Chapter 3: An Unexpected Wakening
The Black Riders crept ever nearer. The hobbits huddled together, not knowing what to do, since Frodo magically disappeared. Their small swords could not match the cursed blades of the Riders. Suddenly the hobbits sprang on them, not knowing that their own lives were at stake since Strider was also gone. The Riders just dispersed them like a fierce gale, overturning everything in its path. All of them seemed focused on one target: Frodo.
They were inching towards him. They could somehow see him, as he wore the Ring. Suddenly, a shrill yell, that pierced the air like lightning, went up. Everyone that heard it, stopped dead. The hobbits grew anxious: the voice was Frodo’s but where was he?
A yell went up through the whole ship that made it shudder and creak. Elrond, who rested in another room got up and rushed to Frodo. There lay the Hobbit, pale again. His cheeks were wet with sweat and tears. Elrond passed his hand over the hobbit’s forehead: it seemed cold; very cold. He rushed out and got some hot water and a cloth. He did the whole procedure over again, that he did five hours ago. Twice he heard Frodo yell Gandalf’s name.
Elrond summoned Gandalf as quickly as he could find him.
“Mithrandir, Frodo is acting strange: he is pale again and he seemed to call out your name more than once in his sleep.” said the Elf.
“I don’t know what to do clearly, but maybe I can reach into his mind and read what’s bothering him,” replied the wizard.
Gandalf came over to Frodo’s body and put his palm gently on the hobbit’s forehead. His face grew grave and wringed with worry. A while had passed and Gandalf did not stir. After a half of an hour, he began talking.
“The lad is troubled by a dream: the incident of the attack on Weathertop. Keep it up with the cloth. I shall soon come and take your place. You need rest, Master Elrond.”
And so the night went on and still no life was seen in Frodo. Elrond, weary as he was, sat by him, doing whatever he can to stir some life in the hobbit’s lifeless body.
“It will be a miracle if he wakes.” He muttered hopelessly.
* * *
The day dawned cold. The sun did not rise: it was hidden behind a patch of grey cloud. Rain soon would follow. Frodo still lay in bed, but did not wake. Bilbo would not leave Frodo’s cabin, and did not eat for most of the day. Up on deck everything was just as somber.
Elves passed to and fro, but no one talked. All seemed deep in thought.
“Where were you the past few days, Mithrandir?” Asked Elrond, as he and the wizard walked on deck. And the wizard said:
“I took aboard some scrolls that were brought to Middle-earth by the Earendil of Númenor, your father. I was in a room that I discovered when we left. Don’t you know where it is? Anyway, the scrolls are about all the vast wonders of the Land of the West. Elves call it Aman, the Undying Realm. I am lucky to have found these maps, for I have forgotten many things in my absence from that Endless Bliss. Here I shall show you.” With that Gandalf unrolled a bundle that he carried un-noticed and laid them out neatly on a high table that stood nearby. Elrond looked at the ancient papers intently.
“Much of this was already known to me. I have already made plans for our trip on land without your counsel. We are all provisioned with horses, am I not right? Frodo shall ride his pony, Strider, and you, my friend, shall ride on Shadowfax.”
It was about five hours past midday. Many elves were preparing dinner. This time it was held below deck, in a large and spacious room.
Frodo stirred in bed and opened his sky-blue eyes; his head was swimming and he felt very weary, although he had slept rather long. Then he saw Bilbo, sitting by him and looking at him in wonder and joy. At once he sprang up and called for Elrond. Soon in Frodo’s room there were many people: Gandalf, Galadriel, Gildor, Glorfindel, Haldir, and several others.
“What happened? Why did you not wake me earlier? What are you all looking at?” Asked Frodo, looking puzzled. Glorfindel smiled and came over to him.
“You would not wake. We tried to wake you, but all in vain. You fainted and Mithrandir found you and brought you here. Your wound got the better of you. The Wizard and Lord Elrond have tended you the whole night, but you got worse and worse. It’s a marvel to hear you speak again!”
“I felt something sting me last night and then I fell asleep. What was that?” Asked Frodo, feeling his shoulder, where he was pricked.
“It was the thorn of holly, a special tree that grows in the lands of Hollin. It would stop the pain somewhat.” Said Elrond.
“I shall bring you dinner, my boy!” cried Bilbo and ran off. “You deserve a dinner fit for a king, but I’ll see what I can find.”
“I felt very sick as I left the table and my head swam.” Began Frodo. “I did not know what came over me, until it was too late. But I am glad nonetheless to see you all. Where is that wizard? He’s got some explaining to do! He got me all worried the past few days.” Said Frodo, as Gandalf came up.
“He came `unlooked for’ again in the nick of time! It seems that he was hiding in his room all the time,” laughed Elrond and the company left the room as Bilbo rushed in with a tray, which he set on Frodo’s bed.