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The Tell-Tale Dwarves

Narsil Reformed
Registered User

Nov 6 2013, 5:40pm

Post #1 of 7 (279 views)
The Tell-Tale Dwarves Can't Post

Hello, all. This is a slightly modified version of what I submitted to the Poe contest. Hope you enjoy.
I can't seem to get the formatting back to how I had it originally, so this will have to do for now.

Narsil Reformed

It is true that I am excitable; very, very excitable - even prone to funny queer fits as Gandalf had once said - but why do you call me mad Baggins? The Ring has sharpened my senses - not destroyed them. With the precious ring I saw all things in Valinor and in Middle-Earth; I even saw many things in the Void. How, then, am I mad? Hearken! Do you see how healthily - how calmly I am telling you the whole story of my journey, there and back again.

But I can see that you want to know how the plan first came to me. It is hard to say, but once conceived, it haunted me day and night as I wandered the dark and dreary halls of the palace of the Elvenking.

A reason for the deed? There was none, save for the pretext of freeing them from imprisonment, but that was merely a facade, not the reason for its formation. It was not for revenge; I loved the dwarves. They had never wronged me, save for that incident with the trolls. They had never given me insult – not overly much anyway. For their gold I had no desire - except what was owed me per the contract, and I had long since given up any hope that their mad plan would succeed.

But as I ponder now, I think it was their beards. Yes, it was the beards! They had beards as long as a Műmakil trunk – long, long beards. Whenever they wagged before me, my blood ran cold and the hair on my feet stood on end. And so - very gradually - I made up my mind to rid myself of the horrid beards forever. Yes, I knew that if anything was to be done about The Beards, it would have to be done by Mr. Baggins!

You fancy me mad, yet mad hobbits are not so cleaver as I. You should have seen me. You should have seen how wisely I proceeded - with what caution I went to work! I was never kinder to the dwarves. Every night, I crept, with the help of my precious ring, up to the chief guard, who would be fast asleep after sampling from a cask of Dorwinion. And then, oh so carefully, I would take the key from him and make my way to the prison cell of the dwarves; and there I turned the key and opened the door oh so gently! And then, when I had made an opening only big enough for a hobbit to slip through, I crept inside the chamber.

Oh, Gandalf would have laughed to see how cunningly I crept in! I moved so slowly – so very, very slowly, so that I might not disturb the sleep of the dwarves.

Ha! would a mad hobbit have been so wise as this?

Then, when I was fully in the room, I walked - oh, so cautiously – about the dwarves. And with the ring, the precious ring, I could spy on the hideous beards. And this I did for six long nights - every night just at midnight, for it was not the dwarves themselves who vexed me, but their Evil Beards.

And then, on the seventh night, I went into the prison and aroused Thorin and the others from slumber as cautiously as I could. They were, as was to be expected, shocked at my presence, for they thought me to have been captured or killed. What foolish dwarves! How little did they know what a cleaver burglar I was after all.

But then, Thorin began to tell me of a nightmare that had vexed him; a dream of a thrush that would visit his cell door each night and how this creature spoke to him of lost Erebor, and how he would see it nevermore. And then... he began to sing.

When I had waited a long time, very patiently, without interrupting the composition of yet another long, droning dwarf song of lament (which the guards were no doubt used to by now), I resolved to tell them that I had a plan, a very cleaver plan I had fashioned to set them all free.

They were so joyful at this news that they followed me without another word down into the lowest cellars of the palace. Once there, I saw that the time had come to explain my plan.

Now, have I not told you that what you say is madness is but over-acuteness of the senses due to the ring, the precious ring? Now, I say, there came to my ears a loud, grating sound as of giants wrestling upon a mountain. I knew that sound too well. It was the grumbling of the dwarves. It increased my fury, as the beating of war drums stimulates the goblins into rage. They did not like my plan.

We shall be bruised and battered to pieces, and drowned, for certain!” they muttered. “This is a madness!”

Being called mad angered me, yet I kept calm. I scarcely breathed. Meantime the hellish thrum of the grumbling increased. It grew quicker and quicker, and louder and louder every instant. Their terror must have been extreme! It grew louder, I say, louder every moment! I have told you that I am excitable - and so I am. And now at the dead hour of the night, amid the dreadful gloom of that elvish dungeon, so grating a noise as this excited me to terror. Yet, for some minutes longer I refrained and stood still. But the grumbling grew louder, louder! I thought their guts must burst from overuse. And now a new anxiety seized me - the sound would be heard by the elves! The hour had come! With a quick movement, I put on my ring and leaped upon them. They shrieked much and thrashed about, but they could not see me nor hear me as I dashed about them. In what seemed an instant, I had pulled them each to the floor, knocking them out with a length of wood.

If still you think me mad, you will think so no longer when I describe the wise precautions I took for the concealment of the dwarves. The night waned, and I worked hastily, but silently. I then, with the strength given me by the precious, rolled up thirteen empty barrels and deposited a dwarf in each. I then replaced the lids so cleverly, so cunningly, that no eye - not even an elf's - could have detected anything wrong.

However, the deep sound of snoring came from the barrels with a muffled sound. This, however, did not vex me; it would not be heard through the walls or over the sound of the rushing river, for only with the precious could I hear it. The dwarves were out cold and out of sight. Their beards would trouble me no more.

My work had not been done a bit too soon. Only a minute or two after the last lid had been fitted on there came the sound of voices and the flicker of lights. A number of elves came laughing and singing into the cellars. They had returned from a merry feast in one of the halls. They had been drinking and were mighty merry. But their senses had not been overly dulled. “Save us, Galion!” cried one, “you began your feasting early and muddled your wits! You have stacked some full casks here instead of the empty ones, if there is anything in weight.”

