A Daughter of the King - Chapter Twenty-Nine

Mandy burned with fever, her face a deep red. She kept murmugay things under her breath about her parents and orcs and Ulka-Loome. Beorn looked worriedly at her, for he knew he did not have enough skill in healing to help her.

"Little One," Beorn whispered softly, placing cold cloths on her forehead, "I could not find the people looking for you. May Illuvitar protect you."

Mandy tossed and turned, but would cry out every-time something touched her back. The wounds were scarlet, going up and down her back, as well as the wounds on her feet had not healed. Beorn knew he had to get her to Rivendell. He went outside and called for Gwaihir. The Eagle swooped down in a few minutes.

"How is she?" Gwaihir asked urgently.

"She is very ill." Beorn answered, "Infection is setting in her wounds. I do not have skill in healing." Beorn muttered almost angrily, "Wing-Lord, would you take her to Rivendell?"

"Of course, Beorn." Gwaihir spread his wings, "I will take her to Lord Elrond."

Beorn nodded and strode swiftly inside. He gathered up a few blankets and walked quietly into her room. She was shivering, her eyes glazed over with fever. She cried out in fear as Beorn came near her. He talked soothingly to her, wrapping the blankets about her so she could not writhe about. He picked her up, wincing at the cry of pain as he touched her back. He carried her gently out to Gwaihir.

"I do not think she could stay on your back," Beorn told him.

"I will carry her in my talons then." Gwaihir took her carefully from Beorn, "She will be safe, Beorn. And I will bring you word of how she is."

Beorn nodded. Gwaihir flew upwards, circling a bit. Then he turned and flew swiftly towards the mountains, leaving Beorn watching them go. Beorn sighed and turned back to his house.

"I see the oak wood!" Legolas called back to the company.

It had been a few hours since Gwaihir had flown with Mandy. Legolas urged his horse into a gallop with Tethcelebel and Elwen right behind him. They entered the wood and rode straight for his house. They left their horses at the gate and walked into the yard. Beorn was standing on the porch, waiting for them.

"Greetings, Elves." he looked and saw Gandalf right behind them, "And to you, my good wizard." His eyes twinkled slightly as they met Gandalf's, as if they shared a joke, "I have not seen you for a good many years."

"Ah, Beorn," Gandalf smiled slightly through his beard, "It is good to see you as well, my friend."

"And these three young elves." Beorn turned his dark eyes on them, "It seems like I know the elf-wens...ah yes, were you not the ones I caught running through my woods several years ago as well?"

"Yes, Beorn." Elwen laughed, "I do believe that was us."

"Beorn, forgive me for interrupting," Legolas broke in, "But we are searching for a young girl, an Erusen. We tracked that you had rescued her and taken her to your house."

Beorn's face went still, a sad light in his eyes, "Then you have tracked rightly, my good elf."

"Then where is she?" Legolas exclaimed, "Can I not see her?"

"Alas," Beorn cried out, "she is gone not more than three hours hence! The Wing-Lord, Gwaihir, flew her to Rivendell for she was gravely ill from her wounds."

"Then we have come too late." Tethcelebel stated, her eyes downwards.

"Ay, too late, Little One." Beorn smiled gently, "But she is safe."

"That is true," Gandalf comforted them, "And she is getting good healing from Lord Elrond. If we rest now, we can travel back to Rivendell and get there in two days, we will see Aarien alive."

"Rest here awhile," Beorn offered, "And I will give you provisions to last your journey."
The rest of the company agreed. They drank some of the cool water and sat on logs or in the grass. Beorn and Mithrandir disappeared into the house, deep in discussion.

"Etarish." Elwen's breath whistled through her teeth as Tethcelebel examined her wound.

"I did not hurt you that bad, did I?" Tethcelebel asked her, gently cleansing it.

"No," Elwen retorted back as if offended, "I meant that we came too late."

"Ah, I see." Tethcelebel concealed her grin as she wrapped up Elwen's arm.

"Quit laughing!" Elwen brought her hand around, trying to cuff Tethcelebel in the head.

Tethcelebel ducked away, laughing, "Now, now, Cousin. You would not want to injure yourself anymore." She ran off laughing as Elwen came after her. Their care-free spirits had returned since they knew that Mandy was safe in Rivendell.

Gwaihir flew rapidly, crossing the mountains easily. He held Mandy gently but firmly in his talons. He could feel her trying to move about.

"Rest, Erusen." he called to her, "Rest."

After five hours of flying, Gwaihir could see Rivendell. He started descending, his eyes searching for Elrond. He soon caught sight of him standing on the outskirts of Rivendell, watching Gwaihir land.

"Greetings, Wing-Lord." Elrond strode over to him.

"Greetings, Lord Elrond," Gwaihir gently lay Mandy on the ground, "I bring you the Erusen. Beorn says that her wounds are becoming infected and that he cannot heal her."

Elrond's face was grave as he saw Mandy. He picked her up, feeling how light she had become.

"Thank you, Gwaihir." Elrond said, walking swiftly up the path. He felt Mandy's burning fever and her writhing in his arms. He whispered up a prayer to the Valar that she would be healed. He laid her on a bed and uncovered her back. He exhaled deeply, seeing how deep her wounds were. He called for some kingsfoil and cloths. He worked quickly, knowing that he did not have much time.

"Pst...Pip!" Merry whispered.

"Huh..." Pippin rolled over, shoving his head into the pillow.

"Aarien's here." Merry told him.

Pippin jumped out of bed, wide awake, "When'd she get back??" he asked, hurriedly pulling on clothes.

"An hour ago," Merry said, his face grim, "But she's very sick, Pip. Elrond's doing all he can, but...they...she's beat up pretty bad." His face was angry, his fists clenched tightly.

