Power Ranger Mania The Fanfic Shoppe The Yost  

 

Legal Disclaimer: The Power Rangers belong to Saban or Disney, not me. Lord of the Rings and all associated characters are copyright of J.R.R. Tolkien. Harry Potter and all related indicia is copyright J.K. Rowling. I'm not making any profit from this story. I own Vadaei, [that's pronounced VAY-di-I,] the Phaedos Powers and their bearers, Mistri, Geneva, Calcia, Edy, Asharani, Karei, Vedi, Dalila and Bambi. These nine characters cannot be borrowed, as I'm using them in a story for publication. They are protected under international copyright law. I also own Niamh Ralin, Kalika Alinir, Fleure Vahala and Dylan Jalaz. Those four may be borrowed, but drop me a line, okay? Resemblances between characters and real people, dead or alive, is purely unintentional. This story comes after The Confusion in the series The Circle Draws Inward. Dying of the Light is copyright of Dylan Thomas. This is the first in a six to twelve story arc. This is rated PG-13 by the Motion Picture Association of America. Cameo appearances are welcomed.
Author's Note: I'm going by the books on this one. This story starts in Volume I,
The Fellowship of the Ring, Book One, Chapter IX, At the Sign of The Prancing Pony. Regarding Power Rangers ¤ Whether morphed or not, they are referred to as first name, no matter which morph they are using. Regarding the LOTR characters and book, I promise to stay as close to the actual happenings as I can. However, I will be incorporating parts of the movie as I see fit. With the parting from LothlŠrien, it is partly direct from the book, due to it being 'bloody brilliant!' as Ron Weasley would say.
Shire Reckoning: The Shire Reckoning related to years and months. I admit that I do not fully understand the explanations given to all of the Shire Reckoning. Therefore, I do not relate YEARS by Shire Reckoning. I relate MONTHS by the Shire Reckoning, in which there were thirty days to a month and twelve months to a year. So where it says
in the Shire Reckoning I am referring to months. Confused? I sure am.
Crossover: This is a crossover of PR, HP, and LOTR. In case you hadn't guessed.

The Fellowship
by Mistri, Cho's Observer

July 25th, 1997.

On Earth, Trini, Adam and Edy were walking through the park with Bulk and Skull when a very strange things happened. The sky darkened and it spat a lightning bolt of darkness down to where Trini, Adam and Edy were.

"Bulk, Skull! Get to the Chamber!" cried Adam. Bulk and Skull hit their teleport buttons and got out of there as fast as they could.

"Zeo Ranger IV, Green!"

"Eagle! Power Up!"

"Phaedos NovaFour Activate!"

They were no sooner morphed than a most godawful blackness surrounded them.

And when it cleared, they were no longer there.

~*~

Prologue.

I amar prestar aen. The world is changed.
han mathon ne nen. I feel it in the waters.
han mathon ne chae. I feel it in the earth.
a han noston ned gwilith. I smell it in the air.

Much that once was is lost. For none now live who remember it.

It began with the forging of the Great Rings.

Three were given to the Elves: immortal, wisest and fairest of all beings.

Seven to the dwarf-lords: great miners and craftsmen of the mountain halls.

And nine. Nine rings were gifted to the race of men, who above all else desire power.

For within these rings was bound the strength and will to govern each race. But they were all of them deceived.

For another ring was made.

In the land of Mordor, in the fires of Mount Doom, the Dark Lord Sauron forged in secret a master ring to control all others.

And into this ring he poured his cruelty, his malice, and his will to dominate all life.

One Ring to rule them all.

One by one, free lands of Middle Earth fell to the power of the ring.

But there were some who resisted.

A last alliance of Men and Elves marched against the armies of Mordor. And on the slopes of Mount Doom, they fought for the freedom of Middle-earth.

Elrond:

Tangado haid! Hado i philinn! (Trans: 'Hold [your] positions! Fire the arrows!')

Victory was near. But the power of the ring could not be undone.

It was in this moment, when all hope had faded, that Isildur, son of the king, took up his father's sword.

Sauron, the enemy of the Free peoples of Middle-earth, was defeated.

The ring passed to Isildur, who had this one chance to destroy evil forever.

But the hearts of men are easily corrupted. And the ring of power has a will of its own.

It betrayed Isildur to his death.

The ring floated down to the bottom of the Great River. The Anduin.

And some things that should not have been forgotten were lost. History became legend; legend became myth. And for two and a half thousand years the ring passed out of all knowledge. Until, when chance came, it ensnared a new bearer.

The ring came to the creature Gollum who took it deep into the tunnels of the Misty Mountains. And there it consumed him.

The ring brought to Gollum unnatural long life. For 500 years it poisoned his mind. And in the gloom of Gollum's cave it waited.

Darkness crept back in the forest of the world. Rumour grew of a shadow in the East, whispers of a nameless fear.

And the ring of power perceived it's time had now come.

It abandoned Gollum. But something happened then, the ring did not intend. It was picked up by the most unlikely creature imaginable.

A hobbit. Bilbo Baggins of the Shire.

Bilbo: A ring.

Gollum: (In the distance) Lost! My Precious is lost!!!

For the time would soon come when hobbits would shape the fortunes of all.

~*~

September 29th, 3018 in the Shire Reckoning.

Trini, Adam and Edy found themselves outside a crossing. They were demorphed.

"Where are we?" asked Edy, nervously.

A voice issued from the darkness. "You are near Bree, strangers. I don't suppose you have seen my three companions?"

"We haven't seen anyone," said Adam. "Where are you? Who are you?"

Out of the darkness stepped a little person, not more than three feet tall. "I am Mr. Underhill, good friends. I am a hobbit. Who are you?"

"We're human," said Edy quickly.

"The race of Man?" said Mr. Underhill. Edy nodded.

"And you have not seen my companions? They had walked on ahead while I looked behind us. I was sure they were where you are even now."

Edy's face drained of color. "Mr. Underhill, sir. I believe I may know where your companions are. But could we discuss this in better conditions, for are you not heading to lodgings?"

"Very well. What are your names?"

"Edy, Adam, and I'm Trini," said Trini, indicating each in turn.

~*~

"Good evening, little master!" said a short fat bald man with a red face. "What may you be wanting?"

"Beds for four, and stabling for five ponies, if that may be arranged. Are you Mr. Butterbur?"

"Indeed, Barliman Butterbur at your service. You're from the Shire! A hobbit! What does that remind me of? And what are your names?"

"Miss . . " began Mr. Underhill.

"Miss Kwan, Miss LaShawn, Mr. Park, and Mr. Underhill," said Adam.

"It's gone! Nevermind. I should be sorry not to make you welcome, but we don't get folk from the Shire much, we're crowded already, and it always pours, we say in Bree. Nob! Get Bob to stable the five ponies!"

Nob appeared and nodded with a grin. "It's too bad you're not hobbits, I should be able to fit you in if that were the case. Can you make do? And you'll be wanting supper, likely. Come this way!" The four followed Mr. Butterbur and he showed them a small room. It was obvious they would not all fit.

"I'm terribly sorry, but I cannot do any better, we're so overrun," apologised Mr. Butterbur. "Do what you can, I will see what I may do." He left, and they all sighed. He was a good talker, no matter how busy he might be.

Adam surveyed the room. "I think I can help here," he said. He withdrew a polished dowel, eleven inches in length. "Holly and unicorn hair, eleven inches, a little bendy, good for DADA," he said. "I'll explain much later."

He muttered a series of phrases. The room shimmered and it grew larger inside, so that it was larger in the inside than it was on the outside. There was a fireplace, and Adam pointed at it, and muttered "Inflamare." The fire grew greater. There was a table, which Adam adjusted so as to seat all of them comfortably.

After they had washed, Nob and Mr. Butterbur came in with the food. Mr. Butterbur raised an eye at the adjustments.

"You'll be setting this to rights, I hope?" Adam nodded mutely. They tucked into the food as heartily as anyone, and good food it was too. Soup and meat, tarts and loaves, butter and cheese. After everyone was served, they got to the questions.

"I am Mr. Underhill. I am journeying to here, to meet a friend. My companions have disappeared," said Mr. Underhill, quite succintly.

"Mr. Underhill," said Edy. "I believe that your companions are currently where we were." This proved a great shock to Mr. Underhill. His hand twitched and he grabbed it.

"Strange things are afoot," said Adam. "I can tell you are not telling us everything, and I appreciate that, because we cannot tell you everything. We must be more certain of each other." Mr. Underhill nodded fervently. "I will say this of myself and my companions. I am a wizard, with magical powers."

"Once I was eleven, I studied at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, from home, my parents didn't want me leaving so far away. I graduated when I was still seventeen, a few days before I was to turn eighteen. A wizard or witch is legal at seventeen. That is why I could do as I have done tonight. My companions and I will travel with you, if you will, for it is through our inadvertent fault that your companions are lost."

"I would like that," Mr. Underhill said. They said no more, but continued dinner.

When they finished, Mr. Butterbur came to see them. "I would like it if you might join the company, and tell us of your stories and such that you might know of."

"That would be good," Trini said. Barliman looked at her.

"Begging each of your ladies' pardon, I must say I think it unwise for you to join us. There are men of disrepute down there, and I would not wish for you to be harmed."

"I believe we can hold our own, kind sir," said Trini. "But we thank you for your courtesy."

So they went down, and they were introduced to a great many people. Soon they found themselves alone, near the back wall, and near a weather-beaten man. He wore high boots of supple leather, a stained cloak of heavy dark-green cloth and a hood that shadowed his face. Suddenly, he leaned over.

"I am pleased to meet you, Master . . . Underhill, if that was your name?"

"It was," said Mr. Underhill. He felt uncomfortable.

"I am Strider," he said. "I should enjoy your company later, if you will."

"Maybe," Mr. Underhill said.

~*~

Some time later, Mr. Underhill was endeavoured to sing a song, and so he did. Suddenly he fell, and disappeared. Everyone gasped and then shouted for Barliman. Some people left the inn. Over in the corner, where no one save Strider, Adam, Trini and Edy were looking, he reappeared.

"You have put your foot in it now," said Strider, forcefully. "Or finger, perhaps?"

"What do you talk of?" asked Mr. Underhill.

"You know, but we will talk of it when the uproar has died down, Frodo Baggins. A matter of importance, to both of us."

Soon people began to disperse, and the five made their way to the parlour. Strider was unnoticed, until Adam had muttered 'Inflamare' once more.

"We should talk, Frodo Baggins. I have several things you may wish to hear, but I have my price."

"What might that be?" asked Frodo.

"Seeing as your three companions are not who they should be, I doubt you would be unhappy to let me join with you," said Strider.

"I should like to see first. Who are you and what is your business? I should like to know that before I say yes or no, meaning no offence," replied Frodo.

