Kristiel approached the hobbit, Frodo, where he sat by the fire that one of the other hobbits had made, being sure to make enough noise so that she wouldn't startle him. She carried a cup of herbal tea that she had made for him.
She had noticed Frodo rubbing his shoulder during the last few hours of the march, and had remembered Arwen telling her that the young hobbit had been stabbed there by a Ringwraith's sword. Arwen's father had used his magic to Frodo's wound, but the hobbit would always carry a scar, and perhaps a bit more. No one really knew what would happen to Frodo over time. They could only wait and see.
When they had finally stopped for the day, the sun had already begun to set beneath the horizon. They had made camp near a grove of trees beside a small stream. It was after the fire had been made, that Kris had overheard Frodo asking Gandalf for something to ease the ache in his shoulder.
She had caught her grandfather's eye and had pointed at herself, silently asking if there was anything that she could do. Gandalf had told Frodo that he did have something for the pain, and would the hobbit go sit by the fire while he prepared it. Frodo had complied, and Gandalf had come over to Kris.
She had told him that she could make a tea for Frodo, using herbs that she had brought with her. Gandalf had agreed to the tea, before he had gone over to where Aragorn and the others of the group, minus the hobbits, were standing, discussing the watch schedule for the night.
Kris had made the tea, using a bit of magic to heat it, and now she crouched down beside Frodo, offering him the mug. The other three hobbits watched, while trying to make it look like they weren't watching.
"Here," Kris told Frodo. "It's an herbal tea. It will help ease the pain in your shoulder."
Frodo accepted the mug from her, and she gave a soft laugh when he wrinkled his nose upon smelling the tea.
"Smells dreadful, I know," Kris said, with a smile. "Probably tastes just as bad. But, it will help you, Frodo. I promise."
The hobbit gave her a doubtful look, but he did take a sip of the drink. This time, the face he made caused the other hobbits to laugh. Out of the corner of her eye, Kris saw Gandalf and the others looking over to see what was going on. Her grandfather must have figured it out, for he smiled faintly.
Kris watched as Frodo eyed the tea with a look of disgust, before finally downing the drink in one breath. She took the mug from him, and she used magic to clean it and return it to her pack. Upon seeing the mug vanish from her hands, Merry and Pippin remembered that Kris had told them that she would show them another magic trick when they stopped for the day.
"Will you tell us what the surprise is now?" Merry asked.
"Yes, please, tell us," Pippin said, fairly bouncing with barely contained excitement.
"How about I show you?" Kris asked them.
She moved, so that the four hobbits were on one side of the fire and she on the other, opposite them. She knelt, sitting back on her heels. She held her hands out to the fire, motioning with first one hand, and then with the other.
The fire's flames went from being red, orange, and yellow, to shades of green, blue, and purple. All four hobbits looked on in awe.
"It's so pretty," Sam said quietly.
The other hobbits agreed. Kris smiled, before motioning at the fire again. The green, blue, and purple flames were joined by the original hues. The rainbow light lit up the camp.
"Wow," Pippin said softly, enchanted by it.
Motioning at the fire for the final time, Kris returned the flames back to their original colors. Not a sound was heard throughout the camp.
Kris felt a nudge in her mind, and opened it. Well done, she heard Gandalf's voice say. Closing her mind, she looked over at her grandfather, and they exchanged smiles. He motioned for her to come join him, and she stood. All four hobbits were still staring at the fire. When Kris reached her grandfather, he spoke.
"We have been discussing which route we should take to get to Mordor," Gandalf said.
"I still say we go through the mines of Moria," the dwarf stated. "My cousin will throw us a huge banquet."
Kris' dream, about her grandfather falling into the fiery chasm, flashed through her mind. She gave a little shudder that didn't go unnoticed.
"Kristiel?" Gandalf asked.
"Not through the mines," Kris said, shaking her head. "Not unless we absolutely have to."
"It's the shortest route," the human, standing beside Aragorn, said.
"Boromir's right," the dwarf added.
So, the human's name was 'Boromir'. Kris had heard of him. He was a warrior, but that didn't mean that she had to agree with him.
"What is our other option?" Kris asked Gandalf.
"The pass called the Redhorn Gate," he replied. "Under the far side of Caradhas."
Kris nodded thoughtfully. That route was far longer than the one through Moria, but she would rather take it, than the latter. Again, her dream flashed through her mind. A thought came to her then. What if they ended up going through Moria anyway? It was the only explanation for her dream.
Moria was known as the Black Pit, and was bound to have chasms like the one in her dream. Traveling by way of the Redhorn Gate, they would come across no chasms, or, at least, none that were dark. So, if her dream was to come true, then something was going to happen to prevent them from getting to Mordor by way of the Redhorn Gate.
Kris gave a sigh. She was suddenly very exhausted, no doubt because she had had little sleep since being summoned by her grandfather. She spoke.
"I vote for the Gate," she said. "But, I don't think it's going to matter."
"Why do you say that?" Aragorn asked.
Kris hesitated, not really wanting to discuss her dream.
"A...feeling," she said, knowing that he would know what she meant.
Her grandfather also knew, and he grew thoughtful.
"I say we try to travel by way of the Gate," Gandalf said finally. "We'll use the mines as a last resort."
The dwarf frowned, but didn't speak. No one spoke for a long moment.
"What's the watch schedule?" Kris asked, breaking the silence.
"You've got last watch," Aragorn told her. "Legolas will wake you."
Kris nodded and turned, walking away from the group. She saw that the hobbits had fallen asleep, as she neared the fire. Summoning her blanket from her pack, Kris layed it on the ground, near the hobbits. She noticed that Frodo was beside Sam, with Merry and Pippin on the other side of him. A wise move, as it would make getting to Frodo, during the night, difficult.
As the night was faintly warm, Kris used her cloak as a pillow. She stretched out on her blanket, and was asleep as soon as her head touched the cloak-pillow.
| Part IX |
| Index |