The Latin Series: Pax by AndromedaMarine

Peace

Author's Note: Takes place in Rivendell, after Elrond heals Frodo but before Elrond calls for the council.

Elrond turned sharply, looking at the old wizard through fierce, piercing eyes. Clasping his elegant hands behind his back, the elf began to pace. "This is not the hour, Gandalf. Rivendell can no longer provide the safety the Ring requires." A hard expression flowed onto Elrond's smooth features. "My people are leaving Middle Earth, Gandalf. It will not be long before we cannot sufficiently stand on our own two feet, hoping we can fend off the armies of Mordor and Isengard. To expect otherwise would be nothing short of folly."

"I feared as such, my friend, and knew it even beforehand." Gandalf pursed his lips. "Then you know what must be done. A summons must be sent out. Dwarves, elves, men. Let them see that for which Sauron has long hunted. Let them say how to step forward."

Elrond leaned with both hands against the stone railing. "Peace is far from our reach, Gandalf. Surely you know this."

Gandalf tipped his grey head in response. "That I do, but we cannot refrain from attempting to grasp it. Middle Earth will be at peace, Elrond. He will take his rightful place in the White City."

The elf-king looked again at the wizard. "He strayed from that path long ago. He is no more likely to sit on that throne than Sauron is to concede defeat."

Gandalf's eyes creased gently. "You place no hope in his heart."

"And you hope too fervently for a future that cannot exist." Elrond sighed. "These times are upon us, whether we ride with them or not. I have seen the future of Minas Tirith, Gandalf, and peace is not part of it."

"That was only one possible future, Elrond, and you know as well as I that there are several different courses this war could take." Gandalf strode past the elf with frustration in his step. After a second thought, he added, "It is the same with what you see in Arwen's future."

For a moment Elrond did not move and gripped the railing with iron strength. "I do for my daughter what I deem to be best. I do not wish for her to waste away in these dark times. Nor do I wish for Sauron to triumph."

The two friends stood silently, looking out on the waterfalls of Rivendell. After several minutes, Elrond spoke again.

"The only hope in which I dare believe is that somehow the Ring will be destroyed. If not by Isildur's hand then by the hands of this generation."

Gandalf leaned against his staff, swaying slightly. "From you, my old friend, that is more than one could hope for. Trust my judgment, like you always have in the past. Middle Earth will be at peace, and Aragorn will sit on the White Throne. The Tree of Gondor will flower again."

"The council will be held in four days. Time enough must be given to those who dwell far from here." Elrond turned and began to walk away from Gandalf the Grey.

Gandalf cleared his throat in such a way that Elrond looked back and stopped. "You leave this conversation with heaviness in your step, my friend."

"Is there another way in which I might go? What takes place in Mordor weighs down on us all." Elrond's sharp eyes relaxed and softened. "But I trust that peace will be achieved."

The wizard nodded, still leaning against his staff. "Yes. Peace will come."