Now, climbing Caradhras, the brilliant glare off the ice flares deep into your head. It sears your thoughts, making your blood pound against your skull. Tears scald your eyes. You never imagined there could be so much heat at the top of a frozen mountain, to make you sweat beneath your cloak while your exposed skin burns and cracks. There is so much brightness with the sun flashing golden against the snow. You feel a sudden longing for dark places, even those that you know you should never conjure -- the chilling shadows of the Nazgûl, the impenetrable blackness of Barad-dûr. It is almost as if these thoughts are not yours but have been forced upon you by the agonizing gleam.
You hear a commotion behind you and turn to see that the Ringbearer has fallen. He tumbles down the slope, but you scarcely notice, nor do you worry about his safety. The chain has slipped from around his neck and lies half-buried in the snow, its burden glittering up as if placed there for your eyes alone. The Ring glows brighter than the snow around it, sharper than the sun on the icy peak. You cannot resist; you pick it up and hold it before your eyes in the crystalline air.
No marks, no blemishes, no scratches mar the Ring. It appears to be the perfect size to fit your finger. So small a thing, yet it is more vibrant than the mountaintop, more intense than the sunrise. Your eyes burn as you study it, hunting for hidden letters that you know only fire will reveal.
Reflected in its maddening gold band, the Ring shows you the armies of Gondor turning back the enemy. You see your father unbowed, clear-eyed, with pride shining on his features. Your beloved brother turns a glowing smile upon you. The Tower of Ecthelion gleams like a spike of silver as you stand on the parapets, gazing at the power and triumph spreading like wildfire over your freed lands.
"Boromir!" His voice falls over you, a shadow that clouds your foresight. Startled, you glance up at the Ranger -- a dark, dirty shape against the clean, pale mountains. Yet his eyes are as blue as the sky, and his teeth are as white as the snow when he bares them. "Give the Ring to Frodo," he orders you, and for an instant you see something that the Ring did not show you: Aragorn, crowned with a circlet of gold, sitting on the throne in Minas Tirith.
In that moment, your vision clears once more, and you are free of the Ring's spell. Though you can still hear it singing your name, it is only a Ring once more -- a gold band reflecting the brightness of snow. Frodo snatches it from you, curling it in his fist, his wide blue eyes darkened with sorrow. But Aragorn's eyes still glimmer fiercely when you meet them, and beneath his anger you see his fear and concern for you.
To show him that you do not care, you ruffle the Ringbearer's tangled curls and watch flakes of snow flutter to the ground. Aragorn has not broken his stare, and for the first time you notice his knuckles gripping his sword. Then you turn back toward the icy slant of the mountaintop, white as the blank, unwritten pages of the future. You lift your eyes to a radiance so dazzling that you cannot tell which dark patches are real, and which a trick of your mortal vision.
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.