The alarm bells sounded loudly through the halls of Edhellion, announcing doom. Students and visiting scholars streamed out of the various lecture rooms and libraries, more surprised and confused then alarmed and panicked. Amongst them was Gwaihad of Lorien, a young Elf of mixed Sindar and Noldo descent.
“Has anyone any idea what is going on?” he asked his friend, Togrod, who was seeking mastery in deciphering mysterious runes of friend and foe alike. Togrod shook his head. “Not yet, my friend, but I am sure we will learn soon enough.”
Sure enough one of the masters turned up and spoke in a loud and clear voice: “Everybody listen! We must evacuate the building immediately as enemy forces approach from the north. Our scouts have reported massive dwarf movement up the hill. Stay calm and follow your lecturer who knows where to go! No running about or unnecessary heroics, understood?”
But before any of his listeners could nod agreement or understanding, a group of heavily armoured Dwarves burst into the halls and started swinging axes with loud roaring voices hitting the speaker square in the chest and turned onto the students. There was no room for organisation or calm now – those who were not slaughtered straight away started running or defending themselves with bare hands and the powers at their disposal. Some succeeded better than others but soon the number of fighters diminished and rumbles could be heard as a lone figure radiating with light and power dug through the enemies from behind. His dark hair and grey eyes radiated anger, sorrow and power but at the same time an almost unworldly calm – his movements elegant and almost acrobatic. As a weapon he wielded nothing but a carved and runed staff which he used with unsurpassed skill. Those dwarves who tried to stop him soon were to learn their mistake and the rest went running.
“Follow me!”, he shouted. The sadly diminished group made haste to do so and followed Elrond, for it was he who cleared a path where they went. After what seemed an eternity, they reached a door. Elrond touched it with the gem on his staff. The lore master opened the door and waved them through. A steep staircase led down onto a mountain slope and a barely visible path. “Go!” he orderered. "I will cover the door.”
“But, master,“, Gwaihad said to him. “What about the others? The books and knowledge inside? We cannot abandon these treasures to the enemy, whatever they want.”
“They want but one treasure, young one” Elrond answered, “and to that end they will use every means. The mountain dwarves have allied with the mountain trolls to gain hold of an unholy artefact stored here for safekeeping; they must not get it.” He looked grim. “But their numbers are too great, and you have no equipment but your bravery and fledgling skills. Live and learn – we will have need of you in the years ahead.”
He looked, concerned, into the direction where they had come from. The noise of fighting and thundering feet came closer. “Go now, all of you – I will make sure they cannot follow. Follow the path and make your way to either your homes or Imladris where I will welcome you.” He smiled sadly. “This is a sad day, young friends – but do not make it an even bigger gain for the enemy. This refuge will fall and the losses are great, but we live and will be a thorn in the side of those who did this.”
He made an encouraging gesture. “May the Valar protect you, young one. My heart tells me that we will meet again under better circumstances.
With that Elrond turned back to the corridor ahead into the fray. For a while Gwaihad and the remaining group stood and looked after him. When the building started to shake, the young Elf awoke from his paralysis and raised his voice: “Follow me!”
He didn’t look back.