I finally finished this! I know it took over a year, but better late than never I hope. Thank you all for reading and double thanks to those of you reviewed it. I hope enjoy this last chapter.
Frodo rushed inside and dashed down the ivy-covered halls. He knew where he was going, even he though he had never been there before. He sensed he was being guided by something. He didn't know what it was, but he followed blindly. He didn't know either, that the Ring was taunting him, but if he had, he wouldn't have cared. He would be soon be free of it, he thought. Frodo's mind started to feel calmer as he approached the main living area. Still trembling, but without hesitatation, he burst into Arwen's room and fell at her feet.
"Frodo! Are you hurt?" she exclaimed.
"No…I...mean yes I…I can't go on any more," Frodo stammered as he pulled out the Ring. "Please take this from me!"
"Frodo, you are the appointed Ring-bearer and you have the support of the Council and the Fellowship," Arwen gasped. "You must carry the Ring to Mordor."
"I can't do it, my lady!" he cried, breaking the chain from his neck and thrusting the Ring out in his hand. "You take it; you be the Ring-bearer!"
Arwen stared at the Ring on Frodo's outstretched palm. So, her intuition had been correct. Frodo wanted her to take the Ring. Could she do it? Could she carry the ring to Mordor and bring herself to destroy it?
"Evenstar…" a strange voice hissed. Arwen took a step closer, afraid of the Ring and yet drawn to it at same time. She knew only too well what it had done to Isildur, Aragorn's ancestor, but perhaps she, one of the First-born could resist its power. The Ring had to be destroyed; there was no question about that. Or did it? The destruction of the Ring would mean the end of her people and, on a personal level something even more painful, permanent separation from her family. She had always understood that and yet….
"Evenstar…" the Ring whispered gently, but persistently, "the time of your people need not end and your family can together forever."
Arwen thought about this. As long as the Ring remained, the power of the Elves remained with it. Perhaps the Ring had two sides. She thought about Viyla, that her father wore. She thought too, about the Nenya worn by her grandmother Galadriel. If her family could use their powerful rings for good, was the One Ring very much different? Could it not bring peace and healing as well death and destruction?
"I will bring reunion rather than separation to your family, and joy and prosperity to all people," the Ring continued seductively. A wild look came to Arwen's eyes, like nothing Frodo had ever seen before. He shrank from her, but did not pull the Ring away.
"Your people will established forever and all of Middle Earth I will give to you and your family," the Ring hissed to Arwen. She lunged for it greedily and… immediately closed Frodo's hand over it and pushed it away. Arwen turned deathly pale and fell to the floor. Frodo rushed to her side and gently lifted her head, his heart almost broken. Arwen had healed his eyes, given him comfort and support, and what had he done in return? He had caused her pain and terror and subjected her to an awful temptation no living being should ever have to face.
"I'm sorry, my lady," he cried. "I had no right to bring this on you. This doom belongs to me alone."
"Say no more, Frodo. It was myself I was afraid of. Not even the thought of mortality invoked so much fear in me. You were not to blame, but you were correct. No one but you can carry out the task. Still, be comforted. Bilbo was meant to find the Ring,
therefore you were meant to carry it. Nothing happens by chance, but rather Divine arrangement."
"I understand, Lady Arwen," Frodo said resolutely. "I will find a way to carry out the task and never turn from it again."
"You can do it, Frodo," Arwen assured him, giving his hand a squeeze. "You have great strength in you. I know you will succeed."
For the next few minutes neither of them spoke; they merely sat together on the floor, recovering from the shock of what had occurred. Finally, Arwen stood up and helping Frodo to his feet, they walked over to the balcony together. Frodo gazed in wonder at what he saw. The huge white clouds contrasted as brilliantly against the sky as the gleaming, snow covered mountains did against the emerald valley. A river below sparkled in the sunlight like fine crystal.
