06 · Society and Institutions
The Languages of the Far South
The Economy of the Mûmakan
With eight independent realms all carrying on a rather brisk trade with each other, economics become rather complex, especially when four of them mint their own currency. The money conversions are bound to vary from country to country and day to day; as will prices for goods and services. Finally, keep in mind that even all this is not a closed economy, and several realms (notably Koronandë, Tâliran, and Tantûrak) carry on trade as far north as Umbar (Kd. “Os”) and Gondor, and east to the Vulmaw empire.
These are values for the most prevalent currencies used in the Ûrdor. All pieces except for Ivory and Jade weigh half an ounce.
|10 iron||1 tin|
|10 tin||1 copper|
|10 copper||1 Bronze|
|10 bronze||1 silver|
|2 silver||1 ivory*|
|5 silver||1 Jade**|
|10 silver||1 gold|
|800 gold||1 mithril***|
* more common in Mûmakan.
** more common in Tuktan: heavily used there.
*** approximate value; mithril is rarely dealt with except by large jewelers, moneylenders and forgers.
Trade Goods Chart
|Tâliran||Grains, minerals, metals||Herbs, wine, liquors, fine jewelry|
|Koronandë||Grain, cloth, dairy products||Fish, fruits, clams, herbs, wood|
|Hathor||Grains, fine items and weapons||Clams, oysters, wool and cotton cloth, herbs|
|Tantûrak||Cloths, furs, luxury foods||Grains, metals, dairy products|
|Tuktan||Fish, clams, fruit, hides||Furniture, jade, wood items, fine leather products|
|Dûshera||Cloth, refined metals, fish||Grains, furs, leather|
|Mûmakan||Cloth, efined metals, weapons||Grains, furs, hides, ivory|
|Gan||Finished wooden products, weapons||Ships, leather, cotton|
The Court of Ardor
The Court of Ardor is the main villain in the Utter South (even Sauron’s Úlair slave Jí Indûr poses a less threat to the region, at least in a more encompassing sense). It is its goal to bring down the Sun and Moon and the history of the Utter South is filled with the tales of brave men and women in their quest to stop this plan.
The Court consists entirely of Elves who for the greater part serve him because they think this organization is the only one which seeks solely elven goals.
Motivation of the Court
The Court was formed in the waning years of the First Age of Arda, when Morgoth, the Black Enemy, ruled the Northwest of Middle-earth, possessing the Silmaril in his Iron Crown. As is well known, after the death of the Two Trees of Valinor (which had lighted Valinor and to a lesser extent the rest of the world), the Valar created the moon and the sun, which were much brighter than the dim luminescence which had filtered to Middle-earth from Valinor and the Trees, and it blinded and drove into hiding nearly all of Morgoth’s servants. Only in the night and the relative dimness of the moon could they roam abroad and cause terror, and even then they cursed the silvery lunar light, preferring overcast skies.
Morgoth thought long upon this, and decided that the sun and moon too, must be destroyed so that his dominion would be assured in eternal darkness. As we are told in the Silmarillion:
“Then he [Morgoth] assailed Tilion, sending spirits of shadow against him and there was strife in Ilmen beneath the paths of the stars, but Tilion [the moon’s guide] was victorious.”
Silmarillion — 119
The sun was an even greater obstacle to his schemes, and “…Arien [the sun’s guide] Morgoth feared with a great fear, but dared not come nigh her, having indeed no longer the power; for as he grew in malice, and sent forth from himself the evil that he conceived in lies and creatures of wickedness, his might passed into them and was dispersed, and he himself became ever more bound to the earth, unwilling to issue from his dark strongholds.” Sil.119
So bright was the light in Ariens eyes, that he could not stand against it even for a brief time. So he devised another plan to bring down the hated new lights. Sauron being his chief servant, could not be spared for even this important task. Instead, the Black Enemy called upon Ardana. A Noldo of power, she was the mightiest of the Eldar whom Morgoth corrupted to his cause, and, perhaps, one of the most tragic. She was once a follower of Elbereth, a lover of the stars. She knew much of the ways of the Heavens — so she was charged to devise a plan how the fall of the Lights could be accomplished.
Following her assignment Ardana travelled Middle-earth, seeking a method by which she could bring down the sun and moon, gathering followers in her wake. Being a powerful Lady of the Eldar, appearing in shimmering raiment, she convinced many of the Elves that her plan was what was best for them: that the glaring lights in the sky were “evil” contrivances, designed to blot out the light of Elbereth’s stars, cherished by all Elves. Ardana herself was lured into this belief (and after some time caught in it), for indeed the sun, and even the moon to some extent, blotted out the stars which were so dear to all Elves. Indeed, this goal is an extreme form of an all-time elvish longing: To order things according to their own wishes and needs, halting the change of the world and conserving a state in which they feel most comfortable. A similar longing among the Noldor of Eregion (though not nearly as radical) was the main incentive to forge the Rings of Power. Beside Celebrimbor’s desire to surpass Fëanor in skill the Elves also wished to halt the passage of time and establish an everlasting, Aman-like state in Middle-earth, having the benefits of Middle-earth (forming the ruling caste) while experiencing the delights of Aman (halting the ageing of Arda as described in the essay “Aman”).
Fanatical in her belief she became, and her fervent self-assurance was contagious: thus were some of the strong of the Eldar turned and so they fell from grace. However, there were a few even among those Elves whose hearts were black and whose nature was genuinely evil. Karol Dekdarion (Cambragol), and the woman Fëatur were two of the Eldar who were truly cruel. They killed without mercy and on a whim. The others for the most part, killed only when neccessary for their cause. They would not be turned and, as is true especially of the Noldor, their ways were clever to achieve their ends.
