1. Part I
Summary: After the Council, before Frodo headed South with his Fellowship, Elrond had the particular enigma of naming the Nine Walkers. Here’s some mental introspective into the Lord of Imladris as he sought the answer to the question: who would represent the Elves? Complete with Elvish logic, philosophy, and enlightening conversations. (Book-verse)
Author Notes: This is meant as an expanded version of Elrond’s thought process on choosing the Fellowship, namely, as you’ll read, Legolas. I’ve always found it interesting that he decided upon the young elf when there were many present that would have had increased experience, and seem to be a more logical choice. I mean, Glorfindel did defeat that Balrog…
THE SEARCH FOR THE NINTH WALKER
‘And I will choose your companions to go with you, as far as they will or fortune allows…The Company of the Ring shall be Nine; and the Nine Walkers shall be set against the Nine Riders that are evil…For the rest, they shall represent the other Free People of the World; Elves, Dwarves, and Men. Legolas shall be for the Elves…’ -Elrond
‘The Fellowship of the Ring’ -The Ring Goes South
Lord Elrond of Imladris sat upon his chair staring into the burning fire before him. It had been many sunsets and rises since the Council meeting had ended allowing all present the rest they required. However, the elf-lord knew he could do little of the slumbering that many beneath his roofs had the pleasure of partaking. He had much to sort through in these next precious hours when no one would think to disrupt him. Long before the Council had even started it seemed, numerous sorts of Men, Elves, and Dwarves had taken it upon themselves to speak with the Lord of Imladris personally.
He was well aware that since the rumor of the One Ring had been confirmed, deadly rumors had begun to surface. Many did not know much about the Ring other than the tales they have heard from elders regarding the Last Alliance. Most turned to Elrond to sort out the mystery surrounding the Ring, Frodo, and Sauron, either because he had been present during the Second Age or, perhaps, because he had spoke with Frodo and Mithrandir personally. Whatever the reason, numerous sorts of visitors had taken Elrond’s time seeking guidance. If that was not enough, there had been Frodo's grievous injury to contend with. It had, indeed, been a trying time for Imladris' Lord to say the least.
And now, in the early hours of nightfall the Lord of the Last Homely House was pondering the future both of the Ringbearer and all of Middle-earth. Elrond, with no small measure, would not truly mind having Galadriel and her mirror beside him. Surely she could help him with this business of the Nine Walkers, perhaps offering a small peek at what the future may hold. Anything that would help to make this decision clearer. Alas, he knew, that was a folly wish indeed, for now was not the time to be frolicking within mirrors or taking counsel with others of his race. This was his task and there was no one to share his burden. He was the one to choose the Walkers, whether he wanted to be or not. Elrond knew that the time for the Ring to leave Imladris was upon them for the Elves could no longer hide this danger among themselves. The Bearer and his companions needed to head towards Mordor within the next few days. Of course, that meant he had to inform Frodo of whom he would be walking with, which in itself posed a new dilemma since Elrond had yet to establish the exact persons to actually be Frodo's companions
The number of the Walkers came to him while he started the fire that now burned before him. Elrond thought it was watching the logs being consumed by the flames that made his thoughts turn to Mordor and Mount Doom. From there they flew like a small lark. Sauron had his Nine Ring-wraiths and so Elrond and Middle-earth would have their Nine Walkers. The Elf-lord knew a number any larger would be too easy to detect and any less would be too small to defend. The Fellowship, as he named it, would be nine. The only problem now lay within who would fill those positions.
Four came without question and for that Elrond was eternally thankful. He did not know where he would have started if these four did not seem so intent on making certain they followed the Ring. Frodo was the first Walker without question. He had been chosen by fate for this task and he would bear this burden till the bitter end. The Ring was already a part of him and to try and give it to another would prove folly and dangerous. The Halfling had already proven himself strong of heart and courage; asking more of him was almost selfish, but Elrond ascertained it would be unavoidable. This quest was Frodo’s and if he did not find a way to destroy this Ring than no one stood a chance at doing such a thing.
