The Second Heir

Change of Path

Chapter 3

In the morning, we started our trek up the mountain towards the Pass of Caradhras. Snow was falling lightly but the air was bitter cold. The snow was deep, coming up to the Hobbits thighs. Legolas and I, being elves, walked on top and didn't feel the cold as much. After some time, even I started to feel it when the wind blew. We walked ahead often helping Gandalf clear a path for the others. As mid-day approached, Frodo stumbled, rolling back into Aragorn. Everyone stopped and held their breath as the man of Gondor picked up the chain with a ring on it.

"Boromir!" Aragorn yelled, but Boromir was in a trance-like gaze.

"It is a strange fate that we should suffer so much fear and doubt over so small a thing. Such a little thing." He reached for the ring itself.

"Boromir, give Frodo the ring." I heard Aragorn snap again, breaking the man of his trance.

"As you wish, I care not." I heard a long pause then Frodo grabbed the ring and placed it back around his neck and our path continued. However, I did see Aragorn ungrasp his sword. I don't trust Boromir either. Though, I do not know him, he is not giving off a very friendly or good reading. He seems to be consumed in his thoughts most of the time and I've noticed an odd focus on the gold ring that the hobbit wore on a chain. Was it important or was the man just overcome with greed for the small amount of gold?

As we drew further and further up the mountain the sky grew darker and the snow fell quicker. I could feel the full effects of the cold now. I wrapped Legolas' cloak further around me. We were close to the peak of the first mountain now. The hobbits no longer could fight through the snow so Boromir and Aragorn now carried them. It was getting harder and harder to see as the snow fell in sheets like a down pour of summer rain.

I took a step and the snow gave out beneath me. My eyes went wide and a scream started in my throat as I started to fall. However, I didn't. I felt a strong hand grab my wrist. I reached up and it took my other hand and pulled me back up. I held onto whoever my rescuer was for dear life in fear the snow would collapse again. I looked up to meet Legolas' blue eyes.

"Thank you." I said as he held my eyes.

"You are Welcome" he took my hand to keep me from falling again but it felt natural. I had no romantic interest in Legolas but there was no denying he was attractive...kind...strong...okay maybe just a slight interest.

We continued our journey along the mountainside. Strong winds blew and I heard a voice among the howls off the mountain. It was a man's voice. It was chanting something. I looked at Legolas wondering if he heard it as well.

"Do you hear that?" I asked.

"There is a fell voice in the air." He shouted looking towards Gandalf. Suddenly a large amount of snow fell near us and we huddled against the side of the mountain.

"It's Saruman!" Gandalf yelled. Saruman, that name. It was one the Orcs said often. But I knew Saruman as the great white wizard who headed the white council of some of the most powerful beings in Middle Earth. Was this some trickery of the group? Or was it a different being who simply shared the powerful name?

"He's trying to bring down the Mountain! Gandalf we must turn back!" Aragorn yelled.

"No!" Then Gandalf began a chant of his own. Then the winds grew stronger and lightning struck the mountain sending snow and rocks down on us. We were buried under the avalanche. All was quiet under the snow and my breath caught in my chest. I pushed as hard as I could through the snow until I surfaced. I shook the snow from me then helped Legolas pull the others out.

"We must get off the mountain! Make for the Gap of Rohan then take the west road to my city!" Boromir shouted.

"The Gap of Rohan will take us too close to Isengard." Aragorn retorted.

"If we cannot pass over the mountain, let us go under it. Let us go through the Mines of Moria!"

"We have made it this far, we can make it! Turning back is what he expects!" I stated but I doubt my opinion was heard over the wind.

"Let the ring bearer decide." Gandalf said solemnly. Frodo would most likely chose to leave the mountain. It would be the death of the hobbits if we stayed in the cold to much longer. Everyone also knew the Gap of Rohan took us too close to Isengard, too close to Saruman. I could see it in his eyes. I knew what his decision would be.

"We will go through the mines." Gandalf looked disappointed.

"So be it."We made our way back down the mountain as night fell and I was happy to see the forest. Legolas was right I am happier in the woods. Despite being raised by elves in a forest, I never really took notice to my attributes.I slowly walked beside Legolas and we were in the middle of the pack. Gandalf Aragorn, Sam and Frodo were ahead of us. Gimili, Merry, Pippin, and Boromir were behind us. We were walking down a rocky path and we came to a great side of a mountain some hours later.

