By Starlight

The deep dark

A day had passed since Elle had made the decision to allow the flow of history to take its course. The sky had grown dark with shadowy clouds shrouding the light from a now full moon and the fellowship had finally reached the gates of Moria. Though the location of these gates had been difficult for them to determine, as they had been wandering down an unkempt trail that twisted down towards a dark ominous lake and still no sign of the door had presented itself.

“Ah, the walls of Moria!” Gimli exclaimed as if these walls were significantly different to the mountainside they had been following for the past four hours. Elle sighed inwardly as they made there way closer to the dark waters of the lake, Moria was her least favourite place in all of middle earth, the watcher in the water tries to eat Frodo, Gandalf dies there and since she had become an elf Elle had formed a growing distaste for anything dark or dank.

“Dwarf doors are invisible when closed!” Gimli boasted to Eadgyth as he tapped his axe against the rugged stone.

“Yes Gimli, their own masters cannot find them if their secrets are forgotten.” Gandalf spoke as he ran his fingers over the weather smoothed cliff face as if he were looking for a hidden switch.

“Why doesn’t that surprise me?!” Legolas said with a sarcastic edge, Elle smiled at Gimli’s expense and also thought how easily the fellowship had been influenced by Chris’ constant sarcastic remarks, even the hobbits were picking it up. Gimli brushed him off with a deep grunt and the fellowship continued onwards. As they moved Elle noticed Frodo was walking close to the edge of the lake, remembering he slipped and disturbed the water she grasped his shoulder to steady him. However the loose stones that surrounded the lake caused both of their feet to slip into the inky shore of the lake. Ushering to her other side he sent her a nervous smile that she assumed was thanks and smiled in return.

“Ah, now let me see…” Gandalf’s booming voice caught their attentions as he wiped the seemingly bare wall to reveal almost invisible markings. “Ithildin. It mirrors only starlight…” He paused as he looked up at the sky and as if on command the clouds parted revealing the clear nights sky “and moonlight.” As the light touched the wall the intricate pattern of the door began to glow, bestowing its true nature for the fellowship to behold. The door’s design and ethereal beauty were far more splendid than either the book or the movie could portray.

“It reads ‘The doors of Durin, Lord of Moria, speak friend and enter.’”

“What do you suppose that means?” Merry asked in a thoughtful tone. Gandalf went on to explain how simple it was and then spent the next hour and a half not opening the door with his spells.

“Fennas Nogothrim, lasto beth lammen.” He spoke grandly with his hands up in the air for a moment more before sighing and letting them drop. Pippin looked to Legolas with a confused expression and Elle knew he was going to be shouted at by Gandalf, she could see Chris begin to tense, bracing herself for another one of Gandalf’s booming chides that seemed to almost always be directed at Pippin.

“Nothings happening.” He said in a whisper that he may as well have spoken plainly for all heard it.

“I once knew every spell in all the tongues of elves, men and orcs.” He spoke in a tone that was lightly coloured in defeat.

“What are you going to do then?” Gandalf’s back straightened as he turned sharply on the hapless hobbit.

“Knock your head against these doors Peregrin Took!...” He continued to rant for a few moments longer but Elle tuned out for another inner conversation.

‘Is it cheating if we speed this along?’


‘Can’t we just-’

‘You agreed not to change anything!’ Chris thought in an echoed tone of exasperation.

‘But surely speeding this up wouldn’t-’

‘End of discussion Elle, let Frodo figure it out.’

Two hours later Elle was still moodily sat away from Chris as she watched with bored eyes as Gandalf tried a new spell to open the still gleaming doors. The fellowship had come to a grinding halt and the group seemed unsure of what to do with themselves, they could not train for the noise could distract Gandalf and they all seemed in too sour a mood to strike any real conversations of meaning. She distantly recalled Sam and Aragorn sending away Bill the pony, it was good timing for soon the watcher in the water would appear. The dull plop of stone hitting water caused her to shoot up into a standing position, another stone fall caused her attention to lock on Merry and Pippin who were soon stopped by Aragorn who seemed to have a sense for the danger they were tempting. Then Frodo finally stood, realisation gleaming in his eyes. Elle moved closer to him without realising as his gaze was fixed on the door.

“It’s a riddle!” His exclamation somewhat distracting from the sounds of growing waves from the once silent and still murky water. “Speak friend and enter. What’s the elvish for friend?” He asked excitedly.

“Mellon.” Gandalf answered slowly as if his mind were comprehending the simplicity of it. A large groan erupted from the door as it moved open of its own accord allowing the fellowship passage into the dwarven empire of Moria. Immediately the spirit of the group was rekindled as they begin to move inside. Gandalf lead the way placing a crystal into a convenient slot atop his staff. Chris stayed at the front of the group while Elle lingered at the back, seemingly sharing Aragorn’s uneasiness.

“Soon you Elves will enjoy the fabled hospitality of the dwarves, roaring fires! Malt beer! Red meat off the bone!” Gimli’s enthused voiced echoed deeply through the deathly silent caverns that the fellowship blindly wandered into. The pale light from Gandalf’s staff did little to keep away the persistent ebony shadow that seemed to permeate all light it found. “This my friends is the home of my cousin Balin and they call it a mine!” Gimli chuckled at the audacity of the title as Elle could only concentrate on her growing state of unease. She knew what was going to happen, she knew how and almost exactly when. But it was of little comfort to her when she was living it. “A mine!”

“This isn’t a mine, it’s a tomb!” Boromir exclaimed as Gandalf’s pale light revealed the rancid decaying corpses that littered the cavern. The light of happiness in Gimli’s eyes quickly extinguished as he raced over to the closest dwarven body.

“Noooooooooooooo! NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!” He bellowed with sadness and anger and retribution contorting his words. Swiftly Legolas plucked an arrow from the eye socket of a fallen dwarf.

“Goblins!” He said with distain as he reached instinctively for his bow. The ring of drawn swords echoed dangerously as Aragorn, Boromir, Chris and Elle armed themselves.

“We make for the gap of Rohan. We should never have come here!” Boromir stated dangerously as the fellowship begins to back out of the mine. “Now get out of here! Get out!” He urged the hobbits who had grouped together in a small mass of shivering fear. As they clumsily moved backwards Frodo fell in time to see a long slimy tentacle wrap around not only his leg put the leg of the unsuspecting Ercassiel.

“Frodo!” Merry and Pippin shout in unison as he speeds past them towards the lake. Elle was then pulled, causing her to fall to the ground and then was dragged with haste towards the infinite black of the lake.

“Elle!” Chris shouted as she raced after her friend who had dropped her swords in surprise.

“Ercassiel!” Came the worried cry from Legolas, he knew this would happen; she was not ready for combat! The cries of the hobbits became more frequent as they flurried around the tentacle that held Frodo suspended in the air. Chris chopped messily at the tentacle that had a tight grasp on her friend and when its gapping jaws surfaced her attempted became even more hurried. Aragorn sliced the tentacles holding both Frodo and Elle, Boromir caught Frodo while Aragorn deftly caught the elleth.

“Into the mines!” Gandalf shouted haggardly coaxing them away from the beast.

“Legolas!” Boromir cried as both he and Aragorn were struggling to emerge from the water both too preoccupied to release the ones they carried. Several arrows whizzed passed giving hem the momentary lapse the needed to retreat back into the mines. The creature seemed to wail with fury at its lost quarry, in a fit of anger and a show of strength the many tentacles gripped the heavy stone doors forcing them to collapse in on themselves. Now they were trapped in the pitch black of Moria.

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