Hey guys sorry for the delay! I have just finished up all my exams and am now on holiday! YAY! Anyway, this chapter has been sitting half written in my hard drive for AGES but I finally got around to finishing it up!
I want to firstly thank EVERYONE who reads, reviews, sends me messages and EVERYTHING you all do in support of this story! I am so sorry I haven't been able to reply to reviews or messages, because there have BEEN TOO MANY! I have read them all, and I will try to get around to them at some point, but I know it will take me HOURS just to reply! YOU GUYS ARE THE GREATEST OH MY GOODNESS I JUST LOVE YOU ALL!
Seriously guys, thanks so much for everything you guys do because it really does make me want to keep writing and to keep giving you all the sick pleasure of reading about the pure torture and pain our poor little fellowship goes through. But as we all know, the ending will be happy, as it always is so hopefully you all stick around till then!
Here is the new chapter, and I hope you all enjoy!
Stumbling through the caverns deep below the surface, the mountainous terrain was obvious as the group stumbled up roughly cut stairs, all the while still trying to avoid the nasty sting of the orcs arrows being sent their way.
"Hurry now!" Gandalf called from the behind.
Harry had his hand still clenched around Frodo's, helping the smaller hobbit to keep up with the long strides of men, as well as being led through the darkness himself.
The fellowship was racing now, moving down steps further and further into the endless chasms of the mountain. Boromir raced ahead, only to be confronted with a gap in the steps, ending in a drop which if one was to fall, it would be to a painfully slow death. To fall, forever into a hollow of darkness…
Legolas, quick as always was there to hold the Gondorian male from teetering over the edge.
"Gandalf!" Aragorn calls in concern, seeing as their escape was haltered by this gap. There was enemies closing in on all sides and the ranger was beginning to worry that they would not escape the evil of this place.
Even Gandalf was beginning to look worried, but still he took control of the situation as he ordered sharply, "lead them on Aragorn, the bridge is near!"
All the while, the flaming red which seeped in behind them grew ever larger, amassing light and power, the magic rippling through the air made Dark Harry writhe in ecstasy.
It took all of his will power to stop himself from losing control, not again. For if he were to loose it here, Harry wasn't even sure he'd survive up against something so evil; it was like the veil had once more pierced through the mortal world and let loose death, and the sickening scent of decay haunted these dark mountains.
This place was cursed, and so far, this place was beginning to seem never-ending.
"Do as I say!" Gandalf seemed to be frustrated with the stalling as he shoved Aragorn aside, striding forward. "Swords are of no more use here…"
They were quick to move, veering sharply down the stairs as the onslaught of arrows continued to whiz past. They were making progress but soon another blockage stood in their path.
The gap in the stairs was wide, and on either side was a drop. Legolas was first, almost floating over to the other side with a grace only elves could execute. The blonde elf called out, "Gandalf!"
The wizard soon joined the elf on the other side, leaving the others to face the same fate. If only they could complete it as effortlessly as the two had just done.
The hobbits all visibly gulped. That gap looked far too wide for their small legs to propel them across.
"Merry, Pippin!" Boromir calls out as Legolas stood guard, protecting them with his own onslaught of elvish arrows.
Boromir stood with the two hobbits tucked under each arm as he then flung himself over the gap, landing safely but not before another piece of rock crumbled away, falling to the abyss below.
The gap was now even wider.
Aragorn moved next, picking up Sam as he threw the hobbit across to land safely in the arms of Boromir.
Gimli looked visibly appalled as Aragorn turned his gaze to the dwarf. "Nobody tosses a dwarf," Gimli stated proudly as he then took a running leap, barely touching the other edge before he fell backwards.
Legolas was quick to reach out, grabbing Gimli by the ashen ends of his long beard.
"Mind the beard!"
"Harry…" Frodo whispered, looking up to his friend, "I don't think I can make it across there, it's too wide…"
Harry turned to Aragorn, removing his hand from Frodo's as the pushed the small hobbit towards the Ranger. "Take him and go."
"But-" Aragorn began to protest.
"You cannot take us both! Just go, protect Frodo. I will get across on my own." Harry ordered, every fibre of his being mustering up that old military attitude Moody had once taught him, his voice laced with authority.
Aragorn faltered but nodded, although stiffly. He did not like this situation at all.
The two made it safely across, but with all the commotion another section of the steps dropped and Harry stumbled backwards blindly, falling backwards to sit on the stairs.
This was the end, and the fellowship knew it. Harry could sense it, even if he could not see. The gap was too wide now, and his magic was depleted. He wasn't going to make it across…
His journey was over already. His magic was holding up the barrier around him, bouncing off the arrows aimed his way but that was soon fading as his magic drained. He was tired, so tired.
"Harry! Harry!" Frodo called from the other side.
Harry just sat there, arms limp as a piece of rock falls from above, smashing the stairs behind Harry, isolating him in the middle of the open space.
The soft touch on his shoulder had Harry lifting his head, finding himself being swept off his feet in one smooth movement.
