A Daughter of the King - Chapter Thirty

***Author's Note***
hey guys!! i just wanted to let you know that i'm going out of town for a week and a half so i am submitting three chapters. hopefully they'll all come up while i'm gone. sorry i won't be able to answer any questions that you have, but my friend Elwen might. so anywhoo...have a good week
celebel


"Elwen." Tethcelebel turned to look at her cousin, "Are the spiders still active?"

"Yes," Elwen muttered angrily, "they are still about though I wish it were not so."

The company was riding through Mirkwood, on their way to Rivendell. They had said farewell to the Mirkwood elves, so now their company was only a dozen or so. The forest was dark as usual, but Tethcelebel did not feel quite so uneasy as she did when they were attacked by the orcs. She and Elwen were riding a little bit behind everyone else, talking. Suddenly, Elwen's horse stumbled.

"Ai, etarish!" Elwen growled, slipping off of it, "No, you go on, Celebel. Twill only take a moment."

She bent down to examine its hoof when her horse spooked, backing up. Elwen suddenly heard a sound she was familiar with. Looking up, she gazed into the face of a huge, ugly spider. Elwen backed up, only to hear another behind her. They were all about her, coming down on their silk threads. Elwen pulled out her knives, spinning them, and waiting for the spiders to come to her. All of a sudden, one of the spiders lunged at her, its feet scratching and skittering on the leaves. Elwen swung her knives and killed it easily. Another two came at her. She ducked one and killed the other. She began to realize that she was greatly outnumbered and needed help. More spiders kept coming.

"Celebel!" she cried out, spinning about to make it harder of the spiders to bite her. Tethcelebel whirled her horse around the minute she heard the call. She urged her horse on, towards Elwen.

Suddenly, Elwen felt a weight come down on her, knocking her down. Something pinned her arms, so she could not use the knives. She knew it was a spider from the little claws on its legs, digging into her arms. She struggled hard, desperately trying to shake it off.

"I do not want to die by a spider!" she thought angrily, struggling. She screamed in pain as the spider sank its fangs into her arm, where the arrow had struck. She could feel the venom start coursing through her blood, making her sluggish and slow. Her eyes started to close as the spider bent down to finish her off.

Suddenly, the spider screeched angrily as a sword swiped off one of its legs. Turning, it faced Tethcelebel.

"Get away from her," Tethcelebel snarled, attacking it. She brought her sword down and stabbed it. It hissed and was dead. Tethcelebel attacked the other spiders, swiping off legs of some and killing others. She grinned as the other elves came racing to help, attacking the spiders vehemently. The spiders, realizing they were greatly outnumbered, quickly rose back into the trees, hissing and snarling as they went.


***************
"Elwen!" Tethcelebel raced over to her cousin. Elwen was lying face down on the ground, her breathing very shallow. Tethcelebel grimaced as she saw some of the poison on the wound. She tore off some of her tunic and swiftly wiped at it, desperately trying to get it out. She could see the two puncture wounds where the spider's fangs had sunk into Elwen's shoulder. Suddenly, Elwen shuddered, trying to push upwards. Tethcelebel gently pulled her over, supporting her.

"Elwen," Tethcelebel looked down at her, fear in her eyes, "I thought that..."

"You think a spider could kill me?" Elwen's laugh went into a coughing spasm. Tethcelebel held her, waiting for her to finish. "After all we've been through, Celebel. You really think a spider would kill me??" Elwen said, her voice hoarse.

"I do not know," Tethcelebel smiled at her, "I don't want to take any chances." She took out some athelas and made it into a poultice. She placed it on the wound and bound it with some of her cloak. She helped Elwen up, Elwen's arm about her shoulders.

"Elwen!" Legolas ran over, "Did the spider bite you?"

"Yes," Elwen brushed it off, "but it was no more-"

"I know," Legolas rolled his eyes slightly, "No more than what you have gotten before."

"I'd punch you, Brother," Elwen glared at him, "if I were closer."

"Stop it, you two!" Tethcelebel said in exasperation, "Come, Elwen. We need to get you to Imladris. I will rest easier after my uncle looks at your wound."

"It is not that..." Elwen protested.

"I do not care!" Tethcelebel helped her onto her horse.

Elwen just sighed, but quickly grasped her horse's mane. She felt a wave of dizziness, but soon it passed. She faintly shook her head, trying to get her eyes to focus. They were blurry for only a few moments and then went clear again. She dismissed it, thinking it nothing but weariness. They rode on, unawares of how dangerous Elwen's condition was becoming.


