Part 102 – Awakening
The door into the chamber began fraying from the weight of the creatures on the other side and their weapon-like extremities the group encountered in the tunnels. Helesdir, Eleswith, Estonethiel, Eotheron and Magla all attempted to keep the door shut but their efforts were beginning to fall apart as the door was splintering piece by piece.
“Theomin!” Sergee yelled as he ran to Theomin in the corner of the room while Aches stayed there licking Theomin’s face. Lying away from them, only Theomin’s lynx was able to see him as he faced toward the wall. Sergee then grabbed him and moved him. He looked up at the staff as it still stood there, sparking, surrounded by smoke but still unmoved in the light. The terrible smell of burning flesh hung in the air as well as a static charge. With the help of Teryndir, Sergee moved him to his back and noticed Theomin’s eyes were completely open. “Theomin?” he said with a mixture of shock and fear.
Theomin then turned to look at Sergee. “Yes?” Theomin said calmly.
“What happened to you?” Teryndir asked. “Are you okay?”
“Of course,” Theomin said, still calm with no sense of worry about him. “What day is it?”
“Day?” Sergee asked confused by Theomin’s demeanor. “We’re still in this cave. You were thrown from that thing up there.”
“The cave,” Theomin repeated with sudden realization as if he even forgot he was there. “Those nameless creatures were after us and we ended up at the room with Gildingul.”
“Gildingul?” Sergee looked up at Teryndir who looked just as confused as he. “Who is Gildingul?”
“It is not a who as much as a what,” Theomin said as he picked himself up calmly.
“Theomin!” Eleswith said with joy that her friend was not killed. “You’re alive!” After a while she yelled out, “Help us please. They’re breaking through!”
Theomin knelt down and petted Aches with a smile very calmly. Aches then gave a hiss as the door began to be banged even louder as pieces of it fell apart. Theomin walked away from the doors and up toward the hill where the staff stood. Through the entire walk his companions were yelling, “NO! Don’t do it!” Finally, he approached the staff and reached out for it and while the rest of the company continued to yell out at him “NO, Theomin, don’t do it!” Sergee tried to stop him but was halted by Teryndir who looked as though he had faith that his brother was going to be okay. As Theomin touched the staff again there was a blinding flash that filled the room and an enormous blast emanated from the staff and from Theomin.
Everyone was knocked to their feet and the banging at the fraying door stopped. But not just a few second later the banging began again as if the creatures on the other side of the door were knocked back as well. The rest of the company looked up at the staff but instead of a dead Theomin, he was alive and well; gripping the staff confidently and held it high.
Theomin stepped down from the pedestal and approached his friend. “Open the door,” he commanded the others as Aches stood by Theomin’s side, hissing at the door, ready to pounce.
Relieved that he had not died, they did not have to open it for no sooner did they scatter from the door did it come crashing down. But Theomin was not stirred by the sight of the nameless creatures coming through the door. He raised his staff and in a blinding flash of light, the creatures seemed stunned and fell, almost bowing to the light of the staff.
He looked at his companions and calmly said, “Now,” he smiled, “we are free to finish them.”
They were happy to end the lives of all the strange creatures that seemed mesmerized by Theomin’s flash and soon all twenty of the strange creatures lied in waist, headless and killed.
Eleswith looked at Theomin as did Eotheron. “How did you know you could retrieve that staff?” Eotheron asked.
“I knew for a while now,” Theomin said. “I had many dreams and went to many places while I was out.” Soon the ground started to rumble. He looked at his friends and said, “This place had been excavated too far down into the depths of Eriador. The dwarves here dug too far into the cavern and awoke whatever had been hiding here. It happened in Kazad-dum and it is happening here. That door that we opened was sealed and lost for just this reason. An army of dark troops from Middle Earth’s ancient past has been unleashed. I will hold them back but you must leave. I will meet you at the entrance.”
“I will stay by your side,” Eotheron said.
“No,” he told his friend, “You must continue on to the exit. Aches and I will stop these creatures,” he looked down at his lynx friend, “right boy?” Aches just stared at Theomin as if he knew exactly what Theomin was asking.
The rest of the company ran toward the exit. Eotheron and Sergee slashed through the few of the creatures that were left as they ran. Eleswith and Helesdir shot at anything that moved in the distance as Estonethiel and Magla held the rear of the company. Soon, from the cavern behind where Theomin was, a large flash and an enormous rumble shook the whole cavern. The company stopped.
“Theomin!” Eotheron yelled out to his friend but there was no response.
“Come,” Sergee said to Eotheron. “We must continue. I feel that no matter what, Theomin can handle himself.”
