Moria - In Transit
by Meimi


Disclaimer: I am in no way associated with J.R.R. Tolkien or anyone who hold rights to Lord of the Rings. It isn't mine, I'm just playing with it.

Note #1: This story is basically Alternate Universe, though, perhaps I should say Alternate Timeline since it is still based in the same world, events just happen differently.

Note #2: You know, I kept going on and on about how there would be no Elladan, and thus no Arwen, until after I had gotten the Fellowship through Moria. I ought to have known better, because the instant I started writing the previous chapter a nice, evil idea involving those two popped up. And well, I'm just gonna run with it and we'll see where it goes.

Note #3: The next chapter will be a bit delayed, I can tell you already. I'm going out of town, and definitely out of touch, for my birthday next weekend. But I'll do my best to get it out as soon as possible anyway.

Note #4: Movie canon? Book canon? Hell, I don't know anymore.


It was by pure chance alone that Elrohir was within the company of the Fellowship the morning that their luck finally ran out. It had begun much like any other morning since they had set out from Rivendell. Once light had started to touch the sky Aragorn had scouted out a secluded spot for them to stop and rest for the day. Elrohir had joined them for the last meal of the night, as he usually did -which was probably more of show that he could still be counted among the living than for actual sustenance-. However, after the meal was done, instead of departing from them once more to go off in search of more crebain or other things in need of slaying as was his wont, Elrohir had lingered. Perhaps a premonition of some kind had stayed his flight from the interaction he had no wish for, or perhaps it was simply pique. Whatever the cause may have been, he was on hand when a massive flock of crebain descended from the overcast sky, catching the camp almost unaware.

The elf's reaction was instantaneous. In less time than it took to blink, his bow was out and his arrows were whistling through the air with uncanny precision, each deadly projectile bringing down one of the raucous birds, sometimes more than that. Aragorn joined his own bow to his brother's, shooting down Saruman's spies just as efficiently, but he soon recognized the futility of it. Several of the birds were already winging their way south while the remains of the flock shielded them from the Fellowship's reprisal. "There are too many," Aragorn proclaimed through gritted teeth. His arrows were dwindling fast.

"And they are too far," Elrohir appended as he halted his assault and gestured for Aragorn to do the same. He had no wish for them to waste more arrows in such a pointless endeavor. The last remaining crebain squawked indignantly at the group before taking flight after their brethren. And when the birds were at last just dwindling specks upon the horizon he turned his attention to the discomfited wizard in their midst. "We have been found."

"So it would seem," Boromir grumbled cynically as he crossed his arms and glanced at the Istar standing beside him. "What now, Wise One?"

Gandalf glared darkly at the Gondorian, but before he could come up with some scathing retort or other a higher pitched voice piped up from around their waist level. "How did they sneak up on us?"

The wizard, men, elf and dwarf blinked in puzzlement at each other before looking down at the startled young Took clutching at Gandalf's grey robes, who seemed quite unaware of just what he was doing. "That's a good question, Pippin," Aragorn muttered as he rubbed at his chin in curiosity and cocked an eyebrow at his brother.

Elrohir shook his head at the obvious question, "I did not sense them."

"Nor I," Gandalf remarked as he began scratching at his beard in thought. "I fear 'tis Saruman's doing. He was well aware that we would take pains to avoid discovery and so devised a way around our vigilance. I suppose I should have expected it."

"We will be expected," Elrohir pointed out, more for the benefit of the others than Mithrandir's. He well knew that the wizard was already going through contingency plans, discarding most and considering others. Elrohir may have disliked the Grey Pilgrim a great deal of late -and the dislike was well earned-, but he also knew that the wizard wasn't a complete fool. When matters were at their worst, the Istar's true nature shone through well, he could think fast on his feet.

"Aye," Gandalf mumbled distractedly as he continued to scratch at his beard, "Now that we have been spotted Saruman will be able to plan ambushes most effectively."

"We will not make it through the Gap if that is the case," Aragorn announced dispiritedly and sighed. If they could not make the Gap of Rohan then they would have to find some means to cross the Misty Mountain, a truly daunting task at the best of times, winter being one of the worst.

"No, that path is closed to us now," Gandalf commented dryly, his fingers ceasing their unconscious scratching as he came to a decision. "We will have to take the Redhorn Pass."

