Fala's Tale - Chapter 2 - Mithrandir and the Meanderer
How horribly empty were her arms.
How vastly hollow was her heart.
Then it all flooded back into her memory with rapid and nearly painful vividness. "Frodo." she whispered when the name drifted back into her lazily awakening conciousness.
"How was your rest...my dear Fala?" drifted a very familiar and softly concerned voice.
Fala glanced over and seemingly from out of nowhere there was, leaning thoughtfully against a door pillar, the unmistakable silhouette of..."Mithrandir?" she asked in barely more than a whisper.
He pushed back his hat and stepped out from the shadows to be illuminated by the shimmering gold of a morning sunbeam. He seemed more like a spirit that had slipped out from some magical realm and who was caught for the while in her world. The Istari grinned through his rather stiff looking beard. His dark eyes sparked with a youthful light which starkly contrasted the ancient appearance that was draped about the rest of him.
"Rest went well...I suppose." she answered rather sluggishly. Some small part of her believed she might yet be asleep and dreaming. Mithrandir had not directly set foot into the House for Falohir many a year.
"Wonderful." the wizard whispered with an approving nod, but then the light was eclipsed from his eyes and his face grew stern. "You thought you had lost him? Didn't you."
"To be sheerly honest...I feared that we had lost him too." He confessed with a quiet sort of sadness. But then the light in his eyes rekindled and his voice changed for the merrier. "It is our great fortune that you are the meanderer that you are, and that fate baited you were it did that day, my dear. For if you had not been where you had been, Frodo would surley have been lost to us. And hope surely would have been lost to all of Middle Earth."
Fala's eyes filled with confusion. She did not know how to respond. She did not understand what Mithrandir meant. Sleep cloyed too heavily yet to even attempt comprehension. For a few moments she merely stared with awe at the wizard, for he had always fascinated her. He had been to Rivendell often in the latest years. Each time she set eyes upon him she became all the more enchanted. She had ever been intriqued by the Grey Pilgrim.
"You have delivered to us, that which may well be, the world's last lingering hope." He said quietly and quite casually. "And so some have taken to calling you The Deliverer."
"What a silly name." was all Fala could muster, for to her it sounded incredibly foolish.
Mithrandir laughed. "Perhaps. But no name rings truer."
Fala sat straighter and her heart suddenly became bent on her burden's well being. "How is he, Mithrandir? How fares Frodo?"
The wizard's eyes closed slowly and his shoulders sagged ever so slightly. He moved to a window and peered out into the newborn brightness for a short and silent time. "He is how he was." was all he eventually answered.
"Then you must take me back to him." Fala said in her firmest voice as she feebly tried to slip out of bed.
"I must... must I?" he asked in a slightly amused tone as turned to face her again. He moved to her bedside and bent very near to the bed ridden elf. "And suddenly you have become my master, ordering me as to what I must and must not do?"
"No. That is not what I meant at all." Fala answered in the quiet tone of a child who has been scolded. "I only meant that I should like to help him if I can."
Mithrandir smiled and stood straight again. "You have done all that you could have done. As have the rest of us. Our doings can only do so much. The rest will be left up to Frodo." the wizard said with soft somberness. "What you must do now is catch a little more concern for your own well being."
"But I am fine." Fala argued rather half heartedly, for suddenly she felt incredibly sleepy.
"But you are not." He countered as he carefully sat upon the edge of her bed. "Else you wouldn't have been caught in recovering slumber these past few days."
Fala felt her eyes grow rounder. "Days? It can not be days!"
"This dawn is the third since your delivery was made to Rivendell." The wizard informed her with a sympathetic smile. He then tenderly tucked the astounded Fala back into her bed, as might a father when tending to his ailing child. "Do you even remember reaching your own home?"
Try as she might, Fala could not recall setting foot onto her doorstep. She looked to the wizard and shook her head negatively.
"After Elrond's, you started off homewards but then collapsed after a short while. They said you might have been passed away by the look of you. But you were not, and you were carried home and tended to. It was thought at first that you had sustained some sort of injury from the events of the Ford. But no bodily injury could be found." Mithrandir informed her in a soothing, nearly hypnotic voice.
"Then what was wrong with me?"
"Your light had diminshed drastically. To but barely more than an ember, or so I was told." he whispered with an apparent hint of sadness.
"But how indeed? Do you even know what it was that you did to shield Frodo from the shadow for as long as you did?"
"No. I do not know. What did I do?"
The Istari's eyes narrowed. "I had hoped that you understood it and could explain it to me, for not even I know what it is you did, my dear." He grew stony and thoughtful as he tried to find a way to try explain it. "As far as I can gather, it seems you somehow nearly spent all the strength in your own heart on Frodo's heart. And thereby the shadow was kept at bay just long enough for him to reach Elrond. Which was lucky for him. And lucky for you too."
"Why lucky for me, Mithrandir?" Fala asked with blatant confusion.
"Lucky for you because if you had kept feeding your light into Frodo for any longer, it would have been utterly spent."
Fala shuddered after a few seconds, for only then did she fully understand what Mithrandir was telling her.
"Fate has been our ally just lately. Let us hope she remains true." he whipsered mostly to himself. He then turned his voice back to Fala. "And you, my dear, need a shred more sleep. When you waken again we will unriddle the conundrum that you have become."
"And when I waken, might I see him again?" Fala asked with a tiny yawn.
The wizard grinned warmly and moved a stray lock of dark hair from Fala's face, "I most heartily hope so. The deliverer and the delivered will be reunited as soon as fate sees fit." Mithrandir then gently caressed the cheek of the meanderer and instantly soft and specterless sleep washed over her.