Part II Chapter 3
The plans of The Light and of those of The Dark Ù5
So all the words of The Light, through its wisdom and their spirits within,
Spoke of ‘five things’ to resolve, so that all of The Dark’s end could begin,
But while all those of The Light, struggled to understand and plan their deeds,
Stealthily those of The Dark, by savage sorcery sowed their own seeds.
United in body and soul, they faced Light’s challenges. Gandalf would be their guide and mentor; he wanted them to understand what lay before them, but not to dismay them.
Gandalf: ‘We have much to get through before the end of night. Although it was originally planned that everything would be done together, clearly The Light has seen grave peril in this. For despite the protection of the Bands, if the Dark Lord would capture one of us, then he may gain access to all of our purpose. So instead, the details of each part must be deemed separately, with myself as the link between all. I sense that none would be troubled by this.’
Aragorn: ‘Gandalf, I for one have faith in this course, and seek from you your wise counsel in how you want us to proceed.
The others spoke similarly: ‘I whole heartily agree.’ ‘I agree.’ ‘I also.’ ‘I can see not better way to proceed than be led by your wisdom here Gandalf.’ ‘Tell us Gandalf how to proceed.’
Gandalf: ‘Thank you for this show of trust. There are some things that all need to fully understand before we can proceed. As these have been expressed already by the words of The Light, I see no peril in discussing them further with you all together. The Bands give us three immense powers. First, that we may journey through time.’
‘But Gandalf, how is this great power brought into being, for The Light did not speak of this.’
‘No Merry not then, but look now into yourselves, do you not see words, as if written on a transparent screen in front of your eyes.’
‘Yes Gandalf, when I called forth the idea, yes, there are words appearing written in the air before my eyes, they say…’
‘Speak them Pippin – so all may hear.’
Si sga sola O luts sqexam
Si sga yigmf es sgot niops
Lew ‘sga Mohgs’ diq lw caoph
Bgeqs lw biuqta ti’
To the world at this point
May The Light for my being
Chart my course so.
Gandalf: ‘Can all see these words?! As yet the when and where cannot be deemed, but I will speak of this once all have declared their vision of these words – and with the insight gained from the Bands, an understanding of them, even though they are written in the language of The Light.’
In rapture, they all spoke of the visions: ‘Yes, as if etched on air, written by some wondrous power. Yes, yes, they are there - and their understanding is clear although I do not know this language!’ ‘As I think them, they appear and are understood.’ ‘The words appear almost as if one could reach out and touch them… almost as if they are spoken in one’s mind.’ ‘But when one reaches out for the words, your hand passes through them.’ ‘And they stay only momentary, but when the thought is reignited, they appear again.’ ‘Yes, the words appear and are understood, but how do we set in motion the when and where?’
‘Gandalf, the words sga sola and sga yigmf seem to be… marching on…’
‘Quite so Merry – for the words travel as will the spirit when the words are spoken. Faramir I will answer your questions presently, but Samwise – you have not spoken.’
‘I see them Gandalf, I see and understand them, but am fearful, for my thoughts are want to wander here and there, and what if I think I would like to be back with my Gaffer in the gardens of the Shire, will I just shoot off there, rather than where I should be with the Quest and my purpose, for this is a powerful force in the hands of one such as myself, who often day-dreams…’
‘Ah Samwise, we would all be vulnerable, in times when all around us is dark and bleak, to wish to be elsewhere. How tempting, even without real thought, to think ourselves to another, safer place. No The Light would not provide such a dangerously simple release, there is more, much more, to be done to capture this mighty power of journeying through time. It is all done with these; there is one for each of you.’
‘Gandalf – it is a map of Middle-earth… and beyond.’
‘A very special map Pippin – look closely, see as you touch an area, the map comes closer to that point, it expands in detail on that spot…See as I press on Minas Tirith, its vision expands on Minas Tirith until I can see the very street and houses of the White City...’
Legolas: ‘A truly wondrous thing…’
Sam: ‘Why look, if I press on the Shire, the Shire grows and grows, and even gives me a picture of my Gaffer’s house, and now takes me right outside, and see, I can wander here and there as if actually there – but – but when I take my finger from the parchment, why…. the map goes back to that of Middle-earth…’
Éowyn : ‘And as I fix on the plains of Rohan, the parchment comes close to the smallest hillock… and what is this Gandalf, as I press here, where it said Middle-earth... a series of numbers appear…’
Aragorn: ‘Numbers of time… yes, one can see the arrangement of time – for this would set… the time of day, the day, month, and year…’
Gandalf: ‘Yes, when a bearer of a Band touches the map at this point, the chronometer opens for the setting of the time. When this is set then one can move to the exact location needed, carefully not removing one’s hand off the parchment, for as Samwise found, the map reverts to its original form. Once the time and place are set, then you need only say Light’s words. But be warned, this must all with great care be done… and hobbits, this is not a magic trick for hobbit-fun! ‘
Frodo: ‘Our laughter Gandalf was only in amazement – we would not lightly play with such power…’
‘Good, for there are grave consequences. First, each chronomap has a life of only five uses, and as The Light has already warned, as one journeys so, one day of their ten Quest Days is lost.’
Gimli: ‘Ah, how in the history of the dwarves, this mighty power could have saved many lives.’
‘And Gimli, many lives have gone into its creation. For to gain such power, others have had to be diverted, leaving some souls vulnerable so that we can achieve our purpose.’
Boromir: ‘And if there was a date or place entered in error…’
‘Boromir, there can be no such an error. Everything must be calculated with precise care, for our ten days count ever down.’
Frodo: ‘But Gandalf, if we manage to get Gollum to denounce evil, then we will get twelve days from the time he joins us. Is that not so; did not The Light say, the time commences when the twelve becomes a whole.’
‘Yes Frodo, we have the possibility of that occurring with either Gollum or Saruman. But I hold little hope of either one wishing to relinquish The Dark. So we must not give any careful heed in our planning to this extra time being granted. Does anyone feel otherwise? If not, then we should proceed with our plans. The second power of the Bands, as The Light has expressed it, lies in the ability to communicate with one another across time and space. But we have been gravely warned, that in doing so, The Dark may be able to detect us. For while the Bands provide protection, the Dark Lord is wrathfully seeking a way to infiltrate their powers; and the detection of the whereabouts of one, puts all in jeopardy. Only in dire circumstances or those agreed between us here, must any use be made of this boon. The same applies to the other power, that ‘one moment may be transformed later at will’. All must heed carefully all the perils of these powers.
Finally, as we proceed and map our path we must not be so rigid in our thinking that we cannot change as things change around us. For we do not venture forth into a world free from the malice of those working against us. We have the Dark Lord at our heels, but we should be thankful that he is not already ahead of us. We must not be heedless in this regard.’
Gandalf: ‘With your pardon, I need a moment to consider all the words that have been spoken. I ask that all use this time also to consider these and your role so deemed. By my reckoning The Light has laid a path together for Aragorn and Éowyn, Boromir and Faramir, Gimli and Legolas, Frodo and Samwise, and then Merry and Pippin.’
Pippin: ‘Gandalf did I not hear the words say ‘Three to the Tree’.’
‘Yes Pippin, how heedful of you to notice this with all that was said. The words declared that a third journeys with you to hear Treebeard’s account of the future. We must seek insight on who that is to be. With your accord, when I return I will confer first with Aragorn and Éowyn, then proceed with others as The Light did.’
Éowyn: ‘The final words of The Light, Gandalf, spoken to all of us, so they are for all to hear and understand. What are these gifts to be found ‘beyond mortal lands’, and in new lore only. Gandalf they seem so critical, for The Light says that they bring the Quest to its greatest power.’
‘Yes Éowyn, keys from the ancients that will ease our way. In my long travels across Middle-earth and beyond, I have been given many gifts by the ancients or know of others never mentioned within the annuals of Middle-earth, as written by its Master and scholars. I have already thought of the challenges to be set before some and how such an ancient key may overcome some obstacles, but know that only five have been so granted. As our stories unfold, I will wait for a revelation on which to call upon. Much thought and care needs to be given to this. But now we all need our own time and space to reflect on what lies ahead. I will call for Aragorn and Éowyn anon.’
‘...the Dark Lord on his dark throne…’ Tolkien: The Lord of the Rings Ù6.9
Sauron and his Captain, the Lord of the Nazgûl, met.
Sauron: ‘Hto Dukrnojj he yenlaok uqq
Captain, what tidings have you?’
Captain: ‘The Lieutenant of the Tower waits to discuss The Light with you. The Ring Maker, Master Mírdain, wishes to seek your counsel regarding the Rings. And Saruman is close to arriving.’
‘I will see the Master Mírdain first. The Lieutenant can wait for now. Bring the Master jewel-smith in, then leave... hold, before taking your leave Captain, what tidings are there of the Stoors creature?’
‘My Lord, his spirit has been vanquished throughout all time…there is no sign of his existence in any world.’
‘Ah, he must have... Never mind, he is of no consequence to our plans now if the Master Mírdain and the Lieutenant have done what was required of them. Bring the jewel-smith before me.’
The Master Mírdain is brought before Sauron, his Dark Lord.
Mirdan: ‘Great Lord, I have found one way to do as you wish.’
‘And this is? ‘
‘But it is not without cost or risk.’
‘ Nothing is Ring Maker! But to what cost and risk do you refer?’
‘You have in your control, three rings from the dwarves and nine are with the Nazgûl.’
‘Yes, but the rings of the Nazgûl are under my control.’
‘Correct Great Lord, but the Nazgûl could not survive as they do without bearing them, despite the many tellings that you recovered them once the mortal kings became your Ringwraiths…’
‘Yes, I have also heard these tellings. Many are gravely wrong to think that my Nazgûl could be as they are without bearing their Rings of Power. Ù6.1 For the Rings give them power beyond that possessed by the mortal men they once were, and continue to enslave them to me. But it serves my purpose well that this false belief exists... But, your point Master Mírdain - come to your point!’
‘We have by the force of The Dark and your power Great Lord, managed to secure hidden access to the three Elven rings. That, without the knowledge of their bearers, these now have been tied to yours; such that, while they are as yet still controlled by the Elves, you are aware of their actions.’
‘Yes – yes, this we have already conjured. But...’
‘The three Elven Rings have great command, second only to The One, now destroyed. As the Fires of Doom no longer exist, no further One can be forged. Yet there is a way for the rings within your control to be made equally powerful to the three of the Elves, however…’
‘However? Master Mírdain, I grow impatient with your riddles – speak straight to me. The Elven-power must be subservient to mine, and yet their bearers must not know this. I ask you straight, can it be done!’
‘Yes, but only by recasting the twelve, can I make three as powerful as those of the Elves…’
‘You must reclaim the nine from your Nazgûl, and together with the three from the dwarves, by an ancient code I can recast three rings as powerful as those of the Elven Rings. It is the only way.’
‘What do you propose, that I destroy my Nazgûl to achieve three rings. What madness is this!’
‘Pardon my Lord. I humbly seek your patience to hear out my plan. The ancient teaching provides for increasing ring-power by the occult factor of three, using the force of three and nine together. The twelve rings together must be uncast and then recast again. By the code, this reforging will create three super-rings, each with the power of the Elven Rings, and nine lower-rings. And, as The One ruled all Rings of Power, this recasting, will bind the power of the twelve together, such that the power transmits between them at your will. And the lower-rings for the Nazgûl, will appear, and with your command over their power, to operate in essence as they do now.’
‘Master Mírdain there is mighty ingenuity, as well as masterful ring-making skill, in you. A faculty I have not seen before. You have argued your point well. I must have greater power than the remaining three Elven rings, and the Nazgûl will, as you say, not suffer any ill because power will transmit to their rings from their connection with mine. I will give your plan more thought. Give me the ancient code of which you speak and come back at fall of night. Once a decision has been made, when can the recasting be done?’
‘ With the tools you have provided, and your own skill at the forge, Lord Annatar, we need only wait for the next night of the dark moon.’
‘And the moon is so in nine days from today. I would have it sooner, but know that such powers occur as The Dark deems. Yet I will seek within the code an earlier happening. Give me all you have gleaned, I will call for your return later; you will have my decision then. Tell no-one, not even the Captain of this plan. You will be richly rewarded Master Ring-Maker.’
‘Thank you mighty Lord.’
Captain toSauron: ‘You called, my Lord.’
‘Captain, Master Mírdain has brought me rare promise, which I will discuss with you once I have seen the Lieutenant. Ù6.2 Bring him to me now. I wish you to stay to hear what he has to say.’
The Lieutenant is brought before Sauron, his Dark Lord.
Lieutenant: ‘My Lord, the Captain has relayed to me your displeasure in the delay in finding the secret of The Light.’
‘That is true. I do not abide failure, as you well know.’
‘But there is no failure my Lord.’
‘But you have not shown me an answer to penetrating The Light!’
‘Some success Lieutenant! These are words of failure!’
‘I have penetrated The Light my Lord, but its force is strong, and as yet only shadows and muffled sounds appear. In a little more time… ‘
‘More time, Lieutenant!’
‘ My Lord, we have made out that those called together by the White Wizard will be leaving The Lightwith some Band of The Light that protects them…’
‘Yes, I have sensed this action occurring, and have heard some words. But Lieutenant, what else have you?’
‘If one of these Bands were to fall into the hands of The Dark, I believe that I could unravel the secret of the Ring of Light itself…’
‘Hold Lieutenant, the Captain seeks my counsel.’
Sauron: ‘What say you Captain?
Captain: ‘Saruman is here my Lord, before the promised time.’
‘Have you filled him in on the tidings?’
‘Yes my Lord – he knows of the Quest and what you seek.’
‘Then bring him to me. He will be useful for he knows the weaknesses of those against us.’
Sauron: ‘Lieutenant we will wait for a moment, until we can bring the Wizard into our discussion - his knowledge will be useful for our purpose.’
Saruman is brought before Sauron, his Dark Lord.
Sauron: ‘Hto Dukrnojj he yenlaok uqq Wizard.’
Saruman: ‘I have come as commanded, to do your will Lord of Darkness.’
‘You know of the Quest, and those who meet within The Light. We need one that will come to The Dark. What is your counsel on this?’
‘The answer is simple my Lord, for you will remember the pact that was made with the Steward of Gondor. His first-born, Boromir, is one of the Quest. You will have no problem in luring him into The Dark.’
‘A clever plan that now comes to fruition. Captain put all eyes on the whereabouts of the Steward’s first born, and waylay him without delay. And Wizard, what say you about the White Wizard who leads this Quest?’
‘Gandalf, once my secondary, I know well. He is weak and has scant wisdom. If this Quest depends on him, it will come too little. You need not fear him or the Quest, my Lord.’
‘Your counsel is wise. I now must attend to other matters, so go with the Lieutenant, he has much to discuss with you about the Quest and The Light. You must have uncovered the secret of The Light by dawn - work through the night until it is done. Inform the Captain immediately.’
