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The Turning of Angw
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
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2
Khaghar, Lord of Miners

I invented a patron saint for Dwarves, and a religion for them to believe in.


~~~

Angw, frightened of what he might do to the Dwarves in his anger, turned away from Sauron. His loyalty to Aul stood in the way of his taking immediate action, though of course he would have to do something. That night, after spending some time in thought, he entered the dreams of a Dwarf he believed he could persuade to consider his point of view. After all, Sauron had been most successful in his efforts to recruit members to Melkor's cause by the use of fear, flattery and appeals to the emotions - why would this not work in the cause of good?

The Dwarf in question was called Adzarek, of the folk of Durin the Deathless of Khazad-dm. Angw appeared to him in his dream as Khaghar, a stout, bearded fellow not unlike himself. Khaghar had chestnut brown hair, and was dressed in royal blue with a great leather belt and a mithril helmet with gold trimming. The dream Angw sent went thus: a voice speaking of the Beautiful Mountain, under which were rich lodes of mithril. Glittering jewels sparkled there too, and iron ore could also be found. However, Khaghar was displeased at what he deemed the desecration of the mountain, which was sacred to him. The natural caverns he had fashioned himself, and they were not in need of improvement. "Dig no more in my mountain," Khaghar warned, "or a great curse will fall upon you and your people, and they will suffer great misery for many generations. This doom is set and cannot be altered."

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
It was dark but not pitch black in Adzarek's bedroom, deep in the caverns of the Mines of Moria. The Dwarves had set up systems of shafts and mirrors to reflect natural light from the sky above and the fires below, which meant that there was always some light to find their way by.

The sleeping Dwarf trembled. "My Lord," he called. "Lo! It is already too late, for behold, your mountain has already been mined by my people. We knew not of your ban until now. What can we do to atone for this?"

You must stop the mining at once, Lord Khaghar replied. There are other sites you can work. You may dwell in the mountain, but you must not continue the mining."

"My Lord," Adzarek quavered, "I fear they will refuse to listen to me. Give me aid, O Lord, to persuade them. I will need a sign."

Khaghar frowned, frightening the Dwarf. "Go!" he roared, "Am I not sending you?"

"O my Lord!" Adzarek quavered, "I will do what I can. Forgive me! Forgive me for doubting you. I know you will give me the strength to do what you have asked of me."

"I see your faith, little one," Khaghar soothed, "and acknowledge your obedience. You are forgiven. Now go, and waste no more time."

"Thank you, O Lord," Adzarek replied. When he woke up, he was soaked with cold sweat.

Adzarek got up and decided not to bathe immediately. They needed to see his distress, he reasoned. Khaghar himself had appeared to him in person! Usually, he would feel a rush of inspiration and credit it to Mahal, as Aul was called by his people. Occasionally he would hear a voice in his dreams and reveries, which he had heard was that of Khaghar the servant of Mahal. The idea that a being of such importance was willing to stoop so low as to speak with him was too exciting to contain. He rushed to tell his father.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Halin was a specialist in construction. He oversaw the digging of new bords, ensuring that they were supported with pillars and timber props to hold up the roof. There was little he did not know about the load-bearing capacity of different kinds of rocks and the pressures they were able to take. Adzarek was one of his best apprentices, not only because he was his son, but because he was able to take what he learned from his father and to expand upon it. Both had a deep reverence for Khaghar, whom they held to be the Lord of Miners, and was second only to Mahal in their affections.

Halin was sleeping when Adzarek rushed in to his room. "Father!" he shouted as he burst through the door, "Lord Khaghar has appeared to me!"

His father continued to snore where he lay. As his son shouted, he snuffled in his sleep, then turned on his side.

"Father, wake up!" Adzarek grabbed his shoulder and shook him.

Halin woke up with a snort. "What is it? What is it?" he asked his son blearily, "what do you want? Nothing has collapsed, has it? I know I shored that bord up properly..."

"Father, Lord Khaghar just appeared to me! He says we must stop digging at once," Adzarek pleaded.

"What? Stop talking your nonsense, boy!" Halin snorted, displeased.

"But Father, he said we must stop digging!"Adzarek insisted.

Halin lit the candle that stood beside his bed. "Sit down here and talk to me," he said.

Adzarek sat down. "Lord Khaghar just appeared to me," he repeated.

"I heard that, lad," his father replied. "Now what do you mean, we have to stop digging? Is there going to be an accident? An escape of foul air?"

"No, Father. He told me this mountain is sacred to him, and we have to stop digging. A terrible curse will fall upon us, he said. The doom is set and will surely come to pass if we continue to mine in the mountain," his son explained.

"Are you certain that is what he said, now, lad? He's the Lord of Miners. Why would he tell us to stop digging?" Halin asked blearily. He was tired and just wanted to go back to sleep. Why had his son felt such a pressing need to rush in jabbering about a vision at this hour? Foolish boy! If he could reassure the lad that it was only a dream, he could get back to his slumber. If he could reassure the lad... Halin snorted. He had seen Adzarek in this state before, and once the boy got something into his head that excited him thus, he was like a weak strata that just kept on collapsing no matter how well it was propped up. Halin was not in the mood for this, and wanted it over quickly.