The Oath of Ardor
Soon after the arrival in Ardor of the Greater Lords of the future Court Ardana realized that some kind of incentive for a determined action against the new lights had to be issued. Being confident in the success of her plan she conceived a great oath that should encourage everyone to give his utmost in the cause of the Court. Accordingly the official founding of the Court saw an oath sworn by the twelve greater lords. To ensure their compliance and determination to achive their goal (being within reach as she thought) and with her legendary powers of persuasion Ardana caused the Twelve to swear an oath similar to the Oath of Fëanor as reported in the Silmarillion.
When all was ready, they came together in the councilchamber and swore the Oath of Ardor. Ardana deliberately chose a wording very similar to Fëanors oath to emphasize her determination. It was terrible, an oath which none shall break, and none should take. Here it is recounted:
“By the name of Ilúvatar we vowe to pursue our rightful goal, calling the Everlasting Dark upon us if we keep it not; and Manwë we name in witness, and Varda Elbereth and the everlasting mountain of cold Taniquetil, vowing to pursue with vengeance and determination to the end of this Land the downfall of the bright lights which deny the Quendi their rightful inheritance. And we swear to combat Vala, Demon or Elf or Men, or any creature, great or small, good or evil, that time should bring forth unto the end of days, whoso should try hinder us.”
So they spoke in their youth and folly, and folly it was because their plan failed in the first attempt and the oath drove them to pursue their goal far longer than anyone among them had anticipated. The Lords were trapped in their own folly as in later times they began to feel the weight of their terrible oath. Similar to Fëanor’s sons they became ever more desperate as their goal became ever more distant and difficult to achieve and they committed more and more evil deeds in their desperation.
Please note that the fulfillment oath is limited by a geographical feature (the island of Ardinaak) and not a time-scope (like Fëanor’s oath which was to last “to the end of the World”). This frees the lords of their obligation once Ardinaak is destroyed.
History until the Third Age
After many years in Beleriand Ardana came to a land to the south and east of Angband — the site which later was called Vamag near the future haven of Umbar. Here she encountered a mind equal to her own. He was Morthaur (S. “Black Prison”), a Noldo of great might, both in mind and body, but his soul was dark because the shadow of Melkor lay upon him. Their interests were parallel, and so an alliance was formed. With the skills Morthaur had learned, the way to bring down the Lights was decided.
Morthaur conceived a plan: a design which would require the help of powerful items of Unlight. When he presented his plan to Ardana she saw its potential and put it forward to her master: On that dark day when Ungoliant had consumed all of the gems of Fëanor she later belched forth many — but they were changed. Instead of the radiant crystals of light they had been, they were dark, in fact consumed light; they were of unlight. Morgoth gave the eighth largest of these (each about the size of a clenched fist) gems for this cause: The light-consuming powers of the eight gems would be focused in one great burst to drain both sun and moon of light. But the sacrifice of one of the “blood” of the Ainur would be necessary to trigger the gems. So Ardana would bear a daughter fathered by Morthaur (imbued with a good deal of Morgoth’s thúle).
After these preparations they left for the area where the astrological constellations would be most favorable for their goal and therefore Chose the land of distant Ardor as their base of operations. Soon after her arrival in Ardor, Ardana realized the prejudices the Avari held against the Eldar and especially the Noldor. The Moriquendi viewed the Elves of the West as traitors of Elvenkind who deserted to Aman. So at first there was very little love between the kindreds. But Ardana convinced many of them that indeed she came out of the West because she and her companions were betrayed by the Valar and that they attempted to restore the old order of a starlit sky. So she won many loyal followers among the Avari who remain faithful to the Court’s cause even to this day. Much time passed, though the servants of darkness were not idle. The Court of Ardor coalesced, ruled by the Ardan Council: eight lords of the eight citadels constructed under their supervision, clustered about the bay which embraces Shaan-Ta-Rhûn, the Citadel of Ardor. In addition to the Eight, there sat Valmorgûl: the Warden of the Citadel, Morfuin the Lord Demon, Morthaur, and Ardana. Thus was formed the Council of Twelve of Ardor. And Ardana conceived and bore not one child but twins, a boy and a girl. And stranger yet, at the birthing the boy showed no sign of life. The Lay Healer Yavëkamba took him away to (the male) Fëatur her friend and lover, and no one of the Court but she and him knew that the boy was indeed alive, and the hope against Darkness. The daughter remained healthy and was raised as a Noldo princess imbued with the desire to order things according to her desire. Her impending fate was not revealed to her.
And, at the time of the birth, in far Thangorodrim Morthrog, Morgoth’s seer, heard these words in a dream:
“Night and Day, girl and boy.
Two children and a shadowed fate.
She shall die, short life to enjoy
He will his mother slay, ‘ere too late.
’fore night falls again…”
Unable to decipher the poem, Morthrog chose not to bother his master with meaningless verse. The male Fëatur, too, heard the words, spoken in a clear voice in his dream, out of the West.
Note This, of course, means that the male child of Ardana must kill his mother and stop the ritual from taking place. He does possess some unique advantages however; he will be immune to her spells, and, if pure of heart, will know her mind while he holds her in sight, and will sense her location in any case, while she will remain ignorant of him until the instant of her death. (Unless, of course, his identity is discovered, and someone tells her). So have the Valar granted a chance for the forces of good to prevail.
