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Section XLVIII-Welcome to Rivendell

Cold... Rage... Hate... Fear... Despair... Cold...

Where are the Wraiths? I still feel their rage and hate...

What has happened to me? Fear intertwines with despair...

How is it I feel so cold and numb at the same time?

Who is beckoning me?

"Frodo, lasto beth nin. Tolo dan nan galad."

What's that he's saying? It's sounds Elvish. Uncle Bilbo? No, I know his voice. This one is new, and yet somehow familiar.

I wish this mist would clear from my mind. Wait... The meaning of the words... I'm certain I understand...

'Frodo, hear my voice. Come back to the light.'

How do I know the words? I have heard them before, but when? The voice was different then, softer... This voice demands I obey. Other voices, not so long ago, hissed at me to follow. How unmistakably different is the command of this voice, so unlike the Wraith. My heart quails at the memory of the latter. This voice, I desire to obey...

Come back to the light... but it's painful... I suppose there is nothing for it. I seem wholly unable to resist the summons. In truth, whatever the voice may ask of me, I will do...

I must have asked a question for it seems I am being given an answer, though I could not tell you what.

Gandalf? If only I could see him... Oh, perhaps I should open my eyes... What if they deceive me? I dig for strength, and a bit of courage. Seated beside the bed is my dear, old friend. He doesn't look too good, a bit worn and worried, frayed about the edges, not unlike his grey robes.

So many questions flood my mind.

"What happened, Gandalf? Why didn't you meet us?"

His silence stretches. It's all right. I think perhaps I haven't the strength to listen.

Is something wrong? As soon as I am able to gather the power, another question slips out.

"Gandalf, what is it?"

Why does it not truly surprise me that he does not answer? Or perhaps he did? My mind is flooded with memories; I push them away, if only for a moment.

Sam. I wonder how he is? As though my thoughts summon him, he is at my bedside. He seems happy enough to see me. I feel almost as though I should apologize to him for all the trouble. This hasn't exactly been the trip he bargained for.

I know I ask questions and receive answers, but it is so difficult to remember everything, all at once.

Lord Elrond? So, we're in Rivendell. I had rather hoped to arrive here in better condition. What's that he said? I'm starting to mend? I do feel like I've been stitched. Do hope they did a better job than Aunt Esme did on my coat. It was never quite as it was, but then I have the unpleasant feeling the same may be true of me.

Sleep has become a welcomed friend. What pleasure to sleep in a bed...! Not a single rock digs in my back, and nothing crawls over me unexpectedly. For a moment, the comfort is almost disconcerting. I push the uncomfortable feeling firmly away and dig into the pillows pulling the blankets up to my chin.

Life has an interesting way of changing one. After being outside for all those weeks, cold and miserable, one would think I'd be glad to be indoors for a bit, and yet as soon as they let me, I am on my feet and making for the outside world.

Never have I beheld anything matching the splendor of this place. Stepping out of my room and onto the balcony my eyes are met by a veritable feast of color and beauty. The glorious wonder before me is almost overwhelming.

Just for a moment, I have all but forgotten the pain in my shoulder. The cold ring, on its cold chain, lies against my chest. I feel it clinging round my neck. I am again aware of the dull ache in my shoulder.

Though I am up and moving, I feel a bit like the almost spent rose blossom. No matter how delicately you try to touch it, the moment your fingers brush across the petals, the flower breaks apart, the petals fluttering to the ground.