Warrior Maiden of the Dunedain - Chapter Seven
Early the next morning, Ohtarwen woke up with a shiver. She had cried herself to sleep the night before and had not even bothered getting under the covers. Slowly she got up and stretched her stiff body. Her eyes were red from crying and her hair was a mess. She poured cold water into her wash basin and rinsed her face off quickly to wake her up. She took a deep breath and sighed. She then remembered that this was the day the council was to be. Quickly she changed her dress and went for breakfast. Miredhel met her in the hall.
"Are you alright, Ohtarwen?" she asked with true concern in her eyes. Ohtarwen smiled and nodded.
"Yes, thank you. I'll be ok." Miredhel put a comforting arm around her shoulder as they walked off together to eat.
"Ohtarwen, the council will be starting soon. Are you ready?" Elrond asked after she had eaten.
"Yes." She answered and followed him to the library. They went out onto the courtyard where the council was going to be held; many seats were set out, Elrond's at the head with a few other chairs next to his. Ohtarwen gazed up at the old tower behind the other chairs; the top half of it was crumbled and broken. Hidden in the walls were statues. They looked sad and alone. To Ohtarwen, they seemed as guardians of the old tower, watching over it and protecting it from danger.
"You will sit here." Elrond showed Ohtarwen, bringing her back to the present. Ohtarwen turned back to Elrond. He looked worried and tired it seemed. Legolas briskly walked into the room and over to them.
"They are arriving now. More Elves from Mirkwood, Men, and ...Dwarves." He said this with hate in his voice. Elrond put his hand on his shoulder; Legolas looked at him and took a deep breath, then smiled.
"Strangers from distant lands, friends of old." Elrond began. In front of him were many Elves, Men and Dwarves. Gandalf and Frodo were seated to the left of him also. They all listened silently as he spoke. "You are summoned here to answer the threat of Mordor. Middle-earth stands on the brink of destruction." His eyes paused on everyone's face, studying their faces. "You will unite or you will fall. Each race is bound to this fate, this one doom," He turned to Frodo. "Bring forth the Ring, Frodo."
Frodo stood and walked to the table in the middle of the council, he slowly drew from his pocket the gold Ring and set it down. Many were in awe when they saw the Ring.
"So it is true." Boromir whispered. His hand rose to his chin thoughtfully.
"The Ring of power." Someone whispered.
"The doom of man." Said another.
"It is a gift," Boromir stated rising from his chair. "A gift to the foes of Mordor. Why not use this Ring?" He paced back and forth. "Long has my father, the Steward of Gondor, kept the forces of Mordor at bay. By the blood of my people are your lands kept safe. Give Gondor the weapon of the enemy. Let us use it against him."
"You cannot wield it. None of us can." Aragorn told him. "The ring answers to Sauron alone. It has no other master."
"And what would a ranger know of this matter?" Boromir scoffed.
"He is no mere ranger." Legolas said rising quickly. "This is Aragorn, son of Arathorn." He paused to let Boromir take this in. "You owe him your allegiance."
"This is Isildur's heir?" Boromir asked looking at Aragorn in disbelief.
"And heir to the throne of Gondor." Legolas added.
"Ham undu, Legolas. [Sit down, Legolas.]" Aragorn said gently.
"Gondor has no king," Boromir said turning back to sit down. "Gondor needs no king." Aragorn and Boromir eyed each other coldly for a few moments until Gandalf spoke.
"Aragorn is right. We cannot control it."
"We have but one choice. The ring must be destroyed." Elrond announced.
"Then what are we waiting for?" Gimli yelled, he raised his ax and brought it down upon the Ring. His ax smashed into pieces and Gimli flew backward onto the ground stunned.
"The ring cannot be destroyed, Gimli, son of Gloin, by any craft that we here possess. It was made in the fires of Mount Doom. Only there can it be unmade. It must be taken deep into Mordor, and cast back into the fiery chasm from which it came. One of you must do this." Elrond told everyone. All was silent.
Boromir rubbed his forehead in frustration. "One does not simply walk into Mordor. Its black gates are guarded by more than orcs. There is evil there that does not sleep, and the great eye is ever watchful. It is a barren wasteland, riddled with fire, ash and dust. The very air you breathe is a poisonous fume. It is folly. Not with ten thousand men could you do this."
"Have you heard nothing that Lord Elrond has said?" Legolas yelled standing. "The Ring must be destroyed!"
"And I suppose you think you're the one to do it?" Gimli roared as he stood up.
"And what if we fail? What happens when Sauron takes back what is his?" Boromir proposed.
"I will be dead before I see the Ring in the hands of an elf! Never trust an elf!" Gimli yelled. The council began to argue; Dwarves against Elves, Men against Men.
Ohtarwen looked from one face to another while they yelled. Ohtarwen's mind raced, her heart started to beat rapidly, her palms became damp and sweaty. She watched Frodo as he closed his eyes, trying to block everything out.
"I will take the ring." A small voice rang out. Ohtarwen watched Frodo stand and yell over all the arguing of the Men, Elves, and Dwarves.
"I will take the ring to Mordor." Frodo said louder above the yelling. Everyone fell silent and looked at Frodo. Gandalf closed his eyes and sighed heavily.
"Though, I do not know the way." Frodo whispered.
"I will help you bear this burden for as long as it is yours to bear." Gandalf told him placing a hand on Frodo's shoulder. Aragorn walked over to Frodo.
"If by my life or my death I can protect you, I will.' Aragorn kneeled before Frodo. "You have my sword."
"And my bow." Legolas said.
