The Adventures
Frodo Gardner

Volume I
Where Many Paths and Errands Meet
By Dolores J. Nurss

Chapter 25, Part 25
On the Road to Treegarth

"November 2, 1451--Sorry about yesterday's rant. Gimli shared brandy last night. It seemed like a good idea at the time. This morning Uncle Merry shared spicy-root. All is forgiven. But yes, we do have a problem. Merry knows about May."
(Evening notation) "Eowyn gave Legolas willow-draughts twice today, morning and now in the evening. Legolas having fits two days in a row worries her; she fears the ring might be putting up a fight. It can sense the changes in Legolas's body, apparently, and guess what lies ahead, even if we can't-- for not even Legolas knows for sure what Gimli and Treebeard have concocted between them.
I don't know how that works, exactly, since Legolas made the ring. How can it know things that he doesn't? Unless it's not a thing at all, but kind of like a child, a child of the hands and mind, if that makes sense, being magic and all. The things we make are less than us, but our children are another matter. No offense, Papa, but there are some matters I know that you don't know, and I'm sure you could've said the same on your own account about the Gaffer. Oh heavens, that came out all wrong! Please don't think I've been sneaking around behind your back. At least not any more than's normal for any son, if you take my meaning. Oh dear--I bet you do take my meaning! Oh blast! And if I blot out this entire section, you really will be suspicious of me, won't you? I'll leave it in--you can see, Papa, that I am reasonably honest. Never mind--the ring's not like a child anyway, I'm sure. Maybe more like art. Yes. Art always seems to go beyond the artist, in some kind of way. That can be a beautiful idea, when you think about it. Or, in the case of something like this ring, scary."
"November 3, 1451--This madness business is a weird thing. Obviously, you'd say, but not like I expected. The strangest part is that it's not nearly as weird as I'd assumed. Legolas is still Legolas--and Merry agrees, and he'd know better than me. Long stretches at a time can go by when Legolas seems perfectly reasonable--whole days, like today. It's funny, but without even thinking about it I guess I'd always assumed that if somebody cracked up they'd turn into a different species or something. Well, Legolas is a different species, technically, but that's not what I meant. I mean turn into something not a person, something you don't feel anything for anymore, too alien for any kind of relationship. Maybe that attitude's craziest of all, except so many people believe it that it just seems normal to think that way. But each turn of events reminds me that this is the same Legolas in all of Papa's tales, just dragged through something awful, all torn and bruised inside, maybe even dirty (if that's not unfair to say) and he might be beyond repair, and might not--but he's still the same hero, still somebody I loved before I ever laid eyes on him. I know him better, now, but love him no less. I hate that little blowfly, Sauron, though, like bile!"
"November 4, 1451--I've pretty much taken back all the cooking duties, even though it's six meals, now, not three. One thing worse than having to prepare every meal is having to eat food fixed by worse cooks than yourself. Papa, I'm sure you understand exactly what I'm talking about. Mama, too, of course. Legolas is still on the thin side, but he's much improved from what he'd been in Hollin; I think he really would have starved, if not for us badgering him to eat. He always balks at the suggestion of a meal, but once you put the food in front of him, he remembers that he's famished and dives right in. And me, I've never felt so hungry as I do these days. Now I understand better, Papa, why you kept pushing my namesake to eat your share of the food in Mordor--healing is hard work! Did he feel this hungry after Shelob's bite? Or did he even notice his own hunger, with the ring and all, and needed you to remind him, just like Legolas? Our unwell friend only seems aware of his body when the ring magnifies a sensation--and then not with any accuracy. Merry, at least, eats like a horse."
(Evening notation) "Well, I must say today was interesting! Legolas could not hold his attention on anything for minutes at a time, which did not stop him from chattering himself hoarse, nonstop, all day long--and at a rapid clip, too, as though his tongue couldn't keep up with his thoughts but was bound and determined to try anyway. You want a sample of his conversation? 'Look at how the sunlight flickers on the you know in my father's palace we have lanterns just like oh, is that a squirrel? The tail reminds me of your beard, Gimli! But it takes so long for an elf to grow a beard that few although of course I prefer to braid my hair myself, even if my cousin does insist but who trusts her taste, anyway, when she wears garnets with beryls but when I put the stone in the ring it smoked for a second and I am so sorry, Meriadoc, that you have to suffer but you know Elrond had pipes made for Bilbo merely out of but the plum pudding is much better, would you not agree?' We had to listen to stuff like that from breakfast on till dinnertime. We had no trouble whatsoever, though, in persuading Legolas to take a sleeping draught after the meal, for his talking fit had quite exhausted him, yet even then he could barely pause enough to swallow food. I believe the poor fellow was as anxious to shut himself up as we were to quiet him, ourselves. Now he sleeps so deeply that his eyes have closed the whole way--no 'blending of the living night with dreams,' as he puts it, not for this elf, not after an overloaded day like today! Now the rest of us sit quietly beside the fire's last coals, listening to the incredible silence of the open plain."
