Part III Chapter 6.1
The experiences of three together presented
- The Lady of Rohan on the Dove in Belegaer Sea in Second Age 22 March 2000
- The Elf at Gray Havens in Third Age 29 September 3021
- The Dwarf in the pits of Dol Guldur in Third Age 2845
Of the Lady of Rohan
Of the Elf
Of the Dwarf
Éowyn looked out from the deck of the Dove towards the port. She sensed he was looking back at her before the dawn, now just appearing as the faint glimmer in the east, when he would travel to The Light. The terror of the night was giving way to the promise of the day.
They were waiting for him on the White Ship, its sails unfurled ready for the last voyage west. The dawn was filled with excitement and sorrow, for those on board and those left behind. The sun hung low across the land, for the night fought to succumb to its rising.
Gimli found himself in the blackest of black pits, darker then the mines of Moria, more threatening than anywhere he had known, as fearful as the Paths for the Dead. There was no night or dawn here.
Éowyn dared not think of the kiss meaning anything other than that of friendship and relief, though it seemed, and a part of her being wished for it, to be more. But they had both witnessed the fickleness of love, as demonstrated by Morisoron who, although sworn to Hadiya, had seen her to be slain. Tears welled up in her eyes as she thought of Hadiya and her trust in love. Love brought pain and vulnerability. And how could her emotions be reconciled in terms of Aragorn’s love for Arwen, and Faramir’s for her? Love was a capricious emotion of man, she would not, could not trust herself to it
Legolas approached the three he revered, and bowed deeply.
‘I have come to you on behalf of the Quest to reunite the Rings against that of the Dark Lord.’
Legolas spoke passionately yet respectfully, assured that what had been promised would be given.
Gimli had reckoned that if he arrived in the pits at the time of the deep dream, there would be few awake and on guard. He quickly realised his error, for all were not still. He heard the shrieks of pain coming from distantly beneath his feet, for the torture chambers did not sleep. Despite being accustom to the world of the subterrane, his eyes could not acclimatize themselves to the blackness here, for it was more than the absence of light that consumed the space, He took out Thráin’s card of mithril, it glowed like a torch; he depended that it would not be seen by those of these pits.
She looked again at the shore, and as the sun came upon the land as a blazing golden sphere, those images of it and him faded into nothingness.
‘Queen Hadiya, pardon please, but you asked to see the captain when you had come aboard,’ Valand called, trying to gain her attention.
‘Yes, Valand, I thank you,’ and she looked to see that the Captain stood alongside him, waiting to hear her command.
‘Captain, I need to catch the Northman as soon as possible. How can you do this and by when? I must reach it before dawn tomorrow.’
The Captain looked at her and responded in a respectful tone:
‘My Lady, the Dove is a swifter vessel as you know, but with your father so ill I am sure the Northman is making as much speed as possible to return to Carn Dûm. I fear we may not reach it before then.’
‘But it is not impossible,’ she urged.
‘No, with fair winds, the Dove flies, but I can make no promises.’
‘I understand, and ask none of you. I will ensure a bounty to each sailor if we catch the Northman before then.’
‘No bounty is necessary my Queen, your urgent wish is all for the men to do their utmost.’
‘Then I can ask for no more.’
Galadriel walked to Legolas and graciously addressed him:
‘Dear kin of the Woodland Realm, we have considered your request, and I offer Nenya freely to the Quest.’
She slipped the Ring of Water off her finger, and placed it in the coffer Legolas offered her, adding:
‘May the waters it controls drown forever the fires of the Evil One.’
Legolas turned to Elrond:
‘My Lord, I know the tie this Ring has to the future of your people.’
Legolas wavered in giving Elrond the coffer, but Elrond responded:
‘Loyal cousin, my people no longer have need for me to bear Vilya, and I surrender it to those of the Quest. I do so in the hope that the winds it commands will for evermore extinguish the tempests of evil.’
Then Elrond slipped off Vilya and placed it in the coffer.
