Chapter 20: The End of the Orc Pride

Haldor activates the portal and finds himself back to the Far East. Traveling with great haste, he attains the Gates of Morning in a short time. Aeryn is waiting for him.

"I heard about what happened in Mount Doom. Good men lost their lives, so I hope it was worth it."

"Yes, my lady." replies Haldor. "They managed to contain the orcs so I could reach the heart of the volcano. I found two blue wizards there, and interrupted their dark ritual. However they escaped before I could stop them."

"Blue wizards? I have never heard of them... So it seems that the Orc Pride has two new masters, and they are probably hiding inside the High Peak now. You should continue your investigation in the last bastion of the Orc Pride. Maybe Grushnak is keeping useful information."

And so Haldor heads to the eastern slope of the High Peak. The Grushnak Pride bastion is really different from the other bastions. Vegetation is growing loosely in the underground tunnels. The first thing Haldor sees after entering is a huge vault filled with lava... and fire wyrms. Not very different from Mount Doom... The wyrms were guarding a deep black amulet, the Echo of Melkor.

Another lava vault awaits on the second floor of the Grushnak Pride bastion... and another one on the third floor... and another one on the fourth floor. Haldor finds such a vault on every floor...

On the next floor stands Grushnak, Battlemaster of the Pride. An old orc covered with scars, armed with two massive clubs... and moving very quickly for such a heavy armored fighter. Haldor has to dodge his devastating rushing attacks, while hitting him with bolt spells. However, having no real ranged attack, the berserking orc falls quickly...

Grushnak was holding a fourth Orb of Command, the Orb of Destruction, as well as a deep black ring, the Glory of the Pride.

Now all Pride bastions lie in ruin and their masters are destroyed. Grushnak didn't have any useful information... Haldor hopes that High Sun Paladin Aeryn has learned more in the meantime. He leaves the last Pride bastion and returns to the Gates of Morning.