Title: Who Shall Be The Bearer?
Theme: August POV Challenge
Elements:one, gold, cylinder
Author's Notes: My sincere and most humble apologies for posting this SO late, but I have been quite sick with a bad allergic reaction to some food, so I haven't been doing much other than lie around feeling drained. But now that I'm better, it occurred that I NEEDED to post this. Sorry! ;) Oh, and the POV I chose that I don't normally write is Elrond.
Summary:Elrond ponders over who will become the Ringbearer while he tends to a still sick Frodo.
Silently, he padded down the hall, his steps barely creating the slightest disturbance in the air. It was midafternoon, but this particular hallway was noticeably empty and quiet. Elrond strode closer and closer to the sick room where he had spent the last few days trying to keep Bilbo Baggins’ nephew from falling into shadow. Only recently had Elrond felt that the battle ranging inside Frodo Baggins was being won.
The hallways were strewn with beams of light which came filtering in through the open windows. Outside the sun was shining down onto Rivendell, the trees were in the prime of their autumn colors. A plethora of hues competed for their place on the trees: red, gold, green, brown.
While the outside seemed to be in a jubilee, the atmosphere inside was very different. On order of the master of Rivendell, the hallways surrounding the Ringbearer’s room had been cleared of everyone unnecessary and they had been kept as silent and still as possible. All of these things, Elrond believed, along with careful monitoring and doses of medication would lead to the fastest possible recovery for young Baggins.
Though Elrond was no stranger to Hobbits, having known Bilbo for many years, he still marveled at how childish and young Hobbits looked. Though Frodo was an adult by Hobbit standards, to the eyes of Men and Elves, he seemed little more than a child. Elrond pondered silently on how one so young (relative to the age of an elf) could hope to accomplish the task ahead of them all.
While the council had not yet met to decide the fate of the One Ring, the Master of Rivendell was certain that it would be a Hobbit who would ultimately bear the task of disposing of the Ring. He thought carefully about the council to come. No, he decided, it cannot fall to Men to complete this task. The hearts of Men are easily corrupted and the best of Men could not stand up to the power of the Ring. Even my own son Estel, though he is to be king of his people, even he could not resist the One Ring’s powers. Isildur was proof that Men are not suited for this task. I could not allow something to like that to be repeated.
He glanced silently into the room before entering to check on his small patient. Dwarfed by the large bed in which he slumbered, Frodo seemed even smaller than he had before. A small smile played across Elrond’s features at the sight of light brown curls upon the bed next to Frodo’s dark brown ringlets. Sam. Samwise Gamgee, faithful friend, bodyguard, and gardener lay asleep next to his master.
Elrond had found it near impossible to separate the two, even when Sam had arrived tired, hungry, and on the edge of exhaustion. Still, he had been unable to force Sam to leave his master’s side. Only the gentle cajoling of Gandalf and the other Hobbits had persuaded him to tend to his own needs.
Sitting down silently on the edge of the large bed, Elrond was careful not to wake either patient or friend. In fact, the Elf reminisced silently, at this point, it would only be detrimental to Frodo’s health to attempt to separate the two. Sam shifted in his sleep, mumbling something incoherent and his hand closed securely around Frodo’s, protecting his master, even in sleep. Reaching a long fingered hand over to his patient, Elrond felt Frodo’s forehead and was relieved to find it cooler than it had been even an hour before. While the Hobbit was still very feverish, it was clear that he was getting better.
The wound on Frodo’s shoulder was closing up and scabbing over. Ever since the shard of Morgul blade had been removed before it had reached his heart, Frodo’s health had been markedly improving. His skin had lost its grey hue and instead resumed the reds and pinks of someone living, if not entirely healthy.
Sweat trailed down Frodo’s face from his forehead and he tossed his head restlessly in sleep. Elrond reached over to the bedside table and retrieved a cloth and began tenderly wiping down Frodo’s hot face and neck. Once that was completed, Elrond reach over and retrieved a small wooden cylinder. It contained a soothing salve made of athelas and other herbs which Elrond insisted on applying to the wound at least three times a day if not more.
Exposing Frodo’s milky white shoulder, Elrond began his ministrations, carefully massaging the salve into and around the wound while returning to his earlier thoughts about who would become Ringbearer. Men had been ruled out from the beginning. But what of the others? No, he thought again. Elves cannot complete this task. We have since played our part in this world and even those of us who would seek to use the Ring for the good of all would soon fall into shadow.
