Visitors came sporadically, like dripping water that pools in a basin.
Not that Harry would use that as an analogy for the actual visitors directly, for that would be rude to them. In any case, that was the first description that came to his mind immediately as the normally peaceful Rivendell was filled up with banter and grim agitation. Not that it stopped the fact that the Elves seem to host parties every night, songs and tales often flows till the dark of night. It was a very pleasant stay, even though Harry wasn't allowed to drink because of his supposed age and supposed gender modesty.
The elves prepared larger feasts, the guards stood with a tad more wariness as foreign people came to stay. It was to say, oddly swift to have so many visitors after the ring's recent arrival. There were Dwarves, stocky and short with gigantic beards to compensate for the lack of height. Since Harry couldn't exactly ask openly about the newest arrivals without sounding overly bothersome and suspicious, he could only glean from causal conversations between the elves that the company of Dwarves had came from some place known as Iron Hills. The companies' leaders, a Glóin and Gimli came looking for a council with Lord Elrond, concerning something about someplace called "Mordor" and Hobbits.
There were also Elves from other Elven cities, traveling over to Rivendell. At first Harry didn't notice them, seeing that the Elves all look strikingly similar. It was only after talking with Lord Elrond did he warn him not to bother the "new" Elves that he learns about their arrival.
Seeing that he couldn't contribute much, Harry decided to spend his time staying in Rivendell learning and filling in the gaps in his knowledge about this new world, of which Gandalf managed to oblige, liking the idea of teaching someone. Not that there was much for him to do anyway, since a long wait was a must for the invited parties to arrive.
Every morning, after breaking a brief breakfast Harry would head to the study where Gandalf would lay out detailed maps and models, teaching him about the geography of the Middle Earth. It was quick for him to learn, since most of the stuff that he was "learning" was already known to Elise herself, so there was less issue with it. It also extends to herbology, teaching him what plants have what property and affinity, and which are safe to eat and which are toxic to the touch.
To be honest, Harry was decidedly in awe of Gandalf, not only because he out-ages him in an incomprehensible amount of years, but also because the Istari, as they are called, are actual deities in human form. Back on Earth, even in the magical world actually deities haven't been recorded down as an actual proven existence. Kelpies and Grindylows are classified as "Demons", but Harry was very sure that they are not of the religious variation.
Gandalf, however, is of an entirely different status.
Harry was not sure what the being can actually do, but it seemed that it can be extremely powerful. Gandalf hid his true strength beneath the guise of a grey old man, which in most cases might work on the unwary. However, to Harry, magical old men with majestic great beards screams danger and power to him.
Harry wondered what he actually looks like, his "true" form, if he actually have one.
On the other hand, the periodical de ja vu feeling had ceased, and Harry reasoned to be that Elise herself had never been to Rivendell, and nothing triggers her memories. At the same time, through out the stay Harry hadn't been able to "speak" with Elise at all. Occlumency contributed nothing on the matter and it seems like only some form of extreme exhaustion or other ways of traveling deep into his subconscious can Harry actually speak with the other soul inside.
This strangely reminded Harry of a Horcrux, but instead of a soul fragment, an entire soul got lodged and replaced the body's original soul as the dominant soul, taking control. That thought rather disturbing, since currently he realised that he basically did a Voldemort on Elise. Harry remembers that during the time that he actually went into the deepest recesses of his mind — the train station — was either at door's step or at extreme magical exhaustion.
Harry was extremely reluctant to come close to either, so he hadn't been paying much attention to either. He had absolutely no wish to try to die — but not die.
During his stay, there were quite a few problems that he had to deal with.
The most obvious one would be that he is currently in the body of a young girl, so most private things were rather difficult to handle without probably offending his host. While he couldn't really not defecate, he did all he could to not think about it while preforming the task and Scourgifying himself when he was done. The same goes for most other cleaning activities such as bath times.
In order to pretend that he actually did use the bathtubs, he had to splash water on the edges of the tub and wash his hair manually to get the scent of the soap on him, because Scourgify leaves one curiously scentless. He also have to muddy the waters ever so slightly to give the impression that someone did use the tub after all.
However, since using magic would somehow cause his eyes to magically glow, he had to do his business rather quickly so that the light fades. It usually only take a minute or two for the light to go out for a simple charm like Scourgify, but for things a bit more taxing like conjuring a flower would light his eyes up for at least ten minutes. Therefore, he could safely conclude that the glow's length and intensity have a direct correlation to the amount of magic done.