"But Father," Adzarek faltered, "that is what he said! We have to stop the mining because this mountain is sacred to him. We can live in it, he said, but there must be no more digging."

"Adzarek, my son, listen to me." Halin wanted to ensure he had his son's full attention. He placed a hand firmly on each of his shoulders and locked him in his gaze. "You have come here and disturbed my sleep to tell me that the Lord of Miners appeared to you, and told you to tell me to stop digging. Am I right?"

"Yes Father."

"He told you to tell me."

"No Father. He told me we have got to stop digging."

"He told you 'we' have got to stop digging or 'you' have got to stop digging?" Halin was having none of this. Surely his son had enjoyed too much ale the night before. He had always been fond of it. This would have to stop.

"'Dig no more in my mountain,' Lord Khaghar said, 'or a great curse will fall upon you and your people, and they will suffer great misery for many generations. This doom is set and cannot be altered.' That's exactly what he said to me, Father."

Halin decided to be patient. Adzarek was a good lad, and he was very proud of him. He was a bit prone to dreaming, though, and maybe this strange behaviour was a result. "My son," he told him, "I am willing to be patient with you about this. Go on back to bed and we will say no more about it. Go back to sleep. If you still feel the same way about it tomorrow we will discuss it some more. Is that agreeable to you? You are much too excited now. We will discuss it when you have calmed down."

"Father, please," his son begged, "please understand me, this is important..."

"Adzarek," Halin warned, "if you do not show me respect by going back to bed as I have bidden you, I will drag you back there by your beard and lock you in! Is that what you want?"

"But Father..."

Halin seized him by the beard.

"I will go back to bed, Father," Adzarek wept bitterly, "and pray Lord Khaghar does not punish me for failing to convince you."

Halin sighed as he blew out the candle, lay down, and went straight back to sleep, muttering his exasperation into his bedclothes.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Adzarek left the room of his own accord and went back to bed. "O Lord Khaghar," he prayed, "I need a sign. If my own father will not believe me, who will? Help me!"

The young Dwarf cried himself to sleep, terrified of the doom that would surely fall upon his family and his folk if he could not stop the digging. His father never took him seriously, that was the problem. He dismissed him as a well-meaning but ultimately foolish dreamer, and that really hurt sometimes. He wanted nothing more than to make Halin proud of him, and though that sometimes did happen, sooner or later something would crop up to test his father's patience and he would be back at the beginning. It was like trying to make a bord that kept on collapsing, but had to be made because there was a rich vein of mithril to be mined.

As soon as Adzarek had drifted into his dreams again, Khaghar returned. It was easier this time, because the frightened Dwarf was focussed on him, hoping to see him again to get the help he needed to make his people listen.

"Adzarek," Khaghar called to him, "why are you weeping?"

"O my Lord," the wretched Dwarf cried, "I did what you told me, my Lord, but I could not persuade him. I tried, my Lord, I truly did."

"Whom did you try to persuade?" Khaghar asked firmly.

"My father, my Lord," Adzarek replied, greatly distressed. "I thought that if I could persuade him, I could persuade the rest of them."

"And why did you believe that?" Khaghar asked him.

"Because, my Lord," Adzarek sobbed, tears pouring down his bearded face, "he is the one who supervises the digging and the propping of the bords, the tunnels that we dig through... through... through your sacred mountain! O forgive me, Lord! I have failed you!"

"Adzarek," Khaghar told him resolutely, "listen to me. You must stop the digging. You must make them stop. You know what to do. Do not disappoint me."

When Khaghar left him, Adzarek knew exactly what to do. He wept harder then than he had ever done in his life, because of what he had been asked to do. It was impossible to persuade his people to listen to him by speaking to them because they simply would not take him seriously. His father, whose support he had hoped to enlist to bolster his message, had refused to pay attention to him. Once again, Adzarek had been dismissed. Talking to people would not work at all. There was another way, and he did not want to do it, but his father's reception of his message had left him with no other choice. Adzarek himself must be the sign. He had been told to stop the mining, and that was what he would do. Stop the mining.

There was one way to do it, and only one way. If he was caught before he had a chance to carry out his plan in full, he would have failed indeed. He had to do this, or the miseries that would befall his people would be as nothing beside it. Adzarek was aware that his family would suffer as a result of his actions, but that could not be helped. If his father had listened, the story would have turned out differently, but it was too late for that. Perhaps the sacrifice he was about to make would lessen the load, but he doubted it. Dwarves would speak of it for years, and might even consider what was intended as a noble act of sacrifice to be a great betrayal. They were miners, and to stop them from mining was to stop them being Dwarven.

Gathering what courage and resolve he could scrape together in his broken heart, Adzarek rose from his bed once more and made his way to the bord with the most props and pillars to make the greatest sacrifice a Dwarf could make. Taking a large hammer, he deliberately started to knock the the props down. Dust and debris started to fall around him, getting in his hair, beard and eyes. Coughing, he swung the hammer again and again at the stout wooden pillars. "I am the sign," he told himself, "I must do this to save my people." Those were his final thoughts as the tunnel collapsed on top of him.

TBC...

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