Parth Galen – February 3019
I take this moment to write you as we make camp on the banks of the Anduin. I fear it may be my last missive for quite some time; perhaps unto the end of our world.
Forgive me my despair, Faramir. We have left the elven kingdom of Lorien far behind on our journey and have spent the last days on the river Anduin, trying to outrace the Enemy that we now know is dogging our steps. The company is tense as we attempt to plot our next move and give ourselves the best possible chance to reach Mordor before the dark forces gather even more mass and strength. What once seemed so fair and ideal now seems impossible and bleak.
We left the Golden Wood on the morrow of my last letter to you. At dawn, we gathered at their docks and beheld the small barks that were to bear us eastward. Built for speed and maneuverability, they were packed with provisions and staples, including elvish waybread, which they call lembas. It looked like rice krispie treats to me, but apparently, one bite can fill a grown man’s stomach for an entire day. (Or Pippin’s, for five minutes.) Upon the hobbit’s request, the elves whipped up a lembas variety pack including chocolate, mushroom and assorted pork flavors. They also provided us with cheese, sticks of a cured meat they called “pepperoni,” and dried corn chunks fried in oil that they called “Fritos,” which was accompanied by a sort of creamy dipping sauce they called “onion dip.” I had the distinct impression that though they had willingly sheltered us, feeding the hobbits had proved more of a task than they had imagined. I am sure that the cook waved goodbye to us the most enthusiastically of all.
But before our departure, the Lord and Lady gifted us with items they felt would help us on our journey. Galadriel did the bestowing – I get the impression that Celeborn is not much more than a figurehead, and that she wears the leggings in the family. (I noticed that she looked a bit disappointed when Gimli was successful in his mango feat at the pool party… though I suppose death by dicing is not the most honorable way to go, it WOULD be effective; especially if the dicing were performed by a dwarf. Given past relations, no one would suspect foul play in the high-elf council should she be called to explain her consort’s demise…but I digress).
To Legolas, she gave a bow such as the Galdrhim use; it is a beautiful item and with Legolas’s considerable skill as a bowman, it should serve both he and the fellowship well. It must have made up for his dance contest loss, for I noted that Haldir was still possessed of a full head of hair as we left, though I can’t be sure he’d showered yet. Speaking of hair, Gimli asked for a strand of Galadriel’s as his gift, saying that he could not ask for anything more than a small remembrance of her beauty. I personally thought he was laying it on a bit thick, and apparently was not alone as I caught Aragorn snickering into his sleeve.
To the Pippin and Merry, she gave small daggers, intricately carved by the Noldor. Merry examined his carefully, and Pippin immediately put his to good use, slicing off a piece of pepperoni, as the gift-giving was running long and it had been all of twenty minutes since breakfast. To Sam, she gave a skein of rope and a little silver box of dirt. Dirt. Poor little guy must have been at the bottom of the list. To Frodo, she gave a little crystal decanter filled with light. She said it was the light of Earendil and would be a light when all others go out. I was sorely tempted to state that if all the other lights go out, it’s a power grid failure and even an elvish light bulb isn’t going to do him much good, but I held my tongue.
My gift was a golden belt, which is a kingly present. She had no words of wisdom for me, but was very gracious, considering I drunkenly told her during the pool party that she reminded me of your first girlfriend, Betty. Remember her? And her cousin, Veronica – yeah, baby! And then I might have told her a few less than flattering stories about said girlfriend, and…well, whatever. She smiled upon me and there were no obvious spells wrought on the belt, so I consider myself lucky. To Aragorn she gave nothing, saying what Arwen had already given him was gift enough. I was surprised that she, the soul of propriety, would mention their, ahem, private encounters, but it turns out she was talking about the silver necklace and Arwen’s immortality. Also, I found out that Galadriel is Arwen’s GRANDMOTHER. Trust me, bro, this lady doesn’t look like any grandmother I’ve ever seen. If ours had looked that good, I might have been more willing to go over for Sunday dinner. Galadriel is extremely fine…forgive me, Far… it’s been a long journey and I grow lonely.
