1. Chapter 1
Heard from our dear Father that you'd arrived safely at Imladris. How he finds out these things I'll never know. I considered asking him, but he was holding a rather lethal-looking letter opener at the time and, since he is wont to attack impertinent questioners without much provocation, I thought it best not to pry.
Your lack is felt very keenly here in Minas Tirith. Father is becoming a bit... antsy... without his eldest, and when I mentioned you at dinner the other evening, he sprang at me from across the table and attempted to maul me with a butter knife before all the courtiers. Hence my letter-opener apprehensions. Looking forward to heading back to Henneth Annûn for possibly the first time in my life.
I hope you take full advantage of whatever wisdom the Eldar have to offer you concerning the Sword and Isildur's Bane, and be careful not to offend any Elves if you can help it-- they are a flighty folk, for all their pretensions, and clannish, so to slight one is to bring all their kin down upon you. And whatever you do, don't confuse male Elves for women, and vice-versa, for their mannerisms and habits of dress are much the same.
Oh, sweet Eru... Father has just burst into the room looking seriously displeased. Taking cover.
Please tell our Father that if he injures you in any way, shape, or form, he will have to answer to me-- an unpleasant prospect, as any of my men will tell you. So he had best be careful. In the meantime, you may want to avoid him in general, as your presence alone seems to send him into dark moods. Cheers, brother.
Imladris, or "Rivendell" as they call it, is in fact an Elven stronghold concealed in a secret valley. Nice enough place, but there are too many Elves around here. Lord Elrond, however, is very courteous (must be his human blood), though his eyebrows make me nervous. They seem to have minds of their own, rather like Mithrandir's-- incidentally, he is here also, along with a bunch of Dwarves and a delegation of Elves from Mirkwood. I wish your letter had arrived a little sooner, for I mistook the Prince of Mirkwood for a lady only yesterday-- he is not best pleased with me at present. I can't blame myself much. He would make a very pretty girl. At any rate, there is supposed to be some sort of war council coming up, where all questions concerning "Isildur's Bane" will be answered, but we are waiting on the arrival of some King named Strider. Really, what kind of a King is named Strider? Must be another Elf. They also said something about Halflings, though I think they were poking fun at our dream. I mean, they don't actually exist, do they?
Give my regards (and warnings) to Father.
I suppose I ought to thank you for your brotherly protectiveness, though it has served me ill. Father confiscated your letter before I had read it and was not pleased by its contents. Next thing I knew, he was yelling something like, "So I'll have to answer to Boromir, eh?" and chasing me around his study with a hot poker. Almost got a burn on the buttocks, but managed to escape. Next time you write something not fit for the Steward's eyes, please code it. I am sure that I will be able to decipher it-- I taught myself Quenya, after all.
The matter must be a larger one than even we anticipated if Elves, Men, Dwarves, and Istari have all become involved, not to mention the Halflings, which, Boromir, I doubt was a joke, as Elves do not seem like a comedic folk. Also, I know that you are not much fond of lengthy discussions, but pray don't fall asleep in the middle of the Council tomorrow; you are representing Gondor, not to mention myself, and we don't want to Elves to take us for simpletons.
A King named Strider, eh? Not an Elf, I'll wager-- "Strider" does not sound particularly Sindarin. It sounds almost like a Ranger nickname, but whoever heard of a Ranger King? Well, I imagine you'll meet the man tomorrow, and then you can tell me all the particulars.
Oh, and please say hello to Mithrandir for me. I have not seen him in some time, but Father says that he was in Minas Tirith not too long ago, looking through our Archives, though how he extracted permission from Father I cannot begin to surmise. They were never very... fond of one another, to say the least.
I have much to tell you, but I will begin by apologizing for the sorry consequences of my letter. Father is an ass indeed. I have written everything in a code of my own devising, to prevent such a thing from happening again, as I doubt that there is anything in here that would be pleasing to our father.
Extraordinarily enough, it turns out that Halflings do exist, and that one of them, Frodo by name, is in possession of Isildur's Bane-- none other than the One Ring itself. But don't get too excited; the Council voted that it ought to be destroyed, and myself, Legolas, Mithrandir, a dwarf named Gimli, Strider, and three of Frodo's kinsmen are to journey to Mordor to do so. Frodo himself is to bear the Ring, though I am beginning to doubt his capacity to handle a task of such magnitude-- I mean, can a person who's only even capable of two facial expressions (scared and bewildered; oh, and occasionally possessed, so I guess that's three) be trusted with the future of Middle-earth as we know it? The whole thing is preposterous anyway. I said that the Ring ought to go to Gondor, but n-o-o-o, everyone was more interested in listening to Mithrandir and Strider. Strider turned out to be a Ranger from the North, like you speculated, and he claims to be heir to the throne of Gondor as well! He has a large and unwieldy sword that is supposedly Narsil reforged, and when I called his claims into question, an ancient Halfling stood and spontaneously recited some poetry as if it settled the matter.
By the Valar, this just gets weirder and weirder.
Next time, kindly think up a code more creative than Pig Latin. Do you really suppose that Father could not have figured that one out? "A code of my own devising", indeed! Luckily, it was delivered to me at Henneth Annûn and did not pass into his possession at all. However, Father found a way to express his affection even without your help... He roasted my pet parakeet and mailed the ashes to me, along with a touching note encouraging me to follow my bird's example. Should we be looking into therapy for him?
After thinking on it a while, I have concluded that the destruction of the Ring will probably be for the best. I mean, if the Ring went to Gondor it would inevitably fall into Father's hands, and I am seriously beginning to doubt his sanity. On that note, make sure that your little party doesn't pass too near Gondor on the way to Mordor, as it will probably result in confiscation of said artifact by the Steward... However, if you end up anywhere near Ithilien then I and my Rangers will be more than willing to assist you.
Be careful, Boromir. This was Isildur's bane, and it will be your bane as well.
Oh, and don't snub Strider further if you can help it. I doubt that he would make such a monumental claim if he had no evidence to back it, and, if he is Isildur's heir, then he could very easily have you executed for high treason. Just a thought.
And one last thing-- I know you like to wind that Horn every time you set out on a quest, but that would be a remarkably stupid thing to do before embarking on a secret mission. So save your breath, as it were.