The other problem that comes once at a month was also rather… new. Cramps would appear in parts of his body that he didn't even knew existed and randomly bleeding down there put an end to conversations pretty fast. He felt lucky that tampons were not an idea that only existed in the modern world and that Middle Earth have its own equivalents. He shudders to think of the sensation of blood silently dripping down one's thigh while eating at the dinner table with the Elves and holding a conversation.
This must be what Ginny felt like during her periods. No wonder the Wizarding World had so many different variations of magical toiletries once they discovered the practical, everyday uses of magic.
The last problem would be his reception by the people of Rivendell. Most of them had absolutely no idea why he was even staying in the Elven city. Only a selected few, like Gandalf, Elrond, Aragon and the hobbits know that his identity "Elise" could cast magic. However, even Gandalf, the only person who knew of the "spirit", was completely baffled when he conjured a flower as a demonstration, another sign of just otherworldly his powers are.
Of course, he couldn't go around and throw magic about. It seemed like sorcery was something that was extremely dangerous to trifle with, with being on both ends of it perilous in nature.
Furthermore, most magic users are Wizards, as the common called them — are Istaris, a literal divine being. Most other users of magic are either thousands of year old, like Galadriel, have many years of training and hard work before even capable of doing anything remotely magical.
However, despite the rarity of people that could actually use magic, it seemed like the Elves had no shortage of clearly magical items: A cloak that when covered over its owner renders their image an inconspicuous rock, a rope that tightens and untie at its owner's will, flasks that glow and fire that burns on nothing — all items that interests Harry greatly.
Further investigation reveals that all of these item's magical power appeared during its making, with the will and power of the smith being the driving force and director of its magical power in the heat of fire. Gandalf couldn't explain it more than that for he himself does not know why and how the items were created, even though he too bears a magical ring — a gift from an other divine being that seemed quite nifty.
Days flies as Harry kept himself busy with various things — such as creating a working wand. He had asked to borrow Gandalf's staff for a test, of which he gladly obliged. After a quick try, he concluded that a staff, created by god-like beings, was absolutely useless in his hands. This left him with the only option — to create his own wand if he ever wants to gain access to the true spectrum of his wizarding powers.
The only problem was that he only knew the basics on wand crafts. A wand works in ways that are surprisingly difficult to comprehend. While the will of the caster is the driving force behind magic, a wand, waved correctly or not, will always have a profound effect on the spell being cast. This was because, as he had learned, a wand essentially forms a magical array with it's waves and flicks, focusing magic into a unified version that both saves time and magical power. This also lead to another issue, being that even though one could cast without waving a wand at all, if one waved their wand during the cast in a contradicting pattern, the spell will still falter and fail.
There were no shortages of wood as raw materials in Rivendell, and the basic runes required to create a simple wand is rather easy to carve and remember. The woods in Rivendell are definitely saturated in magic, just by standing near one he would occasionally have sudden glimpses of incomprehensible images fluttering through his eyes: faces, people, movement, birds, wind, insects — all sorts of things through this strange connection. Harry thought that it might be the trees somehow sending out magical signatures, interfering with his own. This alone is curious, as this only applies to magical items — like horcruxes. He was sure that this doesn't meant the trees are horcruxes, but there are something definitely strange and magical about them.
The only difficult part is to acquire a part of a magical creature. Wands usually work on the principle of symbolism of three: The wand wood is the body which transfer the magic, where the runes are carved and focuses it. The wizard/witch is the mind, the driving force and will behind the magic, the conductor of this weaving and ever changing magic field that surrounds the earth. These two are rather easy to understand and straight forward, and shouldn't be hard to achieve.
The magical animal creature parts, however, serves a very peculiar role in the construction of a wand. A wand without an animal core will simply remain inert, silent. No matter how you wave it, the wand will simply not comply, sliding through the magical fields like a ship without an engine. The uses of a magical creature part, is to bring the wand to life. It has the ability to simulate a core when encased in magical wood, the runes forming all the pathways to create a an environment where the core can exist. For some scholarly reason, the hybrid had the ability to form focused, definite spells when the right runes were inscribed and the magic converge to the tip of the wand through the lines within the wood. This gives the wizard an unmatched ability for precision and an edge over wandless magic.
In fact, the properties of using magical animal parts weren't something particularly new either. It had existed for thousands of years but had only been included within wand making during the Renaissance, where the magical folks and afford to congregate into societies once more, spurred on by the sudden rush and need for innovations. The earliest cases of using animal parts had often surprised most wizards and witches because of its inherant disreputable nature — rituals.
Rituals of all kinds had traditionally used sacrifices of some sort of visceral item, like blood and pain, perhaps even death. Augurs and oracles since time memorial had used sacrificial rituals to look into the future, and dark wizards and the like had used them to gain power, one form or another. Willing sacrifices works the best, as demonstrated by his own mother Lily Evans, successfully creating a shield that can even repel the un-repellable Avada Kedavra. Curiously, the more magical and "conscious" the being is, the more power that can be retrieved from a sacrifices.