Gandalf, Aragorn and Éowyn, in the realm of The Light.
Gandalf: ‘Aragorn we have spoken often of your concern that some misfortune would arise from Arwen forsaking her Elven immortality to wed you. But there have been no signs of this dark portent, and your son and daughters are proof that your union was blessed. I cannot answer your doubts or put your mind at rest, but The Light indicates that something written and held in the Great Library of Gondor will provide the answer you seek.’
‘But Gandalf, since The Light commands that both Éowyn and I journey together, what time would suit both our purposes? And you have seen the Great Library of Gondor, it is a vast chamber full of manuscripts, scrolls and papers, where should we start, for we have such little time in the days yet allotted to the Quest!’
‘Yes Aragorn, your task is daunting. But within the Library there are secret copies of manuscripts on Elven prophesies that relate to the kingship of man and elf. Ah, a bold plan that now gives us much opportunity.’
Aragorn: ‘Gandalf? Gandalf, of what plan do you speak?’
‘A plan of which Iarwain Ben-adar once spoke to me. Ù6.7 A plan that he never made clear its full purpose. He told me, or should I say, made me aware in the vaguest of terms; that none of my prompting ever could release from him a full answer. In his usual way, he always said that there would be a time when I would know all, but it was not then, it would be revealed when it must be revealed.’
Gandalf paused, taken by the thought: ‘Ah Ben-adar is the time now? ‘
Gandalf brought back to the now: ‘Aragorn, of the little I know, I will tell you. Some deep rift occurred between two Maiar Ù6.3 of Middle-earth and Ben-adar interceded to safeguard one by secreting him away to Rivendell. There, this Maia studied the Elven codes and prophesies, and under the direction of Elrond, made copies of all of the Elven manuscripts. Long had it been feared, that if the Dark Lord ever conquered the lands of Rivendell and Lothlórien, all the history, teachings and secrets of these Elven worlds would be lost. Then with the influence of Elrond, for the safekeeping of these manuscripts and this Maia, Raalta, he became the Protector of the Great Library of Gondor. Ù6.5
Aragorn: ‘Gandalf, I thought I had knowledge of all the Maiar in Middle-earth, but I have not heard of… Raalta?’
Gandalf: ‘Ah, his identity was well hidden to all, for his adversary was powerful and his future in grievous jeopardy. But it served all purposes well to have him in this position of trust, for the safety of these manuscripts and the Great Books. This appointment occurred in the first years of Denethor’s reign as Steward of Gondor. Within these manuscripts I sense, no I am sure Aragorn; you will find the path to understanding the Light’s words. But Aragorn while your task will be daunting, for these ancient texts are written in riddles and codes, it nears not how formidable will be that for Éowyn. For we are told by the words of The Light that all records of this Queen were obliterated by the Dark Lord. But the words have given us some direction. It is clear that to discover Éowyn’s Queen; she needs to look at the account of the Great Books after the time that the Nine gave fealty to the Dark Lord.’
Éowyn: ‘Gandalf, I fear we have not your wisdom or powers of deduction. Would it not be possible for you to come with us on this endeavour?’
‘It will not be possible Éowyn, for I must travel to Saruman. Further, I am now certain that I am the ‘third’ The Light mentioned to seek counsel of Treebeard. So I must travel to Fangorn Forest also. And then if all goes well, to another future place, thus losing four days of my Quest’s ten. But fear not Éowyn, for your connection with the Queen is strong. I have no doubt she will mark your way. But, my journey to Saruman will not only be to see if he renounces evil, for I have no doubt he will not, but Saruman was the pre-eminent greatest scholar on the lore of The Dark and the Rings. His knowledge was renowned, and I will, with caution not to disclose our purpose, find if he knows anything of this matter or some prophesy that bears on Arwen and your Queen. Although there is grave danger in the transmission of messages, if Saruman provides any sign, I will make contact with you.’
Aragorn: ‘So Gandalf, what is your counsel about when we should journey to Gondor.’
Gandalf: ‘I think it would be wise to go at the earliest meeting of both your needs, when we know the manuscripts were first taken there, for we know that the Great Books of the ages of Éowyn’s Queen would have by then already be stored in the Library. That is, at least for the first part of your purpose. After that, based on what you uncover you will need to set your own course. I believe that you both will know what will be needed when you come upon it. However, your journey must be carefully timed, for much depends on not alerting wary eyes to your search. It would be wise to make sure that Saruman, who was known to visit Gondor or to send his spies there regularly at this time, and Denethor, are not in Minas Tirith then, for an interest in the Library from outsiders may arouse notice and suspicion by these two. I have searched my memory for when would be the best time, when all points meet, and from my reckoning there is only one occasion when I know that both were absent from the city, for they both travelled together. At the time I thought this a strange companionship, for Denethor was loath to leave his Minas Tirith, but it now suits our purpose well.’
Gandalf thought then continued: ‘A year after the death of Finduilas, Ù6.4 Denethor’s wife, her brother, Prince Imrahil organised a large memorial service for her in Dol Amroth. This was celebrated in conjunction with Yáviérë, the harvest festival of Gondor. Denethor was said to be still distraught, but felt obliged to travel to Finduilas’s birthplace for her memorial. All the dignitaries of Minas Tirith and Saruman, who was said to hold some influence over Denethor then, travelled also to Dol Amroth. The memorial service was held on 20 September in III 2989; it is on this day you should journey to Minas Tirith. But all care must be taken to mask your identities. You will need to be of noble blood to be given entry to the Royal Archives of the Library, where the treasures of Gondor, including the Great Books are stored. At this time, you could not be from Denethor’s line, elsewise you would have had to be at the memorial. However, it was known that from the Haven of Gondor, Pelargir, nobles visited Minas Tirith to study the history of the faithful Númenóreans. So it would not arouse much suspicion for a visit of such scholars to arrive. You should travel as Lord Meneldur and his sister, Lady Silmariën, of Pelargir. These identities must be persuasive, and with these titles, none should question dignitaries named after the great line of the Kings of Númenor. You will need a formal introduction to Raalta, so that you may gain access to the inner sanctum of the Library. You should avoid all contact with others in the city, but should you need to pass through the gates of the Citadel, then you will need papers to present to the guards. Saruman and the Dark Lord have many spies and it would put your mission in grave peril if you would be discovered and challenged, so heedful caution will need to be taken. Raalta will be a wise ally and ease your passage into and through the Great Library. I will ready such papers and in your introduction to Raalta, ask him to see to your needs. Seek me out before break of day and I will give these to you, and as a sign of your alliance with me, take this my pendant (the crest of the Maiar). Raalta will recognise it immediately, and should all go wrong, it will be the key to your safe passage through the city. It carries many codes to unlock ancient doors, both those of the physical and spiritual, and you need only ask it to unlock what the mind and matter holds closed. I entrust it into your safe keeping.’
Aragorn: ‘I feel that Éowyn should more properly take charge of this powerful ornament.’
Éowyn: ‘Gandalf, is this one of the ancient keys of which The Light spoke?’
Gandalf: ‘We are truly fortunate, for although a boon from the ancients, as this pendant will be displayed in a future telling of the old lore of Middle-earth, I do not have to call upon it as one of the Light’s keys from new lore. I have only five of these keys to choose from, and by my reckoning others will need the help of such devices more than you both. But this pendant holds immense power and will unlock what seems impassable, use it wisely.’
Aragorn: ‘Gandalf, one matter still needs your direction. Where should we find Raalta? For surely we would need to fix a position to him directly to reduce any chance of enemy eyes becoming aware of us.’
‘Yes, Aragorn, it would wise for you not to have to travel the streets of Minas Tirith. You should meet up with him at day break – for he will be up then, rising always before the sun. His room, his room… Let us use my chronomap. Here hold on Minas Tirith, the seven levels will appear, I should be able to fix the position of his quarters exactly.’
Gandalf hesitated, sifting through the facts that ran through his mind, then resumed: ‘Here on the seventh level, within the Citadel, lies, with the Great Hall – and there, the Great Library. On the level below, with the Houses of Healing, there were special lodgings for those main office bearers of the city, the City’s Shaman and the Protector of the Books. Ah, his lodgings were just along from the Houses of Healing – yes, here it is, just off the southward wall, within this building, I am sure of it. At dawn, after I have given you the letters, set your time and course thus, speak the words of The Light and they will see you travel directly to his door.’
Gandalf continued: ‘One word of warning, be aware that Raalta is a noble scholar and mind, and you must proceed with caution before releasing to him the details of what you seek. Speak not of the others or other parts of the Quest. He will not ask anything more of you than what you tell him, knowing that I have sent you. For whereas he can be trusted completely, it may put him and others at grave risk should your mission be discovered. One further matter, I sense that you will need to use the power of holding a moment of time for later, do not forget the words: ‘Sga mohgs si gimf sgt lilaps op sola’.
However, whatever happens, you must leave enough time to return to The Light by the 10th day; and remember each time you traverse you lose ‘a sun and a moon’, a day of your time in the Quest. Only if your situation is desperate should you make contact with me or any other of the Quest. Trust in yourselves and the power of The Light. At break of dawn you must depart.’
Éowyn: ‘One last thing Gandalf, I know you have many to see and counsel, but The Light has announced that we cannot prevent another’s death; but surely then if the Queen cannot be saved, what about the words that promised to ‘change her end’?’
‘That you can do Éowyn, without preventing her death. You can ensure that something she calls for will be changed and… that there will be memory of her. That I sense is the end she and the words call for. Remember also that a moment in time may be transformed later when you can share my counsel again. Again I stress this must be no later than on 10th day. May The Light protect you.’
Sauron feels the presence of Iarwain Ben-adar penetrate his realm: Ah, Ancient One – do you think you can taunt me? Fool! I do not fall for such tricks as this. We both know the measure of each other. You will not divert my attention to challenge you openly – not yet that is. It is in my time that I will choose so. But I feel your fear for the others – vulnerable - all of them to my power. You fear my mounting connection with Morgorth bringing his spirit back from the void. You are right to fear this! You see Ancient One, I am ahead of you. What say you?
In the realm of the Light, Gandalf senses Ben-adar, and the threat of Sauron, he calls out to him: Ben-adar?! ‘Aaah!’
Aragorn: ‘Gandalf?! What dismays you?’
Gandalf: ‘Ah! News that Saruman has, as The Light forespoke, been taken to the keep of the Dark Lord. The Dark grows ever more powerful, it comes close to The Light and its powers, close to even The Light’s power of travel.’
Aragorn: ‘Gandalf, do we change our plans with this news?’
‘No, we must proceed as the pieces on the Board traverse, but heed that where you go, The Dark may also follow! But its powers are not of The Light, as yet…, so with confidence we may proceed. If the balance changes, I will contact you. Aragorn, go make final plans, Éowyn stay a minute.’
Gandalf: ‘Éowyn – one further matter.’
Gandalf: ‘Éowyn, choose carefully the right course…’
‘The right course’ Gandalf – what do you mean?’
‘Ah, hold fast to the truth of your past, but be open to the truth of your present and your future, no one but you can determine your course. The right course – you will know it when the choice is yours to make…’
‘You will know. You will know! Go now, I have complete faith in your courage and determination. Be ever mindful of those against us, for although we have a mighty power that watches over your purpose, The Dark grows more fearsome in its reach. May swift success direct your course – we meet again within The Light on the 10th day.’
Alone, Gandalf speaking to the Light: ‘I hear you Ben-adar. I hear the universe whisper, whisper that all things are intertwined, that we must search for that which holds all things together. Fear not, I hold fast to the truth of the Maiar.’
Gandalf, Boromir and Faramir, in the realm of The Light.
Gandalf: ‘Boromir and Faramir, I wish I could assist you more in your search. I know nothing of any pact of your father that The Light spoke of. I know he was grief stricken with your death, Boromir, and in the madness of grief did not wisely or fairly deal with you, Faramir. If there was some pact, out of which your action, Boromir, resulted, then Denethor may have felt responsible for your death. Have either of you any inkling of such a pact and with whom it was made?’
‘No Gandalf, to my recollection our father never spoke of any such pact. But… but…’
‘From the darkest reaches of my mind, a memory long fought from coming forth into existence – I feel, I feel, I remember there was…’
Faramir: ‘Boromir… what do you remember?’
Gandalf: ‘Faramir, do not force his recall. For the Band brings to awareness some memory he has long struggled to suppress. It will come if we leave it to appear. Struggle not against it Boromir, let The Light touch your dark reaches.’
Boromir: ‘Gandalf, I remember, when only a small child, a visit from two famous Wizards, one in white raiments and one all in black.’
Gandalf: ‘Saruman and Sauron’s agent!’
Sauron: Ah, Ancient One, see how your Wizard calls me into The Light. He has neither wisdom nor control! As you support each weakling, keeping them from my grasp, your own powers are dispersing – I feel it – I feel it! Soon it will be our time to meet. Soon!
Gandalf: ‘Fiendish evil then happened here!’
‘I must have been only five or six. I remember the occasion with overwhelming fear. It still brings shivers from deep within me…’
‘Boromir, tell what you see in your mind. You are safe here!’
‘Some ritual in the Great Hall. Dark was the Hall, only lights from a table… The Great Doors were locked and bolted...’
‘Boromir, who stands in the hall...’
‘Only father, the Wizards, mother, Faramir in her arms, and me…’
‘The Wizards, Boromir, what are they doing?!’
‘The White Wizard is chanting something. My father is with a raised voice addressing my mother… he comes and pulls me from her to the White Wizard… And, and. Yes, this Wizard cut the palm of my hand… My blood spilled upon the table… He then let me slip from his grasp and I ran towards my mother, who stood now within the shadows of the throne.’
‘A blood pact! It is as I feared, but I did not think that the Dark Lord would be involved so directly.’
‘The Black Wizard came and spoke gently to my mother. She pleaded with him, and he put his hand upon my head… then after chanting some words I did not understand, he helped her and us escape the Hall… down the secret stone stairs…’
‘Dark’s agent comforted your mother?! This cannot be so Boromir! And his hand upon your head, he blessed – or cursed - you! Boromir, Boromir, are you sure your memory is so?!’
Gandalf: ‘Sit here Boromir. I should not have pushed your remembrance like this. Here take some water. We will wait. When the memory eases and sits less fitfully with you, then we can proceed further. Faramir, in my chamber there is a blue case, bring it to me. I have something that will ease Boromir’s fearsome recollection.’
Boromir: ‘Thank you Gandalf. I am now fully recovered. Now that the memory has been brought forth, I fear it not so. Here, see I still have the scar upon my palm, where the White Wizard cut into it. But I remember nothing else, except being terrified, and my parents being in bitter disagreement, and then our mother rushing us down the stone stairs. Yes Gandalf, this must have been the ritual enacting the pact. But never has this pact been discussed by our father with me, though he has spoken of some mystic power sitting behind his Stewardship. Faramir have you any recollection of this moment?’
