Hero's Guide to the Hollin Gate
For generations, the Dwarves of Middle-earth have dreamt of returning to the great mansions of Khazad-dÃ»m, reopening the mines of Moria, and reclaiming their majestic, ancestral homesâand the mithril buried below themâbeneath the Misty Mountains.
In the Third Age, more than one expedition has dared to brave the depths of Moria, from the doomed kin of brave Balin to the desperate Fellowship of the Ring. Some have entered Moria with plans of taming the place, others in hopes merely of passing through it alive, but all have suffered dreadful losses along the way. Now, a new expedition of hopeful Dwarves has set out to brave the deep places of the mine and its mansions and conquer the evil within. Its leaders hope to enter the legendary halls via the fabled Hollin Gate hidden amidst the cliffs and holly trees where Eregion meets the mountains, and set in the Walls of Moria..
This is the West-gate of Khazad-dÃ»m, which once welcomed friendly travelers from the Elven settlements of Eregion into the great halls of Moria. This was during the happier days of the Second Age, before the rise of Sauron, before the Rings of Power brought the Elves of Eregion to ruin. The name Hollin is a reference in the language of Men to the many holly trees of the realm, and two holly trees planted long ago still flank the West-gate to this day.
By moonlight, and when the proper words are spoken, silvery letters etched and painted into the gate become visible, welcoming travelers to the Dwarf-hold and prompting them for the password that will allow them entrance. These letters were crafted by the Elves of Eregion from ithildin, a substance derived from mithril, and added to the gate in an era when travel between Eregion and Khazad-dÃ»m was common, before the coming of Sauron in the Second Age and the ruination of the Ring-forges of Eregion. When the proper password is spoken, the doors open themselves, even if no Dwarf stands there to guard them.
When your hero arrives in the wake of the Fellowshipâs passage through Moria, the Hollin Gate stands buried behind holly logs and boulders hurled there by some powerful force. With hard labor and customary ingenuity, a recently arrived expedition of Dwarves intends to excavate the Hollin Gate. For this, the diggers need your help.
When you first reach Eregion, make your way immediately to Echad DÃºnann in the east, south of the Redhorn Pass, and seek out the expedition of Dwarves scratching away at the rubble burying the Hollin Gate. On this path, you can marvel at both the towering Walls of Moria and the inky Black Pool. You could wander elsewhere, but if you are eager to enter Moria you should begin your undertakings with the Dwarves as soon as possible. Your destinies are intertwined.
The road runs east through the archway to the now-dry Stair Falls, beyond which sits the cold and eerie Black Pool, from which the Sirannon stream once flowed. Its dry course is now stalked by crebain and wargs that may harry you along your way.
At the Stair Falls, follow the expeditionâs trail off the road and around the stony rise to the northern bank of the Black Pool. There youâll find Dwarves laboring with carts, scouting the path, and idly throwing stones into the ill waters. These are your allies and quest-givers during the reopening of the Hollin Gate.
As one eager Dwarf in the Hollin expedition camps says, âThe real glory lies behind the Walls of Moria.â To find that glory, to lay eyes on Moria proper, you must find a way past the beast that guards the threshold, through the Walls of Moria, and into the kingdom of Khazad-dÃ»m itself. The way is perilous, but the Dwarves have a plan
It is here, at the Hollin Gate, where the heart of Volume 2, Book I of The Lord of the Rings Online unfolds.
The vale between the arch at Echad DÃºnann and the Hollin Gate itself is a public instance where you undertake epic quests to aid the Dwarvesâ expedition and secure entry to the mines of Moria. The area is populated by clusters of hostile creatures and by richly characterized Dwarvesâcamped out alongside their wagons on their journey toward Moriaâwhich take part in an epic mix of essential quests and optional side excursions. This mix, and the freedom to enter and leave the instance as you like, gives you a degree of control over the length of time you wish to spend in the instance before unlocking the Hollin Gate and seeing Moria itself.