"Beautiful, is it not?" Arwen asked. Frodo nodded, he could find no words say. "Is it as beautiful as your home in the Shire?" Arwen continued. Frodo thought about this for a few minutes.
"I can't compare them, Lady Arwen, because they're so different," Frodo said at last. "In the Shire, the hills roll gently and it's green as far the eye can see."
"Think of this often," she told him, "and think often of the Shire. Let inspiration be what motivates you, rather than fear of failure. It will give you the strength to go on until your task is completed." He nodded silently and continued to take in the sight before him.
The first thing Frodo did after leaving Arwen's room was find the rest of the Fellowship to let them know he was all right and apologize for alarming them. They were all extremely relieved to see him come back, now seeming to be genuinely at ease. Merry, of course felt terrible for his part in the incident, but Frodo assured him that all was forgiven. He even jokingly added that Pippin was usually the one who blurted things out without thinking so it was Merry's turn to make that mistake. Frodo spent the rest of that day with friends, taking in the sights of Rivendell from the mountains and the cascading waterfalls to the smallest flowers he saw in the grass, being sure to appreciate every one of them. Feeling the need to rest by late afternoon, he returned to his room, making mental notes for his journal that evening.
As the sun slowly disappeared behind the mountains, the sky darkened to a deep blue and the moon began to rise. Frodo went over to his desk to begin his journal entry when there was a knock on the door.
"Come in," he called. Aragorn and Arwen entered, carrying a small elven light.
"Good evening, Frodo," said Aragorn, "how are you feeling?"
"Just fine," Frodo told him. "The pain in shoulder lessens a bit each day, and I've been seeing everything in clear focus since…" he thought about this for minute. "Well long enough. So I want to get back to preparing for the quest as soon as possible, tomorrow morning preferably. "
"Well, you certainly seem ready," Arwen told him. "Would you mind if we had another look at your eyes to see if their healing is complete?"
"Please do," Frodo said. So Arwen and Aragorn sat on the bed and had Frodo stand in front of them. Arwen looked at his eyes first, and then handed the light to Aragorn.
"They look fine now," Aragorn told him, after studying them. "The redness is almost gone and there's no sign of any complications. And your shoulder is still improving?"
Frodo nodded. "That arm gets stronger too, each time I use it," he added.
"And how are you emotionally?" Arwen wanted to know. Frodo considered this. He found it hard to explain and he wasn't sure if they would believe him. Finally, he decided to take the chance.
"Better than I have for a long time. A strange thing I know, but it's true. The Ring almost brought me down, but I resisted it. Then I was almost crushed by a fear of failure, but I overcame that too, by admitting it and accepting the fear as normal. Once I did that, it no longer seemed so overwhelming to me. In fact, it seems to have renewed my strength. And of course, I have a lot of support."
"That often happens, Frodo," Aragorn explained. "When people are pushed to their limits, they often discover an inner strength they never knew they had."
"Yes, I can see that now," Frodo replied. "So I imagine that my time here is going to get pretty intense, in preparation for the quest."
"Of course you need to keep focused on the quest, but continue to find enjoyment here," Arwen reminded him. "Remember to appreciate the good things that remain in the world. That is what we all fight for."
Frodo nodded his head in complete agreement. That was part of his preparation too, although he hadn't realized it before. "Remember too," Aragorn told him, "that you're not alone. You have the support of everyone in Rivendell and on the quest, you'll have the protection of the Fellowship."
Frodo thought about that too, and felt his spirits rise higher. The Ring would be destroyed, he knew that now. If for any reason he couldn't do it himself, someone else would. He wouldn't think about that, however. He would do his part right up to the end, as would all the others. He looked at Arwen and Aragorn and smiled.
"Thank you," he said with feeling. He could think of nothing else to say at that time, but they knew those two words spoke volumes.
A/N: For those of you who haven't read the book, Evenstar (short for evening star) is Arwen's name, not just the pendant she gave to Aragorn. Her Elvish name Undomiel means Evenstar just as Legolas means Greenleaf.