"The walls of Moria." Gimili said proudly.

We wondered along the Cliffside path until Gandalf stopped and started touching the walls. Frodo stepped into the murky lake that ran beside it and quickly pulled away.

"Dwarf Doors are invisible when closed." Gimli announced.

"Sometimes even their masters can't open them if the secrets are lost." Gandalf mumbled and I laughed.

"Why does that not surprise me?" Legolas said sarcastically. I chuckled softly and earned a glare from Gimili.

"Ithildin… Only mirrors starlight and moon light." Gandalf mumbled. As the full moon came from behind the clouds, a white outline appeared in the shape of a door with writing above it. The design was beautiful, how could the dwarves make this?

"It reads the Doors of Durin, Lord of Moria. Speak Friend and Enter."

"What do you suppose that means?" a hobbit asked, Merry I think.

"It's quiet simple. If you are a friend, you speak the password and the doors will open."

It seemed like we were sitting there for hours as Gandalf mumbled phrases and spells in many different tongues. I stood next to Aragorn as he helped Sam unpack the horse everyone called Bill. Legolas was off standing near a tree, enjoying what little comfort he could before we made our next journey, most likely underground.Merry and Pippin started throwing rocks into the water and Aragorn quickly stopped them.

"Do not disturb the water." as he said it. I noticed ripples forming far further than where the rocks were landing. I heard no fish swimming but there was a large presence there. I was on edge. Boromir even came over and took notice of the movements. Legolas was soon beside me bow in hand. The ripples became larger and faster coming towards us.

"It's a riddle; Speak Friend and Enter." Frodo started. We all looked at him.

"Gandalf, what is the elfish word for friend?"

"Mellon." he said and the doors opened. Everyone seemed relieved that the doors had finally been opened.

The doors opened and we slowly entered the dark in front of us. I stayed close to Aragorn and we brought up the rear of the group. I stepped on a twig but it seemed too strong to be a branch because it didn't snap. This was the first sign that something was amiss here.

"Soon Master Elf and Lady you will enjoy the fabled hospitality of the Dwarves. Raging fires, malt beer, and ripe meat off the bone. This my friends is the home of my cousin Balin and they call it a mine…a Mine!" Gandalf placed a stone into his staff and it began to glow, shining light on the scene around me. As I took in the skeletons and corpses of fallen Dwarves my stomach twisted over. I slowly reached back for my bow.

"This is no mine; it's a tomb!" Boromir said. Everyone else took in the room and gasps of horror filled the space. Gimili left out a moan of grief while Legolas pulled out an arrow from one of the skeletons.

"Goblins!" he snapped as he too drew his bow and notched an arrow. Others drew their swords ready for anything.

"We make for the Gap of Rohan. We should have never come here." Boromir demanded of Aragorn and Gandalf.

"Get out of here! Get out!" He yelled in urgency.

Before we could do anything, I heard the water rippling outside very strongly. Then I heard Frodo gasp. I turned to see a tentacle wrap around his waist and pull him back outside.

"Strider! Aragorn!" I heard hobbits yell. We all rushed out to his aid only to be knocked back by more tentacles. I was knocked into the wall. I seemed to only be able to watch in horror as the creature's head appeared out of the water and brought the struggling hobbit closer to its waiting mouth. I shot to arrows but they seemed to have no effect. The men hacked the tentacles feverously to no avail until finally, Aragorn sliced the on holding Frodo. He fell into Boromir's arms.

"Into the mines!" I ran after Aragorn , who looked frightened as we rushed into the cave.

"Legolas!" he yelled as the elf was delivering one last shot at the beast.

"Run!" Aragorn said pushing the hesitant hobbits forward. I felt Legolas grab my arm and pull me in as we ran. Once we were all inside, the beast tried to follow pulling the rocks and entrance down on itself, trapping us inside.

"We have but one choice now. We must face the long dark of Moria." Gandalf said soberly, tapping his staff against the ground three times and letting light show again. How does he do that?

"Be on your guard, there are older and fouler things than Orcs that dwell in the deep places of the world. It is a four day journey to the other side. Let us hope our presence goes unnoticed. "


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