Part 100 – The Words of Light
The morning came as light spilled in from the East. Estonethiel stood on the rise not far from camp. She was facing the high hilltop of Weathertop as all but one of the company continued to sleep. Sergee was the only other one awake as he just sat at camp not enjoying the harshness of the ground on his back throughout the night. He stood and stretched a few times, trying to remove the stiff nots from his back.
Soon, the others awoke as Estonethiel came down. “Rough night?” the elf asked as the others sat up with the same stiffness that Sergee had.
“I’m not used to the ground,” Helesdir answered. “But at least I kept warm through the night.” He looked at Eleswith with a smile. She smiled back but with an look of discomfort as she had a nasty ache on her own back.
“We should continue on,” Theomin said. “Helesdir says it is only a half a day’s ride to Weathertop. Sergee or Helesdir, you can do the honor of leading the company since you know the way.”
They continued through the gully and on down toward a small slope that led down from the hills. On the other side the path continued between a few rocky outcroppings and down a slight downward eastward decline toward an old circular ruin. There, the road turned left and up a hill and back right again down a steep slope. It crossed over a stream that was not that deep. A visible path there was that led through the stream ad on to the other side.
The day, which started out as a bright light of the morning soon turned to a dim grey fog that set in all around the valley. Grey clouds covered much of the sky from east to west, but felt not like a storm was coming through. It was like the fog of the ocean setting in from the west. Not ominous but welcoming as the cool air was a refreshing feeling.
The company continued on to the other side of the stream and headed toward a steep incline which led up and veered left up through more rock outcroppings toward a very visible path that turned south. The path led straight toward the hill of Weathertop, now towering above them. Around the sides of the towering hill were buttraces that were set into the sides many yards away from the actual tower.
“The Great Watchtower of Amon Sul,” Sergee said in wonder. He then looked down with sadness, “I wish Candaith were here. I see this tower in front me but the Forsaken Road is all I can think of. I almost forgot what Candaith’s face looked like.” The rest of the company looked at him with sympathy. “I’m sorry for that,” He said as he shook his head and looked at the tower. “Let us look for this door.”
The day soon cleared up while the company went on looking for the door but with no luck. Each person in the group looked all over the tower but found no trace of a door, no inkling of a clue anywhere. The evening approached and each person of the group came toward the place where Candaith had made camp so long ago. Each person, defeated, sat at the campsite fed up and tired.
“Those hours went nowhere,” Helesdir joked, but it was really not a joke and they all felt it. “What do we do now?”
“We continue looking tomorrow,” Theomin said. “Right now we should find something to eat.”
“I can find us some boar,” Helesdir said.
“I care not to eat boar,” Estonethiel said. “This is the Lone Lands. I know some ruins here are inhabited with the Eglain.”
“You mean like us?” Helesdir said referring to himself and Magla.
“Oh, I knew not,” Estonethiel smiled. “If I could be guided to one, I would be grateful.”
“I can take you,” Sergee said. “Perhaps we can leave with Helesdir as he rustles up some boar meat.”
“I’ll go with Helesdir too,” Eleswith happily jumped with to volunteer.
“We can stay here,” said Theomin. “Eotheron, Magla, Teryndir and I can maybe look for the entrance a little bit longer. Perhaps there is a clue that is not apparent during the day.”
“True,” Estonethiel said, “Sometimes nighttime shows things that are hidden during the day. The Sun does not uncover all things.”
“Truer words have never been spoken,” Sergee said. “Come, let us go to Ost Guruth.”
The four left at the camp continued searching for the hidden door of Amon Sul. They had not seen it at all and returned to the camp frustrated and hungry. While the rest of the four sat at the camp, they kept up good spirits as they watched Aches. He kept himself busy pouncing on bugs and rodents that found their way into the camp. It was as if he felt he was doing his duty keeping the members of the company safe from the small rodents and the six legged creatures from crawling on them.
