13. Of escape down the Anduin, Part 1
The Hobbit gasped. He had not known the creatures had grown so close, despite the warning blue glow of Sting, now faded to a dim gleam, though not dissipating entirely. Frodo whirled around quickly, scanning the entire area. Who had saved him? Friend or foe? Then there was a hand upon his shoulder. For fear another of the fowl creatures had snuck up upon him yet again, Frodo desperately thrust his sword behind him, clutching the Ring in one hand
“Ai!” Said a musical voice, slightly distressed. The Elvish sword struck nothing but air, though Frodo was sure he had felt it connect with cloth. As Frodo had spun, he had done so in such a manner that he lost his footing upon the leaf coated ground. A hand gently lifted the sword from his hand and another swiftly moved to catch hold of the hood of his cloak before he fell. Slowly, dreading that his captor was akin to the rank creature that already lie dead before him, he looked up only to meet bright, glinting eyes. Narilvrin peered down at him, her head cocked to the side quizzically.
“Narilvrin!!” Panted Frodo, fright leaving him fleetingly. “Why you’re no enemy at all! Alas, I walk through the woods and take little heed of the enemy yet attack my rescuer!” The Elf smiled and released him from her grip.
“Do not worry, no harm was done,” said Narilvrin handing Sting back to him, hilt first. Frodo took it carefully and placed it back in its sheath.
“But look down...I’ve torn your shirt.” Narilvrin looked down uninterestedly.
“So you have... I must compliment you then, you caught me off guard.”
“As did you...but I hardly think of this as an accomplishment, considering your condition...” The Elf scowled.
“Has Aragorn gotten such things in your head as well?” Said Narilvrin, fiddling with the torn edges of her jerkin. Frodo smiled as Narilvrin turned to gather her arrows from the felled Uruk-hai. A comfortable silence followed. As comfortable a silence as there could be with Saruman’s Uruk-hai roaming the wood. The Elf wrinkled her nose in disgust as she pulled her arrow free of the dead creature’s flesh. Sliding the two arrows gently into the quiver amongst the others, she turned towards Frodo again.
“I take it you meant to leave us?” Frodo shifted his gaze away from the Elf.
“Yes...that was my intent...” Said the Hobbit, almost shamefacedly.
“And why was it your intent?” Questioned the Elf, her eyes filling with sorrow for she knew already what would be said.
“Because...Because I fear that the Ring...that it will take hold of you, as it did...Boromir,” said Frodo, trying desperately to focus elsewhere than the Elf’s piercing eyes.
“Alas! I thought it was so,” exclaimed Narilvrin.
“I am sorry,” said the Hobbit, staring down at his feet.
“Do not be. It is a wise and brave decision, one you have made as Ringbearer. Forsooth, I know not what the Ring may have done to our company, although I wish not leave your side for fear of an occurrence such as this. But I also do not wish to become changed and turned against you. Elf though I may be, I am not immune to the effects of the One Ring.”
Narilvrin walked silently towards the Hobbit, placing a calming hand upon his shoulder, this time receiving no sword as response. Frodo gave her a weak smile. He had hoped to steal away unnoticed, although felt that it would not be so. Regardless, he was glad the Elf was here, for had he not found him, the Ring may very well have gone to Saruman by way of the Uruk-hai Narilvrin had slain.
“Do you still wish to travel alone?” Inquired the Elf.
“Yes. It is the least I can do to repay you and Aragorn, as well as the others, who have so faithfully stayed with me thus far. Gandalf once told me that ‘all we have to decide is the time that is given us.’ I have pondered his words...and have decided. This is what I will do with the time given me...I will destroy the One Ring. And I will spare all those that can be spared of the tempting the Ring offers. I have seen its effects on one man, I would that I did not have to see it again.” Narilvrin smiled warmly at the Hobbit. However small he looked, he had taken a burden upon himself that even the great Grey Pilgrim had dared not attempt. And for now, it would appear that he was winning. “Speaking of which...” said Frodo cautiously, “what has become of Boromir?”
“I know not. I spoke with him briefly whilst I sought you, but did not press far into the matter of the Ring, though I had suspicions of what had occurred. I sent him back to the others and bade him tell Aragorn of what has happened. I have no doubt that they know you are leaving by now.”
“Oh...I had wished to slip away unseen, but I suppose it is better this way.” Narilvrin nodded her agreement. It was better that the others knew what had become of the Ringbearer instead of wondering in fear of what had come to pass. This way, at least, they knew that Frodo left their company unharmed. There was a stirring amongst the trees. More Uruks had followed in the footsteps of the latter, as both Narilvrin and Frodo had known they would. Narilvrin spun around and drew her bow in one fluid motion, letting two arrows fly at once. But this time she did not stop, but proceeded to shoot thrice more. Three thumps were all the proof she needed that her foes were felled. There was not time to retrieve the arrows, at least not now.
