Book 2: chapter 30

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I was too short on words when I found Éowyn to be alive and recovering. And when Merry was brought in after me, I just cried, unashamed. I was so relieved for my worry was so great. They still have a long way ahead of them, but will be fine after proper rest and treatment.

I was also glad to be reunited with Gandalf and Pippin. They had been inside the city this whole time and from what I heard, had quite an adventure themselves.

We took a couple of days to recover our strength and I felt I needed it. My wounds healed quickly and neatly, but I was so weary. I felt like I had to sleep enough to make up for all that I lost from the start of our long and tiresome journey.

I wasn't the only one to feel that way and the others welcomed the change of pace, though in the back of our minds, we could see the shadow of Mordor growing. No doubt existed in our minds that Sauron was angry at his defeat.

"You're awake." Legolas immediately says the moment I walk into the great hall. I smile at him and the others who have gathered there. They return the gesture before turning to the matter at hand. They must have been discussing something of importance before I walked in.

"I'm sorry for taking so long." I apologize to Legolas as I join his side.

"Don't be. We've all been weary." he assures me, taking hold of my hand before we turn our attention to Gandalf as he speaks.

"Frodo has passed beyond my sight. The darkness is deepening." he nearly mutters, a hint of worry in his voice.

"If Sauron had the Ring, we would know it." Aragorn assures him, as he paces the room slowly. "

It's only a matter of time. He has suffered a defeat, yes, but behind the walls of Mordor our enemy is regrouping." Gandalf says as a matter of fact.

"Let him stay there. Let him rot. Why should we care?" Gimli wonders out loud from his seat, previously occupied by the Steward. Smoke blows from his parted lips as he speaks, only to be filled again as he puts his lips around his pipe.

Gandalf throws him a harsh glare. "Because ten thousand orcs now stand between Frodo and Mount Doom." he reminds the dwarf, who soon has nothing else to say.

Gandalf's eyes lower to the floor and his shoulders sag ruefully. "I have sent him to his death." he says more to himself than anyone else. I frown at the guilt-ridden words.

"No." Aragorn denies him calmly. "There is still hope for Frodo. He needs time and a safe passage across the Plains of Gorgoroth. We can give him that." he states, making the wizard's white brows rise.

"How?" Gimli wonders, speaking for the rest of us as the same question lingers on our lips.

"Draw out Sauron' s armies, empty his lands. Then we gather our full strength and march on the Black Gate." Aragorn says. I feel my jaw slacken slightly at the ambitious plan while Gimli stutters from the shock.

"We cannot achieve victory from strength of arms." Éomer states, wary of the wild plan.

"Not for ourselves...But we can give Frodo his chance if we keep Sauron' s eye fixed upon us. Keep him blind to all else that moves." Aragorn explains.

"A diversion." Legolas concludes.

"Certainty of death, small chance of success. What are we waiting for?" Gimli asks, excited at the plan. I smile and can't help but feel the same. Frodo must complete his mission at all costs.

Gandalf turns to Aragorn. "Sauron will suspect a trap. He will not take the bait!" he says with certainty, though keeping his tone low.

"Oh, I think he will." Aragorn smirks confidently.

So it was decided. We arm ourselves once more and ready ourselves to ride out. I was just about to step out, when I'm pulled aside.

I'm surprised to see Gandalf looking down at me, his eyes serious and hurried. He still manages to smile down at me fondly however as he speaks my name. "Therith, I need you to do me a favor..." I raise a brow curiously and let him explain without interruption.

A little while later, I stand before our company, my wings out. They shine in health as the sun is cast upon them. I glance upwards to see Éowyn gazing down from the gardens, her eyes holding mine for a moment before I turn to the others.

"Make haste Therith. There is little time to spare." Gandalf reminds me, making me nod.

"I will not let you down." I assure him. "I will return before you have the chance to miss me." I joke.

"Impossible." Legolas murmurs under his breath, knowing only I will here. I feel my cheeks redden slightly, before I give them a bow of farewell. Taking to the air, I make for the mountains.

I urge myself to make an effort in speed, going faster than I've probably ever gone. Below, the large group of soldiers start on their march for the gates of Mordor. I will have to return before all hell breaks loose.

For many hours I fly past sharp peaks and deep crevices before a sound reaches my ears. The high screech does not make me cower, but smile instead. Only a moment later, two large forms flank my sides, guiding me towards their Lord.

Descending, I land nimbly on a familiar outcrop, overlooking the lands below and ahead. Looking up, my eyes meet up with fixed molten gold ones. I bow deeply before the Lord of the eagles.

"Gwaihir, my friend." I greet the great eagle, who assesses me thoroughly, eying the retreating scars from battle on visible skin.

For many years he has watched over me while I recovered and we have grown quite close over that time. He worries a lot and was reluctant to see me go after all that time, but he knows I couldn't stay forever. After spotting my friend Bilbo that day, we knew it was time to part. I wish I did return for pleasure instead of business, but it is how it is.

"I come in haste. The time has come for Mordor to fall. An army of men marches for the gates, but is greatly outnumbered. Your aid is needed or they will fall victim to Sauron's minions." I explain to him, making him step closer, looking intrigued. "Gandalf counts on our strength and speed. Will you join us in battle?" I ask.

I do not have to ask twice as I see a determination wash over him. Gwaihir was never one for long discussions and makes quick and resolute decisions. Calling his kin, the sky is soon circling with shadows.

"This will be our final showdown against Sauron's evil. Let's make it count." I tell him as he crouches low, letting me climb up to perch behind his large feathered head.

With a final cry, he throws himself from the outcrop, spreading his wings to catch the updraft. Soon, we find ourselves high, kissing the lower clouds. I feel my clothes dampen as the wind rushes past as great speed. I hope we reach them in time.

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