"Excellent! You are coming to your senses, I see. I was behind a hedge on the Road west of Bree and I hear a hobbit say Please remember, that the name Baggins must not be mentioned. I am Mr. Underhill, if any name must be given. I followed them because I was interested. Then I see that three hobbits hurry ahead. Then I see that a blackness that I can see through but they cannot seems to enshroud them, leaving you three," Strider said, indicating the three Power Rangers. "Then I see that their clothes change into what you wear now. Then the blackness lifted and one says 'Where are we?'

"Well," said Frodo. "What reason might you have for eavesdropping and following us? It may be honest or not, but I should advise that you will explain it, double quick."

"I was looking for a hobbit named Frodo Baggins. I had learned that he carried a secret that concerned me and my friends," explained Strider, his eyes twinkling. As Frodo leapt up, Strider added, "I shall take more care of the secret than you have, young Baggins."

"I know that your 'prank' was sheer accident, Frodo, nevertheless, your position is now dangerous," Strider said, speaking quietly.

"I know the horsemen are pursuing me, but they have missed me," said Frodo.

"Do not count on that!" Strider snapped. "You have seen one, or two of them. There are more. They are coming. Even in Bree, you cannot trust folk. I saw Bill Ferny leave."

"Why should that concern us?" asked Adam.

"An account of the performance would interest people. They would not need, or want to know his real name. I have told you. Will you take me on as a guide? I know these lands, I can take you to Rivendell faster than you could think. Do you want them to meet you? They are terrible!" He rose, standing tall.

"What would you say?" asked Frodo, turning to those who would serve as his companions for the time being.

"I will neither say yes or no," said Trini. "We are not versed in the matters of this, Frodo." Adam merely nodded, to agree with Trini.

"I will say this," said Edy. "And this only:

A light from the shadows shall spring;
Renewed shall be blade that was broken,

There was more," she continued. "But that was long ago, when I had the lores."

"Not so long ago," said Strider calmly.

"For you, perhaps," she answered.

Just as Strider chose to speak, Nob and Mr. Butterbur arrived. "It's like this. I hope that I have not been harmful, but I was told to look out for hobbits. Hobbits of the Shire. A hobbit named Baggins, going by the name of Underhill. Cutting it short, this here, Gandalf, gave me a description, and three months back, he gave me a letter to post to this Baggins."

"Well, I could get no one to post it, and so I have it here. Mr. FRODO BAGGINS, BAG END, HOBBITON in the SHIRE."

"A letter from Gandalf!" Frodo said, grabbing it.

Now Mr. Butterbur looked troubled. "I'm terribly sorry, but trouble seems to follow you. Some black riders were asking for you on Monday. They been asking all to Archet. And then that Ranger, Strider, he asks too. Wouldn't let him up though."

"Well, I have seen him, so no harm done there," said Strider, startling him. "The Black Riders come from Mordor. Evil is afoot here, Barliman. These three are not meant to be here."

"Mordor! This is very bad! What can we, I do?" he said, paling.

"You can let Mr. Underhill stay here tonight as Mr. Underhill, and forget the name Baggins," said Strider quietly.

"I'll do that," he said. "It's a pity that he drew attention to himself, I'll say. Mr. Bilbo's disappearance has been discussed many a time in Bree. I must go and bar the doors now."

"We will leave at dawn. Breakfast at six-thirty, if you please," said Strider. When they were left alone, Frodo read his letter, then he passed to Edy, noting that what she had said matched in part.

She read it, and her heartbeat quickened.

All that is gold does not glitter,
Not all those who wander are lost;
The old that is strong does not wither,
Deep roots are not reached by the frost.
From the ashes a fire shall be woken,
A light from the shadows shall spring;
Renewed shall be blade that was broken,
The crownless again shall be king.

Frodo spoke once more. "Why did you not say you were Gandalf's friend? It says here that I should look for you."

"I knew nothing of this letter. I had to prove myself without help, as it were to my knowledge. In any case, the Enemy has set traps before, so I was not likely to tell you more than was necessary. I was most unprepared for you three new companions, and so I chose to study you longer than I thought I would," said Strider, carefully.

"I know who you are now, Aragorn, son of Arathorn, heir of Isildur," said Edy. "However, you could still be a spy. For that, I say we bid farewell."

"And I say ¤ if I had killed the real Strider, I could kill you. And I should have killed you without so much talk. If I was after the Ring, I could have it ¤ NOW!" He stood up, growing taller, in his eyes gleamed a light, keen and commanding. He threw aside his cloak, revealing a sword, hung concealed by his side.

"But I am the real Strider, fortunately," he said. "And as Edy has said, I am Aragorn, son of Arathorn. Isildur's heir."

~*~

"I thought you were a friend, or so I wished," began Frodo, haltingly. "I do not think you are a servant of the Enemy. They would look fairer and feel fouler. If you understand."

"I look foul and feel fair. Is that it? All that is gold does not glitter, not all those who wander are lost."

"Then the verses spoke of you?" Frodo said.

"Too truly they spoke of Aragorn," said Edy. "But I say this. The Black Riders, I sense them in Bree."

"Then something will happen," said Aragorn. In the following half hour, Nob made up some false hobbits in beds with Strider, so that they might be safe. And one by one, they dropped off to sleep. Excepting Edy and Aragorn. They stayed to watch and talk.

"Where of do you three come from?" asked Aragorn. "You knew of me before."

"We are Power Rangers, transforming into Rangers so as to protect our home from forces of evil. We draw from different sources of Power. However, I have seen that only our Ninjetti Powers will work here," she said.

"This is Arda, the Third Age. by the middle of the Fourth Age, all those who will have been involved in this, will be dead. And then, strange workings happen. Arda is forever lost, replaced by a planet that is far older than Arda was, through some strange workings of space and time."

"Who are you?" asked Aragorn.

"A member of Erind└ril," said Edy. Aragorn looked at her.

"You know too much," he said.

"We are immortal," said Edy. "For my time, this is what would be forty one thousand BC. We came from the future, sent here by some evil spell."

"Edith Evaelon," said Aragorn. "That was how you knew the passage."

"Yes," Edy said. "The Elves gave me their prophecies and lore and I have kept it, and studied it. Before they passed over the Sea, I was made keeper of all that they had. Including their tales of this war."

"But . . . " Aragorn looked at her. "Edith Evaelon, the Keeper of Avaril Avaelon?"

"Yes," Edy said plainly. "It frightens me, Aragorn. What changes are even now being wrought? Will I still be the Keeper?"

"Sleep, Evaelon. I will watch, and guard." And so Edy slept.

~*~

In the early hours morning, Bree was attacked by the Black Riders. But the Brandybucks blew the Horn-call of Buckland, and soon answering calls were heard. The riders scattered, knowing that the room was empty and the Ring gone.

"I can't understand it!" cried Mr. Butterbur. "This has never happened!"

"Forget breakfast, a drink and a bite standing will make do," said Aragorn. "We shall be packed and ready to leave. Please prepare our horses."

But he came back. "All the horses and ponies are gone!" he said.

"We should not go much slower on foot," Aragorn said. "How much can you carry?"

"I can carry enough for all," said Edy.

"As much as is needed," added Trini.

"Could we not get one pony or horse?" asked Adam.

In the end, there was more than three hours delay. Bill Ferny had a pony, ill-treated, and worth not more than three or four silver pennies. And his price was twelve. In the end, Mr. Butterbur paid for it, and gave them eighteen besides. However, the ponies that Frodo had had, went in their travelling to Tom Bombadil, who sent them to Mr. Butterbur when he heard the news.

They had repacked more supplies and they finally left. Aragorn paced them quickly, and quite soon they were out of sight. Once they reached a track leading to the North, they stopped and sat down, to quickly redistribute.

"Should we . . . ?" Adam left the question hanging.

"I would say no," said Edy. "It won't help us in the long run. However, our Ninjetti suits will give us our normal benefits, but it will be as if we're unmorphed, for the most part. We'll have our weapons, if needs be."

They silently transmuted to Ninjetti, and were astonished. The suit looked now like travelling clothes. Edy did not look surprised, so Adam and Trini let it hang.

"We should NOT sleep like this," was the final warning. In the meantime, walking was quite pleasant, and they would have enjoyed it, if it were not for the events of the night before. Were it not for the skill of Aragorn, they would have been lost, but he took them quicker and further than Frodo had hoped. They saw and heard nothing, except for birds and one fox. As they neared the Midgewater Marshes, the ground became soggy and they had increasing difficulty getting through.

At last Edy and Trini transformed into their spirits and Adam took out his wand. "Reductio!" he cried, clearing a path far quicker. They got through and Adam simply reversed the spell.

They found a camping spot, and spent a lonely, uncomfortable night, bothered by biting insects and Adam could not get rid of them. The next day, the fourth, was better, but the night as comfortless. As Frodo lay trying to sleep, he thought he saw a light in the eastern sky that was not the dawn. Aragorn could make nothing of it.

by noon, they had cleared the marshes and could now make out Weathertop.

"I had hoped to meet Gandalf there," said Aragorn. "Now I say we go east, and then go to Weathertop from the north. We shall see then." They went on, seemingly never leaving the marshes behind. The mists and vapour were always there behind them. Eventually they made camp.

~*~

October 5th, 3018 in the Shire Reckoning.

"I hope that the thinning process does not go on, or I will become a wraith," said Frodo, as they made their way onward.

"Do not speak of such things!" cried Aragorn and Edy in the same breath.

~*~

October 6th, 3018 in the Shire Reckoning.

"Is there any barrow on Weathertop?" asked Trini.

"No. Not on any of these hills. The Men of the West did not live here, though they did build a watch-tower on Weathertop. Nothing remains of it, though it is said that Elendil watched for the coming of Gil-galad out of the West, in the days of the Last Alliance," said Aragorn, almost reflectively.

"And who was Gil-galad?" asked Adam.

Aragorn did not answer, but there came a reply.

Gil-galad was an Elven-king.
Of him the harpers sadly sing:
the last whose realm was fair and free
between the Mountains and the Sea.

His sword was long, his lance was keen,
his shining helm afar was seen;
the countless stars of heaven's field
were mirrored in his silver shield.

But long ago he rode away,
and where he dwelleth none can say;
for into darkness fell his star
in Mordor where the shadows are.

They looked at Edy, for the voice was indeed hers.

"Don't stop!" said Trini, in quiet amazement.

"I can go onwards," said Edy. "But it is all of Mordor, and I shall not repeat it here."

"So The Fall of Gil-galad was also there, Evaelon?" said Aragorn.

"Much was there," she replied, and then she fell silent.

They finally made it to the crown of Weathertop, amidst a ruined circle. They looked around them, and Aragorn picked up a stone. He examined it, and finally said, "I believe that Gandalf has been here, on October third, that is three days ago. I think he may have been in danger or in a hurry. I think now, Rivendell lies not less than two weeks journey away."

"A lot may happen," said Frodo, uneasily.