Silence stretched between the party as those who knew just exactly what it was that the wizard was suggesting and what it would entail tried to find their voices. Elrohir succeeded first. "In the winter?" he asked slowly, only a tinge of cool bewilderment evident in his tone.

"Are you mad?" Aragorn burst out in disbelief an instant after his brother's query. He eyed the wizard speculatively, wondering whether the old one had really lost his marbles as evidenced of late by his constant suicidal seeming prodding of Elrohir and now by making a suggestion only a mad man could.

"He must be," Gimli declared hotly, his eyes wide in shock. "Even in the calmest weather Caradhras has been known to chew travelers up and spit them out! In winter? We'll be buried so deep in snow that they'll never find us!"

"And yet that is where we must go," Gandalf said cheekily, a grin tugging at the corners of his mouth. Gimli, already perturbed by the mention of that evil mountain, scowled darkly and breathed in deep in preparation for blasting the wizard for his insanity.

"Perhaps that is the point, Gimli," Frodo offered shyly, causing the dwarf to sputter somewhat at the interruption. "Is that not what we are trying to do? To keep from being discovered?"

"Well, yes," Gimli groused weakly, his indignation at the wizard's foolishness petering out to mild annoyance under the ring-bearer's well meaning, if uninformed, interference. Of course the little hobbit wouldn't want to see him let the wizard have it, but Frodo did not know of the Redhorn's treachery quite so well as a dwarf did. "But arranging it so that even our bodies won't be found is a bit much."

"Why Gimli, such pessimism is unbecoming of the Son of Gloin," Gandalf crowed cheerfully as he started patting himself down in search of his pipe. Noting Pippin's hands still wrapped up in his robes, he gave the young Took a comforting tap on the head before resuming his search. "Do not worry, we will be perfectly fine."

Gimli puffed his cheeks out in pure agitation, a low growl rumbling deep in his chest. If Elrohir wished to murder the Istar anytime in the foreseeable future he would happily cheer the elf on, mayhap even join in. The damnable wizard was going to manipulate them all into an early grave.

Caradhras. Gimli shivered at the very name. That mountain had little love for any seeking a path upon its slopes or beneath its shadow, but it saved its greatest ire for those who haled from the older races: dwarves and elves, to be specific. And the Fellowship was going to try the Redhorn Pass with one of each in tow. They were all utterly doomed.

"Are you sure that another path might not be more expedient?" Gimli tried one last time, knowing that he would be ignored but unable to stay his tongue. "Surely Moria would be more welcoming than a bloodthirsty mountain?"


It was the silence, Arwen concluded, it was her brother's silence that was bothering her the most. Admittedly, Elladan had not been one to talk your ears off even before everything, much less afterwards, but this new lassitude that he had descended into was worrisome. He had not spoken one word of his own volition since they had departed from Imladris several days past. It was only when he was plied with a query or some such that he would speak, and then only as few words as were necessary to answer properly. At all other times his eyes were downcast and clouded with what she could only surmise were truly dark thoughts. He did not even seem to be altogether there, for it was Brego who guided his own path, walking beside his fellow equines during the day, stopping with the others and giving little jolts to his rider when it was time for Elladan to dismount.

At least, in this, Elrohir had provided some means of comfort for his twin. The Mearas, for there could be no mistake in the breed of such a remarkable mount, practically doted upon her brother. Whenever it seemed that Elladan would draw even further into himself and away from them, Brego would nudge him or tug on his hair until her brother would at least acknowledge him with an annoyed swat. And at night, when they would bed down to rest until the dawn hours, Brego would take up sentinel, watching over Elladan the whole night through until, at last, the elf would begin to rouse shortly before morning light.

But even so, Elladan did not seem to be with them much in spirit. The Galadhrim were terribly uneasy thanks to his distressing demeanor. Several had known him before, and had counted themselves friends of the twins, or at the very least, good acquaintances. But they did not know this Elladan, thus they did not know how to act towards him. Though judging by their shared concern, they too wished to draw him out of his shell, but simply did not know how to. And Rumil, dear, sweet Rumil, was beside himself on how to deal with his old friend. The young warden had been anxiety personified ever since he had been given the task of escorting her to Mithlond, and it had only worsened with the addition of Elladan to the party. Arwen was beginning to fear that he might suffer something of a breakdown even before they reached their destination.