However, to continue; once the gift giving was over, it was time to leave that fair place. We boarded our boats and took hold of our oars and to the sweet singing of the elves, we swept out to the current that would bear us to the Anduin and east towards Emyn Muil. Galadriel lifted her hand to us in farewell, and to my mingled horror and amusement, when she went to push her hair back off her forehead, a good-sized clump came off in her hands! I turned and looked at Legolas, who had also seen and was appropriately horrified; not abandoning revenge, he must have gotten ahold of the wrong bottle of shampoo! He bowed his head and paddled like crazy, leading the pack as a terrified Gimli held on for dear life.
And that was our stay in the elven kingdom of the Noldor.
The boat trip was not nearly as bad as I had feared, even though I had to paddle most of the way. Its not that Merry and Pippin didn’t try, but being small and short-limbed, they aren’t very effective canoeists, and it was just easier to let me do it. They repaid me by keeping me supplied with snacks on a more or less constant basis (that onion dip was NOT BAD) and by telling me stories of the Shire. I learned more than I ever wished to know about the Tooks, the Brandybucks, the Bracegirdles, the Gamgees and the Baggins. Frodo, traveling with Aragorn, actually became quite animated during this discussion, and soon a rousing debate about which family was more inbred was raging. It passed the time amiably enough.
The high point for me, though, was passing the Argonath. The majesty of the figures took my breath away, and looking upon those ancient faces gave me renewed faith in the power of man. I know Aragorn felt the same way, as he whispered, almost to himself “Long have I desired to look upon the kings of old.”
In that moment, Faramir, the last shred of my resentment and suspicion melted away. When I turned my eyes back to Aragorn, son of Arathorn, I saw my brother, my captain and my king in one. I will follow him, brother. If we all live to see light spread over the world once again, and darkness recede; if we ever ride as one company through the gates to the White City; if ever Aragorn ascends the steps to the throne of Gondor, I will not stand in his way. I will serve him well and faithfully, till the end of my days. As should you. I know now, Faramir, that we are not destined for the ruling of Gondor…the king has returned.
We debarked on the shores of Parth Galen where we now rest. Legolas was loath to leave the boats, feeling that we should cross to the easterly bank now and make all haste on our way. Aragorn disagreed, arguing that the eastern shore was heavily patrolled by orcs and that we needed the cover and advantage of darkness for travel. Legolas was not convinced and spent his time pacing about noiselessly and often assuming a listening and watching pose. Gimli argued against the chosen course, citing its many obstacles and freaking out the hobbits with his vivid depiction of the difficulty and privation we would surely suffer. A mild disagreement ensued, ending with Aragorn tossing down his stick and marshmallows in disgust and stalking off. Merry made a valiant effort to save the marshmallow before it melted into the fire, and suffered minor third degree burns for his trouble.
I took this opportunity to follow Aragorn and try to sway him once again to go to Minas Tirith and attack the Enemy from there. Our conversation did not go well, to say the least, and I am left at a loss, as well as with mounting anger. I do not understand, and may never understand why we cannot use this ring against the Enemy. Could not a man, a strong, true hearted man overcome the object’s innate evil and by the force of the right of his own purpose, wield it? And is he not a strong and true hearted man? Or, for that matter, am not I such a man? Or you?
Why has a hobbit been chosen to do this? What can they hope to accomplish that man cannot? They are a fine race, it is true, and I do not begrudge them their part in this fight…but why must he be the one to carry the ring? What is so special about Frodo Baggins?
Brother, I will close here. This path of thinking sets my mind racing and I must move to burn off this fire before it consumes me. I will make myself useful and go collect firewood; the fresh air and physical labor will do me good.
I miss you, my brother. I often think of you, and wonder if, after all, you would have been the better choice to join this quest. I know it is too late and useless to wonder about such things now, and you may well curse me, but I believed it was my place to make this journey, as the eldest, and most seasoned warrior. Perhaps I was wrong.
I will go now, for I have much on my mind. I am in hope that not too much more time will pass before we meet again. These letters have told you much, but not all, and I look forward to sitting near a roaring fire with you and a pint. Maybe our king and a few hobbits, an elf and a dwarf will join us. Perhaps even a few lovely ladies, elf maidens or no. And maybe even Dad could set aside his tarot cards for the evening and be warmed by his two sons, the pride of Denethor and Finduilas.
If I should fall, hark to the bellow of the horn of Gondor and come to me in my hour of need; and once again the stewards of Gondor will stand between freedom and chaos.
Know that I love you, brother.