They sat down and Trini and Adam decided to explore the slopes. They came across firewood, which Trini chose to take back, and some footprints. When Aragorn examined them, he was upset that he hadn't been there to see them fresh.

"I don't like this place," said Adam quietly.

"I agree," said Trini. "Maybe we should break camp."

"It matters not," said Edy at long length. "The Black Riders are coming."

Aragorn looked at them. "I don't like this place either, Adam. As for breaking camp, there is nowhere better we could reach before nightfall. Their horses can see, and they use spies. They may be coming, but we can hope to evade them. Only the noon sun will destroy our shadows in their minds. In the dark their power grows."

"They also have other senses," continued Edy. "And the Ring draws them. Fire will be our friend."

"It is also a way of announcing our presence, as Sam would say," muttered Frodo.

They made camp properly, and they stretched out.

"What should we do for food?" asked Trini.

"Food of the wild," answered Aragorn. "But on our way, we will think of Elrond's tables. But til then, we tighten our belts." As the darkness fell, the cold increased, and they wrapped themselves warmly. At long last, Aragorn and Edy sang of L└thien Tin└viel. And then Trini stood at guard, transforming to her Ninjetti suit, picking up a flaming wood brand.

"I feel them coming!"

"Inflamare WhirlŹen!" cried Adam. His wand emitted a whip of fire.

Edy grabbed her bow, and notched a flame arrow.

For a long time, they waited. And as they felt shadows rise, Frodo felt desire within him to put on the Ring. And he resisted, but to no avail. He put it on, and he saw the five figures clearly. A crack of the whip, a flame arrow hurtling he saw as passing objects. The Ringwraiths approached him, and one came nearer. He drew his sword.

"O Elbereth! Gilthoniel!" he cried, stabbing at the foot of the Ringwraith. An arrow hit the Ringwraith, but not before Frodo was stabbed in the left shoulder. He slipped the Ring off.

Then he saw fire attacking, and then no more.

~*~

"I will go and find the athelas," said Edy, and off she went, loping along.

At long last, Frodo came to, and saw Adam holding his wand out, pointed at a knife. "I fear I cannot keep the blade from going much longer, Aragorn," he gasped. "I'm not powerful enough!"

"You have done what you could," said Aragorn. "I know much more than I did. Edy was right, we need athelas." Frodo saw the blade melt as Adam fell to the ground, recovering his spent energy. Aragorn pocketed the hilt.

Trini wiped Frodo's brow. Edy slipped back, holding aloft triumphantly three plants of athelas. "Long did I walk. But I found these. Hopefully they will help."

Aragorn crushed a plant, and placed them into boiling water. With the water, he bathed Frodo's shoulder, and Frodo felt the pain and frozen cold lessen. Then once he was done, Edy took the water and drank some water down. She passed it to Trini and Adam, and they followed. Frodo and Aragorn refused.

"Let us leave Weathertop now," said Aragorn. Then taking the baggage, Adam cast weight charms on it, and they carried it easily. The pony seemed in greater health, and it willingly carried Frodo. And they walked onwards to Rivendell. At the end of the day, Frodo's pain grew again, but he made no mention of it. Aragorn seemed beaten down, and the others, having nothing to say, trudged on silently. And so the days passed.

On the fifth night, they returned to the Road. The next morning, Aragorn found an elf-stone, and he and Edy agreed that they could clear the Bridge, but beyond, they did not know.

"My heart lies in fair Rivendell," said Aragorn suddenly. "But it is not my fate to sit in peace, even when I rest in the House of Elrond Halfelven." Edy looked at him.

"But everything will turn to the West." In the morning they continued onwards, but Aragorn was less easy.

"We have gone too far north. We could push on and circle round to Rivendell, but I do not know the way. We must find the Ford of Bruinen."

Adam at once rested his wand and muttered, "Point me." The wand spun around and around. But it gave no indication of where to go, and finally they headed off between two hills. Soon Adam was forced to carry Frodo, as the pony could not get up the ridge of high land.

"I'm worried about Frodo," said Trini quietly. "Will they cure him in Rivendell?"

"Aragorn and I have done what we can here in the wilderness," replied Edy. "But I will use more athelas." Quietly she prepared it, after Adam had boiled water for her. She laved Frodo's shoulder with it once more, and again the pain and cold lessened.

"I believe that there is some poison or evil still at work," said Aragorn, quietly. "Neither I or Edy can drive it out. But we will not give up hope yet." They camped again, and in the morning, no one had had much sleep. But they started the next day, heading for the Road. They had no other way of making it to the Ford.

They had been going along, when they came across three trolls. Strider walked up to the three stooping trolls and bade them get up. Nothing happened, and Frodo laughed.

"Why, these must be the trolls Gandalf caught, arguing over thirteen dwarves and one hobbit!" The three Rangers looked at each other, and then Edy recalled it suddenly, and laughed gaily.

"Besides, it is broad daylight," she said. "How do you feel, Frodo?"

"Much better," he said. "I don't feel as if I could sing, but perhaps someone else could?"

"Well," said Trini doubtfully. "I don't rightly know much, but here goes."

Do not go gentle into that good night,
Old age should burn and rave at close of day.
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Wise men at their end know dark is right
Because their words had forked no lightning they
Do not go gentle into that good night.

Good men, the last wave by , crying how bright
Their frail deeds might have danced in a green bay,
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Wild men, who caught and sang the sun in flight
And learned too late they grieved it on its way,
Do not go gentle into that good night.

Grave men who see with blinding sight,
Blind eyes could blaze like meteors and be gay.
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

And you, my father, there on the sad height,
Curse, bless me with your fierce tears, I pray.
Do not go gentle into that good night.
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

"They are not my words," said Trini. "Never are you to credit me with having made it, for I did not." And they continued onwards. In the afternoon, Aragorn pointed out the stone that had marked the trolls' gold.

"None is left, for Bilbo gave it all away," said Frodo, unexpectedly. "He did not feel it was really his, since it came from robbers."

Under early evening's shadow's, the Road lay quiet. No one apart from themselves could be seen. And they looked for a place to camp. But as they did, they heard a horse's light trot, and hid among some bushes. And Edy suddenly leapt from hiding and stood in the path.

"Glorfindel! You who dwell in Elrond Halfelven's House!" The horse reared up and Glorfindel leapt from the horse. He spoke urgently to Edy, and she beckoned the others. They came up and Glorfindel looked worried. He once more spoke to Edy, and she spoke once more in the tongue of the Elves.

"Hail and well met at last!" Glorfindel at last said to Frodo. "I have been searching for you, for Gandalf had not yet reached us in Rivendell, ere I set out nine days ago. We must ride in haste now, for the Nine are behind us, and the Ford may be lost to us."

Aragorn produced the hilt and Glorfindel shuddered, but took and looked at it. At length he gave it back.

"There are evil things, though you may not read them, written on that blade. Keep it, but handle it little, Aragorn. I will do what I can, though if what Evaelon says is true, and she can do nothing, I can do little." He looked at Frodo's shoulder, and searched with his fingers. Frodo felt the cold grow less, and he found new hope and strength.

"You shall ride my horse," said Glorfindel. "Do not worry, he will not cause you to fall. And if the Black Riders should come, he will far outpace them."

"I will not leave these people, though I hardly know them. I will not leave them in danger," said Frodo, stubbornly.

"The danger lies with you," said Edy. "Trini can change and leave this place. Adam will simply -"

"Disapparate," interjected Adam.

"Aragorn has fought these Riders many a time. And I am more powerful than you would care to think," finished Edy.

"It is what you bear that brings us into peril, Frodo," replied Glorfindel. "In which case you are better off fleeing while we fight." And Frodo had no answer and he mounted the horse. The pony was given the other's burdens, and for a time they made good speed. But after a time, they could not go on, and even Edy was looking strained and tired. They made camp, and it seemed that barely had they fallen to sleep than it was that Glorfindel woke them.

"Drink," said Glorfindel, and so they did. It had no taste, but they felt stronger and more energetic.

~*~

October 20th, 3018 in the Shire Reckoning.

They had travelled afar, when Glorfindel shouted, "Fly! The enemy is upon us!" At once the white horse leapt forward, and out of the trees that they had just vacated rode five Black Riders.

"Ride forward! Ride!" shouted Glorfindel. Trini changed to a great eagle and Adam clambered up. They flew up but not away. "Ride on!" cried Glorfindel. "noro lim, noro lim, Asfaloth!" The white horse sprang away, and went like the wind along the last lap of the Road. Frodo had drawn his sword. Four more Black Riders came up and began to cut to the Ford.

But it was as if the horse had wings, for Frodo felt foaming water on his feet. He was climbing the slope. He was across the Ford.

"Go back! Go back to Mordor, back to that foul land, and bother me no longer!" His voice sounded weak and shrill in his ears, and the Riders laughed.

"We will take you to Mordor!" they cried. "The Ring! The Ring!"

"by Elbereth and L└thien the Fair," said Frodo with a great effort, and he hefted his sword, "you shall have neither the Ring or me!" The leader was halfway across the Ford, and he reared up. Frodo's sword broke and fell from his hand. At that moment there was a great rushing and roaring. The river rose and carried on its course, overwhelming the Riders in its midst.

With failing senses, he heard cries and saw a white figure that seemed to strike fear into the horses, for they leapt into the frothing waters and were carried away. Then Frodo fell, and saw and heard no more. But Trini in her great eagle form swooped down and Adam pointed his wand and muttered an incantation, and Frodo was lifted up on to her back, and they flew to the place of Rivendell, toward the House of Elrond.

~*~

October 24th, 3018 in the Shire Reckoning.

Frodo began to stir, and once he had opened his eyes, he saw a ceiling, flat and with beams richly carved. He tried to remember, but could only think that he had had a long sleep, or perhaps been ill. And then the shriek of an eagle came to him, and a feathery beating of wings.

"Where am I, what time is it, and why does an eagle seem so familiar?" he said to the ceiling.

"You are in the House of Elrond, and it is ten o'clock in the morning. It is October 24th, by the Shire Reckoning, if it pleases you to know," said a voice. Frodo sat up in amazement and looked at the person.

"Gandalf!" he cried. Gandald nodded.

"Yes, I am here. And you're lucky to be here, my dear Frodo. After all that has transpired! It is absurd." Frodo lay down, deciding he didn't want to argue about it. He began to sort through all he had gone through, and tried to make it up to Rivendell.

"Where's Aragorn? And the others? And what exactly happened at the Ford? It is all so dim and uncertain," said Frodo, looking at Gandalf. Gandalf blew a smoke ring, and answered.

"Aragorn is elsewhere, attending to some of Elrond's business. As for the others, it seems they are what they say they are. Except in the case of Edith Evaelon." Frodo looked up. "Not to worry, Frodo. I have met her before, and yet she seems not as she should. It is as if she has gotten to know more than she has had time to. But she is who she says she is. And she knows much, but says little." Frodo seemed satisfied with that.

