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The Bridge Of Khazad

The Bridge was located nearby the East-gate of Moria, fifty feet long, narrow with no railing, and curved slightly upward at the center. It was an ancient defense against any enemy who might get past the East-gate and capture the First Hall and outer passages; walkers on the bridge could only cross it in single-file.[1]

The Bridge Of Khazad

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On January 15, 3019, the Fellowship of the Ring came to the Bridge of Khazad-dûm pursued by Orcs and a Balrog of Morgoth. Gandalf stopped on the Bridge, standing in the middle of the span, allowing the others to escape. He leaned on the staff in his left hand and held the sword Glamdring, gleaming cold and white, in his right. The Balrog stepped onto the Bridge, facing Gandalf, and the shadow about it reached out like two vast wings. It raised its whip, and the thongs whined and cracked. Fire came from its nostrils. But Gandalf stood firm and declared that the Balrog could not pass. They fought, and the Balrog's sword was destroyed. Then the Balrog leaped full upon the Bridge, and Gandalf lifted his staff and smote it upon the bridge directly over the keystone. His staff shattered, but the Bridge cracked at the Balrog's feet. The stone broke and fell, taking the Balrog with it into the abyss, but the thongs of its whip snared Gandalf about his knees, and he too plummeted with the Balrog into the depths of the mountain. Gandalf had cried to the Fellowship, "Fly, you fools!", and was gone.[2] It is unknown whether the Bridge was later rebuilt.

The bridge consisted of a fifty feet long curving spring of stone. It did not have a kerb or rail and was so narrow that it could only be crossed in single file. The depth of the chasm was incredible and the ceiling was high. On the eastern side of the bridge was a flight of stairs leading to the First Hall and the eastern gates. The narrowness of the bridge was meant to help defend the interior of Khazad-dûm against an enemy that had already breached the outermost defenses on the eastern side of Khazad-dûm.[3]

On 15 January, T.A. 3019[1] Gandalf and the rest of the Fellowship of the Ring fled over the bridge from the Balrog, a large number of Orcs and two Trolls. Gandalf ordered is fellows to fly over the brdige and remained behind in the middle of the span of the bridge to hold it against against the Balrog. After a fight with the Balrog, Gandalf resorted to destroying the part of the bridge on which the Balrog stood with his staff. As a result, the Balrog fell into the chasm, but managed to drag Gandalf with him by lashing out with his whip and curling its thongs around Gandalf's knees.[3]

The further they went through the Mines, the hotter it became, and they realised that the lower levels were on fire. They came across a deep chasm that could only be crossed by a narrow bridge. Gimli led the way, and just as Legolas drew his bow, he saw a sight that filled him with horror. A great shadow, shaped like a man but having far greater power, was pursuing them. It was a Balrog, known as Durin's Bane, the beast that had attacked Balin and the dwarves. The Balrog had a blade like a stabbing tongue of fire in one hand and a thong of whips in the other. He leapt across the chasm and raced toward them.

Boromir drew out his horn and blew it. Shortly after, he and Aragorn ran to aid Gandalf, but Gandalf commanded them to return to the rest of the company. Gandalf stood on the bridge and commanded the Balrog to go back, but it rushed at him with its sword. Gandalf countered it with his own sword, and before it could attack a second time he cut the bridge right out from under the Balrog. With a cry the Balrog toppled into the abyss, slashing its whip at Gandalf. Gandalf became entwined in it, and was dragged down as well.

Now comes stage three, the final dash for the bridge. But as Gandalf urges them on, time runs out. The massive Balrog comes soaring out of a fiery chasm, an infernal nightmare of flames and shadow (the animated Balrog from the first Lord of the Rings movie has NOTHING on this creature).

