Introduction to The Ringbearer's Diary Book Two: The Ring and The Pyramid

 

Many are those who have perished during the quest for The Cursed Ring. It becomes increasingly difficult to follow its traces, the closer you draw to its hiding place, and all of its magic kingdom is mined by pitfalls, the existence of which becomes harder and harder to sense, as one approaches its omnivorous, all-consuming centre.
   The greatest danger is faced in confronting the Ring. For at first glance it does not look very dangerous. It speaks with an immensely pleasant, almost comforting voice, while it looks at you with its sole scintillating, hypnotic eye.
   All over, in the midst of the landscape occupied by the Ring, are cast a lot of small, glittering rings, which one is easily tempted to collect and admiringly put on one’s fingers. If you do so, the world you left behind will disappear in the fog. The deceptive kingdom of the Ring will seem to be the only safe and trustworthy place, and you will no longer be able to recognize those ones you knew as your friends. For you will become invisible to them, as the colour and the structure of the Ring cast a completely new personality on top of the old.
   Thus transformed, you are drawn in increasingly tighter circles towards the central, voracious maelstrom of the landscape.
A few have been lucky enough to wrest the “small” rings off their fingers. But first, you must discover that these rings have a cunning aspect. This dangerous characteristic can be difficult to unveil, partly because the rings glitter in the sun – partly because the “Ruling Ring” strives with all its might to thwart its own discovery by talking to the wearer through the small ring, with its soft, soothing voice.
   There is no release from the difficulties and the hardships even at the moment you tear the ring off your finger in a sudden, fitful awakening insight – for you cannot just throw it away. You must carry it all the way back to the place where you found it. You must retrace the route by which you came, step by step, setting your boots down backwards, precisely in every single footprint you have left behind you. And this journey will prove much longer and more winding than you ever thought possible. For the Ring has led you along tortuous paths, paths that crisscross themselves, so that you often feel as if you were lost in a labyrinth.
   Only with undaunted and tireless patience will this journey be completed. Every now and again you will have to sit down and try to remember from where you came. Days may pass, even years, before you once again remember the direction. For the small ring unceasingly interrupts your concentration by shouting from the pocket where it is carried that you are wasting your time – that you are not heading towards your goal, but away from your goal. It becomes heavier and heavier to carry, and the last stretch of road will see you almost crawling, partly because the weight of the ring bears down on you, partly because your earlier footprints have now almost completely faded away.
   But once you have put the small ring back where it came from, you will be able to resume with renewed strength and vigour the search for The Great Ring.
So we embark on a dangerous journey. Traps and wilderness are all about, but like all who have gone before us to try to trace and destroy The Cursed Ring, we equip ourselves with a sword and shield before our departure. Yea, these objects are even acquired by a natural right – invoked by our mere decision to set forth on this quest. The sword and the shield, so to speak, “materialize” in our hands at the entrance to the enchanted land. For the decision to carry out this task, yes, even the idea of embarking upon it, has arisen from a force stronger than that of the Ring – and of a totally different kind. An energy whose free course is hindered by the very existence of the Ring, an energy for which – perhaps with our lives at stake – we will clear the way by finding and vanquishing the Ring.
   And with this sacred motive inspiring us, the discerning power of Thought clears, and it materializes as a strong but flexible shield in our left hand. At the same instant we feel – gripped in our right hand – the hilt of a strong but supple sword. This weapon is our Will. Now balanced and tempered, it has the power to cut through whatever obstacles we may encounter on the way.
   Thus equipped, we are assured of a fortunate outcome for this expedition. For if we are always conscious of the origin and the purpose of our journey, the sword and the shield will maintain their flexibility and their power – yes, both will even strengthen as we proceed.
Many have departed on the quest proudly swinging their swords, while the mark of their clan shone from their shields in strong, vibrant colours – and many are those who have turned back because their swords shattered, or because there were weak spots in their elegantly painted shields. Often, the shield and the sword were something the knight was merely handed by others, without him having learned the arts needed to forge these important objects, causing the shield to be thin and the sword fragile – and the temptation to collect the small, glittering rings was reinforced, because what was only borrowed and decorative invited the further supplement of ornamentation and jewels. In this way, formerly strong and stalwart souls were sucked down into the whirlpool of the Ring while held in fascination by the sight of their bejewelled hands, whereon the stones reflected themselves in the colours of the shield.
Only one sword can penetrate all the way through the myriad of obstacles set in front of us. This is the sword of Will, the creation of which we have followed ourselves, in all its phases, and which we have forged ourselves, without the aid of anyone – fearlessly trusting in our own power.
   And one shield only can protect you. One shield only is indestructible – and this is the shield upon which the sign of the Ring is distinctly engraved. For knowing the name of the troll is the strongest protection against it.
   Such a shield cannot be furnished at the beginning of the journey. For none know the name of the Ring, before they stand before it.
   But if the shield we forge for ourselves is strong and bears no painted insignia upon it, then the name of the troll will slowly emerge on the shield as we venture ever further into the kingdom it has invaded.
   For as we penetrate the wilderness with our sword – and with the protection of our shield, we force the deserts to reveal the original, fertile landscapes that were transformed by the destructive power of The Cursed Ring – we will experience how the land once looked.
   And the contrasting comparison between the wastelands and the beauty of the original landscape will emblazon upon our shield the name of the troll – letter by letter; a name that at the same time forms the increasingly clearer contours of an ancient map, showing us the way to the hiding-place of the Ring. Behind us, the landscape returns to its original appearance, a process which, in a wondrous way, hardens and strengthens the basic substance of the sword.
   When finally we stand before the cavern of The Cursed Ring, after having suffered through many a fight and many hardships, the artwork of our shield will be finished, and the sight of this shield will blind the one eye of the Ring, so that it loses its power and reveals itself for what it is.
   Then we can poke it out of the embers of magic torment, collect it, and in the slowly spreading rays of the Light set free by the defeat of the Ring – we can observe the craft of its ingenious and abominable construction. Then, with a long throw we will send it back into Mount Doom, which has nurtured it for so many millennia.  

Copyright © Peter Kjærulff