Quests within the instance include sorties against Half-orcs, an investigation into fearsome black Wargs dwelling near the dead banks of the Sirannon, strikes against craban spies watching the expeditionâs every step, and encounters with new creatures like humungous cave-lizards. Along the way, youâll get to know the Dwarves of the expeditionâsome brave, some foolishâand perhaps find your first glimpse of the great beast that guards the threshold to Moria. Youâll also get to see the gameâs new dramatic camera in action.
The tale of your triumph at the Hollin Gate is not an anecdote but an epic. No ordinary weapons will do. Seek out legendary weapons up to the task of overcoming the evil that blocks the threshold into Moria and test their mettle by wielding them in battle against the wide array of foes lurking in Eregion.
Eregion is a perilous realm where dragon-kind, spying birds, and sinister Wargs stalk their prey, and where outposts of the Free Peoples strive to carve out a bit of peace in the wild.
In the time of the War of the Ring, Eregion remains a lonely and lovely wilderness. Elven remains stand forlorn amid holly-trees and ferocious beasts. Above it all tower the peaks of the Misty Mountains, most notably cruel Caradhrasâwhose stormy and treacherous pass could be circumvented in ancient days by a journey through Khazad-dÃ»mâand the spike of Celebdil.
In the valley at the feet of the mountains, however, the Hollin Gate sits within a steep and rugged landscape of sweet berries and wild honey, all of it in a shadow cast by the servants of the Enemy. It is into this shadow that you must venture to prove the worth of your weaponry and your courage, steeling yourself for the journey through the Hollin Gate and into Moria itself.
The lands surrounding the Hollin Gate fairly teem with bog-lurkers, wood-trolls, and dragon-kind. Some of these creatures have laid claim to the lands for many long years, thriving in the abandoned wilderness. Others have crept in at the urging of dark masters. Sarumanâs Half-orcs, for instance, roam the place, in league with worms in the area, breeding them in preparation for an attack on the Free Peoples.
The agents of the White Hand walk openly here, moving against the Free Peoples in Eriador, enacting whatever sinister plans Saruman draws in Isengard. Moria may become a bastion of hope and might for the Free Peoples, or it may become a source of new scourges roused by the Enemy and sworn to the service of the master of Orthanc. Everything depends on the success of those who risk their fortunes and their lives to reopen and explore Khazad-dÃ»m.
Already the Enemyâs minions stake claims to sites across the land. The banner of the White Hand snaps in the wind within striking distance of the Free Peoples. Moria is beset from within and without by foes who would see it forever in the grip of darkness.
To breach the Hollin Gate and reach Moria, a hero must brave not only the beasts of Eregion but also the bloodthirsty minions of Saruman the Many-coloured.
The bravery to begin the journey into the long dark of Moria is not enough. The minions of the Enemy must be held at bay if the Hollin Gate is to be kept open for adventurers and the Wise. This means battling not only Sarumanâs twisted Half-orcs but overcoming the unique and horrifying threats that guard Moria itself. Something, after all, must have brought down the boulders and holly trees that closed off the West-gate of Moria, and none can deny the dreadful aura of the Black Pool. Something stirs in those grim waters, and no regular weapon wielded by ordinary hands can clear the way into Khazad-dÃ»m. This is a task only for heroes true and bold.
Thus, when you are finally readyâor hope you might beâyou must return to the Hollin Gate and win one final battle for the right to enter the Mines of Moria.
The perils of the final conflict for the Hollin Gate still wait for you, as do the legendary artifacts youâll need to overcome them. But you can be sure that it will take a strong arm and a resolute heart to win that battle and throw open the doors to the mines of Moria. The fate of this ancient Dwarf-realm is up to you.
The prize in store for those heroes who make it through the Hollin Gate is a breathtaking Dwarf-hall, itself the threshold to a larger saga: the retaking of the Mines of Moria.
Inside youâll find the familiar faces of Dwarves from the expedition, tending to their tents and stables. They, like you, walk the passages of Moria thanks to your victory. Its grandeur tempered by mystery and fear, its pride counterbalanced with defeat, Moriaâs vast size still stands secondary to the epic scope of its continuing tale. The story of the Mines of Moria is not yet finished, and in its lofty heights and crystal-lit halls, in its shadowy pits and crackling furnaces, anything may yet be possibleâwith your help.