"As to what happened at the Ford, it is no wonder that it seems dim. You were beginning to fade, and soon you would have been beyond our aid. And quite likely even beyond the Evaelon's aid. But you have strength, as was shown in the Barrow. That was touch and go, I do wish you could have held out at Weathertop."

"You know a great deal of events already, even those that I have not spoken of," said Frodo. "How is this?"

"You have talked long and I have been able to read your mind and memory, it has not been hard. Do not fear, for though I said 'absurd', I did not mean it. I think well of all of you, it is no small feat to have come so far through the danger, and still bear the Ring," ended Gandalf.

"If we had not had Strider, then I fear we could not have done it," said Frodo. "Why didn't you meet us?"

"I was delayed, and you shall hear more at the Council we will have soon," said Gandalf, gently. "Elrond has given orders that you should not be tired out today, so I think that is enough talk."

"But talking would stop me thinking and wondering, which would too tire me out. Will you at least say why you were delayed?" asked Frodo.

"I was captured, and that is all I shall say for the present. Even though I am greater than many good and evil powers, there are many of both which are greater than me. Against some I have not been tested. But my time draws near, the Morgul-lord and his Riders have rode forth. War is preparing!" said Gandalf solemnly.

"You knew of them?" asked Frodo.

"I did. Partly through the Edith Evaelon I was aquainted with. I spoke of them to you, and I did not know they had arisen, or else I would have fled alongside you. For the moment, we have been saved by Aragorn."

"But what of Edy?" said Frodo. "I seem to recollect she played her part . . . "

"Indeed she did," said Gandalf. "But since you have been in Rivendell, she has shut herself up. She seems to think she could have done more, and averted this. This is partly why I said previously that 'she knows much, but says little'. Perhaps now that you are awake, you can talk with her."

They fell silent, and at last Frodo spoke. "I have been reckoning, and I cannot bring the total to October 24th. It should be the 21st."

Gandalf smiled at that. "Elrond, and once Edy, have tended you for four nights and three days. How do the side and shoulder feel?"

"That long?" Frodo was surprised. "They do not feel: that is an improvement, but I can move my arm, and it is no longer cold."

"I had long suspected that a piece of the blade was still within you. But it was only removed by Edy last night. Deeply buried and working inwards. It is gone now, there is no cause for alarm. It seems that Hobbits fade very reluctantly. You bore it seventeen days, and the Big People, I have known strong warriors of theirs that would have been overwhelmed by it very quickly," said Gandalf. Frodo seemed to speak, but there came a tentative knock.

"Come in," said Frodo. The door opened, and in came Edy. She crossed to his bedside and knelt down.

"Thank the Grid you are alright, Frodo," she said quietly. "If only I were not bound . . . but no matter, you are safe. Trini and Adam will be most glad."

"You are all okay?" Frodo said.

"Yes, we are all here, safe and rested. We are not out of danger, but the Ringwraiths are dispersed. But soon there will be much feasting and merrymaking, with you and us in places of honor."

"It is strange that I should be shown so much kindness by so many people," murmered Frodo.

"There are many reasons why they should. I am a good reason. The Ring is another: you are the Ring-Bearer. You are the heir of Bilbo, the Ring-Finder," said Gandalf. "And the Evaelon is another reason."

"Come, now, Frodo. I am sure that there are some people who would wish to see you." So speaking, Edy helped him up and they went out of the room, out on to a porch. There Trini and Adam sat, quietly talking. Edy had explained who and what she really was, and they were sworn to secrecy, until such a time came as to reveal it to the rest of the team.

"Noble friend," said Adam. "We shall make way for you, Bearer of the Ring." Frodo sat down, and the four looked at each other.

"Friends, you have done much more than I would have expected you to," began Frodo. "It was well within your rights to just give up and do your own thing."

"Yes, but we wanted adventure," said Trini. "So we came along. Elrond has explained much, and we did the right thing by coming. Besides, let us not dwell on that, but go to the feast." And they calmly entered the feast, and they were given places of honor at Elrond's table.

Elrond was old, yet he did not look old nor young. The memory of many things, both glad and sorrowful were written upon his face, the only real indicator of his age. And at the table sat Elrond, Glorfindel, Gandalf, Edy, Trini, Adam, Frodo, Aragorn, Arwen Evenstar, and a dwarf named GlŠin.

"GlŠin at your service," he said, bowing low.

"Edith Evaelon at your service and your family's," Edy replied, lowering her head.

"Are you the GlŠin, one of twelve companions of Thorin Oakenshield?" asked Frodo, rising. "Frodo Baggins at your service."

"Indeed, and you must be the heir of Bilbo the renowed, but just between you and me, he was a lousy burglar," GlŠin replied.

"Indeed," said Gandalf. "He failed as a burglar, but he pulled out many a surprise, GlŠin."

"I did not mean to say that he did not," said GlŠin. "But my people have been long at work." So saying, he began to recount the doings of the Dwarf-kingdom. Trini, Frodo and Adam listened with great interest, asking many questions. Afterwards, Frodo left, and spoke with Bilbo, whilst the three Rangers took counsel with each other. Their decisions had to be made, verily they sought judgement.

~*~

The next day, Frodo was refreshed and well. And by nine, all peoples were gathered in the gardens of Rivendell. Elrond drew Frodo to him, seating him by his side and said:

"Here, my friends, is the hobbit, Frodo son of Drogo. Few have ever come hither through greater peril or on an errand more urgent." He then named those who Frodo had not seen before. GlŠin's son Gimli. Galdor, an Elf from the Grey Havens. Legolas, clad in green and brown, carrying a message from Thranduil, King of the Elves of Northern Mirkwood. And a man from Gondor, clothed in their customs; Boromir.

And so, GlŠin spoke first, speaking of the disquiet the Dwarves had experienced, since Balin had disappeared thirty years ago. Then came the silence of Moria, and they were uneasy of it. And then the messenger from Mordor, had come, seeking hobbits.

"His words were 'For Sauron knows that one of these was known to you on a time.'," said GlŠin. "I have been sent at last to warn Bilbo of this, for we have thought long and hard of this, having seen no more of the messenger since he rode away. Messengers have also come to King Brand of Dale, and we fear he may yield."

Then Elrond spoke of Sauron and the Rings of Power, having said that GlŠin would understand once he told the tale. The full tale was known to none save Edy, and many grew fearful as Elrond continued. He came to the Last Alliance and the War, and continued onwards, speaking carefully of what he had seen.

Then Boromir rose. "Master Elrond, I am come from Gondor, let me speak more of it." Elrond nodded his leave, and Boromir spoke. "Long has my father, the Steward of Gondor kept the forces of Mordor at bay. by the blood of our people are your lands kept safe. For we of Gondor, are being driven further from our lands, and we cannot claim them again. I have come, speeding as fast as I know how over a hundred and ten days, to ask for counsel, and to unravel words, that were given us."

"I had a dream of the eastern sky growing dark, and a growing thunder, but in the West a pale light lingered, and I heard a voice, remote but clear, crying:

Seek for the Sword that was Broken
In Imladris it dwells;
There shall be counsels taken
Stronger than Morgul-spells.
There shall be shown a token
That Doom is near at hand,
For Isildur's Bane shall waken,
And the Halfling forth shall stand.

Of these words we understood little, and we spoke to our father, Denethor, Lord of Minas Tirith, wise in the lore of Gondor. He would only say that in the far northern dale, Elrond Halfelven dwelt in Imladris. My brother was eager to set out, but since the way was doubtful and dangerous, I came myself."

"And here it shall be made clear to you, Boromir," came a voice. It was Edy, but she had changed her appearance to that of an elf, and was not recognised as Edy. She had deftly taken Aragorn's sword, and she cast the shards of Narsil on the table.

"Who are you two?" asked Boromir.

"He is Aragon, son of Arathorn. You ¤ ," said Legolas.

"Havo dad, Legolas!" snapped Aragorn.

"Isildur's heir?" Boromir breathed.

"Yes, Isildur's heir," said Edy, leaving Boromir's question half answered. Frodo leaped up, expectant of Aragorn demanding the Ring.

"Then the Ring is yours, and not mine!" he cried.

"Not mine, and not yours. It has just been ordained that you will carry it," he said. "Bring it forth, and Boromir will understand." Frodo got up, and placed the ring on the stone pillar there. "Behold Isildur's Bane!" finished Aragorn.

"The Halfling, the doom of Minas Tirith come at last? But what use is a broken sword?" Boromir asked, almost contempteously.

"Not the doom of Minas Tirith," said Edy, coming and picking up the Ring. "But certainly, doom is at hand." She placed it down. "For the Sword that was Broken is the Sword of Elendil. It was in the moment, when all hope had faded, that Isildur, son of the king, took up his father's sword. As he did, Sauron stepped on it and it broke, but still Isildur held it, and he smote Sauron, cutting his finger off, the one that wore the Ring."

"Now that you have found the sword you sought, what do you ask? Do you wish for the House of Elendil to return to the Land of Gondor?" asked Aragorn.

"I did not come to beg any boon, but only the meaning of a riddle. Yet, the Sword of Elendil would be a help beyond our hope ¤ if such a thing could indeed return out of the shadows of the past."

Bilbo stood and proclaimed:

All that is gold does not glitter,
Not all those who wander are lost;
The old that is strong does not wither,
Deep roots are not reached by the frost.
From the ashes a fire shall be woken,
A light from the shadows shall spring;
Renewed shall be blade that was broken,
The crownless again shall be king.

"Not terribly good, but to the point, ¤ if you need more than the word of Elrond. If that was worth a journey of a hundred and ten days, then you had best listen." He sat down and whispered to Frodo, "I made that myself for him, long ago when he first told me of himself."

Aragorn finally spoke at length, telling of his part in keeping unsavoury peoples from harming innocent people. "I am 'Strider' to a fat man to who lives a day's march from foes that would ruin his town, were it not guarded ceaselessly." At last he finished.

"How do we know the Ring is his?" Boromir said.

And then Bilbo spoke, first asking pardon for telling the story differently, looking at GlŠin, and then he spoke of Gollum and the riddles in the dark. Then Frodo spoke of his journey to Rivendell, and what had happened to his companions.

Everything was questioned, considered and examined. And when he sat down, he said to Bilbo, "The tale is not complete. I want to know more, especially about Gandalf." Galdor overheard him.

"How do we know? What has been done?" he asked. Finally, Gandalf spoke and made clear that the Ring Frodo carried was the One Ring, and that it had to be the one Sauron sought. He reported how the words Isildur had recorded could be seen, if one dared and had the strength of will to cast it into a fire.

"And it says: Ash nazg durbatul─k, Ash nazg gimbatul, Ash nazg thrakatul─k, Agh burzum-ishi krimpatul." Gandalf's voice became menacing, powerful and harsh.

