Hope and Dreams - Chapter 7- The Ring goes South

The Ring goes South

Chapter 7

Translation for Pegacornish and Elvish

-spoken between Phoenix and Muriel-

Muriel was in a forest, one that she had never seen before, the trees were different from her own country, and they were very old and tangled. She walked up a hill to better see where see was, but when she looked down the hill, she froze in her tracks. Northerners, she thought to herself, as she saw them on their freaks of horses. There were thousands of them all moving at once, she heard a yell from the bushes behind her. She turned to see orcs moving in the same direction. Why would they be moving in the same direction, and why were Orcs and Northerners together? The Northerners didn't have the technology to go into a different world, did they? She decided to track them, she called for her wings and her wings sprouted from her back (pegacorns have the ability to spout there wings from there backs, while in their human form). She quickly spread her wings so that she could follow them unseen. She quickly went above the canopy of trees, she pursued them by looking though holes in the roof of the forest. They were going together somewhere, she looked up in the direction they seemed to be going, there was a black building that looked like it was made of obsidian. Forgetting that she was following the Orcs and Northerners she quickly flew to the edge of the forest, looking around her all she saw was stumps of trees and smoking clouds around the black building. She felt a sharp stab of pain in her shoulder, she turned to see the leader of the northerners, Mancana, holding a knife drenched in her blood, she went to grab for Aife, but she wasn't there. She stared at the laughing Mancana as he lifted up his sword, and swung...

-Muriel! It's time to get up!- She woke up with a start, clutching her shoulder, she knew that that was no ordinary dream. Somehow the northerners found out how to jump into other worlds, and they had joined the enemy of this world. Great, she thought, another thing to worry about.

-Its just as I feared.- Phoenix said. -Your two enemies have joined sides, they're trying to make all the worlds evil in one final stroke.-

-The War of Worlds.- Muriel said sighing -The war that I'm supposed to become legendary, by stopping evil from succeeding in their ultimate weapon. I'm supposed to bring balance to all the worlds, but I have no clue how. How am I supposed to stop something when I don't even know what it is?-

-Just take one step at a time, Muriel. It shall be revealed to you, when the time is right. That's when you shall be able to answer that question.- Phoenix said.

-But...but, you'll be there, right? You make it sound as if you're not going to be there.- Muriel said perplexed.

-No, I'm afraid not, but you should already know that. Don't you remember? And she shall fight the weapon of the enemy alone, but to no prevail. She will lose all hope in winning. Then she shall glow like a star on a moonless night and the person who keeps her hope will help her fight. Together they will destroy the enemy's weapon, bringing a balance to the worlds. I shall stay as long as I can, and help you out as much as I'm permitted to.- Phoenix told her. Yes, Muriel thought, but I don't want to fight alone.

She inspected her shoulder, just to make sure that nothing had happened to her. Nothing, but the pain was still there, throbbing as if to remind her of the task before her. She swallowed hard, just try and think of something else, she told herself, you knew this day would come someday, it was just sooner then you expected. She slowly got out of bed. She lit the candles around the room one at a time with her powers, she knew that she shouldn't, but it somehow seemed to calm her. She got into her fighting clothes, and fiercely tied up her hair so that it wouldn't get caught in anything, for it was very long. She put on her sash, got around all her possessions, and put them into her pack (it could hold very large things though it was so small because inside it is a large room, you know kind of like a Marry Poppens type of thing, but it was so light the smallest child could carry it without trouble). She picked up the clothes that Arwen had given her and thought to return them, for she wouldn't need them on such a journey. "Meow," Muriel jumped to the sound of Senay waking up. Jumpy today are we, she thought to herself. She stroked Senay's head to reassure herself that everything was alright. She quickly tied Aife around her waist. You never know when your going to need her, she thought to herself. Daylight was just beginning to creep over the trees when she went down to the meeting place, the same place that she and Aragorn had fought the night before. She slowly turned to the stables, thinking on how she probably shouldn't have Aife and should probably be borrowing a sword. When she got their there was a hobbit packing the pony next to Ahern. She smiled and started slowly walking up to Ahern, Ahern nudged the pony and the pony nudged back. "Now, stop that. I can't properly pack you if you two keep that up," the hobbit said.

"They've become friends, they're teasing each other. If you wouldn't pack in the stable then they wouldn't be doing that," Muriel said, partly to herself and partly because see wanted to talk to the hobbit. The hobbit wheeled around his small sword drawn. Muriel held up her hands to show she was no threat to the hobbit. He relaxed but still had his sword pointed at her.

"What business do you have in the stable at this time of night?!" He asked Muriel.

