I'm back! Sorry about not updating sense *glances at calender and date* well damn... sense July... Oops. Well, its nice to see some of you stuck around in anycase including the 500+ followers this story has now! This makes me so happy guys, you have no idea. But, reviews make me happier ;) *hint hint* *nudge nudge*
Anyways, I've rambled long enough, no review responses this chapter either, but I do give you this chapter which includes: Calneth waking up, Aragorn and Glorfindel and Arwen, and the council of Elrond.
It was dark. And there was a weight on her bones. It was almost as if she was under a dose of Draught of Living Death. She blindly reached around her for something to grab onto, at anything to give her some sense of where she could possibly be, but all she felt was empty space. And then there was a voice.
"I will win this fight little witch, and when I do, I'll make sure to move onto your old world."
It was an oily voice, slicked like grease and burning her skin where it seemed to touch. Then the eye was there, taking up what was once simply nothing, and filling her world and mind with burning hell fire. It stared at her as she screamed in panic and fear. While a cold dead laugh echoed around her.
"You will burn. Burn like the ring bearer. Burn like everything you've ever loved."
Calneth curled in a ball, shutting her eyes in an attempt to block out the voice and its laughter still ringing in her ears. She threw up her occlumency shields, and she knew the only reason they worked was because this Dark Lord wasn't even trying.
She felt panic and anxiety begin to creep up her spine as her lungs constricted dangerously. She was having a panic attack.
She attempted to slow her breath like Tonks had originally taught her, but she could still feel anxiety clutching her heart in a cold vice like grip. The panic sitting at the back of her throat like gasoline, threatening to be lit. And her heart beat that sounded like the repeated striking of flint on steel.
In a last attempt to calm herself, she dug deep into her soul, her magical core and pulled at her magic. But what she saw was not what she was expecting.
Instead of the original red swirls she once knew as her magical core, it had changed, most likely when she herself had changed to become an elf. Now instead of the Gryffindor red with streaks of gold, her core was varying shades of deep blue and with lilac and deep forest green streaks.
No sound came out of her mouth even though she desperately wanted to cry at the sight of her changed magic.
But once she was able to get push away her fear, she tentatively reached out for her magic, her soul. And to her relief, it still felt as comforting as before. And as her magic began to surround her very being, she felt the panic and fear finally begin to ebb away. Replaced by the warmth and comfort of a maternal hug.
And she woke to the sun on her face.
Calneth blinked her eyes open and was hopelessly confused to the fact that instead of the biting cold from before, she instead felt pleasantly warm, like she had just woken from the right amount of sleep.
She groggily sat up, brushing the hair out of her face and rubbing the crust from her eyes. To her right against the wall and on a chair sat a set of neatly folded clothes and her weapons with her wand sitting neatly atop everything else. To the left of her belongings was a balcony leading to the outside world and from the opening she could see a green forest with the sounds of water and voices drifted towards her ears.
Where am I? she asked herself
"You are in the house of Elrond. Ten o'clock in the morning, on October the 24th, if you wanted to know."
She whipped around to the left of her bad to come face to face with a very familiar face.
"Yes, I'm here," he smiled slightly from behind his pipe and beard, "And you're here too. And very lucky. A few more hours and we would've lost you," he added sternly, but then he smiled, "I never doubted your strength for a second dear girl."
She sat up fully, wincing at the pain in her shoulder as she did. She continued her gaze around the room. To the left of her bed and behind Gandalf was a door, presumably to the rest of Lord Elrond's house. She turned to Gandalf once more.
"Now that my dear is a very loaded question," Gandalf sighed tiredly, "What happened to me?" a pause, "I had been right to suspect Saruman."
Calneth sat up straighter, her bones and shoulder protesting at the action.
His eyes were dark with memories, "I had been delayed, and sent out a distress call. I had been certain of my own death until one of my close friends, an Eagle of Manwë, helped me escape," his expression lightened, "I had been here for only few days before you arrived with Glorfindel, who met with Strider and your group on his on way to Rivendell."
