Alenor rubbed her eyes irritably; she could understand now why Elrond would fall asleep sometimes during his councils! The whole council was just dragging on and on and Alenor could tell there was no end coming soon.
A sudden sharp jab to the ribs brought her away from her momentary drifting. With a near startled jump she turned to see Erestor smiling grimly at her, from the next chair over.
“Try to stay awake Alenor,” he said, in a quiet voice.
Smiling sheepishly at him Alenor turned her head back to the dragging voices of the council. As she turned her eyes to wander they happened to glance upon the Ring lying upon the stone base in the middle of the Council Ring. A dreadful shiver ran down Alenor’s spine, the cause of everything, war and ruin. Such a small object that could wreak deadly destruction. From where she sat Alenor could feel the evil radiating from the golden band of the Ring. Unconsciously her hand went out taking the brooch, and holding it firm in her hand, feeling small pinpricks of blood come out upon her fingers from the firm hold she held upon it.
“The Ring must be destroyed,” Elrond’s voice hauled Alenor from her entranced gaze. There was an air of anger to her Grandfather’s voice; a note of annoyance as if cursing them for taking so long in their debate. The note however was carefully concealed to anyone who didn’t know him.
“Then what are we waiting for?” an over-eager, and impatient Dwarf growled from across the Council. The Dwarf sprung up from his seat, grabbing an axe that lay near his companion’s chair. With experienced hands in wielding such a weapon the Dwarf descended foolhardily upon the Ring, trying in vain to smash it. A mighty swing, deemed by the Dwarf, to destroy the It, brought the axe crashing down upon the Ring.
As the axe split upon the Ring a momentary blinding flash of Sauron’s Eye invaded Alenor’s mind. The sheer force of the enemy’s malice filled gaze caused Alenor to nearly cry out in pain, as she slammed her back against her chair in attempt to flee from the gaze. Diagonal to her seat she half-saw Frodo putting his head to his hand as if the same image had entered his own mind. A moment later as the image left her, she heard a noise as of something splitting or shattering to pieces. Raising her head, the pain gone, Alenor saw the foolish Dwarf sprawled upon his back look up at a clear blue sky above, devoid of clouds. The Ring remained intact, but the Axe was shattered. Pieces of the axe lay upon the pedestal and on the floor of the Council Ring; the haft of his shattered axe was still clutched in the Dwarf’s hand.
A half-smothered laugh caused Alenor to turn her eyes upon Erestor. He was bending forward, supposedly coughing and fighting to keep it off, but Alenor could tell he was laughing and attempting not to.
“Dwarves!” he gasped to Alenor and then stood up abruptly. “Lord Elrond, I seem to have come down with a coughing fit. Could your granddaughter perhaps take my place while I have it checked out at the Healing Houses?”
A slight hint of a knowing smile was on Elrond’s face at his chief counselor’s words. “Of course Erestor. Don’t be too long.”
Giving a hasty bow Erestor left the room quickly before his suppressed laughter came ringing forth. The scowls of Dwarves that followed his back as he retreated, spoke great volumes that they knew the real reason why Erestor was literally fleeing the Council Ring. Many of the Elves as well, ducked heads in grace and hid their muffled laughter in, whether at the Dwarf or Erestor Alenor couldn’t tell. The poor Dwarf who had tried to destroy the Ring was still lying on his back, blinking stupidly upwards at the bright sky above, quite oblivious to anything around him.
With a firm word however Elrond easily caught things under his control once more. As he did so he saw the Dwarf still upon the ground. “The Ring cannot be destroyed Gimli son of Gloin, by any weapon we here possess,” Elrond told him, then paused as if to let his words sink. Alenor watching, however, caught his lips quirk into a faint smile, her own grandfather was amused by all this! “The Ring can only be destroyed by fires of Mount Doom, from where it was made. Someone must set out to destroy the Ring at once. We cannot linger in Council no longer. Eight of the Ringwraiths horses were found dead and a tattered cloak, they are without disguise for now and crawling in defeat back towards their master. They will not be crippled for long and we must act swiftly.”
