'The Journey's Path' or 'The Road Has Gone' - Part Two
They first met many years ago at the begining of her training with Aragorn. Aragorn had taken Caladeth under his supervision when she was still young, no more than thirteen. At first her skills were quite weak, but she had a natural talent and a ravenous desire to learn. Her ability progressed quite swiftly to both of their amazement.
It was an early summer evening and the two stopped for combat training in a deserted field. Aragorn's sword came crushing down onto Caladeth's knives knocking them from her hands, she reached for her sword but it was too late, with one more blow he sent her reeling back to the ground her sword falling out of her reach. Instead of rolling aside she sat still and his weapon crashed down within an inch of her head.
Aragorn shook his head and walked away from her, 'You are dead. I have never seen you fight so poorly, what happened, Caladeth?'
'I am sorry, I was distracted, I think I hear a rider approaching.'
Aragorn froze, concentrating intently as he stared into the surrounding woods. 'You are right.' They crept low, bows drawn, behind a mishapen tree. A large white horse emerged from the trees, his hooves falling softly as he approached. The rider whispered itno the horses ear and it stopped. He dismounted and looked right at them, 'Surely you do not wish to shoot an old friend.'
Aragorn lowered his bow and laughed as he jumped out of from behind the tree. Caladeth stayed back watching the man and elf embrace. 'Glorfindel, to what do we owe the honor of your visit.'
'That I shall tell you, as soon as you introduce me to the other part of this 'we'.' For the first time his eyes fell upon Caladeth. 'Who is this child I see you traveling with?'
She walked towards him trying to maintain as dignity and grace, 'I am no child' but as she spoke she stumbled over a large tree root and caught herself just before she hit the ground. Her face turned bright red but she stood tall and proud at Aragorn's side.
'Forgive me my lady for I was mistaken', he bowed low winking up at her.
'Glorfindel of Rivendell, this is my apprentice, the Lady Caladeth.'
They continued to meet this way, where every few months he would appear to speak with Aragorn, never paying Caladeth any notice. He would say hello to her, and if she was lucky farewell but no more. Secretly she looked forward to his visits and prepared things she could say to make him interested in her, but she never actually spoke them. Glorfindel's visits became less and less frequent until they stopped all together. It was not until two years ago that Caladeth saw him again.
She and Aragorn were tracking a small host of orcs that had decended from the Misty Mountains. They were close on their trail when Caladeth's hosre stopped and refused to go no further. In the silence she could hear the sounds of someone behind them. She signed to Aragorn that three horsemen were approaching, so the two rode alittle way off the trail in the hope to surprise their followers.
Into the clearing rode three elves on horseback. Aragorn smiled and moved out to greet them, 'What news from Rivendell do you bring this time, Glorfindel?'
He was accompanied by the sons of Elrond, Elladan and Elrohir. The elves told the rangers of a small band of orcs they were hunting that had destroyed a bit forest near Rivendell.
'Then let us offer you our assistance, since we too have been hunting these same orcs.' Glorfindel's eyes fell onto Caladeth as she spoke these words.
'You can not be the same young child I met all those years ago.'
She lowered her hood, 'I am, though no longer a child.'
He smiled, 'That I see.' Their eyes met and she could feel her heart beating faster in her chest.
The elves and rangers rode fast and came upon the orc host soon after sunset. The fighting began, and many orcs fell from arrows in their chests and heads so that only a few remained. One large orc managed to knock Caladeth from her horse. She fell to the ground and jumped to her feet her knives in her hands. She stabbed one into his chest when his blade came crushing down into her side. She gave out a soft scream, her body stiffening in pain. She managed to bring him down with another slash through his neck, but it took all of her power. The creatures dark blood began to pour over her body as it fell to the ground.
Glorfindel was the first to see Caladeth, wounded stumbling and falling into foul mix of mud and orc blood. He rushed to her side while the others disposed of the last of the orcs. He lifted her unconscious form out of the filth in which it lay. He and Aragorn examined the wound, it was deep but there was no poison so there was no real danger.
'She must be treated quickly.' Glorfindel placed her on the back of Aseloth, and climbed behind her. 'I will ride ahead to Rivendell.'
'We will be right behind you, make haste.'
Caladeth awoke in his arms, unsure of where she was. 'What is happening?' Wind was blowing through her hair as they rode on into the night. She was groggy and could think straight. Her hand found its way to her side which was still bleeding through her bandage. Touching it made her moan in pain, she felt the warm blood on her fingers and thought she was going to be sick. 'Aragorn?'
'Do not worry, he is right behind us. You were injured but do not fear everything will be alright.'
Suddenly she remembered all that had happened but Glorfindel eased her, 'I am here, you are safe', and she drifted back to sleep.
Caladeth awoke with a start in a large soft bed, Aragorn and Glorfindel standing over her. Aragorn took her hand in his, 'I am glad to see you are alright. I was worried that we had lost you. Please promise me you will be more careful, I think of you as my own kin and could not bare to see harm come to you.'
She saw a tear roll down his cheek as he pressed her hand against it. 'I promise.' They embraced and he kissed her forehead before leaving the room, 'You need your rest, I will check in on you later.'
Glorfindel sat down on the edge of her bed, 'He loves you greatly, as if you were his child.' He lay his hand on her wound and grew warm at his touch. 'This will heal in time, but you will carry the scar forever. Let it serve as a both a lesson and a reminder.' With that he stood up and kissed her on her forehead as Aragorn had done. He turned as he stood in the doorway, 'It would be a great loss for more than just Aragorn if something was to happen to you.' His eyes lingered on her for a moment before he left.
Caladeth sat basking in the sun, lost in her memories. Her hand slid over her gown where underneath the skin rose up in a jagged pink formation stretching across her side from right above her hip to a little below her breast. As Glorfindel had said the scar remained, and so it would until the end of her days.