lf.htmlTEXTStMl">oq Choosing Fellowship

Choosing Fellowship
by Jacynthe Demorae

We took our places as the Council came to order. Whether by accident
or design, we had all grouped together by race. My companions and I
had places near Lord Elrond and the Elves of his household, followed
by the Men. Across from us, the Dwarves made up the second arm of
the horseshoe-shape of the Council area. Mithrandir sat beside the
Halfling, who appeared overcome at being in the presence of so many
different folk.

I had had chance to speak with Aragorn the night before about these
curious beings. They usually kept to their own lands, he'd told me,
much as the Elves did. They were fond of comfort, good food, and
better drink. No wonder my father still spoke so kindly of Bilbo
Baggins. It would appear the Silvan Elves and Halflings had much in
common--during peacetime, at least.

Frodo Baggins bore little resemblance to the cheery, robust folk
Aragorn had described. He had been ill, I knew, but surely Lord
Elrond's formidable skills should have fully restored him to health?
Then the Lord of Imladris called the Halfling forth, and much that
was cloudy became clear.

The Ring.

I clutched the arms of my chair, staring at the simple gold band.
So small...so plain. My father would have scorned it as drab. I
could feel its power. Its shadow had lain over me all of my life,
in the shape of Dol Guldur, drowning the Greenwood in its murk. I
wanted to dash the cursed thing to the stones, grind it to dust
under my heel. Blind reflex, that. Things of Power could not be
destroyed so easily.

Beside me, Inwe, the eldest of my companions murmured, "It cannot be
the One Ring. In the hands of such as that?"

That sat quenched and pale, as if expecting punishment. That
was the heir to the one who had moved unseen through my father's
halls. That one's kin had liberated prisoners from under the very
noses of the Elves set to guard them.

Elves such as Inwe.

The youngest of the Men stood up and addressed the Council. He
spoke of 'gifts,' and using the Ring to fight the Enemy. No doubt
he pictured himself as the great general leading us into an Age of
peace and prosperity under his wise and benevolent leadership.

'By the blood of my people are your lands kept safe,' indeed. What
did he think we did in Mirkwood? The bow and quiver I carried were
not for adornment, nor were my knives. Aragorn spoke sharply,
drawing Boromir up short.

"What would a Ranger know of this matter?" Boromir challenged.

I had heard enough.

"He is no mere Ranger," I corrected, rising to my feet. "This is
Aragorn, son of Arathorn. You owe him your allegiance."

"This is Isildur's heir?" the Man said, incredulous.

"And heir to the throne of Gondor," I couldn't resist adding.

"Havodad, Legolas," Aragorn said to me in Sindarin, looking pained.

I subsided, having made my point. Boromir looked around, but found
only stern, shuttered expressions. He clearly understood nothing of
what was said, whether in Westron or Sindarin. Such fine
custodianship the Stewards had held over Gondor, that its scions no
longer spoke the language of their Numenorean predecessors. He
skulked back to his seat, muttering about kings.

"We have but one choice. The ring must be destroyed," Lord Elrond said, bringing us all back to the matter at hand.

"What are we waiting for?" one of the Dwarves said. With that, he
strode forward, and brought his axe down on the Ring.

The resulting lash of Power sent the Dwarf tumbling to the
ground--and wrenched a cry of pain from the Halfling. I looked to
him, surprised. Frodo pressed a hand to his head, as if the
glancing blow had been dealt to him instead of the Ring. He
turned a look of wide-eyed horror to the Ring. I wondered what he
saw there, that we did not.

Once more, Lord Elrond explained the nature of the Ring, and the
only available route for its destruction. I heard the weariness of
past Ages in his voice. Boromir came forward with his protests
again. I rounded on the Man in exasperation.

"Have you heard nothing that Lord Elrond has said?" I demanded.
Have you seen nothing of what is around you? "The Ring must be

A scowl darkened Boromir's face, but before he could answer, the
Dwarf snarled a challenge.

"And I suppose you think you're the one to do it?" Gimli sneered.

A one-line challenge that touched off a near-brawl. Even I succumbed to it, shouting down the Men, my blood hot as I rose to my feet. The words
and voices melded together, forming a roar like a mighty waterfall.

"I will take it!" Frodo's voice sounded thin, but it cut through
the swelling argument like a knife. We all turned to gaze at him.

"I will take the Ring to Mordor," Frodo said, looking far too small
and frail for such a burden. "Though I do not know the way."

He looked like an Elf-child, standing there before us, small and
lost. Yet no Elf-child of this Age had such shadows in his eyes.
No Elf-child had looked on things even the Wisest feared. He shone
in my sight, as if some of the lost light of Aman lived in his soul.
'Elf-friend,' they called him, so Elven friends he would have.

Aragorn knelt before Frodo, and spoke his pledge. "You have my
sword, and if by my life or death I can save you, I will."

"And you have my bow," I declared, stepping forward before I could
think twice.

"And my axe!" the Dwarf declared.

I spared him a brief glare, but it was Boromir who troubled me. I
did not like the darkness I sensed in him. I especially did not
like how he looked on the Ringbearer. I trusted Aragorn, but even
the greatest of Men had to sleep.

[End]  2ully restored him to health?
Then the Lord of Imladris called the Halfling forth, and much that
was cloudy became clear.

The Ring.

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