15. More Blither and Blather
It took about five seconds for the blue door to crash down. Scaldo knew he was going to die, but instead of hiding behind the chair like he would have a while ago, he grabbed his tea cup and threw it at the gaping entrance.
Except for a sharp yelp, silence fell. Only for a moment. The room then erupted in a cascade of dwarves: smelly dwarves with tangled, greasy beards and randomly assorted mail, helms, and tattery cloaks, yet all sported one common thing, and that was long black knives, glistening evilly. Twice they had been foiled, in the forest and again at the bridge; now they had no sense of humor left.
Scaldo wanted to cry, the Dwarf had out his knife, and Hildifons set out the pastries.
"Give us the Chubb!"
Scaldo, old Scaldo, would have fainted, most literally, dead right there, but the new flat-faced hobbit was unafraid. He knew the Dwarf was there and he was the sure that nothing, not even a horde of slimy, beknifed dwarves could get past the blue-hooded Dwarf. Scaldo, however, was not counting on one thing.
"How much will yeh pay?"
"Fifteen fowl and eight loaves."
"Sixteen fowl, eight loaves, two silver pieces."
"Make it one."
Scaldo's knees became jelly.
"Revenge tastes good," said the spokes-dwarf.
"Bla, bla, bla. Just hand over the goods, then yeh'll have yer revenge."
"Aye. We got a complete revenge plotted out at the cliff. Heh-heh." The spokes-dwarf cracked his knuckles, then motioned to the other dwarves.
As five hefty sacks were passed up, the Dwarf held Scaldo in a clutch of death by his collar. Scaldo was surprised that at the moment of his demise he thought not about strawberry pie or chicken-mushroom dumplings but about how one toe itched awfully, and also he looked at possible escape routes. The door, though, was jammed, and Hildifons was sitting with his chin on his chest. Scaldo felt disappointed. The elderly hobbit looked to have quite a punch. If the mean-dwarves wanted a fight, Scaldo would just have to give it himself. It might result in a few owchies, but the alternatives did not seem so rosy either.
Scaldo brought his hair-matted foot down on the Dwarf's boot. The hobbit yelped and shook his foot; the boot was harder than he remembered. Silence again grasped the room.
That was not as strange as what happened next. With no sort of warning, all the dwarves toppled over each other; so tightly were they packed, they could not help but fall on the dwarf in front. A tangled mass of hoods and limbs was all that remained.
After peeling his eyes away from the fallen mass, Scaldo saw giant Chamsar bowed in the entry, knuckling his mustaches, his leg still extended from what must have been a mighty kick.
"Fear ye, for Chamsar Cuturgurth Belaran Aglareb is come!"
The Dwarf, with Scaldo in train, none too gently stomped over the mean-dwarves sprawled on the floor. In turn, Scaldo clutched Hildifons, who had gotten up to put on another kettle.
Even Chamsar took up no more time with words. Hand in hand, a living chain, all four sped through the stone tunnels; Chamsar's head brushed closely with the ceiling.
Chamsar drove them to the tunnel's end, where four figures stood in the half light of torches. One had an enormous head, and only when Scaldo with within a few feet could he see that it was, in fact, Tintil. His head was wrapped in a tailor shop's worth of cloth, blowing his cranium to proportions incredible to behold.
Scaldo felt wonderful: they had made well their escape and almost were free of this dark hole and Tintil was not dead. Relief melted through him like butter down to his foot-soles.
Yet Chamsar did not make any move to get them out of the tunnel. He kept looking up at the blank stone, then to his followers. Up and down.
"Why is the door shut?"
"We closed it," said one man, "so no one could follow us."
Chamsar pulled his mustaches as though trying to stretch them to a rope's length. At the same time, they all heard a stomping that shook off the distant walls.
"Here we die, comrades and shorter ones," said Chamsar, drawing his wicked sling.
The Dwarf grunted and the Took nodded pleasantly to himself. Scaldo did nothing but palpitate in his flesh, for he had already made up his mind.
It was not long until the mean-dwarves rounded the corner in such a frenzy, their boots carried them along the walls. Shrieking, foaming, knives flailing. Absolute doom.
"Stop!!!" shouted a tubby voice. "If it's me you want, fine, take me. But you shan't all kill each other about it."
Chamsar, Hildifons, Tintil, Dwarf, and the rest looked at Scaldo like he had sprouted mushrooms from his cheeks. Scaldo did not care. All he saw was the dwarves cracking their knuckles and licking their knives.
He looked again at the others. Still unmovable as loaves of bread, (by their own volition) except Hildifons, who took some papers from his pocket and glanced at them. Slightly disappointed, Scaldo waddled into the enemy's clutches.
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.