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Joshua Fowler

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Bilbo
Bilbo raised his heavy head from his soft pillows and felt
the warmth of sunlight stream through his open window and
touch his face. Bilbo winced at the light, but did not
withdraw his eyes. It was a comfortable feeling to bask in
the warm rays of the sun just as you woke from your
slumber. Bilbo was an old hobbit, one hundred and eleven
to be precise, and at an age where you needed to feel as
comfortable as possible before you were inevitably taken by
the shadow of death.
Bilbo Baggins was a very rich and very well known
hobbit. To some he was the most peculiar hobbit to ever
walk the face of Middle- Earth. For sixty years before, at an
age of fifty one years, he had willingly left the Shire for an
adventure with a band of thirteen dwarves and a wizard. It
had been to reclaim the dwarven kingdom of Erebor for
Thorin Oakenshield, who was the heir to be King Under the
Mountain. Before his journey he was looked upon by all,
even the elders, as an incredibly respectable hobbit. But
when he returned, he had changed. He was still well looked
upon by most, even to this day, but a select few despised
him with every ounce of their weight.
What he was loathed for, Bilbo could not say. Perhaps it
was his rumored immeasurable wealth. The old stories that
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were told upon his return said that Bag-End was nearly
flooded with gold and today the rumors still circulated. But
his reward was only one chest and it was hardly
overflowing. Or maybe another reason was his handsome
look that he prided himself in when he had been in his
prime. When he arrived back to the Shire, where the hobbits
lived, under their hills behind their round, brightly colored
wooden doors, he was fascinated at how many hobbit
women adored him. He was with more women that year
then all the other years but together. He was definitely one
of the best looking hobbits in his prime. But that didnt stop
the elder hobbits, the ones with snow white hair, croaky
voices, and pale wrinkled flesh, from talking of him over
cups of ale. They commonly noted that Bilbo had
disrespected the hobbit traditions to run away and claim
gold from a fire-breathing dragon.
He could not go one place, even now, without having at
least one hobbit glaring at him in a scolding and stern
manner and shaking their heads in disapproval. But he
managed to warm to the fact that most hobbits were born
with narrow-minds. He would answer the frowns with smart
grins and insults with jests. For no matter what farfetched
lie, rumor or story the old hobbits came up with to ruin his
reputation, he still was well looked upon by most in
Hobbition.
And to add with all his wealth and renowned popularity,
he still he was remarkably unchanged. It was the talk of the
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town that, at one hundred and eleven years he was
remarkably well preserved. But he didnt feel as he looked,
his body was drier than a machine with no oil and his joints
popped with nearly every move .And no matter how
youthful for his age did he look, he was not without
festering scars. On most days he felt the wounds from his
past ventures burn through his skin with a pain so powerful
it felt as though they had been made only the day before. He
had cuts on his left arm, which he had earned from having a
sharp stone in a cave pierce itself into his arm as he fell
down onto the ground. Another was on the back of his head
but it wasnt visible through his hair, as a goblin warrior had
attempted with all his might to strike Bilbos head in two.
The goblin missed his mark, and the blunt end of the axe
only hit him, knocking him into a drifty sleep, until he
awoke, still in the midst of battle, with the warm sap that
was his blood, trickling from the back of his head.
But never did it detract from his majestic handsomeness in
his youth nor did it ever affect his well preserved look to
Hobbition now.
Bilbo, like all of his kind, was a short being, shorter as his
age grew. At the peak of his life, he was a lengthy three foot
seven. His grey curls atop his head were once light brown,
and seemed to turn the color of fire when the sun hit his
head. Bilbo held his hands against the wall to help him arise
from the bed. Although he had aged well past the expected
length a hobbits life, he still looked younger then the
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hobbits at the age of seventy five. No one knew why, not
even himself, but Bilbo had slight suspicions, but whatever
suspicion he had blew out quicker than a candle in the rain.
Bilbo walked over to his door, limping slightly. He
pushed the ajar door completely open. The round door of his
bedchamber opened with a short, sharp creak. He walked
out into his large hallway. It went back to the very end of
the house, marked by a glass window looking over the
grassy hills that rolled beneath him. A strange fact was it
that Bilbo had somehow found himself born into the richest
hobbit family in the village. Hobbition was a wealthy town,
perhaps the wealthiest in the entire Shire, but Bilbo had
lived with the wealthiest family in the town. Now most rich
families seemed to look down on the ones poorer than them.
But his family, the Bagginses, had never once felt disdain
upon the working class hobbits. They worked among them,
drunk among them, and died among them.
The Bagginses had also earned the highest hill in the
town, with the whole thing to their own, making their
houses capable of housing up to four families. As most hills
were large enough for multiple houses, one single hobbit
hole in one single hill signified that the family who lived
there were incredibly rich.
Hobbit-holes, as they were called, were only on one floor.
No going upstairs or downstairs for them. Countless
bedchambers, privies, dining rooms, sitting rooms,
wardrobes, pantries, and kitchens hid in the house. Bag-End
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held forty rooms in all, twenty eight on the left side of the
house and twenty on the right side of the house.
Bilbo made his way down the carpeted hallway in silence.
He was heading for the closest wardrobe, the room across
the hall and five doors down to the right. There in the dimly
lit room he dressed into a white wool shirt underneath a
scarlet vest and black trousers. He stuffed his large, hairy
feet into his maroon boots and left the room. This wasnt a
normal thing to see, a hobbit wearing shoes. Hobbit feet
were as leathery as the soles of any boot. To the working
class it was a simple concept: Why buy a pair of boots if
Im already wearing them?. But the rich need not fester
over such problems, so boots were a way of showing off
your wealth.
The noise of his boots echoed of the hallway walls as he
made his way to break his fast. He made and ate his own
toast and bacon. He checked the main pantry, as he did
every day after a meal. Frodo would need to go to the
market again, after today. Food was scarce in the pantry and
normally Bilbo would take himself to the marketplace. But
after today, Frodo would be the only resident of Bag End.
Because after today, Frodo would be alone, for Bilbo was
leaving. Bilbo wanted to feel the adventure he once had
dance within him again. But his age restricted him from
venturing every corner of the world as he so dearly wished
he could.
He would start by venturing to Rivendell, stronghold of
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Elrond. He would stay with the elves for a time; they were
the fairest creatures after all. From there he expected to visit
Lake-Town, see Dale renewed for the first time and wander
the halls of the Lonely Mountain and see his old friends
again.
Bilbo strayed into the sitting room. He looked at the
empty room, and at the chairs which were firm and hard. No
one had sat in them for months, he reckoned. He walked
over to the mantelpiece that hung over the fireplace. It was
the only mantelpiece in the house that was free of dust. His
ring was here and it did not deserve to be covered in dust.
Bilbo plucked it up and held the golden ring in his the palm
of his hand.
The Ring was his prized possession. When venturing to
the Lonely Mountain, he and the dwarves were captured by
Mountain Goblins that lived deep inside the Misty
Mountains. When the goblin inspectors were grabbing each
of the thirteen dwarves, pushing them harshly towards their
masters throne room, they had all but forgotten little Bilbo.
Bilbo lingered near the bridge and caught the attention of a
goblin perched high above him.
The goblin jumped down in front of him. Bilbo pulled his
sword from his sheath to face the goblin. Steel met steel and
one force pushed against another and before Bilbo knew it,
he and the goblin both had fallen off of the weak wooden
bridge.
His hair flew back against the wind. Bilbos eyes watered
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and he could faintly see a sea green light beneath them.
Suddenly, water filled his lungs. Bilbo swam franticly to the
light above. He was pushed back by the force of the water
swishing around inside him. He finally breathed in the
musty air of the cave. He reached out his arms to feel land
and grasped the damp sand of the lakeside. He reached the
island and opened his eyes, parting the water covering his
eyeball. He heard a faint rasping noise from behind him. He
turned around and saw a creature staring at him from a rock
on the ground. Bilbo fell back into the water, his arm
catching a sharp bit of stone, splitting the flesh in his upper
arm.
He gasped in pain and fell deeper in the water. He let
himself open his eyes and he saw the blue glow of his
sword, Sting, which glowed blue when Orcs or Goblins
came near. He grabbed it by the hilt of the sword, it had
sunk under the water. As he was about to swim upwards to
meet the creature, he found it. Its gold made it shine as clear
as day through the murky water. Thinking nothing of it,
Bilbo grabbed the Ring and slipped it into his coat pocket.
He then swam to the island again to meet the creature.
Ever since that day he had felt a certain urge for it. An
urge to protect, defend it, even kill for it. These feelings
were completely irrational and he knew it. He reminded
himself that it was only a ring and a souvenir of his journey.
It might turn you invisible whence you slipped it onto you
ring fingers, but that was the only thing that it did.
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He had become so concerned for himself that he
researched the history of magical rings. He found that there
were many magical rings, a hundred at least had been made
in the early third age and were sold to the rich highborn men
of Gondor as simple party tricks. Another section of the
history told that twenty rings were made in the late second
age. Three were given to the elves, seven to the dwarf lords,
and nine to the race of men. The twentieth ring was made
in Mordor, a land far to the east, isolated behind the
Mountains of Shadow. It was given to the Dark Lord Sauron
and he began to control the lands of Middle Earth. He was
finally defeated by Issildur and the Ring was lost.
There was a knock at the door. Bilbo remembered that he
was holding a celebration in order of his birthday. He had
invited nearly everyone in the town. Throughout the past
days, friends, family, and other party guests were wishing
him the best of luck. At first it was flattering, but after a
good long while, he became bored of it. He grew to never
answer the door. The only time the door would open was if
it was his nephew Frodo. The only way Bilbo could deduce
it was his nephew is that Frodo always said through the
door, Its me, uncle,
Bilbo would close the door as soon as he opened it and
continue to his packing. He kept it away from Frodo,
however, making sure that he closed the doors of his
bedroom. And if ever Frodo knocked on the door, he would
quickly hide the bags away, in fear of his nephew seeing it
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all.
With a sigh, Bilbo slipped the ring into his pocket and
walked off, deeper into the house. Coming across Frodos
closed door, Bilbo knocked three times against the wood.
Frodo didnt answer or make the slightest noise. Bilbo
knocked on the door again, now sharper than the first
sequence of knocks. And after no reply, Bilbo grasped the
brass handle located in the dead center of the door.
Bilbo entered Frodos dark room, finding that his bed was
empty. Frodo had left for the forest to wait for Gandalf, he
assumed. Bilbo closed the door and entered his office. He
sat himself behind his oak wood desk. The red leather book
he had received at the end of his journey to the Lonely
Mountain. He opened the book. He reached for his quill that
was swimming in the vial of ink to his left. He pressed the
tip of the feather to the crisp parchment and began to write.
He eventually became lost inside his story that he was
writing. It would contain the memoirs of his journey to the
Lonely Mountain and back.
His wrist never began to sore from the hard work. He
could sit in this room forever, writing stories for himself.
Every time the ink at the edge of his quill ran out, he dipped
it back into the pool of black ink and resumed his writing.
The grandfather clock that hung on his wall rang sharply,
piercing the silence like some Elvish blade, signifying the
end of the hour. Bilbo looked up at the two arms pointing to
the numbers. It was noon. Bilbo smiled to himself and took
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his quill and placed it in the vial of ink. He had managed to
write nearly ten pages in an hour. Bilbo flipped to the front
of the book and began to read to himself:

There and Back Again, A Hobbits Tale
By: Bilbo Baggins.

Chapter One
Concerning Hobbits
Hobbits have been living, breathing and working in the
Four Farthings of the Shire for nearly half of a millennium.
They are quiet content to ignore and be ignored by the other
races of the world. Hobbits seem and, truthfully, are of little
importance in the world. We are not renowned as great
warriors nor counted among the very wise. In fact, some have
observed that food is the only real passion shared among
hobbits. This is a rather unfair observation as we are keenly
fond of brewing golden ale, harvesting pipe-weed and farming
lush fruits and vegetables.
But where our hearts truly lie is in peace and quiet. Our
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traditions and routines may seem quaint to others, no doubt,
but it is no bad thing to celebrate a simple life. After all

Bilbo Baggins! a stern voice croaked from outside.
Bilbo drew his gaze away from his red book, finding that an
old woman was glaring at him deeply from outside his
window. Bilbo jumped, falling out of his chair. His bottom
ached from the fall but yet he still rose himself from the
hard cobblestone floors.
The old woman was still staring at him through the glass
window. He stepped across the room, giving off a scowl at
the old hobbit. Finally, he took hold of the midnight blue
curtains and drew them across the window, blocking
himself from the old hobbits view. Bilbo sighed, going
over to the red book and closing it. Perhaps he would
resume his writing another time, when all of this party
business winded down. But that would only be after he left
the Shire.




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Gandalf
Gandalf had been riding for nearly a month. He had
received the invitation to his dear friend Bilbo Baggins one
hundred and eleventh party and took the opportunity to go
and see Bilbo again nearly immediately. With his cart
loaded with the exploding fireworks he was so famous for,
Gandalf set out from Erebor, which he was only visiting at
the time, and rode for The Shire.
And it was a long and hard ride that he had to endure. The
skies opened up almost daily to let the bitter, frigid rain fall
down upon him. His horse leading his cart would rear its
head and try to run for shelter every so often, but Gandalf
kept the creature in check. The days where it did not rain
were the days where it was scalding hot. The sweltering
heat made his robes stick to his skin with sweat. At last he
finally reached the village of Bree. Renowned for its
relative coolness and damp weather, he rested in the town
for a good three days. Then, after his rest, he left the
cobblestone streets and the tall wooden houses and
continued heading west until he reached the Shire.
After that point it was only a matter of hours before he
reached Hobbition where he would see his old friend again.
He did not stop to sleep; there would be plenty of time for
that whence he stayed here for the coming months. At the
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break of dawn, the wizard reached an old abandoned house
that once held an old guard of the border. The man who
guarded the border had passed the year after Gandalf took
Bilbo off into the world. His sons and daughters had refused
to take up the tedious job. Gandalf continued down the
gravel road before him without a second thought, singing to
himself under his breath:
The Road goes ever on and on
Down from the door where it began
Now far ahead the Road has gone
And I must follow it, if I can,
Pursuing it with eager feet
Until it joins some longer way
Where many paths and errands meet and wither then?
I cannot say.
Humming the merry tune under his breath, Gandalf
continued down the path. The sun rose steadily higher in the
sky, lighting up the world with great joy. And eventually the
noon hour came upon the air, and in the near distance, the
rolling hills of Hobbition, colored lushly green were visible
on the looming horizon.
Your late! a voice said from the side of the road.
Gandalf ordered the horse to come to halt with one single
Whoa!. The cart came to an abrupt halt in the road.
Gandalf turned to face the man at the side of the road.
Through the thick trees of the forest, Gandalf could see the
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slender build of Frodo Baggins, Bilbos nephew. The
hobbits bright blue eyes stared up at him with a grin.
A wizard is never late, Gandalf replied gruffly, in a
false state of anger, Nor is he early. He arrives precisely
when he means to.
Gandalf carried the charade along, looking down at the
hobbit sternly. Frodo played the game as well, huffing with
anger and stepping out of the shallow forest. It was absurd
that every time the two greeted each other, this is what
happened. Gandalf attempted to contain his laughter, but
without a word of will, it exploded from his mouth and
echoed around the valley. Frodo joined him in his laughter,
walking closer to the cart until finally the brown haired
hobbit jumped onto the cart, sitting himself next to the
wizard.
Its wonderful to see you, Gandalf, Frodo said happily
through calming laughter.
You didnt really think that I would miss your uncles
birthday, did you, Gandalf said dismissively. Gandalf
whipped his cart-horse in front of him with his thin leather
reigns. The horse trotted forward, kicking up the grounds
soil loudly.
Gandalf clutched both of the reigns in one hand and
reached down into his pockets. Out from the pocket he
grabbed his wooden pipe, already ripe with crisp tobacco
that was already adhered to the inside of the bowl. He stuck
the end of the pipe in his mouth, and felt the smoke of the
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pipe escape his mouth.
So how is your uncle? Gandalf coughed through the
pleasant smoke, grabbing the second reign to hold back in
his other hand.
In his own words, he is doing terrifically, Frodo
recalled, Hes got the whole Shire in an uproar. Thats the
way he likes it, too.
I hear his party is going to be a true sight to behold,
Gandalf looked to his right; the sky was a deep blue, with
no clouds in sight. The sun warmed his very soul, shaking
off any feeling of doubt or fear that Gandalf had brought
with him. Children ran across the green fields and into the
golden wheat farms, shouting out into the morning. Birds
flew from tree to tree, their song echoing around the town.
It better be, Frodo said, It seems as though half of the
Shire has been invited.
To tell you the truth, Frodo, Gandalf chuckled, I
wouldnt be shocked if Bilbo invited half of Middle Earth
to his party. It seems as though his ventures there and back
again have seemed to soften his heart. But not in a bad way,
I can promise you. When a man who fears change changes
into a man who welcomes it, the world gains another grain
of hope that we may all live in peace.
Respectable words, wizard, Frodo complemented,
What goes on in the outside world. Tell me everything.
Everything? Gandalf looked to Frodo in slight surprise,
You are far too eager of a hobbit. It is most unnatural.
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Well I have lived with Bilbo, Frodo reminded him,
Almost my whole life.
This much was true. Frodo was only a baby of nine
months when his parents died. Frodo was too young to
understand, too young to even remember his parents. Bilbo
took Frodo under his wing, as soon as Bilbo heard the
grievous news.
Gandalf eyes wandered through the fields of golden
sunflowers and crimson poppies. Hobbits were already
harvesting the food in the fields, picking the prickly cotton
and wiping sweat off of their foreheads with white, stained
handkerchiefs.
Relatively nothing of importance has happened since the
Rise of Esgorath and the fall of Smaug, Gandalf said as he
rode past the Wide River of Hobbition. Gandalf wondered if
he had lied to Frodo. In all honesty he had grown distant to
news of the world of late. Perhaps an evil was rising off
somewhere. Something other than what had already risen,
Change, Ive found comes slowly, if at all it does indeed
come comes. And I feel that something is about to change.
For better or worse who knows; none but the gods above.
Gandalf looked up at the high hills, sloping above like
small mountains. He could see Bag End up there, wooden
gate, green door and all. Frodo had no reply, no smart
comments to add and no more questions. This seemed
strange. Gandalf looked to Frodo, finding that the hobbits
face was calculating some thought.
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Frodo looked rather melancholy as well, staring very hard
into space. When he finally spoke, Frodos voice was
cracked and full of concern.
Truthfully, Bilbo hasnt been himself lately, he said in
barely more than a whisper, He seems odd, almost
paranoid. Nearly every day for the past fortnight hes locked
himself in his study. Whenever he thinks Im not looking
hes pouring over old maps. Hes up to something, Gandalf,
I know he is.
Gandalf grunted to himself and turned his head forward
quickly, looking at the road before him. Strands of smoke
continued to rise out of his pipe. Gandalf inspected the
tobacco in the little pot at the end of it and found that it was
running rather low.
You know something, dont you? Frodo said in
suspicion. Gandalf looked deeply into the hobbits bright
blue eyes, trying to muster up a lie
No, he said shakily. He didnt intend to say it with
doubt. But Gandalf knew Bilbo. Nearly every year he
visited the hobbit. Gandalf had his suspicions of what Bilbo
could be doing. It was either that Bilbo was reminiscing to
the extreme or Bilbo was planning something. Whether it
was a short trip to some land or a departure from the Shire
for good, Gandalf didnt know.
Frodo cast a doubtful look on his face.
Fine, Frodo said, Keep your secrets. You must have
something to do with it.
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I honestly do not know what Bilbo is doing in the
slightest, he attempted to assure. But Frodo didnt listen.
Before you came along, Gandalf, we Bagginses were
very well thought of by everyone, Frodo rambled on,
trying to sound intelligent, We never had any unexpected
ventures of any sort.
If youre referring to the incident with the dragon,
Gandalf said, recalling the night he arrived at Bag-End with
all the dwarves, I was barely involved. All I did was give
your uncle a little nudge out of the door.
Pushed him more so, Frodo snorted, Him and thirteen
dwarves. But Ill have you know that there are some
hobbits, elder ones as youd expect, that label you as
disturber of the peace.
What? Gandalf gasped, accidently inhaling smoke from
his pipe. Coughing, Gandalf continued, I never bothered
any hobbit, save for your uncle. And Ill be damned if you
can call him a hobbit, with the way he looks upon the
world! No, your uncle is some offspring of nostalgia and
adventure.
The horse began to trudge up the hills to arrive at Bag
End. He could hear the shouts and babble of the children
from a far off distance. In a matter of seconds the voices and
noises became louder and louder. Gandalf turned to see a
group of small children chasing after him and his cart, their
curly hair whipping in the noon wind.
Gandalf! Gandalf! Fireworks! Fireworks, Gandalf! they
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called after him, struggling to keep up with the speed of his
horse. Gandalf chuckled and handed Frodo the reigns.
Gandalf leaned himself to the back of the cart and set off the
smallest firework of the lot. The children cheered, jumping
up and down.
Gandalf sat back down, Frodo giving him back the leather
reigns.
Thats all for now! Gandalf called to the children, The
rest will be at the party!
Gandalf found that the tobacco had emptied from his pipe
and placed it back in his pocket for another time and another
smoke. Bag End was within reasonable length. Frodo stood
up from his seat and turned to Gandalf.
Im glad you are back, Gandalf, Frodo said. Frodo then
jumped from the cart to go where ever he went on Friday
mornings.
So am I, dear boy, Gandalf called back to Frodo.
Gandalf continued to lead his horse until he reached Bilbos
front gate. He dismounted, tying up his horse to the
fencepost. Gandalf walked over to the gate, seeing that a
sign of crisp, large parchment had been nailed to it. It read:
No admittance except for party business.
Gandalf shook his head. He reached for the padlock and
walked into the garden, the gate closing behind him.
Walking up the stone step, he made sure that his long grey
robe didnt catch on anything. The wizard halted before the
door, drawing out his large staff and knocking it against the
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door.
He heard Bilbo call from deep within the house.
No thank you! he yelled, We do not need any more
well-wishers, thanks!
And what of old friends? Gandalf spoke loudly as for
Bilbo to hear.
Gandalf was amused to hear a shocked scuffle from
within the house. The door jerked open and Gandalfs heart
was warmed to see Bilbo again. It was a strange sight to see.
It had been sixty years since he had taken Bilbo on the
journey to the Lonely Mountain and it seemed as though
Bilbo had only aged ten years. He had changed, no doubt,
but only in small ways. His hands were wrinkled, he had a
few grey streaks in his now dirty brown hair and his eyes
were droopy and held an age of their own. But besides that,
Bilbo hadnt aged a day.
Gandalf! the hobbit cried in his familiar voice. Bilbo
began to run out the door to embrace Gandalf in a hug.
Bilbo Baggins! he answered back, kneeling quickly,
Good to see you! Already one hundred and eleven years
old.
Bilbo nodded as the parted.
Strange it appears that you havent aged little more than
a day, Gandalf remarked. Bilbo laughed, waving off the
complement and walked back into his home.
Come in! Come in! Bilbo beckoned to him.
Gandalf bowed his head as he walked through the
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circular doorway, so that he would not to hit his head on the
low ceiling. Gandalf took off his grey pointed hat from his
head and outstretched it in the air.
Ill take that, Bilbo beamed from below him. Gandalf
handed the hobbit his staff and his hat. Bilbo ran to the coat
rack eagerly, placing the hat on the top of the rack and
leaning the great staff against the wall.
Tea? Bilbo offered, Or some wine. I have a bottle from
1296 thats still ripe. Its almost as old as I am.
Bilbo chuckled as he walked down the hall to his kitchen,
Want to open it?
Just tea, thank you, Gandalf told. Gandalf looked
around the house. Nothing changed. It was nearly the same
as it had been sixty years ago. There were a few rich
alterations here and there, no doubt used from the money
Bilbo had earned from the Lonely Mountain. Gandalf
entered a sitting room. The fire crackled from behind the
hearth.
Gandalf sat on a milk white armchair. He found it rather
stiff. Bilbo had more rooms then he knew what to do with it
appeared. Gandalf looked over the contents lain across the
table next to him. He smiled as he found the map he had
given the hobbit of the Lonely Mountain, on the eve of their
quest.
Gandalf grabbed the map, straightening it on his lap. The
map was wrinkled and crisp. It smelled musty and aged. He
saw the red dragon picture next to the great drawing of the
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mountain. It portrayed Smaug, who was now long gone,
whos bones were locked away deep in the dungeons of
Erebor, the dwarf kingdom within the mountain.
I can make you some eggs if you like, Bilbo strolled
into the sitting room, holding two mugs of steaming tea.
No, Ill just have the tea, Gandalf looked up from the
map, outstretching his arm, taking the hot mug from Bilbos
grasp. Bilbo and he took a long drink from their respectable
mugs together. Gandalf swallowed, rolling the map of the
Lonely Mountain up and placing it back on the table beside
him.
Bilbo Baggins! a voice called from the doorstep. Bilbo
cocked his head in the direction of the door, Im not at
home.
Gandalf chuckled silently, Too many friends it would
seem.
Not only that, Bilbo whispered quickly, But thats the
voice of Lobelia Sackville-Baggins. She and her bloody
husband are after my house and my wealth.
Bilbo sat down in the chair on the other side of the table
with a sigh.
Ive got to get away from these boisterous relatives. They
never give me even a moments peace.
Gandalf realized what this meant. Bilbo was leaving;
permanently.
So you mean to go through with your plan? Gandalf
said, sipping the sweet taste of the tea slowly with savor.
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What plan? Bilbo cast Gandalf and offhand look.
Your departure from the Shire, he grinned arrogantly.
How did you know? Bilbos voice cracked with
insecurity.
I always know these things, Gandalf said gruffly, Not
by someones telling but by my knowledge of how peoples
minds work.
You are too smart for your own good, Bilbo shook his
head in dismissive anger.
And you are too eager.
Bilbo snorted with laughter.
I am leaving, if that is what you want to know, Bilbo
admitted reluctantly, I plan to hike east to Rivendell.
Elrond will welcome me there, I trust. From there, I assume
Ill travel to Erebor.
Frodo suspects something, Gandalf warned his friend.
Bilbos eyes looked glazed over.
He is a Baggins, hes smart, Bilbo croaked. In that
moment, the hobbit sounded as old as he was. It was strange
how the age escaped him in little brief, fleeting moments.
Will you tell him? Gandalf asked, Hes very fond of
you, as you must know.
Well of course hes found of me, Bilbo said, He thinks
of me as his father. But I dont know if I can tell him. I
dont know if I have the courage in me. Hell be faced with
the prospect of being alone.
But hell be alone one way or another, Gandalf said
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sternly. He couldnt believe what Bilbo was saying. The
hobbit he knew didnt flinch from the simple task of telling
the truth to his loved ones; his only loved one.
And hed probably come with me if I asked him, Bilbo
smiled. Gandalf could see through that smile. It was full of
sorrow and regret, but also a sense of confidence.
But I think that Frodo still loves the Shire, truly, Bilbo
continued, finishing off his tea with a sigh, Im old
Gandalf. I may not look it, but I feel it in my heart. I feel
stretched. I feel thin. As a result I need a holiday; and one
that I dont plan on coming back from.
Gandalf stared at the raw emotion the hobbit wore on his
face. In that moment, Bilbo wasnt the merry, upbeat hobbit
he was. He was a tortured soul. Something was feeding on
his sorrow. Gandalf didnt know what. But like always, he
had his suspicions.






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Bilbo
Bilbo could hear the roar of the fireworks above him. He
looked up at the starlit sky and saw the green and golden
embers falling gracefully from the sky like rain. He looked
down from the sky, looking upon the scene behind him.
Nearly two hundred hobbits were laughing and dancing.
The jaunty music the band played from their podium
warmed the cold night air.
He heard a throat clear behind him. Bilbo turned to face
the man. It was another hobbit he invited. Two-hundred
guests and counting.
Fatty Bolger! he yelled enthusiastically, How
wonderful to see you!
Are you the welcoming committee, Fatty Bolger
croaked roughly.
I am you see, no one else would take the job.
No one has to welcome anyone, truly, Bolger persisted.
It is my duty, Bilbo said, puffing out his chest proudly,
I invited all these people. I would hope to see all of them
before the night is out.
Come on, Bilbo! the old hobbit pleaded, Just one cup
of ale to hold you over, what do you say.
He considered this in his head. Everyone would see him
eventually, when he made his speech.
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I guess so, Bilbo shrugged his shoulders.
Theres a lad, Bolger chuckled, his bulging stomach
shaking furiously, Ill find Gaffer and his gang, we can all
have some together!
Bilbo followed Bolger where he found a table to sit at.
Bolger left him there to sit for only a few minutes. When he
returned, six hobbits were trailing behind him, most of them
old, with their days numbered; but Bilbo was the oldest of
the lot, after all.
With them, they carried each a frothing brew of ale from
the largest tin mugs available. Bolger held to in his grasp.
Here you go, old friend, Bolger grinned, sliding the cup
across the table. It stopped in front of Bilbo with a short
scrape on the table. The hobbits all sat down.
A few conversations were exchanged at that table, a few
arguments as well. When Bilbo reached the bottom of his
mug, he left the group with a smile and a few promising
sentences. Gandalf continued to display his fireworks of all
colors. The sky was a canvas and his fireworks were the
paint. Gold, green, red, silver, blue, and purple were among
his colors and each were used to magnificent effect.
Bilbo stumbled upon a tent full of children. A withered,
bald hobbit was telling them a story. His voice was
excruciatingly slow and croaky, and the children seemed to
be disinterested as they looked around the room, trying to
find something that would be of at least the tinniest bit of
interest to them.
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The hobbit sitting on the wooden chair turned his body
slowly around to face Bilbo.
Ah, he said bitterly, I am trying to tell these children a
story. May you kindly leave this tent.
Why of course, he was shocked at how the old hobbit
had acted. Had he no respect for the man of the party. Bilbo
deduced that the old man mustve had horrible vision and
left the tent. He realized what he had to do now. He had to
find Frodo, to tell him that he was leaving. Bilbo scourged
the sea of faces and tables. He walked down the red velvet
carpet in the center of the field, which was in between the
two sections of tables.
Bilbo found Frodo, seconds afterward, sitting alone at a
table. Bilbo sat down in one of the empty chairs.
Good evening Frodo, he smiled, Where are all your
friends?
Getting more ale, I suppose, Frodo mirrored Bilbo,
Are you having a nice time here.
Yes, Bilbo said quickly, Nice to see all of my closest
friends again. All two-hundred of them.
Thats an impressive number. I could never have that
many acquaintances.
No, youre a good lad, Frodo, Bilbo said, his heart
thumping in his chest. It was time. This was it, All expect
you to have just as many friends as I do, maybe even more.
He hesitated as he looked into Frodos bright blue,
unsuspecting eyes.
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Im II dont know why I took you in after your
mother and father died. But know it wasnt out of charity.
Im very selfish. You were just a baby at the time, with
potential. Now your sixteen and you are the only Baggins I
know that shows real spirit.
Have you been drinking lately? Frodo interjected, with
a suspecting look on his eyes.
No, Bilbo said, Well, yes but that isnt the point. The
point is Frodo, I am
BANG! Bilbo felt as though his ears split in half. Bilbo
looked at the direction of the noise and saw a smoldering
tent and a large cylinder shape fly into the air. The thing
exploded into millions of embers, forming the shape of a
dragon. The red dragon lunged down towards the ground
with all its force. Bilbo fell backwards in his chair. The
dragon was getting closer. But as it was only ten feet from
the ground, it soared upward again, flying to the moon. The
dragon exploded into a shower of red and gold. It was only
a firework.
Bilbo balanced himself up from the ground. He began to
laugh with the other hobbits. He could see Gandalf running
near the tent, which was torn apart now, and covered in
thick, black ash.
Gandalf crouched onto the ground, raising to hobbits off
of the ground. He displayed them to the crowd.
The fools, Meridoc Brandybuck, he bellowed, pointing
to the one on his left, and the fool of a Took, Peregrine!
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Both of the hobbits were covered in ash. But Bilbo could
faintly see their embarrassed grins on each of their faces.
Gandalf raised himself from the ground and pulled the both
of the hobbits by the ear. He lead them to the washing tent.
Not where they were to be washed, but where the dishes
were to be washed.
What was it, Bilbo? Frodo said softly behind him. Bilbo
realized how lucky he was that the firework had blown off
while he was confessing. He couldnt tell Frodo, not now.
Ill help you with that! he called to some invisible man.
Bilbo hid himself in the dense crowd. He made his way to
the platform where the band was playing behind him.
SPEECH TIME! he yelled to the crowd, Quiet down
now, thank you!
Everyone in the crowd was staring up at him, with silent
intent.
My dear Bagginses and Boffins, he was making up the
speech as he went along, Tooks and Brandybucks, Grubbs,
Chubbs, Hornblowers, Bracegirdles, Bolgers, and
Proudfoots!
Proudfeet! a man called from deep within the fray.
Proudfeet, Bilbo stuck his hands in his coat pockets.
Bilbo could feel the cold touch of the Ring in his pocket.
Bilbo clasped it with his left hand. Soon.
Today is my one-hundred and eleventh birthday! he
cheered. The crowd echoed his cheer. Bilbo laughed shortly.
But alas, eleventy-one years is far too short a time to
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spend with such admirable hobbits! For I dont know half of
you as half as well as I should like and I like less than half
of you half as well as you deserve.
The crowd was confused for what to do. Some clapped,
some booed, and some remained silent with a perplexed
look upon their face.
I have things to do. Bilbo said, I regret to announce
that this is the end. I am going now and I dont expect me to
return to this place. Goodbye.
And with that, Bilbo slipped the Ring onto his left ring
finger and disappeared from the view of the hobbits.
Struggling to hold back his laughter, Bilbo ran through the
crowd and out of the welcoming gate. He sprinted up the
hills to Bag-End.
He arrived there, panting and slowly opened the gate. He
closed it behind him and walked up the stone steps to open
his door.
When he entered his house, he took the Ring from off of
his finger, dropping it in his pocket. He observed the stiff
silence in the house with a smile, and trudged down the
hallway into his room. He slung his bag over his shoulder,
grabbing a nearby walking stick, and entered the nearest
sitting room that had a fire crackling within it.
He set down his bag on the armchair next to him and sat
down. Slowly his hands reached into his pocket. He felt the
coolness of his ring touch his fingers. He pulled out the
Ring, and gazed down on it.
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Bilbo felt his breath escape himself. He began to caress
the ring. Something inside was taking over him. Bilbo
continued to stare down at the Ring.
My precious, he growled finally. Suddenly, Bilbo heard
the door open. He jumped, quickly pushing the Ring deep
into his pocket. He grabbed his back, heavy with clothes
and maps, and ran for the open window.
I suppose you think that party trick of yours was terribly
clever! a voice boomed from behind him. Bilbo turned to
look up at Gandalf straight in the eye.
It was, he answered defiantly, Gandalf, it was only
party trick. You could use a sense of humor.
There are many rings of many special powers in this
world, Gandalf took a seat in the armchair that had
previously held Bilbos bag. Gandalf eyed Bilbo very
suspiciously.
Going already? Gandalf said.
Yes, Bilbo relaxed his body now that he had confessed,
You wouldnt mind keeping an eye for Frodo.
As often as I can, I promise you old friend, Gandalf
smiled emptily, You didnt tell him did you.
I couldnt, Bilbo confessed, I couldnt stand to break
his heart.
His heart will be broken either way, Gandalf replied
smartly.
But do tell him Im leaving everything to him, Bilbo
cast a look at the room. The firelight hitting the walls made
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the place look ancient, Belongings, house and all.
What about your ring? Gandalf toyed with the items
standing on the small table next to him.
Yes, Bilbo lied. Its on the mantelpiece.
Bilbo couldnt part with the Ring. He had no idea why. It
was as though the Ring was controlling him. It was as if the
Ring had a mind of its own. A dark and powerful mind at
that.
From the very day he had found that Ring in the dark
tunnels underneath the Misty Mountains. He knew
something was not right about that piece of jewelry, but
every time the thought came to mind, he shrugged it off.
Bilbo was knocked out of the trance of thought, when he
saw Gandalf rising from the chair, which sagged underneath
his pressure, headed for the marble white mantelpiece.
Wait, Bilbo said suddenly, I forgot it was here in my
pocket.
Gandalf looked down at him with intent as he pulled out
the Ring. Bilbo found himself moving closer to Gandalf.
However, he stopped in his tracks. He couldve sworn he
heard a whisper from directly behind him.
Bilbo frightfully looked over his shoulder, finding
nothing. He looked down on the Ring, its gold glinting in
the shallow firelight.
Yet after all, he spoke in barely more than a whisper,
Why shouldnt I keep it for myself. For me?
I think it wiser to leave the Ring behind, Gandalf told
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33

him, It isnt hard, is it?
No, Bilbo shrugged quickly. He grimaced up at
Gandalf. He saw the depth of the wizards eyes; the cold
calculation commencing from behind him.
And yes, Bilbo confessed breathlessly. His eyes
wandered down, back to the Ring, glowing golden in the
light once more. But this time it was a more beautiful sight,
as though the Ring was tempting him to take it. To take it
and run. To run far away from Gandalf and the Shire.
Now that it comes to it, Bilbo spat bitterly, I dont
want to part from it. Its mine! I found it! It came to me!
There isnt a need to get angry, Gandalf shouted.
If Im angry then it is your fault! Bilbo glared up at
Gandalf, vengeance in his eyes, Its mine. My precious.
Its been called that name before, Gandalf gaped at him
with surprise, But not by you.
What business is it of yours what I do with my own
heirlooms! I know; you want it for yourself! Bilbo yelled
at the top of his lungs, spit flying from his mouth.
BILBO BAGGINS! Gandalf shouted in fury. A cold
wind flew from the wizard. A chill fell down Bilbos spine.
He fell to the floor, pain sprouting from the back of his
head. The fire blew out, casting the room in darkness. Bilbo
looked up at Gandalf in terror.
Do not take me for some conjurer of cheap tricks!
Gandalf yelled down at him, I am not trying to rob you; I
am trying to help you!
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Slowly, but surely, the fire lit itself, and the room was
filled with light again. Gandalf relaxed, becoming his
normal self. A whimper escaped Bilbos lips. He rose from
the dusty ground, holding the back of his head in pain.
Trust me Bilbo, Gandalf persuaded him warmly, Let it
go. You cant hold onto it any longer.
Bilbo nodded.
Youre right, his voice cracked like a childs, The Ring
must go to Frodo.
Bilbo held out his hand, and flipped it so that his palm
looked down on the ground. The Ring fell to the ground
with a sharp clatter of metal.
Bilbo looked back up at his old friend. He smiled bitter
sweetly.
Ive thought up an ending to my book, Bilbo said, and
he lived happily ever after, until the end of his days.
Gandalf held out his hand for a shake. Bilbo met him
there, firmly shaking his hand.
And I am sure that you will, Gandalf smiled deeply.
Goodbye, Gandalf, Bilbo said as their hands parted.
Goodbye, Bilbo, my old friend, Gandalf replied.
Bilbo turned around after a short grin. His footsteps
echoed throughout the hallway. Bilbo reached the green
door, turning the knob, letting in a gust of fresh air. Bilbo
turned around to look upon his grand home for what would
most likely be the last time. He turned around, facing the
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star spangled world. The door closed with a slam behind
him.














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36

Frodo
Bilbo had disappeared. Right before his very eyes, his
beloved uncle vanished as though it was some magic show.
His eyes dilated into a wide stare. He jumped from his seat,
staring at the now empty stage where his uncle once was.
The people around him were gasping and exchanging their
shock breathlessly. The questioned the air, questions that
were running through Frodos own mind.
Is Bilbo okay? Where has he gone? Why has he gone?
How did he vanish?
Frodo stumbled around blindly to the wooden barrels
flowing with a golden brew of ale, fresh from the Green
Dragon. He grasped for one of the stacked mugs to drink
out of. He felt his hands close around one and dunked his
mug into the froth. He pulled the mug from the barrel
whence it was full and steadily moved the cup onto his lips.
He felt the warm drink slide into his mouth and down his
throat. It warmed his body, as if some spell enchanted him.
The ale burned away the blank shock he had felt only a
moment ago.
He turned around, watching as the party guests poured out
of every gate. The indistinct chatter from the fellow hobbits
died away quickly, as they all walked to their hobbit holes
to rest. Frodo looked around at the abandoned party sight.
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It appeared as though Gandalf had left. He hoped he
hadnt left the Shire, maybe just for Bag-End. The only
person left was his best friend, Samwise Gamgee. Sam was
stout in nature; he had large, firm hands and blond curly
hair. He was a gentle soul, not one particular for violence.
I suppose they all have left us to clean up, Mister Frodo,
Sam said.
I hope not, because I am surely not going to clean up
after hundreds of people, Frodo answered across the site,
Why are your hands green?
I was to do some evening gardening, as your uncle
ordered, Sam smiled, wiping the color from his hands.
My uncle, Frodo chuckled to himself, It appears my
uncle isnt here anymore.
Sam was quick to reply, What did happen to him. You
dont know by chance.
For once I dont, Sam, Frodo observed, But if he truly
has gone then I suppose I am your boss now.
Sam laughed. It echoed through the lush hills.
Well, goodnight Mister Frodo, Sam waved, then turned
back to make for his home. Or quite possibly an inn. Frodo
looked up at Bag-End which looked down on the site. He
could see a light from one window suddenly blow out. Bilbo
was collecting his things, most likely. Departing for the
Shire. Frodo finished the last of his ale with a long, sweet
sip.
Frodo walked to the pot, carrying all the dirty plates,
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38

utensils, mugs or other dishes. He dropped the mug into the
pot, which landed in the water with a PLUNK. He sighed,
taking in a gulp of cold air of the night. Stars twinkled from
above him and the waning crescent moon lit up the night.
Frodo slowly made for the open wooden gate. The wood
creaked as he closed it. He decided he would hang around
The Green Dragon for another drink before he headed
home.
It was a long walk, he knew, but he had a desire and he
took it head-on. He wished he was more determined, for
halfway through the long road, his eyes began to droop and
his legs sagged underneath him. He turned back, now
having a desire to rest on cotton and silk. The moon was at
its highest point in the sky by the time he reached the green
door of Bag-End. He twisted the knob at the center and
entered the house.
He caught the scent of pipeweed smoke. Frodo knew
Gandalf must be here. He followed the scent until he found
Gandalf staring into the embers beyond the hearth in a
sitting room. Gandalf muttered to himself. Frodo couldnt
catch what he was saying, but it sounded gravely important.
But then again, Gandalf could make using the privy sound
rather important.
Frodo approached the wizard slowly and carefully. As he
moved, he felt his foot hit cold metal. He looked down. He
found Bilbos gold ring lying there. Frodo leaned down and
picked it up.
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His hands closed around it and he raised himself from the
dusty ground, looking at his finding. The truth dawned on
Frodo at that very moment. Bilbo had left the Shire. More
importantly, he had left him, his nephew all alone.
Hes gone hasnt he, Frodo thought aloud. Frodo looked
up from the ring. Gandalf was still staring deeply into the
flames.
I suspected his leaving, he continued, I just didnt
think that he would really do it.
Gandalf seemed not to hear. Frodo frowned and sat next
to the wizard, cloaked in grey robes.
Gandalf?
Finally, Gandalf withdrew his gaze from the fireplace.
Gandalf turned to look at him. The wizards eyes watered
from the heat of the flames. Gandalfs mouth curled into a
small smile.
Hes gone to stay with the elves, Gandalf told him. The
wizard rose from the cushioned armchair with a groan.
Why did he never tell me? Frodo asked solemnly.
Gandalf shrugged.
Bilbo was always a complicated hobbit, Gandalf said,
Age has only expanded his complexity to an even further
point.
Frodo nodded. He saw Gandalf go to a desk in the room.
He dug through each drawer until he pulled out a single
crisp envelope.
Slip the ring in here, Gandalf commanded with a hint of
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40

panic.
Frodo dropped the cold ring into the open envelope.
Why must I do this? he asked the wise wizard.
Bilbo has left you Bag-End, Gandalf ignored Frodos
questioning. He wondered why, but wizards always did act
in strange ways, Along with all his possessions, including
this ring.
What is special about this Ring, Frodo examined the
contents of the envelope one last time before Gandalf pulled
it away and stamped it shut.
Nothing in particular, Gandalf growled as he fumbled
with the stamp, I think it to be an average magic ring, only
capable of small tasks. But not all my thoughts need be
correct. As for now, we can only hope.
And if it isnt an average ring, Frodo walked to stand
next to the wizard, who was looking out through the
window, into the black night sky. Gandalf looked at the
sound of his movement.
I do not know what we will do if it is far more powerful
than it already is. But the ring is yours for now.
Gandalf handed the closed envelope to him. Frodo took
the paper envelope from the wizards grasp.
I implore you to not open it, to not even touch the
envelope until my return. Keep it somewhere out of sight,
Gandalf advised. Before Frodo knew it, Gandalf was
walking out of the doorway and into the hallway.
Where are you going, Frodo called down the hallway.
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I have some things that I must see to, he heard from the
other side of the wall. Frodo too left the room, watching
Gandalf put on his pointed hat and grab his long wooden
staff which was still propped against the wall.
What things must you see to, then, he continued to
question, Youve only just arrived.
I know I havent been here long, Gandalf frowned from
above him, And I know my visits are few and far between.
But trust me Frodo; I have questions that need to be
answered.
Frodo nodded rapidly. Gandalf took a knee, his old,
sunken eyes staring into his, at the level.
For now Frodo, he said in just a whisper, Keep it
secret. Keep it safe.
And with that, the wizard rose and turned for the door;
and without even a single final look, Gandalf opened the
door in front of him, and closed the door behind him.
Frodo stood there momentarily, hearing the footsteps fade
away into the night. He suddenly realized he was still
carrying the envelope. Frodo looked down on it, the red wax
seal of the Baggins family freshly imprinted on it.
He wondered what power a ring could have. How could
one ring be so dangerous as to send even a wizard like
Gandalf into a state of confusion and fear? He didnt know
many stories of rings; come to think of it, he didnt know
any stories of rings, besides his uncle finding it in Gollums
cave.
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Frodo walked back into the sitting room. The fire was
slowly dying away. He examined the place, and found one
of Bilbos chests lying under the round, open window.
Frodo squatted in front of it and opened it.
Frodo could smell some ancient smell inside of the chest.
It wasnt particularly pleasant, but it couldve been worse.
Inside it he found a few gold coins, a knife or two, a map of
the newly rebuilt city of Dale, and spare bits of old
parchment.
Frodo buried the envelope carrying the ring deep within
the chest, almost at the bottom of it. For good measure, he
took a blanket that was on the couch in the room and placed
it sloppily inside of it. He slammed the chest shut and rose
from the ground. He stared outside the window, looking out
at the world. The Shire was still green, the sky was still
black and the stars were still pearly white. Although so
much had changed in such little time, nothing changed at
all. Frodo shut the window and walked to his bedroom to
sleep. Although he had felt drowsy and tired only fifteen
minutes before, Frodo couldnt sleep now. Thoughts of the
mystery of the ring ran through his mind, as well as his
sorrow that Bilbo had left him, perhaps forever. He finally
felt his eyes begin to droop as he thought to himself that
perhaps he could persuade Gandalf to take him to Bilbo, the
next time the wizard came to the Shire. With that happy and
peaceful thought now running through his mind, Frodo slept
at last.
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43



Gandalf
Gandalf felt the reigns blistering their way into his old
hands. The pain felt distant and cold, a dull edge to it. For
he was a wizard and would not be brought down by a gash
in the skin made by a simple leather whip. It had been a
hard ride for Gandalf. It was now a New Year, well into the
coldness of January. He had not stopped his ride to Minas
Tirith since he departed from Bag End. That was in
September and it was now January. He and his horse were
finally standing upon the great hills of Gondor. They were
as steep and large as the ones in the Shire, but not nearly as
colorful. The grass was faded and sad looking, as if some
sort of feeling of dread was inside them. It hung on the air
too; it was a cold air, unfeeling and distant, just like the pain
in the palm of his hands.
Gondor was a realm of men, neighboring Rohan which
was west of the place. The journey was especially longer,
seeing how Gondor was far, far, far east of the Misty
Mountains, and deep within the south.
Gandalf looked at the empty fields in discontent. He had
to move, he wanted not to linger when the freedom to stay
in one place was so near. His horse snorted underneath him,
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bowing its head to the ground, feasting on the off-colored
grass below him. Gandalf waited, food had been scarce for
the creature, he didnt blame it for eating the nearest thing
to him.
Thoughts wandered into his worries. He had sent one of
his allies, Aragorn Elessar, to search for the whereabouts of
the creature Gollum and, if he found the thing, question it.
Aragorn was a man he had known for a long time. But if
Aragorn was any normal man he would have already been
long dead by now.
Aragorn was one of the Dunedian, a rare trait among men
that allowed possessors to live until a second century. This
power, per say, was only found in those who were heirs to
the throne of the kings. The throne of Gondor. Time after
time Gandalf urged the man to claim it, but time after time
Aragorn denied it. Aragorn was that sort of person; for his
ancestors had all suffered from their ultimate corruption. He
had decided a long time ago that he did not want that power.
But he would yet still make a good ruler. He was fair, just
and noble, as well as a friend and sympathizer of the
common man.
Gandalf looked up and examined the sky. It was gray.
Gandalf had not seen the sun for nearly a week and he
hoped the clouds would pass over soon. But a light was in
the sky, however. It was a small one, but still noticeable to a
point.
He turned his head to the east. He saw it. The Ash
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Mountains that engulfed Mordor in its own darkness stood
there, glaring. The clouds grew almost black there. But a
deeply orange glow emitted from the peaks of the harsh
stone mountains. It felt unnatural, the light did. Gandalf
didnt stop staring at the light. It was drawing him in,
whispering to him, like. His eyes began to burn; the light
seemed to be getting brighter. Panic engulfed him,
strangely, he wanted to look away, but he couldnt. It
hypnotized him.
The whispering and muttering in his mind grew louder
and louder with each second. The deep and comforting
voice was reeling him in, like he was some fish stuck on a
worm. Gandalf jumped in his saddle, dropping the leather
reigns when he heard blood curdling screams from inside
him. The cold air gnawed at the wounds in his palms. It
stung like a bee; he winced holding his hands together in
pain.
But the muttering grew more aggressive. For the first time
in years, Gandalf was truly frightened. Gandalf franticly
leaned down to grab the reigns again. The voice inside his
mind was encouraging him aggressively to ride into
Mordor. To do it and be done with it. But Gandalf resisted
the strung urge that loomed over him like a giant. He
commanded the horse to ride to Minas Tirith and it did so.
As he got nearer and nearer to the city, the voices grew
quieter and quieter until he was only hundreds of feet away
from the gate. Then they stopped.
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He could see his breath pushing its way out of him
quickly. The voice was completely and sincerely gone. He
stumbled to find steady breath for a while. He looked down
at his hands; the pain was slowly fading into oblivion. The
reigns imprinted their likeliness onto the flesh of his palm.
Around the wound his flesh was a hue of bright red, nearly
the color of a red sunset. But inside the narrow long shape
of his gash, it was a ghostly white. He sighed deeply and
withdrew his gaze from his hand.
His hands found their way back to the reigns as he let his
horse continue forward to the gate. He peered up at the great
city.
Minas Tirith was a city built on a large mountain. It was
tiered, like a party cake, and the walls and streets were light
grey stone. The color of all the buildings on each layer was
that shade of grey as well, looking as if the city were white.
For it was nearly a thousand years ago, two ages from
this, the third age, that the men of the south were dwelling
the rolling hills to look for a place to settle. The found this
mountainous range and looked to the smallest one, the one
furthest east. And from then to nearly the end of the First
Age, the sharp clank of the pickaxes hitting the stone of the
mountain filled the air.
When they had finished their carving, there were five
tiers. The first was the poorest, but yet still grander than
even the lords of Rohans homes. It was built on the ground,
but the straight walls of the mountain were to their backs. A
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grand marble wall, twenty feet high, surrounded the place,
with three gates. One gate to the west, one to the east, and
one dead center in the middle of the wall.
The second tier was only a step grander then the houses
and buildings below them. It was in fact of an equal stature
with those above them. Here were homes, just like the tier
below, but it was also a place of churches, libraries, healing
houses, inns and other fine establishments.
The third was that of an equal look to the one below it,
though having less public places to go to when bored. The
fourth one, however, was a beautiful sight to look upon.
Here were the mansions of the lords of Gondor, every single
one of them. Nearly as white as clouds, the palaces
stretched to a wide length, probably housing many useless
dining rooms, parlors, sitting rooms, maybe even one of two
empty rooms.
Gandalf truly saw no point in this. With so many rooms
and only one man living there, it seemed too empty. But this
just might be because Gandalf was a man of the road, a
wanderer looking for some mystery to delve into.
Unlike his fellow wizards such as Saruman, who lived in
his tall black and pointed tower of Orthanc, surrounded by
the gardens, forests, and rivers of Isenguard, or even
Radagast who had a place of his own in the forest of
Mirkwood, due north from Gondor, he did not have a home.
And finally, on top of the mountain, flattened with smooth
stone, there laid the great castle of Minas Tirith. It went
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across the whole width it was given. Two towers were at the
end of either side, soaring above the roofs of the seat. The
one of the left was topped with a pointed black roof made of
cobblestone. The one on the right however had no roof at
all. But it did have three men standing there, on the lookout.
The horse stopped in front of the middle gate. Gandalf
took off his hat, the shadows casting his face in darkness
vanishing. One soldier in silver armor walked forward and
stopped in the wake of Gandalfs steed.
Gandalf the Grey, he said looking up at him, You are
most welcome.
The hilt of the mans sword was glimmering. Gandalf
looked to the skies above him; the clouds finally parted.
Gandalf looked down at the helmeted knight.
I would hope so, his lips curled into his first smile in
days. It was an odd feeling now, as he was so urgently set
on reaching Gondor, he had no time to even talk with
people on the road.
Lord Denethor would want to see you in his halls, I
trust, the man suggested boldly.
I would rather my presence not be known, Gandalf felt
the sunlight hit his cheeks, I will trust you and your men to
not discuss my being here.
The knight bowed and turned to the two men standing on
each side of the gate.
Raise it! the solider bellowed. The two other knights did
so, the drawing sound of metal raising a murmur in the
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crowd beyond the gates. Gandalf forgot that markets lie
directly beyond the center gate. He should have taken route
to the eastern gate. But it was too late. Besides, the
easternmost he went, the closer to Mordor he would get.
Gandalf gave a sharp jerk on his horse and it trotted
forward. He would have to make this visit quick, Denethor
would hear of his arrival within the next hours. Firstly he
rode to the stables, a stone building able to fit ten steeds on
only one side. He road into one of the open gates and
dismounted. He grabbed the rope strung to the saddle of the
horse and tied him to the fencepost.
He left the stables and made for the nearest staircase. He
looked at the sky for a brief moment as he walked. By the
location of the sun in the sky, sunset would commence only
one hour from this moment. He looked back at the path
ahead of him. To the furthest east and furthest west of each
tier in the city was a large stone staircase. It was a place that
would very often be crowded. As there is only two main
paths in the city, not including the streets, it was
troublesome and a very loud way. But Gandalf pressed on
up to the second tier and up to the third. The Hall of
Records should be on the third tier.
The clouds were melting away like ice on a lake in spring,
and the sun grew hotter and hotter. His fabric on his back
and all around him burned dully. People dressed in fine
vintage passed him, not noticing which he was thankful for.
Routinely the market men shouted out their sales and
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begged for change. Gandalf ignored them, just as anyone
else.
He finally reached the great building that housed all
accounts of the lords and kings of Gondor. It was just one
wide and tall stone building, pillars keeping up the roof. The
stone was carved into beautiful images of graceful angels.
He felt the coolness of the shade as he entered.
A short, balding man smiled a toothy grin as he walked in.
The man stood behind a tall desk, built up from the ground.
A large stack of parchment was at his inspection. It was a
small room. Before him was the desk, two doors on either
side, symmetrical. On each side of the room was two
torches hung on the wall and two chairs below them. The
wall that held the main door held nothing but the door.
Eh! the man called out meekly, The wizard Gandalf as
returned, eh?
The man chuckled, leaving his desk and walking forward
to Gandalf. Gandalf smiled uniformly and held out his hand.
The old man shook it vigorously.
There be anything you would be meaning to find ere?
the man walked back over to his desk, beckoning Gandalf to
stgand before him.
I would like to see the accounts of Issildur, he told
importantly. The old man looked up from his stack of paper.
Magyar!
After this call, the door knob of the door to the right
fumbled before it twisted and opened. Out came a short,
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stout, bald man, his back hunched over his head.
Take this man to the accounts of Issildur, the man at the
desk barked at the hunchback. The hunchback nodded
fervently, beckoning Gandalf to follow him.
Thank you, Gandalf croaked as he passed the man at the
desk.
Any time! the old man squeaked.
The hunchback led Gandalf to the threshold of the door to
the left. The hunchback quickly pulled out a key from his
leather, tight belt. With a click the door opened, revealing a
steep and narrow staircase, lit with torches stretched far
apart from each other.
Gandalf followed the hunchback down the stairs. They
reached a small landing in which a dusty tunnel lay ahead of
it. They walked down the dim lit tunnel. With every five
feet or so a doorway would stretch out to the left. The two
of them passed five or ten of these until the hunchback
entered one.
Inside was a desk of oak wood, with scattered papers on
it. Even more papers were piled on the floor next to it, and a
long, tall bookshelf was filled to its limit with these scrawny
and tattered papers of old. Sitting down at the table, he
allowed the half-wit to leave him to his thoughts.
He grabbed a thick wad of papers and scanned through
their contents. Anything about a ring, anything. He had to
be sure that this ring of Bilbos, well no this ring of
Frodos, was not the One Ring. The One Ring of Sauron.
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Nearly all of those in Middle- Earth knew the tale,
especially the men of Gondor.
For nearly an hour he found nothing of any importance to
him. Until he reached the penultimate parchment in the pile.
It was especially tattered, rips coming in at every direction.
There was even a chunk of paper that was torn from the
bottom left corner.
His eyes read it eagerly, like a man having his first drink
in days.
Year 3434 of the Second Age,
The Finding of the Ring of Power
It has come to me. The One Ring. It shall be an heirloom of
my kingdom. All those who follow in my bloodline shall be
bound to its fate, or they will disgrace Gondor for generations
to come. For I will not risk any hurt to the Ring, it is too
precious to me.
Although I buy it with a great pain, for the markings on the
band of the Ring are beginning to fade. The writing, which at
first was as clear as red flame, has all but disappeared. It is a
secret now that only fire can tell.
s t
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u v
At the bottom of the page were the markings of the Ring.
He had to go back to the Shire now, to see if Frodos ring
was the One Ring.
He left the pages there, and ran up the narrow stairway
and left the place with a flash. He had been nearly two hours
here, he couldnt risk any of his time here anymore. Whence
he mounted his horse and rode out of the stables in a hurry,
he turned as he rode out of the gate and saw Boromir, son of
the steward of Gondor, waving his arms, trying to make
Gandalf come back. His size quickly turned to that of an ant
as he rode back west for the Shire.
Gondor had long since not had a king. The bloodline of
Issildur had run out. Or so most people thought. There was
still Aragorn left. Aragorn could bring the return of the
king, if he dared so to do it.
But he did not want that power as he had told Gandalf
again and again. A shame, Gandalf thought, he is wiser than
most his kin. He would make a great king.
But it was the stewards job to rule over Gondor now. And
the current steward, Denethor, was not a ruler you would
look up to. He was arrogant, without justice and lazy. His
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sons would be twice as better as Denethor ever was or will
be. But Aragorn would be twice times better than their rule.
And he yet still had to hear of Aragorns findings. He
hoped it to be soon. He needed to know it all. He needed to
be sure. Because sometimes suspecting just wasnt enough.