Later that night, Sergee and Estonethiel returned from their day journey to Ost Guruth. But Sergee was not in his brightly colored outfit any longer. Instead he wore a dark gray one that held a dark hood of brown and a gray cloak in the back. Belts of leather wrapped around his waste and chest. His shoulders had a dark wrap with leather points hung down and a steal shoulder guard that stood as protection on the same side. A single star with seven points was set in the chest like a broach; the same star that was on Theomin’s blanket from back in Rohan.
“What are you wearing, Sergee?” Theomin asked.
“Tis the outfit of the Grey Company,” Sergee said. “Long ago the rangers and I set out from Rivendell on south. In the land of Enedwaith we stopped at the tomb known as the Forsaken Road. Ill things happened in that tomb and when I left the Forsaken Road in disgrass after my good friend Candaith died, fear overtook me and I returned to the Eriador. Here in the Lone Lands and buried my Grey Company outfit along with all of my past. I cared not to return to it as I felt I was a disgraced Ranger. I feel now that I need to reconcile my past and remember my ranger heritage.”
“Well that is an honorable charge you have given yourself,” Theomin said. “I feel proud to be apart of the same company as a ranger of such regard.” Sergee smiled but with some pause. Theomin looked around and started to wonder, “Where are Helesdir and Eleswith?”
“They have not returned?” Sergee asked.
“Not yet,” Theomin said.
“I believe it is best we leave them alone,” Estonethiel said.
“Why?” Eotheron asked but just received a stair from the rest of the group. He then realized and said, “Oh, okay we shall leave them be.” And that was the end of it that night.
“Tomorrow we will continue looking for this door,” Theomin said. “It should be here someplace.”
Soon, sleepiness took them and they laid down to fall to sleep out at the campsite of Candaith. Estonethiel removed a piece of an elven wafer she placed into her bag. The rest of the company looked at her food with longing before she offered a few pieces of the wafer to her companions. She ate it along with the rest of the company and soon they all laid down under the stars and quickly fell to sleep.
Two more days continued on with no luck. Pairs of two searched the entirety of the tower from the top to the bottom. They searched during the day and also searched at night. They checked the flying buttresses to the ruins on the summet of the tower. They checked around the tower even clear up to the great East-West road that Theomin took months earlier. Helesdir and Eleswith checked the ruins they stayed in as they lived there before. Sergee and Magla asked the Eglain for clues to the door. None knew what door they were speaking of. Theomin even resorted to knocking on the rock of the old ruins of the tower, hoping to hear a hollow behind all the ruined walls. None were heard and after the two days were over, they felt it was all hopeless. As the day closed and the sun sank close to the horizon, the group started to look frustrated as Theomin looked at the map and key. He kept it handy as Teryndir, who looked most frustrated of all of them, spoke up.
“This is getting monotonous,” Teryndir said. “We have been up and down every inch of this forsaken tower and not a hint of a clue has been found.”
“Do you think the dream might have brought us to the wrong place?” Sergee asked.
“I suppose it could have,” Theomin said sadly. “I believed it made sense before. Now that we are here I may have been wrong.” The others looked at him with frustration, “I know this is not what you wanted to hear but it is true.” He looked at the map again but could find no other option of an entrance but Weathertop.
“Then what do we do?” Helesdir asked. “We have spent so much time looking for this door. Do we continue looking or do we just quit and return to Annuminus?”
They stayed quiet for a bit. Theomin then spoke up, “I care not to quit. Sergee and Teryndir should not want to quit either. If it helps the city of Annuminus then it is out duty to look for this place. The rest of you do not need to be here. I am sorry this whole venture wasted your time, but this is something my brothers and I must do and I believe that the entrance is somewhere here. So if you care to stay I am grateful for your help. If you choose to leave understand that I will hold no ill feelings toward you.”
The others looked at each other and it was Eleswith who stepped forward to say, “I believe I speak for everyone when I say we are the Warriors of Eriador. We have been through much together.” She looked at the others and then to Theomin, “And we will continue searching together.”