Legolas bowed in respect and appreciation. He turned to Gandalf, and was about to say that he already had his Ring, when Gandalf spoke:
‘I know Legolas, that in the future I have relinquished my ring, but at this time I still bear it. So to ensure their unity from this time onward, I give you Narya. For together with water and air, in hope that its fire will consume all traces of evil.’
With that, Gandalf took off his ring and as Legolas opened the coffer, he saw where it had been a red light shone, but as Gandalf put Naryainto the coffer, the ring of the present absorbed the light of the future.
So the three rings were again reunited, which they hoped, brought an end to The Dark’s insidious influence over them.
Gimli had no idea where Thráin would be held, but thought since he would have only recently been captured, he would not be in the bowels of the pit. Others would be there, ‘guests’ of Sauron, biding their piteous time to die, ever so slowly at the hands of Dark’s vassals.
He crept along the wall of the area where he appeared. It formed a landing from which dark stone stairs wound up and down. He was about to choose to go down, when he saw monstrous shadows winding their way up to where he stood. He hid within a stone doorway, and watched as four orcs passed him, through to an entrance on his left. He knew that it would be impossible to find his way to Thráin without information on where to start his search. He followed the orcs, listening to their conversation as best he could. They spoke of a Nazgûl arriving in the morn to interrogate the dwarf-prisoner. Gimli deduced that this would be Thráin. He took the chance that they had just come from him. He started his descent, watchful in case others where ascending, for there would be no way of hiding if caught on these narrow stairs. He made it to the next level, and commenced his search. In the dark, for there was no light save his mithril torch, he could make out rows of doors, of rusted iron and pitted wood. The place stunk of death and blood, stale and sour, overwhelming even the dampness of this hole. He heard the yelps of those imprisoned, pleading not for freedom, but for merciful death, the termination of torment.
The Captain bowed and left with Valand, and as they walked off Valand whispered to him:
‘Do you not see it? There is something different, even her raiments, for Hadiya wore exclusively the colour blue. Do you not see it, she is an imposter, she is not our Queen!’
The Captain replied firmly:
‘Your fears are unfounded Valand. She is obviously distressed, but there is no reason to question who she is or her order.’
‘But she did not call you by name, and she travels without Viduma, something our Hadiya would never do,’ Valand responded adamantly.
‘Valand, you forget she is now a Queen, rumored to be tied directly to the imperial house of Numénor, she is bound to be changed. I cannot spend anymore time on your frivolous fears; I have to catch the Northman.’
The Captain walked off, leaving Valand glancing suspiciously at Éowyn.
Éowyn did not hear their words, but she sensed the distrust of Valand, however, now there was little he could do to threaten her purpose.
Holding the three coffers side-by-side, Legolas could feel the power within.
Celeborn came to Legolas and looking intently into his eyes said:
‘Loyal servant of the Quest, you have the power of the Elves in your hands; go with care to The Light, for much depends on you and them. I will not sail to the West, but return to Lothlórien to protect the antiquities. However you should stay on board the White Ship until the dawn, for the Dark seeks you and the rings. Here you will be protected, for he cannot penetrate this realm and forestall your mission.
Gimli realised that these doors had not been opened in years; for eons of caked-on dirt lay undisturbed on the floor before the doors. Thráin would not be here.
Gimli decided that he needed to go down at least another level. He was about to descend, when he heard footsteps coming from above. He rushed into the darkness. It was the same orcs he had seen previously. They came to the landing where he was, but continued downward. He followed. They did not stop at the level below, but descended further. Gimli found the air became staler and rancid; he gagged on taking every breath. He felt an agonising desolation grip him, but he followed them ever in the hope they would lead him to Thráin. Finally they stopped.
They were talking to another, who stood guard at that level. The dark became Gimli’s ally, for while the orcs were engaged in their discussion, he was able to edge his way undetected from the bottom stair onto the landing.
He had limited knowledge of the Black Tongue, but he could hear them clearly now and could make out the gist of the words: the Nazgûl would be arriving shortly and no being had ever withstood his will.
