Gates

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Walorin's Notes

On the Gates and the Scrying Stones, by Walorin, Mage of Efferendil

I now understand that the first Portal was created by the Ancient Drow – who I believe were the sporn of Dispater and Hel; it enabled them to travel via the ‘Natural Gate of Water’, at their oldest home in Nagrad, to Everinstar (then Eriador) swiftly, emerging in Crag Un. This I have discovered by close scrutiny of Lastar’s records, held in Sutur, and interrogation of the older, wiser Drow that we have captured. I have called the Gates that pre-date interference by Prime beings, ‘Natural’. It is my understanding that each Elemental Plane has a link – a Natural Gate – to the Prime, through which it is possible to travel directly. I also believe that there are such Natural Gates to both the Ethereal and Astral Planes – almost certainly more than one in the latter case. After they have been interfered with, I have called these ‘entry and exit points’ Portals.

I also believe there to be two more Natural Gates, which have been overlooked of late. They relate to the influence of positive and negative energies, which surround us all. Lastar understood this well and had an impressive knowledge of the link of these energies with time – like the ebb and flow of a tide: determining the height of the sea, regardless of the frequency or length and depth of the waves. Whilst these gates could not be a path that Prime dwellers might tread, regardless of protection, they could let onto the Prime powers that even the Great Mage didn’t dare imagine.

On close inspection of what history I have found, Lastar must have become aware of the Natural Gates just after his first encounter with Orcus in the year 525, according to our records. Orcus came through the Astral Gate, then in Rodrus. Lastar seems to have quickly established that there was also a Natural Gate to the Ethereal in the Iron Mountains. Hence he encouraged the swift building of the Minas – recognising that any Plane dweller could arrive on the Prime unannounced.

At a similar time, the Mage had also become aware of the Drow, through council with Gelmir, and realised them to be a threat. For their part the Drow recognised that Lastar could use the Portal at Crag Un to attack their dwindling power base at Nagrad. The Drow changed the Portal to point toward the Natural Plane of Fire in Ishtur, causing the portals to switch, making it impossible to use. To do this, the Drow tricked the Gnomes into believing they were closing the Gate to ensure that Elemental creatures – such as the Efreet – would not wander onto the Prime. Unfortunately for all, the opening of the Portal to the Plane of Fire allowed a young red dragon - Rantor - to materialise on the Prime.

In our year 562, Gundleus found the Portal at Tiris. Lastar guessed correctly what it had been and was worried that others may manipulate the Natural Gates in the same way. Having listened to the Dwarves, he realised that more of the Natural Gates were within their halls. Concerned what might come through, Lastar set about putting a control mechanism in place – the pentagrams - and ensuring they were under constant surveillance – the Palantirs (more of which later). The Dwarves were commissioned to build the Minas in their defence – both from within and without. He also needed to ensure that the gates could not just be shifted from Plane to Plane as the Drow had done, so he had Orodruin’s gnomes build the controlling mechanism, with a Palantir, in Sutur (more below).

Lastar realised that the Gates might be of great benefit in advancing his knowledge and that of his friends in their direst time of need. He encouraged the Dwarves to explore beyond the Prime, and gave them the Rings to protect them from the elements. In this way, they would be determined to protect the Gates, guarding them jealously. The position of the gates at the beginning of the first age appears to be:

Air – Zem’s highest peak

Earth – Aarda

Fire – Morgul (2nd moved to Tiris by the Drow, for protection)

Water – Nagrad (1st moved to Tiris by the Drow to be able to invade Everinstar)

Ethereal – Olga

Astral - Maedus

Negative – Zundar

Positive – Malek


After Lastar had set up his pentagrams little had changed except the swap between fire and water the Drow had brought about. As the Mage was optimistic that he should be able to return the Portals to their original configuration he gave the protective rings to the dwarves concerned with the Natural Elemental Gates:

Air - Emras; Zem (living in Minas Emras) receives the blue Ring of Air.

Earth - Aarda; Hamar (living in Minas Aarda) receives the green Ring of Earth.

Fire – Now Tiris; Dor (living in Minas Tiris) receives the indigo Ring of Water.

Water – Now Morgul; Ishtur (living in Minas Morgul) receives the red Ring of Fire.


Unfortunately, Lastar realised that simply closing the Portals might cause a random alteration to all entry and exit points, rather than return them to their Natural Gate. Thus neither Dor nor Ishtur were able to travel to the elemental planes and forge alliances in the same way as Zem and Hamar were. I believe the distrust, antipathy and downright hostility towards the Prime exists on those Planes to this day. Anyway, it is also clear to me that whilst Lastar understood the positive and negative influences, he was never quite sure what could be done about them – hence no Minas was built at Zundar and the Positive Gate at Malek was not discovered [before Blaven.]