"Wha-!" Harry let out, clinging on tightly as that familiar smell encased him, "Legolas, what the bloody hell do you think you're doing!?"
Legolas merely let out a chuckle before he propelled himself over the gap, easily done with his eternal years to train and hone his skills. The remaining stone crumbled away, falling to the abyss below.
Harry sulked internally, he was starting to owe Legolas a lot from all the times the elf came along to help him, and it was annoying him greatly.
As soon as he was set back on his feet, Frodo was attached to him once more, the other hobbits all clinging together, for some semblance of safety that provided them. It was natural instinct.
"Move!" Gandalf bellowed, and the fellowship was quick to follow his orders, as they continued to move along, like a long snake slithering through the darkness.
They emerge into a long cavern, alight with red as the flames licked at the walls, scorching heat stinging even through the thickness of their clothing. The Bridge was visible up ahead, and the Fellowship all ran towards it, bar one.
Gandalf stood, standing guard as they all passed by him.
"Over the Bridge," he called, "Fly!"
The flames grew ever higher, and Harry's body locked up, his steps faltering as he felt his breath come out in a slow hiss.
Dark Harry was trying to be released.
"Harry, you must go!" Gandalf said as he retreated, now facing the ever growing flames, pushing the small wizard who stumbled, blindly and was practically dragged by Frodo towards the bridge.
A thundering roar was heard as a great, flaming creature emerged from the depths of the cavern below. Dark, leathery wings stretched out, beating great gusts to feed the fire engulfing the creature, long horns framing the sinister face.
The Balrog strode after the fellowship who were making their way over the Bridge, the smell of fear practically permeating the air from the fellowship who could all witness the approaching creature.
Harry may not have been able to see, but he could feel and was felt by the old magic, the evil of the creature rolling over his skin, Dark Harry clawing at his insides to get out.
Gandalf drew his sword, stopping half way across the bridge, facing the evil head on.
"You shall not pass" Gandalf ordered, the weaving of his magic already forming, swirling up in a gust of wind, just as Harry's had in the room before.
The creature roared, practically a laugh at Gandalf's statement. They all knew, even Gandalf, in all his years and power was not a rivalled match to this creature which dwelled beneath the mountain.
"Gandalf!" Frodo called, his hand tightening around Harry's, who was in just as much fright.
Even when he faced Voldemort that fateful day in the Forbidden Forest, having come to deal with his impending death, he had not been this frightened.
This was truly a creature to cower before.
Never before had the wizard witnessed such powerful old magic, not even Dumbledore could have rivalled this creature, let alone the dark lord.
The Balrog rose to his full height, leaning back on his legs, cloven feet scraping the stone bridge below, tail swinging wildly.
"I am the Servant of the Secret Fire, wielder of the Flame of Anor," spoke the Istari, just as the Balrog reached down to draw a sword made from the flames. "The Dark will not avail you."
The wooden staff glowed bright white as Gandalf yelled, magic coursing through his staff, his channelling force, "Flame of Udun."
The Balrog brought his sword down, and Gandalf raised his staff, the clash meeting in a blinding light which had the fellowship shielding their eyes from the spectacle before them.
The sword fell from the clawed hands of the Balrog as it let out a roar of anger.
"Go back to the Shadow!"
Harry wrenched his hand free from Frodo's, pushing the hobbit back into the safe arms of Legolas.
"Watch him and don't let him do anything stupid," Harry ordered, mustering up his magic which was still hiding away, recuperating.
This was a stupid idea, but still, Harry had made a promise to protect Frodo, and in doing so the Fellowship as well. Plus, Harry was not the type to leave his companions behind.
Moving to Gandalf's side, Harry navigated his way blinded, following the evil magic which was swirling within him as well, having absorbed it when he expelled his own magic.
The magic recognised its owner as it rose up within him, and Harry felt his alter ego cackle as it latched onto the dark magic, eating it.
The Balrog seemed to falter at the approach of the newcomer, but created a whip made of fire this time, wielding it above his head, crackling as it broke through the dense, musty air.
"This is no fight for you, child," Gandalf said with a frown as Harry stode by his side.
"This is no fight for you to stand alone in either," Harry replied gravely, his hands balled at his sides.
Gandalf could sense his internal struggle, still staring ahead at the creature merely said, "do not let your evils rule your heart, Harry."
The British wizard could not reply, for he could not deny the evils he felt when he remembered his past, the hate and the pain he felt was still very real even now, and he would never forgive himself for what happened.
He pushed away his fear, and instead summoned his magic to his hand, and stepped forward before Gandalf, "I'll try to give you time to do your thing."
Gandalf nodded, he was still collecting his magic, this was a test for the Grey Istari.
Harry walked cloaked in his shimmering magic. As the whip was brought down, Harry side stepped, the tip slicing his cheek. Blood trickled briefly as his magic soon healed the small wound.
And so the dance began.
Harry dodging every onslaught of the creature to the frustrations of the Balrog, and Harry was just waiting for the right time for Gandalf to do what was needed.
"Harry!" Frodo screamed in fear as he watched his friend come within an inch of life and death as he was just barely dodging the attacks.
