The Son of Gondor

by Linaewen

Chapter 46

My world is changed...

Changed and reset in a new pattern; I can see it all so clearly now! Almost I had convinced myself that it did not matter, that I cared not -- but I do care. I care what happens to that little golden thing...so little...so golden...it must not be destroyed!

Such a little thing...

It seemed to me that she offered me a choice between that which I fear most and that which I desire...to avoid the fear, I have but to turn aside; leave the Quest and the war to others, and that which I desire will be mine. But that is foolish! Why would I turn aside when the road we take leads to my City? What I fear most is to see Gondor fall; if I turn aside, how can I save my people? How will forsaking the Quest help my father? She showed me these things...but I do not understand! I swore I would see it done, and the men of Minas Tirith are true to their word...I cannot forsake the Quest...or that which I desire...

I want to see my people free of this war, of this fear...to see Sauron defeated. I want...the Ring; it is the answer, I am certain of it! That is how we shall achieve victory. It is a gift...

Yes, I see it now...the Ring! She showed me that I was deceiving myself, that I want it...desire it. But is that so wrong? Frodo treasures it; why should I not think of it now and then?

I think of it constantly! I wonder why?

I thought it surprisingly light at first, when I picked it up in the snow; but now when I think back on it, I can only remember its weight, its incredible heaviness as it swung on the chain...its beauty as it glittered in the sun...

So small...and yet so heavy...

I have tried so hard to think of other things; to put it out of my mind...but I cannot! It is there, always there in front of me...going ever towards destruction. What a waste! I do not want it for myself; it is for my people, my father, my City! I must save them...

It is so beautiful...

Poor Frodo! It is such a heavy burden for him! He is so small; I wish I could help him...but sometimes I am almost...afraid. I touch him, and I feel it; in Moria when I carried him, I knew it was there...so close...whenever I am near him, I hear it...as if it were speaking to me...calling to me...whispering my name...

But that is impossible!

They say it is evil, that whoever uses it becomes corrupted. But how can that be? It is a thing, not a being! How can a thing of beauty like that have a will of its own? It has power, yes...magical power; that I understand. But it cannot be alive...can it? No, of course not! It is a thing only, to be used and controlled. Sauron is evil, and he put this thing to evil use; but what if it were used for good, by someone good? Surely that would make a difference! A strong person could manage it, surely...

What's that? What did you say? I could be strong enough? No...not I! Gandalf, maybe...but he is gone. Aragorn, perhaps...but no! He would not dare touch it, he has been too long under the Elves' influence; they have convinced him otherwise. My father? Yes, my father is strong...at least, he used to be. He seems so ill now, so old! Still, he would know what to do...I must think on this...

To think that Sauron could be defeated in my time! If only I could bring that to pass! Ah, we have seen so much fighting...so much death...I am so weary of it! We are losing them; the people are falling into despair. What can I do for my people? So much loss...so many years...and now, perhaps our chance has come to strike the final blow! What a weapon it would make! We need such a weapon; I can see no other way! To have the Sword that was Broken return to us...that would indeed be something...but would it be enough? It is wielded by a man who still debates with himself! He said he would come, he spoke so bravely at the Council. But now...I do not know. He has taken Gandalf's place, and he will not leave the Ringbearer. He will go to Mordor and all will be lost...

Ah, my friend! Do not take that road! Come with me as you promised! Let us draw our swords together in defense of our City, our people! They are worth fighting for!

But what can I do if you do not come? What other course is there? We need the Ring...I need the Ring! I cannot return empty-handed! So much time has passed...I have been gone so long! And my father is waiting. He did not want to ask for help, but we need it. I know this! I am High Warden of the White Tower, Captain-General of my men; I know our strength...and our weakness. She spoke truly...we will fall...

Why am I weeping? Tears will do no good! I am not myself! I must remain strong...show no weakness...

Ah! But it hurts so, an ache in my heart!

