Author's Note:

This is my first Lord of the Rings fan fiction (I usually play with Gladiator, Star Wars, seaQuest, and Zorro, if you're curious), so please let me know what you think.  It is an AU (Alternate Universe) fic, so please bear with me – but don't worry.  I'm not into creating characters or the like… No extraneous love interests or anything like that.  Really, it's picking up shortly before the first novel left off.  You'll have to read it to find out the rest, so please do so!  And while you're at that, please, please, PLEASE, review!  I'd like to have feedback since I'm writing as I go.  Thanks for looking!


I don't own any of it…unfortunately.  Wish I did, because it's all so fun to play with.  I'm not making any money, and I'm not worth suing because I'm a poor college student who just happens to love to write.

Where the Shadows Lie

A Tale Of The Ring


Frodo knew fear.   A deep and all-encompassing fear, it was, chilling him down past his bones and into his very soul.  A chill snuck its way down his spine, then, for he knew what he had to do.  The solution was an answer he had known for a long time, had known it in his heart even though he denied it all the while.  Since he had first entered Lórien and looked into the eyes of the fair Galadriel, the Hobbit had known what had to be done.  The loneliness and pain in the Elven Lady's gaze had made the solution plain – of all beings in the universe, she alone understood.  Ring-bearer of one of the three, Galadriel knew – the path of the Ring-bearer was one apart.

He had to go on alone.

But he knew not how to do so.  The thought of loosing the loving support of his friends in the Fellowship was nearly crippling.  The loss of Gandalf had broken his heard, and Frodo almost wept to think of the kind, old wizard, crushed at the bottom of the abyss.  Together, the Fellowship had sworn that his death would not be in vain – and wouldn't breaking the Fellowship of the Ring be the same as dishonoring his memory?  Wouldn't abandoning each other be to discount the sacrifice that Gandalf had made to keep them together?

Such doubts, however, did not change the feelings in Frodo's heart.  He'd sworn to take the ring to Mordor, even though he knew not the way – and without Gandalf, he had no hope… Alone, he knew, he would never make it; yet the rest of the Fellowship could not help him.  In his mind's eye, Frodo could see them dying along the way…  He had to go alone.  They could not go with him.

And yet he could not go alone.

Alone, he would perish in the shadows of Mordor, and fail in his quest – and in failing, the world would come to darkness.  Sauron would regain the One Ring, and all that they had fought for, including Gandalf's sacrifice, would be for nothing.  So he could not bring the Ring into Mordor.  To do so would be to bring Shadow over the entirety of Middle-Earth.  Faces and places flashed through his mind, and Frodo could not help but think of all those that would suffer if Sauron was not defeated.  If I fail, the world as I know if will die.  Sorrow weighed heavy upon his heart.  I cannot fail!

So there was but one other option.  Rising, Frodo took a deep breath.  It was time to return to the Fellowship.  Aragon would not like this, he suspected, but his decision would also answer the yearning in the Ranger's heart.  Boromir would be pleased, and perhaps, the Hobbit told himself, the man was right.  And he firmly pinned his hopes on that possibility, refusing to look back as he threaded his way through the trees to reunite with his friends.  "I have made my decision," he announced.

Their eyes looked to him, and Frodo scanned their faces.  Boromir, as always, looked regal and handsome, ready to take on the whole of Middle-Earth in the name of Gondor.  Merry and Pippin looked to him in wonder, ready and able to lend him aid in any way he should ever ask, yet their faces had lost the youthful exuberance that they had held so long ago.  Legolas' blue eyes burned through his soul, though, with the timeless wisdom and strength of the Elves.  He understood, perhaps better than any of the Fellowship, save Gandalf.  By the Elf's side, Gimli raised his busy eyebrows in expectation, one hand gripping his axe as if it were his lifeline.  And then Aragon looked upon him with noble and sad eyes.  The heir of Isildur, too, understood the price of the Ring, and his gaze told Frodo that he knew.   Aragon could not bear the Ring, but he'd sworn to see it through.  Regardless of the cost, the Ranger would see Sauron's ring to the innards of Mount Doom.

Last of all, Frodo's eyes found Sam, the ever faithful.  But those once innocent eyes held a grim determination now, a determination that shook the Ring-bearer to his core.  Sam would accept his decision, no matter what it was, Frodo realized.  But the fierce gaze told him something else – it told him that Sam would never abandon him.  Sam would never let him do this alone.  All the better that I have decided then, Frodo thought shakily.  For I would not have his life in my hands.  He cleared his throat.

"We go to Minas Tirith."