Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Concerning Dorus

If you happen to be passing by 2 Chalk Road in Cotstream on a lovely Shire morning, you might see a strange little figure working tirelessly in his garden. From a distance, you might take him as a thin and badly sunburned hobbit-- And indeed, a distance is all you could take him by, for he would surely retreat back into the house if you tried to draw any closer. Many a Halfling in these parts have called out to the unfriendly fellow, wishing him a good morning in polite hobbit fashion, only to receive an over-the-shoulder back-of-the-hand wave in response. You may take this for being rude, as many others have, but perhaps you'll understand his reasons:

You see, Dorus the Book-Keeper is a goblin. 
Not a very old goblin, mind. Merely a teenager or a very young adult, but a goblin nonetheless.

He lives with the Mallorn Children Of The Fourth Age, adding new members to the record, tending the garden, keeping the kinship house in tip-top shape, and setting traps for trespassers. In his free time, Dorus practices his reading and writing, Free People's speech, and decorates the walls of his secret room with detailed murals; regarding the historic adventures of his friends. He is quite a skilled artist, and dearly loves to paint!

To describe Dorus in personality, I should say he is delightfully playful and clever. So much so that our resident Hunter, who in my opinion is more of an uncultured imp than an Elf, has seen fit to engage in a back-and-forth prank war with him. Dorus enjoys hearing about the travels of the kinship members, and delights the younger ones by telling them stories of his own. He is no longer a grimy goblin, if indeed he ever was to begin with, for he knows how to wash and hang the laundry.

He is a fairly decent baker of biscuits, has excellent manners, and can set the table nicely. Recently, his hobbit friends have taught him how to tend to chickens and brew a delightful cup of chamomile tea. All this to say Dorus is actually a very friendly and accomplished fellow, but does not host any gleeful parties or make out-of-kinship friends for the sole reason of his race.

Now undoubtedly a goblin, book-keeping for a kinship of Elves, humans, hobbits, and a dwarf in the Shire is a remarkable thing indeed. Definitely one in need of explanation... 

It all started deep, deep down in Goblin Town...

There's no hope of reforming a goblin already set in his gruesome ways, so it goes without saying that Dorus was a timid and abused misfit. We do not know if he ever ate anything repulsive, and from the words of Dorus, he doesn't either. Food of any kind was never spared for him. He had to get by on what he could steal, and often had to gulp it down faster than he knew what, before the others caught him and beat him.

Oh yes, poor Dorus was beaten a terrible many times. Perhaps because he was small and pink, or perhaps because there was something noticeably good in his broken heart. I for one believe it was because he was not mutated as the rest of them are, and that they were each jealous of his dear little nose. Either way, his treatment was always dreadful and the poor dear was always unhappy.

He lived in a small, dome-shaped room behind a crevasse in the cave wall. The entrance to which was thankfully too small and shallow for most other goblins. Inside, Dorus could do little more than sit in one place or lay down to sleep, but he liked it anyway because he was safe.

Though not as refined then as he is today, Dorus still loved to paint. As now, he would express himself through pictures on the walls and ceiling of his cubbyhole. Sadly, there were not many colors to be found down in the darkness, so most were drawn with black and very soon, the images began to run together. Thus he took to painting elsewhere in Goblin Town.

It was a very unpopular hobby. The goblins didn't care for his artistic exploits and beat him all the more because of it, nevertheless, he couldn't stop himself. His drawings were the only thing that comforted him, so he took to sketching different images on flat rock slabs and stored them in his cubbyhole.

One particular day, the day Dorus says started the whole thing, he had tried to snag a meal for himself and had been beaten again. This time receiving nothing for his trouble but a kick in his empty tummy. He lay in his cubbyhole weeping about the pain and his rotten luck, when suddenly a similar noise reached his ears. Though it was little more than a distant echo, dancing off the cave walls, he could discern that it was a good deal fairer cry than his own. It did not gurgle in the way goblin throats always do, indeed, he had never heard such a cry before. Curiously, and still wincing from his own hurts, he slipped down the wall and began to follow the sound.

