The Lord of the... whatever, Book II, Chapter 5:
The Bridge Of Kringle-Dum
The Company of the Ring stood silently beside the tomb of Balin.
Frodo recalled the Dwarf's visit to Uncle Bilbo long years ago. In the
dusty chamber, it seemed a thousand years ago and yet all too near.
"You," started Frodo nonchalantly, "You don't suppose...."
tap tap tap went the tomb.
"Oh, I seriously doubt it," Gandalf chuckled nervously, "Heh....that
Tap tippity tip tap. TAP.
The company looked about them anxiously and Giggly spied a worn
leathern tome half-hidden in a nook. "Gandalf, here!" the Dwarf cried.
"See what I've found!"
"Ah, excellent, Giggly!" Gandalf rushed to the Dwarf's side, only
too happy to put unpleasant surmises out of mind. "This-is-what-a-wizard-
-is-for-now-let-me-see.. Ha, ha....."
"But, Gandalf," said Aragon, "what about this tomb?"
Tappity tappity tap? added the cold stone.
"Hmm, yes, very interesting indeed, my good Giggly! Seems to be some
sort of log book. Let's see what it says here...it's some kind of runic
writing. Good thing I'm here, eh, Giggly? Good at runes, are wizards,
"Gandalf!" Lego-lass threw a small stone at the wizard's back. The
Company (minus wizard and Dwarf) were becoming quite annoyed.
"Well, seems the roof isn't quite as stable as I thought," said
Gandalf brushing the pebble-dust from his shoulder. "Ah, yes, here we
are, Giggly. These are the records of the Taking of Moira."
"Think we ought to pry up the stone?" asked Boromir.
"I dunno," said Aragon.
"What's to lose?" put in Lego-lass.
"Our lives," added Morrie. Lego-lass sighed and the others milled
about in indecision.
Tap tip tip tap.
"Yes, here we are. I can just make out these runes here:
"We drove out many goblins from the gate - then something something,
We have taken Moira for ourselves. Great wealth was found yesterday as
we plundered her treasures. Balin is the Master of Moira - the next few
pages seem just to be more innuendo..... AH, here's the last bit - No more
toys! We have toiled long enough for our Elven masters! Though they
have used goblins against us, their plans are revealed at last! We have
ended our slavery in the Yule toy mines. Revolution! Balin has led
us. Long live the fighters! - more patriotic twaddle here - Balin has
fallen. We are being routed and already the dreaded Master's Drums are
heard. Drums, Drums, drums in the deep. Redundancy within
redundancy....He is coming..."
"A dark end," sighed Giggly.
"So it would seem," said Gandalf. "But my mind misgives. What
Master does the scribe refer to? Elvish sweat-shops and a hidden
Master of Moira. Very deep waters indeed, my good Dwarf."
Tap tippity tap. Oh, will they never hear?
"I fear we must leave at once," announced the wizard to the Company
still staring at the tapping tomb of Balin. "I feel that we are in
"Yes, speaking of graves, Master Wizard - " started Boromir.
"We've no time! Follow me, all of you!" With that the wizard dashed
out of the hall. The others reluctantly filed out after him. Morrie
tailed the company and he faintly heard a muffled voice calling
desperately from the tomb as he left the hall. Serves him right! the
Mobster thought to himself.
They entered a vast and magnificent hallway. On either side of the
hall were incredibly detailed columns carved in the forms of trees that
grew upon the mountainside above them. Others had representations of
Elves in festive garb and young children with seasonal treats in their
hands. In the hundreds, the magnificent posts lined the hallway. The
company looked about themselves in awe. Giggly tittered in delight at
the work of his fore-fathers.
"I know now where we are," said Gandalf, "this is the Hall of
Marzipan. We are now very close to the exit we seek. Across the hall
and up the long stair and out!"
He had hardly uttered these words when there was a great noise: a
rolling Boom that seemed to come from the direction they had just
fled. They sprang to the door and wedged it shut. They heard a noise of
many feet and many fell cries coming towards them.
Pipsqueak was exhausted. He had climbed the ladder to what seemed a
trap-door to a chamber above him. Indeed it was such, but his small
arms could not reach far enough to push upon it. He heard the voices of
his companions on the other side, but dared not cry out lest he be
caught by the patrolling Goblins.
