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The Return of the Elves: The Search for the Ring

Bethelarien

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Okeydokey. This is the beginning of my story. If you have any comments or ideas, I would love to hear them, just PM me!

Prologue

As Sam watched, deep in the fires of Mount Doom, the creature Gollum grappled with an unseen person. Sam saw him raise his hand to his mouth and bite down hard. Then Frodo his master was again revealed to him, for Gollum had taken the Ring as well as Frodo's finger. Gollum was exultant; he had his precious once more. However, in his joy, he stepped too far back and toppled off the brink of the chasm. Sauron the Enemy was thought to be defeated. The Nazgul were gone. Once more, peace prevailed upon Middle-earth.

But they were all of them deceived.

For as the creature Gollum fell, he put on his precious; and in his panic, his arms flailed, and he happened to be able to take hold of a small ledge. The jagged edges cut his fingers, but still he clung to it. So deep in the mountain he was now, that the Ring began to melt even while its power protected Gollum. Thus was Sauron's power broken by the partial melting of the ring, though the ring was not destroyed completely. When Gollum realized what was happening to his precious, he shrieked, and began to climb the side of Mount Doom, for he was a talented climber. Up he went, for what seemed like all the ages of the world, until he finally reached the very place he had fallen from. And so it was that he who should have perished endured beyond all reason.

From Mordor, he made his way to Mirkwood, hoping to hide in the dense forests. For two hundred and fifty years he dwelt there in secret, for most of the Elves had departed for Valinor. And then, something happened that Gollum did not expect.

He was waylaid suddenly by a multitude of spiders. Spinning their webs swiftly and tightly, they caught him, and in the struggle, the One Ring was again lost.

Hearing that the spiders were still about, a group of Elves that still dwelt in Middle-earth set out from Menegroth, led by Isal Celebalda. When they found the spiders, they found Gollum also, and Isal was troubled in mind and spirit; for he knew that if Gollum had escaped, so must have the Ring, for Gollum would not abandon it. Fearing the worst, he sent messengers to the Havens, and from there to Tol Earessea and even Valinor itself. when Elrond Peredhel heard these things, he determined to return to Middle-earth, and persuaded a large multitude of his people to follow him, with the permission of the Valar. And so it was that the Elves returned to Arda, and the search for the ring commenced.

Chapter One

Nefmariel stood at the bow of the ship and gazed over the blue-green water. Her keen eyes could see the slight outline of the coast far in the distance. Silently she stared at it, trying to understand the mixed feelings she was having. Deep in thought, Nefmariel did not hear the near-silent footsteps behind her, and was startled when her long-time friend Bethelarien Undomiel came up beside her. Side by side, they gazed at the land they were returning to, the land they had once called home. The silence stretched longer, and finally Nefmariel could stand it no longer. Turning towards Bethelarien, she spoke in the Sindarin tongue.

"What do you think will happen, Beth?" she asked. Taken by surprise, Bethelarien started.

"What?"

"What do you think will happen, with the Ring and everything?" Being considerably younger than Bethelarien, Nefmariel was very direct. Usually, this did not bother Bethelarien; today, however, such open questions about such a perilous thing made her hesitate.

"It is not wise to openly ask such questions, Lady Nefmariel," came a voice behind them. Both maidens turned. Lord Elrond smiled at the surprise apparent in their faces, then quickly returned to his usual serious demeanor. "Such dangerous things are not to be discussed lightly," he added emphatically, raising his eyebrows slightly.

"I'm sorry, Lord Elrond," Nefmariel said, her eyes downcast, her face flushed with embarrassment. Several times before, she had been reprimanded by Lord Elrond for her impulsiveness. She looked up at his stern face and then back down at her feet. "It won't happen again."

Elrond smiled. Though it was truly dangerous to spleak so openly, he knew Nefmariel did not mean any harm. She had apologized often for her impetuousness, but being in her youth, her feelings usually took control of her.

Together the three stood in silence, watching as land drew ever nearer. Finally the white ships docked in the harbor. Though the Grey Havens had been deserted for many years, the city had been so well constructed that still it had not fallen into desrepair.

On the shore stood a group of the Eldar, talking and gazing over the stone walls of the city with their penetrating glances. Many of the noblest had returned with Elrond, among them his two sons, Elladan and Elrohir, as well as Lord Celeborn, Lady Galadriel, and Legolas Greenleaf. Bethelarien stood apart form them with Nefmariel, looking back over the expanse of the ocean.
 
