|About Us News Resources Login Become a member Help Search|
Chapter 11. Seeing is Believing
'It grieves me to see you this way, Ring-bearer,' Celeborn said.
'Not to see me, you mean,' Frodo said quietly.
Celeborn nodded. 'Mithrandir said that this might happen, as an effect of the Morgul wound and your...' he looked compassionately at the hobbit, 'your claiming of the Ruling Ring in the end.'
Frodo nodded sadly. 'I have been well punished for that moment of weakness.'
Celeborn continued, 'Even without that failure, it might have happened. It has happened to Elves who did not become wraiths because their wounds were probed and Morgul slivers removed in time to save them.' His look grew faraway, as he added, '...like a glass filled with a clear light for eyes to see that can.'
'Do you mean to tell me there are invisible Elves running about Middle-earth?' Frodo asked. 'It sounds like a fairy story to me.'
Celeborn smiled faintly. 'No, Frodo, there are no invisible Elves, "running about" as you so quaintly put it.'
'You said in your letter that there is something the Elves know about, some way of reversing the process!' Frodo pressed.
Samwise started. He hadn't known about a letter from Rivendell.
Celeborn hesitated, then admitted, 'There is a potion...' He added gravely, 'You must understand, as I told you in my letter, this is a very risky venture. You may regain your appearance, but you have just as good a chance of dying in the attempt.'
'Are you trying to say you think half a life is better than none?' Frodo asked him.
Celeborn answered, 'I cannot tell you what to do; I can only offer you the choice and tell you what might happen.'
Frodo chuckled and shook his head. ' "Never ask an Elf for advice, for he'll tell you 'yea' and 'nay' in the same breath." '
Celeborn smiled faintly. 'Very amusing,' he said. 'That's the same thing my wife said when I asked her if I ought to leave or stay.'
'Mr Frodo?' Sam said anxiously. Was his master desperate enough to do this dangerous thing?
'Sam,' Frodo said gently. 'Do you really think I have a choice?'
'I could cut myself tomorrow and bleed to death before anyone could find the wound to staunch it,' Frodo said bluntly. 'Or perhaps I should leave the Shire and go to live with Tom Bombadil. He seems to be the only one who can see me!' He turned to Celeborn, 'Except, perhaps, for some of the Firstborn when they stand upon the other side.
'So, shall I leave the Shire and live with Bombadil, or among the Elves, as long as Elves remain in Middle-earth? Either way I'd have to leave. Dying's just a little quicker, is all, and it's not a sure thing in this case.' He gripped Sam's arms, hard. 'If there's even a small chance at life, I have to take it. Don't you see?'
'No,' Sam said. 'No, I don't see.' He sighed. 'And I suppose that's the problem.' He looked at what he could see of his master, the outer shell of clothing and bandages. 'But I'll stick with you, whatever you decide. Haven't I always?'
Frodo's hands squeezed once more, and then released him.
'When do you want to try?' asked Celeborn.
'Now's as good a time as any,' Frodo answered. He began to unwind the bandages from his face, to free his mouth for drinking.
Celeborn indicated a sofa. 'At the least you'll be dizzy,' he said. He didn't have to say what the worst would be.
Frodo sat down. His gloved hands reached for Samwise, and Sam took them in his own. From the sound of his voice, Sam knew his master was looking at him earnestly. 'Samwise,' he said, 'If this doesn't work out...'
'I know,' Sam said. And he did know. He was to give Frodo's love to all who loved him. He knew, also, that Frodo was saying that friendship endured even when the friends themselves were gone.
Frodo's voice was directed back at Celeborn. 'Right, then,' he said. 'Let us see what we shall see.'
I hope so, thought Sam. I surely hope so.
Celeborn took a glass phial from a cubby in the ornate desk, of exquisite elvish workmanship. Sam could see nothing within, at first; he was expecting liquid, some sort of elixir or something like miruvor. Looking more closely, he could see clear fumes rising and curling within the glass.
'Put it to your mouth as soon as you remove the stopper,' Celeborn instructed. 'You do not want to lose any of the vapour.'
'Right,' Frodo answered. He took the phial Celeborn offered, held it between his gloved hands, took a long breath. 'I'm ready,' he said.
Sam had a terrible impulse to jump forward, shout, knock the phial from his master's hands, but before he could move Frodo had pulled the stopper and the phial tilted; the vapours swirled from the phial and were gone.
Frodo gave a great shudder and fell back on the couch, dropping the phial to smash upon the stones. Sam started forward, falling to his knees by the sofa. 'Mr Frodo!' he called. There was no answer.
Sam looked up at Celeborn, but the Elf was watching Frodo intently.
Celeborn said softly, 'He will become visible soon, whether in life, or in death.'
Sam remembered the hair clippings that appeared out of nowhere when separated from Frodo's living body.
He looked back to Frodo and gasped. It seemed as though he could see the outlines of Frodo's face, as if he were looking at a glass filled with a nearly clear liquid. As he watched, the outlines became clearer, the color stronger, until suddenly, he could see the beloved face that had been hidden from him these past months. But the face was pale, the eyes closed, no breath seemed to stir the ashen lips.
Sam felt Celeborn's hand on his shoulder. 'Frodo?' he said softly.
Celeborn's hand tightened. 'Mr Frodo?' he repeated. With every breath he took he willed Frodo to breathe, but his hope was fading. 'Don't leave me now, Mr Frodo,' he pleaded.
'Come away, Master Samwise,' Celeborn said gently. 'He's been set free of the spell, as he wanted.'
'No,' Sam choked. He reached for one of the gloved hands, taking it between his own two strong hands. 'Mr Frodo?'
The eyelids fluttered, and then Frodo was looking at him, colour slowly coming into his face. 'Why, Sam,' he said smiling. 'What a dream I've been having... It's good to see you!'
'It's good to see you, too, Mr Frodo,' Sam replied simply, though he felt like leaping and shouting for joy, or at the very least enveloping his beloved master in a great hug. 'It is good to see you,' was all he said, as the joy shone from his eyes.
And it was.
|<< Back||Next >>|
|Home Search Chapter List|