Legolas stood. "I must say this. Gollum has escaped us, through over-kindness. We would guard him in a tree, and we were one day waylaid by Orcs. We pursued them, leaving our guards. And once we drove out the evil, we returned to find them slain or taken, and Gollum gone. He too, will seek the ring, I believe, if what everyone has said here today is correct. We have searched, but not found."

Gandalf then reported the failing of Saruman, speaking of his fight and imprisonment. And at long last Glorfindel spoke. "Then we must destroy the Ring."

~*~

Everyone was silent. Then Gimli picked up his axe. "What are we waiting for?!" He tried to smash the Ring with his axe, but his axe shattered amidst the Eye of Sauron.

Elrond spoke. "The Ring cannot be destroyed, Gimli, son of Gloin, by any craft that we here possess. The Ring was made in the fires of Mount Doom. Only there can it be unmade. It must be taken deep into Mordor, and cast back into the firey chasm from whence it came. One of you must do this."

"One does not simply walk into Mordor. Its black gates are guarded by more than just Orcs. There is evil there that does not sleep. And the great Eye is ever-watchful. It is a barren wasteland, riddled with fire and ash and dust. The very air that you breathe is a poisonous fume. Not with ten thousand men could you do this. It is folly," countered Boromir.

Legolas retorted, "Have you heard nothing Lord Elrond has said? The ring must be destroyed!"

"And I suppose you think you're the one to do it?!" snapped Gimli, eyeing Legolas.

Boromir spoke, with a depressing lilt, "And if we fail, what then? What happens when Sauron takes back what is his?"

Gimli snapped again. "I will be dead before I see the Ring in the hands of an Elf!" At this, all the Elves stood up, and then the Dwarves followed suit. Then everyone else did likewise, except Frodo. "Never trust an Elf!" finished Gimli.

Gandalf tried to reason. "Do you not understand? While you bicker amongst yourselves, Sauron's power grows! None can escape it! You'll all be destroyed!"

But they continued arguing. Edy sighed and quietly moved out of the area so that if she needed to come back, it would look like she had been eavesdropping. And finally, Frodo stood up.

"I will take it! I will take it!" Everyone stopped and listened to him. "I will take the ring to Mordor . . . Though ¤ though I do not know the way."

Gandalf strode towards Frodo. "I will help you bear this burden, Frodo Baggins. As long as it is yours to bear." He placed his hand on his shoulder.

Aragorn said from where he sat, "If by my life or death, if I can protect you, I will." He got up and knelt before Frodo. "You have my sword."

Legolas also came to stand beside Frodo, saying, "And you have my bow."

Gimli, not to be outdone by an Elf, said, "And my axe." He strode to stand beside Legolas.

Boromir walked slowly towards Frodo. "You carry the fates of us all, little one. If this is indeed the will of the Council, then Gondor will see it done." Edy chuckled silently, but with a feeling of sorrow. Already it was not as it should be.

She made herself look normal, and walked to join them. "I follow with Frodo. He won't be going anywhere without me."

"No, indeed, it is hardly possible to separate you from him, even when he is summoned to a secret Council, and you are not," said Elrond. "But who are you? Only Gandalf and Aragorn know truly, and they are not speaking."

"Because who I am is very convoluted, Elrond Halfelven. I will say this only once. You have met me, and are yet to meet me for the second and last time. I am who I am, yet not the one you would expect me to be," she said, by way of explanation.

"And if Edy goes, then we do too," said Trini and Adam, coming up and joining the group.

Elrond looked at them, clearly startled. Then he said in agreement, "Nine companions. So be it! You shall be the Fellowship of the Ring."

~*~

The Rangers and Frodo had been in the House of Elrond almost two months when the scouts returned. They had seen nothing of the Riders or any other servant of the Enemy. Nothing had been seen of Gollum; but wolves were gathering and hunting up the Anduin. They could account for all Black Riders save one, and they knew it was time for them to depart.

And Elrond called the Fellowship to him. "If the Ring is to go, then it must make haste, for you cannot count on aid, be it by war or force. Do you hold to your word, Frodo, that you will be the Ring-Bearer?"

"Yes. I will go," said Frodo, resolutely.

"Then I cannot help you much, for I foresee little of your road. How your task is to be achieved, I cannot say. Foes, open and closed, you will meet, and friends along the way will help you. Your companions hold true?" said Elrond.

Edy stepped forward. "You see little of our road, but I know it all. What will happen, it must happen, and to that end, I will come, and aid in making them transpire with the best possible result."

"I will represent my people," said Legolas. "The Elves of Mirkwood, and all Elves who are kinsfolk. I shall go to the passes of the Mountains, from there, I cannot say."

"I too, will go to the passes of the Mountains," said Gimli. "I go, representing Dwarves. It may be possibly like the last time a hobbit travelled among Dwarves."

"This is to be my great task, and possibly the last of my labours. I will help you bear this burden, Frodo, as long as you carry it." Gandalf spoke calmly.

"The Ring concerns me closely," said Aragorn. "I shall go, and perhaps to Minas Tirith, if such is the need. And the Sword-that-was-Broken shall be renewed ere we set out to war."

Renewed shall be blade that was broken,
The crownless again shall be king.

Edy ceased her speech.

"Indeed," said Aragorn.

"My path lies with Minas Tirith, whatever the decision of the rest of the Fellowship," said Boromir. "But our paths are one and the same, for many a mile, and therefore, I will come with you."

"I cannot say that I represent anyone, nor does the Ring concern me," began Adam. "Nor can I say that I know what will happen, or that my path lies with you. I will say this: I do not know much of anything, but I will go wherever I must, to protect the innocent."

At last Trini found her voice. "I do not believe that anyone here asked for this 'responsibility'. Neither do I think we want to do it. However, we have been selected, by our own will and the will of fate, and so, I will follow you with a song in my heart."

"Now the tale of Nine is filled. In seven days the Company must depart," said Elrond and he sighed.

~*~

The Sword of Elendil was forged anew by Elven smiths, and on its blade was traced a device of seven stars set between the crescent Moon and the rayed Sun, and about them was written many runes; for upon Mordor war was carried by Aragorn, son of Arathorn. The light of Sun and Moon shone red and cold upon it, and its edge was keen and hard.

Edy picked it up, and held it to the sky. And it seemed that both Moon and Sun shone upon the blade. In a sweeping circle, the Monolith of the Ninjetti was seen. And from it, she called new weapons for the Rangers. They would come when needed.

Aragorn gave it a new name, and he called it And└ril, Flame of the West.

And Edy sat long in the House of Elrond, recalling the lores she no longer had with her, and with her sat Aragorn and Gandalf, looking over the maps and speaking of the road and perils. Frodo spent time with Bilbo recounting the journey, looking over his book, or composing verses, whilst Trini sat for many an hour, meditating as she never had before. And Adam also sat, recalling many spells that would help them along the way.

Unbeknownst to them, except for Edy, on the day of departure, Bilbo was alone with Frodo, and he returned his sword.

"I'm afraid it was broken, and I forgot to get it mended. So I thought you might wish to have my sword," said Bilbo, taking a shabby scabbard from a box, withdrawing from it a sword, its blade glittering. "This is Sting. Take it, I shan't want it again."

Frodo accepted it. "And there is this!" Bilbo took out a shirt of mail, close woven rings, as supple almost as linen, cold as ice, and harder than steel. It shone of moonlight silver, studded with white gems, carrying with it a belt of pearl and crystal.

"I brought all momentos of my trip with me, except for the Ring, as you well know. This is my dwarf mail that Thorin gave me. I do not need it, except to look, and you could use it far better. There is hardly any weight," Bilbo said. "I think it would turn even the knives of the Black Riders."

Frodo put it on, and then his new travelling clothes. He then spoke more with Bilbo, and then left to join the Company.

The Company had little gear of war. Aragorn carried And└ril, no other weapon, and was clad in rusty green and brown, as Ranger of the Wilderness. Boromir carried a long sword, the fashion of And└ril but of less lineage, and clad in the garb of Gondor, he carried a shield and his war-horn. Gimli wore a short shirt of steel rings, and carried a broad bladed axe. Legolas was clad in the fashion of the Elves, carrying a long white knife and a bow and quiver. Gandalf was clad in his normal fashion, and carried only his staff.

Morphed as Ninjetti, Edy now simply wore a green leather bikini set, with a cover of a faded pink cloth, clasped at the left shoulder with a gold coin bearing the Owl. It came down her side, and exposed her left side, leaving her right shoulder and arm bare. She carried a bow of silver.

Adam wore long pants, and a sleeved shirt of muted green, with his gold coin bearing the Frog set in his belt. He carried a chakram, a small disc which could neatly double as an annulus in Maths class. Trini wore simply faded yellow leather and metal pants and a long sleeved top. At her solar plexus was set a gold coin bearing the Eagle. At her belt were two daggers, curved and deadly.

"Loud and clear it sounds in the valley of the hills and then let all the foes of Gondor flee!" So saying, Boromir put his horn to his lips, and delivered a blast, echoing from rock to rock and all that heard the blast in Rivendell leapt up.

"Slow you should be to wind that horn again, Boromir," said Elrond, "until the borders of your land are upon you and dire need sets fast."

"Your words are heeded, Master Elrond. But always have I let my horn cry at setting forth, and thereafter we may walk in shadows, I will not go as a thief in the night," said Boromir, hooking his horn.

All were furnished with warm clothing except the Ninjetti, having no need for it, and they all carried packs full of their stores. On none other than the pony that came from Bree, they had stowed extra food and blankets and other needs. So Bill came as a beast of burden, and yet he was the only one to not seem depressed. And so they waited. At long last, Elrond and Gandalf emerged from the House of Elrond

"My last word is this," said Elrond. "The Ring-Bearer is setting out on the Quest of Mount Doom. On him alone, is any charge laid: neither to cast away the Ring, nor to deliver it to any servant of the Enemy, nor indeed to let any handle it save the members of the Company and the Council, and even then only in gravest need. You others go as free companions, to help him on his way. You may tarry, or come back, or turn aside to other paths as chance allows. The further you go, the harder it will be to turn aside; yet no oath or bond is laid on you to go further than you will. For yet you do not know the strength of your hearts, and you do not know what each may meet upon the road."

"Faithless is he that says farewell when the road darkens," said Gimli.

"Would you have then, a companion who is useless due to lack of strength of heart and mind?" said Edy.

"Let him not vow to walk in the dark, who has not seen the nightfall," said Elrond.

"Your pardon, Evaelon. Yet sworn word may strengthen quaking heart," returned Gimli.

"Or break it," said Elrond. "Look not too far ahead! May the blessing of Elves and Men all Free Folk go with you."

"Good luck," said Bilbo. "I shall expect a full account when you return."