After the War of Wrath and the failure of the ritual near the end of the First Age, Middle-earth had for awhile peace and many of the Eldar of Beleriand sailed into the West, believing that Evil was banished from the world. Fëatur however was worried, for he foresaw that the Court, though weakened and dispersed, was a danger for future ages. He knew their cursed oath would drive them on, even if they were willing to abandon their quest. Contemplating this, in a dream he heard a doom-stricken but clear voice utter a prophecy and so he became the first of the Eldar in Endor to know the second Prophecy of Mandos:
“When the world is old and the Powers grow weary, then Morgoth shall come back through the Doors out of the Timeless Void, and he shall destroy the Sun and the Moon; but Eärendil shall come upon him as a white flame and drive him from the airs. Then shall the last battle be gathered on the fields of Valinor. In that day Tulkas shall strive with Morgoth, and on his right shall stand Túrin Turambar, son of Húrin, Conquerer of Fate, returning from the doom of men at the end of the world; and it shall be the black sword of Túrin that deals unto Morgoth his death and final end; and so shall the children of Húrin and all Men be avenged.
Thereafter shall the Silmarils be recovered out of the sea and earth and air; for Earendil shall descend and yield up that flame that he had in keeping. Then Fëanor shall bear the Three and yield them unto Yavanna Palúrien; and she will break them and with their fire rekindle the Two Trees; and a great light shall come forth; and the Mountains of Valinor shall be levelled, so that the light goes out over all the world. In that light the Valar will again grow young, and the Elves awake and the last of their dead arise, and the purpose of Ilúvatar fulfilled concerning them. But of Men in that day this prophecy speaks not, save Túrin only.”
Mandos’ words could only mean that the sun and moon will be destroyed in the distant future but not in the Second or even Third Age. Fëatur knew for the Eldar the prophecy would be inevitable fate, as they are bound to the Song of Creation, part of which Mandos revealed in his prophecy. Only Man can break the bonds of fate, and so Fëatur recognized that the Court would need assistance from the Secondborn to achieve its goal, and because the Secondborn were easily swayed by a strong will, he saw the impending danger. For he realized also, should Ardana ever succeed, Morgoth would return and without the need to bring the lights down himself (which would be very draining to his power), he would have enough strength left for the final battle, and could prevail over the Valar.
Fëatur’s main concern was that Ardor over time would also gain knowledge of the prophecy and would draw the right conclusions. So he had to inspire faithful Atani to thwart Ardor’s scheme.
Thus Fëatur knew that the Court would fail if there was determined resistance, and from this knowledge he derived the strength to pursue his quest for another one and a half ages.
The Court in the Third Age
T.A. 1 – 1100
At the beginning of the Third Age the Court exists as it has been during the last 2.500 years. The lords reside in their citadels and plot the downfall of the Great Lights and scheme against each other. Even (or especially) these Quendi feel the weight of Middle-earth upon their spirits. Not having items like the Three Rings they experience all the power of time and because of the alliance with the Black Enemy this effect is even more drastic. Consequently they are not as active as they were in the First or Second Age (of course there is variation among the specific individuals) and are mostly content to view the developments in the region. Only when their direct interests are threatened they take action and even then mostly indirectly by manipulating the lords of the mannish realms. They control several organization who wield different kinds of power and in this way the hand of the Court is unseen (in fact nearly no one even knows of them) but felt everywhere. While having no own “realm” as such and refraining from open politics, the careful indirect manipulations give them great power.
The following list shows the more important organizations/realms controlled or at least influenced by Court members along with the key figure in that particular matter:
- Tantûrak (Valmorgûl)
- Darin Tesarath (female Fëatur)
- Starseer Conclave (Ardûval)
- Order of Horus (Valkrist)
- Desert Screamers/Gaarks (Taurclax)
- [Mûmakan] (Gorthaur)
- Cult of the Dark Overlord (Gorthaur)
- [Hathor] (Ardûval)
The Court itself is much like it has been and will be for several centuries. Of the countries of the Mûmakan, Hathor and Tuktan are rising in cultural sophistication (both are near their peak in T.A. 1650). Basically this is a time of expansion and organization for all factions concerned. Sauron, still banished from a visible form, is not yet an influence in the Mûmakan.
The Court of Ardor no longer exists as a unit, and the name is not spoken (indeed only a few knew of it anway). The Citadel of Ardor is no more: destroyed and sunk beneath the waves in the cataclysm caused by the death of Ardana. Also caught in the destruction were many of the lords of the Court: Gorthaur, Rilia, Valmorgûl, Morthaur, Morfuin and Valkrist all perished, it is said. It is also believed that the female Fëatur nearly escaped, only to be caught and slain by her own brother, Fëatur, long believed by the Court to be dead. The validity of the tale of that confrontation may never be known.
Of Taurclax and Khelekar, it is suspected that Sauron was aware of the impending fall of the Court and, seeing it an easy way to rid himself of the troublesome organization, allowed it to occur. He must have warned his two servants though, for they avoided the disaster and later served to spread evil from Taurang throughout the area.
The fate of Cambragol and Ardûval was less auspicious, if successful. Each had ready an escape route, and fled in time to avoid the fall of the Tower. Ardûval still resides at Menelcarca, rarely departing. He does, however, maintain the evil Starseer Conclave as his tool to wreak minor harm throughout the area. He is a bitter enemy of Khelekar who was able to depose him of his role as the Magician a score of years ago. Cambragol seized Angkirya for his own, and remains there, ever in fear of discovery by Sauron.
Of the other lords who survived, some are here yet, maintaining the citadels as if the Court still existed. Others fled into the other areas to establish cults of their own. Even now, after the destruction of the Court, the Oath still drives the Lords and they strive to hold to their old goals even though its fulfillment is now impossible. Such is their fate that even now they are bound by their ancient oath.
The fact is, though, that the power that was the Court is no more, and the eight citadels are either abandoned (Naurlindol, Aurax-Dûr, and Tirgoroth) or are now minor holds of lesser lords and their minions. Cambragol would be a force to be reckoned with, but he fears (rightly) that Sauron would crush any attempted uprisings.