This is curious, because while everyone sacrifices things to different beings, it still works. The Department of Mysterious had then concluded that rituals do not actually send things to Gods, but obey some form of exchange according to some yet to be known magical laws. This is good, because this means that one cannot summon demons or otherworldly beings and somehow doom the entirety of the Earth, and that the "souls" of the sacrificed are not consumed by some malicious being whom feeds on suffering and death.
On that note, while in theory that sacrificing a human/elf/Istari would create a working "animal part" for a wand, Harry would very much rather not kill anyone and was averse to the idea. He briefly humoured the ideas of using Orcs and Goblins as the base for his little "sacrifice", but ran into the problem of just where and how will he manage to find a goblin and set up a ritual without the general population of the world trying to murder him. At the same time, he wasn't sure if he wanted bits and pieces of orcs in his wand, their nature mayhap affecting the wand itself.
Harry spent days contemplating on what exactly should he do, sitting in the room that he was allocated to, since without a wand or a media he is essentially limited at what he could do. He could only Apparate very short distances — give or take half a mile at maximum without risks of splinching — something about this world's magical field seemed to be disapproving people forming instantaneous spacial foldings. Runes, however, still works, as demonstrated by his newest bottomless bag that he made during his spare time with a swift sew.
Without a wand, all he could do is to prepare for the future, however he can.
Time passed quickly.
In a blink of the eye, weeks passed by and the population of Rivendell filled to the brim, hushes filled the air and worry evidential on everyone's face. The air was thick, palpable even as anxiousness seemingly flood the city. Even the normally unflappable looking Elves walked with a hurried pace.
Harry had absolutely no idea what will come to pass, but he was sure that something, was happening.
The sun had risen not too long ago and he had broken his fast with a simple meal of bread and cider. The sunshine seemed almost pale in comparison to the magnificent view he received several weeks earlier, but not even so could dampen the beauty of Rivendell. Outside of his window, the birds still chirp and sing, despite being less enthusiastic about it then usual.
He tapped his quill on the parchment, deep in thought. On the table were sets of papers and crumpled balls, charcoal pencils and inkwells littering here and there in an organised mess. Dominating the centre, however, was a circular drawing of lines.
A runic design, to be precise. He had made use of different ancient languages, including Aztec and even some Goblin runes in his craft. The result was a circular design, interjected with geometrical lines and multitude of symbols. He had spent several nights working on it, in his dreams and waking hours.
Harry had never properly taken Ancient Runes or Magic Theory as a subject, but throughout his time with Hermione and Auror training he had picked up quite a few techniques and pointers on the matter. He would place himself to be at least somewhat adequate in making Ward Stones and other various Runes related design, but definitely not a master at doing so.
However, it was enough for him to be able to create the array in front of him.
The runic design was supposed to go onto an amulet of sorts, it's purpose being that it can "Repel Harm Directed Approaches", which meant that it is supposed to defend him against attacks, magical or physical.
The concept of this design was originally made during the Medieval Period by the Roark the Runist, supposedly able to defend against cannons and such from being able to breach castle walls when inscribed into a ward stone.
It failed spectacularly, and the poor wizard was blown to bits — after which the array was forgotten and abandoned.
However, as time passed on, someone rediscovered the design and improved it with more modern techniques, able to fit it onto a trinket or such. The result was that the once castle-defender was reduced to a more personalised defence. It did lessened in power, and only able to take arrows instead of volleys of muskets at once now — but damn useful in avoiding getting shredded into confetti by shrapnel when explosion spells erupt next to you.
Therefore, it became part of the Auror equipment basics.
The only issue left is to actually create an amulet — and the tricky part was that one cannot craft the runes in after the metal cooled, it must be done while it's still heated and very much hot. Aside from that, there must be no "formed" magic involved other than the fire as the metal must be magically "pure"
And another problem snapped in his mind —how would he gain access to a forge at all? If he was not mistaken, old worlds are often male dominant and his current form would cause people to question. Not to mention, his identity as a visitor and a "child" prevents him from doing laborious things — even the hobbits are older than he is!
He tapped his quill on the table again, this time irritation. He gazed across his room, eyes searching for inspiration.
Pillow, blanket, bed, desk, paper, pen, glass, birds...
He suppose that he can sew it into a handkerchief or something similar — no one would question that, right?
Suddenly, an idea came to him as he stared at the tree right outside.
The trees here in Rivendell were very magically charged... and there are bound to be some fallen branches somewhere out there.