Faramir: ‘No. But from your recall, our mother held me in her arms, I must have been young… very young. But I do recollect Denethor speaking on occasion of some outstanding concession being given to the House of the Steward by some mighty power.’
Gandalf: ‘Ah, what a fool Denethor was to think he could trust the Dark Lord and Saruman!’
‘One matter I am sure that lies within this somehow. For Denethor has in a secret chamber in the Tower of Ecthelion some power that gives him powerful insight – and at times even foresight.’
‘It is as you say; Denethor had use of a powerful force a palantir. This gave him the ability to see clearer than a man such as he had the natural power to do so. But his vision would be directed by the Dark Lord. He would thus be at the call of dark powers. Denethor, in his pride, thought he could control them - this would lead him to his madness. But we cannot give up hope, for The Light tells that you must speak to him of the pact. We have no indication from the words when to seek this knowledge from him; but knowing your father well, and that he did not bring you into his confidence about this matter, I think he would not naturally be willing to impart this information. I believe that some realization came to him when he heard of your death, Boromir, of the falseness of whatever pact he had made with Saruman and The Dark. It is at this time that I sense he would be most willing to admit to and denounce whatever oath he may have taken. I do not know the exact date when Denethor first leaned of your doom.’
Faramir: ‘I have been told that Boromir’s horn was heard in Minas Tirith on that fateful day – and I saw his funeral boat, by Steward’s reckoning on 8 Sulime, by general time, on the last day of February, but I know not when the news was first heard by the Steward.’
Gandalf: ‘Yet I know Denethor had received this before I arrived on III 9 March 3019. I believe that it is to just before this time, on 8 March, you should return. You must find him alone, for although The Light says directly that you must speak to him, it must be when there are no others present.’
Faramir: ‘We cannot therefore seek him in the Great Hall, for there are always others around him, only in his private chambers, before dawn, might we find him alone. He never usually left these chambers until the sun rose.’
Boromir: ‘Yes, it will be here, except for his closest aides, that he will be alone. Father had taken up residence in the Royal Palace, which stood away from the Great Hall, but was secretly connected to it by stone stairs that run beneath the street of the Citadel and came up near the Steward’s Council Room.’
Gandalf: ‘Then use the chronomap to chart your course. Hold a position on the Great Hall, and as it comes to view, move it just beyond – see it shows a model of the Steward’s residence – yes, see there Boromir, there is Denethor’s chamber. But before you approach him directly, you should first seek out the parchment containing the pact. For all such doings, a written deed will exist bearing the blood signatures of all those bonded together by the pledge. Where would Denethor keep this deed?’
Faramir: ‘In the Council Room, there – next to his Chamber, for father was always wary of permitting important papers to be in the hands of the City’s officers.’
Gandalf: ‘Then it is to this Council Chamber you should first journey. If this is before dawn, then it would be a time when no one should need to be present in this room.’
Gandalf paused then continued: ‘One thing Boromir, I fear I must say, that whatever is within the power of The Light, your death and that of your father in this Age, cannot be undone.’
Boromir: ‘You need not fear saying this Gandalf; I understood the meaning of the words. In any case, it is not my death that I wish to have undone, but an understanding of my actions beguiled by The One Ring and the workings of The Dark. For even now I feel Sauron’s breath upon my neck.’
Sauron:Ah, Gondorian warrior, I feel your distress. You sense my presence, my eye fixed on you. I feel your doubt, yet... yet still you have strength, but soon all this will be to no avail... my agents will bring you to me. Then warrior, we will put to test your true mettle.
‘Captain, tell the Wizard that he must prepare to penetrate The Light and capture the Steward’s first born – I sense his growing vulnerability – it is time to strike as soon as he leaves the protection of the White Wizard.’
Boromir: ‘I need to know if this pact has anything to do with this and if this ill can be undone.’
Faramir: ‘We seek this end together, Boromir.’
Boromir: ‘Yes Faramir, too long has my father’s favour of me lingered between us, and unfairly been dealt to you.’
Gandalf: ‘Then it has been decided. To Minas Tirith before dawn on III 8 March 3019 you will journey to the Steward’s Council Room. You must leave The Light at dawn. Trust in yourselves, and no-one else, for like Boromir, I feel the Dark Lord’s eye on him. We must with particular care treat the giving and existence of the pact, for The Light did not say this could be undone, only that this must be understood. You will need to consider all actions wisely, remember that these will flow into the future, the outcome of which we do not know until all the pieces are positioned on the Board. Whatever happens however, you must return to The Light by the 10th day. I wish you both well in your search, and sense that despite what trials will pass, Boromir; you will find your answer and release.’
Faramir: ‘Gandalf do you wish me to return the blue case to your chamber?’
Gandalf: ‘Yes Faramir, for I have others now to see. But wait, blue… What an old fool am I! Boromir, look back into your memory, the Wizard in black raiments. It was very dark in the Hall, and to your child’s eyes next to the white raiments of Saruman, they would have appeared black – but could they have been blue…a dark sea-blue. Look Boromir, tell me quickly!’
Boromir: ‘Gandalf, yes, from my memory, yes, his cloak and all raiments could have been blue.’
Gandalf: ‘Ah, this explains much! For it was not an agent of the Dark Lord that stood beside Saruman in this pact, and then gave assistance to your mother, and - and as I now realise, blessed not cursed you. It was a Blue Wizard, it was Alatar! We are strangely fortunate, for…’
Boromir: ‘What, Gandalf, fortunate in what?’
Gandalf hesitated, musing on this revelation: ‘We must tread very carefully in this regard, for The Light has not foretold this occurrence. But one further possibility exists, if all else fails. You may seek out counsel of Raalta, the Protector of the Books in Gondor’s Great Library. But you should not yourselves appear to him unless all else fails, for The Light has not spoken of such a meeting. Take care that no other eventuality arises. Use the Bands to tell you what must be done; they will direct you when all paths appear confused and veiled.’
Faramir: ‘Gandalf, we know Raalta well. Many hours we spent with him in the Great Library…’
Boromir: ‘More verily Faramir, you spent – for my interests lay elsewhere...’
Faramir: ‘But we both know him, and respect him greatly.’
Gandalf: ‘In that contains the conundrum Faramir, for The Light did not direct you to him when it could have easily done so. I fear that there is some meaning in this we do not yet understand. Mind my warning; seek him out only when all other paths fail. With care, should you have no other avenue, seek my counsel, but heed The Light’s warning, our thoughts may be exposed in this to The Dark. The darkness lingers close. Heed that all your actions must be measured, for we do not know of what it knows and has the power to do. We have uncovered much now, but I feel there is more that will be revealed to you in the quiet of the rest of the night. Seek some respite Boromir, for a dark secret has been brought forth, you will need some time to find peace and surety now that this has been released. Whatever happens, know that you must return to The Light by the 10th day. Know that a mighty power stands alongside you to protect your cause against all that The Dark plots against us, but even so, be wary and guard against the signs of its strike against you. May you find the answers and understanding you seek.’
‘But hold now Faramir there is one matter of which I must speak to you separately. Faramir, how is it between Éowyn and you? I need your straightforwardness here. Is there anything that could jeopardize the Quest?
Faramir: ‘Be assured Gandalf there is no ill feeling between us, and I have confirmed this with Éowyn just this morn. At the time of our parting, there was much sorrow for both her and myself, but you know the assuredness and righteousness of Éowyn. I found her vulnerable in the Houses of the Healing, and fell in love with her; as I believed at the time she did of me. And although all who looked upon us thought happiness continued in our betrothal, as time progressed, I could not be in tune or tame the ‘wild shieldmaiden’ in her. She could not let this be if she was to stay Éowyn, nor did I want this, if she did or could not. We parted then, as you know, before the marriage vows were taken, both understanding this. Ù6.6 The years have seen us continue a bond of friendship, although from a distance. Éowyn and I believe that our parting will not jeopardize the future of the Quest; elsewise we would have come at once to you. We ask if you would make this known to the others, and reassure them that there is no ill that could jeopardize our purpose. Aragorn, Boromir and I have already spoken about this. I believe, however Gandalf, it is more the bond between Aragorn and Éowyn, and all that has gone between them, which will need your heedfulness.’
Gandalf: ‘I thank you for your forthrightness Faramir, and I am reassured. Both Aragorn and Éowyn understand the peril that may exist from what once lay between them. But I believe that this Quest will, rather than be at risk by it, depend upon it. There is some great purpose, yet undeclared to any of us. But I sense that they will need succor from the friendship that exists between all of us here.’
‘One last point Faramir, one of warning. You must watch Boromir at all times. He fears, and I sense rightly so, that the Dark Lord marks him especially for evil regard. Take care of him, and although perilous, contact me if you feel The Dark upon him. But heed The Light’s words, and take measured caution not to interfere with the pact, remember The Light speaks only of understanding it.’
Faramir: ‘I feel only with your wisdom and strength Gandalf that we both can steer our course through what lies ahead.’
‘Faramir, our strength and wisdom comes from each part working in accord. For there is much we all do not understand as now we proceed along Light’s path, but we have mighty power within us all. I am sure of this. Faramir, journey with good speed and fortune, we meet again here on 10th day.’
Gandalf alone again, calls out to the Ancient One: Gandalf: ‘Ben Adar, I now understand. I understand about the conflict between Saruman and Alatar, and what must be. Can we protect them both?’
Gandalf, Legolas and Gimli, in the realm of The Light.
Gandalf: ‘My dear friends, the words of The Light have mapped your path. You must seek four Rings of Power, and have them freely relinquished to the Quest. The three Elven Rings are one matter, but the fourth… seeking the fourth is fraught with uncertainty and peril. The Light has spoken of old lore that must be questioned. It has been told that of the Rings of Power given to the dwarves, the last of the seven, Thráin II took with him on his secret journey to Erebor, Then, with his capture, this Ring was recovered by the Dark Lord, and Thráin died in lingering torment in the dungeons of Dol Guldur. Yet The Light instructs that Thráin knows of some secret, hidden over the centuries; this you must have him reveal to you. From what I know of Thráin this will be a formidable task, which we must consider; but first, what know you of the three Elven Rings.’
‘I know that The Three were safely hidden in the Third Age.’
‘Yes Legolas, they were.’
‘And I believe after the fall of Sauron, they were unused and no longer powerful. Lore has it that with The One destroyed; they no longer wielded a force of their own.’
‘That was what was said; but things did not appear to be so.’
‘But if The Three still wielded power, surely that was through some dark force, as this is not as it was written. Those who bore The Three should have questioned this continuing force.’
‘This it was feared. But those who kept them in safe keeping had under all strict observance of the Council searched for this dark control and found none. The Rings appeared strong and pure, beyond the destruction of The One.
‘I feel grave misgivings about this nevertheless.’
‘And perhaps these misgivings are justified Legolas. But even before travelling westward it became clear that The Dark was merely vanquished from Middle-earth’s Third Age, that already, the smoldering embers of evil were beginning to rekindle. Those bearers knew then that the world stood on the brink of being consumed by the reemergence of The Dark, and believed that the Elven Rings of Power would keep evil at bay until all was strong enough to destroy The Dark forever.’
Gimli: ‘Forever’, Gandalf, this seems a mighty task. Two times now in my short memory Sauron has been vanquished and yet he has still returned; perhaps now with less power than before, but I feel in my bones, that daily he grows ever more fearsome.’
Gandalf: ‘Your bones are wise Gimli. I have sensed his expanding evil ever since we have arrived. I feel that he looks upon us through some shielding veil, but The Light holds him out still. But to return to the Elven rings.’
Legolas: ‘I see that our task will be even more difficult under the circumstances you have just told. For the three who bear them would have more likely freely relinquish them if they had no continuing command, but now that they do, what will convince them to surrender them to an elf, of no notable rule, and a dwarf?’
Gandalf: ‘Your account of what has happened, and this, Narya, The Ring of Fire, which I freely surrender into your care. As by the words of The Light you may not handle the Ring directly, I will put Narya into this, Light’s coffer. The coffers have a light force around them and cannot be opened other than with the assent of the one who bore the Ring. When the three are together, they will create a force of their own which will repel any intrusion of evil.’
Sauron: ‘Captain, call for the Master Mirdain!’
Master Mirdain is brought before Sauron
Sauron: ‘Master Mirdain – I feel that Narya, The Ring of Fire, has slipped from its tie to my Rings. What could the Wizard do, that would remove it from this connection. Go, seek an answer and return once you have this. My connection to the Elven Rings of Power must be maintained - but as promised, without the bearers’ knowledge of this. Bring me an answer!’
Sauron: ‘Captain, watch the Master Mirdain! What do you say Captain - the Wizard has unleashed his ray of control over the favourite son – we will see and test their response.
Sauron: Do not think Ancient One that you have controlled my power by hiding Narya from me - this is merely a weak and vain foil, see for now the Steward’s favourite son falls under my control!
Gandalf: ‘Nenya is with Galadriel and Vilya is worn by Elrond. When the time of your meeting them has been set, a message will be transmitted to them of your coming, yet nothing of the mission you must accomplish will be relayed to them.’
Legolas: ‘Gandalf, I do not underestimate the persuasiveness of your gesture in relinquishing Narya, nor your command over this noble Lady and Lord, but I feel, if the Rings were the only means to hold The Dark at bay, then Lady Galadriel and Lord Elrond may resist relinquishing them until all of their world is made safe.’
Gandalf: ‘Then Legolas, you and Gimli must convince them otherwise, but you may tell them only of your mission, not of the other parts of the Quest. We must seek the right time when an approach to them will be most compelling. The timing is crucial. There must be an interweaving of all the threads that face us, so the parts of the Board may move in accord. There is some major conjunction of events that must fall into place for these parts to fuse into a whole. This yet eludes me but I hope in our discussion the elements will reveal themselves.’
Gimli: ‘Ah Gandalf, I can see that this should be no mighty task, after all, Lady Galadriel and Lord Elrond are the most honourable of all beings, they will see the need of the Quest’s greater good. But retrieving the fourth Ring, I sense will be a daunting task. Of what we have been told, some secret kept from all for centuries we must have Thráin recount to us. From what I have heard of Thráin, proud, stubborn and secretive king, I cannot foresee that he will be easily convinced to do so.’
Gandalf: ‘Gimli, I wish your task with the Elves will be so easily determined, I fear it may not be…’
Faramir enters the chamber and whispers to Gandalf: ‘Gandalf, pardon my intrusion, but you must…’
Gandalf: ‘Over here Faramir, what distresses you so?”
Faramir: ‘Gandalf, Boromir has slipped into some form of coma, I feel The Dark upon him…’
Gandalf: ‘Come then, I will go to him, quickly…’
Gandalf: ‘Legolas, Gimli, I must take my leave to discuss an issue with Boromir. I will call you when I have returned.’
Gimli: ‘Is there anything we can do?’
Gandalf: ‘No, there are many issues that we have yet to resolve, take this time to consider them – I must leave now.’
