Chapter 20 - Lost in Middle-Earth

Outside of any realization, the cast stopped reverently in front of Balin's tomb on bended knee. After a while, they shook it off one by one and began searching for strategic places to plow down orcs.
"Hey." Sir Ian said after a time. "I think I found the record."
"Well by all means," Elijah said softly, "read it."
The old man cleared his throat. "We drove out orcs from the great gate and guard, ruh-r-room I guess, we slew many in the bright, sun, uh, in the dale. Floi was killed... dah dah dah... where's something that applies to us?" He said frantically.
"Ah, here we go." He grimly read the next few bloodchilling lines. "We cannot get out. We cannot get out. They have taken the Bridge and second hall. Frar and Loni and Nali fell there. There's a smudge then... went five days ago. Then... the pool is up to the wall at Westgate. The Watcher in the Water took Oin. We cannot get out. The end comes. Drums, drums in the deep." He paused as if the words had paralyzed him, and there was an eerie silence. "They are coming."
"What shall we do now?" Sean asked.
"I would say go back to the hall, as is traditional, but that's no use, so let's stay
here." Right then sounded a great BOOM. The friends all gazed in horror at the
door. Doom, doom, the drums rolled. A shrill cry and horn blast were sounded.

"They're coming!" Orli shouted.
"We cannot get out." John breathed. Sir Ian talked about how he had stalled them.
"Wedge all the doors but the east!" Viggo interrupted.
Billy was chanting something to himself. "Come on, I've got to handle them. They capture me later! And I've seen Wizard of Oz a billion times. They're just flying monkeys without wings. They're just flying monkeys without wings..."
Another series of doom, dooms and a strain of a horn met it. There was vicious laughter. Elijah drew out Sting. The edges shimmered with blue light. "This really *is* happening." He declared.
There was some more horrid clamoring. Sir Ian ventured a look through the slim crack in the western door. A light dazzled the looming hall and the passage outside it. Sir McKellen jumped back in. "They aren't just Moria orcs, there are some Uruk-hai out there!" He gasped. "*And* the cave troll."
"We're ready." Viggo and Sean said in unison.
There was a crash in the hall. Sean threw himself against the door, wedging pieces of wood and shards of swords as the others retreated to the opposite side of the hall. A scaly arm eventually squeezed itself through the door and groped around. The owner's toeless foot joined it. Sean slashed at it with his sword. The mighty weapon was tossed aside as if a tin can. Elijah knew what he must do.
"The Shire!" He cried and thrust Sting into the horrid foot. The troll howled in
pain. Lij pulled Sting out to see great drops of dark blood roll off his saber and
vaporize as they hit the dirty floor.
"Great shot, Elijah!" Viggo exclaimed. Then some banging came from the other side of the wooden portal. The door began to give and arrows whistled through the ever widening hole. Orcs began to leap through. The Fellowship did not care how many there were, or if there were Uruks with the rest, they just wanted to live. Once a dozen or so were slain, the others retreated.
"Now is the time!" Sir Ian cried. Then a tall orc charged in, followed by his companions. "...or not." He muttered. Sean rushed to save his comrades but was thrown to the floor right away. The orc lunged past the others and threw his javelin straight at Elijah. Lij gasped and ducked. He nearly fainted with relief when it hit his cloak and nothing more. Sean angrily snapped it in half like a twig, freeing his friend. Viggo drew Anduril and slashed at the malicious platoon leader. His head rolled off the monstrous shoulders and onto the floor next to the closest orc. There was a silence from the normal chatter of orcs. The deceased leader's troops turned tail and ran.
"As I was saying," Sir Ian proclaimed. "Now is our time! We must move!"
The group ran. Orlando had to drag John away from the peril in the Chamber of Records where he still stood next to Balin's tomb, head bowed in honor. "Now flee! I will hold the door!" Sir Ian yelled over the ruckus.
"No! It is too hard to hold by yourself!" Viggo cried.
"Go!" The wizened man commanded. "No longer is your sword useful here!"
Once again, they picked up their weary feet and trudged on.
Very soon though, they halted. It was dark and not even Lij could see a thing. Suddenly, a beam of light shone down from the position of Ian and the door. Presently, Sir Ian raced to them and fell into the middle of the circle they formed. "I tried." He panted. "But come. Now we will move to the end of Moria." Pitifully, he glanced at Elijah. "And I will leave you."
Reunited with the old knight, they ran again. Every once in a while, they'd hit a flight of stairs. This was the present danger, for they didn't know they'd hit some steps until they had. After the seventh one, Ian halted. "Well," he puffed, "I'm in pretty good shape
for someone as old as me!"
"Are you going to fall in even if he doesn't get you?" Elijah asked anxiously.
"Doesn't matter." Sir Ian shook his head. As they sprinted off again, Elijah brushed a tear away.
They reached the Bridge. On turning around, they saw two gigantic cave trolls using stone slabs to brave across a fiery gap in the stairs. Orlando's arrow dropped from its perch on the elven bow. It wasn't the trolls that scared him. The two horrors cleared away and it was not computer imaging that stood before them. It was a real, live, fiery Balrog.
"You shall not pass." Sir Ian proclaimed. The Balrog roared. "I am a servant of the Secret Fire, wielder of the flame of Anor. You cannot pass. The dark fire will not avail you, flame of Udun. Go back to the Shadow! You cannot pass." The demon was silent. Sir Ian looked small and frail. Then a bright red rapier came out of the dim air. Glamdring's bright light met it. "You... shall.... not... pass!" Ian exerted.
"We should help him!" Viggo shouted to Sean. At the very moment they stepped forward, the floor in front of the Balrog crumbled, and it fell into the depths. Sir Ian leapt back.
"Gandalf!" Billy said, mesmerized. "You did it!"
No one but Elijah saw the whip come back. "Watch out!" He cried to no avail.
The fiery weapon wrapped around Sir Ian's knees.
"Fly, you foooools!" Sir Ian's exclamation echoed throughout the horrible pit and he fell with the demon going on before.
The friends stood there on the abyss, mourning. Viggo broke the silence. "I guess I'm in charge of you now." They jumped up and ran like panicking rabbits as the bridge collapsed. Near the broken gates at the threshold of Moria, there was a pack of what else, more orcs. Viggo slew the leader and they did not stop running until they came to the Dimrill Dale. Sunlight showed the shadow of the Misty Mountains. Far away there could be heard the faint doom, doom of orc drums. Elijah was angry. He wanted revenge, and he wanted it *now*.