The Moria Fire Brigade

by The Foe Hammer

 A group of orcs sat around the table eating mutton chili. Each of them had a leather jerkin with some crude orcish letters scrawled on the sleeve and back. In the middle of the room was a hole in the floor with a knotted rope hanging from the ceiling all the way down through the center of the floor. Down below was the main hall of the old Dwarrowdelf chamber. Crognik looked at the rope and could not remember the last time he had gotten to use it. He glanced over by the wall where a large bell hung that had "fire alarm" written in Orcish language. It also had a much smaller rope extending through a small whole in the floor down to the chamber below.

"What you lookin' at Crog?" grunted an orc named Mahzag as he spilled some chili on a tome he was reading.

"Just thinkin'" said Crog.

"Well if you're a thinkin' that that bell might ring, think again," chuckled Mahzag. "It ain't rung since that idiot Shaman spilled his potions two years ago, I told you this was the cushiest job in Moria."

"Yeah, but it gets boring," groaned Crog. "Don't you guys want some action."

"No!" was the resounding reply from all the orcs in the room.

At that moment a loud commotion was heard through the hole in the floor from below.

"Sounds like a battle," said Mahzag as he moved to the edge of the whole. "Yup, that's what it is. Looks like old Mog and his boys have a wizard and some other critters trapped down there."

"Maybe the wizard will start a fire," squeaked the over-anxious Crog.

"Don't be talking up work for us," said Mahzag going back to his chili.

Crog sat quiet, wishing he had joined the scouts, they always had action. Why he had ever let his older cousin talk him into this Fire Brigade business he had no idea.

Just then the commotion down below stopped. All eyes in the room fell back to the hole. A smell of brimstone rose from the chamber.

"Ohhhhh No!" exclaimed Mahzag.

"What, is it a fire, is it a fire?!" said Crog jumping up and down.

"A fire, that's putting it mildly, someone's woke up 'Old Smoky'," his cousin replied.

"Who's "Old Smoky'?" asked Crog.

"You'll see soon enough." said an irritated Mahzag. At that moment the bell on the wall rang. The orcs fell out of their chairs backwards. They got up and clamoured around the room putting on their helmets and grabbing buckets and ropes. The over-eager Crog was the first to finish getting his gear and stood eagerly by the rope.

"Can I go cousin, can I go? asked Crog bouncing in his gear.

"I'll go first," said Mahzag shaking his head. "But go get your shovel."

"Shovel, why?" asked Crog.

"You'll see," said the older orc.

As they reached the bottom a senior orc captain stood there waiting for them. Small pockets of flame were scattered around the room. The orc captain shouted to Mahzag, "It's about time, he went that way after the wizard."

"OK, Squad A get your buckets filled from the pool, Squad B get your shovels ready and follow me." barked Mahzag.

Crog was in squad B and followed his cousin quickly. They reached a pocket of flame and just afterwards the Squad A orcs came up with their buckets.

"OK, douse it" shouted Mahzag.

The first orc flung his bucket of water on a large flaming cigar shaped object. A stench emitted like none Crog had ever smelled before. His eyes watering he said, "What in the name of the Dark Lord is that?"

"Balrog dropping" said Mahzag as a Squad B orc scooped the cigar shaped object into a bucket.

"Balrog dropping?" said a quizzical faced Crog.

"What, you didn't think he BREATHED fire did you?" said a bemused Mahzag.

Crog followed to the next pile. Thinking maybe it wasn't too late to sign up for the scouts.