*******************
"There is Imladris!" Legolas yelled back to the other riders. He pressed his horse into a gallop, racing into the valley.

"You do not have to yell my ear off, Elf." Gimli complained gruffly, then grabbed for Legolas as Arod broke into a hard gallop, "Nor do you have to knock me off this horse! If you want me off, I will walk the rest of the way!"

Legolas shook his head, ignoring him. His eyes searched for any sign of Mandy. It had taken them a little over two days to reach Rivendell. He threw the reins to the young elf who helped with the stables and raced off to find Mandy. In the process, he nearly knocked over Elrond who was coming to greet the riders.

"Your pardon, Lord Elrond," Legolas backed up a couple of steps, "Where is Aarien?"

"She is at the inner house, second door to the end," Elrond told him, "Just listen for the sounds of laughter from the Perians."

Legolas nodded his thanks and walked hurriedly down the hall. He heard Elrond greet Mithrandir, as well as the other elves. Suddenly, his ears caught the slight sound of laughter. He quickened his pace and soon found her room. The door was cracked open, and he glanced in. Mandy was sitting up in bed, talking gaily with the hobbits. She did not see him. He could see the weariness in her face, but her eyes were all alight.

Suddenly, she caught sight of him. She held his eyes for a few seconds, and then he came into the room. He walked slowly up to her. The hobbits moved away from the bed. Legolas just looked at her and then hugged her tightly. She returned the hug gently but could not conceal the soft cry of pain as he touched her back.

Legolas heard her and let go. "Did I hurt you, Aarien?" he asked, his eyes full of worry.

"Not that much, Legolas," Mandy smiled reassuringly but could not conceal the pain in her eyes, "Not that much."

"Aarien," Frodo reproached her, "you should show him why he hurt you!"

"What are they talking about?" Legolas looked from the hobbits back to Aarien.

"'er back that's what we're talking about!" Sam growled, "It's `urt bad, and you grabbed it when you hugged her!"

"It's alright, Sam," Mandy protested weakly, "He did not hurt me that bad."

"May I see your wounds, Aarien?" Legolas asked softly.

Mandy nodded her head and gently rolled onto her stomach. She was wearing a vest that laced up the back, making it easier to change the bandages. Legolas gently untied a little of it, lifted the bandages and drew in a harsh breath. His eyes flashed with anger as he saw the deep gashes and cuts from the whippings. He replaced the bandages and glanced down at her. Mandy carefully eased herself back onto the pillows, slowly so as not to hurt. The hobbits knew that Legolas felt the same way they did when they saw her back as well.

"Aarien," Legolas whispered, "I am sorry."

"You could have done nothing, Legolas." Mandy knew what he was thinking, "You could have done nothing to prevent this."

"I might have been able to if I had stayed with you even for a few more days, then maybe none of this would have happened," Legolas growled angrily at himself.

"Legolas," Mandy placed her hand on his arm and shook her head, "You would not have been able to prevent this. It was the will of Illuvitar that I get captured. If it had been against His will, I would not have been."

Legolas looked at her, knowing she was right. He smiled down at her, brushing her cheek with his hand. "I still would have fought to protect you, mellonnin." he sighed.

"I know," Mandy returned the smile, "I know."

"Get `im!" all of the hobbits yelled and tackled Legolas. They pinned him onto the floor by sitting on him, while others tickled him. He burst into laughter, struggling to throw them off. Mandy laughed in glee as she watched them.


***************
Meanwhile, Elwen and Tethcelebel were riding into Rivendell, much slower than Legolas had. Tethcelebel couldn't help noticing how much Elwen seemed to sway on the horse. It appeared as if she had never ridden before, or was just learning. Suddenly, Elwen slid off abruptly, landing on her feet. Her hands grasped the saddle, her head down and eyes closed.

"Elwen!" Tethcelebel jumped off, racing over to her, "You are not alright!"

"Peace, Cousin," Elwen breathed out, "I am fine. I merely had a spell of dizziness, that is all."

"Since when do you get dizzy?" Tethcelebel retorted, looking worriedly at her.

"I am fine!" Elwen said in exasperation, "Now, let's go find Aarien."

Tethcelebel nodded, but her eyes held worry and fear in them as she followed Elwen down the hallway.


******************
Elwen and Tethcelebel found Mandy's room and could hear the sounds of laughter. They walked through the door and exchanged grins as they saw Legolas being attacked by the hobbits.

"Mae govennin, Aarien." Tethcelebel greeted her, stepping around the hobbits and Legolas, "Do you think we should help him?"

