To the Edge of the Universe - The Cave
There is not much to tell about Thorin and Company's stay at Rivendell. They ate and grew strong, new clothes were made for them and their bruises and tempers were healed.
Omey was saying a last farewell to the elves she had made friends with while Gandalf, Thorin and Elrond discussed Thorin's map. Apparently there were moon letters on it. Omey was not very interested. They all mounted and rode off towards the Misty Mountains.
Omey glared suspiciously into the cave. "There is no way I'm going into that hole. I'll stay out in the rain and get soaked, that place stinks of Goblin." She turned around and was heading back to the little cliff that they had been sheltering under when Gandalf picked her up and slung her unceremoniously over his shoulder. Elves were always jittery about caves, and whatever her heritage, Omey was an Elf. Gandalf was not about to let her stay out where the Stone Giants might get a hold of her.
Thorin and Co. looked on in amusement as Gandalf carted the spluttering, indignant elf into the cave and deposited her on the floor. She sat there, glaring at the ceiling for about twenty minutes trying to figure out how Gandalf -who look so old and frail- could actually pick her up and carry her into this stinking cave. She was unsure as to how she knew that it stank of goblin, but she knew as surely as Thorin knew he was a dwarf.
It was the last straw when they all- all fifteen of them- took out their pipes and began to smoke. Covering her mouth and nose Omey got up and headed for the exit. Rain, lightening and stone giants were nothing in comparison to being stuck in a cave with fifteen smoking men.
Just as she was about to head back to the cliff, Gandalf came over and hauled her back. Omey's glare did nothing to silence the amused chuckles that rippled around the cave. As they smoked they each spoke of what they would do with their share of the treasure when Smaug was defeated, which at the moment didn't seem all that impossible. Then they all stretched out and fell asleep one by one.
All except Omey. She gazed anxiously at the back of the cave and gnawed on her lower lip. She knew she shouldn't sleep, but she felt it overcoming her. She dropped off at about three thirty and even then she didn't feel as though she were sleeping.
She found herself running through a beautiful sunlit forest that she had never seen before. Suddenly she came up to a tall birch tree and laid her hand on it. She felt an overwhelming desire to speak with it, it was more than just tree. She felt the life deep in it's sap and felt joy at that life. She moved closer to the birch tree and pressed her cheek against the smooth bark. She could her a deep creaking sound, like a tree in the wind, yet no breath of air stirred. The creaking changed and became more melodious, more like a voice. Omey found herself speaking softly in return, encouraging it to find its voice.
Just when she was certain she would be able to understand it in just a few minutes, the creaking changed to a shriek.
It was Bilbo's voice. Omey sat up at once and found herself set upon by no less than eight goblins. Omey screamed and they grabbed her and disarmed her. Then there was a blinding flash and before Omey could see anymore she was being half lifted, half dragged into an open crack in the back of the cave. Her hands were chained in front of her and she soon found herself being forced to run at a tremendous pace.
After they had been running for about ten minutes the goblins began to sing:
Clap! Snap! The big black crack!
Grip, grab! Pinch and nab!
Down, down, to Goblin-Town
you go my lad!
Clash, crash! Crush, smash!
Hammer and tongs! Knocker and gongs!
Pound, pound, far under ground!
Ho, ho! My lad!
Swish, smack! Whip, crack!
Batter and beat! Yammer and bleat!
Work, work! Don't dare to shirk,
While Goblins quaff and Goblins laugh,
Round, round far under ground
Below my lad!
Omey groan inwardly and wished Gandalf would hurry up. The goblins were horrible singers, and what was worse they meant every word of their song. As soon as they were finished they pulled out the whips and made the dwarves, Bilbo and Omey run in front of them. They hadn't figured out what Omey was yet, as she had fallen asleep with it up and with good luck it hadn't fallen off in the scuffle.
Omey gave a soft cry as a whip cut her into her back and ran harder until they all tumbled into a big chamber with a larger bonfire in center and an enormous goblin with a huge head seated near it.
Omey stood still and hoped that they wouldn't try to take her hood off. She had no desire to find out just what it was goblins did to elves. Female elves in particular.
"Who are these miserable persons?" asked the Great Goblin.
"Dwarves and these." said one of their captors pulling Omey and Bilbo forward. "We found them sheltering in our Front Porch."
The Great Goblin squinted at Omey, " What is that? A human?" Omey thanked the Lord that she had coiled and braided and pinned her hair so that it covered the points of her ears very nicely. Only someone who was very familiar with elves, such as Gandalf would know what she was.
One of the goblins reached up and removed her hood. "It appears so, oh Truly Tremendous One. A human woman." Omey closed her eyes and thrice thanked God. Heaven only knew what the goblins would have done if they knew they had dragged an elf down here. Tortured her slowly to death by inches most likely.
The Great Goblin turned to Thorin, "What do you mean by it? Up to no good I'll warrant! Spying on the privet business of my people, I guess! Thieves I should be surprised to learn! Murderers and friends of Elves not unlikely! Come, what have you got to say?"
"Thorin the dwarf at your service!" It was mere polite nothing. "Of the things which you suspect and imagine we have no idea at all." He tried not to look at Omey as he spoke. " We sheltered in from the storm in what seemed a convienent cave, and unused; nothing was further from our thoughts than inconviencing goblins in any way whatever."
"Um!" Said the Great Goblin, " So you say! Might I ask what you were doing up in the mountains at all, and where you were coming from, and where you were going to? In fact I should like to know all about you. Not that it will do you much good, Thorin Oakenshield, I know too much of your folk already; but lets have the truth or I will prepare something particularly uncomfortable for you!"
"We were on a journey to visit our relatives, our nephews and nieces, and first, second and third cousins, and the other descendants of out grandfathers, who live on the East side of the truly hospitable mountains." Thorin was looking a little flustered, not knowing what to say all in a minute when it was obvious that the exact truth would not do at all.
"He is a liar, Oh Truly Tremendous One.!" Said one of the ugly drivers." Several of our people were struck by lightening in the cave, when we invited these creatures to come below; they are as dead as stones. Also he has not explained this!" And he held out the sword that Thorin had gotten in the troll's lair. Omey noticed that he had Rhindon in his other hand. A rage that the disgusting brute would dare to touch her uncle's ancient blade rose in throat and she might have gone after the goblin then and there, chains or no chains, if it wasn't for Orcrist's startling effect on the Great Goblin.
The Great Goblin gave an explosive howl of rage and all the guards howled like burning wargs and stamped their feet and gnashed their teeth. They knew that sword as soon as they laid eyes on it's burning blue blade, it had made sausage patties out of many orcs and goblins in its day. It was forged in Gondolin the fair was standing. They hated it, and hated worse anyone who dared to carry it. The elves named Orcrist- Goblin-Cleaver in their tongue, but the goblins called it simply Biter.
"Murderers and elf-friends!" The Great Goblin howled. "Slash them! Beat them! Bite them! Gnash them! Take them away to dark holes and never let them see the light again!" He was so excited and angry that he jumped off his seat and ran at Thorin with his mouth open.
At that precise moment all the lights in the cavern went out.