6. Chapter 5: The search for Boromir
Nightfall had comfortably settled in as Idrial, Berethor and Elogast neared the bottom of the mountain. "Why must you go to Moria?" asked Idrial.
"My friend I spoke is a dwarf, we were sent months ago from the Lonely Mountain to acquire reinforcments and aid Moria, which is now overrun by the goblin armies."
"Evil is everywhere", Idrial replied shaking her head solemnly. The trees now began to thicken and stone turned to dirt. Idrial let out a sigh of relief. "We have company." The two men looked but saw nothing. Then a voice came from above. "Greetings my lady, we heard news of your journey into the mountains, that was most unwise."
"I know Thoneluil but I had searched everywhere."
The elf-scout smiled. "I bring word from Lord Elrond, the surviving Elves are now safe. You…" Berethor, alarmed to hear the elf-king's name, interrupted. "Elrond. What word of Boromir?" The elf-scout looked straight at Berethor but stayed silent, then began to speak in elvish-tongue to Idrial. She turned to Berethor and Elogast. "Wait here." She climbed up the tree to speak with the elf.
"What's going on?" asked Elogast.
"I have no idea", replied Berethor sternly, keeping his eyes fixed up in the tree. Berethor and Elogast did not speak, they stood, listening to the magical language of the elves. Moments later the elf-scout departed and Idrial came down. "Boromir now journeys to Moria."
Berethor scoffed. "You are mistaken, my lady, Boromir of Gondor is no fool."
"He does and he must", replied Idrial. Berethor turned to Elogast. "You will show me the way to Moria." Idrial broke in, "You cannot follow Boromir."
"That is my task!"
"Your task is now complete my Lady, once again I thank you but I must now leave you."
"I shall go with you. You do not know where they go from Moria."
"You two have both turned to madness." Elogast laughed dryly. "Moria is overrun, not just with goblins but orcs and trolls an…" Elogast stepped in closer to the two and his voice lowered. "…there is evil there that does not sleep." There was a short silence. Berethor put his hand on Elogast's shoulder. "I am Berethor of the Citadel Tower Guard, defender of the white tree… that is my task."
Elogast bowed his head. "Very well then I shall lead you through Moria as best I can", said Elogast in reluctance, but great respect. "I warn you though, the path will be perilous." Berethor took no heed to the comment.
"We can rest safely tonight. At a nearby shelter of my people."
Elogast smiled. "Ah, elven hospitality is very much welcome after many nights in the mountains," he said, lightening the mood slightly. Elogast and Berethor followed Idrial to the shelter where they filled their stomachs and sat by the fire, except for Idrial who was talking away from the others with the elf-scout captain, Thoneluil, who had much to tell.
"So, do you have a name, Gondorian?" Elogast asked as he lay on his back, staring through the tops of the trees at the midnight sky.
"Berethor." He sat with his back to a tree, with one arm resting on his bent knee.
"And what brings you and this, Boromir to the west?"
Berehtor scowled. "Rangers are a curious lot."
Elogast chuckled. "You have met one of my kin?"
Berethor nodded. "At the Greenway inn. He showed me the way to these lands."
Elogast turned on his side, leaning on his elbow to face the man. "Did he give you his name?"
"No," Berethor then added, "But he spoke of his captain, Strider. He said that if I see him, to tell him that his brother-in-arms sends all duty and affection."
Elogast smiled. "Halbarad. He is an honourable man. I remember when he was but a young man, begging his father to go on our patrols. He is a credit to our race."
"And all too quick to assume."
"Halbarad does not assume, my friend." <You are probably right,> thought Berethor. The man seemed to be wise, and the wise rarely guess out of turn.
"Be sure to give him my thanks when you next meet." Berethor said, quickly ending the subject. "Although I fear my search was in vain."
"If Boromir travels through Moria, we shall find him." Elogast reassured.
The next day, once everyone was awake, they had breakfast and set out to the gate of Moria with new purpose. Elogast awoke last after a long awaited rest he sorely needed. Idrial however, did not sleep at all. Four days journey lay between the party and the Moria Gate.
