Part 104 – Seal the Doors
The sick sound of slashed bodies splashing into the muck of the black pools of black pitch filled the chamber as Magla, Sergee, Eotheron and Estonethiel fought the dark creatures relentlessly spilling down on them from all sides. During the fight, Theomin spilled out phials of various potions that Estonethiel gave him and refilled them up again with the black pitch, four in total.
As he finished his task, more creatures came from the door. With his staff, he quickly spun it around and smacked one creature across the head and with the other end he swept the other off of its feet and pounded the head of the creature with the end of the staff. Whirling his staff around he pushed the others out of the chamber using wind lore.
Quickly, he dipped two of the veils onto the muck and then in just a few steps, he placed them on either side of the notches where the doors were imbedded in the wall. More of Morgoth’s creatures came up through the corridor toward Theomin and again he used wind lore to push them away. Only a moment or two they were pushed onto their backs but then rose quickly again toward the chamber of the black pool.
Theomin ran back to a safe distance away from the walls. “Stay clear of the pools!” he yelled to his companions. With slight trepidation over powered by a sense of duty to his companions, he began to ignite burning embers. It took some time to conjure it up while some of the creatures approached Theomin. An arrow passed quickly by his ear and made contact with the closest creature. He then quickly threw the ball of embers toward one pot. The pot then caught on fire while he began another ball of burning embers. He finished and began to throw it but the pot that was aflame at the door exploded dramatically, throwing everyone to their feet as another explosion came from the other side of the door.
Everything in the room turned white then red and then dark. There was then complete silence. All had been still for a long while. Not one sound echoed through the chamber and not one movement came from around. Theomin felt pain on all sides as he began to move his limbs. They were all covered in small rubble as he scraped his legs and arms in the rock. The smell of burning filled the room and for a moment he almost forgot what he was doing. The sudden realization filled his being that he had hoped to close the chamber door. He raised his head to look toward the chamber entrance. It was closed with a thick slab of rock.
A sudden feeling of glee rushed through his being as he began to rise up but was quickly met with more of those creatures rising up out of the muck again. He slammed his staff into the creatures one by one. He fought them for what felt like a few minutes and wondered where his companions were. Not long after that, he heard the sounds of clangs as his friends were too fighting again.
“Are you alright, Theomin?” Eotheron yelled to him.
“Just fine!” he replied. “It worked!”
“Not with these creatures it did not,” Theomin answered back.
“Then we need to finish them off with the next door,” Sergee yelled. “And throw one of your pots into this muck for good measure!”
Eleswith and Teryndir lead the lost three along with Helesdir who was watching for any move from Teryndir. His suspicions were not coming to fruition as he continued to watch their fellow companion who was also trapped in the never-ending tunnels far below their companions. For what he did in the Valley of the Worms, he almost wanted to hit Teryndir. The thought festered in Helesdir’s mind as he continued to feel the anger that he had for days boil up to the surface. Theomin and Sergee almost exonerated him and dismissed his actions but Helesdir could not bear to forgive him for all the terrible things he did to them. A sudden thought came to his mind. A thought of murdering Teryndir.
He then looked at Eleswith. He knew she would forgive Helesdir for killing Teryndir. “In fact, she is probably thinking about it right now,” he was convincing himself. “If we were to kill him, we could make up any story we want. Even make him a hero. That’s what they would all want,” he said to himself. A push of adrenaline filled him as he slowly and quietly pulled his sword. “This is it,” he said to himself. “This is for Eleswith,” he told himself as he pulled his sword back to thrust into Teryndir. But a sudden jolt rocked the entire tunnel, which threw the three from their feet. As he fell, Helesdir lost grip of his sword as he had to use both hands to support his fall to the ground.
Dust from above and rock fell onto the three as the sounds of the wooden supports about the tunnel began to squeak and moan from the stress. One look at the slats above showed an ominous scene. They began bending with the strain of all the rocks above as they were not made to support a sudden jolt like that.
