Linda's LOTR Fanfiction

Tree and Flower Awards, Boromir, Third Place
Tree and Flower Awards Nominee

 The Slave of the Ring

The chararacters are the property of the Tolkien Estate.No profit has been,nor will be made from this story.

With grateful thanks to Raksha.

Jeder giere nach seinem Gut,
doch keiner genieße mit Nutzen sein!
Ohne Wucher hüt' ihn sein Herr;
doch den Würger zieh' er ihm zu!
Dem Tode verfallen, feßle den Feigen die Furcht:
solang er lebt, sterb' er lechzend dahin,
des Ringes Herr als des Ringes Knecht:

All shall lust to possess it, but none shall delight in its use! Without gain, its lord shall guard it; it will draw his executioner to him! Destined to die, let fear fetter the coward; so long as he lives he shall pine for death, the Lord of the Ring as the slave of the Ring ;  - Wagner- Das Rheingold. Scene 4

Aragorn was obviously deeply distressed over Mithrandir’s, or the old meddler’s- as my father always called him – death, that he should neglect the needs of the Halflings. He stopped only when Legolas called attention to their plight.

We saw then that Frodo and Sam were injured. Blood trickled down the face of Samwise, while Frodo's breathing was somewhat laboured, his face unusually pale.  It surprised me the Ring-bearer yet lived. Maybe my eyes had deceived me in the darkness of Moria and the spear had but caught in his clothing.

Full of apologies, Aragorn lifted Frodo in his arms. He demanded that I should bear Samwise. The son of Arathorn had immediately proclaimed himself leader when Mithrandir fell. I knew someone had to take command, yet I wondered why had they not turned to me, the Captain General of Gondor?

This wayworn vagabond claims to be the heir to the throne of our Realm. He seems to forget that Pelendur rejected Arvedui’s claim in the days of our longfathers.  My father will dismiss Aragorn’s with equal certainty, I deem.  I can scarce believe that a Chieftain of a furtive House should dare to order me about as if I were already one of his underlings!  I am a Lord of Gondor, and heir to its Steward, not some lowly forester!

I let it pass for the time being, for Aragorn's knowledge of this region is far greater than mine.

Still carrying Frodo, Aragorn led the way into a dell surrounded by pine trees.  It was, I must admit, a good place to rest; sheltered, secluded, watered by the clear stream  that we had followed for a few leagues.

I almost expected him to order me next to fetch firewood or water.  But Aragorn assigned that task to Legolas and the younger Hobbits, while he set about tending Frodo and Sam’s hurts.

I lay back against a tree and closed my eyes for a moment.  I was weary, and I found it agreeable to listen to the peaceful sound of the running stream, which nearly drowned out the sounds of the young Hobbits’ chatter and Aragorn’s fussing over the small gardener.

I opened my eyes again, surprised, when Frodo started to protest the removal of his clothing for Aragorn to examine his wounds. Strange behavior indeed for a Halfling. Only yesterday, Pippin had been telling me about running naked on the grass with Merry and Sam at the bidding of someone called Tom Bombadil. He had laughed unashamed, whilst telling the story, as had the others. It had been the only light moment in a fearsome tale of wraiths and long dead kings.

Hobbits were not like the men of Gondor with their modesty and inhibitions. Yet, Frodo appeared as uncomfortable as my little brother would be at the prospect of removing his shirt.

Rather to my surprise, given his grief for Mithrandir, Aragorn laughed aloud. "Look, my friends!" he called. "Here's a pretty hobbit-skin to wrap an elven-princeling in! If it were known that hobbits had such hides, all the hunters of Middle-earth would be riding to the Shire."

I rose to my feet and walked over for a closer look. My father’s would be successor was holding aloft a shining silver corslet, which shimmered in the late afternoon sunlight. When shaken, it tinkled like the bells we use to decorate our horses’ bridles when we celebrate a victory over the Enemy. Such occasions have grown few of late.

Gimli was enraptured by the sight of the shining garment. “It is a mithril-coat. Mithril! I have never seen or heard tell of one so fair," he exclaimed in amazement.  Little wonder that Frodo had been so loth to reveal the corslet, for Dwarfs are renowned for their lust for Mithril.  Gimli’s eyes were full of admiration, but gave no hint of coveting the precious metal for himself.  

Aragorn then gently removed the soft leather shirt that Frodo wore under the mail. We all clustered round him, curious to see how well the Mithril coat had protected him from the Orc spear.

I barely noticed the bruises which covered his chest and side; for now I could plainly what Frodo carried - the Ring!

I had wanted so much to look at it again; ever since that one glimpse I had been granted at Rivendell. It was a beautiful thing; yet I could not say why, for it appeared but a plain gold circlet. The rings I wore were finer by far; but the simple band of gold drew my eyes and held them.  This bauble had adorned the finger of our Enemy Himself!  And it was no mere bauble, but a mighty weapon.  It seemed to me the greatest thing ever wrought upon Arda since the dawning of the sun. And they planned to cast it in the fire!

If Aragorn were to come to Minas Tirith, with such a weapon to use against the Enemy, even my father would welcome him gladly. A sword reforged was not token enough to grant Isildur’s heir the winged crown. However, the Ring was a different matter entirely! All of Gondor would welcome him.

 I smiled to myself as I thought of Faramir. My brother was forever dreaming of the return of the King, when the White Tree would blossom again. He is such a dreamer, my little brother, for how could a dead tree come back to life? He had sorely wanted this errand, but our father appeared relieved when I begged it instead.  The Steward feared that the Elves' enchantments might sway Faramir's fanciful heart, and wisely trusted my steadier judgement instead.

Now Aragorn appeared oblivious to the precious heirloom, seeming to focus his attentions entirely on Frodo’s bruised ribs. The man was a fool! Here was the Ring, within his grasp and he refused to claim it!  Frodo himself had said the prize belonged to Aragorn before the whole council.   And this would be Gondor's King?

Aragorn reached out his hand. I prayed that his sight of the Ring would bring him to his senses. He could use it to save all of us. But no, he merely patted Frodo’s shoulder and moved away from him.

He then called for water and his eyes suddenly met mine.  In that moment, I feared that Aragorn could see into my soul; for his gaze hardened and became stern and cold. I never could quite fathom the man; he could be gentle and kindly one moment, unyielding as granite the next. He looked so like my father, then, with the same disconcerting way of seeing into the hearts of men. I shivered, despite the now merrily blazing fire and my thick cloak.

“Help the others prepare food!” Aragorn said abruptly. “We must leave here before sunset.”

Again he was ordering me, as if I were already one of his subjects!  He cast some leaves in the water Legolas brought.  Athelas, he called them.

Our would be king then knelt in front of Frodo to bathe his wounds, thereby blocking my view of the Ring.

The sweet scent of athelas filled the dell and the others were refreshed by it. Not me.  My heart remained heavy, swelling with longing for the Ring.  From that day forward, the Ring haunted my thoughts, even as we crossed the Nimrodel and journeyed through the Golden Wood, even as the fey gaze of its Mistress speared my eyes and mind.

And here, in the heart of this Elvish stronghold, the Ring haunts me still.

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