Faith Can Move Mountains... But Dynamite Works Better
Monday, September 27, 2010
Wild Kingdom Comes To Middle Earth
The screen lights up, and two men are standing side by side in a cavern.
"Good evening. I'm Marlin Perkins, and this is my good friend Jim Fowler. Welcome to Mutual Of Omaha's Wild Kingdom. You'll have to excuse Jim if he's not all that talkative. We've been having quite a time lately. Tonight we're showing you a place you haven't seen before. Jim and I have been spending the last few days in a place called Middle Earth. Jim, why don't you tell us how you got that black eye?"
"Marlin, I got into a fight with something called an Mordor Orc. I think he busted my arm."
"Yes, he was a really ugly sort of beastie. For those of you at home, an Orc is a human-like creature, thought to be twisted and tortured from their original form as elves by the dark powers of Middle Earth long ago. They're distinguished from the similar goblins, who tend to be smaller, and usually exclusively cave dwellers, and not at all like trolls, which are much larger."
"I'm serious. It feels like the bone is swimming around in my arm..."
"We'll have someone look at that really soon, Jim. We also have astonishing footage to show you of creatures called Fell Beasts, which resemble dragons of myth, and of giant creatures that look rather like elephants. And if that's not enough, you'll also see tree-like beings who speak and walk around, referring to themselves as Ents. First though, if you look around us, we're in the dwarf mines of Moria. Long ago, these caves were carved out by the dwarves, who were seeking an astonishing mineral thought to exist deep within these mountains."
"I think I've got a concussion too, Marlin."
"Yes, I'm sure you do, Jim. Just don't stray too close to the edges as we walk along. That's a long way to fall. Now, if the cameraman will show everyone at home just how vast this mine is..."
The camera shows the great black empty space, the high pillars and vast chambers as Perkins and Fowler walk along. Or to be more exact, as Perkins walks along and Fowler hobbles along.
"What was it about dwarves that made them hollow out great cities in the deeps of mountains? Jim, do you have any ideas?"
"My eyes are getting blurry, Marlin."
"Splendid! At least you can still see."
There's a low rumble somewhere close. Off in the distance, an orange light seems to glow from another chamber.
"Um, Marlin, I want to go home."
"Wait! Just wait. It could be a balrog of Moria. A demon of the ancient world."
The rumble grows louder. The glow from the distant chamber intensifies.
"According to our information, a balrog is a tall human-like creature that wraps itself in fire and shadow, and have been known to create weapons out of fire. They're also known to be rather temperamental. Jim, are you looking forward to seeing a balrog?"
"Marlin, I don't think it's a good idea to stay here. I think we should leave."
"Not yet, Jim. Just wait. It sounds like the balrog is coming this way."
"Yes, that's why we should leave. That, and the internal bleeding I think I have."
The creature strides into the chamber. It's enormous, a horned demon, completely black, fire travelling over its body, seemingly not affecting it. It sees the small group of men at the far end, and a whip forms out of one hand, a whip of pure flame. It picks up pace, roaring, heading right towards them. Jim starts running away as fast as his injured legs can take him.
"We'll wait right here while Jim goes and tackles the balrog with his bare hands and teaches... Jim? Jim? Hey, you're supposed to tackle the balrog! Not run away!"