REDEMPTION OF A RING-BEARER

How can you piece back together a former life? How do you go on, when in your heart you begin to understand... there is no going back. I know it's not easy to accept it. It wasn't easy for me either. It's more than over months of hell away from the Shire, and being gone for so long can make one a stranger in their own home. Don't get me wrong. Bearing something so evil it can make one so scarred doesn't make my longing for adventure any less. It just wish that the Ring never came to me, that none of what has already passed during the War has happened. Why I was called to bear the One Ring I'll never know and if I wasn't, it would have been a different tale. I would have the trust build around various people and creatures I'd come across, instead of withholding it because of the Ring. My first adventure altogether has made me quite bitter. Not only because of years of pursuit for the Ring by the Nazgul. It was also because I (almost) failed to destroy the One Ring, among some other questionable things (including sending Sam home). Though the powers of the Ring may be part of it, I still couldn't help but to hold myself responsible for what I did. In a way, I am no different from Isildur. He, too, had failed despite Elrond's persistance and had died because of it. The Ring has the great capability of destroying even the noblist of souls. It had already destroyed Boromir, and can very close to destroying his brother Faramir as well.

I am not one to hold grudges against the brothers. The truth was that it was their father, Denethor who wanted the One Ring and has sent Boromir to retrieve it for the sake of Gondor, to use it as a weapon against the Enemy. Denethor had no idea how long it would be. The Ring would not save Gondor, it only destroys. It's been only months that I've ached for Faramir, as he was about to be burned by his own father. Gandalf and Pippin came to Faramir's rescue in time and the aging Steward has met his end. A fitting end but tragic nonetheless on my part. After the rest of the Fellowship and myself heard the story, not only are we able to see Boromir's motives in a new light but we pretty much weren't too happy with how Faramir had been treated. It affected Aragorn especially, though he and Boromir weren't very close for the most part. I could feel the envy in him. The rest of us were a Fellowship of three pairs of what most would call 'life mates'. Aragorn hardly had anybody. I know it will take years for Faramir to recuperate, especially after all the things he done to try and appease a hard-to-please father. Though finding love with Lady Eowyn is certainly a start. It will be a long and hard road towards redemption. A road that lies ahead for all of us, especially myself.

Lady Eowyn is what Aragorn would call a Daughter of Kings. A Shieldmaiden of Rohan, the land inhabited by the fierce horses and their warrior Riders. When Gandalf, Aragorn, Legolas and Gimli first arrived at Rohan, it was left with very little hope. Eowyn's uncle, King Theoden was 'poisoned' by his former adviser Grima Wormtongue, who was under the service of the traitorous Wizard Saruman. It wasn't until Gandalf's exorcism that not only freed the King from Saruman's possession but also restored the Riddermark to its former glory. This army of Riders became involved in the War of the Ring, and Eowyn was among them - though it was only in secret, which only Merry knew at the time. I owe a great debt to both of them, as they played their part in the Witch-king's destruction. The Witch-king was the leader of the Nazgul and the one who stabbed my left shoulder, leaving a mark that would last for years. If it wasn't for my task to carry the One Ring, I would've had the pleasure to stab the Witch-king back myself. But actually stabbing the Witch-king would leave one on the edge of death as well, with Aragorn's healing being a remedy to that.

Eowyn is not the only woman willing to ride into a heat of battle. There is also Arwen, daughter of Lord Elrond of Rivendell and now Aragorn's wife and Queen. She is someone who I also pay a great debt to, and she was also more beautiful than I even imagined in my entire life. She was also more powerful, being able to stand against the entire line of Ringwraiths. I think Eowyn is no way weaker, being a strong warrior in her own right, but Arwen has more spirit. I mean, who else can call upon a horde of water horses to wash away like an entire army of Goblins? I haven't even seen Gandalf doing that. Sure, he defeated the Balrog but he fell as well and came back more powerful. Arwen didn't even fall within a moment's notice after wiping out the Nazgul. Then again, she is descended from the line of Lady Luthien and even she had the same power. Aragorn is born in that same line, but his actually came from Elrond's twin brother Elros.