Turning to Lastar’s control mechanisms, which I have studied in great detail, I am convinced that few, other than the Great Mage and perhaps Orodruin himself truly understood their working. On inspection of any of the mechanisms (which vary subtly) the first thing that one notices is the all-encompassing stone wheel, which I believe symbolises time. Normally on the wheel are 5 symbols, each joined by fine lines to form a pentagram. These symbols represent each of the Dwarven Minas that protects one of the four Elemental Portals, the fifth being the Ethereal (sometimes Astral). In the Centre of the mechanism are often (not necessarily all) other symbols: anvil, star/sun, eye and tree – representing negative, positive, Prime and Astra – as well as a stone-carved book in relief.


Controlled centrally at Sutur, the wheel moves clockwise one point, in accordance with Celestar’s pronunciation of the turn of each Age. (This I have seen with my own eyes.) Thus, the dwarven symbols for each Element/Minas moves and the one that ultimately points toward the Portal indicates the inner plane to which it is subsequently aligned. Again, when each Minas was created - largely to protect the Portals - they were each aligned to an Elemental Plane and to the Ethereal (Olga symbol). The central symbols would flip along a vertical or horizontal aspect when the wheel turned, representing the degree to which the Prime (and, potentially, the Astral) was subject to positive or negative influence and which Astral Gate was in ascendancy – north, south, east, or west. (This last piece of the puzzle has taken me the most time to understand.)

As you will note, below, I have also discovered that Lastar and Orodruin may have designed the controlling mechanism to be able to enable travel directly to an Outer Plane; however, possibly more incredibly, it may even allow travel through time. Whilst this seems implausible, I think that the use of the Book may not only force the Astral Portal to face a particular Outer Plane, but also a particular point in time. It is not unreasonable to assume that the great events recorded in the codicils – particularly the Sylvan Elves’ recordings of Prime History - provide a sufficiently strong attraction to define the Portal’s exit point. Of course this has not, to my knowledge, been tested.


I have made a list of instructions, below, on how I believe Lastar’s Portals are operated:

To move between the Minas one must place: a Palantir between the Pentagram and the Portal (normally on a stone pedestal), a single lit brazier on the Ethereal (Olga) symbol, and another on the desired Minas destination. The Ethereal channel opens and one can merely step through – the portal having ‘folded’ the ethereal ‘grey’ making travel almost instantaneous.

To align the Portal to another Plane one must: place a Palantir between the Pentagram and the Portal (normally on a stone pedestal), light four braziers, placing them over the elemental symbols to cover them. One needs the required Tome of the Plane (part of the Codicil) which must be placed on the symbol of the Book in the centre of the Pentagram. The Portal will shift, temporarily, channelling the astral connections directly from the Prime to the desired Plane, enabling direct access. The Portal will return to its previously assigned Plane a few minutes after the last person has stepped through.

The same methodology might be used to travel through time, provided the historical event is significant enough to force the astral link in the portal to bend toward the past. I believe that some Outer Planes do not conform to the measures of time that exist on the Prime, but this has not been proved.

Whilst I do not believe this has been done, I think that destruction of a Portal is possible. I believe that if one were to utterly destroy a Tome of a Plane (Codicil) in the presence of the Portal, which had been opened to that Plane, will destroy Lastar’s contraption and the link from the Plane to the Prime will return to its natural origin.

Below, is my understanding of how Lastar and Orodruin’s contraption controlled the Portals. You will note that no Portal exists at Malek – the positive Natural Gate was discovered after Lastar’s disappearance. Also, the first Portal –Zundar – was not configured in the same way as to be part of the sequencing. Indeed, I believe that Orodruin – in his later attempts - was unable to control such unpredictable power (he may have attempted to do something at Blaven’s Pool but I have no evidence of his success or otherwise). Furthermore, only one protecting Minas was placed over an Astral Gate – at Maedus - and that too was not subject to the normal rotation. He did note the existence of an Astral Gate in the West and, against the advice of the Sylvan elves living here, attempted to hide it at Yarlug.