~*~

The first part of their journey was dreary and arduous, and none remembered much of it. No fires, constant walking, little sleep and regular watch sessions they grew to loath, but after a fortnight, their luck changed, for the weather changed and they at last saw the Sun. Now they saw the mountain slopes before them.

"There is the land our fathers worked of old. We have wrought the image of those mountains into our works of metal and stone, and into our songs and tales. They stand tall in our dreams: Baraz, Zirak, Shath─r. I know them and their names, for underneath lies Khazad-d─m, the Dwarrowdelf, that is now called the Black Pit, Moria in the Elvish tongue." Gimli paused.

"We are making for the Dimrill Dale," said Edy. "But our path will go through Moria. Heed my advice, and go there now." And she fell silent.

"Are you sure? For I will not go through Moria unless I had no other choice, and even then I might not," said Gandalf.

"I am sure. However, do as you will, I have said my part." That morning, they had their first fire, and their supper/breakfast was indeed merrier than it had been. Aragorn was restless, and sat deep in thought.

"I miss not the East Wind, but I miss something," Aragorn said. "I have been here, and it has been noisy, with life. Now we are the only noise for miles, the ground echoes. I hope it is only surprise at seeing us, but I sense a watchfulness."

It was Trini's turn for watch, but she was joined by Aragorn. The others took to sleep, and then the silence was felt by Trini. And then she saw a black patch, which she spoke to Aragorn of.

"Lie flat and still!" he hissed, pulling into the shade of a bush. The black patch broke, and some came for their ridge. They were black crows of a type. Once they were gone, they roused the others.

They lay in hiding, and at dusk, Aragorn lead them a good path. It was dark and Edy felt something. A shadow passed over the moon, as she looked.

"A shadow just passed over the moon. Did you see it?" she asked.

"I felt it. It may have been a cloud," answered Gandalf.

"Moving fast then, and not with the wind," muttered Aragorn. The next morning Aragorn, Edy and Gandalf stood in counsel.

"The path of Moria is the path," said Edy. "But if we are to try Caradhras, then we will need wood, as large as we can bear. We will not use it, unless it is a choice of death or fire."

Aragorn listened. "I think the path of Caradhras is watched, or at least, where we would pass through. But the path of Moria is a path I do not wish to try."

And so they set upon Caradhras. And they made good time, until snow began to fall. And at long last, after a long silence they halted.

"I feared this," said Gandalf. Aragorn nodded.

"I too, but less than others. We are not high, we are low, where paths are usually open. We shall press on."

"This might be a contrivance of the Enemy," said Boromir. He was answered by Gimli, who spoke in low tones.

"If he can draw snow from the North to trouble us, then his arm is long indeed."

"That is it, precisely," said Gandalf. "His arm is grown long."

But as they struggled onwards, they had to quit. Adam blasted a cave out of the cliff as boulders fell, and they hurried inside, but they were still bitterly cold.

"It is no good," said Trini. "Is there no other path?" She was met by silence.

"There is," said Aragorn at last. "Though it is a path of unknown dangers."

"Unknown dangers seem better than this," said Adam. "It is very cold, though we have warm clothing."

"Then you will have a mouthful of miruvor," said Gandalf, handing around a flask. Edy's eyes lit up and she looked at Gandalf.

Once they had all drunk, they felt less weary. And they looked to the snow, which still came in and froze them. At last they tried to make a fire at Boromir's command, but none could make a flame to hold alight. Finally Adam roared "INFLAMARE!" and a fire leapt among the wood that they had carried. Time passed, and it was almost dawn as the last faggot of wood was thrown on. And they left the shelter and forced a path to safety, leaving the malice of Caradhras behind.

Finally they took council as they rested.

"There is no other road?' asked Trini. "Then we are lost."

"There is another, one that I said would be our road. Aragorn wished to try Caradhras, and so we did," said Edy.

"We cannot return," said Frodo, breaking his silence. "It would only be worse in the future."

"That is so. Then who will take the path of Moria with me?" asked Gandalf.

Gimli looked up.

"There is no other choice," Gandalf said. And long they debated, and agreed to leave the decision to the morn. In the morn, they set out. Adam walked with Trini, talking over their assessments of their companions. At long last, they were at the Elven way of Hollin.

"Holly was the token of the people of these lands," said Gandalf. "Planted everywhere to mark their domain, for the West Door was made for use in their traffic with the Lords of Moria, when there was still close friendship at times between different folk, even Elves and Dwarves."

"It was not the fault of the Dwarves the friendship waned," said Gimli.

"Nor was it the fault of the Elves, for I would have heard," returned Legolas.

"I have heard both," said Edy. "I will not give judgement now, but put aside for later. But I ask you, Legolas and Gimli, to at least be friends for this journey, for we need you both. The walls are shut and hidden, the sooner we find them, the better."

"But can you not lead us to them?" said Boromir. Edy glanced at him, and slightly shook her head.

"I fear not, Man of Gondor. I know this path, yet this is my first time treading it."

"There is no need for formality," said Boromir, smiling.

"Very well, Boromir," returned Edy. "Now let us find the path!"

Gandalf began to search, whilst the others began to make ready to enter Moria. Suddenly, Edy arched her back and collapsed to the ground, demorphing into her normal clothes, not seen for many a week. Blood billowed from a wound going through her right shoulderblade, to the valley between her breasts. Trini dropped to her knees, only to see the wound non existant. Yet blood still poured through Edy's clothes.

"What is going on?" asked Legolas. Trini shook her head, indicating she did not know. Adam morphed to Ninjetti Ranger, and began scanning. At long last, he powered down.

"Scans indicate a distinctive magical DNA signature. However, the DNA cannot be determined or tracked. It's amazing that I could figure it was a magical DNA signature. A lot of Yellow and White energy was also recorded. What it means, I don't know." The others, having been briefed about the Ranger Powers, merely nodded in understanding.

Edy's eyes fluttered open. She stood up, and summoning her bow, she handed it to Legolas. "Draw an arrow, and hit me in the chest. I must sever the connection, at least temporarily." Legolas hesitated, and seeing that Edy was serious, fired the arrow.

And she seemed unaffected and they continued onwards.

Gandalf spoke to their horse Bill at Trini's insistence, giving him a chance to make it to Rivendell. And soon they stopped, seemingly nowhere.

"Dwarf-doors are not meant to be seen when shut," said Gimli. "If the secret is forgotten, then they are lost, even to their masters." Gandalf merely smiled and muttered some words. And slowly but surely, the doors appeared.

Edy read quickly the elf letters, ignoring the other's recognition of the emblems. "Speak friend, and enter . . . No . . . Say 'Friend' and enter! Mellon!" she cried, and the doors opened. They went inside and the doors closed. They were now inside the feared Mines of Moria.

~*~

January 13th, 3019 in the Shire Reckoning.

Adam and Gandalf led the way, providing light. And they walked many paths through Moria, each silently treading the dreaded path. Often Gimli would advise on the choice of path, and Edy would offer her knowledge, but always Gandalf would decide. At long last, they reached a guardroom where they sat and rested. Edy took first watch; indeed, she seemed able to go for weeks without sleeping. Often she would watch the entire night, and still go on the next day.

And again she did so, but in the last hours Gandalf sat with her and smoked. And when they awoke, they took the right-hand passage, Gandalf having deemed that the best. For eight straight hours not counting two brief halts, they traversed Moria. And finally they came into a hall, from what Gandalf could determine. And so the Company rested finally. And Gimli spoke of Moria.

"This is the realm and city of the Dwarrowdelf. Of old, it was not dark, but light and splendour garnered the realm. It is remembered in our songs. And we hope that it may come again."

Ever slowly, but gaining speed until it was a steady chant, he spoke deeply.

The world was young, the mountains green,
No stain yet on the Moon was seen,
No words were laid on stream or stone
When Durin woke and walked alone.
He named the nameless hills and dells;
He drank from yet untasted wells;
He stooped and looked in Mirrormere,
And saw a crown of stars appear,
As gems upon a silver thread,
Above the shadow of his head.

The world was fair, the mountains tall,
In Elder Days before the fall
Of mighty kings in Nargothrond
And Gondolin, who now beyond
The Western Seas have passed away;
The world was fair in Durin's Day.

A king he was on carven throne
In many-pillared halls of stone
With golden roof and silver floor,
And runes of power upon the door.
The light of sun and star and moon
In shining lamps of crystal hewn
Undimmed by cloud or shade of night
There shone for ever fair and bright.

There hammer on the anvil smote,
There chisel clove and graver wrote;
There forged was blade and bound was hilt;
The delver mined, the mason built.
There beryl, pearl and opal pale,
And metal wrought like fishes' mail,
Buckler and corslet, axe and sword,
And shining spears were laid in hoard.

Unwearied then were Durin's folk;
Beneath the mountains music woke:
The harpers harped, the minstrels sang,
And at the gates the trumpets rang.

The world is grey, the mountains old,
The forge's fire is ashen-cold;
No harp is wrung, no hammer falls:
The darkness dwells in Durin's halls;
The shadow lies upon his tomb
In Moria, in Khazad-d─m.
But still the sunken stars appear
In dark and windless Mirrormere;
There lies his crown in water deep,
Till Durin wakes again from sleep.

Having said his part, Gimli was silent.

"If Yrch have plundered all the jewels that were ever here," said Trini thoughtfully, "why do your people wish to come back?" Her question was met with silence, and finally it was Gandalf who spoke.

"The wealth of the Dwarves was not in gold nor jewels, their toys. Nor was it found in their servant, iron. They found such things, but all their needs were obtained through traffic and so they need not delve for it. But it was here they found the one thing they truly desired. Its worth was ten times that of gold, now it is beyond price, for little remains above ground, and een the Orcs dare not delve for it in the lodes towards Caradhras."

Edy picked up. "This was Moria-silver. True-silver some called it. The Dwarves had a name they do not tell. But the elvish name was widely known. Mithril. But as it was their wealth, it was their destruction. They delved too deep and too greedily, thus awaking Durin's Bane. Sauron covets it, and practically all that was brought to light was gathered and paid in tribute."

"Beaten like copper; polished like glass; Dwarves made of it a metal, light and harder than tempered steel; beauty like that of common silver, but never grew dim. The Elves loved it and made of it ithildin, starmoon, which we saw upon the doors. Bilbo had a corslet of mithril-rings Thorin gave him. Likely still gathering dust in that museum," finished Gandalf, reflectively.

Gimli started. "A corslet of Moria-silver? That was a kingly gift!"

"Its worth was more than that of the Shire and everything in it," replied Gandalf. Silence fell, and they fell asleep, slowly. Frodo was on guard, and near its end, he thought he saw a pair of luminous eyes near the western archway. He rubbed his eyes and continued looking, deciding it was the edge of a dream.

The next morning, they went onwards, going towards the northern arch. As they walked along, they came to a chamber, disturbing deep dust. There was a shaft letting light in, faling onto a tomb. And Gimli cried with pain, racing forward. It was the tomb of Balin, Lord of Moria. Everyone was silent in respect.

