Snaga of Mordor - Chapter Four - Arwen's Plea

The Dwarves, the hobbit, and Gandalf remained in Rivendell for several days. Arwen stayed hidden for all of them, and she was wondering how long she expected to keep living this way. It had seemed as though it would be easy to stay in Rivendell for as long as she wanted when she and Galadriel were making the plans back in Lothlorien. Arwen had not reckoned with the fact that she hated being shut away from the light and growing things, or that she did not like sneaking around her own home. It came as something of a surprise to her when she realized that she wanted to go back to Lothlorien.

It came as a surprise to Elrohir, too. "But you just got back!" he protested. "I thought we were going to have lots of time together!"

Arwen bit her lip, knowing how spoiled she must seem. "That's what I thought, too," she admitted, "but this isn't doing any favors for me. Besides being with you and Elladan, of course," she added hastily.

The door to Arwen's room opened, and both of them jumped. It was only Gandalf, however, and Arwen breathed a sigh of relief. It would have been just my luck, she thought ruefully, if it was Father or an Elf who found me, just as I was deciding to go back to Lothlorien. Aloud she asked, "What are you doing here?"

"Thorin is making ready to leave," Gandalf told them.

"Are you going with them?" Elrohir asked.

"For a little way," Gandalf replied. "I must leave them soon to...there are things that I must see to," he finished. Arwen knew what he meant. He was going to go to Mordor and find out about her cousin. She caught the wizard's eyes, and the look in them assured her that she had guessed right.

Suddenly an idea occurred to Arwen, an idea so crazy and unlikely to succeed that she wanted to do it. She bit her lip to stop the scared excitement rising in her at the thought that Gandalf might say yes. Unlikely, of course - probably he would simply refuse and that would be the end of it - but possible, nonetheless.

It even seemed as though fate approved of her idea, because Elrohir suddenly clapped a hand to his mouth and gasped, "The Quenya translations! Master Firion wanted me to have the Lay of Luthien translated into Quenya by tonight!" He dashed out of the room, and Arwen had to bite her lip again to stop herself from laughing. Master Firion had been tutor to the children of Elrond when she was still officially in Rivendell, and Elrohir had neglected his assignments then, too. It was a familiar sight to see her brother suddenly bolt off to do his work the day it was due.

Gandalf, too, was having trouble concealing his merriment, by the way his eyes were sparkling. "He has not changed greatly since I last saw him - in that respect, anyway."

Arwen shook her head in agreement. Then she launched into her idea. "Gandalf, I don't want to stay here much longer. I prefer Rivendell when I'm supposed to be here and I don't have to sneak. But I don't yet want to go back to Lothlorien." The Golden Wood was beautiful, of course, but Arwen had had enough formalities there to last her a hundred years. She took a deep breath. "I was hoping...I thought maybe I could...I could come with you and find my cousin!" she blurted in one breath, her fingers crossed for luck, hope rising in her like a wave. Please say yes, she begged silently, please say yes.

Gandalf's eyes widened, and his eyebrows shot up into his hat brim. "Arwen, I can't do that. I cannot take you to Mordor."

"Please," Arwen begged. "I want to do something, something important, before I have to be married off and happily settled down like a good little girl! And I think I have a right to meet my cousin!"

"No." The word was spoken softly, but it carried all the impact of a shout.

Arwen had never been one to recoil at a shout. "Why not?"

Gandalf's carefully-reined temper exploded. "Because it's the most dangerous place in all Middle-earth you could possibly go, and you will more than likely die!" He was really shouting now, and Arwen was suddenly terrified that someone would come into the room and find her out. Gandalf, however, apparently did not care about that. "I will not be responsible for your death!"

"Keep your voice down! Someone will come in soon!" Arwen hissed.

Gandalf lowered his voice. "I have no desire to drag you across the world just to be killed, Arwen, and if you had the sense of even Isildur you would not want to come!"

Arwen turned away. "Gandalf, I've never been allowed to do anything more exciting than fencing practice. What good is that going to be if I never use it? All my life I've had to stay inside and do my work and my sewing and watch while Elladan and Elrohir ride out to battle and help Father make decisions. Sneaking back here was the first completely independent thing I've ever done, and I don't want it to be the last because I'm in danger of dying! My brothers face death every time they go out to get rid of Orcs, but it's all right for them because they're men. But if I even hint that I'd like to go with them next time, everyone instantly says, `No, you'd be in danger.' Please don't be one of them, Gandalf." She swallowed hoping she'd gotten through to him.

Gandalf sighed heavily. "Arwen, that's all well and good, and if I were going anywhere else, I'd be happy to take you with me. But this is Mordor, Arwen! This is not a simple mountain crossing; it's the Land of Shadow!" He sat down on the bed, staring wearily into her eyes, trying to make her understand.

She looked back at him steadily. "Please."

Gandalf dropped his head into his hands. "I have a feeling that a headache will come on if I argue any longer with you, so...very well. You may come."

She squealed with joy and threw her arms around Gandalf's neck. "Thank you!" she cried.

Gandalf couldn't help but smile as he pried her loose. "All right, that's enough." He stood up, rubbing his head. "Make ready. We leave tomorrow morning." He left her room.

With a smile on her face that would not have been there had she known what she would face, Arwen dragged out the bag she had taken to Lothlorien and began to pack.

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