Hope and Dreams - Chapter 9

Chapter 9
Balin's Tomb and the Bridge of Khazâd-dûm

Hey! That rhymes, cool!

They had been walking for what seemed like hours before anyone said anything. Muriel had been just wondering what had happened to Senay when Gimli broke the silence "OH!" he cried out.

"Gimli!" Gandalf called after him, but it was useless. The Dwarf was heading to what looked like another large room, but not as large as the room that the rest of the fellowship was in. The remainder of the fellowship followed him, hoping to figure out what was attracting him into this particular room. Inside they saw a large stone tomb, what looked like a well, and many lifeless Dwarves littering the ground. Muriel could see the rude Dwarf, he had gone over to the tomb and was whaling. Gandalf looked at the inscription on the grave. "Here lies Balin, son of Fundin, Lord of Moria. He is dead, then. It's as I feared," he said with deep sorrow in his voice. Hearing that Gimli whaled even louder and started reciting something that Muriel couldn't understand. Muriel watched as Gandalf picked up a book from a skeleton and handed his staff and hat to Pippin. He studied it for a moment and then opened it. "They have taken the bridge and the second hall. We have barred the gates, but cannot hold them for long. The ground shakes. Drums... drums in the deep," Gandalf paused looking up at the fellowship. He quickly continued, "We cannot get out. A Shadow moves in the dark. We cannot get out. They are coming." Suddenly a loud bang was herd, Muriel jumped and swiftly turned around. Pippin was near the well, Muriel could see that there was a skeleton on the well with a missing head. Then she could see that the body was starting to fall over, quickly she ran to Pippin's side to try and grab the body before it made any more noise, but she was too late. She could hear the well echo from the body and helmet hitting its sides. Then there was complete silence, the tension was thick in the room, but they waited a few moments more but still no noise was heard. Everyone breathed a sigh of relief. "Fool of a Took! Throw yourself in next time and rid us of your stupidity!" Gandalf said sternly to Pippin, grabbing his staff and hat out of Pippin's hands.

boom, Boom, BOOM, Boom, boom. The sound of a drum echoed in the silence of the room. Muriel had heard this sound only once before, and knew what danger was coming. "Orcs!" yelled Legolas pulling out his bow. Boromir and Aragorn ran to the door, hoping to shut it before the goblins came. Boromir put his head out of the doorway hoping to catch a glimpse of their adversary. Abruptly his head jerked back, and Muriel could see two arrows where Boromir's head once was. "They have a cave troll," he said quickly to Aragorn as they both pulled the doors inwards. Legolas, seeing some axes nearby, through them to the two men. Aragorn and Boromir quickly secured the door with the large hatchets. "Stay close to Gandalf!" yelled Aragorn to the four Hobbits. Screeches could be heard outside of the door, and something started banging on the already weak door. Muriel pulled out her bow and a few arrows from her pack, hopping to kill a few Orcs before they got to any of the fellowship. She could hear the door crack under the axes of the terrifying goblins. Holes began to appear and Muriel sent an arrow quickly flying through one of them. Aragorn and Legolas followed her example by shooting arrows through the now numerous holes. Muriel quickly put away her bow, the rest of her arrows, and quickly pulled out Aife. The moment she touched Muriel's hand, she burst into blue fire, and Muriel's red hair curled under the heat of her mounting anger. The door suddenly burst open, reveling the many Orcs now rushing to them. Muriel stood her ground waiting for the first Orc to attack her. The first one to reach her was dead before it even had a chance to raise its shield to block the blow. Another came at her, than another, and as quickly as they came they were dead. Too easy, Muriel thought to herself, unaware that the battle had just begun.

Hearing a crash, she suddenly looked up to see a large creature with a club raised to strike, moving toward Sam. It was a very large creature with many bumps on it's back, almost like large boils. Sam quickly moved between the creatures legs. Muriel ran in the direction of Sam, hoping to help distract the monster for him, but was quickly stopped, for six Orcs leapt ahead of her. She quickly disposed of them and turned back to Sam, but Sam was away from the creature's grasp. She quickly turned her attention back to the Orcs, who were now greatly reduced in numbers. All of a sudden she heard a cry, "Aragorn! Aragorn!" She turned to see Frodo cornered by the great monster. She was furthest away from Frodo but started running to his aid anyways. Again, Orcs blocked her way but she quickly made mincemeat out of them. She was running again, faster this time. She watched as Aragorn jumped down to Frodo, with spear in hand, and stabbed the monster in between the ribs. The fiend, now bellowing in pain, hit Aragorn with its tremendously strong arm and dropped its club at the same time. Aragorn flew a few feet before hitting one of the ancient walls of the room. Muriel could clearly see that he was knocked out. The monster now pulled the spear out of its ribs and raised it, aiming for Frodo. "Oh no you don't," Muriel said out loud. She was now directly behind the creature, and with a slash of her sword she hit him in the leg. The monster bellowed in pain once again, and turned to face Muriel. Muriel was now backing up, hoping to lead it away from Frodo and Aragorn. The creature dropped the spear and once again, picked up its club. It quickly caught up to her with the club raised in hand ready to strike. It suddenly brought the club down, it smiled thinking it had killed its adversary, but a sharp pain in it's right leg told him otherwise. Muriel was now playing a game of cat and mouse with the monster. Once the monster thought it had her, it would bring down it's club while she would jump out of its way and stab the creature again.

