Hundreds of goblins gathered behind them as their high-pitched shrieks echoed in the huge, empty chamber. The shrieks came from all sides as the Fellowship ran through the dark trying to outrun their foe. The goblins were shaped like black beetles and their ugly armour clattered noisily as they scurried out of the cracks and crevices in the ceiling as they clamored down the pillars after the Fellowship.
The shrieking goblins surrounded them, cutting off all means off escape. The company was forced to stop as they stood huddled together.
Silvren snatched an arrow from her quiver and drew her bowstring back, waiting for the goblins to move first. She cast a quick glance over at Legolas and saw that he had drawn his bowstring with an arrow fitted to it as well.
A deep rumbling sound in the distance echoed through the dark chamber as the reddish-orange glow of fire shone at the far end of the chamber. Immediately, the goblins shrieked in alarm as they frantically glanced about them.
Silvren and Legolas lowered their bows and Gimli chuckled as the goblins departed in chaos. Everyone watched as the bright glow came closer towards them.
“What is this devilry?” Boromir whispered.
Gandalf closed his eyes tightly as another rumble echoed through the stone walls and floor. Gandalf opened his eyes as he gazed at the glowing light. “A Balrog.” he muttered. “A Demon of the ancient world. This foe is beyond any of you. Run!”
Silvren sprang forward after Legolas as the company rushed towards the massive wall with an arched doorway that lay behind them. Gandalf and Aragorn paused on either side of the doorway, letting the others run through the doorway.
“Quickly!” ordered Gandalf.
Boromir ran through the doorway with the elves, dwarf, and the hobbits following behind him. Boromir hurried down a few broken steps and glanced back over his shoulder to insure the others were behind him. Turning around, he fought to maintain his balance as the steps abruptly ended in front of him. He teetered on the edge of the last step and dropped the torch, watching it tumble into the darkness. Legolas ran up behind him and grabbed him around his arms and both of them stumbled backwards onto the steps. Silvren and Gimli skidded to a stop as Legolas and Boromir fell backwards onto the steps and the hobbits filed in behind them.
“This way.” Silvren breathed and turned to her right, down another set of stairs that was broken in some places.
Gandalf fell against the wall, breathing heavily and Silvren quickly turned around and glanced at him with a worried expression.
“Gandalf!” Aragorn said as he turned around as well and grasped Gandalf’s arm.
“Lead them on, Aragorn.” Gandalf ordered and nodded towards a narrow bridge that lay across a deep, dark chasm. “The bridge is near.”
Aragorn paused and stared deep into his aged eyes as if he didn’t understand him.
“Do as I say!” Gandalf shouted, pushing Aragorn away from him. “Swords are no use here.” Gandalf gathered all his remaining strength and pushed himself and everyone rushed down the stairs.
Silvren turned the corner of the stairs as Legolas leapt down in front of her and continued running down more stairs, turning to the right on a straightaway. They ran down more stairs until Legolas and the hobbits came to a quick stop as the stairs in front of them broke off, a black pit lay between them and the rest of the stairs.
Legolas leapt across the gap and landed nimbly on his feet and turned to face the others.
“Gandalf!” he called out to the wizard who now stood in front of Silvren. Gandalf shot a quick glance over his shoulder as the wall behind them shook and the ceiling cracked. A bright orange, massive figure was trying to break through. Gandalf turned forward and jumped across the gap. He was caught and steadied by Legolas.
Following Gandalf’s lead, Silvren leapt nimbly across the gap and was also caught by Legolas’ sturdy arms. From out of the darkness an arrow flew towards them and hit the stone by Boromir’s foot. Silvren glanced up and saw on another level higher than them was a line of large pillars and in front of the pillars were goblins. The goblins were firing arrow after arrow upon the Fellowship who were standing out in the open upon the broken stairs.
Silvren snatched an arrow from her quiver and released it towards the goblins above, hitting her target in the forehead. The goblin tumbled down the dark bottomless pit as another goblin took over its place.
Aragorn and Legolas also shot their arrows at the goblins and two more goblins tumbled off the high ledge into the darkness.
“Merry! Pippin!” Boromir shouted as he snatched up the two hobbits and leapt across the black void just as the lower steps cracked and went crashing down below.