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Frodo
It was a stark cold day in March. Spring had not yet
woken from its slumber. Winter had overtaken most of
March now, getting weaker, but the frigid cold still made
the hobbits shiver with a fear of freezing.
Frodo wondered when it would end, if it ever could. He
wished it to quicken, he loved the coolness of spring. It was
his favorite season. For here the summers were scathing hot
and the winters freezing cold. Fall was a fine season, true,
but it was only the first half that was enjoyable. By the
latter, winters sharp teeth were beginning to bite down on
him and what was once all green looked as though it were
about to die.
The skies began to turn as purple as summerwine, the
clouds stretching out for the sinking sun, not wanting it to
leave. Frodo was looking at the sky from behind a small
circular glass window in his favorite sitting room. He
withdrew his gaze and quickly grabbed his winter cloak
with a hyper eagerness from his coat rack. It was drawn
from the tall piece of furniture so quickly, that it fell over.
Cursing, Frodo huffed as he positioned the rack back where
it stood only seconds before. It was a surprisingly heavy
piece of wood. He supposed his ancestors did not care for
the usual hollow racks that most hobbits used. They mustve
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instead crafted this rack themselves. He had never seen
something like this have pure wood at its center.
Frodo groaned as he found a dark mark, much like a
bruise on human flesh, on the rich spruce hardwood. He
clumsily fastened his cloak and was off as quick as his
decision to leave. Tonight, he felt he needed to spend time
at the Green Dragon.
Not because he was troubled on this day. Far from it, he
had enjoyed today much better than any of the others in the
week. He chose to drink his fill at the bar because it had
been a long time. However, he did have troubles in his
mind, but none were repeatedly festering in his mind. These
thoughts and concerns had been in his head for a while. His
main concern was for Gandalf. He had no idea where the
wizard had gone to, but he had left so long ago. The
memory was as distant as the sun which was now half
hidden beneath the rolling hills, which were just starting to
bud back to their green color again, and it felt like he had
left years and years ago.
But the only reason this had bothered him was because he
promised he would returned. He vowed it, in fact. If he had
not given the word, and left explaining he was off again, it
would have been just like every other time he vanished from
his life. Only the difference was, he would be living alone.
His other memory that was worrying him was of his
uncle, Bilbo. Bilbo had been gone as long as Gandalf, but
unlike the wizard, he knew where he was. Bilbo was most
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likely feasting on the finest food in Middle Earth with the
elves in Rivendell. He was enjoying himself that much was
probable to Frodo. Bilbo had always been a hearty and
merry man, ever since his return from Erebor.
He knew he wasnt always like that.
In the days before our meeting, Gandalf told him once,
what was nearly ten years ago, He was a nervous little
hobbit. Close-minded, just like the elders who raised him.
He disapproved of everything that would eventually come to
pass in our adventures. But his adventures changed the little
hobbit. And he learned.
Frodo missed those days. The days where Gandalf would
call for young Frodo near dusk and would tell him ancient
and adventures tales while Frodo sat on his knee near the
hearth. Now darkness seemed to fall on the whole world.
Frodo didnt know what it could possibly be, put it was
there, staring him in the face. Who would blink first?
Frodos last concern and most grievous was the ring. It
was simply a matter of what was it?, and Frodo expected
no answers until Gandalfs return.
Frodo continued down the winding path he had once
partially treaded the night of Bilbos party. The sun was
completely gone from the sky when Frodo reached the
grounds of the Green Dragon. It hadnt changed in all these
years.
It still overlooked a small still lake, green in nature, and
roaring with wildlife. The building itself was not much
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different to that of a hobbit hole. Its small yard was closed
in by a white picket fence, it blocked the whole cobblestone
porch but for a gap in the center where two hobbits could
walk abreast. Tables stood outside the place, unused and
broken. There were tattered umbrellas folded underneath the
four tables. No one ever sat outside in the winter. But by
summer, the porch would be alive with chatter of common
folk. He opened the round door, ironically yellow and not
green. The light spilled out onto the ground behind him and
the sound of talk and song filled the air. With a slam, he
closed the door behind him.
Immediately, his ears caught a song that was just nearly
to be finished. The strings of instruments deepened in tone
and finished off their progression. The flutes and the
tambourines died down as well, now leaving the room filled
with only chatter and slurps of sweet, brown ale.
A grin split across his face. He could smell the ale, he
could taste it. He was so close to the greatest refreshment
that he couldnt control himself. He walked very quickly to
the bar, nearly tripping on himself, and ordered the largest
cup, filled to the top with ale.
Within seconds he felt the cold tin cup being pushed in his
hand. He eyed it with greed, and tipped the cup over his
mouth, feeling the warm liquid move down his throat like
lava on stone. The warmth seemed to fill up his whole body,
energizing him to an extent that he wanted to move; he
couldnt stand in one place anymore, it was too hard.
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He stumbled around the place, and sat on the nearest
empty chair. He looked down at the froth in his cup, it was
nearly half gone. He shrugged, regretting that a drink could
slip past him so fast, and drank to the bottom of the cup. He
set it down on the hard table when he finished, wiping the
remains on his face with his sleeve.
It was strange how everything was already blurring in
front of him. He heard voices begin to sing from above him.
On one of the tables near him, their heads nearly brushing
the ceiling of the inn, his friends Meridoc Brandybuck and
Peregrine Took were beginning a song. But their names
were far too long and complex for casual use. Frodo and
Sam simply called them Merry and Pippin.
Music began to fill the room. It was upbeat yet familiar;
Frodo mustve heard it before, but he did not remember.
Suddenly, Merry and Pippin were already singing, in
unison. There high voices filled the room, and others sang
along and danced beneath their feet.
Hey Ho, to the bottle I go!
To heal my heart and drown my woe!
Rain may fall and wind may blow,
but there still be many miles to go!
Sweet is the sound of the pouring rain
and the stream that falls from hill to plain!
Better than rain or ripping brook
Is a mug of beer inside this Took!
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The inn cheered and the two hobbits jumped from the
table and bowed. Frodo, who had been dancing around them
as they sung, felt his legs wobble; he nearly fell, but caught
himself on a table. He groaned as he felt a splinter from the
harsh wood rip into his skin.
He examined his hand, and found the tip of it poking out
of his skin. He pulled it out, a small clot of blood gushing
out to cover his palm. He clawed for the nearest napkin and
simply wiped the blood off.
He stumbled over to the bar once more, and ordered
another mug of ale. He scanned the tables to find anyone he
knew, besides Merry and Pippin, who were now far more
drunk then he.
He saw Sam sitting next to his father, Gaffer Gamgee.
There were other friends of Sams father at the table, most
of them with a pipe in their mouth, smoke from their mouth
rising to the top of the room.
Frodo hurried over, carefully not spilling his drink. As he
drew nearer, he caught a glimpse of their conversation.
.old Bilbo Baggins, he was a cracked one, sure as
daylight, one old hobbit said from across of Sam.
I hear young Mister Frodo is going down that path! an
even older one said in a high and hoarse voice. The elder
began a fit of coughing on the smoke of the pipes around
him.
And proud of it! Frodo cheered when he reached the
table. The old man jerked up from his slouch, his chair
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falling back with a clatter.
The inn around him laughed with amusement. The man
rose from the ground, picking his chair back up, glaring at
Frodo. Frodo sat down next to Sam.
Sam chuckled, shaking his head. Frodo took his first gulp
of his second cup of air. Once again that air of joy blew
over him. His vision grew even blurrier, the voices of
conversation began to slow down and echo.
Well its no trouble what happens outside of the Shire.
Not to us anyway, the voice was unrecognizable. It was
stretched and slow. It couldve been Sam, it couldve been
Gaffer. He didnt know.
All Frodo knew is that a voice at the back of his head was
urging him to drink more of the ale. But he didnt want to,
his stomach had turned to lead. It ached and made his
bowels groan. His throat was preparing to spit out what he
had drunk.
Keep your nose out of trouble and no trouble will come
to ya, another hobbit conquered.
Shame that old Bilbo Baggins didnt listen to those
words of wisdom. He was a fine hobbit, but now, I heard
rumors he killed himself in that vanishing trick. The bloody
buffoon; I say piss on him and piss on the wizard that
caused all this trouble.
Frodo felt anger soar over him like a wave of ocean water.
He jumped out of his chair, dropping the mug which broke
to shards of tin on the ground. He felt the ale splash over his
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bare feet. He leaned in to the hobbit who was talking. He
didnt know who it was; it was all too blurry now. But that
insolent chatter came from his direction and Frodo had
always had a good ear.
Piss on you! he screamed to the man. His voice was
slow to, just like the rest of them.
Young Frodo, he chuckled with loathing, The apple
doesnt fall far from the tree, it seems. Oh, but I forgot, that
filth addled Bilbo wasnt your father, not even your mum.
Both of them drowned I recall. I always hated them. Didnt
respect the traditions! I hope they had a good time, chocking
on the cold winter water! I hope you and your uncle suffer
the same fate, as that is what you deserve!
Frodo knew now what to do. He climbed onto the table
and jumped on the hobbit. He screamed as Frodo sent his
blunt fist down into his face. The chair fell to the hard
ground with a thud. The old hobbit tried to punch him, but
Frodo had him pinned to the ground. He felt warm blood hit
his fists and then pairs of hands grabbing him.
They must be rewarding me, he thought. But far from it,
they threw him on the ground and it felt as though Frodos
head exploded. The hard floor beneath him had reached up
and smacked the back of his curly haired head.
Frodo heard roars of dismay and the scuffle of footsteps.
It mustve happened fast. But it felt like a lifetime, and that
was how Frodo liked it. And all Frodo knew from then on
for awhile was blackness and the face of Gandalf peering
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down at him through the darkness and the old hobbit saying
his foul and vulgar words slower than ever.
Frodos eyes fluttered open like the wings of a dove. The
grand ceiling of Bag-End was staring down at him,
watching over him. Frodo saw the reflection of sunset on
the mirror opposite him.
How long was I asleep, he asked himself? He had no
answer. He sat himself up. He was in his own bed, it was
freshly made and a glass of water, the ice in it seeming to
have melt, stood not one sip drunk from it. Sam mustve
cared to him. No one else would after that. He had drunk to
much that night. It mustve been that he was sub-concisely
depressed by his worries and that he could only drink it off.
He wished he could apologize to that hobbit, but already the
man seemed to be one of those men who wouldnt accept
anything.
He stumbled out of his bed and reached for the cup. The
dull warm water filled his very stomach, waking him up as
though it had been poured on his face. His eyes widen, and
the sleep in his eyes parted.
His stomach gave a shudder, a command for supper, and
Frodo followed the orders, like his stomach ruled over him.
And it did in a way. Hobbits, and this he openly admitted,
had a strange extreme passion for food. In fact hobbits had
nearly ten meals in one day.
There was breakfast, second breakfast, elevensies,
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luncheons, afternoon tea, dinner, supper and finally dessert.
And by the time dusk had faded into a darkness as black as
ink, he had ate his fill and headed towards the sitting room
to read a book.
He scanned the tall shelf of dusty books. Most had not
been read for years, and most Frodo had never touched. But
Frodo had a mind to finish them all. After all, what else was
he to do? He never had a mind for athletics, he wasnt built
for that kind of thing. He never in his life wanted to farm, it
was dull work. He never even liked pipe weed much, he
couldnt handle the smoke.
He had a passion for collecting wine and fishing, but fishing
only came in the summer and even a dozen bottles of wine
could run out in a week under Frodos house.
Frodo chose a thick red leather-bound book entitled, The
Dragons of Mazmoore. The back of the book told that it was
about a young man living in the far off world of Mazmoore,
and his adventures he undertook as a dragon slayer. He sat
himself down on a nearby cushioned couch and opened the
book. He began to read eagerly. He found himself engulfed
in this world of Mazmoore. Only two chapters in, did he
decide to dedicate the night to reading the book, or until he
fell into sleep.
And it was a sad truth that only four chapters in, when
young Frazier discovered his tenth dragon of that year, the
first dragon in the book, his eyelids bean to droop and sag,
and the fumes from the dying ember acted to hypnotize him
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into a dreary, far off sleep.
BOOM! BOOM! BOOM!
Frodo jerked awake with a start. The loud noises were
from his front door, someone was breaking in. Frodo made
a noise between a gasp and a scream and ran to the kitchen.
From within one of the drawers, he brandished a sharp
cutting knife and snuck towards the sound, carefully hiding
himself from the intruders sights.
The sound of the thief stepping into the home reached him
and he ran to the green door, seeing the tall silhouette of a
man against the moonlight. It was no hobbit, he feared. He
roared bravely, the knife held high above his head. He was
getting closer now, closer and closer with every change of
pitch in his battle cry.
He was so close now that he could see a brief glimpse of
the mans face. His hair was a tatter, greasy with sweat and
unkempt and by the light of the moon it looked gray. His
face was oddly wrinkled. An old man was infiltrating his
home. His scream became a deranged laugh now. The last
thing he saw was the mans eyes. They were full of depth
and calculating. They looked as though they had seen
numerous lifetimes. And then, he felt his feet quickly leave
the ground as the man raised an arm in the air. Frodo flew
backwards, landing on the cold hard ground and skidding
down the hallway until he hit a wall.
Frodo, the man had a familiar voice, Now is no time to
act foolish!
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Frodos head was spinning. The old man was walking
near him and kneeled down in front of him. His vision came
into sharp focus. It was Gandalf!
Gandalf, he cried, spluttering, I thought.I didnt
knowwhere were you?
The wizards hand met Frodos and pulled him to his feet.
Frodo looked down and up at Gandalf. His cloak was torn at
the edges; mud covered the bottom of his boots, and he was
hunched over, disgruntled. And all he said was simply Is it
secret? Is it safe?
Frodo knew of what he was speaking of. The ring.
It is still hidden, Frodo lead Gandalf into the sitting
room he hid the ring in, May you light a fire?
With haste, Gandalf nodded, kneeling in front of the
fire. Frodo walked to the chest in which he had hid the ring.
Opening with a CHINK of the steel look falling from its
place, he peered into the vast thing. Frodo was surprised
how many things he had hidden the Ring under. The newly
lit fire threw shadows of flames across the walls. The
shadows danced gracefully. Digging through the stacks and
pitfalls of parchment, he looked for a sealed envelope
amongst the mess of sharp paper. He Gandalf move behind
him, his shadow looming over him, hitting the wall ahead of
him.
At last, Frodo saw the envelope and made a grab for it. He
made a fist around it and turned to face Gandalf, holding the
envelope high above his head.
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Gandalf grabbed it ferociously, and ran to the fireplace
with a grunt. He threw it into the fire. Frodo ran to the heart.
He looked into it and saw the seal wax drip down the
burning envelope like hot blood.
What are you doing? he turned his head to Gandalf, his
eyebrows furrowed with grievous concern. He feared for the
sanity of the wizard. He gave no answer and continued to
stare into the fire, the reflection of the envelope, writhing in
flame as if it were alive, in the wizards eyes. Frodo cast a
glance back at the fire. All that remain there besides the
wood was black ash, and the ring, which lay across the
wreckage.
Gandalf hastily found the fire tongs which were hung on
the wall near it and outstretched them into the flames. They
found the ring and held them still, even as he withdrew
them from the fire and rose from his crouch. He faced
Frodo, a look of manic panic about him.
Hold out your hand, he barked shakily. Frodo eyed him
as of he had lost his mind.
It is quite cool, Gandalf assured him, stretching the
tongs above his closed fist. Frodo sighed and held out his
hand. What was wrong with Gandalf now? He came in with
no explanation, barking orders. It was in the dead of night
too! It could have waited until morning after all.
Gandalf dropped the ring into Frodos grasp. Gandalf was
right. It was not warm, not one bit. Frodo looked down at
the ring, his curiosity afire.
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Can you see anything, Gandalf dropped the tongs with a
clatter beside him, Any writing of any kind?
Frodo looked up at the wizard. His eyes were twitching.
Frodos face fell back to the ring. Nothing. Nothing at all.
What in the hell was wrong with Gandalf, he had surely lost
his mind.
Nothing, Frodo said.
Frodo looked back up to the wizard and saw that his face
was spit into a relived smile. He sighed, falling into the silk
couch near him. Frodo looked at him sardonically. He was
just about to question the wizard, but he saw a glow out of
the corner of his eyes. He quickly looked to it, and saw that
words were drawing themselves around the band of the ring.
They were in some strange language he could not read. It
was of another tongue, and the only words he knew were
the common ones, shared between most in Middle-Earth.
Wait, he said slowly, waiting for the message to finish
writing itself, There are words here but I cannot read
them.
He looked for advice to the wizard and saw that he was
pale; his mouth hung open as though his jaw had broken
itself. His eyes continued that mad twitch.
In the common tongue it reads One Ring to rule them
all, One Ring to find and bring them all and in the darkness
bind them.
Gandalf stood on the ground again, staring at nothing in
deep thought.
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It is the language of Mordor. I will not speak it here, it is
far to evil, Gandalf croaked in livid shock.
Frodo was shocked too. He knew Mordor was a horrid,
vile and evil place. It was full of Orcs, disgusting and
savage creatures that terrorized civilians of Middle-Earth.
They came in packs and scourged for fresh flesh in the wild.
This ring is the One Ring, he began, Forged by the
dark lord Sauron. Follow me to the kitchen; youll hear the
rest there.
It was a short trip to the kitchen. Frodo began to make tea
and hot buttered bread with bacon to the side for the both of
them. Gandalf sat at the small table which stood next to the
counters and told him his story of the ring. The One Ring
that Frodo now owned.
It begins with the forging of the great rings, the poor
wizards face was still alive with pale shock and fear, Three
were given to the elves, seven to the dwarves and nine to the
race of men. And these rings were meant to hold the will
power to govern each of their designated races and they did.
But in the land of Mordor, in the very fires of the volcanic
mountain of doom, the lord of Mordor, Sauron, forged one
ring to rule them all in secret. All of the races that were
given the ring were deceived by his cruel malice. And every
inch of evil that Sauron had, the Ring held too.
The bread and bacon were ready, and they were
comfortably warm. With open ears, Frodo hurried to the
table, carrying two cups and two plates of steaming
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deliciousness.
Sadly, the freed lands fell to the power of the Ring, one
by one. It was a terrible time, the end of the second age. I
remember, I was young then, reaching a youthful three-
hundred yearswell at least youthful for a wizard. I wasnt
that involved in the war that followed. I was afraid and
didnt have the helping will I do now. But anyways, as I
said there were some who resisted. The army was dubbed
The Last Alliance. It was an impressive troop of strong and
fierce men and elves. And at the Battle of Dagorlad, they
fought for Middle-Earths freedom.
And did they win, Frodo asked.
Yes, but not without their losses. More than half of their
army died that day, bravely so. Even elves can fall from this
world if they are pierced with a Morgul Blade. Sauron
himself joined the fray; he even killed the king of Gondor
that day. And it was in this moment that Issildur, his only
heir took up his fathers sword. Sauron and he fought
viciously and at one point, Sauron shattered the sword into
three pieces. But Issildur would not give up so easily. With
the sharp hilt piece, he cut his finger from his hand, the one
with the Ring atop it. It was then Issildur had slain the Dark
Lord. But his spirit was bound to the Ring. Issildur took the
Ring and was soon killed by his own men for the Ring. He
tried to escape the squabble, but he was shot with arrows as
he tried to swim away.
However, the Ring was lost that day, most likely falling
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into the river. Gollum found it in some way, I do not know
how he did. And Bilbo found it in Gollums cave and he
gave it to you.
Did the Ring take over him like it did to Gollum, Frodo
was afraid of this to be true.
It tried to; I saw the effects of it. But Bilbos good heart
and will prevailed over its malice, Gandalf took a gulp of
the tea. Frodo did the same. It tasted sweet, like a nectar of
the gods.
But for sixty years Bilbo had the Ring, Gandalf
slammed his mug down on the table, droplets of tea flew out
of the cup, landing in a circle around it, It may be the only
reason that he is still alive as it prolongs age. And I fear we
may lose Bilbo soon as he no longer has the Ring.
Frodo felt tears begin to well up in the corners of his eyes.
Frodo had never known his father. As he was only a baby
when he and his mother drowned, Bilbo was the only father
he had. And the thought of losing him, without even saying
goodbye, was the most dreadful and frightful thing, that he
didnt think he could face it.
But no matter, Gandalf was now the gravest Frodo had
ever seen him. He did not blink, he did not move, he just
stared into Frodos eyes. The stare was so intense, he felt
that Gandalf was delving into his mind; picking up pieces of
information and chucking them back down in disinterest.
The Ring has heard his master call for it, Gandalf
continued, His very existence is tied to the Ring and he
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was destroyed hundreds of years ago. It has taken him long
to regain enough strength to rebuild his army and his palace
of Barad-dur, but he has succeeded now and is growing
stronger. And if Sauron has this Ring in his possession, a
second darkness will plunge over top of us and we will be
helpless to stop it.
Frodo looked down at the Ring which was on the table,
near his mug. It seemed to be watching them, listening to
them. It was an ominous presence, he was thinking to
himself as an idea struck him.
He clasped his hands around the Ring and jumped out of
his chair, storming back to the sitting room.
If he needs this Ring, we will hide it from him, Frodo
threw open the chest and dropped the Ring into it. He closed
it and ran back to the kitchen.
After all, they dont know its here.
Gandalf looked mournful as he set down his gray hat on
the table and rose from his seat which was too small for
him.
Do they? Frodo demanded and answer, his mouth dry
with fear.
I sent an agent of mine to look for Gollum, his voice
shook with contempt, But the enemy found him first and
tortured him until at last he spoke two words. They were
regrettably in all possible manners: Shire and Baggins.
Frodo nearly fell in shock.
Thatll lead them here! he groaned with a much more
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than a hint of panic in his voice.
I am afraid so, he sighed, his shoulders moving with his
breath, which was fast yet steady. It struck Frodo now that
Gandalf, no matter how dark and powerful the enemy was,
would always be the most powerful being in Middle-Earth.
He could take the Ring and defend it with every whim.
Frodo ran to the chest and took the Ring from it, not
caring to shut it behind him. He stopped himself only inches
in front of the wizard. He outstretched his hand, his fingers
holding the Ring tightly.
You must take it! he said quickly.
A hint of greed and wanting sparkled in his eyes. But they
left as soon as they had come and Gandalf stumbled
backwards, away from Frodo and the Ring.
No, he said.
Im giving it to you! You must protect it! Frodo was
confused.
Dont tempt me Frodo, I would dare not take it, Gandalf
explained seriously, still a distance away from Frodo, I
would start out using this Ring to do good, but it would take
over me and turn me for ill will and it would wield a power
to terrible to comprehend.
But it cannot stay in the Shire, Frodo whined. He was
confused. If a great evil was here, in their midst with hateful
and hurtful people only what could be less than fifty leagues
behind them, why would they just leave it here unprotected.
Someone had to look after it, to protect it; the fate of the
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world depended on it.
I concur Frodo, Gandalf walked over to him, kneeling
and placing his hands on Frodos shoulder in comfort,
Which is why you must leave now and leave quickly.
The request came so suddenly that Frodo didnt know
what to say. Dozens of questions exploded in Frodos mind
like one of Gandalfs fireworks. But the one that made it
past his lips was, Where?
Gandalf straightened himself off of the ground.
Make for the village of Bree, Gandalf walked into the
dark hallway into some far off room. Frodo went to the
doorway, trying to follow him. But the hallway was far too
dark and his eyes could not see him until he emerged from
the shadows, carrying a large heap of cloth that he held in
his arms.
Frodo made sure Gandalf could enter the room as he
looked deep into the heap. It appeared to be a backpack, one
of Bilbos most likely. It was weathered slightly and what
was once surely a bright green, was now faded and ancient
looking.
What about you? Frodo asked as Gandalf threw the
backpack down onto the table.
Ill be waiting for you there, Gandalf assured him
warmly, At the Inn of the Prancing Pony. But before that, I
must speak with the head of my council, Saruman the
White. I will tell him all that you and I know of the Ring
and I am sure that he will know what to do of this Ring.
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Frodo nodded breathlessly and ran out into the hallway.
He lit at least for lamps until a good amount of light ran
across the ground and up the walls. He gathered all his
garments he could find. He left his room, carrying a tall pile
of shirts, pants, robes, socks, undergarments, hoods, jackets
and dark blue cloaks.
He heaved and puffed into the bright kitchen, his eyes
briefly taking shelter from the blinding light before Frodo
urged them to look upon the room again. He half threw his
clothes onto the table. He found Gandalf was packaging
foods into his backpack. In his bag he could already see a
pan, a pot, spoons, forks and knives, five each. The food
inside were crumbcakes, apples, ripe grapes and tomatoes,
buttered bread and toast.
Frodo piled his clothes in a different compartment of the
bag and sighed with relief when he zipped it closed. Gandalf
finished off his cooking and thoughtfully put all of the food
into his bag and zipped it shut.
It might be a little heavy, Gandalf smiled , But itll
help you live, I am sure.
Frodo grabbed the bag and slung it behind his bag, the
thing grabbing onto his shoulders franticly.
Youll have to leave the name of Baggins behind you,
Gandalf glanced up at the clock, That name is not a safe
one anymore, he looked back into Frodos eyes, And stay
off of the road.
Frodo nodded and he too looked at the clock which hung
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over the doorway. It was nearly dawn. Gandalf silently
motioned Frodo to follow him. Frodo watched his back
retreat from the kitchen and Frodo grabbed the Ring off of
the table and ran after him. Gandalf was waiting in front of
the round door.
The enemy has many spies in his service, he warned
silently as Frodo stood across from him with intent. Gandalf
looked down at the Ring in Frodos clutches, Never but it
on. No matter what circumstances. No matter how much
you want to. Those in the Dark Lords service will be drawn
to it and its power. Remember Frodo, it wants to be found
as it is trying to get back to its master.
Gandalf jumped from his slouch, his ears perking up like a
dogs, one that has just heard something in the distance.
Get down, he whispered from behind closed teeth.
Frodo crouched to the ground, watching as Gandalf shuffled
to the window above him. He heard the creak of the old
stained glass and a grunt of anger. Frodo turned behind him,
and before his very eyes, Gandalf was dragging a hobbit
from out of the window and into the house.
Frodo knew that face and so did Gandalf.
Samwise Gamgee, Gandalf was breathing heavily. He
stood stooped above Sam, who was moaning in fear on the
ground, flat on his back, Have you been listening in?
N-N-Nothing important, Sam stuttered, whining and
writhing under Gandalfs giant shadow, I heard something
of an Ring and the end of the world. A-Also some Dark
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Lord, but please dont hurt me kind sir!
Gandalf stood up straight now and Frodo rose from the
ground.
Ive thought of a better use for him, Frodo, Gandalf
walked off into another dark room. Frodo outstretched a
hand and Sam, whimpering in fright took it firmly and rose
from the hard ground with the help of his friend.






Sam
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By the time Gandalf, Frodo and he had left Bag-End, a
sliver of crimson lay atop the breast of the hills, rising
slowly, casting the darkness into light again. Only an hour
ago, Gandalf threw him a large cotton sewn bag, stuffed
with clothes, and ordered him to accompany Frodo to Bree.
Why must I carry out this task, Mister Gandalf, he
asked the wizard politely, minutes before they left Bag-End.
Frodo will be needing company on the long road, the
wizard answered grumpily from behind his smoking
wooden pipe, And dont you lose him, Samwise Gamgee!
At was then that Sam promised to never leave Frodos
side until they reached the Shire with an evil defeated.
When Gandalf slouched the bag around his shoulders he
nearly fell under the weight of it. Sam cried out a question
of why it was heavy and Gandalf answered with a
malevolent smile, You carry everything but Frodos
clothes now. The Ringbearer needs not to sag under the
weight of food and dishes and weapons.
Sam attempted to retort, but the words he formed in his
mind did not escape him. It was as if Gandalf muted him
with some spell of his, which he probably did.
At last, the three of them reached the borders of Hobbition
when the sun was fully risen from behind the hill, yet still
low, sweeping above the grass like a hawk ready to grab its
pray from the ground below.
Trees grew in around them, each older and more wild than
the last. At last Gandalf stopped in front of a large black
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destrier hastily tied to a large oak, which was hunched over
in its old age.
Wheres the second horse? Sam wondered.
Gandalf casted a sideways glance at Sam, This would be
my warhorse, if it please you. The black horse snorted as if
it were laughing at Sam.
How do we travel? Sams voice cracked as Gandalf
mounted the destrier.
You walk, Gandalf said this slowly, mocking Sam as if
he were a child.
Sam, Frodo said from behind his left shoulder. Sam
craned his neck to look at him. He could only see half of his
friends face, Itll only be a fortnights walk. And Gandalf
will be waiting at Bree for us.
Gandalf nodded and began to say his farewells, Be
careful, both of you. As I explained before, watch out for
servants who lurk in the shadows and stay on the road.
Sam understood and nodded. Gandalf arched his back
downward so that the wizards face was slightly above
Sams.
Remember, the wizard whispered gravely, Dont lose
him, Samwise Gamgee.
I promise I wont sir, Sam whispered even quieter than
Gandalf. Gandalf smiled thickly and straightened himself on
his saddle. The sharp crack of the reigns echoed throughout
the canopying trees and the horse raced south, taking
Gandalf with him at an impressive speed. Sam and Frodo
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stared down the tunnel the trees made until Gandalfs
retreating back, cloaked in gray and stained with brown
mud, disappeared from view.
The two of them were left alone, standing in the forest that
was still wet with morning doo. Frodo looked surprisingly
frightened when he walked past Sam and stood before him,
staring at the trail of dirt that the horse had kicked up.
Well see him soon enough, Mister Frodo, Sam walked
forward to stand next to him and smiled assuredly. Frodos
lips curled into a small, freighted smile and he laughed
nervously.
Shall we go forth? Frodo grasped his walking stick
harshly, as if it were the only thing helping him stand. Sam
nodded and trailed behind Frodo. For a while, the sky was
clouded with grayness and all Sam could see before him
was an endless wood and Frodos back adorned in a dark
velvet green cape. Sams back began to tire shortly after,
and he struggled to stop the back from slipping off from his
back.
In silence they walked until they reached the end of the
wood and saw a ripe wheat field that shone like a beacon to
them. The clouds, Sam observed, hung over only the woods.
For when they walked out from under the last green spruce,
he saw and endless open blue sky, cloudless and bright,
miles above them.
One small step out of the Shire, Frodo observed, his
voice bright with some hope he found between now and
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when Gandalf left them.
So how far is Bree from Hobbition, Sam asked
enthusiastically as they began to walk.
Nearly two hundred miles, Frodo was drawing further
and further ahead of Sam. Frodos burden was lighter than
Sams, at least physically. And still Sam never caught up to
Frodo as they trudged through the fields of wheat and corn
and other harvests. Most of them were in there infancy as it
was just the beginning of spring or the end of winter,
depending on your view.
The fields outstretched in every direction around them,
endless. Here and there a shack, hut or house was dotted
along the countryside, and sometimes you could hear the
snort of pigs or the swooning songs of birds, but other than
that, Frodo and he were alone.
But they were not without company. Throughout the rest
of the days journey they talked their fill, whether it be as
they walked, rested or ate, they could talk about nearly
anything.
And at last the sun became the color of flames in a
brazier, and eventually sank below the ground. Frodo and
Sam both set up camp, laying down untouched fabrics from
Bag End on the springy grass and Sam fetched fire wood as
Frodo set up the tent around their beds. It wasnt much of a
bed, really. It was just a blanket to be thrown across a yard a
person to lie on that and another blanket that rested across
the body.
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As Sam collected twigs and leaves and sticks he
whispered to himself, Dont you leave him Samwise
Gamgee. Dont you leave him Samwise Gamgee!
And Sam returned to the camp they made when a scarlet
ring encircled the world in the sky. Sam dropped down the
wood on the ground with a grunt. Frodo had food already
ready to cook in a pan. Once a fire was lit, they ate and slept
well into the morning.
They continued east in the passing days. The environment
around them seemed to not change at all. Occasionally,
there was a narrow strip of a forest, but it would die off as
quickly as it came. The rest of the journey was all but fields.
And when the night came, wildlife seemed to multiply
around them as they delved deeper east. The stars were
brighter here, as the only smoke in the sky was that of their
campfire. The moon was a perfect crescent, so pearly white
and shining that it nearly blinded Sam. And Sam was
always the last to fall asleep, and the last thing he heard
every day was Gandalfs last words to him, Dont you
leave him, Samwise Gamgee.
It was the fourth day since their departure and a bitter chill
swept over them that day, in a most unexpected manner.
Rain fell from the murky skies on and off and dampened
their spirits as well as their clothes. The clouds blocked the
sun so fiercely that they could never tell what time of day it
was.
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Well stop when we feel the need to, Frodo told him at
what mightve been midday.
I concur, Sam yelled over the roaring thunder that
clashed after Frodos words. As they pressed on, drenched
with sweat and rain, Sam thought it was strange that this
quest was for a Ring.
Not just a ring, The One Ring.
That is what Gandalf had said to him back at Bag-End,
and the only other knowledge he had of it was that it was
old and full of dark and corrupting power. Anyway, it was
strange that this quest was for a Ring, and he had yet to see
it. He didnt know where Frodo kept it, day and night, nor
did he care. But something in the back of his mind was
commanding him to ask Frodo, to just raise a simple
question. But Sam would not give in, for he knew that the
Ring was of some dark magic and corrupting.
Finally, Frodo began to tire down, much later after Sam
did. But Sam endeared it. Gandalfs voice rang through his
head like a city bell, remanding him at every moment to not
give up. The rain was now pattering down heavily and it
would break any flame that they would try to set. As the
chances of fire wavered away into the mist, so did the hopes
of hotly roasted steak and salted pork. Sam announced that
they would have to snack on a dry cabbage that Sam saw
Gandalf throw into the bag with disinterest.
Their supper today was cold and dreary and the taste was
the sourest Sam had in recent memory. He looked to Frodo
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and saw that he was grimacing at the taste. Sam looked up
at the sky. The rain would not stop any time soon; he
groaned and began to set up the tent.
That was when he heard it. It was a far off sound, growing
steadily louder and closer. For a time it was a whisper
clinging to the air like old and faded perfume. But soon he
could hear it louder and clearer and Frodo heard it too. It
was a song. But it was not a merry one. This one sounded
ancient, sorrowful and forlorn.
Its elves, Frodo smiled and rose from the wet grass and
stared deeply into the forest, Cant you hear it? They are
speaking elvish. Singing in it, if you would correct me.
Sam furrowed his brow, concentrating on the voices. Yes,
it was indeed elvish. Sam personally didnt know any word
of the elvish tongue but he had heard Bilbo sing in it when
he was trimming the verge outside his window. The
windows of Bag-End were thrown open that Midsummers
Day, in hope of a gentle breeze to embrace the hot houses. It
came, though few and far between.
Do you know any Elvish, Mister Frodo, Sam dropped
the half erected tent, and all it was now was a sheet of cloth
on the ground.
Frodo shook his head slowly in response, Bilbo did
though. He used to sing me to sleep in their old songs when
I was young. He never sung this one though.
I wonder when well see them, Sam thought aloud. He
could see his breath billowing out of his mouth like smoke
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from a chimney.
Im sure itll be soon. Their voices are growing louder
now, Frodo and he stood there in concentration for a
minute or two until a whole pack of elves were marching
through the gaps in the skinny oak trees. They were taking
the route west, to the Sundering Seas.
They sparkled in the misty, gray dusk. All wearing white
robes, the marched forward, lacking any emotion in their
movements. They just walked, unblinkingly, their hair,
whether it was blonde are brown or black or orange, swayed
with every breath of the cold, biting wind.
But there was emotion in their voices, if not their bodies.
They crooned own in their majestic voices, sounding in
some parts as if they were about to cry. They felt defeated
and low, as if they had dug themselves into a deep, dank,
dark hole that they could not climb out of.
Sam saw their ears, which confirmed them of the elf race.
Each elf, man and woman, had ears that were long, drawn
and pointed. Normally this sight would have lifted Sams
hearts, he was always fond of elves. But today, the sight of
them made him want to mourn.
Mourn for what? he asked himself. And that was a
question that Sam did not know the answer to.
They are going to the harbor beyond the White Towers
of the west, Frodo said suddenly, his voice full of that
sorrow that Sam felt too, Theyre leaving Middle Earth and
sailing to the Grey Havens, deep in the west of the sea.
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The song was reaching an end; Sam could taste it, even
though his mouth was dry with relish.
I dont know why, he said slowly, fighting back sudden
tears that wanted to gush out of him like waterfalls, But it
makes me sad.
Without any other words, Sam continued work on the tent
and slept as soon as he finished his work.





Gandalf
Gandalf sighed as he looked to the east and saw nothing
but an empty field of blossoming flowers. It was another
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hard pressed journey for the wizard and he had barely
gotten a days rest at Bag End.
He urged his horse to gallop the fastest it could all day,
every day. But it wouldnt do, it had been nearly a week
since he began the journey, and Orthanc, the holdfast of
Saruman the White, seemed as far away as it had always
been.
But he knew that he would see the spiraling black tower
soon. He had reached the Gap of Rohan for the second time
this year the day before and expected to reach his council on
the morrow. He saw a glimmer of chance that might even
reach the place today, if he rode fast enough.
And so the journey went on as dully as it had been going
for the past week. When the horse stopped for a bite of grass
he stopped in pity, but whipped the reigns even harder and
urged the horse to go faster than he was before.
The days were sweltering hot and the nights were frigid
cold, there was no in between. Gandalf knew the sooner he
would be off of the road, it would be for the better. But
Gandalf feared that he would be on the road for a very long
time.
He feared that Saruman would recommend to destroy the
One Ring. But the only place it could be unmade is in the
fires of the Mountain of Doom. He would not risk Frodo
and Sam walking into that place alone and unarmed. If that
was the council Saruman gave him, he would urge for his
head of council to join him, Sam and Frodo to march to
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Mordor. He might even choose for Aragorn to be amongst
them.
He was trailed in a deep path of thought by now. He
blindly led his destrier down the gravel road, which was
smeared wet along the edges of the path. Gandalf just
continued to think and think and think of what they would
have to do, how to send the message to Frodo that he would
be gone for longer than expected, where to find Aragorn,
how to convince Saruman to join him, and if he would need
more companions on the long hard road.
He was so lost in thought that he did not notice his horse
stopping and its furious snorting. When he finally retreated
from his mind, he tried to kick the horse into a trot. But it
would not budge. Gandalf cursed under his breath and
kicked it again.
It was then that he saw something black ahead of him,
though only briefly. He snapped his gaze up ahead of him
and saw the great black marble tower of Orthanc.
He and his war horse were now in Isenguard, or mightve
been for a time. The great tower stood tall and erect, cutting
its way deep into the blue, clouded skies. It was of marble,
all of it, the pillars, the walls, the halls, the ledges for the
windows cut out in the black stone, the spires above too,
which stood like obsidian daggers, unused but sharp as if
they were freshly forged.
The tower loomed over him and was surely hundreds of
times tall than he. Who knew how many landings of vast
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rooms lay ahead in there? He never bothered to count, for it
would take days on end. Orthanc had a balcony, straight in
the middle of the rounded square that it was and above the
vast stairway that lead into the main parlor.
The stairway was at least four stories tall and two rooms
wide. Endless tunnels and dungeons and caverns were
underneath the first landing. Gandalf had seen a brief taste.
It was an unkempt place, considering the rest of the
building, and the walls, floors and ceilings could be
anything. Some were of that dark marble, some were stone,
cobbled or otherwise, and others were of poor dirt, which
odor filled the whole room.
And at last, on the very top of the tower, was an empty,
roofless room, with a polished black floor, surrounded by
point vast spires, which ended in the sharpest point they
could end in.
Gandalf kicked the horse to life and it road into the
gardens of Orthanc. They held flowers and bushes of every
color and a wide verity of tress were circling around the
tower.
Finally he stopped the horse in front of the large ominous
staircase. It skidded to a halt, crying out in dismay. Gandalf
quickly dismounted from his mare and ran forward,
forgetting his hat, which was left tied to his horses saddle.
He panted as he heaved up the steep steps that led to
Sarumans door. He could barely see the top, which
narrowly escaped his sight, but it seemed to be a world
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away from him. The staircase seemed to go on and on and
on and on. The one small landing at the top was getting
closer, however, and the lush earth below him was getting
further and further and further away.
At last, when his horse on the ground looked scarcely
more than a black ant, he reached the doorstep of his old
friend. It was a large door; double that of a normal one in
height and width. Two towering doors were hitched to their
respectable sides and carved into the blackness were
pictures depicting old legends and some even showed the
wizard himself in it.
He raised his closed fist for a knock, but before he felt his
knuckle hit the door, they opened. His fist fell down
pointlessly on where the doors once were. He felt the wind
fly into his face, parting his hair which flowed behind him
until it died in the summer air.
Smoke rises from the mountain of doom, a deep voice
bellowed from within, The hour is late in the day. But yet
Gandalf the Grey still rides to Isenguard and into the Tower
of Orthanc to seek the council of Saruman the White.
Gandalf peered in through the doorway. The main parlor
was a vast room with a mural of history covering the walls.
The red velvet carpet glowed in the lamplight and three
other doorways led to other chambers. One was to his left,
to his right and forward. Though that one was nudged to the
left side, for a grand staircase, only a story long ran up the
walls and led to a landing which held only two doors, one
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was open.
That voice belonged to Saruman the White. There he
stood at the top of the case of stairs and there he smiled
briefly. He had white silk robes that fell to the ground and
would follow him like as if it were his faithful dog. He had
grand white hair which was groomed divinely. His beard
went down his slim and slender body and stopped to a
sudden halt near his belly. His eyes had seen even more age
than Gandalfs. His eyes were normal, at least in the pupil
and the white surrounding the iris. His iris was stranger than
any other part of his body, for this was a stained dark white
bordered by a black line that assured onlookers that the
wizard did indeed have some color to his eye.
Im sure that is why you have come, old friend,
Saruman bowed his old head with a smile.
Correct, my council, Gandalf bowed so deeply that his
beard touched the ground. He rose and saw sheer
amusement on his friends face.
How many times do I tell you not to bow? Saruman
beckoned Gandalf inside, Come, Gandalf. I entrust we
have much to talk about.
Gandalf entered the bright parlor and the doors behind
him closed magically.
What is the manner of your visit, Saruman waved his
hand and the doors on the landing of the staircase opened at
his command.
It is a grievous tale, trust me, Gandalf said solemnly as
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he ascended up the carpeted steps. He stopped in the wake
of his superior, he had a hint of suspicion blanketed over his
face, The One Ring has been found.
Are you sure of this, he said breathlessly, a look of
bewilderment on his face.
Beyond any doubt, Gandalf looked up at Saruman. He
seemed sincerely shocked a pale cover wiped over his flesh.
Tell me how, Saruman walked down the hallway that
was beyond the doors in the landing, clutching his long,
narrow, black staff. It looked strangely like his tower, same
color and even the same spires topping it off. Only a white
orb sat between all four of them, glowing brightly in the
dim hallway.
As you know I accompanied Thorin Oakenshield and his
band of dwarves to the Lonely Mountain, Gandalf
reminded him, fighting not to walk ahead of him. Saruman
was growing so slow.
I recall you meddling in the affairs of Sauron for most of
the journey, Saruman smirked wryly, Or have you
forgotten?
I never forget a thing, Gandalf frowned as yet another
door opened by itself for them. Saruman led him into a vast
dining hall. A long dark oak table was in the middle of the
cobblestone floored room with countless chairs lining up on
every side. A great metal chandelier lit with candles melting
in their fire, dripping hot wax on its placeholders.
Shall we sit? Saruman suggested, interjecting his words.
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Whatever agrees with you, Gandalf offered. Saruman
trudged to the head of the table, his white cloak sweeping
out behind him, glowing in the dim candlelight.
Gandalf took his seat to the immediate right of Saruman.
Elendar! Sarumans voice boomed a call, ringing an
echo through the tower. Saruman threw a glance to him,
Hell come soon enough. Ive found my commands make
their way down the endless staircases. Saruman smiled
assuredly and then raised a hand as if he were welcoming
something into his holdfast.
Continue, he commanded.
Why with all my heart, Gandalf started from where he
left off, As you know I urged Thorin to allow a hobbit on
our team to steal the Arkenstone from underneath the
dragons feet. He agreed reluctantly at first, but he found
that Bilbo was key in winning back the mountain, before his
demise.
But not before the gold corrupted him, Saruman
drummed his skeletal and tall fingers against the wood of
the table.
Gandalf nodded, Well we ran into trouble with the
goblins of the Misty Mountains near halfway through our
journey and there was a flurry of panic when we escaped
only discovering we lost Bilbo. He was separated and found
his way into a cave and met a creature named Gollum.
Eventually in this dank place he found a Ring. Not any ring
but a powerful one. He barely escaped with his life, I am
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told.
And I am guessing afterward, most likely following
Bilbos departure from the Shire, you researched everything
there is about rings and found that that ring Bilbo came to
possess was the One Ring of Sauron? Saruman lurched up
from a slouch in his chair and guessed correctly, grinning all
the while.
Correct, Gandalf nodded. Suddenly from ahead of him
he saw the large double doors swing open and a small black
haired youth run, panting, to the table.
Elendar! Sarumans voice swelled with relief, I see
youve heard. Please squire serve us some meat and fruit,
and while you are at it, bring up a flagon of wine, if it
please.
Yes, sir, the boy bowed hastily and ran out of the room,
down to wherever the kitchens were.
How did you come to own a squire? Gandalf withdrew
his gaze from the still open doors.
Being of the highest power a wizard can be, Saruman
rose from the high seated chair and closed the double doors,
I simply chose one from Gondor. That was, what, three
years ago? It was recent for me, a long time for the boy.
So a century I presume? Gandalf quipped at his master,
chuckling at his own joke.
Saruman seated himself slowly, nodding of his jesters.
So all these long years, Saruman scowled at him, The
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Ring has been under your very nose?
I am afraid that I had no suspicions or wits to see it,
Gandalf mourned glumly.
Where is this Ring now? Saruman sighed, fiddling with
the spare napkins that were laid across the table as if they
had been there for decades.
I have sent Bilbos nephew to make for the Inn of the
Prancing Pony, Gandalf raised his head proudly, I am
convinced he and his companion, a son of Gaffer Gamgee,
have already tread through the Old Forest.
You would think, Saruman shook his head,
disappointed, But hobbits arent exactly creatures of haste
and resilience! Not all hobbits, even spawn of such, are
equal in bravery to your friend Bilbo.
Frodo takes after his uncle, he assured his councilor,
After all, Bilbo was much more a farther to him than his
real one. Some still think that Frodo is Bilbos offspring.
Frodo is it? Saruman jeered, Thank you for his name, I
would have thought you more clever and scheming then
that, to tell me his name.
I trust you completely, sir, Gandalf straightened himself
defiantly.
Really? Saruman stood from his chair, leaning over
Gandalf, Confide in me, what is his companions name?
Samwise, Gandalf groaned reluctantly. He didnt want
to tell Saruman, there are some you cant trust with such
important matters.
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Anyway, Gandalf said, looking closely at Saruman as
he sat in his chair, We and the others may still have time to
counter any attacks of Saurons. But this may only act if we
act with haste and speed.
What time do you think we have, Saruman snapped
suddenly. He sounded dangerous, Sauron has already
regained much of his former strength.
Gandalf leaned in, listening with keen interest. Then the
double doors opened again and Elendar entered, with two
men trailing behind him rolling a cart of magnificent food
behind them. Elendar carried the flagon and set it down on
the polished table and poured the wine for two. He set each
glass down in front of their owners. The two men, each of
which was of fair skin and of dark hair, hunched over the
cart protectively, setting down dishes of fine food along the
table.
Gandalf could smell the roasted fresh meat already. He
peered down the long table and saw all sorts of vale meals.
Steaming ham and salted pork were closest to the both of
them, behind the two dishes were crisp bacon, sprinkled
with a seasoning he had never seen before. More meat was
there, some drums of chicken and cracked nuts. A ripe bowl
of a number of fruits, native and foreign, was also there, the
farthest away from the both of them.
The smells of the food mingled in the air and swirled
above them, around them and below them. They comforted
him in a cushion of warm heat and fresh perfumes.
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A fine diner my servants, Saruman said curtly, waving
them off impatiently, Now leave us.
The three men bowed in unison and shuffled out of the
dining hall. Elendar slammed the doors behind him and left
Gandalf and Saruman alone in the silent hall.
As I said, Saruman continued as though nothing had
happened, picking off bits of fruit and meat from their plates
and piling them on his, He is regaining all of his former
strength. He cannot yet meld into a flesh form but his foul
spirit lives on, ever more present with each passing hour.
Bleed that, each passing second!
Gandalf bit into the pork he had collected. The warm taste
and feel of it filled his mouth quickly and fell with the food
down his throat. After a gulp he raised a question, Is that
all he has done?
The Lord of Mordor has rebuilt his Tower of Barad-dur,
and atop it, Saruman shiverd, The Eye of Sauron, orange
and writhed in a glowing flame, he sees all and pierces
through cloud and shadow, flesh and earth, blood and steel,
root and stem!
How do you know of this? Gandalf gasped, nearly
choking on his food.
I have seen it through a lost Seeing Stone, Saruman
grinned as he revealed his secret, The Palantir, and his
forces are already moving. The nine black riders have
crossed the river of Isen, seeking out the Ringbearer. It
seems your little hobbit is in more danger than you feared.
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Gandalf jumped out of his seat, spitting his un-swallowed
food from his mouth, the chair scrapping the stone beneath
it loudly.
I must go to Frodo! Gandalf began to run for the door.
Gandalf! Saruman hurried after him, he already was
halfway through the door.
He stopped, looking back at his old friend.
Let me show you it, Saruman urged, The Palantir.
Quickly, Gandalf allowed him after slight hesitation,
But I have to reach him now!
Have neither a doubt nor a fear, Saruman walked down
the narrow hallway, Gandalf racing after him, This shall be
brief.
Through another door Saruman lead him. It was a large
spiraling stair case that seemed to go on forever.
It is at the very top, my throne room, Saruman began to
jog up the shallow obsidian steps which curved to the wall
like a loyal ward.
Dont you think thats compensating for something,
Gandalf chuckled as he ran behind Saruman. He got no
answer as they raced up the steps. So they climbed the
staircase in silence the rest of the way until they reached the
final landing and the final door a moment later.
Saruman waved a hand and it slammed open, the knob
crashing into the wall harshly. It was a room of black
obsidian, floor, walls and ceiling. However it was nearly the
size of a cathedral roof, the celing. It reached all the way to
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the top of the tower, getting narrower and narrower as it
went. The roof was alit with many windows, the pale light
of the clouded sky rushing into the throne room.
And that was all there was in this room, a throne and a
pedestal in the center, which held the Palantir. It was a black
marble, some white or grey coveted throughout, swirling
like smoke inside the round stone.
This is a very dangerous weapon, he observed. Saruman
walked over to it, staring down at it greedily. The wizard
made no reply, and just continued to stare down at the thing
as if he were waiting for it to command something of him.
Gandalf walked over slowly and cautiously, never taking his
eye of his old friend. Something had taken hold of him, for
Saruman seemed to be in a trance when he stared down at
the Palantir.
Suddenly, Sarumans head jerked upward and he stared
malevolently at Gandalf. Saruman chuckled eerily, causing
him to pause, unblinking and unmoving.
The hour is later than you think, Saruman was laughing
uncontrollably, his shoulders were rising and falling and his
whole body was shaking uncontrollably.
What do you mean, Gandalf backed away from the
wizard slowly, a hint of warning in his voice, What has
become of you, friend?
Youre friend, the hobbit, he will die! Sarumans
laughter calmed progressively. Gandalf shook his head. He
had had enough of this. Something was going wrong with
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Saruman, he might have been corrupted by Sauron, he was
not sure. But he didnt care to be sure, he was in danger, he
could sense it. He ran for the door behind him, he was going
to escape, he was going to leave.
But from behind him, the laughter stopped and a head of
him, the doors slammed quickly and he felt himself fall
backward from the intense gale.
We must join with him Gandalf, with Sauron, Saruman
looked down at him from above, You didnt seriously
believe that a hobbit could contend to Saurons will? No,
there are none in this world who can. Gandalf, come to your
senses, join with me and together we will rule over the
squabbles that live below us.
It appears that you have abandoned all good cause,
Gandalf rose from the ground and stared up at his superior.
No, not anymore. Now Saruman the White is his inferior.
When did you abandoned reason for madness.
Saruman frowned swung his staff into Gandalfs face.
With a yell of fury, Saruman kicked Gandalf down into the
hard ground. Gandalf gave a sharp shout of pain.
Last chance! Saruman yelled, circling him like a vulture
amongst a dead animal, Against the forces of Mordor,
there is no victory!
No! Gandalf managed to say through the burning pain.
His legs were weak and couldnt find solid ground. His head
was throbbing, wet blood trickling down his crooked face.
The scar burned as did the torn flesh around it, which was
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now turned a red so bright one could mistake it for a fire.
Very well, Saruman smirked and then Gandalf felt
himself rise into the air, floating in the air.
I gave you the chance of aiding me! Saruman yelled like
a ferocious beast, But now you have elected the way of
pain!
Gandalf yelled, the pain was growing worse and worse.
He tired to fight Sarumans powers, trying to break from the
invisible net that caught him in mid air. But he couldnt
break the rope, he couldnt rally against a magic better than
his. He didnt even have his staff; it was next to his empty,
unoccupied chair in the dining hall below them.
Then with a roar of laughter form Saruman, he felt the
wind rush past his face with a force he had never felt before.
He realized that his body was rising quickly to the roof of
the tower. Each second was quicker than the last and each
gale of wind was more powerful than its predecessor. The
black octagon that was the end of the ceiling was drawing
nearer and nearer and he could do nothing to stop it. The
last thing he remembered before that plate of blackness
crashed into his forehead was the sense that he had lost
everything now. That it was because of him that the black
riders of Minas Morgul would catch up to Sam and Frodo
and butcher them and take the Ring to Sauron and darkness
would engulf every man woman and child of Middle Earth.
He felt the harsh cold of the black obsidian smack his head
and saw nothing but blackness and felt his body fall
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helplessly through the empty air. It was then that all of his
senses dulled into oblivion.