"I should ask you the same question, but I know better, for I remember you from the council of Elrond yesterday, and I know that were going on the same mission. My name is Muriel." She told him. He withdrew his sword and started packing again. Muriel moved beside him and opened the stall for Ahern. Ahern moved out stiffly, stretching out her leg muscles as she withdrew from her stall. Muriel said nothing as she put the newly polished saddle on Ahern's back. She started putting bundles of blankets on the saddle, knowing that she probably wouldn't be able to ride her during the journey. She hooked her pack beside her back saddle bag, she turned back to the hobbit and the pony. She was surprised to see the pony overloaded with things. "You're overloading your pony," She said gently to him, "please, give me some of your things to put on my horse, she can carry more then your small pony." The hobbit gave her a strange look and started handing her blankets, pots, pans, and food. When her horse was loaded properly, and the pony could finally stand without shaking, she turned to the hobbit and bowed.

He bowed back to her, "I'm sorry, I shouldn't have been so rude. It's just that Mr. Frodo has to destroy the ring and I'm afraid it will destroy him before he even has a chance."

Muriel nodded and said, "We must have faith that Frodo will be strong. If we loose faith, then our quest will be in vain for the enemy has already won. But we cannot talk about this now, come we must go to the meeting area."

Everyone else was already waiting for them. And Elrond stood to speak, "The ring bearer is going on a quest to Mt. Doom, those that go with him, no bond or oath bonds you to this mission. May the blessings of Elves, Men, and all the free creatures of Middle-earth go with you." As they turned to leave Muriel ran to Arwen giving her an unsuspected hug and handing her the clothes.

"No, " Arwen told her, "They belong to you now. You never know when you'll need them. Go, they are waiting for you." Muriel turned and left. She didn't want to look back, for if she did the knew that she wouldn't be able to go on the journey no matter what. They walked for at least a mile before Muriel was able to look back but all she could see was trees. Legolas begin to sing, he sang about the trees, flowers, and his travels. Most of the time he sang in the common language they could all understand but occasionally would sing in Elvish. Muriel, being caught up in the moment, started to sing also.

Armina-sol, l'assassino di drago Armina-sol, dragon killer

Hun i capelli che ardendo amano il fuoco Her hair blazing like fire

Hun ha ucciso il drago stor Maur She killed the great dragon Maur

Damar-sol, Armina-sol

Sola av Damar Princess of Damar

Hun passeggiare senza regna She rode without reigns

Demar-sol, Armina-sol

Hun les montres calmes par-dessus Damar She still watches over Damar

She suddenly felt eyes watching her, so she turned to the rest of the fellowship, they were all looking at her with curiosity. I shouldn't have done that, she thought to herself. "Where did you learn that song?" Legolas said amazed.

"Oh," Muriel said. "where I come from, that is a very common song sung. Especially when we go to war." All the rest of the fellowship turned their attention on the road ahead but Legolas and Aragorn continued to stare. The next few days were harsh and cold, Muriel remembered very little that went on those days, all but Senay kept them all fed by hunting down small deer. On the thirteenth night they could finally see the mountains.

They had stopped by some huge bolder to rest and eat. Muriel was admiring the view, before her. Feeling the wind on her back, she felt comfortable. She heard the clashing of swords behind her, and she knew that Boromir was teaching the two of the hobbits, Merry and Pippin, how to fight with swords. "Ow!" yelled a voice behind her. She turned to see Boromir come toward Merry holding his arms out. Merry kicked him in the foot and Merry and Pippin begin to wrestle him. Boromir begin to laugh as the little hobbits tried to hold him down.

Aragorn came up to put a stop to the friendly tussle, but he too, was flipped by the hobbits. Then he too, began to tussle with the hobbits. She turned, for she had seen something move out of the corner of her eye, it was just Legolas. He had just moved from looking toward the Mountains to looking to the left of Muriel. Legolas was looking to the south-west for there was a dark cloud. Muriel thought she felt some sort of danger come from it. She stepped up next to him, "What is it? It can not possibly be a cloud, for it moves against the wind."

Legolas said nothing. Muriel heard in the back ground that the Hobbits and Men had stopped their tussle. Then Legolas shouted, "Crebain from Dunland!" The whole camp rushed to hide everything, though Muriel did not know why she felt they all must hide.

"Peau Ahern, Senay, o Bill! Hide Ahern, Senay, and Bill!" She called to the horses and her cat. They all went into high brush and lied down. She saw Legolas hide behind some brush, and she followed him. She lied on her back to see what the big fuss was made about. What she saw next surprised her, crows of large size flying. She looked at Legolas with a confused look, but he was looking up intently at the crows. The crows circled there camp once and left as quickly as they had come. They all crept out of their hiding spots. They looked at one another, trying to decide what to do.

