Aldamir's Journey

by Frodo Baggins

10   11   12

Chapter 10 -- Frodo

  One golden, beautiful morning, when the air was filled with the sweet songs of birds, Aldamir was making his way back to his flet; he had been out walking early in the morning before the sun had risen. He would have taken Uruviel with him, but she was nowhere to be found. Aldamir figured that she was busy with something or the other, so he went by himself. He found Uruviel on the flet, working busily over a mass of grey material in her lap.

  “What are you making, Uruviel?” he asked.

  She looked up and gave him a welcoming smile. “Good morning, Aldamir! I’m working on a cloak. The Fellowship will be leaving sooner or later, and the Lady Galadriel has decided to give each of them a cloak of the material we weave. There are eight cloaks - Galadriel is making one, and seven of us others have each been given one to sew.”

  “She is a gracious Lady - that is a wonderful gift to give..... who are you making a cloak for?”

  “For one of the hobbits - Merry is his name.” She held up the cloak, and Aldamir saw that it was small - far too small to fit and Elf or a Man, but perfect for a hobbit.

   She began work on another seam, her slender fingers skillfully drawing the needle in and out. Aldamir went over and sat beside her, watching.

  “I haven’t seen you very often in the last couple of days,” he said. “Where have you been?”

  “Oh, working on this cloak......and I’ve been talking with the hobbits, too. Aldamir, they are so dear!” She laughed merrily. “Can you guess what one of them asked me the other day?”

  “No - what?”

  “He asked me if I wanted to smoke some - what was it they called it - pipeweed!”

  Aldamir chuckled. “They seem to love that weed.”

  “They do. And have you seen them blow rings with their smoke?” she continued, smiling. “One of them can. Oh, it’s so funny to see them blow little rings from their mouth!”

  “I’ll have to ask them to blow some for me sometime.”

  Uruviel laughed. “They’re wonderful little people. They’re so cheerful, so curious about everything.....they love to be alive. And they are so alive! I never knew any like them existed before. They’re so perky and cheerful!”

  “Frodo is different, though.....have you seen that? He is weary from his burden, but he has a great courage.....I think he tries to hide his weariness from Samwise, so he won’t worry too much.”

  Uruviel nodded. “I have seen it in him. He is so brave....and so small! I think it is his pure, courageous spirit that keeps him going. It has been hard on him, carrying that burden, and I fear it will get much harder before the end. Yet I don’t think any other than him could have carried it.”

  Aldamir shook his head. “He was destined for it - Lindir said too that he took it upon himself of his own free will. Still, it grieves me deeply to see his sorrow and despair sometimes. It hurt him deeply to lose Mithrandir.” He was silent for a moment.

  Then he stood up. “I have much to do yet while the sun is risen, dearest, so I must go now.” He bent and kissed her cheek, and was rewarded with her beautiful smile.

  Coming to the bottom of the steps, Aldamir found the bow he had been working on for several days and sat down to finish it. He chose a peaceful spot near a little stream - one of his favorite spots: a quiet little glade. He loved the sound of the water rushing over the mossy rocks, laughing as it went. Behind him, supporting his back, rose a tall mallorn - no Elves lived in it, but several birds did and often their songs would float down into Aldamir’s ears, giving him a feeling of peace.

  Taking out his knife, he worked on the finishing touches; the notches for the string, the hand-grip, and the vines running up and down its length. The notches were not difficult; they were easy to place and cut out, and he carefully smoothed the edges over. It would not do to have a sharp edge there; repeated rubbing of such an edge against the string would eventually break it. Finishing the notches, he turned to the vines. It was slow work, since the vines were very small and intricate, but Aldamir loved such work and gave it his full attention.

  As he worked, he became aware of someone behind him. Turning, he found that Frodo had come quietly up behind him, and stood looking as if he did not know whether to disturb the Elf or not. Aldamir gave him a welcoming smile and motioned to a spot beside himself.

  “Mae govannen, Frodo of the Shire! My name is Aldamir. Here - sit down.”

