Wow. I've been gone way, way too long. I can't believe it's been over a year! I am ashamed of myself, I haven't even visited LJ except to join a few communities in all that time. College really is a full-time business! However, I am attempting to work my way back into the realm of LJ and fanfic. I'm making no promises, but it really is something that I want to do. I've missed "visiting" and writing and sharing with you all!
Actually, speaking of writing and sharing, part of the reason I'm here is because on a recent whim I got on ff.net and took a glance at my old LotR fanfic. After much cringing and gagging, I decided that I want to go through all those old stories and bring them to life again - I don't know if I'll ever finish them, but I at least want to polish off what I have written. Thus, I grabbed the first chapter of Folly of the Wise and rewrote it. I think it sounds quite different, hopefully in a good way. I don't know when I will get the next chapter done - I've got six short essays and two research papers to finish by Wednesday so that takes priority at the moment. However, I hope to get on it soon, and in the meantime I hope you all enjoy rereading the beginning of an old story. :D
Title: Folly of the Wise
Series: Lord of the Rings (movie & bookverse)
Character(s)/Pairings: the Fellowship
Summary: Gen. The story of The Fellowship of the Ring, as seen through the eyes of Gondor's eldest son, Boromir.
Chapter I. The Council
“STRANGERS FROM distant lands, friends of old.” Lord Elrond’s voice was deep and sonorous, commanding in a way not that even my father in his prime could have emulated. Each word fell like a stone and I failed to suppress an involuntary shiver, sitting up straighter in my chair. “You have been summoned to answer the threat of Mordor. Middle-earth stands upon the brink of destruction. None can escape it. You will unite, or you will fall. Each race is bound this fate, this one doom.” He paused briefly, cool gray gaze flicking over each of us for one unnerving moment. “Bring forth the Ring, Frodo.”
All eyes turned to the dark-haired Halfling who sat beside Gandalf the Grey, looking extremely uncomfortable at having all our attention fixed upon him. I had not seen the Ring-bearer before, and as he stood I was startled by how very small he was, and how young he appeared: with his smooth delicate features and fair skin he looked almost like a very short, curly-haired Elf. Pity tugged briefly at me as he reluctantly stepped forward, movements stiff (I recalled that he was still healing from a grievous wound) — but it was forgotten a moment later, when he took a small gold band from his pocket and placed it on the stone pedestal in the center of the courtyard. Such a plain, simple ring — but how it drew the eye! One could not look away. I heard gasps and whispers around me, and I leaned forward to closer examine this trinket – the ring that could overthrow Sauron and forever rid us of his evil. Beside me, I heard Ottar, a man of Laketown, whisper with dread in his voice, “The doom of man!” Fool! I thought. Not the doom of man! The salvation of man!
“So it is true…” I was not conscious of speaking aloud, but as Elrond and the wizard turned questioning gazes in my direction I raised my voice and continued, passion mounting with every word. “It is a gift! A gift to the foes of Mordor. Why not use this ring?
“Long has my father, the steward of Gondor, kept the forces of Mordor at bay. By the blood of our people are your lands kept safe.” I spread my hands, glancing around the council. “Give Gondor the weapon of the enemy. Let us use it against him!” Surely they saw the truth of my words. Surely they realized that it was hopeless – not to mention the height of folly – to attempt to destroy the Ring!
But hardly had I finished speaking than another man, a Ranger by his dress, protested sharply. “You cannot wield it.” He softened his voice, but the grey eyes that met mine were intractable. “None of us can. The one ring answers to Sauron alone. It has no other master.”
I scoffed. “And what would a Ranger know of this matter?” The Ranger opened his mouth as if to speak, but instead dropped his gaze. Legolas, the fair-haired Prince of Mirkwood, sprang up at once, fixing me with an angry stare. “He is no mere Ranger. He is Aragorn, son of Arathorn. You owe him your allegiance.” Shock stole my tongue for an instant. I turned back to the Ranger, who looked at me without expression. “Aragorn?” I repeated at last, unable to keep the disbelief from my voice. “This…is Isildur’s heir?”