By T.A. 3000 Taurang and the entire forest about it is a place of darkness and terror, inhabited by all manner of creatures. The Elves of Tâliran still dwell in their wood, more secluded from the outside world than ever. Many of them have become Lingerers, others have fled elsewhere or been killed so the actual population has shrunken to about half of that in T.A. 1650. Tantûrak has grown, dominating Dûshera, Tumag and parts of Mag. The “Magician” still advises the Emperor, but it is the disguised Khelekar, who assumed the role after after he was able to kick Ardûval out of this office about a hundred years ago. Thus is Tantûrak a tool of Sauron. Tuktan and Gan have been overrun and conquered by the Mûmakani, as well as Koronandë and Hathor. Tanith is now a provincial city of Mûmakan, the ancient line of its kings exterminated. The Darin Tesarath survives, though not as the powerful organization it once was, and it is falling into corruption through the devices of the Dark Lord. The Guild of Elements is no more, as Laurrë, Yavëkamba, Klaen, Fëatur and Rána all passed into the West. Lyerin also has become a Lingerer, not desiring to go into the West and remain a true Avar. Ty-Ar-Rana remains, though sealed. It is said however, that Lyerin left his earrings (for which he has now no use anymore) there, and his key to the Vault (which also allows access into the complex) was left in Middle-earth. He himself remains most of his time near Ty-Ar-Rana to watch over the place and enable faithful Men to use its ressources should the need arise. Also left are, no doubt, many of the lesser artifacts of the Guild, although certainly many have been lost over the years. Lyerin’s activity has helped to keep a spark of freedom alive in these lands now dominated by the Dark Lord; so that there will be freedom again when Sauron falls.
Should the company have failed in their quest, the final outcome is uncertain. It has been postulated that Sauron would have prevented the Ritual by sending his Nazgûl and eliminating Ardana, thus also fragmenting the Court structure. This seems likely, as the Dark Lord would not have much to gain by the fall of the sun and moon; and if he believed the promises of Morgoth: that those participating in the Ritual would gain great power in the Darkness, and rule large fiefs under the Master; Sauron had reason to prevent the Ritual and the rising of many rivals.
Indeed, whether or not the sun and moon would have been destroyed is a matter of conjecture, one which will probably never be settled. There is no doubt that there would have been an unleashing of great power, and who is to say what may have arisen — perhaps the return of the Black Enemy Himself. Fortunately, however, that is, at least for the forseeable future, not likely.
The Organization of the Court
The Court is organized according to the following pattern:
|0. Darkness; the Citadel of Ardor|
|A. Ardana* (Mistress of Ardor)|
|B. Valmorgûl* (High Warden of the Tower)|
|I. Fire (Staves)|
|A. Naurlindol (Mistress: Rilia*)|
|3. Lady of Staves (Sirnaur)|
|4. Knight of Staves (Valnaur)|
|B. Ithilkir (Master: Airatano*)|
|1. Lord of Staves (Mornaur)|
|2. Herald of Staves (Palandor)|
|II. Water (Helms)|
|A. Aurax-Dûr (Master: Gorthaur*)|
|2. Lord of Helms (Taurion)|
|3. Knight of Helms (Vallin)|
|B. Taurang (Master: Taurclax*)|
|2. Lady of Helms (Silion)|
|3. Herald of Helms (Sarkarxë)|
|III. Earth (Orbs)|
|A. Angkirya (Mistress: Fëatur*)|
|2. Lord of Orbs (Ardaron)|
|3. Knight of Orbs (Valandor)|
|B. Menelcarca (Master: Ardûval*)|
|1. Lady of Orbs (Tirial)|
|2. Herald of Orbs (Arduin)|
|IV. Air (Swords)|
|A. Tirgoroth (Master: Valkrist*)|
|2. Lord of Swords (Sûldun)|
|3. Lady of Swords (Elendor)|
|4. Herald of Swords (Vairesûl)|
|B. Mirisgroth (Master: Cambragol*)|
|2. Knight of Swords (Valsûl)|
* indicates Ardan Council member.
Court Standard Uniforms
The troops of the Court are issued some sort of uniform and the following paragraphs detail these suits. Generally, the Court’s troops can only be encountered in Ardan holds or on the rare occassions when a few of them venture out (but then they are normally not dressed in Court uniforms).
Suit of Staves (Element: Fire; Realm: Essence)
Full length robes: layers of cloth in differing shades of red, orange and yellow, with a badge on the left breast: an inverted triangle embroidered with a flaming staff. Full length black cloak with the octagonal Ardor brooch. All carry a reddish steel dagger. Garrison fighters wear a simpler, short tunic version, and carry composite bows and red broadswords.
Suit of Orbs (Element: Earth; Realm: Mentalism)
Either full length forest green hooded robes trimmed with brown, or a short green tunic (after the manner of the warrior-monks) and loose pants bound at the ankles, also trimmed in brown, depending on whether the wearer is primarily a spell user or warrior. Badge is a circle (representing an orb) stitched in silver on a black circular field. Cloak is reversible dark green/brown, clasped by the Ardor brooch. Garrison fighters carry either a green steel axe, or broadsword and dagger of the same metal. All utilize Elven longbows.
Suit of Helms (Element: Water; Realm: Channeling)
Robes are ofshimmering blue material of varying shades, which seem to shift and change color as the light catches them — long for those truly of Channeling; shorter for the garrison and combat oriented members, who also wear a bluish steel chain shirt under the robe. Badge is a helm embroidered in gold over a deep blue circular field. The cloak is dark blue, lined with a lighter green-blue, clasped with the cloakpin of Ardor. Garrison guards use a mace of bluish steel, and light crossbows, and carry circular shields with the suit badge emblazoned on it.
