Chapter 12

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Light forms from Gandalf's staff. Everyone looks scared or on edge. Mithrandir continues,

"We must face the long, dark tunnels of Moria. Be on your guard. There are older and fouler things then Orcs, in the deep places of the world."

We start to walk through the shadowy, dark paths of Moria. It is then that I notice Legolas is still holding my hand. He seems to realize as well and lets go.

"Sorry, Amber.", he says, looking away from me.

"It does not m-"

"Quietly now." Gandalf says, interrupting me, "It's a four-day journey to the other side. Lets hope that our presence may go unnoticed."

After a few hours of disturbing silence and walking, we enter a great cavern. Mithrandir puts a hand against a rock with dark, silver veins flowing through the stone. He sits down on a boulder, rests his staff against the wall and speaks again.

"The wealth of Moria was not in gold or jewels.", he begins.

"It was in Mithril.", I speak up.

"Yes, in Mithril." Gandalf repeats, "Bilbo had a shirt of Mithril that Thorin Oakensheild gave him."

"Oh" Gimli says full of wonder, "That is a kingly gift."

"Yes! I never told him, but it's worth was greater of the Shire.", says Gandalf.

Frodo looks surprised and he pulls up his traveling cloak more. I see a shimmer before Frodo covers it. No need to guess what the shimmer was. I'm just surprised Gandalf doesn't know.

Mithrandir gets up again and we all climb the steep steps of the cavern. Then the Fellowship goes up another flight of stairs, and we reach three doorways in the Mines. Gandalf stares at all three.

"I have no memory of this place.", he tells us.

Seconds tick by to minutes. We eventually sit down and take a break.

"Are we lost?", Pippin asks Merry.

"No.", Merry answers.

"I think we are."

"Shh! Gandalf's thinking."

"Merry?"

"What?!"

"I'm hungry."

I sigh and throw an apple at Pippin. He almost drops it, and looks surprised when he catches it.

"Thanks so much, Amber!", he says grateful.

"Anytime.", I say with a smile.

It's hard to not cheer up with halflings around. I start listening to Gandalf and Frodo's conversation.

"There's something down there!", Frodo says quietly to Gandalf.

"It's Gollum." Mithrandir says calmly, "He's been following us for three days."

I heard about Gollum before. He used to be a sort of water hobbit named Smegol. His friend Deagol found the One Ring. Smegol killed his friend Deagol to get the Ring. It slowly poisoned his mind and turned him slimy and sneaky. After five hundred years Bilbo came across the Ring in the Goblin Tunnels and stole it.

Apparently Gollum went out of the Misty Mountains to find Bilbo and the Ring. Gandalf ordered Aragorn to hunt Gollum. Once Aragorn succeeded, Gollum was handed over to the Mirkwood elves, but he somehow escaped. My ada told me this a while ago as a story.
(Father)

I would have never thought Gollum's next move was to track the Fellowship, but it makes perfect sense. Gollum would do anything to get the Ring again. I resume listening to their conversation.

"My heart tells me that Gollum has some part to play yet." Mithrandir says, "For good or ill, before this is over."

"I wish the Ring had never come to me.", Frodo says bitterly.

"So do all who live to see such times, but that is not for them to decide." Gandalf replies, "All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given to us. Bilbo was meant to find the Ring, in which case you were meant to have it as well. That is an encouraging thought."

"Are you ok, Amber?" Boromir asks me, "You look worried."

"I'm fine.", I answer flatly.

"It's that way.", Gandalf says to all of us.

"He's remembered!", Merry cries.

"No." Mithrandir says simply, as the Fellowship walks down a stairway, "But the air doesn't smell so foul down there. If in doubt Meridoc, always follow your nose."

As we reach the end of the path, I see broken columns across the floor and feel the vast empty space. Gandalf relights his staff and a giant stone hall with pillars and an arched ceiling comes into view. Gimli gasps in amazement beside me and I can't help but do the same.

"Behold, the great realm and dwarf city of Dwalrowdelf.", Gandalf announces.

"Wow!", I say in awe, looking everywhere.

"There's an eye opener and no mistake.", Sam says in front of me.

We walk through the hall in shock. It's so desolate, unique and empty. At a corner Gimli spots a beam of light in a chamber.

"Gimli!" Mithrandir says, his voice full of caution.

Too late. Gimli runs into the chamber and we all follow him. We are greeted with grotesque bodies everywhere, and shattered weapons on the ground. Again I try not to think of the dwarves last moments. Gimli kneels beside a crypt in the middle if the room.

"No! No! NO!"

Gandalf walks up to the tomb and translates the dwarfish ruins.

"Here lies Balin, son of Fundin, Lord of Moria. He is dead then. It's as I feared."

"I'm truly sorry Gimli." I say while putting my hand on his shoulder, "Your cousin Balin and the other dwarves of Moria didn't go down without a fight. I can tell they were stronger then the enemy expected."

Gimli squeezes my hand and chants softly in dwarfish. Meanwhile, Mithrandir gives Pippin his hat and staff, picking up a damaged book from a corpse's stiff hands. I catch Legolas looking at me, and then dart his eyes away.

"We must move on, we cannot linger.", Legolas tells Aragorn.

He is right, I feel danger close by. Gandalf opens the book and dust rises from the pages. He coughs once and reads,

"They have taken the bridge...
And the second hall.
We barred the gates...
But cannot hold them for long.
The ground shakes.
Drums... drums in the deep.
A shadow moves in the dark.
We cannot get out...
They are coming!"

All of a sudden, Pippin touches an arrow sticking out of a skeleton. It falls through the well, crashing against the walls as loudly as possible, dragging a chain and a bucket with it.

The noise echoes through the heart of Moria, making me cover my ears from the never ending racket. Once all the crashes and thumps do stop, Gandalf slams the book shut and yells at Pippin.

"Fool of a Took! Throw yourself in next time and rid us of your stupidity!"

Mithrandir grabs his staff and hat back. Pippin looks away, speechless. Of course Pippin didn't mean to wake the terrors of Moria on purpose, but I realize the harm his accident caused when I hear the drums answer back. Echoing again and again, growing closer and louder with each boom. They are coming.

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Ada: Father/Dad

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~Talia Spirit

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