Lady From Beyond the Sea - Chapter 30 - Mount Doom

Zandra: She has water power, which includes weather power. She is slowly regaining her memory of who and what she is. She is Dae Kular, which literally means "light warrior," but she thinks it is something more.
Tinania: Zandra's eldest sister, she became Dae Kular and went away. She has fire power.
Jaessa: Zandra's other sister, described as sweet, and calm. She has earth power, which includes plants.
Zandra's Mother: associated with stars
Zandra's Father: associated with shadows
Dyryn: Zandra once thought she loved him, but he tricked her and imprisoned her in Dol Guldur He had a ring, and became the Witchking of Angmar. Zandra, Eowyn, and Merry all helped kill him.
Gallin: Boy from Rohan, a friend of Zandra's, died at Helm's Deep

http://www.theonering.com/docs/9291.html - Prologue
http://www.theonering.com/docs/13958.html - Chapter 29

Wow! Thirty chapters! This is by far the longest story I've ever written! And it will be the first one I actually finish! Hooray!

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"Wake up, Master!" Sam said. "Time for another start."

As if roused by a sudden bell, Frodo rose quickly, and stood up and looked away southwards; but when his eyes beheld the Mountain and the desert he quailed again.

"I can't manage it, Sam," he said. "It is such a weight to carry, such a weight."

Sam knew before he spoke, that it was vain, and that such words might do more harm than good, but in his pity he could not keep silent. "Then let me carry it a bit for you, Master," he said, "You know I would, and gladly, as long as I have strength."

A wild light came into Frodo's eyes. "Stand away! Don't touch me!" he cried. "It is mine, I say. Be off!" His hand strayed to his sword-hilt. But then quickly his voice changed. "No, no, Sam," he said sadly. "But you must understand. It is my burden, and no one else can bear it. It is too late now, Sam dear. You can't help me in that way again. I am almost in its power now. I could not give it up, and if you tried to take it I should go mad."

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Zandra awoke in the light of dawn, tears in her eyes. She was certain now that she dreamed true, but unsure why, or if she was dreaming the past, the present or the future. At least this latest dream meant that Frodo and Sam were out of the clutches of that band of Orcs.

She thought back to the beginning of the dream, just as she had fallen asleep, she had heard Sam bemoaning the lack of water.

"If only I could have gone with them," she said aloud. She would have made certain they had enough water. Magic that small would have passed unnoticed, even so close to Sauron. But it did no good to bemoan the past. It had been a week since the army had left, and her soul ached for Legolas's presence.

She could feel the strength returning to her body, and knew that she would not remain abed for the ten days that Aragorn had commanded, it would drive her mad.

"Tomorrow," she whispered, "Tomorrow I will get up, and the Master of this House will not stop me."

She looked out the window, to the East. "They should reach the Black Gate on the morrow," she said aloud, as the door opened slowly to admit Merry. He came to visit her every morning. She looked back into the room, to examine her now dear friend. He had managed somehow to keep her from despair, as he told her about his home, about the adventures that he and Pippin had shared.

He looked worried as he turned his gaze out the window, where hers had so recently been directed.

"Don't worry about Pippin," she said, interpreting the cause of his nervousness. "He has a stout heart, and will bring much glory to the name of Took."

"As long as he comes back to tell me about it," Merry said sadly.

"Of course he will, Legolas and Gimli will make certain he does. Not to mention Gandalf." She took up a deliberately hearty tone, trying to shake the despondency out of the normally cheerful hobbit. It unnerved her. Usually he was the one to cheer her up.

"I dreamt about Frodo and Sam again," she said quietly. She had first told Merry of her dream when she had overslept, and he had wakened her from a particularly distressful one, she didn't tell him that Frodo had just admitted that he didn't expect to return, and that they only needed enough food to get them to Mount Doom.

"They are almost there," the words were quiet, but there was no sound to crowd them out, so she knew that Merry heard. "It is nearly over. The armies should arrive just in time to provide the perfect distraction for Frodo. It could not be better timed." She did not speak of the millions of things that could go wrong, she only spoke of the thin thread of hope that remained. "Now, tell me more about your Aunt Asphodel, did she really have a garden of thorn bushes?"