Frodo
It had been nearly ten days after he and Sam had
departed from Bag-End, and his legs felt like jelly
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underneath of him. All of the days were spent roaming east
in the countryside, their destination nowhere in sight. Now
and then their hardships were rewarded with astonishing
views. Once the golden twilight shimmered over the
meandering tributaries from the Brandywine River and it
looked as though the waters were alit with a freshly kindled
fire that would not stop no matter how ferocious the storm.
What a sight, Mister Frodo, Sam had observed, awe-
struck.
A grand one it is, Sam, he concurred with his
companion and looked him deeply in the eyes, Please Sam,
call me Frodo. I am not your master, after all.
Sam stifled a chuckle and nodded and they pressed on in
their journey until the sun had all but gone from the sky.
That day had been nearly four days past and Sam had not
persisted in his name that he had given Frodo some time
ago. The sky was nearly as high as it could ever reach. The
two of them had spent nearly the whole day losing
themselves in a maze of green corn plants and other crops.
The meadows of crops laid before them for what seemed
to be miles and miles and miles. Frodo knew who owned
these lands, an old farmer, Maggot as the common men
called him. He was known to be overly protective of
everything he owned, including his land and his crops and
his animals in his possession, which all tended to have the
lifespan of a fly in an inn. Still he made good money by his
plants and it was a wondrous thing to Frodo that he lived in
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little more than a shack off of his wealth.
Maggot had a high pitched temper. If he ever caught a
man, dwarf, hobbit or even an elf, he would see to it that he
and his infamous scythe would make them sorry for their
crimes.
Never did he catch many a traveler though. It was known
by all the hobbits in the Shire that the easiest passage east
involved racing through the overgrown properties of
Maggot. The old farmer would be the man with the most
blood on his hands if he caught every trespasser.
Frodo had lost the track of time by the time he had lost
Sam inside the maze of Maggots verity of harvests. All he
knew was the sun was high in the sky and beating down on
him like a drum. Sweat trickled down the back of his neck
and sprouted up in many places. Sam carried the fresh water
with him along with everything else, for Sam had
voluntarily taken his bag from his shoulders moments
before they separated.
It was not by choice that they had left each others
company. Frodo did not truly know what had happened.
Sam was lagging behind him, worn down by the vast weight
of their belongings, and he might still be lagging behind
him. Sadly, Frodo had began to suspect at this hour that
Sam had come to be drowsy and tired and fell into a sleep
against his will.
He desperately wanted to turn back and find Sam, but he
had to carry on so that if he were to fall to the ground from
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the heat and take a rest, he would be further away from
Maggot at least.
However the intensity of the suns light was growing
stronger and stronger, so much so that Frodos eyes began
to droop. His mouth was drying quickly, he tongue
shriveling inside him, no longer wet in his mouth. He
needed water now, he could not wait. His vision grew hazy
and blurry as he turned to go deeper into the farmlands to
find Sam. He wouldnt be hard to miss; nothing was on the
ground but chips of whittled corn.
His legs were even more unstable now and they shook
below him as though the ground nearby was shattering into
pieces. Frodo fell to the ground, panting. He couldnt stand
anymore, he had to crawl.
So he began to do so, his breath dying inside of him
slowly. He felt his stomach tie into a knot, its contents
lurching backwards and forwards making him feel as
though he was not on solid ground but rather floating in the
empty air.
He continued to crawl for what felt like hours until he
heard someone shout which made him jump.
Frodo! Where are you, Frodo! the voice called.
He jumped from the black soil and began to run away. It
was a while before he realized that that voice didnt belong
to Farmer Maggot. It was Sams voice.
Frodo! he called repeatedly.
Sam! Frodo answered like an echo, running to the
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source of the sound. Sams voice was getting louder and
louder as Frodo began to fall back into that deep pit of
exhaustion. He was wondering how far away Sam was from
him when he felt something reach from in front of him and
slap him around his front. He fell backward with a
CRUNCH and was lost in a darkness as black as midnight
oil.
He knew nothing, he heard nothing, he saw nothing and
he felt nothing. Suddenly a golden light crept from overtop
of a mountainous hill covered in wet green grass. He heard
songs and legends from all ages rush past him in whispering
voices as he felt the ground around him. He rose, still
hearing the thousands of voices rush around him in a circle
and began to walk towards the sun. The sun was the in the
brightest gold he had ever seen it wear, but it did not blind
him. It comforted him.
As he walked further up the steep climb, the sun rose
quicker, inch by inch, now feet by feet and now mile by
mile. He discovered quickly that it was larger than he ever
had saw it before. He spanned east and west of him yards
and yards and yards, same with north and south.
As it found its footing in mid air the sight was peaceful
and tranquil. He gulped in the warm morning air of spring,
his favorite season. The wind softly brushed against his hair,
easing it backwards as it rushed past him. The songs that
were sung joined in one large spectacle of grandeur. They
were all singing one song together in some language that he
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could not comprehend.
His clothes were now sticking to him as the temperature
rose. He could feel the Ring press against him. The singers
voices changed from high and angelic to deep and
monstrous in a matter of seconds. Frodo fell backward in
fright as the voices began to chant. The grass which was
once green and soft turned black and sharp. Frodo howled
as he bled from dozens of cuts. The voices were growing
louder and louder.
The sun expanded around him, the world was melting, he
could feel it. The heat was now so sharp and intense that he
screamed into the morning air. Around him, the hills and
valleys crumbled into nothing. They left only a red sky,
above and below him. The piece of ground he was trapped
on was the only ground that remained.
The sun seemed as it was on fire now and a blackness
grew in the middle, turning into a tall narrow slit that
stretched from top to bottom. The chanting was no so loud,
Frodo couldnt hear his screams. He writhed in place trying
to break free of the grassy shackles he wore. He wanted it to
end, he had to jump into the bottomless pit around him.
Suddenly, the sun disappeared. The voices disappeared as
well as the red sky. It was all dark and Frodo couldnt hear
himself or see himself. He felt the ground below him shatter
like grass and he fell, silently screaming, closing his eyes
even though he saw nothing. The wind whipped him around
the world like he was a flag without a pole, dancing in the
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wind and descending downward.
Suddenly a deep voice pierced the silence.
I see you, it said simply in its deep voice. Frodo
screamed and this time he could hear it. The voice was right
behind him, staring into his soul. He could feel its eerie
presence behind him. He clawed behind his shoulder and
felt smooth cloth behind him. His hands jerked back. He
opened his eyes, confused.
He found that he was in the wild, as he had been for the
past week. This time he wasnt alone. Sam was looking
down at him, his image thrown in front of a golden sky. He
looked scared and concerned.
Are you alright Mister Frodo? he asked breathlessly,
eying him with concern.
Yes, he lied; his heart was still beating rapidly inside
him from his nightmare, Where are we? What happened?
He could hear whispers from somewhere in the distance.
He looked to his left and found the pale white tent strung up
near the neck of an old forest.
Whos in there? he pointed to the tent, Sam looked back
at it.
Merry and Pippin, for all the bad they have done me,
Sam spat on the ground before him angrily.
Merry and Pippin? Frodo sat up from underneath his
blanket. He squinted in the bright twilight, How long was I
asleep?
Two days, Sam sighed, holding out a hand for Frodo.
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Frodo grabbed it and was raised to his feet. Sam led him
into the tent and continued his tale, After you ran into
Maggot you fell unconscious and the farmer and I had to
drag you through the fields until we reached his house.
Maggot, Frodo looked at him, surprised, The old man
didnt try to kill you?
Sam opened the tent for Frodo and he crawled inside.
No, Sam climbed in to, He mightve had it been thirty
years ago. Age has mellowed that man and now he is kinder
than most farmers who live in the wild.
Frodo sat down in a nearby corner of the tent. It was a
descent size and there was room for at least five men, let
alone four hobbits. It was at this time that Frodo looked and
saw Merry and Pippin whispering under their breath to one
another in a far corner. They seemed not to notice that two
more hobbits had entered the room.
Sam cleared his throat and Merry and Pippin drew their
attention to the both of them.
Frodo! Pippin said in that loud voice of his, Youre
awake.
Yes, I am, Frodo sighed, feeling a strange pain in his
hips, I still dont understand; what happened?
Merry jerked up suddenly.
Well Pippin and I were enjoying a spot of traveling you
see and we came across Maggots old farm yesterday. As
we were ever so hungry we took some crops, making sure
that they were both lush and full grown.
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Do you forget to tell the reason of why you were so far
from home? Sam scowled across the tent. Merry looked
scornfully back at Sam smiled back at him, a note of
satisfaction on his face. Frodos eyes flickered back in forth
in his skull, waiting for the silence to be broken.
The truth is Frodo, Pippin began slowly. He glanced
nervously at his companion. Merry simply sighed which
Pippin took as a token of allowance.
The truth is that me and Merry, we were caught -,
Pippin struggled to continue, We were caught harvesting
unsavory unsavory plants, shall we say.
Frodos eyes widened and his jaw was left hanging open
in amazement.
What kind of plants, he said finally, a hint of a guffaw
in his voice.
Do we have to admit to this, Sam? Merry groaned,
looking as though he was nearly about to vomit.
Why yes, Sam smirked evilly, Even I dont know those
details, but I am confident that they will be very amusing.
Frodo rolled his eyes.
Sam, he craned his head to look at him, If they dont
want to tell they are not forced to.
Very well, Sam groaned with reluctance. He made no
hesitation when Frodo gave the command, Anyways, me
and you spent the night in Maggots cabin.
Did he ask you of why the two of us were traveling?
Frodo felt his heart jump to his throat and the palms of his
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hands began to grow moist with swallow sweat.
Aye, he did ask, but I did not answer truthfully, Sam
nodded, pulling out a pipe from the loops in his trousers. It
was a long and grand piece of carved light wood.
One of the numbers of promises I made with the wizard
included laying our way out of the truth.
Frodo could see Merry and Pippin exchanging curios
looks at one another from the corner of his eye.
So what then, Frodo beckoned Sam to resume. Sam
held up a finger as he lit a match and dipped the fire in to
the bowl of the pipe.
Well the following day, Sam coughed through the
clouds of smoke, You and I departed. But I had to find a
way to carry you and everything we burdened ourselves
with. Maggot gave me a wheelbarrow, and I put all our
packed goods and you inside of it and I just dragged it
forward in front of me.
Merry held up a finger, Excuse me for interrupting your
illuminating story, Sam but you judge me and Pippin for
growing plants and seconds later you pull out a pipe?
Can I get on with my god forsaken story, if it pleases
you, Sam yelled, his lips sagging into the deepest frown
Sam could muster, It was near half through the day and I
heard a scuffle near the neck of the crop fields and low and
behold I find the these two stealing from Maggot.
So they simply came along with you? Frodo asked.
After they admitted they had nowhere else to go to, Sam
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sighed, a wave of smoke pouring out of his mouth as he did
so. Frodo waved the smoke away frantically.
The rest of the evening was spent hunting the forest for
twigs and logs to burn, eating and swapping jokes and
stories. That night, he had almost forgotten about the Ring
and his nightmare. But after the four of them crawled under
their blankets it all came rushing back to him as he stared up
at the blank roof of their tent. Sighing, Frodo rolled over
and fell into a dreary sleep.
He was awoken by the smell of baked pork and crisp
bacon that morning. His nostrils flared with the scent of it
and his stomach growled within him. His eyelids parted and
he soon closed them frantically as the sun was streaming in
above him. He opened them again and saw that the tent had
been demolished around him.
He stood up, his blankets falling off of his body, and
walked eagerly to the fire.
Morning, Mister Frodo, Sam said through a mouth of
chewed food.
You too, Frodo contemplated curtly, seating himself
next to the tar-black pan which crackled with steaming
meat. He grabbed for one of the paper made plates they had
brought from the Shire, stained with the grease of past
meals.
His stomach growled with a certain ferocity he had never
known before as he loaded his plate with two slabs of salted
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pork and three strands of bacon. He eagerly reached for a
steel fork and ate the food.
After he broke his fast he set the plate and the utensils
down, looking up.
Wheres Merry and Pippin? he scanned the area briefly
and found no sight of the two hobbits.
In the Old Forest doing god knows what, Sam gulped
down his last piece of bacon and reached for a nearby
cantina to wash it down.
Have they left us, Frodo stuffed his things into his
rucksack with haste. Sam shook his head assuredly.
Frodo grabbed the food bag and looked through its
contents. They were running low and they were only a little
more than halfway through their journey. He found that they
had barely touched their supply of fresh fruits.
Dont you think that we shouldnt feast with such
uncaring?
Sam leaned in to view the bag. He grimaced.
Ill be certain to hunt for more food, Sam stood up and
walked to the tent and folded it, humming as he worked.
Frodo leaned closer to the fire and puckered his lips,
blowing away the flames into nothingness.
Merry! he called through the morning air, Pippin! We
are departing now!
Frodo slung his clothes over his shoulders and gazed into
the forest. Shortly after Frodo called, the two hobbits that
had unconditionally joined his venture ran towards the
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camp, panting.
Where are we going, Pippin asked Frodo once he had
collected his breath, Why did Sam say he had to lie to old
Maggot? Who is the wizard?
Im afraid that all I can tell you is that we are headed for
the village of Bree and are to meet Gandalf there, Frodo
watched as Sam handed bags over to Pippin and Merry to
carry throughout the day, If he thinks it important to, he
will tell you. But I cannot disappoint him now, the risk of
disaster is too high.
Itll be at least four more days until we reach Bree!
Merry whined as Sam handed him the heaviest bag of them
all.
Three if we dont gag around, Sam said sternly,
stamping out the flickering flames that had not left the
firewood when Frodo blew it out, Follow me, into the Old
Forest.
Sam began to walk into the vast wood that was the Old
Forest. The trees closed in around them as if they were
predators stalking prey and light barely managed to cut
through the thick leaves, coated with decades of sap. For
these trees were the kinds that did not die in the cold. Many
of the leaves were older than Frodo himself, and wouldnt
die until long after Frodo would leave this world.
By noon they had reached a grassy clearing full of rolling
hills jiving up and down in an earthy dance. The perfume
smell of tall, yellow flowers budding in the heat clung to the
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air and tickled his nose until he let it all go with one large
sneeze.
They re-entered the forest after one in the afternoon and
followed a gravel path that looked ancient in the dimness of
the forest.
Mushrooms! Pippin yelled suddenly, making Frodo and
the others jump. Before Frodo could catch his breath he saw
Pippin run to a base of an old oak tree. The three of them
walked over to Pippin who was tearing the mushrooms from
the ground and dropping them into a burlap back, humming
as he did it.
Were not that low on food, Pippin, Frodo reminded
him, watching as the clot of mushrooms shrank in number
by the second.
When we do though, Pippin began, You will be very
thankful that I stopped to collect this! Have you ever tasted
a wild mushroom?
Pip, Merry rolled his eyes, You know wild foods arent
to be trusted as if you grew them yourself in your own farm.
They could kill you!
I know a poisonous one when I see it, Pippin tied the
bag shut and leaned against the tree. Behind Pippin, Frodo
could see that there was a large drop off behind him.
Pippin, Frodo pointed at the hill, Behind you.
Pippin raised his eyebrows and turned to look. He gasped
and fell backwards into the flat land.
Thank you, Pippin groaned as he rose from the ground.
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Merry went over to wipe the dirt off of the back of his
friends cloak. Sam just looked up, bored, through the gaps
in between the trimmed and green leaves. Frodo sat down,
looking down the gravel path. There was no end to the
forest in sight.
Suddenly he heard Gandalf whisper in his ear: Stay off the
road!
Frodo felt the breath in him choke on itself. He jerked up
violently, drawing attention to himself.
Frodo? his companions asked him.
He wanted to answer but he was too alarmed to speak.
The Ring, which was inside his coat pocket, was beating
like a heart. It was not beating in fear but excitement.
Finally, he felt his own heart thump swiftly inside him.
High pitched screams, hoarse and old, pierced the silence
like a dagger.
He stared startled at his friends, looking for any sign that
they too heard the screams. But they just looked confused.
Confused and concerned.
Stay off the road, he managed to say, his voice as
hoarse as the screams he had just heard, Hide!
The others jumped up and stumbled down the hill behind
them, falling with a clatter. Frodo smacked his palm on his
forehead and sighed, following their path more cautiously
than the others had.
Frodo found that there was a wide split in the large oak
tree. It was dark and small but large enough so that all of
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them could crouch inside it.
Frodo beckoned them to follow him silently. Sam nodded
and Merry and Pippin simply tilted their heads upward.
Crawling, the four of them settled inside the tree. Panic
stirred inside himself for no reason. He felt as though
something ominous was outside the tree.
He heard someone jump behind them, outside the oak
wood. A clang of metal was heard accompanying the sound
hand in hand. Whoever was behind them was mailed and
heavily armed, Frodo could sense it.
Around him, Sam, Merry and Pippins faces were all pale.
They looked as if they were shaking. Frodo was relieved
when he found that all of their bags were inside the tree
with them, so not to leave any evidence.
It seemed as though they were in there for hours. The
entity outside seemed to sniff the air continuously. All that
thing needed to do was simply walk down the hill and look
to his left. After it did that, they would see what it was. But
he preferred not to know what the thing was. He wanted it
to go away, to leave, but it wasnt.
Frodo felt sorrow engulf him. He looked to his right
lousily and saw that Merry was asleep, his shoulder resting
on Pippins shoulder, which quivered nervously every time
he heard the thing breath. Frodo looked down at the ground,
black with soil and scattered with twigs.
He felt the Ring, which was beating in his pocket all the
while, stop beating as if it were disappointed. Frodo reached
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in for it and looked upon it for the first time in days. It was
as gold as ever and was as cold as chill. He found that
strange, as it had been inside the pocket for days, no doubt
roasting in the heat and sticky with sweat.
But here it felt as it always did: cold, indifferent and
gracious. Frodo felt his heart jump up to his throat as he
touched it. He wanted to put it on. He didnt know what it
did, let alone how it felt. He was curious.
He turned it over in his palm, considering. He felt his
whole body shake. He turned and saw Sam was staring at
him, wide eyed and sweating. Frodo looked back down at
the Ring and grabbed onto it, shocked at how close he had
come to putting it on, and dropped it back into his coat
pocket.
WHOOSH!
Frodo craned his view to the source of the sound. A loud,
blood curdling screech filled the air. Frodo felt his jaw fall
open and saw that Pippin had thrown a bag into the forest.
Next, he heard the smacking of hooves over dirt. Frodo saw
it, out of the gap in the tree. It was a black horse, complete
with white and skeletal armor, trotting away from behind
the tree off into the wilderness. On top of it was a rider,
dressed from head to toe in black robes, a hilt of an iron
forged sword glimmering from beside it.
As soon as both the sound and the sight of that rider
disappeared, all four of them clambered out of the tree.
Whatthehell was that?!? Merry squealed from
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behind Frodo. In truth, Frodo didnt know. He turned to
look at Sam who looked as if he had seen a ghost. Sam
shrugged and muttered something breathlessly.
I dont know, Frodo said slowly, staring into the mist of
the forest, But I do know this, we have to make haste for
Bree.
Well, Pippin grew tall with pride, You shouldve told
us that. You see the quickest way to Bree is through
Buckleberry Ferry!
Frodo looked to Sam for his approval. Sam nodded, a hint
of a smile on his chubby face.
Do you know the way, Frodo turned to Pippin. Pippin
nodded, We both do!
Pippin pointed to Merry who was handing out the bags,
smacking off the black dirt and twigs. Merry looked up
from his work and nodded.
How much quicker is this path? Sam asked.
A day and a halfs walk, Pippin smirked, catching his
own bag that Merry threw to him, We could steal the Black
Riders horse and well be there in less than a day. Granted
we would arrive on the morrow and in the darkness
Well lead on then, Frodo pointed into the depths of the
forest that they still had not traveled through. Merry threw
the final bag to Frodo and he slung it over his shoulders and
waited for Merry to walk in front of him to lead on.
By nightfall the edge of the forest was visible and the
moon, half concealed in darkness shone like a beacon of
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hope.
Buckleberry Ferry is only two miles from here, Merry
told them when they had reached the neck of the forest.
Nothing was before them but dark and grassy plains, with a
tree standing tall and mighty here and there.
How long is the ride across the river? Frodo said,
breathing in the air of a cold night, un-tempered by the
closeness of the Old Forest.
Depends, Merry said shortly, observing everything in
front of him.
And what depends upon it? Sam asked in slight
agitation.
Everything, Merry chuckled, But I think that if that
black rider doesnt slay us, we shall be fine.
Merry began to walk across the long, empty, and endless
fields, beckoning Frodo and the others to follow. Frodo did,
the others too, and he wondered to himself if they would
make it to the ferry alive.


Sam
Both Merry and Pippin had lied. The way to Bree had
barely shortened in length, if at all. They had reached the
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ferry, much more than two miles from the edge of the Old
Forest, at sunrise and spent the day trapped in the poorly
made raft they had strung together, as to not pay the ferry
charge.
By the time the opposite side of the shore showed itself,
the raft was nearing collapse and the sun was low in the sky,
the clouds dark against the fading light of the sun. Frodo
urged them to continue their path until they reached Bree, as
it was only five miles from where they were at that point.
Reluctantly, Sam nodded in agreement, perhaps saying
something in agreement as to draw Merry and Pippin into
the idea. By the time the sky grew dark it opened up and
rain splattered down on them. Shivering, the four of them
continued down the muddy road, holding their hoods tight
around their heads like a noose.
At last, Sam felt his nostrils flare with the scent of
buttering bread and freshly baked pork. When the trees
parted, Sam sighed in relief as he saw the high wooden
gates of Bree.
Behind them, he heard the clamber of blacksmiths and the
chatter of marketplaces. He saw the smoke struggling to rise
confidently from their fireplaces, as the rain was so harsh.
Lights flickered within the windows of countless inns and
bars and brothels.
He clenched his feet onto the hill in astonishment that
Frodo and he had made it so far. So far as to see the streets,
winding and joining together, filled with men, women and
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children bowing their heads in the rain, running for shelter.
He saw the different wood buildings and whatever they held
inside them line behind the sidewalks, their roofs
shimmering in the lamplight, wet and cold.
Weve made it, Frodo gasped behind him.
Do you think Gandalf is here? Sam asked.
I sure do hope, Frodo began to move towards the gates,
half running and eager to reach Gandalf once again. Sam
followed, struggling to keep up. The hill was slippery with
rain and he had to watch his footing with caution so that he
wouldnt slip and tumbledown the hill.
Finally, he reached the bottom of the hill, only to find
Frodo already knocking at the gate. Sam ran forward until
he reached his friend. He looked up and down the gate. It
wasnt much to behold.
The gate was poorly built and creaked in the heavy rain.
Its splintered wood was slowly decaying and the planks of
wood that replaced old dead wood seemed tattered and
hastily built. The thing was more of a wall, encircling the
whole town and guarded by no one, save for men behind the
wall answering at the door.
The only entry way into Bree was a closed door on each
side of the wall. There were windows up high for a man and
low for a hobbit. And wood planks had been slid behind
them, blocking them from sight.
As soon as Frodo had knocked the door, Sam heard a
grunt and the door jingled open. Sam could feel Merry and
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Pippin breathing cold upon him. He knew it wasnt
purposeful, but it was extremely pestilential, sure as day.
The man who stood in the door way was a wrinkly and
short old man. His bushy eyebrows looked as if they had
completely shut out his eyes from view and the grey hood
he wore swallowed his other features in the dark of the
night. The man squinted and grabbed a lantern, pulling it
closer to his face. Sam now saw, with the help of the light,
that the man had a thick, strong chin and a nearly toothless
frown.
Tell me, the man said gruffly, squinting at them in the
darkness, What business brings four hobbits like yerself to
Bree?
We wish to stay at the inn of the Prancing Pony, Frodo
said, Our business is our own.
The old man nodded, stepping out of the doorway,
allowing them to walk into the village, I meant now
offense to ya. But be warned, some strange characters roam
in the night and I cant be too careful as a gatekeeper.
Thank you for your kindness, Frodo offered after the
man had slammed the door behind them.
Excuse me, Sam began nicely, But would you mind to
tell us where the Prancing Pony is?
The old man gave him a judging look before giving them
directions.
Down the main road until you reach a fork, then you just
head the left route and dont stop until you see a building
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with a sign that shows a unicorn on its hind legs.
He nodded, gave his thanks and then the four of them
followed his advice. The path began rather peacefully for a
town that had such a lusty reputation. White picket fences
lined the path for a while, paint chipping away dryly, with
animals shouting pleads at them. Sam felt his stomach drop
out of him. It reminded him of the Shire so much and what
would he give for ending the journey and returning home.
If Gandalf was at the Prancing Pony, it was a sure thing to
happen. But it felt all too easy and Sam knew somehow that
it wasnt going to along with the plan. He dreaded to
himself that the journey was not yet over.
Finally, houses and inns began to sprout around them.
They began far apart and scattered down the road of mud,
but soon they were right next to each other and within the
minute, the road became a path of endless wood buildings.
Large men of Bree walked by, ignoring and looming over
them like giants. Here and there, a large wheeled cart, led
by a steed, trotted by. Candles flickered in the windows
above them, music and laughter spilled out from open doors
whenever a man departed.
They turned their path left when they reached the fork in
the road and continued down the narrow street until Frodo
pointed at a sign swinging above them.
The lumber sign was painted green and attached to a thick
rod that sprouted from the outside walls of the inn. A white
unicorn was painted in white in the middle of it, standing on
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its hind legs. It looked as though it were about to fall on its
back.
Sam couldnt help but smile. They had made it.
Now, to be clear, Pippin began as Merry swung open
the door. The crisp light blinded Sam, This place will sell
ale in the cups of men, correct?
Pippin, Sam snapped as they trudged into the inn,
leaving their muddy prints on the large mat in front of the
door, We are about to meet with Gandalf the Greyand
you want to drink until you are drunk?
Sam could see Frodo shake his head out of the corner of
his eyes.
I never mentioned anything about getting drunk, Pippin
remarked snidely. Sam chose not to reply for it wasnt until
now that he viewed the inn.
The Prancing Pony was at least twice the size of the Green
Dragon. Everything in here was large to him, the bars, the
chairs, the tables, the plates, the cups and most notably, the
people. Barmaids nearly twice his height came rushing past
the four of them franticly, holding out large metal trays
carrying freshly baked food. Drunkards and fools laughed at
the bar, swapping jokes and trading stories.
Countless people sat at the round wooden tables, some
were alone but most had company. He could see all of their
bright, livid faces. He saw their grins and their tears of joy
trickling down and thought to himself, the chances are that
not a single person in this room will suffer through a
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venture as perilous as the one he and his friends had just
completed.
Sam craned a look through the crowd looking for Gandalf.
But Sam felt his heart nearly burst out of his chest as he
found not a single trace of the grey robed, grey bearded
wizard. Sam looked again, this time on the balls of his feet.
He still saw him not.
Finally the podium ahead was filled. The man who
greeted them introduced himself as Barliman Butterbur. He
was a stout man, his cheeks were flushed dark red and he
wore a tangled matter of bright red hair. He wiped gold ale
from his whiskers and grunted as though it was a stressful
act.
So little masters, he continued, pulling out a stack of
parchment and a red velvet quill, What can I do for you?
Oh, but if youre seeking some accommodation we have
some Hobbit sized rooms available at the top floor. Were
always happy to welcome hobbits, Mister
Sam flashed a look of warning to Frodo, but he seemed
not to have saw.
Mister Underhill, if it please, Frodo lied, I would offer
a hand to shake but as you can see, I am not capable of it at
the moment.
Merry and Pippin exchanged bewildered glances with one
another. Sam scowled deeply at them until they tilted their
heads up in understanding.
Were friends of Gandalf the Grey, Frodo told
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Barliman, May you tell him of our arrival? I assume he has
been waiting a long while.
Barliman looked as confused as Merry and Pippin were not
a moment earlier.
Gandalf? he said under furrowed eyebrows, That old
chap hasnt been here since last year. The wizard might yet
arrive, but he hasnt reserved anything.
N-Nothing? Nothing at all? Frodo stuttered, pale with
shock .
Sam felt as though the world was crashing in around him.
If Gandalf wasnt here, what were they to do? Gandalf had
promised with all his life that he would be there waiting for
them. He also said that if he was not there when they
arrived, something grave had happened.
Im afraid not, Barliman said softly. He dipped the quill
into a pool of ink and held it above the papers, Shall we
make reservations?
As Frodo and Barliman muttered the arrangements, Sam
scanned the room again, just in case the bartender was
mistaken. It was the only shred of hope he could cling to.
Through the smoke of the furnaces and pipes, he still saw
nothing of the wizard. He sighed and was about to draw his
eyes from the inn until he saw a man staring at him and the
others from the furthest corner.
He wore a black hood that cast the top of his head in a
black shadow. Between his lips was a small wood pipe,
smoke blazed from its bowl. His chin was thick with black
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stubble and his gloved hands grasped a glass mug. Although
Sam could not see his eyes, he could feel their stare
penetrate him like a dagger.
Right, Merry said darkly after Frodo had finished
ordering a room, What is going on? Why did you lie about
yourself and what is so grievous about this trip?
I cant tell you, Frodo sighed sadly. Sam stopped staring
back at the stranger and looked to Frodo, Gandalf might
still be headed here.
He said if we were the first to arrive he was in some form
of trouble, Sam explained, I doubt we should wait for his
arrival. I think it wise that Merry and Pippin should learn of
the truth as well. They have come this far and I think they
will do nothing for the worst of us.
But what do we do if not wait for Gandalf, Frodo
retorted, What of the Ring?
Pippin stepped in, standing between the two of them.
I think we should find a table for this, he pointed to an
empty one, And some food and drink to wash all this
knowledge down.
Sam looked back to Frodo and nodded. Within a few short
minutes, they had all seated themselves at the open table
and ordered a plenty amount of ale and meat. After the
server had left them with a bow, Sam looked again at the
man in the corner. He was now in front of them and he was
still smoking from the carved pipe, staring. A man with no
eyes who stared all the while. The thought shivered Sam to
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the core, but there was no doubt that that man did indeed
have eyes. But still, it seemed all too reasonable somehow.
What did you order again, Pippin questioned. While
they ordered he had been distracted, charming a near
barmaid. She had now left, to do her job no doubt, leaving
Pippin eager for the food.
Water, Sam continued to stare back at the man in the
corner.
Pippin sounded disgusted, Bleed on that, he said. He
could hear Pippins chair scrap against the stone ground as
he rose. Sam turned his head to scowl at Pippin but he had
already left for the bar.
Sam nudged Frodo, who was beside him. Frodo looked
up, disturbed. It seemed that he had disrupted a deep
thought. Sam pointed to the man in the corner.
That man has done nothing but stare at us since we
arrived, he said bitterly. Frodo looked curiously at the man.
No change swept across his face. He continued to stare at
them blankly, smoke emitting from his pipe all the while.
Barliman came forward and merrily placed the food down
on the wooden table. He bowed with a smile and turned to
leave them to themselves but Frodo intervened.
Sir, he said politely, Who is that man over there?
Sam looked back at the man in the corner. Three were
staring back at him, no four as Merry turned to look where
Frodo was pointing, but he had no expression, just the same
blank stare.
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Sam cut his food as Barliman answered.
Thatd be one of them rangers, he said, From what I
here theyre a dangerous lot, wandering the wilds. That one
we call Strider, though I cant say I have spoke with him.
He just sits there night after night, like hes waiting for
something or someone.
Barliman than walked off into the kitchens.
Bet he was waiting for us, Sam shook his head in disgust
before eating down his food. The taste of it exploded in his
mouth. It was a burst of energy he hadnt felt in weeks. His
mouth grew dry after only one swallow and he washed it
down with iced water.
Raucous laughter exploded like fire from the bar. Pippin
was at the center of attention, clutching a great mug filled
with ale, a great smile split across his face.
So, Merry began through a mouth full with food, What
is this all about. I am eager to hear of it.
Sam held up a finger until he swallowed his food.
Should we tell him, Mister Frodo, he nudged Frodo
again. Pippin continued to ramble on loudly from the bar. It
was growing annoying. Frodo seemed unfazed by his
words. He was staring blankly at nothing. Sam nudged him
again. Merry looked on, concerned.
Suddenly, Frodo jerked up, his chair sliding behind him,
hitting into another table.
No! Frodo cried and he ran to the bar. Pippin was there,
sitting on a settle, swallowing down golden ale. It wasnt
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until Frodo reached Pippin that Sam realized what he had
been talking about. Pippin was telling of his journey from
the Shire to Bree. His wide audience, nearly the whole inn
was listening intently. Pippin had mentioned everything.
Even their names.
Sam jumped from his chair too and Merry looked even
more confused.
That fool! he managed to say through his awe. He could
see Frodo slapping Pippin around the face, screaming
something at him. Suddenly, Frodo fell on his back and the
Ring flew from his pocket, gleaming in the light of the inn.
It soared up to nearly the top of the room and fell down onto
Frodos one raised finger. Sam gasped with the whole inn as
he saw what he saw. Frodo had vanished into thin air. Merry
cursed in shock and stood petrified next to him. Sam let out
a sound that was something between a groan and a gasp.
Questions came to life in his mind. How did this happen?
Where is Frodo? Is he safe? Is he hurt? And it came to him
that all these questions were familiar. He had asked himself
these questions the night Bilbo Baggins had vanished at his
own party.
Sams eyes grew wide inside their sockets. Sam whipped
around, withdrawing his gaze from the bar. He expected to
find Strider in the corner, completely unimpressed at what
had just happened. But Strider was already running across
the room until he was near the staircase that led to the
rooms above them. And he grabbed something off of the
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cobbled floors.
It looked like a person, limp on the cold ground. All he
could see was the mans back. By the mans curly brown
hair, Strider whispered something to him and dragged him
up the stairs. The two of them were halfway up the stairs
when Sam saw a flash of the mans face. It was Frodo, pale
with fright.







Frodo
Frodo felt himself hitting the hard wood floors of some
strangers room. He did not know who had grabbed him or
why but he did know that the black riders were coming.
When the Ring landed on Frodos finger, he was engulfed
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in a blurry, hazy darkness lit dimly with moonlight. He was
lost in a forest and he saw the black rider again. But this
time, eight more stood beside him, each holding their black
destriers in place. They lifted their heads, covered with
black hoods and sniffed the air, together. They screamed at
once in that dark forest and his ears felt as if they were
about to bleed.
In a thundering movement, all of them flayed their horses
into a gallop, heading for Bree. It was then that he managed
to pull the Ring, sticking to him with sweat, off of his
finger. Before he could even breathe fresh air, he was pulled
off his feet and dragged up the stairs into a dark room.
He scrambled to his feet, squinting through the darkness.
A shadow closed the door and headed for the nightstand
table that stood next to a lumpy bed.
You draw far too much attention to yourself, Mister
Underhill, the man rasped, fumbling with something on the
table.
What do you want, Frodo questioned, grabbing the fire
tongs as his weapon, Who are you?
Suddenly the room was filled with light. The man had lit a
candle which flickered in the cold air, moving this way and
that, struggling to stay alight. The man moved forward and
towered over him. It was the man in the corner, his hood
still swung over his head. It was Strider.
Frodo could see nothing that he already had not saw
before, and Strider breathed heavily over him, considering
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his questions.
What I want, he began to say. His voice was thick and
raspy, a hint of lost nobility twinkled inside it, Is more
caution for you for that is no trinket you carry with you.
Frodo stared back up at him, I carry nothing but the
clothes on my back, he lied, hoping it would work. It did
not. Strider chuckled, his lips curling into a smile and he
strode over to the nightstand again, unraveling his gloves,
revealing dirty and tough hands.
I know you carry something, he said gravely, his back
to Frodo, I can avoid being seen if I wish. It was no
mistake you saw me staring back at you, for I wanted you to
be aware. And that is a rare gift, my friend.
Strider turned around and dropped his hood and revealed
his face. His hair was matted with grease and flowed down
to his shoulders, unkempt. His nose was crooked as though
it had been broken before and his eyes were a deep grey,
sunken under his brow.
Who are you, Frodo repeated, Truly, give me your real
identity.
Strider smirked, Are you frightened of what I will do to
you, he asked, slowly walking forward to Frodo.
Yes, Frodo gulped, backing to the wall.
You shouldnt be frightened of me, Strider stopped, I
know what hunts you and that, Frodo Baggins, is what you
should be cowering for.
Frodo was just about to ask Strider how he knew about his
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name and how he knew of the Ring and the black riders, but
suddenly the door flew open with a sharp noise. Dust
exploded from the walls as the knob backed into it. In the
doorway, growling and wielding fists was Merry, Pippin
and Sam.
Let him go or well have you, Strider! Sam shouted
from the front of the pack. He scowled deeply, his teeth
gritted. Strider jumped backwards at the force of Sams
words. Frodo just sat there, his eyes darting back and forth
between the both of them.
You have a stout heart, little one, Strider moved
forward, outstretching a hand in peace, But that will not
save you from the Dark Lord.
Sam looked confused at how he knew about their quest.
Strider turned his gaze to Frodo.
You should no longer wait for the wizard, he panted
from shock, Theyre coming.
Sam walked into the room, Who? he asked, peering up
at Strider.
The Nazgul, Strider said curtly, frowning. He sat down
on a wooden chair and removed his jacket, now only
wearing tattered clothing that might once have been grand
and luxurious, but was now plain rags.
What are they, Merry said from the doorway.
Shut the door and Ill tell you, Strider beckoned him in,
Ill tell you who I am and how I know.
Merry nodded and walked in, Pippin trailing behind him,
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still holding a mug of ale. Merry shut the door and locked it,
for good measure and sat on the bed. Pippin turned to
Frodo.
Frodo, he began solemnly, I just wanted to apologize
for what Ive done. I shouldnt have said anything about this
trip. I just wanted to impress people, I guess.
Frodo nodded, You are forgiven, Pippin, Pippin smiled
and sat down on the bed, next to Merry, gulping down the
last of the ale. Sam took his seat at another spare chair by
the empty fireplace. Frodo simply sat on the ground, next to
Sams chair.
I will start this off, Strider began, By telling you who I
really am. My true name is Aragorn. I am the son of
Arathorn and I have known Gandalf for the better part of
my life. Whenever he needs tasks to be done, I am the first
he goes to. After he left the Shire to head to Isenguard he
sent me a raven. He told me, along with information of the
Ring, that if he was not at Bree before you, Frodo,
something was dangerously wrong.
And as you have now arrived before the wizard, I fear
that Saruman the White might have taken Gandalf prisoner
and has sided with the enemy.
Frodo was shocked at the proposal. Saruman the White
was supposed to be a wizard of good and the leader of the
wizards. To think that someone this powerful and good had
turned to fight for Sauron shook him to his core.
Pippin let his mug fall to the floor and it shattered, shards
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of the glass sliding around the room until they all came to a
halt.
What is the meaning of all of this, Pippin whined
impatiently, You still havent told us of the truth yet.
Frodo sighed and proceeded to explain everything that he
knew. In some places Sam helped him but mostly it was just
he, talking for nearly five minutes. By the end of the story,
Merry and Pippin looked aghast, now knowing how
important everything about this quest was.
The only thing I do not know, he finished, looking up at
Aragorn, He still has to reveal. What are the Nazgul?
The Nazgul, Aragorn nodded, You call them the
black riders if Im not mistaken. But you have met only one.
And there are nine. They were once great kings of Men,
ruling justly and fairly. But then Sauron gave nine rings,
one to each king, and those rings wielded great power that
many have never known.
Blinded by their greed, all of them took without question.
One by one, they fell into the darkness and now serve his
bidding. Some call them the Nazgul, others Ringwraiths.
They are neither living nor dead but at all times they feel the
presence of the One Ring and are drawn to its power. And
as long as you bare the Ring, they will never cease to hunt
for you.
Frodo took all this in and was somehow calm and still.
Danger was present more than ever now but he still did not
feel it. He rose from the ground, dusting the dirt from the
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floors off of himself.
I think we should rest, he began to walk to the door, to
open it and lead the others to their room. But Aragorn called
out, telling him to stop.
Not in your room, he warned, The Nine will be here
soon and will question old Barliman. I am afraid he will tell
them and you will sleep into your death. Better to sleep in
here.
He pointed to the lumpy bed, the white blankets carefully
set over the mattress.
The four of you can share the bed, Aragorn said, its big
enough, I should think. I will be fine to rest in this chair, but
I expect no sleep today.
Frodo thanked him and headed towards the bed. Merry
and Pippin jumped down from it, careful to avoid the
shattered glass. He reeled back the blankets and climbed in,
ready to rest. Shortly after, the others climbed in as well.
Frodo had no time to relive the past day and sort everything
in his mind. Before he knew it, his eyes closed and he
drifted off into rest.




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Aragorn
The moon fell and the sun rose, but it all did not matter to
Aragorn Elessar. Lest he never use his surname for it would
attract to much unwanted attention. Elessar was once the
noble house of Gondor, signifying such as the royal family.
If Aragorn truly wanted nobility, he would already have it.
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But to many times had power forsaken his ancestors, one
such example was Issildur, who took the Ring of Power for
his own and soon met his demise.
Now the lands of Gondor were ruled by House Anarion,
and after the fall of the Elessars, had renounced the titles of
kings and queens and princes. Instead those who rule
Gondor are Stewards. Denethor Anarion now ruled over
Gondor and after his inevitable demise would come
Boromir Anarion.
Such history played through his mind while he sat through
the long night protecting those he did not know, but would
come to know eventually. Unlike others, the fact that he
could stay awake through the night did not shock him. It
didnt impress him enough do boast, nothing ever did and
that was the truth of it. He believed that he could always
find away to be a better man.
It was awhile after dawn that one of the hobbits began to
shift in between the blankets. Aragorn leaned over to the
window to look at the world outside of it. Through the veil
of thinly woven clouds, the sun gained height through the
blue sky. The city was a murmur with chatter and
movement but the inn was still deathly quiet.
What time is it, one of the hobbits yawned from the foot
of the bed. He had already sat himself there. This one was
scrawnier than the others and his hair was of brighter colors.
His stained yellow vest was still on from yesterday.
Nearing ten from the height of the sun, Aragorn looked
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back at the blue sky, observing the bright sun. It did not hurt
his eyes to look at it, not yet anyway. He looked back at the
yellow-vested hobbit.
I didnt catch your name, Im afraid, he said to the
hobbit, Nay all your companions save Frodo.
The hobbit grinned, Well firstly, my name is Meridoc
Brandybuck, but please just call me Merry. I think itll be
less trouble for you.
He whipped his head to look at his sleeping friends.
The fat one is Samwise Gamgee, he sighed, And the
other one is Peregrine Took or Pippin as he likes to be
called.
Merry looked back at him, still grinning as if he had told a
joke.
My thanks, Aragorn scratched at a scab near his elbow,
I fear I would have never survived without your names.
Oh, Merry chuckled, Im sure Sam would have been
fine being called hobbit number-two, hes not that note
worthy honestly.
There was a growl from the bed that made Merry jump.
Aragorn beamed as he watched Sam sit himself up and
scowl at Merry.
Sam, Merry said, I was only remarking at how talented
you are at blending with your surroundings. Trust me you
are an exceptional hobbit.
Lair, Sam said simply as he crawled out of the bed and
found his cloak that he had thrown on the ground the night
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before. Merry shrugged his shoulders and nodded.
Yeah Im lying, he chuckled.
Aragorn chuckled from his corner and swept the curtain
back over the window, darkening the room slightly, as two
more windows were shinning with sunlight. Within minutes
all of the hobbits had woken and the room was fairly loud
compared to the rooms around them.
Just so, he said in reply to Pippin lamenting over his
hunger, I believe Barliman is up at this hour. We shall eat
now.
Aragorn marched over to the rickety door and opened it.
He walked out of it, the four hobbits trailing behind him in a
line. Sam shut the door as he was behind the others.
Climbing down the staircase, Aragorn pulled back his hood.
He was now Strider, a ranger from the north, not Aragorn,
descendant of kings.
He saw that only five other guests were down here and all
but two were sitting by themselves. He pointed to a table in
a corner and told the hobbits to sit there. With a nod, all four
of them went, talking to themselves.
Aragorn found his way to Barlimans podium as the front
of the inn. He looked strangely pale and melancholy, his
great bushy eyebrows drooped in sadness.
Barliman, sir, Aragorn rasped in cover of his false
voice, Me and my friends would order a server at this
hour.
Barliman nodded in acknowledgment and craned his view
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to the table in the corner. He seemed petrified at what he
saw.
TheyTheyTheyre alive! Barlimans mouth was
hung open in sheer awe, The Wraithsthey...they were
here and killed them but...
Aragorn thought as much, Barliman was ready to trade in
his life for four others. He shook his head in disgust and
rasped an answer, I knew the wraiths would come looking
so I allowed them shelter in my room.
Barliman looked back at him, amazed.
You saved them! Barliman was starting to sob with joy,
If Gandalf knew I had traded their lives why
I need no thanks, Aragorn would rather avoid this
conversation but it appeared he was stuck in it.
But I owe you four favors, Barliman wiped the
streaming tears with his stained handkerchief, One for each
life saved. I could give you this meal free and I will return
the money you paid for your room. Oh, I fear I cant think
of anything more but do you fare any ideas?
Aragorn considered this offer. He had everything he
needed tucked away in his room upstairs, including his own
castle forged steel sword, tucked away in its jewel
embroidered sheath. But as for the hobbits, he would bet
them to not be carrying any such weapons, save a few
cutting knives and possibly a pan.
One request, he commanded decidedly, I have a sword
of my own and it does me well, but as for my friends, they
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are defenseless. I would urge you to forge four new swords
at the local blacksmith, small in stature but still as balanced
as any other sword would be.
Barliman nodded his consent eagerly and outstretched his
hand. Aragorn grabbed it firmly and shook it, sealing the
deal.
I fear the swords may take near an hour, Barliman
exited his podium, But Ill see it down, no matter.
Barliman looked over his shoulder at the near deserted
bar. He raised a hand in the air and waved it quickly,
blurring as it moved back and forth.
I need a server for these five gentlemen on the double,
he called out, rather loudly for the hour. Shortly, an old
man, hunched over and small, waddled down the inn,
grunting as he walked.
Where is thy table, the old server croaked in a quiet
voice.
Follow me, Aragorn beckoned him, Its just this one in
the corner.
Aragorn sat himself down next to Pippin at the edge of the
table. The hobbits quickly ceased their talk and looked up at
the server greedily, ready for food.
The next hour was spent drinking, eating and laughing. In
time he would forget what he ordered and what he drank
and what he talked of, but he remembered the joy they had.
It seemed strange to know that something so evil was so
close to this merry gathering.
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He could see the bulge of the Ring through Frodos shirt
pocket. It sat there monotonously, unmoving. It made him
shiver. It was as though the Dark Lord himself was listening
in and laughing with them. But not because of the countless
jokes and stories. No, it was for something more, he could
tell. But what it was, he could not tell himself, let alone the
hobbits around him.
A fog gathered when they left the Prancing Pony. Aragorn
had his sword, hidden inside the sheath, strung to his leather
belt. The hobbits would soon earn their own whenever they
reached the blacksmith.
The five of them made their way through the city with
little conversation. The hobbits were too busy admiring the
architecture of the city halls, places of gathering and grand
houses owned by the lords of Bree. Grand men and woman
walked down the roads, some hand in hand, dressed in
bright robes of many colors. The smell of spices mingled in
the air with other scents of perfumes. Tradesmen positioned
all around the roads offered their foods and products
politely.
No longer were they in the slums of Bree, now they made
their way through the winding path that interjected through
the Warriors Walk, renowned for its peaceful nature and
elegant history. Never once was did a riot of the people
swarm here, burning and pillaging the homes and shops.
That was for the poorer men, down the hill where the
Prancing Pony laid.
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The smell of smoke and ash grew faint in the air as they
went further down the road and finally he could see a tall
brick chimney, raised above the blacksmith, black smoke
billowing from it and evaporating into the air.
Where are we, Frodo asked finally from behind him.
The blacksmith. I have a gift for you all, he replied,
without even a backward glance at Frodo. The hobbits
began to chatter excitedly in hushed tones.
Aragorn led his company behind him as he climbed the
stone steps and in through the open doorway of the
blacksmith. The place was dark, lit by only four dwindling
lamps nailed up against the wall. The smoke rising from
flames and embers didnt help the matter either.
He sent the smoke in his path away with a sharp flick of
his wrist. It spiraled to his left and to his right, curling into a
fresh wall of blackness as he continued forward. He saw
Barliman Butterbur sitting in a small iron chair next to the
cases of weapons for sale. His red whiskers were stained
with black smoke and his eyes were bloodshot and twitched
slightly.
Here! Barliman called to someone behind him, They
are here, boy!
Out from the darkness beyond, a shirtless and muscled
youth staggered out, nodded at the five of them and ran
back into the darkness he had just only emerged from.
Aragorn felt his nose prickle, his breath flooding in and
out of him thoroughly He finally drew out a long sneeze.
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The others blessed him, but he did not give his thanks. He
discovered a long time ago that small things like sneezing
did not need a blessing from the gods. In fact, there were no
gods watching over any of them in his mind.
Consider this my thanks, Barliman said.
What else would they be? Aragorn gave a weak smile in
return. Barliman retorted with one far more broadly than
his.
Thanks? Sam asked curiously, What for?
Aragorn looked back at them and as he turned his hood
slipped from his head. At this point, it looked as if he
wouldnt see Barliman for a long while, so he didnt make
for slipping it back over his head.
Pippin! Merry! Dont touch the anvil or the molds!
Aragorn told them sternly. Blushing, the two returned to
stand next to Sam and Frodo.
What has Strider done for you to make you repay him in
such a way? Sam walked forward to stand in questioning
in front of the old bartender. Barlimans eyes flickered up at
Aragorn for advice. Suddenly, the clanging of metal and
steel rang through the air as the blacksmith ran into the
room, holding four different swords in his hands.
The hobbits stood in front of Aragorn, gawking at their
gift.
Give one to each of the hobbits, he commanded the
smith. With a nod, the boy handed a sword to each of the
hobbits. They stood, petrified in admiration. The steel
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rasped as they were drawn out of their sheaths. The firelight
danced down the silver swords.
My thanks to you Barliman, he bowed his head, I will
always be in your debut. You do not know how much this
will help us on our journey.
The one who should be thanked is you, Strider,
Barliman rose from his chair and bowed on his knees, I
will forever remember you for your courage.
And I your helpfulness.
Chuckling, Barliman stood up and with one final thank
you, he left the blacksmith to return to the Prancing Pony.
Aragorn nodded back at the smith and turned to leave. The
bright sun blinded him momentarily as he stumbled out of
the dingy blacksmith.
Aragorn, Frodo said a hint of awe in his voice, behind
him. He turned to see them lined on the steps, We can all
thank you for your generosity.
I need no thanks, Aragorn shook his head, giving a
small smile and drew back his hood, casting his face in
shadow.
Aragorn led the hobbits deeper into Bree. The midday
rush settled in the city and people began to bush their way
down the bustling streets, grunting and cursing. Eventually,
all stores and inns and houses drifted off in number until
they were walking through farmland. The dirt path
outstretched before them, leading directly to another gate
that would them out of Bree and into the wild.
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After sorting matters of different types with the
gatekeeper Aragorn found himself retreating from the place
he had called home for so long. Now all that was before him
was pure wilderness. Insects buzzed with life, hidden in the
grass that parted for the long narrow road. Every now and
then a tree sprouted up from the soil, its branches thick with
leaves and outstretched as if it were awaiting a firm
handshake.
The hobbits conversed with one another behind him only
minutes after their departure. Somewhere at some point in
the conversation, the talk led into areas he knew they would
reach eventually.
exactly is he taking us? Sam asked in a whisper. He
was foolish to think that Aragorn couldnt hear him. But
Sam would be right to think that he had trouble hearing. He
had to strain to listen, but even then voices faded in and out
of earshot.
do we know that thisa friend of Gandalf? Merry
whispered, far more quite than Sam had talked.
a servant of the Darklook fairer and feelsno
choice but to trust him, that voice was Frodo, speaking
lightly and calmly.
But where is he leading us? Sam persisted impatiently.
To Rivendell, Samwise, Aragorn called back to him. He
could already see Sams face, pale with shock and surprise.
Rivendell? Pippin questioned, Is that not a place where
the elves dwell?
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Aragorn turned his neck and nodded over his shoulder.
Before he turned back around he saw Sams face. He was
indeed dazed and bewildered.
Twilight came all too soon and they set up their camp in
the depths of a nameless forest that stood just outside of
Bree. The gold sun clawed at the top of the trees as it sank
down from the sky. Lower and lower the beams were, until
just after Sam had begun frying five large sausages over a
newly made crisp fire, they touched the sharp grass.
One by one, after the sun had all but left the sky now
black as ink, the hobbits fell into sleep. And quite suddenly,
he found himself alone with not one man for company. Not
that they would welcome it with relish. Most all of them
still clung to their suspicions and superstitions. Frodo
seemed to trust him for the most of it, but Aragorn still felt
that even he was unsure.
So alone in the wild, his thoughts came to Arwen, an elf
maiden he had taken to court some time ago. Rarely did he
see her, Lord Elrond, ruler of the elves of Rivendell and her
father clearly disliked their relations. For he was a man
mortal and he would die one day; though he may be one of
the Dunedian and would live longer than all men, he would
one day inevitably and surely cease in existence and turn to
nothing more than ash in the ground or a spirit in the sky, if
his assumptions of the gods were false.
He related his doomed and troubled relationship with
Arwen Evenstar to the ancient song of Beren and Luthien.
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He began to sing quietly next to the dying fire, away from
the hobbits so that he may not wake them.
The leaves were long, the grass was green,
the hemlock-umbels tall and fair,
And in the glade a light was seen
of stars in shadow shimmering.
Tinuvel was dancing there
to music of a pipe unseen,
and a light of stars was in her hair,
And in her raiment glimmering.
There Beren came from mountains cold,
And lost he wandered under leaves,
And where the Elven-river rolled
He walked alone and sorrowing.
He peered between the hemlock-leaves
And saw in wonder flowers of gold
Upon her mantle and her sleeves
And her hair like shadow following.
Enchantment healed his weary feet
That over hills are doomed to roam;
And for the he hastened, strong and fleet,
And grasped at moonbeams glistening.
Through woven woods in Elvenhome
She lightly fled on dancing feet,
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And left him lonely still to roam
In the silent forest listening.
He heard there oft the flying sound
Of feet as light as linden-leaves,
Or music welling underground,
In hidden hollows quavering.
Now withered lay the hemlock-sheaves,
And one by one with sighing sound
Whispering fell the beachen leaves
In the wintry woodland wavering.
He sought her ever, wandering far
Where leaves of years and years were thickly strewn,
By light of moon and ray of star
In frosty heavens shivering.
Her mantle glinted in the moon,
As on hilltop high and far
She danced and at her feet was strewn
A mist of silver quivering.
When winter passed she came again,
And her song released the sudden spring,
Like rising lark and falling rain,
And melting water bubbling.
He saw the elven-flowers spring
About her feet and healed again
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He longed by her to dance and sing
Upon the grass un-troubling.
Again she fled, but swift he came.
Luthien Tinuvel!
He called her by her elvish name;
And there she halted listening.
One moment stood she, and a spell
His voice laid on her: Beren came,
And doom fell on Tinuvel
That in his arms lay glistening.
As Beren looked into her eyes
Within the shadows of her hair,
The trembling starlight of the skies
He saw there mirrored shimmering.
Tinuvel the elven-fair,
Immortal maiden elven-wise,
About him cast her shadowy hair
And arms like silver glimmering.
Long was the way that fate them bore,
Oer stony mountains cold and grey,
Through halls of ireon and darkling door,
And woods of nightshade morrowless
The Sundering Seas between them lay,
And yet at last they met once more,
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And long ago they passed away
In the forest singing sorrowless
The embers were nearly dead after he finished the song.
He looked back at the resting hobbits. None of them had
been disturbed by his singing. He sighed and leaned in close
to the dying fire. After feeling a last wave of warmth, he
blew out the remaining embers and crawled away under his
blankets which had been set out by Merry and Pippin. For a
while he stared up at the stars, winking in the dark sky
above him. But soon enough he fell into a deep sleep, the
last sight seen being the gracious pale stars hanging
motionless above him.