Oh, this pain, I cannot bear it! Gondor will fall! Why did she show me this? What does it mean? How can any choice of mine make a difference? Everything I have done my entire life has been done for my people, my City, my father! Surely I would know what is best for them, what course we should take. I do not understand! I want to understand, but how can I? These people are so strange! These Elves...what do they know of men and their needs? They have been locked away here for so long, they know nothing! They admit they have little to do with strangers; how can she know what is happening in my country? She cannot know...she must not know!

I hope...I hope it is not true...

But what if it is? What can I do? I must do something! I cannot remain here...waiting, always waiting! Why do they speak in riddles? Why do they not help us? If we had this thing with us, you would not be so troubled, my father...you would not have to fight, my brother...we would cast down Sauron together, and know peace at last...

But wait! What am I saying? It cannot be used, they said. We cannot use it, it has no other master than Sauron. They went on and on about it at the Council, so tiresome...

Why can they not see that it must have come to us now in the very hour of our need? A gift to the foes of Mordor; a gift for the defense of Gondor! And yet...perhaps they are right, and it cannot be used. I know little of such things. I know only war and fighting; the defense of cities and the use of arms...

Then why do they not listen to me? I know I am right! It would be worth an attempt, surely...how can we know if we do not try it?

What's that? What did you say? I could be be the one to attempt it? But it did not come to me. Yet, I wonder...I wonder if I could attempt it? Would Frodo let me try...but no! There is no question of Frodo giving it to me, he will not even allow us to look at it. I dare not ask; it would upset him. I do not wish to hurt him, it is such a burden. He is so small...so sad...

But I do wish I could see it again...

They have chosen their course; the will of the Council is to send it into Mordor... folly! How it angers me! What can a halfling do, even with the Sword Reforged at his side? The Ring will go straight to Sauron's hand! Instead of using this gift to defeat our Enemy, we hand it back to him freely...and then there will be nothing left for us but slavery! Better to beg for death than to become a slave! Better for Gondor to fall utterly than to be forced to own Sauron as lord...

I cannot bear it!

You shall sleep in peace, she said. Impossible! I will have no peace now...how can I, after what I have seen and heard? Why did she do this to me? Now I have to decide...but what is there to decide? What is there to choose? I do not understand! She offered me hope, but what hope? How can she show me the destruction of my people with one hand and with the other offer me empty platitudes? There is hope...but on what condition? If I return quickly to my people? But we delay! If the Ring is destroyed? But it is the very weapon that could save us! If the Ring is not destroyed? But they are determined to do it! I cannot stop them...I cannot make them see reason! I do not know....

What must I do?

I...I cannot think clearly...I wish that whispering would stop! Does the wind never stop blowing in this place? That constant sighing...it must be the wind in the trees...or is someone calling me?

How I wish for something solid...real! Stone towers instead of treetop eyries...plain speaking instead of riddles and visions...action instead of debate...

If they come to Minas Tirith they will see for themselves; they will see our need, our strength. We need some time to think, to consider; a place to rest where a man can think clearly and not have people looking inside his head! We need a change of plan...they must see that! If they come, they will see the Fire across the valley and they will know it is folly to go there. Aragorn will understand, I know he will. He must come with me, to my people -- his people, too, if he would but acknowledge them. We do need him. Father is falling into darkness...Faramir does what he can, but...

I cannot do this alone...

Ah, Aragorn! What have you done to me? Did I not warn you of this place? Did I not say that those who enter here do not escape unscathed? Perilous, I called it, and you agreed; but then you said only evil need fear it. Am I evil, then, that I have been wounded here? Evil, because I am afraid? I spoke evil of that which is fair...a mere man speaking foolish words of the mighty Elves! Now I am paying the price! Will I ever be free of those eyes...that voice in my head?

Why did she look at me like that? Did I do something wrong? Do I have it all wrong? I am not a bad man! I want to do the right thing...for my friends...for my people...

I wish...I wish I knew what to do...

I wish someone would understand! I wish someone would listen...

Please...help me...