5. Flight From Rivendell
Aragorn walked swiftly down an open corridor towards Legolas’ quarters, feeling the chill morning air nibble at his fingertips and nose. He reached for the guesthouse door just as Arwen pushed them open.
“Arw—” he started with a smile. It never failed to amaze him how he could fearlessly face countless enemies, yet was rendered completely weak in the knees by one look from the lady.
The exquisite daughter of Elrond held a finger to her lips and promptly hushed the Ranger.
“Shhh, there are those who still slumber within these walls, Love,” she whispered. “Let us not wake them.”
Aragorn allowed the lady to link her arm in his and direct him back down the peaceful corridor. He had seen far too little of her these past few days, and relished any opportunity that would find her at his side.
“How is he?” asked Aragorn, sniffling in the morning air and drawing the Evenstar closer to him. The previous night had been nothing short of a nightmare. After Legolas was struck, Aragorn opted to stay with his friend and protect him rather than chase the attacker. He had been unsure of the opponents’ number, or what the enemy’s intention was. As a result, Legolas’ attacker (Aragorn was now positive there had been only one) had escaped.
He had half-dragged the semi-conscious Legolas back to the halls of Rivendell, where they had created quite a stir. The house was in uproar—for it is not every day an Elf is attacked on elven soil, especially one of royal blood. Search parties were sent to scour the area, but by then the attacker had long-since fled (and perhaps, wisely so). Lord Elrond quickly ushered the two to the Healing House and personally administered a sleeping potion so that the injured Elf would not be hampered by a splitting headache as he recovered.
Arwen took one of Aragorn’s hands in her own and squeezed it, attempting to give the numbed man a bit of warmth. It charmed her the way he was so strong in thought and action, yet so vulnerable to the simplest change in climate.
“He still sleeps,” she answered.
“Still?” Aragorn furrowed his brow. He had personally witnessed Elrond concoct the medicine. Legolas should have been awake hours ago.
“Yes,” said Arwen. “Father was concerned as well—he wondered at first if he had perhaps over-drugged the Prince.” Her grey eyes twinkled and the corners of her mouth tugged upwards in a slight smile. “But then Rindrol mentioned how she had seen Mithrandir ‘slinking about the room’—I believe those were her exact words—an hour after the two of you left Legolas to his rest.”
Aragorn sighed and shook his head. “I wonder what the sly fellow is up to now. And,” he added in afterthought, “I wonder what and how much he gave Legolas.”
Resting her head lightly upon Aragorn’s shoulder, Arwen let out a silvery peal of laughter. “You know, Love, the phrase ‘never meddle in the affairs of a wizard’ is as old as Mithrandir himself. Yet I cannot help but wonder if his tinkering oversteps its boundaries and forces others to interfere…”
* * *
Those selected for the scouting missions had begun to gather in the council chambers. Elrond was just about to take his seat when he realized he had left several important maps in his chambers. “Ai,” he sighed in frustration. “Glorfindel,” he called out to the Elf lord before running his errand, “I have forgotten the maps. Council will begin in ten minutes, and I have not enough time to retrieve the maps and deliver a message to young Frodo Baggins. Will you please inform him that I wish to go over some precautions concerning the Ring and would like to see him as soon as possible?”
The golden-haired Elf smiled amiably and waived Elrond off. “Certainly, my Lord.”
“You have my sincere gratitude,” returned Elrond, and quickly departed.
Glorfindel soon found himself engaged in a most fascinating conversation with Gildor of the Havens concerning the different viscosities of wood. “Elladan,” he called, “would you be so kind as to deliver a message to Frodo Baggins?”
“It would be my pleasure,” answered the older twin.
“Inform Master Baggins that Elrond wishes to warn him about the Ring and would like to teach him a few things about its history.”
And with that, Glorfindel turned back to Gildor.
“Hm?” Elrond’s second son turned to face his older brother.
“Tell Frodo Baggins that Father wishes to teach him about the Ring.”
Elrohir sighed as Elladan moved away and struck up a conversation with Halbarad of the Rangers. Sometimes he really hated being the younger twin.
Luckily, Niphrindel chose to walk by at that exact moment.