Gandalf
Wind roared past Gandalfs ears. The sound of it was
angry and full of bitter spite. Consciousness began to flow
back into the wizards mind, as the common questions were
asked upon himself. Groaning, he pulled himself from the
cold ground beneath him. He sat up and observed his
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surroundings. He was at the highest peak of Orthanc,
wrapped in a cold, cruel night, with every ounce of light
obscured by clouds. The four pointed spires stood in a circle
around him like angry giants, taller than mountains. The
ground he stood on was slippery with rain from some past
date, blacker than tar and smoother than silk. Judging by
the clouds above, rain would come again. White marble
intermingled with the blackness on the obsidian floor, as
well as plain grey stone.
The wizard allowed himself to edge closer to the edge of
the tower. It was a long, harrowing fall down. Death was
the only way to escape his prison now. Gandalf stepped
back into the safety of solid ground. Saruman had taken
everything from him, save for the clothes on his back. Not
his staff, his hat, nor his sword had been left up here.
Gandalf gave a glimpse at the sky again. Above him the
empty night sky wandered amiably higher and higher,
touching nothing but cloud. The air was colder and thinner
up here and his breath steamed before him. In and out, in
and out
He sat in the middle of the tower for a long while. The
wind became more precarious with each passing gale. A
drop of rain fell from the skies every now and then. Finally,
Gandalf wandered to the edge of the tower once again. He
looked down on the lands of Isenguard, expecting to see the
luscious gardens that he had wandered through countless
time before. But what he saw was far more terrible.
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Countless goblins and orcs, dressed in mail thick with
sweat shoveled out the ground before them, revealing rocky
and black dirt in the place of the bright grass. The trees were
pulled from their stems and cut into pieces by sharp steel
axes. Leaves were ripped from their branches and burned in
the night sky, trails of smoke flying to the top of the world.
Gandalf could almost touch the smoke. He was so close, but
yet so far.
He studied the goblins and the orcs again. He could see
little of their twisted faces, ugly and monstrous. He
wondered where Saruman couldve kept all these creatures
in his quarters. Surely they were not sent from Mordor
recently, it would be nearly half of a year before they could
arrive here. This only meant that Saruman had been serving
the Dark Lord for years now. He wondered that the last time
he saw him, nearly ten years before this fateful arrival, had
he been a servant of Sauron then?
Looking one last time at the miserable spoiling of
Isenguard, he found that a gaping cavern had been dug near
the tower. Around it he saw woodworks beginning their
construction and from the cavern itself spilled an orange the
color of flames. He heard the faint clashing of metal and
screams of some foul creature and he could only wonder
what was happening inside the cavern.
He legs suddenly burned in pain as if they were about to
break in half. He stumbled down onto the wet floor and felt
his cloak grow moist. He sat up and looked up at the stars.
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Not many were there, for clouds were forming for a storm,
but through a gap in the cloud they were there. The stars
were so much closer now that he was up here. It was as if
only yards above him, the stars floated, twinkling, near as
bright as the very sun.
He sighed and shivered as all his memories had came
rushing back to him now. He had left Frodo to a horrible
fate, he knew that now. He hoped with all hope that they
would never cross paths with the nine Nazgul, the cloaked
servants of Sauron, deadly on their mares and bearing
Morgul blades, sharp with poison that could kill a wounded
man in a matter of days.
If Sam and Frodo reached Bree soon enough, unscathed
and unharmed, Aragorn would surely take them in under his
protection. He would take them to Rivendell and there, they
could find a plan themselves if he never escaped from this
prison. His head and feet still throbbed with pain from his
fall. He did not know how long ago that had been. Now,
Saruman had his staff and he was powerless to do anything.
Perhaps Saruman would take the thing for his own, or keep
it as a trophy or even break it into two and all it would
become would simply be two splintered pieces of wood that
had once been forged as one.
It was then when the rain began to fall. Thick and cold,
they fell from the gathering storm that had hovered over
Orthanc for so long. He shivered even more now; his cloak
sank to the floor, heavy with water.
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Faintly, he heard fluttering among the patter of the falling
rain. He looked up and saw above him, a grey moth, with
clear wings, buzzing around his head. This was no ordinary
pest. It was a messenger. He quickly cupped the bug in his
folded hands and whispered a plea of help. He opened his
hands and the bug flew quickly south, to notify its masters.
Gandalf began to laugh to himself silently. By dawn, the
eagles would arrive. The giant winged birds had been his
ally for a long while and today they would help him yet
again.
Then, a great rattle of locks sounded to his left. He didnt
even see that beside him was an iron trapdoor, sealed shut
that could only open for a key. It burst open with such force,
that Gandalf was sent flying to the edge of the tower. He
screamed as his head dangled from the tower, breathing in
the cold and wet air of the fall before his very eyes.
Suddenly he was thrown upward and hit the ground, hard.
He groaned and looked at the person who had entered.
It was Saruman, seething with rage, but somehow he was
grinning merrily. His white robes were tainted with blood
and mud and he clutched two staffs in each of his hands.
One was his, tall and dark and the other was Gandalfs,
wooden and short. Saruman snickered and threw Gandalfs
staff to him. He caught it in his hands quickly. The wood
slightly blistered his palms but he did not whelp from the
sharpness of the blow. He stood up, staring into Sarumans
deep eyes, evil with discontent.
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It is today that youll doom will be decided, Saruman
boomed in his deep voice. He snarled like a beast and raised
his staff, ready to cast a vicious blow upon Gandalf.





Frodo
Frodos neck still hurt from looking up at Weathertop for
so long. They had been heading for Rivendell for three days
now and on the eve of the fourth day; they reached the long
abandoned watchtower of Amon-Sul. To most the ruined
tower was called Weathertop and in his view, Frodo thought
it not to be a tower. It was tall yes, the peak of a giant hill,
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vastly rolling into the skies with seemingly no end to it. But
it was more like a vast and wide holdfast. A tall stone
foundation, solid with stone was the base of the empty ruin.
He saw murals and images, telling of legends forgotten long
ago, chiseled into the decaying stones.
Staircases winded around the circular foundation and
halted before a landing, small enough for one man to walk
at a time. To the right of the landing was a doorway that led
into a vast room. Roofless, empty, and broken, the room
encompassed the whole place. Where windows once stood
were just gaps in a stone wall and where a ceiling once was
were only stones holding nothing but air, some lower than
others and some burnt away or crumbling into nothing.
Frodo took every detail when they stopped at the foot of
the hill. Aragorn announced that they were to set up camp
where they were standing. Frodo nodded slowly in
agreement, still staring up at the massive holdfast. Finally it
was when Aragorn announced that he was going to leave
them for a while to look around the moors surrounding them
that led him to stop his stare with the ruin.
Why, Frodo winced at the soreness he felt in his neck as
he talked.
The Nazgul have been hot on our trail, Aragorn said. He
grabbed a drum of wood and lit it in the newly made fire, I
have to make sure they are not here.
Wouldnt it be wiser to protect us here, Sam was
confounded, he was only just beginning to trust Aragorn,
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who he still called Strider.
To some, Aragorn said, rising from the ground, But not
to me.
With a slight wave of farewell, he turned around and
walked deeper into the moors. The wind blew and
Aragorns hair flew behind him in the raunchy winds.
I spot a lake down there, Merry pointed to a blotch of
wavering blue in the ground hundreds of yards away, How
are we on water.
Near ten flagons, Sam shrugged, pulling out his black
pan from his bag, Well earn even more in Rivendell if
Strider is as close to elves as he says he is.
A little more wouldnt hurt, Frodo suggested. Sam
grinned.
It might hurt my back, he jived, Merry and youll go. I
cant have you wandering near a mile away from us. I
promised Gandalf as much, you see.
As the skies above them turned from gold to purple,
Merry and Frodo strode across the moors, thick with high
grown grass to the small pond. The carried each two empty
flagons, thirsty for their call of holding onto drinks.
If Sams so concerned with you, Merry said as soon as
they were out of earshot with the others, which was a long
way away, Why cant he take you himself.
Hes making supper, I imagine, Frodo stretched out his
legs to save himself from tripping over a cracked log,
crawling with small black ants, And you were the one who
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mentioned it, to be as plain as I can.
Merry rolled his eyes beside him, May it be, may it be.
But youre the one who encouraged the thought.
The wind roared once again, sending both of their capes
stirring in the wind, flapping behind them like a banner of a
proud house. Under Frodos bare feet, the grass prickled his
skin like tiny dull needles.
Frodo, Merry looked as if he was in deep thought when
he spoke, Do you truly trust this Aragorn character? I for
one nearly did until today. If the Nazgul are closing in on
us, shouldnt he stay at camp to protect us instead of
wandering around the wild?
Frodo took in deep thought. It was particularly suspicious
that Aragorn had chosen to abandon them at such a dire
moment. But in all truth, Frodo did not know Aragorns true
intentions. He couldnt say for sure what he wanted to come
to pass
I think, Frodo finally answered, If he were loyal to the
enemy and wanted us dead or handed to Sauron, we would
have met fate the night we arrived at Bree.
Maybe, Merry shrugged, But any old chap can just go
around saying they serve Gandalf.
But he knew so much of the Ring. Where could he have
learned it all? He said himself that Gandalf had trusted him
in escorting us to safety if he stumbled into a dire situation.
The Black Riders know much of the Ring, Ill bet my life
on it. People lie Frodo, this isnt the Shire anymore.
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But some are also honest and truthful, Frodo said,
halting before the shores of the pool and leaning in with a
crouch, Okay, just dip the flagon underwater and stopper
it.
And in unison, they each dunk both flagons they held into
the crystal pond. The water bubbled as the flagons filled up,
completely concealed inside the pond. After a short time
they both lifted the flagons up out of the water and plugged
them up with the smooth wax corks.
As the rose from the sandy ground, clutching firmly onto
the bottles heavy with freshwater, the black smoke seeping
out of the flames were visible from across the way. Dark
clouds began to engulf the sun which was slowly
descending down into a set worthy of admiration.
When Frodo and Merry arrived and handed Sam the
flagons, Pippin was fast asleep, tangled in messy sheets at
the foot of the tent. Aragorn was still nowhere to be seen.
I give thanks to the both of you, Sam nodded, dropping
the four water bottles into a nearby rucksack, But now
Sam pointed to Pippin, snoring outside of the tent.
Help me drag him into the tent, Sam rose, brushing off
the dirt and grass from his clothes.
What, you couldnt do it yourself? Merry jested smartly.
Just help me, Sam sighed, sounding tired but restless.
Merry groaned and stomped forward. Frodo walked forward
as well to help, but the two others already had him in the air
and were carefully placing him inside the tent.
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I think Ill sleep as well, Sam grunted, hunched over
massaging his back.
Frodo drew out a long blanket from one of the bags. He
held it in the air.
Here, Frodo threw the blanket which fell hopelessly at
Sams feet, barely flying a foot from his own arm. Sam
thanked him and headed into the tent and within the minute,
he was already snoring.
Merry cried out in surprise behind him. Frodo turned
around quickly.
What is it? Frodo panicked breathlessly.
Merry was standing next to the fire, still whipping back
and forth in the shivering wind. He was looking down at the
pan, empty and hoisted over the warm fire. It was the only
light in the world now. The sun was gone and the night,
shielded by thick clouds, had arrived.
Pip and Sam have eaten all the food, he exclaimed,
astonished.
Then cook! Frodo said simply, turning back around and
beginning to rummage through his bag, trying to find the
book that he had packed. It seemed buried under everything
in the bag. Clothes filled the thing to the brim and all the
other items he had packed with it, were buried like a corpse
under the fabrics.
ErFrodo, Merry said solemnly from behind him, I
dont know how to cook.
Frodo struggled to hold back his laughter. He continued to
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reach his hands deep down into the bag, Neither do I, Im
afraid.
Merry groaned and began to walk towards the tent.
I might as well sleep then, he sighed when he came into
Frodos view. Frodo watched him disappear into the dark
tent. Frodo looked down, back at the bag. He turned the
clothes over inside it, but still found nothing. Perhaps it was
in the other bags. But there were too many and he did not
look forward to rummaging around in the belongings of
others. He figured hed just ask all of them tomorrow.
Twigs snapped under his feet as he marched over to the
fire, as bright as ever. He leaned in and let out a long breath.
His breath whipped the flames backwards and flattened on
the ground, turning into nothing but ash. After withdrawing
a blanket from his bag, he tip-toed into the tent, careful not
to wake anyone. Frodo set the sheet down in between Sam
and Pippin, where the only free space was and wrapped
himself in the thick cotton blanket. He lay there, tangled
inside the sheets, staring up at the shadow of Weathertop,
which was visible atop the roof of the tent, which was
drooping glumly inward.
He fell asleep with caution, listening nervously for any
swish of cloaks, any crunch of footsteps, of any screams of
the Nazgul.
youve burnt mine
Here you can have mine.
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Okay, thank youI must say
You want a tomato Sam?
Frodo groaned as these voices pierced through his dreams
like a knife. He raised his weary head and saw that it was
still dark outside. No light was shining through the fabric of
the tent, only the ever looming shadow of the abandoned
watchtower.
He turned his head to his left to see where the voices were
coming from. No one was beside him. He looked to his
right. No one was beside him there either.
quiet, youll wake him!
Frodo looked forward and through the opening in the tent
he saw Pippins cloaked back facing him, sitting on a thick
log. Light crept around his sides like the sun during an
eclipse. He was blocking out firelight.
Frodo jumped up and sprinted out of the tent.
What are you doing? he yelled furiously. Merry was
smiling as he ate off of his plate. Pippin turned around,
confused and Sam held out a pan, sizzling with cooked
tomatoes and bacon.
Weve saved some for you, Mister Frodo, Sam said
quickly, looking up at him, No need to
Put it out you fools! he interjected Sam, Do you want
to draw attention to us?
The three of them were stammering, confounded by the
sudden fury Frodo was giving them. Frodo ran over to
Sams bag and pulled out a flagon of water. He ran over to
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the fire and poured the cold water over the warm fire. The
flames crackled one last time before dying and casting the
four of them into darkness. Ash sprayed in puffs upward
and fell down to the ground.
Thats nice, Pippin quipped in sarcasm, Ash on my
tomatoes. Frodo, why are you getting wor
A shriek echoed through the moors. Frodo felt as though
someone had punched him in his gut. Pippins face grew
pale in front of him and hardened like stone. Sam and Merry
were certainly doing the same behind his back. The Nazgul
were here.
Frodos mouth fell open as the sound of hooves thundered
towards them. Frodo franticly cast a look around the camp
and found that Aragorn was still not here. He had
abandoned them, then. They had to protect themselves
now
To Weathertop! Frodo urged, rushing to his bag, nearly
tripping on himself, Take the swords!
Everyone else ran to their bags and pulled the swords out
quickly. The rasp of metal being pulled out of a sheath
danced through the air. Another shriek followed.
GO! Frodo cried, running up the hill. It was already wet
with dew. The others ran behind him, heaving up the hill.
The thundering of the horses came to a stop somewhere
behind them. Frodo felt the Ring grow heavy inside his
pocket. It was even harder now to run up the hill. It was too
steep, too high.
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Frodo drew a quick glance behind him. In the foreground,
were Sam and the others running as fast as they could,
swords in hand, the steel glowing in the moonlight which
shone like a torch through the clouds. But he saw shadows
not so far behind all of them. He looked back forward and
quickened his pace up the hill and the great round
foundation of Weathertop came into view.
Follow me, Frodo shouted, Up the stairs.
Yes, sir, Sam panted breathlessly, We will.
As Frodo began to race up the narrow steps, some eroded
with age; he could only imagine the horror Sam, Merry and
Pippin were feeling. Heaving with all his might, Frodo
jumped up past a false step as not to fall straight through the
staircase and hit the ground.
As the stairs curved around the tower, the Ring grew even
heaver before. Sweat trickled down from his hair. It was so
exhausting, he wondered if the others were feeling as tired
as he was already. It was as if a voice was whispering to
him from the back of his head. It was whispered to him in
soothing tones, demanding him to forsake all hope and give
in. It wanted him to stop fleeing like a coward and face his
fate. At least then when he died, he wouldnt feel pain. His
breath would be caught up to him by the time the hooded
riders reached him.
Reaching the landing, Frodo dismissed these thoughts
with disgust. How could I ever think like that, he thought to
himself as he ran into the open tower. The leathery soles of
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his bare feet smacked across the stone as he ran for shelter. I
made it this far, though, he thought to himself
encouragingly.
Together, the four hobbits huddled next to one another,
peering silently out into the darkness through the cracked,
empty windows that encircled them. Shaking with panic,
Frodos sword slipped from his hand with a loud clatter.
Frodo hastily leaned in for the sword, but suddenly, Sam
was crying out curses and the clashing of metal sang
through the air sharply. Frodo whipped his head up, still
reaching blindly for his sword.
Sam was in front of him, parrying blows brought on by
the Nazgul, cloaked under cover of the night. They, hidden
in their black cloaks mustve blended in with the darkness
outside of the holdfast tower. If only he had seen them
coming.
Frodo raised his sword high through the air and clashed at
one of the black riders. This one was taller than the others,
stronger built as well. However, his back was turned and he
was occupied with Pippin, screaming obscenities and
hacking through the air with his sword. Frodo let his own
hammer down, steel singing through the wind as it smacked
against the Nazguls belly. The thing shrieked and whipped
back furiously to face him.
Robes flew behind him in the wind. The cloaked beast
was holding a long sword firmly in its metal gloved hands.
It was a cruel piece of iron as well as one tinted with age.
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The sword went up through the air, collapsing on itself with
a sharp point, tipped with a green stain. Snarling, the beast
toed forward, with his sword in hand.
It did not swing for a blow, nor did it defend itself when
Frodo swung his own sword in warning. It just walked
slowly forward in a deep stare. Although Frodo could not
see any of the things features behind his hood, he felt as
though he was staring straight into its eyes.
Back you devils! Sam screamed and the clanging of
metal intensified until Sam was groaning. To the side of the
Nazgul he saw Sam lying on the ground, clutching a deep
wound in his arm. Blood dripped from in between his
fingers, drooling onto the floor.
The Wraith that Sam had been dueling for so long
abandoned the hobbit and strode next to the same Wraith
that was cornering him. Finally, out of nowhere, two more
came, wielding a near identical sword as the taller of them.
No more followed. It appeared that only four had followed
their trail.
Frodos own breath escaped him then. He panted, tears of
fear welling in the corners of his eyes. He swung helplessly
again at the Nazgul but did not hit a single one of them.
Finally he felt his legs hit across something sharp as he
backed away from the Nazgul, coming ever closer. He felt
warm blood ooze from the bottom of his foot as he whelped
shrilly in pain. He lifted up his wounded leg, still backing
away from the four riders. Suddenly, he tripped over
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himself and the wind tethered to him briefly, before his head
crunched down on the hard ground.
Looming over him, the Nazgul came further, swords
drawn. Frodo, panic-stricken, reached into his shirt pocket.
The Ring, gleaming in the dull moonlight, was inside his
fisted hands. He opened his fingers, revealing the Ring to
the Nazgul. He could have sworn he heard a gasp from one
of them. The middle one, the taller one, outstretched his
hand eagerly and jogged forward. Quickly, Frodo slipped
the Ring onto his fingers.
He fell back into the blurriness of the world from the eyes
of the Ring. The edges of everything and everyone were
blurred dramatically. A white tint was added to the very air,
but what he saw staring down at him in the place of the
Nazgul nearly made him jump so jerkily, he very well could
have fell off of the tower.
Above him were the four riders. To the very opposite of
reality, the glowed white like a pale star in the dead of
night. Their robes were now white and majestic, not like
their tattered dark cloaks they normally adorned. Golden
necklaces, glowing white as well, were strung from their
thick and wrinkled necks. And their faces. Their faces!
All of them looked nearly identical, with only slight
differentiations here and there. Flour white, their heads
bobbed up and down in the blurriness of it all. All of them
were wrinkled and contorted. Their mouths looked as
though they were strung shut with threads and their
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foreheads sunk deeply downward, brows half covering their
sunken beetle black eyes. Atop their silver white hair, which
flowed down to their shoulders, were great white crowns,
shimmering in the dark like water.
Panting, Frodo grabbed at the ground, steadying himself
to get up off of the ground. But as he rose slowly, his foot
throbbing painfully. The tallest one, the oldest one and the
grandest one, quickly swung his sword downward, burying
the blade harshly into one of Frodos shoulders.
The pain was too immeasurable to even comprehend. He
felt his skin tear open for the blade but felt no more as a
state of shock settled inside him. It was distant and
throbbing, sharpening with every second. The nearly
painlessness bliss wouldnt last long.
Looking down at his shoulder, he saw the blood form a
puddle above his wound. Some fell from the puddle and
trickled down his shirt from the gash in the cloth that was
torn asunder for the tip of the beasts blade.
He screamed as he was the blood and suddenly the bliss
was gone. It sharply came into focus. It felt like his arm was
going to split in two at any moment. It dulled for near a
second before coming back into clarity, sharper than the last
time. Like the waves at the beach.
No matter who intense the pain would grow to be, he
knew for certain that he had to leave this world where all
was blurred. Quickly, he tore off the Ring from his finger,
using the wounded arm. It hurt so badly. Thats all he could
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think of, the pain.
Battle-cries were given from somewhere in front of him.
But it sounded as though it was given at the end of a long
tunnel, and he was at the start. The sky lit up. Was the sun
back? But the light faded in and out of his sight, like a torch
was being waved over him. Is that what it is?, he pondered
in his head, trying anything to get his mind off of the pain.
But it still persisted. Suddenly, cloaks were burning. In
front of him flames thick with smoke began out of nowhere.
The Nazgul were screaming. They were burning!
Thats right, he said bitterly in his mind, Burn in hell!
But as soon as those thoughts rushed into his mind, the
pain came fiercer than ever. He screamed louder than he had
ever done so. Others screamed with him, shrill and high-
pitched. The Nazgul were burning, all of them. Even the one
who had wounded him. Who had stabbed a point of steel
inside him. He was burning. Burning. Burning.
Faces loomed over him. They werent like those he had
seen when he had the Ring on. They were kind this time and
gentle, he could tell although he was unable to make out
their faces. And when they spoke, their words were jumbled
together and hard to hear.
HelpStrider, one called out. He had said something
after Help, but he could not tell what it was.
stabbed with a Morgul Blade, a deeper voice
answered.
Gandalf Frodo heard himself mutter, Gandalf.
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Gandalf.
This matter is beyond my capabilities, the same deep
voice continued, He needs elvish medicine, now.
Frodo felt some one pick him off of the ground. The pain
in his shoulder grew stronger. He wanted to scream, but his
voice was to weak and all he could manage was a groan.
days from Rivendell! Well
trust in me
The voices were growing quieter and quieter until he was
left alone in the dark, hearing nothing but his own breath.
He was feeling all energy spill out of him. Before he
descended into unconsciousness, he screamed out with all
his might one last time.
GANDALF!
His voice died within him.
Arwen
The forest was growing thick around Arwen Evenstar, and
light was growing scarce. But she held her own light about
her and the dark leaves, ornately pattern with rain and dew,
seemed to glow a little brighter as she passed. Her white
steed snorted in tiredness below her, its speed lessening
with every trot.
But no rest could be given for her lover was in grievous
danger and the fate of the world seemed to have
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intermingled with him. There could only be one reason why
five Nazgul chased Aragorn that the Ring of Power was in
his wake.
But she knew he himself did not wield the Ring. She
wouldve been shocked if he had. No, traveling with him to
Rivendell were four hobbits and the Ringbearer was Frodo
Baggins.
And for a reason she herself did not understand, her father
sent her on a venture across the Ford of Bruinen to reach
them. She had never wandered that far. Her father did not
give her any reason but she did not question him. Her father
had the gift of foresight and had said something had gone
terribly wrong.
You will know when you see it, those were the last
words he uttered before her before she left Rivendell, her
home, for the first time in her life.
Her horse continued to march slowly down the narrow
pathway that was cut between the tangled trees. The leaves
shuttered in the wind.
Strange, she thought to herself, the wind is growing
stronger with each passing moment.
Its as if a storm is coming, she finished aloud. The
horse replied with a sudden nay. The poor mare sounded
harassed and tired.
The trees were growing lighter around her, making way
for a clearing. Animals chirped all around her and their
glowing eyes followed her as she moved through the forest,
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hidden in the shadows of the trees.
She stopped her horse from continuing onward. She heard
voices now; they were full of panic and haste. Arwen
dismounted and her heavy boots hit the ground silently. The
tall grass rustled as someone moved through it. Someone
was close to her now. She headed towards the sound as it
went deeper into the forest.
Making her way through the trees and flower-bushes thick
with thorns she followed the sound. It stopped suddenly.
She continued forward and peered from behind a tree. A
silhouette was crouched over a group of weeds. It was
Kingsfoil, which slowed poisons, usually brought onward
unnaturally.
Arwen stepped from behind the tree and trudged into the
weeds. The man sprung up a bunch from the ground, dirt
falling back into the ground from the frayed ends. His eyes
bulged as he discovered a pair of legs standing before him.
He looked up at Arwen. Aragorn looked stunned.
Whats this? she asked playfully, A ranger caught off
his guard?
Aragorns face warmed into a smile.
Arwen, he raised himself from the ground, What are
you doing here?
Arwen shrugged, My father sent me. She looked down
at the Kingsfoil which he held loosely in his gloved hands.
He told me something was wrong in your quest, Arwen
looked back up at her lover with a frown, And if you are
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harvesting the Altheas Plant, I may know what has become
of one of you.
Aragorn nodded sadly, Frodo has been stabbed with a
Morgul Blade by one of the Nazgul. Not just a long
forgotten king. The With-King, no less.
Arwen grew pale with worry. She outstretched a hand for
the Kingsfoil. Aragorn quickly dropped it down onto her
soft hands. She ran into the clearing, it was not so far from
where they had just talked. As the brushed away the prickly
leaves a Nazgul screamed in the distance. They were close.
Before her, a small camp was set up at the base of large
stone trolls. Here, nearly sixty years ago, Frodos uncle,
Bilbo Baggins had wittily petrified three trolls from killing
him and the band of dwarves he traveled with. She could
barely remember the Company of Thorin Oakenshield filing
into Rivendell. She was only a girl of twelve, and her father
was sure to keep her away from all of them.
Three hobbits sat beside Frodo, who was twitching and
moaning on the ground. She ran over to Frodos side and
looked down upon his face. Moist with sweat and stained
with dirt, his head looked like it had been shrunken from
what it could have been before. His mouth was ajar and his
eyes were wide and bluer than the sky. The color was
beginning to cover all others in his eye, barely and white
remained.
Frodo, she whispered calmly. Aragorn sat down beside
her, I am Arwen Evenstar, I have come to help you. Hear
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my voice and come back into the light.
Frodo only screeched, looking up at her in confusion. All
he could do now was parody the noise of the Nazgul; he
couldnt speak a cry of help. Around her, the hobbits
whispered to each other, occasionally throwing glances to
her before returning to conversation.
Aragorn carefully unbuttoned Frodos shirt, revealing his
pale body through the dimness of the forest.
The wound is on the shoulder, Aragorn pointed.
She looked at Frodos bare shoulder and winced. The scar
was resting just above his armpit and it was crimson red and
wet in some places. The skin around it had turned a green
hue, and a vein of black color stretched out from the wound,
reaching eagerly for the heart.
Arwen pushed the Kingsfoil down onto the wound and
squeezed it tightly. Water from inside the plant trickled into
the wound, making Frodo scream out in pain. It must have
stung him greatly, for the Nazgul answered back in almost
an echo.
Hes not going to last, she said observantly, We must
take him to my father. Mount him on my horse.
Aragorn nodded silently and picked up the hobbit with
both hands. Arwen walked over to her horse. Aragorn came
behind her and sat Frodo up on the horse. He was
unresponsive and seemed not to notice straps being strung
around his legs. He continued to stare blankly forward,
moaning every now and then.
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There are five wraiths behind you, now, she warned
him, climbing onto her horse, I do not know where the
other four have gone.
She sat behind Frodo, and held the reigns in her hand.
Farewell, Arwen said, looking down at her love.
Aragorn nodded.
Ride hard and dont look back, he advised confidently.
Arwen nodded and tugged on the reigns. With a nay and
snort the horse sprinted through the forest quickly, but not
quick enough. Arwen muttered ancient enchantments under
her breath in Elvish, forcing the horse to go even faster. She
would be riding twice as fast, but the horse would only feel
as if he were riding at a normal pace, as to bring no harm
towards him.
The forest cleared within minutes, and a wind of fresh air
streamed across her face. The sun was creeping over the
hills and the tops of the trees, bursting with bright oranges
and reds. The great moors stretched out from under her until
the end of the horizon. Mountain peaks rose from the
ground, capped with freshly fallen snow and stood in the
mist at the end of the horizon. With each stride, they came
into clearer focus. The terrain became more rolling by the
second and the grass below was now a dried yellow.
The Nazgul continued to screech through the air, now
bright with sun. Instinctively, Arwen glanced back,
forgetting all advice Aragorn had given her. The five
wraiths were trailing behind her, saddled on horse and close
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enough that she could see them upon the horizon. The sun
beat down upon their black cloaks and their metal plated
fists, clenched around thick leather reigns, glowed white in
the brightness of the day.
At first sign of her face, the lot of them screamed
together, like wolves in a moonlit wood. Arwen shuddered
and turned back to the world ahead of her. She felt Frodos
head bob up and down, hitting her breasts gently every now
and then.
The thunderous noise of hooves galloping across the
world grew steadily behind her. She leaned in closer to the
head of her horse. Stroking his mane, she whispered more
words of enchantment, urging to ride harder.
The horse made no changes; he had reached his limit. The
Wraiths were coming in closer from behind her, screeching
rapidly. Frodo moaned loudly in pain from below her,
outstretching his arm forward as if to reach someone. Their
presence swelled from beyond, The Nazgul, screeches and
sounds of horses stampeding intensified. And Frodo began
to answer back, wavering side to side, shaking, and
screaming his replies which were only earsplitting and
indefinable yells.
Frodo, she muttered grimly, Dont give in! Dont give
in!
Frodo grunted and fell forward, his head resting on the
neck of her horse. It snorted, confused, and came to a halt,
looking back at itself. The Nazgul were gaining significant
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speed. Crying out, she kicked it into a trot and whipped it
into a run. She whispered her incantations again, and the
horse charged forward into the endless moors.
Looking back behind her, she gasped as she found the
Nazgul were closer than ever. Riding in a V-like formation,
the servants of the enemy were only riding yards from her.
She turned around and leaned in closer to her horse and
whispered her spell again, her feet pressing hard against the
stirrup.
This time the horse went forward faster than before. She
looked up, leaning her posture back, and saw a thick river of
water glimmer in the light. The Ford of Bruinen was just
beyond. So close now
Suddenly, a cold hand grabbed her shoulder, pointed
fingers digging into her soft flesh above her shoulder.
Crying in pain, she struggled free and pulled her sword from
her sheath, buckled onto her saddle, and flogged it back at
the Nazgul who had grabbed her. The horse ran faster in
panic and the Wraith screamed out behind her.
Finally, her horse reached the shores of River Loudwater,
and halted before it, looking nervously down at the waves
crashing against the stony shores, lined with countless
pebbles. Arwen hastily directed her horse to the ford.
The narrow strip of land that stretched across the river was
wet with crunching mud. Frodo rose from his prone rest and
drew his gaze back and forth, confused.
Arwens steed reached across the ford and scampered to
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the opposite shore. She sat atop it, facing the coming wave
of the Nazgul, a grin glazed over her face.
The Nazguls horses jibbed at the water, their horses
retreating back from the rushing waves of freshwater. All
five of the hooded beings stared into her eyes with loathing.
Give up the Halfling, she-elf, one spat in its rasping
voice, similar to that of a sound made when metal is
dragged against stone.
Arwen proudly held her sword aloft, higher in the air now
as if she were to send it down in a hammering blow.
If you want him, she said defiantly, Come and claim
him!
Low growls emitted from their lowered hoods.
Last chance, one kicked his horse into a trot forward,
until it reared before the base of the water, Or we kill.
She made no answer, no subtle movement in her saddle.
They took it as a refusal and together, they removed their
long swords from their bejeweled sheaths. They all galloped
forward until the very brink, than stood there, hastily
barking threat and orders to their horses.
Arwen took her chance now. She had a plan to drive the
beasts of the abyss away, miles from the sacred Valley of
Imladris. In a barely a whisper, she recited the protection
spell of Rivendell, only used in dire circumstances.
Nin o Chithaeglir, she whispered breathlessly in her
native tongue, Lasto beth daer, Rimmo nin Bruinen, dan in
Ulair!
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She felt the hum of the water before her. The levels rose
and waves crashed viciously against both shores. Should she
repeat it another tine, the Nazgul would be flooded with all
the strength the waves of the Loudwater could muster. The
Nazguls skeletal horses were already prancing backwards,
protesting the urges of their masters.
Nin o Chithaeglir, she repeated determinedly, Lasto
beth daer, Rimmo nin Bruinen, dan in Ulair!
A rush of water sounded from the north of the river,
between bases of mountains. Water roared across the river
thunderously, taking the shape of horses racing down a
causeway, unmanned but saddled. It spilled across the
western shores with great force and speed. Water crashed
over the unsuspecting Nazgul. Legs of horses stuck up out
of the rough and foamy waters. Screeches were gurgled
underwater and water persisted there.
Frodo was spluttering below her like he was drowning as
well. Arwen quickly looked down at him; the back of his
head, hooded in a green cloak was rocking back and forth,
until he slipped free of his straps and fell onto the rocky
shore with a thud.
Arwen gasped and dismounted. She sat at his side,
cupping his hand. He tried to catch his breath franticly,
clawing at his neck. But in the end, he just stared blankly up
at the sky, clouded now with overcast, his blue, glossy eyes
beginning to glaze over, his face growing pale.
Frodo! she cried, No! Dont give in now! Find strength
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within you!
Tears fell from her eyes, fumbling down her cheek. She
held him in her arms, his body pressed against hers. She
could feel the outline of the Ring through his clothes. The
Ringbearer was gone now. Or about to leave, anyway. The
fate of all had come thundering down in ruin today, all
because she was too late. But as she sobbed, hugging his
body on the shores, she realized hope might yet still be
apparent.
What grace has given me, she prayed, eyes flickered
open and staring blankly at the pebble-ridden shores. The
waves were calming now, Let it pass to him. Let him be
spared. Save him.
She waited silently there, looking down at his pale and
mangled body lain across the banks of the Loudwater. It
seemed to last a long while. But finally, breath came back
into Frodo. He spluttered as it rushed into him. He looked
upon the skies and his eyes drooped shut. He fell into sleep,
breathing heavily.
Thanking the gods, she hoisted him back on the saddle
and strung him to it tightly. She mounted on her horse
again, sitting behind Frodo, and found her footing in the
leather stirrups. Grabbing hold of the reigns, she kicked her
horse into a canter. Sighing in partial relief, she tightly held
onto her reigns. She could feel her palms beginning to
blister from the ride. It is nearly over, she reminded herself
as her horse went up the paths that entwined up the
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mountain.
The battle was only half-won, however. Frodo was still in
a matter of life or death, a huge risk as he could die at any
moment. But if he was still breathing when she handed him
over to her father for healing, it was almost certain that
Frodo Baggins would survive.



Gandalf
Gandalf sat in Frodos bedchambers at Rivendell, basking
in the golden sunlight. With a pipe in hand, he was at home
here, a much deserved break from the chaos he had
encountered in Isenguard.
He had perhaps have arrived at Rivendell in the most
inordinate manner possible. On the back of a large feathered
eagle, he soared from Isenguard to Rivendell, sweeping
over the jagged Misty Mountains. It was nearing the
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summer solace and already it was as if winter was coming
on the peaks of those mountains. Nearly every solitary
mountain was either frigid or snowcapped; or both. The
very day he landed in the outskirts of Imladris, was the day
Arwen, daughter of Lord Elrond, had arrived with Frodo in
her grasp, fresh from a pursuit with the Nazgul.
What Gandalf had put the hobbit through made him
despise every ounce of himself. He found Frodo laying
unconscious in Elronds own cushioned bed before the
healing process started. Skin was stretched out across his
bones, making him look skeletal and on the verge of death
(which Elrond had told him he was, for he was stabbed with
a Morgul Blade, by the very hand of The Witch King
himself.). And Frodo shook in the bed and moaned in his
dreams, screeching like the beasts he had nearly become.
He spent the long days, which were mild, windy and filled
with sun, observing Frodos recovery. The third day
Aragorn and Sam arrived, strangely joined with Meridoc
Brandybuck and Peregrine Took, and Frodo had still not
woken. However, he was healing greatly and his sleep had
grown silent, but not by breath.
Food and drink were delivered to him morning, noon and
evening and he only left the room to use the privy. Gandalf
catered to Frodos health as well. Though he handled no
medication, as that was Lord Elronds doing, he spilled cold
water down Frodos mouth when he needed it, and fed him
pudding too, the only food he could eat. But after all this
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force feeding, Frodo still remained in sleep.
And although Gandalf had confined himself to a room for
what had nearly been a week, no ounce of sanity left him.
The grand open balcony that stood beside his chair made for
a peaceful view, with so much to see from the ledge. Many
visitors came by to check up on Frodo. He had seen Merry,
Pippin, Sam, Aragorn, Arwen, Elrond, and even old Bilbo
nearly every day. Age was beginning to catch up with Bilbo
Baggins now that the Ring was no longer in his possession.
His face was greatly folded, his hair was snow white, and
his withered hands were cold and he was greatly tired unlike
he was in his youth. He had reluctantly given up on
traveling back to the Woodland Realm, or to Lake Town or
to Erebor. He was remaining in Rivendell to the end of his
days.
And when Gandalf found himself alone, with no company
but a pained hobbit indulged in a coma, his thoughts
wandered to far off memories and vivid dreams. And
eventually, thoughts wandered into more recent places.
Like today, this morning, he lingered back to the eve he had
escaped Isenguard.
He could feel the shallow rain fall upon him now and the
bitter wind was all too familiar. Saruman had just thrown
him his staff. He caught it perfectly, the sharp ends pricking
his palms just so slightly.
Circling him, Saruman gloated over his triumphs and
offered a chance to join Sauron and him, before the final
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battle between the two wizards.
A weak voice penetrated his thoughts.
Where am I? it squeaked confusedly. Gandalf came to
his senses, abandoning thoughts of the past. Frodo was
stirring blindly in his bed, feeling the silk, luxurious
blankets around him.
You are in the House of Elrond, Gandalf told him
comfortingly, And it is ten in the morning on July the
thirteenth, if you wanted to know.
Frodos eyes snapped open as soon as he heard Gandalfs
voice.
Gandalf! he cheered.
You and me both are lucky to be here, Gandalf set down
his wooden pipe beside him. And folded his arms, If only a
few more hours had passed, you would have been beyond
the aid of Lord Elrond. Arwen Evenstar saved your very
life; she brought you to The Last Homely House when the
Nazgul were in fesh pursuit of you.
Frodo nodded casually, a hint of bewilderment on his
face. He didnt remember the flight to the ford, most likely.
He seated himself up against the white pillows, wincing at
the pain in his shoulder.
Why didnt you meet us, Gandalf? Frodo looked at him
for answers, What happened?
Gandalf sighed reluctantly. This needed to be explained.
I am sorry, Frodo, he began, I was delayed. You see, I
was riding to seek council with Saruman the White, as you
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knew. I arrived there and we talked of our plans and
Saurons plans as well. I was startled to learn that Saruman
carried information I would think not possible for an enemy
of the Dark Lord to know.
But it was then that he imprisoned me when I tried to
leave. He works for Sauron now and the Spoiling of
Isenguard has commenced. Trapped on the peak of Orthanc
I sat in the rain for days on end. Until I spotted a little moth
flying around me. This was a messenger for the eagles and I
sent a plea for help.
Gandalf paused to catch his breath.
Saruman came to the tower shortly after, he resumed,
And ordered me to join with him or die. I refused and he
threw me my staff as we were to duel for the last time. You
see, he believed that I would have lost. Would I have won
though? I do not know, for it was there that an eagle arrived
and flew me to Rivendell. And here I am.
When Gandalf finished his tale, Frodos sat up in bed, his
mouth gaped open in astonishment.
Without the White Wizard, he gasped, What are we to
do now?
The council of Elrond has been summoned, Gandalf
told Frodo with a broad smile, Men from Gondor and
Rohan, Elves from Lothlorien and The Woodland, and
Dwarves from The Lonely Mountain, The Iron Hills and the
Blue Mountains! They will all be here, along with Elrond,
Aragorn, and both me and you to decide the fate of the
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Ring.
Frodo felt suddenly around his body.
Where is the Ring? he asked curiously.
Concealed in yet another envelope, Gandalf pointed to
Frodos bedside table. Frodo thanked him and opened the
crisp parchment envelope, splitting the wax seal of
Rivendell. The sigil was a star glowing in the dark, equal on
all sides. It was an Evenstar.
Frodo pulled out the Ring, now dangling from a metal
strands of minuscule chains. Pulling it around his neck, the
Ring itself hidden under his shirt, the hobbit sighed and fell
backward into his pillows.
When is the Council, Frodo asked.
A day from whenever the councilors arrive, Gandalf
shrugged.
Frodo! a voice cheered excitedly. Sam was running into
the rooms, still in his nightwear, a great grin split across his
face. He ran to the side of the bed and kneeled, holding onto
Frodos hands.
Youre awake, god bless! Sam said, sounding on the
verge of tears.
Sam has nearly been at your bedside as long as me,
Gandalf chuckled from his chair.
I was that worried about you, Sam nodded fervently
back at Gandalf. Gandalf made for a reply, but felt someone
approach him from behind. Turning in his chair he saw Lord
Elrond striding into the bedroom.
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Elrond, though only looking no more than forty-five, was
nearly as old as time itself. Born into the end of the First
Age, he had nearly always kept the same look about him. A
noble look about him, his long brunette hair came flowing
down to his back, both his pointed ears protruding from out
of his hair on either side of his head. Daily he was robed in
the finest silks known to Middle-Earth, and his hair was
glossed back with gel for showmanship.
Oh, Lord Elrond, Gandalf welcomed him warmly,
Frodo, by the skills of Lord Elrond you have nearly
completed your mending!
Both of the hobbits looked up at the elf.
Welcome to Rivendell, Frodo Baggins, Elrond greeted,
from behind Gandalfs chair, which rocked back and forth
with each breath of the wind.
It is the highest honor to be here, Frodo said politely.
Sam freed his grasp on Frodos hand.
If you would like to do so, Elrond offered, We would
allow you to view Rivendell out of this room, with the help
of Sam. Some old friends will be waiting for you, I am sure
of it.
Frodo thanked him and nearly jumped out of bed and
followed Sam out of the room.
Elrond treaded forward, coming into view again.
I see his strength has returned, Elrond chuckled, seating
himself at the edge of the bed, across from Gandalf.
A shame that that wound will never fully heal, he
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sighed, It appears he will carry it for all his life.
And yet to come so far bearing the Ring, Elrond said
optimistically, The hobbit has shown impressive resilience
to evil.
All Bagginses are made that way! First Bilbo and now
Frodo, Gandalf sighed, putting his head in his hands,
None of them were meant to bear the Ring. What was I
thinking?
You were doing what was right, I believe.
Gandalf looked up at Elrond, who was looking at him
seriously.
No really, Elrond assured him, Who else could wield
the Ring and not become corrupt? Men are famous for it,
and a wizard has just demonstrated what corruption can do
to a few good men. Dwarves are known for their greed,
which stoop as high as the mountains they dwell in and after
all, Sauron was once an elf. A hobbit has only a clean slate,
evil can be done by them but none has come to pass.
I thank you for your support, Gandalf smiled weakly
and it left as soon as it came, But I put Frodo through all of
this. It is for my fault that he danced with death this year.
The countless night terrors he will experience make me
shiver to think that it all was because of my doings!
But in war. In the matter of saving all life from genocide,
sacrifices must be made!
We can ask no more of Frodo, Elrond. He has already
lived through ten times more danger and peril and trauma
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than his uncle own who, need I remind you faced a fire-
breathing dragon and lost three of his companions in
battle!
The enemy is moving, Gandalf, Elrond said heatedly,
ignoring what he had just said, As you once said we can
remain blind to the enemy but the enemy will not remain
blind to us! Troops of Orcs and hunting parties are massing
in the east and the Great Eye is fixed on Rivendell. He
knows it is here and here in the Valley of Imladris, it can no
longer remain.
Gandalf stormed to the balcony angrily, holding onto the
ledge, looking out at the world. Elrond walked slowly up to
him, concerned.
Gandalf, he said weakly, Our list of allies is growing
thin. Many councilors have refused to come to latest
gathering and Saruman has joined with Sauron, spoiling his
own land for whatever reason.
Gandalf shuddered, remembering what Saruman had told
him up on the highest point in Orthanc. His treachery ran
deeper than anyone could ever know.
I am aware, Gandalf grimaced, I have seen the White
Wizards foul craft, or at the least, he has told me. He is
breeding an army between Orcs and Goblins in the caverns
of Isenguard. And by his own words the army can move in
sunlight and cover distance at great speed. Saruman is
coming for the Ring.
Elrond nodded in agreement, As I said, this evil cannot
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be hidden by the power of the Elves. This peril belongs to
all of Middle-Earth and they together must decide how to
end it, once and for all. The time of elves is over; my people
are leaving with haste for the Grey Havens. And who will
you look to whence all of us have left these lands.
Gandalf stared out from the balcony as he spoke, listening
pensively. From out of the main gate, horses raced down the
first courtyard and jibbed to a halt. From off of the steeds,
ponies and destriers came Men, Elves and Dwarves.
Awkwardly, they looked at one another, silently without
any words.
It is in Men that we must trust our fates in now, Gandalf
answered after deep thought.
Men, Elrond snorted, Men are weak.
Gandalf drew his gaze from the councilors and turned to
Elrond.
What do you mean weak? Gandalf questioned
mordantly, They have overcame great difficulties in their
time. Only a strong race can do that!
I care not of past victories! Elrond spat tartly, The race
is failing and they have been for many years now. The pride
and dignity of Men has all but been forgotten. I trust I dont
need to remind you that the Ring survives because of Men.
Gandalf nodded hastily, Issildur had the chance to throw
the Ring in the fire and refused. The Ring had seduced him
already. It came so fast. What do they call the Ring in
Gondor?
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Issildurs Bane, Elrond replied curtly, with a nod, But
it shouldve ended that day, when he stood inside the
Mountain of Doom, the one place it can be destroyed. Yet
evil has endured and the strength and might the world of
men once had is spent.
Gandalf trudged forward, looking straight into Elronds
eyes, only inches from them.
You do not forget Aragorn, I hope, Gandalf reminded
him gravely, He is the one who can unite the scattered race
of Men and he could reclaim the throne of Gondor.
Elrond smirked benevolently, As I trust he has told you
time and time again, he turned from the path a long time
ago. Now I must take my leave and greet the councilors.
And so, cloak rippling behind him, Elrond jogged out of
the room. And in the first time in nearly a week, Gandalf
was truly alone.