The Pentagram in Efferendil was hastily constructed and by the elves, not the gnomes. Similarly, the Portal at Yarlug does not seem to conform to orodruin’s design – no wheel exists and the dwarven runes appear indistinct as though carved by those not familiar with the runic language. So what? Well I believe that the energy of the Astral was not entirely contained within Yarlug and the Tree has always displayed imagery the ‘spilled’ over or ‘escaped’ onto the Prime. This constant movement and ‘echoes’ confused my study for a long time. It was not until the Portal at Yarlug mysterious closed that I understood the true power of the Natural Gate to the Astral Plane. It was then, at a meeting of the Sylvan Elders, that we agreed all possible measured were required to safeguard the Tree and control this very important entry point to the Prime. No longer were to rely on the intricate devices of the dwarves and the trickery of the Gnomes, we needed powerful and substantial .magic wards, glyphs and illusions. A combination of Elven and Hafling dweomer was brought to bear on this very special glade.


I have explained my reasoning for the existence of more than one Natural Gate to the Astral Plane; however, I believe that not all four are active simultaneously; instead they might flip – east and west against north and south for example. I have yet to prove this theory, but what is certain is that Lastar had not examined closely enough the Astral Gates. This is strange, as they are possibly the most dangerous to the Prime. Based on history – both of Amorsland and Everinstar – I have guessed at the locations of the northern and southern gates. My next action is to identify, beyond all doubt, how many Natural Gates exist and their location.

Turning finally to the Palantirs, it is my belief that, having first encountered a scrying stone near the Natural Gate in Zundar, and being the only one to recognise its worth, Lastar created further stones from the essence of the natural gates. These he called Palantirs. Knowledge of the make up or essence of the Natural Gates helped Orodruin significantly with his design of the controlling Portal at Sutur; indeed, without a Palantir, the Pentagram Portals will not operate, see above.

I believe as each Natural Gate was discovered, Orodruin and Lastar first created a Palantir to help control – perhaps even transport – the essence of the Gate, taking it to its new destination if required. When they were made, I believe each Palantir was Neutral in alignment and the power of the Gate gave them intelligence. However, like all of the artefacts, the shattering of the most powerful – the Gem – caused a separation and a bending of will and ‘mind’ such that each, save that at Sutur, was overly influenced by the Plane to which they are associated. They may even have the personality of the most powerful being/entity on that Plane at the moment of destruction of the Gem (this is very much supposition on my part).

What the Party knows

The first Gate was created by the Drow to enable them to travel via the Natural Gate of Water to Everinstar (then Eriador) swiftly, emerging in Crag Un.

Lastar became aware of the Natural gates just after his first encounter with Orcus in 525. He realised that there might be an elemental link with the gems and rings of power. He encouraged the building of the Minas – recognising that any Plane dweller could arrive at the Prime unannounced. Lastar had also become aware of the Drow, through council with Gelmir, and realised them to be a threat. For their part the Drow recognised that Lastar could use the gate at Crag Un to attack their dwindling power base at Nagrad. The Drow changed the Gate to point toward the Plane of Fire, making it impossible to use. In 562, Gundleus found the Gate at Tiris. Lastar guessed correctly what it had been and was worried that others may manipulate the natural gates in the same way.

Having listened to the Dwarves he realised that the natural gates were within their halls – apart from Water which he guessed the Drow would wish to reopen at some point in the future. Concerned what might come through, Lastar set about putting a control mechanism in place – the pentagrams - and ensuring they were under constant surveillance – the palantirs. The Dwarves were commissioned to build the Minas in their defence – both from within and without. He also needed to ensure that the gates could not just be shifted from Plane to Plane as the Drow had done, so he built the controlling pentagram in Sutur.

Lastar realised that the Gates might be of great benefit in advancing his knowledge and that of his friends in their direst time of need. He encouraged the Dwarves to explore beyond the Prime, and gave them the Rings to protect them from the elements. In this way, they would be determined to protect the Gates, guarding them jealously. [Dor and Ishtur would use their rings mainly to protect from anything that might come through…] The position of the gates at the beginning of the first age was:

Air – Zem’s highest peak

Earth – Aarda

Fire – Malek

Water – Nagrad

Ethereal – Olga

Astral - Maedus

Negative – Zundar

Positive – Malek


After Lastar had set up his pentagrams little had changed except the swap between fire and water the Drow had brought about:

Air - Emras; Zem (living in Minas Emras) receives the blue Ring of Air.

Earth - Aarda; Hamar (living in Minas Aarda) receives the green Ring of Earth.

Fire - Tiris; Dor (living in Minas Tiris) receives the indigo Ring of Water.

Water - Morgul; Ishtur (living in Minas Morgul) receives the red Ring of Fire.