Suit of Swords (Element: Air; Realm: Arms)
A diaphanous gossamer surcoat belted at the waist is worn over steel chain and a knee length white tunic. Badge is an upward pointing sword, piercing a cloud, all on a sky-blue diamond shaped field. Cloaks are sky blue lined mith grey, clasped with the Ardor cloakpin. Garrison guards wield polished steel swords and daggers, composite bows, and carry circular shields painted sky blue, with the sword badge design. They wear high boots of grey, leather.
Ardor Troops and Citadel Garrison
All wear black, either in the form of a thigh length tunic,and pants or a full length robe, both trimmed in red at the cuffs and hem. The badge is the octagonal design of Ardor, identical to the cloakpins, but merely embroidered. Cloaks are all black, clasped with the Ardor brooch. Boots are of black leather. Some Garrison guards wear steel chain (+25 total) shirts, enamelled black. All carry steel short- or longswords (+25 total) and use Composite or Long Bows (+15 total) and octagonal shields.
Politics of the Court
It is important for the understanding of the functioning and policies of the Court to know the peculiarities of the elvish spirit and its laws and customs. For the Quendi killing another elf is a heinous crime. In contrast to mankind this is not only a phrase or written law but an essential respected by nearly everyone save the most wicked. Accordingly the Court is very reluctant to violate this unwritten law even against its enemies and then only the most devoted ones to the cause of the Court are entrusted with such a job. The majority of the Court is not a follower of Morgoth or his religion, they view the Court merely as the organization which best furthers Quendi goals in this area and not placing man in the first case. This special state of mind concerning killing fellow Elves is also seen in the Guild of Elements (in fact even more since they are the good guys). So for a man this looks like an awkward situation: “Why do we not go to them personally and kill them, so that we get rid of this whole affair?” For a man it’s no problem to kill other men but this is not the case for elves vs. elves.
So every side resorts near entirely to influencing politics and indirect means for reaching their goals rather than more direct methods which are more readily seen in mankind (and result-orientated players of course).
The Guild of Elements
The origins of the Guild are shrouded in the uncertainty which clouds many events in the First Age. The few surviving records which tell of the Three of Ty-Ar-Rana and the DarinTesarath are silent on the subject of the Guild. Rumors, however, abound. Ruins there are too, scattered all about the Mûmakan (in a wider sense) in hidden vales and glades, seemingly placed without pattern or purpose.
According to popular belief, the Guild was organized early in the Years of the Sun by five Elven Lords. Its purpose was apparent to organize resistance to the forces of darkness. So the Guild flourished for several centuries, eventually forming an alliance with other organizations to combat, now more specifically, the coalescing Ardan Court. This was the time of greatest power for the Guild, as it had many members, and possessed artifacts created by Chrys Menelrana — one of the founding six and an exiled Noldo lord who learned much of forging in the Undying Lands. The techniques and powers at his disposal in forging are now lost in Middle-earth.
The attack of the Luingon alliance upon the Citadel of Ardor (simultaneous, in fact, with attacks on several other Ardan holds) saw the end of many powerful lords, including five of the founding six. But a few years later came the War of Wrath: the fall of Morgoth, the changing of Middle-earth, and the disruption of the Courts’ power base. Many believed it was the end of organized evil forces in the world. Chrys, however, saw farther than most and perceived the danger of Ardor rising again. Early in the Second Age he supervised the construction of nine secret places, each adjacent to one of the now abandoned places of Ardor, with secret access to those holds. He thus founded the organization known as simply “The Watchers” to man the installations and monitor any activities of remnants of the Court — to ensure that it did not rise again. Then, after setting his son Laurrë in charge of the Watchers and placing many of the artifacts of the Guild in secret vaults in the pentagrams and the Watcher installations for future use, he sailed into the Undying Lands, his exile lifted due to his labors against the Black Enemy.
The Watchers continued diligently in their task for many years, but in S.A. 755 Laurrë vanished without trace, and after several centuries their vigilance failed. One by one the installations were sealed and at this time the Lords of the Court began their return. Then, at last (the male) Fëatur and Lyerin discovered Laurrë trapped in a magical sleep at Guinarnen and freed him. The three forged an alliance and elected to re-establish the Guild of Old, for its time had come again. But Elves and Men of Power for the cause of good were few and scattered, so it was decided that the Guild should be a secret organization so as not to alert the Court. Thus it was only five: Fëatur, Laurrë, Lyerin, Eldarion (a Magician) and Rána (a Healer) who arose to stand against the Court. The place of the sixth element remained empty. They moved covertly, foiling many an Ardan plot, although in many things they lacked the power of Old; they watched the destruction of Dînsûlinor, totally helpless. The fall of Eldarion in T.A. 1120 was a severe blow, simply in his loss, for he was wise and powerful. Rilia, being no fool, realized that something was afoot since Eldarion was able to enter Naurlindol unnoticed. She (rightly) feared the return of the Guild, but was unable to convince the Council of any danger, primarily because of Fëatur’s derision (the male attended this meeting, disguised as his sister, of course) and scorn for her concern. If she had only known that it was indeed a lord of the Guild who so spoke to her…
At any, rate, Klaen the Bard was chosen to replace Eldarion, due to his great information-gathering talents and his ability to be unnoticed. It was in this time that the wandering wizard Lineris first appeared. He labored in his own way against the Court and the Shadow in general and soon was granted with the sixth place in the Guild. Beginning in this time the situation slowly began to deteriorate, despite the best efforts of the Six, and they percieved that the next eclipse was nearing. Awakening the infant Moran, they prepared for the final crisis.
None of the ancient places of the Guild are large, and although some are more complex than others, all have a common central element: a hexagonal platform of bluish granite (see yellowish pentagons on color map), a six pointed star inlaid in the top surface of it — the inlay being of some very hard, clear glass (or Laen), in seven pieces. The platform varies in size, from 10’ to 50’ (3 to 15m) across, and of all the objects in any given site is invariably undamaged or worn. Anyone touching the platform will quickly realize its magical nature, for it is warm and gives off a faint humming vibration. When activated by items of the Guild, the platform glows with specific colors (the center varies, shifting continually). The colors and their associations are shown in the table below.
