Moria – January 3019
The last several weeks have been exhausting, but as I am sure you are curious, I wanted to take a rare moment of rest and scratch a note off to you.
Well, Carahadras was a bust. Saruman, (who apparently takes his new status as an evil wizard very seriously) perched himself atop Orthanc and hollered a few spells our way and boom! Here comes the snow crashing down from above. Buried me up to my neck, to say nothing of the two hobbits I was carrying. Of course, Legolas was the first to notice a “fell voice on the air.” We’ve nicknamed him the “bluebird of happiness,” for his unerring good deeds in saving our butts from warped wizardry and other bad things.
Gandalf, not to be outdone, stepped up to the precipice and shouted back some countermanding spell, but since Saruman had gotten the jump on him, there wasn’t a lot he could do. Boom! Another snowbath. Gandalf barely escaped becoming “one with mountain,” but luckily Legolas was able to yank him back from the edge before he went over. Did you know that elves can walk ON TOP of snow? Neither did I. No wonder he won the snowboarding contest.
After the second dousing, I spoke up and advocated heading back and west towards Minas Tirith. Gimli was all for Moria, and Aragorn kept shouting that the west path would take us too close to Isengard. Since no one could decide, (AND we were freezing our kishkas off, to boot) Gimli and I did rock-paper-scissors to decide. We went to best two out of three, then seven out of ten, then finally Gandalf lost patience and let Frodo decide; he wanted to go through the mines. Of course he did. These short folk all stick together.
So, high ho, high ho, it’s off to the mines we go. We trekked through the rocks while Gimli lectured us on dwarf culture and traditions. I found it interesting enough, but noticed that the elf had turned his music up a little louder than was necessary; the bass in that little unit is awesome! Trust the elves to be on the forefront of technology. Firstborn, and all that.
The hobbits amused themselves by playing leapfrog over the rocks; we had a brief scare when Merry vaulted over a particularly sharp and pointy rock and, uh, missed, if you know what I mean. Fortunately, it was just a scrape on the thigh after all, and we continued on our way. No blood, no foul, right?
We skirted the narrow path that led around the actual mines. Gandalf took up the narrative at this point, saying that mithril was the real treasure of Moria and that he understood that Durin had given Bilbo Baggins a shirt made out of mithril as a gift after their quest. Apparently, that’s a quite the prize – worth more than their entire hometown, by the wizard’s reckoning. Gimli was much impressed. I noticed that during this little conversational tidbit, that Frodo was looking upwards, whistling, and then Sam leaned over and whispered something to him and got a sharp whack on the arm for his trouble. Wonder what that was all about…
Finally, we got to a spot that looked promising and Gandalf waved his staff, and lo and behold, light shot through the rocks and illuminated a doorway, scrolled in gold, very dramatic. Lots of oohs and aahs from the group. Gandalf looked pretty pleased with himself, until he went to open it up and nothing happened. And I mean nothing.
While Gandalf Copperfield muttered to himself and waved his wand – I mean staff-around, we took five. Aragorn found a dry rock and sat down with his book and yellow hi-liter, Gimli wandered about looking for veins of mithril in the walls, and Legolas tucked himself into a corner and assumed the lotus pose. Must’ve been taking classes with Glorfindel. Sam was spending a Hallmark moment with Bill the Pony before we sent him home; Frodo was staring off into space (surprise, surprise). I tried to pass the time teaching Merry and Pippin to skip stones the Gondor way – with that little double flip at the end. They were getting pretty good at it too, when Aragorn grabbed their hands in mid-toss and warned them not to disturb the water. He may have king’s blood and all, but he can be a real wet blanket.
Finally, Gandalf gave up and sat down, grumbling. A few awkward moments passed, then Frodo stood up, asked Gandalf a question, and amazingly enough, the door opened. Turns out the phrase above the door was a riddle; apparently they spend lots of time messing about with riddles, tongue twisters, Mad Libs and the like in Holetown, so Frodo figured it out pretty quickly. Gandalf pretended to be happy but I personally think he wasn’t too thrilled about being shown up by a hobbit with a penchant for word games.
Am I the only one who wonders why a door forged by dwarves can only be opened by a word invented by elves? Must remember that to use as conversation starter when things get dull.
We’re getting ready to head in. Gimli’s rhapsodizing about Dwarvish hospitality, roaring fires, malt beer and ripe meat off the bone. Hold! I just heard a deep rumbling, a most unsavory sound. (Later) Ah, it was just Pippin’s stomach growling. I have to admit, the thought of a good meal is appealing, and the dwarves know how to brew good ale. I figure we’ll have a bite and knock a few back, and maybe even Aragorn will loosen up a bit.
So that’s the plan. Do me a favor and tell Dad to lay off the leadership thing, OK? I know what I’m doing. And its not like I’m not trying to get the ring to Gondor. You know me better than that. So tell the old man to chill out and trust me.
Te annau, brother.