1. The Last Balrog
The Last Balrog: Glorfindel in The Fellowship of the Ring
“It reads: ‘The doors of Durin, Lord of Moria. Speak friend and enter,’” said Gandalf as his staff followed the runes above the Gates of Moria.
Glorfindel and Ecthelion glanced at each other. “’Say friend and enter,’” Ecthelion corrected Gandalf gently.
“Furthermore, it says, ’I, Narvi, made them. Celebrimbor of Hollin drew these signs,’” Glorfindel supplied.
“Yes, yes,” Gandalf said, more than slightly annoyed and apparently wishing he had Hobbits instead of Elf-lords for companions.
“What’s the Elvish word for friend?” asked Frodo.
Glorfindel and Ecthelion exchanged smiles. “Mellon,” they said in one voice, and the Gates of Moria opened to that fair word.
Orcs began to crawl out of every crevice of Moria like spiders. They surrounded the Fellowship. Glorfindel and Ecthelion nudged each other. At last, Gandalf had no choice but to allow them combat with the enemy. But a light appeared at the end of the hall, followed by a horrible growl. The Orcs fled in every possible direction.
“What is this new devilry?” asked Boromir with apprehension in his every word.
“Ai! A Balrog!” cried Legolas. He dropped his bow in dismay.
“Stand tall, Legolas!” said Glorfindel with fire in his eyes.
“A Balrog, a demon of the ancient world. This foe is beyond any of you,” Gandalf said.
“Not for all!” Glorfindel objected.
“Run!” Gandalf commanded. He had no wish to announce to the Dark Lord their whereabouts and happenings, and a glorious battle between a Balrog and two Balrog slayers would surely catch his Eye.
The Fellowship fled from this new evil until they came across a large gap in the stairs. Legolas leapt the way easily enough. He beckoned to Gandalf. Boromir jumped next with Sam in hand. Gimli jumped the distance with some difficulty, but Legolas caught him by the beard, much to the Dwarf’s dismay. Ecthelion followed and helped Legolas bring Gimli up. Aragorn looked about to tell Glorfindel to go next but then thought better of it. Glorfindel was known for holding the rear manfully. He would not go until everyone else had gone before him. Suddenly, just as Aragorn prepared to make the leap with Frodo, the cave shook and the stairs began to crumble. The gap in the stairs widened.
“Go, Aragorn,” Glorfindel said as he took Frodo into his arms. Aragorn leapt and was caught by Ecthelion. Glorfindel landed neatly beside them. Having passed that test, they hurried forth to the Bridge of Khazad-dum. They could hear the steps of the Balrog nearing. They crossed the bridge, but at the last, Glorfindel turned to face the approaching Balrog and drew his sword, long and terrible.
“You cannot pass!” Glorfindel roared. He seemed as a white flame in the dark cavern, and his golden mail seemed as sunlit celandines upon an open field. Upon his shield was the blazing image of the rayed sun, and it seemed a challenge to the foul fires of the Balrog.
“Glorfindel!” Frodo cried from the other side of the bridge.
“Do not fear, Little One,” Ecthelion said. “I have been with Glorfindel upon many a journey. He will prevail.” Indeed, thought Ecthelion, this is a battle that Glorfindel has long awaited, the slaying of the Last Balrog to live upon Middle-earth. Even had he the time to spring to the side of his friend, he would not have. This was Glorfindel’s fight.
The Balrog paused as he was faced with this new obstacle. It puffed its wings out wide and roared. Flames billowed all about its fiery body. Glorfindel remained unintimidated. The Balrog wielded his three-pronged whip and cracked it in the air. Glorfindel smiled, and it seemed to Frodo that he was no longer the cheerful spirit that he had been before, for his grin was terrible to behold.
“My memories return to me,” Glorfindel said. “Who now shall fear the Balrog for all its terror? See before us the accursed one who for ages have tormented the children of Middle-earth and who now set a fire at our backs.” At the odd glint in Glorfindel’s bright eyes, the Balrog’s step faltered and seemed about to flee. “We will smite it for its evil!”