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Aulë

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Ahh, I forgot about this thing.
Well written story, although it's hard to believe that in a heat that the ring was destroyed that Gollum could survive.

Did you still want that character history for Chokang?
 

Bethelarien

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Originally posted by Pippin_Took
Ahh, I forgot about this thing.
Well written story, although it's hard to believe that in a heat that the ring was destroyed that Gollum could survive.

Did you still want that character history for Chokang?
Yes, I do. Please PM it to me.

If you re-read the prologue, the Ring was protecting Gollum. It knew Gollum was its only chance to escape the fires of Mount Doom, so it protected him from the incredible heat even as it began to melt (note that it didn't melt completely--just enough to break Sauron's power).

Ch. 1, cont.

As Elrond and his companions looked out over the city, Elrond noticed some movement. A group of people--of Elves, he realized--was coming out of the long-deserted city. As more and more Elves disembarked and stood upon the shores, the group of strangers from the city drew nearer. Bethelarien went to her father, wanting to be by his side. The Eldar stood, watching these Elves, these strangers who had remained. Then, as one, the nobles moved forward, walking to meet them. When finally the two groups drew together, they greeted each other cordially, and the apparent leader of the Elves of the Havens stepped forward. He was tall, with long blonde hair and eyes as grey as the storm-tossed sea. Yet weary he seemed, and battle-hardened. Graceful in demeanor he was, and there was a gentleness in his eyes that not even his tough exterior could hide.

"Suilad ar mae govannen, Elrond Peredhel," he said in a melodious voice. At the sound of his voice, Bethelarien, who had been speaking quietly with Legolas, looked up, surprised. She gazed at this handsome Elf unblinkingly. Long had she been away, but never would she forget the sound of that voice. Many times, in ages long passed, they had lifted their voices as one in song in the haven of Imladris. It was there that they had first met as both strove to learn the art of healing from Lord Elrond himself. They had quickly become close friends, and Isal Celebalda had been devastated when Bethelarien had chosen to return to Valinor with her mother, Celebrian.

"Le hannon, Isal Celebalda," Elrond replied. "I hope we have arrived in time. We came as soon as we could, " he added seriously.

"It is soon enough, Lord Elrond," said Isal.

Her gaze still resting on him, Bethelarien spoke up. "Where is the creature Gollum? Is he being held here in the Havens, or is he elsewhere?" she asked. Surprised at questions from a new source, he turned to face her. Seeing and recognizing her for who she was, his eyes widened, and his face paled slightly.

"I apologize, Lady Undomiel. I did not recognize you," he said, formal once more. "In answer to your question, we do indeed still hold Gollum, or Smeagol. We held him for a while in the caverns of Menegroth. But the power of the One was too strong. Many times the creature tried to escape, but each time he was prevented or recaptured. After a while, we decided it would be wise to take him further away from the forests of Greenwood the Great, and so we brought him here to await your arrival," he stated.

I don't know if my Elvish is correct. If it's wrong, feel free to correct me, along with any other suggestions. Thanks!
 
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Bethelarien

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Originally posted by Nefmariel
Great so far Beth! Thanks for using me! a few spelling errors like I think Fae means face. And I'll pm you about somthing in a minute. :D
Fae? Where do you see that? :confused:
 

Aulë

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You did it twice:

Her gaze still resting on him, Bethelarien spoke up. "Where is the creature Gollum? Is he being held here in the Havens, or is he elsewhere?" she asked. Surprised at questions from a new source, he turned to fae her.
"I'm sorry, Lord Elrond," Nefmariel said, her eyes downcast, her fae flushed with embarrassment.
 

Bethelarien

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Oooooohhhh...Thanks, I didn't notice! Stupid typos. *mutters under breath*

Chapter One, cont.

"You brought him here?" asked Cirdan, who had also returned with Elrond. "Here, to my city?" He was clearly surprised.

Isal bowed. "Yes, hir nin," he replied. "As I said, we thought it for the best." He glanced over his shoulder at the gleaming stone city, not now far off. "I would advise you all that we should return to the city as soon as possible. No doubt you are weary from your journey." Isal turned and led the small goupr of noble Elves toward the city. The rest were eager to begin the journey to their old homes, to begin rebuilding, and most declined to stay.