Then, if Frodo went, Sam would not be far behind. The Lord of Imladris knew it would save him much face if he simply told the faithful hobbit he was going with his Master, for getting Samwise to stay in Imladris, or even head home to the Shire, would be wasted energy. When it came to Frodo that Halfling could be as stubborn as a dwarf, refusing to leave his Master’s side for even a matter of moments if something could go wrong. Elrond knew that hobbit would follow Frodo to the end and even into the very fires of Mount Doom if that is where this path took them. Frodo also needed Sam. Their friendship was deep and would help more so then even Elrond dared to presume.
The third Walker that came to him unbidden was Aragorn, Isildur’s heir. The man had much at stake in the Ring and its future that, like Frodo, to not allow him to go could never be a possibility. Elrond was all too aware that the survival of Men rested with the heir to the throne, and no matter how much it grieved him to send away one so close to his heart, it needed to be done. It was now time for the son of Arathorn to face his heritage, no matter how difficult this would prove. Gondor, and all of Mankind, needed their King now in its darkest hour. The future King would join the Ring’s journey and, along the way, his own path would become clear.
And the forth was Mithrandir. The wizard had already made his choice long before Elrond had even begun to ponder the nine Walkers. The Istari held much guilt over having this burden placed upon Frodo, whether or not there was blame to be had. He would not leave the hobbit’s side as long as the Ring remained attached to the Halfling. The Lord of Imladris was not certain, but something in the air spoke to him telling that Mithrandir may find himself leaving Frodo’s side somewhere along this long path whether he sought to or not.
And so, four places were filled and yet that left five empty. Elrond was not a fool and knew that the other hobbits, Peregrin and Meriadoc, would be hard to leave out of this quest and yet he was unsure of sending them. They were both so young and innocent that, to send them on this mission, would do to destroy a part of this wonderful traits. They were dear friends of Frodo, that much had been made clear by the unsurpassable loyalty they had to the hobbit. Those two had made the choice to follow Frodo and the Ring to Imladris, maybe they would go further. It was an option, the Elf-lord mused, and he kept it on his mind.
If the hobbits then accompanied the previous quartet that left three more spots unfilled. The Half-elven knew that the Free People of Middle-earth had to be represented or else he feared a small war could erupt. Already there was much prejudice in the lands, none so obvious as that between Elves and Dwarves, and so having one race unfairly taking part in the One Ring’s journey would only serve to create further conflict between the three races. And so, one man, elf, and dwarf was need, but who would be best fitted for this mission? Elrond’s thoughts first turned to the Dwarves simply because they were the easiest choice only because of the lack of options.
Gimli, son of Glóin, would join the quest being that he and his father were the only Dwarves present who could be considered for this quest. Glóin, while a formidable force even in his old age, had past his prime as it were. His time of battling was over and now he belonged only in the caves he loved so. His son would go in his stead. Gimli was a strong warrior not lacking in courage or strength. He would bring a powerful force to the Nine Walkers with his axe and he was, in Elrond’s mind, the brute strength that was necessary. Gimli’s heart was also in the right place; his faith to restoring peace to Middle-earth would bring forth an unrelenting determination that the Dwarves were known for. Accompanying this determination would be his stubborn will, making the son of Glóin a force that would drive the Fellowship onwards.
For Men, Elrond deemed another representative was required. Aragorn was no longer on the common man’s level. It did not matter that he had yet to claim the throne. Isildur’s heir was their King, and there needed to be another to even the odds, as they were. There were many men to choose from, but one had caught the Elf-lord’s eye long before he’d started this planning of the Nine Walkers. Boromir, son of the Steward of Gondor. That man was much like his father: proud, strong, and loyal. He loved the White City with his entire being; more so than perhaps even his father. Boromir had fought for his city for many years now and it only seemed logical that he would wish to journey with the Ring to see that Gondor remained safe.
He had been called to this Council, or at least that he what he felt. The Ring almost seemed to possess a hold on this son of Gondor, pulling him towards it. And be if far from Elrond to stop that pull. The man would go even if it was somehow against the elf’s better judgment. The son of Denethor already made it known that Gondor was in good hands with his father, having the rightful heir in his company could prove a volatile mix, but Boromir would still desire to go. Perhaps, along this road, Aragorn and he would find themselves better understanding one another and finding a level ground. Boromir would go and Elrond, if need be, could curse his bad judgment later.
