Lady From Beyond the Sea – Chapter 28 – Hope
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
Zandra gazed at Legolas blankly, unable to credit that Dyryn could actually be gone. She did not remember killing him, in fact, she didn’t remember anything after he had come. She felt no relief at the thought he was gone, in fact she felt nothing at all, merely a strange lethargy, a coldness that pervaded her being, as though she were detached from existence. She felt as though this were the dream, and what she had just left were reality.
“I don’t remember,” she whispered, “I don’t remember killing him.”
She saw the sudden anxiety cross Legolas’s face, and felt his arms tighten about her. She willed herself to respond, to pull him to her in return, but she could only lay limp in his embrace. Her body refused to respond, so she continued:
“I remember going with the Army of Rohan, so I could find Merry; then entering the battle. I fought,” she paused. She did not like remembering war. “Then there was the light at the City, and then Dyryn came, and . . .” she stopped, “And then the next thing I remember was walking through the empty battlefield, seeing the thousands dead. There was Eomer, and Elfhelm, and Aragorn and Gimli, and . . .”she choked, that finally brought some emotion to her body.
“Shhhh,” Legolas whispered, “It was only a dream. They are all fine. There were many losses, but we won. The Haradrim were destroyed, none survived, and the Easterlings were driven back. Minas Tirith is safe.”
“For now,” Aragorn said. “But the war is not over yet. I am sorry Zandra but I have many other things to attend to, and we must see what is to be done about this Ring.” He broke off as Gandalf entered the room.
“What ring?” he asked.
Aragorn pointed to the floor by Zandra’s bed. She was laying down, so she could not see to what he pointed.
“What power brought this here?” Gandalf asked, his thick brows drawing together forbiddingly.
“Zandra had it clasped in her hand, it is that which prevented her from waking at first,” Aragorn explained quickly.
“This is ill-news, why did you pick it up?” he said now to Zandra. She did not know what to say, suddenly she felt very afraid, though she could not say why.
“I don’t know,” she said fearfully, “I don’t remember doing so. If I had known, or had been aware, . . .” she stopped. She could not explain it, perhaps there was no explanation.
“What is to be done with it Gandalf?” Legolas asked, his voice hoarse as he gripped Zandra more tightly again. Deep inside her Zandra felt something begin to melt, and a hint of warmth touched her heart again. He was worried for her, he wanted the ring gone so that it wouldn’t bother her.
“We can’t just dispose of it, there are few who could touch it without some influence,” Aragorn said.
“Zandra,” Gandalf exclaimed whirling on her, “Of what did you dream whilst you slept? Did you hear or speak to Sauron at all?” His gaze was intent, and almost angry in a way that she had never seen before, at least not directed at her.
“Sauron? No, I said nothing to him. I . . .” she paused, “I saw Dyryn handing him the Ring, but that couldn’t be true if I had killed him.”
“What about Frodo, was there anything involving Frodo?” Gandalf said immediately, his gaze no softer.
“I did not speak of Frodo, . . . though,” she paused again, reliving the pain of those moments when she had seen Frodo, “I saw him, in the top of a tower in Mordor, alone. He was naked, and his body was thin from starvation. It was so real,” she said on a sob, and she felt tears stinging her eyes again.
Gandalf’s gaze began to soften at last, “Dreams can seem so.” His brow furrowed again in thought, “Sam was not there?”
Zandra thought for a moment. That was strange, in thinking of Frodo she always imagined Sam there with him. Why was Sam not there in her dream? “No, he wasn’t,” she said slowly.
She caught the glitter of the Wizard’s eyes from beneath his lowered brows, “Sauron would not have needed to send you a dream about him getting the Ring if it were true. However, a dream of your own would have had Sam in it.” He sighed wearily, and suddenly he seemed to Zandra old, very old, and weighed down by his many years.
“You think there’s some truth to it?” she whispered in despair.
“The best lies always contain an element of truth,” Gandalf said, “I cannot say where the truth lies in these. We do know however that Sauron does not yet have the Ring. Therein lies our only hope.” He stooped down, and scooped something off the floor. Zandra could not see what it was, but supposed it must be the ring. Then he whirled about, his white robes swirling. “Come Aragorn, Legolas, we have much to do, and we must act soon!” Swiftly he left down the hall.
“Zandra, you should rest,”Aragorn said, standing, “It will be some time before you can be up and about. I will leave my instructions with the Master of the House of Healing. Legolas do not tarry long.” Then he too was gone.
Legolas laid her gently on the bed, and kissed her still cold hand. “Sleep, I will return as soon as I may.”
She grasped his hand as he pulled away, suddenly fearful, “Don’t leave me!” she pleaded.
“I will return, have no fear,” he said, though he sat again on the side of her bed. “You must rest, if you are to recover. You are too pale.”
Legolas bent down to kiss her pale brow, and then stood again, gently disengaging her grip on his hand. She stared at him silently, her eyes wide and frightened. She was still so pale, and shadows rested beneath her eyes, somehow making the green in them stand out even more. Even wasted and invalid she was very beautiful to him.
“Rest, so that you will be better as soon as may be,” he said as backed to the door.
“Come back soon,” she said anxiously before he closed the door.
Then he closed the door, as she lowered herself back to her pillows and closed her eyes. Legolas turned to see Aragorn speaking quietly to the Master. He looked up as Legolas approached.
“Is she going to rest?” he asked the Elf. Legolas’s brow furrowed, Aragorn was the healer, it was he who should know.
“She had closed her eyes when I left,” he said, asking with his tone why Aragorn had to ask.
“All is not right there,” Aragorn said slowly, “There is still much shadow in her. I don’t think she told us all that she dreamed.”