Arwen sighed, she wasn't going to solve anything just by thinking about it. Nodding decisively, she nudged Roheryn closer to Brego and called out softly, "Elladan?" She frowned when a response was not forthcoming and tried again, "Elladan! Elladan, wake up."

In the end, it was not his sister's prodding which dragged Elladan back to reality. Instead it took a sharp shake from Brego to garner his attention, an action that had him gripping tightly at the horse's mane to keep from taking a tumble. "What do you think you're doing, you crazy beast?" he muttered grumpily, receiving only the flick of an equine ear for his trouble.

Arwen smothered a giggle, it would serve no purpose to get her brother's hackles up just yet and laughing at him would succeed in that. Brego was certainly a gift of the Valar, though, in the way he managed to get some kind of reaction out of his rider. Had Elladan's mount been one bred by the elves, it probably would have been just as flabbergasted on how to deal with her brother as the Galadhrim were, and that would have made matters quite unbearable.

"He was waking you as a courtesy to me," Arwen said merrily, unable to resist the tiny grin curling at her lips thanks to the twin's annoyance, "I have been trying to catch your attention, Elladan, yet you have paid me no heed."

"Oh," Elladan mumbled, leveling one more glare at the evil horse he had been saddled with before glancing warily at his sister from the corner of his eye. What could Arwen possibly want of him? Surely she could sense that he wasn't up to having a conversation at this particular point in time. "What is it?"

Arwen rolled her eyes at Elladan's palpable suspicion. Apparently, this was not going to be easy, not that she was really surprised. Her family did have a very large streak of mule-headedness where their own health was concerned, physical or otherwise. And, naturally, they were at their worst when their pain originated from an emotional level, and perhaps sometimes even spiritual. Arwen was somewhat embarrassed to admit that she herself could turn into an outright snarly dragon if somebody poked at her when she didn't feel like talking about it. But this was Elladan, her older brother, and he was worrying her; so he was going to talk to her one way or another.

"I wanted to talk to you," Arwen explained disdainfully, as if her answer was the most obvious thing in the world. Which, really, it was. "You've been moping ever since we left Imladris. You've barely said a word to anyone, you eat only when prodded to do so and frankly, I'm not even sure that you actually rest at night. You weren't anywhere near this bad at home. What happened between here and there that has made you so withdrawn?"

"It is nothing," Elladan sighed wearily, "I am simply tired."

"Yes, I know you are," Arwen snapped out, one delicate eyebrow arching in accusation, "But I also know that you are lying."

"Arwen," Elladan growled in warning, flicking his gaze over the Galadhrim surrounding them. He knew that the warriors of the Golden Wood could be the soul of discretion when a situation warranted it -especially with one of the three brothers breathing down their necks-, but all the same, he did not want to have an all out row with his sister in their midst.

"Why won't you talk to me?" Arwen hissed out, her words barely audible over the clopping of the horses' hooves upon the road. Her fierce expression crumpled in misery when he refused to look back at her. "It grieves me to see you like this. Do you not know that?"

"There is nothing to tell," Elladan mumbled, flinching at the sorrow evident in his sister's voice.

"I do not believe that," Arwen murmured, shaking her head sadly at both of their stubborn streaks. "What is it, Elladan? What happened to make you so remote? Surely you are not lamenting our farewell to father..." She trailed off at the last, blinking in surprise when her brother fidgeted at her words. "That is it, isn't it, or at least part of it? Why?"

Elladan's shoulders drooped in defeat, a familiar stance for him of late. He had not wanted her to know of what he had witnessed, but now... it would be wrong for him not to tell her. "He wept, Arwen."

"Oh no, Elladan," Arwen exclaimed in disbelief, lowering her voice back to a whisper a moment later when she remembered where they were, "Surely not."

"It is the truth, I saw father earlier that morning," Elladan explained haltingly, "I wanted to speak with him, alone, about something before our departure and so I went to his study. And that's where I found him... weeping." Elladan breathed out shakily, his eyes pricking dangerously at the memory. "We are breaking his heart."

Arwen shook her head, not wishing to believe what her brother was telling her, but how could she not, he would not lie to her about something like this. And yet, it seemed so preposterous. Their father had shed no tears in front of them during their mother's ordeal, not wishing to add further pain to their torment. In fact, she did not think he had shed any at all at the time. And really, it had only been through the intervention of Mithrandir that Elrond had found an outlet for his own grief. The twins had not been the only ones who had gotten lost in their despair. The wizard had shown himself to be a true friend then, and many other times as well. The Peredhils owed him a great debt, even if he was one of the most annoying being in the whole of Arda.

