6th Narvinye - A day of blessings.
It is the afternoon of the 6th, and it is almost time to leave Anuminas. We have again braved the library and have found what we sought. Now a longer journey lies before us that will take us by road, by sea and by ice.
Yesterday afternoon we rested, we all were bruised and battered, even Erethor. The ranger must have come down into the library earlier than I knew, for he had also been in the fray with the stone beasts, though briefly. We easily settled down to our own tasks; Erethor went to forage for our evening meal, I prayed, and then began to tend my beaten armour, Yawinawin retired to meditate and Moth left to find a suitable puddle for divination. It was not long before Moth clearly decided to try things on a bigger scale, and announced that she would walk the half a mile or so down to the lake shore. There is still the risk of the return of the ravening trolls, so, after some insistence, she reluctantly agreed to ask Yawinawin to accompany her. I was hoping later, over a dinner that tasted appropriate to its appearance, that she would let us know if she had any success. It was not to be. Moth was as quiet last night as the rest of us. The night's watches were as quiet as we.
I had taken first watch the evening before, but still rose early to pray. Rarely recently have I felt such a connection with the divine as I felt this morning at dawns first light. Aule's hand rested upon my brow this day. I felt his strength, and a darkness was lifted from my heart. I was filled with eagerness to enter the library and fulfil our quest. Even the morning's breakfast of root stew that Erethor provided for us seemed more appetising than usual.
Prompted possibly by my enthusiasm we re-entered the library very early. Erethor again refused to come with us, claiming that his duty was merely to bring us safely to the library. However he did agree to stay within the camp, in order that Moth's mental summons would reach him if necessary. Moth dug two torches out of her bags for use should Yawinawin have need to drop her 'backlighting', and with the now familiar Elven glow we descended again into this stone house of words.
At the foot of the stairs the markings around the trapped paves had spread a little in the trickles of rain that had made it down that far, and there was a larger area for us to jump clear of, but we all managed it with ease. Indeed I felt that I floated over the threshold, such was the truth of Aule within me.
We again entered the initial room with its fountain and four corridors. We were later to find, in our searching, that there were another two exits from this room hidden behind the staircases, but by then we had additional information on the nature of door we sought, and did not feel the need to dare them. And dare them is the correct term for it seemed there were few doors or corridors in this place that did not contain some degree of danger.
Moth tried once again to divine our way to the scroll, gazing into the fountains waters. She had considerably more success today, and was able to tell us that the room we sought was oval, painted cream, and containing two sets of double oak doors. She was also sure that it did not lay behind the stone figures to the east. Maybe Aule's strength today was with us all.
We knew that the western corridor had, at its far end, a soporific reek, and we had no desire to begin today's search in that direction. There seemed little difference between north and south, so it was to the north that I ventured. Soon, it seems, we will venture still further north in a transport that is not to my liking.
We suspected that the other corridors may possess some trap or danger akin to the stone men of the eastern side, yet we could discern no peril. As soon as I had started forward, however, dust motes began to rise around me in a whirl of wind. I immediately called to Moth and Yawinawin to stay back. I was captured within the walls of air, lifted, buffeted, and tossed, bruised, back into the original chamber. My second attempt resulted in me be thrown forward into the corridor. It was decided that I would search, but that the ladies would remain where they were. Whilst I stayed in the initial corridor they would still be able to give support with missiles and spells, but once down one of the two side corridors, I would be on my own.
The doors along this and the side corridors were varied. There were only two sets of double oaken doors, the others being painted red or black, and there was even one set of tall Mithril doors, glimmering in the darkness. I did not approach. This library is well guarded, and we must take the direct route to our prey. With a strength of will I turned away and looked to the task in hand. The first oak doors that I unlocked using the ornate key, opened on to what at first appeared to be a forest glade. The room was filled with greens and browns, and the pillars were carved in the likeness of great trees. I know not what the books in the room would have spoken of, for I did not venture in. The safety of all came first, and we had not permission to take what we would from this library of the King. I closed the door, and after some moments relocked it. It is our duty to protect the treasures here as best we can. The second set of doors was out of sight of Moth and Yawinawin, and I was ever more wary. Behind them were walls painted with clouds and floating castles. There were many musical instruments and sheets of paper. Again I left and locked the room.
My dilemma now was how to get back past the whirlwind that would catch me in its grasp. I attempted it, hoping to be thrown appropriately toward my comrades. It was not to be so. The decision was made to fetch the rope in order that I be pulled back through the winds by my colleagues. Yawinawin ascended to get the rope, and was accompanied on her return by Erethor. I was glad to see that he had decided to lend his aid. Whilst I had waited for their return I called on Aule to heal some of the bruising I had received in the battle with this magic force. As I expected, his power flowed through me with ease today. I feel his blessings around me still.