“What should we do?” anxiety tinged his tone, though Legolas tried to hide it.
“There is little that we can do. She must fight her shadows on her own. It is her battle, and all you can do is support her.” Aragorn replied. “I have given orders that she not get up and about for ten days, and even then, unless you are here, I don’t think she should leave this House.”
Legolas knew what Aragorn was asking, and his heart quailed. He was torn, he did not know where his duty lay. His heart bid him remain with her until laughter lit her eyes again, but his heart also told him that he must see this war through.
Again he heard her plea, and his heart bled with the forlorn sound of it Don’t leave me!
“Is she in any further danger?” he asked stiffly.
“Now that the ring is out of her proximity she ought to be fine, but there is no saying how deep the shadow on her soul has gone.” Aragorn replied.
“What do you think I should do?” Legolas asked at last.
“I do not know. It is for you to decide. I will understand if you decide to stay, for I too know what it is to love. But, we could use your aid.”
Legolas closed his eyes and lowered his head. In his mind’s eye he saw Zandra laying there still and pale, waiting in the House of Healing. What would she say? What would she wish him to do? What would she do?
“You need not decide just yet,” Aragorn said now, “come to the counsel, we are gathering in my tent outside the walls of the City. We have yet to decide our own course of action. Perhaps you will have help in your decision there.”
Legolas raised his head, looking at this most beloved of all Men. He mentally stood back to look at Aragorn objectively. He was weary and worn, from many years traveling in the Wild, but there was in his eye a look of majesty, a look of inner strength and surety. And he knew that this was a Man that others would follow to their deaths, and glory in the chance to give their lives following one of the greatest Men to ever live. He himself would have no hesitation if it weren’t for the greater love that he bore for his Lady.
“I will decide there,” he said.
“My lords,” Gandalf said gravely, “listen to the words of the Steward of Gondor before he died: You may triumph on the fields of Pelennor for a day, but against the Power that has arisen there is no victory. I do not bid you despair, as he did, but to ponder the truth in these words.” He looked round at all gathered in the tent of Aragorn, who still refused to proclaim officially his claim to the throne, whether wisely or unwisely Gandalf was not sure. He thought that the people would gladly throw their all behind him, and if they did it would give them a strength and security that they lacked. They needed someone to hold confidence in. However if anyone refuted his claim it could prove disastrous to their war with Sauron.
Gandalf sighed inwardly, careful not to let any of his uncertainty show. He was very uncomfortably aware of the ring that lay in the pouch at his belt. That was a blow indeed. He thought that since Sauron did not yet have the Ruling Ring that he did not have any control over one who merely held the ring, and did not wear it, but he could not be sure.
He could not be sure. There were too many things of which he could not be sure. How much, if anything, did Sauron learn from Zandra? Why did Sauron want her? What was she? These questions still plauged him, and even the Valar could not answer them. Or would not.
He continued, “The Stones of Seeing do not lie, and not even the Lord of Barad-dur can make them do so. It cannot be doubted that when Denethor saw great forces arrayed against him in Mordor, and more still being gathered, he saw that which truly is. This war then is without final hope, as Denethor perceived. Victory cannot be achieved by arms, whether you sit here to endure siege after siege, or march out to be overwhelmed beyond the River.”
Here he paused and looked forbiddingly at all that were gathered. Some shifted nervously in their seats, unable to bear that darkling gaze for long. Then he continued, “I still hope for victory, but not by arms. For into the midst of all these policies comes the Ring of Power, the foundation of Barad-dur, and the hope of Sauron. If he regains it, your valor is vain, and his victory will be swift and complete. If it is destroyed, then he will fall; and his fall will be so low that none can foresee his arising ever again. He will be maimed forever, becoming a mere spirit of malice that gnaws itself in the shadows, but cannot again grow or take shape. And so a great evil of this world will be removed.”
Again he stopped, his gaze seeming to now turn within. He became lost in thought, considering all that he had relearned in his time beyond the world. Sauron was not the only evil in the world, indeed, he was the lesser. Thoughts of the greater evil of Melkor touched his mind momentarily, but he dismissed them.
“Other evils there are that may come; for Sauron is himself but a servant or emissary. Yet it is not our part to master all the tides of the world, but to do what is in us for the succor of those years wherein we are set, uprooting the evil in the fields that we know. What weather they shall have is not ours to rule.”
How hard that was. Manwe had reminded him of Melkor, and at the same time warned him not to worry about that threat. It was for others to worry about.
“Now, Sauron knows all this, and he knows that the Ring has been found; but he does not yet know where it is, or so we hope. And therefore he is now in great doubt. For if we have found this thing, there are some among us with strength to wield it. That too he knows.” Gandalf was taking a great gamble that Sauron had not learned anything from Zandra. But he could see no other course.
“His doubt will be growing, even as we speak here. His Eye is now straining towards us, blind almost to all else that is moving. So we must keep it. Therein lies all our hope. This, then, is my counsel. We have not the ring. In wisdom or great folly it has been sent away to be destroyed, lest it destroy us.” Oh Iluvatar, please let it not be folly Gandalf prayed.
“Without it we cannot by force defeat his force. But we must at all costs keep his Eye from his true peril. We cannot achieve victory by arms, but by arms we can give the Ring-bearer his only chance, frail though it be.
“We must walk open-eyed into Sauron’s trap, with courage, but small hope for ourselves. For, my lords, it may well prove that we ourselves shall perish utterly in a black battle far from the living lands; so that even if Barad-dur be thrown down, we shall not live to see a new age. But this I deem, is our duty. And better so than to perish nonetheless – as we surely shall, if we sit here – and know as we die that no new age shall be.”