Finally, the last place to fill was for an elf. Unlike the Dwarves or even the Men, they were in high number in the Last Homely House. Already, Elrond could not keep count or track of the numerous Elves that had come to him asking to be of service to the Ringbearer. That was even before the Council! Afterwards, for days on end it seemed, even more had come to him, requesting that they be sent with Frodo. Tonight, though, he had luckily found shelter in his room and none dared to bother the Lord of Imladris presently. The problem with the Elves was that all of those residing and visiting Imladris currently were a fine choice. All Elves, almost as a rule, could fight and had a prowess in battle unsurpassed by few. They all wielded bows, knives, and swords as extensions of their bodies. Of course, there were those that were more gifted in fighting, but the difference was marginal to say the least. One warrior would, in truth, be no different than another.
In addition to this, they all possessed the heightened senses of their race and so, the gift of the Elves would be plentiful without regards to whom Elrond named as a Walker. So, it would not matter which elf was chosen, only that an elf would be in the company of the Fellowship. Elrond found himself almost agreeing with this point. Almost. There was something, though, telling the Lord of Imladris that not just any elf would do. He needed to think through his choice of representative just as he had the previous ones.
A knock at the door interrupted the Elf-lord’s pondering and, with a distinctively un-Elvish sigh, he rose to answer it. In truth, Elrond knew that the silence of the evening was too good to last and, in some small part of his mind, he had expected someone to visit him. Of course, the timing could not have been worse, for the Fellowship was still lacking its ninth member and that was something of a problem. Tomorrow he had to speak with Frodo about his companions and it would do the hobbit no good if the Lord of Imladris lacked the complete list of those going with the Ringbearer. The knocking, as Elrond walked to his door, did not cease, though it also did not become more insistent. Whoever was awaiting the Elf-lord’s company was in no hurry, but also would not be ignored. Reaching his door, the Half-elven opened it to reveal his visitor.
Glorfindel stood half in the hallway and half in the door jam. He offered Elrond a slight bow before speaking. "I am sorry to disturb you, my Lord, but I had something I felt you must hear." He stated gently, attempting to offer an apology for the disruption while also not letting the Lord of Imladris think that the matter was not of some importance.
Elrond stepped back and allowed Glorfindel to enter, wondering what it was his long-time friend felt pertinent to speak about. He, more than most, would be well aware of all that was on the Lord of Imladris’ mind and so, to seek out Elrond meant there was some importance in what Glorfindel would say. The blond warrior entered and then turned to face Elrond standing just inside of the room.
"I am ready to go if you so wish it," he said without pretense or explanation. Elrond arched a dark eyebrow questioning Glorfindel without a word. The other elf gently shook his head, a smile nearly appearing on the elegant face.
"I fear I do not speak plainly. Let me begin again. I am ready to go with the Ringbearer if you choose me to. I am well prepared to fight along side him and others you may pick." Glorfindel, being a trusted friend and, many times over, an advisor, knew well that Elrond was planning an entourage to go with Frodo. Of course, none knew who would be included in this Fellowship, not even the blond elf standing across from the Lord of Imladris.
Glorfindel spoke again, "It would be an honor to serve Frodo." He gave a soft bow allowing Elrond to make the judgment upon him about whether or not he was to go with the Ring. Glorfindel had thought of this moment ere he left the Council all those days ago. Since hearing about the fate that must meet the Ring, he knew he would be well prepared for such a trying trip. It was, on top of this, his duty to Imladris to go with the Ring; to the very fires in Mordor. Glorfindel knew that here in Imladris he was one of, if not, the wisest choice to follow Frodo, save for Elrond himself going. That, of course, was not a possibility and so, Glorfindel would go in his place and represent the Elves on this quest.
The Half-elven stared long at the slightly bowed form of the elf warrior before speaking. This elf before him would be the logical choice. He was, without doubt, one of the finest warriors in Middle-earth and would provide the knowledge needed for this journey. Glorfindel had lived long and seen much, making him strong and wise. He was not foolhardy or rash about anything and would bring many great skills on this quest. Glorfindel would, the Lord of Imladris knew, never leave the side of the Ringbearer as long as he had blood still flowed through him. He was loyal to a fault it seemed, and wherever or to whomever he placed this loyalty, he would remain faithful. Glorfindel also had great depths of knowledge of Middle-earth. He was a well-traveled elf that could bestow upon the Fellowship with a wealth of information at a second’s notice. And yet, Mithrandir also possessed such knowledge. The Istari could provide the Walkers with the wisdom for all the ages.