As he drew closer to the Slave Pens, he began to understand the cause of the differences he had detected: It didn't cry like a goblin because it wasn't a goblin, it was a prisoner. For a moment outside the tunnel, Dorus hesitated. He did not like going down as far as the Slave Pens- Beaten so often for himself, he knew what each blow felt like, and watching it happen to anyone else renewed the pain in his mind. He considered turning around and going back to his own misery, but what then? He would cry some more, paint another picture in the same black color, sleep for awhile, then crawl out again and try to steal food... Again nothing would change, his life would persist in the bleak way it always had. The way Dorus figured it just then was that: When one has always been miserable and knows what direction will keep him miserable, the chance at something new and unexpected calls louder than can be ignored. So, in he went.

Not wanting to be caught and questioned, Dorus climbed around behind the guard's tent and scaled the walls up to the ceiling. From so high, he could get a better grip on which cell the noise was coming from. There were no guards in front of it, but quite a few unsavory characters cackling around a large fire. Careful not to loose his grip, Dorus descended slowly and crept around toward the dark cell.

The figure he saw inside was a little bruised and muddy, but over all, she looked as though she were a new arrival.

She was an Elf with black, shoulder length hair and keen blue eyes. She stood behind the rusty bars, weeping softly. Dorus approached slowly. The scuffle of his feet, silent as they tried to be, were caught by her Elvish ears and caused her to glance up. A look of fear was upon her fair face as she quickly backed away from him, to the back of the cell. He could only blink in response. He didn't understand her language, and could barely speak two words of his own... Not that there was anything to say. After a moment, she frowned angrily and spoke to him. Though he did not understand the words then, she had used Free People speech to demand:

"What do you want?"

Dorus acknowledged her expression and tone to be that of anger and tilted his head quizzically. Just then, he heard a grumble and looked over his shoulder. The guards were coming back! Quick as he could, Dorus fled back to the wall and climbed up high, then went back to the entrance and ran away to his cubbyhole. But that night did not resume it's usual pattern for him. He spent a long time thinking about the prisoner and the unkind circumstances they both found themselves in.

All that night, he thought about it, and could not stop thinking about it no matter how hard he tried.
Dorus had never been met anyone who had been as badly treated as he had before, he felt their pain somehow connected them. He couldn't do anything to help her.. Not really. But perhaps he could bring her something. Just a little something. What must she be missing most about her world?

What did her world have that Goblin Town didn't? As big and endless as it was, Goblin Town must have everything the prisoner's world had... Except.. The bright thing in the sky!

.....But how was he supposed to bring her that?!...

Defeated, Dorus reached for a stone slab and his paints, with intent of drawing the Elf girl. Then suddenly the thought occurred to him: All these images he had created were things he didn't actually have, but had known at one point or another. Some were things he had seen for himself, others were from stories he had heard, or dreams he had had. Down near the legendary Gollum's old dwelling, he sketched an image of how he imagined the creature must have looked. And on one wall, he drew the story of 13 Dwarfs and a Wizard who escaped fire on the wings of giant eagles. He hadn't seen either of these things, but they were his because he drew them. He could draw the Elf girl a picture of the bright thing and bring that to her instead!

The only problem with this plan was that he had never seen the bright thing before. Nevertheless, he resolved to see it in the morning and went to sleep. When the hour came, he armed himself with a stone slab and a pouch of black paint, then started out.

Dorus sneaked through the tunnels to the opening, trying not to get caught and questioned by anyone. His heart was pounding wildly in his chest as he squeezed through the crack and stepped out into the world. The view from over the white Misty Mountains wilderness was breath-taking! The icy cold wind stung his face and burned his lungs, but he did not step back. He had never realized just how wide the world was.. It went on forever, and ever, and ever.

Not loosing sight of his cause, Dorus ventured forward a few steps. He could see the light on the snow, but it's source was hiding behind the ledge above him. Placing a hand over his eyes, he peaked out. The feeling was unbearable! He withdrew feeling blinded. The sun was too bright, he couldn't get a good enough look at it. Dorus sat back and considered giving up. It was cold out here, he should just turn around and go inside. Why should he go through so much trouble for a slave anyway? Why should he care?

But then he saw the blank slab in his hand and thought of her tears..

He did care. He didn't know why. There was no logical explanation for it.. Why would a goblin imp ever care about an Elf prisoner who just happened to be shedding tears........ At the same time of his own............ Probably for the same reasons........ The big fiery giant was friends with the Elves, it only made sense that it would attack a goblin if ever it saw one.. Maybe the sun just needed a chance to get to know him. It would hurt, but he was used to pain anyway, so he might as well.

