2. Another Perspective
The gardener was the first to send up the cry for help. Frodo was missing, he contended, he was in danger. Adamantly, my Lord Elrond refuted his statement: nothing evil could enter Imladris without the alarm being raised. Besides the guards that were stationed about the valley, there was the Ring that the Lord of Imladris wore. It would have warned him. Lastly, and to me this was the most telling, my father would have 'known.' Nothing happened in Imladris that he did not know of. Therefore, I put the gardener's claim down to too much ale. However, when my father called my brother and me into his study, his face drawn, I realized the Ringbearer was indeed in danger.
It is a strange thing to be the son of a great lord. Many times, I learn of things better left unsaid. Of treachery and betrayal, of licentiousness and decadence, of infidelity and murder. It is a hard thing, this learning of the weakness of your own kind, but to hear it as the lord's son... The full gravity of the action is reported, step by step, sometimes word for word, and, at the last, fills me with such abhorrence that my body reacts physically. I oft wondered if I had succumbed to such weakness before my mother had been taken, raped and tortured, or if it was something new. Elrohir, loyal to me as ever, suggests it began after her leaving Middle-earth. I know not. All I know is that, when called into his study, I would hear something that would once again cause me to recoil at the weakness of my mother's race.
We stood and listened to the gardener repeat his tale. Frodo and he had been in the Hall of Fire. He had fallen asleep. When he woke, songs were still being sung; Bilbo sat by his side, sound asleep, but the gardener could not find Frodo, though his eyes swept the entire Hall. He saw the other two, Merry and Pippin, playing games with some of the younger Elves at the far end of the Hall. He stood up, walked the perimeter of the great room, ever searching for his friend, and when he could not find him, he left the Hall and went to their apartments. Discovering Frodo was not there, he ran back to find Estel, and voiced his concerns. Estel, ever cautious, waited to sound the alarm until he too had searched for the Ringbearer.
Finally, we were called. Elrohir organized a search of the buildings and I commanded the search of the valley. Extensive as it is, it was easy enough to search. The pine forests to the east are too crowded for a Hobbit to easily walk in. The area near the river and the waterfalls are too difficult for one with such short legs to navigate the rocks that embrace those areas. In the back of my mind, though I sent patrols in all directions, I still could not conceive the Ringbearer being lost. As the rest of my party scouted other areas of Imladris, I took two of my most trusted warriors and went to the gardens. We started with Celebrian's garden, not there; then to the rose garden; not there, then to the niphredil garden. I was surprised to find a half eaten slice of cake lying on the ground by a bench. Something about it sent my senses into alarm. I picked it up and sniffed; my mind recoiled - it was poisoned. I sent the slice with Orodreth back to my father with strict instructions that it be tested by one of our herbalists to ascertain the kind of poison and its effects.
A fell thought came to me, and my stomach retched uncontrollably. I could not put the thought aside. The Ringbearer had been poisoned! But then, where was his body? I recovered quickly and ordered a search of the area. We walked around the garden looking for any signs. At last, I saw Elven footprints. They were strange, of a certain depth, barely bending the grass beneath around the bench, but as they moved away, I noted the impression in the grass was deeper, as if the Elf carried something. Horror greeted the thought as the magnitude of what the signs were telling me sank in. An Elf had poisoned Frodo and carried him away!
Elrohir came running from the House. He had been in the hallway near our father's study when the soldier I had sent with the cake walked past. Needless to say, he questioned Orodreth, knew something was afoot, and came to find me. "Do not tell me," he cried when he saw my face, "I do not want to know!"
There was naught for it but to tell him. We both started, at the same moment, to follow the trail. It ended at the horse barns. I could have cried when I saw whose horse was missing. Elrohir clenched his fists. Taking the horn from the barn's entrance, I blew a quick call to arms. Within moments, twelve warriors joined us. We rode hard, towards the bridge.
"There!" cried Elrohir.
I could see Frodo clasped in front of the Elf. No time for a warning shout; they were almost to the border. I drew my bow from its sheath, nocked an arrow, and let it fly. It struck home.
I pulled my horse up. Elrohir rode ahead, jumped from his mount, and pulled the Ringbearer from under the dead Elf. He waved to me, exultantly, "He lives!" I did not wait for him to rejoin me. I turned my horse and rode, rode to my private refuge. I slid from my mount and walked into the River. Icy cold, it did naught to ease the burn in my heart. I stepped under the waterfall and let the cold engulf me. It did not wash away the shame. Nor the horror. I fell to my knees and wept.
I had become a kinslayer.
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.