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'You want to know what I most regret? It was when we were in Moria. Ah, what a place that was.' Pippin closed his eyes. 'When we went into Moria, I still did not really understand the danger we were in. When we came out, well, all I can say is I had lost something very dear to me then.

'Getting into Moria was an adventure in itself. We got there alright, feeling chuffed that we were out of the dreadful cold of Caradhras, but the door was tight shut. A beautiful door it was, too. Stone carved in lines of light by the elves of old. We could only see the outline of the door when the moon shone. We figured Gandalf would get it open quick smart, but no matter how he tried he couldna come up with the right word to let us in. It was only when Frodo realized the words were a riddle: Speak, Friend and Enter - Elvish for friend was the trick - that he got the grand doors to open.

'You know what Merry and I were like when we were young - often getting up to a bit of mischief without always thinking things through. While we were waiting for Gandalf to get the door open we started throwing stones into the dark pool that came right up to the door. I don't think anyone realized what was in the pool, though Strider told us not to disturb the water. So we didn't know we had upset the creature there till after we got inside. Once the doors swung open we were excited to see what was inside. Gimli had been getting very pleased that we were getting close to his cousin Balin's city, as he kept calling it. We could tell Gandalf wasn't any too sure about that, but we were hoping for a warm fire and a hot meal.

'When we went in, though, and Gandalf lit his staff, we got quite a shock. There were bodies everywhere, full of arrows. I could still hear Gimli promising "red meat off the bone" when I looked down and saw an orc with an arrow through its back. It was a terrible thing for all of us, though more for poor Gimli who was very distressed. I canna even remember who said to run back out, but it was no good going back because we had roused that creature in the water. No sooner had Frodo popped out the door than it grabbed him.

'How horrible that was! It was huge and black with big thick tentacles all over the place. The funny thing was it slapped me and Merry away and went straight for Frodo. It lifted him high in the air with one of its long legs and kept tossing him every which way because Legolas was shooting arrows into it. You should have seen Sam! He chopped off one of its legs, and Boromir and Strider chopped off some of the others. It nearly had poor Frodo, too - opened its big mouth wide and just about had him in it, but the men managed to rescue him. I didn't really see the end of that because we were all pelting inside as fast as we could go.

'But that's not really what I want to talk about. Regrets, you say. Well, I regret throwing those stones, and that did really start the horrors of Moria because we had no other choice then. We had to go through Moria. It was a long journey, and I was hungry all the time, but that's a story in itself. It was after the fight with the orcs at Balin's tomb that I did something I will forever regret. I don't know why I just couldn't keep my hands still. But while Gandalf was reading from the old book he found, my mind wandered. I found I was standing beside an old well of some kind, and there was a body sitting on the edge, covered with cobwebs. It was very odd that it had sat there for year after year - so long that it didn't really smell dead, just musty. It had an arrow sticking up and for some reason, impulse, I reached over and touched it. Just barely touched it.

Pippin sighed. 'I watched the arrow move, and then the head toppled off! It fell like it was moving extra, extra slow, but I couldna do anything about it. Oh, no, I said to myself. You've gone and done it this time, Pip. Sure enough, the head fell with a clatter and a bang down the well, and then the body followed. I closed my eyes and screwed up my face, hoping it was a bad dream - or at least that it would end quickly. But the sound just kept echoing down, down into what seemed like forever. And as if enough damage hadn't been done, it turned out the body was chained to a big chest, and that followed right after, hitting the wall over and over, banging all the way down to the roots of the mountain.

Pippin's face looked grey as he shuddered at the memory. 'This is too hard, Fam. I canna talk about it any more tonight.'