In the end he had climbed back down the ladder to fetch the skeletal
arm of a Dwarf corpse that had tumbled down that ladder. With many an
"Ewww!" he managed to free the bones from the desiccated figure and
climb back up the steps. He tapped as loudly as he dared for what
seemed eons to his straining muscles. He tried every 'jail code' Morrie
had taught him after the Mobster's first stint in the joint, but to no
Finally, Pipsqueak climbed back down the tall ladder in dismay and
fatigue. As he reached the bottom, he heard the staccato tattoo of a
war drum and the sound of many goblin voices. Desperately, he looked
about him for an exit, but found only dark corners littered with
corpses. He made for one of these and dived on top of one and hoped to
be mistaken for a dead dwarf.
The room filled with marching goblins all making for the ladder.
They charged up the steps with evil cries and forced the trap-door open
with a resounding Boom and poured through high above the quaking
hobbit. Last to ascend were two small drummer goblins and on their
heels, huge stone Trolls snickering and driving them on with foul words.
They had not seen Pipsqueak. After the last of them had gone through
the trap-door, Pip cautiously made his way up the ladder.
"They are coming!" shouted Lego-lass. Pah-rum pah, pum-pum came
The others started for the exit knowing they could never make such a
long run ahead of their pursuers. In the middle of the hall, Gandalf
turned and struck the floor behind them with his staff. A great fissure
opened and with words of incantation (and a healthy dose of spirits from
his hat-flask), the wizard created a great inferno within the crack he
As the flames took hold, the first of the goblins poured through the
door. He made straight for Frodo holding aloft a great stick. He
hurled it with great might and it struck Frodo square in the chest.
Lego-lass gasped and went to him. Aragon waited until the Goblin was
just within reach and swept its head from its shoulders with one mighty
swing of his sword. Boromir had also cut down many Goblins as they
came near the fissure, but they all retreated as the flames finally came
to full life and sprang up in a deadly dance.
"Just through here, you say?" asked Arwen, panting audibly.
"Yesssssss, precious," replied Gulible, "the guard room you lookss
"We've been at this for hours!"
"Now we wants our reward, naughty little Elf Girl," Gulible
slavered in expectation of nubile, immortal flesh at his lips.
"Very well, then, Gulible," Arwen stood and unzipped her jerkin.
Gulible held his breath. "I have your reward here for you." She
reached into the bosom of her jerkin and struck Gulible right in his
voonerables with one swift cick from her steel-toed stiletto hiking
boots. Swiftly stooping to catch the fainting hobbit lest his fall
should rouse unwanted attention, Arwen settled the ancient creature into
With catlike movements, Arwen moved to the door and eased it open.
On the other side she saw the backs of two goblins and beyond a great
fray before a blazing fire. She drew out two razor thin daggers hidden
in her midnight locks and silently sent them into the necks of the
goblins before her. They crumpled soundlessly to the floor. Arwen
moved forward into a vast hall lined with some truly magnificent
columns. In the distant center of the hallway, a great fire blazed and
many goblins were milling and shouting before it.
Hmph! Arwen thought to herself. 'Guard Room' indeed! That foul
hobbit was setting me up. Arwen moved forward and unsheathed her elven
long sword which glowed with white light. She stopped and stared at the
It shouldn't do that, she thought, only one of the elder gods
Arwen sprinted into the hall with her heart pounding in dread.
"Why did I delay!" cursed Gandalf. "We'll be trapped here just as the
Dwarrow were. Run for it, all of you!"
Even as the company turned from the fiery blaze that held the goblins
in check, others came from separate ends of the hall flanking and
pinning them. Boromir met them in beserker rage and dealt many to
death with single, mighty blows of his sword. Giggly hewed two with his
stout axe. Aragon joined them and soon the threat was gone in one icky
mass at their feet.
"Gandalf! See!" cried Lego-lass at Frodo's side.
"Is he hurt?" shouted the wizard. "Let me see him!" He knelt at the
hobbit's side and began searching his chest until checked by Frodo's own
"Do not worry, Gandalf," Frodo said, "The ring is safe."
"I.... I was checking you for wounds! I marvel that you are alive, my
Frodo eyed the wizard with trained malice and Gandalf smiled
sheepishly in return.
"See here!" Lego-lass was untying a note from the stick at Frodo's
side. The others in the company came to Frodo to see if he was indeed
all right. Bugger, thought Sam to himself.
"We have been served," said Gandalf, "This is a summons from my old
master, Aruman/Saruman. He has set up court for the minions of Sauron.
It's a subpoena to appear before him and give account of the ring! Damn
Rum Pah-pum, pum the drums tolled out through the hall.