"So Idrial…" began Berethor "…Why must Boromir go through the mines of Moria?"
"Kingdom of Moria", Elogast stated in quick return. Berethor took no notice.
"He goes with company to warn Rohan and Gondor of Sauron's assault on Middle Earth. In Mordor, Sauron is breeding an army to destroy the world of Men."
Berethor stopped but Idrial kept walking. "You know this? Who is with him?"
Idrial was hesitant to reply. "The one you call Mithrandir…"
"Gandalf. It has been long since I last heard his name", Elogast said surprised.
Elogast had to interrupt again. "Aragorn is with them?" Idrial started to walk faster, Berethor and Elogast now on either side. The she-elf took time to answer, "Yes, Legolas of my kin, a dwarf and four hobbits."
"Why the m…why Moria?" Berethor was overwhelmed with these tidings of war and everything else that had happened since the first day October last year, when he said goodbye to his wife and child. "Why not go to the Gap of Rohan?"
"Saruman the White has betrayed all that is good and now from Isenguard, he drives the iron fist of the Orc through Rohan."
"How much more do you know of this?" asked Elogast.
"Indeed." Everyone was now subdued in thought as they trekked on the through the woods and plains of Arnor, southbound alongside the mountain.
They had only rested once since they set out and few words were exchanged along the whole journey to Hollin, where west gate of Moria lay. They made their way down the slopes to the narrow path that ran between the lake and the foot of the mountain. "Someone is there", claimed Idrial.
"Hadhod", said Elogast with relief. He had forgot about his friend who was waiting for him. As they approached, the dwarf rose to his feet, (which wasn't very high.)
"Elogast!" Hadhod cheered. "You're late laddie." He then looked at Berethor and Idrial. "Reinforcements… hmph." Elegost looked in horror at the Moria Gate that had caved in.
"Is that the gate?" asked Berethor.
"Was the gate", Hadhod replied. "I arrived here today and found the entrance in ruin, it must have collapsed."
"And not long ago", Elogast finished as he surveyed the rubble and floor before it. "Aragorn must have come this way, the company were followed", his eyes followed from the rubble along floor, to the lake. "And whatever caused this has retreated back to the water."
"Aragorn?" Hadhod muttered.
"What can we do now?" Berethor was concerned.
"What?" Hadhod did not know the intentions of the three.
"If we take the pass of Caradhras, we may make some distance and overtake the company as they leave the mountain." Idrial spoke of going over the mountain, which would save time and seemed like a good idea if it was not for the snowstorm that persisted high up in the mountains. Elogast looked grim. "That would be ill advised, if indeed, the White Wizard has betrayed us, he will be watching that path." He turned to Hadhod. "Hadhod, I have bound myself to these people, they seek passage to the other side of the mountains."
"Very well, we must cross too and make for the bridge of Khazad-dum. What word of Aragorn?"
"There is much to tell my friend", he then looked at Idrial who met his eyes, "and much to learn…" then back to Hadhod. "…but now is not the time, what path should we take?"
"I think we should go to Rivendell and seek council from Lord Elrond", Idrial answered.
"That would be wise", Elogast said.
Berethor recoiled. "We will lose many days to track back now…"
"… and I'am certain by now, Balin's forces will be stretched to their very limits. We cannot abandon them." Hadhod finished.
"But what can we do, we have no reinforcements. We cannot help." Elogast returned. Everyone argued their case, scarcely listening to eachother and a decision finally came when Idrial broke in. "Evil spreads over Middle Earth, the Dwarves fight for their lives, Men and Elves too, we cannot win this war through strength alone. Our chance for survival is thin, we must put aside our individual needs and concentrate on the survival of good. Come to Rivendell, there much more you should know about this war."Under Berethor's stern exterior, he panicked silently. He had return to Minas Tirith with Boromir. Was it really hopeless. With the rest of them going to Rivendell, he had no way to track Boromir, and if he did survive the dangerous path that was the Gap of Rohan, he would many weeks-or months- behind Boromir, wherever they were going. His many thoughts laboured his indecision. He had no choice, he must go with his new found companions northbound alongside the mountain.
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