Sam sat on her bed, while doubts plagued her mind. What had she gotten herself into? Why had she volunteered?
A part of her wanted to answer that it would be quick and easy suicide. But in truth, she felt obligated to protect…people whom she thought of as new friends. There was the Old Veteran Syndrome (her new name for the inability of a soldier to "settle down" after returning home from war) but all in all, in doing this wasn’t she just helping to fight a war here in which she had failed to survive back home?
More than anything though, she wanted to make up for the fact that she lost her teammates by doing everything within her power to ensure this new team’s–this new *fellowship’s*–survival. This would be her way to avenge the teammates that died in an unfair…surely it couldn’t even be called fight or battle?
She had one problem.
Sam sighed and rubbed her face. It’d look stupid to walk into Lord Elrond’s office now asking about an enemy she’d practically already volunteered to fight.
She stood up and walked over to her balcony and looked out. The view was breath-taking. She had an awsome angle at the waterfall and how it trickled lazily into the valley. Gazing out, she knew no man made New York skyscraper could compare to the awe inspiring refuge of Rivendell. It was especially beautiful at sunset when the colorful rays of the sun reflected off of the sides of the valley.
Suddenly, movement below caused her to tense up and freeze. She relaxed when Frodo and Samwise appeared moments later and released the breath she didn’t realize she had been holding. She noted that Frodo seemed troubled but the expression cleared up when he met a figure Sam hadn’t noticed. The figure moved out into the sunlight and she saw that it was the older Hobbit, Bilbo, if she remembered his name right.
She breathed in deeply and made a decision. If she was walking into a battle, then she would walk in knowing about her enemy instead of going in blind. Sam turned and began her trek to Lord Elrond’s office. Luckily, there was still plenty of day left, because she had little to no idea where Elrond’s office was.
Sam had to admit that she still didn’t trust these guys. They called themselves Elves and Dwarves and Hobbits for crying out loud! In her opinion the Hobbits were by far the most trust worthy. They still had an aura of innocence of not having seen much of the outside world, but their eyes told her that they had seen their share of horrors in their short venture from the…Shire, wasn’t it called?
The Dwarves might as well have been Hobbits to her. Both were short but they did have some differences. The Hobbits were happy and shorter. The Dwarves had long, thick beards and weren’t as…cheerful and were stouter.
It was the Elves and the man who called himself a *wizard* named Gandalf that she was most wary about. The only "Elf" she was even close to inclined to trust was Legolas but she didn’t know the exact reason why. Gandalf freaked her out. He reminded her of General Roberts somewhat, but he was calling himself a *wizard*. No one in his right mind would call himself a a wizard unless they were like, a math wizard or something.
It was Boromir that she was going to have to be the most cautious about. Ever since she had joined the Fellowship, he had been watching her, almost to the point of stalking. It unnerved her.
Sam nearly collided with a statue in the hall and began to concentrate on where she was going instead of debating. Within a few minutes she found Elrond’s office. It took her a moment to realize that she had, by some miracle, wandered in the right direction.
She knocked briskly on the door and waited for him to admit her.
"Come in," came his muffled voice.
Sam opened the door and gawked at the size of his office. It was even larger than General Roberts! She realized what she had been doind and instantly straightened up.
"Sorry, Sir," she said. "Yesterday, as you probably know, Arwen came to speak with me to hear my side of the story from before Legolas found me."
"Aye, and Arwen informed me of your statements."
"Right…Sir. But the subject of your council came up and I was wondering if you might brief me about the enemy…Sir."
Elrond leaned back in his chair. He began slowly, "During Ennorath’s second age, the Elven smiths forged the Rings of power." He paused and then began what Sam suppoed was an old poem.
"Three Rings for the Elven-kings under the sky,
Seven for the Dwarf-lords in their halls of stone,
Nine for Mortal Men doomed to die,
One for the Dark Lord on his dark throne
In the Land of Mordor where the Shadows lie.
One Ring to rule them all, One Ring to find them,
One Ring to bring them all and in the darkness bind them
In the Land of Mordor where the Shadows lie.