  “Thank you, Aldamir,” said Frodo. Put at ease, he returned the smile. He sat down and crossed his legs. His blue eyes were peaceful as he gazed about, taking the little glade in, seeming to Aldamir to reflect the peace that was always in Lothlorien.

  Frodo was watching Aldamir’s fingers intently. “Is it hard?” he asked after a moment.

  “No, not if you’ve learned how to, but it takes a long time,” replied Aldamir. “You have to know exactly how to cut them, otherwise everything will go wrong.”

  Frodo smiled. “Yes, I can imagine that. Do you often make bows?”

  Aldamir sighed. “Of late, yes. In times before this, we would more often be making harps than bows, but now times grow dark, and our fingers are more often on the bowstring than the harpstring.”

  Frodo hesitated. “Yes, I see.......”

  Aldamir could see that he had no wish to speak of dark times. Quickly he changed the subject. “Tell me of your land,” he said. “I have never been further West than Rivendell; I am curious to hear of where you come from.”

  Frodo’s eyes lit up with a combination of love and longing. “The Shire is a beautiful me, it is the most beautiful in all of Middle-earth. We hobbits live in peace and solitude - we never, as a rule, go traveling. Hobbits are not very adventurous folk.”

  “You four seem to me to be quite adventurous.”

  Frodo smiled. “I guess we’re an exception. Though none of them really had any thoughts of was because of the Quest.” Frodo paused. “They came....they came because they were my friends.”

  “They are wonderful friends, then,” said Aldamir softly. “I daresay, after what you have told me, that they didn’t really want to come but for the fact that you were going. It seems to me that they love you so much they will go anywhere with you.”

  Frodo nodded. “I think you’re right. You can’t imagine how it helps me to have them with me....without them I don’t think I could have come even this far.”

  The two were silent for a moment. This time it was Aldamir who broke the silence.

  “I have been do you hobbits protect yourself on this journey? I would suppose, from what you have told me of your land, that you do not have a great abundance of weapons there.”

  Frodo laughed. “No, we don’t. Strider gave us some swords. Mine was lost.....” Here he hesitated, and Aldamir, glancing down at him, saw the traces of a very painful memory written in his deep eyes. It wrenched at his heart. “Frodo?.....” he asked quietly, laying a hand on the hobbit’s shoulder. “Are you all right?”

  Frodo closed his eyes for a moment, struggling to cast away the thought. Aldamir tightened his grip on Frodo’s shoulder, trying to give him some strength. He felt that the hobbit was going through deep pain....a terrible memory was dragging him down. Aldamir himself could feel the pain; he paled slightly. It was indeed a terrible memory. Of what, he could not say, but it had left a deep wound in Frodo’s spirit. Aldamir’s heart bled for him. Laying aside his bow and knife, he knelt near Frodo and looked into his face. “Frodo....Frodo, come back,” he whispered. “You’re safe here.....nothing can get you in Lothlorien. This is a land of safety and peace - no darkness can enter here.”

  Frodo opened his eyes, and gazed into Aldamir’s. He seemed to take strength from Aldamir’s encouragement, and drew a deep breath. “Thank you,” he whispered. “I’m sorry for this.....sometimes horrible memories, I can’t speak of it.”

  “Don’t,” said Aldamir. “I understand.” He clasped Frodo’s shoulder tightly, and Frodo laid his hand on Aldamir’s. He looked up gratefully. “Thank you, Aldamir!” he said. Aldamir smiled at him, and from that moment forth they were friends.

  Laying the incident behind them, took up the bow he was working on and continued carving the vines. “But tell me,” he said, “do you have a weapon? I do not like to think of what might happen if you don’t.”

  “Yes, I do! My uncle Bilbo gave me a sword he had had - an Elvish weapon. It’s a beautiful sword - called Sting.”

  “Would you mind showing it to me?”

  “Of course not!” Jumping up, Frodo ran off but was back in a moment with his sword. Handing it to Aldamir, he sat down again.