Harry congratulated himself as he went ahead and ripped a branch right off the tree —
He gasped suddenly as a sensation not unlike a turf of hair being violently torn off echoed through his mind.
He rubbed his forehead gingerly as a feeling faded, slowly taking his time to figure out what just happened.
Right, the trees are alive and they are unhappy about being plucked.
Forlornly, he looked at the branch in his hand, the magic seemed to tingle aggressively under his fingers.
Oh no, this wouldn't do at all.
This branch is now only acceptable as a club to whack someone over the head with, as that it was somewhat "cursed" by angry tree spirits.
Then he suddenly remembered harvesting plant wood for magical uses also needs to be done by professionals.
A seed, perhaps?
It seems like he had to appease the spirt of the trees or sacrifice something before the plant would be willing to trade something for the wood.
What would a tree want? Tree-keeping? Pest extermination? Bouquets?
Why is making a single simple protective charm so complicated?
Suddenly, another inspiration struck him.
As a deficit not-so-human-magical-being, his current body can technically be used as a magical conduit that he can charges with his magic constantly. Normally, magical tattoos works somewhat limitedly on wizard skins, as the wizard himself counts as a magical creature and their natural resistance quickly purges themselves of magical influences.
But as Elise herself is not a wizard, not the version I got on Earth at any rate, it means that magical influences on her should last as long as everything else on non-magical creatures. Further more, by being hosting me I can channel my magic into the array as I need, meaning no need to manually recharge as I use magic at all times anyway. The only issue is that it must not be permanent and is erasable.
In that sense, he thought furiously, I only need to make something that can apply the runic design on my skin repeatedly, something like a... like a...
—An ink stamp.
I am a genius.
For the first time in many days, he felt himself smiling.
Work flowed quickly after so, but even so it took the greater part of the morning for the stamp to be made.
He used the branch that he had originally snapped off as a the main structure, using a flint to cut pieces off the lump until it resembles a rather large chess piece, it's surface raw and light.
Over the flatter end, he layered his drawing onto circular surface, being careful to align the parchment to the centre. With a Trace and Raise spell, he tugged the image onto the wood in a puff of golden sparks, the paper fluttering away in pieces as the spell finished. It was also extremely coincidental that the it only requires the ink to be non-magical, and doesn't matter if the stamp itself was made with magical influences or not. This meant that use magic to polish the stamp up, but not much as he couldn't risk his eyes glowing past lunch time.
However, that was not the end of his task. Multiple protective layers and charms must be used to keep the stamp itself safe and intact, so therefore he applied a liberal dose of creativity and used sap that he withdrew from the tree to create a shiny surface. After so, he casted a Drying Charm on the stamp to prevent rot and other issues that may arise, at the same time killing most micro-organisms within.
Harry may not be a carpenter, but common sense told him that it would be bad if the stamp sprouted in his hand.
It was right before midday when he finally finished, the table covered with splinters and wood pieces, carelessly swept into a pile. The air was warm and humid,his hair stuck to his forehead in sweat and his thin arms ached but he couldn't bring himself to care at all.
The stamp was finally finished, the wooden craft sitting proudly on the tabletop with the slightest ray of sunshine through the open on it's pristine surface.
Merlin's beard, if this is what arts and craft is all about, no wonder they are so bloody expensive.
Harry gazed outside the window, the wind blowing in carried the scent of food being prepared for a feast. His stomach growled, he realised that he had been working for five hours straight and that he was positively famished. The prospect of food lifted his spirits even more, almost like a celebration to his success.
But then, there will still be a while before food is served, so he though that he might as well test his product now. No point waiting and hoping that it actually works.
A sudden pang of worry shot through him as he considered the possibilty of it not working, but swiftly reassured himself that his maths were correct and had double checked the theories behind them. It must work.
Putting his fear behind him, he prepared a small clothe, stained with ink and faux stamped it with the Rune Stamp ( or so he christened it ), covering the raised array with a thin layer of ink.
Now the question was where should he stamp it.
After a small thought he decided that the shoulder would probably be the best spot, as it was covered by his long sleeves and would be easy to clean.
Rolling up his sleeves and without a second thought, he brought the stamp down, the cold wooden surface kissing his skin.
As soon as the ink fully formed the array, he could feel something happening, the design on his shoulder warming up, glowing brightly for a moment before fading away. A strange sensation ruined through his arm, like an icy hot rope coiling through his muscles.
He lifted the stamp and set it down on the table gently before taking a look at his — Elise's shoulder.
The print was flawless and complete, the ink a colour of light green that was definitely not from the ink itself, a emitting a small glow that wouldn't even be seen in the dark provided that it was covered by clothing.