Deep in the cave where Theomin was, he saw large figures stretching out from inside a deeper darker hole. A large belching wail it gave like the sound of a blazing fire as it attempted to charge at Theomin. Theomin whirled the staff which sent a chill wind toward the monstrosity. It blew him back but did not stop him. A few more of the creatures advanced past the large creature trunk-like legs and Theomin easily sent burning embers from which spread from creature to creature very quickly, as if the air itself aided in setting them all aflame. The many creatures, which had been advancing quickly finally fell and burned to death there on the ground.
The large creature stomped toward Theomin. Theomin unsheathed his sword and, like a spear threw it at the creature. He raised his staff and as the sword plunged into the body of the creature, he created a lightning storm that struck the sword and as the sword plunged into the creature’s chest, it electrocuted it. For a few moments the creature stood there as if dazed. A few more of the troops slipped past the creature’s massive legs and ran toward Theomin. But they could not run very far as the large creature, which was shocked by Theomin, fell forward directly on top of them, and crushed them to death. The creature, that had once been tall and mighty, had been vanquished.
A few moments passed then out of the depths of the darkness soon came a loud voice. “Stay your weapon, if you will,” it said. Not a male or some strange creature’s voice made the request, but it was the sound of a female echoing through the chamber.
“Who are you?” asked Theomin, his voice too echoing through the chamber as he tried to focus in on the cave. “Show yourself.”
Aches, who seemed brave and seemed to nerves of steel, began to cower. He backed himself behind Theomin and sat behind Theomin’s leg.
“I prefer to be in the darkness, just for now,” it said. “Who are you that you would allow yourself to enter into my domain?”
“I am just a simple man looking for this weapon of my lineage,” Theomin answered not wanting to divulge too much information.
“Well, Simple Man, do you have a name?” the voice asked.
“I am named Theomin and I would like to leave it at that. Why did your creatures attack us?”
“My creatures do not attack out of anger. They attack out of defense. We have lived here for millennia and wished not to be disturbed,” the voice answered. “We led a life of calm and peace until my sentries were disturbed by you and your band. In the end, we meant no harm.”
“If you meant no harm, why come after us as you did? Are you not from the time of Morgoth?”
“Morgoth,” the voice said. A sick chuckle came from the darkness as she continued, “I have not heard that name for a very long time. Indeed, we had allied ourselves, at one time, with the one named Morgoth. But so many centuries have passed since then that all thought of that being has been lost to us and all we have cared to do is survive down here in the deep darkness.”
“If you care not to harm me, why hide yourself in the darkness. Come forth so I may have a look at who I am talking to.”
The voice seemed to stop and then a slight sound came from the cave. The same sort of small chuckle was heard deep inside the darkness and then a long dragging hiss. “So be it, Simple Man. I will come forth if you do not bring harm to me.”
“I promise I will not harm you so long as you try not to bring harm to me or my friend here,” Theomin said.
Soon, leaping over the large dead creature that Theomin had killed, a form came and landed just yards away from him. It came forth toward Theomin. Its gate was that of a woman but its legs bent much like a four-legged creature, a horse or a dog but with feet adorned with claws that looked more like the paws of a wolf or a warg. Its form was a woman’s but beneath her arms were bat-like leathery wings that could unfurl as she lifted her arms. As light continued to reflect off her body her skin was pale and the slightest of green tints and her hair was as red as fire. A single crown she sported on her head along with a green outfit with reddish trim and fangs along the lower end of the outfit as well as fangs hanging off the lapels of her top. Adorned about her neck was a choker held in a silver shield with a green stone inside. Beneath that crown was a face of beauty. It was as if her look was that of a human woman, fare, full of splendor with ages of knowledge past.
“Are you satisfied by what you see, Simple Man?” she asked him.
“Ferly,” he said as he had no other words with which he could describe how he felt as he could not describe who or what he was seeing.
“Have you a wonder what I am?” she asked with a curious tone. “I am the first of the Morraval, the blood suckers of Morgoth’s army, the enslaved creatures summoned by the lieutenant of Morgoth; the one they called Sauron. I have had many names, The Fell Captain, Lady of the Dark, Mistress of Distress, but my name before all those names were given to me was Azagod. Long ago, we were called upon by Sauron at his master’s bidding to fight the wars Morgoth fought. Most were not wanting to fight for a war we did not begin, but soon after our first thirst was quenched by that rich nectar that flows through veins of mortals we became thirsty for blood, the blood of the ripe man who came to fight against our master. It was not long before we were completely enthralled by our love for blood that we cared not if the battle was declared. We went and invaded towns and fortresses where our prey slept. We feasted on their blood and cast down their bodies to rot. Morgoth, satisfied with us, used us to no end and sent in his troops to end those we left behind.”
“And what brought you here in this forsaken place?” Theomin asked.
