Episode by Jgirl
"Gandalf, didn't you say we were going to go through Moria through some doors? I don't see any doors," whined Pippin as they made their way along the narrow path between the rocks and the lake.
"Dwarf doors are invisible when closed," explained Gimli, pride in his voice.
"Yes, Gimli," agreed Gandalf, "even their own masters cannot find them, if their secrets are forgotten!"
"Why doesn't that surprise me?" murmured Legolas, in a low enough voice that he was ignored by all.
No-one else spoke much as they filed along the banks of the evil-looking pool. A mile southwards along the shore they came upon some holly trees, larger than any of the holly trees that Jeowyn had ever seen or imagined. Their great roots spread from the wall to the water.
Gandalf turned to the others. "While I am searching to open the mysterious invisible dwarf doors of Moria, will you make ready to enter the mine? For it is here that I fear we must bid farewell to our beast of burden. You must lay aside the heavy winter clothing you have brought; it will not be needed in the mine nor, I hope, when we emerge at the other side and make our way south. Instead, you must each carry a share of what the pony carried, particularly the water-skins and food."
"But you can't leave poor Bill alone in this forsaken place, Mr. Gandalf!" cried Sam. "I won't have it, and that's flat. After he has come so far and all!"
"I am sorry," said Gandalf stonily, "But when the doors open I do not think you will be able to even drag Bill inside. You must choose between Bill and your master."
Jeowyn's heart smote her as she realised the terrible choice the little hobbit must make. For she alone perhaps realised fully Sam's tender heart and fondness for animals, and she alone perhaps shared in his abject misery at the loss of his faithful pony.
"You can't leave him here," Sam continued. "It would be nothing short of murder to leave him here with all these wolves about!"
Jeowyn, without quite knowing how, had made her way over to Sam and was now standing on the other side of Bill, one slender hand resting on his neck. Bill turned his head and nuzzled her, as if aware that his fate was being decided.
"Gandalf," said Jeowyn, very gently, "Bill has been as faithful a member of this Fellowship as anyone else. Surely Samwise has a point. You must not abandon him to the dark and the wolves."
"I do not intend that," said Gandalf, slightly crankily, seeing that those who agreed with his harsh decree evidently did so silently. Nonetheless there was no anger in his demeanour as he laid one gnarled hand on the pony's brown head and murmured a few words under his breath. He was not blinking, and therefore he was evidently casting some sort of spell. Finally he took his hand away and sighed.
"There, Samwise," he said apologetically. "Now your Bill has as much chance of getting home as we do, if not better."
Sam made no reply. He seemed on the verge of tears. But quietly and obediently, Jeowyn began to remove the packs that were tied to the pony's back. She wished to save Sam from such a heartwrenching task.
The others began to divide that which the pony had bore amongst themselves. That done, they turned to Gandalf, but Gandalf had evidently done nothing. He stood staring intently at a slab of bare rock.
"Well, and how do these magical Dwarf doors reappear?" said Boromir, with a touch of impatient sarcasm in his voice. Jeowyn turned to him, and it seemed to her that he seemed rather haggard.
"Look!" said Gandalf, ignoring Boromir's tone. "Do you see anything now?"
And lo! On the rockface now appeared emblems of High Elves and of Dwarves; and the design was such that all knew instinctively that these were the much sought after doors of Moria.
"There is Elvish written upon the door," said Jeowyn, with a slight glance at the Elvish she also bore on her own body. "What does it say?"
Gandalf began to speak, but before he could, Namariarwen, who had been especially quiet, spoke up with "It says, The Doors of Durin, Lord of Moria. Speak, friend, and enter."
"I feel sure that there is something significant in those words," said Renyarwen in an equally quiet voice. "My heart tells me so."
"I do not think so," said Gandalf grumpily. "It merely tells us the name of the doors, and that one may enter them!"
"Do you know how to open them, Gandalf?" said Pippin, saucer-eyed at all this mysterious happenings.
"No!" Gandalf snapped. "That is, I once knew all the spells in the tongues of Men, Elves, Orcs and Angels, but I have forgotten much, and must search for the opening verse. Give me leave a moment!"
This depressing decree seemed to deflate the members of the fellowship. Aragorn made a movement of quiet impatience. Delphaen rolled her eyes. Boromir sighed and sat down on a nearby boulder, a little stiffly.
"Do not let Bill go yet, Sam!" he said. "We may need him yet, if we are to spend untold time here!"