Calneth opened her mouth to ask another question but was cut off by the sound a very relieved, and very eager, voice, shouting her name.
Calneth turned her gaze from Gandalf to just behind him where a previously empty doorway was now filled with two hobbits.
"Sam?" Calneth's surprise shown on her face, "Frodo?"
"Oh bless you! You're awake!" Sam was grinning from ear to ear.
"Sam and Frodo hardly left your side," Gandalf said, his eyes twinkling, "I believe they would currently be joined by two other hobbits if not for their stomachs."
"We were so worried for you," Frodo said as he gripped her hand tightly.
"Thanks to the skills of lord Elrond, you are beginning to mend," Gandalf continued, nodding towards the tall elf who entered the room just behind the hobbits.
"Welcome to Rivendell, Calneth," the stern elf with kind eyes said.
It was night, the moon reflecting off the water in the garden's lake. Calneth was sitting on a bench, wearing a ankle length dress. The sleeves billowed at the elbow to allow her to discreetly strap the elder wand onto her forearm without it being obvious. Her hair was pulled back into a braid, showing off her ears and face, something she was still unaccustomed to. Arwen, Elrond's daughter, and coincidently, Striders love, was the one to convince Calneth to wear her hair back more.
"You are a very beautiful girl," she said as she played with Calneth's hair, "You should proudly show what you look like and who you are. No elf shall judge you. And any human men who do are blinded by ignorance."
Lost in thought as she sat in the garden, Calneth did not notice the arrival of another person until the stood before her.
"May I join you?" Lord Elrond questioned.
Mentally berating herself for once again letting a silent person sneak up on her, she nodded silently.
"There is to be a counsel in tomorrow where all the races leaders shall attend the meeting to discuss the fate of the ring."
Calneth grimaced. Why not just decide to throw the ring into the mountain and be done with it?
Elrond chuckled, "I would prefer to do just that, but I'm afraid that would simply cause more trouble than we need."
Calneth blushed, not realizing she said that out loud. Instead of claming up more though, she asked, "Who will be there?"
"Myself as the convener of the council, I shall be leading it; Gandalf, as he is the grey wizard; Frodo as the ring bearer; Bilbo Baggins, as the ring finder who shall tell his tale of the ring; Glorfindel, as the one to rescue you from being stabbed by a Nazgul; my sons and some of my own advisors; Strider as a liaison with the Rangers of the land; Boromir, a son of the steward of Gondor; Gloin and his son Gimli, old friends of Bilbo's from his own travels many years ago; and Legolas of the Eastern Wood, he is presumably bearing news from his father of that which I need to hear," he paused, "I wish for you to be there as well," he stated.
Calneth stared at the elvish lord in shock, "Why?"
Elrond sighed, "The others will know not of who you are, nor of your status, but I believe your knowledge on objects very similar to the ring may convince others that the destruction of the ring is most important to the survival of all races," he paused, "I believe it will also put young Frodo Baggins to ease knowing another friend is there to support him should he need it."
Calneth considered his words. Should she go? What were the possible consequences something like this could bring about on her?
"When is the meeting?"
The morning of the council meeting, Calneth was standing on the balcony of her room overlooking Rivendell when she saw the arrivals of the members of the council. The first was a gruff looking man with a red beard and horn strapped to his side. Calneth could only assume this was Boromir, son of Denethor, the steward of Gondor. Soon after came a group of elves with bows on their backs and swords at their sides. The one in the lead had long blonde hair and held himself with pride, Prince Legolas of the Eastern Wood. The dwarves arrived a few minutes after the woodland elves and immediately Calneth was reminded of much shorter Hagrid's, and likely with slightly higher intelligence.
Seeing as everyone had arrived now, Calneth turned from the balcony and began to dress for the council meeting. Gladly taking the dress which she had been wearing off, she changed into an actual pair of black leggings which were made, not conjured nor transfigured, and slipped into a knee length dress that split at mid thigh to allow movement of her legs. Calneth then grabbed the arm guards made of silver and mithril which were gifted to her by Elrond. After slipping on fingerless black gloves and tightening her wand holster to her left arm, she grabbed the sword of Gryffindor and tied it to her waist. Grabbing the boots she had conjured back in Bree, she then slipped in two iron daggers into her boots. She rathered be prepared than be caught unawares.