The Dove flew passed the headland, heading out to sea; luminous turquoise waters gushing against its hull, fine filaments of silver spray soaring over its bow covering her with its gentle beads. She did not move, she soaked in the purity of the open waters, breathing in its untainted air, diluting her torment and pain.
The Dove swung around to the north, following the quickest path to Carn Dûm, and the Northman.
As it moved from the coastline, Éowyn surveying the shore saw a small, almost totally obscured, cove. She stared into the shadowy inlet and saw moored there a massive galleon, its ebony hull pulsating in the dawning light, and upon its mast flew a flag with the insignia of an erupting Mt Doom; she shuddered, this must be the ship of Annatar.
The dawn grew into day, and morning into afternoon. And those of the sky and sea, knew of and aided the Dove’s frantic flight; the sea breezes filled her sails and the ocean currents drove her from beneath.
Legolas stayed aboard the White Ship with Galadriel, Elrond, Gandalf, Frodo and Bilbo, and those others, elven souls departing Lothlórien and Rivendell for Aman, the Undying Lands.
He had never been past the shores of Middle-earth, never been on the high seas. He was overwhelmed by the majesty of it all, the cobalt sky and sapphire sea. The sense of freedom as the ship sailed effortlessly, becoming part of, yet forging a path through, the fathomless waters. He was mesmerized by the swishing sound of the waves and the soothing sway of the ship; by the spicy saltiness of the sea breeze and the succoring softness of the sun’s rays.
Despite the others about him and the enchantment of this setting, he was alone in his thoughts... as alone as Gimli, and Legolas felt the pangs of guilt about how safe he was, while his dear friend was in grave jeopardy, ensnared in dark’s subterranean world.
The orcs left the guard and went into a passage way, and then into a cell off that. Gimli was cogitating about of how he could create a distraction, when a call came from the cell. This caused the sentry to leave his post. There were screams and cursing coming from the cell. These sounds reverberated across the landing and then echoed through the stairwell. This set off a howling from all levels – wailing from others who felt the pain, had suffered, forsaken, now felt a unity with a tormented other. It built into a crescendo of wailing from crushed souls venting their anguish. Gimli was overwhelmed by the outpourings of suffering; the darkness throbbed with their pain. Then there was a bloodcurdling shriek of authority:
‘Stop this noise!’
and a deafening pounding as something advanced from below.
As her heart ached with emotions intertwined with feelings of Hadiya, of Aragorn and those members of the Quest, she felt a breathlessness come upon her. The breeze which blew from the wildness of the sea infused her spirit with its freedom and brought her some relief.
She did not move from her position, despite the urging of Valand and the Captain. She took the drink they offered her, but no food. She waited for a signal that the Northman was in reach. Then, as the sun grew grey and sad and ventured into the west, there came a cry from the crow’s nest:
‘The Northman, the Northman’ – to the
The Captain appeared and handed her the brass telescope.
‘My Lady, you can see her on the horizon.’
Éowyn felt elated, yes the colours showed the ship as the Northman.
‘How soon will we reach her?’ she asked.
‘At the rate of our travel and hers, we should reach her before nightfall.’
‘Thank you Captain. I will need to board her.’
‘My Queen, you board her at sea?’
‘Surely that has been done before.’
‘Yes, but not by a Queen as yourself.’
‘You forget Captain I am newly a Queen, before that I was a woman of some measure, equal in many ways to any man.’
‘Apologies My Lady, I am aware of your feats. I will see to what will need to be rigged.’
‘Thank you again Captain.’
She looked after him as he strode off to get everything in readiness. She hated the deceit she was forced into, and as it continued, her anxiety rose about its success.
He was in a turmoil of thoughts, feeling somehow the resonating screams of the dungeons, and Gimli’s dread of what was advancing from its pits. He felt powerless at not being there to help his friend. Caught in this moment of tormenting remorse, he felt Gandalf’s hand on his shoulder.
