired solo instance.
In order to clear a path through the flooded tunnels of the Drowned Treasury we must turn stone wheels and defeat groups of dangerous creatures. Do not worry too much about being defeated; we are sent back to the beginning of the instance but can simply run back to where we were defeated. Go down the steps to a stone wheel and turn it to break apart a nearby wall. Just past the newly opened path are creepy Gundlajân bug enemies we need to defeat to continue forward.
There are three stone wheels in this next area to use, one of which is behind a wall of rubble that breaks away when you walk nearby. Be careful to deal with the bugs as you encounter them – using wheels will attract new enemies to the scene and make things more difficult if you’ve already got some attacking you. The wheels open a tunnel leading down to rushing water and a new room full of toads. Defeat enough toads and the enormous toad matriarch bursts through the room, creating a passage to walk through after defeating her as well.
More rushing water leads down to a new room full of more bugs. There are three more stone wheels to turn in this room, each guarded by a separate group of bugs. Turning all three releases two queens that charge towards us in a flash – be ready to fight these vicious creatures off before turning the last wheel. If you need to you can run through the passageway into the next room and deal with anything still attacking you there (the queens won’t follow you out of the room).
The next cavern features another wall of rubble that breaks away when approached, however this time there are spiders behind it! Deal with the spiders and continue into the next room, full of even more spiders. Head down a flight of stairs to find a giant spider queen and several smaller spiders. Defeat the queen and her brood to allow Bori safe passage the nearby wheel, but try and take on as few spiders at once as possible by attacking those on the outside edges.
The final chamber hides a surprise. A dwarf, thought dead but merely gravely injured, lies a short distance away. His presence is a sign of great danger nearby. Prepare to fight the Watcher in the water once more! Attack its tentacles before turning on the main body to considerably reduce the damage it can inflict. The Watcher will eventually slink away to a deeper part of Moria; talk with the dwarf to finish the instance. Speak to Bori when we return to the Chamber of Leadership; the dwarf is ecstatic about the recovery of both Bróin and the legendary mithril axe Zigilburk.
Chapter 8: Bróin’s Tale
Bori sends us to speak to Bróin about his ‘adventure’ following his capture by the Watcher. The injured dwarf rests in the Peaceful Path, a sheltered hideaway northeast of the gardens in Durin’s Way and northwest of the Stone Hall. Bróin thinks the Watcher was saving him to eat later and thus survived in the Drowned Treasury where Óin discovered Zigilburk years ago. Óin was eventually overcome by the monsters that crawl and scuttle around those flooded halls, but Bróin was fortunate enough to have us arrive when we did and save him from the beasts. Bróin is tired from the ordeal and desiring no further adventure, returns to his rest. The book comes to a close, but there are even more monstrous creatures and orcs to deal with as we go deeper into the Mines of Moria.
Turning the Pages
Moria has been fortified and made ready to defend against the orc attacks likely to occur in the near future, thanks to the dwarves’ new understanding of the situation and readiness to stand strong where previous expeditions have fallen. Zigilburk has also been recovered, to the delight of some and chagrin of others. At this point there is a mixture of confidence, caution, and pride among the dwarves; while the dwarves have begun shoring up defenses despite earlier protestations to any word of threat, they still seek out the old glory of Moria, hoping to achieve and make use of some of the heights of Dwarven accomplishment.
Our role in the story is as uncertain as the fate of the expedition. We have assisted the Dwarves in all manner of tasks, though at times we have served as a voice of caution on behalf of Bósi to try and convince Brogur of the dangers lurking in the mines. But we still seek out those hidden treasures that have lead to ill end for the dwarves’ predecessors. Perhaps Zigilburk would have been sought by others, less capable and doomed by the quest, and perhaps it will serve as an important weapon or symbol for the dwarves to rally around. Regardless of the risk associated with the relic and any ill consequence facing us we have been lead into a series of quests with no other option but to go forward. In as much as this is a game, there is little we can do but complete the quests and bear witness to the unfolding story. But within that story there is also little alternative; the dwarves are a stubborn bunch, and tend to repeat past mistakes despite warnings from friends or knowledge gained from records of those who went before. Perhaps the only true assistance we can provide is a cool head and an able body for when the need arises. Hopefully that will be enough.
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