“What in the name of the Valar was that?” Teryndir asked.
Helesdir tried to scramble for the sword when Eleswith yelled, “Creatures are behind us!”
Helesdir looked back and soon they were too close to them. Before he could find his sword Teryndir threw one of his daggers at the creature. It stumbled and fell toward Helesdir. As it fell, though, one of its barbed appendages sliced through Helesdir’s shoulder. He screamed in pain as Teryndir ran over to pry the spiked barb out of Helesdir’s shoulder. As Teryndir was rendering aid to Helesdir, more creatures came. Eleswith jumped over Helesdir and the dead creature and sliced through the other creatures.
“Can you go any faster?” she yelled back to her companions.
“This thing is too far into his shoulder,” Teryndir said.
“It burns!” Helesdir yelled in pain. “Cut it off!”
Teryndir removed his knife and tried to slice through the barb that was stuck in Helesdir’s shoulder. The knife could not even make a dent on it. “It’s no use.” He looked at the body of the creature. “I’ll have to cut the spike off of the creature in order to move him.”
“Do it fast!” Eleswith said as she tried to engage all the creatures that were coming up upon them.
Helesdir screamed in agony as Teryndir tried to dig into the creature’s body to remove the spike. Every movement Teryndir made felt like the barb was being sawed deeper into Helesdir’s skin. “It’s burning, it’s burning!” Helesdir yelled.
At last, Teryndir loosened the spike from the creature but as he did so he had to slice off one last piece of vein that connected the spiked appendage to the creature. As he did so, though, sudden terrible burning sensation filled Helesdir’s body and he shook in terrible pain.
“What’s happening?” Eleswith yelled with fear.
“I know not,” Teryndir said with equal fear. “I took the thing off the creature and he then cried in pain!”
“What do we do?” Eleswith asked.
“Keep those things off us,” Teryndir instructed Eleswith. “I’ll have to aid him.” Teryndir rose Helesdir up and wrapped his arm around his shoulders. He held on to his hand and wrapped his other arm around Helesdir. “Let’s continue.”
They continued down the corridor for a ways as Helesdir seemed like he was in and out of consciousness. Sweat oozed from his pores and he moaned as if he was still in a lot of pain. The three were in bad shape as they tried to inch their way forward through the tunnel. Every so often another creature came but Eleswith would make short work of it as she tried to avoid the shark barb on their backs.
Soon, a rush of those creatures came all at once, filling the tunnel. It was as if a flood of black ooze was coming up behind them. The sight struck fear in Eleswith as she could not fathom what she was seeing. Eleswith knew it was their end if they reached the three. All she could think of was to slice the wooden slat that supported the tunnel. She swung her blade across the support overhead. With just the one slice of the board, the wooden slat split one fiber at a time.
The roof of the cave began falling in on them. The three hurried and pushed their way as fast as they could as far as they could. The whole mountain collapsed behind them, burying the creatures in tons of rock from above as the three lost travelers tried desperately to rush forward.
“Go! Faster!” Eleswith screamed at her two companions as they just tried to make it through the tunnels.
The cave-in continued behind them and came close to them when Eleswith’s leg was caught just before they reached another large cavern. She screamed as the pain was felt immediately. Finally, with her own strength, Eleswith pulled her leg out of the large rocks. She gave a sigh of relief and tried to stand but as she placed her own weight on her leg she found it difficult. Standing up, she limped over to Teryndir and Helesdir, who had collapsed in exhaustion.
“How is he?” Eleswith asked about Helesdir.
“I’m fine,” Helesdir responded with a raspy tired voice. His mouth seemed dry and his skin pale with his eyes sunken in.
“I’m not sure what is happening to him,” Teryndir said. “The spear or barb or whatever this thing is, is causing him immense pain. If Estonethiel or Theomin were here they would know what to do. I am at a loss.”