"My friend," Elrond began and his companion straightened. "I thank you for your offer, but I fear I will not take you up on it."
Glorfindel absorbed the words and then creased his brows in question. He took no offense to the Lord of Imladris’ words, but did find them a bit surprising. He began to speak in a voice slightly slowed as if attempting to have Elrond understand something that he may have missed. "But, I am one of, if not, the most qualified for this among our people. My skills-"
"-are impressive, yes," Elrond interrupted. "But, that is not all that is needed for this journey as, I am only beginning to understand."
"My Lord?" The warrior questioned not completely comprehending what his Lord was attempting to say.
The Elf-lord spoke with careful words clearly trying to sort of his own thoughts in the process of speaking. "This will be a perilous journey to say the least. There are dangers out there that none have faced." Glorfindel appeared as if he would speak, but Elrond held up a hand ceasing all talk. "I know you could argue that you have seen these evils and worse. I will not disagree with this fact. Yet, more than experience is needed. As I said, these dangers are unknown to Frodo and the other hobbits-"
At this, Glorfindel did speak and interrupt, "The other hobbits?"
Elrond nodded. "Yes, I believe they will not leave Frodo to this mission alone no matter how hard I could try to send them back to the Shire. Thus, simply telling them to go would ease the tension that is assured to arise before it starts."
Glorfindel said nothing, but the Elf-lord could tell that he was not completely in the same opinion with this decision. He would not speak out his argument, though, leaving the wisdom of Elrond alone. It was a good thing too, that Glorfindel did not speak out negatively of the hobbits journeying with Frodo for, if he had, Elrond was not certain he would have had the conviction to argue on for their journeying with the Ringbearer. He, however, knew that they should go and thus, was thankful that his companion did not seek to question this judgment.
"Please continue your explanation," The blond elf said bringing Elrond’s thoughts back to the topic at hand.
Elrond nodded. "As I said, these dangers are unknown to the Halflings and, therefore, will be frightening. They have already faced many dangers, yet with each step away from Rivendell more will come about. They need a," he pause searching for the correct word, "a beacon on this journey," he concluded.
"A beacon?" Glorfindel questioned not entirely sure what sort of ‘beacon’ Elrond was alluding to.
The Lord of Imladris took a deep breath. "A beacon," he repeated. "Think of your darkest time and what did you look for while facing it?" He questioned abruptly. His words were rushed as if he finally had found the path that his thoughts would take.
The inquiry, for not at all along the current route of their conversation, took Glorfindel by surprise and he paused for a moment to collect his thoughts before answering. "I looked for hope." He said simply, not certain if this what his friend was seeking and, if by chance it was, even less sure what he had planned to gain by such information.
Elrond smiled, clearly satisfied with the response. "As I am certain most do who face darkness. It is in the hardest trials of our lives that we turn, not to our skills or strengths, but to something that comes from our faith. We look for hope because we find that there is truly nothing else to look for. All of our physical abilities have reached their peak and, it is while they appear to be of no more use, that we seek guidance from something other than ourselves." Elf-lord paused, staring intently at Glorfindel almost urging him with his eyes to follow his thoughts and see the destination that Elrond would reach. He continued to speak, "Hope is something that can be found in the strangest of places or, even people, at the harshest of times."
It is often said that Elves never answer questions fully, finding mirth with speaking in riddles. Never had Glorfindel ever felt like this, finding Elves to speak as plainly as Men in regards to inquiries. Until now that was. Elrond had offered him nothing and yet said much. It was, at this moment, that the elf -warrior wondered if this was how Men felt whence they approached an elf for guidance. In some small part of his brain, the blond elf made a note to cease speaking in clouded language for fear his attempts to get information across were as confusing as Elrond’s attempt currently.
And so, unclear as to what the Lord of Imladris was saying, Glorfindel decided to make his confusion known. "My Lord, I fear I do not follow your words and how they are representative of myself or of whom will go with the Ringbearer." The blond elf also knew that if he now sought an answer he would need to ask plainly in hopes of the Elf-lord doing the same.
Elrond, for his part, did not appear insulted by the lack of understanding on his friend’s behalf. "I do fear that I do not speak plainly, for my thoughts have not sorted themselves out entirely in my head. I am speaking almost as quickly as I am thinking and, as you have noticed, that can be a confusing process for both parties." He offered as way of explanation.
