The last few embers of the dying fire crackled in front of me. I watched the soft orange glow dance about, the only source of light on this dark, clouded night. The stars were gone, the moon hidden, and I couldn't help but feel a sensation of... suspicion for the night around me.

I sighed trying to clear these thoughts from my head. The past fortnight had been difficult enough, without me becoming paranoid. Instead, I directed my gaze to those that slept around the dying fire, my companions in this journey for the fate of Middle-Earth.

My elfin sight passed over each and every one of them, clear as day, for the night did not hinder my vision. I studied each of them briefly; the four hobbits, Sam, Frodo, Merry and Pippin; the dwarf, Gimli; and the two humans, Boromir and Aragorn, my old friend.

I couldn't help but mourn for the one who was not here, the one whose presence I missed sorely. Gandalf had given his life to get Frodo, and the rest of us, out of Moria. But I wonder now if that sacrifice will hurt us even more in the end.

My right leg is sore, and I extend it out, stretching the swollen muscles. Even as an elf, the last few days have taken a toll on me, and I wonder how much those four little hobbits can take. Sheer determination does a lot, though, I remind myself.

I lean back once more, onto the tree trunk behind me, and my gaze rests upon the quietest of the four hobbits, Frodo Baggins. The young hobbit had distanced himself slightly from the rest of us, choosing to sleep underneath the shelter of a nearby tree. I am entranced somehow as I watch him sleep, his chest rising and falling with a steady rhythm.

As I finally break my trance and move my eyes away, a flash of something shiny catches my eyes. I turn back around to see what it was, and notice just barely in the fading firelight, the smallest bit of metal on the edge of Frodo's tunic. I squint my eyes to see it clearly, and I realize that this is the Ring, the ring of power.

Hurriedly, I break off my stare, anxious that the object that had captured my attention was a tool, a weapon of such great evil. For a moment, I close my eyes, trying to calm myself. I am struck by how unnerved this tiny band of metal has made me, and I wonder if it could harbour some sort of... intelligence.

As I ponder this, a strange feeling starts to overcome me. A feeling of.... anger? Anger, I realize, directed at this small hobbit, who has been entrusted with the Ring.

Why did this hobbit get the ring? A small, weak creature whose own race has been forgotten and ignored over time. Why not give the ring to me, an elf prince of high standing and many more years of experience in this world?

I look over to him once more, and notice for the first time at how venerable he is, sleeping there, alone. One quick stab with my dagger and he would be dead, and the Ring would be mine! I would have the power to defeat Sauron and his armies, and then the elves would be rulers of Middle-Earth once more!

Stop! yells a silent voice in my head, and it brings me back to reality. Shaking, I notice that I am standing now, and have unconsciously taking a step towards the small figure asleep on the ground.

I sit back down, still shaking, and wonder what had come over me. The power of the Ring was even greater than I had thought.

My senses were all overwhelmed. I could still see the crystal clear picture in my mind, of the Ring within my grasp. I could still smell the bittersweet scent of power in my nostrils.

I placed my head into my hands, and tried to calm myself. I would be no good to this Fellowship if I could not even control my own emotions.

Even as I did this, a thought popped into my mind; that perhaps this had been MY test, to prove that I could face the Ring and not be overcome. I had overheard Frodo telling Sam one evening, about Lady Galadriel's test of the Ring, and I wondered if this was not the same.

Suddenly, as I pondered this, something touched my left shoulder, surprising me. I leapt to my feet, pulling out my bow and preparing an arrow in a quick instant. I turned to face my opponent, ready to release my arrow...

"Legolas, ta ná er ni. (It is only I.)" I was looking into the anxious eyes of Aragorn. "Nar elyë ilya forya? (Are you all right?)" he asked, concern in his voice.

"I am fine." I answered, realizing that he was here to take the next watch. I picked up my things, and offered a small smile to him. He smiled back.

"Did anything interesting happen?" he asked, as he sat down.

"No." I replied softly, before walking to my spot beside the fire. "Nothing at all." I whispered to myself as I laid down and prayed for sleep.

*Sorry about the translations, I'm not even sure they're correct, so don't hurt me if they're not.

This is my first LotR fic, so hopefully it was alright. Let me know what you thought.

-Aelan*