But otherwise, Harry doesn't feel much different at all as he moved his shoulder about. No strange power boost, not urges, no aches or burns — which was a very good sign.
Good, good... Nothing went wrong yet.
It was, however, time to have lunch. The tell-tale bell rang softly in the breeze as it beckoned the Elves, Dwarves and Man alike to feast together.
That reminded him that his stomach was growling audibly, and this eventful morning had drained him considerably. Crafting all morning had left him tired and somewhat sleepy despite it being barely halfway through the day.
Through the mirror in the corner, he checked his — her eyes to see if it were glowing. To her relief, it's only a dull glow that would go unnoticed in the day light. If he spent a few more minutes cleaning up his table, by the time he arrives at the feast hall he light should have faded to non-existent.
His rush of success kept him excited for the rest of the day despite the general atmosphere of gloom. As he sat down at the tables in the dining hall, he noted the subdued words spoken by the diners. The elves spoke to themselves, the dwarves drank their wine with more fervour than usual and the humans — Men, kept casting suspicious gazes towards others.
Ignoring the usual curious gazes, he grabbed himself a plate and some servings of soup and bread, along with a small salad. While Harry's appetite was not small, his current body certainly couldn't handle the amount he used to have.
What a shame, he thought to himself as he chowed down on a piece of bread, "this soup is bloody amazing. Must be some of there strange spices that they grow."
However, as he ate, he noticed that there were a few people that are missing. He gave the crowd a brief survey and immediately noticed what was wrong.
The respective "leaders" of each race present were absent from the tables, and the hobbits too. Lord Elrond, Frodo, Gandalf, the new comer Elves and some other Men that lead their group were not at the table with them.
Were there perchance some secret meeting? Harry knew that the cause of the visitors was the appearance of the Ring, therefore by logical deduction the elves had hosted a council of some sort to decide the fate of the Ring.
Something was definitely afoot here.
Disturbed, he stood up and returned the plate to a collection box where the elves at the kitchen would wash them, his small servings suddenly seemed too large for his stomach. Forcing himself to take a deep breath, he left the hall in search of Gandalf. Perhaps he would have some answers for him — but swiftly realised that he too must be at the council.
Suddenly, an old voice called out to him, "Ah Elise, I was looking for you,"
Swirling around in surprise, Harry exclaimed, "Gandalf! How did you — never mind, I was looking for you too,"
"What a coincidence," the hatted old man said, leaning on his staff as he emerged from behind a corner, "Have you eaten yet?"
"Why, yes. I just came from the dining hall,"
"Good, good. I believe that there is a meeting that I simply must invite you to," Gandalf gestured at him to follow as he walked back to where he came from, "Come along, I'll explain on the way..."
Walking next to Gandalf, Harry asked, "Does it happen to concern a particular... troublesome artefact?"
Gandalf missed a step in his stride and nearly stumbled, "A troublesome artefact? Thats the first I've ever heard the One Ring called as such. But yes, this is about the Ring," Glancing at Harry, he continued to speak, "Occasionally I simply forget that you are a very observant young lady. I apologise for that,"
Well, thats awfully convenient now, isn't it? Speak of devil and he shall appear.
"... Its fine," Harry managed to say, "I must ask, are the... well, visitors from other places also present?"
"Yes, this is a rather important council after all."
"Do they know..." Harry gestured at himself, "Who and what I am?"
"... Well, no," the Istari admitted, "But that shouldn't be an issue, unless you do not wish to reveal that you have a largely benevolent errant soul latching on, of course,"
"Are you sure about this? That they will not attempt to stab me immediately? This could easily be interpreted as necromancy,"
"You are under Lord Elrond's and my protection directly, young Elise," Gandalf reassured him, "Relax in the fact that no one here will dare harm you with us in your presence,"
"Is that so... So what is this meeting about? What do you plan to do with the Ring?"
"The Ring must be destroyed, there are no other option if we mean to destroy Sauron himself," Gandalf said, his pace picking up, "Unfortunately, there are a few issues with that."
"It is protected by the power of Sauron, and only the place of it's making can it be unraveled again..." the Istari muttered, "Only in the flames of Mount Doom can it be destroyed,"
Harry paused in his tracks, causing Gandalf to stop and look back at him.
Incredulous, Harry asked, "You surely are not suggesting that we tot the Ring all the way into Mordor? I am not a scholar but I am very sure that Mount Doom lies right next to his domain and his Eye. This is pure insanity!"
"I assure that it is both mad and necessary," Gandalf responded without delay, "The Ring must be destroyed to rid him once and forever. Even without the Ring, his influence grows stronger by day."