  Unsheathing the sword, Aldamir held it up and gazed at it in wonder. It was but a dagger to him, but for Frodo it made a perfect sword. The slim blade, adorned with an Elvish inscription, had a subtle, graceful leaf shape to it, and slender leaves etched in silver also ran up and around the hilt. Aldamir marveled at its lightness and beauty. “This is indeed a well-crafted blade!” he said, slipping it back into its scabbard and giving it back to Frodo.

  Frodo took it with a smile. “Yes, I am very grateful for it - it has served me well. Oh, here comes Sam.”

  Sam it was indeed. He approached a bit shyly, seeming unwilling to interrupt his master’s conversation. “Beggin’ your pardon,” he said, “but isn’t it getting close to supper-time?”

  Both Frodo and Aldamir laughed merrily. “He means he wants me to come and eat now - and after that sleep, I suspect,” said Frodo, smiling as Sam blushed. “I’m coming now, Sam.” Turning to Aldamir, he extended his hand. “I’m sorry I must leave now, but I am delighted to have met you. I hope we may meet again sometime!”

  Aldamir clasped the outstretched hand warmly. “I am happy to have made your acquaintance, Frodo,” he said. “May the Valar always protect you!”

  Frodo smiled his thanks and bowed, and left with Sam. For a long time Aldamir gazed after them, deep in thought. Halflings were indeed unlike any others in Middle-earth!

10   11   12

Chapter 11 -- The Fellowship Departs

  Aldamir knew when he found Uruviel sewing a cloak for Merry that the Fellowship’s departure was not far off, and the thought saddened him. Getting to know Frodo had been wonderful, and he hated the thought of the hobbit leaving Lothlorien’s peace for the dangers of the rest of Middle-earth. With the darkness that was gathering in the East and the journey that Frodo was on, Aldamir knew that it was very likely that he would never see Frodo again.

  Uruviel too was sad during the last few days before the Fellowship left. She had developed a friendship with Merry and Pippin, Frodo’s cheerful, good-natured cousins; their impending departure made her silent and sad for the last few days they stayed in Lorien. Many were the wonderful hours she had shared with them; talking, or talking a walk through Caras Galadhon; sometimes she would sing for them of the days of long ago, or they would tell her merry tales of the Shire. They too were sad at the prospect of leaving, but both they and Uruviel knew that it was what they needed to do. Frodo needed them; it was their task to go with him on this journey.

  On the morning of the day of departure, Aldamir heard soft footsteps climbing the steps to his flet, where he stood binding a strip of leather around the hand-grip of the bow he had been making. A timid knock sounded on the mallorn’s bark; to his amusement, he found Merry and Pippin standing shyly on the top step.

 “Welcome, halflings! What do you wish here?”

  Merry looked at Pippin; Pippin nodded and nudged him. Merry cleared his throat. “Thank you....em......Is Uruviel here? We’d like to talk to her if that’s all right....”

  Aldamir smiled. “Of course. She’s not here right now, but I’ll call her.” Motioning to a chair, he set down the bow and ran quickly down the flight of steps.

  He found Uruviel returning from giving the finished cloak into Galadriel’s keeping until it would be bestowed upon Merry. A cluster of elanor was in her hand.

  “What is it, Aldamir?” she asked as he approached.

  Aldamir grinned. “There are a couple small visitors for you waiting on our flet.”

  “Well, I mustn’t keep them waiting, then!” With a laugh, she went off to see to her visitors, having easily guessed who they were. Aldamir gazed after her, smiling at the memory of the two small hobbits knocking on the

  When Uruviel sought him out again, there were tears in her eyes. “Aldamir, look,” shed said, opening her hand. On her palm lay a smooth stone, simple but beautiful. It was light grey with a deep tint of rose; little streaks of something silvery ran through it and glittered when they caught the light. “They gave me this as a farewell gift....aren’t they wonderful, dear little hobbits?”

  “It’s beautiful,” said Aldamir, stroking the stone. “You are lucky to have such friends! They are indeed good-hearted little folk; they offer their friendship freely.”

  Uruviel nodded. “I know I may never see them again, but oh! I hope I do.”