Arwen sighed morosely, "If that is the case, then I shall pray that he will join us in Valinor as soon as he is able."

Elladan shook his head reluctantly in doubt. "I do not think he will. I don't think he will leave while Estel still lives, not if he has a choice. He will not abandon our brother, nor would I want him too." He frowned in confusion when Arwen started to squirm slightly at the mention of their human brother. "What?"

Arwen grimaced, she hadn't wanted to tell him of the fancy that had dogged her thoughts of late. It just seemed so personal. "Well, I had been thinking about that. And... I... uhm..."

"Arwen," Elladan said softly in warning, borrowing that particular tone of voice their father had used on them when they were elflings and in deep trouble.

His sister scowled at him before relenting, "It is nothing bad, Elladan. I have simply been planning to petition the Valar to allow Estel to, erm, join us. I mean, he is not like any of the others. He is family. Surely they would have no objections to his presence. They're letting us in, after all, and besides I have no doubt that he would fit right in."

Elladan laughed helplessly and averted his gaze heavenward for several seconds. "I don't think that will work, Arwen. He is still human."

"So are we," Arwen rebuked gently, "Well, part of us anyway." A frown marred her face and she grew serious as she continued, "I do not believe that the other races are less worthy than the Firstborn. And I do not think they should be so summarily barred from Aman just because of the manner of their birth. Perhaps I am wrong, but I hope not, for I find Estel to be more worthy to grace the white shores of Valinor than even some elves."

Elladan stared in shocked surprise at his little sister. He had no idea that such notions had been twisting and turning their way around in her mind. Truly, Estel hadn't been the only one to grow up when he hadn't been watching. "You have given this much thought, I see."

Arwen blushed at her brother's underlying praise. "Well, to be truthful, I'm not being completely altruistic," she admitted candidly, "There is this feeling that I can't quite describe that has taken hold of me of late. A feeling that I, no, we should not be parted from Estel. I do not know why, but it just seems wrong. Terribly wrong."


Sam grimaced, his nose scrunching up in disgust, as his foot sunk back past his ankle into the snow. They were just now reaching the outskirts of the Pass and the snowfall was already that deep. He dreaded to think of just how much worse it would get further in. He scowled as he glanced up at the massive peaks rising in the distance. Celebdil, the Silvertine, glimmered in the south, pure white from the ice and snow. And to the north, rising above the land like an enormous bloodied mass of frozen death stood Caradhas, the Redhorn. Sam could well see the reason for Mr. Gimli's reservations now, because that mountain definitely looked evil to him too.

Shaking his head at the disturbing view, Sam returned his attention to the task at hand. Earlier that morning, before they had headed out, he had rearranged all of their supplies so that he could put some of the weatherproofed bags and satchels to a different use. The cutting hadn't exactly been easy, but it had gotten done. It was the sewing that was proving to be something of a problem. Punching holes through the hardy material with simple needle and thread was a supreme exercise in patience. Still, he had gotten the first one done -though it had taken longer than planned- and was nearing the completion of the second one. Hopefully, they would work as they were meant to.

He went flailing a moment later when his toes stubbed up against something uneven hidden beneath the snow. However, just before Sam would have gone sprawling out in that self-same snow, a strong hand gripped his shoulder steadying him. Blowing out a breath of relief at the averted disaster, Sam shyly looked up at the elf looming over him. "Thank you."

Elrohir blinked, his face devoid of expression as he made sure the hobbit's balance was stable before releasing his hold. "Think nothing of it," he said simply before returning to his place at the back of the group. It had been decided that he would take the last position during their trek through the Misty Mountains as he was more readily able to detect any form of pursuit before the others would have. The heightened senses of the elves did have their advantages, and he did not mind. Frodo and Sam were the only ones who tended to trail behind close enough for speech, and so far both had been somewhat preoccupied. Sam had been busy all morning constructing something that vaguely resembled shoes and Frodo had been bemusedly watching his progress for the duration. All in all, it had been a rather quiet morning.

"There, I think that's it now," Sam announced as he tied off the last stitch and bit off the excess thread. He poked the needle through the collar of his coat and then carefully studied both of the piecemeal shoes he had created, then nodded decisively and trotted up beside Frodo. "Here, Mr. Frodo," he said as he offered the pair to his fellow hobbit, "Try these on."