Glorfindel only nodded and said, "That is quite all right, my Lord."
The Elf-lord moved slightly further in room taking the moment to collect his thoughts. His eyes soon fell on the fire that he had been thinking in front of moments before Glorfindel had come to him offering to take a part in the quest to Mordor. The warmth from the flames could not be felt this far away, yet Elrond had the lingering sensation of the heat upon his skin. It was a calming feeling, even as a memory and did well to help organize the Lord of Imladris’ thoughts.
With his eyes still on the fire, he spoke again, "The Ringbearer and those that journey with him will need hope. This is no easy task by any measure and will weigh heavy on those present. The Halflings offer friendship to Frodo and one another. They even bring a little innocence to the others that are accompanying the Ring." He felt himself smile at the thought of the hobbits never-ending questions being aimed to Gimli and Aragorn. "And yet," he continued, "their innocences are the very problem for as they journey further, bit by bit they will lose this precious gift. They will become, as is unavoidable, tarnished by the evils that pursue them. Frodo, most of all, will need strength and I am certain he will find it in his faithful friends and yet, where do these friends gain their strength from?"
The question was not to be answered by Glorfindel and so he remained silent. Content to watch Elrond speak his inner thoughts out loud.
"Gimli, Boromir, and Aragorn cannot offer this strength no matter how hard they try or how much they would long to. I have no doubt that all three would take high offense to this statement, thinking that I do not believe them able to offer this help to the Halflings. This is far from the truth, Glorfindel, for I believe them more than able to bring about strength in the time of greatest need." Elrond stop speaking for a moment taking a few pacing steps.
He then began again. "Boromir is concerned for his city and people. He will think of the little ones second, I fear, and his own home first. He is not a selfish man, but neither is he a truly generous man. His goal for this journey is to see Gondor survive, not to worry about Frodo only the Ring. And then Gimli is too much of a dwarf to offer comfort. Do not think I shun the dwarves with this comment, for Glóin would find it fit to take his axe upon my knees if I did." He said with a amused chuckle, almost picturing the dwarf coming after him with his large metal axe. "I only speak thus because Dwarves are isolated folks and no little of the ways of others. Gimli will be experiencing new lands just as much as the hobbits.
"Finally, my son, Aragorn will be battling his own demons along this journey. It is not because he lacks concern for Frodo, but all too soon, I fear, his ancestry will catch up with him leaving him all but consumed. Mithrandir is the one that will bring not only the hobbits, but the others some sense of comfort. He is wise beyond comprehension, but his loyalty is with Frodo. The others, as I have expressed, will need to draw hope from another source." He paused and seemed to sigh inwardly. "And yet, I have no idea where this can come from."
Glorfindel found, all the while he listened to Elrond speak, longing to ask why these three were chosen by the Lord of Imladris, and yet he held his tongue trusting implicitly to the elf -Lord’s decision. These three, for Mithrandir was an obvious choice that Glorfindel understood, were chosen for their own reasons and the warrior knew those reasons were Elrond’s alone. What puzzled the blond elf was this inner battle that his Lord appeared to be having over attempt to bring the company a member offering hope. He truly did not see why Elrond thought he had to find someone that would be placed among the Fellowship solely as someone to bring about this strength. Furthermore, Glorfindel did not have the faintest idea where such a being could be found, if anywhere. It was as if Elrond was looking for a symbolism inside of a person; a task that appeared to be wasted energy. There was something that Elrond was looking for, and yet, Glorfindel had not the faintest idea what this could be. And, it appeared, as if the Elf-lord was just as confused as his friend.
Elrond suddenly turned to face his companion once again. "I am looking for something, my friend," he said almost echoing Glorfindel’s inner thoughts. "I do not know what is it or where I can find it, but there is something that this Fellowship will need in the dark hours."
"What of the ninth member?" Glorfindel questioned.