  Aldamir drew her into his arms and hugged her tightly. “I do too.”

  He had his own farewell to say as well. Before the Fellowship gathered to bid farewell to Galadriel and all the Elves, Aldamir sought out Frodo. He found him sitting quietly by the stream Aldamir loved, trailing his hand in the water. His eyes had a sad, dreamy look in them, as if he was reliving something beautiful that he would never experience again. Aldamir walked quietly to his side.

  “Frodo,” he said softly. Frodo looked up quickly, and smiled wanly when he saw who it was.    

  “This is goodbye, isn’t it,” he said.

  “Yes, I’m afraid it is,” answered Aldamir. “We have come to the parting
of our ways. But let us not give up hope of meeting sometime again!”

  “I won’t give up all hope,” said Frodo sadly, “but I’m afraid there’s very little hope.”

  “I know,” said Aldamir. Both of them were silent for a moment.

  When Aldamir spoke, it was quietly but heartfelt. “I have no parting gift
to give you but my friendship,” he said, “but I ask you to accept it.”

  “I do, with all my heart!” answered Frodo sincerely. “I think I’d rather have you as a friend then any other gift.” He smiled at Aldamir and held
out his hand.

  Once again, as when they had first met, Aldamir clasped the hand tightly. “Goodbye, Frodo Baggins,” he said. *“Nai tiruvantel ar varyuvantel I Valar tielyanna nu vilya!”*

  “Thank you!” said Frodo. “And goodbye, Aldamir. Even if we never meet again, I count you as a friend, and count myself blessed to have known

  Aldamir smiled, and a tear crept down his cheek. Frodo stood up, and they hugged each other warmly. When they released each other, each smiled through his tears, and they parted without more words; no more were needed.

  There was sadness on both sides as the Fellowship departed. Galadriel,
Celeborn, and her maidens gave each member of the Company the cloak made for him; Uruviel had the privilege of giving the one she had sewn to Merry and fastening the leaf-shaped clasp at the hobbit’s throat. As they drew apart again, they shared a last smile of friendship; and Pippin too gave her a bright, though sad smile. It brought a tear to the Elf-maiden’s eye.

  “Never before have we clad strangers in the garb of our own people,” said Celeborn as the Elves fastened the clasps. “May these cloaks help shield you from unfriendly eyes.”

  After they had received their cloaks, Galadriel went to each one and gave him a special gift. When she came to Gimli, he stood with his head bowed. “And what gift would a Dwarf ask of the Elves?” she questioned.

  “Nothing,” said Gimli, in a manner strangely gentle, which surprised Aldamir. Tentatively the Dwarf raised his head, and spoke lovingly. “Except to look upon the Lady of the Galadhrim one last time, for she is more beautiful than all the jewels beneath the earth.”

  Aldamir was lost in wonder at this change in the Dwarf who had insulted Haldir upon his arrival. His first impressions of the small but valiant warrior were covered up in a new impression of gentleness beneath whatever else he was on top. Lindir was right after all, he thought. Beneath the gruffness of the warrior, he carries a warm, loving heart. . . .I am sorry for my opinion on him. I see now that he is unlike any other Dwarf I have met or heard - I know now what he truly is like, and I am glad for that. May the Valar bless him on all his journeys, as well as his companions!

  The Elves had also given the Company three Elven-boats for their journey; the boats lay at rest on the shore of the Anduin where it wound past Lothlorien. The water had a silvery glimmer to it in the early morning light; the sun lay low over the horizon but was hidden by soft mists which lay all around Lorien. A quiet, sad feeling lay over all of them; a feeling of farewell, which would be for many of them forever. Aldamir knew that to some extent each member of the Fellowship had developed a love for Lothlorien; it was as hard for them to leave as it was for Aldamir to see them go.