Gandalf and Faramir rushed to Boromir,
Gandalf: ‘Quickly Faramir, as we walk tell me everything.’
‘I returned to our chambers, Boromir was there, and we started to speak of what we must do, and in the middle of his sentence, Boromir screamed, such a shrill, I saw on his face that he did not know why he screamed; he reached out for me, but before I could support him, he fell to the floor. I tried to revive him, but he was not of this world...
‘Was he breathing?’
‘Yes, deep long breaths, as if in a deep sleep, but his eyes…’
‘They were closed, but I could see his eyes darting under the lids, as if he was trying to see something, fighting to see…’
‘Ah, Ah – how long ago, Faramir, how long?!’
‘Merely minutes, I could see I could do nothing – and ran to you…’
‘That was wise, we must… in any case, we are here.’
Faramir: ‘Gandalf, are we too late? Gandalf!’
Gandalf: ‘I fear, I cannot be sure… I see Boromir struggling against this control – for another with less will, we could do nothing. Quick, Faramir, fetch me the blue case and my staff – quick… I will stave off the control until you get back… Go Faramir, there is no more you can do for him here!’
Lew Sga Mohgs ygobg nqisabst wiu
Gimf idd Sga Feqj
Dohgs sgot opsqutoip!
Fadaes Feqi’t leqs!
Hold off The Dark
Fight this intrusion
Defeat Dark’s mark!
Faramir: ‘Gandalf, I have brought the case and your staff. Has he stirred?’
Gandalf: ‘No, but he has sunk no deeper – and he still struggles against their control. Look inside the case Faramir, there is a small golden vial – there I see it…’
‘Yes Faramir – open it, you will need to twist the top twice to the left and once to the right…yes, yes – bring it here…’
‘Gandalf…it has the perfume of Kingsfoil...’
Gandalf: ‘‘The essence of Asëa aranion the healing plant of the royal line of Númenor- but in the hands of a Maia it transforms into a vapor, see as I pour it over Boromir.’
Faramir: ‘And envelops him…’
Gandalf: ‘Cocooning him from Dark’s ray. Its influence is not long-standing, but here under The Light it should be suffice to bring him back from Dark’s void. See, already, his eyes dart less, he needs less to struggle… Slowly we should see him recover consciousness – then we must act quickly. Faramir, pass me my staff. We must be as prepared as we may be for The Dark’s vengeance… only one thing in my power can protect him now. Here Faramir…’
Faramir: ‘Your staff Gandalf? I cannot take this mighty weapon from you!’
Gandalf: ‘No Faramir, not my staff but its crown – for in here lies its immense power. Feel no concern, for your need now is greater than mine. The crown detaches from the rod itself, it contains – it contains a wondrous star – a star from Varda, the Queen of the Stars, created with … ah, but that is not for the telling now. Faramir, come close, for this Light of Tranquility answers now only to me, but here as I put this on its base, see the markings on the bottom surround, here…’
‘Yes, place your finger on the southern scroll as I place mine on the north, there, there – it is done. The Light of Tranquility will now also answer to you, although its powers will not be those as when yielded by a Maia such as me. But, it will, when you press this scroll, give off a light which will provide a dual boon. It will protect Boromir from Dark’s ray, but more, for minds disturbed, it gives peace and solace. It gave light to Theoden when he was enslaved by the evil of Wormtongue and Saruman. Under your control, it may provide a temporary release for your father from the turmoil of grief and despair he suffered at hearing of Boromir’s death and his entrapment by The Dark through his palantir. I pray, light enough for him to reveal to you some details of the pact…’
Gandalf: ‘Boromir stirs, but as yet has not returned… ‘
Faramir: ‘But he grimaces less, and there is less turmoil on his brow…’
Gandalf: ‘Yes, the Asëa aranion holds The Dark at bay… but quickly I must tell you all that you need to know. Should you as a last resort need counsel from Raalta, then release this Light and say these words:
Yosg sga Mohgs id Xeqfe fi wiu diqsg
Bila si lw nqatapba, si dohgs Feqj’t yqesg
Come to my presence, to fight Dark’s wrath.
Wherever you may be, Raalta will sense your calling and come to you. Be sure that no one else may find you. Show yourself only when he appears, and you hear him say:
O bila si wiuq nqatapba, emiph Mohgs’t nesg
Si hipiuq emm sges ot, e solamatt Leoeq’t iesg.
When he perceives Varda’s Light, he will know it has been sent by me. He will understand what needs to be done.
Faramir: ‘Is this one of the keys of the ancients spoken about by The Light?’
Gandalf: ‘Miraculous as it is, we are fortunate that we need not use one of the five with this, for my staff was written into old lore, although not the full details of its magic revealed, nor the source of its light – the star of Varda - declared. For there are others Faramir, whose mission will need the keys of the ancients to see them through. Here Faramir, hold the crown close, never let it leave your sight, for it must be returned to me.’
Gandalf, is Boromir conscious?
Gandalf: ‘Very close now. The mist of the Asëa aranion dissipates. We must act quickly. Have you all you need for your journey, for the moment Boromir wakes you must leave. As soon as The Dark Lord realises that Saruman has lost control, he will strike. They have Boromir located, he can no longer stay here – you cannot wait until dawn to travel, for ever moment you linger puts him and you in gravest jeopardy…and through you, the others. Collect all you need, we must prepare the chronomap, and as soon as Boromir wakes, we can use the Star to protect him until the moment of departure. It will forestall Sauron’s strike, for he will loose his measure of where you are.’
Gandalf: ‘Ah see Faramir, Boromir now finally stirs to consciousness; you have only minutes before you must leave. Know that Boromir will recall nothing of what has happened now; you alone must carry the burden of knowing how close he was to being taken by The Dark, and how close we were all to feel the vengeance of its plan in doubtlessly using Boromir against the Quest. You must tell Boromir only that the plans have been brought forward, and that you two will be the first to leave. Take comfort that Boromir’s strength of will has been tested, and he has resisted all The Dark’s powerful forces. Faramir, I leave you to tell him, then you must leave, everything has been set. Worry not if in the urgency to leave before the dawn your location slightly misses its mark, I cannot tell what difference this will make, but your resourcefulness will carry you through. Journey with good speed and fortune, and remember you must both return here on the10th day.’
Sauron: Ahhh! Wizard of Isengard! Fool! You have lost him! Captain, bring the Wizard to me! Morgoth, Master of Darkness – I call upon your spirit. Only in you do I trust; there is no other! Soon from the void you will be revived!
‘Captain – where is the Wizard?!’
Gandalf alone in the chamber of The Light; he calls out to the Ancient One: ‘Ben-adar, I sense Sauron calling to his Master of Darkness. I fear if Morgoth is revived – all will be lost! I call upon those of The Light to forestall Dark’s plans. I return to those of the Quest, leaving in your hands our defence against The Dark.’
Gandalf recalls Legolas and Gimli.
Gimli: ‘Gandalf, what ill has befallen Boromir. We felt a tremor in The Light, as if the earth itself had quaked, what…’
Gandalf: ‘Good friends, we have walked close to the edge of Dark, it was to be expected that it would find access to us, but it has been repelled, and Boromir is safe. We must put our fears aside, for we have little time to complete our plans. We spoke of your mission with Thráin, and I agree Gimli with your view of him. The words of The Light speak directly of the King of Khazad-dûm and a secret of the dwarven rings. Your line has descended from Borin, the brother of Dain, from whence comes Thráin II; have you an inkling of the secret to which The Light refers?’
Gimli: ‘Gandalf since hearing the words of The Light, I have sought an answer to this secret. There has long been a dwarvish tradition regarding the Rings of Power that Celebrimbor, the illustrious Elven leader of the makers of the Rings of Power, had out of friendship given one of these Rings directly to Durin III, the King of Khazad-dúm during the Second Age. This was before Sauron tortured Celebrimbor and retrieved from him the Nine and the Seven. But, if the tradition was so, and Durin already possessed one Ring, then Sauron must have recovered only fifteen rings from Celebrimbor, not sixteen. This goes against all other tellings.’
Gandalf: ‘Yes Gimli, I have heard of this dwarvish legend, and also could not reconcile this with what we know of Sauron’s retrieval of the Nine and the Seven, so dismissed it as a mere myth. But perhaps there is more to be told, and as you said, the Kings of Khazad-dum, were known for their secrecy. You must seek out Thráin as he in stealth planned his trip to Erebor. We know that he departed, telling nothing of what was in his heart to even his son. This he did just after the festivities of Durin’s Day, by our dates in III 2841…. this fell on ² yes, 25 September. Ah, a fateful date, for this was the date in Yr 2, of the Disaster of Gladden Fields, when Isildur fell and The One Ring was lost in River Anduin.’
Gimli: ‘A dark date for all those of man and dwarf.’
Gandalf: ‘Yes, the date bore ill for Thráin - but we must not dwell on such dark forebodances, for I am sure, yes I am sure, this must be the date of your meeting with Thráin.’
Gimli: ‘Yes Gandalf, there are many signs that are positive and counter such dark forebodances. For in Gimli and me, travelling to the kingdoms of elves and dwarves on our united mission, we will repeat the noble friendship of elf and dwarf, of Celebrimbor and Durin III. This friendship counters The Dark’s stirring of hatred between our peoples – a darkness which has lingered over the ages, and lingers still across Middle-earth. But now, with our journey-date fixed for meeting Thráin, when should we seek out Lady Galadriel and Lord Elrond?
Gandalf: ‘As you have so wisely reasoned Legolas, this darkness has lingered close and threatening across all peoples and times. But now, we must search for a date for you to seek out the Elven Ring Bearers. I sense deeply that there is some direct connection between Durin’s Day of 2841, the date of Isildur’s doom, and a date when Galadriel and Elrond would be most open to a request to relinquish their Rings. Clearly this must be close to their departure to the West, for it was at this very time, that it was thought the Rings would be of little further value to protect their people. But the date of departure from Grey Havens on 29th of September has no meaning in terms of Durin’s Day or Isildur’s doom. There must be a date – there must be some meeting of the parts. ² There is something I am missing, some date. If I go backwards from the 29th – the last day when there is a chance on Middle-Earth of securing the Rings… some sign…some connection with the Rings…’
Gandalf deep in thought does not hear Gimli: ‘Perhaps I am looking for too narrow a connection, perhaps the link is to another mission – what missing pieces are there for the others?’
Sauron was alone, attempting to tap into his brother Maia’s thoughts: What do you search for White Wizard – what causes your mind such turmoil? You feel things are beyond you – I feel your chaos Maia of Manwé – our ancestry binds us! I sense your turmoil arises from one small victory, the rescue of the Steward’s son from my underlings, but you now know how vulnerable ‘you are. For you know that I will not leave in trust this task again. Your warrior journeys to where you cannot protect him... and where I will find him. But there is more, more that your mind reaches for... A date – I sense you search for a date, some connection!
Feel me White Wizard; feel me close in your mind. Know that I am there when you strive for answers. I feel your fear that I am close, so close!
‘Gandalf, Gandalf! ‘
Gimli: ‘Gandalf from my meager memory, if you seek connections with Rings, did not The Light mention rings in three places other than Legolas’s and my part of the Quest? A ring given to Eowyn’s Queen – which she rejected. Yet it spoke of five Rings of Power, and with Elven and Dwarf rings, these amount only to four; and then later when mention was made of how Legolas and I should bear the Four, something, something of…’
Legolas: ‘The one from the Queen, to a future be sworn.’
Gandalf: ‘Yes – yes! But what of these and a connection with a date close to the date of departure – and that of Durin’s Day, which I strongly sense must in some way be linked.’
Legolas: ‘But Gandalf, isn’t there also one other reference to a Ring, The One, and a jewel found by Gollum.’
Gandalf: ‘The One and a jewel… a jewel and The One… Yes the words of The Light spoke of Gollum by ‘murder’ and ‘search’ did find. What connects these?!’ Of course - Isildur – of course!’
Sauron: Isildur? You search now for a connection of Elven Rings and Isildur?!
Gandalf: ‘What was lost with Isildur’s doom – The One and the Star of Elendil? Both were lost when Isildur was slain by orcs in the Gladden Fields. Isildur is the connection! What date then, what date links these… Hold, let me think – going backwards from the 29th of September. No, no – that can’t be the connection, no, no, no – this is not working – something is amiss!’
Legolas: ‘Gandalf, your reasoning is sound – it will be there!’
Gandalf: ‘I fear I am not as confident as you Legolas!’
Legolas: ‘All else has fallen into place!’
Gandalf: ‘Yes Legolas, yes, you are right. Where was I up to? The 28th August, 27th. Yes, it is the 27th - why did this old mind did not see this immediately! On 27th August Isildur set out from Minas Tirith with The One and the Star of Elendil on his doomful journey north. It is the date of the beginning and end of this fateful journey that connects your mission, and in some way interweaves with that of Frodo and Samwise. On 27th August 3021, Galadriel and Elrond would have been making their final preparations to leave Middle-earth; you must seek them out in Lothlórien and Rivendell on this date of dark portent. Mapping your course to Elrond and Galadriel via the chronomap poses no problem, but uncovering the exact whereabouts of Thráin will need some reckoning. Thráin established his home in exile in the old dwarven mines in Ered Luin - but these extend for miles, where exactly would he be?’
Gimli: ‘Gandalf we know that his halls were not of the splendor of Nogrod or Belegost in their Age before being sacked, so to pin point the whereabouts of his halls exactly, my that is a formidable task!’
Gandalf: ‘Ah come now Gimli, not formidable - what exactly is written!’
Gimli: ‘That Thráin settled to the east of Ered Luin, beyond the River Lune.’
Gandalf: ‘Then let us search with the help of the chronomap.’
Legolas: ‘But how will we know that in all the dwarf mines, a particular one belonged to Thráin?’
Gandalf: ‘We look at the date exactly, we know that Thráin celebrated Durin’s Day on 25 September III 2841….Gimli insert this date on the chronomap…’
Gimli: ‘Now we search the Blue Mountains until we find evidence of such celebrations – why Gandalf – there it is – there it is – as old lore tells, unmistakably there is a copy of the stone of Durin, elected by the exiles to feel a connection to the mighty dwarf’s first awakening.’
‘There Gandalf, see the dwarf runes up the pillar – see how clear these become as a hold on this spot – yes it says ‘Thráin celebrates the honour of Durin’. Thráin’s halls would be close by… see, here, as I hold, there are huge dwarven caverns honed deep within the Mountain – yes, this is Thráin’s exiled home… right there! Legolas, mark this spot on your chronomap, for as soon as I take my finger from the parchment, all will be returned to that of a map of Middle-earth.’
Sauron: What conjuring is this I feel – some link of time and space. Three times now I have sensed some connection. This cannot by chance occur. What device Ancient One have you given to the Quest? Ah, yes I remember something written in the Ancient Codes, of time and space connected.
