It's too dark.
It's too close.
I can't see the sky.
I wish I hadn't come here.
I shouldn't have come. I should have made an excuse, any excuse. I should have pled illness, said that my father needed me back in his kingdom. But then, I suppose, I would have had to listen to the laughter of that dwarf. Had to listen to him crowing endlessly about his triumph, for he had accompanied me beneath the boughs of Fangorn forest, despite his own ill ease in that place, so strong with the will of the trees, so strong with the hatred of axes and their bearers. I have no doubt that he would have accompanied me all the way to my father's very door, that he might fully describe the scenes of these caves to me, remonstrate with me for not having accompanied him.
I wish he would let more light out of the lamp. It is too dark in here.
So why did I come here? I suppose part of it was out of pride, out of a reluctance to allow him the victory in our little game. Yet, more of it was out of compassion. For he was so struck by this place, so awed by it when he described it to me after the battle. He so wanted me to see this place. I could no more have turned him down on this matter than I could have taken an apple from one of the hobbits. It would have been like kicking a puppy. So I agreed to see these caves, to see the glory that he promised was beneath the hills.
I hadn't known when I promised that it would be so far underground, through such narrow passages. It is too close in here. I cannot breathe properly.
I had thought, when we had finished passing through the Path of the Dead in Dunharrow, that I might have done with caves for ever. Truly, I felt not the terror of the dead, yet the terror of the closeness of those caves, the darkness around me, was such that I needed not the worry of lost mortal souls to frighten me. I passed through those caves always with one hand on the shoulder of the dwarf who now leads me, giving comfort, as he thought. Yet taking comfort as much as giving - for if he were still before me, still moving, then the darkness would not close in on me. If he could move before me, being so much more bulky in build (as well as clothing) than my self, then I would not be crushed by the walls beside me. If he could get through, I could get through.
These cave ceilings are too low. I cannot see the sky, only feel this weight of the mountains above my - No! I shall not think on it!
My hand reaches out for my companion, as terror reaches out its hand for me. I must tell him, must explain my own fear, lowering though it shall be. I must plead with him to give me more light, lead me out of this horrible place.
I am afraid. Nay, I am terrified. I have to get out.
We have stopped.
He has lowered the lamp, and is raising the shutters....
As I look around, my breath taken away by the beauty surrounding me, I see the face of my companion. Hidden beneath that bristling beard, it is hard to make out any expression whatsoever. Yet, in his eyes, I see the tears he is holding, at the bliss of this beautiful place. I begin to understand, and that, I think, is the true beginning of our friendship.
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.