What if…

Chapter 15

They were rowing along the river, mostly just staring off into the distance. At first Arianna had enjoyed the quiet. It was nice to be able to simply think. But it was starting to get old. Even with a life full of excitement, there were only so many things you can think about and so many times you want to think about them. She looked up and smiled. She reached forward and tapped Frodo on the shoulder.

"Frodo!" He looked up. "The Argonath," she explained to him. "I have always wanted to see this. They are the kings of old. My kin." The statues were truly incredible. They were built right into the cliff sides, one on each side of the river. Their left arms extended, palms held forward in warning. Arianna sang a verse of a song she knew in Elvish. ""Et Eärello Endorenna utúlien. Sinome maruvan ar Hildinyar tenn' Ambar-metta.'" (Out of the Great Sea to Middle-Earth I am come. In this place I will abide, and my heirs, unto the ending of the world.) She looked around to see the others staring in amazement at the wonders before them. They sailed right between them, realizing how big they were when they saw that the smallest toes of the statues were roughly the size of one of their boats! And then they were gone, behind them as if they had never existed. But when they turned around, they could still see their crowns and their extended arms, almost as if they said farewell.

Now when they looked forwards, they saw what looked like the edge of the world. The river dropped off in a gigantic waterfall. The Falls of Rauros, and the end of their river journey. Although it was still early, they pulled the boats onto the shore and started to make camp.

"We'll cross the lake when it gets dark," Arianna said, laying out their plans. "Then hide the boats and continue on foot. We'll be approaching Mordor from the North."

"Oh yes?" Gimli said grumpily. "It's just a simple matter of finding out way through Emyn Muil? An impassible labyrinth of razor sharp rocks! And after that it gets even better!" Pippin looked up, alarm written in his face. "Festering, stinking marshlands, as far as the eye can see!" Arianna smiled innocently.

"That sounds about right to me." Pippin now looked at her, alarmed. "I suggest you take some rest and recover your strength, Master Dwarf." Gimli growled.

"Recover my…?! Grrr…" Arianna smiled again and turned away. She went to her boat and grabbed a pack of lembas for them to eat for lunch. Legolas came up to her, an odd expression on his face.

"We should leave now." He said shortly.

"No," she answered shortly as she shook her head. "Orcs patrol the eastern shore, we'd be caught. We'll have to wait for cover of darkness."

"It isn't the eastern shore that worries me. In my mind I can sense a shadow and a threat, and it's been growing. Something draws near, I can feel it." His gaze had been wandering over the forest, but he turned and looked into her eyes. He could tell that she believed him, and he could see the conflict in her eyes. To go or stay, both were very dangerous options.

"Well," she said slowly, "We could always get back in the boats and float in the middle of the lake for the rest of the day, that way we wouldn't be on either shore." She smiled crookedly, and he grinned back. They heard Gimli muttering something about 'dwarves not ever needing to recover their strength,' and telling Pippin to 'ignore the girl's foolishness'. Then Marina came back with an armload of wood.

"Where's Frodo?" she asked. It took two seconds for it to register in Arianna's mind, and she looked around alarmed. And just as she suspected, Boromir was gone as well, his shield leaning with his pack against a tree. She cursed quietly, ignoring the slightly shocked look Legolas gave her, and dashed off, telling them that she was going to go find him.

She ran quite a ways before she calmed down enough to realize that she had no idea where he was. She wasn't a ranger for nothing, she had a gift for seeing that smallest signs that someone had been there. She walked slower and looked around, searching for any sign of a hobbit's passing. It took a long time though, seeing as she wasn't starting at the beginning. She cursed herself now. She was making this much more difficult than it should be. She had been trying an experiment with Ery, she supposed now was the time to test it. She called him over from where he had been sitting on a near by branch, thank goodness he followed her everywhere.

