The four hobbits huddled together near the doors, almost tripping over a corpse that was lying on the ground next to them. Gimli gasped in horror when he finally saw the rotten skeletons scattered across the room and darted over to the nearest corpse. Gimli knelt down beside it, not wanting to believe what he saw. “No!” he howled in agony.
Legolas darted past Silvren and over to a near by where he knelt down beside it. He yanked the arrow out of its chest and examined the arrowhead, determining its origin. “Goblins.” he hissed as he tossed the arrow to the ground and stood back to his feet backed up next to Silvren.
Legolas and Silvren snatched an arrow from their quivers and fitted it to their bowstrings, pulling it taunt as Aragorn did the saw with his bow. “You should have stayed in Rivendell.” Legolas hissed so only Silvren could hear him. She didn’t say anything but could feel the anger and hurt building up inside her from his harsh tone.
Boromir drew his sword from its sheath, making a soft hiss as the metal scrapped the inside of the sheath.
“We make for the Gap of Rohan.” Boromir sneered to the others. “We should have never come here.” he said in a disgusted tone. “Now, get out of here. Get out!” he ordered.
As Boromir was declaring his feelings about their decision, Frodo felt something moving by his feet and before he knew it, something cold, wet, and slimy seized him by the ankle and he fell to the ground with a small cry.
“Strider!” Sam called out to Aragorn as the tree hobbits rushed after Frodo.
Silvren turned and saw Sam whacking at something that had grabbed Frodo by the ankle and both Merry and Pippin had Frodo by the arms and were hauling him back towards the doors.
The slimy thing that had been cut by Sam’s blade retreated back into the water and then Silvren realized what it had been. It was a tentacle that had belonged to some creature that lived in the deep, dirty water of the lake. Before she knew it, a whole bunch of tentacles lunged out of the water and onto the shore, pushing Sam and the other two hobbits backwards as one of the tentacles picked Frodo up by the ankle. Frodo screamed and thrashed about as the tentacle lifted him high into the air and over the dark water. Several other tentacles rose up out of the water and snaked around Frodo, jabbing and poking him as if it was searching for something.
Silvren drew back her arrow that was knocked to the string and pulled it back to her cheek, letting it fly through the gloomy air. “It’s looking for the ring!” she shouted as the arrow struck one of the tentacles that had been jabbing Frodo.
“Are you sure?” Legolas asked her as the arrow he had just shot struck a tentacle not far from the one she had shot.
“Yes.” she cast a curious glance at the other elf.
“I believe she’s right.” Gandalf muttered as Aragorn and Boromir rushed out into the knee-deep water, swinging at the tentacles and slicing them with a single swipe of their swords.
The lifeless tentacle fell back into the water with a big splash and another one emerged from the water. The water beneath Aragorn and Boromir bubbled and then a massive head emerged from the water, tentacles protruding from it from all around the head. The massive jaws opened to reveal a large enough mouth to swallow Frodo whole and vicious teeth that were lined in several rows. One of the tentacles came upon shore and snaked around Silvren’s ankle as Aragorn swung at the tentacle that held Frodo by the ankle and the shrieking hobbit fell through the air and landed in Boromir’s arms.
“Legolas!” Silvren shrieked as fell onto her bottom and reached back for her knife. Legolas shot the tentacle with another arrow and the thing quickly recoiled.
“Into the mines!” Gandalf ordered as the two water-soaked humans struggled onto the shore and Silvren stood to her feet. The thrashing tentacles trying desperately to get to the hobbit and if it could not get a hold of him, then it would try for Silvren.
“Legolas! Silvren!” Boromir cried out.
“Into the caves!” Aragorn shouted as he and Boromir scrambled away from the tentacles.
Silvren drew back another arrow, aimed and released it as Boromir and Frodo, ran past her. Her arrow flew past Aragorn and hit the creature in the eye. An unearthly howl of anger and pain erupted from the creature as one of Legolas’ arrows hit it in the same eyes.
“Come on!” Boromir shouted as Aragorn grabbed Silvren by her waist and pulled her into the cave as the three hobbits ran in front of them. Boromir dropped Frodo to his feet and the terrified hobbit took off into the dark cave as the tentacles snaked in behind them. Many snake-like-arms wrapped around the stone doors and ripped them away from the cliff walls. Boulders and rocks and dust came tumbling down onto the creature’s head with a terrible crash.
