02 · Introduction
Within this book is held the tale of the history of the land known as the Mûmakan and an organization of Evil known as the Court of Ardor. Also told is the story of the preparations of the Court for a cataclysm which, if it were to occur, would have dire repercussions not only for the lands of the Mûmakan, but all of Middle-earth.
Long ago in the dim past of Endor Elven lords came to this southerly area, to a land swathed in warm mists and overgrown with wild yet beautiful trees and vines, and inhabited by all manner of creatures. It was vastly different from the forests and plains to the North, yet the Elves loved it and named it Ardor (S: ‘Exalted Land’). Many centuries passed, and the Immortal Children of Eru lived in peace, until the Shadow fell upon the land and many of the strong were seduced by the clever words of servants of the Black Enemy: Morgoth. Power and wisdom were promised, if they would but perform this one task. Naive were these Elves in the Elder days, and they made oaths lightly, little knowing how heavily this would weigh upon them in the millennia to come. Eagerly they took council and formed a Court of sorts; a hierarchy of lords and ladies to effect this mission for their master. And a Darkness of spirit fell upon the land: a harbinger of the true dark which was to follow should their scheme come to fruition.
Ages passed, and men, the younger Children, came and settled in Ardor, giving it a name in their own tongues — Mûmakan, after the huge beasts which roam the region. But Ardor still it was to the Court, and Ardor it would be again, when the eternal night fell upon all of Middle-earth.
Ardor history and purpose
The Court was formed in the waning years of the First Great Age of Arda, when Morgoth, the Black Enemy, still ruled much of the world, possessing the Silmarils in his Iron Crown. As is well known, after the death of the Two Trees of Valinor (which had lighted 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 must too be destroyed so that his dominion would be assured. Sauron being his chief general, he could not be spared for even this most important of tasks. Instead, the Black Enemy called upon Ardana the Astrologer. A Noldo of power, she was among 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 with the fall of the Lights.
The Astrologer traveled Middle-earth, seeking a method by which she could bring down the sun and moon, gathering followers in her wake.
Let it be said here that, for the most part, Elves cannot be corrupted to ‘evil’ as such. They can be seduced by clever words, and convinced of things which are not so. In this way, Ardana, a powerful Lady of the Eldar, appearing in shimmering raiment, 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 block out the light of Elbereth’s stars, cherished by all Elves. Ardana herself was lured into this belief, for indeed the sun, and even the moon to some extent, blotted out the stars which were so important to the ways of Astrology. Fanatical in her belief she became, and her fervent self-assurance was contagious: thus were many of the strong of the Eldar turned. However, there were a few even among those of the Elves whose hearts were black and whose nature was genuinely evil. Karol Dekdarion (Cambragol), and the woman Fëatur were two of the greater Eldar who were truly cruel. They tortured for pleasure, and killed on a whim. The others for the most part, killed when necessary although without mercy, for their cause. They would not be turned and, as is true especially of the Noldor, their ways were clever to achieve their ends.
Thus it was, after many years, (which are but fleeting moments to the Elves), and after many spirits of power had joined the order which was to become Ardor, Ardana came to the cluster of islands in a bay far to the south and east of Thangorodrim. Here she encountered a mind equal to her own. He was Morthaur (“Black Prison”), a Noldo of great might, both in mind and body, but his soul was dark. Their purposes were parallel, and so an alliance was formed. With the skills Morthaur had learned, the way to bring down the Lights was decided: for on that dark day when Ungoliant and Morgoth destroyed the Two Trees, and 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 they consumed light; they were of unlight.
The eighth largest of these (each about the size of a clenched fist) Morgoth gave for this cause, and Morthaur conceived a plan: a design which would focus the light-consuming powers of the eight gems in one great burst to drain both sun and moon of light. But the sacrifice of one of the “blood” of the Valar would be necessary to trigger the gems. Ardana would bear a daughter “fathered” by the Lord Morgoth.
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.
Much time passed, though the servants of darkness were not idle. The Court of Ardor coalesced, ruled by the Ardor 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, Mourfuin 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 Fëatur her master, and no one of the Court but she and (the male) Fëatur knew that the boy was indeed alive, and the hope against Darkness. The daughter remained healthy and was raised as a priestess of the Black Arts. 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.
The events which occur before the Years of the Sun were spread across a vast span of time and were not recorded formally. There was a early period even pre-dating the Years of the Trees about which virtually nothing is known for certain. All events before the Years of the Sun are listed in rough chronological order.
Creation of the World by Eru and The Valar Years of the Two Trees
Laurelin and Telperion, the Two Trees, are made and give light to the Undying Lands.
(much later) Elves awaken in Middle-earth.
War between Morgoth and the Valar: the Black Enemy is imprisoned.
Dwarves meet Elves; many Elves journey to Valinor, other stop along the way and settle.
Morgoth is released. He begins to seduce the Noldor in Valinor to evil.
Death of the Two Trees and theft of the Silmarils by Morgoth and Ungoliant.
Repentance and pardon of (the male) Fëatur of Angkirya. Years of the Sun
Rising of the Moon, and soon after, the Sun. The servants of Morgoth, used to darkness, are dismayed and confused. Men, the mortals, awaken in Middle-earth.
Formation of the Guild of Elements by five Elven Lords in the south: Chrys Menelrana, Carnil Ravire, Talan, Ralian, and Elerior.
Morgoth charges Ardana with the destruction of the Sun and Moon.
Fëatur meets the Three of Ty-Ar-Rana. The Tyar religion spreads among the men of the South.
