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Title: Where Light in Darkness Lies
He blinked as they exited the East Gate. Moria had been dark and oppressive. He had been looking forward to seeing the light of Anor once more. He should have been glad to be once again under the open sky, the Sun high above, her light glittering and breaking over the snow. He should have been rejoicing.
But there was no joy, only bleak cold, only numb grief. Of all the disasters he had imagined when they had set out from Rivendell, this had been beyond any imagining: that they would lose Mithrandir, the light of his fëa snuffed out.
When he had gone to join his father at the Lonely Mountain, the first thing he had done was to pay his respects to Thorin Oakenshield. There the old chief had lain, the Arkenstone upon his breast. He had gasped at the brightness of its light: a shaft of sunlight had been directed to reflect upon it perfectly. Nothing could surpass its beauty.
Until now, as he looked upon the Lady of Lothlórien. Her words of welcome pierced his heart, and he saw beauty there he could never have imagined.
Wonder came into his face, and he smiled in answer.
Light. Light he had seen once, and not yet thought to see again. The Two Trees in all their glory and splendor had been but a pale imitation of this Light.
Eru Iluvatar. He had no lips with which to speak, nor need. Love and submission flowed through him. Your servant has failed you. If he had eyes, he would have wept.
Love and approval washed over him. You have not failed, oh good and faithful servant. Take up your task once more. Knowledge and power are yours, Servant of the Secret Flame.
He awakened, cold, naked in the snow.
He smiled. The last words he heard: “Minas Tirith shall not fail.” With his failing eyes, he had seen the Light about the King Returned, and knew those words were true. His own failure was redeemed, the darkness of despair fled from his spirit, along with his pride and self-doubt.
If there were such a thing as regret now, it was only the knowledge of the grief he would leave with others, especially his father and Faramir. But now another, stronger, Light beckoned.
Somehow, he knew. The Dark Lord could not prevail. All would be well.
He followed the Light.
Pippin writhed in agony. Light should not be dark, but dark light drew him down, down into a spiral of red and purple flame, blackness at its heart. Speak! came the unspeakable command, slamming against his mind. No! He would not. He would find true light somehow-- clear light, light remembered of Sun and Moon and starlight, reflected from the clear waters of the Shire. The Shire where all that was good was green and growing. How he longed for the Shire!
Who are you? What are you?
Who am I, alone, myself and nameless? Oh, the pain!
“I love him. He’s like that, and sometimes it shines through, somehow. But I love him whether or no.” That light that seemed to come from within his Master pierced Sam’s heart. He’s a hobbit, thought Sam, but he shines like an Elf, yet not an Elf--he‘s still his own sweet self. I wish old Mr. Bilbo could see him now. It would break his heart to see his lad so frail and worn. But he’d be so proud of him, to see him shining so. “The finest hobbit in the Shire”, he’d say. And haven’t I always known it?
The voice seemed to come from far away. Sam, telling him something, something of urgency it seemed…“The Lady’s gift! The star-glass! A light to you in dark places, she said it was to be! The star-glass!”
Frodo woke, as from a dark dream. The star-glass? A light to you in dark places, when all other lights go out!
He reached into his shirt, his hand brushing the chain. No! Further in, there! Cool to the touch, the Lady‘s phial, and clean and comforting. He drew it forth, and words came to him unbidden, and he saw the Light blaze forth.
There was no light in the world. But not blackness, just grey gloom shrouded in cold and dreary mist. Cold, so cold!
Once there was hope. Once there was a place of warmth and sunlight. Once there was life. But death had come with a chill hand, stealing life away. Théoden! Éowyn! So brave, so valiant, so lost and small against the strength of the pale king! He would weep, but tears were warm, and warmth did not exist here.
Wait-- that scent? Appleblossoms and heather in the sunlight?
Sunlight, a strong voice, calling him with love.
I’m coming, Strider!
It was not the first time Aragorn had seen that Light, not the first time he had called someone away from the path leading to it, not the first time he had met with resistance.
But the two small shining figures ahead were closer than ever he had seen before.
Sam! One hesitated, then continued.
Frodo! Still he did not hesitate.
Frodo! Do not leave us bereft! Do not take Sam with you!
Now both hesitated.
Frodo! Sam! Those who love you are waiting here. Do not leave us.
They turned. Aragorn held out his arms.
Come home, my friends!
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