Can’t say I envy poor Pip at this moment. Gandalf is more than a little miffed about lacking the know-how to open the doors. What a terrible burden, to know all depend on you. He believed Gimli knew, Moria being the home of his cousin. Boromir voices frustration at the seeming dead end and waste of time; he is not alone in his sentiment, though he perhaps feels it more deeply. He advised against this way from the first. No one is familiar with this place but Gandalf, who admits he came from the opposite direction. If he cannot find the spell to open the door, we will need to find another way, and so much time will be lost. There is something about this place. In truth, we are all a bit on edge.
I take up a spot to rest on one of the nearby tree roots, and soon am lost in thought. Gandalf’s words about evil from without and within echo through my mind, though not for long. Gratefully, I hear rocks tossed into the water, distracting me. As Merry and Pip lob one stone after another into the lake for a bit of something to do, some of the ripples roll out into the murky dark while others approach the shore.
A memory stirs my mind. Merry and Pippin are pretty good marksmen with a rock. Back in the Shire, Merry, Pippin, Sam, Fatty, and I, standing on the edge of the Bywater Pool. When? Just last spring? It seems a lifetime ago. The grass was warm and green, flowers in bloom everywhere. The crisp blue sky and a few fluffy white clouds were mirrored in the clear water. What did we talk about? I do not know at all and realize I remember nothing else about the day but the peace and the calm. I never imagined then, where I would be now. Was there anything to warn me of what was to come? Some small thing I missed?
I grasp at the fleeting memory, but it’s gone. At the edge of my mind, I hear Gandalf chanting one spell after another, trying different words in languages I cannot even begin to guess about, finally throwing his staff down in irritation, unable to even budge the doors, muttering, “Oh, it’s useless.”
Merry’s question about the meaning of ‘speak, friend, and enter’ reminds me of Uncle Bilbo’s riddles. That’s it!
“It’s a riddle. Speak friend and enter. What’s the Elvish word for friend?”
The doors swing wide.