Finally Gandalf spoke up, "We cannot go the way that we were going for it is being watched by Saruman's spies. We must take the pass of Caradhras." He said turning to the gigantic mountain before them. Oh great, Muriel thought, why dose it have to be over a mountain? They started their climb up the steep mountain, every step seemed like another struggle. The hobbits were having a terrible time climbing up, Frodo seemed to have the worst luck. She quickly went to Frodo, "Would you rather ride then walk?" She asked him. He looked at her with weary eyes, and nodded. She whistled for Ahern and lifted the small hobbit onto the large horse. She had him sit on all the things that Sam and herself placed on Ahern. Then she unwrapped one of her warm blankets, she wrapped it around his shoulders for him, and then walked on. Snow began to fall, first the snow fell very lightly, Muriel was glad, for it would cover their tracks. Then it snowed harder and the wind began to blow the snow into there eyes which temporary blinded them. Legolas, being an elf, walked on top of the snow. He paused, "There is a fell voice on the air," he told the remainder of the fellowship.

"It's Saruman!" Gandalf yelled, trying to be heard over the wind. A rumbling sound was heard and they looked up to see large rocks being hurled down upon them. Fortunately they missed them, but by inches.

"He's trying to bring down the Mountain!" Boromir shouted. "Gandalf, we must turn back!"

"No! I shall try the counter curse!" Gandalf yelled. "Forgwae lasta le! Cegla bar!"

Even with the counter curse the snow kept falling. Suddenly a rumbling sound could be heard, the snow above them had fallen loose and had become an avalanche. Muriel looked up just in time to see the white blanket fall on her. At first all she could think was about the cold. Then she realized that she couldn't breath, she started franticly for the surface. Her lungs felt like they were on fire, she knew that if she didn't get to the surface soon that she would be one dead Pegacorn. As she started to dig the snow she felt strong hands and arms help her out. She gasped and realized Legolas had pulled her out. He was now working on Gimli, she helped him pull out the heavy dwarf. The rest of the fellowship was already out of the snow. She saw Frodo on Ahern, there safe, she thought with a sigh of relief.

"We must get off the mountain, and take the Gap of Rohan to my city!" Boromir yelled.

"The Gap of Rohan takes us to close to Isengard!" Aragorn told him.

"If we must go over a mountain, let us go under it, let us take the mines of Moria!" Gimli stated.

"This is up to the Ring bearer to decide," Gandalf stated

"We cannot stay here! This will be the death of the Hobbits!" Boromir yelled over the wind that had picked up with intensity. Frodo looked to his friends, Merry, Pippin, and Sam, they all looked very pail from the cold, and he knew that they wouldn't survive if they went over the mountains any further.

"Frodo?" Gandalf asked him.

"We shall go though the mines!" He told them. Only Gandalf and Legolas did not relax at this idea. By the time dark fell they were down the mountain a ways. All the hobbits, except for Frodo were still cold when they got there. Muriel lent them blankets to help warm them up. Boromir tried to make a fire but to no prevail, it passed to Aragorn, then to Gimli, Legolas, and finally to Muriel. Muriel knew that if someone did not start a fire that they would all die. She knew she wasn't supposed to use her noingha, but this was between life and death. She turned the other way when she did it. She concentrated and glared at the peace of wood. Sparks flue and for a moment it looked like even her noingha couldn't spark the damp wood. Then the log burst into flames, she put it into the fire ring. Clouds still were in the sky but they didn't snow. The next morning the sky was still cloudy. Muriel was working on snow shoes, from some extra wood she had found and leather that she had in her pack. Apparently the snow had made a deep ring of snow around them last night.

"If Gandalf would go before us with a bright flame, he might melt a path for you," Legolas told them.

"If Elves could fly over mountains, they might fetch the Sun to save us," answered Gandalf. "But I must have something to work on. I cannot burn show."

"Well," said Boromir, "when heads are at a loss bodies must serve, as we say in my country. The strongest of us must seek a way. Maybe it would prove easier beyond. It is no more then a furlong off, I guess."

"Then let us force a path thither, you and I.!" Said Aragorn. They left, Boromir in front of Aragorn.

Legolas watched them for a while with a smile upon his lips, and then he turned to the others. "The strongest must seek a way, they say? But I say: let a ploughman plough, but choose an otter for swimming, and for running light over grass and leaf, or over snow, an Elf." He sprang forth getting ready to find a way down the rest of the mountain.

"Legolas, let me go with you," Muriel asked him.

"I cannot, for you shall sink into the snow," He answered her a little disappointed. He did wish to walk with her for a ways, but she could not possibly walk on snow.