I once again risked the wrath of the whirlwind, one end of the rope tied around my waist, the other held by Erethor. I was lifted into the air and thrown this way and that. Erethor slowly pulled me in, however the buffeting was strong, and I regret to say that I lost consciousness before reaching safety.
I am used to traps and the like of a mechanical nature, and it seemed likely to me that somewhere there may be a way of disarming the magics that continued to plague us. Moth described these protective magics as wards and proclaimed that there appeared to be one on each corridor entrances. Alas we could find no mechanisms, no levers or the like, other than some further trapped paves at the foot of a broken stair. These trapped paves, unlike those we had previously encountered, seemed not to be active, and this brought me hope. Age may haps has taken its toll on at least some of the traps and snares that lay in wait for us.
Erethor lacks the patience that is necessary in such perilous areas, and after a few moments of our search he decided to recklessly walk through the southern ward. After the hurt I had sustained in assaying the northern corridor, I am ashamed to say that I felt for a moment a sense of unfairness when he passed the empty alcoves and nothing happened. May Aule forgive me. It is not that I wish Erethor ill in any way, indeed we would be lost without him. Nevertheless an errant child does not learn if there are successful outcomes following their errors of judgment. I passed Erethor the key of the library, and he opened a couple of the doors along the southern corridor, seemingly at random, without success.
After some discussion it was agreed that simply looking at the doors leading from the corridors may not be enough. We did not know the layout of the library, and there may be rooms only accessible through other rooms. And so we all moved south along the corridor, and joined Erethor. Whatever ward there had been across the corridor mouth did not affect us.
Erethor had investigated a room of leather bound tomes and another of metal bound books that appeared to be on the subject of swordsmithing. The third room we investigated together. It was a purple room with white wood shelves. I know not what was in the books and scrolls, but they interested Moth greatly. At the back of the room was a plain wooden door, and we decided to see where it would lead. Beyond it lay a round room of deep blue, its ceiling a mass of stars. Unsurprisingly the papers within it also referred to the stars. There was yet another door, and we carried onwards.
As we progressed through the rooms we locked the doors behind us, to protect both the books, and our backs. We still expected traps and wards at every turn, and indeed in the round room of stars I felt a wave of nausea, and it appeared to me that the walls had begun to close in, and the room become smaller. I sat on the floor, and a fear fell over me. Whether magic or no, the experience was unnerving, yet thankfully brief.
Once I had regained my composure I followed Erethor into a room painted entirely green, again with a further door. Picking up one of the books I found it full of runes. At that moment, as my eyes rested on the page, the rune seemed to glow and disappear, and I felt changed. As I looked down to where my hand held the book, the fingers began to take on the hue of the pages and cover. Thereafter for some time my colouring seemed to change to that of my background, a most unusual occurrence. The effect would be most useful perhaps in hunting, but it is as well that we did not have to enter combat this day, as its hiding effect would have been most unfair and unchivalrous in battle. As the rune had affected me as soon as I had opened the book I felt that the tome may have been meant for me by Aule himself, for I knew that this day was to be eventful and successful. In order to decide whether to take the book or not, I closed my eyes to pray. It was at this very moment that Erethor was struck blind. I took this as an ill omen, and a very clear 'no' to my question; I very carefully replaced the book.
Erethor had been opening the next door when the blindness struck him. It is likely that there had been a ward upon the door, indeed I have a vague recollection of a glimpse of a symbol on the door before he opened it. I went to tend Erethor, but there was nothing I could do for him. There was no obvious damage to the eyes. Moth assured us that this would be the effect of magic, and that his eyesight would return. I escorted him to the closest steps where he awaited the return of his sight.
The steps that I mention turned out to be in the Western corridor. We had, by a roundabout process, avoided any ward that may have been at the mouth of the passage. Whilst Erethor sat, we investigated the area, maintaining our distance from the green glow, and smell, of the corridors end. There were three sets of oaken double doors, but one in particular Moth was drawn to. It had a blue sigil glowing upon its iron-studded surface.
Moth touched the sigil and at once my head was filled with what appeared to be the thoughts of my companions. I know not whether they were aware of mine, if they were, the thoughts would mostly have been of surprise. Of those thoughts, which I believe were not counterfeit, some were expected and some were not.
- Erethor it seems is here because he was told to be. He is bound by duty and takes his responsibilities most seriously. Also he felt panicky in this underground space. After his loss of sight this was no surprise. He is a man of the open plains, and is not comfortable below ground.
- I was aware from Moth that she had no intention of removing any of the books or scrolls from the library, even though many interested her greatly. I also became aware that she was upon this mission as a duty. She had been asked to accompany us by her now dead mentor. I was encouraged by Moths thoughts, in the restraint and duty she demonstrated, and I feel now that I understand her a little better.
