Gandalf offered his hand to Nymeria who was upon the stone floor, she gripped it lightly and was pulled upwards by the kind Wizard. When upon her feet she threw her arms about him, expressing her joy in being in the lands of Middle Earth once again.
“Now, now my girl. We are on the verge of being late.” Nymeria let go of Gandalf and looked about her.
“Are we in Rivendell? And, if so, for what purpose?” she questioned with speed.
“All shall be answered in due time, come now.” he began to walk quickly, and she did follow. Nymeria’s skirts, still damp from the sea’s water, slowed her feet and needed to help up so that she could match Gandalf’s pace. The cool stone froze her feet causing her to lose feeling in her toes. She was curious of why she was there in those lands, yet Gandalf was being as enigmatic as always.
Gandalf stopped suddenly, surprising Nymeria. He pointed to a doorway, voices poured in through the opening.
“After I go through that door, you shall stay on the other side of it. Do listen closely to everything mentioned.” Gandalf instructed her, and left. Having so many questions for the Wizard that she wished answered, but knowing that he would not answer her she obeyed him. So after he passed through the door she waited a moment before creeping to the side of the opening, while being sure to keep herself hidden. At the very corner of the door she waited for the burble of conversation to cease. It took quite a while for there anything to happen and she found herself growing quite bored.
“Strangers from distant lands, friends of old.” the voice that spoke was full of age and wisdom, entwined with youth and life. She knew this voice, it belonged to Elrond, the Lord of Rivendell. “You have been summoned her to answer the threat of Mordor. Middle Earth stands upon the brink of destruction. None can escape it. You will unite or you will fall, each race is bound to this fate, this one doom.” Nymeria though of what this threat was and turned her ears to the sounds that spilled out of the doorway. “Bring forth the Ring, Frodo.” Nymeria listened to the soft pitter patter of feet, and the clink of metal on stone.
“So it is true.” the deep voice of a stranger spoke, “In a dream, I was the Eastern sky grow dark.” heavy footfalls made noise upon stone, “In the West a pale light lingered, a voice was crying, ‘Your doom is near at hand, Isildur’s bane is found.’” Elrond raised his voice
“Boromir!” the noise startled her, for Elrond to raise his voice in such a manner must have meant that this Ring, or Isildur's Bane, was something to be feared. Gandalf began to speak twisted words and the sky deepened down into darkness,
“Ash nazg durbatulûk, ash nazg gimbatul,” a fire burned within Nymeria’s skull, behind her eyes; she wished to scream or whimper but Gandalf had told her to remain silent so she held her tongue, “ash nazg thrakatulûk agh burzum-ishi krimpatul!” Gandalf’s words spiraled down and the pain that plagued Nymeria was washed away. Elrond spoke in an angry tone,
“Never before has anyone uttered words of that tongue here in Imladris.”
“I do not ask your pardon Master Elrond, for the Black Speech of Mordor may yet be heard in every corner of the West; the Ring is altogether evil.” Gandalf said in all his wisdom, though Nymeria knew not of Mordor, or of this Black Speech she listened on, “It is time to talk of the discovery of this evil, this history if you will.” Gandalf paused, “Bilbo, might you tell us your tale.”
“Of course, it began in the Goblin tunnels…” Bilbo began. Her will, if any weaker, would not be able to hold her back from dashing to him and embracing him. She did still have love for him and the happiness that she had felt at that moment could have drowned her years of sorrow. Pulling her thoughts from such joyous feeling she focused herself on the story that spilled Bilbo’s lips into the ears of all.
Bilbo did not spare one detail, she could recall many of the events that he spoke of, and with the detail that Bilbo put into his stories she could envision it all. He told of how he was separated from the Company in the Goblin tunnels; Nymeria had always wondered where he had gone of to. He described the grotesque creature Gollum, the one who had possession of the Ring before it passed to Bilbo. When his tale was done, after speaking numerous riddles that passed between him and the creature, he sighed and said “That was all quite long ago. Over 60 years.”
'Sixty years?' Nymeria thought in disbelief, her happiness turned to a bitter sorrow. In those years she knew that she was most likely forgotten. The sadness that had captured her was pushed to the back of her thoughts as a second tale emerged. Another Hobbit by the name of Frodo Baggins had dealings with the Ring.
‘Baggins? Bilbo had a son?’ Nymeria thought. But within a beat of her broken heart she saw that it was not her place to be jealous, sixty years was a long while after-all. She never did tell of how her heart felt, and did not even admit her love to herself till the very end. It was within Bilbo’s right to marry and to be happy. She thought of who he would have chosen for a bride. Remembering that he once told her that he was considered quite old to be a bachelor, at least by Hobbit standards.
Frodo was reluctant to tell his tale of the Ring, but with encouragement, he soon began to spin the tale that he traveled. The dangers of his journey seemed terrifying, even to just think of. She admired this Hobbit for his courage, he reminded her much of Bilbo, she could not help but to smile and wonder of what he looked like. His bravery and selflessness of leaving his home to save all. Through his tale she learned of another, a ranger named Strider, who helped him reach Rivendell. Even with his help Frodo was still injured by the servants of the Dark Lord, who were called Nazgûl. The way that the Nazgûl were described sent a shivered down Nymeria’s back bone.
During this long tale Nymeria felt her legs grow tired and slid down the wall to the floor. She turned her head right and spied two small creatures, with wide and marveling eyes, looking at her. They had curly hair on their heads and on-top their large feet.