"But still? Mordor?"
"Hiding it does not solve the issue, his armies still grows,"
"There must be some other way to destroy the Ring!"
"If there is, we would've done so as soon as we received the ring — Oh, we are here."
As he was immersed within the argument, Harry barely noticed that the pair had walked into a small garden with a circular pedestal in the middle. Tall pillars form arches and marbled stone served as chairs under the greenery. On the chairs sat Elves, Men and Dwarves, filling each seat. On the far left of the semi circle sat Frodo, who watched in surprise.
Lord Elrond who sat in his own chair stated, "Ah, Gandalf. You've arrived."
The Istari strode in and headed for his chair, which was empty. Awkwardly, Harry followed him and decided to stand behind to his chair, attracting strange gazes from the other guests. "I apologise for the delay. Let the meeting begin."
Gazing at everyone in turn, Elrond rose and said, "Strangers from distant lands, friends of old... you've been summoned here to answer the threat of Mordor. Middle Earth stand on the brink of destruction, none can escape it. You will unite, or you will fall..."
At this, the ones seated looked at each other uneasily, the tension palpable in the air.
"Each race is bound to this fate, this one Doom."
Elrond turned and looked at Frodo directly, staring at him. He said, "Bring forth the Ring, Frodo,"
Grasping the arm of the chair, the Hobbit stood up unsteadily. With tense movements and shaky legs, he strode forth to the pedestal that stood at the centre of the podium. Fishing within his pockets, he withdrew something within his clenched mist. With a soft metallic clink, he placed the Ring onto the pedestal.
As that caught sight of the Ring, their breath seemed to escape them, visages suddenly paled and cold sweat broke out. Mutterings and whisperings flew through the podium as they fell into trepidation.
Harry too felt the Ring, like a cold wind and foul odour that came from the small band of gold. His magic and occlumency training protected himself from its effects, stopping the presence from infiltrating his mind, but others were not so resistant to it's dark presence. Even Gandalf seemed somewhat unnerved, his knuckles white upon his wooden staff.
Frodo slowly walked back to his seat, his hands shaking.
Someone whispered, "So it is true..."
"The Doom of man."
The person who whispered muttered, "In a dream, I saw the Eastern side grow dark but in the West a pale light lingered..." Slowly, the man stood up, walking towards the pedestal as if he was in a dream, "...A voice was crying: Your doom is near at hand. Isildur's bane is found..."
His fingers, trembling, reached out. Alarmed, Elrond stood up and roared, "Boromir!"
Gandalf stood up as well, brandishing his staff and shouted, "Ash nazg durbatuluk, ash nazg gimbatul, ash nazg thrakatuluk agh burzum-ishi krimpatul!"
At that moment, the sky seemed to darken a fraction. The council suddenly grasped their heads between their palms, cringing away from his voice. The earth shook, the life in the trees stilled and the wind ceased blowing in a moment of terror. The man, now known as Boromir, stumbled back into his chair, gasping.
Harry looked around wildly at the scrambling elves and man. The words certainly contained a generous dose of power, something that like a taboo curse — but definitely not something that should merit such fear and strife just by its mention.
Gradually, the darkness faded and life returned.
Elrond glared at Gandalf in a way that would have been comical is this weren't so serious, "Never before has any voice uttered those words in Imladris."
Gruffly, Gandalf answered back, "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,"
"It is a gift!" Boromir said again, having recovered he stood up from his seat once more, "A gift to the foes of Mordor! Why not use this Ring?" With big gestures, he said to the other council members, "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!"
Aragon, the man that brought Harry to Imladris stood up too and responded, "You cannot wield it! None of us can. The One Ring answers to Sauron alone. It has no other master."
Turning to look at him, Boromir mockingly asked, "And what would a ranger know of this matter?"
Suddenly, another ridiculously handsome Elf — probably some form of royalty according to his bearing and attire, stood up with a scowl. He practically hissed, "This is no mere ranger. He is Aragorn, son of Arathorn. You owe him your allegiance."
"Aragorn?," Bormor said disbelievingly, swiftly turning back and glared at Aragorn, "This… is Isildur's heir?"
"And heir to the throne of Gondor." The Elf added, narrowing his eyes.
Mutterings immediately broke out again, more than a pair of eyes widened and stared at a clearly uncomfortable Aragon. So Aragon is a long lost king? Harry thought, bemused and surprised, I thought that he might be some form of royalty with his connections to the elves, but a king?
Aragon sighed, crossing his arms, "Havo dad Legolas."
Boromir sneered, "Gondor has no king. Gondor needs no king."