‘Do not fret Legolas, for what lies before Gimli; he has, and has been, chosen for him to face. He will know of your success with the rings and that will give him the impetus to spur him on through his trial. He does not need or crave your help; he has his tenacity and that of Thráin to find a way.’
‘But of what we have been told by lore, there is no possibility...’
‘No possibility Legolas, do I hear an elf say that, surely not.’
‘But we know that Sauron took the Ring, we know that you found Thráin demented... how can...’
‘It can be...’
‘But we cannot change what has happened, this is given...’
‘And so it shall be. Gimli will not change that Sauron retrieved the ring that we know he gave to the dwarf Lords... I received the map from Thráin... These things will happen as written, but what the old lore did not tell for certain, which we know as spoken of in dwarven legend, the ring given by Celebrimbor to Durin III, that ring is what Gimli will recover...of that I am certain.’
And Gandalf smiled benevolently at Legolas for he understood his turmoil.
Legolas lingered on the thought of how Thráin could hide this ring from Sauron, but he was happy to accept Gandalf’s assertion, and replied:
‘Then I am content with that assurance.’
‘Then let us spend this evening admiring the stars and sea and drinking to the good fortune of the Quest, to the ascent of its Light.
The dungeons fell silent, a roaring ominous silence. It was coming!
He felt the fear, the dread of it, and the dread of all those that knew what it was – he did not! Not knowing sent an icy shiver into him. Conflicting thoughts, feelings flooded his mind. Should he stay hidden and see it pass. He knew that if he had chance to get to Thrain’s dungeon, he needed to make his move now.
The orcs knew it was coming, but in their panic they had disappeared into the cell.
He had one chance to slip past the guard post, but should the thing get to the top step before he had time to get past the cell and hide in the shadows beyond, he would be caught between orcs and it, in full view.
There was nothing for it, he heard its hulking ponderous steps, it was on the turn of the stairs. He dashed across the space, nearly tripping as he ran, he made the doorway of the cell, just as its shadow fell from the top stair, it bellowed out an order, and Gimli propelled himself to the ground barely past the door, just as a quivering orc appeared at the doorway.
Gimli dared not move a muscle; he had landed in some debris and sunk into its slimy filth face down. He could not see it, but he felt it pass. It was not a Nazgûl; it was a lumbering creature, immense in size, for it huffed its way into the stifling cell.
Gimli dragged himself farther into the darkness. He gagged at the stench of what covered him, but swiftly directed his attention to the happenings in the cell; which he could just see through a slit of opening between the door and its jamb.
He saw the back of a grotesque cave troll, his gangrenous green form covered on a scaly-hide near to filling the cell. Bloodied orcs had been knocked to the floor, as rippling with anger, he yelled:
‘Mind my command well; you will receive no further warning. You are to keep him alive, just alive and subdued. The Nazgûl will redouble the interrogation.
The Dove reached the Northman just as the sun was setting. There was great excitement when the ships were re-united, but an anxiety arose when it was realised that the Queen intended to cross from the Dove.
The sea was calm and the vessels steady, and with much care, everything was prepared. It was decided, despite the Queen’s protestation, that Valand would be transported as a trial first, and with his trepidation, much more than the Queen herself displayed, he was hoisted over to the Northman. The chair was returned.
Éowyn went to the Captain:
‘In the future, you will hear stories abound about this journey, but how ever they are expressed, your Queen sends you her deepest appreciation for enabling this meeting...’
Then without waiting for a response, Éowyn stepped into the chair, and the pipe passed the message for the hoist to begin.
By the time Éowyn stepped on the Northman, Valand had gained an audience with Hadiya’s mother, Isilma, telling her of his feelings.
When Éowyn was brought before Isilma, Éowyn announced, her voice unwavering:
‘My Lady, I bring a message from Queen Hadiya that is solely for your hearing.’
Isilma, looked at Éowyn, it was the face of Hadiya, but as Valand had warned her, this woman was not Hadiya:
‘You do not claim to be Hadiya?’ Isilma replied courteously, though her words were filled with dread of what the answer might reveal.