"I need you to find Frodo, you remember Frodo?" she said to him. She scratched his forehead between and above his eyes, Frodo's favorite place to pet him. He gave a small chirp and flew off. She had been practicing this for a while, and had only really done it with Frodo anyway, so she hoped it would work. Frodo had been eager for the distraction, she supposed, and had probably wandered off seeking privacy that he couldn't get at camp or on the river. She continued searching for Frodo's tracks; she wasn't worried about Ery finding her, because it seemed he always knew where she was. Shortly after that, she found one of the hobbits footprints, and started following them. She came to a place where it looked like there had been a scuffle. The leaves and mast on the forest floor was disturbed strangely. She recognized the other footprints as

"Boromir." She whispered. "Oh no, what have you done?" Suddenly a chirping up ahead brought her attention uphill, and recognizing it as Ery's, she hurried up. She caught up to him and he flew close to the ground leading her along to a large stone platform. Frodo stood there looking very out of breath.

"Frodo?" she called. He turned, startled and backed away quickly.

"It has taken Boromir." He said quickly.

"Where is the ring?" she asked him intensely, stepping forward worriedly. She was startled to see the hobbit scramble away.

"Stay away!" he cried.

"Frodo!" she called. He stopped and she took a hesitant step forward. "What's wrong? I swore to protect you, remember? I only want to help."

"Can you protect me from yourself?" he asked seriously. Her eyes widened in understanding. Frodo had witnessed Boromir's change, and was frightened that he was only the first. He looked up, his eyes full of some strange sadness. He opened his hand, the ring sitting in his palm. "Would you destroy it?"

'Arianna…' she heard faintly. The ring was beautiful. It was so simple, yet lovely. She stepped forward. 'Arianna…Arianna….Estelwen...'She realized she was standing right in front of Frodo, and reaching for the ring. But the sound of her elvish name shook her out of it. Instead of taking the ring, she kneeled and closed Frodo's hand around it. She gently pushed his hand so it was over his heart, and let go. She knew what he had to do.

"I would have gone with you every step of the way." She told him. "Into the volcano itself." She said softly. Frodo gave her a tiny smile.

"I know. Look after the others, especially Sam. He won't understand." With perfect timing, Ery landed on Arianna's shoulder. He chirruped and hooted sadly. Frodo scratched him on his forehead like he always did. Arianna grinned softly and looked at the ground to hide her tears. But as her eyes traveled there, something glowing caught her eye. It was Sting. Her eyes narrowed, all traces of tears gone. She stood and drew her sword. Frodo saw what she was looking at, and looked at her, alarmed.

"Go Frodo, you have to escape." When he didn't move, she almost glared at him. "Run!" She said again, louder. He nodded and turned, his cloak whipping out of sight as she walked around the corner of the stone platform. An army of angry Uruk-hai in front of her. She walked forward, pulling her sword up in front of her face, showing them that she was ready for battle. They growled and some laughed, she was only a weak female after all. She set out to prove them wrong.

Arianna stepped forward and cut one right across the stomach, he fell over dying painfully, and prompting his brethren to action. As they swarmed forward, she kept swinging, bringing them down left and right. One of the Uruk-hai, who looked like the leader, shouted.

"Find the Halflings! Come on, find the Halflings!" Arianna's eyes narrowed and glinted so dangerously that the Uruk-hai she was fighting actually looked terrified. In her anger she simply chopped off his head. They would never get through her, but she needed to find Frodo to help him get away. The Uruk-hai were too many though, they were forcing her back, making her go up the stairs to the platform sideways, not looking where she was going.

Afraid of being trapped, she shouted a war cry and jumped, stabbing an Uruk through the top of his head. Just at that moment, Legolas jumped out from behind the ruin, felling a monster with each arrow he shot. She didn't think she had ever been so glad to see him. Gimli followed the elf, swinging his axe into the neck of an Uruk-hai, and Aragorn's sword shot out into the heart of another. Arianna swung her own sword, keeping herself alive, and killed the last of the group that had attacked her on the stairs.

