The Journey to Minas Tirith


I was born not long ago in the snowy mountains of Ered Luin and learned my trade as a Guardian warrior - shield and plate and axe.

My grt.grt.grt.grt grandad taught me how to pretend to tolerate Elves, and Mum warned me against befriending any mortal human kind : 'you just start getting to know them, and suddenly they just die of old age.'

Here I am in my home town square :

At the tender age of four hundred and eleven I set off into the world. 

I first passed into The Shire, which was a most wonderful place full of cheese and pies and beer and parties. And the locals were my size too !

Here is a view from Bag End looking out over their Party Tree, where the party never stops : 

I partied there with friends for a brief century or so, but Mum was right :( It was sad.

So seeking adventure I headed on to the town of Bree - a busy place.

I did find a nice inn - the Prancing Pony : 

The beer and ale was good there. And lots of work. I battled as a mercenary against boar and wolve, crow and marsh-fly. As the decades flew by I moved on to bad men and evil dwarves, even wights, and increasingly - orcs. I also made friends with a happy chap called Tom Bombadil whose wife Goldberry made luscious pies.

Anyway -

That's where it all started !

One day I met a ranger man called Strider who was suffering some slings and arrows with some mission he was on. Aiding him was the beginning of a long eventful journey. I was barely middle aged, being yet five hundred and eighty and three years old.

Our many battles with encroaching orcs lead us east - the land became much different to what I knew, and I saw ancient ruins like the fabled Weathertop - all broken and crumbled. Clearly not dwarvish stone-work.

I battled trolls and more in the Trollshaws beyond Weathertop.

Oddly, I even found a superb dwarven carving right in middle of troll country - it is an amazing life-like triple statue of trolls, almost as if they were caught in some action.

Local stories say it was made by Gandalf the wizard during an adventure some fifty years back.

But my dwarven eye can clearly discern that it's actually a superb tri-carving in the well-known 'hyper-realism' style of the classical Second Age dwarven stone-masons : 

The growing threat of the Eye drew our leaders to Rivendell.

I reluctantly passed through there and found a secret plan is in place to defeat Sauron, but I cannot speak of it openly.

Here is a picture of Rivendell with Elrond's house on the right (I'm not in this one, can't let the family think I've been fraternising with Elves.) 

Wood! Bah.

We travelled south and found our ancient kingdom of Khazad-Dum was partly re-claimed.

I wept at Balin's tomb and read the book of Mazarbul about the very end.

I found that a terrible battle between Gandalf and Durin's Bane had destroyed the great bridge :

I followed the battle's trail of fire and destruction until I saw ...  

Durin's Bane is destroyed !  

I took a Balrog tooth for luck. Don't see many of them.

Eventually I made it through Moria and risked entry into Lothlorien (Laurelindorenan) - the Valley of Singing Gold or the Golden Wood. It truly is golden. Only wood though.

I met some travellers there too. Elves and Dwarves are friends now? By Aulë it's not natural !

But then I met the Lady of the Wood - her beauty and wisdom are beyond compare. 

I cannot speak of their secret mission or the fellowship.

But I can speak highly about the roast chicken and the fruit and the pies and the wine and ale.

I made sure to top up in Lorien before heading over to Mirkwood across the Anduin River : 

Also salted pork.

Mirkwood was a baleful place full of spiders and orcs.

The evil of the Necromancer, now revealed as Sauron returned, had ruined the once Greenwood the Great.

His terrible fortress of Dul Guldur threatened still : 

They must have used dwarven stone-masons for their stone-work to last so long.

Our forces moved south along the Anduin - the River Running. Which lead us beneath some mighty statues of ancient man kings of Gondor - Isildur and Anarion.

I camped nearby with a friendly human : 

Magnificent stone-work, obviously done by dwarves.

Our hunting for the enemy lead us to the results of a terrible battle - many dead orcs being picked over by crows.

Orc prisoners spewed shocking news - Boromir, Prince of Gondor, had fallen here !

And the hobbits had been captured ! Is all hope for the secret plan lost ? 

The spoor was confused - one Elven boat, a campsite, orc and hobbit footsteps everywhere.

What happened to the secret Fellowship of Nine, sorry - Eight, about which I may not speak ?

The main force went towards Orthanc - so we followed. White Hand orcs that travel by day ?

Our fears were realised - Saruman of the White Hand had allied with the great Eye. The tower of Orthanc had become a fortress of Sauron's war.

Here I am nearing Orthanc, sneaking up on an orc during a mission for the Rangers : 

Superlative stone-work, dwarven no doubt.

As the Free Peoples gathered for the storm I found my way to the lands of the Horse Lords, the Rohirrim - as they retreated into Helm's Deep to defend against Saruman's treachery.

What master dwarven stone mason created this fortress I wonder ? 


By Durin's Beard we survived a huge battle !

Lord Aragorn was revealed as a true leader that day.

As the Rohirrim galloped to Gondor's aid following the Fire Beacons, I took a darker route beneath the mountains - the dreaded Paths of the Dead ! That path held no fear for me - actually the doors were open and it was empty, apart from lots of bones. Didn't see any ghosts at all. Silly stories I guess. Crappy stone-work. Human.

Finding myself in South Gondor I finally saw the fabled age-old Stone of Erech where Isildur of men had bound the Oath-Breakers, now guarded by a lonely spirit :

An actual piece of Númenor here on Middle Earth ! (Couldn't possibly put a young dwarve in that picture !)

Hmmm ... recent footsteps, human and elve and dwarve ...

Striking towards Minas Tirith through Sth Ithilien I chanced upon Prince Faramir who had some surprising news. I cannot speak about the secret mission of the hobbits he met.

I finally glimpsed the White City from afar, with the Pelennor fields ablaze :

A foul cloud of Mordor has darkened everything now. The orcs of the Eye have despoiled everything.

Here I am at the crossroads between Minas Morgul (the old Minas Ithil, the Tower of the Moon) and the abandoned city of Osgiliath.

The King's statue's head lies in the dirt, but some flowers have grown around it almost like a new crown.

Actually a passing hobbit showed me that, but I cannot speak about them.

Finally, after many years of toil and trouble, I stand at the gates of the ancient city of man - Minas Tirith, the Tower of Guard.

Grandad remembers when it was called Minas Anor, the Tower of the Sun.

Truly masterful and imaginative stone carving using different materials to full effect. Accurate and regular, both beautiful and strong. Dwarven contractors obviously.


So now we await the great battle of our age. Will Rohan come to Gondor's aid in time? Where is Lord Aragorn?

What about the secret mission of the two hobbits in Ithilien which I cannot speak about ? Is Gandalf in the city or not?

Here I am high in Minas Tirith looking for the coming of the Horse-men, with burning Pellenor below, ruined Osgiliath further, and the evil land of Mordor beyond...


Will Mordor prevail? Or the Free Peoples ?


by Kapyong


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