36. The One Ring
"Alas," Cirdan said, looking down at Gil-galad. "The king is dead."
"Long live the king?" Elrond asked, glancing at the older elf.
Cirdan shook his head. "There is no other," he said. "Save for Galadriel, but I do not think she will accept the burden."
"I must finish this now," Elrond said, stepping towards Sauron's corpse.
"No!" Isildur shouted, walking over, a shard of Narsil in his hand. "Do not touch that body!"
"Isildur!" Cirdan said sharply. "What are you planning?"
"I take this," Isildur said, slicing the One Ring from Sauron's finger, "as weregild for my father and brother. Both of them died to save Arda."
"And they will have died in vain if you take the Ring," Cirdan said. "Give it to Elrond; he will destroy it."
"No," Isildur said, clenching the Ring in his hand. He smiled darkly at Elrond. "You already have a ring of your own, after all," he said. "Both of you do."
"He gave you Vilya?" Cirdan asked Elrond, looking with surprise at the younger elf.
"Yes," Elrond said. "This morning. He did not want it to be destroyed."
"And Celebrimbor himself gave me Narya," Cirdan said. "I am not its true keeper though. I merely wait for the one who is."
"Here we stand then," Isildur said, "on the field of victory. We, the three ringbearers."
"Throw the Ring into the fires of Orodruin," Cirdan said. "That is the only way it can be unmade. Do it! End this!"
Isildur did not answer but turned his back on the dead and alive, picked up Elendil's body, and walked away down the slopes of Orodruin.
"Can we not force him?" Elrond asked.
"No," Cirdan said, shaking his head. "All the Numenoreans would rise against us, and there would be another terrible battle. And, I fear, in the end the result would be the same. No, better to wait. We can convince Isildur to surrender the Ring another day, when he is in a more rational mood."
"And now we leave for home," Cirdan said. He smiled bitterly. "News, at least, that Thranduil will be glad to hear. And Durin and the other dwarf as well."
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