Slowly they made their way through the city, with Isal and Cirdan leading them. Gradually, however, Isal began to drop back, allowing Cirdan to lead them through his city. Soon he was at the back of the group with Nefmariel--and Bethelarien. For a while he merely listened, drinking in the sound of Bethelarien's sweet voice. Quietly, he reflected, releasing his innermost guarded thoughts for his own inspection, much as he would inspect a warrior before battle.

He had grown up, for a while, at Bethelarien's side. They had both been under the tutelage of her father, learning the art of healing. Quickly, they had become close friends, nearly as inseparable as Bethelarien and Arwen. Many times they had sung together in her father's hall, for Isal was the greatest bard alive. Slowly, he had begun to realize his deepening love for the beautiful maiden. He had wanted so much to tell her; but she had left with her mother for Lothlorien, as she frequently did. When her mother was greatly wounded by Orcs and decided to return to Valinor, Bethelarien could not bear to be parted from her, and also forsook Middle-earth. Elrond, knowing of Isal's love for his daughter, told him of his daughter's decision. Heartbroken, Isal had sworn never to love another. Seeing Bethelarien, he renewed this vow to himself.He knew that he loved her still.

Again, please let me know of anything you think doesn't fit. Criticism is a good thing.
 
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Bethelarien

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The end of Chapter 1

Bethelarien's musical laugh rang out, bringing Isal back to the present. Elladan was now walking between Bethelarien and Nefmariel. It was he who had caused Bethelarien's laugh. Though Elladan was a fierce warrior, he was, at most other times, light-hearted and playful. At the moment, he was teasing Bethelarien mercilessly about some small joke he had played on her in her youth. Again, Bethelarien laughed, and Isal smiled. Still, he remained silent as the four of them walked behind the others toward the Hall.

Finally they reached the grand building. Many Elves, under Isal's command, awaited them on the steps. Knowing his duty, he left Bethelarien's side and walked to the front of the group to address them.

"Mae govannen, hiri nîn ar hirili nîn. Tolo, mado a sogo en mereth!" he called. Turning, he glided gracefully up the stairs. When he reached the top, the ponderous oak doors were thrown open, and the smells of the delicious food waiting for them wafted out into the air. The noble Eldar entered the hall and sat at the table, most of them impressed by this young Elf's actions. They all thoroughly enjoyed themselves, and all too soon, the feast was over.

"Now, Isal, you must tell us exactly how you came across this creature, and what has happened since you sent for us," commanded Elrond. Lord Celeborn quickly agreed.

"Trenerich i narn, Isal," he said.

"As you wish," Isal replied graciously, glancing at Bethelarien as he spoke. "As most of you know, I and my companions have resided in the halls of Menegroth in the absence of the rulers of Greenwood--" Legolas nodded at this-"though we have mostly roamed about the fair forests freely.

One afternoon, as I was sitting in the great caverns of Menegroth, a group of my scouts returned to report. They had very disturbing news-we had not destroyed all the descendants of Ungoliant as we had thought, and a group of them was dangerously close to our haven. Immediately my best warriors and I went in search of the spiders. It was relatively simple to track them, as their foul stench left a clear trail for us to follow. We swiftly caught up to them, and we attacked just before dawn. There were more than we expected, and though we defeated and destroyed them, Alakurion and Encolloin were badly wounded.
"While I was healing them, the rest of my hunters searched the surrounding forests. They found the creature Gollum bound in spiders' webs and brought him to me. When I saw him, I knew that something had gone terribly wrong; for I knew that he was supposed to have perished with the Ring in the fires of Orodruin. I was troubled, and I realized that if the creature Gollum had survived, then the One Ring must have also, for its hold over him was great, too great for him to simply abandon it.

"It was then that I sent for you, knowing that Middle-earth could not handle this threat without the wisdom of the Elves. Men desire power, Dwarves desire wealth, and the Halflings simply wish to be left alone. Of all the races, Elves are the only children of Ilúvatar who willingly and selflessly help the others. Therefore, I sent word to you, not knowing whether you would receive my message or not, and only hoping that you would.

