DISCLAIMER: The plot is mine. The first paragraph is from The Fellowship Of The Ring: The Council Of Elrond. All of the characters belong to Tolkien.

Chapter I: A Different Solution

"At least for a while," said Elrond. "The road must be trod, but it will be very hard. And neither strength nor wisdom will carry us far upon it. This quest may be attempted by the weak with as much hope as the strong. Yet such is oft the course of deeds that move the wheels of the world: small hands do them because they must, while the eyes of the great are elsewhere."

At that moment, a bird cried out above the heads of the Council. As it wheeled away into the west, unconcerned with the matters being decided below, Bilbo gasped.

"The road must be trod, you say, Master Elrond. But why so? Why could it not be travelled by some other means?"

Elrond smiled. "I am afraid, Bilbo, that all the horses in Rivendell must remain here. In the event of an attack, they would all be needed."

Bilbo nodded. "That is true. But it was not of riding I spoke . . . it was of flying. What of the Eagles? They came to our assistance at the Battle of the Five Armies – will they not do so again, at this far more dangerous time?"

Elrond pondered the question. There were hundreds of obvious reasons why not, surely . . . but at that moment he could think of none. Glancing over at Gandalf, he received a simple shrug. Frowning, he turned back to Bilbo.

"Already you reveal the truth in what I said. It seems that the eyes of the great were fixed too firmly on the roads, and so the small have a chance to show their quality.

"I can find no problem with your idea, Bilbo Baggins, save one. The Eyrie in which the Eagles abide is on the eastern side of the Misty Mountains. The road is treacherous these days – both with the reappearance of the orcs, and with the snows of winter. To reach them would require great strength, both of mind and body." As he spoke, he looked around, waiting to see who would volunteer. To his surprise, Gandalf rose.

"I will take our message to Gwaihir, the Lord of the Eagles. He is known to me of old, and may listen to me more than he would to any elf. He does not trust many of the Children of Iluvatar, so any messenger of yours – yes, even proud Glorfindel, who has seen the great Thorondor of old – would be more likely to anger him than to gain his assistance."

Elrond nodded. "Then so shall it be. We will lend you a horse, that you might move faster. You will leave in the morning, and the hopes of the Free People will travel with you."

This was a short first chapter, as it technically is just the end of the chapter in the book. Apart from that, not much to say.

-- oh, yes. Please note that this story is Book-verse. Or at least, stems from Book-verse. As will be seen, it's going to diverge rather rapidly.

Cloaked Eagle