Arwen was almost to the rear of the goblins by the fire and was yet
unseen. She drew out her mini-crossbow and fitted the tethered arrow
she kept strapped to her left leg. A goblin turned her way and she
instinctively fell into a roll to avoid the vicious slash of the
goblin's blade. She slashed deep into the goblin's groin with a dagger
and came up kneeling, took careful aim at the arched roof, and fired her
arrow. It lodged far above and the tether was taut in the handle of
the crossbow. She fitted it quickly to her back and whirled her blade
behind her just as another goblin was reaching her. Many others were
advancing warily towards the elf.
Arwen took a handful of Sindarin throwing stars and unleashed them
together. Only a few met their mark, but the others did enough of a job
distracting the goblins when they exploded with loud pops a second
later. The goblins never got to turn back to their quarry; they each
fell from vicious strokes from the blade of Arwen.
The now roused rear flank of goblins by the fire pit advanced upon
her. The elf-princess shook her raven, streaming locks from her eyes
and braced. Her eyes blazed with emerald light and her heart pounded.
In a wild storm of action, she wove a savage, elegant death among the
dozen goblins. Her elvish blade sang and crimsoned as her enemies
cried and clenched taloned hands to their spilling entrails and cloven
joints. A large spear was thrust at Arwen and she danced out of its
way, spinning with sword braced high. The goblin's head tumbled to her
While other goblins shifted warily eying the warrior-princess, Arwen
took the tether in hand, sprinted for all her worth in a wide arc and
leapt high when the cord caught tight in her hands. She glided
gracefully above her foes and into the recesses of the ceiling. From
her vantage point among the pillars of Marzipan, the elf-maid saw the
company of the ring below her crouched beside Frodo who had fallen, but
gotten up. There you are, my love, she thought, beholding Aragon
patting the halfling about the shoulders. Very soon, now. Very soon I
will be with you. But the clear light from her dripping sword caused
fear to leap into her throat once again.
Pah, rum-pah, pum-pum. The company had regrouped and were making
for the stair far to the end of the chamber of Marzipan. Across the long
stone bridge they fled nearing the stairs that were still a good
distance away. The elf warrior covered their escape as best she could.
Lego-lass knocked an arrow, but she gave a gasp and it fell to the
ground unloosed. Two great trolls appeared by the goblins across the
channel of fire bearing large, fell posts. They flung the ugly stone
down to serve as a gangway over the flames. But it was not the trolls
that filled the elf with terror. The ranks of the goblins opened, and
they crowded away, as if they were afraid themselves. What was coming
up behind them could not be seen: it was like a great shadow in the
middle of which was possibly a man-shape, yet greater. Much greater. A
dread power seemed to emanate from it and Sam gulped down the urge to
cry out. He looked to Gandalf who had gone ashen as well.
The chamber echoed with a bone-shuddering "HO! HO! HO!"
The shape came to the edge of the fire and all light faded as if a
cloud had gathered. The trolls chanted foul curses at the company of
the ring. As if emboldened by their cries, the shadow leapt across the
fissure, flames roared up to greet it and wreathed about it; a black
smoke swirled in the air.
"Well," muttered Boromir, "I guess we're way past subpoenas
The shadow-thing burst into fire as it landed and yet remained
unharmed. Its streaming mane of snow-white locks kindled and blazed
behind it. In its right hand it held a sword, like a stabbing tongue
of fire; in its left it held a whip of many thongs. The thing was
garbed all in red velvet and about its head was a floppy red hat. Upon
its feet were two smoldering pink slippers.
"IEYA!" wailed Lego-lass, "A Balrog! A Balrog is come! Nanna -
Nanna hey, debush!!"
Giggly stared with wide eyes. "'Nanna-Nanna hey'?" he asked
incredulously of the glistening elf-maid.
"Yes, well..... I was taken aback, you see...", she mumbled.
"A Balrog," said Gandalf, half to himself, "now I understand. This
isn't about the Frodo's property at all. The Clause has arisen!"
The dark figure streaming with fire raced towards them.
"Eat your heart out. Look at those eyes!" commented Aragon.
"Eyes? What about that!" Lego-lass pointed to the great shadow
that followed the panting Balrog.
"Over the bridge!" shouted Gandalf, "All of you! This is a foe
beyond us all. I must face it alone!"
"But Gandalf!" tittered Giggly.
"Fly, you idiots!"
The hobbits exchanged glances and Boromir said, "Eh?"
The Balrog whirled his whip about him as he approached. The thongs
struck many of the magnificent pillars of the hall setting them alight
in his wake and fury.
"Get out of here! Get out of Moira before it's too late!" Shouted
"Ohhhh, I get it," mused Boromir to Sam, "'Fly': to flee, to
"You're sure you won't come with us?" returned Aragon.