“Are you sure that is what you all want?” Theomin asked. They all looked at each other and nodded with approval. “Thank you all. We can start over in the morning. For now, let us all sleep on it.”
The night was overcast, the stars were thinly vailed as was the moon. The thinness of the clouds gave a soft light to the surrounding land. The company had a silent dinner of boar meat and all fell asleep exhausted. All except for Theomin. He was laying on his back looking up at the clouds thinking. His head was sore with thought as he could not understand how all of his companions could miss a simple door. Of course it was not that simple and after all, it felt like it was his fault they were there. He felt the personal responsibility for bringing all of them there over a dream. But the map confirmed what he was thinking. It did not add up. He looked over at the book that contained the map and key. There was something odd about it though. A strange glow lit up the book and the ground it was sitting atop of. Theomin opened the book and pulled out the map from it. On the other side of the map and key were glowing words written in Sinderan.
He sat up and yelled, “A clue!” to the others, startling them awake. “I found a clue written with glowing letters.”
Sergee came over immediately, still a little groggy as he rubbed his eyes. “These are not only glowing letters; they are Ithildin. It glows in the light of the stars and in the moon.”
“What do they say?” Helesdir asked with excitement.
“In the rise of the sun
Following dark night
Baring three stones of earth east
For wall detached, no path to take.
At the wall
Say the word, Annuminus thrice welcome,
one for stone,
one for sky,
one for life.
“There it ends,” Sergee said.
“We need to find the wall that no path takes us,” Theomin said. “In the morning sun, that means it is on the eastern portion. That is the side on which the sun rises. There should be a part of the hill that we cannot get to by path.” He looked to his companions, “I hate to ask you so late in the night, but can I depend on you one last time?”
“Of course,” Eleswith said with enthusiasm. “Let’s find this door!”
The company scaled the hill again and looked for the rocky outcropping. It took not very long but at the top of the hill Helesdir yelled down toward the rest of the company. “I think I found it!” His voice echoed all throughout the ruin. All must have heard.
From above, looking down below, there on the eastern most portion of the hill was a flat surface that none could reach by a path. A wall stood there and extending from it was a flying buttress. All looked at it with intreague and amazement. “That must be it,” Theomin said with renewed vigor.
They descended the wall down to the platform that faced the east. Helping each other, all scaled the wall down to the platform and looked at the wall. By all appearences, it looked no different than all the other walls. No notches, no words, no Ithildin glowed that gave the wall any different look.
“Perhaps we need to wait until dawn,” Teryndir said.
“Yes,” Theomin agreed, “You may be right. It may be tough, but try and get some sleep,” he told the company. But none could. The excitement kept all awake as they waited with restlessness anticipation for the dawn to come.
It was hours and it felt like it, the first light of the sun began to illuminate the easter sky. The bright reds of the sun pushed out the dark blackness of the sky. With still much waiting, the light continued to grow brighter and brighter as the first rays of the sun broke the eastern horizon and appeared on the wall. Nothing happened though. They all looked at each other and wondered, “Is this the right wall?”
With the help of some shadows of the holes, three notches appeared, two below and one above. “Which order do they go in?” Teryndir asked. A slight hint of color appeared inside each of the notches.
“One for rock,” Theomin said, “is that the red one?” Teryndir removed his Amar Calad and fit it into the lower left notch in the wall. It fit perfectly and stayed. “One for life,” Theomin said. “Is that mine?” He placed his green Amar Calad on the lower right notch. His too fit perfectly.
“And one for sky,” Sergee said. “That must be mine.” He placed the blue Amar Calad into the notch and stood back. “Now we say Annuminus three times?”
“Right,” Theomin said.
All together, Teryndir, Theomin, and Sergee said before the door, “Annuminus, Annuminus, Annuminus.”
A rumble followed as the three stones glowed brightly. Slowly, a crack appeared in the wall as it expanded further and further as the two doors swung outward. Dust and dirt that had accumulated on the surface of the door fell from it as if it had been centries until it had finally opened. There it was, the opening to the Serpent Tunnels that led down under the lands of Eriador.