The Second Heir


Chapter 4: Moria

We marched through the mine quietly. It was a long and dark journey, with Gandalf's staff emitting the only light. I could see things, with my elven sight but it was still dark either consideration. The slightest sound had us all on edge. After several hours, we came to three doors.

"I have no memory of this place." Gandalf said looking confused at the three archways.

Everyone went different directions to find a space to rest. Legolas went down a few stairs to a ledge. I went and sat next to him. He looked my way and smiled wearily. We were both uncomfortable underground. But, being in the mine was not the only thing that was weighing me down. The mine had me fearful of the creatures that killed my family.

"The air is so close in here." I spoke in softly elvish.

"All the deaths here put an unnatural weight to the air." he responded.

"Your eyes show fear. What is wrong? I have not seen this in you before." I looked at him, his eyes held a deep fear of staying in one place too long.

"As Gandalf said far worse things lie in these mines than Orcs."

"You know of them?"

"Sadly yes. But you need not worry. We hope to go unnoticed." he said putting his hand on my shoulder.

"I just feel unnerved."

"Elves were not meant to be under ground. Try to rest."

"It's not just that Legolas. I'm always scared, always sad as of late. Since I saw the first Orc enter my village, I haven't been at peace, thinking if I close my eyes even for a moment, they will come and take us when we let our guard down. I lost my family. I cannot lose you and Aragorn too. I couldn't see anyone in the group gone." A tear fell for the first time in a few weeks.

"I will not let them harm you, nor would Aragorn. This fellowship will protect you as we would any other member of the fellowship."

"I do not worry for myself. It seems that everyone around me has died protecting me. My mother, my brothers, and my father."

"Everyone passes on to their destiny. If I had to choose my path, it would be protecting someone I love such as they did." His eyes were sincere, full of emotion.

"I do not want anyone else getting hurt to protect me."

"It is our own choice how we leave this world. I would be honored to do so protecting you." He said putting his hand on mine, and squeezing gently.

"What of the fellowship?"

"I joined this fellowship, to protect its members as best I can. It too would be an honor to die fulfilling that oath."

"Even Gimili?" I asked slightly smiling, trying to bring up the mood of our conversation.

"Yes, even the dwarf." he said smiling.

We sat in silence for some time longer and the despair of the environment filled me again.

"I miss them Legolas. They were all I had." Sadness crept back to my mind and tears to my eyes.

"Loss is never an easy conquest. Though, it makes us stronger. Sleep Maethriel. Sleep easy knowing I…we will protect you and ourselves. Not much gets past me."

I leaned against the wall behind us and closed my eyes. It was useless to argue with him. He would obviously do what I do not want to happen. Why was everyone willing to throw his or her life away for me?

**Aragorn's POV**

I came down to where Legolas was keeping watch. I found Mae sleeping next to him with her head on his shoulder and he had his arm wrapped around her loosely. I heard them speaking softly in elvish earlier but this surprised me. Legolas was never a woman's man no matter his status and appearance. Many before have tried but failed. Perhaps he has feelings towards the girl. It has been many years since I saw an elleth catch his eye. Unfortunately, the last time ended very badly for him.

"You seem comfortable." I said in elvish not to have the others aware of our conversation.

"She needs rest, her heart is still heavy after the loss of her family." he responded.

"I see, she is holding herself well for being in the company of Orcs for weeks and losing her family." I saw him start to pull his arm away from her. Before I could question my friend further, she stirred slightly and I became quiet.

"Indeed, but she is still afraid of what the world holds. I hope we can break her of that."

"She will in time. Patience is a virtue my friend. She had been through a lot. All wounds take time to heal."

I need to let things take their own course I suppose.

"Ha, it's that way." I heard Gandalf claim. Good, I wish not to stay longer than needed down here. Legolas and Mae are both weaker down here.

**Maethriel's POV**

I woke and felt warm and comfortable for the first time in weeks. I rested my head further on my pillow and gripped my blanket closer. I felt my bed shake and I heard a chuckle. I shot straight up. It was no pillow. I looked over to see Legolas laughing softly. My face flushed scarlet and I turned away. Elves normally can't blush, sadly another human characteristic, I got from my mother.

"I'm so sorry Legolas, my deepest apologies." I mumbled.

"Do not fret Mae." I can't believe I fell asleep on Legolas. I stood up and started to walk away. He caught my hand.