"Arianna, go!" Legolas shouted, still shooting. She didn't need to be told twice. She started to follow Frodo, but as she passed the elf she stopped, leaned over and kissed him on the cheek.

"Don't die out there; I need to return that at some point." He said with his crooked smile. And then she went. She started down the hill, fighting as she went.

Marina and Pippin ran along a hill, hiding in the brush the best they could. Everyone else was off fighting, and the two of them had been left back at camp when they heard the battle begin. Now they ducked into the brush as a troop of Uruks ran down the hill they were on. Marina raised her head the tiniest bit and saw none other than Frodo hiding behind a tree only a short way away. As the last Uruk went by, she whispered as loud as she dared.

"Frodo! Quick, this is a safer spot to hide!" she said, waving him over. For a moment she thought he was going to come over, but instead his eyebrows pulled together in a sad and frightened frown. He shook his head hesitantly. Marina's eyes widened in understanding. Pippin however was still confused.

"What's he doing?" he asked her.

"He's leaving." She told him simply. Frodo heard her and looked down, glad she understood.

"No!" Pippin said, standing and going towards Frodo.

"Pippin, stop!" she whispered, but stood and followed him into the open. She looked down at Frodo. "Go Frodo, run. And good luck." She turned to the Uruks up on the hill. She shouted and jumped to get their attention. "Hey! Hey you! Over here!" Pippin joined her shout with his own, and the two of them started running.

"I think it's working!" Pippin said excitedly.

"Of course it's working, run!" They soon lost track of where they were going, at this point they were simply trying to keep from getting caught. They ran across an old stone bridge but stopped on the other side when they saw a huge Uruk coming right at them. They turned to go back, but the entire Uruk-hai army seemed to be waiting for them. Marina spun around looking at the charging Uruk-hai. Pippin suddenly grabbed her and held her close, and they both shut their eyes expecting to die any moment.

But then Boromir was there, killing the charging orc and throwing knife into the throat of another. Marina and Pippin regained their composure and used their own short swords to bring down a few orcs themselves.

Meanwhile, the four humans, elf, and dwarf, were fighting in different areas along the hillside. Arianna stabbed one in the back, and turned to see Legolas push one of his arrows though the throat of one of the Uruk-hai, then shoot the same arrow into another. 'Why waste arrows?' she thought to herself. Suddenly an orc was able to disarm her, and wrapped his hands around her throat. She was scratching, kicking, and stabbing him with one of her hidden knives to no avail, she couldn't reach any fatal places. Finally Legolas shot him in the back of the head and he dropped. She grabbed her fallen sword and chopped right through an orc that was about to hit the elf's back.

"My thanks." They said to each other at the same time. They grinned and went their separate ways once more. Suddenly they heard three blasts of a horn.

"The Horn of Gondor." Legolas said anxious.

"Oh Gods, Boromir!" Arianna cried, and she charged down the hill, racing toward a man she had come to think of as another brother.

Arianna heard the Horn of Gondor again. She ran down the hill as fast as she could, which at the moment seemed much too slow. Orcs came at her from left and right, and she killed them as quickly as possible in her haste. As she ran, she saw Boromir, Marina and Pippin fighting orcs, and trying to keep from getting surrounded. But then she saw something that made her heart stop. The Uruk-hai leader was standing on a ridge, aiming his black fletched arrow straight at

"Boromir!" she shouted desperately, knowing there was nothing she could do. He turned around, and jerked back suddenly, the black arrow in his left shoulder. He fell to his knees. Arianna spun around, slicing the chests of two orcs open in the process, and continued downhill. Then to her horror, she saw the Uruk-hai leader raise his bow and shoot again. "No!" she screamed in her fury. But Boromir fell once again to his knees, the second arrow in his stomach. She saw him look at Marina and Pippin who had frozen in shock, swords still in their hands, all their practice seeming useless in their minds. Marina had tears flowing freely down her face. Arianna saw Boromir gather his strength and stand again, swinging at another Uruk. The leader shot yet again, the arrow finding Boromir's chest, and staying there. Even on his knees, he swayed, and blinked as if he was simply tired. The horn of Gondor he always carried so proudly was cloven in two, hanging useless from his belt.