Harry heard the call and his mind was distracted, losing his concentration on trying to evade the Balrog's movements.
Next thing Harry knew, was the slicing pain of the whip as it struck his directly across the chest, cutting diagonally as it threw him backwards. He felt his back land on rock, and he rolled from the force.
In a second, Harry felt weightless, and he knew he had fallen off the Bridge from the cries of Frodo, and the scared calls from Legolas.
"Harry!" Gandalf yelled out in worry, before turning back to the Balrog, anger reflected in the usually kind eyes. "YOU SHALL NOT PASS."
The second time to die in the space of a few hours, this was turning out to be a wonderful day.
A hand soon clasped his though, and Harry was swung forward, dangling as he had to regain his limbs and mind, trying to figure out what happened.
"Keep holding on, kid," the gruff voice of the Gondorian male said, grunting as he held onto Harry's arm as tightly as possible.
"O-Ok." Harry stuttered, confused but still, grateful.
Being pulled to safety, Harry soon found himself being set back on his feet with the help of Boromir.
"Thanks," Harry said to the male who only grunted.
"Don't mention it."
Gandalf sensed Harry was safe before he brought his staff and sword down to the bridge, and a ripple exploded, shattering the bridge where the Balrog stood.
The creature let out another roar as it struggled, trying to stand on the collapsing rock, and as it collapsed beneath the cloven feet, it fell into back into the darkness from where it had come from.
Gandalf only grunted, having exerted much of his power, and as he turned back to his friends he smiled.
The Balrog had other ideas, as with its final attack, cracked the whip once more, the fire rising up to wrap around Gandalf's ankle, pulling him down with him.
The elderly wizard slipped, being dragged back with the monster, as he caught the rocky ledge.
Gandalf clung to the edge with all the strength that the elderly man could muster, but in that moment, he locked gazes, blue with emerald, saying calmly to Harry, "take care of them…"
Gandalf's eyes twinkled, similar to that damn old wizard headmaster, for he knew what was in store for Harry, even if the young wizard could not see it.
Frodo let out a cry, trying to move forward but the strong arms of Legolas around him kept him in place.
He let his fingers loosen around the rock, his eyes sweeping over the fellowship as he said with haste, but also sadness. "Fly you fools."
Gandalf fell into the darkness after the creature, and the fellowship didn't even have time to move.
"NO!" Frodo screamed, tears stinging his eyes, dripping down his dirt covered face, leaving white track marks, as he kicked and tried to break free.
Harry just stood, frozen. He couldn't do anything, he had lost yet another friend at an arm's reach. He hadn't known when he had started to look up to Gandalf, but it had been comforting to have one of his own kind in this strange new world he had arrived in.
The fellowship was all in shock.
"Aragorn, we must leave!" Legolas said, his voice solemn. The death of the elderly wizard was a blow to the heart, for he had grown up hearing tales of the great wizard.
To Elves, the death of a friend was as wretched, for one who lives for an eternity, death was always an unfamiliar friend.
Boromir grabbed Harry, trying to move him but he stood, trying to sense for Gandalf in the darkness below, but there was no signs of life, no sign of anything but the slow fading echo of the magic which had dragged the wizard down.
"For pities sake!" Boromir said, seeing the enemy approaching with arrows knocked and ready, Boromir bent and shouldered Harry, who went limp against the broad body. "You're heavier than you look…"
They ran the rest of the way out of the mountain, and Harry was unaware they had even emerged into sunshine until he was set down on the rocky outcrop, and Frodo ran to his side, burying his face into his chest.
The cry of the Hobbits resonated in all of them, for they were the ones most unexperienced in this life, never having had to witness the death of one in such a way.
Boromir hugged an angry Gimli, who shook with his rage, not only for the destruction of his people, the desiccation of the great halls, and for the death of their friend.
It took every effort for him to lift his arms and embrace the Hobbit, but he needed the comfort just as much as Frodo did.
"We cannot stay here," Aragorn announced, his eyes trailed on the exit they had just taken in case enemies wished to follow, "Legolas, get them up!"
"Give them a moment to grieve!" Boromir replied, seeing just how much the death of Gandalf had affected them all.
"By nightfall these hills will be swarming with orcs, we must reach the forest of Lothlorien," Aragorn reminded him.
The ranger, despite his own heart bleeding for their lost comrade knew that one needed to stand up to take charge, and to lead their group to safety, for if no one did they would all fall to a similar death.
"Come now, on your feet Sam," Aragorn said as he lifted the crying hobbit to his little feet, patting his back in comfort.
"Frodo, you must stand," Harry said softly, giving the hobbit one last squeeze. "Gandalf would want us to be safe, then to mourn for his death."
Frodo pulled away, standing with tears still streaming from the bright blue eyes now bloodshot.
They began to move, the sniffling hobbits being the only sound that was heard.
The fellowship had lost a member, but their goal and destination were the same. They had to continue, for if they did not, the destruction of this world was sure to ensue.
A new chapter will be coming as soon as I can write it!