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"Now for it! Now for the last gasp!" said Sam as he struggled to his feet. He bent over the huddled figure of Frodo, rousing him gently. Frodo groaned; but with a great effort of will he staggered up; and then he fell upon his knees again. He raised his eyes with difficulty to the dark slopes of Mount Doom towering above him, and then pitifully he began to crawl forward on his hands.

Sam looked at him and wept in his heart, but no tears came to his dry and stinging eyes. "I said I'd carry him, if it broke my back," he muttered, "and I will!"

"Come, Mr. Frodo!" he cried. "I can't carry it for you, but I can carry you and it as well. So up you get! Come on, Mr. Frodo dear! Sam will give you a ride. Just tell him where to go, and he'll go."

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A throaty cry split the air, and Zandra bolted upright in bed, the tears in her eyes drying quickly as her fright at the sound drove her dream from her mind. The cry sounded again, outside her window, and this time she recognized it as the cry of a Great Eagle. She threw aside her covers and leapt from the bed. As she reached the window she saw Gwaihir hovering just outside, a great number of his people also hovering in the distance.

When he saw her he spoke, his deep voice ringing out, "Will you fly with us again Child of Water?"

A strange exhilaration began to fill Zandra. Fly? Yes! She could change, and be with Frodo at the last. They were even now climbing that dreadful mountain, at the least she could arrive in time to aid them in his escape! She could be there to see Sauron fall! Filled with the strength of a sudden determination she watched Gwaihir move away, and she leapt from the window, falling for a moment, as her body changed from its human form, then her wings caught the air, and with a single powerful beat she raised herself back up to the level of the other Eagles.

Swiftly they flew over the battle ravaged lands surrounding Minas Tirith, past the nearly destroyed city of Osgiliath. Covering in two hours what took the feet of Men an entire day. They crossed the ruins of Old Gondor, and over the wide River, past the Crossroads.

Then they came, six hours after leaving Minas Tirith, to the end of the living lands, and began to pass into the desolation that lay before the Black Gates of Mordor. Here their keen Eagle eyesight saw clearly the raging battle that lay before them, the Army of Men seemed pitifully small against the torrent of Orcs, and Easterlings and Southrons that assailed them. They fared ill, being driven slowly back by the dark forces.

Then Zandra heard the sudden cry, "The Eagles are coming! The Eagles are coming!" She thought immediately back to the first time she heard that cry, so newly come from the depths of Dol Guldur, lost to herself, unaware of her very name. As she dove with the other Eagles, she pondered the great distances she had traveled, the knowledge and memories that she had gained. The love she had felt.

Straight down upon the Nazgul the Eagles bore, stooping suddenly out of the high airs, and the rush of their wide wings as they passed was like a gale.

But the Nazgul turned and fled, and vanished into Mordor's shadows. Zandra heard a sudden terrible call out of the Dark Tower; and saw all the hosts of Mordor tremble, their laughter failed, and their hands shook. And Zandra's heart shook as well. Were they too late to save Frodo? With a powerful surge she took off after the Nazgul, dimly aware of Gwaihir behind her, bearing Gandalf.

The North wind blew strong, aiding them in their need for swift flight to the south. They must outmatch the wings of the Nazgul. Those evil beings could not reach Frodo and Sam before they did. But the Nazgul fell. Long before they reached Mount Doom. And Zandra knew, the One Ring was at last destroyed, unmade as though it had never been, and all that it had created and sustained fell with it. The Nazgul's rings failed, and their life force was lost. Zandra looked back, and saw something glittering fall from Gandalf's hand, it flashed brightly red for a moment, before it fell to the earth, and was lost in the dust.

A weight she hadn't known was there lifted from her heart, and for the first time she truly knew that Dyryn was gone. I guess he wasn't really gone until his ring was, she thought. Then she caught sight of two huddled figures standing, hand in hand upon a little hill on the edge of Mount Doom. A fiery red glow cast them into stark relief, as the mountain protested their recent action. Even as Zandra watched the glow grew stronger, as though the fire inside it were getting closer.

The volcano was about to erupt! Folding her wings slightly she threw herself into a steep dive. The world shook under the two figures, and gasped, and rivers of fire drew near. They fell, worn out, or choked with fumes and heat, or perhaps stricken down by despair at last, hiding their eyes from death. Side by side they lay, together to the end.

Zandra opened her wings at the last moment, and with a huge heave, she hovered over Frodo for an instant before gently cradling him in her talons, and lifting him up, and carrying him far away, out of the darkness and the fire.

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