Alien Creatures: Part I
by Honesty aka Morrighan
He is, all things considered, an alien creature.
I have been watching him this whole day through, and he makes no more
sense now than he did at its start. He has changed, since we entered
Moria. I would almost say that he has grown, were the idea not so
Dwarves are ridiculous creatures, or so I have always found, hardly
worthy of notice were they not so dangerous in battle. They spare no
time or energy for graces in either speech or action. Each motion, each
sentence is as direct as the swing of an axe. They do not respect the
earth with their heavy feet. How can any take seriously such unlovely,
So I have always thought; but I have never before seen one under the
He is different here; his every action proclaims it. His movements are
always clumsy and ungainly, but here they are surer. He carries himself
straighter, and there is a light in his eyes that is not there in the
light of Sun or stars. He has not stumbled once; I begin to suspect he
sees as clearly as I do here. Perhaps Dwarves, like Orcs, were made to
see clearest in darkness.
When we must climb, he does so with a surety I would have thought
impossible for one of his build. Not gracefully, I warrant you - for a
Dwarf does nothing with grace - nor quickly, but plainly, directly, with
purpose, the way he does all things.
More than that; the rock seems to speak to him. I have seen him listen
to his steps, which ring out like bells on our path, and hear messages
meaningless to all other kinds. "Quartz," I have heard him mutter, on
one short stretch of path, and then add, "but an inferior strain."
Always he has it, this atavistic preoccupation with the dead bones of
the world, but is that truly to be wondered at? At first I half
expected him to bring forth a hammer and test the rock; now I wonder
whether he would truly require a hammer to do so.
He is altered here, undeniably, but what is he? An exile, possibly,
returning to his homeland? No. Moria never was his home. A traveller,
rather, dropping the hesitant accents of foreign speech, and speaking
at last in his native tongue.
I saw him, the look in his eyes, when Mithrandir first mentioned Moria
to the company. There was a look in them that was like flames of fire
in the night.
That was the first time I paid him any heed. I have seen such looks
before in the eyes of the Elves, when they speak of Eldamar ... but
Eldamar, so they say, is wondrous fair beyond all the lands of
Middle-Earth, shining with unspeakable light and lacking all the taint
of Arda marred. Moria holds no such loveliness. It is dark and dank,
far from any living thing, and I feel the taint of evil in the air.
Only a race as strange and unaccountable as the Dwarves could hold this
forsaken place in reverence, and the Dwarves are strange indeed.
They say that it is a race made almost entirely of menfolk, and there
are very few Dwarf-Ladies among them. That, perhaps, is what makes them
so cold and dour, when few can wed, and most must live out their lives
in unwarmed solitude. Or perhaps it is their coldness that keeps them
from bringing forth maid-children; I know not. Small wonder they live
such comfortless lives, when most must spend their days alone.
Or do they not? Do the menfolk of the race lie with each other,
perhaps, when no women are to be had? An amusing notion! They are an
ungentle, uncouth race, and doubtless unschooled in the fine art of
love. One can hardly expect them to find What more fitting for them,
than that they should lie together on the floors of their cold rocky
caverns, touching each other with callussed hands and hard, bitter
mouths, revelling in the chill touch of the stone against their skin?
Is that, perhaps, how *he* takes his pleasures, pinned between flesh and
rock? After all, why be content with the touch of a single love, when
you can take your pleasures of both? And how-?
Agh! He is *watching* me! And I thought he was sleeping!
Well, let him, then. It is not as if I wish to hide anything from him.
He is but a Dwarf, a minor mortal of no account. What should I care
that he watches me?
He is altogether a strange and an alien creature, and I care not for
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