Aragorn was more heroic than I, although he did have some doubts. He wasn't even sure if he would be able to restore his line because of Isildur's failure but he would've gone with me to the end if it were not for his own part he had to play or the fact that I had to go to Mordor alone so the Ring could not corrupt any of my companions like it did to Boromir. It was he who set out to rescue Merry and Pippin from Saruman's fighting Uruk-hai, with Legolas and Gimli to accompany him. Instead, he found himself leading armies of Riders and Elves against the Uruk-hai army in the Battle of Helm's Deep and again with the Army of the Dead in the Pelennor Fields. He even had Elendil's sword reforged to be his own. Merry and Pippin were stuck in Fangorn with the Ents, who they had to convince into the War they thought was not their own. But when the Ents find parts of their forest being emptied by Saruman himself, they marched into Isengard and destroyed much of the production there. Then there was the seperation and reunion. Merry was serving King Theoden as an esquire of Rohan while Pippin became a tower guard under the service of Denethor. So much of that adventure in the West I've missed, though I cannot speak for Sam. I am currently stuck with an envy for all of them. They've done more than I ever did during the War. My envy was something I wasn't afraid to admit to the rest of the Fellowship, though not surprisingly some have a envy for someone else as well.

Sam is the one who was the most loyal during the quest, even though I've feared the Ring would eventually take hold of him. I still don't even know how Sam mustered up enough bravery to face a giant spider on his own. Spiders are really creepy creatures, big and small. Normally a person would run from a giant one. Not Sam. He has lived up to the name I've dubbed him - Samwise the Brave and now also Samwise the Mother Hen. We're currently living together, you see, which to no surprise for the both of us wasn't easy. Sam can be very motherly towards me, always concerned for my safety - whether I needed it or not. I can still do things on my own, like riding a pony for example. But Sam would always be by to make sure I don't fall or anything like that. It can be both endearing and frustrating. But I loved him all the same. It's not what most would think. We're more like brothers in all but blood. There's been an ongoing debate that had been going on for months since we got back from the war - whether me or Sam were the true hero of the tale. We both never come across it that way. We just needed each other to survive, and one would not have gone far without the other.

Merry and Pippin are like me and Sam in many ways, but their adventure was quite different. Pippin was the youngest out of all of us and since the Fellowship was broken, he had to depend on Merry's wits and cunning to outsmart their Uruk captors. It wasn't until he looked into the Palantir of Orthanc that Pippin had learned to stand up for himself, becoming a warrior and playing a huge part in Faramir's rescue.

Legolas and Gimli, the Elf and Dwarf in the Fellowship respectively, played their part as well and it was the events of the war that had shaped their bond while they accompanied Aragorn on his adventures. Gimli was the warrior with the stoutest heart much like his father, willing to take even the biggest enemy head on. Being an Elf, Legolas was more elegant but he's the archer with the most improbable aiming skills I have seen so far, though I've only heard of others - chief among them being Bard the Bowman. For that, he is the person I hold envy towards the most. Not even a single scratch was made on him, unless there's something he failed to even mention or reveal. Somehow, I'm getting a feeling it may be the case. No one in Middle-earth would be able to keep a secret forever. I still cannot get over the fact that it was Legolas who was first to appear in my vision in Galadriel's mirror, though I suspect the corruption of the Ring might have something to do with it. It was ultimately adverted (thankfully) due to the Breaking of the Fellowship. Still, it feels as though we might be linked somehow and I can't even put my finger on why. But Legolas and Gimli are now the best of friends despite the animosity that may still be going on between their races, and are now traveling together exploring the unknown regions of Middle-earth.

Though my life is currently at a stand-still, I'm making plans to visit Legolas in Mirkwood. Merry and Pippin are going there as well. Sam won't be coming along. Nothing personal, it's just I don't want to take him away from his family. He and Rosie got married, by the way, and their second child is on the way. I've grew fond of their first one, Elanor, whose name I've came up with. It has a bit of Elvish in it but not so much as so to contridict the rest of the Shire. Bilbo has now grew very old with age, so I'll be going to Rivendell along the way. But like I said before, I have a long road of redemption ahead of me but I'm more than willing to take one step at a time in order to reach it.