Road To Moria
Noon had come and sun had risen and the land had turned to a barren red wasteland. Gandalf had led them this way in hopes of finding the Sirannon stream, the road to Moria was by this stream. Wherever Nymeria looked she could not see any water, the land was as dry as dry could be. No living creatures could be found either, not even in the sky.
Gimli had been eager to get to Moria and see his people and had pressed further ahead than the rest of the Fellowship. He had disappeared almost completely, leaving only a silhouette on the horizon.
When they got closer to him they saw that he was pointing to the right. The Fellowship picked up their feet and reached him quickly. In front of their feet a channel, where a meager amount of water flowed over the red and brown stones. By the small stream there was a worn path, it was an ancient and had not been tended to judging from the brokenness of it.
"Here the Gate-stream is at last. I do wonder what has happened to the water. It used to be quicker and louder and so much more." Gandalf pondered, "Come now! we must hurry. The Sun's light will be gone before we know it."
Nymeria had taken to walking with Gandalf on the long distorted pathway. Frodo had soon joined them, and Nymeria a steady eye upon him. She cared for him and wished to keep him safe from the dangers that awaited them in hidden places.
The road was so decayed that it would crumble beneath one's foot, if one was not careful to mind where they put their foot.
The mountains were growing larger and larger, soon they would be there. It was a relief to all of them, Nymeria's heart was bright at the prospect of seeing old friends. But deep within her she felt that there was something strange about all of this, she knew that for five years there was nothing but silence from Moria.
The Fellowship came to a blunt bend in the road, it made their feet face southwards. In front of them was a low cliff with a rough top, a dribble of water spilled over the edge of it.
"This place is changed, but it cannot be mistaken for any other place, for that there," Gandalf pointed to the low jagged cliff, "is the remains of the Stair Falls. Somewhere about here there should be a flight of stairs that had long ago been carved into the stone." Those steps were found without difficulty, Gimli jump ahead and began to climb followed in suit by Gandalf, Frodo and Nymeria.
At the top of those stairs the reason for the drying of the Gate-stream was shown. The Sirannon stream had been broken, lying before the smooth mountain wall was a vile lake. A stench came from it that sickened Nymeria. The the sun was falling into the West, and beyond the sat vast cliffs, that were perfectly smooth. Gandalf pointed to those cliffs,
"There lie the Walls of Moria, there the Gates of Moria once stood. The way is blocked and I would not wish to go across this foul water. We shall have to find a way around the Northern edge." Legolas's sharp eyes saw that at the northernmost corner of the lake was a narrow creek. It was a sickly green color, and was just ankle deep. One by one they carefully crossed the sickening slimy green water.
Gandalf took them to an Elvish road that led from Hollin to Moria. Along the path she was in her own world. Gandalf called over Frodo,
"Frodo, come and help and an old man," Frodo rushed over and Gandalf put around Frodo and continued walking.
Nymeria could only hear murmurs of their talks, but understood the main point of it. Gandalf was worried about Frodo, the power of the Ring had been growing. Frodo had to be as careful as he could be and could trust no one.
The sun had set when they had reached the end of the road, and were now almost to the Doors of Moria, the opposite side of a vile lake. Nymeria sat as far away from the lake as she could.
Her whole body sighed and quivered as she was able to rest for this moment. She saw Gandalf go to Sam who was stroking Bill's mane, she could not hear the conversation, but she knew it was about Bill. It would be cruel to take an animal underground, from Sam's eyes tears flowed.
"Where is the door?" Merry asked
"Dwarf doors are invisible when closed." Gimli tapped the walls with is axe. Gandalf agitated from the long days travel bit at the dwarf,
"Yes Gimli! Their own masters cannot find them, if their secrets are forgotten!" Legolas almost laughed at this
"Why doesn't that surprise me!" Gimli sneered at the Elf. Gandalf smoothed his hands over the rock wall, feeling the patterns of the stone
"Ah... now let me see... Ithildin. It mirrors only starlight...and moonlight." Gandalf looked up to the sky as the clouds parted and the door was revealed. Glowing lines showed the great doors, all looked in awe upon them, "It reads "The Doors of Durin, Lord of Moria, Speak Friend and Enter"
"What do you suppose that means ?" Merry inquired.
"Oh it's quite simple. If you are a friend, you speak the password and the doors will open," Gandalf answered Merry. He then turned back and placed his staff against the door. Nymeria pushed herself to her feet and stood beside Legolas. "Annon Edhellen, edro hi ammen!" called out, nothing happened. He cleared his throat and tried again with different words, "Fennas Nogothrim, lasto beth lammen." and still nothing. Gimli grunted in frustration, Pippin leaned to Legolas
"Nothing's happening." Gandalf pushed upon the door
"I once knew every spell in all the tongues of Elves, Men and Orcs." he was baffled.
"What're you going to do then?" Pippin questioned, in an angry frustration Gandalf yelled
"Knock your head against these doors Peregrin Took! And if that does not shatter them and I'm allowed a little peace from foolish questions I will try to find the opening words." Pippin stepped back and collided with Nymeria, she bent her knees
"He does not mean it. This day has been long and has taken a toll on all of us."