“Captain,” commanded Elrohir.
Niphrindel paused and then bowed slightly when he recognized who had called his name. “My Lord?”
“Warn Frodo Baggins that Lord Elrond wishes to. . . to. . .” Elrohir recalled what Elladan had told him to the best of his knowledge, “. . .teach him lessons about wearing the Ring.”
“Yes, my Lord.” Niphrindel bowed again.
* * *
After a splendid breakfast of mushroom and cheese omelets, the hobbits had retreated to their favorite spot in the garden.
“Oooooh,” groaned Bilbo, “I do believe I have made a glutton of myself this time!”
Ignoring the morning dampness that still clung to the grass, all five hobbits sat down on the ground and let their breakfasts settle. Pippin and Merry, lying on their backs, found amusement by pretending to ride the puffy white clouds floating overhead.
“Whoa! Look out, Merry!” shouted Pippin, entwining his fingers in the grass and weaving back and forth with the movements of “his” cloud.
Merry stuck out his tongue in concentration and rolled slightly to the left as the cloud maneuvered out of harm’s way. “Whew,” he gasped. “Wait! No! Turn, Pippin, TURN!”
The overstuffed columns, oblivious to the hobbits’ game from their lofty position in the sky, met each other in an excruciatingly slow head-on collision.
Both hobbits looked on in dismay as the clouds meshed and fused. After a moment, Pippin released the blades of grass he had wretched from the earth when attempting to turn his cloud and sat up. “I guess that takes care of that,” he stated matter-of-factly.
Merry absentmindedly chewed on the root of a grass blade. “You should have turned sooner,” he replied.
A very frazzled Elf darted into the serene garden. “Frodo? Frodo Baggins?” he asked breathlessly.
“No sir, I’m not Frodo,” answered Sam. “I’m Samwise Gamgee, I am. This over here is Mister Frodo.”
The Elf threw himself to his knees and gripped Frodo by the shoulders. Drawing the hobbit in close, he desperately relayed the message he had been ordered to give.
“I am supposed to. . .warn you,” gasped the Elf.
“Warn me?” asked Frodo, becoming quite alarmed. “Warn me of what?”
“The Ring!” The Elf’s fair face contorted in anguish. “Lord Elrond plans to take the Ring and has threatened to teach you a lesson!”
Elves cannot have heart attacks, but Lord Elrond would certainly have fallen victim to such an instance had he heard the newest version of his message. Niphrindel, discovering that he, too, had duties that suddenly needed his attention, had ordered Fanlin to deliver the message. Fanlin, in turn, told Turthal, who ordered Celdrin, who informed Nenial, who passed it on to Lildrial. . .
Needless to say, by the time poor Elenthil delivered the message to Frodo, it had become quite altered.
Frodo was horrified. “No!” he cried. This could not be—not Elrond! How had the wise and powerful Elf lord fallen under the spell of the Ring? If Elrond had truly been defeated, what hope was there for him? Or, for that matter, Middle-earth? Frodo felt as though he had been placed at the center of a whirlwind. His mind was spinning. He felt sick, and knew it had nothing to do with the large breakfast he had eaten. ‘Impossible!’ he told himself. ‘No, not Lord Elrond! Oh Valar, please, not Lord Elrond!’
The panicked Elf—Elenthil—shook Frodo. “Master Baggins? Sir? Frodo?”
“Stop that!” yelled Sam, his desire to protect Frodo allowing him to overcome the shock of Elenthil’s news. At his side, Merry, Pippin, and Bilbo stood in stricken silence as the information sank in.
Elenthil blinked in surprise and released Frodo. “Now see here,” began Sam, “panicking won’t help anything. It’s like the Gaffer always says: ‘energy’s better spent trying to fix the problem instead of crying and moaning about it.’”
Of course, the Gaffer had been referring to a broken wheelbarrow when he imparted this priceless bit of wisdom, but Sam decided the advice was still merited.
Frodo seemed to gain strength from Sam’s level of calmness, and found his mind becoming sharper.
“Sam’s right,” he stated, “Though I have no idea what we are to do. I admit, we are in quite a predicament.”
“Flee,” whispered Elenthil. “You must flee.”
