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The Other Side of Moria

"There's not that many of them." Nidi the dwarven minstrel pointed out.

"Of course not, only 20 or so." Winagrim Tatertoe replied sarcastically.

Landril Glamamarth looked at the dwarf and hobbit with slight amusement, the dwarf and the hobbit were arguing the pros and cons of attacking the 20 orcs that blocked the bridge ahead of them. To his left Nodlos was already positioned in the shadows ready to surprise the orcs and to his right Nehariel was standing with her swords drawn, it left no doubt what she sought to do with them.

They had been in Khazad-Dum, or Moria as it was called these day, for several days now trying to make their way to the other side and now they had found 20 orcs guarding a bridge they had to cross. Landril had been several times in Khazad-Dum during its glory days several hundred years ago and it was saddening to see how much the orcs and goblins had defiled.

"Have you two reached a conclusion?" Landril said calmly and friendly, yet with that slightly haughty tone only elves can produce.

"Yes." Winagrim replied. "Let's attack them, they're in the way. But I still wish there was another way around." Winagrim was fully aware of the dangers of choosing another way to travel but they had been fighting orcs, goblins and wargs for days upon days now.

"Me too Winagrim, but this time it seems that battle is inevitable." They are orcs though and deserve nothing else than death Landril thought.

Nodlos who had remained silent up until now looked at Nehariel with a grin. "Lead the way my lady, you look very menacing with those swords and that thick armour." The hobbit burglar then grew serious. “I'll sneak past them and deal with that shaman they've got in the back.”

"Sounds good. Let's go then." Was all Nehariel said, being a person of action and not words.

The somewhat odd fellowship consisting of one dwarf, two hobbits, one woman and one elf took up positions at the base of the bridge where the orcs could not see them and when Nehariel started running the rest followed. After a few meters though Landril stopped and fired an arrow at one of the orc archers, as soon as the arrow pierced the orc's throat a roar came from the rest of them as they discovered the attackers.

Landril swiftly fired another arrow and another and another and each time an orc fell. By now Nehariel, Nidi, Nodlos and Winagrim had reached the orcs and began to dispatch them. Being a master of the swords Nehariel quickly slayed several orcs in a whirlwind of sword blows.

Despite being a minstrel Nidi was an old and experienced dwarf and handled his weapon with a skill that would make any dwarf proud, it didn't take long for him to send a couple of orcs plummeting down off the bridge.

Two years ago an orc would have easily fended off Winagrim Tatertoe, but this hobbit had spent the last years in the company of Nehariel and Landril, and had learned a few things about the finer points of swordsmanship. So while gutting an orc Winagrim felt quite proud of his achievements over the last couple of years.

While all this transpired no one noticed the sneaky hobbit slinking past the commotion and circling around the orc shaman who at this time was fervently chanting some form of spell. When Nodlos reached the perfect position using the ever present shadows in Moria he jabbed his daggers with lethal accuracy at the back of the shaman, the unsuspecting shaman had no chance and fell very much dead to the ground.

With their shaman dead and their numbers thinning a handful of orcs felt it was time to retreat and fight another day. But as the orcs ran Landril's bows sang again, his arrows flying past Nehariel, Nidi and Winagrim by just a few feet and before they knew what hit them 4 of the fleeing orcs fell. The last fleeing orc Nodlos intercepted and easily dispatched off.

It did not take long for the rest of orcs to fall and when the battle was over Nehariel looked at her companions. "Anyone hurt?"

"No, seems like everyone got away with just a few cuts and bruises." Nidi replied and tried to get some orc blood off his clothes.

Landril, who as usual, had somehow avoided getting his white and golden robe stained by anything, dusted off some non-existing dust and smiled to his companions. "Well done all, 20 orcs less to worry about."

"That shaman was a poor one." Nodlos said with a disappointed look on his face as he held a mostly empty coin purse in his hand. "Let's get going though, all this noise we made is sure to attract more orcs."

"Yeah, let's move out." Nehariel said and started to jog down a long and dimly lit corridor.

Nidi looked at Nehariel and sighed. "More running I see..."

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