Glancing at herself in the floor length mirror, she then tied her hair back into a long braid with she let lay over her right shoulder. Finally donning her fathers cloak and slipping the Resurrection Stone onto her left hand, she flipped her hood up and glided out of the room.
The council meeting was to start soon.
Calneth on the end of the circle next to Frodo who in turn sat next to Gandalf with his uncle sitting on the other side of Gandalf. The only other people she recognized around the circle were those she saw arrive that morning, Lord Elrond, and Strider. Everyone else were simply elves or men who reminded her too much of the ministry from her fifth and sixth year. She hoped they would make better decisions in case.
"Strangers from distant lands, friends of old," Elrond began, "You've been summoned here to answer the threat of Mordor. Middle Earth stands upon the brink of destruction, and none can escape it. You will unite or you will fall. Each race is bound to this fate, this one doom," he paused to let this sink into each person there, then continued, "Bilbo Baggins, if you would please. Tell your tale."
And so the meeting went on, with Bilbo describing what had happened when he met Gollum and was able to take the ring from him before making his way back to the dwarves with whom he traveled with to help reclaim their land and homes. Calneth zoned out for most of Bilbo's tale as she had already been told most of this by the Valar before arriving here, and instead observed each key member of the council. She had been right before in assuming most looked like stuffy old men with power and time in their hands for them to control, but most did look concerned about the threat the ring posed to their land and people. Then, sooner than she would've liked, it was Glorfindel's turn to describe the reason that his presence was there beyond a liaison to Lothlorien, and simultaneously, Calneth's as well.
"I had been on my way to Rivendell on advice from the Lady Galadriel herself," he simply stated, "Almost to Rivendell however, I came across Strider, four hobbits, and a gravely injured elf. Concerned for a friend and for my kin, it came to pass that I was informed that on their way to Rivendell, in an attempt to keep the ring out of Sauron's hands, the elf in question defended the hobbit carrying the ring from a Nazgul," there were sharp intakes of breath as the word spread through each members minds, registering just how bad things really were.
"I offered to take the elf to Rivendell on my horse as I would be far faster than they could be on foot with a mule," here he paused to collect himself, "We were chased by Nazgul as we journeyed here. I was surprised, but then realized they must have wanted the elf to become like them. I was successful in making it across the river however and able to hand the elf to Lord Elrond, who just barely managed to save said elf's life."
Silence permeated the air.
"Did the elf survive?" the elf Calneth recognized as Legolas questioned hesitantly.
Calneth took a deep breath and ansered before Elrond could.
"She did," she pulled her hood back revealing her face and ears to the men before her, "But only just. Had it not been for the efforts of Strider, Glorfindel, and Elrond, I would not be standing here today."
"A female?" was a whispered word she heard, and while not surprised to hear it, it still made her angry to know she was looked down on simply for her gender.
She kept quite however, having enough confidence in her abilities and skills to not let such a comment effect her.
"Bring forth the ring Frodo," Elrond said, moving the council meeting forward.
Frodo stood, hesitant in front of so many people, but quietly walked to the podium in front of everyone and carefully sat the ring don onto it.
Gasps and whispers broke out amongst the members as the knowledge that the ring was truly in front of them registered in their minds.
"So it is true," the red haired man, Boromir whispered.
As Frodo sat back in his seat, Calneth quietly slipped her hand into his, knowing he was seeking comfort.
"It is a gift," were the words which Calneth knew would arrive at some point, she just didn't know when to expect them to be said.
"A gift to the foes of Mordor!" Boromir continued, "Why not use this ring? Long has my father, the steward of Gondor, kept the forces of Mordor at bay! By the blood of my people, are your lands kept safe. Give Gondor the weapon of the enemy, let us use it against him!"
Calneth pitied the man. He truly did only want what was best for his land and people, but that was what the ring would use against. It was how the ring was manipulating him now.