“Ultimately, the war was won by men and elves and Morgoth was sent out into the void where he was never seen again. After that, most of us were either killed or imprisoned. Very few of us escaped into the Blue Mountains and hid in the furthest reaches of the mountain’s bowels. My companions and my champion, a Balrog, escaped but we soon lost my champion. Whether he was lost in the chambers near that dwarven city and still lives I known not. The rest of us fled under the ground and found this patchwork of tunnels. It was not until the last thousand years that a few dwarves dug a tunnel which released us. The few elves that were living in these tunnels tried to escape but none were left living. We pounced on them like a hoard of leeches, sucking their bodies dry of blood, quenching our thirst for we had not had such sweet nectar for ages. We drank from them until there was nothing left flowing through their fleshy vessels. Since then the entrance to the tunnel has been sealed and I am glad for that. Not for many thousands of years have I seen the light of day. Never again shall I peer again at it. At least not until the one comes again.”
“The one? What do you mean by coming again?” Theomin had to ask.
“Melekor, the one we called Morgoth,” she said with evil delight. “It is prophesized that he will return upon which we will have our Dagor Dagorath, the Battle to End All Battles.” Her smirk unsettled Theomin to the point where his breathing became disturbed. He had hoped her senses did not pick up on it. “What is it, Simple Man? Why does your breathing stop so suddenly and then start again?”
“Truly you are the spawn of some evil,” he said as he was not sure of what else to say. “Why have you not killed me? It would seem you easily can.”
“You intrigue me, Simple Man. It would seem you are not so simple a man after all. There is something about you that I find very familiar but whatever that is I cannot place my hand on it as it has been so many years since I have met any mortal man. A man who walks alone without friends by his side. A man who’s friends flee while he stays.”
“And what of my friends?” Theomin had to stop her there, “Do you feel intrigued by them as well?” Theomin asked.
“I feel nothing for them. Right now I can feel them fleeing for their lives back up to the doors. But what they know not is the lurkers I have waiting in the pools of black sludge. Soon, they will fall directly into the trap I have, for ages, kept set. Your friends will parish in the pools which your dwarf friends conveniently filled for my purposes.” She grinned deeply and Theomin could see the terrible teeth she bore. Not dull like those of man or elf but fangs she bore, large and deadly. He backed up and readied a surprise for her as she continued, “And with them gone, I will have a prisoner in you for my army is fast and st…”
Theomin threw a flash of light up into the air which burst brightly, blinding the winged creature as he ran over to her and hit her over the head with his staff. She grabbed at his foot which tripped him as she tried to bite him but he kicked her with his other foot and hit her with the staff which forced a bolt of lightning which, at last, knocked her out.
“This way!” Sergee yelled back as he led his friends up and over the bridge toward the oil filled chamber just before the old abandoned elf town. “We’re almost there!”
“Where’s Theomin?” Eleswith yelled to Estonethiel.
“I feel no presence of him,” she yelled back, “but I feel something ahead of us,” she warned the group.
“Yes,” Teryndir said, “It’s the way out of here.”
“That is not it,” she said as they continued to run. “An ill feeling in the chamber just before the elf town.”
Sergee stopped as did the rest of the group. “That is our path out of here. We know of no other paths that will lead us to that door.”
“This tunnel is filled with many other tunnels that go all over beneath Eriador,” Estonethiel said. “Chances are that we will find one out.”
“We cannot take that chance,” Helesdir said. “If we have that one way out we must take it.”
“He is right,” Magla agreed. “We know not if any of these tunnels lead out or if they’re just dead ends. That map did not show too many tunnel exits. Only that one that led in.”
“Right,” Eleswith said, “and with those things following us, we are stuck to this one path, as dangerous as it may be.”
“So be it,” Estonethiel said. “But please take my warning to heart. The next chamber has an ill feel to it.”
“We will be ready to take whatever comes our way,” Eotheron confidently said.
With that the group continued into the next chamber that held the sludge. They paused for a moment and walked carefully across the way as quietly as possible. It felt like forever but they reached the midpoint of the chamber between the door they just entered and the other side. A grumbling noise came from beneath them and a rumbling came from all sides.
“What is this?” Teryndir asked.
“It is as warned you,” Estonethiel said, “They are coming.”
Soon, bubbles gurgled up from the depths of the black sludge and dark forms began emerging from beneath the black pools. A hundred of them at least emerged as it almost looked as though the entire chamber of sludge was forming into a wave that were about to crash onto the six warriors. They backed up toward each other forming a circle.
“To Arms!” Sergee yelled to his companions as they all pulled out their weapons. Helesdir and Estonethiel with their bows and Sergee, Eotheron, Eleswith, and Teryndir their swords. They were poised, ready to attack.