Giving and receiving the stink eye from everyone in the podium, he returned to his seat, muttering to himself. This man is a nut job, Harry noted to himself, very high chance of blowing a rampage Ron. Probably needs to be kept in sight.
Nodding his head and clearly ignoring the fiasco, Gandalf pointed at the ring, "Aragorn is right. We cannot use it."
"You have only one choice," Lord Elrond said, finally arriving to the main point of the meeting, "The Ring must be destroyed."
A dwarf suddenly stood up, full of bluster. Grabbing an axe — why would they allow weapons in a council? — he yelled, "What are we waiting for?"
Before anyone can stop him, he marched up to the ring, brought his axe overhead in a massive swing that would sure to split limbs and torsos. With a roar and whistling wind, he let the axe head fall on to the gold band.
There was a flash of white, the sound of metal cracking. With a loud bang, the dwarf was thrown through the air in a tumble before landing on his rear.
Harry blinked the black spots out of his eyes and messaged his head as the ringing sound faded. Glancing at the Ring, he noticed that it was completely unharmed by the blow, still sitting on the pedestal innocently. However, if a band of gold could glare, Harry felt that it would be doing so.
Sardonically, Lord Elrond said, "The Ring cannot be destroyed, Gimli, son of Gloin 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." He looked around the podium, "One of you must do this,"
There was a moment of uncomfortable silence, where everyone glanced at each other. No one dared say a word lest this humongous responsibility befall them.
Taking a deep breath and with an almost derisive smile, Boromir said, "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. It is 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!"
Despite the man's earlier behaviour, Harry agreed with his point. Going into Mordor, especially when the orcs are up and about was a terrible idea. The chance for failure is high and the consequences are too steep. If he were to choose, he would rather throw the Ring somewhere in the ocean, in a jar, covered in lead and several sealing charms before being chained shut with some non-rusting metal.
The Elf from before, his name seemed to be Legolas or something, rose from his seat before scolding again, "Have you heard nothing Lord Elrond has said? The Ring must be destroyed!"
The dwarf, named Gimli stood up too, roaring at the Elf, "And I suppose you think you're the one to do it?!"
Boromir jumped from his chair, waving his arms extra emphasis, "And if we fail, what then?! What happens when Sauron takes back what is his?!"
Ignoring the words of the man, Gimli continued, "I will be dead before I see the Ring in the hands of an elf!"
Taking offence, some of the Legolas's entourage too rose and started yelling at Gimli and the other Dwarves with fury. Legolas held his arms out, trying to calm down his companions with no avail.
"Never trust an elf!" Gimli roared, too restrained by his companions around the waist and arms.
Gandalf glanced at Harry, and he glanced back. Both seemed to have a silent agreement of dissapointment and a mental sigh. Shaking his head, Gandalf reached for his staff and too stood up. Knocking his staff on the floor twice, he spoke, "Do you not understand that while we bicker among ourselves, Sauron's power grows?! None can escape it!"
His voice rang out with an effect not unlike one from a Sonorus charm, echoing about the podium.
One of Boromir's retainers yelled back, "You'll all be destroyed!"
Lord Elrond shrugged at Gandalf, who refused to give up and continued roaring into his staff-mic. Harry could only looked around helplessly as the scene descended into pandemonium.
The Ring seemed to tingle in his mind, having him to glance at it. Now, unmistakably, power was wafting out from the gold like waves from the sea, battering against the minds of the man, mer and dwarf. Harry glared accusingly at the Ring, which seemed to glare back with equal anger.
Suddenly, Frodo — the Hobbit — spoke, "I will take it! I will take it!"
All of a sudden, everyone stopped in their argument. Gandalf closes his eyes as he heard Frodo's statement, a small smile tugging on the corner of his lips. Everyone slowly turns toward Frodo, surprised evident in their faces, some with mouths open in shock or mid vulgarity.
Frodo visibly shrunk under the gazes, but seemed to steel himself and clenched his fist. He spoke with a clear voice, "I will take the Ring to Mordor. Though.. I do not know the way."
The Elves, Dwarves and the companies of man seemed to glance in-between themselves as shame set in. With Frodo's small statue, Harry assumed that it is what caused such a reaction as it seemed a child had more courage and heroic spirit than them combined. Then, with an afterthought, perhaps if he offered to bear it himself, the result would be exactly the same.
Gandalf nodded sagely, stepping closer to Frodo, "I will help you bear this burden, Frodo Baggins, so long as it is yours to bear."
Glancing at Gandalf, Aragon stood up too, "If by my life or death, I can protect you, I will,"
With deliberate movements, he walked toward Frodo, who seemed to be frozen in shock. With another dramatic flair, he knelt in front of the Hobbit and said, "You have my sword,"
Raising an eyebrow, Legolas too walked over and stood by the Hobbit, "And you have my bow."