The White Ship flew westbound towards the setting sun.
Those on board had come together to celebrate their journey. Legolas joined them for their repast... and they welcomed him. They spoke of the wonders of Middle-earth, of the glories of the creations of the Elves of all Ages; of the battles, their victories of renown; of their journey home to the Undying Lands.
Laughter and song rang out from the ship, and floated as enchanting melodies with the wind atop the waves. There was gaiety and hope for the elves were returning to a land of peace and harmony. Too long had they been caught up in the merciless machinations of the Dark Lord of Middle-earth, and been compromised by an entanglement in this world’s conflicts and battles. Elves were peace-loving peoples, and revenge and hate were alien to their spirit. They yearned for the concord of a utopia, as was their birth right; a world suited to the gracious immortality of their being.
So it was for all the elves on board, except Elrond, Galadriel and Legolas.
They knew that what these elves had taken for granted, in the future was not assured. For they did not know of the Dark Lord’s influence on the rings, and that these rings which they had relied on to protect them from The Dark had been relinquished and would not be travelling to the homeland. Moreso, that their immortality hung in the balance, its future laying in the hands of The Light and its Quest. However, Elrond and Galadriel said none of this to the others. They trusted in The Light, though their apprehension mounted as, without their rings, they could not foresee what would befall the Quest.
The lumbering form of the Troll turned awkwardly to exit the cell, throwing out an arm which hit an orc to the ground. He hesitated, looking down in frustration at the trembling form which blocked his way. Then in unbridled spite he stomped on the body; his gargantuan foot pulverizing the bones as he stepped on. As he did, he yelled orders about the preparations required for the arrival of the Nazgûl.
The other orcs, horrified, hurried after him, leaving the body of their comrade behind.
The door of the cell they left ajar.
Gimli did not hesitate, he sneaked into the cell. It was in pitch blackness. He took out the mithril card, and its lumination was largely swallowed by murkiness. He struggled for sight, creeping forward.
The stench of rotting flesh, of living bodies and those of dead, of the sheer terror of this place, made him waver in his step; he wanted to run, to escape, to be away from this relentless evil, but he did not; he stopped and regained his composure. As he did, he found that his eyes could penetrate the darkness. He scoured the cell, and there slumped in the corner, chained from head to foot, was a body. He rushed to it; could this pathetic creature be Thráin? At first Gimli could not recognise him. He was semi- conscious. Gimli recollected the words of the troll ‘just alive and subdued’, he was barely that. Blood oozed from a recent head wound, and he moaned in harrowing torment.
Gimli knelt down to him, and whispered to him in dwarvish, there was no response.
Gimli repeated his plea, though he became fearful that Thráin was beyond answering.
Éowyn looked to Valand, who was frowning with mistrust, then to Isilma:
‘No my Lady, I took Hadiya’s name merely as I knew no other way to bring you her message. Although I have her appearance, I come humbly as her messenger to bring this Elf-jewel to heal her father,’ and Éowyn stepped forward to present the jewel to Isilma.
Valand blocked Éowyn’s path and attempted to detain her, but Isilma waved him away, accepting the jewel and responding in a quivering voice:
‘Hadiya must have truly trusted you fair lady, to have given you this jewel.’
She did not ask why Hadiya had not come herself, nor how, Éowyn, twin-like, had miraculously materialised. Her husband was dying and Hadiya had sent a possible remedy; that is what mattered for now.
Despite Valand’s insistence not to provide this private audience, Isilma ordered all to leave, and beckoned Éowyn to follow her to the royal stateroom.
Éowyn did not even notice the luxuriant fittings of the chamber, for she was overcome by the pitiful sight of this noble warrior in a state of anxious stupor. His breathing was laboured and he fitfully convulsed, as he tried desperately to fight an unseen enemy.