You see, Ancient One, I have unveiled one of your devices; soon, with my access to the Ancient Codes, I will have it within my control. Soon I will know all that you hold secret!
Gandalf: ‘Well done Gimli, you have located the exact position of Thráin’s halls in exile. So then, my dear friends, you have three locations to cross, and a fourth to return to The Light. That means of the ten days remaining, each of you will lose four in the traversing. You cannot afford any delays in any place, for you must return to The Light on the 10th day. Should you suffer any impassable obstacle, you may make contact with me, but know that this is gravely perilous.’
Gimli: ‘I think the Elves will be a much easier than Thráin to convince, but I have my ways of persuasion.’
Gandalf: ‘But Gimli remember each Ring must be given freely. Yet you are correct, even gaining access to Thráin at such times, when all were ever suspicious of spies and devilry, will be fraught with enormous difficulty Ah… perhaps I could ease your passage to him with some form of introduction…’
‘Of what do you think Gandalf?’
‘Some sign that you come with a message to be trusted. Some mark that will convince Thráin to at least see you – for an elf and dwarf together would be met only with suspicion and hostility.’
‘What sign would he…’
‘Yes, we need some sign. For although I was known to the dwarves of old, I had not met Thráin at this time. I met him only later in the dungeons of Dol Guldur, where he surrendered to me the map and key of Moria. Ah, what would he take as a sign… something only he and those in the confidence of the Kings of Old would know. Yes, yes, I will write of the secret entrance to the Mountain – he will know that you come with the message from one of trust, for none knew of this other than the kings themselves. But then, Legolas and Gimli, you must convince him of our purpose. Tell him nothing of the others. We have now spoken enough, for the Quest does not have a more resourceful and courageous partnership forged out of a friendship from peoples where, over many ages, only enmity stood. Trust in this friendship, it will see you overcome all that seems insurmountable. Make ready now for your departing at break of day, come to me before then and I will give you the parchment for Thráin. Be ever watchful for Dark’s forces, which will be sent against you. May your camaraderie cast a clear course to The Four.
Gandalf alone, feels the presence of Sauron: ‘Aaah!’
Sauron: Wizard, Maia of Manwé, you feel my presence directly now. I am close; our Maia ancestry connects us so. I feel you, sense your thoughts. You fear me! Fear me well, brother Maia!
Gandalf: ‘Ben-adar! I fear I cannot hold him from my thoughts. He is close, very close. How should we proceed? I fear, if I cannot contain him and hold him at bay, then how will the others?
I hear your assurances. Yes, yes – but for Saruman’s repulsed attack on Boromir they are yet only threats, if he could act directly against us all, none in The Light would still be alive. We proceed as planned – there is no other course!’
Gandalf, Frodo and Sam, in the realm of The Light.
Gandalf: ‘Dear Frodo and Samwise. Here I am again asking you to take a perilous journey, fraught with risk and leading you to the eyes of malice. But none in the Quest knows of Sméagol and Gollum, his good and evil, as you do.’
‘I fear Gandalf that you have misplaced your confidence in me. I saw nothing good in Gollum and had no time for his malice. And I was proven right, was I not?’
‘But Samwise, he did have a part to play.’
‘Yes, but what do you expect from him and us in this part?’’
‘To the first Samwise, we need to see if Gollum would relinquish evil. Should this be so, ah, Quest’s time is renewed – and this time is so desperately short now.’
Frodo: ‘But Gandalf did you not say that you could not locate Gollum in the future, so even if he did deny evil, where would you look to bring him into the Quest?’
‘Frodo we need to find him first in our Age, when there was a chance to turn his mind and heart away from The One. At this time I sense we will find the secret to Gollum’s disappearance in the future.’
‘But Gandalf feel you that there is any chance of him renouncing The One, his ‘precious’?’
‘No Frodo I do not. But many a time we are faced with those things that do not have much chance of success. For often there are choices put before us, for which we do not know with certainty the right path. But we must make a choice, for there is no option to do nothing. I believe your task will provide us with the insight which we will need to finalise the pieces of the Board. There is only one time when I sense there is any chance of Gollum’s disavowal of all that is Dark. This is at the time when Bilbo first took the Ring. There have been many versions of this story, so you must seek out Bilbo just as he returns to the Shire with The One. Now the date – when exactly did Bilbo return?’
‘Gandalf, Bilbo told of how on one fine spring morning in Shire Reckoning 1341 (in III 2941) his uneventful life was disturbed when you appeared with thirteen dwarves and an invitation to be part of the Quest of Erebor, and that you started your journey just before May, or was it in May?’
‘Ah, the reason to seek out Bilbo just as he arrives home from the Quest, his memory was sometimes found wanting, for it was verily in April that we left. Yet, Frodo, it is his date of his return to the Shire that is of importance for us now. Only then, do I feel you will get from Bilbo the actual telling of his find. For Bilbo later was found recounting different tales of this, and the Red Book contains not, as we know, quite the actual story. You must seek from him the exact time and location of his find. For it is then you will need to travel there, and offer Gollum ‘Light’ instead of ‘Dark’. Only then I sense in his despair for the loss of his precious, when he realizes that The One has deserted him and brought him nothing but pain, would he be willing to deny The Dark. Only then also would we be able to find the other secret he kept, that secret we have been told of by the words of The Light. For at no point did Gollum or anyone else ever mention a jewel, nor did he have one on him when he was captured by Aragorn. It is known that he kept his ‘precious’ hidden safe in a hole on his island, what else could he have kept there? Only here I sense will we find the secret to the jewel. But finding the exact date of Bilbo’s return will not be an easy task. Frodo, did Bilbo give any inkling in the Red Book of this date, should we be able to trust his scribing here?’
‘He mentions that the Quest of Erebor went from April to October…’
‘Yes, yes – that is correct.’
‘Yet he returned to the Shire only the following year.’
‘Yes, it was not until the following year he returned to Bag End, but when was that exactly…’
‘Well Gandalf my Gaffer told me that he had gone past Bag End one day, and no life was to be seen, but then on the next day, when walking past he noticed one of the shutters of the parlor just slightly ajar – so he crept up and looked through, just in case something was amiss, and there was Bilbo in a state of disarray, talking to himself as he was want to do, obviously having just returned from his long journey and not in any mood to receive guests, so my Gaffer thought it better to leave. The next day all the shutters were closed again, and it was not for some days that Bilbo come out and announced his return. My Gaffer thought Bilbo was trying to avoid seeing the Sackville-Bagginses – as he was want to do…’
‘Samwise, did your Gaffer mention a date…’
‘Yes, he was certain of the date… ‘
‘The date then Samwise!’
‘Well he said he was certain of the date because it was Midyear’s Day.’
‘Midyear’s Day – 22 June. How fortunate Samwise we are that your Gaffer noticed and told you of this. Then we have your date, you will journey to Bag End on 22 June III 2942.’
‘But Gandalf, how can we approach Bilbo, for he will not know us – in 2942 Sam and I have not been born yet!’
‘Ah – yes, it is so! But your meeting with Bilbo cannot wait until you are. If you are going to get the exact details, this is the date you must seek him out. We must give him a sign…’
‘Gandalf, what sign?!’
‘Something that Bilbo will know could have come only from me at that time. Something that he will trust is a sign from me. A sign that he will trust… a sign.. Wait here Frodo, Samwise – I will return – I must see if I can call upon…’
‘Gandalf, call upon one of the ancient keys?’
‘Ah, I will see! Wait here until I return!’
‘Sam, I am fearful that our mission is most impossible, most at risk of all those of the Quest– and that our mission will come to naught, and the whole Quest will fail. How can Gandalf, mighty wizard that he is, convince Bilbo to tell two strangers, for that is who we will be, to tell us of details of his journey, that he did not tell Gandalf and me in the Third Age. What would convince him to do so?!’
‘I fear you are right Mr Frodo…’
‘And should Gandalf be successful by some miraculous means, would that not change what will happen in the Shire for that moment…could that jeopardize the Fellowship as the words of The Light so told?! I fear Sam, we have not the wisdom to look into the future’s eyes and know what is best to do!’
‘But Mr Frodo, all in the Quest have this fine line upon which to tread…’
‘But others, like Aragorn and Legolas, have more wisdom and courage...’
‘I do not think they think so.’
‘Sam, look into yourself – do you feel assured.’
‘I feel with the Bands that we Shire folk have a strength from our simple nature that is different from the big folk, perhaps not of their wisdom, but a strength of simple spirit nonetheless.’
‘Well Sam, simple as you may call yourself, but what you have just said is mighty wise. I wish I was that certain of our strength of purpose. But I am comforted that you feel so. Ah, but Gandalf returns.’
‘And he carries three objects...’
‘Gandalf, what have you brought us?’
Gandalf: ‘Two great gifts from the ancients.’
Frodo: ‘Gandalf are these two of the keys, of which The Light spoke. Are two of these to be given to us alone?’
‘Frodo, you and Samwise are truly fortunate, for what lies ahead of you; you will need two gifts which I was once given but which were never spoken of in old lore, which by Light’s grace have been provided to ease your way. Fret not Frodo, for all the others will be given special devices, although they are not from ‘new lore’ only, and therefore part of these five specially granted. Here, Frodo take this black box… there is a story to tell.’
‘It looks light, but it is heavy – like it is made from the leadstone of the earth…’
‘Ah, how right you are, for the box is made from a piece of Durin’s Stone when it was honed from the earth and placed to mark the very spot where Durin the Deathless first looked in the Lake Mirrormere. It protects one of the majestic secret treasures of Durin’s Line. For after the destruction of the Dragon Smaug, four dwarven treasures were recovered among the gold and jewels and mentioned in old lore: the Arkenstone, the cup of Thrór, Elven chainmail (of which one was given to Bilbo, who in turn gave it to you, Frodo, and it later saved your life); the necklace of Girion, and this, the fifth treasure only revealed in new lore so precious and secret was it, the Star of Durin, the Star of Insight. A blue crystal from the waters of the lake Mirrormere in the shape of a star, given to me for my part in the Quest of Erebor. There is only one of its like, though there are tales of other similar ones… but that is not for us to talk of now. Bilbo was there when it was presented to me by Thórin, just before his death in the Battle of Five Armies. If you take this to Bilbo, with a letter I shall prepare, he will know that it was sent by me, and that I trust you implicitly, for I have never spoken to anyone of this star, nor has any other, so secret was it considered by the dwarf kings.’
‘Gandalf, how does one open the box, the stone seems to be in one piece?’
‘Ah, that in itself is a ritual, and your elfin-like fingers are needed. See the dwarf-runes – there in the middle, the star-shape, press on it, the middle will drop down, at the bottom is a tiny lever, pull this forward…yes, yes, Frodo, there, see the top comes up, and the blue crystal star lies in a pool of water from whence it came, from the Mirrormere itself.’
Sauron: What power do I sense Wizard you have unleashed – some Light from ancient times? Do you think Ancient One, that such lights are any match for my and Morgoth’s Dark?! You show your desperation in such measures.
Bring forth all the lights you will – I will show you soon how all together they will be extinguished by my one breath!
Frodo: ‘Gandalf – Gandalf – it is beautiful…’
‘Here Sam, look at it, take the stone box so you can see it gleam…’
‘It looks like a star from the heavens lying in a deep blue sky, which shimmers with colours…’
‘As did the lake itself, when Gimli and I looked into it, for although the sun shone brightly, it reflected only the stars in the sky…’
Gandalf: ‘Yes Frodo, a truly remarkable thing. The star here has taken the colour of the blue of the sky and seas to the West.’
‘Gandalf, you are entrusting such a wondrous thing to Mr Frodo and me, I fear…’
‘Ah Samwise, you spoke wisely before to Frodo, of a strength of spirit in the simplicity of Hobbits, and you were correct – I have no hesitation and no fear to deliver this gem into your safe keeping…’
‘You heard us Gandalf, but you were gone from this room…’
‘I hear much that is said, Frodo – even when it is said in whispers – and so do others, so we must always be on our guard for those that may over-hear. With this Star and the letter I will prepare for you, Bilbo will not hesitate to give you the exact time and location of his meeting with Gollum – of this I am sure.
But enough said of this, we must move on to your plotting your way to Gollum and to the other device I have brought you for your meeting with him. You must find him just as he realizes his ‘precious’ is gone, for it is at this time he is most vulnerable – but be heedful, also most vicious. That is why it is so important that Bilbo gives you the exact time and location. Once you have this, use the chronomap to plot your travelling to this exact time and spot. Have you any questions here?’
‘No Gandalf, all seems clear.’
‘Gandalf, Sam and I have worked together on how to use the chronomap. We feel quite confident in this regard.’
‘Good, then we must proceed with what you must do when you come upon Gollum deep in his den. You must not show yourselves to him, nor confront him directly – for even without The One, ín his anger and bitterness, I fear he could easily overpower you both. ‘
‘Then Gandalf, how can we speak to him?’
‘Ah Frodo, through the second boon from the ancients. Samwise, pass me the white shell container – careful now! From the ancient Maiar master, from Eönwë, the great herald of Manwë, the Breath of Arda, comes this great voice-box. It was said that as well as being the supreme of arms of Arda, when Eönwë spoke, such a booming sound arose from him that all heard him and listened in awe. When he passed from The Light, the magic of his voice was fashioned into this white-shell horn, but its existence was lost from memory of the lore of Middle-earth. This horn of Eönwë, gives one the power to project words far beyond the range of any mortal man… or hobbit! If you speak into it, your voice will sound as if it comes from the masters of the heavens themselves. ‘
‘But how do we open the container to find the horn… do I press some rune, as with the Stone of Durin?’
‘Ah, no Frodo, more ingenuity holds the secret of this horn, for see what happens when I call upon Eönwë:
Mas wiuq giqp ennaeq!’
Let your horn appear!
‘Why Gandalf, the container… the container itself is changing shape…’
‘Changing…. into the shape of a horn – a horn as mighty as that carried by Boromir.’
‘ Yes Frodo, mightier than the Horn of Gondor. Frodo, take the horn, speak only in a whisper, otherwise you will stir all those near!’
‘Just a whisper Frodo!’
Sauron: What! The voice of Eönwë. It cannot be! How could this be so! How Wizard did you summon Eönwë...
Frodo: Gandalf, what a marvel!
Sauron: No. No – not Eönwë – but it is his horn! How did you recover this, this device lost from the annuals of Middle-earth, but lingers in my memory of old? How and why the Horn of Eönwë, Wizard?! Why? What army do you wish to rally with the call of Eönwë. How will you amass such an army, an army needing the call of Manwé’s herald and mightiest warrior!
‘Captain, Captain! Tell the Lieutenant that the White Wizard has used the Horn of Eönwë... he must seek an answer for me. What powers does it wield and by what means would it have come into his possession?
The Dark Wizard should assist him; I must have an answer - quickly!’
Gandalf: ‘Whisper, whisper, quieter even for now Frodo!’
