I am Whistlar of Meneldor, and this is story I wrote to commemorate my first foray into the Rift of Nurz Ghazhu, long ago with a kinship since dwindled and gone.
"Fools! Aid your master... destroy them!" The mighty bellow of Zurm brought a third wave of his minions into the fray, to little effect though, as my kinsmen and I unleashed the might of the Free Peoples upon them and the mighty troll alike. We hacked through his trolls, his orcs and his hillmen, and soon stood tall as the giant monster fell.
We had venture deep into the Rift of Nurz Ghazhu, on a more than imposing task of defeating an orc Everseer who was rumored to have discovered a long imprisoned evil, a balrog. One can only hope the rumors to be false. But off we go at the behest of the Rangers of Gath Forthnir, to seek out the Ever-seer and put his plans to an end. A job suitable for my kinsmen and I, for we, the great Maelstrom of Meneldor, are easily some of the best trained Free People to grace the realm of Middle Earth. A task said to need at least a score of men, we dared go with a dozen, one being a new recruit into our ranks, but one that proved to wield luck as well as I wielded by bow. Anthurian was her name and soon she carve a nitch for herself in our kinship.
"Your minions weren't enough to save you this time Zurm" I thought to myself as we rushed back to our new giant ally, Asmolf. We had slain Zurm's brother-in-arms, Barz, just moments before. Twice had Barz put me on the brink of death, only to have me rallied back to the fight by our skilled minstrels Danu and Mullian. The upper levels, what was called Bornabar, was cleansed.
Asmolf seemed slightly amused that us "Little ones" had defeated Barz and Zurm and let us rally with some of his compatriots further into the caverns, in the levels known as Noruidor. The meeting was cut short as a band of Ghashfra rushed from the shadows to attack. We left the giants to deal with these monsters and we delved deeper into Rift, slaying our way through more Ghashfra and fire-worms, only to meet with Fruz, another massive troll, blocking our progress. He provided little resistance to us, as we had proven twice before that a lumbering troll and his orcish minions were no match for our kinship.
Further we pressed, through more orcs, worms and drakes now, and paused as we spotted two Elder Drakes. We set upon the first with such a ferocity that it couldn't take to air, and it soon fell dead. The second had gotten off the ground and all of us with bows began perforating it with arrows. I had been too focused on the drakes to notice that an orcish fiend had joined the fight, our swordsmen had kept him occupied though, letting us bowmen finish the flying drake without being harassed. With Zogtark and his drakes defeated, we pressed onward.
The ground itself rose to fight us as we approached Norbar. Fumaroles punch up at us and spit the earth's fire at us as we made our way along a raised pathway with searing lava a short fall below us, but we shook off the fire like a warg shaking off a pesky tarkrip. We found ourselves at the gate of Norbar and facing another orcish lord, Narnulubat, his Chashfra Seers and a fleeing Everseer. My kinsmen joined them in melee, while my fellow hunters and I stood guard for Darklings. The pesty slithering slime-piles looked easy enough, but give them the chance and they'd become a Shadow-Eater, a much bigger menace, so it was wise to kill them as soon as we saw them. Narnulubat joined his fellow orc- and troll-lords in whatever afterlife their kind would meet, and we tore open the doors to Norbar after the foul Ever-seer, our task was nearing completion.
A Shadow-Eater and a Stone-Biter stood against us as we entered the underground fortress, and soon fell beneath our feet, they were paltry foes compared the ones we fell before them, barely worth our time.
We stepped into the next chamber, stairs led down to a broken floor with lava separating the stable ground. It was here that the Everseer tried to play our new giant allies against us, spitting lies about how we brought the orcs upon them. The giant Eimyr attacked us but was held at bay, as the rest of us slew the pack of orcs that poured down the steps. The Ever-seer had once again fled, leaving us to deal with his next lackey, another orc-lord by the name of Thrang. Wave after wave of Thrang's lowly minions trampled down the steps before he dared show himself, only to be cut down by our swords and arrows, and dropped into the streams of lava. Eimyr realized his folly and left the fight knowing we meant him no harm, leaving us a moment's rest before Thrang himself stepped out to fight us. A crafty orc, I will say this, he was nigh impervious to our attacks, that is until he was lured close enough to an erupting fumarole. He was seared by the scalding lava and we capitalized upon his moment of weakness, tearing into him and leaving him broken and burnt on the floor. Killing the Ever-seer would be a joyous task after all the annoyances he has thrown in our way.
The giants arrived and we were given a moment of rest before we pressed on, a few of us trading with the giants with scraps rift-iron and shards of obsidian for coins made of rift-iron, something of value to the Rangers back in their camp. Then it was through the next set of doors and deeper into the stronghold in search of the Ever-seer.
We were surprised when an elf stepped out to greet us, her name was Glathlirel and confirmed the rumors of the balrog. Ages ago she had defeated the beast known as Thaurlach and had guarded him ever since, waiting for him to attempt escape so that she might slay him. I paid little mind to her words, as I was more anxious for battle than a story. She said she would help us destroy the great balrog and I offered to arguement, one less monster for Sauron to manipulate sounded good to me.
Thaurlach was enormous, I thought to myself, as we entered the massive chamber that housed him. Two canals of putrid water flowed in to a pool that he stood in, I could only dream of what the water truely consisted of. Glathlirel guided us to the source of the waters and purified them as we kept anything from disturbing her. She would soon set Thaurlach loose so that we could destroy him for good, but it seemed he had other plans, and broke free from his restraints. He was getting power from the waters that still flowed from the far corners of the chamber. We split two groups off to either side and rushed to throw the levers to stop the water from flowing.
As soon as we threw the levers, the far wall opened and the Ever-seer taunted us for the final time. We rushed to his chamber and unleashed a beating that could only be beaten by the fury of a scorn dwarfmaiden. I was smug in our moment of triumph as I looked at the Ever-seer's bloody form, then was snapped back to my senses when the balrog roared.
We staged ourselves to his flanks and back, with only Maethoren in front of him, offering himself as the target of the balrog's fury in our stead. The battle waged for what seemed like ages, Thaurlach weakened slowly but swung his gigantic sword and spit his bile to his dieing breath. One of our champions, Crimli snuck in the killing stroke on the fell beast and we all gave a triumphant shout as it slumped over dead.
I claimed his sword as my trophy, and was told by one of our master hunters, Aquathir, that I better regail the tale of victory to my kinsmen, I guess I make a decent bard as well as a good hunter. We devided the spoils of war amongst us and I came trudging out of the Rift, dragging the sword of a dead balrog, and my pack full of items that was would easily pay the repair costs on my battle gear. I also managed to walk away with several large gems, that from what I had been told could net me a good set of armour... I'll have to ask the Rangers about them I guess.
I've heard tale of other balrogs hidden away beneath the earth... perhaps my kinsmen and I will send a few of them to their creators as well... only time will tell I suppose.