Eleswith looked across at the walls of the cavern. She recognized the walls as they were of elven design. “Look!” she said. “Designs on the walls of elf make.”
“Tis about time,” Helesdir mumbled aloud to where he made Eleswith and Teryndir laugh.
“Clear it,” Theomin yelled, “clear the path! I have the rest of the phials ready.” Theomin ran down the pathway toward the exit just behind the company as they slashed and shot their way through the still emerging creatures. Behind, Theomin cleared out the others with wind lore, being careful not to ignite the black sludge ablaze with lightning or fire lore.
It was very difficult to see the ending of the end of the chamber doors. With the many black muck covered creatures in the way, the pathway almost seemed to disappear under all of the creatures trying to get ahold of the four in the chamber. But still, they slew as many of the creatures as they could, felling one after the other. If they could see above it was only a circle in a ring of those creatures all around them, surrounding them in a ring of black where Theomin was covering their rear, Estonethiel and Sergee covered their flanks and Magla and Eotheron slashing through the front, advancing the company slowly but surely.
At last, they finally reached the end and Theomin quickly dipped the pots in the black sludge while the rest of the company covered him. It only took a few moments until he finally finished and placed the pots at the threshold of the doorways. He pushed them in with the muck as the adhesives and then ran toward the corridor.
“Move! Down the corridor!” he yelled over all the cries and screams of the creatures and the clanging of the swords.
The rest of the company stopped engaging the creatures and moved down the corridor away from the sludge filled room. The smell of the odor of the sludge began to fade just a little bit but coming up to the room of the elven buildings, a few forms began to emerge from the dark of the tunnel.
“More come!” Eotheron yelled in preparation to run them down.
“Wait,” Estonethiel said to him while lowering his arms, “stay your blades. They are our friends.”
Indeed, they were the rest of the company. Eleswith, Teryndir and Helesdir, who had been suffering and having trouble breathing.
“So glad to see you safe,” Sergee said with glee.
“What happened to Helesdir?” Theomin asked.
“One of those creepy creatures impaled him with its barb,” Eleswith said. “He has been suffering ever since.”
“They are approaching through the tunnel,” Estonethiel warned the group.
“Keep them away,” Theomin said. “I’m going to blast the door closed.”
Estonethiel continued to shoot her arrows while Teryndir joined in on the fighting with Sergee, Magla, and Eotheron while Theomin tried to get some burning embers prepared. “Ready,” Theomin yelled to his companions down the hall, “Keep clear, here it comes!” His companions ducked behind as Theomin threw the fireball but the best it did was hit another creature, which quikly caught on fire. Estonethiel shot its head, putting it out of its misery.
Theomin then tried to make another ball of burning embers while the others rose up and fought the onslaught of enemies.
While the others were busy fighting for their lives, Eleswith knelt next to Helesdir. “How are you, Helesdir?”
“It’s bad,” Helesdir moaned as he wheezed with breath becoming harder and harder. “I’m…trouble…my breath.”
“Have faith,” Eleswith said as she held Helesdir close to her, “Soon we will be out in the open and can bring you to your home.” She held him tighter in her arms and rocked him as if he was a child as nervousness clung to her and a tear formed. “We’ll go, then, to Dale. We won’t have to deal with this land anymore. We’ll grow old there together and have children.” She wanted to hold herself from showing fear to Helesdir but her beginnings of sobs struck her and she could not help but to tear up.
“Hold them back!” Theomin yelled to his companions. “I cannot set fire to the pots with my view obstructed.” Theomin had tried multiple times to ignite the pots but every attempt was impeded by the creatures as they came wave after wave as if they knew exactly what Theomin was doing.
“Too many come,” Eotheron yelled back. “We cannot hold them back and clear the entrance without being caught in the explosion!”
Theomin thought for a moment. He looked at his friends trying to clear the tunnel and began to devise a plan. He placed a pot on the ground and tore off a piece of cloth from his tunic. He stuck the cloth into the pot and sealed it. He then began to create some burning embers to ignite the cloth ablaze to create a timed explosion. The cloth suddenly ignited and he yelled to his companions in the cave, “Clear the corridor!”