“But then who Lord Elrond?” Alenor found herself asking quietly. “Who would go against the might of Mordor? His forces swell and none can pass through his Gate. Surely even a small company could not make it towards Orodruin?” She felt eyes upon her immediately and lowered her head, berating herself for even speaking in this council.
“The young maiden is correct.”
Alenor lifted her head to see the man from Gondor, sitting forward in his chair a calculating expression on his face. This must have been the tenth time he had spoken, Alenor realized. First it had been the strange dream that he and his brother seen, then it was using the Ring for their advantages and then against Aragorn even when he had shown the shards of Narsil. Now this? Fool of a man, Alenor thought to herself. But his intentions are true I believe, but for the will of the Ring already holding him in his grip.
“Have you heard nothing that Lord Elrond has just said?” the angry voice snapped Alenor from her thoughts. Her eyes quickly fell on Legolas who had burst from his seat and staring hard at the man of Gondor. The second time he had grown so annoyed with the man that he had burst. It seemed to Alenor that her friend was not the only one agitated by the man’s foolish intentions and thoughts. “The Ring must be destroyed.”
“Thank goodness for someone with some common sense,” Alenor whispered under her breath, thinking that things would easily flow from there. She was wrongly mistaken. The Dwarf who had tried to destroy the Ring and who was once more sitting back in his chair, the one her grandfather had called Gimli leaped to his feet at this announcement.
“And you think you’re the one to do it?” the Dwarf snarled angrily. Alenor could partly see that his anger was from his actions earlier and Erestor’s hasty retreat. “I’ll be dead before I see the Ring in the hands of an Elf!” The last snarling comments sent spittle from his lips and erupted the tension between the varying races with the Council Ring. Many of the members leapt to their feet and began yelling and arguing amongst themselves in attempt to run their anger and frustration out.
Alenor herself just sighed settling back, there was no use in getting involved, the whole argument was useless anyway and she couldn’t even tell what they were arguing about. She turned to see Elrond, still sitting in his chair with a firm expression on his face. “This is when you fall asleep?”
“Normally yes,” The Lord answered tightly. “But no, not today. Hush, listen well.”
Complying Alenor settled down and watched the fight ringing out the Council members.
“I’ll take the Ring to Mordor!” the sudden small voice, halted the conversation and everybody turned to its speaker. Alenor herself looked to see Frodo standing and her heart was moved. He looked around the faces at him, all watching with intensity. “Though I don’t know the way.”
It seemed as if the whole Council and argument had been waiting for those six words, those six words to stop it. To Alenor those six words, were the footsteps of doom, she had come to talk to the hobbit and enjoyed his company above all the others. Unbeknownst to Alenor with those very thoughts the first step of her fate had been taken, even as she went to say that she would stay by Frodo to the end.
Gandalf, however managed to beat her to that first, proclaiming that he would be with the hobbit for as long as the Ring was his burden to bear. Each time Alenor went to stand for aiding Frodo another Council Member and even three uninvited ones beat her to her words. At the end, nine members there were in all, standing proud before Lord Elrond.
“Nine walkers, for nine Nazgul,” Elrond said when it had come to end. “So be it…”
“No!” the words left Alenor’s mouth before she was able to hold them together and stop it from happening. “Ten walkers. . .ten walkers in case something happens and extra hand is needed.” She felt eyes upon her and Alenor lowered her head against the blush in her cheeks.
“And who?” Elrond asked, seriously. “Do you suggest Alenor?”
“Me,” Alenor said firmly. “I am the tenth walker.”
“I know,” was all Alenor could manage to say. “I know. Everything fits.”
“Its does,” Elrond agreed quietly. “It does. Then Alenor you are the tenth walker.” At these words Alenor wanted to take back all that she had said, every word and her face must have shown it. For at that moment Aragorn stepped away and came to Alenor’s side.
Bending low enough Aragorn took her hand and lifted her up. “We will be honored in taking you with us.”
And in that moment the fate and destiny of Alenor was known more clearly to Elrond. He looked upon his granddaughter and felt at loss, for how could he put her through such things? But he knew, he knew too much, that it was her fate and fate could not be lightly thrown aside. He knew and he was sure that Alenor knew as well, when she left Rivendell with the Fellowship that it would the last time she would ever look upon the Elven City of her birth.