Silvren stumbled backwards and into Legolas’ arms as Aragorn let go of her as everyone watched the scene unfold before them in dismay. Moonlight was flashing in and out between falling rocks and boulders until the passage became completely sealed blocked and no more moonlight could shine through.
A thump on the stone ground came from nearby as Silvren gazed into the darkness trying to find its source.
“We have but one choice.” Gandalf murmured as he lit the clear stone in his staff. It shed a little light in the room that was now littered with rocks, dust, and rotten corpses. “We must face the long dark road of Moria. Be on your guard at all times. There are older and fouler things than orcs in the deep places of this world.”
Slowly the group followed after Gandalf up the long dark steps. The corpses of dwarves were littered up and down the stone stairs. Gimli followed behind Legolas and Silvren with three of the hobbits behind him. Frodo and the two humans walked at the back of the group, their hair and clothing still dripping with water.
“Quietly now.” Gandalf said in a hushed tone. “It’s a four day journey to the other side. Let us hope our presence goes unnoticed.”
Everywhere Silvren looked there seemed to be at least one dwarf skeleton covered in dust and cobwebs and a rusted iron axe clutched in its boney hand. They walked out of the entrance chamber and along a long, narrow rocky ledge that was formed like a bridge. The walls around them were completely formed of stoned and mine was very spacious with huge chasm that had been delved by the dwarves. Silvren hated everything about it and wanted to leave as quickly as possible.
“The wealth of Moria was not in gold or jewels but in mithril.” Gandalf said as they walked along the narrow ledge. A deep chasm ran below them, clearly one of the many places the dwarves had dug for mithril. Rusted chains and buckets hung from the stone hung above them. Wooden ladders had been left leaning against the cliff walls.
“Bilbo had a shirt of mithril rings that Thorin gave him.”
“Oh that was a kingly gift.” Gimli said in awe.
“Yes. I never told him, but its worth was greater than the value of the shire.
Frodo glanced about him nervously, not believing what Gandalf had just said.
Silvren gazed up the steep staircase they had started climbing, its height continuing into the darkness where they could not see. A soft clatter from behind her caught her attention and she quickly peered over her shoulder to see Pippin and Merry struggling up the stairs on their hands and knees.
“Pippin!” Merry hissed as he helped steady the unbalanced hobbit.
Above them Gandalf had stopped walking and stood gazing at three stone doorways that loomed before him. He leaned on his staff and looked at each door very carefully, a troubled expression clouding his face.
“I have no memory of this place.” he said as Silvren came up and stood behind him.
“Oh.” Pippin said as he folded his arms across his chest and rocked back on his heels. “What do we do then?”
Gandalf simply turned around and gazed down at Pippin, “Rest and wait. That is all we can do for now.”
Silvren stood with her back against the cold, stone wall and Legolas’ arm around her shoulders as she leaned her head on his shoulder. Gimli sat by himself in a corner and the three hobbits sat not far from where Legolas and Silvren stood. Frodo sat a little away from the other hobbits, keeping well to himself for some unknown reason. Aragorn and Boromir sat together on the steps across from the elves.
Aragorn sat puffing on his pipe with his back towards the two elves. Boromir sat in silence as he gazed off into the distance and sometimes turned his gaze upon Legolas and Silvren. Gandalf sat on a large rock on the ledge above them, facing the three doors as he too puffed on his pipe.
* * *
It had been approximately two weeks since Silvren left Rivendell and for the first two days her disappearance went unnoticed. Arwen, the twins and her friends did everything they could to stall her being discovered but Elrond finally could take it no longer. Arwen had been walking down the hallway when she noticed Elrond striding towards Silvren’s chamber with furry written all over his face.
“Father, is everything all right?” Arwen asked nervously as she hurried over to his side, fearing that the secret was out. He didn’t answer her; instead he flung open the door to Silvren’s room and marched in. Arwen followed behind him and watched as he glanced angrily about the room.
“Where is she?” he roared, turning to face Arwen. “Where is Silvren?”
Arwen remained quiet as she held her father’s stern gaze. Her hands were clasped before her and had turned white, her throat was dry and she found herself lost for words.
“I asked you a question and I expect you to answer me. Where has Silvren gone?”
“I would expect one as noble and as wise as you to know that.” Arwen answered without thinking.
Elrond, took shocked for words, stared at his oldest daughter. His blood ran hot throughout his body, his head pounded profusely and Silvren would regret this ever happened. “When did she leave?”
“About two weeks back.” Arwen answered confidently.