Legolas and Gandalf helped steady Boromir and the two hobbits while Silvren continued firing arrows at the cowering goblins above them.
“Sam!” Aragorn shouted and grabbed Sam and flung him across the wider void into Boromir’s arms.
Immediately Aragorn turned to pick up Gimli, but the dwarf put up a protesting hand.
“Nobody tosses a dwarf.” Gimli stated and let out a mighty yell as he jumped across the gap. His boots scrapped the edge of the stairs as he began to topple backwards. “Not the beard!” Gimli shouted as Legolas did all he could do and grabbed Gimli by the beard and pulled the heavily armoured and stocky dwarf over the edge.
Aragorn fired another arrow at the orcs, sending them tumbling down into the dark abyss. The steps beneath him and Frodo began to crack and Aragorn quickly snatched Frodo by his arm and pushed him back onto the higher steps.
Silvren watched nervously as Aragorn scrambled up the stairs as the steps slowly began to give away under his weight. Part of the stairs fell and left him dangling from the edge as he slowly pulled himself up and over the jagged edge.
“Steady.” Silvren heard Aragorn say to Frodo as the two of them stood side by side on the unstable stair case.
“Hold on.” Aragorn said as a furious roar erupted behind them and the two of them turned and glanced over their shoulders as the walls cracked and huge boulders came crashing down from the ceiling. A sharp edged boulder smashed into the steps not far above them and cut cleanly through the stone, falling into the pit below. The steps teetered on the thin support below and began to tilt forward.
“Hang on.” Aragorn grabbed firmly onto Frodo’s shoulder as the steps rocked beneath them and tipped from one side to the other. The others watched helplessly from where they stood on the staircase below, their hearts pounding in their chests in one synchronized beat.
“Lean forward!” Aragorn shouted to Frodo as the steps tilted closer and closer to others that waited below. The time seemed to drag by ever so slowly. “Steady.” Aragorn muttered.
“Come on!” Legolas breathed as he extended his arms towards Frodo and Aragorn.
Suddenly, wit a loud crash, the stairs collided and Aragorn was propelled through the air into Legolas’ arms and Boromir managed to catch the small hobbit. Everyone turned and ran down the stone steps towards the bridge of Khazad-Dûm.
The air grew hotter and made it more difficult to breath as the flames flickered from fissures in the cracked stone and they ran towards the narrow bridge that arched over a deep, black chasm.
“Over the bridge!” Gandalf shouted to the Fellowship. “Fly!”
Silvren ran but turned to watch Gandalf and her eyes widened with fear as a massive creature formed of boiling magma stepped out of a curtain of fire. The creature had a layer of black crust that served as the flesh atop the magma and it had two massive, bat-like wings and two curling horns on its black head. Fire blazed from within the creature’s nostrils and it arched its spiny back and let out a tremendous roar which exposed the flames within its body. The monster rose to its full height and stomped after the fellowship.
Silvren was yanked out of her thoughts when Legolas grabbed her by the arm and pulled her towards the narrow bridge. Forcing herself not to look down at the bottomless pit, Silvren sprinted across the narrow bridge behind Gimli and stopped on the other side by a set of stone stairs. The rest of the company waited there as well.
Silvren watched as Gandalf ran across the bridge behind Legolas, she knew he could make it but her heart stopped suddenly when he paused in the middle of the bridge and turned to face the Balrog.
“Mana nás carëa?” Silvren asked Legolas as the elf jogged over to her and placed his hand across her stomach and on the side of her waist.
“I know not, but we should keep going.” Legolas muttered as his back remained facing the stand off between the wizard and Balrog.
Silvren gazed past Legolas’ shoulder and started towards the bridge but Legolas’ firmly planted arm held her back. “We can’t-” she started but was cut off by Gandalf’s loud voice.
“You shall not pass!” they heard Gandalf shout in a voice that sounded like the roaring of thunder.
“Gandalf!” Frodo cried out from behind Silvren as the others stopped climbing the stone steps.
“I am the servant of the Secret Fire, wielder of the flame of Anor.” Gandalf said as the Balrog came towards him. “The dark fire will not avail you, flame of Udûn!”
As Gandalf raised his staff and sword above his head, a sphere of white light formed around him just in time to block a monstrous, flaming sword that the Balrog brought down upon him. The sword crashed against Gandalf’s sword and sparks of light and fire flickered off the sphere.