"But I won't if I wear these." She told him showing him the nice snow shoes that she had just finished.

Legolas stared at them. How can these keep her above the snow? They are too flimsy, he thought to himself. He was very curious on if they would work or not though, so he invited her to come. " Farewell! We are going to find the sun." And with that they set off, and Senay followed them. When they reached the snow, Muriel slipped them on her own shoes (before this she used her noingha to make the snowshoes light and not so bulky). Legolas waited for her on top of the snow to see if this invention of hers would work. She elegantly walked onto the snow, it was only an inch above the ground where she began but as she walked toward Legolas it became very deep. He was surprised that it had worked, they started walking with one another, not saying a word to each other and ignoring the cat that was following them. They passed Aragorn and Boromir quickly, they waved and quickly left them behind, unknown that they were being watched.

* * * * * * * * * * * * *

Saruman was gazing into the palantír, watching their every move. He smiled, too easy, he thought. Sauron gave him a very easy task, too easy. He quickly climbed his stares to the very top of his tower. He called out in a loud voice; "Caradhras, aglareborod, nev le maegamon edhel a beleghíril na raenith. Úcoi I edhel!" now that the spell was cast he would watch, his master's threat die. He climbed down the rest of the stairs to the palantír, to tell his master that the deed was done.

* * * * * * * * * * * * *

"So how long have you lived in Mirkwood?" Muriel asked.

"I've lived there all my life." Legolas said. "After my mother left to the Undying lands, my father became vary protective of me, and the rest of his sons."

Muriel stopped, there's something wrong here, she thought, some unseen danger lurks by. She looked back, but she could not see Boromir or Aragorn come around the other side of the ridge yet. She put her hand on Aife, waiting for some attack. Senay sensed the tenseness in Muriel, and also was tense, ready for battle.

"Are you alright?" he asked her. Muriel snapped out of her thoughts and stared back at the Elf.

"Yes, I'm fine I just thought...I thought I heard something," She told him. "It's nothing."

Legolas looked at her with uncertainty. Her eyes keep going opaque like she didn't want him to know something, he wished that she would realy tell him what was the matter. They started to walk again, but Muriel was more alert, waiting for an invisible attack. Legolas ran forward, next to the cliff, a little too close. Muriel saw it before it happened, she felt that he was in danger. She yelled out to him, but it was too late. She saw him slip on the hidden ice. She watched him fall.

"Legolas!" She screamed, she knew that no one would hear her. She jumped off the cliff after him. He was ahead of her, and his back was toward her. She knew what she was doing was wrong and that her people, if they found out, would never forgive her. She didn't care anymore, she didn't know why. She quickly caught up with him. She grabbed on to the back of his shirt, they were very near the ground now. She heard Phoenix yell at her, -Open your wings, OPEN YOUR WINGS!- Realizing that Phoenix was right, she opened her wings, and they stopped falling with a jerk. She slowly began flying to the ledge where they had fallen. Legolas looked up, why am I not falling? He thought. All he could see were the wings of the thing that now held him. Legolas knew that it was not an eagle, for the thing had white wings and eagles never have white wings. Muriel was finally at the ledge, it was hard going, for she wasn't used to carrying something while she flew. It wasn't that he was heavy, no that wasn't it, and it was that it was awkward carrying something. She dropped him on the snow, and then landed herself. There was no hiding from the truth now, he had seen her, or at least her wings. She looked back at him, he was staring at her with hundreds of questions in his eyes.

"What...What are you?" He asked her.

Muriel felt like she could cry. How would he treat her now, now that he knew her secrete? She hoped for the best, but expected the worst, "I am a Pegacorn, a unicorn with wings if you will, my mission is to see the ring destroyed. I do not live in Middle earth, but come from a different plaint called, Cavallorno. Many years ago I was chosen to become a part of the fight to destroy evil forever. I wasn't supposed to tell you, but I must do so now. You must promise me not to tell anyone, not even the rest of the fellowship. Will you promise?"

"I promise, but I have a question, was that your native tong that you said to your horse when we first came to Rivendell?" He asked her.

Muriel smiled, "Yes, in my language we can talk to animals and they can actually understand us."

"Can you tech me?" he asked her. "I would be willing to teach you Elvish in return."

Muriel thought for a minute, if her people were to find out then she would be severely punished, she did want to know Elvish, though. Senay looked up at them uncertainly, she had watched as both of them fall and had a worried look on her face. But Muriel ignored Senay's look and said, "Ok, but we must teach one another in the depth of the night. We must be getting back they will be wondering about us."

"Oh, I almost forgot about what we were doing." He looked down the rest of the slope. He could see where the snow became shallow. "We can go back and tell the rest where there's less snow."