- Not so with Yawinawin. It was clear that upon her there was no duty. She remained with us on a whim, perhaps hoping to find out about her past, to discover more clearly who she is. There is also fear of the same. She does not know what to expect. Yet darker, much darker thoughts were also present. She has another reason for being here. Though I know not what it may be, the feeling was not honest and clear, but spoke of murky depths, of shadow and deceit. There will come a point when we must confront Yawinawin and try to find out her true motives. We needs must watch her close, and, moreover, keep more closely the details of our ongoing quest. My trust and faith in this sweet spoken Elf has been shattered.
Whilst I assimilated the flood of information and feelings that had swamped me, Yawinawin and Moth entered the room beyond. It was indeed the place we had sought, an oval room, painted in cream, a solid pair of oaken doors at the far end. I sat on the floor and rested awhile, still trying to understand my own reaction to this new information. This was not the time for introspection or recriminations however so I stirred myself and joined the ladies in their search. Moth it was who located the scroll, fallen down behind a bookshelf. The label attached proclaimed it to be 'a treatise on subtle magics'.
As we gathered round, Moth unrolled the scroll and began to read. At once her body went rigid, and, had I not been there to catch and support her, she would have fallen. She seemed to be distant and unresponsive, yet her body bounced and jolted as if she was being thrown or beaten. Something of a magical nature was clearly happening as indicated by the fact that the words were, line by line, disappearing from the scroll. I wished to help her, yet all I could do was hold on to her, supporting her frail body while the disturbances continued. Finally, thankfully, she slumped and came round, groggy and unsure. Aule be praised that she was apparently physically unharmed, though weak. The words on the scroll appeared to have changed, though I did not pause to try and decipher them. Moth is an experienced scribe, and I doubt not that she will be able to read the letters. Yawinawin rolled up the scroll, and we departed in haste, our mission in this place completed.
I do not know exactly when Erethor's sight returned. He now seemed able to function. We went straight back up the Western corridor, back to the central room. I was suddenly filled with a desperate urge to leave this perilous place and I ran, calling to the others to follow. I leaped easily over the trapped paves that were at the bottom of the staircase, Erethor either failed to do so, or forgot they were there, for I knew he was close behind me, and I felt the warmth of the explosion roll up the stairs toward me. Maybe his sight had not fully returned.
Eventually we all emerged from the library safely into the bright morning. It was still early, we having spent maybe two hours at most in the darkness. Erethors legs and feet were burnt and blistered, and while he tended them I once again called upon The Maker to give his healing energies. This he did, and Erethor is again hale thanks to Aule's greatness. Moth slept for a time, and when she awoke the gift of Aule's healing I also granted to her. In the interim, whilst she slept, the three of us discussed our next move, and whether anything could be done to protect the library we were leaving behind, but nothing could be decided without Moth's input.
When she was again well, Moth told us what had transpired. She had been taken into a vision as real as the waking world. In that place she had ridden a series of fantastical beasts through several different regions, arriving eventually at a frozen rocky shore, where she was met by an old man. He had told her that she would come to that place again, but in the real world, and he gave her a scroll. It seems that in some way the words that were given to Moth in the vision then became inscribed upon the then blank scroll that she held.
The scroll says, in an elven tongue
"Be the two stones forsaken of Arnor old,
at the frozen half-encircled sea of Forochel lie."
It seems that we now chase two palantir, a worthy quest indeed. Forochel bay is farther northwest than I have ever travelled. Both Erethor and Moth knew a little of the history of the stones. It seems that King Arvedui, last king of Arthedain, and he whose sons became the first rangers of the north, was lost in the bay with two palantir in the year 1975 of the Third Age. Many years lay between then and now, for at that time the Witch-king was still in Angmar. Yet it is said that the palantiri were made in the Elven Undying lands, and time and tide would not damage or dim them.
We have now a plan. As I write we prepare to depart. Soon we will ride hard, south, to Bree, and onto Tharbad. There Erethor feels we should requisition a ship by which we can travel the coast to the Northern bay, for the route overland would be very long and arduous. In this I must accept his knowledge and advice, he knows the land well. And though a Dwarf may be used to hardship, I feel that such a journey, across the frozen wastes, would be hard on Yawinawin and Moth.
I do not look forward to my first sea voyage, we Dwarfs are not natural swimmers. It is said in my homeland "We were hewn from the roots of mountains, is it any wonder we sink like stones". I am enthusiastic however, that we will travel back through Bree where I may pick up my new wall shield. The shield I have been employing is adequate, but I am more proficient with something a little bigger. I will not sell this shield however, I have grown quite accustomed to the roast fowl emblem that it bears.
When we see Commander Cillis once more we will need to update him on our current position, and also inform him of the presence of trolls so close to the library. I hope in time to come the King Elessar will send his folk to reclaim this library. There is much knowledge here beneath my feet that must not be lost.
I thank Aule that this day has harboured such success. May he also keep us on the roads, and waves, that lay before us.