3. On The Steps
The italics, of course, are from FOTR, The Ring Goes South.
Their farewells had been said in the great hall by the fire, and they were only waiting now for Gandalf, who had not yet come out of the house. A gleam of firelight came from the open doors, and soft lights were glowing in the many windows. Bilbo huddled in a cloak stood silent on the doorstep beside Frodo. Aragorn sat with his head bowed to his knees; only Elrond knew fully what this hour meant to him. The others could be seen as grey shapes in the darkness.
Bilbo moved to Aragorn's side and gripped his shoulder.
Aragorn raised his head and covered Bilbo's hand with his own. Bilbo saw his tense jaw and tightness around his eyes.
"The Lady Arwen is not here," said Bilbo.
"We said our farewells within, away from prying eyes. This is the final throw, and we risk all, my lady and I, on this venture. Either we gain all, or we lose even what we have."
Bilbo looked down at his friend. He saw no tears, but the Dunadan's eyes glistened.
"I pray you, comfort her as you can in my absence."
At that moment Elrond came out with Gandalf, and he called the Company to him.
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