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Frodo
When Frodo left his bedchamber in Rivendell, all his
memories came rushing back to him. In the comforting bed
he had forgotten nearly everything that had taken place up
on Weathertop. But when he pattered down the rocky steps
that left his bedchamber, all of it, matters in both realities
came in a flash to his mind.
As he relived that moment the Nazgul had stabbed him,
the scar on his shoulder burned like fire. The pain came
sporadically at intervals throughout the day, but it was the
pain he felt did not come close to comparing with the pain
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that burned through him when the steel pierced through him
like he was water.
His mind trailed off from the memories of Weathertop to
sheer blankness as he walked through Rivendell for the first
time in his life. As the day progressed, the golden light of
dawn never festered. Shining through the nearby waterfalls
which came crashing shallowly into the rivers far below the
cliffs of Rivendell, the light promise to persist until
nightfall, where it would only be replaced by the pale
moonlight.
The Last Homely House, as it was called, sat upon
withered stones that shot up high through the mellow air.
Trees grew out of pockets of soil added between the stone
and granite floors added above the cliffs. They grew into
many colors, some red and golden, and some were green
and dark. Great courtyards lay between the winding
hallways of Rivendell, twining all buildings in the valley
together. They were thick with grass and widespread trees.
Benches were parked along the perimeter and lamps glowed
from the wall, small tangled cages were around the
flickering flames, dimming the lights within only very
slightly.
Houses of deep red brick and gravel-grey stone stood with
pride up and down the uneven cliffs, some higher and taller
than the other structures. As Sam led him through bridges
above low rivers and hallways silent and peaceful, bells
tolled from a nearby clocktower, ringing shrilly ten times,
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signifying the tenth hour of the day.
How long do you reckon well stay here for? Sam
asked, still leading him along the halls.
What are you packed already, Frodo retorted playfully.
Well..... his voice trailed off in embarrassment.
I thought you wanted to see the elves more than
anything! Frodo giggled. The hallway ended up ahead,
leading into another courtyard.
I do. I did. But its just Sam hesitated than sighed,
We did what Gandalf wanted us to do. We got the Ring
this far and I thought, seeing as youve nearly healed all that
you can, wed be heading of home soon.
Frodo smiled, thinking of the warm fires in Bag-End. The
fresh ale from the Green Dragon, birds perched on thick tree
branches, twittering in the morning and of all those books
he still had to read in the Shire. He only had one book with
him, and he was nearly finished with it. But all the other
ones, they were all waiting for him. The thought comforted
him, like they were an old friend.
Youre right Sam, he said warmly, I am ready to go
home.
Yeah, Sam answered thickly, I have a mind to think
well truly be off soon.
Maybe, Frodo said. Finally, they had reached the end of
the corridor. Light from the grand and wide doorway
blinded him. Blinking away the imprints of shapes that
burned in his eyes, he shuffled into the courtyard clumsily.
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When the haze parted he found the courtyard before him.
A fresh patch of grass, centered with a fountain and
surrounded with a narrow stone walkway, was all the
ground could hold. Wooden benches, with handles of iron
burned into a charcoal color, were lined here and there, one
for each wall.
And sitting on the furthest one was Merry and Pippin,
exchanging conversation with one another, unaware of the
world around them.
Merry! Pippin! Frodo called, running over to him, the
grass soft under his feet. Cutting around the fountain, he ran
into their outstretched arms in a friendly hug. Laughing at
the splendor of it all, they looked at one another in kindness.
It had been so long since Frodo had truly seen the likes of
them ever since the blade of the Nazgul pierced him.
The only memoires between then and now were blurry
faces peering down at him and cries of concern. Faintly he
remembered bobbing up and down on a stark white mare,
trudging throw stony shores of some riverbank. He felt a
presence behind him on the horse, but he did not remember
who was truly controlling the horse. As Gandalf told him, it
mustve been Elronds daughter, Lady Arwen. But nothing
came to mind when the name was spoken, not even a distant
voice of concern he so remembered about that dark time.
Its been so long! Merry cheered, Sit, sit!
Frodo sat upon the spruce bench next to his friends. The
wind rippled through Frodos hair smoothly.
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Six days since your arrival and these are only your first
waking moments here! Pippin commented, a freshly cut
apple fumbling in his hands. He looked up at Frodo, Have
you broken your fast yet?
Frodo shook his head. Pippin offered his apple, unbitten,
Here you are. I was going to eat but, Ive already ate not
but two hours ago.
Frodo took the apple, Thank you, he said. He took a
large bite out of it, the ripe juice exploding in his mouth.
He savored the sweet taste; he hadnt tasted food quite like
this in a long while.
What happened, Frodo asked after he gulped down the
piece of apple, Last I remember the Nazgulthey stabbed
me. Or one of them did. Theynever mind .
He decided not to tell them of what they had looked like
with the Ring on. He did not know if he could. He trusted
them, yet, in this perilous time, perhaps he had to keep
certain things to him and him alone.
Well, Sam grunted from beside him, That one black
rider who cut you, curse him. He was the Witch-King as
both Strider and Elrond told me. The leader of the Nazgul or
such. Most powerful of all of them, and he had to be the one
who stabbed you.
Where is Aragorn, anyway? Frodo wondered aloud.
Sam shrugged, Of somewhere in this great maze of a
palace, in my thoughts.
Aye, Pippin continued the real talk, about the events of
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Weathertop, If that blade was as normal as all the others,
nothing grievous or overwhelming would have happened to
you, save a lot a pain. But a Morgul Blade stabbed you and
it is all laced with poison. You were at the threshold of
becoming one of them. One of the Ringwraiths.
Frodo shuddered. He had not known he was in danger of
such calamity. The very thought of arriving too late and
becoming one of those beasts was unimaginable. But it
might just have happened.
Remind me, Frodo said, Who is the one that brought
me here? Who is the one who saved my very soul from
purgatory?
Oh, thatd beconfound it, what was her name again?
Merry snapped his fingers together. Frodo took another bite
from the apple, listening intently.
Started with an A, Merry reminded the others.
Arwen! Sam jerked up when he found the answer.
Thats right, Merry nodded, remembering now,
Aragorn and her are lovers, interestingly enough! Yes, so,
out of nowhere she just appeared on her horse and took you
to Rivendell. Mind you, the Nazgul were hot on her trail,
but you and she made it here and now you sit next to us
alive and well again!
Frodo made a note to thank her if he ever saw her again.
What does she look like, Frodo questioned, If I am to
thank her, I should need to know her appearance.
Fair face, long, straight brown hair, Sam remembered,
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speaking as if he were reading off a list, Her eyes are light
grey, just like her father. Id imagine shell have a number
of escorts around her if she is the princess of Rivendell.
Frodo seared these descriptions into his mind. Taking
another bite of the apple, he stared into the fountain. The
display atop the marble statue was an elf-maiden, hair and
dress flowing back in an invisible wind, a bucket of water in
one hand, from which the water fell into the fountain.
Someone shuffled into the courtyard in the far entrance.
Frodo looked up, and saw a short, old white haired man.
With a start Frodo realized who it was. It was Bilbo.
Bilbo! he cried, jumping from the bench, dropping the
apple to his side. It tumbled of the edge of the wooden seat
and rolled into the grass. He ran forward to meet Bilbo after
so long. Nearly a year it had been, ten months precisely,
without a sight of his beloved uncle.
Frodo! Bilbo answered back. His voice was different
from before. It was little more than a croak, weathered from
age. They embraced in a fruitful hug.
Frodo, my lad, Bilbo said as they hugged, Long time
no see.
They parted and for the first time in a long time, Frodo
looked upon his uncles face. And how it had changed so
drastically in such a small span of time. No longer was his
hair light brown as it had been the previous year, it was
whiter than snow and beginning to bald. His face was folded
extremely, dark spots growing all around. His hands were
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cold against his face and veins popped through his thin skin.
He assumed losing the Ring from his possession was the
explanation for the drastic changes cast amongst his uncle.
And when the years pressed onward, he would look even
older.
Frodo looked back at Sam, Merry and Pippin.
Mind if I stay with my uncle for a while, he asked of
them, I wont be too long.
The three of them shook their heads politely.
Take as long as you need to, Mister Frodo, Sam said
with sharp courtesy.
I thank you, Sam, Frodo said and turned back to Bilbo,
Where to, uncle?
My bedchamber would do nicely, he said, heading for
the hallways again. Through the same hallway he had
walked through only minutes before, they headed deeper
into the corridor.
I have something to show you, Bilbo chuckled
excitedly, walking into a small doorway to the left of them.
The small chamber held a spiraling staircase that stretched
up until the slanted roof of the tower. Frodo filled behind
his uncle as Bilbo limped slowly up the stairs. Landings
extended here and there on both sides, leading on to
bedchambers, sitting rooms, dining halls and privies. The
both of them went on until the very end of the staircase,
where a large landing waited for them. A door stood ajar in
front of them. Bilbo walked in, opening the door further for
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Frodo to enter.
Inside the sun fell into the room from open windows.
Glass doors to a balcony were sealed shut and curtained. A
bed stood in a corner, blankets tangled messily around the
mattress. A stone desk was before a window, papers stacked
a top it neatly, much unlike Bilbos study back in
Hobbition. Books were lined orderly in a bookshelf beside
the bed, and gaps in the display were due to some being lain
across the ground, markers protruding from between the
pages where Bilbo had left off in them.
You have a nice bedchamber, uncle, Frodo
complimented, seating himself at the foot of the bed.
Thank you, thank you, Bilbo waved off the compliments
like they were pests circling him, But what I really wanted
to show you was this.
Out of a drawer, Bilbo pulled out a red leatherbound book,
a title carved into the plain cover. Bilbo marched over and
handed him the book.
Frodo read the cover aloud, There and Back Again: A
Hobbits Tale By Bilbo Baggins.
Carefully, he flipped through the yellow pages. Inside
were words scripted with neat detail. Images were drawn
with great care nearly every other pages.
This is wonderful, Frodo gaped at the pages before him,
How long did it take you?
Oh, Bilbo calculated, Near ten months now. I only
started the morning before my departure. And FrodoI am
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honestly sorry for addressing my plans to you. I just
couldnt come to it, to breaking your heart.
Ive come to terms with it a long time ago, Frodo said
comfortingly, When are you venturing to Erebor again?
I meant to go back there, Bilbo sighed, seating himself
next to Frodo, But age it seemed has finally caught up to
me.
Frodo continued to flip through the pages until he came to
a map of the Shire. He gazed at it with longing in his heart.
What he would give to return home.
I miss the Shire, he said, touching the place where
Hobbition was marked, I spent all of my years in childhood
pretending I was with you on one of your adventures. But
today I see that my own adventure turned out to be quite
different than yours. Im not like you, Bilbo.
Bilbo placed the back of his wrinkled hand gently across
Frodos cheek.
My dear boy, he said lovingly, You are special in your
own way. Remember that, Frodo.
I will, uncle, Frodo smiled reassuringly; I will take it to
my very grave.
And the day was spent with many meetings and
conversing with most. By the time he put himself to bed as
the sun set over the horizon he slept with the hope of a
journeys end running through his mind.

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Aragorn
Aragorn sat in the chamber of Narsil, darkening with the
setting sun through the windows, thrown open for a fresh
breeze. The great hall was long and wide, murals painted
skillfully on the walls and on the ceiling above him. Every
picture presented an image of victory for the elves. And at
the far end of the hall of grandeur, was the most
breathtaking image of them all.
Painted in a neutral color scale, Issildur Elessar, Aragorns
own forefather, was laying flat on his heavily armored back
in the stone ridges of Mordor, holding his shattered sword,
Narsil aloft. Sauron, wielding a large black mace topped
with a painted skull loomed over him in a cloud of mist,
menacingly raising his hand for a heavy blow. Lamplight
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shone upon the picture grandly, casting a more noticeable
effect than the other paintings, even the painting of the
majestic and tranquil Grey Havens above him.
One either side of the painting of Sauron meeting his fate
were two stones statuettes of hooded elves, holding a stone
slab in their arms. On these pieces of rock were objects of
Issildurs. To the left, a cracked battle helmet that he wore
to the Battle of Dagorlad and to the right, the very sword
that cut the Ring from the hands of Sauron himself: Narsil.
Cracked into three pieces it glistened in the light from
regular polishing. The largest piece was the hilt of the sword
topped with a slanted shard of steel that curved up into a
point. That piece was the true part that really did cut the
Ring from the grasp of the Dark Lord.
An hour before, Aragorn drew up a chair from a dining
hall, and faced it before the painting. He could see it all, the
ancient drawing and the two statues of the elves and the
shards of the sword his ancestors bore proudly. Fate was a
curious thing, and perhaps he would one day wield it forged
anew. But he doubted that it would ever come to pass and it
gladdened him. The same blood flowed through his veins.
The weakness that had led to the endurance of true evil to
the world was inside him, buried somewhere deep, shunned
into a dark and forgotten corner of his soul, where light
dared not to tread.
Now, behind the colored glass windows that lined down
the ample hall, an orange fat sun was sinking lower into the
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world, darkness slowly engulfing the splendor of Rivendell.
In half of an hours time, lamplight would be spilling from
behind every window and on every post. Light was sacred
to the elves and darkness was to be kept at bay in spite of
some wild thing that crawled in the shadows.
Grasping a paperbacked book in one hand and a
curvilinear pipe in another, wisps of smoke emitting from
the bowl of half-burnt tobacco clasped in his hands. His
eyes drank the words hungrily, never splitting their gaze
from the ink riddled pages. Until, well into the hour, the tall
double doors creaked open loudly behind him. Crafted of
oak wood, the great doors stood nearly five times tall as the
average height of a man, and were branded with an ornate
pattern of ivy whittled out of the wood grandly.
Out from the crisp warmth that lay outside, stepped in a
broad man, with a set of strong shoulders and muscled arms.
Dressed in blue vintage leather, his clothes were
embroidered with fine white silk, shaped into stars and a
large sigil was branded into the middle of his shirt: A great
white tree, branches tangled together sharply, roots rolling
from its trunk, out of sight.
This could only be Boromir, son of the steward of Gondor
Denethor. Straight ginger hair fell from scalp to shoulder, a
trimmed beard roughly lain across his tanned skin. Bags
strangely sat under his eyes, they were out of place for a
man like Boromir of Gondor. He was always renowned for
his reckless and jolly spirit. A sign of stress and age was
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cryptically off-putting.
But all the same he strode down the carpeted hall, his
heavy footfalls echoing down, as if he owned the place.
Aragorn turned back around in his seat and resumed his
reading. Only seconds thereafter, he felt a presence behind
him momentarily. Before he could turn to see however,
Boromir was already walking from behind him, headed for
the great mural painted on the wall.
Aragorn watched Boromir admire the artistry from behind
cold eyes. Boromir placed a finger on the picture and swept
it across Saurons hand, where the One Ring glowed like a
jewel. He sighed and turned back around, looking down on
Aragorn, who sat slightly below him.
You are no elf, he said simply. Boromir looked at
Aragorn like he was some strange creature that had
somehow found itself in the most beautiful place in all of
Middle-Earth. He could already sense that Boromirs view
of the world was beauty for beauty, and Aragorn was not
one of the beautiful people. It was an unnervingly prejudice
mindset, one that he would rather have disappear. Everyone
was beautiful in one way or the other, even if you cant see
it.
Neither are you, Aragorn retorted smartly, Men of the
South are welcome here. And occasionally Men of the
North as well.
Who are you? Boromir asked in a droning tone.
All you need to know of me is that I am friend of
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Gandalf the Grey, he shut his book harshly. It echoed
through the room. The smoke from his pipe was becoming
smaller and smaller.
Then it would appear that we are here on a common
purpose, friend.
I would hope so. You, you are Boromir Anarion, are you
not? In line to be the Steward of Gondor.
Yes I am, and proud to be so.
Whether Boromir had answered to his name or his title,
Aragorn did not know. But either way it spoke of who he
was and he thought himself to be. Boromir chuckled and
walked over to the shards of Narsil. He looked stupefied as
he stared down at the shattered sword. Aragorn heard
Boromirs breath leave him loudly. He turned to see
Boromir clutching the obsidian hilt of the sword. He gazed
dreamily down at it.
The blade that cut the Ring, he declared, beginning to
run his finger along the dull edges. Finally, his finger swept
over the peak of the shard, and blood welled from his finger.
Its still sharp, he winced. Boromir drew his gaze
slowly to Aragorn, who was staring at him in discontent.
Boromir glared back at him.
Yet it is nothing more than a broken heirloom, Boromir
muttered heatedly to himself. The man of Gondor whipped
around violently, the sword falling from his blooded hands.
The sword fell down onto the carpet, whistling in the wind
as it plunged. Boromir walked hastily down the hall, having
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said not one word of apology. The doors slammed behind
him.
Sighing, Aragorn stood himself up from the chair. He
marched forward and grabbed the hilt firmly and held it
aloft in the air. He eyed it curiously, taking in the stainless
steel and the tip of this one shard, which was riddled with
red. A man of Gondor who had a decent amount of self
pride would have treated the sword better. After all, as an
heirloom to the history of their sacred land, legend and
rumor was strung around the very thing and was nothing to
be taken lightly. Most stewards would never get the chance
to even glance at the sword, much less grasp onto the hilt as
it was their own.
Aragorn marched forward to the slab the statue
outstretched for him. He carefully set down the sword as he
found it. He stood there for a while, imagining the sword in
its full form, a grand sight no one would see. He turned
swiftly and slipped his pipe into his pocket, the tobacco
burned from the bowl and smoke cleared into nothing.
He set the chair against the nearest wall and clutched his
book tightly. With one last look back at the sword, he left
the hall to remain in its own silence. The cold night air hit
his face softly. It was a comfort to him, as was the dark
around him. In the dark you were already hidden from most,
but the cold petrified those smart enough to look deeper into
the void and drove them away quickly.
Aragorn strolled down the narrow paths lined with great
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oak woods, roots tangling around the base of their trunks
wildly. Flowers bloomed beside them, so bright the colors
were visible in the dark and the crickets chirped from
between tall grass and budding bushes. But soon the
darkness burned away due to the shaded lamps strung from
polished wood shooting up from the ground.
As he paced down the paths into the main hub of
Rivendell, he realized he needed Arwen tonight. The only
person he truly trusted and truly loved. For he would die for
her sake, that much was known. By will of steel and iron,
even an elf can fall in battles.
Her room was settled in the top floor of the tallest
structure. He could see lights flickering behind the pained
windows. He made his way to the tower and around him not
one soul was out enjoying the star spangled sky. Again,
light was sacred to the elves, none were found in the dark,
save for during a battle or a task.
He marched up the steps, leaves being swept up from their
rest and thrown up suddenly into the air. He pulled back the
golden handle of the door and it swung open, allowing him
to step into the bright parlor. A staircase wrapped around
the walls, sourcing from a landing in the furthest corner.
He trundled forward, marching up the cold stairs. The case
wrapped around the walls of the whole tower, landings held
here and there; the threshold for shut wooden doors and
large arching doorways leading into dark rooms.
Finally, the air growing thinner as he walked, he reached
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the last landing; a solid oak door opened a crack. Clearing
his throat, Aragorn stepped forward and knocked on the
door.
Enter, a voice that could only be Arwens said
curiously. He stepped in, pushing the door open even more.
Dim light crept around his shadow that was cast against the
carpet floors. Arwen was sitting in her nightgown on her
bed, blankets ruffled around the large mattress. Candles
were lit all around her room on top of desks and shelves and
tables.
Aragorn, my love, she smiled from her bed.
Evening, Aragorn headed to her bed and sat next to her.
Wind from the open blew gently through Arwens brunette
hair, flowing elegantly in the air.
Its much later than evening, Arwen corrected, playing
with Aragorns hair. Her smooth fingers stirred something
deep within him. He let it falter as low as it could go and
pressed on in the conversation.
Is it? Aragorn turned back to look out the window. The
sky was dark indeed.
Anyway, Arwen lowered her hands, setting them in her
lap, Why have you come.
Aragorn shrugged, I havent been with you alone for a
long time. How long has it been now? Nearly two years, I
think!
And yet love still blossoms within us and without us,
Arwen inclined, her eyes sparkling brightly.
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Yes, Aragorn agreed awkwardly. His mind was still
clouded with pointless troubles, an ascension that would
never come to pass if he had control. But yet he felt the day
of reckoning was on the horizon, a true war to end all wars.
There changes would be made and deaths would be had.
And, out of the rubble and chaos, who would lead the
people? The time of all things mysterious and magical was
passing as swiftly as the wind. Gandalfs last command of
power would be that he, Aragorn Elessar, would reclaim the
throne his forefathers once held proudly. But he did not
want that power.
It seemed Arwen could read her mind, for quickly after
she looked to him in concern, What troubles you,
Aragorn?
Aragorn met her eyes and saw great care there; he could
not lie to Arwen. Not ever. He sighed deeply and collected
his thoughts into words.
I feel that a great gale is hidden amongst the weak
winds, he began finally, Day by day, it grows more
noticeable and I can tell you a storm his rushing towards us
like water on rock. A war to end all wars is upon us by our
will or none. I know it is a grave statement to make, but my
gut tells me I speak the truth.
And when the smoke clears and the ash settles, the great
Elves and Wizards will make a final command. And deep
within me I fear I will have no choice but to reclaim the
throne of Gondor. And through me the greed and
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corruptness that my ancestors had will take a hold of me. I
will be no king!
Arwen cast a sideways look at him. Her eyes were dull
with darkness.
Why do you fear the past? she asked perplexingly, You
understand your identity do you not; you are the heir of
Issildur not the king himself.
Aragorn shook his head in disagreement.
The same weakness hides in my very blood. My very
flesh, in all facts!
Arwen too his hand suddenly. Her touch was soft and
warm. As a comfort to him, he never wanted, never dared to
let go.
Your time will come, she whispered lovingly, pressing
her forehead against his. He looked into her pale, bright
eyes, You will face the same evil and you will defeat it.
The histories will remember you Aragorn, son of Arathorn.
Until the end of time itself.
He wanted to believe it, that he would be a hero
renowned for bravery and courage. But it couldnt register
in his mind. The reality of it was that he might very well
face the evil of the world, but would he defeat it, as the man
responsible for it all. He doubted it with all his heart.
But still he pretended, and he assumed he acted it very
well as a seductive smile split across Arwens flawless face.
You see, she whispered in his ear, The shadow does
not sway over either of us yet. Nor will it ever, we, together,
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are strong.
He smiled and leaned in for a kiss. It was warm with
passion and burned pleasantly on his lips. They parted
before Aragorn could live on his desire.
Do you remember when we first met? Arwen asked
breathlessly, her body nearly pressed on him.
I had thought that I had strayed into a dream, too
amazing to be reality, he whispered back with equal
passion.
Do you remember what I told you then, the first time?
You said you would forsake your immortality for our
love, living as a mortal with me and my kin, Aragorn
remembered thoughtfully.
And to those thoughts I still hold on to, she reminded
him harshly, I would rather share I lifetime with you than
face all the Ages of Middle-Earth alone. I now choose a
mortal life.
She leaned back and undid her necklace she had been
wearing. It resembled the seal of her family closely, a solid
white and twisted star. She pressed it into Aragorns sweaty
palms gently, and closed his fingers around it. Aragorn
looked up at her in disbelief.
You cannot give me this, he cried out.
I may give it to whom I will, she pinned him down onto
the soft bed slowly, Like my heart.
Then he felt her lips touch his and they kissed with
passion. He felt the cold heirloom slip through his fingers
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and plop onto the bed lousily. The kiss progressed with even
more passion until they were positively snogging.
When at last they parted, they sat themselves up on the
bed and began to undress each other, ready to make love.




Frodo
To Frodo it seemed that the council of Elrond had
gathered together hours before the meeting commenced. As
Lord Elrond had instructed, both Frodo and Gandalf made
for the Council Chamber at nine in the morning sharp.
When the duo had arrived, they found the high elf seated in
his large velvet throne, embroidered by golden stitches.
Elrond was adorned with red, high robes and a twisted silver
crown that sat firmly on his long brown hair.
Slowly, the council members arrived one by one. The
elves arrived most punctually and found their chairs in the
council not three minutes past the given time. First, the
elves of Rivendell itself stepped in. Both had solemn faces
and high cheekbones, silently spreading their laps on the
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carpeted chairs and observing the silence around them.
Next was a rather short elf from Lothlorien, another great
elven kingdom, this time on the opposite side of The Misty
Mountains . A white hood was drawn around his shadowed
head, and mud was stained at the edge of his robes, leaving
a trail behind his walk.
Lady Galadriel sends me in her stead, he panted,
bowing clumsily, She regrets to confirm she is fighting an
invasion of Orcs around her borders of Lorien.
Gandalf fidgeted uncomfortably in his seat beside Frodo.
He could see a gleam of panic in Elronds black eyes.
Very well, he said after awhile, You may take your
seat.
As the elf found his place, the other elves looked down on
him in disgust. Pulling back his hood, it was revealed that
he looked little more than a teen. Boyish features still shone
through his rounded face, his ears popping awkwardly from
either side of his head.
Before Frodo could catch a deeper look at this young elf,
he heard the thunder of multiple footsteps approaching. He
turned and saw through the doorway; five elves march
through, still clutching beautifully crafted bows of
elderwood, a fine and legendary tree native to the forest of
Mirkwood. He had never seen one in his life as they were
extremely hard to come by this side of the Misty Mountains,
but he had heard stories and would know an Eldertree if he
would ever come to spot one.
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The trees were described as carrying leaves coated in
shades of green, yellow and pink. The wood of an Eldertree
was ghostly white and its branches were said to have
reached nearly a dozen yards long.
All of these elves of the Woodland Realm looked
incredibly similar. All of them were pale in the golden
morning light and their bright blond hair seemed to be
dulled in color; far off and distant. The Woodland Elves
were strung into fine vests of wool, ornately patterned with
sapphires and diamonds.
All five of them bowed their heads respectfully to Lord
Elrond and took their seats without a word. Minute upon
minute did they wait together now. Every now and then a
cool, refreshing breeze would ripple through the bushes and
trees. But every now and then, Frodo could swear that some
had moved on their own.
Finally, a stampede of footsteps, muffled by leather
boots, pierced through the cool air suddenly. Through the
doorway men of all kind walked through, chattering
amongst themselves. Most ignored Lord Elrond and those
who did notice bowed graciously only to be met by guffaws
from their peers.
Might as well kiss his arse! one man muttered beside
Frodo.
As the crowd began to settle into their places, Frodo
could now see all of their faces. He was surprised when he
saw Aragorn sitting nearly directly across from him. When
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both of their eyes met, he managed a weak smile but
remained silent. There was something mysterious about
him, even though he had spent nearly a month by his side.
He still did not know all about this character. But one thing
was for sure, Aragorn had not lied when he had said he was
a friend to Gandalf.
When Frodo returned to his room the night before, he
found that Gandalf was still there, sitting in his chair
nonchalantly, grasping the same wooden pipe. Whether
Gandalf had ever left this room was unknown to him. He
hoped not, Gandalf deserved to do whatever he preferred to
do that day. After a week of watching over Frodo in the
same room with nearly no change at all, it must have been a
tedious effort.
Before he drifted into sleep that night he asked Gandalf
of Aragorn. The wizard confirmed he was one of his many
friends he had gained in his long years as a helpful being
who served the realm of the entire world. Aragorn might
have been more trustworthy to Gandalf than all his other
friends and servants combined, they way Gandalf talked of
him.
Frodo warped himself back into the present. He looked to
Lord Elrond for the sermons that would begin the council
meeting. However, Lord Elrond did not stand; in fact, he
slouched deeper into his great throne. Who was still yet to
come? It had been nearly fifteen minutes, which was a sure
sign that however had yet to arrive did not care much of the
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matter.
Still no one made for a beginning of council, and no one
asked Lord Elrond when it would begin. An air of
impatience was hung over the crowd, yes, but it seemed to
have a hint of respectability rather than annoyance.
Who has yet to arrive? Frodo whispered to Gandalf.
Gandalf grunted and looked at him in surprise as if he had
forgotten that Frodo was right there beside him.
Well that would be the dwarves, Gandalf croaked in
reply, It is known that dwarves and elves have bickered
with one another throughout the ages, but this age more than
ever. Had any other race been hosting this council, I would
expect it would be nearly a quarter of the way finished.
Frodo acknowledged him silently and turned back to
himself. The men of all different places were laughing
ahead of him, the elves chatting nervously with some and
the other elves just remained silent. Frodo noticed a tall
yellow-haired from the Woodland Realm was taking a
particular interest in Aragorn. It seem like the two of them
had met before, judging by the rapid pace of the
conversation.
That elf, I am sure you know all about him, Gandalf
said suddenly. Frodo looked up at him in bewilderment.
I am afraid I do not know any ounce of information of
him, Frodo said curiously, I couldnt tell you his name,
for I havent even spoken to him.
Oh, Gandalf chuckled, You know his name very well.
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Unless of course, Bilbo took Legolas out of his story, that
would be a terrible crime of storytelling however.
Frodos mind lit up with remembrance.
Legolas! he exclaimed to himself. Gandalf chuckled
shortly, next to him. Frodo turned to look again at Legolas.
Now it all came to him, an exceptionally courageous elf,
and an even braver warrior. Bilbo once told him that if he
had gotten the chance, he would have been able to slay the
dragon, Smaug with one fire of a shaft.
By the gods almighty! one man yelled in fury from
across the crowd, When in the hells will those wretched
dwarves arrive? Weve been waiting nearly twenty
minutes!
We must hold our patience, Elrond sighed tiredly from
his high seat, But if an hour of waiting comes to pass, you
can sure join me in dragging them from their rooms and
tying them into our chairs if it would please you.
The crowd laughed in nearly perfect unison, as if the
council had momentarily became one person. But soon the
laughter was shattered by yet another yell, this time far off
in the distance.
Aha, yelled a gruff voice, Caught in the act of
treachery yet again.
Frodo turned in his chair and saw a legion of dwarves trail
behind one single white-haired and armored dwarf. He
knew this dwarf from memories of his childhood. It was
Gloin, an accomplice of Bilbo during his journey to the
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Lonely Mountain. He had visited Bag-End yet again, along
with all the other surviving elves not ten years past.
I, Gloin, am representing the Lonely Mountain of Erebor
in this council, Gloin said harshly as he and his band of
dwarves filed in through the seats, And how many acts of
treachery were committed there by your kind? May we
remind you of the greed of Thranduil? How he abandoned
us when the fire-drake attacked?
Legolas rose from his seat in steaming anger.
May I remind you of the greed of Thorin Oakenshield?
he shouted, What led him to his own demise? It was greed!
And my father is still alive, no greedier than you are,
Gloin!
Gloin only dropped into his chair with a chortle.
Long time, no see, Legolas! he chuckled. The other
dwarves sat around him, some armored in iron and mail,
clutching cruel weapons of fresh steel. While others sat in
fine leathers and holding not a single thing in their gloved
hands.
I meant no disrespect to you, Gloin, Elrond apologized
with a fine amount of courtesy, And as for past treachery, I
can assure you the most amount of harm us Rivendell elves
have done to you was welcome the Company of Thorin
Oakenshield into our halls. I trust you remember our
kindness so you not?
Gloin grimaced and muttered something that sounded like
admittance to the fact, though it was spoken with heavy
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reluctance.
Now, Elrond finally rose from his throne, robes spilling
from off of the seat and falling into their correct places,
Strangers of distant lands and friends of old have been
summoned here to answer to the threat of Mordor. Middle-
Earth stands on the brink of destruction and desolation. Not
a single one of you will be able to escape it. Either we will
unite or we will fall into shadow and flame.
Frodo slipped his hand into his pocket as he listened. He
took hold of the Ring, the coldness of it stung like a bee.
The Ring knew what fate it would meet if it were to be
thrown into the light again and it seemed to resist every
notion of movement he made.
Each race is bound to this one doom, whether by your
will or not, Elrond continued in a grave voice of
foreboding. He looked down at Frodo and nodded, Bring
forth the Ring, Frodo Baggins.
Elrond smiled slightly to make it better than it was. Frodo
answered back with an even weaker one before rising to his
feet. A small stone pillar, most of it ripped away and
decaying somewhere far off from this chamber the rest of it
stood. Now only two feet of shabby and aged stone shot up
from the ground, rough and sharp. He took the Ring from
out of his pocket. His wrist felt as though as it were being
twisted by some unforeseeable force. When he dropped it
on the pillar it burned out of him as quick as it had came.
Frodo looked down at the Ring for what might be the last
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time before turning back for his chair.
Gasps of disbelief and murmurs of amazement sprung
from the lips of nearly all those around him. Frodo took his
seat and saw that Elrond was staring down at it, almost
hypnotized by its terrible power. This was the first time he
had seen the Ring in thousands and thousands of years. It
seemed like an old enemy to him, ready for one final duel.
A mans voice ripped Elrond from his state.
In a dream, a man said in a bold voice. Frodo looked
across from him and saw a red haired man rise from his
seat, his gaze fixed on the Ring. An emblem of a white,
gnarled tree was stamped across his leathers. He was a man
of Gondor.
In a dream, he repeated again, I saw the eastern sky
grow dark but in the west a pale light lingered above. A
voice cried out from that direction: Your doom is near at
hand for Issildurs Bane has been found. And I woke from
that dream, which was strangely calm, as though it had been
a nightmare.
As he spoke, this man marched forward slowly to the
broken pillar. He outstretched his hand to touch the Ring; an
eager hunger was shining in his dark eyes.
BOROMIR! several voices shouted in haste. But it was
too late. The voices were so loud that Boromir slipped
forward and his hand, which was already outstretched,
touched the Ring briefly, but long enough for something
dark to ensue.
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Frodo nearly screamed as that deep, dark voice he had
heard when he first put the Ring on shouted through the air.
He remembered his fall in Bree and how he was swept into
a world of blurriness and dark light. Shadows of Men stood
all around him, looking up at a bright, round light above
them. He thought it was the sun, but it was the Eye he had
seen in that dream of his. And that voice that he had heard
in that nightmare whispered madly, I see you!
It was there that Aragorn, known only to him as Strider
grabbed him just as he slid the Ring off of his sweaty finger.
But this time the voice was shouting something in a
language foreign to him. The voice mumbled through
countless words that sounded jumbled together as one. The
sky flipped into darkness quickly, as though it were now
night and only went deeper and deeper into shadow until
Frodo could not see a thing.
Gandalf rose to his feet next to Frodo suddenly and
grabbed his staff. Light illuminated from the wizards staff
as Gandalf began to chant something in the same language
as the voice was speaking now. The light cast a glow around
the councilors. Everyones face was pale with shock and
livid with fear. Most of all was Boromir, who was fallen on
the ground, looking up at the dark sky in shock.
Ash nazg durbatuluk, Gandalf shouted through the
skies, Ash nazg gimbatul, ash nazg thrakatuluk, ash
burzum-ishi krimpatul.
Finally the sky ascended into light again, and the voice
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faded into obscurity. Boromir crawled back to his seat, his
face white with pure shock.
Never before, Elrond said slowly, his voice now hoarse
and cracked, Has any voice, good or evil, uttered any
words of that tongue, pure or otherwise, her in Imladris.
Gandalf looked back at the sky as though it were watching
him and said bitterly, I do not ask any pardon, Master
Elrond, the wizard turned back to face all of the councilors,
a glint of madness was across his face, For the Black
Speech of Mordor will be heard in every corner of the West
if we do not destroy this evil!
Every one around was silent, still recovering from the
suddenness of the appearance of the Dark Lord. Gandalf
took one final look at the crowd before taking his seat
beside Frodo again.
An evil it is and will always be, concurred Elrond,
rising from his throne again, his silver crown askew, I trust
most of you believe that we are all protected by the wizards
of the West! But that fact has now faded into legend with
the treason of Isenguard!
Treason, stammered another man of Gondor from the
crowd, The White Wizard has not abandoned us, has he?
I am afraid he has, Gandalf frowned, You see he had
me taken hostage momentarily, admitting to my very face
that he had joined with Sauron. He is breeding an army of
Urak-hi, a mix between Orcs and Goblins; this race is borne
of rape between those two races and now the Urak-hi
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reproduce amongst themselves. There is no hope of winning
back the White Wizard if he is using murder and rape to do
his bidding.
As for the other wizards, the Blue Wizards sailed to the
Grey Havens when I told them of my discoveries of Dol
Guldur. The suspected correctly I am afraid that a war to
end all wars is upon us. And as for Radagast the Brown; he
only cares for the animals of Mirkwood now and he has
given up his staff for a queer life.
The council groaned around Frodo. Help was gone from
the wizards, save Gandalf and they only had each other
now. What could three races, known to despise each other
do against such evil? If that thought was running through
Frodos own mind, he suspected it flooded down everybody
elses mind.
But it is a gift! Boromir cried suddenly. Frodo looked at
him as though he had lost his mind. The looks all the other
councilors gave him mirrored Frodos own thought.
Why not use this Ring? Boromir stood again, his chest
rising with bride, Long has the Steward of Gondor, my
father, kept the armies of the Land of Shadow at bay. Your
lands are kept saved by the blood of my people. Give
Gondor the Ring and we can use it against him and his
troops of squander and filth!
You cannot wield it! Aragorn shouted sternly to
Boromir, None of us can use it without being driven into
madness or death because the One Ring answers to Sauron
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and Sauron alone.
Boromirs lips were pursed, his face casting a sour look,
And what would a ranger from the bitter north know of
this? Boromir spat.
Frodo felt anger rise in him as he saw spit fly from
Boromirs mouth and hit the ground before Aragorn. This
foolish man did not know of what bravery Aragorn truly
had. It was a sure thing that the ranger had ten times more
bravery than this heir to the throne would ever have! And it
turned out to be that Frodos thoughts were not shared by
just him. Legolas jumped from his seat, his eyes squinted
with loathing.
No mere ranger you are speaking to, he said heatedly,
This is Aragorn, son of Arathorn! He is descendant of
Issildur and you owe your allegiance to him, Son of the
Steward!
Boromirs eyes widened and he leaned in, eyeing
Aragorn with strange curiosity.
This is Issildurs heir? he questioned in disbelief, Well,
I assure you, Aragorn son of Arathorn, that Gondor has no
king and Gondor needs no king.
With another sour look at both Aragorn and Legolas, he
found his seat and scowled silently.
In fairness, Boromir son of Denethor, said Gandalf,
You must admit that the ranger from the bitter north has
said a thing much more correct than anything you have
uttered thus far!
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Frodos lips twitched up into a smile. Boromir looked at
the wizard in surprise at his humor.
Well then, Elrond began darkly, You only have one
choice. The Ring must be destroyed.
A red bearded dwarf, sitting next to Gloin leaned in with
curiosity, He was clutching onto an axe of great size, sharp
as if it had just come off the whetstone.
How? he asked.
Elrond smirked, It cannot be destroyed here, Gimli, son
of Gloin with any craft that we posses.
Gimli bowed his head in disappointment, letting go of his
axe which fell with a loud, sharp clatter.
The Ring was made in the fires of the mountain of
doom, Elrond continued gravely, A nameless mountain of
fire secluded in the dead center of Mordor. Only there, once
dropped into the fires, can it be fully and truly destroyed,
burned away from the very heat of the lava.
Frodo stared down the Ring, which seemed to shudder by
itself at the very thought. So binded with the Ring was he
now that he heard it whisper from yards away.
One of you must carry out this task, Elrond finished
curtly, as if he were ashamed with his words.
That is a perilous walk! Gloin cried out, rising his
plump hands in the air.
Walk? A man said, dressed in green and red leathers, an
image of a horse drawn across the chest of his clothes, The
wizard is a friend of the Eagles! Simply climb on the back
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of one of those birds and fly to the mountain of fire! Thats
what I would do.
Gandalf shook his head, The Eagles have already left the
world by this hour, I am afraid to tell the truth to you all.
Their last journey was rescuing me from Isenguard, before
they flew to the Grey Havens.
Boromir chuckled at the convince of it all. Frodo could
have chuckled as well if he truly wanted to. Wouldnt the
Eagles know that their help would be needed? Frodo
supposed they must not have, for if they did have the sense
in them, the Ring might have already been destroyed.
One does not simply walk into Mordor, Boromir said,
Its gates are paroled by more than simpleton Orcs! The
Great Eye is ever watchful there, for I have seen its light
creep over the Mountains of Ash. For Mordor is a barren
waste-land, riddled with fire and blood. It is a folly to think
that even a hundred men could do this!
The Ring must be destroyed, a Rivendell elf said
defiantly, Unless you want all of us to fall under the
shadow and die a painful death!
And I suppose you are the one that you think should do
it, eh? a black-bearded dwarf jumped from his seat,
growling.
Never trust an elf! Never trust an elf! cheered Gimli.
Other dwarves joined in with the chant. Elves ran toward
them, ywlling bitter remarks. Dwarves and elves were now
yelling at one another, some jumping on top of others.
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Elrond tried to calm the fight, but his voice was heard as
only a faint whisper. The Men tried to come between the
fight, only to start even more. Now the men from all around
the globe were thrown into the fray of arguments, whether
with one another, a dwarf and elf or all three of them.
Gandalf jumped from his seat.
You fools! Cant you see that the more you carry on with
your pointless bickering, Saurons power grows? he yelled
furiously. But if his words helped the matter or made it
worse, Frodo did not know. The Ring was staring at him
from the pillar, smiling at the trouble it had caused. Frodo
was thrown into yet another trance, sweat trickling down his
face as he continued to gaze, unblinkingly at the gleaming
Ring. That deep voice had returned, even though he hadnt
touched the Ring yet.
It stumbled along as if the words were planned ahead of
time and being read of a slip of parchment. One word
mingled with another and the next mingled with the one that
followed suit. Out of nowhere he felt his head explode into
a sharp pain that made him feel as though his own head
were splitting in two. His breath grew more ragged and hard
to control, until he was practically clawing for more air. Out
of this chaos he held onto one thought, one thought that had
became apparent to him moments before: He was the one
who had to destroy the Ring.
Whether on his own or with the help of others, he had to
be there to see the Ring drop into the endless pit of fire and
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burned. If he never gazed down the chasm and watched it
burn into nothingness, he would still hold onto the memory
of the Ring, he grow obsessed with it, like his poor Uncle
Bilbo.
So, pulling together all the might he could muster, he
jumped up quickly from his seat. The voice had gone and so
had the headache, but the scramble of countless arguments
and fights still rambled through the air.
I will take it, he said shyly. It seemed that no one had
heard.
I will take it, he repeated again, this time with more
force. Again, not a soul answered, at least none that he
could see.
I WILL TAKE IT! he screamed through the air. The
shrieks and shouts and yells all stopped abruptly. Everyone
of the councilors looked at him in shock.
I will take the Ring to Mordor, he repeated one last
time. Frodo could see Gandalf closing his eyes and bowing
his heavy head in sorrow. He didnt want to shatter the old
wizard, but he had to do this; he had to destroy the Ring.
Only, he continued, I do not know the way there.
Gandalfs head fleeted upward quickly. He eagerly
marched forward, his staff hitting the cold stone loudly.
I will help you bear this burden, Frodo Baggins,
Gandalf smiled down at him, As long as it is yours to
bear.
Gandalf moved to stand behind Frodo when yet another
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man stepped forward. It was Aragorn.
If by my life or death I can protect you, he said, as he
parted the crowd, I will. You have by sword!
And you have my bow! Legolas called, stepping
forward as well.
And my axe, barked Gimli, running in front of the elf.
All three of them stood behind Frodo, displaying to all
what was the Fellowship of the Ring. Elrond looked down
at the scene, ready to seal the meeting and arrange a
departure. But before any word could be spoken, Boromir
stepped trudged forward.
It appears that you carry the fate of it all, little one, he
said quietly, much unlike what he previously displayed to
the council, If this is indeed the will of the council, Gondor
will see it done!
HERE! a voice yelled from somewhere as Boromir filled
behind Frodo. Through a clump of bushes to the left of
Frodo, Sam ran forward, his clothes stained with the green
color of grass and black dirt. Frodo couldnt hold back his
laughter as Sam waddled forward, making to stand next to
Frodo, arms crossed.
Mr. Frodo isnt going anywhere without me, Sam told
the council importantly. Elrond looked only slightly
annoyed as he peered down at Sam, a hint of fascination
burned through his features.
I dont think it is possible to separate you when Frodo
here is invited to a council and you are not! Elrond smiled
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faintly, and looked around the council one last time. Finally
he opened his mouth to make the Fellowship official but
again he was interrupted.
WERE COMING TOO! two voices cried together
from the opposite row of bushes. And out ran Merry and
Pippin.
Youll have to tie us in a sack to stop us! Merry jeered
as he stood next to Sam. This time Elrond looked incredibly
annoyed but allowed it anyway.
Very well, he sighed, looking at the nine of them, You
shall be the Fellowship of the Ring!
The crowd around cheered and clapped for the
Fellowship. Frodo looked upon the whole crowd with a
smile. But underneath the smile was a masked cloak of fear
and concern. This danger would be perilous; there wasnt
any doubt about that matter. He could only wonder if all of
them would survive the journey.
But it appeared that Pippin hadnt the faintest clue of what
he had thrown himself into.
Great, he said when the applause had subsided, Where
are we going?
And the whole Fellowship, Frodo included, exploded into
unparalleled laughter.

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Bilb0
As Bilbo led his nephew once again up the spiraling
staircase, an air of finality clung to the air, following
wherever they went. It was in every ones heart that day,
thumping rapidly inside their chests. And to Bilbo, now
more than ever, nothing would be the same. He had lived
through changes in his long life, minor and major, but this
could take the title of most drastic day in his life from the
very day he ran off with the dwarves of Erebor to begin his
journey.
The staircase ended and they arrived at the threshold of
his room. He smiled to Frodo, pushing the door open for
him. Inside, his room was now incredibly neater than the
last time Frodo had visited him. Books and papers were
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tucked away in some dusty shelf deep in the room and the
blankets on his bed were tucked under the mattress and the
clothes were as straight as an elven road spilling down an
empty meadow. Dust had been swept into far corners,
revealing the tan grids of glossed over stone slabs that made
up the floor.
And upon the bed, Bilbo had set up two departing gifts for
his nephew. If this was to be the last time he would see
Frodo, whether old or young died first, he had to make sure
that he could do anything and everything in his power to
protect him. So tucked in a aged leather sheath was his old
sword Sting. He had no use of it anymore, for here in
Rivendell he planned to remain until the end of his days.
The second gift, boxed in a white cardboard, was his shirt of
Mithril. It was a pale white coat of chainmail, as light as a
feather but as hard as the scales of a dragon.
Frodo stepped into the room, sheltering his eyes, still
waking themselves, from the sudden and blinding sun
filtering in from the windows, curtains hastily pushed aside.
Finally, he loomed over the bed and cried in surprise.
Uncle! he cried, throwing his hands up in the air. Bilbo
chuckled, stepping in slowly, the door swinging shut behind
him. He could feel his legs already begin to throb. So this
was how it was to be one of the elder hobbits! No wonder
they were always so austere and discontent. He sat himself
on the bed, next to the white box.
You shouldnt have! Frodo reached for the sword. Bilbo
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waved his hand dismissively.
You need some protection after all, Bilbo excused
himself. Outside, the sound of distant footsteps echoed of
the walls of the tall, winding staircase. Frodo beamed,
closing his fingers around the hilt of Bilbos old sword. He
clutched the hilt, pulling it backward, out its confinement.
As the rasp of metal on leather ripped through the breezy
silence, dust flew from all directions. The last time he had
pulled out the elven sword was nearly two decades past. He
had the great privilege of accompanying himself through a
safe and peaceful journey to Rivendell. Nothing required
him to draw his sword on that journey and he hoped that he
would know the same fate all through his life in Imladris.
Its so light, Frodo said, admiring the steel in his hand.
Although it was dull and rusted. A gray image of a twisted
vine curled down the steel until it stopped at the sharp point
of the weapon. It was all familiar to Bilbo; he remembered
how bright his old sword had once been and how sharp it
was.
Yes, he said mindlessly, staring hypnotized at the
sword, reliving old memories. He could feel the wind from
the morning he had found that he had found the sword blow
across his face. He was standing outside the maze like cave
troll, that winded down into the underground. Nearly all of
the dwarves, clutching onto whatever treasure they had
pursued inside, had made it out. Gandalf was still
rummaging around, thats what Dwalin had told him.
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And moments later, Gandalf was clutching two swords.
One was smaller than the other, Bilbos own size. Kindly
did the wizard gift him with such a craft, sharing advice that
would alter his life forever and even his own nephews too.
Was it for the better or the worse? He didnt know yet. But
hopefully he would live to see it through.
All these thoughts and memories came rushing back to
him like a river of knowledge.
Uncle? Frodo called. Bilbo jerked from his dazing.
Oh, he chuckled, Well Sting is an elven weapon, that
means the steel will glow blue when Orcs and Goblins are
around. And its time like that, my lad that you have to be
extra careful for you and your companions.
Frodo nodded curtly and shoved the steel back into the
sheath with a sharp, long rasp.
Now before you leave, Bilbo reminded both himself and
Frodo, Youll go to the whetstone and the river both to
sharpen and clean it, all right?
Yes, uncle, Frodo bowed his head. Bilbo felt something
drop within him. It was like he had just taken a blow to his
stomach, and was now on the ground, knocked onto his
back. He had just given his final command of power to
Frodo and was sending him into doom. He wanted to plead,
to beg with Frodo, to urge him to abandon the cause to stay
with him in Rivendell. But it was already too late. Even
before departure, Frodo had taken his bows. He was a
Ringbearer and that he would remain until he either met his
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demise or the Ring was destroyed. As for the others, they
were free to leave Frodo as they chose, bound by no oath.
The only thing Bilbo could to for his nephew was give the
same advice that Gandalf had given him sixty years before.
I will advise you Frodo, he heard himself say, I want
you to remember that true courage is not measured for when
to take a life but when to spare one.
Frodos face contorted into a mask of understanding that
was brushed ever so slightly with grief and sorrow. He
nodded and dropped the sword back on the bed. He kneeled
beside the bed and dragged the box closer to him. He lifted
the white lid, and dropped it to the side. Frodo pulled out
the shirt, which unfurled as Frodo made to stand on his feet,
until the mail shirt was completely undone.
Mithril, Bilbo told him with passion, Lighter than a
feather and harder than dragon scales, it is. It was Thorin
Oakenshields gift to me, a gift of grandeur it was. It hasnt
been worn for sixty years, I can tell you that much.
Thank you, Frodo said, astonished, I cant tell you how
much you gratify me. Both of these gifts must be hard for
you to give away. Theyre almost part of your very body, I
think.
Bilbo took in this possibility. They did all mean a lot to
him, but what use would they really be if he were to
continue holding onto them? A simple piece of nostalgia
and sentiment was all it could possibly add up to.
Once they might have been part of me, he patted his
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nephews shoulder heavily and assuredly, But now they
will become part of you. Youll need them more than I do,
if truth must be told. Now! Let me see you try it on.
Frodo began to unbutton his shirt, and a glimmer of gold
glinted through the gap until he saw it fully. The Ring was
staring at him maliciously. It was back in his life, calling to
him, enchanting him.
Aha! he laughed nervously, staring down at the Ring
upon Frodos pale flesh, My old Ring. FrodoI wouldI
would very much like to hold it one last time.
Frodo was looking at him uneasily.
Frodo? Bilbo said, half-pleading. Frodo didnt answer,
he just began to button his shirt up again. The Ring was now
concealed behind thick wool. Then something exploded into
Bilbos mind.
How dare his nephew denied to grant his uncles dying
wish! How dare, after all he had given him, did Frodo so
easily carry out this despicable act as if it were a normal
thing that had to be done! Suddenly, he felt his throat growl
into a snarl. He jumped forward, ready to tackle Frodo for
the Ring. It was his! He found it before his clueless and
moronic nephew. He yelled furiously as he jumped onto
Frodo. Together, the both of them fell to the floor.
Frodo was attempting to grab onto the Ring, to protect it
from him. No, to steal it from him! Bilbo snarled again,
clawing for the Ring which dangled on a chain around
Frodos neck. Frodo looked up at him, fear and shock on his
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face.
What was he doing to his nephew? His poor confused and
bewildered nephew who was almost a son to him! Was this
any way to treat a man who would be thrown out into the
cruel, harsh world in only hours? No it wasnt. And in that
moment, Bilbo felt pure, cold loathing for himself. He
jumped off of Frodo, pale with shock at his own actions. He
sat back down on the bed, looking down at his wrinkled
hands, which only seconds before had snapped into a dead
grip around his own nephews neck.
He heard the rustle of cloth as Frodo rose, still clutching
the Mithril sewn shirt in one hand with white knuckled fists.
He still wore shock and disbelief on his face and that led
Bilbo into a miserable sob.
I am sorry boy, he spluttered, salty tears running down
his face, Im sorry I brought this upon you boy! That now
you are forced to carry this burden onto the ends of the
earth. That death falling upon you is a sure possibility. Its
all my fault, for I picked up that Ring out of sheer greed.
Im sorry of everything!
He sobbed uncontrollably, tears blurring his vision,
leaking from his cheeks into his mouth. The taste was
uncomfortably salty. Suddenly he felt a firm and warm hand
on his shoulder. He clutched onto Frodos hand, it was his
only hope now. He had brought this disaster entirely upon
his nephew, with no way to fix it. He never wanted to let go
of Frodos warm hand. But eventually in time he had to let
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go of the hand of his friend, the hand of his nephew, the
hand of his son.
And it was sure as light that he would not see Frodo ever
again.




