Book 2: chapter 8

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As we reach our destination, darkness sets in once again. The wind has settled and all seems deceivingly quiet. Before us lie the fast walls of Moria and behind us a dark placid lake that gives me the chills. There seems no end to its depths.

Standing together beside the wall, there are two large solid trees. They mark the gate of Durin, though for the moment the wall seems rather bare.

Gandalf walks up to the trees, reaching out his hand towards the cold stone between them. As he does so, the moonlight filters through the clouds. The light reveals marks of luminous silver on the wall.

"Itidin...it mirrors only starlight and moonlight." Gandalf mutters more to himself. Looking over the Elven words written he says with a thoughtful look; "The door of Durin, Lord of Moria. Speak, friend, and enter."

"What do you suppose that means?" Merry wonders.

"It's quite simple. If you are a friend, speak the password and the doors will open." Gandalf answers with much confidence, turning back to the door and raising his arms high. "Annon edhellen, edro hi ammen!" he chants. I do not know what he's saying, but it seems to have no effect. Gandalf, not one to easily give up, continues chanting.

Looking around from my spot, I see Aragorn unsaddling Bill, the pony that Sam has grown so fond of. Sam looks on sadly as Aragorn tells him to say his goodbyes. "Mines are no place for a pony, even one so brave as Bill."

Sam nods reluctantly. "Bye Bill." he says, giving the animal one last pat.

"Go on Bill, go on..." Aragorn says, sending him off. "Don't worry Sam, he knows his way home." he assures the Hobbit as they watch him disappear into the darkness.

A splash of water snaps me out of my thoughts and my head whips around to see Merry and Pippin throwing rocks into the water. Marching up to them I take hold of Pippin's arm, as he was about to throw another in. "Please don't, you do not know what could lurk in those depths." I warn them, making them look into the deep with nervous glances.

Gandalf has given up trying, heaving a deep sigh before settling down on a rock beside Frodo. Nothing he tried worked and it's clearly puzzling him. He's not used to being beaten when it comes to wits.

"It's a riddle..." Frodo pipes up after a moment of guarded silence. "Speak, friend, and enter. What's the Elvish for friend?" he asks as Gandalf's expression twists into one of realization.

"Mellon!"

With a rumble, the door swings open letting out a cold and dry wind, ruffling our clothes and hair in an ominous greeting. The hair on the back of my neck stand on end. I can hardly see any further than a few steps inside. I am not going to enjoy being inside the mountain, not at all.

Warily we step forward and take our first steps inside, though I unconsciously stay at the back, wanting to stay outside for as long as I can.

"So, master elf, you will enjoy the fabled hospitality of the dwarves; roaring fires, malt beer, red meat off the bone. This, my friend, is the home of my cousin Balin...and they call this a mine... a mine!" Gimli states indignantly.

Gandalf holds out his staff and the tip of it glows in a white light, illuminating the area around us. When he does so, my mouth falls agape as a gasp is caught in my throat.

Hanging on the wall by an arrow beside me is a skeleton. I can't tell it's age, but I do know that it's a bad sign. Looking around, there are others littered across the ground.

"This is no mine...it's a tomb!" Boromir says, taking hold of his sword in case something decides to jump out at us.

"Oh no, no, no." laments Gimli in sorrow as Legolas pulls an arrow from one of the skeletal remains to examine it more closely.

"Goblins." he voices in a loud whisper.

Gripping my sword, I shuffle backwards with the rest of the company following closely, ready to get out of this place.

"We make for the Gap of Rohan. We should never have come here." Boromir says anxiously.

Suddenly a tuff of curly brown hair drops to the ground beside me, followed by a scream. Looking down I spot Frodo and around his leg is what seems to be a tentacle gripping onto him tightly and dragging him outside and towards its origin in the lake.

Dropping to the floor, I clasp onto his flailing arms, not minding the scratches his nails leave on mine. I dig my feet into the ground, but slide just as easily with him. Even when Merry and Pippin hang onto my waist, we still keep slipping.

Aragorn and Boromir rush past me and slash at the tentacle with their swords until it's cut off and Frodo is released. I fall on my behind with the hobbit in my arms. Sadly it's not over yet as more tentacles rise from the water that seems to boil in its turmoil.

They lash out at all of us, making us struggle to move out of their way. One goes for my wrist but I swipe my nails at it making it back off quickly. It is then that a weight leaves me and I look up to see Frodo being lifted in the air, screaming for Aragorn's help who rushes forward and into the lake immediately to battle the creature.

Getting to my feet, I take my bow and join Legolas in an attempt to shoot it down while Aragorn cuts Frodo loose, letting him drop in Boromir's arms. After, we immediately retreat into the mines and away from the creature of the lake.

The coiling tentacles grip onto the doorway, crushing, and then it collapses. We are left in utter darkness, not able to even see the dust settle around us.

A fear grips me and I can feel my heart hammer against my chest uncomfortably. My palms grow sweaty. We're stuck here until we find the exit, all the way on the other side of the dreaded mountain.

I jump as a hand lands on my shoulder. "It's just me." comes Legolas' voice from beside me. "Don't panic, we'll get through this together." he says, giving a soft squeeze. For some reason his words help me and I can feel myself calming down a little.

Gandalf lights up his staff showing scared and shocked faces. "We now have but one choice...we must face the long dark of Moria. Be on your guard...there are older and fouler things than the Orcs in the deep places of the world." he warns before turning around and leading the way. "Quietly, now. It's a four-day journey to the other side. Let us hope that our presence will go unnoticed."

Feeling weary, we slowly follow behind him and walk down the long winding stairs ahead of us. I try to ignore the carnage around us, and instead I try to focus on getting out of this place quickly and hopefully all in one piece.

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