"Jeowyn," said Delphaen suddenly, "I would speak with you alone if I could."
"Of course," said Jeowyn after some hesitation, and she left Boromir and went some distance away to speak with Delphaen, just as Gandalf raised his arms and bellowed "ANNON EDHELLEN, EDRO HI HIAMMEN!"
As she made her way through the crowd and over to Delphaen, Jeowyn barely turned her fair head to see how this spell of Gandalf's had fared. As it were, it fared him none. Nothing happened.
"Well, what is it?" Jeowyn said pleasantly as Delphaen drew her aside.
"But this," said Delphaen, casting a glance in Boromir's direction. "Is Boromir quite well? He has not complained, but he-"
"Why need you ask?" said Jeowyn, again trying to speak cautiously, but with a slight sharpness in her tone. "Boromir is hardy and resilient, and I am faithfully shadowing him. If he is not quite well, I shall know and take care of it."
"Don't be angry," said Delphaen, but in an impatient tone herself. "I do not mean to criticise your vigilance. Though that troubles me also."
"I cannot see how it is your business," Jeowyn snapped. "You have spoken of this before, and I see that it has little purpose, but to wound me directly."
"Why would I wish to wound you?" said Delphaen blankly.
"Because I have not given you answer as to whether I will help you?" suggested Jeowyn defensively. "Do not talk of this with me. I still do not know."
In the background, Gandalf was spouting Elvish at a rate of knots, and none of it was doing any apparent good.
"What is truth?" continued Jeowyn ambiguously, but she seemed in no mood to argue any further. She sat down and touched her fair face with her slender white hands.
"You speak wisely," said Delphaen, "but truth may be seen in many different guises. I will not trouble you any more..."
Unbeknownst to her, Renyarwen had stolen up behind her and was listening with a troubled face. "Jeowyn," she said, "I know your concern lies with your beloved, but are YOU quite well? You are very pale."
"Am I?" said Jeowyn quickly, covering her cheeks with her hands.
"I know what it is you suffer for," said Namariarwen, coming over to join them. "And I feel your pain, Jeowyn of Gondor."
As Gandalf began to become frustrated with his task, Aragorn took his mind away from the issue in approaching Boromir, who remained where he had sat down from the first.
"Holding up?" he said in a typically masculine understated fashion.
"Yes," said Boromir, though he flinched as he shifted position. "I daresay I can last a good while yet, though I am beginning to see that perhaps it had been better to allow Jeowyn to heal me after her own fashion from the beginning." He looked across at the maidens grouped together, resplendent and fair with bright gowns and flowing hair and bright eyes, and smiled a little. "And what is that, I wonder?"
Aragorn looked. "Do they not make a pleasant sight for sore eyes? So fair!"
Boromir would not offer his opinion on this subject.
"I have not seen such a maiden as Jeowyn," said Aragorn delicately, eyeing how Boromir was taking this, out of the corner of his eye. "So fair, and yet so hardy and fearless!"
"She is not fearless," Boromir corrected him, "though she is certainly very hardy."
"And fair?" tried Aragorn.
"I cannot tell you if she is fair, any more than I could tell you if my brother Faramir is handsome," said Boromir at last. "I am too near it... I see Jeowyn, every day."
"I should not object to that!" said Legolas, who had overheard the greater part of Boromir's last remark. "For she is certainly a rare and radiant jewel, though there is something I do not understand about her. Mortal woman she is, though I sense something Elvish about her." He flushed a little. "Though... of course... I am..."
Aragorn smiled. "We know who holds your heart, Legolas of the Woodland Realm. She is spectacular."
All three looked at the group of maidens without being able to help it; Renyarwen had drawn Jeowyn into a comforting, sisterly embrace. Her dress gleamed in the moonlight, and she had never looked more beautiful than at that moment.
"She is," said Legolas, sighing ecstatically. "Such a woman of grace, gentleness, beauty and spiritual gift of the Holy Valar I have not before seen, in all my long years on this earth. She would make the Morning Star sing for joy. But what say you of your own heart, Aragorn? For the lady Namariarwen is like a beautiful flower of the field."
"She is that," said Aragorn, though his expression looked more troubled than pleased. "And it is well if I should love her, since I have lost the one I have loved before. But..."
He could say no more.
"I understand," said Boromir, simply and quietly.
Aragorn gazed upon the Lady Namariarwen, and his heart smote him. He did not understand why.