"After sending word to the Havens, we began to question the creature, hoping to gain information from him about the One Ring; but he was inconsolable, weeping constantly, and from his inane babble we could only discern 'my Precious, my Precious' over and over. It was then that we realized that he had long lived in the woods of Greenwood, avoiding our people and our patrols skillfully. I also realized that he must have lost the Ring within the borders of our woods, and that he would stop at nothing to regain his Precious. Therefore, I ordered him bound and cast into the deep dungeons of Menegroth, to there await your arrival. However, he was more cunning than we suspected, and several times he managed to escape from his cell and begin making his way through the woods. Each time, we apprehended him; finally, I decided it would be wiser to take him away from Greenwood, that perchance the lure of the Ring would be weaker. And so we brought him here, only a few months ago; he has not managed to escape as of yet, and is being held in a windowless room deep within this very Hall. I will take you to him, if you so wish," Isal finished.

Looking around at the noble Eldar, he saw grave looks on their faces, for each of them knew what such a thing could-and would-mean for the Elves. All knew of the special hate Sauron held for the Elves; for it was the Elves that had destroyed his master, and Elves that had helped to orchestrate his downfall. The Great Enemy would not wait long to begin his war against them, and they all knew it.

"Yet we cannot do this ourselves," Bethelarien said. The others, disturbed from their various morbid thoughts, looked up. "Great is the wisdom and valor of the Elves, but not that great. This task involves the whole of Middle-earth; and it is the whole of Middle-earth that must respond to this threat, not solely the Elves." She glanced at her father, and he nodded, then continued for her.

"I will return with some of my people to Imladris, and there establish it as a haven for our people once more. Also, I shall send out messengers to the various inhabitants of Middle-earth, seeking their aid and cooperation. I believe it would be wise to call for a council, like that of the council of old, held in the Third Age. All races would participate, and together we could decide on the wisest course of action," Elrond finished. Now that he was faced with a challenge-and a grave threat-his warrior mentality was beginning to come into play, taking charge.

"I and my lady shall return to Lothlórien and there reestablish our woodland realm, that it may again be fair and glorious, a haven and fortress of the Elves," said Celeborn, and Galadriel nodded regally. It had been decided. The search for the Ring was underway.
 

Isal Celebalda

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Whoa! Great story! Last time I saw it, you'd only done the prologue! I'm proud to have such a main role! A leader! Woo! And I'm the "greatest bard alive"! Now THAT is an honour.

Keep up the great story, Beth! Love ya! xx

PS Could you PM and tell me what the plans are for the plot? Are Isal and Beth gonna get together?
 

Bethelarien

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Isal, for the last time, I will not tell you the plot! That ruins all the fun! So stop asking!

I don't quite know what my plans are for the story, but...hmmm. I dunno. And I was thinking I might go back in and do what Tolkien did with his Elvish, put a comma and then the translation in italics. But, he didn't do that all the time. So I haven't decided if I'll do that or not. Is it really necessary?
 

Bethelarien

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Chapter Two

Chapter Two

Elladan sat in a room in the Grey Havens, listening to Elrohir. Though they had spoken all through the night, neither was tired, for they had work to do. They ate little to break their fast that morning, opting instead to finish the preparations for their journey. Celeborn, Galadriel, and Legolas, along with their people, were to travel with them for a time, but there would come eventually a parting of the ways. Little time they had had to spend with their mother's parents, and greatly they regretted this. Still, they would stay with their father and little sister, knowing that they belonged there, hoping to protect their innocent sister from harm.

An hour after dawn, the company-now considerably smaller than before-set out. Isal and his men traveled with them, for they intended to reside at Imladris with Elrond. Elladan had long ago noticed the way Isal looked at his sister, and he felt a need to protect her, though he doubted that Isal's intentions were anything but honorable.

Swiftly they rode on their tireless horses, and soon they had put many leagues between them and the Havens. Finally, with the mountains in sight, those of the company of Lothlórien turned south. Tearful was their parting, but still the company rode on. They journeyed northward, ever northward. Closer and closer they drew to Imladris, until at last they reached the Fords of Bruinen. Quickly they crossed the waters, eager now to return to their homes. At long last, they reached the beautiful city. Bethelarien paused on the steps under the archway entrance to her father's house. She drew in a deep breath, realizing how much she had missed all of it. Truly she had come home.

