"They rose and looked about them. Northward the dale ran up into a glen of shadows between two great arms of the mountains, above which three white peaks were shining: Celebdil, Fanuidhol, Caradhras. the Mountains of Moria. At the head of the glen a torrent flowed like a white lace over an endless ladder of short falls, and a mist of foam hung in the air about the mountains' feet.
`Yonder is the Dimrill Stair,' said Aragorn, pointing to the falls. 'Down the deep-cloven way that climbs beside the torrent we should have come, if fortune had been kinder.'
`Or Caradhras less cruel,' said Gimli. `There he stands smiling in the sun! ' He shook his fist at the furthest of the snow-capped peaks and turned away.
To the east the outflung arm of the mountains marched to a sudden end, and far lands could be descried beyond them, wide and vague. To the south the Misty Mountains receded endlessly as far as sight could reach. Less than a mile away, and a little below them, for they still stood high up on the west side of the dale, there lay a mere. It was long and oval, shaped like a great spear-head thrust deep into the northern glen; but its southern end was beyond the shadows under the sunlit sky. Yet its waters were dark: a deep blue like clear evening sky seen from a lamp-lit room. Its face was still and unruffled. About it lay a smooth sward, shelving down on all sides to its bare unbroken rim.
`There lies the Mirrormere, deep Kheled-zāram! ' said Gimli sadly. `I remember that he said:
"May you have joy of the sight! But we cannot linger there." Now long shall I journey ere I have joy again. It is I that must hasten away, and he that must remain.'
The Company now went down the road from the Gates. It was rough and broken, fading to a winding track between heather and whin that thrust amid the cracking stones. But still it could be seen that once long ago a great paved way had wound upwards from the lowlands of the Dwarf-kingdom.
In places there were ruined works of stone beside the path, and mounds of green topped with slender birches, or fir-trees sighing in the wind. An eastward bend led them hard by the sward of Mirrormere, and there not far from the roadside stood a single column broken at the top.
'That is Durin's Stone! ' cried Gimli. `I cannot pass without turning aside for a moment to look at the wonder of the dale! '
`Be swift then! ' said Aragorn, looking back towards the Gates. `The Sun sinks early. The Orcs will not, maybe, come out till after dusk, but we must be far away before nightfall. The Moon is almost spent, and it will be dark tonight.'
'Come with me, Frodo! ' cried the dwarf, springing from the road. `I would not have you go without seeing Kheled-zāram.' He ran down the long green slope. Frodo followed slowly, drawn by the still blue water in spite of hurt and weariness; Sam came up behind.
Beside the standing stone Gimli halted and looked up. It was cracked and weather-worn, and the faint runes upon its side could not be read. `This pillar marks the spot where Durin first looked in the Mirrormere,' said the dwarf. 'Let us look ourselves once, ere we go!'
They stooped over the dark water. At first they could see nothing. Then slowly they saw the forms of the encircling mountains mirrored in a profound blue, and the peaks were like plumes of white flame above them; beyond there was a space of sky. There like jewels sunk in the deep shone glinting stars, though sunlight was in the sky above. Of their own stooping forms no shadow could be seen.
'O Kheled-zāram fair and wonderful! ' said Gimli. `There lies the Crown of Durin till he wakes. Farewell! ' He bowed, and turned away, and hastened back up the green-sward to the road again."
Just like my earlier picture Uninvited Guest
, I made it for a Czech illustrators' website Projekt ilustrace
, for Occtober monthly contest "The Fellowship of the Ring
" (the theme was to be any scene from that book, not necessarily the Fellowship itself). As a Tolkien artist I couldn't have missed it.
If you like my Tolkien-related art, look at my related journal
or gallery folder
But you can find even more of my pictures on my website Angrenost.cz. It's in Czech, but you can still look over the gallery of illustrations. Enjoy!