Fairy Tales of Middle-Earth: 8. Shadow and Fire

Reader Toolbox   Log in for more tools

8. Shadow and Fire

Dwarves keep their language secret and their lives hidden from outsiders. Sometimes, even among themselves, there comes one yet more guarded.

In the great City of the Dwarrowdelf lived a Dwarf of a more than usually suspicious nature. His soul shrank under the gaze of others and withered even more when they looked away.

He began to avoid the other Dwarves. He worked when they slept and dug his tunnels as far away from others as possible. Each day, his soul grew smaller and harder.

He found a new vein of mithril, and wishing to keep it secret and safe for himself, he took devious routes to and from his digging. He hid the ore and rubble in abandoned mine-shafts, "Just to keep them from prying," he thought.

Sometimes the other Dwarves asked him to join them in mining or in feasting. "No," he said each time, thinking, "They just want to find my vein of true-silver."

When they left without pressing him, he thought, "If they really cared, they would ask me again," and his soul shriveled a little more.

They ceased asking, at the last. "I see they truly don't care for me; they don't ask me to accompany them," he said to himself. His soul dwindled yet again.

He spent all his waking hours in his secret tunnel. He followed the vein as it twisted ever downward. Dreams of smoke and flame running toward him along the mithril accompanied his sleep. He imagined the others, the ones who had rejected him, engulfed in flame. "They would be well served," he thought.

One day, the sound of his pick on the rock changed. He knew he approached a large cavity. Though it meant, perhaps, the end of his vein of true-silver, his heart beat faster at the thought of opening up a new cavern, or even series of caverns. "Then I would get my due," he thought. His mind filled with visions of the other Dwarves envious of his fortune in expanding their City yet again. Somehow, though, heat and smoke wreathed through the vision.

At last the tip of his pick slipped into a tiny hole. He enlarged it with care, and peered through. Instead of utter blackness, he saw a dull glow and heard a slow rhythmic thud. He pulled away more shards of rock, and in his haste and lack of care, one large piece tumbled inward, clattering ever louder down the side of the chamber.

The glow brightened and turned toward him. It rose up. Its cloak of shadow filled the cavern. He thought to retreat, but his limbs shook with fear and failed him. He fell to the ground as the thing beyond reached up and broke away the edges of the hole. It came closer and he pressed himself to the ground and hid his eyes for very terror. It said, or perhaps he only thought it said, "Thou! Thou puny thing! Hast thou released me, then, after ages in this prison?"

The Dwarf's tiny soul shrank to nothing and winked out. The Spirit of Shadow and Fire strode out over his body, through the tunnel and away up into the City of the Dwarves.

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.

Story Information

Author: DrummerWench

Status: Reviewed

Completion: Ongoing Serial

Era: Multi-Age

Genre: General

Rating: General

Last Updated: 06/26/11

Original Post: 04/30/05

Go to Fairy Tales of Middle-Earth overview


WARNING! Comments may contain spoilers for a chapter or story. Read with caution.

Fairy Tales of Middle-Earth

Gandalfs apprentice - 13 Jun 06 - 9:13 PM

Ch. 8: Shadow and Fire

Yet again you have answered one of the great unanswered riddles of Middle-Earth: How did the Dwarves awaken the darkness in Moria? Kudos.


Fairy Tales of Middle-Earth

DrummerWench - 14 Jun 06 - 8:23 PM

Ch. 8: Shadow and Fire

Thanks, G.A.!  I really appreciate your support.

I'm not sure the next couple tales will answer any great unanswered questions...


Fairy Tales of Middle-Earth

Lynx of Isengard - 29 Jan 12 - 10:56 AM

Ch. 8: Shadow and Fire

In the vernacular of children these days: oh snap!

I must say, I haven't read any good Dwarf tales lately, or at all, for that matter. I feel like Orcs are more popular, and they're the villains! I much like this tale of the greedy Dwarf who woke the Balrog.

Read all comments on this story

Comments are hidden to prevent spoilers.
Click header to view comments

Talk to DrummerWench

If you are a HASA member, you must login to submit a comment.

We're sorry. Only HASA members may post comments. If you would like to speak with the author, please use the "Email Author" button in the Reader Toolbox. If you would like to join HASA, click here. Membership is free.

Reader Toolbox   Log in for more tools