"And my axe!" Gimli said stoutly, standing up and glancing at Legolas who stood beside him. Legolas looked down at him in annoyance.
"Why does he have to come?" he thought to himself.
"You carry the fate of us all, little one." Ohtarwen watched as Boromir walked over to Frodo. "But if this is truly the will of the council, Gondor will see it done."
"Here! Mr. Frodo's not going anywhere without me." Sam yelled as he ran out from behind a bush and took his place by Frodo who smiled at him.
"Indeed, it is hardly possible to separate the two of you, even when he is summoned to a secret council and you are not." Sam looked a little embarrassed as he glanced at Frodo.
"Very well." Elrond said.
"Oi! We're coming, too!" A voice yelled as two small figures ran out from behind pillars in the library. Merry and Pippin stopped next to Frodo and Sam. "You'd have to send us home tied up in a sack to keep us away." Merry said firmly crossing his arms over his chest. Elrond looked at the two of them slightly amused.
"Anyway, you need people of intelligence on this sort of mission.... quest...... thing." Pippin said with a nod.
"Well, that rules you out, Pip." Merry told him. Pippin glanced at him, then glared.
Elrond smiled. "Nine companions." He said thoughtfully. "So be it. You shall be the Fellowship of the Ring."
"Great! Now, where we're going?" Pippin asked looking at Elrond and Gandalf.
For the next few days, Ohtarwen spent time with the Hobbits, getting to know them and learning about the Shire. She felt happy again being around the kind-hearted Hobbits. They jumped at the chance when they could tell you about their land and the ways of the Shire-folk. Though, mostly it was Merry, Pippin and Sam; Frodo spent much time with Bilbo these days.
"So tell me about Bilbo and what he did before he came here." Ohtarwen requested, knowing she would not be turned down. While the three young Hobbits smoked their long pipes and relaxed on the green grass, they began to tell her about old Bilbo before she knew him. They talked for hours, recalling many of the things Bilbo had did when he was still in the Shire. They told her about his eleventy-first birthday.
"That was a grand party, wasn't it Pip?" Merry sighed, glancing at Pippin who was puffing contently on his pipe.
"That it was. Up until Gandalf caught us, of course."
"What did you do to get caught?" Ohtarwen asked curiously.
"Well, Gandalf is very well known for his fireworks. We decided to put on our own show for them." Merry started.
"So Merry boosted me up into Gandalf's cart of fireworks to get one." Pippin said.
Letting him do all the dirty work, Ohtarwen thought to herself.
"So anyway, he got one of the biggest ones and we took it into a tent." Merry continued.
"Little we knew about the things, we lit the wick and held it." Pippin interrupted.
"I told him he was suppose to stick it in the ground." Merry laughed.
"And I said it is in the ground! Then he said, `Outside!' But by then it was too late. The firework went off and took the tent with it!" Pippin was so enthusiastic that he was hopping around, acting it out for Ohtarwen.
"We were left covered in black smoke." Merry and Pippin laughed, remembering the night.
"That's when Gandalf caught us. We had to wash the dishes for the rest of the night." Ohtarwen laughed with them, imagining the reaction of the people at the party to the firework.
"I wish you could tell me more, but dinner is ready." Ohtarwen told them standing.
"Dinner?" Pippin exclaimed. "Good. I was getting hungry. We had better eat all we can before we start out, we may not be getting a lot to eat then."
"Good idea Pip." Merry agreed as they all walked off.
The days passed as the Fellowship rested and began to get ready for their journey. Gandalf and Elrond were often in the library studying various maps and charts; Legolas practiced his with his bow, sometimes with Ohtarwen. Ohtarwen did not know what Boromir did while they waited to leave, she always felt uneasy around him. Somehow she knew he would bring great pain to the Fellowship. Aragorn spent time alone, sometimes Ohtarwen would see from her balcony, him and the Lady Arwen walking together on the forest paths. She could see the love they had for each other, it was as clear as day.
Ohtarwen was sad when the day finally came when they had to leave. Boromir, Legolas, Gimli and the Hobbits gathered in the courtyard waiting to depart. Frodo was saying goodbye to Bilbo in his room, and Aragorn was saying farewell to Elrond's daughter. Ohtarwen could see them standing underneath a trellis speaking to each other hand in hand.
"Are you going to miss me?" A familiar voice teased in her ear. Ohtarwen slowly turned to face Legolas with a smile on her face.
"Now what kind of a question is that? It will be as always when you leave. Boring." Ohtarwen laughed then grew serious. "I will miss you, Brother." Legolas put his arms around her and hugged her.
"As will I, my little Sister." Ohtarwen smiled at Legolas's nickname for her. Legolas kissed her on the forehead and went to join the rest. Gandalf emerged from the library, Aragorn and Frodo met him.
"Well, it is time for us to depart." He said with a smile. Ohtarwen looked at the old wizard; his smile betrayed him. He was worried and sad inside, she could see it.
"Farewell, Mithrandir. May the Valar protect and guide your footsteps." She said warmly, giving the old wizard a hug.
"Good-bye, Ohtarwen." Gandalf went down the steps to the others.
Ohtarwen turned to Aragorn quietly. He looked at her with sad eyes.
"I'm sorry about what I said before." Ohtarwen apologized.
"You were angry. I know you did not mean it." Aragorn hugged her as if she were his own daughter.
From her balcony, Ohtarwen watched the company slowly grow smaller and smaller as they left. She sighed heavily. She felt as if she would never see them again. And somehow she knew deep down in her heart that a few of them, she wouldn't.