The six colors signify the six elements of Power. Artifacts of the Guild are usually keyed to one of the six elements, and can range tremendously in power (see … ).
The Order of Horus
This organization is an ancient mercenary company. It was founded in the middle of the Second Age by Valkrist, who just had arrived in the South and being introduced as the Lord of Arms. Since the time of its founding its main base and headquarter (where recruits are trained) is located on a small group of islands in the Ûsakan bay. Over the centuries it has amassed an incredible reputation as the most feared mercenary company in the Utter South.
Valkrist deliberately chose a name with connections to the local deities: Horus is the chief of the gods in the ancient Geshân (and later Koronandën and Hathorian) religion; a martial god who often has to combat the evil pretender Sâth.
The Order was founded by Valkrist in the year 1988 of the Second Age an was composed mostly of exiled Kirani from Koronandë who object Indûrs rise arising kingship. They sought an opportunity to help the Republican cause in foreign lands and when a tall Kiran (the disguised Valkrist) approached them with the proposal to form a mercenary company which might form the nucleus for a resistance movement for the liberation of their homeland, soon many exiles flocked to his banner. Over the years they earned combat practice in many campaigns all over the Utter South. They earned a reputation for competence and played a key role in the final end of Indûrs Koronandën kingship. After this many of the veterans (Indûrs reign lasted nearly 20 years) left the company and the Order reformed itself as a mercenary company whose services anyone could request if the company was willing and the employer ready to pay their high fees. They established their base at a small cluster of islands. Thus the realm of Vog Mur (???) came into being. It included the island upon which Tirgoroth already stood. Now its security and mystery was further strengthened by the presence of a force of loyal soldiers on a nearby island.They continued to pay their services throughout the Second Age, and fought on all sides. According to Valkrist’s schemes, the Order was helped to keep a balance of power in the Utter South and foster the Court’s plans.
In S.A. 3010 it accepted employment from the governor of Tantûrak in his campaign to gain independence from Westernesse. The ploy succeeded and the Order’s fame rose to great heights. During the period of Númenors supremacy and later the rule of the Dark Lord in the last decades of the Second Age, the Order shrank but survived through unquestionable loyalty to its employee (then Númenor or Mûmakan respectively). After the Akallabeth, its fortune once again were ascending and until c. T.A. 1600 it prospered as a small but respected and feared institution of the Utter South. After Valkrist’s death in T.A. 1653 the Order became disorganized and fell in importance. Though able to regain some of its former glory, the loss of her exalted lord and his extended network of spies and informants (gained through the Court) robbed them of their cutting edge. while they remined an able company, their once exalted position was lost. Over time they sank to the level of other mercenaries and by the time of Indûrs great campaign at the beginning of the 30th century of the Third Age the Order vanished from the South when its remaining members were killed when in the pay of Koronandë against Mûmakan.
Part of the mystery and awe that surrounds them is their unquestionable loyalty. Once they have accepted a contract they fulfill it to the last. Also their secrecy gives them a certain aura: the Order maintains a number of guildhouses throughout the Utter South. here potential employees and aspirants for the Order may contact them. In case of a potential contract, the proposal is then sent to Vog Mur to be judged by the lords of the Order. The reply is then brought the potential employer who has to accept the answer. There is no way to force the Order into submission.
When a potential new member applies at a guildhouse he is thoroughly tested by the local members and sent to Vog Mur if found worthy. Here the new recruits are garrisoned in groups of 5 each. each of these teams is then sent onto the larger, “wild” part of the main island to undertake a task set by the lords. Those that survive and fulfill their job are accepted as full members of the Order.
The Order is a lifetime assignment for each member (which is publicly known). There is no way to quit service other than death. Subordinates are expected blind obedience to their superiors.
Beside this the life as a member of the Order is quite pleasant. Their high prestige in the South gives them privileges when on campaign that rival that of petty lords. When they reach an age to retire they may either take positions in guildhouses or take up residence on Vog Mur where they might marry and supervise those that till the fields and produce the food for the island.
The Servants Of The Real Fire
Unyielding in belief, the Servants of the Real Fire pose as formidable threat to the Free People of the South as the Army of the Southern Dragon or Jí Indûr the Wraithking of Mûmakan. Still, neither the Guild of Elements nor the independent cultures of the Mûmakan (save the Court) understand this insidious and relentless force. The Servants are masters of the Essence who repudiate both the notion that the Valar are guardians of Arda and the ideas attached to the Song of Creation (Q. “Ainulindalë”). Their ritualistic magic contrasts sharply with the fading, naturalistic practices of the Ûsakani Seers and the Kiran, Ganim, and Hathorian clerics that compose the priesthoods indigenous to the Mûmakan area. Practicioners of Mind Magic, the Servants believe that there are two coequal dieties vying for control of Arda: Alûva (Eru) and Malkôra (Morgoth). They believe that in the Beginning Days (essentially before Recorded Time), Alûva reigned supreme, and that Malkôra replaced him as the preeminent god with the outset of the Middle Days (i.e., the First and Second Ages). As they understand the world, the present time constitutes the Later Days, a period of conflict between the warring dieties. The victor of this conflict will rule Arda for all time during the Final Days, when the primeval flame of creation no longer flickers, but achieves its True Balance.
Oddly, the Servants are divided into two apparently opposing Orders. Each of these Orders contains disciples of the one of the two halves (or volumes) of the tome called the Speakings of the Fire. Those that serve the Golden Flame follow the teachings from the Words of Alûva, while the Servants of the Blue Flame subscribe to doctrine set forth in the Book ofMalkôra. Both factions coexist and refrain from attacking one another. Their respective Masters guide the cult and possess the power of life and death over their adherents; however, either can veto the other and cancel the effect of his edicts.
