he light of the shaft fell directly on a table in the middle
of the room: a single oblong block, about two feet high, upon
which was laid a great slab of white stone.
'It looks like a tomb,' muttered Frodo, and bent forwards with
a curious sense of foreboding, to look more closely at it.
Gandalf came quickly to his side. On the slab runes were deeply
'These are Daeron's Runes, such as were used of old in Moria,'
said Gandalf. 'Here is written in the tongues of Men and
BALIN SON OF FUNDIN
LORD OF MORIA.'
'He is dead then,' said Frodo. 'I feared it was so.' Gimli cast
his hood over his face.
Gandalf had hardly spoken these words, when there came a great
noise: a rolling Boom that seemed to come from depths far below,
and to tremble in the stone at their feet. They sprang towards
the door in alarm. Doom, doom it rolled again, as if huge hands
were turning the very caverns of Moria into a vast drum. Then
there came an echoing blast: a great horn was blown in the hall,
and answering horns and harsh cries were heard further off.
There was a hurrying sound of many feet.
'They are coming!' cried Legolas.
'We cannot get out,' said Gimli.
'Trapped!' cried Gandalf. 'Why did I delay?'
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. (...) 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. (...)
'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
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
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
'You cannot pass!' he said.
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.
Extracts from "The FellowShip of The Ring",
Chapter 5, J.R.R. Tolkien