“And heir to the throne of Gondor,” added Legolas fiercely, returning my attention to him. I made to reply but Aragorn spoke to the Prince in Elvish, a language I did not know. Whatever he said, it caused the proud Elf to slowly return to his seat, not taking his eyes off me, meeting my glare. “Gondor has no king,” I informed him firmly. “Gondor needs no king.” I returned to my own chair and sat down, closing my eyes for a moment to keep my temper under control.
The wizard Gandalf, once my brother’s tutor, stood up. “Aragorn is right,” he said. I felt his glance, but did not look up. “We cannot use it.” At this I did raise my head, and saw Lord Elrond nod his agreement. “You have only one choice,” Gandalf continued. He paused, scanning the members of the Council. “The Ring must be destroyed.” I sighed in exasperation. How was it that beings renowned for their wisdom could be so foolish?
One of the dwarves stood up. “Then what are we waiting for?” he bellowed in a deep, rumbling voice incongruous with his size. I straightened up, realizing his intentions too late, as he grabbed one of his companion’s axes and struck the Ring with all his strength. At the same moment I caught movement out of the corner of my eye: Frodo had winced as though the blow had physically hurt him. Yet it made not the slightest mark on the ring: the gold band remained perfectly intact, while the axe was in pieces. A sigh of relief escaped me but my palms were still clammy with the fear that had gripped me with the axe’s blow. “It cannot be destroyed, Gimli, son of Gloin,” said Lord Elrond gravely, as the astonished dwarf was helped to his feet by one of his companions, “by any craft that we here possess. The ring was made in the fires of Mount Doom. Only there can it be unmade. It must be taken deep into Mordor and cast back into the fiery chasm from whence it came.”
Realization hit me like a blow: they were going to do it. They were going to destroy the Ring!
“One of you must do this.”
I barely heard Elrond’s last words. I wanted to scream at them, shake them. Fools! Arrogant fools! How could they be so blind? Did they not see that it was worse than madness to destroy the only weapon that we have against the Enemy? They, who call themselves the Wise, they cannot see their own folly!
I spoke again, trying to control my fury, to keep my voice calm, in one more desperate plea. “One does not simply walk into Mordor. Its black gates are guarded by more than just orcs. There is evil there that does not sleep. And the great eye is ever watchful.”
As I spoke, I locked eyes with the young Frodo. He met my gaze with eyes of startling azure; in them fear and pain were plainly writ. His small boyish face was a shade paler than it had been, and I could see him trembling even from where I stood. Another twinge of sympathy was suppressed; I could not back down even for the sake of this innocent. The Council must be convinced! But the Halfling surprised me when, after staring at me for a few moments, he straightened his shoulders and set his lips in a firm line, gaze hardening despite the fine tremors that still shook his slender frame. Much as I admired his courage, I pressed on more relentlessly.
“'Tis a barren wasteland, riddled with fire and ash and dust. The very air that you breathe is a poisonous fume. Not with ten thousand men could you do this. It is folly.”
Once again Legolas stood up. “Have you heard nothing Lord Elrond just said? The Ring must be destroyed!” I swung round sharply. Who was he to speak thus to me, his equal? A prince, yes, but only of the forest of Mirkwood—Gondor is far greater, far more powerful. I opened my mouth to reply, but Gimli beat me to it.
“And I suppose you think you’re the one to do it?” he roared. Legolas did not answer, but his eyes glinted in silent fury. The other Elves of Mirkwood stood up in wrathful defense of their lord, as did as the rest of the dwarves, and verbal barbs began flying between the two peoples. I stepped in then, seizing the opportunity provided by this discord. “And if we fail, what then?” I demanded of all, raising my voice to be heard. “What happens when Sauron takes back what is his?”