They all ducked down and Theomin threw the pot directly into the crowd of creatures. He ducked down and waited for an explosion. One second passed, then a second and a third. Nothing had happened and the creatures began bearing down on Eotheron, Estonethiel, Sergee, and Magla again. The cloth, which had been ignited by Theomin, was put out by the advancing creatures. The company then had to engage them again, fending them off once more.
“It looks like your plan had not worked!” Teryndir said.
“That was my last pot. I have no more,” Theomin said defeated.
“We cannot let these things loose on Eriador. It will be Eriador’s end if they were to leave this place,” Estonethiel yelled out.
“Light this ablaze,” Helesdir told Theomin as he held up a piece of cloth he tore from his shirt. “I will take it to the enemy and burn them all.” Helesdir slowly stood up, his body weak and his breathing labored.
“What are you doing?” Eleswith pushed with sudden anxiety. “You cannot do that. You will kill yourself.”
“If I do it right, I may have a chance to escape unharmed,” Helesdir tried to assure Eleswith.
“No, Helesdir,” she then looked at Theomin, “find someone else do it. I will not risk Helesdir.”
“I’m telling you, Theomin, set this ablaze. I know what I’m doing.” He looked at Eleswith but she shook her head. “Eleswith, all my life I’ve been fighting against things like this. All my life. This is my chance to end it here and now. If these things get out, all of Eriador is at an end. It will be me because it has to be me. I will return to you. Take my hat. I will come back for it, believe me.”
Helesdir then gave Eleswith a kiss long kiss said while clutching her arms tightly, “I will return to you.” He said as he looked her in the eyes. He then held up the cloth for Theomin to light.
“Are you sure you want to do this?” Theomin asked.
Without a word, Helesdir just held out the cloth. Theomin swiftly formed burning embers and lit the cloth on fire. Helesdir then drew his sword and ran down the hall toward his companions, “Make way!” he yelled as they moved to the sides of the corridor. Helesdir removed his swords and fought through the creatures, slicing them into pieces as Eotheron helped. Eleswith and Estonethiel shot as many of the creatures as she could and in just a few moments Helesdir was in the cavern of the dark pitch.
He then ran the fire over the two pots attached to the doors to set them ablaze. It worked. Instead of running back through the corridor, though, he continued further into the cave. He then looked back right at Eleswith. He paused and just mouthed to her, “I love you.”
“NO!” Eleswith screamed at the top of her lungs as she tried to run to him but Theomin held her back as she kicked and screamed with all the strength her body could handle. Theomin could not hold her back and she fell to the ground. But she rose up and continued while screaming words that were not words but unintelligible cries of a woman about to be torn from her love.
A sudden terrible explosion rocked the cavern and everybody in it fell to the ground. Eleswith was thrown back onto Theomin as both were knocked back to the ground. The light of the explosion blinded them all for a moment but they soon stood up. The door was shut.
“Helesdir!” Eleswith cried as she yelled toward the shut door and it was then that an even larger explosion erupted inside the pitch filled room. Eleswith stopped and just stood still, staring at the shut door withoutbelief of what had happened.
The entire cave rocked and pieces of rock began to fall from the ceiling. “We have to get out,” Theomin yelled at Eleswith as she stood stone-faced, “Now!”
The others passed Theomin and Eleswith and Theomin pulled her by her arm. She seemed to have completely given up as she had gone limp as numbness entered her body. Theomin, tired of trying to pull her, lifted her up and carried her as even more larger rocks began falling on the ground around them. They ran down the center of the abandoned elf village as more boulders fell onto the houses of the elves, crushing them into splinters. Loud bangs of the enormous boulders could be heard slamming into the ground and the wood houses of the elves splintering nearby as the whole cave was at last collapsing in all around them.