5. Fellowship (Aragorn, Legolas)
The arrows whizzed randomly near the clout, but the man seemed not to notice as he drew and loosed, muttering curses under his breath that had naught to do with archery.
"The ringbearer's party is still not decided?" Legolas asked, leaning against a tree trunk.
"I" – Aragorn's arrow flew wide an inch to the right – "have not" – a second arrow followed into the scrub beyond – "been consulted." His third thwacked squarely into the clout. He turned to face the elf, anger clouding his expression.
"You have just returned from the longest and most mysterious of the scouting missions," Legolas said mildly. "Master Elrond values your opinion, but you were not here to give it."
"Does nine seem a rather large number to proceed with stealth?"
"You and Mithrandir, Boromir, Gimli, Frodo, of course, and Sam. Glorfindel, Elladan and Elrohir are the names I have heard most frequently. It does not seem an unwieldy group."
"My heart misgives me. Merry and Pippin beg to come." Aragorn looked East and carefully unstrung his bow. "Orcs stir in the mountains, and my brothers yearn to hunt them rather than follow Frodo to Mordor. Glorfindel's weapon is the sword, as is Boromir's. I will have Andruil. Gimli, his axe." A glint of humor came into his eyes as they guilelessly met Legolas's. "We need an archer."
"Shall I help you gather up your arrows?" Legolas gestured toward the clout. "Were that as wide as an orc, it would be many times dead."
"I traveled long with Merry and Pippin. They are staunch friends to Frodo and wish to stay with him. It would leave room for only one, who should be both an elf and archer."
"You prefer me to Glorfindel?" Legolas arched an eyebrow.
"Say yes, and I will see it happens."
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