The Servants believe that those who master mental powers attain a pure understanding of the Balance and thereby become Prophets. Both Masters are Prophets, there are the six senior Servants in each Order. The multitudinous lesser Servants include those with knowledge (of spells), Adherents, and those without, Aspirants. Hardly a hidden cult, the Servants of the Real Fire proselytize openly in all of the major towns south of central Harad. Their circular ceremonial platforms, which look like squat towers, are scattered throughout southern Endor. These centers function as funeral sites where the dead are wrapped and laid out beneath the open sky — to decompose or be eaten as carrion. Preoccupied with death, the Servants take great care to offer their fallen bodies to their gods. They scorn burials as rejections of their dieties and believe that burning the dead pollutes the Holy Flame.
The greatest of the Servants’ bastions is undoubtedly the Spire of the Flame, the ancient home of the Order of the Blue Flame located in the Orolanari. This carefully concealed lair contains one of the two copies of the Speakings of the Fire. It is half again as large as the Golden Rock, which serves as the home of the Order of the Gold Flame and houses their copy of the exalted book. More details on both of these places can be found in ICE’s Shadow in the South.
Both Masters and all the Prophets bear a tatoo of two, stylized, intertwined flames — one blue and the other gold — on their cheek. Adherents and Aspirants display the allegiance by wearing a bronze choker or a brooch embodying the same design. Servants identify which of the two Orders they subscribe to by displaying their Order’s flame upright and to the left, arraying the other flame down and to the right.
The Darin Tesarath
The Darin Tesarath (translates roughly to “Sisters of the Mind” in Veyus, the Darin’s secret tongue) is a secular organization made up entirely of women who have talents related at least partially to the ways of mental powers, thus including Astrologers and Mystics, as well as pure Mentalists, and all other users of mental magic.
The Sisterhood was founded in 1A 301 as an Order of Women for the spread of knowledge and professional advice through inner discipline. In these first years the Order consisted almost entirely of elven women though mannish women were accepted as well (Fëatur perceived their future value innately). It can be observed though that the higher ranks within the Order were clearly dominated by elves. These women soon won great respect for their wisdom and thoughtful advice. many great lords sought their counsel. After having gained trust and respect, Fëatur began to utilize the Order to manipulate the clients according to her own wishes. In this way she contributed to the corruption and eventual downfall of Geshaan. When the First Age drew to its close and Fëatur was forced to leave the Utter South after the failure of the Ritual, the Darin Tesarath survived though its prominence was diminished. The Second Age saw the slow spread of the Sisterhood in the Utter South, but when Fëatur returned from the East in the 13th century of the Second Age a great era of expansion began. Around S.A. 2000 the Sisterhood was firmly entrenched in the minds of the men from the Utter South as the most knowledgeable and competent source of advice. The Sisterhood even extended its reach northward and the 24th century of the Second Age saw their establishment in Sîrayn and Bozisha-Miraz. Even here they earned a reputation for neutral and competent counsel. This is even more astounding since in these realms the various religious factions hold a near monopoly on such services (through “divine” channeling). The strictly secular outlook and principles attracted all people since it didn’t give reason for religious jealousy.
The rest of the Second Age saw the Darin Tesarath in unbroken favor of her clients. Even the downfall of Númenor and the following catastrophes didn’t diminish their influence, but it even grew due to their willingness to aid all who were in real trouble. The first millenium of the Third Age saw no dramatic occurences for the Sisterhood, but with the reappearance of Sauron and the Nazgûl it again became instrumental in the Court’s schemes. Many of Akhorahils servants employed the service of the Sisterhood and in this way many of his secrets became known to Fëatur. The death of its mistress in the wake of the failure of the second ritual deprived the Darin Tesarath of their mastermind and though this was not felt for many years (the other high-ranking Sisters were very capable in their own right) it began a slow decline in reputation and skill until the end of the Third Age when it was but a pale shadow of its former prominence. The Fourth Age sees a limited revival of the Sisterhood’s traditions.
The Darin Tesarath University and focus of the organization is on the small island of Tharin, in the Koros Bay. It is there that the women are training in refining their skills, under the rigid codes of the “sisterhood”. Initiates usually spend 3 – 5 years or more as a student, and either remain as an instructor or depart to seek their fortune — and fortune is the appropiate word, for Tesarath training is highly acclaimed, producing the most disciplined minds, and graduates can demand high fees for their services of information gathering and verification.
One should keep in mind that their professional advice as ‘living computers’ is highly sought after and not cheap. Before giving any advice, those seeking advice are checked for their economical and political influence. If the prioress of a house deems someone as influential s/he is closely observed and gets regular and sound advice to keep him coming back. Poorer or less influential persons must pay a reasonable rate and are generally urged to refrain from returning to the Sisterhood for some time. In this way they keep their reputation as distant and cool advisors but also show their care for all who come with urgent problems.
This is all fine, of course, but the true purpose of the Darin Tesarath is somewhat more insidious. It is a vast information network supplying intelligence from a range of sources to Fëatur; for, although sisters vow never to reveal professional consultations to outsiders, they report fully to their superior.
Full time students, and graduates while acting in their professional capacity, wear voluminous black, hooded robes with long, wide sleeves. They are completely unadorned but conceal a variety of defenses, usually including a garrote and a stiletto, both of which most sisters are trained in. Many others are versed in the ways of Martial Arts and command a variety of lethal throwing arms or other small weaponry that might be concealed easily — they are hardly defenseless. The Darin Tesarath maintains an office in all of the major cities in the Utter South, in addition to the many sisters who have set up shop independently. To the general public, the reputation of the Sisterhood is impeccable and indeed the majority of them are honest and really try to help the people seeking for advice. Only (the female) Fëatur and selected sisters of the “Inner Circle” (and of course the occasional ‘special agent’) of leading members know of the Sisterhood’s more insidious aims.