Isilma lovingly kissed his forehead, and fighting tears, declared:
‘He writhes in unconsciousness, and screams in torment that cannot be consoled. I have no doubt he has been bewitched for none of our physicians can bring him relief. I feel Hadiya’s presence and faith in you and her elf-jewel as his only chance of recovery. Do what you must. ’
Éowyn raised Galadriel’s jewel above Theod’s head, and repeated the words Hadiya had taught her:
‘Op sga id pela id qohgsyutpatt
Op squts sga qakiboph op wiuq texoph niyaq
“Ugaqa feajpatt fiat pis bipaem wiu dqil sga awa id deosg
Piq fi sga diqbat id fatsqubsoip ictbuqa wiuq nqatapba”
Avnam sga diqbat id axom sga tas sgot tnoqos dqaa.’
‘In the name of righteousness
In trust and rejoicing in your saving power
“Where darkness does not conceal you from the eye of faith
Nor do the forces of destruction obscure your presence”
Expel the forces of evil and set this spirit free.’
Éowyn sensed a healing glow and the evil disperse.
As the ship sped westward on peaceful seas, all on board felt the elation of a journey of homecoming, save the three wise ones, their hobbit friends, and the elf from the Woodland Realm. They had watched the festivities of the others, of joyous singing and dancing; their merriment illuminated by a crystal chandelier of silvery stars and gold-crested moon. Their rejoicing was infectious, and for some time even Elrond, Galadriel and Gandalf were enticed to join in, and Bilbo and Frodo, laughed and drank in celebration.
But Legolas stood aside, not wishing to dampen the merrymaking. Though he had been reassured by Gandalf, now he was being overwhelmed by flashes of visions, images reflecting Gimli’s descent into Don Guldur, and a racking pain. He had faith in Gandalf’s reasoning that the task before Gimli was possible and would not jeopardize old lore.
But he could not shake a feeling of heart-wrenching guilt. Here he was with all this frivolity, sheltered from The Dark; his mission of picking up the rings without trial or threat, while his friend faced unparalleled struggle and danger.
Legolas was close to tears of shame and regret at letting Gimli go by himself, when he heard words of comfort. He looked around thinking they were from Gandalf, but Gandalf was nowhere near.
‘Fear not Prince of the Woodland, nor hold yourself at fault, for the Quest calls upon many connections beyond its control to carve its path. Nothing is indomitable with the free will of souls who seek a righteous end; it is the choice of the ones from the many that will lead to defeat of The Dark. A course through the myriad has been forged for the King of Durin’s folk and the son of Glóin; we must be content to see them through.’
And as Legolas questioned in thought:
‘If this is a folly, a risk far from what is reasonable...’
so his thoughts were answered:
‘Then it is that, and the Quest must endure, and react to, its outcome.’
To which Legolas’s thoughts asked:
‘And if old lore is tampered with...’
and an answer returned:
‘If it must be, for there is no way other, then new lore must realign it...’
Legolas heard the words and felt comforted, and his gloom diffuse.
Thráin’s eyes opened.
‘You have come, son of Glóin, as I knew you would. The ring did little to save me. I have failed but others will follow me to recover our land.’
Gimli, looked at Thráin’s hands, there were no rings:
‘They have taken the ring!’ he exclaimed louder than he wished, so he tried to swallow his words, perturbed to attract the orcs.
‘Do not despair Gimli. With your warning I wore it not on my finger, and despite their searching and torture I have not revealed it to them. But the Nazgûl comes soon and it will be harder to keep it from him. So it is good that you come now, cousin.’
Then they heard footsteps approaching the cell.
Gimli leaped into the darkness, Thráin doubled-over as if still unconscious.
The orcs came to the doorway, grunting in conversation:
‘When the Nazgûl comes he has ways to make him speak, yell for mercy...’
‘Pray for death!’
they laughed and left.
Gimli returned to Thráin:
‘I had hoped to help you.’
Thráin replied breathlessly but calmly:
‘There is nothing that can help me now, but the ring, you must work rapidly. Have you a knife, if not give use your axe; slice open the scar on my thigh. The ring lies below.’