“You mean to tell us we should just pick up and leave?” interjected Merry, finally discovering his voice. “How are we to do that? We are conveniently trapped in Lord Elrond’s land!”
Not to be left out, Pippin added his two cents. “Isn’t there a council meeting today?”
Elenthil perked up and nodded. “Yes, yes,” he muttered. “The council meeting. It has already begun. If you leave now. . .”
“They will not realize we are missing until tonight, at the earliest,” finished Pippin triumphantly.
“We?” asked Frodo, raising his eyebrows.
“We,” Pippin stated forcefully. Sam and Merry bobbed their heads furiously in agreement.
“Mister Frodo,” said Sam, “You’ll not get rid of us that easily. We mean to stay with you, whether you like it or not.”
Despite all the troubles that weighed heavily upon him, Frodo could not resist a smile. “Right then,” he conceded, “We must make haste. The further away we are before they realize we’re missing, the greater chance we have of escaping.” He turned to Bilbo.
“Don’t fret, my dear boy,” the elder hobbit said fondly. He ruffled Frodo’s hair and gave the Ringbearer a sad smile. “Let’s face it—I am of no use to you when it comes to mad dashes through the forest. But I will aid you in other ways. When Elrond questions your whereabouts, I shall inform him that you are merely resting in your rooms and do not wish to be disturbed. That should give you enough time to reach the Ford and cross the river.”
Frodo threw himself into Bilbo’s arms. “I cannot bear to think what will happen to you once Lord Elrond uncovers your deception,” he cried.
Bilbo gave him several hearty pats on the back. “Do not worry about me, dear boy. Now hurry, you must make use of what little time you have!”
Frodo took a deep breath and gathered himself together. Elenthil swiftly pointed them in the direction of the Ford (“Head south,” he instructed), and with a final look back, Frodo, Sam, Pippin, and Merry began the flight from Rivendell.
* * *
The council room was bustling with activity when Elrond returned. The Elf Lord strode into the room, clearing his throat rather loudly as he noticed Aragorn on the receiving end of what he deemed a rather inappropriate farewell kiss from Arwen. The two pulled away sheepishly, and Elrond made a mental note to consider the possibility of locking Arwen in her room until Aragorn left the kingdom. He tossed the idea out when he concluded how many locks it would take to do so, as well as the fact that Aragorn was most likely an expert lock-picker. There really was no telling what else his foster son learned from his association with the Rangers. . .
Elrond took his place at the top of the circle, and others quickly took his lead. And with that, the Second Council began.
* * *
Several hours later, Council had ended, and Boromir was dumbfounded. He was positive he had made up his mind to go south. Why, then, was he headed west? The Rangers were heading west—ARAGORN was heading west. And somehow, that sneaky Lord Elrond had tricked him into going west as well.
He wracked his brains, trying to recall exactly how it all came about.
“I shall be going south,” he had stated.
Lord Elrond regarded him solemnly. “I would ask a favor of you, son of Denethor.”
Despite his mistrust of Elves, Boromir found himself flattered. The Elf lord had personally asked a favor of him, of all people. . .
“Anything, my Lord.”
“It would please me greatly should you choose to ride west with Aragorn and the Rangers. I feel it will be most beneficial to our cause.”
That was when Boromir realized he had backed himself into a very small corner, and it dawned on him that no one in his right mind refuses an Elf lord.
Boromir growled in frustration and punched himself in the shoulder as it began to twitch again.
* * *
The man of Gondor was not the only one unhappy with the results of the council. Gimli, Glóin, and Barin had all volunteered to scout the eastern borders, for Glóin and Barin intended to return to the Lonely Mountain. They were most displeased when it was announced that an Elven scouting party heading towards Mirkwood would be accompanying them on the first half of their journey. Even more displeasing was the fact that a certain Legolas Greenleaf (who was suspiciously absent from Council, and was therefore unable to personally choose which mission he wished to participate in) would be among the Elven scouts.
Gimli kicked at a flower that obstructed his way and continued angrily down the garden path. ‘I should have thrown a bigger rock,’ he raged.
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.
Era: 3rd Age - Ring War
Last Updated: 10/01/03
Original Post: 08/13/02