"Of course not," Elwen retorted, eyes twinkling, "He probably deserves it." All three of the girls laughed and talked together, catching up on everything.

"A little help?" Legolas snapped from the floor, trying to shove off the hobbits.

Elwen looked at him, eyes flashing mischievously, "Why?"

Legolas glared at her and then lunged for her. The hobbits went sprawling, Legolas managed to hit the bed, grab Elwen's ankle, pull her off, and part of the covers, all in one fluid motion. They both landed on the floor with a loud thud, and Tethcelebel and Mandy were laughing hysterically. Elwen got up ruefully.

"Brother," Elwen shook her head, "you have no sense of humour."

"I do, Sister," Legolas sat on the floor, "but you cannot take it."

"I can too!" Elwen shouted.

"Really?" Legolas laughed, "Ha."

"You..." Elwen sputtered.

Tethcelebel rolled her eyes and murmured to Mandy, "They're at it again."

Elwen and Legolas glared at each other, almost circling. All of a sudden, Elrond strode into the room. He looked at the destruction and rolled his eyes.

"You are supposed to keep her quiet," Elrond said sternly, "Not destroy the room." They all looked sheepishly downwards, desperately trying to keep straight faces. Elrond shook his head.

"Out!" he ordered, "All of you out!" He shooed all of them out of the room.


*****************
Legolas, Elwen, and Tethcelebel said goodbye while each of the hobbits bid a hurried farewell. Mandy laughed, watching them go, but as soon as the door shut, she winced, her eyes full of pain.

"Aarien," Elrond rushed to her side, "what is it?"

"My back," Mandy gasped out, "it hurts. I don't think I should have sat up today."

"I knew it was too soon," Elrond helped her to lie on her stomach. He undid her vest and peeled back the bandages, noticing that they were soaked with blood again. He inhaled slightly, noticing that the streaks seemed to be coming back. He replaced the bandages, pressing gently to make it tight.

Mandy heard his intake of breath. "It's bad, isn't it?" she said.

"No," Elrond looked at her, "it is not as bad as it was. It just...opened again. The healing process will take time. You must be patient."

"Ah..." Mandy grinned wryly, "The one virtue I have none of."

Elrond laughed, thanking the Valar that her good spirit had returned. He covered her back up and went out the door, leaving Mandy to her own thoughts.


************************
Elwen and Tethcelebel walked about Rivendell, talking. All of sudden, Elwen fell back. Tethcelebel turned to her and cried aloud for help. She supported Elwen, looking down the path for anyone who was coming. Then Elwen's hand grasped her sleeve.

"I am sorry, Cousin," she gasped out, wincing as Tethcelebel tore her tunic sleeve open to reveal her wound. It had dark purple, almost black poison oozing out of it and was bleeding freely. Tethcelebel pressed her hand against the wound, staunching some of the flow of blood.

"Sorry for what?" Tethcelebel's voice sounded far away to Elwen.

"For lying that I was alright," Elwen answered faintly, "I should have known better."

"Lying?" Tethcelebel joked, "You would have gotten beaten for that only a few years ago."

Elwen flashed a well-known grin up at her, "Ay that I would have." Her breath came in gasps, as if it was hard for her to draw breath. "If I do not live," Elwen started to say.

"NO!" Tethcelebel said fiercely, "You will not die! Don't you dare leave, Cousin. You will fight, please fight!"

Tethcelebel cried freely, her tears making dark stains on Elwen's cloak. She heard running footsteps coming down the path. Four or five elves came up to them. One went racing back to Elrond to inform him of Elwen's condition. Two picked Elwen up and carried her swiftly up the path. Another, a young boy, went over to Tethcelebel.

"M'lady," he stood, waiting for her response.

Tethcelebel was sitting on the ground, still sobbing softly. She now knew how Elwen had felt when she had been near death as well, many years ago in a Rohan outpost. She was angry with herself, thinking she should have known about this and avoided it.

Suddenly, she heard her grandmother's voice in her head: "Tethcelebel. Do not blame yourself. Elwen will survive, I have seen it. May the grace of the Valar protect you."

"M'lady," the boy questioned again.

Tethcelebel looked up at him, her eyes red with weeping. "Yes?" she whispered.

"I am to walk with you back to the house." he explained, helping her up.

"My thanks," she answered, walking with him. She leaned heavily on him, her feet stumbling at times. He was silent, seeing how her eyes were full of pain. She went straight to Elwen's room when they got back, and stayed with her, not leaving her side.

***A/N***
another one, i know. the next one should be up soon and won't be quite as bad a cliffie...i don't think. anywhoo, talk to you guys in a week

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