In an almost unnoticed gesture, the Elf-lord shrugged. "I have not been able to come forth with a ninth member and was working on a solution ere you came to my door. It is an elf, of that I am certain, but I have no guess as to whom." He turned back to the fire, almost unconscious of the movement. "You have already offered yourself to take this journey, but I fear you are not the proper choice. I do not mean to insult you, my friend, for I find you very worthy of walking with Frodo, however," he trailed off with a sigh and Glorfindel longed to prompt the Lord of Rivendell to speaking further. After a moment’s silence, where the fire’s popping was the only sound in the room, Elrond spoke. "As I have just been speaking of, these Walkers need a companion of hope. One who does not carry the burdens that the others seem to bare. You," he turned to Glorfindel with a ghost of a smile, "carry many burdens."
The warrior slightly bowed his head accepting the assessment that he knew it to be true. "I understand and do not question your judgment on my behalf. I only hope that you do well to find this mysterious elf that you are seeking for I do not know of who could serve this position." Glorfindel caught Elrond’s gaze. "All of our kind carry burdens for they are something we were born with. The sorrow of the ages past is on all shoulders and weighs heavy. And, to add even more to our already weighted load, we are a fading peoples, watching the world we have grown to love change. We are all cursed with burdens that, alas, we are unable to prevent."
Elrond nodded is head. "Yet," he started, forming an argument while he spoke, "I believe some may be less burdened then others. Or rather, not less burdened, but better able to carry the sorrows of our race better. I am searching for someone that has not allowed the grief of our time to alter them and mar their inner hope in our world."
Glorfindel said nothing but lowered his gaze in silent contemplation. The ages past, as he had said himself, weighed heavy, but the burden of the present age was far more cumbersome. The Elves were leaving and, their almost forced departure, was changing the very shape of Middle-earth it seemed. They were woven into the fabric of the lands and, while Men, for their most part, remained ignorant to the changes happening because of the loss of Elven light, Elves did not. Everywhere Glorfindel looked he could see some same change within the lands and, just like to others, this was a near heartbreaking thing to see. Although Elves had always been thought of as sorrowful beings, it was, as of late that, that description seemed to hold true. Elves, both young and old, knew their time upon this ground was fleeting away before their very eyes and they were powerless to stop it.
This transformation from Elves ruling to Men had made many angry at those that dared to take over the lands they had been apart of since the dawning of the ages. How dare mortals, who had been in Middle-earth for only a speck of time, receive such a gift while the Elves, who had never left, were now being tossed aside. Others, who chose not to feel anger, only felt sadden. It appeared as if they were no longer a necessary force on Middle-earth. Even though the beauty of Valinor was spoken of in awe, many did not want to leave and, thus, the grief of having to, had filled them. Finding an elf that still possessed hope would be much like attempting to find, as Men said, a needle in the haystack.
Still, Glorfindel knew, he would offer no help to Elrond further this evening. The search for this ninth member was the duty of Imladris’ Lord. And so, the blond elf gave a small bow before speaking.
"By your allowance, I will now part and leave you with your thoughts."
The Lord of Imladris waved a hand signally his consent. "I thank you for listening to my endless monologue and offering your own wisdom."
Glorfindel smiled. "I fear I did not offer any wisdom and, as for listening, it is I who interrupted your thoughts and musings. It was the least I could do." The warrior turned and was at the door before he spoke again; his back remained to Elrond. "I wish you the best of luck in finding this nameless elf for I feel the task will be harder than you may think. You are looking for someone who not only has faith in Middle-earth, but also in Men." Glorfindel still did not turn, but Elrond noticed his shoulders seemed to fall slightly. "And few Elves possess such faith in mortals."
With that, the elf-warrior left Elrond alone with his thoughts once again. Now, however, the Lord of Imladris was closer to despair and, frankly, thought of giving up the prospect that there was a someone out there was would satisfy his rather specific and odd qualifications to be the ninth Walker. The Lord of Imladris knew that he would not be able to settle now, though, because he had put too much thought in finding this mythical elf. His mind had already began to concoct this stranger and the Lord of Rivendell would not be able to settle with only second best.
Of course, he thought with not small amount of pessimism, what happened if, or when, he was able to find someone that suited him. Though it did little to add to his optimism of finding this last Member of the Fellowship, Elrond knew he would most likely have to pick a random elf. With a sigh, he realized he had spent far too much time indoors this evening and his thoughts needed to be entertained outside where the night air would hopefully bring forth some answers. Elrond knew that the moon had risen high in the sky and was shining a soft glow upon the lands. The outdoors was exactly what he needed presently.