Frodo: ‘A truly remarkable thing!’
Gandalf: ‘Now should you speak through this horn to Gollum, all his cave will shake with your voice. Then to project the image of a mighty being, give me your Phial of Galadriel. If you stand in front of this, even in The Light, you can see the brightness of the light of the Evening Star, Eärendil, will cast a dark shadow on a wall. Imagine the sight of a shadow cast thus in a dark cavern…’
Frodo: ‘A horrifying sight!’
Gandalf: ‘Enough for now Frodo, Samwise, do you wish try the horn?’
‘No Gandalf, I will leave it to Mr Frodo to speak!’
Frodo: ‘But Gandalf, the booming voice and the shadow are one part, mighty as they are, but what words will we say to Gollum?’
‘Yes Frodo, the words must be carefully crafted. Sit here with me, together now we will work these out.’
Gandalf: ‘Frodo say the words exactly as we have readied them, but once said, you must listen to Gollum; for I sense even unknown to him, he will provide some insight valuable to the Quest. I reason this will be something to do with the jewel of which the words of The Lightspoke, and the nature of his death.’
Sam: ‘What insight? What do we look for Gandalf?’
Gandalf: ‘Samwise, I cannot counsel you further on this. Either you or Frodo will recognize it immediately. Remember you have the added insight of the Bands. Then you must travel to Iarwain Ben-adar in the Grey Wood, in the Seventh Age.’
Sauron: Wizard, I sense you call to the Ancient One. You seek him out directly! Ah Ancient One, did you think I would not know that despite your long reluctance to intervene into matters of Middle-earth, you will step into this Quest directly. We shall meet as you do. We will meet when your weak beings seek you out!
Gandalf continued: ‘For with his wisdom, The Light has instructed that the meaning of death will be explained. I know this is an unlikely charge from such a one as you know him, Tom Bombadil, but there is much revelation in him. I am confident that from his wisdom infused with The Light, a profound understanding will be revealed. We only need now to work out the date in the Seventh Age for you to journey to Ben-adar, but I have given much thought to this already. There is only one date where all the pieces come together, when there is a concordance of time and spirit – this is when the new millennium arose in the Seventh Age, on the day to commemorate the birth of the Master of Middle-earth. By the Shire Calendar, this is 12 Afteryule; by the modern calendar it is 3 January 2001. It is on this date that you should seek out Ben-adar. He will be waiting for you in a cottage in the Drúadan Forest of Gondor, not where you met him as Tom, in the Old Forest. Here I will mark your chronomap exactly, you will have no difficulty in locating Ben-adar, he will be following your course. So dear Hobbits you have three locations to cross. That means of the ten days remaining of your Quest, you will each lose three transversing. You cannot afford any delays with each task. You must now leave The Light’s protection at dawn and return to it on the 10th day. If Gollum relinquishes The Dark, then the clock of The Light will immediately restart for all, but I doubt this occurring, and we should not give thought to this in our planning. Yet should this happen, I will make contact with you. Should you uncover any danger you feel for yourself or the others of the Quest that needs urgent telling, you can make contact with me, but know this is gravely perilous.’
Frodo: ‘ Gandalf, all know that Gollum’s heart and mind are too affected by The One, is not our task fruitless, when there are so many other challenges more worthy?’
‘Frodo, it will not be fruitless, for the insights from Gollum and Iarwain Ben-adar are more important than Gollum’s forsaking evil. I have a similar task to perform with Saruman. As The Light has commanded, he too must be sought out and offered the choice.’
‘Gandalf, when our paths crossed last, Saruman was murdered by Wormtongue in the Shire.’
Sam: ‘A frightful sight!’
Gandalf: ‘Yes, a mean ending for one who once was so illustrious. Though it is not at this time that I seek him out, for all then was too late. I will meet with him in the time of Isengard’s ruin, when we left him interned in Orthanc. It was a folly not to have confronted him then face-to-face, rather than speak from a distance. But Frodo, I have no hope that he will forsake The Dark, but there is much he is aware of that carefully extracted will help in the tasks of Aragorn and Éowyn, Boromir and Faramir, and your own. So do not feel downhearted if other tasks look like they will be of considerable benefit to our cause. It is often that which not all is known about and seems beyond hope, that bears most fruit. Go rest now, I will speak quickly to Merry and Pippin, for we must all depart at break of day. May you travel safely and find the insight that lies at the heart of our Quest.’
Sam: ‘Gandalf – what of this third box that looks like – like… a piece of white Treebeard...’
Gandalf: ‘Ha-ha! Good description Samwise – no I have not forgotten this, it contains two ancient devices for Merry and Pippin. Go now, get ready to travel with speed and care – you have the Phial of Galadriel, Durin’s Star, the Horn of Eönwë, and I will give you the letter for Bilbo before dawn. Know that even in the darkest places, a mighty power watches over you, to guide and protect you, but that The Dark lingers close – be ever watchful!’
Sauron: Wizard, hear me! Do you think that the lights and horn of the Ancients can curb my powers? You can sense The Light grows dimmer, as my powers expand. I feel you quiver with each contact I make. You sense that I need only reach out now and smite one of your Quest. Which one will I target first, you cannot be everywhere to protect them, nor can the Ancient One. You sense his powers cannot extend to all. Which one will you abandon first to me – which one?!
Gandalf felt Sauron’s threat and called out in his mind for Ben-adar.
Gandalf, Merry and Pippin, in the realm of The Light.
Merry: ‘Gandalf, we heard a blaring noise, a huge booming cry – what was that?’
Pippin: ‘Like a booming voice from some form of – of Great Goblin of Moria – deep and grave…’
Gandalf: ‘Ah my dear hobbits, there is no need to fear – all is well. Just a small excitement, but we cannot linger now on this for we have to make plans to take advantage of the special concession you derived from The Light. For by means of Treebeard, who has not changed through time unlike all others, the Quest may obtain some remarkable power which he witnessed in the future.’
Merry: ‘Gandalf, the words of The Light, ‘three to the Tree’, do you understand who this is, assuming the Merry and I are two.’
Gandalf: ‘The third is myself.’
Pippin: ‘But Gandalf are you not seeking out Saruman?
Gandalf: ‘Merry, I need that to do first; then travel to Fangorn, to you both and Treebeard. But by this I will be delayed for two days. So much depends on both of you to direct Treebeard’s visions to those discoveries that may assist the Quest in its purpose.’
Merry: ‘But Gandalf at what time do we seek Treebeard, for the future is immense?’
Pippin: ‘And Gandalf, exactly where do we ask Treebeard to start, for Treebeard will move so slowly through time.’
Gandalf: ‘The time we seek him is in the Seventh Age where he still stands in Fangorn. The exact date has been fixed, for there is only one date when all pieces come together and there is a concordance of time and spirit. It is when the new millennium arose in the Seventh Age, on the day to commemorate the birth of the Master of Middle-earth. By the Shire Calendar, this is 12 Afteryule; by the modern calendar it is 3 January 2001.’
Pippin: ‘And should we meet Treebeard then in Wellinghall in Fangorn?’
Gandalf: ‘Ah, if only this was that simple. When I sought Fangorn Forest on our map in the Seventh Age, look at the way it has changed from when we knew the forest in the Third Age.’
Pippin: ‘Why Gandalf, all across where Fangorn Forest stood in our time, there is an ominous shadow from the southern Misty Mountains over its eastern flanks and across the western plains.’
Merry: ‘There is no telling where Fangorn starts and ends – what does this mean Gandalf?’
Gandalf: ‘It means, well I wish I was sure what it means. My reasoning is that from the Third to the Seventh Age, sinister changes have occurred. I fear, that of Treebeard’s house at Wellinghall may no longer exist, for the map is the most unclear at this point.’
‘Then to where shall we plot our course?’
‘To where we know Fangorn once started; to where Treebeard first met up with you, here we can still make out a rim of the forest. Whatever has happened, knowing Treebeard he will still be acting as a sentinel at Fangorn’s edge, protecting the ancient forest from intrusion by the emissaries of The Dark. Yes, yes, this is what we can best do. We will plot your course to the edge of Fangorn, where you escaped the orcs when they were attacked by the Rohirrim. I have plotted your exact position as best I can from where we know you once met up with him. Mark this spot on your chronomap.’
Rapidly firing questions on top of one another Merry and Pippin: ‘And what Gandalf, if Treebeard is no longer there? Or not there when we arrive? How do we find him? Where do we start, which way will we go? And if we find him, what if he does not recognise us from three Ages past? What will we do then, for you will not be there? Do we contact you? Elsewise how will we know what to do or where to meet up with you?’
‘Slowly, slowly Hobbits – fret not…for while your reckoning of the perils are warranted, let me put your minds at rest, for remember we have been granted ancient keys to guide your way. But first, what do you know of the Ents. Ù6.8 Quickly now, for we have little time!’
‘We know that they are giant tree-like people who over the Ages protected the forests of Middle-earth.’
‘Treebeard is the oldest and greatest of them all…’
‘They come in many shapes and sizes, but all were more powerful than the mightiest troll.’
‘And they worked together to face the intrusion of the forests by the agents of The Dark.’
‘Yet the Ents are coming to an end, as there are no Entwives to be found…’
‘Yes Pippin, a sad state that the Entwives seem to have disappeared. It is said that even the Master of Middle-earth, was not sure of their whereabouts, that their fate was, is, not known.’
‘Gandalf, what has this all to do with our mission?’
‘You are right to question Merry, for we should not dally on this history, should it not be directly relevant to our purpose, but you see, it is. Ents were powerful protectors of all their like, and over the Ages, had formed alliances with those other valiant living creatures of Middle-earth, the mighty eagles of Manwë. Together in their own way they opposed those who would destroy the fabric of Middle-earth. Secretly hidden from the lore of the Second Age, which like all the history of Arda is full of twist, turns and mystery, ah, a lament not for now, Treebeard recounted an amazing story to me – one which directly assists our purpose. From what I have been able to piece together, Treebeard had heard that the Dark Lord…’
‘You mean… you mean Morgoth?’
Sauron: Ah, Ancient One. Your Wizard calls directly to me again – he cannot help himself do otherwise!
Feel my power! Yours is waning, as mine waxes, ever increasing. Soon, you will be spent – soon you will not be able to protect them!
I hear more clearly their plans – soon they will be in my reach – my reach and my control.
I feel your fear Ancient One – do you feel my breath close to those of your Quest; do you see my hands out-stretched to strike the fatal blow .
Ah, soon it will be done – then Ancient One, then Ancient One, I will face you!
Fear my words for you know they are true – soon Morgoth and I will be one!
Merry: ‘Gandalf? Gandalf? Gandalf – what troubles you?’
Gandalf: ‘All is well, but we cannot...’
Merry: ‘Cannot what Gandalf? ‘
‘We must be ever watchful of our words… ‘
Gandalf: ‘I was speaking of the Dark Lord of our Age, he had urged the felling of Nimloth, the White Tree of Numénor, and it was then burnt on a pyre as a sacrifice to Morgoth, his Master.’
Gandalf continued: ‘Over the Ages, Treebeard had befriended Gwaihir, the noble eagle descendent of Thorondor, the greatest eagle of them all. Gwaihir had become Treebeard’s eyes over many lands and times. So he sent him to see if all was lost with Nimloth, for although he had heard that Isildur had stolen a fruit from this tree before it was destroyed, he thought if some remnant of the tree itself could be rescued then Nimloth might be able to be bought back to life by the saving-grace powers of the Entwash. Gwaihir arrived too late, the tree had been burned, but one piece had fallen from the pyre. In the cover of night, Gwaihir swooped down from the skies, scooped it up and brought it back to Treebeard. Much lament did Treebeard feel at seeing this, the last remnant of this mighty tree. He lovingly doused it with Ent-draught but all life seemed spent, but then from the piece of trunk two single branches appeared, and when Treebeard moved these, the piece of Nimloth opened up to reveal … well, Merry and Pippin, let me not speak more, let me show you! Bring over that object that lies on the table there…’
‘This Gandalf, this whitish piece of log…’
‘Yes Merry – it will need the both of you to carry it…’
‘Do not worry Gandalf I can manage it on my own… oh, perhaps not!’
‘With care Pippin, as I said it will take the both of you - that is good, put it down here.’
‘But Gandalf – there are no branches – just one piece…one piece of white tree trunk…’
‘Ah, that is the magic of it all. But see what happens when I sprinkle this Ent-draught on it …’
‘You have Ent-draught in that bottle Gandalf?’
‘A gift long ago given to me by Treebeard…as was this piece of Nimloth….’
‘Why truly – truly – the log sprouts two branches…’
‘Now see what happens when you press the top one Merry – don’t fret Pippin, you can the other, later… Go ahead Merry, do not be timid, it will not entrap you as once Old Man Willow did.’
Si sga ratuaq id lw caoph
Wiu yomm dopf yothophqaes hodst
Uta shal yotamw, diq shaw tnaej
Ipmw diq hiif,
Epf yomm naqtg, od utaf diq axok.
You will find within great gifts
Use them wisely, for they speak
Only for good
And will perish, if used for evil.
Sauron: What Ancient One – I hear the voice of... A piece of the White Tree survives! I have underestimated your cunning!
Gandalf: ‘Ah, I should have warned you about the voice…’
Pippin: ‘Who Gandalf… who is it that sings so beautifully?’
Gandalf: ‘When Treebeard first showed me this, hidden carefully in Wellinghall, we knew that it had to be kept secret, away from prying eyes and treacherous hearing, so only Treebeard, Gwaihir and I knew that not all of Nimlock had been burned – and so it has been these long years on Middle-earth…’
Pippin: ‘Then Gandalf, you know nothing of the voice or the gifts…’
‘I did not say that Master Took, but my enquiries I have kept close, not telling even Saruman of them, which was a wise move as we know now – for I have no doubt that he would have revealed this secret to the Dark Lord.’
Merry: ‘Then the voice Gandalf, is…’
Gandalf: ‘Ah the voice, well we surmise it is that of Yavanna, Queen of the Earth. She tried to safeguard a secret power against all darkness by having it hidden within Nimloth, but did not count on the emergence of the Dark Lord of the Second Age. She placed within its essence, this, see I have taken this from the chamber Merry released, the Emerald Star of the Earth – the Star of Connection and its medallion-mirror. See…’
‘The gem is beautiful Gandalf – can I hold it?’
‘Not directly Pippin, but here – hold it within this medallion…’
‘Why Gandalf, I see Treebeard’s face in this medallion…’
‘Look more closely Merry and Pippin; what else can you both see?’
‘Why, two little figures – there Merry – why is that Merry and me?’
‘The magic of the medallion – in similar vein to the mirror of Galadriel, it shows the image of a time that reflects the viewer and his/her association with the possessor of the medallion, which is now Treebeard…. ‘
‘And Gandalf if you looked at it…’
‘Then it would show an image of me, but we have little time for such frivolity – the time passes as I have told you these tales, and we have so little to squander on such matters…but the star and the medallion, will answer your concerns about locating Treebeard, and of him recognizing you across four Ages.’