Aragorn
Before the sun awoke, before the moon descended, before
the stars twinkled one last time in the night sky, and before
any other being, man, elf, dwarf or otherwise had risen from
their hefty slumbers, Aragorn was already awake.
A dream made him jerk back into reality, sweaty and
alone. Fear mingled with panic momentarily as he lay in his
bed, but it all came to pass, swept away by a lapse of reason
and confidence. He pushed away the blankets of luxurious
fabrics from on top of him and sat himself up. His balcony
door was open, letting in a soft breeze that made his hair
sway gently in the morning air.
Rising from the bed, he walked silently to his wardrobe.
The vast doors opened at his command, revealing a number
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of shirts, trousers and undergarments hung up on a cold
steel rack. One hand still hanging onto a curved handle, he
grabbed for anything his hand found first. He shut the
wardrobe behind him and threw the clothes on the bed. He
would back the rest of his clothes later in the day. He took a
quick glance at the moon, still triumphantly raised in the air,
surrounded by elegant stars dwindling in and out of
darkness, and found that the dawn wouldnt come until an
hour or two.
He took of his nightwear and shoved it into a great cloth
bag, where all his used clothes he didnt need went for the
elf-maids to collect and clean. The cool air from outside
touched his naked body as he began to dress himself again.
After pulling on trousers and shirts, he fixed his hair in the
mirror.
Through the glass, it was almost as if another man was
staring at him. Strung up in vintage leathers and woven
scarves was a man of true nobility and honor. It was far
from the ranger he had been only weeks before this time.
Confidence was branded across this mans face, even
though Aragorn couldnt feel it. This man was going into a
war zone, risking his life for the sake of others. That was a
deed that was almost king-like! Aragorn knew he was
becoming this man, brave and confident, but it would be a
slow progression, he wouldnt change overnight.
He withdrew from the mirror and stepped into the
balcony. The sky seemed to be getting lighter than it was
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when he had woken. Aragorn leaned against the sturdy
elven rails, looking down at those buildings that were below
him, candlelight flickering from behind glass windows. He
looked up at the two towers that stood next to one another,
pride welling from the sight of it.
In one tower, the highest room was for a guest of honor
and in the other, an elf of true beauty. He stared up at
Arwens window; the candle had burnt out, engulfing her
room in the predawn darkness. He withdrew his gaze,
looking back at all of Rivendell. This might very well be the
last time he is here, he thought to himself.
Eventually his mind wandered back to his dream. Grave
details were already slipping through his mind like ice water
through and open fist. He could only remember that in the
dream he had seen the white halls of Minas Tirith, the place
of the kings of Gondor. He saw a dark light from the south
and the sound of heavy wings. People were screaming all
around him, but they were invisible. And the final thing he
remembered in the nightmare that cast him into a cold
sweat, was the sight of a bonfire, raised in a dark room of
the castle, and two bodies were burning inside it.
He felt shivers run down and his skin prickled. He shook
his head, disapproving his own fear and shut the balcony
door behind him.
After packing all his belongings into his large bag forged
from rough cloth, he descended the small staircase in the
building and reached the parlor. The murmur of cooks
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speaking silently with one another carried out into the hall.
As he made for the exit, he saw the dining hall through the
doorway to his right. Inside the door that led to the kitchens
stood ajar, golden light spilling out and onto the floors.
Aragorn drew his eyes away from the dark room and out
into the even darker sky that was before him. He stepped
through the open door, the shallow chill of predawn
sheltering him. He walked along the paved streets and the
narrow stone bridges of Rivendell for minute upon minute.
He was going deeper into the civilization, houses and
buildings began to separate and scatter. The small wood
would not be far ahead from here.
And there, inside the collection of old and withered trees,
branches and roots mangled across both sky and ground, his
mother was buried six feet under in eternal rest. Other elves
and men were laid here, buried in great and elaborate
coffins of gold. It had been more than ten years since his
mothers passing. Gilrean Elessar was a woman of kind
stature and one of the best people that Aragorn had ever
known.
When he was only a child, she took him to Rivendell after
his fathers death. It was a home, a haven to him and had
been all his life. Here she lived for most her life, and here
she died, clutching onto Aragorns hand.
Twigs snapped under Aragorns boots as he made his way
into the forest. Statues of tall and lanky teens stood closest
to the mouth of the wood. Behind them the race of men,
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males holding aloft great weapons of combat proudly and
the women acted out scenes of sowing and folding, and
some held tiny babies, wrapped in a bundle of blankets in
their arms, looking down at their flesh and blood with great
love and caring. He filed into the second aisle, passing at
least ten different graves before he was standing before his
mothers statue.
Gilrean Elessar was a beautiful women, with chiseled
cheek bones, soft blue eyes and curly amber hair. She held a
needle in one hand here, and folds of yarn shaping into a
small shirt in the other. She wore a long, elegant dress,
colorless in the carved stone. Her hair was hidden under a
hood, which swept down from her scalp onto her shoulders.
Aragorn looked up at her mother, wishing he had an
excuse to pray. But Aragorn knew that in a world this vile,
there couldnt be any god looking down on them. He
pledged himself to cold hard facts and knowledge, for that
was the only thing he could believe in. What he saw was
real, and what he didnt was all but legend until he
inevitably stumbled upon it.
Deep below his feet, under dirt and worms was her great
coffin. He remembered it now; it was a case of black steel
embroidered with red rubies. The funeral allowed her casket
to be opened, and he remembered her cold, pale face. Her
eyes were still open, and she was staring at something in the
distance in full concentration. He nearly collapsed on the
spot when he saw his mother dead in there, but he managed
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to contain himself.
She wanted to protect her child, a low voice said from
behind him. Aragorn jumped with a start and turned around.
His heart racing, he saw Elrond standing at the mouth of the
forest, looking solemn and unhappy.
She thought Rivendell would be the safest place for
you, he continued, now acknowledgement at how he had
startled Aragorn, But in her heart, your mother knew that
you would be hunted all your life. That you would never be
able to escape your fate.
Aragorn watched Elrond come forward, his roves
dragging behind him as he walked.
I have been successful for the most part, Aragorn
shrugged, More people know my identity than I care to
want, but either way, the people of Gondor are oblivious. As
they have been for thousands of years.
Elrond looked sternly at him.
We can reforge the shards of Narsil, Elrond implored
him for the hundredth time; You know that, I know that.
But only you have the power to wield it.
I do not want that power, Aragorn answered coldly. He
felt he had said this thousands of times. No one accepted the
fact that the return of the king was a doubtful circumstance.
No one but him himself.
The elves are leaving, Elrond said impatiently, standing
before him, looking vastly more aged than he had a moment
ago, My and Arwen will eventually be gone from this
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world. Someone needs to reunite the people of Middle-
Earth! That is you, the heir to the throne!
I have just said, Aragorn exploded into sudden rage, I
do not want that power. And as for Arwen, she herself has
said to me on numerous occasions that she has chosen a
mortal life. I have implored her to depart with you when the
time comes, but she has denied my advice. She truly loves
me, Elrond.
Elronds face contorted into an ugly face of absolute
loathing.
You are talking of taking my daughter away from me,
he whispered quickly and angrily, My only offspring! It is
you who must let her go! Let her bear away her love for you
in the Undying Lands!
Our love will be little more than a memory.
I will not leave her here, in this flawed and cruel world,
only to die!
She stays because she still has hope.
SHE STAYS FOR YOU! SHE BELONGS WITH HER
PEOPLE!
Aragorn was taken aback by the sudden swell in his voice,
his yell which echoed across the forest and out into the
mountains.
You said it yourself, Elrond said calmly, She should
make for the Grey Havens. Tell her that it is over.
Elrond stomped away, out of the wood, leaving Aragorn
alone with the dead. Aragorn watched his retreating back
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fade into the morning mist.
It must happen now, he thought to himself. After all, she
was an elf, not a man. Even if she was allowed to turn
mortal, she would have to spend years alone in her grief
after Aragorn departed from the world. It was better for both
of them. It was for the greater good. And so, with one last
long look at his mother carved in stone, Aragorn left the
forest to make for Arwen. To tell her the horrible truth:
Their love was now ended.
Arwen
The fire Arwen had lit had now made her whole room
stifling. She desperately wanted to pour a bucket of water
over the flames and rid it from the world. She would have
already done so if mist had not overtaken the whole sky. So
dark was the sky that the departure of the Fellowship had to
be delayed until it had all cleared up. For a moment, nearly
an hour before this one, the clouds had parted and the sun
shone brighter than ever. But before the Fellowship could
gather, it was already hidden behind the mist and clouds yet
again.
So here she sat with no one but herself for company, her
fancily sown dress cemented to her with sweat. She gazed
out the window longingly, half thankful and half impatient.
She never liked wearing dresses, not even when she was a
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child. They were too long, and there was a surprising
feeling of forcefulness that came with them whenever she
wore the fabrics. She supposed this came from always being
forced into them. So the sooner the Fellowship departed, the
better it would be for she would be able to free herself from
her majestically decorated confinement.
But the sooner the Fellowship left, the sooner Aragorn
would depart with them. It was almost a forfeit to your life
if you chose to take this venture. Spies of the enemy were
scrambled across the world, always showing up where you
would least suspect them to. Nature itself had grown more
perilous over the past months, with elves dying on the trails
in the Misty Mountains. And the path the Fellowship was
taking required them to pass through the Gap of Rohan. It
was a place of both friend and foe. To the east of the Gap
was Rohan, a country of men dubbed the horselords. For
entwined with their culture was the image of horses, and
they were treated with great respect there.
But to the North was Isenguard and if the stories were
true, Saruman the White had branded himself a traitor and
joined with the Dark Lord, breeding his own kind of army
in the caverns underneath his fortress Orthanc.
Sighing, she dapped her forehead again with her white,
laced handkerchief. It was already incredibly moist. She
looked at the flames in loathing. She wished it wasnt
sacrilegious to purposely put out flames when the sky was
dark. The flames danced in the brazier, beyond the hearth,
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as if they were mocking her.
She was just about to make up her mind; to run over to the
fire and put it out, when the door rattled open. She jumped
back onto her bed, tripping on the edges of her dress and fell
backwards onto the unorganized bed.
Sorry! Aragorn apologized, his footsteps running over
to her. Arwen began to laugh and she felt herself swept up
by Aragorn. Her rear hit the cushioned mattress with a short
bounce. The place where Aragorn had entered her was still
sore after nearly two days. But it was a good ache, a
pleasurable one.
Come to see me before your departure? Arwen smiled
up at him.
In a way, Aragorn stumbled around his words hastily, as
if he were rushed. Arwen couldnt see the point, the mist
was showing no sign of clearing up just yet. Perhaps, a sly
voice in the back of her head whispered, Well have enough
time to make love again. Her lips curled into a seductive
smile. Aragorns eyes bulged and he sighed breathlessly.
Why do you speak with haste? Arwen said in barely
more than a whisper, We have so much time.
She took his hand gently and made to drag him onto the
bed. But as soon as she had taken hold of his dry hands, he
jerked out his hands from her grasp. Arwen looked up at
him, befuddled.
Aragorn? she said curiously, What is wrong?
Aragorns mouth opened and he stammered, looking deep
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into her eyes. He shook his head to himself and turned
away. He walked off to the door, to leave her.
Aragorn, no! she cried.
He stopped in his tracks and turned his head to look at her.
You can tell me what worries you, Arwen held out her
hand, Trust me.
Aragorn frowned and trudged forward, sitting himself
next to her. She could feel warmth emitting from his body.
He held her hand softly, a look of longing and sorrow
reflected in his eyes.
Arwen, he croaked, You understand that I will not be
coming back.
I cant believe you would underestimate your skill in
battle, Arwen grinned, You will come back. And then we
can stay here and marry each other. Grow old with each
other.
Tears began to well up in Aragorns eyes. Arwen was
greatly taken aback. The only time she had seen Aragorn
cry was when his mother perished. Something very painful
to him must be happening at this very moment. Arwen
would have never guessed that this journey was burdening
him with stress so heavy.
It is not of death I speak of, his voice cracked like that
of a boys.
What are you speaking of? Arwen asked darkly. She
refused to believe what his words, if Arwen were to give in
than her whole world would crash in around her. Ever since
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Aragorn had arrived at Rivendell they held something
special with one another. Something so strong and old
couldnt be taken down by a simple word.
You have a chance for another life, Aragorn admitted,
wiping away tears from his eyes before they could roll
down his cheek, A life away from war, a life away from
despair. You are of Elf-kind and I am a simple mortal man.
Our love could only be a dream and nothing more.
He stuttered out the last sentence with grief. That was it. It
was over. Arwen knew what he had just made into reality.
Her brain screamed the horrible truth but her heart shouted
only a terrible nightmare. They couldnt forsake each other
now. Not now and not ever would their love faltered. But
here Aragorn seemed to want it to falter. Questions shot up
in her mind, but she ignored them. They were not needed
unless they were to separate. And they were not going to
separate.
I I dont.believe you, she said slowly. Tears were
streaming down her face like waterfalls. Aragorn held onto
her hair, looking as if this act was a painful one.
This belongs to you, he held out his hand, revealing her
necklace. Enchanted and glowing, portraying an elven star,
fallen from the heavens.
No! she sobbed, pushing back his hand, It was a gift! A
gift to you!
Aragorn looked back down at the jewel.
If we are to leave each other, she sobbed, I will be
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nothing. But if you chose to carry this out the least you can
do for me is keep that. Keep it as a memory. A memory of
me.
Aragorn appeared to be looking down on the necklace
very hard, concentrating on something. But she knew he
was only holding back tears.
I will keep it, he managed finally. Arwen laughed
thankfully.
But, he began, looking into her eyes with deep regret,
We cannot be together. This is something I do not want to
do. But I have to. I have to.
Arwens jaw hung open in shock as he left her alone to
her own devices. The door slammed shut and Arwen burst
into a fit of sobbing. It was over. All of it. There was no
hope for her anymore.
And as she laid on her bed, the mist outside fading into
obscurity, her thoughts lingered back to Aragorns final
words. This is something I do not want to do. But I have to. I
have to.
Arwen had known Aragorn for most of his life. He was
one to act upon his thoughts. His thoughts and feelings were
one, not two separate beings. And the only truth that was
before her was that someone told him to cut their bonds and
walk away from each other. The only person that could
possibly be was her father.
As the sun returned to view and the great clocktower sang
through the valley, she only felt complete spite for her
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father.
She forced herself to march down the stairway. Arwen
wanted to conceal herself in her bedchamber forever. What
everyone would talk about when she arrived to the main
courtyard was how red her face was. The elves of Rivendell
and councilors alike would question her. They would ask
her Why is your face so flushed, my dear? Or what have you
been crying about, Lady Arwen. What is it that troubles
you?
It was all in kindness, she knew. But she would truly loath
anyone who asked her that day. When her feet hit the cold,
leave speckled ground outside; she realized that she had
forgotten to slip on her boots. But it all didnt matter to her.
Not the whispering crowd behind her back, not the
concerning looks her father gave her and not even the
flashes of remorse on Aragorns face.
In the windy courtyard, she faced the Fellowship next to
her father, the both of them at the front of a crowd of all
manner of citizens and guests.
The Fellowship were all dressed in fine clothing, bags
were burdened on a small horse. One of the hobbits was
holding onto a firm rope that was tied to the horses saddle.
Elrond stepped forward, and addressed the noble warriors.
The Ringbearer is setting out on the Quest to the
Mountain of doom his heavy voice echoed through the
silent courtyard, Onto you who travel with him no oath or
bond is laid to go further than you will. Farewell. Hold to
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your purpose. And may the blessings of Elves and Men and
other freefolk go with you.
All nine members of the Fellowship bowed greatly and
circled around. They marched proudly out of the gate,
which shut behind them. And the truth was clear now more
than ever: Aragorn and her were truly no longer one.
Without any words, she stomped out of the courtyard and
up the tower and into her room. She stayed there for the rest
of the long day, with no food or drink. Arwen Evenstar,
heartbroken, cried herself to sleep behind locked doors.









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Sam
We must hold to this course west of the Misty Mountains
for thirty four more days, Gandalf reminded them again as
they sat around the campfire in the rising sun, If our luck
holds, we will still be able to pass through the Gap of
Rohan. And from there our road turns east to Mordor.
The plump sausages began to sizzle in a pool of grease
inside his pan. Sam grabbed a knife and dug it quickly into
the meat of one of them. He swiftly dropped them one by
one on each plate until all nine of them were holding onto
plates with one hand and clutching a fork with the other.
The sounds of lips smacking and the wet slap of food
being chewed was heard and Pippin smiled, rough and wet
food visible in his mouth. Sam looked away in disgust.
Many more months were ahead in the journey, and he
would have to deal with this idiots tomfoolery every single
day. The Fellowship were only six days into their quest, an
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already a voice in the back of Sams mind told him to turn
around and never come back.
Pass me the pepper, cook! Merry barked mockingly
through a full mouth. Sam grunted and reached into the bag
of food and kitchen objects. He pulled out the pepper shaker
and handed it to Merry, a scowl across his face.
By the time everyone had finished the meal, the sun was
much higher in the sky, which was artfully bright with red
and orange.
Everyone! Aragorn persisted as he rose, Pack up!
Were ready to move!
Sam nodded and shoved his pan and different utensils into
the cooking bag. They fell into the fabric with a sharp
clatter. He looked up from the bag, observing his
surroundings. Different shards of rock sprung up from the
grassy meadows. Deep crevices were cut into some,
raveling small underground caverns able to fit two people
inside. Wild hedges cropped up around a few of the great
stones, bees dancing around the blossoming flowers.
Sam slowly got to his feet, dragging the sack behind him.
If anyone were to ask for my grand opinion, Gimli
grunted to Gandalf savagely as Sam passed them, I would
say we were going to take the long way round! We could
visit my cousin, Balin! I trust you remember him, the old
chap. He would throw us a royal welcome, you will see!
No, Gimli, Gandalf denied swiftly, Balin lives in the
Mines of Moria and I would not take that road unless no
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other choice was given to me.
Gimli snorted and stomped of, mumbling to himself under
his breath. Sam chuckled as he headed for the Fellowships
only horse, Bill. Groaning under the weight of the hefty bag,
Sam tied the lumpy sack onto the horses saddle with great
care. He stepped back, brushing the dirt off of his hands.
Is that everything? Gandalf called out, sheathing his
sword he was momentarily sharpening. Sam, along with the
others, nodded.
Very well, Gandalf whipped around, his robes flying
behind him, The sixth day begins!
The eight of them all filed behind Gandalf, Sam dragging
the pony along with a thick coiled rope. Every now and
then, it would rear its head along the journey, stubbornly
refusing to carry on. But Aragorn stepped forward,
whispering to the horse soothingly and it would carry on.
When the sun was high in the sky, and the clouds wisped
across the blue void, Merry and Pippin were in deep
conversation as was Aragorn and Boromir. It seemed every
other second; Boromir would jeer at something or chuckle
loudly, his broad shoulders rising up and down.
Frodo pulled up from behind him, smiling.
Isnt this fun? Frodo commented smartly.
Yes, Sam nodded sarcastically, Nothing like having
your legs burn and ache with two bumbling imbeciles
following you around. Nothing could be better!
Frodo laughed hardly.
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Youre forgetting the best part of it, Gimli said gruffly,
joining in their conversation, We have hundreds of days
before us yet!
The three of them laughed even harder, and Sam could
have sworn he saw a smirk flit across Gandalfs face as
well.
The Fellowship continued onward, walking across rolling
hills and sweeping meadows until twilight reached them.
We will camp here! Gandalf barked, pointing to a rocky
hill that looked incredibly familiar to their last camping
sight.
And so the hills were filled with many different sounds
and many different scents. Sam prepared dinner as Boromir
taught both Merry and Pippin how to duel.
High! he commanded roughly, Low! Left! Right!
Steel met with steel and the three of them pranced around
as if it were a real fight. Frodo and Aragorn were watching
from the fire, cheering and giving advice. And Legolas, who
had yet to utter a word to Sam himself, stood facing the red
sun, which was descending slowly in the sky. Nothing
phased the elf, not the sweet smell of baked pork and not the
sound of a grand fight. He just stood watching out for some
invisible enemy, silent and observant.
Frost was melting away from the warm pork in his pan
and the smell was growing sweeter by the second.
Suddenly behind Sam, Pippin cried out in pain. Sam
wheeled around, nearly losing his footing as he was
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crouched over the roasting pan. He saw Pippin pace
backward, clutching onto a bloody finger.
Sorry! Boromir said, startled. Pippin ran forward,
kicking at Boromirs leg. Boromir howled, stumbling
backward.
Pippin ran forward and Merry too.
For the Shire! Merry chuckled as he and his friend
jumped onto Boromir. The man of Gondor laughed heavily
as he fought of his harmless foes.
Ah! Pippin cried through deep chuckles, Youve got
my arm! Youve got my arm!
Aragorn sighed and sat himself up from a piece of cut log
they had found.
Gentlemen that is quite enough! he shouted, marching
to the three of them. He pulled Merry and Pippin off of
Boromir.
You will draw to much attention! Aragorn reminded
them sternly behind gritted teeth. Sam turned back to his
work, turning over the slabs of meat in the pan. They were
sticky with grease.
Whose attention will we draw? Merry asked curiously.
Aye! Pippin concurred loudly, I see not one enemy
here!
I would hate to rain on your celebratory nature, Legolas
said quickly, looking back at them in panic, But that cloud
is moving against the wind quickly.
Gimli squinted up at the sunset.
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That? he remarked roughly, Its just a wisp of clouds!
No, Gandalf jumped up from his seat, That is no cloud.
It is Crebain from Dunland! Spies of Saruman! Hide!
Hide!
Everyone jerked to life and shuffled around, grabbing
bags that had been strewn carelessly on the ground. Sam
grabbed a flagon of water and poured it over the fire. He
dropped the pan hastily into the bag and ran for shelter. He
chose a bush not to far away from him. It was thick and
brambly, so dense with leaves no one could see through it.
The last one to hide, he was still breathing heavily when
he heard a flurry of wings beating the air furiously. Birds
called above him to other ones. There must have been
nearly a hundred in the flock that was circling above him.
All of them persisted tirelessly, some even resting on the
bush Sam had hidden himself in. He attempted to stifle his
panic-stricken breathing, which was growing steadily
worse. With a flutter, the birds flew from the bush off to
another part of the meadow.
After what seemed like an hour, all sound of the bird spies
were gone. With slight hesitation, Sam emerged. There was
only darkness in front of him when he raised himself, thorns
pricking him sharply. He could hear someone else leave
their hiding place. Finally, someone lit a fire and it through
the world around it into a dim and flickering light. Around
the fire was all members of the Fellowship, staring deeply
into the fire.
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Sam sat himself next to Frodo, who was tugging onto the
Ring witch still dangled from his neck in small silver
chains.
Our passage onto the south is being watched with great
relish, Gandalf muttered, a note of annoyance in his voice,
I fear we have a more dangerous path ahead of us.
Wherever you point, we follow, Legolas said
respectably. Boromir nodded in silent agreement.
But what path are we taking? Merry asked longingly.
Gandalf blinked repetitively and then shrugged.
All of them are so perilous; they might as well be the
same, Gandalf said, Well, with the exception of Moria.
That place I fear has fallen into disrepair.
Gimli looked up at the wizard, offended.
If you would excuse me, wizard, he growled, That is
Balins great dominion. I trust in him, that he has rid that
place with those wretched monsters who once ruled over it.
Did he though? Gandalf said doubtfully.
Gimli looked as if he was going to say something, but
quickly closed his mouth. Silence rang in Sams ears, For a
while, no one said a word. All of them were waiting upon
Gandalfs decision.
Sam shivered in the sudden chill and peered up at the stars
ahead. Not many were out, even though they were so far
from civilization. That meant something. Starlight was a
powerful light, a hard one to cast into shadow. And if now,
stars were dwindling in numbers like houseflies, a great
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darkness was overtaking the very sky!
Sam remembered what Boromir had spoken of at the
Council of Elrond. What he said about the Great Eye of
Sauron. Sam could picture it in his mind now, and orange
eyeball ,floating above a black tower, writhed in flame. It
sounded like a silly proposition, but in real truth, it was a
frightening thing to behold, and that was only in his
imagination.
I know what path we will take, Gandalf said suddenly.
Sam looked down, the wizard looked confident, We will
take the Pass of Caradhras!
Gandalf drew out a long hand and pointed toward
something in the distance. It was one of the giant Misty
Mountains. Tomorrow, they would take on the perilous task
of passing through the mountains. Even in summer, wild
snowstorms blew savagely up there. Sam smiled strangely.
It had never snowed in the Shire. At least not in his lifetime.
Tomorrow he would finally experience snow, but he feared
that it wouldnt be as great as an experience that he had
dreamed of for so long. Snow storms were known to cause
avalanches and avalanches were known to bring upon many
the end of life.



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Gandalf
Gandalf led the Fellowship to the foot of the Misty
Mountains before any traces of dawn were littered across
the sky. Their gait was hasty and rushed, half running for
the safety that the mountain would bring. Bill the horse
temporarily slowed them down along the mile long stretch,
desperately rearing its white head, kicking up dirt and
attempting to abandon them all. In time the panic was
contained and they could go on without any interjections.
Finally, the steep slopes of the mountains were only yards
away from him. He halted in front of it, the Fellowship
stopping behind him, panting and clutching the stitches in
their sides.
Behold, Gandalf declared, The Mountain of the Red
Horn. The Pass of Caradhras! I trust it will be a difficult
task to undertake. But if we were to continue to make for
the Gap of Rohan, the traitor Saruman would no doubt
capture us in any time there.
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Boromir stepped forward, grimacing.
Caradhras, Boromir said bitterly, Only known in
Gondor for its perilous snowstorms, he turned his gaze to
Gandalf, a pleading twinkle shined in his eyes, Gandalf, I
trust you know that avalanches are notorious here as well.
More peril will befall on us if we are to climb this wretched
peak than if we were to pass through the Gap!
I have made my points quite clear, Boromir, Gandalf
snapped to him sternly, I would rather trudge throw snow
and cloud than to be imprisoned and tortured!
Gandalf knows what he speaks of, Frodo said behind
them. Boromir looked over Gandalfs shoulder at the
hobbit, and looked back at the wizard.
Gandal-,
Do you ever learn, son of the steward? Legolas snarled
fitfully. Boots crunched behind Gandalf and Legolas
suddenly bolted into view. He glared at Boromir with great
loathing.
He could have sworn he saw Boromir look fearfully at the
catquiver that hung from the elfs back. It was filled to the
brim with countless of narrow shafts, their tails colored
blood red.
What I was simply saying, Boromirs nostrils flared,
and he rose his chest in pride, That we could go deeper
south until we reach the Adorn River. There is a small
clutter of mountains that are much smaller in scope than
these that we can pass through. Whence we clamber over
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the two mountains, Edoras will be only a little ways away.
Gandalf considered this offer. It was much smarter than
running straight into the heart of the Gap, where Saruman
saw for the better. But Saruman was very much like an
unofficial warden of the south. His gaze went onto the very
shores of the Bay of Belfalas, in all honesty.
And the White Mountains were certainly less renowned
for their snowstorms, which barely existed according to
reports from mountain hikers. But panthers and mountain
tigers lingered on nearly every peak. These beasts were
large and very strong. Their skins were made from tough
leather, strengthening with each generation. And their fur
was either coal black are smoky grey. They could blend in
with the night, even the mountain itself. Beasts as savage as
this could certainly take down a muscle bound man, let
alone a scrawny hobbit, small by even their standards!
A smarter idea than the Gap of Rohan, Gandalf
complimented his intelligence, But not as grand as a plan
as mine, Im afraid. Which of you has ever taken down a
full grown mountain lion?
Boromir laughed hysterically, Nearly all of us have
faced foes ten times worse. I have seen the very armies of
Mordor when I liberated Osgiliath! Legolas has seen troops
of Orcs and Goblins and a bloody dragon as well! The gods
only know what you have partaken in, Gandalf!
Come on! he commanded, tired of the charades
Boromir was pulling. Gandalf led the Fellowship up the
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steep slopes that made up the base of the mountain. Great
force was already pressing against his legs as he walked. It
seemed the very ground was disturbed by them, trying to
cast all of them off of the mountain. Still they continued
upward, stone crackling loudly under their feet.
Clouds trundled in across the pale sky and a light snow
fell slowly onto the stone, sticking onto rock and root. Now
the sound of feet stepping over stone was replaced by the
dull crunch of snow. Footprints brandished themselves atop
the snow, leaving an easy path for anyone who might be
following them.
The Fellowship made their way up the mountain, getting
closer and closer the peak. Snow fell even harder, and all
around them the ground was flooded with fresh white snow.
It was nearing Gandalfs knees and the snow was still
showing no sign of ceasing the storm. He looked back at the
Hobbits, where snow was cast up to their hip. Groaning, the
four of them struggled to push through the heavy snow with
their hoods clung tightly around their bowed heads.
Aragorn! Boromir! Gandalf called through the whirling
winds, snow falling gently into his mouth, Pick up our
hobbits. They face great trouble!
Gandalf quickly sealed his mouth shut, the snow melting
into water in his mouth. With no other choice, he gulped
and the water fell down his throat. It tasted abominable, so
much so that he nearly wanted to gag. But he resisted his
urge and carried forward without any word.
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The storm grew ever more feverish and chaotic within the
passing minutes. Snow poured down on them, obscuring
any vision they had hoped to earn. The ground was now
nearing impossible to trudge through. Gandalfs feet were
frozen inside his boots, which were covered, inside and out,
with thick snow.
They reached an overhang, laced with long, pointed
icicles. Gandalf leaned against the stone wall to his left. He
was nearly about to collapse just about now. The force of
the falling snow was unbearable. But he had to keep going.
Not just for the Fellowship but for the world. He was
convinced that he was holding this thing together. It wasnt
an arrogant thought, it was the truth. If he were to fall here
and now, the Fellowship would get at each others necks
like howling beasts.
But Gandalfs legs refused to move. Every time he jerked
his legs forward they would recoil back, whimpering in
sharp pain. He stood there, frozen to the wall. The snow
covered most of his vision, but he could make out the
Fellowship moving past him. They were blind in the falling
snow. It would be a long, long time before they noticed they
were without a leader.
But one person stopped in their tracks. However, they
didnt turn back to look at him. They observed the air,
before leaning in closer to the edge.
There is a fell voice upon the air! the elf cried out, It is
a deep and foreboding! Can you hear it?
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Gandalf cupped one of his frostbitten ears. Some voice
was indeed lurking under the sounds of snow and howling
wind. It was as if it were chanting. Casting a spell of some
sort.
Gandalfs heart nearly burst out of his chest. That voice
could only belong to Saruman.
ITS SARUMAN! he shouted in panic. Everyone in the
Fellowship who was trudging through the snow looked back
at him, surprised. They finally noticed they had taken
Gandalfs lead.
In what seemed to be an answer to Gandalfs cry, mounds
of great packed snow fell down from the overhang, raining
down on The Fellowship. Gandalf leaped forward, his legs
crying out in pain. But he had not made it far enough. Snow
fell upon his back, burying him alive. All sounds were
muffled under here. His breath ran out, and his staff rolled
out of his grasp, falling deeper in the snow. He dug upward
furiously, his grey hat falling backwards in the struggle. But
before he could reach the top of the pile, two pairs of firm
hands grabbed his back and pulled him out of the snow.
He was thrown into a world of gray sky. The snow had
stopped oddly enough, but thunder was clapping above
them. Aragorn and Gimli let go of Gandalf, allowing him to
move around freely again.
Gandalf stuffed his hand back into the snow. His fist
closed around his staff and he pulled it out. It was riddled
with white, and slippery all around.
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Gandalf! Aragorn screamed over the wind, still roaring
furiously in their ears, Sarumans trying to bring down the
mountain, we must turn back!
Gandalf looked at the Fellowship who stood behind
Aragorn and Gimli. Boromir was holding onto all four
hobbits now, who were shivering, their pale knuckles
holding their hoods down. Their cloaks were ragged from
the strong winds, and drowned in white freckles of snow.
Legolas looked at him anxiously, his blonde long hair
turned white from the snow.
We must make for the White Mountains! Boromir
urged, yelling his voice hoarse, We could take the west
road thereafter, the path to my city!
If Saruman can touch as here, Samwise said suddenly,
yelling as well, Imagine what he can do to us in the White
Mountains! Enchant those wild beasts that prowl the
mountains, no less! Make them into something even
worse!
Well, Gimli said slyly, stroking his red beard, which
was strangely untouched by all the snow, If we cannot pass
over the mountain, perhaps we will be able to go under it.
Let us go through the Mines of Moria!
Gandalf blinked furiously through the wind. He feared to
go into those mines. Legends persisted that it was a
dangerous place born from consequence. He believed these
rumors, something he normally didnt do. The dwarves
delved to deep in their greed, awaking a horrible creature
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from the darkness. A monster of both shadow and flame. A
Balrog of Morgoth. He shuddered to even think of it. He
preferred not to discover if the legends were indeed true.
Lightning flashed brightly across the skies, and the roar of
thunder followed soon afterward.
There are only two ways to go about this, Gandalf
announced, Either we must hold to this path until the storm
clears
Which, if we are to remember the persistence of the
white wizard, will be never, Gimli interrupted. Gandalf
throw him a look of annoyance. Gimli bowed his head in
shame.
Either we must hold to this path until the storm clears,
Gandalf resumed, Or we must take a journey through the
dark and tread through the halls of Moria, the great, long
abandoned dwarven kingdom.
All eight of the others looked at him, eagerly awaiting
what fate would become theirs.
But this is not for me to decide, Gandalf said somberly,
I will let the Ringbearer decide.
He pointed towards Frodo, who looked up at him,
confused.
So, he said warmly, What is your decision Frodo?
Frodo looked down at the snow again, in deep thought.
Finally, he looked back up at Gandalf, a confident smile on
his face.
We will go through the Mines of Moria, like Gimli has
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said, Frodo decided loudly. Gandalfs stomach lurched
inside of him. At that very moment, the winds ceased into a
low moan and the thunder gave its last roar. Saruman had
done his job; he needed not to linger when he was sure
some misfortune would befall onto them. Gandalf sighed.
So be it.
Frodo
As Frodo stumbled down the sloping mountain, following
the path to the Gate of Moria, his legs could only be
compared to stiff, long icicles, burning cold to the touch.
His leather boots, laced tight around his feet were thick with
packed snow, inside and out. To him, the death grip the
shoes strangled his feet in was an uncomfortable feeling.
Hobbits never wore shoes; the very feet were like shoes
already. But after Gandalfs urges (When we pass through
lands foreign to Hobbits, ice will replace leather in your
soles and well be forced to cut them off for the sake of your
life!), the morning of their departure he bought a pair from
a leather master elf and felt the feeling of shoes for the first
time.
A purple twilight was cast upon the sky, managing enough
muster to burn through the heavy clouds Saruman had
summoned. It seemed the wizard had given up on his
attempt to haggle them into danger. But soon they would be
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beyond his reach, in the long dark of Moria.
When Frodo had decided their fate, the look contorted on
Gandalfs folded face made his very insides lurch.
Something about the place made the wizard quiver like an
arrow, just released from a bow. Frodo had never seen
Gandalf so afraid and it frightened him so. Have I chosen
the right path? He asked himself as he trudged down the
stony mountain, which was now turning steadily into simple
hills of rock Will Moria only lead to strife and toil? He
hoped it did not. So far the journey had gone relatively
smooth. But he knew the encounters with Saruman were
just plain childs play. The Fellowship were pawns in his
game, and Saruman the player. He had chosen his strategy
well for they were headed for where he wanted them to
head. It filled Frodo with an unquenchable fury. Frodo felt
he wasnt of nearly much importance, but he had enough
dignity in himself to know he was more than simple chess
pieces, willing to move at others orders.
He truly feared he had not chosen wisely. If Saruman was
happy with the path taken, it wouldnt lead to safety. But
Gandalf had assured him that if they were to remain quiet,
only speaking in whispers, avoiding what lurked in the
shadows would be an easy task.
As loud as some of you are, Gandalf had said, throwing
a quick glance at Pippin, lost in a conversation with Merry
and Boromir, I think we can make it through the four day
journey.
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Frodo took another stiff step forward and another one to
follow. They were not showing any signs of loosening
themselves so that he could walk freely. The shoes were not
a comfort either; moreover, they were making things even
more difficult. Frodo maintained perseverance in putting
one frozen leg in front of the other, but his solid footing did
not last for long. He felt his feet tangle with each other and
suddenly his was rolling down the jagged hills, far away
from the others. Frodo let out a scream, watching his world
spin into a blur of colors. Finally he hit against something
hard with a defining crack.
There he lay, groaning as he struggled to get to his feet.
Only half of him was rejoicing in that moment. The icicles
he walked on had shattered, revealing flexible flesh
underneath it all.
As he got onto his hands and knees, the Fellowship stood
around him, shadows playing over his bruised and bleeding
face.
Mister Frodo? Sam cried urgently, running to help him
up, Are you hurt?
Its nothing to bad, Sam, Frodo replied comfortingly,
though he fought back a wince as a cut on his knee came
into contact with the air. His feet found their footing once
more along the stony, sloping ridges. Frodo felt around his
neck in a routine manner, feeling for the Ring. Only it
wasnt there. With a gasp, Frodo looked up at the
Fellowship.
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The Ring! he gasped to them, Wheres it gone?
I have found it, Boromir said gruffly. Frodo looked in
the direction where his voice had come from. Boromir was
yards away from the rest of them, standing up from a
crouch, holding the silver chains above his face so that the
Ring dangled before his eyes. Everyone looked to him with
bated breath. A savage gleam danced in his eyes, the
reflection of the purple clouds above them bright as flame
inside them.
It is a strange fate, he said dreamily, as if he was stuck
in a trance, That we should suffer so much fear and
doubt..over such a little thing.
Boromir raised a gloved finger closer to The Ring.
Boromir! the whole Fellowship yelled with urgency.
Boromirs head jerked up, removing his gaze from the Ring.
He looked that he had forgotten that others were standing
around him, glaring dangerously.
Give the Ring to Frodo, Aragorn said slowly in
observance. Boromirs eyes flitted back to the Ring for one
brief moment and then his gaze pierced straight through
Frodos own eyes.
As you wish, he began to trudge forward, a strange grin
on his face, as he had just told a clever jest, I care nothing
for it!
He slipped the Ring into Frodos open palm and chuckled
and backed away. Eyeing Boromirs turned back; Frodo tied
the cold chains around his neck once more. He tucked The
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Ring underneath his buttoned vest. Gandalf cleared his
throat suddenly; his look was of seething fury.
If we may continue on our way, he mumbled, regaining
his position at the front of the scrambled line. For awhile the
Fellowship strode down the looping hills in silence. The sky
darkened, but still the clouds did not part. Purple turned into
a cold blue, distant in hue and casting a lonely feeling on the
sky itself.
Hows your shoulder Frodo? Gandalf muttered to him
suddenly.
Better than it was, he answered simply, running to walk
beside him.
And the Ring? Gandalf said, not even drawing a quick
glance at him. Frodo hesitated.
You feel its power growing dont you, Gandalf assumed
gruffly, Ive felt it too. We must be careful now more than
ever, for evil will be drawn to you from both outside the
Fellowship and within, I fear.
Then who shall I trust?
Trust only yourself and your strengths. A possibility is
that even the most loyal of friends will betray you. I am not
suggesting that this will come to pass, but history oft does
repeat itself.
Frodo shuddered audibly. Silently, save for the noise of
gravel being stomped underfoot, he walked beside Gandalf.
A thought arose in his mind as he reflected everything that
had happened to him. Suddenly a cavernous sorrow emptied
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into his soul. A normal life had been robbed from him. He
had wished as a child to be swept off into peril, but all they
amounted to were childhood fantasies, egged on by an uncle
who would tell of the dangers he faced himself.
I wish the Ring had never come to me, he crooned
silently. He didnt mean to say it aloud, but there was no
way to retract what he had said. Frodo could feel Gandalf
smile sweetly down on him. Looking up, he found that his
predictions were true.
So do all who live to see such times but that is not for
them to decide, Gandalf said warmly, All you have to
decide is what to do with the time that is given to you.
Frodo managed to give a weak and reluctant smile, which
was more of a grimace than a grin.
Confide trust in me Frodo, Gandalf assured him quietly,
There are other forces at work in this world besides the
will of evil. Eh, Frodo?
Frodos smile broadened. Gandalfs words were stringing
his heartstrings like an instrumental harp. His soul was
lifted up out of the darkness it had cast himself in.
Yes, Frodo nodded with a smile, Yes, you are right,
Gandalf.
Suddenly, Gimli let out a deep gasp of excitement behind
them.
Hark! he cried, Beyond us lies the Western Gate of
Moria!
Frodo squinted through the growing shadows. He saw a
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large black pond, still as death before a shore littered with
pebbles. And indeed he saw a great door, sealed shut,
shining with bright white words inscribed onto it.
Frodo and Gandalf led the Fellowship down their final
hill, a collective feeling of relief was upon the air. When
they reached the shores, it seemed the very gods were
blessing them. The long, wispy clouds parted, revealing
streams of pale light shimmering from gaps in the clouds.
Gandalf stopped in front of the door.
We made it! Merry whispered ecstatically, rubbing his
hand together. Frodo gave him a smile and a twinkle of the
eye, and looked up at the door. Symbols, letters in the
dwarven language were scribed onto the very stone.
What does it say? Sam asked, looking up as well.
Gandalf walked forward and read the words in the common
tongue.
It reads: The Doors of Durin, Lord of Moira! Speak
friend and enter! And that of course means that if you
speak the password, the doors will open!
Frodo nodded with the others in courtesy.
Well what would the password be, then? Pippin asked
brightly, too loudly in note. Gandalf smiled down at him,
which frightened Frodo, for this had never happened before.
Gandalf bickered with Pippin more than any other being.
I have a few ideas simmering in my mind, he shrugged.
He turned back to the doors, his silver, capless hair
shimmering in the moonlight, which was now fully revealed
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from behind the curtain of clouds. He raised his hands, the
staff reaching a height of twice Gandalfs own stature.
Finally, he began to chant the password in ancient
Dwarvish.
Only, nothing happened. With a frown, Gandalf stepped
backwards. His arms flopped down pointlessly. Grumbling,
looking embarrassedly around him, he stepped forward
again, closer to the door. He muttered another combination,
but it didnt do anything more than the other one had. Frodo
sighed; they were going to be here a while.
Finding his way to a nearby log, fallen close to the shore,
he took his seat and stared up at the bright moon. Craters
caused by some powerful substance were cast upon the
otherwise perfect white orb. A face was created almost
seamlessly by the order of the craters. Stars began to
shimmer through the darkness and the clouds. The lights
shimmered playfully across the still water. The only life
here besides them was the chitter of crickets. He saw one
hopping from the tide, after drinking its stomach full. It was
scaly and a brown color.
Others sat around him, groaning and muttering under
their breath. Gimli sat next to him, the stench of coal and
timber reeking of his body. Grunting, he pulled out a pouch
of tobacco and a small pipe.
Nothings happening, Pippin said obviously, the only
one standing now. Gandalf paused halfway through his sixth
attempt at a password and turned to his head to Pippin.
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Curses! he said sarcastically, I thought the passwords
were supposed to close the door!
Gandalf growled and dropped his staff aside. He rammed
himself into the stone door and pushed.
Pippin! he called, I fear both my body and my powers
are useless against this door! But perhaps knocking your
head against it will do the trick!
Pippin was taken aback by the sudden outburst Gandalf
had exploded into. Gandalf fell backwards onto the stone
shores. Frodo ran to help him, but Gandalf waved his hands
around aggressively, which he supposed meant that he
didnt want any help.
Sitting back down on the log, next to Gimli, he watched
Gandalf get himself onto his feet. He picked his staff back
up off of the ground. He headed for the door again.
I once knew all the tongues of all the races in Middle
Earth, Gandalf sighed, sounding exasperated, But age is
taking over my knowledge like rust on metal. Gandalf
looked like he was about to utter another spell but it was
then that his head sunk low.
Oh, it is all in hopelessness, he sighed at sat next to the
door, glaring up at it in anger, I will try to find the opening
words.
And so, they waited in the cold darkness, barely lit by the
moon and the stars. Gandalf sat muttering to himself, in
different languages of old. Aragorn led Sam over to Bill so
it could return back to Rivendell. Moira would not be a
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place for a horse, whose footsteps would echo around the
vacant halls. Sam was slowly agreeing with reluctance.
Across from Gandalf, Legolas was sharpening his bows
with a dull whetstone, humming to himself. Gimli sat next
to Frodo, occasionally coughing on thick smoke that was
pouring from out of the pipes tobacco bowl. Frodo was
dully watching all of this play out painfully slowly. Water
flecks from Merry and Pippins stones hitting the pond
water hit him every now and then, but he felt nothing on his
face at the same time that he did feel something.
The minutes seemed to be hours in the long night. It
trudged slowly by, like a bird stalking its prey. Frodo
repeated the riddle in his head. Speak friend and enter.
Speak friend and enter. Speak friend and enter.
The sounds of stones hitting the pond water were growing
very loud now. It was starting to annoy Frodo. Frodo looked
up, opening his mouth to convince them to stop. But
Aragorn was already stepping forward. Merry held back his
hand, loaded with a bulk of sharp stones. Aragorn grabbed it
tightly before Merry could release his aim.
Do not disturb the water! he whispered angrily. Merry
looked up at the rugged ranger and back at the water. His
eyes grew wide in his skull. Frodo saw what he had seen
too. Waves were beginning to roll up and down the lake.
The tide splashed onto the stone shores, an underlying hint
of anger inside the waves.
Speak friend and enter. Suddenly a thought occurred to
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Frodo out of nowhere. Speak friend and enter. It wasnt
asking for a password, it was asking for the word friend.
Gandalf, Frodo jumped up, running to the door, What
is the Dwarvish word for friend?
Gandalf looked as if all his greatest dreams had just burst
into reality. Everyone looked up from their devices in
anticipation. Gandalf said the word. Frodo could already see
the door opening for them. But it didnt. Frodo felt
something pitiful sink deep inside him. He turned to
Gandalf, who looked like he was about to yell in rage.
Speak friend and enter. What else could it mean?
Perhaps other languages would do the trick, a sly voice
said silkily in his mind.
What is the Elvish word for friend? Frodo asked.
Legolas said the password this time. And, miraculously, the
doors began to open. Frodo went weak in the knees as he
watched the doors slid open. Darkness was the only thing
beyond the doorway now.
Around him, everyone got to their feet, slinging bags over
their shoulders. The Fellowship shouted words of
compliments to Frodo.
Thank you, he said to each one of them with a smile.
Ahead, Gandalf was crouched over his staff, muttering a
spell into it. Bright light illuminated the darkness.
Follow me, Gandalf beckoned them forward silently.
Frodo followed with the Fellowship. Inside, light poured
over the dark walls and floors. Dusty gridded patterns were
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imprinted amongst the floors. Where were the other
dwarves? That question seemed not to faze anyone,
certainly not Gimli.
Master Elf, it will not be long until you enjoy the fabled
hospitality of the dwarves! Gimli sneered at Legolas, pride
running through his veins, Roaring fires, malt beer, and
ripe meat off of the very bone!
Frodo withdrew his gaze from the floor and saw that a
wide staircase was ahead, nearly a hundred feet in height.
But what sent him nearly falling backwards was what was
between them and the staircase.
Dead bodies were scattered across the floor. Some still
had rotting flesh on the bones, but most were of pure
skeleton, fading progressively into dust. They were armored
in chainmail and iron, holding a firm grip of death around
rusted weapons of steel, covered in murky cobwebs. Gimli
was the first to scream. Frodo followed suit, but his was
more of a cry of shock than a scream of terror. The others
looked at them; eyebrows raised and looks of confusion
rippling over their chiseled faces.
MY PEOPLE! Gimli cried, pointing down at the bodies.
The Fellowship looked at them, and exploded into shock.
This is no mine, Boromir gasped, This is a tomb!
We should have never have come here, Aragorn shook
his head, walking backwards for the door, his eyes never
leaving the dead bodies; Well go through with Boromirs
plan. Its the only one we have now.
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Agreed, Gandalf nodded vigorously, heading for the
door. Frodo and the other hobbits trailed after the wizard.
Suddenly, he felt water rush over him. He fell to the floor,
engulfed in the water. Spluttering, the water passed his face
and fell to balance behind his ears. As the water had
softened the fall, Frodo could raise himself off of the ground
without any harm coming to him.
Looking up at where the water had originated, he found a
green hulking mass running towards them, wet with slippery
water. Frodo saw before him, a great tentacle beast
climbing out of the water.
We have no choice! Gandalf cried loudly, running
deeper inside, Well have to face the long dark of Moria!
What is that thing? Frodo called out.
Its coming inside! Legolas warned them, whipping out
an arrow from his catquiver and aiming it with his bow.
Aragorn and Boromir drew their swords in a sharp rasp.
Legolas let his arrow fly towards the beast. The arrow shot
straight into one of its black beady eyes. It made a strange
squealing noise and fumbled backwards. More water
splashed in from the doorway. There was a strange
clattering noise that it made. Frodo spun around and saw
that a skeleton had been thrown out of the water and landed
behind him.
What is this thing?! Frodo screamed. He looked back at
the beast which fell into the water again, wounded.
I do not know what it is Frodo Baggins! Gandalf said
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from behind him. Suddenly Gimli ran backwards, making
for the skeleton. He kneeled beside it and shrieked. Gandalf
was now racing forward.
He halted in front of the doorway. He took hold of his
wood staff with two hands and raised it into the air.
OIN! Gimli was screaming, MY UNCLE! HES
DEAD!
Aragorn ran over to Gimli and dragged him away from the
skeleton. Gandalf brought down his staff and bellowed,
YOU SHALL NOT PASS!
The doorway crumbled loudly into a pile of stone as his
staff hit the floor. The Fellowship were engulfed into total
darkness and silence.
Remember, Gandalf said, somewhere beyond Frodo,
Be on your guard. There are fouler things than Orcs that
roam the deep places of Moira.
Suddenly, a bright light was burst to life very close to
him. Gandalf had relit his staff again, only this time it was
dimmer.
If any of you make any loud noises, Gandalf whispered,
Well I would punish you, but the Orcs and Goblins that
would come after us would surely teach you something.
Come!
Gandalf began limping towards the grand staircase, which
was also littered with the dead. Frodo sighed and began to
walk next to Sam.
So this had been his choice. To trudge a four day journey
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through a graveyard. He certainly couldnt change his fate
now, so he came to terms with it. With Pippin in their
midsts, they were almost guaranteed to come across a pack
of Orcs.

Sam
The pounding footsteps the Fellowship made rang through
the deserted halls of Moria. There was a sharpness to the
noise that should have awoken the otherworldly creatures
that lurked in the corners. But there wasnt a single shuffle
of leathered boots in the realm, save for their own. Neither
was a growl heard in the looming darkness, all was silent
and eerie. The hairs on the back of Sams neck prickled up
as if he were being watched by someone.
However, he turned to face the darkness and found
nothing but the piercing stare of the void. Blank emptiness
that could show anything. A friend, a foe, a turncloak; they
could all be following them in the surrounding emptiness,
rejoicing in their cover of darkness.
The Fellowship went without a word through Moria,
following the guiding light of the wizards staff. Bridges of
polished minerals and railing of smooth metals cropped up
above dank canyons in the vey mountains. Some bridges
had no protection at all, allowing one to simply trudge one
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step too far, to find the rippling winds clutching them in a
grip of death as they plummeted to whatever end was
below.
Sams heart pounced in his chest when he walked along
the narrow, defenseless bridges. All he could do was look
down, at the darkness and fog covering the lands below. He
imagined himself falling through the high winds. What
would the terror of the moment feel like? Would it be a
thrill of a fear? When Boromir stumbled blindly into him,
he nearly screamed as he stumbled to his knees. He righted
himself to his shaking feet, while listening to whispers of
apology from the son of the steward.
Now, reliving the terror still, he walked in a long stride
over a fallen body in their path. Silver hairs of the beard
glimmered dully in the light. A look of horror was frozen on
the skeletal face. An empty scream to last throughout the
ages. Sam looked back up and forgot about the skeleton in
nearly a minute.
Here they came across a ridge carved into the hollow
mountain. The jagged walls to Sams right curved
relentlessly to points scattered here and there. As Sam
pressed his weight against the wall, the rocky texture tried
to dig into his flesh. Wincing, Sam pulled his hand away,
forced to walk down the ridge without an inch of solid
support.
The Fellowship continued down the seemingly never
ending ridge. Ladders began to lay against the wall above
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them, dusty and untouched for years. Boxes stacked with
picks and axes were hammered into the side of the ridge. To
Sams surprise white veins of pale ore sprang in the wall
beside him. It flowed elegantly forward, curving up and
down and tributaries of the main line stretching out from
either side.
What is this? Sam asked in a voice cracked from
silence.
Mithril, Gandalf answered back, more loudly than he
would have expected, For the wealth of Moria did not lie
in ores of jewels or rubies, but in this very substance. Below
you, the veins of Mithril are flowing like rivers in the
cavern walls.
Sam leaned forward, peering down the ridge. Nearly every
other couple of yards, Mithril was carved into the walls
below and above them. Gandalf let his staff glow a little
brighter, and the Mithril drank it eagerly. The white light
bounced around the walls of the mines, letting the Mithril
ore shine in its former glory. But eventually, the light
simmered into dimness. Sam sighed, and the Fellowship
moved forward again.
Bilbo has a shirt of Mithril rings, Gandalf lectured,
Thorin gave it to him. It was a very noble gift.
Given by a lesser such soul, Legolas japed smugly.
Thorin was a noble dwarf, Gimli cried in dismay, He
was born one and died one! He saw the error in his ways
while he fought in the Battle of the Five Armies, and he
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passed with extreme bravery and honor protecting those he
loved!
Enough, the both of you, Gandalf said angrily, shooting
a backwards glance at the both of them, Either way, the
Mithril shirt was indeed a kingly gift. I never told the
hobbit, but the value of it was greater than the value of the
Shire!
Sams eyes bulged in shock. All four farthings of the
Shire were immensely valuable, as most of the crops were
bartered and traded unto people of important lands. It
seemed likely that at least one plant his old Gaffer grew in
the hot heat of the simmering sun was eaten by Boromir in
the very halls of Gondor. Or better yet, the Steward himself
could have touched Shire made food.
Sam followed the guidance of Gandalf down the empty
halls and paths of Moria through the whole day. The pace of
them all was slowing into mere footfalls, but only in a
subtle nature. Finally, Sams eyes began to droop and sag
when Gandalf called to set up camp.
Sam sat down on the dusty tiled floors and crouched over
his food-bag, tiredly digging for a meal to make.
Sam! Gandalf said overtop of him. Sam looked up
quickly at the wizard who was standing behind him.
I think Lembas Bread will suit us all just fine for today,
he told him, A fire and the smell of food will attract the
eyes and noses of those we do not want to meet.
Lembas Bread? Sam repeated curiously. Gandalf
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nodded curtly.
Lembas Bread, Gandalf repeated again, A gift from
Lord Elrond. I stifled it in that bag before we arrived. One
single bite is enough to fill the stomach of a grown man!
Sam frowned and turned to the bag again to look for the
bread. He could have served small bits of bread for meals in
the stead of tirelessly keeping himself awake to cook a real
meal. Eventually he found it buried under all the pans and
pots and foods and utensils.
Grabbing out a knife of gleaming silver, he cut the loaf of
bread into eighteen bite-sized pieces. He walked around the
newly made camp, handing each member a piece each.
After he ate his own piece, his stomach which was once
filled with an unquenchable hunger, was flooded with the
warmth of a dozen meals. He sighed with sweet relief and
trudged off into one of the three tents and slept against the
cold rocky ground.
something down there!
Sam groaned and opened his eyes.
Gollum
All he saw was a dark grey blur of bland color.
for three days.even in light of day.
The vision focused and blended in with one another.
Around him, Merry and Pippin were snoring lazily, and the
place where Frodo was supposed to be sleeping as well was
empty. Two voices were just outside the tent, conversing
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with one another. Sam listened in with defined curiosity.
He escaped the dungeons of Barad-dur? one voice asked
with a whimper of fear. That voice could only belong to
Frodo. Sam sat up and stared through the gap in the flaps
that were the door of the tent. To back, rising and falling
with breath were huddled around the fire. One was larger
than Frodo, adorned in a grey cape. It was Gandalf speaking
with Frodo, the second conversation between them he had
eavesdropped on.
Escaped? I believe he was set loose! Gandalf
whispered, But now the Ring has brought him here and his
need for it will never cease to exist. He hates and loves the
Ring, much like his feelings for his own self. Smagols life
is a sad story. I would have told you it back at Bag-End, but
we were interrupted, from the knowledge of my memory!
Frodo looked back at the tent; his face was red with trails
of long-gone tears. Sam jerked backwards. The journey was
already taking a toll on Frodo; the fact was brandished on
the poor hobbits face clear as day. Frodo squinted at him
through the darkness.
Sam?! he chuckled, still peering into the tent. Gandalf
whipped backwards furiously.
Samwise Gamgee! he whispered furiously, Never can I
have a conversation with Frodo without you listening in!
Come forward out of the dark!
Sam nervously got to his feet and limped out of the tent to
sit between Frodo and Gandalf.
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How much did you hear? Gandalf questioned as he
stared into a dim firelight. Sam gazed into it as well.
I woke about a minute ago, Sam confessed. Gandalf
groaned.
I assume youll want to hear of the story, then? Gandalf
looked down at him. Sam looked up at him as well.
Yes, but who is Smagol? Sam asked politely. Sam
looked over his shoulder to make sure no one else was
listening in. Could Gollum really be lurking behind them?
Once that name belonged to Gollum, Gandalf said,
Before the Ring drove him into utter madness.
Here, here, Sam said acidly, Its a pity Bilbo didnt kill
him when he got the chance!
Pity? Gandalf gasped, sounding appalled. Sam bowed
his head almost immediately, It was pity that stayed
Bilbos hand. Many that live deserve death and some that
die deserve life! Can you give it to them, Samwise
Gamgee?
Sam shook his head and stared back into the fire. Silence
rang through the air momentarily. Finally Gandalf spoke up.
It is a peculiar fact that Smagol was not much different
from the both of you hobbits when he was your age,
Gandalf said, pulling out a stout pipe, already billowing
with wisps of smoke, He and his cousin were fishing one
fine spring day. Deagoul caught a large fish that dragged
him and his rod into the lake. That lake was an old one, long
rumored to have been the place of the massacre that brought
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Issildur into death, as a result of his corruption.
And was it? Frodo asked form Sams right.
Im afraid it was, Gandalf sighed, Deagoul plucked the
Ring from the bottom of the lake. That moment he saw it,
half sunken in the sand, all the old stories came rushing
back to him. He emerged from the lake, meeting with his
worried cousin once again. Smagol saw it in his mud
splattered hand and a power came over him. Smagol
strangled his own cousin to death over that Ring.
As a consequence, his unknowing family, thinking it was
a simple Ring, disowned him. Smagol wandered east, into
the vast wilderness of the Misty Mountains. Eventually he
forgot the touch of trees, the taste of bread, and the softness
of the wind. He even forgot his own name. All he knew was
the Ring. He called himself Gollum, after his rasping cough
noise that he would make every day. Thats all he knew
until Bilbo took the Ring from his grasp, and know he is
following us, The Fellowship of the Ring, waiting to strike.
Sam had not blinked throughout the whole tale. He finally
looked up at the wizard.
Nine against one? he chuckled, Also one of us is an elf
and the other a wizard!
Gandalf shrugged.
He may never think it is time to strike until we are at the
bottom of the mountain of doom, Gandalf answered, He
might even attempt to join us, and turn on us at the very end
of the journey. None but the gods know
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Sam sighed, suddenly feeling rather tired again. He rose
from the hard ground.
Im going back to bed, he told the both of them, Good
night, Mister Frodo. Goodnight, Gandalf, sir!
He walked into the tent again and took his place. For a
while he stared up at the ceiling, running the story over in
his mind once more. The Ring had driven Gollum into
strangling his own cousin. A hobbit, no less, was corrupted
by the un-tempered powers of The One Ring. Frodo could
break at any moment; Sam himself could break at any
moment as well. Anyone and everyone in the whole
Fellowship could resort to murder if they felt it necessary.
With one last shudder, Sam rolled onto his stomach and fell
into an uneasy sleep, plagued by murderous nightmares.





