Antipodean Writer: Azanulbizar

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Curse Azog – and the pit that spawned him! Curse his master Sauron as well!
Murderer and thief of our dwarf homelands: yet we hued him down to hell!
Ah my boy – sit and hear your elder. Though I’ve wounds – I don’t carry shame.
For I fought in the wars ‘gainst the orcish swine – for dwarf honour and our name!

I don’t say fighting is glorious – there’s a cost for the victories we pay.
Azanulbizar is a gruesome tale – though revenge we gained that day.
Yea – I weep as I tell my story. All too many dwarves there have died.
Yet I lived. Of my kin – I live on. But my heart broke in twain on that mountainside.

These were years for strong deeds and fell battles. For Dwarf kingdoms had been stolen seized.
Khazad-dûm was now by our enemies held! Orcs did to us what so they pleased –
For a time. But with Thrór’s foul murder, all the dwarves rose in deadly wrath
We would rise and would kill every Orc we found. Middle-Earth would drink deep this blood-bath!
So we did. Starting in the Grey Mountains – Gundabad saw our wrath wax hot
Every Orc or goblin we saw – we slew. We’d exterminate the lot!
But some fled – falling back to Moria. So we marched south by cave and stone
And beneath the earth we fought battles fell – when we died, it was not alone.
Aye – the Orcs they can see in the darkness, and the goblins walk under earth
But us dwarves had the edge under mountain roots – for we live in stone caves from our birth.
Under-earth will for us give her secrets – so we found and we searched every cave
Some did fight. Others fled. All we caught – those we killed. Aye – our hearts did grow strong and brave.
All orc smiths are but middling craftsmen – they do not have our dwarvish skill.
All orc armour is weak. We cared nought for that – they were easier for us to kill.
So the dark underground ran with orc-blood, and it stained the cave-stones black
We ceased not by day, nor by night to come on. It was one sustained attack.

We swept south – hunting down all the orc scum. We arrived near the Gladden Fields.
We came up for the hunt – by the whetted axe! Death to all – and no quarter yield!
In our hatred we knew no pity. Our dwarf hearts we had turned to stone.
Revenge – for our kin. For our kingdoms lost. To restore to us our own!
But there exist dark powers so much stronger, then us dwarves – or of elves or men
‘Till be long, I fear, till Moria returns back to dwarven hands again!

So we marched up into those mountains, stood before the Moria gate
We roared battle-cry! For we had come home! But we knew not the twists of Fate.
Azanulbizar was that valley, near the old lake of Kheled-zâram
There the Orcs drew up, reinforced in lines – now we’d hew them down to a man!
So we did! Though at first we wavered, for the Orcs came in greater strength
Yet we hacked them down. But they rushed on still – we retreated for a length
It was hot work in that hour. Then the Iron Hills’ dwarves came through!
Blesséd Náin and his men – in their shirts of mail! They arrived! They advanced! We slew!
So the Orcs routed in great confusion! And we butchered them in our turn.
They would fear this day that we dwarves arrived – fear the dwarvish hate they’d earnt!
To the gates of Mount Moria, Náin pursued. Still we cut them down.
All we overtook, we would run them through. Their dead corpses thick strewed the ground.
But poor Náin – in his crowning hour – was he blinded by victory’s pride?
Strode him up to the very Moria gates – and he challenged those yet inside!
Then Azog – craven-heart – came to battle. He slew Náin – who was felled and killed.
But Náin was then avenged by his young son Dáin – as the Valar had surely willed.
It was Dáin who then cut Azog’s head off – signaling that our revenge was done.
We could count the cost – all whom we there had lost. ‘Twas a high price, though we’d won.
Fully half our men were finished – who marched out but did not return
And my kinsfolk were there, laid amongst the dead. Fate had dealt with us grim and stern!
So we laid out our dead in ranked columns, in the Vale Azanulbizar.
There we burned them all. And it grieved us sore. Oh – the cost of that dreadful war!

Through our tears Thráin then urged us onward! He would the take Moria now!
But we all demurred. What was Khazad-dûm – but a tomb, and a crypt below?
Then we heard Dáin’s words forth ringing, as he came to us back from the gate
For alone of us all he’d been up to look – then returned him to where we sate.
“You will not enter into Moria. Khazad-dûm will today not be won.
Though we dwarves are strong – we aren’t strong enough to reverse what times past we’ve done.
For we dwarves woke the living Shadow – and its power is far greater than we.
Him who strikes it down will not be a dwarf. Until then, Khazad-dûm let be.”

He was right – all who heard there knew it. Yet the prophecy, spoken by Dáin
Gave scant comfort yet to us there who lived: we had won. Had we won in vain?
Our revenge we had got – that is true-said. But it came at such high a cost
‘Twill be years I trow, before we can know, whether truly we’ve won – or lost.

This poem was first posted on Antipodean Writer.

Antipodean Writer

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