Colleen fought to stay awake. She was beginning to regret the night she had spent ‘harking’ to the elven minstrels. What’s more she knew the history Elrond was telling the way Montgomery Scott knew the Enterprise and she was getting bored. The sun was shining on her back and she found herself nodding.
Caleb poked his sister in the arm, ” Stay awake! I told you not to stay in the Hall of Fire all night!”
Colleen concentrated on studying the faces of her future companions: Gimli the dwarf who was more bark then bite, Legolas, lover of trees and large bodies of salt water, Frodo, the only person in Middle Earth who had any idea of what she had just gone through, Samwise the faithful cook and chess master, Gandalf the wise and often grumpy.
Her attention shifted to the men, Boromir, one mortal man doomed to die. Colleen made a mental note to see if she should do anything about that. And last but not least, her charge, Aragorn, Arathorn’s son. She made a mental note to go through the Lord of the Rings and write a list of all the places she would be shadowing this man.
She listened to all of them as they all told of the woes of the world around them. At the moment Boromir was busy informing them that Gondor was still full of the blood of Númenor. This Colleen ignored, she was not in the mood to listen to the miraculous deeds of a city she would have to look at and more than likely fight for all too soon.
She snapped awake when Boromir began to recite one of her favorite verses:
Seek for the Sword that was broken,
In Imladris it dwells;
There shall be councils taken
Stronger than Morgul spells.
And there shall be shown a token
That Doom is near at hand,
For Isildur’s Bane shall waken,
And the Halfling forth shall stand.
Colleen for the first time during the council paid attention to what was being said, she had to be alert if she was going to get into the Fellowship before anyone could stop her. Swear an oath to protect Frodo with her life before Aragorn could get in there. She sat, tense as a drawn bowstring waiting for Frodo’s pledge.
“And here in the house of Elrond your dream shall be made clear to you,” said Aragorn standing up and tossing his sword onto the table with a clatter. ” Here is the Sword that was Broken!”
“And who are you, and what have you to do with Minas Tirith?”Asked Boromir looking shocked, and who could blame the guy?
Elrond opened his mouth to speak but Colleen beat him to the punch, ” He is Aragorn son of Arathorn, and he is descended through many fathers from Isildur Elendil’s son of Minas Ithil. He is the Chief of the Dunedain in the North, and few are now left of that folk.” As long as she had to be here she might as well have some fun.
Everyone stared at the young human girl sitting on the edge her chair smiling innocently. Caleb groaned inwardly, Colleen was tired, she always started quoting when she was tired. He sincerely hoped she was done stealing lines for today.
No one knew quite what to say, how could this young girl from Eru only knew where, who had never in her life laid eyes on Aragorn know who and what he was? Colleen settled back in her chair and waited to see if there would be any more good lines to steal.
At long last Elrond managed to nod. “Yes that is exactly who he is, though how you came to know that I do not know.” He gave her a long hard look and Colleen quickly pasted on her best innocent ‘who me?’ look.
Frodo jumped up, ” Then it belongs to you, and not to me at all!” He cried in amazement and stuck his hand in his pocket as if he would hand the Ring over to Strider at once.
“It does not belong to either of us,” said Aragorn; “but it has been ordained that you hold it for a while.”
“Bring forth the Ring, Frodo,” said Gandalf as if the words would carry the fate of the world. ” The time has come. Hold it up and then Boromir will understand the remainder of his riddle.”
Frodo held up the Ring in a trembling hand looking like he wished that Mount Doom was handy so that he could toss it in and be done with it.
“Behold Isildur’s Bane!” Elrond said quickly as though he was afraid that Colleen would try to steal his line again. Colleen settled further back in her chair, stealing lines when it was expected was no fun, she liked to catch people when they least expected it.
Boromir’s eyes glinted greedily at the sight of the golden thing,” The Halfling!” he muttered. “Is the doom of Minas Tirith come at last? But why then should we seek a broken sword?”
Aragorn took a breath as though he meant to speak but Colleen jumped in, sensing good opportunity to steal one of her favorite lines, “The words were not the doom of Minas Tirith,” she said with a big grin on her face. “But doom and great deeds are indeed at hand. For the Sword that was Broken is the sword of Elendil that broke beneath him when he fell. It has been treasured by his heirs when all other heirlooms were lost; for it was spoken among the Dunedain that it should be made again when the Ring, Isildur’s Bane, was found. Now you have seen the sword that you sought, what would you ask? Do you wish for the house of Elendil to return to the Land of Gondor?”
Once again everyone stared at Colleen who ignored them and pulled a knife out of her pocket and proceeded to clean her finger nails.
Boromir burst out, ” How comes it that so young a girl knows so much about the house of Elendil?”
Gandalf gave the girl that he had found a long hard look as he replied, ” I should like to know that myself.”
Colleen looked up from her nails,” Now, now, stick to the topic and mind your own business.” Caleb groaned and put his head in his hands, he should have known she would act like this, Colleen could not be held responsible for what she said when she was this tired. “Now what do you seek, Boromir? A boon or the meaning of your riddle?
“I was sent to beg any boon, but to seek only the meaning of a riddle, ” he said proudly. “Yet we are hard pressed, and the sword of Elendil would be a help indeed- one beyond all hope, if such a thing could indeed return from the past.” He gazed at Aragorn as if he suspected that he was a fraud.
It was Bilbo’s turn to put in his two cents worth. The old hobbit jumped up and burst out;
All that is gold does not glitter,
Not all those who wander are lost,
The old that is strong does not wither,
Deep roots are not reached by the frost.
From ashes a fire shall be woken,
From shadows a light shall spring,
Renewed shall be blade that was broken:
The crownless again shall be King.
“Not very good perhaps, but to the point- if you need more proof beyond the the word of this Colleen and Elrond. If that was worth a journey of a hundred and ten days to hear then you had better listen.”
Colleen flipped the nail file out of her pocket knife and ceased to listen, she knew the story of how Frodo and Bilbo had come by the ring and how Gollum had gotten it, she knew Gandalf’s story too, so she made herself comfortable in her chair and waited for Frodo to announce his intention to march to Mordor on Lembas and water.