Stories of Arda Home Page
About Us News Resources Login Become a member Help Search

Reclaiming Khazad-dûm  by Ellynn

"That collecting of woods lasted quite a long time," noticed Faldur when Darri took his place next to him and their friends.

"Yes, we stayed longer than we had planned," replied Darri and nodded. "We just finished when we had heard a call for help, so we hurried towards the direction from where the sound came from. It turned out to be a dwarfess who strayed and right in that moment a bear threatened her. But having seen our big armed group, it ran away. Then we went back."

Suddenly, all three heads turned to him.

"Oh, you saved the dwarfess from the trouble!" exclaimed Bemir, and his eyes shone cunningly. "Let us hear – is she young and beautiful?"

"Yes, tell us, were you the biggest hero in the group?" asked Mami.

"Yes, yes, were you the one who had jumped in front of the bear to save her?" added his brother. "Come on, come on, give us the details! Speak!"

All three grinned and watched him. "Come on, admit it, what happened?" they pushed on, almost simultaneously.

Darri knew that the guys could go on like this for hours.

"By Balrog's balls, there is nothing to admit!" he snarled. "I really have nothing more to add to what I had already said. Except maybe for the fact that actually nobody was a hero. The bear was really big, but obviously a group of a dozen armed dwarves was too much for him because he ran away the very moment he had seen us. End. Of. Story."

He didn't say anything incorrect, and he didn't even shorten the story – at least for the part about the bear. But in the end, he realized that he hadn't said anything about the girl.

And Halldis was really beautiful – a fact that he already noticed on that very first day. That flaming reddish hair colour was very rare, and her beard had the same hue. On the top of her cheeks, next to her nose and beneath the eyes, she had a few little freckles that made her look even more special.

"And when will you see her again?" Bemir continued to tease him, not letting go, although Darri wanted to end that topic.

"Easier would a dog get rid of fleas than I of you," grumbled Darri and rolled his eyes. "There are more than seven thousand of us on this journey. It is very much possible that I won't run into her ever again in such a big crowd. And it's not important at all. Chance meeting, water under the bridge, let's move on."

Just as he uttered his last words, they moved on. The three teased him a little more, but when he ignored them, the conversation moved to other topics. In time, it stopped.

Walking, Darri observed the forest. This was their third day here. Although he could never feel as comfortable here as underground, he concluded that the forest was not dangerous after all – at least not in the way it had been in the end of the Third Age. He was young enough and his school days were not a very distant past, so he still remembered history classes. Except for the presence of many evil and dangerous creatures like orcs and giant spiders – and for a while even the Nazgul and Sauron himself dwelt in Dol Guldur – it seemed that back then even the forest itself was hostile to strangers: there were dangerous deceptions, deadly traps and horrible apparitions. But now, the forest didn't make any attempt to do any harm to them in any way; the discomfort they all felt was more the consequence of their prejudices than the real bad experiences. Yes, obviously there were still spells at work in the forest, but the vision Halldis told him about had been, according to her own words, a beautiful event.


"And when will you see her again?", he heard Bemir's question in his mind again. The answer he gave was completely true and honest – it was quite possible that he'd never see her again among so many of them.

Step by step, mile by mile, he realized he would like to see her again... he just didn't understand why.


Two days later, Halldis went to pick up some strawberries during the mid-day pause again, and this time Tyra was with her. Unlike two days ago, she stayed very near the road so she could even see it most of the time among the tree trunks. And the two of them were not the only ones who entered the forest with that same aim; there were others searching for forest fruit too, so the presence of other dwarves provided additional safety.

Just when they wanted to return, Halldis lifted her gaze towards tree-tops by chance. They were huge and lush, and there were many branches and leaves intertwined above her. And while observing all those green and brown hues stretching as far as her eyes could reach, it seemed to her that at one spot she saw some shapes that didn't look like branches. Also, they were not brown but grey. She squinted, trying to discern better what it was.

"Tyra," she called her friend, not lowering her gaze. "What is that?" She lifted her hand and showed the direction.

"Hmm..." uttered the other girl after observing for a while. "It looks like... a spider-web."

Halldis thought the same, but she hoped she was wrong. Her friend's confirmation didn't make her happy. Because, so far away and so high above them, the ordinary spider-web should have been much too small to be visible. This was big – way too big. The cramp in her stomach she felt in the next moment had absolutely nothing with hunger.

"I know that long ago there were giant spiders in this forest but... weren't all evil beings eradicated from The Wood of Greenleaves?" she asked in a very low voice, still staring in the height.

"I also thought they were, but..." Tyra started to bite her lower lip, which she did whenever she was nervous.

"Do you think that we're just imagining things? That this is just a game of light and shadow?" asked Halldis. She still didn't want to admit what she really saw.

"I so wish it was true. But I think that we should inform the others," said Tyra.

"Probably the King's scouts noticed it too, but you are right," replied Halldis. "We must pass the news, in case they missed it. Let's hurry."

While rushing towards the road, Halldis cast a glance back, almost expecting to see the big black shapes chasing them. There were none – everything was fine – but even that short distance to the road suddenly seemed huge to her. She wanted to go out of the forest as soon as possible.


Personal diary of King Durin VII

Day 9th of the Ninth month, Year 672, Fourth Age of Middle-earth

The night in front of us is the last in the forest; by tomorrow evening we should go out of it. Until today everything was peaceful, and I hoped it would stay that way. But today afternoon the scouts and several civilians saw big spider-webs in the forest. We have strength in numbers, and if giant spiders really exist, I don't believe they would lightly attack the group such big as ours. But still, I ordered precautionary measures. It is forbidden to leave the road and the camp, many torches are lit, and guard is set throughout the whole camp. If anything comes near, we will be ready.

Mahal, watch over us.


<< Back

Next >>

Leave Review
Home     Search     Chapter List