Astral - Maedus

Ethereal - Olga

Negative - Zundar

Positive - Blaven's Pool

Sutur - Control


There are at least 4 natural gates to the Astral on the Prime:

North - Maedus

East - Aerandir's Folly in the Vikrain (less than a league inside the forest, immediately East of Myanmack Bridge)

South - Locklastar

West - Efferendil Glade


Lastar realised that there were positive and negative influences but he was never quite sure what could be done about them – hence no Minas was built at Zundar and the Positive Plane at Malek was not discovered [before Blaven.]


Lastar’s Pentogram

You notice that the wheel moves around to each point in turn at each Age thus the dwarven symbols for each element would move and the one that pointed toward the gate indicated the inner plane to which it was aligned.

When each Minas was created - largely to protect the gates - they were aligned to an element and to the ethereal - Olga symbol. (Where a natural gate opened to the ethereal and the symbol for Olga would point at the Gate.)

You correctly identified that the movement of the anvil, star/sun, eye and tree represented the +'ve and -'ve age that the gate was used - but there is another important aspect here which links to the book and palantir which you'll need to consider.

You are quite correct that the 6 Minas were aligned to elements (you deduced this during one of the other BWs) - understanding that Morgul had something to do with fire and Tiris, water...Clearly, after Lastar left the Prime they started to move - was that intentional or as a result of him leaving? (Logic's note - it was because the Palantirs were moved; since then the Sylvan Elves have been regulating the movement with their great wheel. However, we have now screwed that up and the gates are currently unregulated - potentially making En control of Sutur even more significant)

There are 7 Dwarven Houses (each represented with a symbol and a colour) and Orodruin's folk but only 6 Minas (excluding Sutur whose tower was made to resemble a Minas).

You are correct that Zundar linked to the Negative - not Hel, who lives in Nilfheim (a part of Hades - which might help with the long poem about seasons) - and is occasionally reflected in static images of pentograms like the one in Cran's lookout.

You are also correct that Maedus links to the Astral and Olga the ethereal. You might have noticed that on most active pentograms, Maedus was missing as it is only required for travel to Outer Planes.

You used a Pentogram at Sutur to travel to Aarda - Lanzi's arrangement of braziers and the Book of the Inner Planes, which tells Lanzi the dweomer to use, enables the ring to move - in either direction - to get the appropriate destination at the point of the Pentogram which faces the visible gate. This was the way Lastar, and others, controlled the gates to the inner planes.

He had no control over the natural gates in Amorsland but Lanzi has seen similar braziers, pentograms and palantirs - they just did not have the dwarven symbology that you have become aware of. What you have noticed is that the outer ring moves clockwise at each changing age and the inner symbology flips 180 degrees.

- (Have a recap to decide what the inner symbology meant to you - the tree, eye, star/sun, anvil and book.)

- What does the wheel on which the dwarven symbols mean and why does it rotate?

If you could work out the starting positions - when Lastar first made the portal system - you'll have cracked it. Clearly, if you need to, you can check the date with the wall carvings that are ever present in Dwarrowdelfs. There should have been 6 rotations. The impact of using a gate to move between Minas changes nothing - it will revert to its date aligned posture; however, diverting a gate does change the mechanics as you have seen.

Between the Minas - Ethereal

Symbol in the middle = current location

Ring outside (sometimes absent) = Astral

Other symbols represent the other Minas

Olga symbol = Ethereal


To move between the Minas - place one brazier on the Ethereal (Olga) symbol and another on the desired Minas destination. Ethereal gate opens step through - Voila !

Aligning the Gate to a Plane - To align the gate to another plane: -- Light 4 braziers placing them over the elemental symbols to cover them -- Place the required Tome of the Plane (part of the Codicil) on the symbol of the Book in the centre. -- Gate will shift to the desired plane

Destroying Gates

Extract from Chronicle - Malek:

Instead we turned to our trusted ally, Gwendolyn, for guidance on whether we could destroy the gate in Sutur. Using Lanzi's dweomer we screened our discussion in the palantir and held a useful conversation. She had travelled to Zundar with the intention of destroying a gate herself, and had succeeded. She confirmed that the source was still available and hidden. Apparently the way to destroy a gate was to destroy the corresponding codicil page in its presence. Cillian had the codicial pages that related to creating and controlling gates. She had left her ring in Sutur, well hidden, and she was very interested to hear that we had found and used the hearth. However, she could not give any details about the hidden route between Sutur and Malek, except to confirm that there was one.