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Gandalf
Gandalfs hands, sticky with the sweat of a long journey,
gripped relentlessly onto his staff. With every stretch of his
legs, the staff followed persistently with sharp clunks of
wood on stone. Gandalf scanned his dark surroundings to
make sure nothing was creeping out of the shadows. No
strangers eyes were staring back at him through the inky
darkness. Gandalf looked back up at the vastly high carved
ceiling of the Hall of Kings, a place where even the
brightest light he could summon could not touch.
He, like the Fellowship behind him, could not stop
gawking at the beauty and splendor of the great hall.
Although it was a dusty abandoned place, littered with the
dead and infested with rats and other unsavory creatures, the
astonishing magnificence of it all prevailed through.
Emerald columns of whittled marble shot up into the air,
holding up some roof Gandalf could not see. The tiled stone
floors shimmered elegantly in the flickering light, which
was of a greatly bright hue. Images of legends were carved
into each tile, some repeating the pictures of others, but not
losing any trace of its remarkable value.
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High archways led off in all directions around him,
revealing in some darkness while others held light. Not too
often did Gandalf swear to himself that he saw pairs of
bulbous eyes staring at him through the doorways, but they
happened once or twice, enough to make himself paranoid.
He attempted to assure himself that they were simply eyes
of a hungry animal, confused as to why nearly ten beings
where wandering through the vacant halls of Moria. But
something told him those stares were of malicious intent.
Was it the feeling of foreboding that hung in the air or was
it just himself, over analyzing and over evaluating situations
of dire consequence? Gandalf hoped dearly that it was the
latter, but he had his suspicions as usual, and they told him
otherwise.
The mail the Fellowship wore jingled softly through the
hall. Gandalf was not wearing any as he thought that armor
would slow him down even further. But he was sure that
Boromir, Gimli and Aragorn were wearing some form of
protection. Gandalf observed the grand darkness above
them once more as they passed another doorway that stood
to Gandalfs right. Suddenly, Gimli made an outcry of
distress.
Gandalf withdrew his dreamy gazes swiftly, and whipped
around to face the line behind him. He could feel his cloak
fly behind him in the wind. Everyone in the Fellowship was
looking into the doorway, all seven of them. Gandalf turned
to the arch and managed to get a quick glimpse of Gimlis
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retreating back.
Gimli! he yelled, following after the dwarf. As Gandalf
ran, the light from his staff danced off of his body and
bounced across the walls playfully. He whispered a spell of
darkness, making the beam of light fade away. The room he
entered was already brightly lit. A deep shard of the walls
was cut out, allowing sunlight to narrowly stream in.
The room itself was littered with at least half of a hundred
of skeletons, all mailed and clutching cruel weapons, with
looks of panic, shock and fear in their faces. Gandalf passed
doors of grand wood, pushed back allowing the doorway to
be opened freely. Ancient runes were carved into the stone
walls, telling of fortune and sorrow, spells and stories. The
dwarves carved pictures into their halls very rarely, stooping
to the level of brilliant literature and scholarship.
But the thing that was perhaps the most peculiar about the
room was what stood in the middle. A stark white tomb was
laid above the gravel floors, small marble steps built around
it. Words were written across the top of the tomb,
shimmering in the sunlight the window was casting. A
bearded skeleton leaned its back against the tomb, clutching
a heavy book and a pen, ink dried around the tip. With a
pang of sorrow, he realized who that skeleton used to be. It
was once Ori, a bright and optimistic dwarf who had been
part of the Company of Thorin Oakenshield during their
quest to the Lonely Mountain.
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Gimli ran to the tomb and kneeled beside it after reading
the text. He began to sob heavily, covering his face in his
meaty gloved hands. Gandalf walked to the tomb and
peered down at the words.
Here lies Balin, he read aloud as the Fellowship entered.
He felt his stomach lurch with sadness. Balin was another
member of the Company, dead just like Ori and Oin and Fili
and Kili and Thorin himself, Son of Fundin, Lord of
Moria.
Gandalf sighed greatly. He would remove his pointed hat
if he still had it. But he had lost it in the snowstorm of
Caradhras. Gandalf turned to the Fellowship, and gazed
mournfully at them all.
He is dead then, he said over Gimlis loud wet sobs, It
was as I had feared. Ori had passed as well, poor chap. He
was a bright lad
Gandalf looked down at Oris skeletal remains again. The
book was so large, and must have followed the dwarfs
whole life! It would tell of his death if he had died with it,
wouldnt it? Gandalf ran to Pippin and outstretched his
staff.
Hold this! he commanded, pushing it into the hobbits
gentle hands. Pippin gaped up at the staff. Gandalf fought
back a smile and crouched next to the remains of Ori. He
took the book out of his dead, small hands. He groaned as
he got to his feet once more, clutching onto the vast
leatherbound novel. Gandalf eagerly flipped to the final
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page. It was blank.
Gandalf flapped the pages backwards until he came across
the last page with writing on it. He saw the familiar hand of
Ori and cleared his throat, ready to read again.
They have taken the bridge and the second hall, he
began from the first complete sentence on the page. Gimli
ceased his cries and listened in, equally as quiet as the
others, We have barred the gates but cannot hold them for
long. Oin has been killed by the Watcher in the Water, his
tale is now ended forever. The ground, the very ground is
shaking below my feet. If the gods are true, please hear my
prayers. Now drums can be heard. The others can hear it to.
They come from the deep in Moria. We cannot get out! A
shadow moves in the dark. We cannot get out, for they are
coming!
That was the last words on the page that were eligible.
The others were scribbled so quickly onto the page that they
could not be read by him.
PANG! PANG! PANG!
Gandalf jumped and dropped the book, which echoed
through the room. The sound, which was metallic in nature,
had come from behind him. In fact, he could still hear it.
Gandalf turned to look at it, and found Pippin standing
there, holding his staff with a look of shock on his face. A
well was behind him, and a metal uniform was half gone,
falling through the well until it hit the bottom.
Gandalf waited until the sound was out of touch and ran in
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angry haste towards the dunderheaded hobbit.
Pippin, you are truly a fool of a Took, and that is saying
something! Gandalf yelled as quietly as he could. He
grabbed his staff from out of his cold hands and eyed him
with the upmost loathing before turning his back on Pippin.
The Fellowship looked equally as angry as Gandalf was.
Weve spent far more time here than we have needed
too, he whispered urgently, We are only an hour away
from the East Gate!
Gandalf made for the door again, with the Fellowship
beginning to trail behind him when. The drums started to
pound below them. Gandalf froze in horror. Shrieks and
whoops sprang up in the air and went as quickly as they had
come.


The drums persisted in the distance, growing louder in a
steady and progressive fashion. Then something glowed
blue faintly in the corner of his eyes. He looked harder at it.
The light was coming from Frodos sheath, the light of
Sting was dying to come out and warn all of them about the
coming danger. Gandalf pulled out his sword, Glamdring. It
was glowing blue as well.
Orcs! Goblins! The Fellowship cried in near unison.
Bar the doors! Gandalf rasped commandingly. Boromir
and Aragorn ran and closed the doors, dragging tall heavy
objects like bookshelves to block the door.
Stand in formation, the lot of you! Gandalf called.
Together the Fellowship drew a line of battle, all wielding
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some weapon. Aragorn and Boromir found their places in
the formation and their swords rasped from their sheaths as
well. Frodo whimpered next to him.
Have no fear Frodo, Gandalf patted the hobbits shoulder
with his free hand. The cheers of the throng of Goblins and
Orcs grew louder until they were nearly on the other side of
the door. A low rumble suddenly exploded into a roar of
fury as something ran into the door. Ash and dust flew from
the door and landed on the obstructions the men had drawn
in front of it.
They have a cave-troll, Boromir sighed. The troll
pounded on the door again, brushing off more settled dust.
Once more it pounded again, and Gandalf heard the door
crack.
LET THEM COME! Gimli cried furiously, THERE IS
ONE DWARF IN MORIA THAT STILL DRAWS
BREATH!
And then, the door fell open, and the caver troll ran into
the different obstacles that Boromir and Aragorn had put
right at the doorstep of the archway. Gandalf was
temporarily taken aback by the trolls features. It was a huge
mass of hulking blue, speckled with brown spots along its
chest and back. It was all in the buff save for a simple
loincloth woven of wet brown rags. The trolls face was
large and looked as though someone had punched it nearly a
thousand times. Orcs and Goblins, clutching onto poorly
made sword flooded into the chamber, roaring battle cries in
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foreign languages. The cave troll roared and ran for the
Fellowship.
Gandalf gave a wordless yell and ran into the fray, flaying
his sword through the air. Eight other voices yelled behind
him. Gandalf met with a stumbling goblin and before the
thing knew it, Gandalf had pierced his sword into its dark
rough flesh. With a sharp yelp of pain, it fell backwards
onto the ground.
A surge of adrenaline replaced the blood in his veins. He
ran deeper into the throng and clashed with metal, defeating
his enemies quickly. When they occasionally struck his steel
as well, he let his sword fly downward and duck the swing
of the Orcs blade, then drew up and dug metal into flesh.
Arrows whizzed by, nearly never missing their mark. In
battle, Legolas was as good as an elf who had seen twice the
amount of years Legolas had. The rattle of the Trolls
shackles never stopped, and the last time he could spare a
glance at the beast, Sam was taking him on with a simple
frying pan. Gandalf drew his sword left, right and forward,
warding off the snarling and sneering pack of Goblins
bravely. He parried then struck hard and fast, quick and
true. The black blood of the foul creations splattered over
the walls and the floors. His sword had turned from as silver
as freshly forged chains into silver drowned in black tar.
As Gandalf paused for as much blood he could spare,
Aragorn cried a battle cry in Elvish and pounced for the
taking. Around him was complete chaos. The clash of
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metal, the shuffle of quick footsteps, the dark snarls of both
Orcs and Goblins, the rattle of chains, the wind of arrows,
the cries of the Fellowship and the roaring troll; all these
sounds rushed into Gandalfs ears. He hadnt seen such a
battle in a long, long time. And although it was a grim
undertaking, he couldnt help but grin as he griped onto a
hard and solid hilt and as he cut his way through a savage
crowd of savage creatures.
He was so caught up in the moment, that he was surprised
when a burly goblin, near twice as wide as he was, struck
him hard with his fists. Gandalf fell to the cobblestone
ground, his sword clattering next to him. For a moment all
he could see was stars, but then the beast came into focus,
readying himself for the kill.
NO! someone cried. Two people jumped on top of the
beast, digging their swords into the things flesh. Gandalf felt
for Glamdring as he got to his feet, watching the
surrounding battle with caution. Pippin ran over, the blood
of the goblin painted on his shirt and outstretched a hand.
GANDALF! he roared through the chaos. Gandalf took
his hand with a smile and thanked the hobbit with all his
heart and rushed back into the midsts of the battle. Gandalf
ran for the tomb. He clambered onto it and looked at the
battle from a slight elevation. Orcs were dying quickly
around him at the hands of Boromir, Gimli, Merry and
Pippin. The troll was in a far corner, fighting with Frodo
and Aragorn. Gandalf looked for Legolas, but did not see
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him in the crowd. With a gulp, he ran into the crowd again,
and slashed through mail and flesh relentlessly. Time and
time again, he felt the sword hit the bone before he quickly
swung the steel out of the burrow it had made.
Sam was cursing nearby, smacking a crowd of Goblins
around the face with his black frying pan, now sticky with
inky blood. Gandalf couldnt help but laugh at the sight, but
the joy was short lived. A cry of pain rang through the
chamber, but it wasnt any shriek of a dying Orc. It sounded
to human. It sounded too muchtoo much likeFrodo!
Suddenly, a body wrapped in leather flew across the air and
landed on top of three goblins. Aragorn was unconscious
before him now, laying only inches before a group of
hungry Orcs.
Sam! Gimli! Gandalf barked savagely, pointing to the
body, Protect Aragorn! Awake him if you can!
AYE! Gimli howled, burying an axe into the head of an
oncoming goblin. The last thing Gandalf saw before he
turned around was Sam running to Aragorns aid. The
sound of rattling chains was drawing nearer as Gandalf ran
for the far off corner. The sound of arrows returned in the
air. A couple shafts flew over the top of Gandalfs smoky
grey head.
When he saw the troll at last, it was stumbling, pressing a
fat hand over one of its eyes. It was moaning, as two
screams filled the air and Merry and Pippin jumped onto its
back. Gandalf looked at the feet of the beast. Behind it,
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Frodo was laying in the messy rubble of dust and stone.
Gandalf yelled in fury, with one last look at the hobbit and
began to butcher any Orc or Goblin he could find. The
numbers of his enemies were dwindling down. Gandalf
fingers were blistering around his hilt and his arms were
drooping with soreness.
BOOM!
Gandalf fell backwards as the ground shook like an
earthquake had begun. Gandalf groaned and raised himself
to his feet. The troll was dead. Its spotted back was fallen
against the ground of the battle-field. Merry and Pippin
climbed down from the hulking mass and ran to Frodos aid.
Gimli, Sam, and Boromir were killing the last ten Orcs.
All the goblins were dead, slumped against the ground or
the walls. Aragorn was slowly getting to his feet, wincing at
the sudden wave of pain that looked as though it was just
making its mark.
Gandalf jumped as he noticed he wasnt holding his staff
anymore. He must have dropped it in the heat of the battle.
He calmly strode around the battlefield, ringing with only
the shrieks of three remaining Orcs. He found his wooden
staff next to a long dead Goblin. He picked it up, brushing
off the dust that had formed around it.
Sam abandoned his post and ran for Frodo. Gandalf
watched as Boromir finished the last Orc, which yelped like
a child. Gandalf shuddered at the sound it made and headed
with everyone else for Frodo.
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Gandalf panted as he halted before Frodos body. He was
on his stomach, his curly haired head laying flat above the
ground. Aragorn dragged Frodo up until he was lying on his
back. Gandalf gasped as Frodos eyes flickered open.
Hes alive, Sam cried joyfully, rushing to his side.
Yes, Frodo got to his feet, I am not hurt much.
How? Boromir asked curtly.
Yes, Aragorn said through nearly closed lips, That
spear of the trolls would have skewered a wild boar!
Well, Frodo smiled strangely, Bilbo gave me
something.
Frodo unbuttoned his shirt, revealing a shirt of gleaming
Mithril. Gandalf laughed raucously, patting the hobbit on
his shoulder, perhaps to hard.
You are full of surprise arent you, Master Baggins!?
Gimli chuckled in that gruff voice of his. Gandalf looked
around at the Fellowship, all of them were grinning in some
manner. Frodo nodded at them all and buttoned his shirt
back up again. Gandalf caught a brief glimmer of the Ring
before it disappeared under Frodos shirt.
Now, Gandalf straightened himself up, his smile
disappearing suddenly from his folded face, To the Bridge
of Khazad-dum!



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Aragorn
Aragorn clutched the stitches that had sprouted in his side
as he ran behind Gandalf and Legolas, panting unevenly. A
bright narrow beam of light burst from Gandalfs staff,
illuminating a good portion of the Hall of Kings. Orcs
thundered after them, shouting and snarling savagely.
Aragorn still held onto his sword, ready to swing it forward
with equal amount of savageness and power to parry the
Orcs.
The path to the Bridge seemed to never end. His legs were
beginning to groan due to the swiftness of their flight. He
wasnt the only one who wanted to sit down and rest. The
hobbits behind him were even worse. Their deep breaths
were louder than any others, and all four of them grimaced
unpleasantly, nearly choking their own chests.
Aragorn scanned the dark hall around him as Orcs flooded
in from every doorway and every crack in the interior. They
were talented and clever with their craft. Whether of a green
hue or one of dark brown, they were equally unpleasant as
armies of them drew in around the feeble Fellowship. That
pack of Orcs and Goblins would equal next to nothing
compared to the thousand of Orcs which were now filing in
around the hall. In all honesty, Aragorn was surprised they
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had escaped the Tomb Chamber, nearly unscathed. The only
minor injury of note was the cut in his head, made when he
was thrown against the walls of the chamber.
The Fellowship sprinted past columns of emerald and
marble with great haste. Aragorn urged his brain to
command his feet to continue to shuffle forward. He was
being pushed to the limit. They were so close now and the
taste of victory was nearing closer and closer. Suddenly, all
optimistic thoughts were ripped from his mind. The troops
of Orcs were running behind them, he knew that from the
very second he followed Gandalf out of the Tombs
Chamber. But Orcs were running yards beside them, and
across from them. Soon, Aragorn would be swept into an
unwilling and unfair battle that they were sure to lose.
Gandalf skidded to a halt in front of Legolas and himself.
Aragorn stopped as well, grimly holding his sword aloft,
swinging it in warning forward at the oncoming Orcs.
Gandalf cried out and the light which was shimmering from
the top of his staff gleamed into a blinding and pulsating
light. The Orcs shrieked in alarm and halted around the
Fellowship, snarling and snapping at the nine of them, as if
they were powerless. A shiver ran down Aragorns body,
but he did not let it overcome himself. He would fight
valiantly and if he were to die, so be it. At least he would
leave the world with such a fight that he would be
embroidered in history for his fierceness in battle. It might
have been a judgment considered arrogant, but he would
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stand by it. He was near death; he would be allowed to play
hopeless fantasies in his mind if he wished so.
But when the light cleared into a normal amount, the Orcs
made no move. Everyone was silently staring at one
another. Was this the calm before the storm? No. But a great
and vast orange light was thrown from the end of the hall
and mere shadows danced around the stone tiled floors. A
great murmur was heard, followed by a frighteningly
powerful roar of fury.
It seemed that the Orcs were shaking in their boots.
Aragorn nearly dropped his sword when he examined the
looks on their faces. Shrieking and screaming, the Orcs, as
pale as they could get, ran back into whatever doorway or
crevice they had come from, leaving nothing but the sound
of silence.
The thing at the end of the hall roared again. When
Aragorn looked to Gandalf, a trickle of sweat fell down his
old, pale face.
What is this new devilry? Boromir squeaked from
behind them. He looked frightened as well, franticly
stroking his trimmed, ginger beard.
A Balrog of Morgoth, Gandalf sighed, looking down to
his feet, This foe is beyond any of us, even I.
What do we do now? Merry piped up, tugging on
Gandalfs robes. The orange light was getting brighter down
the hallway, thundering footsteps could be heard in the
distance. Gandalf raised his heavy head and looked to
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Merry and smiled.
Its simple, Gandalf grinned, We run!
Suddenly, Gandalf was running down the hallway,
holding his blue sword proudly up in the air, and clutching
onto his staff with the other. Aragorn followed, looking
closely down this side of the hallway, to make sure no
enemy was before them. But a greater one was behind them,
gaining speed. The closer to the gate, the better. Hopefully
the Balrog feared the light of day, if it was day outside.
At last, they were lead to a large archway, carved with
the faces of many heroes in ancient Dwarvish lore. Aragorn
peered inside and saw a great glowing hall, at least twice the
size of the Hall of Kings behind them. Steps automatically
began at the foot of the doorway.
Inch by inch, the Fellowship made their way down the
steps. If one were to peer over the edge of the staircase, you
would find a vast pool of lava staring up at you. Molten
rocks swam gently in the lake, a seething hiss of smoke
rising from below them. One day those rocks would melt
into the fiery chasm below. But also, another day would see
to it that new rocks of molten ash were born.
Aragorn ran at a steady pace down the brick-made steps,
the fastest his legs could travel at. He wouldnt be surprised
if both of his legs collapsed below him, leaving Aragorn
only a body and a head to live with. Through the smoky
mist, the bridge was appearing clearer and clearer with
every step down the stairs. And just beyond the small
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bridge, linking together two plateaus of sharp edged rock,
was the Eastern Gate.
In awe, Aragorns mind cleared into a void of
nothingness, and he was simply staring up at the Bridge and
the Gate, forgetting what he was doing. He just repeated the
steps playing in his mind: Left step, right step, left step,
right step. His stomach nearly fell out of him when he found
a solid footing wasnt below him in one instance.
Instinctively, he looked down in fright. A gap was in the
stairs, making an opening for the lake of fire below. His
right foot nearly fell forward, ready to fall down into a pool
of death, but someone managed to grab him from behind.
Gandalf was panting behind him, withdrawing his grasp,
as Aragorn now had both of his feet on the ground.
Something strange was playing in those eyes, the way his
breath sounded. It was ragged and short, like he was dying.
He looked up at those dark grey eyes for some piece of
information. But Gandalf simply took hold of his shoulder
and said, Lead them on, Aragorn!
Utter confusion burst into his brain at that moment. Lead
them on? What did that mean? Aragorn was just to ask the
wizard that question, but a low rumble was sounded below
them. Aragorn looked down and saw that the stairs were
cracking apart.
Fellowship! Jump! Aragorn pointed at the gap. It was
small enough where as a full grown man could jump over it
without any fear of falling. But a hobbit or a dwarf would
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make it very close to the edge, but fall no matter how close
or how fall, as they were so short.
Boromir! Take Merry and Pippin, Aragorn commanded,
Ill take Frodo! Legolas, jump with Gimli! Gandalf jump
with Sam!
The Fellowship nodded at his command, although both
Legolas and Gimli did it with a frown. Pebbles crunched
under feet as Legolas trudged over to Gimli. Sighing, the
dwarf latched onto the elfs shoulder. Groaning at the
weight, no doubt, Legolas ran for the gap and raised his feet
for a jump. He barely made it to the other side. In fact,
Gimli was thrown behind Legolas and nearly stumbled off
of the jagged edge.
Backing up, the two of them made their way for Gandalf
and Sam. As the two of them jumped, a shaft flew before
Aragorns very eyes. It quivered in a stony mass to his right,
it wasnt any Elvish arrow, it was of someone lower.
Aragorn looked up at where the shaft had come from, and
across the lava was a mass of goblins, equipped with bows
and arrows, cheering and sneering at the lot of them.
Boromir! Aragorn called. Boromir nodded and gruffly
took hold of Merry and Pippin. With a brave yell, he
jumped across the gap, struggling to keep him two hobbits
in his muscled arms. He made it to the other side, but the
very weight and force of his jump, made a portion of the
part Aragorn and Frodo were standing on fall off. Aragorn
ran backwards, watching the piece of rock secede from the
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stairway, and tumble into the lava below.
But the ground below was still cracking. Great black lines
were sprouting with other black lines, summoning a
crackling noise as familiar as fire.
Frodo! Aragorn said, outstretching his hand, Take my
hand!
The Balrog roared furiously from some place behind
them. Frodo took his hand harshly, grabbing on with a
clutch of death.
Now we jump! Aragorn screamed over the continuous
roars. Arrows flew above and below them, repeatedly
missing their marks. Hand in hand, the both of them ran
forward, sweat pouring down their bodies. They jumped,
feeling nothing but cold, fresh air below them and
A hard surface lunged upward below them. Aragorn was
nearly eye to eye with Gandalf. Frodo freed his hand,
holding his heaving chest.
FORWARD! Gandalf cried, his arms falling down to
point east. He began to run again, and Aragorn eagerly
followed after him, ready to rid himself from these wretched
mines. The staircase grew lower and lower, stooping
towards a great landing, dusted with mold and decaying
dwarves.
Finally, the Fellowship reached the landing and continued
to run. The Bridge of Khazad-dum was just ahead. It was of
stone, and curved up in the middle and curved down again
until it reached the other plateau. Goblin archers continued
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to loosen their arrows, never minding their aim, for they
always hit the stony walls and not grizzled flesh.
A whoosh of fire sounded behind them. Aragorn turned
to look, and some hulking mass was making its way through
bright flames of brilliant orange. Gandalf looked back to
and ran to the fire.
CONTINUE ONWARD, ARAGORN! he shouted,
turning to the fire in bravery. His sword was still
shimmering in blue light, but it held another light as well.
The fire was dancing off of the steel joyfully; a reflection of
cruel industry was painted on his Elvish sword. And
Aragorn looked back ahead, now the leader of the pack. He
hoped that wouldnt be the last time he saw the wizard. He
feared for everyones survival now. No one was safe.
The heat of the fire trailed after them even as they crossed
the narrow bridge. Aragorn slowed his pace as to not
accidentally fall off. But he made it to the foot of the gate
and looked back as his companions rushed to the other side.
Boromir was first to reach Aragorn, then Merry and
Pippin. Behind them was Gimli, who was muttering to
himself in ancient Dwarvish. Frodo and Sam were behind
the dwarf and Legolas was last to reach the plateau. But
another smudge of a being was making its way to the
bridge. Aragorn squinted, the sounds of arrows firing didnt
bother him anymore, and he saw that it was Gandalf.
Relief swelled up inside him like a balloon. The wizard
was making his way to the bridge, and when he set one foot
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on the stoneit appeared.
The Balrog of Morgoth, a truly frightening sight. It was
at least a hundred feet tall, made completely of ash and fire.
Its beast like head was topped with two thick, black horns.
Fire bellowed from the things mouth and its red hands were
clutched around a large yellow whip that flew around the air
without a single care. The Balrogs footsteps rumbled
through the room, shaking the ground they stood on.
Gandalf continued to trudge through the bridge, clutching
his side with his sword hand. But then he made a grimace
and stopped in his path. He whipped around to face the
Balrog.
GANDALF! cried Frodo. Gandalf seemed not to hear,
instead screaming at the Balrog.
You cannot pass! he held his staff before him,
summoning a white shield that engulfed him, but his voice,
thick with anger and fury carried through the force field, if
not the sight of him, I am a servant of the Secret Fire,
wielder of the flame of Arnor! Dark Fire will not avail you,
Flame of Udun!
The Balrog yelled in anger and raced forward, holding out
his whip dangerously. The whip smacked down on
Gandalfs white shield. It dissolved again into nothing,
revealing Gandalf to the monster.
GANDALF! FALL BACK! Boromir urged, running
forward to stand before the end of the bridge.
GANDALF! Frodo cried again. This time, Gandalf
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through a backward glance at the hobbit. Something grave
was dwindling in his eyes. The wizard turned back again.
GANDALF? This time Aragorn shouted it through the
air.
Go back to the Shadow, Gandalf spat venomously at the
Balrog. The Fellowship was now begging him to abandon
his fight, but the wizard had gone deaf to them in that
moment.
The Balrog seemed to smile at Gandalf, and take a huge
step forward, making the bridge below groan. The monster
raised his whip again, roaring in fury. Gandalf clutched both
hands onto his staff, his sword pressing against the wood of
the staff and the flesh of his hand.
YOU SHALL NOT PASS! he screamed in the loudest
voice he could muster, bringing the staff down furiously.
And the part of the bridge that was both below and behind
the Balrog, crumbled into the abyss underneath. With a
shriek of fear and anger, the Balrog fell into the shadow
filled canyon. With one last look downward, Gandalf turned
and made his way for the end of the bridge. The Fellowship
cheered him own as he walked towards them, smiling.
Aragorns doubts were shed into thankfulness in that
moment.
But then the yellow whip flew up in the air and grabbed
hold of the wizard.
GNADALF! the Fellowship cried in unison. Frodo
raced for the wizard, tears falling from his face. Boromir
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caught him as he ran and, against the hobbits protests, held
furiously onto him so the Ringbearer would not be lost. The
hobbit continued to scream as Gandalf was dragged
backwards against his will, clawing at the stone floor of the
bridge. Aragorn felt his stomach lurch inside him, his heart
was thumping furiously as he watched his friend, his mentor
be dragged towards his doom. He wanted to help, but he
knew it was already too late.
Gandalf was dragged to the rim of the bridge, and he held
onto it with all his might, trying to raise himself to his feet.
All he had was his hands now, for both his sword and his
staff had fallen into the canyon of shadow already. But the
Balrog tugged furiously on the wizard and Gandalfs eyes
widened.
Fly you fools, he whispered urgently. And then,
Aragorn watched helplessly as his friend was dragged into
darkness, like a childs rag doll. Gandalf the Grey was gone.
Aragorn stood there, staring at the place where Gandalf
had once been, struggling to hold onto his life. It was
strange how hope had turned into grief so quickly and
rapidly. The sounds of arrows returned, but none were
hitting him. It wouldnt even matter if they did. The sounds
of arrows were drowned out by the spluttering screams of
Frodo. The others were either rigid with shock, or sobbing
quietly to themselves. It felt like an eternity had passed as
Aragorn stared at the ruined bridge.
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ARAGORN! WE MUST LEAVE THIS PLACE!
Boromir screamed from behind him. Slowly, he watched as
Boromir pushed open the Eastern Gate, still holding onto
the sobbing Frodo. Pale sunlight was revealed as the doors
were thrown open. Solemnly, Aragorn marched out into the
fresh air.
A lush hill was before them now, flower blossoming in
the sun. Clouds were over head, gently floating away.
Aragorn stumbled to his knees on the hill. Someone
slammed the doors behind him, it was Legolas most likely.
The sound of sobs pierced through the air, but the grief
Aragorn felt was beyond tears. He had lost a friend, he had
lost a mentor and he had lost a father figure. But perhaps the
worst truth was that the world had lost the only beacon of
hope. The only being of true good in the world was gone.
Gandalf the Grey was gone forever







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Frodo
Frodo stumbled blindly around in the forest of
Lothlorien, which shimmered in the golden twilight.
Brightly colored leaves fell from the thick branches of
elderwood above. At one time, these trees would have
sparked and interest in him. Elderwood was legendary for
its multi-purposeful uses and the sap inside of the trees was
said to be the sweetest and most refreshing of them all. In
fact, the arrows in Legolass catquiver were whittled from
branches of Elderwood. But now it was a different time. A
graver time. Frodo had lost the only hope he had in the
world only two days previous. Gandalf had been ripped
from his world so suddenly and severely that he still
couldnt grasp the concept of his death. Rare were the
moments that Frodo didnt feel slivers of tears run down his
cheek. The only comfort he could give himself was sleep.
There, all the worries of reality were burned away until
simple fantasies of peace and plenty remained, like a
moving picture inside his mind.
During the days spent since Gandalfs passing, words
were barely spoken between the Fellowship. Not even
Merry and Pippin were talking as much as they used to; they
were going through their own stages of grief. For Pippin, it
must have been especially hard. For it was his doing that
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ultimately lead to the death of Gandalf. Pippin was beside
himself in guilt and sorrow. The Fellowship tried to comfort
him, telling him it was inadvertent and none but the
Balrogs doing. But words could not sway Pippins
thoughts.
Frodo, personally, was to deep and feeble in his grieving
that he didnt truly now what he thought of the matter. It
was finite that his mind didnt wander to the terror he felt
while he helplessly watched Gandalf being dragged
unwillingly into the shadowy abyss. No one comforted him,
no one talked to him. Not even Sam. All of them thought it
wise to leave himself in his own grief until he recovered.
But Frodo feared that if he was to be surrounded in silence
for too long, grief would loom over him for the rest of his
life.
But still he had heard nothing that day, save for the
bristling of the leaves ahead and the snap of twigs under
feet. The legends Gimli had told the other night around the
campfire came rushing back to him, however. Legends of an
elf-witch of terrible power were told. All who were to look
upon her would fall under her spell and would never be seen
again. But these legends were told by an envious dwarf
late at night. It was, in all likeliness, a tale crafted by the
dwarf women to scare their children into thinking the elves
of Lothlorien were evil and monstrous beings. And in any
case were there any dwarf women?
Suddenly the creak of arrows being drawn sounded.
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Frodo looked around fretfully. In a circle around the
Fellowship were at least ten elves, all clutching onto
identical bows. Long blonde hair was parted across their
smooth foreheads. All of them wore high collared lilac
robes, with an gleaming ornament portraying an emerald
leaf, whipping in the wind holding up their grey capes of
wool.
Frodo trembled as he stared down the arrow that was
aimed for his head. Everyone around him was still, some
like Boromir and Legolas were raising their hands in
surrender. One elf withdrew his aim and stepped forward to
meet with Aragorn.
Aragorn of the Dunedian, the elf smirked, halting
before Aragorn, who looked very confused, You are
known to us here. You and your Fellowship are welcome.
Aragorn nodded and the elf turned to his companions. He
said some command in Elvish and the elves around them
withdrew their aim and quickly threw the arrow back into
their own catquiver. Almost immediately afterward the
made a uniform formation: one large line of elves staring up
at nothing, ready for another command. Frodo was amazed
the power this one elf had over the others. It seemed that the
elf had heard his own thoughts, for one second he turned his
yellow haired head in Frodos direction. The elfs blue eyes
pierced and contrasted with his brown ones.
But I see that you bring a great evil, the elf said grimly.
He continued to stare down at him for what seemed like
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forever, but finally he drew his gaze back to the others.
Legolas, son of Thranduil, he greeted Legolas warmly
and with open arms. Legolas stepped into his embrace.
Celeborn! he acclaimed, after the embrace parted, It is
a great pleasure to meet with you again, after all these long
years.
A grand one to see you again, Celeborn smiled, but then
suddenly turned rather grave, I heard of your troubles at
the Lonely Mountain sixty years ago. It was an utterly
pointless squabble if you were to ask me.
Yes, Legolas nodded slowly, In the end we didnt gain
anything we didnt already have.
Celeborn acknowledged him and turned to address the lot
of them.
You will follow me, he ordered curtly. He turned
around briskly and marched with the elves of his kin deeper
into the forest. Without any word, the Fellowship followed
just behind the trail of elves. Frodo snailed at the back of the
line, just in front of Boromir. His spirits had just been
brought to an even lower degree after Celeborns remarks.
The only thing notable about Frodo now was the burden he
carried. His feelings must have mingled into his face,
because Boromir began to walk beside him, looking down
at him caringly.
Gandalfs death was not in vain, he whispered
soothingly, Nor would he have you forsake the quest and
abandon all hope. You carry a heavy burden Frodo, that
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much is pristinely clear. But please, do not carry the weight
of the dead as well.
Frodo made no expression. Boromirs words barely even
registered any meaning in his brain. No advice would save
him of the sorrow that burned within him. Not even one that
would make all the poets in the world weep. He was a cold,
hard machine, incapable of emotion. All he could relive was
his last one, the way he felt when his only hope in the world
died in sudden tragedy.
For a long time, the Fellowship followed in the footsteps
of the elves. They traveled down winding roads that ended
only to give birth to another more precarious path. The trees
around them grew larger and older with every stretch of the
legs. Silence rang in Frodos ears; the lack of social
interaction was astounding. Even the elves of Lothlorien
made no move to strike up a conversation. It was as if the
elves could sense trouble brewing in the air. With the
amount of grandness they possessed, it wouldnt come as a
shock to him if they could read thoughts.
The ground beneath them began to roll down, almost as if
it were following the setting sun, now a deep orange. That
color was another reminder of Frodos last emotion. The
Balrog was fire and fire was death and death was the end. In
a way the sun and death came full circle. One day was a
persons life and the night was the void between lives, the
void between everyone.
It was only now, in the darkening skies, that Frodo
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realized just how large the trees were becoming. Some were
wider then houses and taller than anything he had seen in
his life. Lamp-posts begin to pop up around them, here and
there at first, but eventually they were all in a straight line
on either side of the road.
Spiraling staircases crafted from birch wrapped around the
vast trees, and lights twinkled within the leaves. This was
some elven city in the forest, home of the Lady of Light, the
elf-witch Gimli told them about. The robed elves parted,
spreading out at the base of the trees, some climbing up
stairs and some remaining down here, leaning against the
trees and talking to others.
We will venture into this one, Celeborn told the
Fellowship, pointing at the tallest tree. Frodo looked up and
saw a pale light dapple through the leaves. The sky was
dark blue and the sun had left, the void between lives was
here again. A collage of stars was out tonight, shining like
diamonds in the sky.
And Frodo followed Aragorn and the others as they began
their ascent up the stairway. Frodo held out his hand to
touch the tree. As he walked up the stairs, the bumps in the
tree ran across his hand smoothly. They did not cut into his
flesh like he thought they would, which was a great relief to
him.
At last, they entered into the top of the tree and found a
string of pale white orbs floating along top of torch which
were hooked onto the leaves. A white tiled floors was below
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Frodo, it was cold against his bare feet. He had abandoned
his shoes somewhere in Moria, where a Goblin or an Orc
had already adorned them, in no doubt.
A grand staircase was before them, which lead up to a
small hallway, containing four doors of carved elderwood.
Two were across from the stairs and two were on the left
and right walls.
Wait here, Celeborn ordered curtly, walking up the
stairs and disappearing into one of the doors. Minutes
passed without any word. The chirp of nature was both
above them and below them, almost dead silent either way.
The elves words at the foot of the trees were drowned out
by the currents of whistling winds that came willowing
towards them all like a breath of life.
Then the door opened again, and out walked Celeborn
hand in hand with another beautiful elf. She seemed to sign
in the light, with her snow white dress and snow white
jewelry. Her flowing and silky blonde hair ran down her
back, stopping at her rear. Although she was livid with
youth and beauty, a certain age occupied her eyes. Those
eyes looked as though they had seen ages come and go, and
seen history itself unfold onto its completion.
The very sight of her was uplifting and enchanting. A
glimmer of hope shined through in the bottom of his heart,
casting all other thoughts of doubt and weariness into a
bright and blinding light.
At last the pair of them made their way down to the foot
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of the stairs.
Behold! an elvish steward cried from the top of the
stairs. The elf looked rather old and grey, he must have been
one of the very first elves in all of Middle-Earth if he looked
this way, Lord Celeborn and Lady Galadriel!
Frodo joined the Fellowship in a deep bow for the both of
them.
The enemy knows that you have entered here, I am
afraid, Celeborn said as they rose from their mighty bow,
What hope you had of secrecy is all but lost. Eight are
here, yet nine set out from Rivendell. Tell me, where is
Gandalf the Grey?
Galadriel eyed all of them in impatience. For a moment,
the answer lingered on the tip of every ones tongue. For the
truth was, no one truly wanted to accept the truth. By saying
it aloud, it was confirmed. The only one who had mentioned
Gandalfs passing verbally was Boromir. Only he had truly
accepted the death of Gandalf, but on the matter of everyone
else, Frodo did not know. But what was certain in his mind
was that he knew that Gandalf was deceased, but he did not
want to believe it. For someone so powerful to pass into
shadow that fast, it was unbelievable to accept.
He was taken by both shadow and flame, Legolas said
finally in a timid manner, He died at the hands of a Balrog
of Morgoth.
Fear and shock flickered over Galadriels face. In that
moment, Frodo caught a glimpse of how truly old she was.
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But it disappeared as soon as it had appeared. Galadriel was
able to contain her shock unlike Frodo. He remembered
how he nearly screamed and sobbed out his voice that day.
It was amazing that Gandalf was alive only three days
superior
We went needlessly into Moria, Legolas continued
sadly, And now the wizard is gone from us.
Needless were none of the deeds Gandalf committed,
Celeborn said, sounding and looking as though he was
about to burst into tears, None but the Creator know of his
full purpose.
Gimli bowed his head beside Frodo, grieving over who he
had swayed the opinion of Gandalf. But it was not the
dwarfs fault. It was Frodos own. For he had decided to
enter Moria, it had been all up to his decision. And Frodo
had chosen wrong.
Do not yet the emptiness of Moria fill your heart, Gimli
son of Gloin, Galadriel gave a weak smile to the dwarf,
The world has grown weary with peril and in all lands,
love is now mingled with grief.
Galadriel drew her gaze upon Boromir. Frodo was
petrified with curiosity at how long she stared into the
mans eyes. It wasnt until Boromir shuddered, his shoulder
practically wobbling with fear, when Galadriel withdrew
her look.
What does this Fellowship become now, Celeborn
commented on the affair, ignoring what had just happened,
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Without Gandalf all of us stand upon the edge of a knife,
with all hope failing us. If any of you are to stray even in the
slightest it will all crumble into ruin. And with its collapse
all will feel the wraith of the Dark Lord
Frodo held his head down in shame.
Yet hope remains, Galadriel said with optimism, If the
company is true. Do not let you hearts be troubled Frodo
looked back up at Galadriel, staring into her large blue eyes,
- for all of you are tired from much toil. Go now and rest
for tonight, you will sleep in my company.
Frodo couldnt help but rejoice at this suggestion. But his
first feeling since Gandalfs death was interjected with
anotherfear. Suddenly a chilling voice whispered in his
ear.
Welcome Frodo of the Shire! The one who has seen the
Eye!
Frodo jerked up straight, his heart pounding as he recalled
the snarling and luminous Eye of Sauron. The flaming ball
of evil, split open with a slit of blackness. He shivered and
looked back up at Galadriel. He was shocked to see that she
wore a haunting grin of malice.






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Sam
The stars were out, the wind was cool, and the grass was
as soft as silk. Things were strangely looking up for the
whole Fellowship. At least in this one single, solitary
moment they did. Perhaps this was the calm before the
storm. Perhaps the elves would turn on them and sell them
to Sauron, but for now it was a peaceful evening.
Sam lay on the soft grass, staring up at the glimmering
stars. Although a certain joy was dancing in his heart, a
shallow wave of sorrow was still washing over him.
Gandalf was gone. Before his eyes, someone he cared about
was violently ripped from existence. As an oath of eternal
fealty to Gandalf, he silently promised to himself to keep his
promise he had given Gandalf. He would not lose Frodo.
Dont you lose him, Samwise Gamgee.
I dont mean to, he would answer back to the voice inside
his head.
But hopefully the eight of them would remain as one
through what remained of their journey to the mountain of
doom. The Fellowship could only survive together and if
shattered apart, ruin and wreckage would fall on the world,
just like Celeborn had said. Although his words were harsh,
he did speak the truth.
The stars above were suddenly diminished by a passing
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cloud, thick with smoky color. Sam sighed and sat up from
the ground, observing the people around him.
A song was being sung in the air. The voice was so sharp
it sounded as if the voice was just beside him, whispering
poetic stanzas and verses into his ear. Sam was a lover of all
poetry, but he was ashamed to be native to the Common
Tongue only, and not the most lavish and elegant language
of them all: Elvish.
The song was in the tongue of the elves, but it sounded as
if the singer was mourning the loss of an idol to them. With
what little words he knew in Elvish, he could piece together
that the song was indeed a lament.
Just then, Legolas passed by, adorned in freshly washed
and dried clothes of silk. He was holding what looked like a
pile of blankets. Sam got to his feet and followed after
Legolas.
Legolas? Sam asked, waddling behind the elf, The
song that is upon the air, it is beautiful isnt it?
Legolas nodded, stopping before a large oak tree that was
dwarfed by the gargantuan trees above. He set the blankets
near another pile of cloth. Whispers came from inside the
hollow tree. This must be where they were to sleep.
Well, Sam pressed onward, What are they saying?
Its a lament for Gandalf, you see, Legolas smiled
briefly, But they are repeating the song. That way it gains
memory in every civilian until they can recite it. That is
how Elvish songs are passed around.
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Can you remember the lyrics? Sam asked politely. Sam
didnt know if he was going to hear it, he knew some people
did not like to sing in front of others. But Legolas was more
than willing. He dived into the song, singing in the
Common Tongue. Legolas had an excellent voice, it was
elegant and smooth. Sam envied the elfs vocal talents. But
what really astonished him was the song, which went:
When the cold of winter comes
starless night will cover day.
In the veiling of the sun
we will in bitter rain.
But in Dreams
I can still hear your name.
And in dreams
we will meet again.
When the seas and mountains fall
and we come to the end of days.
In the dark, I hear a call
calling me there
and I will go there and back again.
With a smile, Legolas disappeared into the tree, leaving
the blankets behind. Sam stood there for a moment, in awe
of the splendor of the song. It was still being sung,
somewhere high in the trees. Sam could tell where the song
ended and where it began, and he found himself sitting
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under the tree, singing along to the song. Sam titled it In
Dreams as it did not yet have a real name.
But sadly, the song ceased nearly five minutes after Sam
had sat himself under the tree. But Sam was determined to
hum until he grew tired. So he was left with nothing to do
but make up his own poem about Gandalf.
He sat there, putting the words together in his brain until
he came up with his own lyrics and his own tune. He
proudly marched into the tree, with the blankets as well,
ready to present his song to the Fellowship.
Inside, a narrow beam of candlelight sat in the middle of
the tree. The Fellowship sat around the circular room,
talking amongst themselves. Sam made his way around the
small room, handing out two blankets to each member.
After they all thanked him and Sam was left with nothing
but two blankets for himself, Sam stood in front of the crack
in the tree. He cleared his throat, making everyone peer up
at him.
Well, he said to them all, I feel that, since the song of
the elves is done, I may share a poem I made up about
Gandalf.
The Fellowship nodded, smiling and waiting for the poem.
Sam, without any hesitation, delved into a poem of his own
making:
Gandalf the Grey was a mighty man
Powerful more than even the largest clan
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He was of a peaceful nature
And although most of my people my call him stranger
They mustnt forget the memory they all hold
Of fireworks exploding into colors of gold
They were the finest rockets youll ever see
They burst into stars of blue and green
For after thunder were silver showers
That came falling down like a rain of flowers
Sam bowed courteously, too much applause from the
Fellowship. When he rose, Sam couldnt help but blush at
their warm smiles and compliments. Maybe after this
journey, he thought merrily to himself, Ill become a poet










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Aragorn
As Aragorn walked briskly out of the hollowed tree, he
wondered where Boromir could have gone to. For a while,
Boromir sat silent in a corner, looking disgruntled and grim.
Aragorn still did not know why he had shuddered in fear
when they had met with Lady Galadriel, but he assumed
that she had spoken to him. The elf-maiden had this special
power about her. She could crawl into the consciousness of
anyone or anything and whisper things inside their mind. It
was a ghostly ability but it was true and Galadriel herself
made no attempt to hold back the truth. She was an elf of
pure honesty.
Aragorn stepped out into the dim moonlight, and
examined the surrounding gardens. The snores of everyone
inside seemed to follow him into the night. How they
werent waking the whole city with their racket was a
mystery to Aragorn.
Eventually, he found Boromir in the sprawling mess of the
unorganized garden. He was sharpening his sword with a
whetstone near a bush of budding pink flowers. Aragorn
walked over and sat next to him.
You should get some rest, Aragorn advised him,
watching him drag the whetstone up and down the steel,
These borders are well protected. No danger will come
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upon us.
Boromir chuckled, still staring down at his sword.
I will find not a wink of sleep here, Aragorn, Boromir
retorted. He dragged the whetstone across the sword one
last time before dropping it beside him. He sighed, looking
off into dark space.
I heard her voice inside my head, his very voice
trembled as he pulled back the sleeves of his shirt, Do you
want to know what she said?
Aragorn nodded, Only if you want to speak of it, he said
gently. Boromir gave a weak smile to Aragorn before
looking back at the distance again.
She She spoke of my father and the fall the fall of
Gondor, he stuttered, She whispered to me Even now
there is hope left!, and I remembered all the horrible things
I have seen. All the invasions and slaughters, and I can see
no silver lining in it all. Not one sliver.
Aragorn took all this in, his mind reeling with new
understanding of Boromir. He knew Boromir as a proud and
confident man, putting his country and his family before
him with pride. Seeing the man nearly break down and
bemoan about the failure of everything he loved was a
shocking discovery. Gondor might fail, but it also might
prevail. Not many had the gift of foresight, and even then it
does not go far into the future. No one truly knew what was
to come.
My father, Boromir continued, He is noble in his heart,
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but his rule is failing. And now our people are losing faith in
their country. He looks to me to do things right, to restore
the glory Gondor once possessed. I can only do what I can
and that isnt much.
Boromir clawed at the grass as he talked, ripping them
root and stem out of the ground ignorantly. With a sigh,
Boromir looked down at his dirty hands. He flicked off the
strands of grass that remained and rubbed off the soil. He
turned to Aragorn again, looking as though he had stumbled
into a dream.
Have you seen it, Aragorn? he asked, smiling up at the
stars, The White Tower of Ecthilion? It gleams like a spike
of silver in the sun. Its image has long been engraved into
my mind. I can remember all of it. With its dark blue
banners caught in the morning winds, the voices of people,
celebrating the overdue victory of our country, calling me
home.
He paused, lost in a memory, lost in another life. He
looked back at Aragorn, a wry smile coiling over his face.
I doubt that you have been called home, he said in a
sudden burst of sardonic pleasure. Aragorn, not wanting to
rain on his parade, smiled back with a gentle grin.
No, Aragorn lied, I havent. But I have seen Minas
Tirith long ago.
Aragorn truthfully had been called home once. A hundred
voices called across he empty meadows for him. That was
not for victory or pride. It was for a gloomy truth, one that
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was inevitable and had to be done. It was when his mothers
were dying and all the elves in Rivendell called him to the
place where he spent his childhood. To see the last crumb of
it fade away, leaving only cruel reality in its wake.
Perhaps our paths will lead us there one day, Boromir
said, imaging an even greater day than his happiest memory,
And he Tower Guard will take up the call: The Steward
and the King have returned!
Aragorn hid behind a false grin. Maybe one day he would
come to live in Minas Tirith, but he didnt want to do it as a
king. A simple life, free of the weight of a million lives, was
much better than one of power and stress. But then again, he
was after all undergoing a quest that would rule the fate of
billions. If he and his men were to fail, all would perish and
be cast into eternal shadow. Everyone depended on the eight
of them, from the smallest ant, to the largest giant.
Boromir gave him a murmur of good night and made his
way to the hollow tree. In the gardens, Aragorn sat there for
awhile, staring blankly at nothing and clutching Arwens
jewel. It was a cold gust of wind that brought him back
inside the tree. Boromir was already fast asleep, snoozing
away the hours.
Aragorn climbed into his folded blankets, tangling the soft
cloth around his body. Aragorn knew that he had to come to
terms with the fact that if he could attempt to save
everything that lived in the universe, he could definitely rule
over a country of a couple million men. But his mind
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couldnt face the fact that he was born for power. It was like
he always had said and would always go on saying until the
day that he passed into the clutches of death. He did not
want that power.







Frodo
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The leaves above rustled in some cold wind that made
Frodo shiver to the bone. Two blankets and the warm
ground below was not enough to warm Frodo from the chill
he felt in the dead of night. Giving up all hope of a full
nights sleep, Frodo sat himself up, leaning against the
ancient wood. Around him, the whole Fellowship snored
and snoozed peacefully. Dreams bounced around their
heads, bringing smiles and frowns to their faces. Pippin was
muttering something to himself, asleep and lost in a fantasy.
But another sound was upon the air. Something more
noticeable than the wind overhead or the snore around
Frodo. Something was being dragged across the ground.
The thick noise of grass folding down onto the ground and
springing up again was loud but quiet at the same time. It
didnt sound like something heavy, it sounded like silk was
sliding across the ground.
Frodo rose silently and peered from behind the crack in
the tree. There he saw Galadriel marching ahead, in pursuit
of something secret. She held a metal pitcher, which
glimmered like a pearl in the moonlight above. Galadriel
seemed not to notice Frodos wandering eyes.
A fire of curiosity sparked inside his head. He had to
know where she was headed. Some feeling emitted from her
very body, like it was her very aura. Was it paranoia, or
secrecy? Without any word, Frodo slipped out into the
night, following the Lady of Light. He was as quiet as a
mouse in the dark, and never did Galadriel throw even a
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small glance behind her.
Finally, Galadriel reached a small hut concealed in a
dense forest. The sound of water flowing was coming from
inside the shack, and the flicker of what seemed to be white
candlelight bounced off of the walls. She marched in, still
holding onto the pitcher.
Frodo followed her inside, hidden inside the shadows.
Galadriel was huddled around a glowing fountain of water.
The ground of the hut was made from rusted steel and the
walls were stained with some dark liquid that looked too
much like blood for Frodos own liking. But the most
peculiar thing in the room was a bowl of shimmering light
that stood triumphantly on a pedestal of stone.
I know you have followed me, Frodo Baggins, Galadriel
said suddenly. Frodo jumped back, not knowing how to
reply. Galadriel turned around, still holding onto the metal
cup. Only now it was filled with crystal clear water. She
smirked at Frodo and walked over to the stone pedestal.
With one quick stare at the blinding ray of light, she poured
the pitcher of water down into the bowl. It seemed too small
to fit all of the water, but the bowl did, right up to the brim.
I bet you are wondering what this is? Galadriel smiled
cleverly. Frodo stepped deeper into the room. The metal
was cold beneath his feet. He jerked up, wincing at the
sudden feeling he felt inside him.
Yes, he said curtly, stopping in front of the elf-maiden,
I do wonder.
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It is a mirror in all truth, Galadriel said in a vague voice
looking down at the bowl, small waves crashing against the
brim, A mirror that contrasts the present. And what does it
show? Well none, even the wisest of all, could tell you. It
will show many things. Things that were, things that are and
some things that have not yet passed.
Frodo felt a wave of mystery and excitement crash over
him. He marched forward, at the foot of the pedestal, which
was just a head shorter than he.
Will you look into the mirror? Galadriel whispered
eagerly, waiting for a reply. Frodo hesitated for a moment,
careful not to look into the water.
Yes, he decided thoughtfully. He could just picture
Galadriel smiling behind him.
Be weary, Galadriel warned him before he looked deep
into the mirror, The truth can sometimes be a dark
place
Frodo nodded in acknowledgement. He then looked down
at the mirror, his heart pounding against his chest. For a
moment all he saw was water inside the bowl, a color of
murky blue instead of the clearness it had been in the
pitcher. The truth was tainting the very water. Then visions
began to play out on the water like some invisible machine
was projecting upon it.
First he saw each member of the Fellowship, lost in and
endless void of dark blue. With a quick look behind their
shoulder, they stared up at Frodo and turned away, walking
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deeper into the void. Each member did this, even Gandalf,
who looked as alive as he did minutes before his demise.
Then he saw himself sitting naked in the void of
nothingness, alone and abandoned by all his friends. The
Shire reeled into view, as green and lush as ever. A twinge
of happiness strung his heartstrings, but they were soon
departed. Slowly, everything green in the Shire turned black
and decayed.
Fires burned through the wooden inns and danced beyond
the windows of the hobbit holes. A crowd of people
screamed like torture, pleading to an invisible force for
mercy. A troop of heavily armored Orcs marched through
the burning Shire, growling and snapping at passer-bys.
Eventually they burst into anger and took it out on a group
of near hobbits. The Orcs ended their lives with quick lashes
of the whip and swings of steel. Frodo was appalled when
he saw the Orcs begin to feast upon the dead.
He wanted to shelter his eyes from the mirror, but he
couldnt bring himself to such an act. So he looked onward,
determined to watch until the very end.
Orcs continued to murder and rape hobbits until dawn
quickly burned through the sky. Smoke bellowed from
stacks of cinder pipes that topped off the roofs of newly
built factories. Hobbits bound in shackles marched solemnly
across the desolate fields that once grew grand crops. Sam,
Merry and Pippin were among the enslaved and Frodo was
forced to watch them be beaten by their new masters. But a
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civil respect could not be maintained for long.
Angry riots burst out among the population, and the
people revolted against the Orcs. In the end, all the hobbits
were slaughtered savagely by the monstrous Orcs. The
waged battle was sport to them and the feast of luscious
food and wine that came after hard exercise was replaced by
the parts of the Hobbits.
Orcs huddled around the dead bodies day and night,
ripping their teeth into firm flesh. The Orcs would spill out
the blood from their mouths, making it splatter across the
ground. The sun above was replaced by an orange light. A
narrow slit of black was centered in the middle of the new
sun. But it wasnt just the sun. It was the Eye.
Suddenly the voice was back, yelling deeply in Frodos
ear. The Ring burst out of Frodos buttoned shirt and edged
closer to the water, to the image of Saurons great Eye.
NO! Frodo managed to revolt and clutched onto the
Ring, falling backwards onto the ground. Galadriel cried
franticly and grabbed hold of the mirror and flipped it
around, the water spilling out onto the ground.
Frodo got to his feet, feeling the pace of his heartbeat
lessen slowly with each second. Galadriel silently placed the
bowl, now empty and free of both water and light on the
podium of stone.
I know what it is you saw, Galadriel told him, turning
to look at Frodo, I have seen it too. The end of all things,
the Second Age of Shadow, the death of all things good in
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the world. It is already beginning, Im afraid.
Frodo gulped, clutching still the Ring around his neck.
The Ring seemed to have another heartbeat of its own. Two
hearts beating as one. The first one of trueness and
perseverance, the latter a heart of black stone, only holding
and giving evil and corruption.
It is what will come to pass if you should fail, Frodo
Baggins, she continued, mindlessly pacing around the
mirror again, her hands folded together, It has already
begun, the breaking of the Fellowship. I wish not to see it,
but it is gaining too much notability to be blind from it.
Ignorance is bliss, sometimes, but I am afraid one cannot
remain ignorant to the truths unwanted.
Frodo took all this in with a heavy heart. Something had
changed among the Fellowship ever since Gandalfs fall.
Aragorn had taken it upon himself to attempt to hold all of
them together, to cease all partings and remain as one whole
Fellowship. But times were changing and war was starting.
If the Ring was destroyed, what would become of
Sarumans armies? They were not linked to the fate of the
Ring like the armies of Mordor. In order to rid evil from the
entire world, two battles had to be fought. And they were
losing both.
He will try to take the Ring from you, Galadriel
persisted in little more than a whisper, You know of whom
I speak. The man from Gondor.
Frodo looked up at her in bewilderment. No, not Boromir.
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The most untrustworthy of all of the Fellowship he might
be, but not so much so as to take the very cornerstone of the
quest for his own. Frodo wouldnt believe it if it did indeed
come to pass. But then again, if Galadriel had looked into
the mirror
One by one, the elf-maiden continued, still pacing
around the stone pedestal, it will destroy them all. No one
can be trusted with all of your heart. Not anywhere in all of
Middle-Earth.
If you were to ask me, Frodo mumbled slowly, breaking
the Ring off of his chains, I would give you the One Ring.
He held out his hand, the Ring lying carelessly in his
palm, whispering. A Ringbearer was a fate he could not
bear, in all irony. He would rather sit somewhere peaceful
and live out his life in tranquil lands until he came to his last
breath. Frodo stared up at the elf pleadingly. Their eyes met
for a shattering split of a second. He understood the look in
those eyes.
No, she shook her head, halting before him, My fate
lies not with the Ring. I will make for the Grey Heavens one
day soon and remain Galadriel.
I cannot do this alone, Frodo cried, closing his fist
around the Ring. It seemed to grumble angrily inside his
grasp.
But you know Frodo, she looked at him
condescendingly, You are a Ringbearer! To bear a Ring of
Power is to be alone Galadriel held out one of her hands,
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revealing a sparkling white ring atop her middle finger
This is Nenya, the Ring of Adamant. I am its keeper. And to
that oath I hold, forever alone.
Galadriel let her hand fall by her side once more. The ring
she bore seemed to disappear willingly from her finger.
Frodo furrowed his eyebrows in interest. Galadriel suddenly
kneeled in front of him; they were now staring at one
another, eye to eye.
This task was appointed to you, Frodo Baggins, she
reminded him with a heavy smile, And if you do not find a
way, no one will.
Then I know what I must do, he replied with a sigh, I
have to leave them, in a time close to now.
Yes, you must break the Fellowship
Im just Im just afraid to do it.
Galadriel held onto Frodos hands with a smile. The Ring
seemed to hum with excitement. But she did not take the
Ring; instead she spoke uplifting advice once more.
Even the smallest person can change the course of the
future, she assured Frodo. Frodo couldnt help but smile.
Galadriel beamed back and rose to her feet. With a
courteous bow, she slipped out of the door, leaving Frodo
alone in the dank hut.
Looking down at his close fist, he opened it again,
revealing the Ring, shimmering in all of its glory.
One day, he promised the Ring, You shall be
destroyed.
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Frodo then left the hut without a word, reattaching the
Ring back onto its silver chains.
