Glorfindel leapt forward with his sword in hand, and his golden armor gleamed strangely in the sparse lighting of the cavern. So great was the fury and ardor of the Lord of the Golden Flower that the Balrog was forced back from the Bridge of Khazad-dum. It lashed at Glorfindel with its fiery whip but to no avail for Glorfindel’s shield, encrusted with the emblem of the rayed sun, protected him from that whip. It seemed to all those of the Fellowship that they were watching some ancient battle from days of old. At last, Glorfindel hewed off one of the Balrog’s great horns, and the demon cried out in anguish. Then, with a manly swing, Glorfindel hewed the creature’s whip-arm at the elbow.
In the torment of its pain and fear, the Balrog sprang full at Glorfindel. Glorfindel darted away from the Balrog. As the Balrog passed him, Glorfindel dropped his shield, heaved his shining sword with both hands, and swung mightily at the foul beast of Morgoth. It shrieked as Glorfindel’s deadly blade severed it in half at the torso. The fires of its body flared sinisterly for a moment, as if it would burn its opponent with its last strength, and then the flame was extinguished all at once. Its body seemed like an oily corpse, and foul vapors rose from its remains. Glorfindel, having followed through with his mighty swing, stood now facing away from his opponent with sword outstretched. Then, slowly, as time seemed to begin anew, Glorfindel straightened himself, flicked his sword clean of the black ooze that was the Balrog’s blood, and tossed his golden hair back from his face.
The battle, though long in seeming, had been shorter than even the amount of time it had taken Glorfindel to speak of his intent to smite the Balrog. None spoke as Glorfindel sheathed his sword and approached. His shield and mail were scorched, but Glorfindel seemed unharmed. And the light in Glorfindel’s eyes was like the radiance of the stars. The Hobbits were not alone in their open-mouthed gaping at the Elf-warrior. Aragorn, Legolas, Gimli, and Boromir stared with wide eyes at Glorfindel with memories of the battle that they had just been privileged to witness still ringing in their minds. Even Gandalf seemed taken aback.
“It is fulfilled,” Glorfindel said to the shocked Fellowship. “The Last Balrog to plague this world is slain.”
Ecthelion grinned and clasped his hand upon Glorfindel’s shoulder. “Well done, Vasa. Never again will it be said when there is fighting at great odds against the forces of evil, ‘Alas! ‘tis Glorfindel and the Balrog.’”
Frodo stepped forward very timidly and held the Ring in his hand out to Glorfindel. “I will offer it to you, Lord Glorfindel, for I think that Elrond was perhaps mistaken when he said that you could not storm the Dark Tower or open the road to the Fire.”
Glorfindel laughed, and he seemed again to be his merry self rather than the dreadful Elf-lord of vengeance that he had been just a moment before. “Nay, Frodo, do not be deceived by the glory of light alone. This task, the slaying of the Last Balrog, was appointed to me ere the making of the world.” Glorfindel knelt before Frodo and closed Frodo’s hand over the One Ring without himself touching it. “But to you alone has the Ring been entrusted. None may bear it but you. Your burden is heavier than mine, but I have faith that you will find a way to destroy the One Ring, and then your glory for accomplishing such a task will be greater than even mine.”
Frodo blushed to the tips of his pointed Hobbit ears at Glorfindel’s high praise.
“And when the darkness threatens to overwhelm you, Frodo, remember this moment once more,” said Ecthelion of the fair voice. “Take heart and say to yourself, ‘Yea! ‘tis Glorfindel and the Balrog.”
Some thanks goes to the Council of Elrond (http://www.council-of-elrond.com/fotr_transcript.html) for their transcript of The Fellowship of the Ring.
Glorfindel’s lines and battle with the Balrog parallels to some extent his fateful fight with the Balrog in the Fall of Gondolin (Book of Lost Tales II, pp. 151-197).
Glorfindel’s symbol of the House of Golden Flower is the rayed sun, and Ecthelion’s nickname for him is the Elven name for the Sun: Vasa, the Heart of Fire.
This story is not related to One Elf (http://www.fanfiction.net/read.php?storyid=1266751), but if you enjoyed this one, you’ll probably enjoy that one too.
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.