The Lord of Imladris found the choice to bask in the soft light of the moon a wise one, for the moment he stepped outside he was rewarded with the soft sounds of the night that already eased his troubled mind some. Crickets and frogs made their respective chirping and croaking noises while an owl hooted a greeting from a nearby tree before taking flight on silent wings. Elrond, after standing and taking in a deep breath of the cool night air, found an empty seat beside one of the many streams that flowed inside his home. Much like the fire he had spent a good amount of time in front of earlier, the stream offered a soothing sense of rhythm that Elrond found necessary anytime he placed his mind to a task.
As he sat, Elrond thought of how his home was so blessed with beauty that, even though he had spent more years here than any present man had been alive, the wonders here never lost their awe. This one of the reasons he had felt such horror at hearing the message that the One Ring had been found and was being hunted by Sauron. To think that Imladris would fall into darkness was incomprehensible. The Last Homely House was a place of too much light. Too much joy. It would not fall, even if Elrond had to march to Mount Doom and challenge the Dark Lord himself.
Of course he knew no such thing would ever take place even if he was ready for the challenge. The Lord of Imladris had to put his faith in Frodo and those with him. It was a hard thing to do, to allow another to bear the burden of something he so longed to see down by his own hand, but it was a necessity. He had to step back and, for once, allow someone else to take the fight. These Nine, or he thought with a grimace, eight, would hold the fate of Middle-earth in their hands and there was little that others could do to help. The fate of all the races were depending on one small hobbit and his companions. This thought, unfortunately, made Elrond sigh into the night.
Nine Walkers, he had decided upon all those hours ago, and yet there were still only eight accounted for. Somewhere, during the start conversation with Glorfindel, he had made the decision that Peregrin and Meriadoc would join the others. Though Elrond was still uncertain of this decision, fearing some unknown disaster he could not put a name to, those two hobbits would go. Perhaps, something great could come from their journeying with the Fellowship. And so, the Lord of Imladris brooded, one last member to find.
The earlier discussion with his friend had done little to help Elrond for he now felt as if he was grasping at straws trying to find this ninth member. Perhaps, Glorfindel was right. There was not one elf that had not been beaten down by their time upon Middle-earth that would offer what Elrond sought. It seemed only folly to think that he could find such a being. And, as he had also mused before, any elf was just like another. One would be good as the next, he reasoned. His own son, Elrohir and Elladan, would even do on this journey. They, like Glorfindel, would be willing to go and able. Then there were the countless other Elves that had come here. Any would do. All he had to do was pick one. He could even take back his previous negative response and allow Glorfindel to go.
And yet, the Lord of Imladris found he could do none of these things. It was maddening, but also a reality. Like the other eight Walkers, Elrond felt that he had to find this last member like the others were found. There was something about each of the other Walkers that made them stand out to him. Surely, there was an elf out there that would catch his attention in much the same way. With a near groan of frustration, Elrond brought his hands to his face and gently began to massage his temples. As he did so, a soft sound on the wind pricked his ears.
The Elf-lord at first tried to ignore the soft sound, but it began to grow louder and soon he found himself listening intently trying to decipher what he was hearing. Dropping his hands from his face, the Lord of Imladris turned his head in the direction of the melody and hearkened. It was an obviously Elvish song, speaking of the trees and stars in a decidedly haunting tone. The song spoke of the ages that had come and gone and how the lands had remained under the watchful gaze of the stars. The ballad continued to articulate how the stars were like small guardians, ever present and shining. They were, as the song continued to tell, a thing of beauty that offered hope for the light of tomorrow. It was a touching song and one that Elrond found moving. It was being sung in soft Sindarin with a gentle voice that the Lord of Imladris knew he recognized. As the hymn continued, Elrond’s memory became clearer and he finally placed who the voice belonged to: Legolas Greenleaf.
This is a work of fan fiction, written because the author has an abiding love for the works of J R R Tolkien. The characters, settings, places, and languages used in this work are the property of the Tolkien Estate, Tolkien Enterprises, and possibly New Line Cinema, except for certain original characters who belong to the author of the said work. The author will not receive any money or other remuneration for presenting the work on this archive site. The work is the intellectual property of the author, is available solely for the enjoyment of Henneth Annûn Story Archive readers, and may not be copied or redistributed by any means without the explicit written consent of the author.