“The Elves of this land were a race strange to us of the silvan folk.” Legolas, in the Ring Goes South, The Fellowship of the Ring by J.R.R. Tolkien.
“Those are the emblems of Durin!” cried Gimli.
“And there is the Tree of the High Elves!” said Legolas.
“And the star of Fëanor,” said Gandalf.
A Journey in the Dark, The Fellowship of the Ring by J.R.R. Tolkien.
the ** marks a line that is directly taken from the chapter Journey in the Dark, The Fellowship of the Ring.
Golodhrim is a Sindar word for the Noldor. I have Legolas use it periodically in an unflattering way here, rather than the more commonly used “Noldor.”
All characters and locations are borrowed directly from Tolkien
Legolas stared at the doors in wonder. This was the work of Celebrimbor. The grandson of Fëanor himself. Old as Legolas was, it was still daunting to be in the presence of artistry created by one from the House of Fëanor.
He drew his eyes away from the doors only to find Gimli, Boromir and the Hobbits looking at him expectantly.
He frowned. Why were they looking at him? Had he not told them, In Hollin, that these Elves were of a different race? Eregion was a stronghold of the Noldor, not the Sindar or Silvan like himself. What would he know of enchanted doors?
Why weren’t they looking at Gimli? These were the doors to the famed Dwarven kingdom, not an Elven one. Gimli should have some idea of how to open them.
Legolas twitched his shoulders irritably. He had heard the words Gandalf had muttered to himself to make the ithildin letters appear, even if the others had not.
The words were in Quenya. Few were left in Middle Earth who still spoke the language of Eldamar. Certainly no one in the House of Oropher spoke that outlawed tongue. Elrond, brought up by the sons of Fëanor, likely was familiar with it. The Lady of Lothlorien spoke it for certain, Noldor as she was, niece of Fëanor himself.
He narrowed his eyes as he looked at the carved letters on the doors. It was Tengwar, that was recognizable, but the words were not familiar. Not only Gandalf’s words were Quenya—Celebrimbor had used that language on these doors—long forbidden by the Sindar, it had naturally fallen into disuse since the Golodhrim had reached these shores in the First Age.
Boromir approached him, coming to stand by Legolas’ side. “Is this not something you can decipher, Legolas? These are Elvish runes.”
Legolas glared at Boromir. “There is not one language among Elves, Boromir. Sindarin is used most commonly but there are many dialects among the Silvan. This is a language far more ancient than the ones we speak today.”
“The words are in the Elven-tongue of the West of Middle Earth in the Elder Days,” ** Gandalf said, stopping to translate the writing for them.
“Do you not know this language then, Elf?” Gimli asked.
“I do not,” Legolas hissed. “And I would not want to. It is the language of the Golodhrim and no Silvan or Sindar Elf would choose to learn that,” he snapped.
“Peace, Legolas,” Gandalf said. “We are not here to bandy words on the arguments of ages long gone.”
Legolas crossed his arms over his chest. How dare that Man expect that Legolas could solve the enigma of these doors? He was no Golodhrim, obsessed with craftsmanship, pride and jewels. Like Dwarves they were. And who did this Dwarf think he was, questioning Legolas like that?
He could feel their eyes on him though, as Gandalf muttered words and incantations at the doors. He swept his eyes over his companions, his frigid gaze worthy of Thranduil at his coldest.
Boromir looked away, unable to withstand the full intensity of the glowering Elven gaze. Sam, Merry and Pippin quickly flicked their eyes away from his as well. He could see Frodo, looking at him with sympathy. Legolas clenched his jaw. He did not need sympathy or pity from a Hobbit!
He was not going to explain himself, as if he were trying to make some excuse for his inability to read Quenya or solve this riddle of the doors. They could not expect him to come up with the solution just because he was an Elf.
He could feel Boromir watching him again. Why was no one pestering that blasted Dwarf, he fumed. Or the wizard, for that matter. If anyone should know how to open these doors, it should be one of them.
He could feel his face begin to flush as his companions’ glances continued to dart his way. Blast them all! By the Valar, he was not going to let himself get flustered by this. He took a deep breath, silently thankful for the darkness of the night, so the others could not see his face clearly.
He sensed Aragorn at his side and his presence was confirmed when Legolas felt his friend’s strong hand grip his shoulder.
“You are troubled?” Aragorn asked him softly, in Sindarin.
Legolas nodded once.
“I fear we will not find all well here with Gimli’s kin when we pass these doors,” Aragorn continued. “I feel a great foreboding about this place. It seems far too quiet to be inhabited anymore.”
“If we are even able to enter it,” Legolas said.
“Mithrandir will find a way,” Aragorn assured him, but the concern on his face contradicted his words.
“I know you expect me to help but I do not know Quenya nor do I know the ways of the Golodhrim,” Legolas said curtly, the admission leaving him reluctantly.
“No one expects you to solve this,” Aragorn replied, squeezing his shoulder.
“I think you are wrong. I see them look at me, mellon.” Legolas said.
“That’s it!” Gandalf cried, standing up with a laugh.
“Mellon!” he said in a commanding voice, standing directly in front of the doors. Silently, the doors of Moria opened before them.
“Seems you helped after all, Legolas,” Aragorn whispered, before moving near the wizard again.
Celebrimbor rested his hand on Narvi’s shoulder and smiled down at him.
“I can’t believe you convinced me to put Elvish runes on the doors of a Dwarven Kingdom,” Narvi grumbled, shaking his head.
“You couldn’t put your Dwarven runes on it, as you teach no one your language,” Celebrimbor replied, then raised an eyebrow at Narvi. “Well, almost no one I should say.”
“Hush, you blasted Elf! If anyone knew I had taught you any Khuzdul I’d find my beard shaved off and myself shown out these very doors!” Narvi hissed, glaring at Celebrimbor.
Celebrimbor made a face. “Spare me the sight of your shaven face, Narvi! I will not say another word about it.” He looked with pride at the doors again, the ithildin glimmering in the moonlight. “It is only right that the entrance that faces the Elven realm have Elvish writing. How else will they know to speak the word of command to open these doors of yours?”
“Let’s hope you haven’t been too obvious about it. We don’t want just anyone able to open them,” Narvi pointed out.
“Few are those who speak the tongue of Eldamar anymore,” Celebrimbor said, his expression serious and almost sad, Narvi thought. “Only the Noldor of Eregion and a few of those who abide in Lindon know it now.” He looked down at Narvi again. “And one Dwarf, of course.”
“I only know a few words,” Narvi argued.
“You know the most important one. The one that opens these doors,” Celebrimbor said, his face brightening again as he met his friend’s eyes.
“Speak ‘friend’ and enter,” Narvi said softly.
“So it is, for the Elves of Eregion are ever friends to the Dwarves of Khazad-dum—as I am to you.” Celebrimbor replied.
“Let us hope these doors see many years of use as our friends from Eregion join us in our halls. It is a good thing we made the ceilings high enough for you oversized creatures.” Narvi bumped Celebrimbor gently and the two friends smiled again at their successful work.
“Mellon!” Celebrimbor said and the doors opened wide to let them in.