Taking a deep breath and bracing himself, Dorus straightened up and charged out into the snow, turning abruptly and staring up into the sun again. It was so bright and painful! The few seconds felt like hours; yet taking pain on behalf of someone else seemed to lessen the bitterness. In an instant, Dorus had his image and retreated again to the shadows. He still hadn't gotten a good look, but there was a shape in his eyes when he closed them: A circle.

Propping his back against the frozen wall, Dorus squeezed his eyes shut and examined what was there, then opened them again and began to paint. Soon, he has perfect circle on the stone slab, but how would he make it glow? With a glance at the light on the snow, Dorus thought how sharp it's glare had been when he stood under it.. Almost like a sword. Slowly, he sketched a pointy triangle on one edge of the circle, followed by another and another. At last, his work was done!

That night, he sneaked back down to the Slave Pens, the same way he had gone before. There the prisoner sat, daydreaming at the floor in a forlorn way. Upon detecting his presence, she looked at him and shot to her feet. Timidly, he crawled to the bars and sent his picture sliding underneath them, then backed away and waited to see how she liked it. After a moment or two of watching him, she looked down to see what he had brought. She stooped and picked it up, staring curiously at the markings on it.

He watched her intently until a look of familiarity passed across her face. Eagerly, she looked to him. "The sun?" she asked, though he didn't understand. He shrugged in response. She looked away and began to mutter to herself; reminding herself that he was a goblin and thus did not know what the sun was, and even if he did, he would not want to paint it. Then, something Dorus did not at all expect happened. The Elf girl looked again upon his drawing and smiled.

Was his silly image really enough to make her happy even in a place like this? How amazing! There was no time to think about it however, for just then, the guards came sauntering back. As before, Dorus fled back to his cubbyhole, more in thought than before.


Thus Dorus' life took on a different pattern. Every evening, he would venture out and draw something, then bring the picture down to the Elf girl in the cells. Soon, he began bringing other things too. As one time he drew a picture of a pine tree and, unsatisfied with his colorless depiction, brought a twig of it. With each little offering, she would smile and even began to offer him the measly bit of food she was given. Subconsciously, the two became more and more comfortable sitting next to the bars beside one another, until they could pass things between the two of them without any reluctance.

One evening, Dorus brought several slabs and his paints down, and began to sketch as he sat beside her cell. Every now and again, he would glance up and examine her face, then look down again and try to recreate the angles he had just observed. She watched him work quietly, unaware of what he was creating until he handed her the finished product. It was a picture of her.

 She then pointed at a slab and made a motion with her finger, gesturing she wanted to draw something too. Eagerly, Dorus passed it to her, wondering what she would draw. She scribbled for a moment, then turned it up and showed him a picture of a key.

Dorus frowned. He knew what she meant by that, and indeed he had noticed how frail and beaten she was becoming. But to free a prisoner would be an act worthy of death! He'd never get away with it! It seemed to Dorus at that time that their carefully formed friendship was now over. He just couldn't free her! He was too scared. He just couldn't. Quickly, he shook his head and gathered the remainder of his slabs, climbing back over the walls as he had so often done. He fully intended never to come back to her or indeed ever see her again. Yet as he came down behind the guards tent and made for the exit, he suddenly overheard two gruff voices talking to one another.

"Nah, she's no good to us anymore." one grumbled. "She can't lift nuthin', can't hold on to not'ta.. I dun't know what happened, but she's only good for a warg chew toy now."

"Does the king agree?" grumbled another one.

"O'course he do. We're throwing her in the pit tonight. Now finish eatin', we got work to do." Replied the first.

Dorus was horrified. Were they talking about the Elf girl? She was only skinny and weak because she had been sharing her food with him. A decent meal would set her to rights in no time! She wasn't not good for nothing. She-- She was his friend.

All at once, Dorus made up his little mind. Setting down his slabs and leaving his paint forever, he sneaked around the side of the tent and saw the first guard. He sat hunched over, gnawing into a big wad of meat. On his belt, Dorus noticed a loop of keys and slowly reached for them. Years of stealing food had given him a stealthy hand, and in only a moment, he had the jailer's keys. Quickly, he went back up the wall and over to the Elf girl's cage. She was hugging her knees at the back of the cell, looking so weak and sad, but when she saw him, she looked as though she was could not believe what she was seeing. Dorus inserted the first key into the lock and turned it. It opened with a loud click.