"Or maybe we could give Aragorn and Boromir a hand." Muriel said. "We should give them a rest."

"Yes, we should probably help them," he said. They walked together silently, as if nothing had happened. When they had found Aragorn and Boromir, they were surprised greatly. The two Men had gotten a lot further when they had seen them last. "We have come to relieve you from your duty," Legolas told the weary Men.

Aragorn looked up at the Elf and what he thought was a spy. Legolas looks different somehow, I hope that she did not do anything to him, he thought angrily but ,"Thank you," was all he said.

"Go back to camp, you are weary, and you can tell the others that we have found a way down." Muriel said.

Aragorn stared into her eyes, what are you playing at, he thought. But he agreed he wanted to go back to check on Frodo anyways. "Yes, we shall go back and tell the others. Let us leave, Boromir." Muriel watched as Boromir and Aragorn faded into the distance.

"I do not think Aragorn trusts me." Muriel stated.

"He doesn't, he thinks you're a spy from Mordor. I can't blame him, you are a little strange, but I know better now. " Legolas answered her. "But he wants to be careful, with the ring of power, being that it is very important to destroy it. But on another leaf, how are we going to get rid of all this snow?"

"I think I have an idea. You might be startled, though." Muriel said.

"I don't startle easily." Legolas said bravely.

Muriel smiled, then she closed her eyes. -I'm going to have to use your help.-

-Well, it's about time. I thought you would never ask, with you pulling that stunt. Are you trying to impress him?- Phoenix inquisitively asked.

-No! Now help me!- Muriel demanded.

She felt the power rise within her, it went down her arm and to her hand. She looked at her hand, there was a small flame. She walked down into the snow trench, holding it in her hand like a precious stone. She raised it to the wall that she wanted to move. She concentrated only thinking, grow fire. The fire in her hand slowly grew, till it was the size of a small bonfire. The heat from it was very intense, but she knew that it would do the job. She raised her palm to the snow that was in her way. She swiftly melted the snow to where the snow became toe deep. "Well," she said breathlessly "I think were done." She sat down suddenly, so suddenly, that it surprised her.

"Are you alright Lady?" Legolas asked her. She looked a little green to him.

"Yah, I'm...just a little tired that's all, and don't call me Lady." She said. Well, she thought, that's half of it, I can also feel some evil power growing. Senay came up to her, and rubbed her head against Muriel's leg. She stood back up, "We better get back."

As they walked back, Muriel hoped that nothing had happened to anyone while she was gone. Legolas gave her a comforting smile, she smiled back. She didn't know why but she yelled at him, "Race you back." They were off, Muriel was running as fast as she could. She looked over to see Legolas effortlessly running beside her. She smiled, she reached for her noingha. She wasn't about to let an Elf beat her. She was slowly losing the elf, or so she thought. It was when they finally saw the camp, that he passed her. Oh no you don't, she thought. She pushed herself to go faster then she had ever gone before. They were neck and neck now. Legolas glanced at her with a surprised look in his eyes. He got ahead of her, again. Then she pushed herself to get in ahead of him, unfortunately when she did she tripped. Legolas tried to jump over her but his legs got tangled up with hers. They tumbled the rest of the way to the camp. They were laughing by the time they stopped tumbling.

"Humph, I thought Elves were supposed to be graceful." Gimli said.

"They are," Muriel said smiling. "Unless they are in a race and happen to have an ungraceful person in front of them. Who trips, falls, and makes a total fool out of herself. We have finished the path for you Aragorn and Boromir."

"Only, wizardry could finish the path that fast," Boromir said loathingly to Muriel. Muriel ignored his statement, and started packing Ahern. She smiled at the hobbits, but they quickly looked away as if she would turn them to toads. Even Gandalf was ignoring her. She tried not to let it bother her. She had got this treatment at home, so why should it bother her here? Because these people are my friends, she thought. They slowly went down the path. Boromir carried Frodo, Legolas carried Pippin, Aragorn carried Merry, and Bill the pony carried Sam. When they all had reached the end of the ditch, a rumbling sound could be heard behind them and rocks blocked the way they had just come. Muriel sighed, she was relieved that they were out of that predicament. The next few hours they steadily walked on until night begin to creep up on them. Before she went to bed she taught Legolas some of her language, he picked it up very quickly. He tried to teach her the Elvish language, surprisingly to Muriel it was very easy. Afterwards Muriel did not sleep that night, her noingha told her that something evil was out there in the forest waiting for them. The next morning they picked up there pace, that evening they were at Moria's hidden gate. Muriel was frozen to the bone, though it was warm out, she felt something was wrong.