"Eru-dammit! Just do as I say!!" Gandalf whirled upon the company,
his full wrath revealed to all. The group looked upon the quivering
figure foaming at the mouth and slowly backed away.
"Well, all right then," said Aragon, "if you're absolutely sure..."
Gandalf stomped his feet in exasperation. "GO!!!"
"Wait," said Sam, "what if we..."
"IF YOU DO NOT LEAVE NOW, SAMWISE, YOU SHALL SEE GANDALF
"Ewwww," opined Lego-lass.
"Okay, okay, keep your shirt on," said Aragon, "we're leaving." He
mustered the others and shooed them towards the exit. Giggly,
Boromir, and the hobbits reached the foot of the stairs and turned.
The Balrog reached the bridge with a nerve-shattering "HO! HO! HO!"
and all were frozen by that terrible aspect except Gandalf who advanced
to the foot of the bridge from the company's side. Aragon waved
Lego-lass to follow him and they approached to just behind Gandalf. The
wizard drew out his sword which shone with a pure light. The enemy
halted. Its slippers smoldered with a foul stench and wreathed the
Balrog in a ghastly black vapor. The shadow poured behind it, like unto
vast wings. Fire shot from its nostrils and it raised its whip on high.
With a crack it sent the thongs flying across the bridge, setting a post
beside Gandalf to flaming. He ducked out of the way, but held his
"Now that was entirely unprovoked," he mumbled.
"Just look at those wings!" whispered Lego-lass.
Aragon turned to the elf disapprovingly, "Eh?" he asked.
"Well, see for yourself!"
"I see naught but a shadow like unto wings," Aragon commented.
"Besides, you ought to know better, being of elven kind."
"Do not teach your betters, manling!" reproached Lego-lass, "I was
there when the Balrogs flew - Flew - down upon us at-" They ducked as
yet another post burst into flames beside them.
"You cannot pass," Gandalf said to the Balrog. The goblins stood
quite still and a dead silence fell save for the quiet arguing of Aragon
and Lego-lass. Gandalf shouted, "I am a servant of the Secret Sauce..."
"Those are wings!" insisted Lego-lass.
"Utter nonsense! Just a shadow. Read your lore better, elf!"
"...wielder of the flame of Arnor. You cannot pass!" Gandalf ducked
again as yet another pillar was set alight by the passing of the
Balrog's foul whip. "This flame war will not avail you, servant of
"Look, " pointed the elf, "see how the wings flap behind him!"
"Shadows dancing in the firelight," said Aragon who did not look.
"...Go back to your bed! You cannot pass!" shouted Gandalf.
"I know the histories as well as you!"
"I WAS THERE!"
"You know, it's sad when a mortal knows your history better than one
who 'was there'."
"Now, just wait a minute!"
By now the hall was filled with flaming posts and the Trolls chanted
their vulgarities. From out of the shadow, the Balrog raised its
fire-red sword. Gandalf's glittered white in return.
There was a ringing clash and a stab of white fire. The Balrog fell
back and its sword flew up in molten fragments. Gandalf staggered but
Far across the hallway they heard a high voice cry out, "No, Gandalf!"
High in the rafters, Arwen saw a slime and dust covered hobbit running
across the hallway directly towards the goblins. She cursed her luck
realizing he was oblivious to his peril in his panic flight towards the
wizard. She gathered up the slack tether in her hands and bounded from
In a wide arc she swung, playing out the tether tautly in her
gloves which were quickly being eaten away by its passing. She picked
her moment and swung round her legs as the arc came to apogee and
snatched Pipsqueak by the collar as she swung back over the fire and the
scrabbling hands of the goblins. Just as their flight brought them to
the shoulder of the Balrog, Arwen loosed the tether and rolled mid-air
over the fell beast and came down in a deep roll on the other side of
the bridge holding tightly to the slimy and screaming Pipsqueak. When
she looked up, Arwen found that all eyes were riveted on the Balrog
except Aragon and Lego-lass who seemed deep in discussion.
Pipsqueak fought free of Arwen's bosom and made his way hazily towards
his beckoning companions at the far end of the chamber. Suddenly he came
to himself and started about.
"Gandalf?" He stumbled in the wizard's direction.
"Wait, Pipsqueak!" the hobbits shouted after him from far down the
hall. "Arwen, stop him!"
"Gandalf, don't do it!" cried Pipsqueak as he sped towards the
wizard. Arwen reached for the halfling, but the slime caused her grip to
"You cannot pass!" said Gandalf. The Balrog leapt up full upon the
bridge and drew itself up to great height. Its wings spread from wall
"See? Told you, manling!"
"He's just being 'figurative'!"