Ardana meets Morthaur; they forge an alliance.
- 150 – 400
Construction of the Citadel of Ardor and the eight holds.
- c. 300
Formation of the Luingon alliance: the Guild of Elements, the Three of Ty-Ar-Rana, and the Starseer Conclave.
- c. 500
Founding of the Darin Tesarath by Fëatur.
Birth of the twins Morelen and Moran (who is ‘dead’) to Ar- dana, “Fathered” by Morgoth. Moran is secretly placed in a magical sleep at Ty-Ar-Rana by (the male) Fëatur.
Betrayal of the Court by the male Fëatur: the Ritual of the Fall of the Lights is aborted by the temporary disappearance of the sacrifice, Morelen, at the crucial time. Also, the Luingon Alliance attacks the Citadel: three of the eight gems of Unlight also required for the Ritual, are stolen. “Death” of Lyaan and Lysa of the Three and Four of the inner Five of the Guild.
War of Wrath: final overthrow of Morgoth. Ruin of Ang- band, fall of Beleriand, and changing of much of Middle- earth. The Guild of Elements Dissolves. The Court of Ardor is disorganized: their artifacts, linked to Morgoth, are useless, including Ardana’s cards. She and Morthaur flee into the East. Lyrin of the Three wanders in shadow. The Holds of Ardor are abandoned. End of the First Age.
Founding of Numenor.
- c. 100
Founding of Koronande as a united realm; and Hathor soon afterwards.
- c. 300
Last of the founders of the Guild of Elements, Chrys, Menelrana, constructs outposts to watch the holds of Ardor now abandoned, to assure that the Court does not arise again. Order of the Watcher established.
- c. 500
Sauron begins to stir again. Chrys departs to the Undying Lands.
Laurre vanishes, trapped in sleep at Ty-Ar-Rana.
- c. 1000
Sauron moves into Mordor and makes it his own. The vigilance of The Watchers fails. Ardana and Morthaur return to the Citadel, and lay plans to recover the three gems of Unlight and complete the charge, seizing Middle-earth for themselves.
Founding of Tantûrak. Ardor begins to coalesce again with the return of the Lords, and thus potential for swift domination of a confused people when Darkness falls again. Ardana forges the cards anew. All of the places of the Watchers are long abandoned, but so cunningly are they made that they remain undetected by the Court.
The Ardan Council meets again.
Sauron completes the One Ring in Orodruin. The Three are hidden.
War of the Elves and Sauron begins.
Eregion laid waste. Death of Celebrimbor. Moria is shut.
Sauron defeated and driven back by forces from Numenor.
The male Fëatur, in Ty-Ar-Rana to check on Moran, discovers Laurre and releases him. They make an alliance.
- c. 2000
The shadow falls over Numenor. Arrival of “The Magician” to Tantûrak who swiftly gains favor with the Governor. Peace, for the most part, reigns in the Mûmakan, except that the Mûmakani themselves begin to grow restless; and tales that their god Amaav, who had been absent for many years, has returned and will give them purpose again. Within a few generations of the arrival of “The Magician”, relations between Tantûrak and Koronande become strained.
The Nazgûl, or Ringwraiths, first appear.
Tantûrak declares independence from Numenor, and severs all relations with Taaliraan, and reduces association with Koronande.
Sauron taken prisoner by Ar-Pharazôn.
Ardor Destroys the Isle of Dirsulinor (remains become Ar- dinaak). Its Elven inhabitants flee either to the Undying Lands, or to neighboring Taaliraan, as the ecology of their homeland disintegrates.
Downfall of the corrupt Numenor by the hand of Eru.
Sauron returns to Mordor. He perceives the power of the Court and bends his will upon them. Drained from their last great feat of destruction, they are forced to accede to his dominance.
Last Alliance of Men and Elves is formed against Sauron.
Sauron overthrown by Elendil and Gil-Galad, who perish. Isildur takes the One Ring. End of the Second Age.
One of the three gems of Unlight taken by the Luingon Alliance is recovered by Ardor from its place of hiding.
Eldarion of the Guild of Elements is caught in Naurlindol by Rilia. He is slain, and the Staff lost.
The Nazgûl reappear. Sauron enters Dol Guldur and sends one of his Ringwraiths to the Citadel of Ardor, suggesting a new alliance. The Council, knowing Sauron to be crippled without his Ring, yet still fearing somewhat his awesome powers, stalls him.
Tantûrak, now completely under the influence of the immortal “Magician”, declares war on Koronande.
After a series of inconclusive battles, Koronande and Tantûrak reach a tentative peace, intermittently broken by border squabbles.
Cambragol, Valkrist and Persuvious seize the second lost gem of Unlight. Only one remains hidden, at the castle of Kirnak.
- c. 1650
Repeated minor battles begin to break out between the previously peaceful peoples of Mûmakan, Tuktan, and Dûshera. The population of Mûmakan has increased markedly in the last few centuries, and the peoples of Tuktan and Hathor fear that war is impending, that Amaav’s ‘purpose’ is to take control of all the Mûmakan. Also, Orcs and Wargs, usually a very rare sight, are seen with increasing frequency in the hills at night, and begin raiding outlying Dûshera villages.
The Guild decides to awaken Moran.
(February 8) The King of Hathor is assassinated (by the Winds of Taurang)
(June) The Company converges on the Blue Falcon Inn in Korlan. Klaen charges them with their task, and starts them on their quest.
(August 8) Eclipse over the Citadel of Ardor: Time of the Ritual.
= The present.
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