Get on with the work!” growled another. “There is nothing in the feeling of weight in an idle toss-pot’s arms. These are the ones to go and no others!”

Very well, very well,” they answered rolling the barrels to the opening.

They started to sing as first one barrel and then another rumbled to the dark opening and was pushed over into the cold water some feet below. Some were barrels really empty, some were tubs cleverly packed with a dwarf each; but down they all went, one after another, with many a clash and a bump, smacking into the water, jostling against the walls of the tunnel, knocking into one another, and bobbing away down the current.

As the last barrel was being rolled to the doors, I caught hold of it and was pushed over the edge. Down I went with a splash into the cold, dark water. And so I escaped by way of river out of the dungeons of the Elvenking. How cleaver I was!

I shall not bore you with too much detail, but after some time, the barrels, with my guidance, came to rest upon a shore, with the lights of Lake-town gleaming through the fog a ways off down the river. I was so gleeful at how well my plan had worked that I let out a little cry of joy. I then quickly pulled the barrels up onto land. Then I sat beneath a tree and began to rest, thinking of home.

But then, as a bell in the distance sounded the hour, I saw, with the aid of my precious, a group of figures coming swiftly through the fog. At first I made to escape, but I then decided to take off the ring and greet them, for what had I now to fear?

At length, there came upon me three Lake-men, who introduced themselves as officers of the Master of Lake-town. A shriek had been heard over the lake during the night; suspicion of foul play – and rumors of the dragon - had been aroused, and they had been deputed to search the area.

I smiled, for what had I to fear? I bade the gentlemen welcome. I was, in the wild audacity of my perfect triumph, seated upon the very barrel where I had stuffed old Thorin.

I explained that I was on holiday and was walking through the area when I happened upon the barrels. I told them that in the morning I had planned to make my way to Lake-town and tell them of the stranded barrels. The shriek, I said, was my own as I had hit my foot upon one of the barrels in the darkness.

The officers were satisfied. My manner, and stature, no doubt, had convinced them. They even sat with me on the barrels, and I answered cheerily their questions about hobbit kind, and they chatted of their history and of the dragon. But, ere long, I felt myself getting excited and wished them gone. My head ached, and I fancied a ringing in my ears, I thought perhaps some water had lodged in them during the river escape, but the ringing became more distinct.

No doubt I now grew very excited as the sound increased --and what could I do? It was a loud, grating sound as of giants wrestling upon a mountain, and yet the officers heard nothing. I talked more quickly - more excitedly, but the noise steadily increased. I arose and spoke about the trolls with violent gesticulations; but the noise steadily increased. Why would they not be gone? I paced the ground to and fro with heavy strides - but the noise increased. Oh Eru! what could I do? I foamed - I raved - I swore like a goblin! I so wanted to put on my precious and be gone from here, back to my hole! I fumbled with the ring which was now in my hand, tapping it upon the barrel, but the noise grew louder - louder - louder! And still the Lake-men chatted pleasantly, and smiled. Was it possible they heard not? Almighty Eru! No, no! They heard! - they suspected! - they knew! But anything was better than this agony! I could bear those hypocritical smiles no longer! I felt that I must scream or die!

"Necromancers!" I shrieked, "I admit the deed! Struck by lightning, struck by lightning! Tear open the barrels! here, here! It is the grumbling of the hideous dwarves!"


(This post was edited by Narsil Reformed on Nov 6 2013, 5:44pm)


Nov 6 2013, 7:38pm

Post #2 of 7 (185 views)
Cleaver? [In reply to] Can't Post

There is no 'a' in clever.

However, Bilbo might conceivably have used a cleaver to separate the Dwarves from their beards!

'There are older and fouler things than Orcs in the deep places of the world.' - Gandalf the Grey, The Fellowship of the Ring

Narsil Reformed
Registered User

Nov 6 2013, 8:29pm

Post #3 of 7 (182 views)
Ha ha [In reply to] Can't Post

Ha. I actually fixed that, but then forgot to re-copy before I pasted. I wrote this in about 3 hours as I didn't know about the contest until the day before it ended. I tried about five different things before giving up. Then I decided to do this at the last minute and sent it in a half hour before the deadline.

Tol Eressea

Nov 6 2013, 9:20pm

Post #4 of 7 (170 views)
I like it. [In reply to] Can't Post

And you came up with it at the last minute? You must be quite clever. Wink

They that go down to the sea in ships, that do business in great waters; These see the works of the Lord, and His wonders in the deep.

When the wicked, even mine enemies and my foes, came upon me to eat up my flesh, they stumbled and fell. Psalm 27:2

Narsil Reformed
Registered User

Nov 6 2013, 9:28pm

Post #5 of 7 (180 views)
Thank you. :) [In reply to] Can't Post

I am quite clever; so very, very clever! And cleaver even! Evil

I had a migraine after I was done with it, but I seem to be better when under a tight deadline.


Dec 22 2013, 1:01am

Post #6 of 7 (152 views)
wonderful [In reply to] Can't Post

and funny.

this is my favorite:

"But then, Thorin began to tell me of a nightmare that had vexed him; a dream of a thrush that would visit his cell door each night and how this creature spoke to him of lost Erebor, and how he would see it nevermore. And then... he began to sing."

Great piece Narsil.

Narsil Reformed
Registered User

Dec 29 2013, 1:08pm

Post #7 of 7 (196 views)
Glad you liked it! [In reply to] Can't Post

Thank you! Blush


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