Now that Men and Elves had been discarded, that left only Dwarves, Wizards, and Hobbits. Wizards cannot do this task. Their power is such that if they were to fail against the will of the One Ring, it would mean disaster for all of Middle Earth. If the situation weren’t so serious Elrond would have thought the whole idea of Gandalf, seemingly a defenseless old man, taking the Ring to Mount Doom somewhat amusing. But now, there was no time for laughter. There were decisions to be made and to be made quickly.
Only two possible races now remained. Dwarves and Hobbits. Elrond actually snorted at the thought of a dwarf carrying the One Ring. No, he thought for the third time that day, Dwarves are greedy and value such metals as the One Ring is made of. That of itself would make any dwarf lust for It. And were any dwarf not tempted by the material value of the Ring, they would not willingly choose to be involved. Dwarves care for nothing other than the metals they mine and their own affairs.
So, the only viable choice left was Hobbits. Elrond knew this was the correct choice. Only one so basely innocent and naïve as a Hobbit could hope to withstand the voice of the Ring. It is cunning and beguiling. Hobbits have no wants for riches, fame, or power. They wish only the comforts of a large burrow, good friends, ample food, drink, and pipe weed. The Ring would be hard pressed to quickly sway a Hobbit.
Now that it had been decided that it must be a Hobbit who carried out the final task, it fell to deciding which Hobbit it should be. True, there were as many Hobbits in the Shire as there were stars in the sky, but the choice was still few. It was best not to involve any more than necessary and Hobbits in general (excluding those currently staying in Rivendell) were quiet and set in their ways, liking little excitement or adventure. And indeed, most would hardly be able to conceive the thought of something so small holding so much evil. How to explain to a Hobbit that there were more pressing issues than what to eat for breakfast – and that those issues were something which concerned the fate of the whole of Middle Earth?
That narrowed down the choice even further to those five Hobbits now in Rivendell. It could not be Bilbo,that much was certain. He has already played his part in this tale. He grows old and weary. It must now fall to another to bear that weight. Pippin was certainly out of the question. Master Peregrin is young, barely more than a child, even by his own people’s standards. He is young and inexperienced in the ways of the world.
And then, there were three remaining. Merry. Though Merry was an important Hobbit – the future Master of Buckland, he was not the one for this task either. He cares so for the safety of his young cousin Peregrin that he would sooner see him safe than see the Ring destroyed. And since one will not go without the other, Meriadoc would not accept being Its bearer.
Sitting in the quiet room, bathing Frodo’s chest with a damp cloth, Elrond sat lost in thought. He realized that one of the other two individuals in the room would ultimately end up being charged with the disposal of the One Ring. And in that moment, great lord though he was, Elrond was humbled.
Resuming his train of thought, he pondered the small gardener next to him on the bed. True, Samwise is pure of heart. But like Meriadoc with his cousin, Samwise cares most for the safety of his master over all else. Samwise may be able to understand better than most the power the Ring holds, but one other has seen Its power first hand and has carried the Ring for more than a fortnight while deathly injured by those very beings he seeks to destroy.
Elrond gazed into the face of the Hobbit before him. His life was filled with so much promise – yet so much suffering. In his mind, it was decided. Frodo was the only possible Ringbearer. But to ask so much of a single being would be madness, especially when the task concerned the wellbeing of all the inhabitants of Middle Earth. He would need many to support him on this task.
At this precise moment in Elrond’s ruminations, Frodo gave a soft, pained cry in his sleep as he had shifted and jostled his shoulder. Sam, though still asleep, unconsciously snuggled closer to his master. Grabbing one hand in one of his worn and dirty ones, Sam mumbled quietly, “Now don’t you go worryin’ Mr. Frodo. Your Sam is here and I’m not goin’ ta be leavin’ any time soon. You just rest and get better, sir.”
Elrond smiled warmly down at the two. True, Frodo’s fate had been decided before he even had a chance to do anything about it, but he would certainly not be alone. He had his friends and family there – and he had love – a force greater than anything Mordor would expect. Yes, thought Elrond, standing up looking supremely satisfied at the outcome the council would eventually hold, Everything will be as it should. The enemy has underestimated the power of something so apparently simple as love and it will be love of those like this gardener and his master that will see us all through.