"You can not wield it," Strider said, "None of us can. The ring of Sauron answers to one master, and to him alone. It has no other master."
"And what would a ranger know of this matter?" Boromir sneered.
"This is no mere ranger," Legolas rose from his seat in defense, "He is Aragorn, son of Arathorn. You owe him your allegiance."
"Aragorn," Boromir stated, "This is Isildur's heir?"
"And heir to the throne of Gondor."
Well, Calneth thought, that answers why he doesn't say his real name.
"Sit down, Legolas," Aragorn sighed in elvish.
"Gondor has no king," Boromir spat, "Gondor needs no king."
Silence and tension flew through the air.
"Aragorn is right," Gandalf stated, "We can not use it."
"You have only one choice," Elrond rose from his seat once again, "The ring must be destroyed."
A gruff voice broke the air, "Then what are we waiting for!"
A dwarf, most assumedly Gimli, rose from his seat with his ax raised, and with a cry slammed the blade down onto the ring. Breaking the blade into pieces which went flying. Calneth barely raised a shield around those almost hit with shards before the ax broke. And then barely kept it up when she felt the rings power suddenly spike.
She and Gandalf however noticed Frodo grab his head in pain. Calneth's hand went from holding Frodo's hand to gripping his shoulder in an attempt to anchor him to the world.
"The ring can not be destroyed Gimli, son of Gloin, by any craft that we here possess," Calneth turned her gaze from Frodo and instead towards Elrong, knowing exactly what he was soon to state, "The ring was made in the fires of Mount Doom, and only there can it be unmade. It must be taken deep into Mordor and cast back into the firey from whence it came," no one dared to speak, "One of you must do this."
"One doesn't simply walk into Mordor," Boromir stated simply.
He's not wrong, Calneth thought ruefully.
"It's black gates are guarded by more than just orcs. There is evil there that does not sleep. And the Great Eye is ever watchful," he paused, "It is a barren wasteland riddled with fire and ash and dust. The very air you breath is poisonous to you. Not even with ten thousand men could you do this. It is folly."
"Have you heard nothing Lord Elrond has said!" Legolas jumped to his feet, "The ring must be destroyed!"
"And I suppose you think you're the one to do it!" Gimli sneered from his seat.
"And if we fail," Boromir continued, "What then? What happens when Sauron claims back what is his?"
"I'll be dead before I see the ring in the hand of an elf!"
And then ensued the shouting match between all the races, and even Gandalf began to shout at many. Only Frodo, Calneth, Aragorn, Elrond his son were left sitting at the end.
Calneth turned to Frodo, spotting the look of determination which she saw in the mirror so many times before.
"I will take it," Frodo stated as he rose from his seat. Yet no one heard him.
"Frodo," she said, getting his attention, "They won't be able to hear you with all their shouting. Let me solve that problem."
She pulled out her wand and with a whispered sonorous yelled, "SILENCE."
And everyone quieted down to stare at her in shock.
With a quickly muttered quietus, she then continued, "I believe Frodo has something to say."
Frodo nodded to her in thanks before turning to the others, "I will take the ring to Mordor," then quietly, "Though I do not know the way."
"I will help you bear this burden, Frodo Baggins," Gandalf said sadly, "For long as it is yours to bear."
"And by my life or death that I can protect you, I will," Aragorn said before going to a knee in front of Frodo swearing, "You have my sword!"
"And you have my bow," Legolas stepped forth to stand next to his friend, a small smile on his face.
"And my ax," Gimli stated, clearly not one to be outdone by an elf.
"You carry the fate of us all little one," Bormir said, stepping forth, "And if this indeed the rule of the council, then Gondor will see it done."
"Frodo," Calneth rose from her seat behind everyone, "I have defended you once, and shall proudly continue to do so. As long as I am needed, so shall I protect thee. So I swear, so mote it be."
"Here!" there was a shout and rustle from the bushes behind everyone, surprising all but Aragorn and Calneth, "Mr. Frodo isn't going anywhere without me."
