Trups of Khjazad-Dum, by Roger Zelazny
It was quite a battle. The balrog was big, and it was nasty. It reminded me of Dad's old friend Sigmund, who used to tell me that if I didn't deal with my family issues, some big nasty monster would come up and bite me on the ass. Which it was presently doing.
On this particular shadow, they call me Gandalf, or sometimes Mithrandir, or sometimes Olorin. Which is close enough to the truth, anyway. This isn't my favorite place to be, it's no club med, but Random needed help, something about a ring that one of my uncles made. Once again, I should have paid attention to all those things that Dworkin used to talk about.
So now I'm here, falling and slashing at a fire monster. I've caught up with Greyswandir, which has another name on this shadow. Why Dad's sword happened to appear in this shadow, I'm not sure. It's been a long time since he's made a showing...I can only wonder if he's going to appear, sometime soon. The sword has a habit of glowing when the minions of chaos are around. I suppose that if I wanted to make it glow, I could change into Chaos form myself, but somehow it would lessen the dramatic tension.
I keep falling, and wondering just how far this shaft goes. The endless drop is giving me time to ponder about about the other Sorcerers who happen to be in this shadow.
Saruman, I trust you like a brother, which is to say, not at all. You'd fit right in with the Amberites, right down to locking your friends and associates in towers. You need to work on controlling that crystal ball of yours...someone fromDad's family has been leaving trinkets behind. Must have been Brand. He's the kind of guy that would dig this shadow.
Radagast, your too good for all these people. Glad you got away....
Alatar and Pallando, I don't know you but good luck anyway...
With a clang, Greyswandir scores on the monster, but it doesn't appear to be phased, although it does appear to have a skin condition that would make dollar signs flash in the eyes of a Mary Kay cosmetician. I think Fido here needs more than a little moisturizer.
Right about now, I'm wishing I had some trumps. I could sure use a back door right about now, and Fido is trying to gouge my eyes out, only his hands are way too big, so it's more like he's trying to squeeze my head in one of those toy soldier nutcrackers they like so much in Europe on that shadow Earth we spend so much time on.
I try to work shadow as I fall.
visions of sugar plum faries dance through my head....
a glint of silver beyond that crag coming up...
a cave beyond that band of minerals...
My head hurt, and to no avail. Someone wants me to stay here, some one with great power, and the question is, who.
The other question still banging around my head is, who sent the Fire Demon. I'm guessing it must be someone from Mom's side. I'm guessing the same person, but I could be wrong.
The demon disengages as we fall....
There's a big pool of water coming up...crap. Just what I need, roasted like a pig by someone's - I shall call him X - by X'shormonally challenged thug, and now I'm going to be drowned, if I survive the impact. Hitting water at terminal velocity is pretty much the same thing as hitting concrete. I use the Logrus now to try and pull something useful out of the air. I call for a parachute, and get a large patchwork of skins, about parachute size. It'll have to do.
I slow down enough to enter the water at a speed that won't reduce my to hamburger. Only it's not really water, because I seem to be able to breathe, and there's a stairway, going down. It goes up too, but given that X's lapdog is trying to keep my from going down any further, my curiosity is getting the better of me. I continue on down, Fido in hot pursuit.
We reach a chamber, and strangely Fido rushes past me into the chamber. He is standing between me and what appears to be the Pattern of Amber...Only not the pattern of Amber. It's incomplete, it has holes. Greyswandir drags me closer to the starting point, as if of its own accord, and now I notice that Fido is desperately trying to stop me from going anywhere near the broken pattern.
It's now that I realize that Fido and I are not alone. In the center of the pattern, prostrate on her back as if asleep, lies Galadriel.
And would you guess what the Pattern wants me to do?