“Go back to the shadow.” growled Gandalf and as he did, the sword in the Balrog’s hand turned into a flickering whip. The Balrog lashed the whip viciously against the stone at the edge of the floor above the dark abyss as its right foot stomped down onto the stone bridge.
“You shall not pass!” Gandalf repeated, his voice echoing throughout Moria as he brought his staff down onto the bridge in front of him. A crack developed in stone of the bridge in front of him and a rumble came from the crack.
The Balrog’s nostril’s flared as it raised up its whip again and stepped further out onto the bridge. As its foot made contact with the bridge, the stone beneath it gave away and sent the Balrog tumbling backwards into the black chasm below.
Gandalf sucked a deep breath into his lungs as he watched the creature fall before he finally turned away. Silvren gasped when she saw the flaming whip come up out of the chasm and wrap around Gandalf’s ankle and jerked him to the ground. A pang of fear stabbed Silvren’s heart as Gandalf fell over the edge of the broken bridge, his sword and staff falling down into the chasm as he clung onto the edge of the bridge.
“Gandalf!” Frodo screamed with terror in his voice as he tried to run towards, but Boromir held him back.
“No!” Silvren cried at the same time Frodo screamed. Silvren tried to run towards Gandalf as well but Legolas’ grip on her arm was too strong. He turned her around and held her close to him as she fought against his embrace. “Legolas, please! We can’t let him die!” she cried out as tears of sorrow began to well up in her eyes.
Gandalf pulled himself up just enough to see their faces. “Fly, you fools!” he ordered and then he dropped into the black chasm out of sight.
Silvren screamed in immeasurable pain and jerked forward but Legolas’ hold on her remained firm.
“No!” Frodo cried out in disbelief. Pain was etched on his face and Boromir had to lift him and carry him out of the mines.
Legolas pulled Silvren behind him by her wrists, up the stairs around one last corner, and up a small flight of stairs.
“Aragorn!” Boromir shouted ad a shower of orc’s arrows flew through the air towards Aragorn.
Silvren blinked at the bright sunlight that streamed down onto them. The fresh smell of winter filled their noses and the refreshingly, cool air gave them a new sense of strength, but did not take away their pain. Silvren’s legs felt weak beneath her and she sank to the rocky ground as Legolas released her wrist from his grasp. He turned to face her as she folded her arms across her knees and silently cried into the sleeve of her tunic. Trying to respect her feelings, Legolas remained by her side but did not bother her. He let her know that he was still there if she wanted more from him, but he would let her be the one to decide that.
Gimli was not close to Gandalf like many of the others but he still felt the pain of losing the friendly, old wizard and was determined to return to the mines and fight the remaining orcs. Gimli fought against Boromir’s grasp who was desperately trying to calm the dwarf down.
Merry sat on a rock not far from Silvren, crying with Pippin laying across his lap sobbing. Sam sat not far from them, he too crying as he sat by himself.
“Legolas!” Aragorn called out to the elf. “Get them up.”
“Give them a moment for pity’s sake.” Boromir pleaded from where he stood a few paces away.
“By nightfall these hills will be swarming with orcs. We must reach the woods of Lothlórien.” Aragorn said as he slid his sword back into its sheath. “Come, Boromir. Legolas. Gimli. Get them up.”
Silvren felt Legolas’ gentle hand rest on her shoulder as he knelt sown beside her. “Come, we must be going.” he whispered softly.
Silvren nodded and let him help her to her feet. Looking into his eyes, she noticed the pain and sorrow that was clouding their brilliant blue hue.
“On your feet, Sam.” Aragorn said as he stepped toward Sam, lifted him onto his feet and gently slapped him on the shoulder. Aragorn turned around, searching for Frodo. “Frodo?”
Frodo was already wandering down the mountain, his back facing them. “Frodo!” Aragorn called out again and the hobbit stopped and slowly turned around, tears staining his face.
Together the company began to run towards where the trees of Lothlórien grew. Silvren sighed with relief as they entered the woods of Lothlórien. She hoped they would be able to rest and have to fresh food. She also wondered if they would see Haldir and the other elves she knew before they continued onward.
Mana nás carëa= What is he doing