Chapter 17

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The Fellowship runs to a small doorway. Gandalf shepherds them through.

Gandalf: "Quickly!"

Taking one last glance behind him, the wizard follows. Entering a passageway, the Fellowship goes down a flight of steps. The flight ends in a missing segment & Boromir nearly falls but Legolas pulls him back.

Aragorn: "Gandalf!"

Gandalf: "Lead them on, Aragorn! The bridge is near!"

They look across a wide space to a long bridge spanning the gap between a hall & a cliff face. Away behind them, they can hear the roar of the pursuing Balrog. Aragorn moves towards Gandalf but the wizard pushes the man roughly away from him.

Gandalf: "Do as I say!"

Hurt & confusion register on Aragorn's face.

Gandalf: "Swords are no more use here!"

The Balrog roars again. The Fellowship descend a flight of massive stairs encountering a gap in them. Legolas leaps & lands on the other side. Allowing his wings to grow, Raiden flies over after the elf, still carrying his unconscious mistress. The Balrog rumbles again. Foundations splinter & crumble, sending huge rocks tumbling into the depths.

Legolas: "Gandalf."

The wizard leaps across the back.

Arrows whistle into the air from a far ledge, striking the stone steps. Legolas shoots back. His arrow rises through the air & pierces the skull of an orc. The orc tumbles down from his ledge.

Boromir: "Merry! Pippin! Hoo-aah!"

Picking up the two hobbits, he leaps across the gap. An exchange of arrows follow from the stairs to the ledge. Spreading his wings, Raiden attempts to protect the group gritting his teeth in pain as the orc arrows tears holes in his flesh.

Aragorn: "Sam."

He pitches Sam to the other side where the hobbit is caught by Boromir. The man then reaches for Gimli who holds up a hand.

Gimli: "Nobody tosses a dwarf."

He leaps across the gap but does not quite make it, nearly falling back into the chasm. Legolas grabs his beard & pulls him up.

Gimli: "Not the beard!"

More of the stone steps crumble & fall. Aragorn pushes Frodo to safety. They climb to their feet & look at the now widened gap that separates them from the rest of the Fellowship.

Aragorn: "Steady. Hold on!"

A huge rock falls from the ceiling & smashes through the steps behind Aragorn & Frodo, creating another gap behind them. The stairs begin to wobble.

Aragorn: "Hang on! Lean forward!"

Legolas: "Come on!"

They shift their weight forward, tipping the stairs across the divide & slamming them onto the steps where their companions are. They leap across to safety. They then run down the stairs as the stone structures collapse behind them.

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The Fellowship run through a fiery hall led by Gandalf. A wall of flame whirls behind them.

Gandalf: "Over the bridge! Fly!"

The Fellowship flees. Gandalf does not follow, but turns, looking into the wall of fire. A great form of black shadow leaps through the flames, its eyes of white fire, great ash-black horns curling around a bull-like head. It opens its maw, rippling heat pouring out with a rumble. Gandalf turns, running after the Fellowship as a great, black, cloven foot stomps down into the hall, bursting into flame.

Coming to a narrow stone bridge, the Fellowship flee across. Stopping just before the end, Gandalf turns to face the Balrog.

Gandalf: "You cannot pass!"

Frodo [horror]: "Gandalf!"

Gandalf: "I am the servant of the Secret Fire, wielder of the Flame of Anor. The dark fire will not avail you! Flame of Udûn!"

The Balrog strikes down on Gandalf, who parries the blow with his blade, shattering the Balrog's sword. Glowing embers run off the circle of light around the wizard. The monster bellows at the wizard. Frodo gasps. Aragorn runs forward.

Gandalf [clenching his teeth]: "Go back to the Shadow!"

The Balrog steps onto the bridge. It brandishes a flaming whip. Gandalf raises his sword & staff together into the air.

Gandalf: "You...shall not...pass!"

Driving his staff into the bridge, a bright flash of blue light appears. Flaring its nostrils, the Balrog steps forward onto the bridge moving towards the wizard. From underneath the bridge begins to crumble before wizard's staff. The demon plunges backward into the chasm, still wielding its glowing whip. Gandalf, exhausted, leans on his staff & watches the Balrog fall. He then turns to follow the others.

The flaming whip lashes up from the depths of the abyss & winds about Gandalf's ankle, dragging him over the edge. He clings onto the bridge but strains to keep his grip. Frodo rushes forward but Boromir restrains him.

Boromir: "No, no!"

Frodo: "Gandalf!"

The wizard grasps the bridge, looking into Frodo's eyes. He stops struggling.

Gandalf: "Fly, you fools!"

Letting go of the stone, Gandalf falls into the chasm, spreading his arms, the light of the Balrog glimmering far below.

Frodo: "No!"

Boromir grabs hold of Frodo & starts to leave up a flight of stairs.

Boromir: "Aragorn!"

Frodo: "No!"

For a moment Aragorn does not move but then orc arrows start whistling by once again, shooting at the companions. Dodging them, he turns & follows the others up the stairs.


Two chapters today. Treat for you all as it is New Year's Day. Though the chapter is sad, I wish you all a Happy New Year & give you my best wishes for the year ahead!

Bellethiel18 :)

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