‘How is that Gandalf – and how do we carry such treasures?’
‘See Merry within the compartment, peel off the top layer of bark – it will come out easily. This will form a pouch within which you can carry the medallion. Now take that small section, there Merry, there – see how it forms a small pocket, you can scoop out the Star using this. You can carry both safely once contained by the bark. When you reach the outskirts of Fangorn Forest, you must take the medallion out, and tip the Star on to it, careful not to touch it. Here, see how I am doing this. The Star will position itself exactly in its place within the medallion. In this position, see how it lights up – it is trying to connect with Treebeard.’
Sauron: ‘Captain, see within the palantir – that green light pulsing with life. This is the second such light I have seen in the possession of the Wizard, the other shone blue. I was not aware of such lights existing. Find me the ancient texts on Yavanna. If such lights were created, she would have fashioned them.
‘I have underestimated the ingenuity of the Ancient One! Though each light is of no significance, I feel that some connection of these may pose a force against me. But soon when the Rings have been reforged and Morgoth and I are one – then all light from any ancient source will be engulfed by ‘My Dark’.
Their annihilation is close, very close! The Ancient One’s senses it!’
Gandalf: ‘At the edge of Fangorn Forest, its signal will be strong and pure, and Treebeard will feel it wherever he is roaming, and because of the image on the medallion, he will know that it is you calling him…’
‘Gandalf, what a marvel!’
‘Then we are set Gandalf, we will find him, but how will you find us…’
Gandalf: ‘I will be able to plot my course directly to the signal of the Star – there is no worry here.’
‘But Gandalf, if this is Treebeard’s, why have you this piece of Nimloth, and all its gifts?’
‘Ah, Pippin, a long story, the details of which we do not have time for now, but to answer your question quickly. Treebeard gave this to me an Age ago. He was hopeful that I could call upon my connection with the master of nature to realign the medallion and star so that the whereabouts of the Entwives could be uncovered – a task yet unaccomplished. And so is the second part of your mission, for finding Treebeard is one matter, but we have much yet to discuss. So Merry and Pippin, you know what must be done with the Star and the medallion – no fooling about can be done.’
‘Fear not Gandalf, we know exactly the importance of what we must do.’
‘Then, on to the crux of your mission. Treebeard, and his eyes on the wind, Gwaihir, would have been witness to all that occurred in Middle-earth and the greater world. We must take direction from the words, ‘Look for powers of great evil and good’. Ask him to start from the modern Age of Enlightenment – the Age of the ‘new Light’. As he is the channel, we must be led by him through those things both wondrous and terrifying. We seek a drop of water in the vast ocean of time, but I am confident with all that is known and the insight given to us, that this drop will stand out as a towering mountain rising from a low plain.’
‘Pippin do not despair, for the Quest’s purpose is strong and The Light is powerful in directing our visions. Let the Bands lead you to this one thing of the future.’
‘You will meet up with us and help us on the. . .’
Gandalf: ‘On the 6th day. Once we have uncovered this future power, we will need to travel and secure knowledge of it. Each time, losing a day, and we must return to The Light on the 10th day. Do not be overwhelmed by your task, we have Treebeard as a formidable and wise ally to find the right path to follow. We need now only to prepare what direction to give Treebeard. Sit now and we will find the exact words.’
‘But Gandalf, we have yet to see what happens when we move the other branch…’
‘Yes Pippin, I have not forgotten – we are getting to this. Understand that all of Treebeard visions must be recorded. This may be slow and laborious for he has some centuries to search.’
‘Oh my goodness – and we have a mere two days. How will all we must do, be done! ‘
‘And Gandalf if we could hurry Treebeard along, how would his visions be recorded – for Pippin and I are no learned scribes…’
‘Ah, Master Hobbits have patience – for there are yet more wondrous gifts of Yavanna to assist this recording, the fourth ancient key I have now called upon with the grace of The Light. Pippin, push the other branch…’
‘Well Gandalf I can see into this secret compartment – but there is no beautiful Star here, just a worn piece of … parchment and, and… a dirty old feather…’
Gandalf: ‘My goodness – worn parchment, dirty old feather - ha ha HA HA HA!’
Sauron: I hear you laugh, Wizard. What is it that makes you laugh, when matters are so grave! Do you not know that you stand on the brink of the annihilation, how is it that you laugh?
Gandalf: ‘Oh, if only the Valar could hear your description! Take them out Pippin, a worn piece of parchment and a dirty old feather will not bite you!’
‘Are these the miraculous capacities Gandalf?’
‘They are Merry – for although they do not look like much, they are truly wondrous implements.’
‘I have little time now to tell of their beginnings, so I will just say – the quill – Pippin’s ‘dirty old feather’, comes from the mightiest eagle of all times – Thorondor, the father of Gwaihir. This quill and Pippin’s ‘worn piece of parchment’ – were both first given as a gift to Rúmil the loremaster of the Noldor, when he invented writing. Later they were given as a gift to the King of Númenor. However, when many precious items were hidden from Morgoth in various places across Númenor before its downfall, the scroll and quill of Rúmil, were hidden in the secret compartment of Nimloth. Pippin! I see you are troubled…’
‘Gandalf I was merely searching how they were wondrous?’
‘Ah, but Pippin, I have not yet told you of their magical powers.’
‘Yes, the scroll of Rúmil grows as it is written on, there is no end to it, and the words so written are protected by a secret code, so none other than the scribe, or a wearer of Light’s Band, may read what is written upon it. The quill needs no ink, for this comes forth as one scribes, and wondrously you need only hold the quill to the scroll and the words will be written as their possessor, now Treebeard, speaks them.’
‘Gandalf, these are truly amazing implements!’
‘Beware however that you must hold the quill on the scroll at all times, for only then will the words be written. And heed that the connection must be maintained, for if the quill leaves the scroll, the spell is broken and Treebeard’s words will no longer be recorded. As the visions from Treebeard may flow over hours, you must arrange to take it in turns to hold the quill thus. Once all is written, then we will need to sort through these wonders and pick the one that will best serve the Quest’s purpose.’
‘Gandalf, surely what we seek will depend on the actions and outcomes of the others; how will we know what it is that we seek, since we will not know of these when we must make our choice.’
‘A very wise comment Merry. We stand not alone in our deliberations. A mighty power oversees all of the Quest. I will call upon that power when all is written on the scroll to inform me of the actions and outcomes of the others. I am confident that, while transmission between members of the Quest is vulnerable to the detection of The Dark, that my connection with this other power is clear and free. Does this ease your mind Merry?’
‘Dear Gandalf, while I do not doubt your wisdom or power, for you are a mighty Wizard, knowing that another power sits close as our protector and source of all else that is happening, makes me mightily relieved.’
‘And so it is for all of us Merry. But do not underestimate the power that lies within you, for what we plan now with Treebeard is due to the wisdom arising from your and Pippin’s reckoning. Trust in yourselves.’
‘We now only have to work out the exact words to speak to Treebeard so that he can focus his mammoth journey through all he has seen and knows. Here, let us sit down together and do this. So young masters, there is little more to say or do now. Repeat these words exactly to Treebeard. You need to depart with the breaking of the dawn. You now have the medallion and Star. Take with care the scroll and quill – and remember that nothing of Treebeard’s vision must be missed, so arrange yourselves so that at all times the quill will capture his words. I will meet up with you on QD6 in Fangorn. May your travel to the Seventh Age and beyond bring us wondrous and powerful insights.’
Gandalf called Legolas and Gimli to meet again.
Gandalf: ‘Dear friends, much has the night brought me unease about your mission. For although I have prepared your introduction to Thráin, I sense at this time, wary of the Dark’s emissaries throughout Middle-earth, Thráin would not be willing to grant you, an elf and unknown dwarf, entrance to his realm. And even if my letter swayed him to do so, being so secretive and suspicious, he would not openly present himself to you.’
Gimli: ‘Then Gandalf, how can we be sure that it is Thráin to whom we speak, since we have never seen him?!’
Legolas: ‘And thereby, Gandalf, by what measure will we be able with certainty to deliver our message to Thráin himself…’
Gandalf: ‘Ah, yes – the problem that has troubled me.’
Gimli: ‘Then all is in jeopardy…’
Gandalf: ‘There is only one way I know to be certain…’
Gimli: ‘And what is this?’
Gandalf: ‘You must present this..’
Legolas: ‘An insignia?’
Gimli: ‘Is it not that the crest of the House of Durin – but any dwarf would be able to identify this!
Gandalf: ‘It is not the insignia that matters – but tell me what else do you see in my hand?’
Legolas: ‘What else Gandalf?’
Gimli: ‘’There is nothing else I can see!’
Gandalf: ‘It is so, for only the Kings of Khazad-dúm and a Maia such as myself can see it!’
Gimli: ‘See what Gandalf?’
Gandalf: ‘See the vellum with a replica drawing of the secret door of Moria.’
Gimli: ‘A parchment drawing?’
Gandalf: ‘Yes, open your hands Gimli and I will place the vellum on them – careful, do not crease the parchment...’
Gimli: ‘I feel it – but cannot see anything other than the insignia…’
Legolas: ‘But Thráin will see it?’
Gandalf: ‘And know that it comes as a sign that it is sent by one who knows the Kings’ secret and can be trusted. ‘
Gimli: ‘Then if in deception a dwarf comes to us as Thráin, and we show him the insignia, and sees nothing else...’
Gandalf: ‘You will know that he is not Thráin!’
‘Ah Gandalf, a truly remarkable foil.’
‘But Gandalf if we can not see it, how then shall we carry it…’
Gandalf: ‘You but roll it within this fine sheet of mithril. Place the insignia on this edge, then roll the tube together, at its end it will hold in place by itself. Gimli you should wear it as an armlet, it will be protected by this disguise. ‘
Gimli: ‘Gandalf is there no way we or others can see it?’
Gandalf: ‘There is no way, and the spell that makes it so, lies beyond my powers. It is one of the keys of the ancients, of which The Light spoke. It has been thought of as being so secret that no words have been written about it in old lore of Middle-earth; yet by the grace of The Light I have been able to call upon to give to you – it is the last of the ancient keys bestowed on the Quest. Know that you need not see it; its key lies in that by it, you can measure the reactions of those that you present it to.’
Legolas: ‘And if we are captured, and the insignia is removed from us?’
Gandalf: ‘If it is taken from your hands and not then replaced within the mithril exactly as I showed you, the insignia itself will become invisible, as will its mithril container, and they will be lost to all to see except Thráin or one like myself. But we cannot linger any further now to discuss this for it is but a few hours from dawn. Put it on Gimli, keep it safe; never let the mithril or insignia out of your hands. Be ever watchful of signs of the Dark Lord. He grows ever fearsome. You have many paths to follow, I sense into the very bowels of darkness itself. Your keen sense of Dark’s way will lead you on to the correct path. You must leave at the very break of dawn. I will see you again in The Light on the 10th Day – return with good fortune and the four Rings!’
Sauron with his Captain
‘Captain, what news is there? “
Captain: ‘Your target my Lord, has been located, using a tracer from their entry into The Light. They are alone, and thus the White Wizard will not be there to save them as… as occurred with the Steward’s first born.’
‘Are the Lieutenant and Wizard confident of their mark?’
‘They are My Lord, but… understand you wish to make the strike yourself.’
‘Yes Captain, I will not trust this deed into the hands of another – it will be my show of power. They will not expect where the strike will come.’
‘And the time, My Lord?’
‘Ah, the timing is crucial. They must wait until the birth of the dawn…only then have they optimal power to drive their time-travel. My maximum power will be in the minutes before the dawn – just as they feel confident that they are safe – then I will strike – and crush them! We have but a few hours to wait! Make sure that all is in readiness with my palantir!’
Ben-adar came to Gandalf, and warned him of Sauron’s growing power, and his ominous focus.
Gandalf went to find Aragorn.
Gandalf: ‘Aragorn, Aragorn, quickly. We must talk, but only in whispers.’
Aragorn: ‘What is it Gandalf, is it time – but it is not yet nearly dawn. I just moments ago shut my eyes… and what is this mist that engulfs us?’
‘We have no time Aragorn. Know only that the mist protects us from the eyes and ears of The Dark. It is not nearly dawn, for this will break in a few hours, but we cannot wait until then!’
‘But are we not dependent on the power of the dawn breaking?!’
‘It is true, our power to travel will be weakened, but The Dark Lord will be striking one of us before the dawn.’
‘Has he gained such power to penetrate The Light – and do you know who he targets?’
‘Ah… many things have happened, Boromir was struck by Saruman – but Saruman was repulsed, but I have had to send the brothers on their journey some hours ago even with the risk that the chronomap will not work as accurately as it would at dawn… However, I thought that with Boromir gone, we would be safe. But they have worked a way to lock on to a tracer of the last one to enter The Light.’
‘What Gandalf, do you mean that Éowyn is to be targeted!’
‘It is the only conclusion – but we cannot be sure, so all must leave now. All but one – for the mist gives us cover from The Dark, but the life force of one must remain to convince the Dark Lord that all are still here, otherwise he would strike immediately – and there is no power here that could repulse him, so powerful he has become during these last few hours.’
‘Then I will stay…’
‘No Aragorn, you must leave with Éowyn and protect her – for I do not know what powers the Dark Lord has brought to himself, for he may be able to trace wherever she goes; however, Ben-adar thinks this not likely, when we travel through time, his connection will be lost until he can locate the aura again. I will stay – for I will best be able to transmit the life force of all. Hopefully this and the mist will convince him that all still remain. Once everyone has departed, I will leave. But let us not dally any longer. We must get the others up and ready. You alert Legolas and Gimli, I will awaken Éowyn and the hobbits. Tell them only that the time has been advanced – and they must leave in 30 minutes, but nothing more. Tell them that they must converse only in whispers. Meet me again once they have left.’
Gandalf and Aragorn.
Gandalf: ‘Well, the others have all left, and Éowyn was at that point safe. Watch over her Aragorn, I know not why she was targeted; perhaps it was that being the last to enter The Light, only her tracer was left for them to follow.’
Aragorn: ‘In truth Gandalf, do you really believe this; for you yourself have said that ultimately our Quest will depend on Éowyn; by some means, he knows this too.’
‘Ah Aragorn, it is her spirit that attracts him – remember how she challenged him on entry to The Light – but she will not make it easy for him... nevertheless Aragorn, you must watch-over her! But we have no time to discuss this further, for you must leave now! Good friend, I know that there will be sadness ahead of you – but also the power to change the future of a mighty race of kin. We will meet up again on 10th day.’
Lew sga squsg wiu taaj, hoax wiu sga eptyaqt wiu bqexaq.