Gandalf and Edy pored over the remains of a book, trying to translate what was written. They translated it for the others and once ceased, at last knowing where they should go. But it was in vain.

"They are coming!" cried Legolas.

"Why did I delay? We are caught, like them before us!" said Gandalf.

"Slam the doors and wedge them!" cried Aragorn. "Keep your packs on, we may cut our way out!"

"NOT THE EAST DOOR!" yelled Edy. "We will go that way if we so need!"

Glamdring and Sting both gleamed pale. The doors were barred and Adam was fervently casting spell after spell. But it was no use, and the doors broke inwards. And then there were flashes and roars and cries as the Fellowship tried to battle. Frodo was hurled aside by a spear, going across the room. And suddenly, they all made their exit, Aragorn taking Frodo, and he almost dropped him when Frodo spoke.

"I thought you were dead!" cried Aragorn. Gandalf gave terse orders and the rest flew towards the Bridge of Khazad-d─m, trying to outflee the Balrog, Durin's Bane. As they came to it, the stone was breaking. They came to a break in the rock, which Legolas jumped quite easily. Gandalf followed, Legolas grabbing him to steady him. Boromir jumped over, landing neatly.

Trini and Adam simply teleported over, not trusting their ability.

"Nobody tosses a dwarf," said Gimli, and he jumped the gap, almost falling into the abyss. Legolas grabbed him by his beard. "Not the beard!!!" Gimli said. Edy grabbed Frodo and Aragorn and leapt neatly over, landing behind the six standing.

Gandalf snapped "Over the bridge! Fly!" Gandalf turned to face the Balrog and then saw that others were waiting for him and Edy was by his side. The seven of the Fellowship ran across the bridge, Gandalf and Edy remaining in the middle of the bridge, facing the Balrog. Gandalf turned to Edy.

"You must join the others."

"I am the only who can stand with you."

"Go. You are not sure of the consequences of what you do, and besides, you know what will come. You must let it come to pass." Edy smiled as Gandalf threw her words back in her face.

"Very well. Amarin silvae veira iiln aelay q'eth t'alpeth, nam're." And so saying she raced for the Fellowship. "Now come Gandalf!" But he faced the Balrog.

"You cannot pass!"

Frodo yelled, "Gandalf!!!"

"I am a servant of the Secret Fire, wielder of the flame of Anor! The dark fire will not avail you, flame of Ud─n! Arrghh! Go back to the Shadow!!" They watched tensely.

"YOU. SHALL NOT. PASS!!!" he roared. He broke the bridge and the Balrog fell. But even as the Balrog fell, it snapped the whip, and it caught onto Gandalf's ankle, and Gandald was pulled down. He grabbed onto the edge of the bridge, but he was clearly unable to keep his grip. Boromir grabbed Frodo, not unkindly.

"No!" roared Boromir.

Frodo cried, "GANDALF!!!"

Gandalf hissed, "Fly, you fools!" And Gandalf was gone.

Frodo cried, "NO!! NO!!!!" Boromir forcibly carried him out. And so they raced out of Moria, passing many rooms and noting great light. Trini was sobbing, and Adam found himself weeping as well. Frodo was crying also, and the three ran togather, out of Moria, down the threshold. Legolas led them, nimbly running, his cheerful countenance sober.

Gimli ran in stony silence, and Aragorn and Boromir were sombre. And Edy did not weep, but instead she ran in grief, cursing the fates for holding her to this eternal silence, for while she knew what would transpire, she still could not save her friends this grief.

~*~

At long last, the Company left the dale where they had rested in grief. They walked along a path, long worn and broken, leading past Mirrormere. And at an eastward bend, not far past, was a single column, broken at the top. Gimli made no noise, but sped down the green slope, calling for all interested and Frodo to come and see. And long and short did they gaze, and once returning to the road they were deep in thought.

Aragorn sped them ever faster, and for a time, Frodo and Trini managed to keep up. Frodo had been speared, and Trini had a vicious gash narrowly missing her right eye. At last Legolas turned, and seeing them, called Aragorn.

"I am sorry, Frodo, and Lady Trini. So much has happened that I have not done what I ought and tended to your wounds. We will go a little further, there is a place where we can rest. Boromir! We shall carry them." So saying, he gathered Trini into his arms, and they moved onwards.

When they rested, he examined Trini. "I do not think it is deep, nor do I think it is bad. Bathe it when Gimli has heated water. I have still the athelas we gathered at Weathertop. I will bind it when you are then ready." Turning to Frodo, he continued. "I marvel that you are alive at all. I must see what damage has been done."

He stripped off his tunic and jacket, and gasped in wonder. Then he laughed, and showed it to the others. Gimli was suitably impressed, saying that Gandalf had undervalued it.

"If you can bear to wear it, do so," he ordered Frodo. "My heart will beat more easily." And so the Fellowship moved onwards into LothlŠrien. Alas that it was winter, for the Golden Wood was reduced in its splendour. Legolas assured them that there were still Elves dwelling within. And they followed Aragorn, finding the Nimrodel. And Edy shrieked in happiness and dived straight in, revelling in its cool, clear, crisp waters.

Legolas began to sing a song of the fair maiden Nimrodel, and they listened, Edy having composed herself and dried off. They moved off and Legolas spoke of the trees they saw, and went to climb one. But he was stopped, and listened, in a mixture of surprise and fear.

And this was the last straw for Edy. "We breath so loudly you could shoot us in the dark?!" she snapped, translating what the Elves were saying. "Is that any way to speak to Edith Evaelon!" As she finished, Elves dropped down.

"I am Haldir," said one of them. "You claim to have the name of Evaelon?"

"Kalaranthe, and Vrakyn," added Edy.

"Who is in your party?" said Haldir, bowing his head.

"Aragorn, son of Arathorn. Boromir, Man of Gondor. Legolas of Mirkwood. Trini of the Yellow Eagle. Adam of the Green Frog. Edith Evaelon. And Gimli, son of GlŠin, a Dwarf of Erebor, of the Lonely Mountains."

Haldir rose. "You will sleep now, and in the morning, we shall pass through the Golden Wood." And when the next morning came, they set out. And when they came to Celebrant, Legolas spoke.

"The others have not the skill to walk this path. Must they swim?"

"No!" said Haldir. "We have two more ropes, and with those, the strangers shall cross with care." And so it was done, and they passed over. Haldir spoke. "You are now in the Naith of LŠrien. Few are permitted to even set foot here. And I must now bind the eyes of Gimli the Dwarf." Gimli snarled.

"I am no more likely to betray you than Legolas is."

"Of that I have no doubt. But it is our law, and by all rights, I should have bound your eyes long before Celebrant," replied Haldir. Gimli laid his hands on his axe.

"I shall walk free, or I shall leave the Fellowship. Of that you cannot stop me."

"True, I cannot stop you from breaking off. The instant you do, you would be shot," answered Haldir.

"Then you will bind us all," said Edy. "All of us." And so it was done and the Company walked onwards, ever closer to the Lord and Lady of LothlŠrien. At the evening, a company of Elves brought a message from the Lord and Lady of the Galadhrim.

"You are to all walk free. The Lady knows your purpose," said Haldir. He removed first Gimli's bandage, and bowed. "Your pardon! Look at us now with friendly eyes!" And the Company travelled onwards, and finally ascended to the Lord and Lady.

Once they were all there, Celeborn spoke. "Eight that there are here, yet nine there were set out from Rivendell. Tell me, where is Gandalf, for I much desire to speak with him."

Galadriel looked at Aragorn. "He has fallen into Shadow. The quest stands upon the edge of a knife. Stray but a little, and it will fail to the ruin of all." Her look passed to Boromir. "Yet hope remains while the Company is true." Her gaze fell upon Edy. "Do not let your hearts be troubled. Go now and rest, for you are weary with sorrow and much toil. Tonight, you will sleep in peace . . . "

And Frodo heard the voice of Galadriel. "Welcome, Frodo of the Shire, one who has seen the Eye!"

And for some days, they stayed in LothlŠrien, but whether it were a thousand years or days, they could never tell or remember. And one night, Frodo and Trini were awake, and they saw the Lady Galadriel pass by . They followed, curious, and saw that Galadriel beckoned them on. They came to a deep green hollow, and at the bottom, upon a pedestal, carved like a tree, stood a silver basin. wide and shallow and besides it stood a silver ewer. And from the stream which ran through, she filled the basin and breathed on it, and when it was still, she called Trini and Frodo.

"Here is the Mirror of Galadriel. I have brought you here so you may look into it, if you will."

And Bambi's words came to Trini. "The truth of what was, what is, and what may come to pass?" she said, and the Lady of the Galadhrim nodded.

And Trini looked into it. And she only saw stars. Then she gasped, for she saw a lone Ranger standing in front of Zordon's tube, and golden light flew out as the Ranger smashed his weapon into the tube. And then it changed, to nine people strapping on their morphers. It changed once more, to the Yellow Ranger enveloped in an anti-glow, turning to the dark side of the Grid. And then Trini could watch no longer, for she tore her eyes up to the Lady Galadriel.

And Frodo looked in. He saw Legolas' back, then Sam and Pippin. They all looked sad and grave. Then he saw the Shire. It was filled with flame, and with Orcs. Frodo gasped. Sam was seen with his ankles chained on a line with many other hobbits. They were being whippped. Then Frodo saw the Eye. He felt the ring slipping in towards the mirror.

"Do not let it touch the water!" commanded Galadriel softly.

Frodo pulled it backwards, falling onto the ground. The water in the mirror was steaming.

Galadriel spoke. "I know what it was that you saw. For it is also in my mind. It is what will come to pass if you should fail. The Fellowship is breaking . It has already begun. He will try to take the Ring. You know of whom I speak. One by one it will destroy them all."

Holding out the ring Frodo whispered. "If you ask it of me, I will give you the One Ring."

Galadriel walked towards him. "You offer it to me freely. I do not deny that my heart has greatly desired this. In the place of a Dark Lord, you would have a QUEEN!" In that instant she changed, becoming to look very dark and powerful. "NOT DARK, BUT BEAUTIFUL AND TERRIBLE AS THE DAWN! TREACHEROUS AS THE SEA! STRONGER THAN THE FOUNDATIONS OF THE EARTH! ALL SHALL LOVE ME AND DESPAIR!" She returned to normal and tried to catch her breath. "I pass the test. I will diminish, and go into the West, and remain Galadriel."

Trini at last spoke. "He cannot do this alone!"

"He is a Ring-bearer, Trini. To bear a Ring of Power is to be alone. This task was appointed to him. And if he does not find a way, no one will."

Frodo replied heavily. "Then I know what I must do. I'm just afraid to do it." Galadriel bent down to him.

"Even the smallest person can change the course of the future."

~*~

February 16th, 3019 in the Shire Reckoning.

