I gladly allow my thoughts to wander home, to the Shire. Fall is passing and winter fast approaching. I'll finish recovering here, and then we'll head west, at a leisurely pace. No need to rush. We'll still be home in plenty of time for Yule, or maybe I'll linger a while here in Rivendell with Bilbo.
My attention is drawn back into this council meeting; a Man speaks of a dream of his own and is tentatively reaching his hand toward the Ring. What is he doing? Has he no knowledge of the peril, now a hair's breadth away?
Gandalf's words are harsh, a language I shall never forget, Weathertop fresh in my mind. With each word uttered, a deeper shadow covers the porch, like a cloudy day, but not. A shiver snakes through me; I try not to shudder. Is it Gandalf's voice I hear? or the Ring's?
The Man backs into his chair. A part of me admits to fervently wishing I could crawl under mine, momentarily desiring escape. Instead, I note the reaction of the Elves, who at all times appear unaffected by what transpires around them, their calm demeanor shattered. Even the dwarves find the black speech of Mordor disturbing; one of them taking an axe in hand. Gandalf's threat of the language spreading to every corner of the West chills me to the bone, the meaning starkly clear. He declares the Ring altogether evil, and I carried it...
What did Lord Elrond call the Man? Boromir. He appears of noble bearing. His clothes of finer make and detail than many others present. He certainly presents himself as one who is confident in what he speaks, coupled with an undeniable expectation of the acquiescence of others. He is clearly accustomed to commanding and being obeyed.
What is he saying? That the Ring is a gift? Gift? What sort of gift? My heart quails as I think on what the "Gift" brought to me. If it is indeed a gift, then it is of the foulest variety. He clearly does not know of what he speaks, in this at least.
Gondor? Where is Gondor? I should have studied Bilbo's maps with more care. What is he saying about our lands are kept safe by the Men of his kind? They spill their blood for us? Is it true? Do we live in ignorant peace as they die to protect us, though they do not even know of us? I consider myself well learned, for Bilbo saw to it, but it seems sadly lacking, to be unaware of such great sacrifice...
Though he believes Gondor may use the Ring against the enemy, I know Strider speaks the truth. It answers to only one master. Weathertop again crowds my mind; I push it away. The Man Boromir, however, does not believe such things may be known by a mere Ranger. I have not forgotten Gandalf's reproof when I offered him the Ring. If a wizard of power fears to hold it, let alone wield it, surely it is beyond any Man.
An Elf, the one who looks different from those of Rivendell, stands in soft-spoken defense of Strider. Wait, he calls him Aragorn. Boromir owes Aragorn allegiance? Why?
Heir to the throne of Gondor? Aragorn?
"Havo dad, Legolas."
I remember the command to sit down from my Elvish lessons with Bilbo; he used it often enough. Then Legolas would be the Elf. He obeys Strider's -- Aragorn's -- gentle command, clearly expressing in such a simple deed his deference for the Ranger, the king.
Boromir fairly bristles at the revelation. His reply clearly states his disdain. "Gondor has no king; Gondor needs no king." I find it of interest that he speaks this to Legolas but turns a measuring eye to Aragorn.
Gandalf's affirmation of Aragorn's declaration of not being able to use the Ring leaves us few options in the matter concerning It.
Lord Elrond offers only one choice: The Ring must be destroyed.