They had sat around the walls waiting for Gandalf to discover the words. Nymeria had once again moved herself as far from the lake as she could. Boromir had taken place beside her, he had grown ever more attached to her and Nymeria did not know how to handle such attention.
Sam and Aragorn had begun to unload Bill.
"The Mines are no place for a pony even one so brave as Bill." Aragorn tried to comfort Sam.
"BuBye Bill." Sam kissed the pony's snout. Aragorn gave the pony a push
"Go on, go on. Don't worry Sam. He knows the way home." Sam looked on as he ran full of worry.
Merry and Pippin were throwing rocks into the foul body of water. Pippin raised his hand to throw again but Aragorn stopped him.
"Do not disturb the water." He looked out over the lake with worry.
"Oh it's useless." Gandalf fumed and then threw his staff down. Nymeria could not pay attention to that, her focus was on the positioned water, ripples, not from the stones thrown, had appeared. Aragorn had noticed, and Boromir left her side to go to Aragorn's.
Aragorn is watching the water as ripples start to appear. Boromir walks up behind him and looks concerned. Nymeria stood knowing that something fowl dwelt in those waters. Nymeria did not notice Frodo, who was now looking at the gate's writing, when she moved to Aragorn's side.
"It's a riddle!" Frodo stated as the ripples tuned into waves, Pippin skedaddled behind Nymeria."Speak friend... and enter." murmured as suspicious eyes focused on the water,"What's the elvish word for friend?" Frodo pressed as the waves of the water hit the shore. Nymeria guided Pippin away from the shore as Gandalf replied to Frodo,
Nymeria turned as did Pippin, the Gates of Moria were opened. Gandalf chuckled deeply and gestured for them to follow as he placed a crystal on top of his staff. Nymeria, looked back the waters as she nudged Pippin forward gently, Aragorn mimicked her actions with swift feet and followed the Fellowship into Moria.
"Soon Mr. Elf, you will enjoy the fabled hospitality of the dwarves. Roaring fires! Malt Beer! Red Meat off the bone!" Gimli boasted to Legolas. Gandalf caused a light to form in the crystal that was on his staff. "This my friend is the home of my cousin Balin and they call it a Mine!" the light reached the floor of Moria, and Gimli did not pay attention still boasting to Legolas. In the wake of the door were dozens of corpses. "A MINE!" Gimli laughed. Boromir looked about him,
"This isn't a mine, it's a tomb." He moved himself closer to Nymeria, feeling a need to protect her. Arrows protruded from all of the bodies.
"Nooooo! NOOOOOOOOOOoooooooo!" Gimli screamed running to a corpse, Legolas pulled one of the arrows from a body and looked upon it with distaste.
"Goblins!" he threw the arrow down, all pulled their weapons.
"We make for the gap of Rohan. We should never have come here." Boromir spoke as he pulled Nymeria behind him, she narrowed her eyes at him. The hobbits grouped together backing out of the mines, "Now get out of here! Get out!"
Nymeria spun around hearing the curious sounds, Frodo had fallen and was being pulled out of the cave, around his ankle was a slimy tentacle. Merry and Pippin called out to him.
"Strider!" Sam called out to Aragorn as he slashed at the tentacle, "Get off of him!" Nymeria and all of the Hobbits pulled Frodo back.
"Aragorn!" Merry cried out as the tentacle submerged beneath the water. In a second dozens of tentacles bust through the water and slammed the ones pulling Frodo away. One took Frodo and held him high in the air .
"Frodo!" Nymeria and Merry called out, Nymeria hacked at the tentacles reaching for the others. Legolas fired an arrow at the tentacle that gripped Frodo, but it did not falter.
"Strider!" Frodo screamed in fear. Aragorn and Boromir charged at the tentacles dismembering them, only to have more appear. A body in the water came forth, the creature had a large mouth that opened to show great teeth. It meant to eat Frodo. Nymeria pulled along the resisting Hobbits into the mines. Boromir hacked at a tentacle, and Aragorn focused on the slimy limb that possessed Frodo. It released Frodo, he fell but Boromir caught him.
"Into the Mines!" Gandalf commanded
"Legolas!" Boromir called out as he carried Frodo, he then looked to Nymeria who was ushering the Hobbits through the entrance of Moria. Soon all the Fellowship was within the Mines. The creature was crawling out of the water gripping the stone putting a great stress on the stone. Nymeria saw the walls fumble, and that Merry was too close. She grabbed him and pulled him close to her and move safely away. The Gates of Moria crumbled, trapping them within Moria.
Gandalf once again brought light to the Fellowship, by means of the stone a-top his staff,
"We now have but one choice, we must face the long dark of Moria. Be on your guard, there are older and fouler things than Orcs in the deep places of the world." Gandalf made the first steps as he spoke,"Quietly now, it is a four day journey to the other side. Let us hope that our presence may go unnoticed." Nymeria loosened her hold on Merry, but he did seem reluctant to move away.
"Come along, Merry. I am sure that there is nothing to fear." Nymeria spoke to not only encourage Merry, but to rid the fear from her own mind.