"No, apparently not, so it seems. Even when he is summoned to a secret council and you are not," Elrond stated, looking amused at the turn of events, though hardly not surprised.
"We're coming too!" Came a voice from the entrance to the courtyard as two figures darted from behind the pillars.
Elrond looked less amused now.
"You'd have to send us home tied up in a sack to stop us!" Merry stated sternly.
To Calneth, Elrong looked to be seriously considering the idea.
"Anyway, you need people of intelligence on this sort of mission…quest… thing…," Pippin continued.
"Well that rules you out Pip," Merry rolled his eyes at his cousin.
"Ten companions," Elrond looked around thoughtfully, "So be it. You shall be the Fellowship of the Ring."
"Great. Where are we going?" Pippin questioned.
And Calneth pitied Lord Elrond.
It was time to leave Rivendell and Calneth was anxious to be moving once again. Her shoulder had healed faster than Elrond had expected, and she suspected it was because of her magic helping to dispel the taint of the Morgul blade. Though according to Elrond, her shoulder would always hurt now as that type of darkness, that evil, always left a mark.
Unconsciously she rubbed her forehead where her lightning bolt scar had slowly began to reappear after the Nazgul stabbed her.
"Why is my scar reappearing?" she questioned Elrond the morning the fellowship was set to leave.
"I can not be certain as it is of magic I am unfamiliar with," Elrond stated, "But my best guess would be that some of the magic the Valar used to hide your scars, your body and magic have converted it to use against the taint of the Morgul blade."
Calneth accepted this fact, though it did not make her any happier. Even in this life she was to be reminded of Voldemort.
"Are you ready?"
Calneth turned and faced the familiar form of Aragorn as he stood beside her. He was dressed similarly to how she was yesterday at the council, but simply he seemed to somehow have more black on.
Calneth smirked, "Are you?"
Aragorn chuckled, "I suppose I'm ready to see what we're up against."
Calneth chuckled with him as they fell into a comfortable silence.
"Why did you hide your true race?" he suddenly asked.
She didn't answer for a minute, trying to formulate an answer that wasn't simply "Cause I was scared". She too much pride to say that.
"I feared being looked away," she said instead, "I am too much like my mother, or so I am told," she said with a small smile and far off eyes, "I'm not one to let others fight my own battles, nor will I willingly sit back and be tied down to a house."
"You feared to be allowed to fight," Aragorn supplied.
Calneth nodded. "Even after Gandalf told me my fears were for naught, I know how the society of man is. I had no desire to be treated as such," she scoffed.
Aragorn laid his hand on her shoulder, "I am proud to fight along one such as yourself," he stated.
And Calneth smiled.
The two fell into a companionable silence as they awaited the arrival of Lord Elrond and Frodo.
At last Elrond and Frodo arrived around the corner joining the group of nine that awaited them.
"The Ring-bearer is setting out on the Quest of Mount Doom. On you who travel with him, no oath nor bond is laid to go further that you will. Farewell. Hold to your purpose. May the blessing of the Elves and Men and all Free folk go with you," Elrond said.
As the group began the trek out of Rivendell and towards Mordor, Frodo and Gandalf stayed at the lead. But from where Calneth stood she could hear Frodo whisper to Gandalf.
"Mordor, Gandalf, is it left or right?"
Without looking down, Gandalf replied with, "Left."
Twice in one day, Calneth gave real smiles.
4,025 words. I don't know about you but I'm kinda proud of that. Next chapter should be longer however as we are finally getting to the actual quest and I can finally talk about the mines of Moria. And I may or may not include a snippet of Sirius next chapter too.
SORRY ABOUT THE DELAY. But hey, it was just past six months this time so...
I make no promises, but maybe check back to this story around the spring break time, I hope to make the next chapter by then ;)
Until next time lovelies! Leave reviews and tell me what I did right and what I did wrong ~candiesandfanfics
ps: if someone wants to beta this story that would be hella awesome. My grammar, punctuation, and spelling have many problems. It would be nice for someone to catch them for me preferably :)