Figure of Shadow--Part Six and Epilogue - Nothing is lost that is not yet made
Lila had returned there as soon as she had enough strength, because it was indeed the only place she had called home for so long. She had a rapid recovery once she reentered the realm of shadow because her only sickness was caused by the sun, which is the mortal enemy of all shadows. It is a curious thing, however, because while light forces away darkness, it is the only cause of shadow, defining its figure and making it real. Anyway.
Lila stayed in the mines along with Flinka for a long time, reading her books and wondering nothing about the outside world. Flinka spent most of her time in the form of a black panther, stalking up and down, tail angrily lashing back and forth. Marisa remained a shadow throughout all this.
One such day Lila was reading about the battle in Helm's Deep when Flinka stopped her pacing and whipped around, her long sharp teeth slamming together about an inch away from Lila's face. Lila looked up calmly.
"What to you want?"
Nothing. said Flinka angrily.
"Good." Lila returned to her book, as her Balingka resumed her pacing.
But clearly Flinka did want something, and she became moodier and moodier until Lila was forced to pay attention to her.
"Will you just tell me already?"
Thought you didn't want to know.
"I know you want to go back to the light. I know you want to give it a second chance. But that's just too bad for you. We wouldn't be able to see, and do you want to get sick again?"
Flinka didn't have a chance to answer, because what should happen but in charged the Fellowship of the Ring, right into that room. Lila sunk back into the shadows and disappeared at once, and the Balingka had to hide as well, so she became a spider. But this spider was deep black and as big as Lila's hand, with inch-long pinchers clicking angrily.
Lila did her best to get comfortable, and finally, after what seemed like forever, she drifted off to sleep.
When she awoke it was to the clanking of swords and the twang of arrows. The sounds of battle. But worse, far, far worse, Flinka was no longer beside her, but out in the middle of it. She was in the form of a deinonychus, her steely black scales glinting faintly in the light and the claw on her foot tapping the floor with a loud, clear ringing sound. Lila was torn with fright for her Balingka, anger that she was away from the girl's side, and disgust at the pleasure the dinosaur shape had in ripping and killing. Nothing that was stupid enough to come near Flinka lived. Soon the clawed feet were digging into carcasses on the floor. Lila nearly threw up.
Stop it! she shouted. Flinka turned. That's disgusting!
Flinka smiled, an odd, reptilian sort of grin full of long, sharp teeth. Not the kind of thing you usually want to see when you first wake up. I don't have any problem with it.
An arrow shot straight at Flinka's back. It bounced off her spine causing no more damage than a pebble. The Balingka whirled around and found the unfortunate owner of the arrow. He didn't last long.
Lila couldn't stand the killing. She'd had to do it a couple of times in her life, but she'd always hated it. Quickly as she could manage she became a shadow and crept away from the slaughter. Flinka couldn't hold for long with her human pulling at the bond that kept them together, and she was forced to turn and follow Lila, blindly, out of the fight.
What did you do that for? Flinka asked with an angry snarl.
"You were making me sick," Lila said simply. "Let's get out of here."
Wait . . . wait, you're forgetting something. Remember the little tidbit about the Balrog?
"What about it?"
Gandalf goes down with him. We can at least do all we can to help make it easier for him.
"You mean . . ."
Before there could be any more talk Flinka started to run. They raced through the mines until they came to the right place and stopped, gasping for air, the both of them, for they had run at their fastest: 50 mph.
"M-hm. Get me to sleep: I don't care how you do it."
You may now be wondering what these two are going to attempt. You're going to have to wait.
It was a long time before Lila could fall asleep, but when she did, this is the dream she had.
Eight year old Lila was standing next to her mother as she lay on the bed, holding her hand, feeling the life drain from the woman's body. Her father was holding the baby Marisa in his arms. But when the air flew from his wife's mouth and she fell still, he dropped the child on the bed and stalked away. Lila ran to Marisa and did everything she could to help her, and then she remembered what she was supposed to be doing. Taking a deep breath she became a shadow, then back to normal, as the dream changed.
Now her father was drunk and yelling at the ten year old Lila for no apparent reason. She streaked from the room in tears as her mother's replacement, the disgusting woman who her father had taken for a wife, waddled into the room. Lila became a shadow again, regained substance, and awoke.
Lila looked around. The shadowy light was stinging and painful to be in. She nodded. They were about to start moving again when Lila realized how little she weighed. She pushed lightly on the ground and shot upward five feet before she even slowed down. She lazily drifted to earth again, and Flinka became a black horse.
Get on, and grab tight. I'm going to have to give you a ride. There's no way you can move by yourself.
Lila pushed a little on the ground and floated on to Flinka's back. Realizing that the Balingka probably couldn't feel her, she whispered: "I'm on."
Flinka galloped to the edge of the Bridge of Kazad-dûm and the two hid themselves and waited.
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The Balrog reached the bridge. Gandalf stood in the middle of the span, leaning on the staff in his left hand, but in his other hand Glamdring gleamed, cold and white. His enemy halted again, facing him, and the shadow about it reached out like two vast wings. Lila shrank back against Flinka in fear.
"You cannot pass," he said. "I am a servant of the Secret Fire, wielder of the flame of Anor. You cannot pass. The dark fire will not avail you, flame of Udûn."
Lila felt her fear turning to cold resolve. She stroked Flinka on the head as the Balingka changed from horse to steely black snake, perhaps three feet long.
At that moment Marisa came out of hiding. "Lila! I have the key! Come with me!"
But a rushing sound filled Lila's ears and she heard nothing of what her sister had said. Suddenly she through herself against the Balrog. At first she felt nothing but shock. The child of shadow, for now she was more shadow than child, extended her darkness to envelope the flame of the Balrog, and, screaming in pain, she fell with him into the abyss.
Flinka was left up on the edge of the bridge, writhing as Lila was pulled farther and farther from her. Marisa ran to her, and just as she reached her, the Balingka disappeared.
"Lila!" Marisa screamed, throwing herself to the edge. She landed hard on the stone and tasted blood. The gaping hole pulled at her and she stood, entranced, unable to break the hold it had on her. Then she turned and ran.
Marisa was on her own now. She fell, gasping, to the hard cold rock next to Lila's stash of possessions. She was still in shock from watching her sister die and unable so far to truly grasp what had happened, and that was the only thing keeping her from tears.
Mar gathered up Lila's old books and carried them to a pit where she heard the sound of running water far below. She threw them over, one at a time, until she only had The Fellowship left. She would have let that one go, too, but she opened it and flipped through until she found the scene on the bridge of Kazad-dûm. And there it said:
The fire in it seemed to die, but the darkness grew.
Lila had changed it. Just a sentence in the book dedicated to her sister, not nearly, Mar though, what she deserved. The little girl through the book over the edge and ran before she could here the splash. She didn't want to read more. She had the key and she could make her own history.
She turned and made her way, firmly, out of Moria. She would not make the same mistakes Lila had made.
Maybe there was hope for her.
Author's Note: And here ends the tale of Lila and Flinka. Figure of Shadow may or may not continue with the story of Marisa. It's your choice. Please submit a comment and tell me whether or not you think it should continue. Thank you for the patience you have given me. Originally I had given up and decided that that was the end of Figure of Shadow, and for several months there was no DragonStella. I thought the story had no hope. But either way, whether I continue myself or not, I have proved myself wrong.
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