Aragorn
The cold winds of a fast approaching winter rustled
through Aragorns hair. It wasnt in the glory it used to be
in. His hair was utterly greasy and matted with dirt and
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twigs. A tub of bath water was among the things to hefty to
bring along with them on the journey. If Aragorn had had
the chance to bring it along, he would have risen at the first
opportunity.
He stood shoulder to shoulder with his fellow men
awaiting the gifts Galadriel had promised to give them. This
occasion was nothing that he personally requested. Simply
was it an act of pure hospitality that Galadriel had taken
upon herself.
Aragorn wished that he could remain here a little while
longer. But three days of rest was good enough, in his mind.
More could be taken, he was sure of it. But the Fellowship
had a task to fulfill, and Mordor was getting nearer and
nearer with every step east that they took.
With every closer pace they made, new enemies would
crop up straight out of nowhere and attack with vicious
savagery. An army was being built in both Isenguard and
the Land of Shadow. They were heavily garbed and
supplied with the finest weapons beasts of that nature could
craft. And the tens of thousands of Orcs were fueled by
twisted malice and pride in their Lord. The sight of blood
drove them into inescapable lust, and more blood would
spill as a result of that very emotion.
But these thoughts were driven out of his mind when he
saw Celeborn step forward out of a clot of trees. Seven
other elves, of pale skin and blonde flowing locks of hair
trailed behind him, carrying robes of fine green wool. They
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were each trimmed to a respectable size for each member of
the Fellowship. All of the elves stood before one of them
and Celeborn was before Aragorn now, clutching onto the
wool cloak.
Never before have we cloaked strangers in the garb of
our own kin, Celeborn announced, laying the robe around
Aragorns back. The other elves did the same, some
struggling to tie it around those shorter than them. Celeborn
looked blankly down at his work, tying the cloak around
Aragorns back with a shimmering medal of a lush green
leaf.
May these cloaks help shield you from enemy eyes,
Celeborn said enchantingly, stepping back from Aragorn.
The elf outstretched his hand slowly to the banks of the
river nearby. Aragorn looked over and saw three birch
colored boats anchored to the shore. Oars were placed
neatly inside, lain across seats of smoothed wood.
We have supplied you with our own boats, which you
may use to your advantage when sailing across the Audin
River.
Aragorn led the bow of thankfulness. He made sure it
lasted long and was of gracious movements. But Gimli
barely even tilted his head downward, and grumbled silently
to himself from down the line.
You will wait upon Lady Galadriel here for your gifts,
Celeborn said blandly, It will not be long.
The Fellowship nodded in understanding as the other
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elves left, disappearing into the wood of fire colored trees.
Pippin began to chatter away with Frodo and the other
hobbits. Truly, the young hobbits ability to converse with
others, even complete strangers astonished Aragorn. Never
did he posses the social confidence that Pippin displayed,
not ever in his ninety years.
The dwarf soon joined the conversation, laughing gruffly
at witty remarks and jests. Aragorn stood there in his own
silence, soil clutching reverently onto his boots like an
abandoned child.
A hem of a coat flapped in the wind out of the corner of
Aragorns eyes. He looked up and saw Celeborn make his
way to him, looking back behind his shoulder.
I trust you know that with every league you travel south,
danger will increase fruitfully, he whispered urgently, The
eastern bank has been taken by Mordor Orcs and the
western is under the watch of some strange creatures. They
bare the White Hand of Saruman and are not prone to the
vulnerability their forefathers possessed.
They are burlier and stronger than the Orcs of Mordor, so
much so that they have traveled under the moon and stars.
Seldom does the average Orc commit to this loyalty,
Aragorn! Our spies have been lucky enough to remain
unseen. But I fear that if even one Urak-hi had spotted
them
I understand, Aragorn nodded gravely. The idea of the
Orc being improved upon frightened him. The masters and
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rulers of the Orcs were usually the main problem in most
cases. But if what Celeborn was describing was indeed true,
than the Urak-hi were a different fear entirely. A mind and a
body both stimulated into strength. And with such
savageness inside their black hearts! Imagining the Urak-
his capabilities was a grievous upbringing.
Aragorn, Celeborn whispered even more urgently, even
more quietly, You are being followed. But by traveling
along the river, you and your Fellowship will have the
chance of outrunning the enemy to the Falls of Rauros. Do
so and safety and peace will be plenty for at least another
week. But then you will be so near to the Land of Shadow
that coming across a troop will not be rare.
In the background, behind Celeborns pale and livid face,
Galadriel marched solemnly, clutching onto a vast sack,
filled with differently shaped objects. They made the bag
look misshapen and lumpy. Aragorn was surprised that the
Lady of Light could bear so much weight.
Celeborn turned around, awaiting to see what was behind
him. To avail, the elf found his own wife there, ready to
give away her gifts.
Lady Galadriel, he cleared his throat, Wishes to supply
you with gifts of nobility, protection and pride.
With a quick bow of his head, Celeborn parted for
Galadriel to make way to them. She stepped forward, as
silent as a ghost and walked down the line until she reached
the very last person. Legolas stood in her shadow,
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sweltering with pride as he watched her pull out something
from the bag.
My gift to you, Legolas Greenleaf, she announced,
grabbing hold of something long and narrow in the bag, Is
a bow of the Galadhrim. It is worthy of the skill of our
woodland kin. Use it well.
When her hands emerged from the bag, they were
clutched on a bow of silver. It was vast and luxurious, the
bowstring large and hefty. Legolas took it with great
eagerness. The elf ran his fingers down the fine silver,
petrified in amazement. He looked towards Galadriel to
thank her, but she had already moved along the line.
Next were Merry and Pippin both. With a broad grin, she
let her hands fall into the bag again. Merry and Pippin had
ceased their whispers in anticipation, looking up with
savage curiosity that gleamed in their eyes. In both her
hands were sharp, short daggers, hidden beneath a scabbard.
To Meridoc Brandybuck and Peregrine Took, she said
softly, handing the daggers to them, I give you daggers of
the Noldorin. Already have they seen their fair share of
service in battle and war.
The two hobbits bowed their heads in thankfulness. She
smiled gently and continued down the procession. Sam was
next, who was practically quivering in his boots. With ease,
Galadriel pulled out a string of sturdy rope from the bag.
For you, Samwise Gamgee, Galadriel said, handing the
rope to him, I give you Elven rope borne of hitlian. What
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uses this rope can hold vary from ensnaring a prisoner or
hiking down a high mountain.
T-Thank you my lady, Sam stuttered. Galadriel
chuckled mildly at his nervousness. Sam managed a weak
smile back, before she made her way to Gimli, who was
beside Aragorn. He looked disturbed and gruff, as if he
were trying to show off his muscled arms. Aragorn laughed
silently in his mind; Gimli had already been enchanted by
Galadriel. A fate he told of around the campfire only nights
before, he now found himself in.
And what gift would a dwarf ask of the Elves? Galadriel
asked in wonder. Gimli gave a sideways look up at the air,
in long concentrated thought. He drew his gaze nervously
back at Galadriel. His fingers were twirling around each
other in excessive anxiety.
I cannot think of a gift more everlasting and angelical,
Gimli said in a poetic manner, Than to look upon your
splendid beauty one last time.
Galadriel giggled, blushing hard at Gimlis compliments.
Gimli bowed one last time before returning back into the
line, beaming with happiness. The elven maid continued
down the line, her fits of laughter repressing into mere
smiles back at Gimli. Finally, Aragorn himself was staring
eye to eye with Galadriel, and a look of doubt was cast in
her luminous blue eyes.
I fear that I have nothing greater to give to you, she told
him seriously, Than the gift that you already bear.
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Galadriel stared down at the Evenstar pendant tied around
Aragorns neck. The gnarled, yet majestic star shimmered in
the dappled sunlight. Galadriel laid her cold hands upon the
jewel, eyeing it with a mournful gaze.
I fear, she began gravely, That for her love the grace of
Arwen Evenstar will diminish
I would have her leave these shores, Aragorn said
respectfully, making his own point of reason, I would have
her be with her own people and take the ship to the Grey
Havens.
Galadriel looked up back into his own eyes, removing her
fingers from the Evenstar. Her face was mingled with pale
grief.
That choice is before her and her only, she reminded
him, a hint of feminine sternness about her, And I am
confident that my granddaughter has already made her
decision.
Aragorn felt a pang of guilt boil up inside him. He had
nearly forgotten Galadriels identity involving Arwen.
Elrond would always be the hardest force upon Aragorn, but
Galadriel was another member of Arwens family. What
was best for Arwen was truly to sail off across the
Sundering Seas. But his lover had indeed made her mind
clear and it would not be swayed by him or Elrond. And for
that undying love, an air of slight and mild loathing would
always be upon them.
Namaarie, she whispered in her native tongue. Farewell
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it meant. Aragorn bowed his head in response. Below him
he could see the dew of the grass evaporating up into the air.
Suddenly, a gentle cold touch was felt upon his chin of
stubble. Aragorn looked back up at Galadriel. She was
holding his stubbly chin in endearment. Aragorn peered into
those old eyes, full of knowledge and age. He could only
imagine seeing history come and go, like a simple flick of
the wrist.
There is much you have yet to do, she whispered enligh
teningly, And I fear that I do not see us meeting again in
the future
She trailed off in melancholy, both in body and voice.
Boromir threw him a confounded glance before receiving
his gift. She pressed on, as if no conversation had sprung
between the two of them. From the bag, now near empty,
she drew out a fine belt of polished gold, edges smoothed
and the buckle was neatly painted black.
With a word of thanks, Boromir bowed once more. He
remained with his head down until Galadriel moved onward
to the final person in the line: Frodo.
Reaching silently into the bag, her hands later emerged
out of it holding onto a curious glass flask with a loose
hand. The thing glimmered in the morning sun, as if some
liquid was inside of it. From top to bottom it was shinning,
from cork to bottom. Frodo took it with caution, looking
down at it with wonder.
To you, Frodo Baggins, Galadriel said, letting the
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empty folds of the bag fall to the ground beside her, I give
you the light of Earendil, our most beloved star. May it be a
light for you in dark places when all other lights go out.
A burst of finality sprang across the air. It took hold of
Aragorn and ceased him like he was prey. The last gift was
the last moment that the Fellowship could ever be a guest.
No land of hospitality was between here and Mordor. The
realm of men was untrustworthy now, as corruption so
easily took hold of the common man. Sometimes, even
Aragorn felt it stir inside himself, a monster waiting to be
released from its cage. But he could control the reigns of the
horse, direct it where to go. His abilities were beyond
certain men of certain stature.
Words of utter final farewell were said in the forest
clearing. They had come and gone at a rapid rate, as if it
was rushed on a purpose. Evil did linger among them. In
fact, it was ever present. No personal blame or grudge did
Aragorn lay upon the Galadhrim Elves. It was an
understandable cause.
So in no time at all, Aragorn led the Fellowship to the
shores. After boarding the boats quickly and silently, they
took hold of the oars and rafted down the Great River,
eternally forsaking all safety for themselves. No homely
house would the Fellowship come across. Starting today,
the eight of them were alone in the vast and cruel east. But
Aragorn was prepared to face whatever stood in their wake
to rid the world of an enduring evil. Whether from Orcs,
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Goblins or Ringwraiths was in their path, he trusted the
courage inside him that he would rise up and fight to the
death. Aragorn could only hope that the others possessed
the same determination and hope inside of them.











Sam
The Great River was a daunting stream of water to Sam. It
seemed never endless, spanning miles north and south. The
jagged ridges of carved and sloping mountains were the
only thing containing the river in its own self. Sam could
only imagine what creatures swam below their boats. From
fishes of shining scales to fishes of butchery, possessing
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luminous lights; and all of them had been documented in
books of old.
Sam sat in the back of the largest boat, side by side with
Frodo. Aragorn had taken the oars, and was skillfully
moving his arms forward and back, pushing the boat along
the water with seeming ease. Everyone was silent with
intent. From across the waters, not a mouth was open in
dialogue. The silence echoed around the mountains above,
filling the void with a barrage of nature noises. With the day
progressing, the mountains on either side were beginning to
slope into simple hills, lushly green and blossoming with
flowers. A beauty that could rival even Galadriel.
Today, Sam was only left to gaze around the world with
petrified amazement. The landscape the wrapped across his
view was astonishing, for a time. But with the hours getting
later into the day, boredom swooped in and possessed the
very insides of Sam. He lounged atop the lavish seats of
birch, lousily watching the minutes slowly tick their way
into obscurity.
The sun finally reached its summit in the sky, watching
the world spin around aimlessly. Sam clapped his hands
together, eagerly awaiting something different to happen.
But soon his heart sank as Aragorn simply pulled out a loaf
of Lembas Bread. He snapped it into three small pieces and
gave it to Sam, Frodo, and himself. Within an instant of
biting down on the soft dough, Sams stomach was filled to
the brim. And he sunk into the same silent tedium only
seconds later.
Hours later, when the red twilight had come upon the
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Fellowship, Aragorn barked and order to sail to the nearest
shore under his following. The three boats trailed after one
another, with Aragorn as the leader. Finally, Sam felt the
bottom of the boat crash into the sandy shores. With a great
sigh of relief, he climbed from the boat. His legs made for a
stretch to wake themselves up. Both of his stubby legs
seemed to groan in tiredness. Soon enough, he would be
asleep, ready to start another dull day.
After a piece of Lembas Bread and setting up the
Fellowships blanket, Sam sank himself underneath his
warm wool sheets. He wasnt the only one to automatically
dwell into sleep. He saw Gimli walk over, and Merry and
Pippin as well. Within the next minute afterward, he saw
Frodo walk slowly over to his blankets.
But although Sam was truly tired and ready to shut off his
mind for a good rest, he couldnt bring himself to it. It was
as if something was alive within him, urging him to stay
awake. It was as if something was about to commence of
vast importance. This suspicion within him utterly banished
all traces of thick weariness. So as the moon sat in the sky
lazily, Sam laid awake for what seemed to be hours. But
then the voices of the only two yet awake started up in
whispers. He could see the shadow of Boromir peering from
behind a large rock in the shore, staring at something in the
water.
Its Gollum, whispered Aragorn, emerging from behind
the rock, shortly frightening Boromir, He has been tracking
us since our arrival in Moria. I hoped that he would be lost
in the river, never finding us again. But it appears he is too
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clever of a waterman.
Boromir looked still into the water with concern, even as
Aragorn trudged off behind him to make for the pile of bags
the Fellowship had made earlier.
I like this not, Boromir whispered with exceeding
urgency, I say we should jump in the very river and slay
him. Hell alert the enemy of our whereabouts, and then the
journey will be yet even more dangerous.
No, Aragorn snapped, Gandalf forbid it in Moria and I
shall forbid it here. I will not have more blood sprayed upon
this Fellowship. Our task was to cross with silence and I
want to keep it that way.
Boromir looked back at Aragorn then at the creature in the
water. He sighed, shaking his head and walked forward for
Aragorn with a hint of minuscule rage.
The road to Minas Tirith would be safer, Boromir
persisted yet again, There we can truly regroup. Not have
some simple weekend rest at the gravest place in the world.
At my home city we can lead the armies of Gondor and
strike out Mordor with true strength!
Aragorn shook his head, withdrawing his gaze from the
pile of supplies. Boromir stopped in his tracks, waiting for a
real answer.
Not an ounce of courageous strength is in Gondor, it has
long been perished. They could not possibly avail us, he
said. It was as if this was the final word, as Aragorn turned
back to the bags, looking for something. Sam watched with
anxiety. Boromir was a proud man from all Sam knew. An
insult on his country was like an insult to him.
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Why is it that you have such little faith in your own kin?
Boromir raised his voice slightly, the anger inside him
growing steadily, I saw that you trusted the Elves without a
moments hesitation! I know that there is frailty in the race
of Men but honor can also be found!
Aragorn sighed and began to walk away from Boromirs
presence. Sam quickly shut his eyes so that Aragorn
wouldnt know he was awake. The crunch of sand under a
boot signified that Boromir was running after Aragorn with
great rage.
You are afraid, Boromir shouted in the quietest voice he
could muster, which wasnt very silent, All your life you
have hidden in the shadows! Scared of who you are!
I would not lead the Ring within a hundred leagues of
your city, Aragorn retorted back cunningly. Sams eyes
darted just a silver open.
Aragorns face was flushed with rage as he stomped off
away from Boromir. The son of the steward gawked at
Aragorns retreating back, glued to the spot where he stood.
But Boromir soon removed himself from this state of shock
with a simple shrug. He made for his pile of blankets
without a word, not even noticing Sam. For a time, Sam
remained awake in the darkness, listening to Boromir ruffle
around in his covers. But when the sound ceased and the
peaceful sounds of tranquil nature overcame everything
else, Sam finally shut his eyes for the rest of the night.


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Frodo
Frodo felt the boat rumble against the oncoming shores
underneath him. A sharp sound of wood on rock pierced the
air unpleasantly. And even though that sound was a short
one, it still rang through his ears like a whimpering dog.
Frodo continued to stare blankly in front of him, as he had
been committing often of late. He saw Aragorn drop the
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oars aside and clamber out of the boat. His mails rustled
against his skin as he moved, as did everyone elses when
they too decided to dismount. But Frodo stared where his
eyes pointed to, which was now a deep forest, shaded by
thick and tangled trees, roots overlapping across one
another. Nothing fazed him today nor had anything
yesterday. Even when Boromir had argued with Aragorn the
night before, he made no movement or point of notice. He
just woke and slowly fell into sleep once again, as if he
were immune to the sounds of their bickering.
For today, a strong sorrow was implanted inside him.
Eventually, when the time was right for the taking, he
would have to bear the Ring on his own. Frodo would know
no companion across the barrenness of Emyn Muil or the
rigid dead meadows of Mordor. It would be he and the
Ring, a fate he did not want to meet, but one that he had to.
Frodo? a voice called in concern. Frodo jerked from his
thoughts and looked towards the source. His eyes fell upon
Sam behind him, who looked not only pale and tired but
also worrisome. His eyes were sunken in more deep than
Frodo would have suspected.
Frodo is anything the matter? he asked, leaning in to
await a secret. But Frodo did not tell him any secret worry
he felt inside him. He only shook his head distantly and
climbed out of the boat onto the banks of the Great River. If
he were to tell Sam, no doubt would it be that his friend
would follow him to all ends.
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Around him, all the others were blinded by their own
activities, taking no notice. Frodo took this chance to dwell
into the forest to continue on with his trail of thought. He
truly wondered how long it would be until they discovered
his disappearance. With the fact that words had failed Frodo
in the past day, it would be just long enough.
Ever since Galadriel had told him of his true fate, one that
he had to undertake, a certain melancholy was rooted deep
inside his heart. It was stronger than that, come to think of
it. The feeling was almost comparable to grief. No it was
grief. Loneliness was one avenue that Frodo couldnt walk
down, but still, for the sake of Middle-Earth, he had to.
Frodo would make his way down the same path the
Fellowship would have taken if they were one. The
Fellowship would pursue another path. Or at least he hoped
they would. Would they truly understand? Frodo asked
himself. The answer was foggy and unclear and the edges of
truth were blurred.
So silently, Frodo ran his eventual and inevitable path in
his mind once again. It would start by crossing the
riverbanks after he departed from the company and then he
would find his way through Emyn Muil (a near impassible
labyrinth of rock), then fester throughout the never-ending
marshlands, and then reach Mordor and destroy the Ring.
The task sounded much easier than it was in reality. How
many months would it take to reach the Black Gate, he
pondered silently. Not even he knew. Well, time would only
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tell
Boromir, collect firewood, Aragorn commanded in the
distance.
Frodo looked back at the mouth of the wood. It was so far
away now, that he could barely see the shores anymore.
Frodo was now just simply trudging along forward, with no
goal nor destination. Not even his thoughts were
stimulating, which was the entire reason he had set a single
foot into the wood.
But just as he considered the prospect of rejoining the
Fellowship, possibly to break the news to all of them, he
stumbled upon the ruins of Parch Galen. Before his very
eyes, a once mighty holdfast lay in its own rubble. Moss had
overtaken the cobblestone like in infectious weed. The
staircase that led into the dingy abandonment was riddled
with molded dead things, long departed from the world.
Nevertheless, it was still an amazing sight to see.
Something beautiful was in its tragic nature that touched his
heart. Frodo could imagine it now, the last battle of the great
holdfast of Parch Galen. Armored knights, riding on
destriers and steeds, charging into the enemy lines. Banners
rippling proudly in the wind for the last time, as soldiers of
courage yelling their final battle cries. The song of steel rose
to its crest as each man fought to the death. But all was for
naught, and in all time, the army failed. The holdfast could
stand as a memorial for their brave work, but Frodo truly
did not know. It was only a story in Frodos mind.
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Frodo walked closer to the grand place, growing nearer to
the small staircase. He raise one of his leathery feet to began
a summit, but a voice pierced into his determination.
None of us should wander alone, Boromir said condesc-
endingly from behind Frodo. Frodo wheeled around, finding
Boromir in his blue and maroon leathers, clutching onto
logs of firewood.
Especially not you, Boromir smiled in a wry fashion,
May the gods forbid if you were to wander to deep into the
forest. The Fellowship would lose its only purpose!
Frodo watched as Boromir chuckled, setting down the
rolls of thick logs. A sudden gust of wind ran through both
of their hairs. The cold wind gnawed relentlessly upon his
skin.
When the son of the steward stood up straight again, the
humor cast on his face vanished in an instant.
Frodo? Boromir took a step forward, leaning in with
concern. Like all the others, he thought. Boromir paused,
calculating the words in his mind.
I know why you seek solitude, he said finally, You
suffer and I can see that as clear as day. First the passing of
Gandalf, and the closer we are to Mordor, the heavier the
Ring must feel upon you.
A knife of sorrow cut through Frodo in that moment. He
was reminded of Gandalfs death, watching without hope at
the edge of the bridge. The terror in the brave wizards face,
his livid shock he felt just before being cast into an endless
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chasm was like a picture in a book, brandished in his mind
forever.
Are you, Boromir hesitated briefly, Are you sure that
you do not suffer needlessly?
Frodo made no reply. Boromirs nostrils flared
momentarily. But he concealed his frustration behind a
smile. But Frodo could see right through it.
There are other paths that we can take, Frodo, Boromir
advised, Just remember that.
Frodo could not just stand idly by and stare up at Boromir
anymore. He had to speak a reply, or at least a mutter of
agreement. But Boromir was making the same point he had
given to Aragorn the night before. And that had led to utter
disagreement.
What you say would seem like wisdom if not for the
warning in my heart, Frodo challenged him defiantly.
Boromir scowled down at him, his eyebrows furrowed.
What warning? Boromir questioned impatiently,
beginning to stumble to Frodo. Frodo backed up, climbing
up the staircase, never letting his eyes leave Boromir.
Arent we all afraid? Boromir preached shakily, Do
not let that fear drive all of us to destroy hope, Frodo! Hope
is the only thing that the world has now! Dont you see that
this is all madness? Hope is failing, something must be done
NOW!
Boromir yelled the last word, causing Frodo to stop in
place. But Boromir continued up the stairs to the holdfast.
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There is no other way, Boromir, Frodo said, eyeing the
man with the upmost suspicion.
Dont you understand, Halfling? Boromir spat
venomously, I ASK ONLY FOR THE STRENGTH TO
DEFENED MY DAMNED PEOPLE!
Frodo nearly fell back from the intensity of his yelling. He
was truly frightened now. He was deep in the forest,
secluded from all who could protect him. And above him
Boromir was shaking in anger, his fists closing tight around
invisible air. Frodo ran into the archway of the holdfast,
half-hiding himself in shadow.
If you were to lend me the Ring
NO!
He watched as Boromir came marching towards the
holdfast entrance, panting in fury. Frodo ran deeper into the
fort, which was infested with rats and parasites and mold.
DO NOT RECOIL FROM ME! Boromir screamed after
him, I MEAN NO HARM!
Frodo continued to run through the small halls and rooms
of the first floor. Boromirs thunderous footfalls echoed
after him. Finally, he found a windowless room at the end of
the hall. It was empty, save for a grand serving table.
Silently, Frodo let himself slip under the table. Around him
the chairs stood almost as guardians, protecting him from
Boromirs strength.
But the man of Gondor persisted with a relentless
determination. He ran down and up the holdfast, shouting a
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mixture of words that Frodo could not hear. Frodos heart
was thumping hard and fast inside his small chest.
Boromirs voice was getting nearer and nearer. He shut his
eyes in silent pray, hoping for someone to answer his call.
But no one did, and in fact, the situation took a turn for the
worst.
YOU FOOL! Boromir boomed from the hallway,
running into the room. Frodo shrieked, clambering out from
under the table and making for the hallway again. But he
ran straight into Boromir.
WHAT CHANCE DO YOU THINK YOU HAVE?
Boromir yelled over Frodos screams of terror. Boromir
tackled Frodo to the ground, reaching for the Ring, which
dangled around his neck, loose from underneath his vest.
GIVE IT TO ME! he cried furiously, attempting to pry
the chains from Frodos very neck. Frodo looked up in
terror, trying to fight back the oncoming storm of furious
hands. Boromir made a grab for Frodos throat, closing in
all air. Frodos hands flopped pointedly to his sides,
forbidden to do anything to help now. It was all over.
Give it to me, Boromir whispered savagely. There was a
crazy gleam of corruption that flashed in his eyes. Boromir
Anarion, in that instant, looked truly and utterly insane.
No! Frodo managed to say hoarsely from Boromirs
grasp. Breath was so scarce that he felt life slipping from
him in strange eagerness.
You are not yourself! Frodo cried. There he thought of a
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true purpose. He raised a pale hand, and slapped Boromir
hard around his ragged face. Boromir howled in pain,
withdrawing his grasp around the hobbits neck. Frodo took
this opportunity to save him. With one short flick of the
wrist, he broke the Ring off of the chains around him and
slipped it onto one of his small, shaking fingers.
Immediately the world around him blurred into hazy
figures, distant and other worldly. Boromirs howls of pain
were slurred in the Ring World. And a steady noise of a
heavy storm raged all around him, coming from nothing but
thin air. Frodo ran for the hallway, which was darker than
before. Shadows of men long gone played against the wall
hauntingly. A growling voice drifted through the heavy
winds. It was muttering, mumbling, murmuring.
Behind him, from what seemed like miles and miles away,
Boromir was roaring a slew of curses and insults, screaming
for the Ring. Frodo darted through the holdfast, the storm
within the Ring world growing more precarious. The same
voice he encountered every time he was engulfed into
shadows was literally roaring with fury.
Some way or another, Frodo stumbled out of the forsaken
fort. He fell to a halt just before the edge of the stairs. Frodo
sat himself up, panting furiously. He clawed the Ring off of
his sweaty finger, and immediately the dark world faded
jetted into nothing. The Ring pressed firmly into Frodos
clammy skin. His fist was strong around it, containing its
villainy in a strangle.
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In this moment, it struck Frodo how odd the power of this
Ring really was. It was only a piece of jewelry and so small
and simple in appearance. Not one evil word was engraved
visibly upon it, save for when one would cast it into the fire.
And yet an authority and power emitted from the Ring like
nothing before it. It was capable of enchanting men to their
very doom, crumbling armies and destroying cities. Boromir
had fallen to its power, and soon after him, another member
of the Fellowship would be overcome with greed and lust
for the thing, abandoning their commitments. It was time. It
was time to leave the Fellowship and take the road to
Mordor alone.
Frodo? a voice called from behind him. Frodo let out a
shriek, jumping up in response to the sudden voice. His feet
fell from under him and soon wind rushed upon his face as
he fell down. As Frodo tumbled down the stairs like a rock
on a hill, the cold touch of the Ring fell from his fist. The
stairs bit into his flesh savagely, and blood welled up from
his wounds. He could feel it trickle down his body as he
finally fell to the ground once again.
Groaning, Frodo allowed himself to roll over, to look up
at the voice that had given him such a fright. But all he
could see was a silhouette pressed against the rays of the
sun. It was a man, Frodo was sure of that matter. A man
who could have only emerged from the holdfast behind
Frodo. But the truth that scared him most of all was the fact
that the Ring was out in the open, free to any ones grasp.
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Aragorn
Aragorn ran down the stairs briskly. Frodo was panting
below in the grass, crawling around the ground, muttering
franticly.
Frodo? was the only thing Aragorn could say when he
reached the foot of the stairs. Frodo made for no reply,
continuing his hunt for some invisible prey.
Frodo? he repeated, this time when he was standing
before the hobbit. He finally peered up and immediately
jerked in fear.
Stay away! he cried, making to crawl quickly away.
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Frodo, Aragorn said again, What is the matter?
Frodo suddenly came to a halt, his back rising and falling
rapidly from bated breath. The hobbit turned around, a wild
glint of fear shining through his eyes.
Aragorn, he smiled, relieved of some worry. But then
suddenly, Frodo was drawn back into a perturbed state of
frantic searching.
What are you doing on the ground, Frodo? Aragorn
asked him, still concernedly curious. Frodo was dragging
his hands along the grass now, crawling in a circle around
the same area of land. But a gold glint somewhere hidden in
a patch of flowers caught his own eye and he wheeled
around to face it. The Ring was staring at him through a
parted crop of sunflowers and roses, all mingled together,
unsegregated.
Do you happen to be searching for the Ring, by
chance? Aragorn pointed to the flower bush. Frodo turned
to look at his beckoning, and stood up immediately. The
hobbit quickly ran across the forest ground, and picked it
up, clutching it in his fists once more.
Frodo made his way back to Aragorn, the sheath of his
sword smacking against his thighs. The hobbit stared up at
Aragorn, almost in fright of some unfortunate event to
come.
It has taken Boromir, Frodo explained softly. He cocked
his head towards the holdfast.
Aragorn nodded blankly, glancing back at the decrepit
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holdfast, stained with green moss and riddled with black
mold. The only reason he had ventured into the forest was
for the reason that Frodo had left their company. But the
case was made more severe and urgent by the fact that
Boromir was roaming the forest as well, searching for
firewood.
What are we to do now? he asked of the hobbit, who
was still pale with fear. Frodo looked down at his closed
fist. The Ring was seemingly whispering from within,
beckoning Aragorns greed that was pushed to the bottom of
his heart to come out and take the Ring for his own. The
deep voice was enchanting, telling of tales of honor and
power and love and respect. But Aragorn was smarter than
most men. He knew that it was all a lie.
Frodo drew his gaze back up at Aragorn. His eyes spoke
of the truth, what decision had already been made. Frodo
was leaving the Fellowship, in pursuit of ending his burden
alone and secluded. The hobbits behavior had hinted at the
fore-coming of his reluctant fate more than once. Aragorn
felt that it was only he who had considered what verity
Frodo had silently screamed.
Would you have destroyed it? Frodo asked, confident
he had made his purpose clear. Frodo looked more
distraught now than ever. His voice was stiff and his eyes
were watering with tears. Aragorn kneeled before him,
staring into his trembling eyes with utter encouragement.
I would have gone with you to the end, Aragorn
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assured him whisperingly, a tone to match the voice of the
Ring, Into the very fires of the mountain of doom.
I know that you would have, Frodo gulped down a sob,
his throat clenching up, Look after the others, Sam most of
all. I fear that he will never come to understanding.
Aragorn nodded, and opened his mouth to say a final
farewell. But his words were interjected by a sharp blast of
a war horn. It was more of a deep snarl, played in a singly
fashion. Frodo jumped up in surprise. And in his shock, his
sword fell loose from its sheath. When Frodo returned to the
ground, Sting had drawn itself back into its sheath, but there
was no undoing of what he saw. The sword was glowing
blue. Sarumans armies had arrived.
Go Frodo! he cried, freeing his own sword now, still of
a bright color of silver. Frodo looked down at his own
sword, and gawked at the light coming from the sheath.
Frodo nodded in sheer and raw shock, before turning around
to run for the shore. Aragorn watched the small hobbit
disappear into the trees, before facing the enemy.
And from behind him, Aragorn Elessar watched the
armored hunting party form ranks. Each one of these foul
beasts had their own battle cry or jeer to be heard. And since
the pack was at least of a number greater than fifty, they
roared through the wood and out onto the shores no doubt,
cutting through the tranquil silence like it was some fallen
stag.
Aragorn held his sword aloft before his face, marching
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towards the army. Upon their discovery of him, they jeered
and pointed, and an air of anxious excitement burst into the
scene. But it wasnt until Legolas and Gimli tore through
the trees from behind, screaming battle cries of their own,
when the armies of Isenguard charged.
And Aragorn sprinted into the battle field, adrenaline
surging throughout him. Finally the three met with the
throng of savages, and dug their weapons into the raw hide
of the Urak-hi. Aragorn felt his sword, newly cleaned and
newly sharpened, dig into ones skin. Blood sprayed from
the wound as the soldier tumbled to the ground like a cut
down tree. Aragorn took firm hold of his sword once again
and swung it skillfully into a number of Urak-hi. The
armored soldiers fell to the ground, still yet alive, clutching
their vast wounds made by the edge of his sword.
Around Aragorn, Gimli met the army with an equal
amount of ferocity and blood lust. He jeered with happiness
whenever he scored another life of an Orc. His double
bladed axe was sticky with black blood within seconds of
the battle.
Legolas was skillfully firing arrows from his bow he had
earned from Galadriel. The shafts whizzed through the air,
making their mark powerfully upon their target. Again and
again, nearly every second did Legolas reach back into his
catquiver and aimed another shot. The cycle of death was
short and quick moving, not a moments haste was spent.
Aragorn continued down the crowd of the rowdy army.
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He strung his sword down into many places of the Orcs
anatomy. Most were left alive, but wounded beyond repair.
And so at his feet many Orcs were left alive, but not in a
shape well enough to enter into the battle a second time. But
the pride of the Urak-hi never ceased to be a loud and shrill
one. Battle cries pierced through the twilight evening like
the swords they carried.
So skilled at their craft were the three hunters that the
crow began to part, beginning a search of their own for the
others. But he was sure the hobbits were in good hands. A
battle that could threaten life would lure Boromir out of his
temporal trance of corruption. No doubt, Frodo was already
at the sure, manning his boat and beginning to sail to the
other shore. By nightfall, Frodo would reach the crest of the
great hill and look down on the stony maze of Emyn Muil.
Aragorn slashed and hacked, parried and dodged the blows
of the Urak-hi. They were much more skillful than the Orcs
in Moria, he would give them that much to boast. But
Aragorn, paired with Gimli and Legolas, was much better.
In shrill cries of fright, there was some Urak-his that
cowardly abandoned the whole attempt, rendering their
effort futile.
Find the Halfling! a booming voice commanded
throughout the forest. His call echoed through the darkening
forest. But the Commander would be disappointed when he
learned of Frodos departure, and Saruman would come out
of the battle weaker and empty handed. Soon the troop
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scattered around the forest, racing around the whole wood
to search for the hobbit. The number of Urak-hi facing
Aragorn, Gimli and Legolas was dwindling quickly. And
the ones who were brave enough to step forward met their
fate in seconds. There battles were so vacant and pointless
that Aragorn himself barked a command to his fellow
fighters.
Run through the forest! Pursue any Urak-hi you can
find!
Gimli and Legolas took this order proudly and swiftly
and took off into the forest. Aragorn went closer to the
shore, and the forest was growing lighter around him. But
the Urak-hi was still positioned here, searching the ground
and the trees above for any sign. Aragorn silently hid behind
a large, plump tree. He pressed himself against it, feeling
the dried sap stick to his clothes uncomfortably.
He could see the armored Urak-hi press around into a
huddle, giving off some command to one another. Aragorn
took his chance and leapt from behind the tree. He made his
way swiftly to the huddle, which was only now breaking
apart to see the source of the commotion. Each one of the
beasts died with a furious roar of shock, as steel dug into
their throats. The black blood of their forefathers before
them was sustained within them and it had not lost its
trajectory.
Inky blood welled from their wounds like a waterfall,
trickling down the dead bodies of the Urak-hi. Aragorn
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collected his breath once more and made his way deeper
into the forest. The song of steel was ringing through the
cold, windy air. It reminded him of what he was truly like.
A cold blooded soldier of war.
Aragorn set his sights on a Urak-hi not too far away. He
wore no helm, only a shirt of poorly strung mail. What was
remarkable about him was that a white hand was printed
upon his face. The Urak-hi saw him too, and he snorted
back what must have been laughter and raced towards him.
But Aragorn drew his sword and went for an upper-cut with
his sword. Before the beast could even think of swinging his
sword, Aragorn rammed his own sword into the soldiers
gut. The thing let out a whelp of pain and dropped to the
ground stiffly.
Aragorn went deeper into the forest, as if his encounter
had never even happened. A cluster of Urak-hi soldiers
were sprinting down the lopping hills above, yelling
furiously with pride. Aragorn charged into the lot of them
as if he were another army entirely. His sword made way
into a number of them, with great ease and skill. Elegantly
he went to one Urak-hi to the other, catching a glimpse of
livid determination on their faces before they met their
bloody end.
Two remained to fight him, one he had already wounded.
Aragorn raised his sword up in the air with might, aiming to
strike down the steel into their skulls. A blow this large
would crack open the frail craniums of the creatures. But he
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could not kill if he were to miss. Luckily he made his mark
perfectly, and the soldier was brought out of his misery
swiftly. Only one was left to fight, but this one was smart.
It had positioned itself behind Aragorns back; Aragorn
could feel the Urak-his raspy breath blowing onto his neck.
Aragorn wheeled around to strike the enemy down, but
suddenly Aragorn felt a surge of pain explode onto his back.
A great wave of throbbing pain overtook him and Aragorn
fell to his stomach on the leaf riddled hill.
His sword fell beside him with a sharp clatter. But it was
too far out of reach, for the pain was too intense to even
move. But he had to move, it was a matter of life and death.
If he were to die now, he would fail the Fellowship, he
would fail Gandalf and he would fail Arwen.
And the memory of Arwen, her beauty and her grace
filled him with determination to live. He grasped a hold of
the sword, against the pain in his back. The warm trickle of
blood was falling down his body. He turned to face the
Urak-hi soldier, his wound now pushed against the ground.
Snarling, the beastly soldier leaned forward to end his life.
But Aragorn met with the Urak-his steel. Their swords rang
shrilly together. The Urak-hi was not amused. With a
grumble and a roar, the Urak-hi removed his hold on
Aragorns sword. The beast took aim once more, measuring
his skill. He finally let his sword fall down upon Aragorn,
and Aragorn raised his sword again to parry his blow.
But the Urak-hi fell to its back with a sharp whine. His
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poorly made sword fell back onto the ground. Aragorn was
aghast at the suddenness of it all, prying to get a look, but he
couldnt see from his standpoint.
Aragorn! Legolas halted before him, peering down at
him. The elf outstretched his hand to help him up. Aragorn
grabbed onto it, pulling his own weight up. His wound was
burning sharply in his back, showing no sign of ceasing the
pain.
Legolas, Aragorn patted his shoulders, Thank you. I
fear that that Urak-hi might have been the end of me.
But it wasnt in the end, Legolas grinned broadly, the
first time Aragorn had ever seen him do this at all, He must
have stabbed you then.
Aragorn nodded breathlessly. And just then, a sweltering
song of a horn broke upon the air. But it wasnt the same
Urak-hi horn Aragorn had heard before. This was familiar
and grander and finer. It brought back a distant memory of
Minas Tirith, the only time Aragorn had ever been there.
The horn of Gondor! he exclaimed, Boromir is in
need!
Aragorn bolted towards the sound swiftly. Legolas trailed
closely behind him. The horn ceased its sound abruptly. A
horrible thought came to Aragorns mind just then.
Legolas? Aragorn questioned, Have you seen Merry,
Pippin or Sam at all?
Sam was racing for the shore, last time I saw him,
Legolas panted behind him, Merry, Pippin or Frodo I have
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not seen even a glimpse of. Do you think they are in
danger?
Aragorn attempted to answer before a Urak-hi leapt from
behind a tree, running madly for them. Aragorn ended the
beasts life with a single, sure stroke of his sword. The Urak-
hi halted and stumbled backwards before falling to the
ground, dead. Aragorn hastily removed his sword from the
soldiers neck and continued on.
But a sight that he saw while making his way deeper west
into the forest worried him. A large crowd of Urak-hi was
sprinting away from Parch Galen. In a normal case this
would be a good sight to see. Normally, Aragorn would
simply think that his was a retreat. But something about the
way they ran bothered him. It wasnt a run for their life; it
was a proud run, like they had accomplished something.
Aragorn turned to explain his superstition to Legolas, but
the elf wasnt behind him anymore. He was fending off a
group of five Urak-hi behind Aragorn. But the larger group
that had already retreated was already gone from his sights
now. They were racing home to Saruman.
Aragorn halted to a stop, collecting his breath. He felt as
though he would give out at any moment now. Steadily he
walked forward. Most all of the Urak-hi were gone now,
maybe a dozen were still alive, but a dozen Urak-hi wasnt
of any significant problem.
A clearing was up ahead, and Aragorn entered it
unknowingly. But what he found there, let out a ravenous
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beast that could not be tamed. Fury engulfed him as he saw
the Commander of the Urak-hi lean over someone who was
slowly dying. The Commander was drawing one final blow
to end the mans life. And that man was Boromir.
Yelling in fury, Aragorn jumped on top of the
Commander. The arrow was released, but only hit a nearby
tree. Aragorn reigned dominance over the Commander,
drawing his sword deep into the Urak-his chest. It seemed
strangely unfazed by the blow, and leapt up off of the
ground, pushing Aragorn up against a tree. The Commander
raced forward, a look of savage bloodlust in his eyes. He
drew his rusting sword and ran for Aragorn, who was only
now regaining his feet.
But Aragorn could see the Commander running for him,
and rolled out of his aim, just in time to where the
Commanders sword dug into the tree. Aragorn jumped off
of the ground, leaves sticking to his leathers. Aragorn raced
for the Urak-his back and stabbed his sword straight
through the Commanders back. But the Commander only
laughed deeply, welcoming in the pain. Aragorn faltered
back, removing the steel from inside the Urak-hi. The
Commander whipped around, a smile cast across his ugly
face. The Commander limped towards Aragorn, laughing
savagely as blood poured down from his wounds.
But Aragorn made the last blow and swung the sword
across the Commanders neck, removing his head with one
single, mighty strike. The Commander flopped to the
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ground, dead with the ghost of his last smile still on his
face.
Aragorn, Boromir rasped hoarsely from the clearing.
Aragorn turned and ran towards Boromir, halting at his side
in a kneel.
Boromir looked horrible in his dying state. He was paler
than a ghost, scars newly formed on his face, the blood
already dried. Three large arrows were pinned into his body,
one in his shoulder, one in his stomach and one near his
heart. Blood was seeping from the holes the arrow had made
in him. The son of the steward was already gone, beyond
anyones skill of healing.
They took the little ones, he began to sob, Merry and
Pippin! Theyre taking them t-to Isenguard. It It is a-a-all
my fault.
Tears ran down his cheeks, as he clutched his wounds.
Beside him, his sword lay, stained with a large quantity of
Urak-hi blood. And on his other side was his horn,
splintered into two.
You fought well, Aragorn convinced him. But Boromir
continued to weep, his pierced chest rising and falling
rapidly.
Where is Frodo? Boromir asked through spluttering
sobs.
I let Frodo go, Aragorn answered curtly. Boromir
nodded.
Then you did what I could not, Aragorn, he replied, I
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tried to take the Ring from him. The greed of Gondor, the
greed of my father took hold of me. That is why he sent me
to the Council, so that I could take the Ring to Gondor. I
only wanted to m-make him pr-proud andI have f-failed
you all
Boromir snuffled and removed his hands form the arrows,
clutching onto the hilt of his sword.
You have not failed us, Boromir, Aragorn shook his
head assuringly; You have kept your honor. You fought for
the Fellowship. Your father will be proud, Gondor will
Gondor? Boromir interjected suddenly, It is as you
have said. The world of Men will fall into darkness. I
understand that now, as I lay here dying.
Aragorn paused as Boromir shuddered in pain. Aragorns
own wound was only throbbing dully now, a sharp pain
cropped up few times now.
I do not know, Aragorn managed slowly, What
strength is in Men, but I can swear this to you, Boromir
Anarion: I will not let Minas Tirith fall or our people fail!
Our people, Boromir grinned, reliving the day. His
greatest day that he had told Aragorn about. He laid his
sword against his chest, clutching it proudly.
Our people, Boromir repeated dreamily. A rustle from
behind them signified that Legolas and Gimli had entered
the clearing.
I would have followed you my brother, Boromir said
crisply, on his dying breath, My captain. My king.
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And without another word, Boromir drew his final breath,
and grew limp and immobile. The son of the steward,
Boromir Anarion, had passed.

The waves rolled against the shores loudly as the sun
faded below the horizon. Boromirs funeral boat was
already sailing down the Great River, making its way south.
It would pass through Gondor before emptying out into the
Bay of Belfalas, and rolling through the Sundering Seas.
One day, a long time from this day, it would arrive on the
shores of the Grey Havens, and there, the brave Boromir
Anarion, would rest eternally, with sword and horn.
Aragorn had stood before the waves, watching it fade into
the mist of the night. Gimli and Legolas stood behind him,
shocked at yet another loss the Fellowship had earned.
Legolas stepped forward, standing beside Aragorn.
What of Frodo and Samwise? he asked wonderingly.
Aragorn looked across the shore. Somewhere deep in that
forest, the two of them were marching slowly but surely to
Mordor.
It had appeared that Sam had followed Frodo. Sam was
not among the dead, nor had he been seen since Legolas had
spotted him racing for the shores. But they still could be
wrong. Sam could have been captured by the Urak-hi as
well. This added an even greater reason to follow the Urak-
hi.
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Frodos fate is no longer in our hands now, Aragorn
sighed. He turned for the darkening banks, to gather what
supplies they needed on their hunt. Gimli stepped forward,
clutching onto his axe mournfully.
Then it has all been in vain, Gimli crooned, The
Fellowship has failed and broken. Gandalf is dead, Boromir
as well. Merry and Pippin are hostages of the Enemy and
Frodo and Sam continue onto Mordor. What do we three do
now?
Aragorn picked up the bag of food and blankets that Sam
and Frodo had left behind. The other bags they could
abandon. He turned to the dwarf and stared into his gruff,
aged eyes.
We will not allow Merry and Pippin to be victim of
torment and death, Aragorn looked to Legolas now,
Beginning tonight; we will track down the band of Urak-hi
and regain the two hobbits! So come now, the both of you!
Lets hunt some Orc!
Aragorn began to run into the forest again, which stunk of
moldering decay, down the path the Urak-hi was taking.
Gimli cheered in excitement and followed Aragorn behind
Legolas. The three hunters had begun their journey.



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Frodo
The sounds of war and battle were faintly present in his
mind as Frodo stood at the edge of the water, staring out at
the twilight. The clouds were thick and red and they
stretched longingly towards the setting sun. A tear was
trickling down Frodos face. Truly, what had he done to
deserve this fate? Only seven months previously, he had
been sitting alone in Bag-End, near the warm firelight,
sipping ale from a warm mug and reading a grand book. But
those times were over and now he had been swept out of his
simple life into a life filled with misery and despair. The
Ring was still tightly clutched in his cold fists, white from
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the cold winds that were rapidly falling against the shore.
Frodo tilted his tear-stained down at his outstretched fist.
Slowly and cautiously, he opened his fingers, revealing the
Ring to the world again. It sat in his palm, silently and
maliciously. Who knew something so small and so plain
could cause him this much grief? All this journey had been
was one unfortunate event after the other. A great swarm of
sadness had nested itself in Frodos heart. So much so that
he hadnt felt happiness in a long amount of time. He
wished that something would pop into existence and put
him out of his misery. But he had a task to do, and to that
promise he would hold to begrudgingly.
But still he had that same thought as he had since the day
they set out from Rivendell. I wish the Ring had never come
to me, he repeated in his mind one more time, I wish none of
this had happened.
Frodo closed his eyes in sadness, tears falling down his
face like a small waterfall. And then, he was walking to
Moria again, with Gandalf staring down at him. His face, so
distant and forgotten burst into memory as clear as water.
So do all who live to see such times but it is not for them
to decide, Gandalf was saying, all you have to decide is
what to do with the time that is given to you.
And a surge of emotions exploded into his mind at that
moment. The memory of Gandalfs warm face smiling
down at him uplifted him, and he saw hope. Just a glimmer
of light amongst a world of shadow and darkness. But it was
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enough to lift Frodo up, to inspire him to live life and carry
on. Frodo closed his fist around the Ring again, and slipped
it into his coat pocket.
Frodo loaded the boat with all the supplies he needed and
then took hold of the oars, to begin sailing to the other
riverbank. But the trees behind rustled as his boat hit water
and Sam ran out onto the shores.
Frodo, no! he cried, waving his arms above his head
franticly. Frodo did not hesitate and continued to oar down
the river, staring at Sam sadly.
Go back, Sam, Frodo told him, Im going to Mordor
alone!
Sam began to trudge down the shore, not stopping at the
tide, but continuing to walk into the river until he was
forced to swim. Frodo stopped his motions now.
You cant swim! Frodo yelled out, Sam, stop!
But Sam wouldnt listen, he struggled down the Great
River, his dry hair moistening until it was completely wet.
He spluttered, fighting to keep his head above the waterline.
Frodo began to sail back to the shore, closer to Sam. His
friend was now going underwater, but emerging again, still
continuing his grapple with the water. Frodo was getting
closer and closer, but he was not yet close enough. Sam was
starting to drown now, struggling to even breathe.
Frodo edged closer, but Sam had already cast himself
under the water. Sams hands were flapping amiably around
under there; he could see him as the water was so clear and
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pure. The boat was near enough for Frodo to dangle his
hand under the water. So Frodo leaned against the edge of
the boat, just as a horn began to ring in the forest, different
than the horn of the Urak-hi. He let his hand fall under the
water, deeper as it could get.
It was a while before Sam clutched onto Frodos hand.
With a mighty draw back into the boat, Frodo pulled up
Sam. When he emerged from the water, all his weight came
rushing back to him and Frodo groaned under its severity.
Coughing, Sam pulled himself into the boat, his whole
body shivering in the coldness. He sat up, his face wet with
both water and tears. Sam looked Frodo deep in the eye
with the most caring look Sam had ever given him.
I made a promise, Frodo, Sam bawled, clutching onto
the edge of the boat to support himself, A promise to
Gandalf! Dont you leave him, Samwise Gamgee, he said!
And I dont mean to Frodo, I dont mean to!
Frodo couldnt help but smile and feel warm inside. He
made for an embrace around Sam, which he gladly
accepted. Frodo was not alone now, he had Sam. And Sam
was enough to get him to Mordor to destroy the Ring. They
parted, the river water rubbing off on Frodos cloak as well.
Looking at the shores again, Frodo sighed.
I hope the others will find a safer road, Frodo observed
hopefully. But a wave of finality and melancholy rolled
over him, I dont suppose well ever see them again.
We may yet, Mr. Frodo, Sam said, shivering in the cold
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water, We may.
Frodo smiled back at Sam, grateful that he had been
determined to protect Frodo. Grateful that he had made that
promise with Gandalf all those months ago.
Sam, Frodo said warmly, Im glad youre with me.
Sam grinned, blushing through the wetness upon his face.
And so Frodo paddled down the Great River. Then came a
time where they reached the opposite shore, when the moon
and stars were out and the sun was nothing more than a red
band across the sky. The two of them drew the boat out of
the water and hid it the best that they could. Then
shouldering their burdens, Sam his bags and Frodo the Ring,
they continued on, seeking a path that would bring them
over the grey hills of Emyn Muil and down into the Land of
Shadow.











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