Arianna was still fighting, and she felt like she was getting nowhere, she had to help somehow! Then she saw the two young hobbits grab their swords and charge the Uruk-hai, wanting revenge for their large friend, but they were simply grabbed and carried off, yelling and trying to get back to Boromir's side. The Uruk-hai troops simply walked away from the man, as he watched helplessly. The chieftain stopped in front of him though. He pulled back the bowstring, preparing for one final blow, and Boromir looked up, swallowed and stared right back. But then, Arianna was through! Right before the leader let loose, she ran and jumped, crashing into him. Unorthodox, but it worked.

They traded blows, but she was soon disarmed, and the leader threw her backwards into a tree. She used its support to stand and he threw a shield at her, the long points on the edges catching her around the neck and pinning her to the tree. She pulled at the rough metal as hard as she could but could barely get it loose. She saw the orc come towards her and prepare to swing. In her panic, she was able to wrench the shield enough that she could turn her head sideways and escape. She pulled out the knife Lord Celeborn had given her and stabbed it through the monster's leg. She crawled frantically, searching for her sword. When she found it she turned, just in time to see the Uruk pull the dagger from his leg and lick off his own blood, making her gag herself. Then he threw the dagger at her, and she swung her sword, knocking it off course. She saw Boromir fall backwards against a tree out of the corner of her eye, and her anger returned full force.

She jumped up and charged the leader of the Uruk-hai. She swung and in a flurry of blows she chopped off his arm and stabbed him in the chest. He looked down, as if it didn't hurt at all. She wondered fleetingly if they even felt pain, as he grabbed the sword and pulled it further through his own chest. He roared in her face, and she gave him a death glare, ripped the sword from his chest and sliced his head right off and the rest of his body crumpled to the ground.

She let the tip of her sword fall, resting on the ground as she panted heavily. Then she hurried over to where Boromir lay, limping slightly. She saw Aragorn there, and he sat back when she dropped to her knees on Boromir's left side.

"They took the little ones." He said, speaking becoming difficult for him.

"Hush, it's alright." She said softly, resting her hand on his arm.

"Frodo…Where's Frodo?" he asked. She sighed.

"He's gone on alone." She whispered. She saw Aragorn look at her with surprise, but he didn't comment. Boromir smiled through his pain.

"Then you did what I could not. I always knew you were stronger than I. I tried to take ring from him."

"The ring is beyond our reach now."

"Please forgive me. I could not see it. I have failed you all."

"No!" she said with a quiet fierceness. "You haven't failed anyone. You fought bravely, and kept your honor." She reached down to one of the arrows, preparing to take it out.

"Leave it." Boromir said, "It is over. The world of men will fall, and darkness will flood over us. My city will fall to ruin." Aragorn leaned forward now.

"I don't know what I'll be able to do yet, but I swear to you I will not let the white city fall." He promised.

"Nor our people fail." Arianna finished.

"Our people?" he said, almost confused. "Our people." Arianna grabbed his hand, and he gripped it tightly and pulled it over his heart. She felt her lip quiver and tried to keep it still. He looked at Aragorn.

"I would have followed you my Brother…my Captain…my King." Aragorn nodded back to him, speechless. Boromir turned to her. He reached for his sword, and Arianna helped him to pull it to his chest.

"Ari…I'm sorry." She shook her head.

"You have nothing to apologize for." She told him.