Gandalf had walked in between two trees, and brushed against the wall like he was looking for an invisible door. "Well, we are here at last!" said Gandalf. "here the Elven-way from Hollin ended. Holly was the token of the people of that land, and they planted it here to mark the end of their domain; for the West-door was made chiefly for their use in their traffic with the Lords of Moria. Those were happier days, when there was there was still close friendship at times between folk of different race, even between Dwarves and Elves."

"It was not the fault of the Dwarves that the friendship waned," said Gimli.

"I have not heard that is was the fault of the Elves," said Legolas.

"I have heard both," said Gandalf; `and I will not give judgment now. But I beg you two, Legolas and Gimli, at least to be friends, and to help me. I need you both. The doors are shut and hidden, and the sooner we find them the better. Night is at hand!"

Turning to the rest of the fellowship he said: "While I am searching, will you make ready to enter the Mines? For here I fear we must say farewell to our good beasts of burden. You must lay aside much of the stuff that we brought against bitter weather: you will not need it inside, nor, I hope, when we come through ad journey on down into the South. Instead each of us must take a share of what the pony and horse carried, especially the food and the water-skins."

"But you can't leave poor old Bill behind in this forsaken place, Mr. Gandalf!" cried Sam, angry and distressed. "I won't have it, and that's flat. After he has come so far and all!"

"I am so sorry, Sam," said the wizard. "But when the Door opens I do not think you will be able to drag your Bill inside, into the long dark of Moria. You will have to choose between Bill and your master."

"He'd follow Mr. Frodo into a dragon's den, if I led him," protested Sam. "It'd be nothing short of murder to turn him loose, with wolves and bears and all."

"Don't worry Sam, Ahern will take care of him. Their friends now, and Ahern would protect him with her life." Muriel said.

Sam stood sullenly by the pony and returned no answer. Bill, seeming to understand well what was going on, nuzzled up to him, putting his nose to Sam's ear. Sam burst into tears, and fumbled with the straps, unlading all the pony's packs and throwing them on the ground. The others sorted out the goods, making a pile of all that could be left behind, and dividing the rest. Muriel went to Ahern, untying only what she would probably need through Moria, leaving the rest. She left her quiver on Ahern but pulled a few arrows from the quiver and put them in her pack. She knew that the pony would probably go back to Rivendell, while Ahern being a war horse, would know where to go, she always did. Muriel put her hand on Ahern, and gave a copy of the map of Middle-earth to her, she knew that was all Ahern needed.

When this was dome they turned to watch Gandalf. He appeared to have done nothing. He was standing between the two trees gazing at the blank wall of the cliff, as if he would bore a hole into it with his eyes. Gimli was wandering about, tapping the stone here and there with his axe. Legolas was pressed against the rock, as if listening.

"Well, here we are and all ready," said the hobbit Merry; "but where are the Doors? I can't see any sign of them."

"Dwarf-doors are not made to be seen when shut," said Gimli. "They are invisible, and their own masters cannot find them or open them, if their secret is forgotten."

"But this Door was not made to be a secret known only to Dwarves," said Gandalf, coming suddenly to life and turning round. "Unless things are altogether changed, eyes that know what to look for may discover the signs."

He walked forward to the wall. Right between the shadow of the trees there was a smooth space, and over this he passed his hands to and fro, muttering words under his breath. Then he stepped back.

"Look!" he said. "Can you see anything now?"

The moon now shone upon the grey face of the rock; but they could see nothing else for a while. Then slowly on the surface, where the wizard's hands had passed, faint lines appeared, like the threads where in places blurred or broken, the outline could be seen of an anvil and a hammer surmounted by a crown with seven stars. Beneath these again were two trees, each bearing crescent moons. More clearly then all else there shone forth in the middle of the door a single star with many rays. Muriel gasped, she had never seen a star so beautiful.

"There are the emblems of Durin!" called Gimli.

"And there is the Tree of the High Elves!" said Legolas.

"And the star of the House of Fëanor," said Gandalf. "They are wrought of ithidin that mirrors only starlight and moonlight, and sleeps until it touched by one who speaks words now long forgotten in Middle-earth. It is long since I heard them, and I thought deeply before I could recall them to my mind."

"What does the writing say?" asked Frodo, who was trying to decipher the inscription on the arch. "I thought I knew the elf-letters, but I cannot read these."

"The words are in the elven-tongue of the West of Middle Earth in the Elder Days." Answered Gandalf. "But they do not say anything of importance to us. Then say only: The Doors of Durin, Lord of Mora. Speak, friend, and enter. And underneath small and faint is written: I, Narvi, made them. Celebrimbor of Hollin drew these signs."

