surprises in the mountains of mystery

Everything seemed to have changed when Larry and Mary Arry were catapulted into the home of the three bears. The kitchen was dark and dirty, with long trails of cobwebs hanging from every doorway. It was completely silent and they felt a chill as they peered out of the front door.

Menacing black clouds were casting shadows throughout the Landscape and huge cracks had appeared in the Forest path. Sinister black smoke filled the air around the cottage and every scrap of grass and every branch of the trees was covered in grey ash.

“What the?” Larry was wide eyed and scared. She had never seen the Land looking so dismal.
“Where to?” Asked Mary.
“No idea”, said Larry “Let’s call SkyBastian for help”.

Together they called for SkyBastian, the great sea eagle!

True to form, SkyBastian appeared with a loud swooping of his spectacular wings as he made a perfectly executed two-point landing just meters away from them.

“Take us to the Mountains of Mystery, please! I have a feeling that Barry is going to find the Dederang Dwarves and ask for help.” Said Larry.

“Are you sure about that”, asked Mary.
“No, but it’s worth a shot”!

They climbed aboard the great bird and clung to his neck feathers. Next moment they were air borne and flying at fantastic speed. From their feathery perch, they could see the landscape unfolding beneath them. It was worse than they thought! The colour had been drained from every corner of the land and everything was covered in grey ash. There was no movement and no-one to be seen. It was obvious that something catastrophic had happened. Mary and Larry looked at each other and shook their heads in dismay.

“This is no place for a seven-year-old girl, even with special powers”, said Mary.
“Don’t worry Mum, we’ll find her”, said Larry. “The dwarf king will know how to find her. Look we’re getting closer to the mountains now and I can see the marble Gateway.”

Larry whispered to SkyBastian and the great bird dipped and swooped down to land gracefully right at the foot of the giant Gateway. She slid down from the bird’s neck and helped her mother to do the same; dusting off some of the ash that had covered their clothing.

“We need to find the keystone to get inside. Do you remember how to find it?” asked Mary.

gateway to moria“Yes! It’s easy” said Larry. “I will just Google for the code at the site of the LOTR: One Wiki to Rule Them All. This first mountain is like the one called Moria from the Lord of the Rings; and it’s here that the Dwarves live. Once the gates were kept open, as there was no shadow in the land at that point. I have a strong feeling that the dreaded dragon Redwing has reappeared and now the gate is sealed and only those with the code can enter.”

Larry positioned herself right in front of the Gate and reached for her iPad. She opened her browser to the LOTR site and scrolled for the keystone.

When the setting sun and the last moon of autumn are in the sky together, the day’s last sunlight will fall on the door and expose its keyhole so that it can be unlocked.

“No, that won’t work here. But perhaps there are some clues in that we can use!” Larry said to Mary.

“Wait we can use the magic fob watch to manipulate time. Let me set it for the last day of autumn at sunset”.

As Mary wound tiny knobs on her own fob watch and clicked its buttons, the sky became even darker and the last rays of the sun and the first rays of the moon enabled them to see the Elvish writing and the shining keyhole right in the middle of the Gate.

“Do we have a key though”?
“The keyhole looks like a star shape inside a snowflake. Wonder if that is significant?”

“Hey what about my special silver brooch, that is star shaped. Maybe that would fit”, said Mary excitedly.
“Where did that come from Mum? I’ve never seen it or heard of it before”.
“It has been handed down from generation to generation of girls in the Arry clan. It will go to the eldest of my daughters eventually.”

Mary took out her special brooch from her pocket and held it up for Larry to admire. The brooch shone in the moonlight and gave out the same rays as the keyhole on the gate.
Mary reached up to fit the brooch into the keyhole and held her breath! Larry watched and waited!

“Can you turn it?”
“No. But wait. If I push it further in, it fits perfectly.”
As Mary pushed the brooch into place, the centre panel of the gate began to slide upwards. She quickly took the brooch from the keyhole and ducked under the panel, clutching Larry by the hand and dragging her forward.

“Quick turn on your iPhone torch Mum! It’s really dark and scary in here.”

marble hallBy the light of the torch they could see they were in a small entrance chamber to a large marble hall with many huge fluted columns. Walking forward, holding the torch up high, both entered the hall and gasped as they saw a huge statue of a dwarf whose eyelids sprang open as they reached its base. Just as the eyelids opened they heard heavy footsteps running towards them and they turned in fright. A horde of dwarves came rushing into the hall; each carrying shields and wielding swords.

The large, round leader of the dwarf horde came to a halt as he saw the two humans and held up his sword to stop the others. He called out:
“By the Lord of the Mountain, they are unarmed. Except for those strange handheld objects.  What brings you to our kingdom?”
The leader stood with his sword point down on the ground between his feet. His red hair and beard strangely illuminated by the light of the iPhone torch.

“We are searching for a lost child. A child with special powers and one who is looking for the Ring of Destiny”.

“The Ring of Destiny!” Shouted the dwarf. “What do you know about that?”
“Our collection of rings was plundered long ago and we are still trying to track them down.”

“My sisters and I found out about the Ring recently and my youngest sister, Barry, has gone off on her own to find it. She is only seven. Can you help us?”

“If I help you, can you help us?” The dwarf king sat down rather heavily on the nearest rock and wiped his brow. All that running had made him hot and sweaty.

“How I long for a breath of fresh air and the end to the smoke and fires of  the Red-wings. We’ve been trapped in the Mountain for decades and there seems no hope for us to slay the dragons from here. The moment we step outside the mountain gate the dragons breathe their fiery breath and burn everything and everyone in sight.”

“Is that why everything is burned and covered in ash” asked Larry.

“Yes. We have endured but at great cost to our brothers and sisters! Each time we send out a scouting party we lose a few more. We need someone with the skills of invisibility to escape the Red-wings and bring back the Ice Swords from the Ice Cliffs. These weapons are the only ones that can vanquish a dragon”, he bellows.

Larry and Mary moved a few paces away to discuss this latest development and decide!
Meanwhile the dwarfs all sat down and began to chant and sing. It was a low rumbling cacophony of gravelly voices that filled the hall. A sad and melancholy song of longing and sorrow, called the Misty Mountains.

‘Misty Mountains’ – song from The Hobbithttps://youtu.be/Pyy_FIYE7EE

“I’ve heard this before, on YouTube” says Larry. “We must help them restore their faith in their Mountain. Do you think we can find the Ice Cliffs? Replied Mary.

They both returned to the king and knelt beside him. “We will find the Ice Swords and bring them back for you. We don’t have much time in your land but we will do this if you will help us find our way to where the Ring of Destiny has been hidden.”

The king brushes away his tears and holds up his hand once more to quieten his brothers’ singing.

“The Dwarf Kingdom will honour you with our knowledge and help you find the little one. Beware the white wraiths that walk the Ice Cliffs and seek out the Hall of Warriors where the swords are held. Take a few of my warriors with you in this quest. You’ll need them in the tomb.”

The king called in a team of warrior dwarfs suitably dressed in battle dress and gathered them around Larry and Mary.

Larry took hold of the hand of the team leader and motioned him to do the same with the next warrior, and so on, until all dwarves were linked in a circle. The final warrior took hold of Mary’s hand and then Mary and Larry held their hands on high and chanted their call to the vortex.

Take us to another world

Show us how to turn back time

Let our dream places be unfurled

In the Ice Cliffs beyond the rhyme.

Within seconds the vortex appeared and sucked up the entire group of dwarfs, their shields, and swords – Mary and Larry too.

Proceed to Chapter 6 …

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