The gentle touch of a hand on her shoulder made her turn around. Elrond smiled at his daughter, feeling his heart swell with love for and pride in this beautiful maiden. Bethelarien smiled back, then glanced over her shoulder. Legolas met her gaze, then turned to his people. They had decided to continue onward to the High Pass through the Misty Mountains, rather than tot rest at Imladris. There was too much work to be done.

"Navaer, Elrond Peredhel," Legolas said, bowing slightly.

"Navaer, Legolas, hir in Eryn Lasgalen," replied Elrond. And so Legolas Greenleaf took his people to reside once more in the grand caverns of Menegroth.

When the people of Greenwood had faded into the forest, Elrond and his people busied themselves with settling back into their homes. When they had finished the necessary preparations, Elrond called for Isal and his men. The Elves came immediately, with Alakurion and Encolloin in the lead; but Isal was nowhere to be found.


After arriving, Bethelarien had quickly put her things in her room. She was not interested in staying inside, for the gardens of Imladris were serenely beautiful. Having done what was needful, Bethelarien glided silently through the halls and into the woods. She walked alone, wandering aimlessly through the beauty she had forsaken so long ago. Inwardly she reflected on the choice that she had made all those years ago, wondering if she would make the same choice again.

"When I first saw you, on the shore outside the Havens, I thought I was dreaming," came Isal's voice from behind her. Surprised, she turned, and he smiled. "I'm sorry if I startled you, Lady Undómiel," he said formally, bowing.

"Isal, please. We've known each other for far too long to be so formal," Bethelarien said somewhat sternly. Isal's smile broadened.

"You're even more beautiful when you make that face," he teased. Bethelarien blushed and lowered her eyes. Even after all their years apart, the bond that connected them was still deep and strong. "Elbereth," Isal whispered. Quickly he closed the distance between them and took her in his arms, holding her close.

"Isal…" Bethelarien whispered, but he gently placed his hand over her mouth, and she fell silent. Cupping her angelic face in his hands, he kissed her; tenderly at first, then more ardently.
Finally he released her. "I've missed you, meleth nîn," Bethelarien said softly, and they embraced again. Isal held her close, inhaling the smell of her hair, feeling the silky softness of her cheek against his.

Quiet footsteps sounded behind them, and they drew apart. "Lady Undómiel, Lord Celebalda, my Lord Elrond wishes to speak with you," said the messenger, who was somewhat embarrassed at having interrupted such an intimate exchange.

"Hennaid, Lindir," replied Bethelarien as Lindir beat a hasty retreat back toward the Hall. Isal took Bethelarien by the hand and led her back through the blossoming gardens. They hurried through the stone corridors, finally reaching the main chamber where Isal's scouts and Lord Elrond were waiting. Seeing them enter together, hand in hand, Elrond raised his eyebrows, and Isal immediately let go. Elladan, standing next to Elrond, suppressed a laugh.

"Now that we are all present," Elrond said sternly, his gaze resting on Isal as his eyes narrowed slightly, "I will tell you why I have brought you here. All of you know of the grave peril that rests now on Middle-earth. We must find the One Ring before the Enemy, and destroy it once and for all. But the Elves cannot do this alone. We must call upon the other races of Middle-earth for their aid. It is for this task that I call upon you. I would ask each of you to take messages to the whole of Middle-earth and return with a representative of the people. Speed is essential, which is why I am asking you. You are desperately needed; however, it is your choice and your choice alone. I leave it up to you," finished Elrond.

Without hesitation, Isal stepped forward. "I believe I speak for all Elves under my command as well as myself when I say that we would be honored to do this, Lord Elrond." Elrond nodded, then opened his mouth to speak again. However, he was interrupted by his daughter.

"I will also do this thing," she said determinedly. Elrond looked at Bethelarien in surprise, and then shook his head.

"That is out of the question."

"But, adar--"

"Bethelarien, that is enough," Elrond said sternly.

"But--"

"Bethelarien. We will speak of this later. Now is not the time for this," he said harshly. Their eyes locked, and for a few moments they gazed at each other unblinkingly. Bethelarien lifted her chin, her eyes alone conveying her determination; Elrond, on the other hand, remained patient and kind. Finally, Bethelarien broke eye contact.