"What does it mean by speak, friend, and enter? Asked Merry.

"That is plain enough," said Gimli. "If you are a friend, speak the password, and the doors will open, and the doors will open, and you can enter."

"Yes," said Gandalf, "these doors are probably governed by words. Some dwarf-gate will open only at special times; or for particular persons; and some have locks and keys that are still needed when all necessary times and words are known. These doors have no key. In the days of Durin they were not secret. They usually stood open and doorwards sat here. But if they were shut, any who knew the opening word could speak it and pass in. At least so it is recorded, is it not Gimli?"

"It is," said the dwarf. "But what the word was is not remembered. Narvi and his craft and all his kindred have vanished from the earth."

"But do not you know the word, Gandalf?" asked Boromir in surprise.

"No!" said the wizard.

The others looked dismayed; only Aragorn, who knew Gandalf well, remained silent and unmoved.

"Then what was the use of bringing us to this accursed spot" cried Boromir, glancing back with a shudder at the dark water. "You told us that you had once passed though the Mines. How could that be, if you did not know how to enter?"

"The answer to you first question, Boromir," said the wizard, "is that I do not know the word - yet. But we shall soon see. And" he added, with a glint in his eyes under their bristling brows, "you may ask what is the use of my deeds when they are proved useless. As for you other question: do you doubt my tale? Or have you no wits left? I did not enter this way. I came from the East."

"If you wish to know, I will tell you that these doors open outwards. From the inside you may thrust them open with your hands. From the outside noting will move them save the spell of command. They cannot be forced inwards."

"What are you going to do then?" asked Pippin, undaunted by the wizard's bristling brows.

"Knock on the doors with your head, Peregrin Took," said Gandalf. "But if that dose not shatter them, and I am allowed a little peace from foolish questions, I will seek for the opening words."

"I once knew every spell in all the tongues of Elves or Men or Orcs, that was ever used for such a purpose. I can still remember ten score of them without searching in my mind. But only a few trials, I think, will be needed; and I shall not have to call on Gimli for words of the secret dwarf-tongue on the arch: that seems certain. The opening words were Elvish, like the writing on the arch: that seems certain."

He stepped up to the rock again, and lightly touched with his staff, the silver star in the middle beneath the sign of the anvil.

"Annon edhellen, edro hi ammen!

Fennas nogothrim, lasto beth lammen!"

He said in a commanding voice. The silver lines faded, but the blank grey stone did not stir.

Many times he repeated these words in different order, or varied them. Then he tried other spells, one after another, speaking faster and louder, now soft and slow. Then he spoke many single words of Elvish speech. Nothing happened. The cliff towered into the night, the countless stars were kindled, the wind blew cold, and doors stood fast.

Again Gandalf approached the wall, and lifting up his arms he spoke in tones of command and rising wrath. Edro! Edro! He cried, and struck the rock. Open, Open! He shouted, and followed it with the same command in every language, well almost every language, that had been spoken in the West of Middle-earth. Then he threw his staff on the ground, and sat down in silence.

Muriel turned to look at the water behind her, there was something lurking in the water, so she stared into it hoping to ketch a glimpse of anything that may be living in it. Suddenly she felt a knife next to her neck. She turned her head to see Aragorn holding the blade. "Don't move, spy from Mordor." He told her. "Boromir, hold onto Legolas, she must have him under a spell." But he had no need of telling Boromir what to do for he was already holding the elf fast.

"WHAT?! I am under no spell." Legolas said, struggling under the weight of the extremely heavy human.

"What are you going to do with me?" Muriel asked him calmly. She was used to people threatening her life, she seemed to have a knack for accidentally getting on the bad side of people.

"First release the spell you put on my friend, the one that you put on him when you two were alone on the mountain side," Aragon commanded from her.

"How can I release a spell when I have not cast one?" she asked him truthfully.

Aragorn frowned, "If you do not let him go at the count of three, I shall kill you and that shall get rid of this nasty spell. One...Two..."

Aragorn didn't even have a chance to get to three before Ahern let out a scream and rushed at him at blinding speed. The knife was knocked out of his hand before he even known what was happening. The horse was still moving in the same direction, with lightning quick reflexes she suddenly turned and ran strait for Aragorn. Muriel knew Ahern was coming in to finish him off. She knew what she had to do. She shoved him out of the way and set herself in the way of her own horse. Ahern stopped in front of her, ears back, screaming and rearing on her two hind legs. Muriel held up her hands protecting Aragorn, "Ahern! Ils non capire! Ha lasciato meg parlargli! Nous sont des amis, vous fiderà di meg! Ahern! They don't know! Let me talk with them! We are friends, you must trust me!"