‘Hobbits.’ she thought to herself,and parted her lips into a kind smile. They grinned back, and she pressed her delicate finger to her lips, they nodded in understanding. While their eyes were full of marvel still, as she was dressed rather strangely. They had never seen garb such as that, this Nymeria knew, and she wondered what they would think should she be clad in one of her queenly gowns. Those thoughts left her and she began, once again, to listen to the voices on the other side of the doorway, where she heard the man known as Boromir speak,
"Aye it is a gift! A gift to the foes of Mordor. Why not use this Ring? Long has my father, the Steward of Gondor kept the forces of Mordor at bay. By the blood of our people are your lands kept safe. Give Gondor the weapon of the Enemy, let us use it against him." This man was a fool, in Nymeria's eyes, and he had her pity. It was clear that he wanted to save his people, but with this tool he would bring them only doom.
"You cannot wield it." Another man's voice spoke, "None of us can, The One Ring answers to Sauron alone. It has no other master."
"And what would a Ranger know of this matter?" Boromir bit at the man.
"This is no mere Ranger." the familiar voice of Legolas spoke, it was as deep as the forest, and as bright as a star, "He is Aragorn son of Arathorn. You owe him your allegiance." A long pause followed these words of Legolas's voice, before Boromir responded,
"Aragorn...this is Isildur's heir."
"And heir to the throne of Gondor." Legolas spoke again.
"Havo dad, Legolas." Aragorn spoke, and Boromir with bitterness spoke,
"Gondor has no king, Gondor needs no king." Gandalf shattered the tension
"Aragorn is right. We cannot use it."
"You have only one choice." Elrond's wise voice spoke, "The Ring must be destroyed." A gruff Dwarvish accented voice called out,
"Then what are we waiting for." loud footsteps of the dwarf could be heard then a hard slamming of his axe into the Ring. He called out and fell back, judging from the sounds.
"The Ring cannot be destroyed, Gimli, son of Gloin,” Nymeria knew the name of Gloin, and knew that this was the Gimli that he so fondly talked of, “by any craft that we here possess. The Ring was made in the fires of Mount Doom. Only there can it be unmade. It must be taken deep into Mordor and cast back into the fiery chasm from whence it came." Elrond took a breath, "One of you... must do this."
Silence at once overtook the room, it was a of silence that could be physically see. It made Nymeria think of glass, a thing that you could both see and not see. Boromir, broke this glass,
"One does not simply walk into Mordor. Its Black Gates are guarded by more than just Orcs. There is evil there that does not sleep and the Great Eye is ever watchful. Tis a barren wasteland, riddled with fire and ash and dust. The very air you breathe is a poisonous fume. Not with ten thousand men could you do this. It is folly"
"Have you heard nothing Lord Elrond has said? The Ring must be destroyed." Legolas sternly said.
"And I suppose you think you're the one to do it." Gimli was as stubborn as the rest of his race.
"And if we fail what then ? What happens when Sauron takes back what is his?" Boromir shouted
"I will be dead before I see the Ring in the hands of an Elf!" Gimli had been raised his voice once more. Shouting began between all of the members of the council,"Never trust an Elf!" she could distinctly hear the son of Gloin shout. The arguments were soon indistinguishable, angry voices were raised and melded together.
"I will take it." Over all the voices Nymeria could hear the call of Frodo Baggins, but he went unnoticed by those who were shouting. "I will take it!" he shouted louder ending the many arguments. "I will take the Ring to Mordor. Though, I do not know the way."
"I will help you bear this burden Frodo Baggins, as long as it is yours to bear." Gandalf told Frodo.
“If by my life or death I can protect you, I will.” Spoke Aragon, sounding as if he were in awe of the Hobbits actions, “You have my sword.”
"And you have my bow." Legolas volunteered.
"And my axe." Spoke Gimli son of Gloin
"You carry the fate of us all little one. If this is indeed the will of the Council, then Gondor will see it done." Boromir said cooley.
"Oi!" She could hear the running of someone, "Mr Frodo's not going anywhere without me."
"No indeed it is hardly possible to separate you, even when he is summoned to a secret council and you are not!" Elrond said with a tone of humor in his voice.The two Hobbits across the way from Nymeria ran out yelling,
"Wait! we're coming too!" She almost laughed because of the almost comical nature of it all,
"You'd have to send us home tied up in a sack to stop us." The first one said.
"Anyway you need people of intelligence on this sort of mission ...quest ...thing." Said the second, Nymeria pursued her lips to keep her laughter locked in her chest.
"Well that rules you out Pip." Replied the first.
"Nine companions..." Elrond pondered, then had his thoughts interrupted by Gandalf,
"Ten?" Elrond questioned, "Who is this tenth member? And if he be here, let him step forward."
"Nymeria, is her name." She could hear a bitter laughter from Bilbo, and two dwarves.
"I did not know that you could raise the dead Gandalf." the aged voice of Kili spoke. "She fell, in battle, over half a century ago. She gave away her life so that Fili and I could live, and in guilt we have gone but also in thanks.”
"Nymeria is gone Gandalf," Bilbo spoke. "Of all that fell upon that day she did deserve to die the least." His voice then faltered, “We once spoke together, she said that she would return to the Shire with me, and I...I..I suppose that I loved her. Never did tell her, but I am sure that if she did live and return with me that she would made a husband of me. That is if she had wished to. I still have her handkerchief, right here in my pocket.” No longer could she stay hidden so she stood and boldly walked through the doorway.
All eyes were upon her in an instant. Except for Bilbo and Kili who were standing in front of Gandalf looking to him. Then she called out in her kind voice,