“I will guide you as far as the boats, and then, as you wish, I will let you take your leave, although I would rather linger by your side, till safer times at least. But, you have set your mind to this and I know I will not be able to deter you of it. I offer you my protection.” The Elf bent low upon one knee to stare the awed Hobbit straight in the eye. “You are sure this is your decision?”
“Yes, as sure as I will ever be.”
“Then we will be off,” said Narilvrin, holding her bow ever in the ready. Inclining her head in the direction in which the river lie, she began at a slow jog so that Frodo would be able to keep pace. In truth, her side was aching quite horribly and she wished not strain her side more than was necessary, though she would fight to the very end to insure the Ringbearer’s safe departure. Frodo followed the Elf, taking heed to keep close on her heels. Narilvrin’s bow sang suddenly, as she tilted her head to the side. A black arrow whisked past her cheek, brushing his long hair past her shoulder. Then the assailant tumbling from the bushes, an arrow protruding between his eyes. Frodo watched in silent vexation at the Elven archer, striding tall and gracefully through the trees. He wondered now just how she had planned to make it to the boats alone.
By now Boromir had indeed reached the others. They had been in a state of concern. Frodo, who had been gone far too long to be occupied only with collecting firewood, had not returned. Nor had Legolas. And the man of Gondor had vanished unexplainably. Three members of the Fellowship had been absent without explanation until Boromir returned. His return had been all but joyous. The Son of the Steward had trudged drearily through the forest back to camp, his footsteps dragging. Aragorn was the first to question him, walking quickly in his direction with only an intense glare as welcome.
“Where have you been?” Asked the Ranger, very much concerned.
“I...spoke with Frodo.” Aragorn’s eyes widened. This was the last thing he had wished to hear.
“And what did you say?” There was a long pause. Boromir looked sadly at his boots, not wishing to meet the Ranger’s gaze.
“I tried to persuade him to take the road to Minas Tirith....” Aragorn raised a questioning eyebrow.
“Is that all that you said?” Asked the Ranger, all the more suspicious.
“I...” Boromir’s voice began to choke, “I tried to take the Ring.” Aragorn scowled loudly. His heart sank nearly to his feet. Legolas had battled with Uruk-hai just that morning; the Ranger had no doubt that they still lingered in the forests, the Elf’s uncharacteristic tenseness had been testament enough. It was the reason Narilvrin had been so avid about leaving, which was certainly not wonted of the elleth, asking to leave a forest.
“And what of Narilvrin? Have you seen her?” He said, trying to maintain his composure. Though he was sure that Boromir had not intended to take such an action, it had happened nonetheless and it could have dyer consequences. He had been suspicious of the man of Gondor since the very council that had decided upon this whole quest. Aragorn had found his hand grasping the hilt of his sword near the Son of the Steward all too often. Boromir was a good man, but Aragorn had always feared what effects the Ring may have on him.
“Yes. He was headed off in the direction Frodo went. He told me to tell you that the whole of the creatures he encountered this morning are upon us. He said also that he would take care of Frodo...I think that the Ringbearer intends to leave.” As well he should, thought Aragorn angrily.
The rest of the Fellowship had heard of all that had taken place. Sam’s face had turned as pale as the white clouds above. The thought that Frodo would leave without him or the rest of the Fellowship was horrible indeed.
“I promised Gandalf!” He suddenly exclaimed, leaping from where he sat. “ ‘Don’t you lose him, Samwise Gamgee,’ he said...and I don’t mean to.” Without waiting for further explanation, Sam grabbed up his pack and raced into the wood in the direction Boromir had come, his pots and pans clanking as he went. Merry and Pippin were quick to follow, drawing their small swords. They ran off into the woods after both Sam and Frodo.
“After them,” said Aragorn. The last thing he wished to do was lose sight of the rest of the Hobbits. Now Aragorn too felt the presence of the Uruk-hai drawing far too close. All around it seemed as though they would spring from the bushes and surround them all. He could only hope that Narilvrin had successfully found Frodo. With that, Legolas took off into the woods bow in hand, Gimli, taking out an axe, running as quick as his feet would carry him after the charging Hobbits and Boromir soon came after, swinging his shield across his shoulder. Aragorn was last, taking up the rear lest the Uruk-hai truly decide to attack. His knuckles were white as he gripped the hilt of his sword.
This is a work of fan fiction, written because the author has an abiding love for the works of J R R Tolkien. The characters, settings, places, and languages used in this work are the property of the Tolkien Estate, Tolkien Enterprises, and possibly New Line Cinema, except for certain original characters who belong to the author of the said work. The author will not receive any money or other remuneration for presenting the work on this archive site. The work is the intellectual property of the author, is available solely for the enjoyment of Henneth Annûn Story Archive readers, and may not be copied or redistributed by any means without the explicit written consent of the author.