"I was unwilling to accept you for what you are. Gondor does need a king, and you being our Queen would not have been a bad thing at all." He looked over her shoulder into the distance. "Maybe that's what it needs most…a feminine touch." He looked back into her eyes. "I would have gladly followed you into battle. Maybe even to the alter someday." She swallowed a sob and bit her lip. "But I know that you will find your love reflected in someone else. And I know he will be good to you, how could he not?" his voice was getting quieter. "Goodbye, Firefly. You were the light that kept these dark days enjoyable."

Arianna didn't even bother trying to hold in her tears. They trailed down her cheeks as she leaned forward and kissed him on the cheek. And then he was gone. She sat back, and her brother leaned forward.

"Be at peace, Son of Gondor." He kissed Boromir on his brow, then stood up and backed up. Arianna sniffed and pulled her hand out of Boromir's and placed it on top of his other one, over his sword and his heart. She stood as well, and backed up. She found herself slightly ahead of Legolas and Gimli was next to her brother.

"They're still waiting for him." She said quietly "They'll be watching the road for his coming, from the white tower. But he won't be coming." She reached back a bit and found Legolas's hand. He stepped forward and wrapped his arms around her, as she cried softly into his chest, wrapping her arms around his waist as he rested his cheek on her hair.

The four stood there for a few minutes, thinking of their departed friend but they soon agreed that they couldn't leave him here. They didn't have time to bury him, but they were near the falls. They could give him a small sending that way. Arianna went back to camp to empty one of the boats, and arranged Boromir's shield at the head of it. The other three brought his body, and they arranged it with his sword and pack. Then they all went out into the water, holding the boat from floating away for now. Aragorn started singing. It was the song they sang while taking a body into the tombs in Gondor. Arianna joined in, shakily at first, but her voice grew stronger as she sang. Legolas said the prayer of his people, and once again Arianna joined in. Aragorn had been spared the funeral of one of their childhood friends, and didn't know the elvish prayer. Finally Gimli said the quiet prayer of the Dwarves and they looked at each other. They all gave the boat a little push and waded back onto the shore as it made its way slowly to the falls and watched as it tumbled over the edge. Legolas shoved one of the other boats into the water.

"Hurry," he said, "Frodo and Sam have reached the eastern shore." Arianna sighed, but didn't move. "You mean not to follow them?" he asked, moving closer. She looked at him.

"Frodo's fate is no longer in our hands." Aragorn said.

"Then it has all been in vain. The fellowship has failed." Gimli said grimly.

"Absolutely not." Arianna said, walking toward them. "As long as we hold true to each other, we will always be a fellowship." She placed a hand on his shoulder. "Besides, we cannot leave Marina and Pippin to the horrible fate that awaits them. Not while we have strength to save them." She smiled confidently, and placed her other hand on Legolas's shoulder. Gimli smiled through his beard, and placed his hand over her arm. She looked at Legolas who simply looked into her eyes. She smiled, knowing she had his support.

"Leave all that can be spared behind, we travel light." Aragorn said. Arianna grabbed her freshly cleaned dagger and sheathed it with a snap.

"Let's hunt some orc." Arianna said with a smile on her face. Aragorn ran off into the forest.

"Yes! Ha-ha!" Gimli said, and followed him. Arianna looked at Legolas, who grinned at her. She beamed back, knowing what he was thinking.

"On your mark…"

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Gaspeth, I can't believe its not butter! I mean...that its over! I can finally eat now, yay! I wouldn't let myself get dinner until I posted this. And I know its late, and i'm reeeeally sory about that. But its been another crazy couple of days again .

Well, on to other news, as you well know, this was only the first movie, there are two more to go! Aren't you excited? I am! I haven't finished writing the third one yet, so I don't know what's all going to happen any more than you do The sequel to this story shall be titled "And Then...", and will be up next Monday to get started on Two Towers! Its shorter, but its full of so much fun stuff, I'm sure you'll all love it! Well, i'm off for now, thank you for reading this entire story, and I hope to see you on the new one! Please review, it'll mean the world to me!

Your Humble Authoress,