I like that Eregion permits us to so closely follow the path of the Fellowship. Starting with that left turn at the Ford of Bruinen and heading south toward Hollin (although in the Fellowship of the Ring, it took the group about two weeks to reach Hollin!), climbing up the ridge to see the trees with their dark green leaves and berries glowing red in the sun, catching the first glimpse of the mountain peaks, just as the Fellowship did.
In fact, the deed "The Ring Goes South" (named after that chapter of the Fellowship of the Ring, of course) takes us to five important points that follow the journey of the Fellowship through Eregion.
The High Hollin Campsite
Our Deed Tracker tells us: "This campsite marks a place where the Company of the Ring stayed during their journey through Hollin. A careless Hobbit left his mark as well."
|The High Hollin Campsite|
In LOTRO, a quest out of Gwingris will send you to this campsite where you can learn exactly what was left behind, and also open the location deed (+1 Honesty, 5 Tubine Points, and Rivendell rep!)
|The Tal Caradhras Campsite|
Our Deed Tracker tells us: "The Company of the Ring rested here before continuing on to the Redhorn Gate. Sam Gamgee clearly took the opportunity to provide a fine meal for the Company...."
In the book, the Company left the prior site in Hollin and, guided by Aragorn, came across what appeared to be the remains of an old road that lead toward the Redhorn Gate. They travelled in this direction for a couple days, at one point feeling a shadow pass over them in the cold darkness just before dawn. They stop for one last rest and make another camp before tackling the long cold climb up to the Pass. It is here that Gandalf and Aragorn go aside to quietly debate the wisdom of taking this path vs. Moria, and also here that Boromir proposes they gather firewood for each to carry in case it is needed up on the mountain.
|The Redhorn Gate|
The Caradhras Campfire
Our Deed Tracker tells us: "It was here that the Company of the Ring set camp in the Redhorn Gate. Gandalf was forced to show forth his power to light the fire, revealing himself to all who had the ability to recognize it, putting the Company in jeopardy."
Everyone knows the journey up the path of Caradhras the Cruel, with the increasing snow, the fell voices on the wind, the falling rocks. The Company rested against the side of a cliff, with some of the Hobbits falling asleep and coming close to freezing to death. It was here that Gandalf gave everyone a sip of miruvor, a drink from Imladris, which brought a renewed sense of strength and vigour. It was also the place where they decided to risk discovery in order to light a life-saving campfire.
|The Caradhras Campsite|
"At last reluctantly Gandalf himself took a hand. Picking up a faggot he held it aloft for a moment, and then with a word of command, naur an endraith ammen! He thrust the end of his staff into the midst of it. At once a great spout of green and blue flame sprang out, and the wood flared and sputtered.
" 'If there are any to see, then I at least am revealed to them,' he said. 'I have written Gandalf is here in signs that all can read from Rivendell to the mouths of Anduin.' "
But the snow and wind didn't stop, while the wood burned away. Eventually the Company retreated. Caradhras would not yield.
This site can of course be visited as well, and is a much more challenging place to see given that it is surrounded by ice grims and blinding snow. Nothing seems to have been left behind here, however, other than the remains of the campfire.
After this, the Company continued south and elected to let the Ring Bearer choose whether they would proceed through Moria, or south to Rohan. In the midst of their discussion in their new location, Frodo noted, "How the wind howls!"
|The Burnt Tor|
The Burnt Tor
Our Deed Tracker tells us: "Here it was that the Company of the Ring fended off a pack of shadow-wargs sent by Sauron to hunt down the Ring. The wargs were at least driven off when Gandalf the Grey caused a powerful fire to blaze forth, a fire which ruined the wooded hilltop."
The wind was howling with the voices of wargs, of course. This was the deciding factor to turn them all in favor of Moria - shut themselves off from pursuit from these or other wargs or beasts that may be sent after them.
But first they had to escape from this imminent problem. "For their defence in the night the Company climbed to the top of the small hill under which they had been sheltering. It was crowned with a knot of old and twisted trees, about which lay a broken circle of boulder-stones. In the midst of this they lit a fire, for there was no hope that darkness and silence would keep their trail from discovery by the hunting packs."
After a second siege surrounded by wargs, Gandalf again takes matters into his hands, speaking some familiar words: " 'Naur an endraith ammen! Naur dan i ngaurhoth!' he cried. There was a roar and a crackle, and the tree above him burst into a leaf and bloom of blinding flame. The first leapt from tree-top to tree-top. The whole hill was crowned with dazzling light."
I particularly like how embers are still glowing in the tree trunks, showing us that the Fellowship was here very, very recently. The attack by the wargs occurs on January 13 in the book. I am not aware specifically what the date is meant to be in the game at the point we are journeying through Eregion - January 14? 15? - and if anyone does know I would enjoy hearing.
|The Sirannon Gate to the right.|
Our Deed Tracker tells us: "This gateway leads up the Sirannon to the Hollin Gate."
On this same day, the Fellowship hastens to find the entrance to Moria, going astray for a few hours that morning because they cannot find the Sirannon, the Gate-stream, that would lead them to the entrance. Finally Gimli spots it, but it is not as they expect - instead of a flowing stream, it is a rocky, dry riverbed.
In LOTRO the transition to the Walls of Moria area is marked by an actual gate between Echad Dunann and the Sirannon, which is also the point to pick up the quests to start Volume II. Legendary Items here we come!
The discovery deed for The Ring Goes South is now complete. However, there are still a few important points of interest that also lay on the Fellowship's trail.
The Stair Falls
|The Stairs and the dry Stair Falls.|
The Black Pool
|The Black Pool - NOT what the Company expected.|
Far across the Black Pool we see the shadow that is the flung-open doors to Moria. We'll be visiting them very soon.
I have always enjoyed that sense of being one step behind the Fellowship as I traveled across Eregion. Sure, we actually got to see them and interact with them in Rivendell, but this is different. It's being so close to the real action of the Fellowship. No matter how many times I do these quests and visit these sites, that feeling never goes away.
Sources: The Fellowship of the Ring; Lord of the Rings Appendix B