Lord of the Rings

A Journey in the Dark

At the end of the day, the company reached the cliff face at the far side of the lake.

There was no sign of an entrance, but Gimli explained that Dwarf-Doors were made to be invisible when shut. Gandalf moved his hands across the cliff face, muttering under his breath.

Soon the doors appeared. "Speak, friend, and enter," read Gandalf as he struck the rock with his staff. Boromir threw a large stone into the dark lake.

Gandalf tried every word of opening he could think of, but it was of no avail. Suddenly he exclaimed, "Of course! It's so simple. Mellon!" The doors swung open.

The travelers moved towards the dark entrance. Just then, Frodo cried out. A sinuous tentacle had crawled out of the lake and grabbed his ankle, pulling him back towards the water. Sam hacked at the tentacle with his knife.

The arm let go of Frodo. "Into the gateway! Up the stairs! Quick!" shouted Gandalf.

The company rushed into the mines of Moria just in time.

As soon as they were inside, the tentacles from the lake siezed the doors and slammed them shut. Noises from outside sounded as if the trees on either side of the gate were torn out and piled against the doors.

Gandalf led them on into the mines for hours. Occasionally he stopped to ask Gimli for advice when the choice of path was in question, but it was always Gandalf who had the final word. Finally they halted to sleep in a guardroom beside a juncture in the passageway.

"Steady! Steady" cried Gandalf as Merry and Pippin pushed forward. "Let me go first. There! You might have fallen in that well." He pointed at a large round hole in the middle of the floor. Broken and rusty chains trailed down into the black pit, and fragments of stone lay near.

Pippin felt curiously attracted by the well. While the others were preparing to sleep, he crept to the edge and peered over. Moved by a sudden impulse he groped for a loose stone, and let it drop.

From far below there came a plunk, very distant, but magnified and repeated in the hollow shaft.

"What's that!" cried Gandalf. He was relieved but angry when Pippin confessed. "Fool of a Took! Throw yourself in next time!"

After a few minutes they heard the sound of hammers signalling in the depths, as if in response to Pippin's stone.

In punishment Gandalf set Pippin to the first watch, but he soon relented and sent Pippin to bed. Gandalf spent the whole night watching the door as he smoked and thought.

The next day Gandalf led them on through the mines. For eight dark hours they marched on, in time coming to the eastern, more habitable parts of Moria. They spent the next night huddled together in the corner of a cavernous hall. Gimli told them the tale of Durin.

The next morning, they saw a light coming from a chamber to the side of the northern corridor. Going in they found themselves in a square chamber, lit by a shaft in the eastern wall. In the center was a single oblong block. Gandalf read the runes engraved on its lid, "Balin Son of Fundin Lord of Moria."

"He is dead then," said Frodo. "I feared it was so."

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