Gimli did as requested, and from the incision blood gushed, hot and crimson. Gimli tried to stop its flow, but Thráin refused his efforts, beseeching him:
‘There is no point Gimli. There is no way of stopping the ebb of my life now. You must reach into the wound and take out the ring. It has been wrapped in pallida- leaf, to ease the inflammation caused by its insertion.’
Gimli did this. Thráin did not even flinch or groan; Gimli was in awe of his stoicism.
Gimli pulled out the leaf cradling a topaz gem, it glowed amber amid the burgundy blood. Gimli had Thráin place it into the coffer and as he closed the lid, Gimli heard a scream – a screech of rage, a shriek of hate.
Gimli recoiled from the sound and the darkness it sprayed.
Theod stirred, but it was not from torment but of solace; his eyelids wavered momentarily, then opened. He sat upright, dazed but fully conscious. Éowyn recognised it as like the miraculous recovery Gandalf had once performed on her dear uncle, Theoden, releasing him from the spell of Saruman.
Isilma cried out with joy and embraced her husband.
Theod, oblivious to what had happened, scoffed at her tears and appealed for an explanation. Isilma explained what had happened at Romenna , his illness and their flight for home, and the appearance of this woman, like a twin of Hadiya, with her Elf-Jewel.
Theod looked searchingly at Éowyn, and saw immediately the significance:
‘You come on behalf of Hadiya, with her jewel and blessing, for she could not,’ he paused, trembling in his words, ‘she could not because she has been slain.’
Isilma screamed out at his words, for she had not understood this.
‘Is this not true?’ he questioned, knowing but not wanting it confirmed.
Éowyn felt her throat tense-up, she gasped, trying to catch her breath, she had not said these words before, could she speak them now?
Hadiya’s mother was sobbing, for she knew what her words would be.
In the silence of the night, lulled by the sound of the waves as the Northman speed homeward under a starlit bistre sky, Éowyn found the courage and words to tell Hadiya’s tale.
There was no way of consoling their depths of despair, but when it was told, they gratefully thanked Éowyn for delivering her message.
Although distraught, the King stoically asked what his realm could do to help Éowyn. Éowyn graciously reassured him that Hadiya’s courage had shown them that men need not succumb to evil. Her example would provide the foundation upon which the Quest would depend. She warned that the malice of Annatar would extend to the entire house of Theod, and that he would need to prepare against The Dark’s attack.
They asked Éowyn what her plans were now, as the Northman fled towards Carn Dûm. Éowyn explained that she must depart at dawn with the aid of The Light, and as that time was now upon them, she bid good-bye to Hadiya’s parents, and left their stateroom.
She walked up the steps to the main deck, and forward into time towards The Light.
Galadriel, Elrond and Gandalf left the revelers and sat with a more contented Legolas.
However as the hour grew late, Legolas’s mind was engulfed with a turmoil of terror that he could not shake; decorously he took his leave. He did not want to embroil the others in his burden, and they knew he must find his own path.
Legolas retired to his stateroom and lay upon couch opposite a porthole that looked out over the deepening emerald sea. The sound of revelry faded from hearing, and a silvered shaft of moonlight fell upon the tranquil waters like a shimmering speculum. He felt mesmerized by its glinting glimmer, falling into a trance-like state.
Suddenly he was running, running with others, a fervid fear gushing from inside. All was in darkness, they were in a mammoth cavern; Gandalf was screaming that they should race to cross the Bridge of Khazad-dûm. A wrathful howl roared after them, he could feel the inferno of the Balrog’s breath. He stopped and turned to face it, and he was in the Haunted Mountain of the Dead; Aragorn pulling at his arm as they ran, desperately seeking escape from the avalanche of the dead. They reached the outside, and he turned at the sound of beating drums and baying warhorns, just as a Mumakil was charging towards him. Spent and bewildered, he raised his bow to shoot, when the ground gave way beneath his feet and he plunged, spinning uncontrollably, into a seemingly bottomless chasm. At first he tried to fight the descent, flaying and trying to grasp the rocky outcrop from which he ricocheted mercilessly as he toppled into the void. However, as seconds past he realised the futility of this, and he went with the free-fall, trying to relax to meet its end; which as he decided this, did so. He did not know how this happened, or why, but he found himself in pitch-black. He could hear the snorts of a beast close-by, and then smelt the stench of decaying sweat, but his keen elven eyes could not pierce the dark. He stood still, frozen and blinded, hoping that the others he sensed present in the void could not see him.