Description: An event in the Battles of the Fellowship at Moria; see that entry for the overview:'Look ahead!' called Gandalf. 'The Bridge is near. It is dangerous and narrow.'Suddenly Frodo saw before him a black chasm. At the end of the hall the floor vanished and fell to an unknown depth. The outer door could only be reached by a slender bridge of stone, without kerb or rail, that spanned the chasm with one curving spring of fifty feet. It was an ancient defence of the Dwarves against any enemy that might capture the First Hall and the outer passages. They could only pass across it in single file. At the brink Gandalf halted and the others came up in a pack behind.'Lead the way, Gimli!' he said. 'Pippin and Merry next. Straight on and up the stair beyond the door! 'Arrows fell among them. One struck Frodo and sprang back. Another pierced Gandalf's hat and stuck there like a black feather. Frodo looked behind. Beyond the fire he saw swarming black figures: there seemed to be hundreds of orcs. They brandished spears and scimitars which shone red as blood in the firelight. Doom, doom rolled the drum-beats, growing louder and louder, doom, doom.Legolas turned and set an arrow to the string, though it was a long shot for his small bow. He drew, but his hand fell, and the arrow slipped to the ground. He gave a cry of dismay and fear. Two great trolls appeared; they bore great slabs of stone, and flung them down to serve as gangways over the fire. But it was not the trolls that had filled the Elf with terror. The ranks of the orcs had opened, and they crowded away, as if they themselves were afraid. Something was coming up behind them. What it was could not be seen: it was like a great shadow, in the middle of which was a dark form, of man-shape maybe, yet greater; and a power and terror seemed to be in it and to go before it.It came to the edge of the fire and the light faded as if a cloud had bent over it. Then with a rush it leaped across the fissure. The flames roared up to greet it, and wreathed about it; and a black smoke swirled in the air. Its streaming mane kindled, and blazed behind it. In its right hand was a blade like a stabbing tongue of fire; in its left it held a whip of many thongs.'Ai! ai!' wailed Legolas. 'A Balrog! A Balrog is come! 'Gimli stared with wide eyes. 'Durin's Bane!' he cried, and letting his axe fall he covered his face.'A Balrog,' muttered Gandalf. 'Now I understand.' He faltered and leaned heavily on his staff. 'What an evil fortune! And I am already weary.'The dark figure streaming with fire raced towards them. The orcs yelled and poured over the stone gangways. Then Boromir raised his horn and blew. Loud the challenge rang and bellowed, like the shout of many throats under the cavernous roof. For a moment the orcs quailed and the fiery shadow halted. Then the echoes died as suddenly as a flame blown out by a dark wind, and the enemy advanced again.'Over the bridge!' cried Gandalf, recalling his strength. 'Fly! This is a foe beyond any of you. I must hold the narrow way. Fly!' Aragorn and Boromir did not heed the command, but still held their ground, side by side, behind Gandalf at the far end of the bridge. The others halted just within the doorway at the hall's end, and turned, unable to leave their leader to face the enemy alone.The Balrog reached the bridge. Gandalf stood in the middle of the span, leaning on the staff in his left hand, but in his other hand Glamdring gleamed, cold and white. His enemy halted again, facing him, and the shadow about it reached out like two vast wings. It raised the whip, and the thongs whined and cracked. Fire came from its nostrils. But Gandalf stood firm.'You cannot pass,' he said. The orcs stood still, and a dead silence fell. 'I am a servant of the Secret Fire, wielder of the flame of Anor. You cannot pass. The dark fire will not avail you, flame of Udûn. Go back to the Shadow! You cannot pass.'The Balrog made no answer. The fire in it seemed to die, but the darkness grew. It stepped forward slowly on to the bridge, and suddenly it drew itself up to a great height, and its wings were spread from wall to wall; but still Gandalf could be seen, glimmering in the gloom; he seemed small, and altogether alone: grey and bent, like a wizened tree before the onset of a storm.From out of the shadow a red sword leaped flaming.Glamdring glittered white in answer.There was a ringing clash and a stab of white fire. The Balrog fell back and its sword flew up in molten fragments. The wizard swayed on the bridge, stepped back a pace, and then again stood still.'You cannot pass!' he said.With a bound the Balrog leaped full upon the bridge. Its whip whirled and hissed.'He cannot stand alone!' cried Aragorn suddenly and ran back along the bridge. 'Elendil!' he shouted. 'I am with you, Gandalf! ''Gondor!' cried Boromir and leaped after him.At that moment Gandalf lifted his staff, and crying aloud he smote the bridge before him. The staff broke asunder and fell from his hand. A blinding sheet of white flame sprang up. The bridge cracked. Right at the Balrog's feet it broke, and the stone upon which it stood crashed into the gulf, while the rest remained, poised, quivering like a tongue of rock thrust out into emptiness.With a terrible cry the Balrog fell forward, and its shadow plunged down and vanished. But even as it fell it swung its whip, and the thongs lashed and curled about the wizard's knees, dragging him to the brink. He staggered and fell, grasped vainly at the stone, and slid into the abyss. 'Fly, you fools!' he cried, and was gone.The fires went out, and blank darkness fell. The Company stood rooted with horror staring into the pit. Even as Aragorn and Boromir came flying back, the rest of the bridge cracked and fell. With a cry Aragorn roused them.'Come! I will lead you now!' he called. 'We must obey his last command. Follow me!'They stumbled wildly up the great stairs beyond the door. Aragorn leading, Boromir at the rear. At the top was a wide echoing passage. Along this they fled. Frodo heard Sam at his side weeping, and then he found that he himself was weeping as he ran. Doom, doom, doom the drum-beats rolled behind, mournful now and slow; doom!The Fellowship of the Ring, LoTR Book 2, Ch 5, The Bridge of Khazad-dûm 041b061a72


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