“Authiel, can I … can I talk to you?” Frodo’s small voice spoke up deep in the recesses of my mind.
“Of course, my dear Hobbit, but I think we would both prefer to do it in person. Do you not agree?”
“Please?” He whispered.
I smiled at his sweet voice and then took in a long replenishing breath before I continued to speak, “Close your eyes. Take several slow, deep breaths counting backwards from twenty to one as you do so. Relax. Try to imagine yourself going to sleep. Keep breathing in … and out … ten … nine … eight … seven … six … five … four … three … two … one …”
“Authiel?” A familiar voice called loudly.
Slowly I opened my eyes to see that I was in a splendid room which was made up of two levels. The first held two ornate staircases that led onto the upper floors. Multiple wide arcs covered the curve of the circular walls and in between them flags which displayed the emblems of the different kingdoms throughout Middle Earth.
In the centre of the room was circular, raised platform which had a small hole in the roof above it and the platform was surrounded by six white pillars that stretched towards the ceiling. Candles flickered in the bright light and the surfaces were littered with dry scrolls and dusty books that could not fit on the thousands of overcrowded bookcases that lined every free wall space. The upper floor was similar to that of the lower floor but there were many benches that were pressed against the railing of the fence looking over the lower floor, allowing the guests to sit and read any number of the brittle books. Behind the large raised platform, set a set of steps that led out to a reasonably sized patio with a small podium in the centre.
However it was neither this patio nor the books that attracted my attention, it was the young Hobbit who was sat on the platform. His dark brown hair as curly as ever yet his eyes seemed to have sunk into his face; ageing him terribly.
“Authiel?” He called, looking up at me with a grin tugged the years off of him.
“Hello Frodo,” I said with a smile.
I watched as he leapt to his feet and ran towards me. Only just was I able to drop onto one knee before he catapulted himself into my arms. He wriggled under my arms as I held him tight, as a mother would to her frightened child who had woken in the night from a nightmare.
“I missed you,” He whispered into my shoulder.
“I missed you too,” I replied softly to him, kissing the top of his curly head.
We stayed like that for some time, me holding the young Hobbit against my breast whilst he warmed to my tough; his body relaxing as he began to feel safe around me.
“Authiel,” he eventually said, lifting his head up to look at me with his big brown eyes; his eyebrows were deeply furrowed, “Where are we?”
A soft smile spread across my lips as I straightened up so that I was looking directly into his innocent eyes.
“It seems that we are in Elrond’s Library, in Rivendell; or a place that looks like it.”
“Looks like it?” He said with a head that was cocked to the side and a face that was full of confusion.
“We went into a meditative state when you asked to speak to me. This,” indicating to the room around us, “Is a place which our minds created to make us feel more comfortable; a familiar place that we both know.”
“Oh,” he replied, looking at the room with a sort of wonder in his eyes; revealing the child that the Ring had all but destroyed.
“Now,” I said, sitting on the edge of the platform and patting the space beside me, “Why did you summon me?”
“I’ve been told something and I wanted to know whether it’s true or not.”
“Tell me what it is and I shall do my best to answer.”
“Sam and I, we’ve been captured by a man from Gondor. He says that he’s Boromir’s brother. He told us … he told us that Boromir is dead. Is that true?”
“I do believe that it is,” I replied quietly.
My eyes fixed themselves on the flickering flame of the candle opposite me. As the fame danced with the breeze, I could see Boromir’s pain filled face flashing in front of my eyes; bathed in red light that resembled the blood trickling from his chest.
“A great man can be killed by one arrow and Boromir was pierced by many. No mortal man could survive that without magical aid.”
Frodo released a sad sigh and as I trailed my eyes onto his head, the frown that covered his features filled me with sorrow.
“Has anyone else … left?” He asked, the worry for his kin obvious on his face.
Instantly, my mind stretched to Gandalf and his recent resurrection . In my head, a brutal battle ragged of what I should do. To tell him that Gandalf is alive or not to tell him. If I did tell him then I could distract him from the whole of his quest and that could be the reason that the Ring was not destroyed. However, if I did not tell him and he did die ….
“No … everyone is fine. Well as far as I know they are.”
“What do you mean?”
“Myself, Merry and Pippin were separated from the rest of our company by the Orcs. I do not know what state the others are in. However, if I have learnt one thing over the years then I knew that I should trust my heart. My heart tells me that Aragorn, Legolas and Gimli are well; that Boromir has passed on to the home of his forefathers.”
Frodo smiled sadly at me and I crotched down before him, taking his small hands in my own.
“Stay safe, my dear Frodo.”
Leaning forward, I placed a kiss on top of his head. He smiled up at me, his brown eyes shining in the flickering light, as I cupped his cheek with one of my hands.
“If you ever need me I will be there for you, my wonderful Halfling.”
He quickly wrapped his arms around me in a tight hug. The all too familiar prickling sensation of hot tears stung the back of my eyes as I tightly returned his embrace.
“Authiel!” A different voice called.
All around us the library began to shake. Books tumbling from the shelves. Scrolls rolling across the stone floor. Dust falling down on us.
“Time for us to depart,” I whispered smiling sadly at the little Halfling as he stood up completely.
“Please don’t leave me. I’m scared. Authiel, I can’t do this.”
“Yes you can, you are your Uncle’s nephew after all. Even though he was terrified, Bilbo still faced Smaug that day. He still found the Arkenstone. He was a part of that Company just as you are a part of ours. You will succeed. I know you will.”
“Please … Please don’t leave me,” He begged.
“I must. But I will always be with you in here.”
As I spoke, I placed my hand on his heart. He looked down at it, allowing me to lift my hand up and flick his nose lightly. Quietly he giggled at my actions and as the room shook again, I could see his innocence surface; the innocence that I had witnessed some time ago return to him.
“Authiel,” The voice called and room around us shook greatly. Walls crumbling and bookcases falling.
“I will always be there for you, Frodo!”
“Authiel!” A young voice called as someone shook my body lightly.
Opening my eyes, I saw that Pippin was leaning over me.
“What is it Pippin?” I asked as I sat up straight.
I smiled as I watched many large Ents travel through the trees into the clearing that we were standing in; clambering over to the rock in the centre.
“Beech. Oak. Chestnut. Ash,” Treebeard happily groaned in his wooden voice, “Good. Good. Good. Many have come. Now we must decide if the Ents will go to war!”
“The Entmoot,” I whispered with a grin, my eyes looking over the gathering that had formed around us, “At last we are getting somewhere.”