"But in secret, Sauron forged a master Ring, the One Ring, in the fires of Orodruin, Mount Doom. He tricked the Elven smith, Celebrimbor, into teaching him how to forge a great Ring of power and betrayed him. Mordor became a dark land covered in Shadow. The nine Rings of Men turned them into shapeless forms of existense, slaves to the His will; the Nazgul. And now we know that he has all of the Dwarf-lords Rings. The Elven Rings remain hidden and free for now, but should the One Ring fall back into the hands if Its master…." He trailed off. "Three thousand years ago a last alliance of Men and Elves marched against the armies of Mordor. And on the slopes of Mount Doom we fought for the freedom of Middle Earth. Both the leaders of the two armies–Gil-Galad and Elendil–perished. It was when Isildur, Elendil’s son, took up his father’s sword and cut the Ring from his hand that we won.
"I went with him to the Crack of Doom but could not convince him to destroy the Ring. Evil was allowed to walk free that day."
"Wait," interjected Sam, forgeting common courtesy, "you’re telling me that you were alive three *thousand* years ago?!"
"You still do not believe in Elves," said Elrond quietly.
"I stopped believing in Elves when I was eight, when I found out that Santa’s Elves were creepy little munchkin-men wearing dorky outfits."
Elrond gazed at her in confusion. It looked like he wasn’t used to making the expression considering new creases appeared on his face. "Munchkin-men? Dorky?"
"Uh, Hobbit-sized guys wearing really ridiculous costumes," clarified Sam awkawardly.
"Ah," replied Elrond, still looking unsure. Then he continued. "For nearly two thousand years the Ring lay at the bottom of a river not too far from the Shire. It was found by a Hobbit-like creature named Deagol who was murdured by his cousin Smeagol, who took the ring for himself. He then vanished for five hundred years into the Misty Mountains where the Ring consumed him.
"Then one day, out of sheer luck, a lost Hobbit, named Bilbo Baggins, laid his hand upon it in the dark and kept it. After escaping Smeagol–now called Gollum–he returned to his party. That is the tale in short. And now here we are sixty years later where the Ring’s story continues and hopefully will end in the fires of Mount Doom. Now, my lady, you must get your rest. You have had a trying past few days."
Sam was about to protest but saw that it was indeed getting last and that sun was just about to disappear over the side of the valley.
She walked back in the direction of her room mulling over everything Elrond told her. There was no way in Hell any of this could be true. Okay, maybe some of it, like the fact that this crazy man was after this ring and was *very* desperate to get it.
She went back to her room and went to bed, still thinking over Elrond’s words.
Two months later the Fellowship set out. Within that time Sam learned that Elrond had barely scraped past the surface of the Ring’s history, or at least, hadn’t been very detailed, though she still didn’t really believe it.
She was extremely down on Christmas for obvious reasons and was brought even lower when she found out she couldn’t mope around, but instead had to leave.
Days later, the members of the Fellowship found themselves resting their exhausted legs on a somewhat rocky hilltop. Refexively, Sam tensed and jumped at every slight sound; this is what happened before her team had died.
"Are you alright?" asked someone behind her.
Sam jumped a mile high and spun around with an arm out, ready to punch the person behind her. Her fist found Boromir’s chest. He made the "oof!" of someone who just had the wind knocked out of them, while Sam nursed her injured hand. Luckily it was just throbbing like hell; nothing serious.
"Sorry!" she gasped in pain. "Don’t do that! Especially not to a spooked Lieutenant in the U.S. army."
"It is I who should apologize," rasped Boromir. "I did not realize you would react in such a way."
Sam stared at him incredulously. What had he expected her to do? Scream and hide like a little wussy Gondorian girl? "I’m a *soldier*. When I feel like I’m under attack, I’ll probably react somewhat defensively," she said slowly so that he could catch every word.
"Of couse, my lady," he said, doing a mini bow.
"Lieutenant Jackson," corrected Sam. Them she noticed something off in the distance. "What’s that?"
"Nothing," said the Dwarf, "just a whisp of cloud."
"It’s moving fast," observed Boromir. "Against the wind."
Legolas, who had been closely studying the *cloud* shouted suddenly, "Crebain from Dunland!"
"Hide!" cried Aragorn.
Sam took cover beneath some rocks as the others removed any traces of their quick break.
After the Crebain, which to Sam were more or less crows, passed and they came out from under cover, Gandalf announced that they were to take the pass of Caradhras.
Sam sighed and collected her things, ready to begin the next stretch of the journey.