09 · The Court of Ardor at other times

Ardor in T.A. 795

The Court 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. 1709. Basically this is a time of expansion and organization for all concerned. Sauron, still weak from the (relatively) recent theft of his Ring, is not yet an influence in the Mûmakan.

Ardor in T.A. 3000

The Court of Ardor no longer exists as a unit, and the name is not spoken. 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, Mourfuin 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 Mûmakan.

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. 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 East to establish cults of their own.

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. Cam- bragol would be a force to be reckoned with, but he fears (rightly) that Sauron would crush any attempted uprisings.

By 3000 Taurang and the entire forest about it is a place of Darkness and terror, inhabited by all manner of creatures. The Elves of Taaliraan have nearly all sailed into the West, as have many of the Firstborn of Koronande. Tantûrak has grown, dominating Dûshera and the now empty northern Taaliraan. The Magician” still advises the Emperor, but it is the disguised Khelekar, who quickly assumed the role after the death of Valmorgûl. Thus is Tantûrak a tool of Sauron. Tuktan has been overrun and conquered by the Mûmakani, and the Kirani of that land fled to Koronande, or the less fortunate have been enslaved. Hathor has suffered from repeated raids: Tantûrak by sea, and the Mûmakani across the land. Tanith is now near the border of the land and may soon have to be abandoned. The Darin Tesarath survives, though not as the powerful organization it once was, and it is slowly falling into corruption through the devices of the Dark Lord. The Guild of Elements is no more, as Laurre, Klaen, Fëatur, Rana and Lyrin all passed into the West. Ty-Ar-Rana remains, though sealed. It is said however, that Lyrin left his earrings there, and his key to the Vault (which also allows access into the complex) was left in Middle-earth. Also left are, no doubt, many of the lesser artifacts of the Guild, although certainly many have been lost over the years.

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 foreseeable future, not likely.


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