In realm of The Light masked by mist, only Gandalf remained; he needed to wait for the dawn. In this time, vulnerable for attack, he thought of what lay before for them all, hoping the others were safely out of Sauron’s reach:
The dawn of Quest Day 3 is nigh – and all have safely departed. I wait until the very edge of dawn before I leave, thereby giving all others the greatest distance in time and space before the Dark Lord becomes aware of their departure. In this, I hope he will fail to pick up traces of their journeys and destinations. Of all those destinations, it is the Seventh Age and what it brings, that I most fear. The time of Éowyn’s future, a time of great good yet terrifying evil; where no elf, hobbit, dwarf or wizard exists.
An Age of great wonder and joy.
Yet great sorrow and lament I sense.
Great deeds of life and death I foresee.
But what of the balance of all things, of that of good and evil?
To be one’s self, yet need to belong.
To chart one’s course, yet be ensnared by those of others.
To be selfless, yet know most is driven by self-interest
To know what is right, yet do what is wrong.
To hold sacred all that is of nature
Yet crave to better it.
To advance through ingenuity and creativity.
Yet not learn from the lessons of the past.
To seek justice and freedom for all,
To give hope, solace and sweet peace,
To honour that which is honest and humane,
To be faithful to kith and kin.
Yet, to seek power and dominion over all,
To foster despair, aggravation and war,
To breed deceit and vengefulness,
To be faithful to no one.
A world in the harsh glare and burning of the sun.
Impelled by betrayal, poisoned minds and open wounds.
Abounding with resentment, renunciation and repentance,
Still yet, resounding love shines through.
Iarwain Ben-adar, I call upon your strength and wisdom. Bring together in one mind all those who once fought evil across the Ages of Middle-earth and beyond, for this, this final struggle against The Dark. Protect those who stand for all others against the engulfing darkness.
Emm gina tnqopht un dqil sha mohgs’t bun,
Ius id sga hmiil id sga lof-yiqmf’t apf.
Out of the gloom of the mid-world’s end
It is time for my departure; the night reaches for its last gasp.
In Sauron’s world, all fury was being unleashed.
Sauron met with his Captain.
Sauron: ‘Captain, what news have you?’
‘Your target my Lord, has been located, using a tracer from their entry into The Light. They are alone, and thus the White Wizard will not be there to save them as… as occurred with the Steward’s first born.’
‘Are the Lieutenant and Wizard confident of their mark?’
‘They are My Lord, but… understand you wish to make the strike yourself.’
‘Yes Captain, I will not trust this deed into the hands of another – it will be my show of power. They will not expect where the strike will come.’
‘And the time, My Lord?’
‘Ah, the timing is crucial. They must wait until the birth of the dawn…only then have they optimal power to drive their time-travel. My maximum power will be in the minutes before the dawn – just as they feel confident that they are safe – then I will strike – and crush them! We have but a few hours to wait! Make sure that all is in readiness with my palantir!’
‘My Lord, the night has turned into the dawn… yet the darkness lingers there under the Sun. What of your strike?!’
‘My Lord, your strike!’
‘My strike... Captain – well that has been foiled!’
‘Ah Captain – for the White Wizard connived a plan.’
‘He can repel your strike?’
‘No – no that he cannot!’
‘Then… My Lord?’
‘Captain, he has ensured that they have all departed, including the maiden, before my strike.’
‘How is that so, for I watched the palantir with the Wizard, and all appeared within…’
‘You saw the aura of eleven... But you see, with our view obscured by Light’s force – it was the White Wizard who projected this – to foil our plan.’
‘How is this possible My Lord?’
‘With Maiar power he projected his life force across The Light.’
‘Then the Isengard Wizard should have seen, predicted this… What retribution, My Lord, for those who have failed you?’
‘Retribution - my Captain – yes retribution for failure. How can I measure this – for I myself did not see through this ploy until just before night’s end, and this failure has played into my hands. I have underestimated the White Wizard, but... but he has fallen into a trap of his own making. For in projection his life force to cover that of eleven, he has dissipated his own – as once the Master of Darkness dispersed his essence. At this very time, the White Wizard left himself open to my powers – to my foray. So you see Captain, I lost the maiden but gained a much greater prize. For a moment, just at the edge of dawn, I have seen inside his mind – I have seen in this moment, the frame of their plans.’
‘And of the detail?’
‘This will depend on others to provide. Bring the Lieutenant here. Say nothing of what I have told you – he must feel that retribution is due.’
The Lieutenant came before his Lord.
Sauron: ‘Lieutenant – your explanation of the failure to strike against the maiden – and what of the others?!’
Lieutenant: ‘My Lord… My Lord, all was in readiness – as you instructed.’ All was in readiness for your strike against the maiden, but … but as the palantir showed, at the moment just before the night turned to dawn, all those of The Light had departed. There was no sign that such would occur, for you yourself My Lord, said they needed the power of the dawn to propel them… to their destinations.’
Lieutenant: ‘My Lord, all seemed as planned, even the Captain saw no foil.’
‘My Lord?!’ ‘I take responsibility for…for this… failure.’
Sauron: ‘And what do you propose is done now!’
Lieutenant: ‘Our powers and understanding of those of The Light continue to grow. We have tracers on all those of The Light and know that they venture either into the past or the future. Our vision for now is blurred for any passage beyond the 3rd Age, but are confident of… enhancing our sight. We have located the King and Lady together in Minas Tirith, and the brothers travelled together there also, although at a different time. The dwarf and elf have journeyed to Lórien. Two halflings have returned to the Shire, and the White Wizard, has on his own, travelled to…’
‘To Isengard, to Orthanc, back to the time of Isengard’s destruction in the Third Age – we surmise to seek out Saruman.’
‘To the Dark Wizard you say?’
‘Saruman says that Gandalf did at that time come to speak to him with others including the King of Rohan and the Ranger from the North. Gandalf called to him from outside the Tower, but did not venture inside.’
‘He did not ask something before, or he did not press his view on a matter. He has gone again to secure something he forgot or did not know of previously. The Dark Wizard can inform us of his enquiries later. But what of the other two?’
‘The other two halflings are not now in the palantir’s vision, but we have ways to extend its view.’
‘Do so, you must find them. I have some insight into their whereabouts, but we will speak later of this when you have done all you can through your own devices. But Lieutenant for now, give me your view on these strange going-abouts? Have you used your infiltration of The Light to provide some telling of the meaning of these journeys?’
‘In the little time we have had, we were able to discern something about searching for the Rings and oaths – and undoing some events… ‘
‘No My Lord, none of certainty at this time.’
‘Then Lieutenant, at this time, you have much to do. I wish you to locate the Steward’s first born. You must send your agent to waylay him and bring him to me. I will think further about what ‘rings, oaths and undoing some events’ could mean. But before taking your leave Lieutenant, know that the Captain asked of what retribution should be meted out for your and the Dark Wizard’s failure in securing the maiden for my strike...’
Sauron continued: ‘You would not be surprised of this – yourself knowing of my action against others who have suffered my wrath... But I grant you and the Dark Wizard this one reprieve. Do not fail me again!’
‘No My Lord… I anticipated your… just… retribution…’
‘Then be off – and give me no further case against you. Make this known to the Dark Wizard.’
‘I will My Lord. You can have confidence that we will not fail you again.’
The Captain returned.
‘My Lord you did not declare to the Lieutenant your insights…’
‘No Captain – for it will be a good test to see what he and the Dark Wizard can uncover. Some things he has disclosed are within the frame of what I have seen. We are close to The Light’s mission, and they are unaware that we are so.’
‘Of what did you see, My Lord?’
‘I saw that there is much surrounding the number five, but in that moment of insight, much still remained hidden from me. Of the frame I could discern, Captain, there were five seemingly unconnected causes for which they could traverse, transmit and transform time and space, and call upon the use of five mighty weapons.’
‘These are indeed powerful revelations, My Lord, what of the causes…’
‘These were of the meaning of life, death and immortality, and to a secret pact. For this end they searched for the Stoor Creature and the Isengard Wizard. ‘
‘They will not find the Stoor Creature, for he has been lost to all time. and we have the Wizard! What of the weapons My Lord?’
‘Yes, I have your assurance that the Store Creature is nowhere to be found, and we have the Dark Wizard now; he will make a powerful ally against those that seek him. Of the weapons, my sight of these is confused for there was mention of the Elven Rings and powers from the ancients, but also of weapons from the future.’
‘From the future – what future, My Lord?’
‘From beyond Middle-earth, and far beyond the third and fourth Ages. I sense some great threat from this future time, as did the White Wizard himself. I will consult the Ancient Texts to see what is prophesied about such Ages and the blue and green light we saw in the palantir. Captain seek out within the Library of the Dark, the writings on the White Tree Nimloth and the Horn of Eönwë. For there are strange happenings based on these. And also, some map that links time and space. If nothing is found, we may need to venture to the Great Library of Gondor, for it has been said that all the manuscripts of the Elves were copied and secreted there.’
Sauron paused, then proceeded: ‘So you see Captain that while we have the revelations from the White Wizard that The Light could not contemplate we have, much still needs to be done to put these together on Dark’s Board. For this we will need urgently the skills of the Lieutenant and Dark Wizard; my reason for not applying swift retribution against them – and I sense that they will not fail me again.’
‘The Lieutenant knew of the Rings.’
‘The Lieutenant was correct that they seek the Rings. That is why the elf has gone to Lothlórien, to the Lady of the Galadhrim. But I do not fully understand this purpose; for Master Mírdain has assured me that ring bearers would be unaware of the Dark’s contact with their charges. If he is correct, then what could the elf and dwarf hope to achieve by going to Lady of the Golden Wood? Surely not to collect her Ring, and reunite it with the White Wizard’s one, for I have sensed a change in the bearer of Narya. We shall see if the elf journeys on to the Lord of Rivendell. If this is their purpose, it is a foolish endeavour. For knowing how the efl lady and lord, and their peoples, depend on their Rings, they will not release them to anyone, let alone an elf of little renown and a dwarf. But we need to watch their journeying with care. I will speak to the Mírdain about this, Captain, bring him to me; he is already seeking an answer to other concerns.’
Master Mirdain was brought before Sauron.
Sauron: ‘Master Mírdain, could the bearers of the Elven rings know of my connection with their Rings?’
‘There is no way they could know My Lord.’
‘We have some indication that these Rings are a matter for the White Wizard’s Quest, especially with my sense that something has happened to Narya. Have you been able to uncover any change here?’
‘Yes My Lord, it seems that the White Wizard is no longer the bearer of Narya.’
‘Then who is?!’
‘Do not answer with this – what do you know!!’
‘No living being bears Narya.’
‘No living being?’
‘No My Lord, for there is no aura around Narya’s image – it must be…’
‘Held in some container!’
‘Yes My Lord – and it has moved – is moving in time.’
‘In the Third Age – to where Master Mirdain?’
‘We do not know…but the Lieutenant has a trace of it… he will tell us when he knows…’
‘To some time or date of Isildur’s doom... yes, I am sure of this. Captain, tell the Lieutenant that I need this date and location... It is with the elf and dwarf! Yes, I see now the plan. The Wizard has relinquished Narya as a sign to the elf Lord and Lady, that they will follow suit. They seek to combine the powers of the Elven Rings, Master Mirdain... we must be ready before them. The date of reforging on the ‘night of the dark moon’ cannot be changed, for my reading of the ancient code makes this clear, and confirms your counsel.’
Sauron continued: ‘I have spoken to the Captain, and he will assist us in your plan. The Nazgûl will return the day before the night of the dark moon. We must complete the uncasting and reforging that evening and return the Rings to each by break of day.’
‘One evening only My Lord, I thought we agreed on two, there is a great deal to do in this.’
‘One is all we can leave the Nazgûl without Rings. You and I will be working together on this. Go make sure that everything is in readiness. There can be no delay or second chance. Before your leave, Master jewel maker, what know you of a blue and green light created by Yavanna?’
‘The Queen of the Earth? I know of no lights My Lord…’
‘Then do you know of some jewel that would contain lights – that has some association with Nimloth...’
‘I await you answer Mirdain!’
‘Only My Lord, only a fantasy - a tale…’
‘You asked only about facts My Lord, and there is no fact in what I have heard.’
‘Then tell me anything you know that links these two things – a light and Nimloth!’
‘Once I heard, that some stars, gems had been crafted by one of nobility, that each represented a special power and glowed a different light…’
‘And a green one representing the essence of the Earth was given to its Queen – Yavanna.’
‘And its association with Nimloth – quick Mirdain – test not my patience..’.
‘It was said that it was hidden from… from…from you my Lord, in a secret compartment of Nimloth – but that it was lost when, when Nimloth was consumed by fire…’
‘But it was not, for a piece of Nimloth survives!’
‘Survives My Lord, how?’
‘I do not know - but I will find out now that I know this. Do you know anything more of these other stars?’
‘No My Lord, but…’
‘It was said that all the stories of the Valar were written down – in some secret Elven manuscripts…’
‘Yes, that it true... Take your leave now Master Mirdain – you have much to ready for the reforging. Speak to the Lieutenant and find that date when Narya travels to LothLórien.’
The Captain returned.
Sauron: ‘Captain, watch the Mírdain and the Dark Wizard carefully, only in you and the Lieutenant do I trust. ‘
‘All their movements are already guarded vigilantly, My Lord.’
‘We will meet again when I have considered the Lieutenant’s tidings, but bring me the Steward’s first born immediately he is captured!’
Only Sauron remained; and his thoughts focused on this White Wizard who had foiled him, but by this, had exposed his vulnerabilities.
Wizard, feel me reach for you through time. Know that I have reached into your mind, and answer your lament.
The dawn has seen all depart on their journey. To some destinations not as yet within my control – but within the control of The Dark. Here lies great peril for them. They step into Ages where evil has festered unfettered. They are unprepared for what lies ahead, for I have seen what the future will bring.
An Age of great apathy and despair.
Of great sorrow and lament I discern.
Great deeds of death I have seen.
Where there is no balance of things, and evil is rife!
To suffocate the one, for the being of the whole,
To ensnare all, for the course of the powerful,
To scoff at selflessness, as the deed of the weak,
To foster not knowing what is right, and doing what is wrong.
To hold nothing sacred,
And never strive for betterment,
To suppress ingenuity and creativity,
And repeat the wrongs of the past.
To deny justice and freedom for all,
To foil all hope, solace and peace,
To deny that which is honest and humane,
To be false to kith and kin.
To seek power and dominion over all,
To foster despair, aggravation and war,
To breed deceit and vengefulness,
To be faithful to no one.
A world in the harsh glare and burning of the sun,
Impelled by betrayal, poisoned minds and open wounds,
Abounding with resentment, renunciation and revenge,
Where all love is ultimately annulled.
Call upon your Wise One, Wizard, for he can no longer help you! Your cause is futile.
Xkep hto week ex Nivth, Wukr’j jtuxh ex zqivth,
Diqq egok uqq Qivth’j xekyoj ofhonw.
Will over all Light’s forces extend.