At long last, the time to depart the beloved LothlŠrien came. The Company sat in boats, pulled onto the shore of the Anduin, the Great River. The Elves had given them a many great supplies, one of which was lembas. Edy was calmly restraining herself, not having had it for many, many years.

"Before we part, I have brought gifts for you, in memory of LŠrien. To your leader, I offer this," said Galadriel. She gave him a sheath that was made of silver and gold, overlaid with a tracery of flowers and leaves wrought of silver and gold. On it were set elven-runes formed of many gems the name And└ril and the lineage of the sword. "The sword that is drawn from this sheath shall not be stained or broken, even in defeat. But is there aught else you desire of me?"

"You know all my desire, and you have long held in giving me what I seek. Even if you would, it is not yours to give, and only through darkness will I gain it." Galadriel nodded and lifted a brooch of silver, a clear green stone set in it.

" I was given this and I have kept this to give to you, if you would pass through." To Boromir, she gave a belt of gold. And then she turned to Gimli.

"And what gift would a Dwarf ask of the Elves?" she said.

"Nothing, my Lady. It is enough for me to have seen the Lady of the Galadhrim and to have heard her gentle words," answered Gimli.

"Hear ye all Elves!" she cried. "Let none say again that Dwarves are grasping and ungracious! Yet surely, Gimli son of GlŠin, you desire something that I could give? Name it, I bid you! You shall not be the only guest without a gift."

"There is nothing, Lady Galadriel," said Gimli, bowing. "Nothing, unless it might be ¤ unless it is permitted to ask, nay, to name a single strand of your hair, which surpasses the gold of the earth as the stars surpass the gems of the mine. I do not ask for such a gift. But you commanded me to name my desire."

Galadriel smiled. "It is said that the skill of the Dwarves is in their hands rather than in their tongues, yet that is not true of Gimli. For none have ever made to me a request so bold and yet so courteous. And how shall I refuse, since I commanded him to speak? But tell me, what would you do with such a gift?"

"Treasure it, Lady, in memory of your words to me at our first meeting. And if I ever return to the smithies of my home, it shall be set in imperishable crystal to be an heirloom of my house, and a pledge of good will between the Mountain and the Wood until the end of days," answered Gimli.

And so she cut three strands and placed them in Gimli's hand. She spoke words to him, that only he heard, and he bowed yet again. Then she turned to Edy.

"What would the Evaelon ask?"

"What I desire will come to me, but it is not yet time," replied Edy. "But since you ask, ever since what I desire came to me, I have often wished for three things, two being tied together. Give me either, if you will."

"And what are they?"

"The plant athelas, and therefore, earth of the Golden Wood to grow it in, for I cannot find any earth that will grow it. Or if you will, long have I desired to taste lembas, but that was not handed to me, so never have I made it."

Galadriel long studied her, and finally smiled. "You wish not the athelas for yourself, therefore I will grant you both." And she brought to Edy a large wooden box of soil, laying on top of it many seeds of athelas. Besides it, she laid a small book. Then she turned to Trini.

"For you, young Eagle, I have brought this." And she gave her an elvish dagger, set with topaz. Trini smiled.

"May the stars shine on the hour of our meeting." Galadriel merely smiled, and turned to Adam.

"And for you, young magician. I have this." And she gave to him a elf-book. Inside, were many elf-spells. Edy nearly fainted as she saw what Adam had been given. "May they be of use to you in your hours of need."

"And you, Ring-Bearer. I come to you last, who are not last in my thoughts. For you I have prepared this." She held up a crystal phial, which glittered and rays of white light emanated from it. "In this phial is caught the light of EŇrendil's star, set amid the waters of my fountain. May it be a light for you when all other lights go out. Remember Galadriel and her Mirror!" Frodo bowed, but could not speak.

And thus the Fellowship departed LŠrien.

~*~

The Fellowship travelled down the Anduin, the Great River. Edy, Adam and Trini travelled together, Edy explaining much of her knowledge behind the events that were taking place. She explained the obtaining of the Phaedos Powers, and how it came to haunt them, and then she ceased. Aragorn and Frodo were in the second boat. And in the third boat were Boromir, Legolas and Gimli, the two latter having become fast friends. And long they travelled.

Before the seventh day was through, they had seen Gollum once in the preceding days. And since then, he had not been seen. Aragorn knew of his presence, and was trying to outpace him. On the eighth day they saw Orcs, likely brought by Gollum, and they did their best to outpace them as well.

They had passed the Argornath, which Aragorn had looked at proudly. And on the tenth day, they stumbled onto ground.

~*~

February 25th, 3019 in the Shire Reckoning.

"This is the lawn of Parth Galen," said Aragorn. "I only hope it is untouched by evil." And they made camp, and set a guard, though sight nor sound of their enemies had been noted.

Frodo watched, and Aragorn woke. He came over to Frodo, and quietly drew Frodo's sword. Sting glittered palely.

"Not too near and yet too near," muttered Frodo, sheathing it.

~*~

February 26th, 3019 in the Shire Reckoning.

"The day of choice is long come," said Aragorn. "What shall we do? Go each our own way as we each choose? Or go with Boromir to Minas Tirith? Or into Mordor? Whatever, we must do it quickly."

"Let the Bearer of the Ring decide," said Edy.

"Grant me but one hour, I must think," said Frodo. Aragorn nodded with pity, and Frodo walked away into the forest. And while walking, considering what he should and what he wished to do, he met Boromir.

"You should not be alone. None of us should be alone," said Boromir. "Everything is central to you. There is no need to suffer as you do, Frodo. There are other possibilities. Other chances."

"I know what you wish to say, and it would seem like wisdom, but for the warning in my heart," said Frodo. Boromir's eyes narrowed.

"Warning? Against what?"

"Against the easiest way, the path I wish to, but cannot, take."

"I want only the strength to defend my people! If you would but lend me the ring, even for but a week . . . "

Frodo backed away, becoming frightened. "No!"

"Why do you not trust me? I am no common thief!"

"You are not yourself!" exclaimed Frodo.

"What chance do you think you have? The Ring is not yours save by unhappy chance. Give it to me! Give me the ring!"

Frodo cried, "No!". Putting on the Ring, he disappeared, hit Boromir and began running away.

"You will betray us! You go to your death! And the death of us all! Curse you!" Boromir slipped, apoplectic with rage. His anger passed and he whispered, "Frodo? What have I done? FRODO!!! I am sorry!"

But Frodo did not hear. As he saw the Eye of Sauron, he slipped off the Ring, only to see Aragorn.

"Frodo?" asked Aragorn, softly.

"Boromir is captured by the Ring's power."

"Where is the Ring?" asked Aragorn.

Backing away, Frodo snapped, "Stay away!"

Aragorn stepped forward. "I swore to protect you."

"Can you protect me from yourself?!" Frodo showed Aragorn the Ring. "Could . . . Would you destroy it?" And then he offered it to Aragorn.

Aragorn closed his eyes listening to a voice only he could hear. Aragorn. Aragorn. Elessar. Then he knelt beside Frodo, and closed Frodo's hand over the Ring. "I would have gone with you to the end. Into the very fires of Mordor."

They saw Sting glowing blue. And Frodo departed, and Aragorn faced the army of Orcs that descended upon him.

"I must go alone," said Frodo to himself. "I cannot trust one. Three others are too dear to me. And the three left, have other lives elsewhere. I must go alone. At once."

And elsewhere Legolas and Gimli fought with Adam, slaying the Orcs and Uruk-Hai, who were intent on finding the Halflings. Of which there was only one. Frodo. With Boromir Trini stood, trying to defeat them. But Trini soon fell, an arrow through her throat. And then Boromir blew his horn. Aragorn heard it, and ran towards the sound. Boromir continued to fight. An orc shot him in the chest, and he staggered. But he continued to fight, and was shot twice more. He knelt, looking up at Lurtz, the Uruk-hai. Lurtz, was about to shoot Boromir, but Aragorn came out, and took on Lurtz, finally decapitating him.

He came back to Boromir. "No!" Aragorn cried.

"Where is Frodo?"

"I let him go," replied Aragorn.

"Good, I could not. I have failed you all," breathed Boromir.

"You have kept your honor. And I will not let the White City fall. Our people will be saved." And with that, Boromir let his life go.

He turned to Trini, who had sat up. "Ara ¤ gorn," she managed. "I . . . still . . . live."

Aragorn shuddered. "I fear you are beyond my aid, Lady Trini. But I will use the last of the athelas and hope for the best." So speaking, he withdrew the last plant he had and crushed it. And he carefully removed the arrow, and placed the athelas on the wound. Adam, Legolas and Gimli came running, and when Adam saw that Trini was harmed took out his wand.

But even though he closed the wound, he could not work miracles, and Trini's voice was weaker. "I fear that as time passes, she may lose her voice altogether," Adam said. "I was never good at healing charms of this magnitude."

"Where is the Evaelon?" asked Legolas suddenly. "Boromir has departed, Trini is saved, where is the Evaelon?"

~*~

Frodo came to the boats, and found Edy waiting there, with her pack and Frodo's pack in a boat and partly launched already.

"Going somewhere?"

"I must go alone!" cried Frodo. Edy smiled.

"And you would fail. I must go, in place of Sam. I know what will happen. It must happen, and I will see that it does."

"Why not then go with Aragorn?" asked Frodo desperately.

"Boromir has departed, and the Quest lies not with them. It lies with you! If Sam were here, but he is not! He was meant to be here, to come with you!"

"Then we go," said Frodo, conceding. He did not wish to have a fight. And so the two hopped in the boat, and went down the river, into Mordor.

~*~

"You mean not to follow them?" cried Legolas. Aragorn looked after the disappearing boat, until it was gone.

"It is no longer our path. We must now go to Minas Tirith, following those Orcs. They will no doubtless go and report their failure to get the Halflings, and the death of Boromir," replied Aragorn at last.

"Then we have failed. It has been in vain," said Adam. Trini came over.

"Let us send Boromir to the River of Gondor. And it is not in vain. We must hold true," she whispered.

"Not while strength remains," said Aragorn. And so they sent Boromir to the River of Gondor in his boat, and then they looked at each other.

"Leave all that can be spared. If not, Adam will shrink it," commanded Aragorn. And once they were ready, they again looked at each other.

"Let's go," said Legolas, quietly. And so the five of them moved out, pursuing the Orcs and Uruk-hai.

~*~

And on the last stage of the Quest set Frodo and Edy. The River bore them down the western arm, past Tol Brandir. At long last, they breached the shore of Amon Lhaw. There they hid the boat as best they might, and shouldering their burdens, they sought a path over Emyn Muil and down into the Land of Mordor, where the Shadows lie.

One Ring to rule them all, One Ring to find them,
One Ring to bring them all, and in the darkness bind them
In the Land of Mordor where the Shadows lie.

The End... for now...