1. A Balrog's Bane
“… ‘Ai! ai!’ wailed Legolas. ‘A Balrog! A Balrog is come!’” 1
I’m not just ‘a Balrog,’ you poncy elf – I’m ‘The Balrog’; at least in this part of Middle-earth, anyway.
By the way, has anyone ever told you that you scream like a little girl? Not that I’ve been around many shrieking little girls, mind you, but I imagine that’s what they sound like.
Now, where was I? Oh yes, I was introducing myself … I’m The Balrog, as I said, but you can call me Durin’s Bane if you like. That’s what the Dwarves that used to inhabit these mines called me. Well, the ones I didn’t eat called me that.
Speaking of Dwarves, isn’t that one of them standing beside those two Men over there? Hmm … he’s got some meat on his bones, too. Think he’d mind if I invited him to dinner?
I’m getting sidetracked again, aren’t I? I do apologize for that. It’s just that it’s been so long since I’ve had anyone to talk to besides these mindless Orcs. And don’t even get me started on the Trolls …
Anyway, I’m Durin’s Bane – you’ve probably heard of me; Sauron says I’m famous. Personally, though, I prefer my other moniker: The Terror. I’ve worked hard to build that reputation over the past 500 years and I think I deserve to flaunt it when I can. Then again, I guess it really hasn’t been all that hard – these creatures I’ve been asked to watch over are scared of their own shadows when it comes right down to it.
But, that’s not the matter at hand now, is it? No, your merry little band of travelers has something I want, and I intend to take it. No, it’s not that stupid Ring – shiny trinkets don’t interest me. Although, if I did take it from the little one – yes, I can sense who has it, unlike the halfwits you met in Balin’s tomb – I’m sure Sauron would be most appreciative.
That’s not what I want, though. No, instead I want the wizard. Now you just be a good little elf and go stand with the others while I have a chat with Tharkûn or Incánus or Mithrandir … or whatever he’s calling himself this Age. That’s a good elf – you just extended your worthless little life by a few moments.
What do you two want? Oh, I see, you’ve come to protect your wizard. That’s so sweet. Touching, even. It is. Really. But let’s look at this logically, boys. Do you really think that two puny mortal Men – even with big, shiny swords – can defeat The Terror? I don’t think so.
Wait a minute, don’t I know you from somewhere? No? I swear I’ve seen your face before. Give me a minute, it’ll come to me. Hmm … That’s it! You’re the Man who would be King! Ala- … Atha- … Ada- … Ara- … Aragorn! You’re Aragorn, aren’t you? Estel, I believe the Elves call you. Hope. Ha! The Elves must be desperate if they pin their hope on you! When’s the last time you had a bath, anyway? You smell worse than that Troll I ate last week. Sheesh!
Oh dear, I’ve gotten off topic again, haven’t I? I really must learn to control that. Now then, where was I?
‘You cannot pass.’ 2
Oh yes, the wizard. Look you old git, I can do whatever I want. In case you haven’t noticed, I rule this realm.
‘I am a servant of the Secret Fire, wielder of the flame of Anor.’
I know exactly who you are. You, Olórin are a Maia, 3 as am I. Or I was, anyway.
It’s unfortunate that our first face-to-face meeting also has to be our last, but Sauron wants you dead. It’s a shame, really. From what I’ve heard about you, you could make a most formidable ally. Why couldn’t you have been more receptive to Saruman’s counsel at Orthanc?
‘You cannot pass.’
Apparently, your age is affecting your hearing – I can pass if I wish; I simply choose not to for the moment.
‘The dark fire will not avail you flame of Udûn. Go back to the Shadow! You cannot pass.’
Okay, this is starting to bore me. I think it’s time to finish you off so I can go take my nap. Any last words for your little friends? No? As you wish.
Let’s see … I’ve got my trusty sword here, all pretty and glowing. Should I slash you top-to-bottom or right across the middle? No preference?
Ooh! I see you have a sword, too. How cute. So, you want to put on a show for your friends before you die, huh? What the heck – it’s been a while since I’ve had someone to practice with.
Hey! No fair! You broke my sword! Do you have any idea how difficult it is to find one my size?
‘You cannot pass.’
Okay, I’m getting tired of this. Let’s see how you like my whip; I designed it myself – it’s sort of a hobby of mine.
Thank you so much! You just had to break the bridge, didn’t you? Do you have any idea how far it is to the bottom of this pit? Absolutely brilliant, you stupid git. Well, if I have to hit the bottom, the least you can do is keep me company on the ride.
(1) From “The Bridge of Khazad-dûm,” Fellowship of the Ring, p. 391 (2001 Del Ray edition)
(2) Gandalf’s dialogue – denoted with single quotation marks – is from “The Bridge of Khazad-dûm,” p. 392
(3) From the “Olórin” entry in Robert Foster’s The Complete Guide to Middle-earth: “Ainu, the wisest of the Maiar. … Olórin was also the name of Gandalf in his ‘youth in the West that is forgotten.’ It is very tempting to equate the two characters, for Gandalf’s compassion was great, and his seeming impatience usually designed to quell pompous Men or irrepressible Hobbits.”
This is a work of fan fiction, written because the author has an abiding love for the works of J R R Tolkien. The characters, settings, places, and languages used in this work are the property of the Tolkien Estate, Tolkien Enterprises, and possibly New Line Cinema, except for certain original characters who belong to the author of the said work. The author will not receive any money or other remuneration for presenting the work on this archive site. The work is the intellectual property of the author, is available solely for the enjoyment of Henneth Annûn Story Archive readers, and may not be copied or redistributed by any means without the explicit written consent of the author.