On about the fifteenth time of jumping out of the way she felt a sharp pain in her right knee. Looking down, she saw a dieing Orc had stabbed her with its knife. -Look out!- Phoenix called, and Muriel quickly moved out of the way. The creature's club had missed her by millimeters and had now crushed the Orc that stabbed her. Hearing a cry above her, she looked up to see Merry and Pippin on the creature's back stabbing it with their little knives. Captivated, Muriel watched as the monster grabbed Merry, and started tossing him around as if he were a rag doll. Finally Merry was released from the creature's grasp and fell to the floor, unharmed. Legolas was now next to Muriel, bow ready, waiting for the right opportunity to let it fly. At last, Pippin gave him that chance, he had stabbed the monster in the back of the head which made it bellow in pain. Legolas let the arrow fly right into the creature's mouth. It groaned for a few seconds and with one last step, crashed to the ground. The rest of the fellowship hurried over to, what looked like, Frodo laying on the ground. Muriel, making sure no one was watching, pulled the knife out of her knee. It was bleeding profusely, but there was no time to bandage it up now, she had to see to Frodo. Quickly she joined to the rest of the fellowship who was looking at Frodo's lifeless form. "What happened?" she asked softly. Sam, who was close to tears, said, "When you distracted the Cave Troll an Orc came and...and ..." Sam couldn't finish the sentence, but Muriel knew what must have happened. Aragorn, who was sitting next to Frodo, turned him so they could see his face. They all heard a gasp come out of Frodo and saw him open his eyes and sit up. "I'm alright, I'm not hurt."

Aragorn looked at him with relief in his eyes. "You should be dead," Aragorn said. "That sword should have killed you with one blow." Frodo looked at all of them, and slowly opened up his shirt to reveal his chain mail shirt. "Mithril," Gimli said gasping, "You are full of suppresses Mr. Baggens."

More screeches could be heard outside of the doorway as the fellowship looked at Frodo's Mithril coat. "To the bridge of Khazâd-dûm," Gandalf told them. They quickly ran out of the doorway and into the large hall. Every step Muriel's right leg took it sent a blinding pain up her leg, but she tried to not let it show. The running seemed to take hours, but they never seemed to get anywhere. Thousands of Orcs were now popping out of holes in the ground everywhere. Muriel thought she heard something above her, looking up she saw more Orcs coming out of large cracks in the ceiling. The Orcs had them quickly surrounded, and Muriel prepared for the fight of her life. Suddenly, a roar was heard behind them. The Orcs looked suddenly afraid, and disappeared as quickly as they came. Gimli gave a hardy, "Huh, well we showed them!" before he even realized that it was not he that scared the goblins away. Muriel turned to face this new thing. She sensed the great evil she had felt before, only this time it was moving toward them. "What is this new devilry?" she heard Boromir ask. "A Belrog," Gandalf said. "A demon of the ancient world. This foe is beyond any of you. Run!" Quickly they followed Gandalf through the long dark hallway. Muriel took up the rear, for her leg was slowing her down. They quickly found a door, much like the one that Balin's tomb had been.

A bright light was shining from it, and for a moment Muriel thought that she was almost out. Unfortunately, she soon realized the light she saw was only firelight and in the redness of the fames she saw that the steps that should have been in front of her were now gone. Boromir, who had not seen that the steps had ended, would have fell to the large chasm below if it were not for Legolas, who grabbed him at the last moment. The fellowship paused a moment waiting for Gandalf to lead them on, but he seemed to be talking with Aragorn. There conversation, what ever it had been about, was quickly over and Gandalf was soon leading them down large, steep steps. The steps seemed to take forever, and were in need of repair. Almost every five steps they needed to jump a short break in them. Halfway they soon came upon a very large crack in the steps. Legolas was the first to jump over. "Gandalf," he said when he was across it, holding out his arms showing that he would catch him. Gandalf jumped rightly into Legolas's arms. A whistling sound was heard, and a black arrow landed before the Hobbit's feet. Legolas, with lightning quick reflexes, shot an arrow back at the enemy.