"Mae, do not be embarrassed. It was fine. Enjoyable actually, I promise." He said smiling. I looked at him and his face held true to his words.

"Okay, thank you." I looked up and saw Aragorn looking down with a grin. Why is he grinning?

We continued our journey for three more days in Moria until we reached an open room.

"Let me risk a little more light." Gandalf's staff grew brighter as he raised it above his head. It shined all around showing magnificent large pillars of stone in the open space.

"Behold the Dwarf city of Dwarrowdelf." We all looked around in awe, before continuing. As we walked, I saw a side room, which Gimili was running towards. We followed as he let out a wail of sorrow. We entered the room to find a tombstone lying in the center glowing in just a little light from the outside world. Gimli was on his knees weeping.

"Here lies Balin, son of Fundin, Lord of Moria. So, he is dead. It is as I feared." Gandalf mumbled looking over Gimli's shoulder at the crypt.

"We must keep moving; we cannot linger" Legolas whispered to Aragorn. I wanted to get out of the place to begin with, why are we stopping!

Gandalf picked up a book being clutched by a fallen Dwarf. We all watched him as he read.

"They have taken the Bridge and the Second wall. We have barred the gates but cannot hold them for long. The ground shakes. Drums, drums in the deep. We cannot get out. A shadow moves in the dark. We cannot get out. They are coming." The air seemed still and silent as we all took in the words he just spoke. The fear Legolas had slightly relieved was slowly resurfacing. Orcs were created for the sole purpose of death and destruction, something no one can hide from, even the sturdy dwarves of Moria. I looked towards Legolas and he looked even more uneasy than before.

Pippin twisted an arrow in a corps and it fell into a well making large hollow sounds as it went further into the deeps. I winced along with him as each sound echoed through the mines below. We all looked around waiting for something. Nothing happened and I let out a sigh of relief.

"Fool of a Took! Throw yourself in next time to rid us of your stupidity." Gandalf had turned to for the door but stopped. I turned to Legolas as I heard the faint beating of a drum. It got louder and faster.

"Frodo!" I heard Sam whisper as he looked down at the hobbits sword which was now glowing blue. We heard heckling and laughter in the distance.

"Orcs!" Legolas shouted confirming my fears.

"Get back stay close to Gandalf!" Aragorn said pushing the hobbits back. He looked at me and I nodded.

"They have a cave troll." Boromir said exasperated as he shut the chamber door. Aragorn and Boromir started to brace the door with axes and other weapons. I stood back in front of the crypt next to Legolas and drew my bow. Aragorn stood beside me sword at the ready. We braced ourselves.

"Let them come! There is one dwarf left in Moria that still draws breath" and so it began. They started to break through. Legolas and I both took shots killing a couple. The doors flew open and the fight began. My fear was soon replaced with the adrenaline of battle. Aragorn and Boromir charged and I continued to shoot my bow. As the battle raged on, the troll came in being led by two Orcs. I was on the other side of the tomb for some time taking out any Orc that came close with my bow.

We continued our fight and I suffered a small cut to my upper arm but no pain was felt. As my arrows drew few, I picked up a blade an Orc lost and started to defend myself. I saw the troll was now attacking Legolas and my heart stopped. He was graceful in battle but it still was agonizing to just sit back and watch as the beast whipped his chain at the elf.

"No!" I sliced his leg with my new weapon. He yelped slightly before turning towards me. Legolas took the opportunity and embedded several arrows into his skull. I now returned my attention to the remaining Orcs.

After several minutes, the room went quiet. Legolas had given the final kill shot to the troll and they ran towards the back corner. I now saw Frodo motionless on the ground with a spear in his stomach. I put a hand to my mouth in shock. We all gathered around him. Aragorn turned him over.

"He's alive." Sam announced and relief filled me.

"I'm alright. I'm not hurt." The hobbit said putting a hand on his heart. There wasn't even a drop of blood on the hobbit.

"You should be dead. That would have skewered a wild boar." Aragorn said.

"I think there's more to this hobbit than meets the eye." Gandalf said winking at the hobbit in question.

"Mithril." Gimili whispered.

"You're full of surprised Master Baggins" Gimili added smiling.

"Quickly to the Bridge of Khazad-dum" Gandalf snapped as we all started to run.

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