With an expression that seemed like he was caught with his trousers down, Gimli the dwarf glared at Legolas and loudly proclaimed, "And my axe!"
Boromir slowly walked toward Frodo too, resigned and grave, "You carry the fates of us all little one. If this is indeed the will of the council, then Gondor will see it done,"
Harry was not expecting this kind of cooperation from the man, and was pleasantly surprised. Maybe he is not a total nut job after all.
There was a moment of such grandness, that everyone had been stunned to silence. Even the Ring seemed to quiet down on its pedestal, it's presence momentarily dwarfed — Harry winced at his mind — by the sheer determination.
Suddenly, a figure tumbled out of a bush, scattering leaves in all directions. The dwarves near where he emerged jumped with surprise, reaching for their weapons. The bush monster promptly proclaimed, "Mr. Frodo is not goin' anywhere without me!"
Sam? Harry thought with his eyebrows raised.
With an expression that could barely be called amused, Lord Elrond said dryly, "No indeed, it is hardly possible to separate you even when he is summoned to a secret council and you are not."
Two more figures suddenly ran up from behind two pillars, revealing themselves to be two more hobbits Pippin and Merry, "Wait! We are coming too!"
"You'd have to send us home tied up in a sack to stop us!"
"Anyway you need people of intelligence on this sort of mission, quest… thing."
"Well that rules you out Pip."
The moment, now broken, had the members of the council smiling and laughing. Cheer seemed to return as the proclamations went on.
Elrond slowly said, "Nine companions…"
Out of the blue, Gandalf suddenly said, "Not so soon, Elrond."
The Istari slowly turned toward Harry, who was still standing next to his seat. He raised an eyebrow questioningly.
Oh right. That question.
Can I risk this?
Can I bare to bring Elise into this war?
He asked himself again, does he have the right to bring Elise into such a dangerous environment, one that she would have never been in if it weren't for his arrival?
No, he doesn't. However, an entire world is at stake here. And also, it is unlikely I can find a way back home alone.
This is an exact repeat of Dumbledore's Dilemma, isn't it?
Of course, he knew what the answer must be. The responsibility of his decisions and the choice between doing nothing or sacrificing others for the "greater good".
Sighing to himself, he took a deep breath and said, "I'll join the fellowship as well, Lord Elrond,"
While Gandalf seemed both pleased and regretful, some of the other council members seemed surprised and scandalised.
Frowning, Elrond asked, "Are you sure, Elise? The road would be hard and dangerous."
Closing his eyes, Harry repeated, "I'll join the fellowship,"
Elrond nodded, "Very well, if that is your decision."
One of Boromir's acquaintance called out, "Lord Elrond, you can't be serious. A girl belongs not on the path, especially not one that leads into Mordor!"
Glancing at the man who said that, Harry sighed and answered, "Worry not for me. I can protect myself and others well enough,"
"Still —" another person tried.
"Elise is currently under my tutorship. I can personally confirm her skills," Gandalf said, glancing back at Elise, "Or would you like a demonstration?"
Harry clapped his hands together and concentrated. Under his breath, he whispered, "Solaris". From in-between his palms, a small flicker of fire formed, growing and growing until it is a sphere of inferno, held between his hands. The dancing light casted shadows on the floor and orange sheen on all it touches, spinning like a wheel. The sphere cackled with power, lances of embers spraying out onto the floor but vanishes before it did.
Some of the guests scrambled back in terror, mouths agape. The dwarves cursed and cussed in their tongue while the Elves sat there, stunned as the podium heated up rapidly.
Suddenly, Harry clapped his hands together again, bashing the small ball of fire into bits, winking out the flame like one would do to a candle. This spell was "bluffing" spell, in that it is absolutely useless in most practical forms since it could neither be detonated or thrown about. However, it does look damn impressive — and he aimed to impress. Luckily, since it is at it's base a paper tiger, the magic expenditure were rather low.
There was another moment of silence before the mutterings returned, the council members still wide eyed.
"...What magic is this?"
"This is no Istari..."
Gandalf cleared his voice, "Thank you Elise. As I've said, she's currently under my tutorship, and I'll watch over her. Now, Elrond, would you mind?"
Nonplused, Lord Elrond continued as if nothing happened, "Ten companions then... So be it. I hereby decree that you shall be the Fellowship of the Ring!"
Silence reigned again.
"Great!" Pippin said enthusiastically, "Where are we going?"
Hey, welcome back. Sorry for the hiatus. Got work to do — and now summer is here, I can finally start writing (just a bit.) Here's a chapter or something to tide you guys over.