Ahern still looked very irritated, but she came to Muriel's side and tried to remain calm. Muriel turned to Aragorn who was lying on his back looking up at her, speechless. His mouth was hanging open as he stared at them.

"I...er, want to apologize, she only wanted to protect me. I do not wish to harm any of you, and I think it is time for me to tell you my tale." Muriel breathed in a sigh of relief. She told the same story to them as she told Legolas. They all looked at her skeptically, except for Legolas. "You don't believe me do you?"

"If you had some proof maybe we would." Aragorn said smiling. She doesn't have any proof, he thought to himself.

"If you promise not to kill me," Muriel said and Aragorn nodded. Muriel breathed in a shaky breath. She looked at him for a moment, and a bright light engulfed her for a moment. Then the light was gone and all you saw was a beautiful palomino horse, except this horse had a horn in its head and a pair of wings on it's back. Aragorn stared in wonder and fear. The hobbits all looked in awe, and Gandalf chuckled.

"I knew she was hiding some secrete but she couldn't tell us," Gandalf said,

"Your not supposed to know, and if any of my people find out that I told you." She shuddered. "Not only my life but all of your lives would be in danger." Muriel said still in her pegacorn form. "Legolas found out only yesterday, when we were finding a way down the mountain. He slipped on some ice so I used by wings to save him."

The rest of the fellowship stared at her, like she was something from another planet. I am, she thought, I must say that I am the strangest thing that they probably have ever seen. Boromir had let Legolas go, partly in surprise and partly because he could no longer hold onto the struggling elf. A howl broke out from the way they had come, the hair on Muriel's back came up like a cold wind blowing grass in a field. She only had this feeling once in a while, it was the feeling of a predator nearby. More howls broke out closer this time, Muriel swung her head toward the noise, whatever it is she wanted to face it head on. Ahern let out a scream of rage and terror, and rushed to Bills side. Muriel changed back to her human like body and rushed over to Ahern and Bill hoping to calm them.

"Wargs!" Shouted Legolas putting an arrow to the string just in case a Warg decided to jump out at them suddenly. He was as tense as Muriel. Where the Warg prowls Orcs are not to far behind, he thought to himself.

"There close," Aragorn said calmly.

"Wait a minute, I've got it!" came a voice behind them. Frodo was standing in front of the stone doors now. "MELLON!" he shouted as loud as his hobbit voice would be permitted. There was a small rumble and the doors swung wide open. "It was a riddle. It said `speak, friend, and enter' so I said the elvish word for friend." He said shrugging. They put all they could on their backs, she waved Ahern off telling her that she can go.

It was a large dark tunnel, very damp, and it had the smell of old rotting bodies. Some thing littered the floor, she couldn't see quite what it was though, for it was very dark. She thought she saw something glittering by her foot but when she bended down to get a better look at it, but the glitter was gone. Gandalf was ahead of them, doing something with his staff. At the next moment, a bright light shone from it. Muriel looked around and gasped, what she had seen littering the ground was bodies, dwarf bodies, most of them were skeletons but some of them still had pieces of flesh hanging on them or hair. Muriel jumped back as she saw her leg was next to a very hairy dwarf. His armor glittered in the light. She looked around to see how the others were handling the situation, Legolas was looking at one of the arrows in a dwarf. Gimli stared shouting, "No, No, NOOOO!" apparently he wasn't expecting to see his fellow Dwarfs dead.

Legolas came toward her and whispered, "Get the hobbits out, there are goblins in these tunnels, do not startle them." Muriel started leading the hobbits to the exit, she turned for one second to make sure that the others didn't need their help. A scream came from behind her, she turned to see all the hobbits swarming around a fallen Frodo. She calmly walked over to them, she expected that Merry and Pippin were up to a prank. But as she reached them a slimy tentacle slither back into the murky pond. Muriel unsheathed Aife knowing that a second attack was likely. The water was still for what seemed like hours, then it erupted and about twenty slimy whips came and bat down the hobbits while one grabbed Frodo. Muriel sprang into action, and rushed toward the tentacle that held Frodo captive. She sliced the tentacle but another grabbed Frodo. She heard a bow sing and splashing behind her. She didn't care, her focus was to free Frodo, and that was what she only concentrated on. She spun taking down another tentacle that had resurfaced, that gave her an idea. She took out her long hunting knife and started spinning chopping the tentacles into peaces, Aife blazed blue and Muriel's anger magnified the inferno. Frodo finally came loose, Boromir caught him. "Run! " came a voice beside her. She ran to the entrance, out of the corner of her eye she could see the tentacles reaching for them. They barely made it to safety as the walls came crashing down behind them.

Thank you all for reading and reviewing my fanfic!

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