"Hee-ree! Hee-ree!" Dorus whispered sharply, beckoning her with a wave of his arm. 

As she stepped from beyond the bounds of her prison, he pointed in the direction they were to go. It was the fastest way out, one not guarded by too many goblins, but guarded nonetheless. Dorus took advantage of the first goblin they met and stole his weapons, using blade and mace to defend both himself and the prisoner.

Soon, they were near the exit, but the alert had long since gone out and a swarm of goblins were behind them. He saw the exit up ahead. It was shut tight, but he knew how to open it. Right nest to is was a wheel and a crank, that made it so even one measly goblin alone could open the giant slab door. With a quick gesture of his arm, he signaled the girl to stand beside the door, than began to crank the wheel as best he could. It was barely open a crack, but thanks to the lack of food she had received, the Elf was able to squeeze through it.

Dorus locked the wheel and began to run after her, but just as he attempted to do so, a blunt weapon powerfully thrown struck him on back of his head and caused him to fall!

He recalls being barely cognoscente of anything except blurry shapes and his own heartbeat, yet he glanced up. The image of the Elf girl standing on the other side of the door became clear for a brief moment: She was staring back at him, a look of deep concern upon her fair face. Already the light had returned to her eyes, the hope of escape had rekindled it...  How nice it was that someone as beautiful and bright as she was cared about him, a nobody. Dorus knew what would happen next. He'd seen it in escaping prisoners before: She would come back for him. They would both be caught and killed... He couldn't allow that. Not after how far they had come.

Be it fate or fortune or whatever, an Elf had befriended a Goblin in the most hopeless of places. If only one of them made it out alive, at least someone would remember that something so amazing had ever happened.. And that someone would be the Elf upon his life! She wouldn't die here... She was never meant to die here.. That's why this impossible friendship happened.

Yes, she would escape and live on, doing whatever Elves do forever.....

He would die today to make sure of it... He had a friend and she cared for him.. That was more than he had ever hoped for, and it was enough.

With one last smile at his impossible friend, he swung his dagger and severed the ropes just as his friend called out for him and tried to come back! The doors slammed together, sealing him in and her out. She would be safe now. She would live. He'd never really lived until she came. Knowing the other goblins would not be able to get the door open before she was far, far away filled Dorus with satisfaction, and he gave in to blackness....

The next thing Dorus was aware of was that he was tied up and standing before the Goblin King. He doesn't remember much of what was said, but he was sentenced to be thrown to the wargs--  Yet only seconds before he was pushed off the edge, an orc intervened... At least, Dorus thought it was an orc; for it was tall, and green, and wearing orc armor. Yet as it fought in his defense and grabbed him up, he found it was actually a human woman! What was she doing down here? And dressed like that?!

A warg was with her and aided her in an even more daring escaped than his had been with the Elf girl. Once in the safety of the icy peaks, she introduced herself as Eraniell, and her warg as Dagger. 

"I saw what you did for that prisoner, Imp. No other goblin alive would have done it, so I think we have a place for a misfit like you in our kinship.."

The rest is history, my friends.

This Eraniell is a friend and travelling companion of our dear Wavern, but being half-orc, she revels in spending time where you wouldn't find a decent soul. She brought Dorus to our kinship house and kept him a secret there for many weeks, slowly introducing him to those she felt were most ready to meet him. When at last our daring leader ;Skalithor MountainZephyr, discovered him, he was put to work as the Kinship Book-Keeper. 

((That's not to say we didn't have our concerns and disagreements in the group.. But it's settled now and of little importance.))

Dorus now has a room of his own, colorful paints, lots to eat, and as many friends as he had ever dreamed of! He says he is happy here, and honestly, I do not know what we would do without him.

Eraniell took her sweet time getting him home of course, using the spare hours to teach him Westron Speech, so he has done his share of travelling. In fact, if your ever traveling through the deeper parts of the world, you may still find a drawing or two made by Dorus all that long ago.

So there you have it. The Story Of Dorus as told by Dorus, recorded by Boppin Baggyns.

(Account taken from Dorus himself)