Pippin looked at him and then raced out of the room. He ran, asking elves where Elrond was. He slowed as he approached the door. The door was slightly open, so he tiptoed in. Elrond was out of the room, and Mandy lay on the bed, her eyes closed and breathing shallow. She was not aware of anything; there was only pain on her face. She would sometimes murmur and writhe about on the bed. Pippin drew in a breath as he saw her, his eyes filling with tears.

"Aarien," he whispered, only seeing the very top of her back, "Please be alright. Please...you promised to visit the Shire, remember? Please..." He grasped her hand, standing by her bed. He was shocked at how hot her hand felt.

Elrond paused at the door, watching Pippin. The other hobbits had already visited her, and they all had been very scared and worried, seeing how bad she had been beaten. Elrond walked into the room, clearing his throat. Pippin did not jump; he just kept standing by her.

"Pippin," Elrond placed a hand on his shoulder, "there is not anything you can do to help...you should just go back and rest."

"I want to stay, Elrond." Pippin looked up at him, "Please? Only for a little while? Until Frodo and Sam come?"

"Alright," Elrond's face softened, gazing at the young Hobbit. He had to clean her wounds again and knew that Pippin had not seen the half of it. "Pippin," he said softly, "I have to clean her wounds....you can go out for a few minutes if you want."

"No, Elrond," Pippin shook his head, "I'll stay."

Elrond looked down at him, understanding in his eyes. He went over to the other side of the bed and pulled down the covers. He gently peeled away the bandages, revealing dark red streaks going up and down her back. Pippin winced as he saw them, glancing away. Elrond started cleaning them, wiping them with water and placing new kingsfoil onto them. Suddenly Pippin's face took on an amazed look.

"Elrond," he said in astonishment, "she's squeezing my hand."

Elrond looked swiftly down at Mandy. She still had her eyes closed and her breathing was still shallow, but the flush had faded a bit. She didn't feel quite so hot, and her hand was squeezing Pippin's tightly.

"She is fighting, Pippin," Elrond smiled, "She is fighting."

Pippin grinned back at him. Elrond finished replacing the bandages and covered her again. Pippin gently replaced her hand on the bed and raced away to find the other hobbits, eager to tell them what Elrond had said. Elrond stayed by her for a few minutes, looking down at her. Her hair was spread across the pillow like a crimson wave, her face was still flushed, but it had a look of peace instead of pain.

"May the grace of the Valar protect you," he whispered, walking out of the room. Unbeknownst to him, Mandy stirred as he said that, as if she heard him.

Mandy walked lightheartedly in a garden, following a paved path. She smiled as she saw the Warrior, dressed in a plain white tunic and gold crown, waiting for her. She ran joyfully towards Him, laughing and crying. He enveloped her into His arms, hugging her.

"Greetings, My Daughter," He whispered.

Mandy knelt by Him, crying softly. "I'm sorry I doubted You, Lord." she murmured.

"Peace," He raised her up and led her down the path, "Peace." They walked in silence, listening to the birds and the rippling of a brook.

"Lord," Mandy asked, "Am I...I mean..."

The Warrior chuckled softly at her stuttering. "No, you are not dead," He answered her question.

"Then, why?" Mandy began, confusedly, "Are you sending me home?"

The Warrior looked at her, eyes serious. Mandy gazed into them, knowing they pierced her very soul.

"Do not fear," He answered her, "I am with you."

"I know, Lord," Mandy whispered, "But..."

"Look, Mandy," He motioned into the woods.

Mandy looked at them and saw all manner of creatures moving about. He lifted His voice in a heavenly song, and the creatures began to dance. Mandy gazed in awe as even the stars danced, though it seemed morning in the garden. She turned to find Him gone. She glanced about and saw Him dancing as well. He danced the steps perfectly, flowing with the music and making everything else dimmer. She remembered words to a song, "The Lord made the Danse, And He taught her the steps, and He Causes the song to shine." She praised Him, thanking Him for letting her see the dance. She felt the urge to dance with the other creatures. She danced almost shyly, moving with the other creatures about Him. Soon, she was caught up in a new but well-known dance, praising Him. She did not know how long they danced: it seemed like they would dance for the rest of time and beyond, praising Him.

All of a sudden, she felt pain in her back. She gasped in surprise and stumbled a bit. All of the animals disappeared and it was just her and the Warrior. He came over and helped her to sit down. She wiped at the tears that came to her eyes.

"Lord?" Mandy asked in fright, "what happened?"

"You are going back," He answered, supporting her.

"Back?" Mandy gasped out, "I do not want to go back. I want to stay here, I want to be home with You. Please Lord, take me home."

The Warrior looked at her with sympathy but also seriousness in His eyes. "It is not your time to come home. I have other things for you to accomplish before you can come home." He was now holding her, sitting on the ground, "I will always be with you, and I will never leave you nor forsake you." He kissed her brow and then laid her on the ground. She fell asleep, remembering only of a dance.

Mandy sighed deeply, opening her eyes. She looked about her confusedly, not knowing where she was at. She caught sight of Sam sitting right by the bed, asleep in a chair. She gazed at him for a few minutes, seeing how small and forlorn he looked in the big chair. She reached out a tentative hand, wincing slightly at the pain in her shoulder, grasping the hand that was on the bed. His eyes flew open and caught hers.

"Sam..." she whispered, her throat aching a bit.

"Aarien," Sam cried out in joy, "you're awake! You're awake!"

***Author's Note***
this is one of those GOOD cliffies, right? you're mad that it ended but glad she's awake hope you liked it especially the part with Pippin....

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