"You know, Sam, proper hobbits don't wear shoes," Frodo commented blandly, fighting back an impish grin as he accepted the proffered objects.

"Proper hobbits don't go gallivanting over the Misty Mountains either," Sam grumbled good- naturedly, flushing slightly a second later when he realized that Frodo had been teasing him. "It just don't make no sense to freeze our feet off when we've got such a long way ahead of us yet to go."

"Of course, Sam," Frodo agreed as he fingered the material of the new shoes dubiously. The fact that he could barely feel his toes after a few hours spent in the snow drove home the point that Sam's idea, while unorthodox, might be the best way to go. Leaning over, he carefully pulled the odd little things on one by one, wriggling his feet this way and that at the strange sensations the shoes caused. It felt quite curious for his feet to be bound thus, but it wasn't necessarily a bad feeling, just different.

"Well, how are they, Mr. Frodo?" Sam asked hesitantly in mounting apprehension. Surely he had sewn them right. It hadn't seemed like it would be a difficult task to fashion some hobbit size shoes when he had started out, but that didn't mean anything. There was still the chance that he had messed up something somehow.

"They feel a little odd," Frodo offered as he wiggled his toes experimentally, "But I think they'll do all right, and... I think my feet feel a little warmer already."

"That's good then," Sam smiled in relief, "I was afraid I might have made them the wrong size or something."

"No no, they're perfect," Frodo declared cheerfully as he resumed treading up the slope after the rest of the Fellowship, shaking his head in amusement at the odd squelch of snow under his now covered feet.

"I guess I'll start working on some for myself then," Sam mumbled distractedly as he trailed after the ring-bearer.

Frodo grinned as something occurred to him. "Are you going to make any for Merry and Pippin?"

Sam scowled as he glared further up the path at the other two hobbits, who appeared to be involved in quite an intense conversation with Boromir, or at least an amusing one judging by the wild arm gestures and occasional laughter that drifted back down the slope. "I'll think about it," Sam conceded grudgingly after a few moments' thought then turned his attention back to his given task.

Another hour passed as Sam fashioned a pair of hobbit shoes for himself out of the materials on hand. It went a bit faster now that he knew what he was doing, sort of, and what to expect. Soon enough his own feet were feeling quite a bit warmer than they had all morning, if a little bit odd. Still, as long as his feet didn't freeze or anything, he wasn't going to complain. Glancing up the path, the little gardener noted that Merry and Pippin were still chatting Boromir up about something or other, if looking a might bit cold. Well, making them some shoes wouldn't hurt none, and it would be something to do to pass the time. But perhaps a short break was in order, his fingers were starting to feel a little stiff from all the tight work they'd been doing. Yes, a break would do him good.

Smiling happily at his decision, Sam looked around at the group ahead, noting the hunched stances of all. Trudging through snow was tiring to begin with, but having to walk uphill in it at the same time was swiftly wearing the Fellowship down. Hopefully, they would stop for lunch soon enough and rest up a bit. Exhaustion could be dangerous in this type of weather, as any experienced traveler -or intelligent hobbit, in this case- knew.

And we're going to be in this weather the entire way over the mountains, I do not doubt. Sam shook his head in consternation at that particular thought. This trip was going to be the death of them, one way or another. Sighing, he glanced back, checking to make sure that their elven companion was still present and accounted for. Elrohir could, and tended to be, dreadfully silent in most everything that he did. In fact, it usually took the elf speaking up, a rare occurrence indeed, to know that he was even around.

Sam smiled bashfully as Elrohir arched an eyebrow curiously at the hobbit's cursory inspection, but did not question the why of it. If Sam wished to speak with him about something, then of course he would answer, but he had no real desire to initiate a conversation with the hobbit. He just didn't care much for talking.

"Mr. Elrohir?" Sam began hesitantly, noticing for the first time something rather odd that the elf seemed to be doing.

"Elrohir, Sam, just Elrohir will do," the elf sighed wearily. The little hobbit's polite courtesy, while quite endearing, just didn't sound quite right to him. He had just been simple Elrohir for so long now that the addition of titles or honorifics were somewhat uncomfortable to the ear.