“And you knew about it!” Elrond shouted. “How dare you defy me!” he shouted as he walked towards her. “If you ever see her or your loved one again, you had better be thankful.” He hissed and stormed out of the room in search of Glorfindel, the second victim to feel his wrath.
* * *
“Are we lost?” Silvren heard Pippin whisper to Merry.
“I think we are.”
“Shh, Gandalf is thinking.” Merry hissed at his younger cousin.
Silvren smiled as she snuggled closer to Legolas and his arm tightened around her.
“Are you afraid yet?” Legolas asked her in elvish.
“No. Why do you ask that?”
“I was just wondering.” he replied as he stared into her eyes.
“Do you think that I hold on to you just because I am afraid?”
“Then why would you ask such a thing?”
“Silvren, I told you, I was just curious.”
“All right.” she sighed wondering why she had been so defensive. Silvren’s eyes followed Frodo as he stood up and walked towards Gandalf. “There’s something down there.” he said as he stood net to the old wizard.
“It’s Gollum.” Gandalf answered as he turned his head ever so slightly. “He’s been following us for three days.”
“Gollum?” Frodo repeated. “He escaped the dungeons of Barad-dûr?”
“Escaped?” Gandalf asked as he turned his head to look at the young hobbit. “Or was set loose?” a small tingle of fear ran up Silvren’s’ back when Gandalf said those words and all sorts of ideas and questions poured into her mind. “Now the Ring has brought him here. He will never be rid of the need for it. He loves and hates the ring just as he loves and hates himself. Sméagol’s life was a very sad story.” he paused as a questioning expression crossed Frodo’s face. “Yes, Sméagol was his name once, before the Ring found him and took over life. Before it drove him mad.”
“It’s a pity Bilbo didn’t kill him when he had the chance.” Frodo said glancing behind him, half-expecting to see the slimy creature watching them with its pale eyes.
“Pity?” Gandalf asked a bit surprised. “It was pity that stayed Bilbo’s hand. Many that live deserve death and some that die deserve life. Can you give it to them, Frodo?” Gandalf stopped as the hobbit absorbed the question. “Do not be too quick to deal out death and judgment. Even the wisest can not see all ends.” he sighed thoughtfully. “My heart tells me that Gollum has some part to play in this, yet for good or ill I know not. The pity of Bilbo’s may rule the fate of many.”
“I wish the Ring had never come to me.” Frodo said unhappily as he sat down on the rock next to Gandalf. “I wish none of this had happened.”
“So do all who live to see such times. But that is not for them to decide, the only thing we can decide is what to do with the time given to us. Besides the will of evil there are other forces at work in this world. Bilbo was mean to find the Ring in which you were meant to have it as well. And that should be an encouraging thought.”
“Ah!” Gandalf said cheerfully as everyone turned their attention upon him. “It’s that way!” he nodded towards the door on the left.
“He’s remembered!” Merry exclaimed as he took his pipe from his mouth and stood up.
“No.” Gandalf said as everyone scrambled to their feet and gathered up their belongings before following Gandalf as he picked up his staff and strode towards the dark tunnel. “But the air doesn’t smell so foul down here.” he said to Merry who walked beside him. “If in doubt, always follow your nose.”
The company followed Gandalf down the long, dark stairwell that he had chosen, the stone stairs twisting and curing in the darkness. The light from Gandalf’s staff and the torch Aragorn had found and lit, shone brightly on the stone wall, but there was nothing else they could see.
After some time, they approached an arched doorway where the steps had leveled out. The past through the doorway and onto the stone landing where s few more steps descended to their right. They tagged along behind Gandalf as he walked down the steps and then found themselves in a large, dark room.
“Let me risk a little more light.” Gandalf said softly as the group crowded around him. The stone in his staff glowed brighter than ever; illuminating much of the vast chamber they stood in. Pillars upon pillars filled the large chamber that stood in front of them.
“Behold, the great realm and Dwarven-city of Dwarrowdelf.” Gandalf said quietly but with a certain level of power in his voice.
Before them stretched a huge, empty chamber with enormous pillars hewn from stone that reached up to the arched ceiling high above their heads. The grey pillars had cracks and fissures among the beautifully carved details the dwarves had carved so many years past. The chamber seemed to stretch on and on and they could not see where it led too even with the bright light of Gandalf’s staff.
“There’s an eye opener and no mistake.” Sam muttered from next to Merry and Pippin.