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Glorfindel appeared in the forge to summon the smith. “We have need of you and your wisdom,” he said.
Glorfindel had been absent from the valley for some weeks, gone to search for the Hobbits said to be coming from the Shire in company with young Aragorn. Well, Aragorn had definitely arrived! But young he did not appear to be, not that day. His face was grey with fatigue and worry, and Arwen as she stood by his side was herself pale and obviously concerned. “My father and Gandalf are with Bilbo’s kinsman, who was sorely wounded,” Arwen told him. “The Nazgûl used a Morgul blade upon him. We will require something to use in securing a ring that it not be lost.”
“The Hobbit has brought with him an heirloom that is precious to him, then?” asked the smith.
“Oh, indeed,” Aragorn sighed, rubbing at his eyes with the back of a grimed hand. There was no question that the Man needed badly a bath and a good, sound sleep, not to mention a few good, sustaining meals. “The heirloom of all heirlooms, it appears.” He gave a great sigh. “He brought with him the Enemy’s own Ring.”
The smith straightened, filled with a shock he’d not thought to ever know again. “The Ring!” he whispered. “Then It has at last been found!”
“Oh, yes,” Arwen answered. “Although It has only recently been identified. It was actually found nearly eighty years of the Sun back, and by, of all people, Bilbo Baggins.”
“Bilbo the Hobbit?” asked the smith, further stunned. “How was it that a Hobbit of the Shire should have found the One Ring? How was this hidden from the knowledge of the Wise for so long?”
“We will find out how this came to be all too soon,” Aragorn said. “As soon as Frodo is out of danger, if we can save him,” he added in a lower voice, “then will be held a council to discuss what is now known and how the Free Peoples should react to it.”
“So many have arrived from so many lands, and it is said that more are approaching from over the High Pass,” Arwen told him. “My father did not summon them, but it appears that the Powers intend for all who are threatened by Mordor and Dol Guldur to come together now that the Ring Itself is here within my father’s house. The time of doom is apparently come upon us.”
“At last,” the smith murmured. He looked to Glorfindel. “The chain that Balin and I wrought when he was here last--it was given to you. Can you bring it to me? Perhaps it will serve our need now. I take it that the ring you wish to secure with it is Sauron’s own?”
“Yes,” Aragorn said. “Frodo cannot bear to have the Ring separated from him. But if we can somehow enspell the chain to curb the Ring’s own malice, that would be good. Adar Elrond fears that It might be seeking to speed the work of the Morgul shard upon Frodo, to help the shard find his heart and so finish its work. He has shown great endurance and strength, for that shard has not managed to take him in the last two weeks. But he is now failing fast, I fear.”
Glorfindel nodded and sped away to fetch the chain. Soon it was back, and working hairs from the heads of the Elven warrior, Arwen herself, and Aragorn into the weave of the chain, invocations were uttered over the silver to protect the one wearing it from the will of Evil. Bilbo was the one who held the Ring, as no Elf should touch It, and who threaded It upon the chain so that it could be clasped about the slender neck of the failing Hobbit Frodo Baggins.
“He grows insubstantial,” the smith muttered to Elrond. “Are we certain that It should remain with him?”
“I could not have fought Its attempts to draw me into Its power as he has,” the Peredhel answered him. “It has sought to take me before. Who, having known the wielding of Power, would be able to resist It better than one who has never sought power for himself?”
Who indeed? thought the smith. And was it not ironic that this Frodo now wore It as Isildur had disdained to do, strung upon a chain about his neck?
The time had come at last. The smith wondered if the Dwarf Gimli realized he was descended from Telchar himself. But there was no question that all was in readiness for the reforging of the Blade that was Broken, as Elves, Dwarf, Men, and Hobbits worked together under the watchful eye of the Grey Wizard to see the Sword of Kings remade. The wax sent by the Beornings had been used in preparing the mold for the molten steel. The wood sent from Fangorn Forest, rendered into charcoal, fired the forge. Water from the Withywindle, gifted by the River-daughter and her curious spouse, and oil pressed from the fruit of the fields of the Shire stood by for the tempering of the blade. The work was blessed by Eärendil’s son, and the likeness of Lúthien Tinúviel sang as the work progressed. Glimpses could be seen of the silver chain worn by the Ringbearer, and the Eagle’s quill would be used to inscribe the blade with the sigils and runes of power that would hopefully cause it to take light and purpose again once it was held by the hand of the King. One stone had fallen from the sword’s hilt, and the diamond gifted by the stone giant would replace that. And in the inner forge the liquid mithril steamed above the hearth there, waiting to be poured to form those sigils and runes….
Ëa! Let it be!
When Mithrandir bade Frodo Baggins to breathe upon the blade that it might be reminded of its purpose to protect all that is of grace and beauty and wholesome nature upon the face of Middle Earth, the smith smiled. Yes, this was indeed the right time, and the right manner, to see the Blade that was Broken remade and filled with purpose once more!
And then the Wizard himself breathed upon it, gracing it with the blessing of the divine as well as the mundane, and the smith rejoiced the more.
He was not surprised when, as Aragorn unsheathed it ere the Fellowship left Imladris to begin its quest, to see that the blade of Andúril flamed brightly in his hand. Hope indeed was being made manifest within Middle Earth, he realized. And he knew at that moment that it was Aragorn son of Arathorn he’d ever seen in his dreams as the one who would one day wear the armor of Elendil he’d forged just ere the ending of the last Age. “I cannot wait to see you in your great-father’s armor,” he murmured to himself as he watched the Fellowship set forth, watching after the one he’d seen grow here from boy to Man. “Go well, son of Arathorn and Elrond. Do us proud!”
Now was the final time of waiting begun….
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