I really am enjoying your story, this far. I still like your characterization and the characters are very interesting for the most part and you have managed to get at least me to take an interest on them (for example, I somehow feel bad for Algeirr, a villain or not). The love-stricken Orc especially was an ingenious invention, it was so completely surprising. I wonder what you have in store for the future, with new characters and all.
To comment upon a little detail, Gere wouldn't have needed a false beard unless she was very young. Tolkien wrote that dwarf-women had beards and voices similar to the men (HoME, War of the Jewels). But well, it's not in the least way preventing me enjoying your story, and I don't think even the worst purist could reproach you.
Author's Response: Thank you, Formegil. I also felt sad killing off Algeirr - he was an attractive chap, despite his roughness and roguishness. The lovesick orc is a cutie, indeed, he is one of Angmar's unforgettable characters. Perhaps it was one of the orcs who had a corner in his soul where some traces of initial elvishness of his race yet remained... As for dwarf-women beards, your info is new to us. Thank you for it. I thought it was a grey area. Anyway, Gere is very young still - so she may grow a fine beard of her own later.
Well, this was very good chapter, though it could have been longer. I like the way you depict the dark rituals and beliefs. It's not cheesy or unbelievable as in some stories. And as usual, your characterization is brilliant, I liked the episode between Caelen and Callon. I hope you'll update soon. Will Eryndil (and Algeirr with his friends) be featured soon again?
By the way, may I use the place names mentioned in this story (such as Cameth Brin and Penmorva River) in one of my stories? It would save me some work, since I intend to set only a few chapters in Rhudaur.
Author's Response: Thank you, Formegil! We promise more about Algeirr quite soon. Eryndil and Caelen will figure more prominently in the next part. The current one is about those who went journeying. Sure, you may use the place names mentioned in this story, but most of them, like Cameth Brin and Penmorva are not our inventions, but are taken from the maps made for ICE-MERP game modules. I believe you should acknowledge them. I am looking forward to your story set in Rhudaur! -Gordis
Thanks for an exhaustive response and clearing things. When I read the Chapter 2 for the first time and left the review I was too hasty. At the second reading I realized that it was not shape-changing after all, since the Nazgūl had elven-like appearance on his own. At first I had been under impression that he had changed his form to the likeness of Glorfindel, but now I see it was not so. Sorry, my mistake.
Author's Response: Yes, you are right. Silmatan was a Second Age Numenorean from the house of Hador, thus blue-eyed and golden haired. High Numenoreans were not unlike Elves in appearance: "[The Nśmenóreans] grew wise and glorious, and in all things more like to the Firstborn than any other of the kindreds of Men; and they were tall, taller than the tallest of the sons of Middle-earth; and the light of their eyes was like the bright stars. - Akallabeth". Add to this some sorcerer's glamour - and Agannalo had easily managed to dupe a simple inn-maid.
A good start for this part, so far. It was amusing to read Hurgon becoming the first abstract artist. In all, I think you use the comic potential of some characters and moments to full extent. They are a good lightening of an otherwise serious story.
While reading the first parts, I thought for some reason that only the Witch-King could change his appearance, but obviously the other Nazgūl can do it, too. It is a bit confusing, even if the plot twist of Agannalo appearing as Glorfindel is very intriguing (by the way, will the real Glorfindel be featured at some point?). I mean, in the LotR the Nazgūl are invisible if they are not wearing clothes. Did they lose the shape-changing ability by some disaster (as Sauron in the Fall of Numenor) or is it only the influence of the Nine Rings over time? Why does not anybody sense that everything is not allright with 'Glorfindel'? In the LotR the presence of the Nazgūl was felt by all because of the terror they spread. I am only curious, not criticizing. I look forward to the next chapter.
Author's Response: Thank you for your sympathetic words, Formegil. We hope to have real Glorfindel in the story at some point - those in Rivendell won't get the news of the imposter straight away, but they will - eventually. And then Glorfindel is likely to set off on a nazgul-hunt. In LOTR the nazgul are invisible at all times, but their robes are visible - because they have no Rings. Sauron took the Nine from the nazgul at some point, to better control them (see Unfinished Tales). We suppose that in 1347 the nazgul still wore their Rings, but Sauron was already actively seeking to get the Nine rings back from the Ringwraiths. As for nazgul having the ability to appear visible - it is a grey area, and we are exploring this possibility. Tolkien never really explained what a nazgul could do when in possession of their Rings. The way the Nazgul Lord duped everyone for a very long time (see LOTR App. A), appearing a mortal king is indication that he could conceal his invisibility. Also note that there are practically no reports of nazgul activities in the Second age and in the first half of the Third Age. Perhaps they simply blended with the Mankind It was not shape-shifting, of course, it was only using the Rings as a key between words. We hypothesize that a Ring of Power can make physical things invisible (canon) and invisible things visible (hypothesis). But when Sauron took their rings later in the Third Age, they became as we see them in LOTR. About the terror issue: even in LOTR it is clear that the nazgul did have an ability to "tone down" their terror. Khamul the nazgul spoke with the Gaffer and then with Maggot. The hobbits were nervous and freaked, but they stood their ground and didn't run away. Two Nazgul rode through Bree asking questions - again, there was no panic. Yet, a single nazgul could send a whole troop of men cowering even at a distance - if he so whished. We hypothesize that with Rings this ability to tone down their terror had been greater. I hope that makes the issues clearer. Again, thank you for your interest! - Gordis