"November 5, 1451–Legolas woke up with a sore throat--no surprise there--but Eowyn managed to concoct a soothing tea from Uncle Merry's seasonings that have fixed him up proper. Our friend the elf is drowsy today, but otherwise himself--no more talking frenzy.
Well, there is one odd thing that I can't help but notice. His face has taken on a greenish cast all the time, now, and I'd swear it's getting worse. He does not look well. I pointed it out to Eowyn, but she says not to worry; she understands his condition and everything will work out in the end. Gimli has noticed it, too--I can tell by the way he studies his friend. But he won't say a thing about it. I keep wondering what a dwarf's idea of "drastic" treatment is, anyway? Ah well, at least Legolas is finally starting to fill out properly with regular feeding.
As for me, my scar itches like bugbites on top of bugbites--it's driving me crazy! Eowyn says that if she catches me scratching at it one more time, she's going to tie my hands behind my back. She mixed up a pinkish salve for the itch but it does not work very well."
"November 6, 1451–Today we entered a small wood--one of the scattered outposts, Gimli says, of Treegarth. Legolas studied the trees around us with the keenest interest--and growing keener by the minute, till I felt sure one of his fits had come on him again. Sure enough, he begged for a halt. He just had to touch a tree, commune with it, he said. So Eowyn called a halt and Gimli led him to the nearest oak, which he shinnied up as far as his chain would go. Then he stretched out on a bough, so close he could have been the bough itself. I couldn't tell if he'd fallen asleep up there or not--you know how it is with elves, hard to say. Gimli just settled himself amid the roots without complaint, and we set up camp around them. I thought Eowyn would look on this as yet another set-back (I know I did!) but she nodded like she approved and said, "Good--the medicine is working."
"November 7, 1451–The thickets grow thicker as we go (so to speak) wider and longer and more dense, and they begin to run together. Gimli says it's not far now. We all have our different reactions, I guess. Gimli looks tense, but determined. Legolas has so many emotions, I think, that he doesn't dare speak; I can't say whether his face shows more hope or fear, more shame or wonder at the trees all around him, as though he'd never seen a tree before in his life--him, an elf of Mirkwood! Eowyn tries not to show any emotion at all, but schools herself to give off this motherly sense of calm, even though I can sense some tension in her; I think the Rohirrim will always have some misgivings about Fangorn and all its colonies. Merry looks about him with this nostalgic smile and a certain eagerness, in contrast to the rest of us. Me, I have no idea what feelings might show on my face, because I'm not sure what I feel. This is all so new to me it's hard to form an opinion, or even guess what lies ahead."
"November 8, 1451--All day I had this prickly feeling of somebody watching me. I thought I kept catching shadowy glimpses out of the corner of my eye, of people--people moving through the trees, to our left and our right, or sometimes overhead in the branches. For a long while I told myself that my imagination ran away with me. Then I took a firm grip on May's magnifying glass in my pocket, and stared straight to the side of my pony--it felt hard to do, like I knew precisely where to look by which direction I had to push against to turn that way--and for just an instant I saw the most beautiful face! Then it vanished, behind a curtain of leaves, so fast I almost doubted I'd seen anything at all.
I asked Legolas, 'Are there elves in this wood?' 'Yes,' he said. 'Many elves.' 'And are they flanking us?' I asked. 'Yes,' said Legolas. 'They have come to witness my healing.' I wondered why I had a much harder time seeing them than seeing Legolas. He seemed to think it was because of your stories, Papa, like the old tales gave me a kind of grip on him. And it's stories, even more than the glass, that makes me catch even glimpses of elves now.
I can't write much more; the fire has died down to embers and I can hardly see the page before me. But I hear whispering all around the camp, and maybe even faint wisps of tunes. Tomorrow we reach Treegarth, Papa, that you once knew as Isengard."

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