"Don't worry about them, Legolas!" Muriel yelled, pulling out her bow and arrows once more, "I'll take care of them." Opening her wings and setting an arrow to her bow, she quickly disposed of one of their many foes. The Orcs then concentrated on firing at her, but to little avail. She then few off, doing many aerial stunts, trying to make the Orcs guess where she would fly next. Every once in a while she would put another arrow to the string and sent it flying in the head of an Orc. "Frodo!" she heard a cry behind her. She turned to see Aragorn and Frodo standing on what was left of the stairway. The gap had grown between the rest of the fellowship and the two standing on the other side, from when Muriel last looked back. As she dived and spun to avoid the many arrows that flew at her, Muriel watched in horror as the stairway that Frodo and Aragorn were on was now threatening to fall and take them with it. Aragorn was giving Frodo directions on which way to lean, while the stone beneath them moaned and groaned underneath them. "Lean forward," she heard Aragorn say at last, when they were finally lined up with the other stairway that the rest of the fellowship was on (that is, of course, everyone but Muriel). Muriel watched as the stairway, ever so slowly, fell toward their safety. At the last moment Aragorn and Frodo were forced to jump, Aragorn into Legolas's arms and Frodo into the awaiting arms of Boromir. Muriel breathed a sigh of relief, and flew quickly to join the rest of the fellowship. She landed and tried to run beside them but her knee kept her from running too fast. Once they all were at the end of the stairs they ran down another rather long hall. Muriel was now lagging behind, trying desperately to keep up with them all. "Over the bridge!" she heard Gandalf say. "Fly!"

Fly? Muriel thought. Why dose he want me to fly now? I know I am lagging behind but we are almost out, aren't we? Muriel could feel that the Belrog was very close now and decided to take Gandalf's advice about flying. No sooner then her feet lifted off the ground, the great Belrog appeared. Muriel did not wish to look back so she quickly flew off, hoping that she would get outside faster then it could catch her. She could hear the loud footsteps of the Belrog behind her, it sounded like a very large creature to her, but she didn't dare look back. She could see the very narrow bridge before her, littered with much dirt and dust. She hovered in the air a moment, waiting for Frodo to cross the bridge. After she was sure that Frodo was safe she quickly landed beside him, waiting for the others to come and join them. Muriel watched as the terrifying Belrog came into view. It seemed to be made of lava, fire, and evil itself. Gandalf, who was the last one to cross the bridge, seemed to linger in the middle of it, as if waiting for the monster to approach him. He turned to face his foe. "You cannot pass," Gandalf said without faltering. "Gandalf!" Frodo shouted beside Muriel. "I am a servant of the secret fire, wielder of the flame of Anor! Dark fire shall not avail you, flame of Udun!" Gandalf shouted again holding up his staff, a barrier growing around him. The foul Belrog unsheathed a large sword that seemed to be made of some sort of glass and fire, and flung it at Gandalf. A bright light shone for a brief period when the barrier and sword clashed. For a little while no one could see any thing, but when everyone regained their sight they could see that the Belrog's sword was no more. But the Belrog was not finished yet, it took out a whip that seemed to be made of pure embers. It cracked it once to show it's might.

"YOU SHALL NOT PASS!" Gandalf yelled bringing down his staff on the bridge. Nothing seemed to have happened to it, but still Gandalf did not move. The Belrog seemed to sneer at Gandalf and took a step forward only to find that the bridge beneath him had given out. As the Belrog tumbled out of view, Muriel breathed out a sigh of relief and turned to the exit, the danger had passed. Has it? a dark voice asked her. Muriel turned to see Gandalf hanging on to the ledge, but barely. "GANDALF!" Muriel screamed running toward him. I've got to help him, she thought to herself. WHAM! Muriel laid on the ground dazed, what had she hit? She looked up to see nothing there. She tied to run to Gandalf again and again she had hit something. She got up and felt around, there was something blocking her from getting to him. -Phoenix! What's going on? Why can't I get to Gandalf?- She asked her. Phoenix said nothing, and Muriel knew that this was her doing. -PHOENIX!! WHAT ARE YOU DOING? I HAVE TO SAVE HIM!- Muriel roared at her. -You have to let him go, Muriel. It has to happen, Muriel, you can't stop it. Your job is to protect Frodo and see that he destroys the ring. You know that. You have to trust me,- Phoenix said gently. Muriel tried to yell out to Gandalf but her mouth was not working. "Fly you fools," was all he said, and then he was gone. "NO!!!!" Muriel herd Frodo cry. "Muriel! Hurry!" she herd a voice behind her. "I'm sorry," she whispered to herself as she went to the exit to the others.

Feel free to ask questions! I don't bite you know! (Well, at least not to often!)

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