...its whip whirling, lighting the chamber with more flaming posts.
"You're serious? You do not see its wings?"
"Shhh! We're getting to the good bit!"
Gandalf raised on high his staff and crying, smote the stone before
him. The staff broke asunder. A blinding sheet of white light sprang
"Gandalf!" At that moment, Pipsqueak barreled into the old wizard
from behind holding desperately onto his knees.
The bridge cracked. Right at the Balrog's fast-smoldering pink
slippers it broke, and the stone upon which it stood crashed into the
With a terrible cry of "HOOOooooooo", the Balrog and its shadow
plunged down and vanished.
Gandalf tried to whirl around at the shout of his name, but the
impact of the hobbit combined with his turning sent Gandalf off his
"Oh, Gandalf! Don't do it!" cried Pipsqueak, letting go of the
wizard's knees. The sudden release of his legs sent the wizard spinning
back with his arms flailing helplessly for support.
Gandalf fell backwards over the edge of the chasm with a cry.
"All right, smart girl," pouted Aragon to Lego-lass, "If he's got wings
why doesn't he fly out?"
"Gandalf!" Pipsqueak sobbed down the chasm.
"Fine!" said Lego-lass, advancing to the pit. Aragon followed.
Leaning over, the elf shouted down, "Gandalf! Does the Balrog have
From the depths they heard the faint shout of the receding wizard,
"Fly, you fool! Fly!"
Boromir arrived panting. He had been deputized to find out what
the hold up was. Close behind was the disheveled yet stunning Arwen.
"Ah, well, there we are!" shrugged Lego-lass to Aragon.
"What do you mean?" replied Aragon.
"Gandalf just said it!"
"No, he said 'Fly'. What does 'fly' mean?"
"That the Balrog has wings! He told it to fly: to save them both,
"Hang on," Aragon leaned over the pit and cupped his hands around
his mouth. Before he could shout down to Gandalf he felt a tapping on
his shoulder. He looked up into Arwen's blazing eyes.
"I think he means us!" She pointed across the pit. There they saw
the goblins summoning forth more trolls with posts to use as a bridge
across the chasm.
"Arwen?" said Aragon in astonishment.
"Yes," Arwen beamed with affected cheerfulness, "Hi honey, I'm
back!" Then with ferocity, "Now can we GO?!"
Aragon looked back to the goblins beginning to cross the chasm. "Oh,
right." Man and elf-maidens bolted towards the exit. Boromir
scooped up Pipsqueak like so much dead-meat and ran after them.
Up the stairs the company fled. Frodo heard Sam giggling beside him
and realized he himself was tittering as he ran. Things were looking
up. Pah, Rum-pah pum-Pum the drum-beats rolled behind, mournful now
and slow; Pum!
They ran on. Light grew before them and they saw the way out of the
mountain held against them by two goblins bearing what looked
suspiciously like subpoenas. Aragon cleaved the Captain in twain in his
fury. He was wonderly wroth! The company swept past the other goblin,
paying him no heed. Out of the gates they ran and sprang down the huge
and age worn stairs.
"Just you wait, halfling," whispered Boromir to his gently
weeping burden. "I marked what you did at the bridge. Your lot will be
hard indeed, and you know what I desire!" Fresh wails were the
hobbit's only reply.
At last, the company of the Ring came beyond hope under the sky and
felt the wind on their faces.
They did not halt until they were a goodly distance from the black
mouth of the Gates of Moira, near the Dimrill Dale.
They looked back and beheld the smoke rising from the mouth of
Moira. Far beneath the earth rolled the slow drum-beats; Pah, rum-pah
pum-Pum. Grief at last overcame some of the party, but where sat the
hobbits, only feigned sighs of remorse were heard. Morrie eyed
Pipsqueak cautiously. Yes, a great hurdle to Frodo's inheritance was
Rum, pah-pum Pum. The drum beats faded.
But Aragon was still among them...
This chapter of this epic work is presented through the courtesy of
Kent Butler <rincewind-aaaaaaat-worldnet-dawt-att.net>.
Copyright © 2000 by the author. All rights reserved. Some variance between this
e-text and the original printed material by Professor Tolkien is inevitable. Using this
as an electronic resource for scholarly or research purposes may lead to a certain
degree of academic embarassment. All agree that the printed version of the text,
available from respectable publishers such as Houghton Mifflin and Ballantine Books,
is to be preferred.
Boromir is a trademark of Saul Zaentz and Tolkien Enterprises, who hold all merchandising rights to Gondor and its subsidiaries.
In today's installment the role of Pipsqueak was portrayed by Clive Barker.