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Hadrell's Journal

20th Hisme

I have arrived. I sit now in Helm's Deep, truly a mighty fortress. On the approach I found it hard to believe that it was built by men, for it is both strong and beautiful. It is only when the construction is looked at in detail that it is clear that this great bastion was not created by our people. The design is magnificent, but in places the stones have been poorly cut or poorly laid. There are seams and cracks in the outer defensive wall that would allow an attacker the necessary purchase to climb. I have also noted that the stone stair leading to the Hornburg, the tower, is too open, and a retreating force would have little cover. Our masons have much to do here, although at present the work is still concerned with repair, and the improvements to the first dike, the initial defensive position.

There is much for me to do also. There are a number of cranes and cantilever devices for the moving of great stones that have been constructed by men, though, naturally, under dwarfish supervision. The leatherwork for the points of greatest strain will need special reinforcing before any foundation rocks can be manoeuvred, a task that I can accomplish and with time teach others. There are also tools and equipment that have been provided by the men of Rohan, that will need refining. Many dwarven tools have been brought to the site, but more are needed. There is also a need for the repair of tools, helms and armour. The armour of a dwarf is worn in battle, but will also defend against the glancing blow of a falling stone when the rope snaps or the winch buckles under the strain. The metalsmiths and leatherworkers will be as busy as the stonecutters and masons for many weeks to come.

Tomorrow will be a long day, and I fear that it may be restless tonight. I am to bunk with dwarves from many regions, some of whom are, like myself, newly arrived. There will be much talking tonight, for those who have been here for a time will want much news from the north.

26th Hisme

It has been a busy few days; the scale of the work here is very great. On occasion communication between the different peoples has caused delays, but when this is overcome, the camaraderie is further enhanced. I am starting to settle into the routine and to know whom to turn to for particular skills and insights. There is sufficient work to keep me here for many months, if not years.

I have given some thought to worship. I feel that it would be fitting that prayers to the Maker be included in this making also. Over the next few weeks I will try and gauge the views of my fellow workers.

Winter is approaching, and the snow will be creeping down the sides of the lonely mountain. I feel it call to my heart and bones. The mountains here are high and proud, but they have never felt the love of the dwarves, and therefore they return it not. The stonecutters say that the rock cracks and chips malevolently. Still, we will tend the mountains and the rock. A mountain is a slow creature, but once a people have gained its respect, its memory is very long indeed.

I am reminded of a verse from a song that I learnt many years ago. It is an old song, but not as old, may be as its theme.
"Sing now of the heartbeat in the bole of the mountain.
Hear the deep thunder in the depths and the deeps.
Feel the land tremble as he turns in his slumber.
Wait for the morn when the giant awakes."

27th Hisme

My compatriots will have to woo the mountain alone. My work has been set aside. My future is uncertain. A quest, a task, a challenge lies before me, and it is one that I cannot fail in, for 'twas laid upon my shoulders by the Lord Gimli himself. I journey to Edoras, to the gilded hall of the Horse lords and thence maybe to Gondor and the court of King Aragorn himself. I have far to go, and little time.

Why he has chosen me I do not know. I am still young and inexperienced. At first I thought that I had been called to him because I had been too outspoken about the tools and craftsmanship of the men that we are working alongside. I was sufficiently nervous that I nearly fell across the chair that I was offered. My Lord Gimli affected not to notice and asked me, with fine words, to fulfil an important quest. At the last he even shared his cup with me. He is a fine dwarf, a great lord. I hope I can do justice to the faith he has placed in me.

I am still filled with awe that I have met with the Lord Gimli. He has a great presence, yet there is something about him, a look in the eye maybe, which speaks of loss or a great yearning.

28th Hisme

I write by firelight under unwelcome scrutiny. My Lord Gimli sent me to the Rohirrim to meet with a great man, a man who, as yet, does not understand his own destiny. I believe I have now met this man. My task has begun and I feel that Aule is testing me.

I was told that I would know him by the rangers star upon his cloak. This star I saw fall shortly after the skirmish in which his life was saved. Five villains sort to steal from one lone traveller, and struck him whilst he lay prone and indefensible. I engaged them and slew three. Two were killed in a most cowardly manner, pierced by arrows from behind. The slayer sits across the fire from me now, the very man I have been charged to protect and defend with my own life. A man with no honour. It seems a cruel fate.

Yes, the foe were themselves cowardly men and thieves, but they were executed like game for the pot. If it had not been for my insistence the corpses would still be lying above ground, to be fodder for the birds and beasts of the field, or worse, mutilated and displayed on stakes as a warning for others that may pass. I prevailed and they now lie beneath the sod, though it was a long task. There are no stones in this sea of grass with which to build a cairn.

I will watch over this man, but I thank Aule that I was not asked by Lord Gimli to befriend him.

It will be but a short walk to Edoras when the dawn breaks tomorrow. I look forward to seeing the golden hall at close quarters, but I am apprehensive. The path before me is dark and hidden from my sight. I must tread with care.

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