  The boats rocked gently as Aldamir helped the Fellowship load them, packing their supplies carefully and making sure that each boat was balanced, and giving them bits of advice on how to handle them at the same time. When the boats were loaded, Aldamir bid farewell to the Company, and held the boats as the hobbits stepped in. Handing the paddles to Aragorn, Boromir, and Legolas, with a last word for each of them, he drew back as the boats slid away from the shore. He stood with Uruviel by the shore, watching them; their fingers were laced together and tears in their eyes.

  Whether any of them would meet again, none of them knew.

10   11   12

Chapter 12 -- Sorrow Turned to Joy

  It had only been a day since the Fellowship left Lothlórien when something happened which no Elf in the Golden Wood would ever have dreamed was possible.

  Under the mallorn which bore his flet, Aldamir was sitting and crafting a string for his bow and thinking, when he suddenly caught sight of Uruviel running toward him over the elanor-sprinkled grass, her hair flying out behind her in a golden stream. “Aldamir! Aldamir!”

  He dropped the string. “What is it?” he called anxiously.

  She seemed not to have heard. Stopping beside him and catching his hand, she pulled at it eagerly. “Come!”

  “What is it?” he asked again, getting confused. She acted as if something terrible had happened, but her eyes were shining with a light he hadn’t seen in a long, long time -- almost not since they had been married on a joyful day long ago.

  She pulled at his hand again. “Don’t ask! Just come!”

  Aldamir gave in, and let her pull him across the grass toward the massive mallorn in which Celeborn and Galadriel dwelt. Uruviel’s feet flew so quickly across the ground that it was all Aldamir could do to keep up with her; her hand gripping his with an eager excitement which he could not understand. In a moment they were flying up the stairs to the Lord and Lady’s flet, feet barely touching the grey wood as they went up and up, spiraling about the tree’s trunk.

  When Aldamir, breathless and wondering, finally reached the top, he stopped short in a shock of amazement.

  Before him, robed in shimmering white, clasping a tall white staff, and majestic as a king in the prime of his reign, stood Mithrandir.

  Aldamir dropped to his knee with a gasp of stunned awe, unable to take in what his disbelieving eyes were telling him. Mithrandir! But he was dead – he had fallen! Yet here he stood, robed in life as it seemed, reborn into luminous life. Mithrandir it was, and yet not.

  He turned to look at Aldamir, and the Elf saw a burning, flaming light of vibrant new life shining in the pits of his eyes. If Aldamir had been able to move, he would have shaken his head in disbelief. Mithrandir – alive!

  It was a long time before he broke free from the shock of seeing the Maia. Uruviel was standing beside him, her eyes alight and her slender form trembling with excitement. Slowly Aldamir got to his feet, almost weak from bewildered, disbelieving wonder. “Mithrandir!” he gasped. “ fell!”

  The Maia smiled at him; in the smile there was something new that had never been there before. The Elf could not tell what it was: joy perhaps? New determination? He did not know.

  “Yes, I fell,” replied Mithrandir, in a powerful but gentle voice. “I fell through shadow and flame and water into death, but I have returned. From the dark I have arisen once more, for my task here is not yet over! I have much to do before the fate of Middle-earth is decided.”

  Aldamir found himself still breathless from shock. Again he fell to his knees, honoring this powerful spirit whom Iluvatar had sent back, this Maia who had defeated death. Mithrandir laughed and laid a hand on the Elf’s shoulder. “Rise, my friend,” he smiled. “If you do not soon get used to the fact that I have returned, I fear you may die of disbelief!”

  Then an overwhelming joy, almost too much to bear, filled Aldamir and he laughed aloud. How long had it been since he laughed? Long.....very long. But his heart was singing. Disbelief was replaced with joy; shock with wonder. He drew back a pace as Mithrandir turned back to Galadriel, and found Uruviel pressing close to him. He looked down at her; she was veritably shining like the morning star. “You see?” she laughed. “It was nothing terrible!”

 He laughed with her and drew her into his arms, kissing her golden head and folding her in a close embrace. She put her arms around his neck and they shared a moment of perfect, overflowing joy; it was a moment which would never be forgotten in all of Lórien. Mithrandir had returned from darkness – the tragic death had been transformed to wondrous joy!