At the time of the campaign they can be found in nearly all major settlements south of Umbar. The more outlying guild houses (such as in Bozisha-Dar or Bellakar) report only once a year so while those near Tharin are checked more often.
The Starseer Conclave
The ancient organization of the Starseer Conclave is a very prominent order of Astrologers, fortune-tellers and all other kinds of people who strive to divine the future through various means.
Founded by Kinn-lai elves in the Age of the Stars, these individuals were even more fascinated with the stars than is “normal” for Quendi. They firmly believed that the stars held the key to the complete understanding of the elven existence. Consequently they made excat observations of the celestial bodies and carefully recorded all of it. Over time other Quendi joined them until they had become a numerous people of both Nelya and Tatya origin.
The seat of the organization was located at Mount … in the middle of the Geshan grasslands. This outcropping seemed the perfect place for this star-loving folk to get better in touch with the stars, removed from mundane affairs on the “plain earth”. Soon a great house was built for the accomodation of the Seers. Later, their Tatya comrades devised tools to make their observations easier and more excat. In all, over time a “typical” observatory evolved on the mountain.
Indeed, great events touched the land ere much time had passed (at least in the reckoning of the Quendi); events they
Led by a trio of Nelya Avari who chose to be known to most as simply “The Three”, the people of Arana settled in Geshaan. They encountered the Kinn-lai who helped them to build many sophisticated structures of metal and stone, all very beautiful and ‘magical’. The leaders of the Arana are worthy of special note; all three had a similar appearance — tall, muscular of build, tanned skin, and eyes emerald green flecked with silver. The most interesting facet of their appearance, however, was their hair: dark, red, almost mahagony in color. They were two men and a woman, the Eldest: Lyaan, seven feet (2,13m) in height, wore his hair parted in the middle and sweeping back to fall at the base of his neck. he led the three in power of mind. The woman, Lysa, 6′4″ (1,93m) tall, allowed her hair to grow to just below her shoulders. She was the most perceptive of the three, and saw far. Youngest was Lyerin, 6′7″ (2,01m) tall, who kept his auburn locks trimmed to the top of his ears, and layered around the back. He was most skilled in the art of unarmed combat.
The people of Arana existed happily for many years in their peaceful lands. However, over the centuries of the First Age, most were slowly drawn away from the secluded vale of their settlement and the solitude it offered, to pursue aspirations elsewhere. By the time of the death of the Two Trees only the Three and a few dozen adherents remained, a tiny fraction of the original populace. The rest had migrated to Tâliran or Dînsûlinor.
It was in the first years of the Sun that (the male) Fëatur, wandering in the forests of Geshaan encountered Lyerin. For a long time there was mistrust and dislike on the part of Lyerin because he (like all Avari) viewed the Eldar as deserters of their kin when they left for Aman. Over time however, they began to respect each other (Lyerin saw a heavy burden upon Fëatur) and at least a friendship was formed, which remained distant however — the ways of the Eldar and Avari are too distant in some matters. After years Lyerin took Fëatur to one of the metal and stone structures which served as an entrance to the complex known as Ty-Ar-Rana. There he met Lysa and Lyaan; and a plan formed in his mind. He told the Three of his past, and asked for their help against Ardor. After much debate they acquiesced to aid him in his plan. So was born the Tyar religion, although they had originally not meant to be priests, only advisors. But the growing population of Geshaan, the race of Men, was young and had wondered already at the strange temple-like structures of the Arana, thinking them works of the gods. Naturally, when the Three first emerged before an assembly of men, auras ablaze, the primitive mortals reacted with fear and awe. The former feeling faded with time; the latter never did. The Three taught the will of Eru, “The One”, and the way of Light (these matters they had learned from Fëatur who was well versed in the lore of Valinor). So did they earn the hatred of Ardor, as their following grew with the years; and the realm of Geshaan grew rich and powerful under their guidance.
Then came the battle at the Citadel of Ardor to stop the terrible Ritual. The Three went to aid the cause, and two fell. This was to signal to the decline of Ty-Ar-Rana. Only a few years later — when the change which accompanied the final overthrow of Morgoth devastated the population of Geshaan and turned most of it into an uninhabitable swamp, virtually cutting Ty-Ar-Rana off from the world — it is said that the last of the Three (Lyerin) departed the physical world at last, becoming one of the Lingerers. It is rumored that he walks the subterranean corridors of Ty-Ar-Rana still, and wanders the misty swamps of Geshaan.
The Three of Ty-Ar-Rana each had items of power to aid them (created probably by their Kinn-lai friends), and augment their already awesome mental abilities. Called the Thaen stones (pronounced “thane”) they were placed in different settings, so as to best serve the wearer. All of the Thaen stones resembled shimmering opals, and glowed more brightly with prismatic light as their power was tapped. All were set in jewelry of platinum.
According to the history outlined above today the Three of are no more. Lyaan and Lysa have been slain and Lyerin has joined the re-formed Guild of Elements. Thus the remaining structures and installations of the Three now serve the Guild of Elements.
The Cult of the Dark Overlord
The Cult of the Dark Overlord is the principal “Ardan” dark religion in the South. Though its adherents revere the dark and its lord, it’s not the usual Sauronic trick to bring all people under his banner. The cult was founded in the late 13th century of the Third Age to serve as a rallying point for believers of the Dark. It is firmly controlled however by the Court. Gorthaur, is the undisputed High Priests of this organization and oversees its operations efficiently.
Institutions in Tantûrak
Institutions of Koronandë
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