The Awakening
Frodo awakes in Ithilien
  Smoke and darkness, swirling about him...Frodo drifted through dark, uneasy memories. Fire.......a great fire, leaping up at him from the depths, and a horrible power overwhelming him.....it had forced him into the world of shadows once again, and someone had tried to take It away.....and then It was gone. Gone. In the fire. Destroyed. That was a good thing, but there was hardly any good in this world of fire and ash and dust and darkness.....he was going to die....everything was going to die because It had been destroyed. Too much ruin would be wrought when It went into the fire......yet someone.....Sam, dear Sam.....had carried him as far away from the fire as he could.....he didn’t want to die. But there was only death waiting for them.....only death remained in this dark land of ruin, even if the rest of the world would live. Frodo felt himself weakening.......choking on the dust and ashes. His breath was leaving him.....he felt his strength giving way.....at last he could not stand up any more. He fell, fell to his knees, and then to the dark ground. He heard Sam call to him, but weakly.....Sam was choking too. Then darkness took him and he knew no more...........







   Frodo felt......alive. Not dead. He couldn’t be dead: he could feel warmth....light and shadows playing across his face....a sweet, green smell.....where had he smelled that before? Somewhere beautiful.....somewhere where light and life and greenness still existed.....

   He opened his eyes.

   He was lying on his back in a soft, warm bed; he gazed upwards. There was light and life in this place ....light green silvery leaves danced in the sunlight over his head, casting a delicate pattern on his face, and birds were singing sweetly somewhere close. And everything was peaceful.....lovely.... gentle.....everything that Mordor had not been.

  
I’m alive, he realized. I survived the Quest, but how did I get here?

   He stirred, and as his right hand slid across the coverlet, he realized that it was bandaged, and that the third finger was missing. Full memory poured back, and for several minutes he lay quiet. He still could not get over the beautiful thought that he was alive......and the Quest was over. The Ring was destroyed. The task was done. The journey was finished. Never again would he have to feel the weight of Its gold band around his neck......never again. The thought gave Frodo an inexpressible feeling of joy.......it was all over! With a sigh of pure happiness, he sat up.

   At first, gazing about in wonder at his surroundings, he did not see the tall, white-clad figure sitting near the head of the bed. Then, as his gaze traveled from tree to tree of the little grove he was in, he gasped.

  
Gandalf!!

   For a moment, in a shock of astonishment and unbelieving joy, he could do nothing but gaze at the wizard who sat quietly smoking his pipe, and smiling at the hobbit’s wonder. Laying his pipe aside, he stood up and held out his arms. “My dear Frodo!”

   “Gandalf!” With a choking gasp that was joy mingled with deep, pent-up sorrow, now released, Frodo flung himself into Gandalf’s arms. The wizard’s strong arms closed about him affectionately, and he closed his eyes, hugging the wizard tightly. Tears formed in his eyes and splashed down his cheeks; he paid no heed.

“Gandalf....” The whispered word was mingled with sobs. For a long time he could not speak, burying himself in Gandalf’s warm, strong arms, losing himself in the dearness of that long-lost embrace. His body shook.

   When finally the two released each other and gazed into one another’s eyes, Frodo saw that Gandalf too had tears in his eyes. He could feel that his own cheeks were streaked with tears of joy. He dashed them away with his sleeve, but took no notice of the few that followed and slid down his face.

   “Gandalf....Gandalf....I never thought I’d see you again!”

   The wizard smiled at him. “I had serious doubts myself about ever seeing you again, Frodo my lad.”

   Tears again welled up in Frodo’s eyes; he couldn’t help it. “But tell me - how can this be?” he asked. “You fell! I saw you....” His eyes darkened at the horrible memory.

    “Yes, I fell.....through fire and water, and I pursued my foe through the depths and to the very heights of the mountains. There I challenged him and fought him, the Balrog of Morgoth.....until at last I threw him down. He is gone - dead. I died, but I felt life stream back into me - my task here was not done yet. So, my dear hobbit, I am not dead. I was dead, but I was reborn as Gandalf the White. I am no longer Grey!”

   Frodo smiled through his tears. “I can see that - you are all robed in white, and you seem to glow! But I am just so glad to see you.....everything unhappy seems to be getting turned around....” Once more he flung his arms about Gandalf and hugged him. Gandalf held the little hobbit tight, and thanked the Valar that he had survived.
It would have been a terrible blow to us all if he had been lost. . . .thank Iluvatar that he is not.
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