The company came at last to a bridge, crossing over a river that ran strong and dark under it, gurgling and foaming at its edges. The bridge led to the king’s gates, which opened just before the yawning mouth of a deep cave, which tunneled into the side of a sloped hill seeded with many trees. The elves showed little courtesy to the dwarves as they came to the house of Vaulor; they were thrust down into the depth of the torch lit cave, and locked in by magic doors, which slammed behind them. All forty dwarves were led down the twisting, crossing passageways, leaving York-ie still blinded. The elves sang as they walked, and despite them shoving the company from behind, their singing was like milk and honey to the company’s ears. They at last came to a large hall, with many pillars hewn out of living stone, there sat the elven king; proudly posed upon a wooden thrown, holding an oak staff and crowned with woodland flowers. His dark hair slipped under his crown and laid softly on his wide, archer like shoulders; his cloak was red with gold trim, and flowed past his ankles like water down a hill. The king’s shimmering blue eyes looked upon the arriving company with no real emotion; he simply glared down on them.
York-ie was finally allowed to see; and his eyes immediately fell on the king.
`What master do you take the commands to enter this kingdom without my leave?’ said the king, Vaulor.
`We take orders from our lords in the halls of the Lonely Mountain,’ answered Bordon.
`Who speaks before me?’ asked Vaulor.
`Bordon, son of Fordon O’ Lord,’ he said, attempting to gain favor. `I lead this company’ The king looked suddenly surprised, but then, continued with his questioning.
`What is your purpose here?’ asked the king, not wasting any time in receiving his answers.
`What is your purpose?’ said Bordon, putting a questionable look on Vaulor’s face. `What is his purpose?’ Bordon pointed at Galaglon. `We all have the same goal, and that is peace for our heir, better times for their wives and children. It is this war that brings us, and if it be our fate, it is the war that will end us. But I ask you, if we are to be locked in a cellar until the all foes are defeated, then let us die defending our kin and allies’
`Why do you bring an orc with you? Unbound and armed, so Galaglon told me?’ snorted the king.
`He has been with us through many perils, and has saved our lives, and aided our mission. He is of our company, and treat him no differently’
`How did this orc come to be in your company?’ asked the king. `Surely his foul face or gnarling teeth did not attract you to him. What is his purpose?’
`Do you want me to tell the tale? It is not short’ Said Bordon, giving fair warning to Vaulor.
`I wish to hear everything,’ Vaulor sniffed.
And so Bordon began to tell the tale of their meeting York-ie, and his trial, and the slow friendship that he formed with Gordon and the others. But he did not fail to leave out those who were not so fond of the orc, and the many confrontations he encountered with Dwarves that Bordon did not name; however, Keiwick’s eyes shone out clearer then names, and the king read it like words.
Vaulor knew much; he knew of the company entering the forest, and his spies watched them as they crossed the river. The beasts and birds of the forest served Vaulor, and he served them; it was a unison, a need for each other that united the elves and nature. And as the dwarves walked through mud and brush, grumbling and complaining, the moths and birds watched. But what most surprised Vaulor, is that he felt, by magic at the entering of his land, that many beings of good heart had passed through his gates, but he never felt the evilness of the orc; its soul was not corrupt, its mind was not sinister, its intentions were good… this puzzled Vaulor, and he was anxious to hear of this orcs story.
`So I understand,’ said Vaulor, `all of your company was not excepting the presence of this orc, and on many occasions tried to kill him. It does sound to me, that this orc is bringing any peace to your band of dwarves or your mission’
`Any one man, elf, dwarf or orc cannot keep the peace in a company of, at one time, fifty companions,’ replied Bordon. `York-ie did his part it keeping the peace, and the rest was up to those around him.’
`And so it was your former captain’s decision to bring along this orc, make him one of your own, and treat him with the respect that no orc deserves? And why, would your captain ask this orc, that you call York-ie, to betray his own race during a time of war?’
`He hates his won kind,’ said Bordon, repeating York-ie’s very own words. `He was once a part of their army, but separated himself from them, and went forth to seek out his own living’
`He deserted his army, and his leader!’ spat Vaulor. `That is punishable by death!’
`You heard the story, my lord,’ Bordon bean to speak louder then what the king thought to be respectful. `York-ie’s band of orcs were ambushed, they were beaten into Fangorn where he retreated from battle. He had no where else to go. I believe it is fate that we have met him; for now our fight against the unnamed may yet have a flicker of hope.’
`The fate of this orc will be decided later,’ Vaulor ended the conversation, and bean a new one. `I now have one more question, for the present… Who are your kin? To whom will you report once reaching the Lonely Mountain?’
Bordon looked narrow at the king. `To the lord of the halls… my father, Fordon, son of Kilu.’
The king looked convince, and somewhat surprised. However he was not completely sure. He ordered for all their weapons be taken, and that they be put in rooms, locked away, however not jailed in a cell. But the orc was to be jailed, and given the scraps of dogs to eat.
`My lord, this orc is of our company, and is a friend of the dwarves,’ Bordon pleaded. `I ask you to reconsider your order, otherwise I demand that the same order is to be given to me.’
Vaulor was very astonished by Bordon’s words, however they were not enough to convince the king to treat York-ie any differently. So both Bordon and York-ie were thrown into cells deep within the passages, where it was cold, wet, and the rats slept with them. They could only wonder what the rest of the company was eating, and how their feather beds must of felt.
We return to the forests again. Our hobbit friend has lost all faith and finds the true meaning of apathy by the end of this chapter. He is taken captive by a band of elves and one human. This chapter suggests that some of his past will be revealed soon.