There was a flash of light and abruptly his sight was restored, and he saw stomping from the gloom a gigantic troll followed by hunching orcs; he lunged into the shadows as they passed. Then he saw a beaten creature bound in chains, and...and Gimli, yes it was Gimli; Gimli was comforting this creature... and had in his hands...
‘Legolas, Legolas... it is well-nigh dawn,’ pierced the voice of Gandalf.
Legolas jumped to his feet, and as a lavender aurora burst across the horizon of the High Sea, bringing boundless light and hope to those westward bound, Legolas farwelled his guardian and friend, and travelled to meet him in another time in The Light.
Gimli spun around, thinking the orcs had returned. But nothing stirred from outside the cell. Thráin showed no signs of hearing this scream. It came from somewhere beyond.
Gimli composed himself, and then tried to stop the bleeding. Thráin thanked him again for his efforts, beseeching:
‘Gimli, my end is nigh, I merely waited for your arrival. But I do ask from you one last service. Leave me your axe so I might meet my end as a warrior should.’
Gimli could see there was no arguing with Thráin, and in any case, it was not for him to change what old lore had decreed as Thráin’s end, he must die in these pits. But how he would die, if with honour or otherwise, that had not been written. Gimli could enable a fitting end.
He removed Thráin’s chains and helped him up, and then handed him his axe. Thráin could barely stand straight; his right leg had been pierced and smashed by an orc spear, and his arms bruised by beatings.
‘Now you must leave cousin, son of Glóin, for I must prepare myself for my last battle.’
Gimli embraced Thráin:
‘I would wait here with you and join you in...’ he started to plead.
‘You should not risk anything else on my behalf by staying longer. It is the ring that needs to be saved, and you have scant time to save it; otherwise all will be lost. I am content not to linger here, and I will have one last time to cry: 'Baruk Khazâd! Khazâd aimênu!'
'Axes of the Dwarves! The Dwarves are upon you! JRR Tolkien LOTR'
‘You have given me this chance; you could give me no greater gift.
Gimli looked upon this sorry state of the king of his kin; he did not even think he could wield the axe...
Thráin saw him look at him, and smiled:
‘Looks are deceptive, my friend. Pray have you the mithril card?
Gimli rummaged in his pocket and pulled out the card and handed it to Thráin. Thráin rolled the card into a cone shape and it is tip pulsated with a searing glow.
Thráin ran the cauterizing tip slowly over his right leg, then up and down his arms; it spluttered as it cauterized broken bone and cleaved muscle.
Thráin did not flinch, but beads of sweat poured from his brow; he was in excruciating pain. He toppled back against the wall, but as Gimli raced to support him, he waved away his aid. He breathed heavily, gasping for relief; Gimli looked on in dismay, however, gradually Thráin’s gasping eased, and a beam came upon his face:
‘I am ready Gimli, son of Glorin, see I can wield your axe,’ and he held the axe high and brought it down with a formidable slash:
‘Go before the Nazgûl arrives.’
Gimli looked at this mighty lord of dwarves, and was amazed; before him stood not the wretched creature of moments earlier, but a proud warrior.
Reluctantly, heavy hearted, Gimli left the cell. He hid in the darkness of the adjoining doorway as he heard the footsteps of the Nazgûl approaching.
Gimli wished Thráin the honour of his final fray, and then as the dawn broke far from the darkness in which he stood, he travelled to meet up with his friends in The Light.