The Fellowship: Part XXI
by Kris

Frodo watched, occasionally laughing, at the game Merry and Pippin were playing with Kristiel's Familiar, AmaurŽa. Even Sam was joining in on the fun, though never for very long. He would come over to where Frodo sat, and sit beside him, and then, a few moments later, Sam would be helping the other two hobbits tackle AmaurŽa to the ground.

Frodo was glad that his friends had something to do to keep their minds off of the quest. He, himself, could only go for a few moments, before his thoughts would return to the reason they were out in the middle of nowhere. Sometimes, his thoughts would turn to the ring that he wore on a chain around his neck. At those times, it almost seemed like the ring was speaking to him. Telling Frodo to put it on. He resisted the urge to do so, and could only wonder how much longer he would be able to resist.

Glancing around the camp, Frodo noticed that both Kristiel and Legolas were gone. He surmised that they had left to scout the area, even though they had already done so earlier, and it was beginning to grow dark. The group couldn't afford to take any chances, especially as they ever so slowly drew closer to their destination. Who knew what the enemy had planned, in order to stop the Fellowship from reaching Mount Doom?

Frodo didn't like the ominous sound of those two words. Mount Doom. No, definitely not a pleasant-sounding place. This was one of the times that Frodo was happy that he wasn't alone. While he hated having put his friends in a dangerous situation, well, okay, they had volunteered, but still, he was happy to have them with him.

Looking over, he saw that the game between the other three hobbits and the panther was drawing to a close. Sam came over and sat down beside Frodo.

"Who won?" Frodo asked.

"I believe it was a draw," Sam replied. "Everybody won."

Frodo hesitated, before voicing a question that he had been pondering over for the past few days.

"Sam," he began. "Do you regret coming along on this quest?"

"Why, Mr. Frodo, how can you ask me such a question as that?" Sam asked, sounding shocked. "Of course I don't regret it. You're my friend, my best friend, and what kind of hobbit would I be, if I let you undertake this journey alone?"

"The same goes for us," Merry said, as he and Pippin came over and plopped down on the ground beside Frodo and Sam.

"Yeah," Pippin added. "We hobbits have to stick to together."

Frodo didn't know what to say. What had he done to deserve such loyalty from his friends?

"Together," he agreed, finally.

| Part XXII |
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