Clutching their tickets, they approached the roped off area for Security and nervously got in line. "Remember," Gandalf reminded them, "They may not appear fearsome, but these Elves hold the key to our success. If they do not let us pass, all is come to naught. Do whatever they tell you to."
They slowly sorted themselves into a queue with Gandalf taking up the rear.
"Act natural," Aragorn advised, slouching against a trashcan.
"I am," Boromir retorted from where he stood at full height, sternly scanning the crowd around them for any threats.
"You look like you're expecting to be ambushed."
"Who knows? Maybe we are."
"Where would they come from? The restrooms?"
"Perhaps. Better to be prepared than to regret it later."
Merry nudged Frodo. "Look at that, a doorway standing all by itself."
"It's like a garden-gate," Sam noted. "The widow Rumble has a lattice one, with purple clematis trained up over it. Beautiful thing to see."
"No flowers on this one," Frodo noted.
"That's because it's winter, of course," Sam replied. "I bet these Elves make it a real show-stopper in the spring."
They watched the travellers ahead of them making their way through. "Looks like we have to walk through it," Merry said. "Some kind of Elven ceremony?"
"Elves complicate everything," Gimli said. "Even walking through doors."
Trying to be inconspicuous in spite of their mixed appearances, they slowly edged their way towards the security guards who stood by the archway with Legolas taking up the rear.
Aragorn, who had placed himself at the head of the line in case there were any dangerous moves from the guards, finally stepped up before them, handing them his ticket as he has seen previous people do.
They guard examined it. "Nrogara Cte?" he said. "Odd name."
"It's a Northern dialect," Aragorn said with a straight face.
"Going to Gondor?"
"Just visiting some cousins."
"All right, seems to be in order. Take off your shoes. Go ahead and step through the gate."
"Take off my shoes?"
"That's right. They go in this bin. You can put them back on after you go through."
Aragorn shrugged and knelt down to tug off his boots, then walked through the gate.
Everyone still waiting in line jumped.. Aragorn startled and reflexively whipped out his sword. The guards just shook their heads at him.
"That's probably what set it off."
"It's metal, you'll need to take it off."
"The gate detects if you are carrying any metal," the first guard told him as if instructing a small child.
"Elf-magic," Sam breathed. "will you look at that!"
Aragorn took a deep breath then slowly unbuckled Anduril in its sheath and laid it aside. "Now what?"
"Walk through again."
He tried a second time.
"Any other weapons?"
He reluctantly pulled out his dagger and handed it over.
"You know, rings, necklaces…that sort of thing."
The Ring of Barahir and the Evenstar soon joined his dagger and boots in the bin. A third attempt removed his arrows and bow, a belt and several bits of loose change.
"Finally!" the guard said, rolling his eyes. He handed the non-weaponry back to Aragorn and dropped the rest into a box.
"Hey, what about my sword?" Aragorn asked rather anxiously.
"Sorry. Move along now."