"Yes, father," she sighed resignedly. Elladan looked over at Elrohir uncomfortably. It was unusual for their sister to argue with their father, and when she did, they both felt awkward. Elrond, satisfied for the moment, beckoned to them and they gathered around a large map of Middle-earth. Quickly he arranged them to travel in pairs-all but Bethelarien-to various places in Middle-earth. Isal and Encolloin were sent to Minas Tirith, Alakurion and Belegil to Edoras, and various others to Lothlórien, Menegroth, the Grey Havens, and to the Dúnedain in the north. They had a farewell feast that night, and Isal and his men prepared to leave.

Early the next morning, they gathered in the courtyard. Bethelarien stood by her father bravely, though her sorrow was apparent. Isal led his horse out into the courtyard, straining to hold his emotions in. Seeing him, Bethelarien started toward him, but felt a hand gently grip her shoulder. Elrond smiled tightly, though his actions made it clear that he did not approve of Bethelarien's relationship with Isal. She looked at her father quizzically, then realized his intention. Isal watched the silent struggle of will between father and daughter. In this, however, Bethelarien would not be persuaded. She slipped out from under her father's hand and ran lightly to Isal. He enveloped her in his arms, and she found she had tears streaming down her face. Swiftly he kissed her, then released her. He stroked her hair, her cheek, and embraced her again.

"U-'osto, meleth nîn. I will return to you," he whispered in her ear. Bethelarien did not reply; she was still weeping. Isal kissed her tears, her forehead, and then her lips. He pulled away from her again, gently turned her around, and nudged her back toward her father. She went silently, no longer crying.

Isal, now sitting atop his horse, glanced toward Bethelarien one last time. Then he and Encolloin set out, riding hard out the gate, followed by the others. Elrond turned and went inside, but Bethelarien continued to watch until Isal had disappeared over the horizon.

Ch. Two, cont.

Later that day, Bethelarien knocked at the door of her father's study. The door opened, and Elrond ushered his daughter inside. Immediately she began speaking rapidly in Sindarin.

"Father, I am a grown woman. You cannot force me to stay here while others take the risks. I am a woman of action, not an ornament!" Bethelarien would have continued, but Elrond held up his hand.

"Ari, I know how you feel. But Isal and his company are doing what is needful. It is not necessary for you to risk your life needlessly," Elrond said. She smiled wryly at the use of his nickname for her, then became serious once more.

"You sent your sons to the Dúnedain," she stated. Elrond hesitated.

"That is different," he said.

"Different? How is it different, adar? Simply because I am female?" Bethelarien was becoming more upset.

"No, Ari," Elrond said with a sigh. "Your brothers are already well-acquainted with the Dúnedain. That is why I sent them there. Messengers are already on their way to every place we could think of. You do not need to do this," he finished.

"But you have forgotten something, adar," Bethelarien replied. "I am quite surprised, since the Halflings have played such an important role previously. Should we not send to them as well?" she asked. Elrond thought a moment. He was surprised that he could have forgotten the Halflings, as they were much more widely known of now. All his fastest messengers had already left-except for Bethelarien and her friend, Nefmariel. Elrond sighed.

"Very well, Ari. Take Nefmariel and ride to the Shire. Deliver your message, and be back within a few weeks," he said.

"Am I to bring a Halfling with me?" Bethelarien asked. Elrond hesitated, then nodded. "Very well." Bethelarien smiled as she began to leave the room. She paused at the door and turned. "Hennaid, adar," she said, and then slipped out, shutting the door softly behind her.
Elrond sat down behind his desk and rubbed his temples.
 
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goldmare

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I like it.

Aside from a few (VERY few) spelling and grammer mistakes, this has all the marks of being a great story. But I have a question: the partial melting of the One Ring broke Sauron's power and destroyed him for good, so why is the Ring still a danger to Middle Earth? (I'm just trying to understand why it's such an emergency that the elves come back.)
 

Bethelarien

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The partial melting of the Ring only greatly diminished Sauron's power. He was broken--temporarily. But, like after the Last Alliance, he is regaining power, and the Elves know it. So it was imperative that they return.

What spelling/grammar errors do you see?
 

Ol'gaffer

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The people demand more to the story!! :D

By this I mean, more chapters! It's so interesting that it's illegal!
 

Bethelarien

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Wow! Thank you! I'm working on it, but being a high school student, writing goes slowly. But I'm working on it. :D
 

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