The Mirkwood Elves and the dwarves were not listening. Gimli’s voice rise above the others. “I will be dead before I see the Ring in the hands of an Elf!” This brought the Elves of Rivendell to their feet, save Lord Elrond and his sons, and their outraged voices were added to the tumult. I found myself in the middle of it as well, as Gandalf joined in the dispute and began arguing with me, the fool. I heard Gimli again: “Never trust an Elf!”
Suddenly, over the deafening noise of our argument, a small voice spoke up.
"I will take the It! I will take the Ring!"
I froze mid-sentence, as did we all. The tiny voice of the young hobbit somehow had carried over the noise and now everyone – myself included – turned to stare at him. Frodo's eyes were wide and he seemed as astonished by his own words as were we. But he did not shrink back, instead continuing, softly. “I will take the Ring to Mordor, although... I do not know the way.”
His words hung on the air. It was so silent that I could hear an eagle’s cry high above us. No one moved.
At last Gandalf stepped forward and placed a wizened hand on Frodo’s small shoulder. “I will help you bear this burden, Frodo Baggins,” he said. “As long as it is yours to bear.”
There was another beat of silence, broken by Aragorn, that so-called Heir of Isildur. He came to kneel before Frodo. “If by my life, or death, I can protect you, I will. You have my sword.”
Frodo’s eyes were still wide, but he nodded almost imperceptibly and Aragorn moved to stand behind him. Then Legolas followed the Ranger’s example. “And you have my bow.” Gimli came close behind. “And you have my axe.” The Elf prince looked as though he were about to say something, but after glancing at Elrond, remained silent. Frodo seemed bewildered by these two volunteers.
I had lost. I stepped forward, drawing the pale blue gaze once again. “You carry the fate of us all, little one,” I said quietly. My tone was carefully flat. “If this is indeed the will of the council” – I looked around, the words bitter on my tongue – “then Gondor will see it done.”
“Here!” I turned around in surprise and saw Frodo’s servant—Samwise, I later learned—rushing forward to stand by his master’s side. “Mr. Frodo’s not goin’ anywhere without me.” Despite Frodo’s shocked look, he folded short arms across his chest, glaring at all of us as if daring us to contradict him. A little taken aback by the ferocity of his assertion, I glanced at Lord Elrond to see his reaction. He was smiling, something I had not seen him do in all the time I had been in Rivendell.
“No indeed,” he said with a chuckle. “It is hardly possible to separate you, even when he is summoned to a secret council and you are not.” Samwise reddened to the tips of his pointed ears and Frodo ducked his head to hide a smile, briefly touching the other’s arm in reassurance or gratitude.
Suddenly two other voices rang out. “We’re coming too!” Two more Halflings came scrambling into the courtyard to join their companions, whose stunned expressions they utterly ignored. “You’d have to send us home tied up in a sack to stop us,” said one.
“Besides,” added the other, clearly the younger, in his strange, piping accent, “you’ll need people of intelligence on this sort of mission… quest… thing.”
His friend glanced at him drily. “We that rules you out, Pip.”
No one knew quite what to make of this development; the air of grave tension had somehow vanished, so swiftly that we were all left dizzy with the change. Then Lord Elrond caught our attention again, giving our group a measuring gaze. “Nine companions,” he said musingly. I instinctively straightened up, and felt the others do the same. “So be it. You shall be the Fellowship of the Ring.”
I glanced at the others. Aragorn’s face was emotionless and Gandalf seemed to be deep in thought. Legolas and Gimli were pointedly ignoring each other and looking in opposite directions. Frodo was recovering from his surprise and giving his fellow Halflings a look that promised strong words later (it was a look I recognized well, for I had given it to my brother many times), but all three avoided his eyes. “Great!” said the one who seemed to be the youngest. “So, where are we going?”
The tension was broken again. Even I could not be frustrated any longer and instead found a bemused grin tugging at my lips. Apparently the others felt the same, for I heard scattered chuckling hastily muffled. Lord Elrond merely raised an elegant brow.
It was utterly ridiculous, the thought that came to me then: This Fellowship just might succeed after all.
To be continued…