"Ah, right, Elrohir, sir," Sam attempted, his tongue tripping over the lack of a Mr. and not even realizing that he had still tacked on a 'sir' before he plowed onwards, "I hope my asking doesn't seem forward or anything, but how are you doing that?"

Elrohir blinked in startled confusion, vaguely observing that Frodo was now looking back at them both and watching the proceedings with curious interest. "Doing what exactly, Sam?" Elrohir asked cautiously after a tense moment of silence.

"Walking on top of the snow, sir," Sam said by way of explanation.

"You're right!" Frodo gasped in amazement. He stared in awe as the elf's booted feet walked gracefully atop the snow with nary a sign left in their wake to tell that they had even been there. "I hadn't noticed that at all."

"It is just something that elves do naturally," Elrohir responded simply, shrugging helplessly under the combined scrutiny of the two surprised hobbits.

"All elves can do that?" Sam mumbled in astonishment, his eyes widening as he continued to watch Elrohir's steps. "But how?"

"Yes, they can," Elrohir answered as he thought of how best to explain the how of something he had never really thought much about before. "I suppose it is just part of our nature."

"Really?" Frodo murmured, his eyes shining with avid curiosity.

"Elves are called the People of the Stars," Elrohir offered tentatively, frowning inwardly at having the two hobbits' attention glued directly upon him. "And some believe that we were created from starlight, thus, I suppose it stands to reason that we would not weigh down something that also came from the sky." It might not be correct, but at least it sounded... plausible?

"Remarkable," Frodo breathed in wonder and turned to look at Sam.

"Well I'll be," Sam muttered in fascination, "Can you believe that, Mr. Frodo?"

"Uncle Bilbo never said anything about this," Frodo said in bafflement, "I wonder if he knew."

Elrohir sighed in relief as the two started chattering back and forth over this new revelation about the elves and hoped fervently that it would be awhile yet before they realized that he was not, in fact, participating in their discussion. He grimaced mildly, glancing up at the overcast sky as the mention of starlight reminded him of his centuries long search for one star in particular, one that still remained elusive. Where was it?

I could fix that for you.

Elrohir halted in mid-step as the sibilant, alien whisper wound its way through his thoughts, scouring the snow from his mind's eye and replacing it with a blasted landscape of cracked earth and black rock. He stared around himself in stark surprise at the jarring aberration. This had never happened before. What is-, he began, but fell silent as he looked back and saw what, or who, was standing behind him. Shock ran like ice water through his veins, stealing his breath and freezing him in place.

Is this the one whom you are missing? The apparition asked cheerfully as it looked itself over. Its grey-tinged blue eyes twinkled in ill-concealed mirth; and its golden hair shimmered with an uncanny mithril bright glimmer in the enfolding darkness. There was no mistaking the form, but what it housed was another matter altogether. I can fix this, it spoke again as it turned its intent gaze back upon him, I can fix a great many things. I can bring him back. I can heal the wounds that have shattered your family. I can wipe every orc off the face of the planet. And whatever else you may desire, it can be yours. All you have to do... is take me. Not hard at all.

Elrohir shook his head in horrified disbelief. You cannot bring the dead back to life.

Perhaps, the Ring, for it could be nothing else, murmured silkily, Perhaps not. You'll never know if you don't try.

The answer is no. I do not want you, Elrohir said stonily, his eyes narrowing as a thread of fury started uncoiling deep within him. That the cursed thing would use the face of a dearly missed friend to try and beguile him into taking it for himself was infuriating. But before the anger could consume the elf, he realized that for it to materialize as such must mean that the Ring was starting to get a little desperate. That was enough to calm his temper, and with it in mind, he couldn't help but smirk. Good try though, but it won't work.

You say no now, the Ring singsonged as it wagged a finger at him, almost as if it were scolding Elrohir, much like a parent to a disobedient child, But we'll see how long that lasts. You can't deny that the possibility intrigues you.

Elrohir did not deign to reply as the vision faded from his mind, freeing his sight of the darkness and returning him abruptly to the brightness of the snow. He shook his head sharply in mounting annoyance before he went about dislodging the remaining shadows the Ring had left behind in his thoughts. Feeling a far less sinister mental poke, he glanced up the haphazard column of the Fellowship, his eyes catching the concerned gaze of the wizard. He scowled at the concern, but nodded in confirmation at the unspoken question. Mithrandir grimaced, but nodded back reluctantly in acknowledgement.

The Ring was beginning to make overtures.