A Daughter of the King - Chapter Twenty-Three

"Long ago, when Arda was still young, the Erusen were created by Illuvitar. They resembled elves in face, manner, and dress: they lived for longer times than even the Dunadain. Mortal men could not tell them from elves, but the elves could just by looking at them. The Erusen seemed to have a great love and peace shining from their eyes, greater than the elves." Galadriel paused, recalling memories of the Erusen, "Illuvitar bestowed different gifts on each: some had foresight, others could understand any language, and still others could sing greater than anyone else...much like your voice, Aarien. As the centuries went by, it became apparent that the Erusen pointed anyone who talked and listened to them back to Illuvitar. Morgoth, the dark Vala, hated the Erusen for this. First, he tried to deceive them and bring them onto his side. When that didn't work, he had his servants attack them, hoping to kill them off, but the Erusen were warned and most fled. Those who did not flee were killed." Galadriel stopped, a sad light in her eyes.

"What happened to those who did flee?" Mandy asked, listening in astonishment to her.

"They scattered all over Arda. Some took refuge with the elves, others fled north. Many disappeared. They kept their identity hidden, passing as elves. And as the centuries and millennia passed, the Erusen all but disappeared from the Tales and Books. The men forgot the Ancient Tales with them, saying that the Erusen died off or never existed. Even the wisest do not know what happened to them." Galadriel looked at her, "One of the last Erusen who took refuge in Lorien talked with me. He said that the Erusen would not die out and that there would be another coming. He told me to give that Erusen this." Galadriel held out a small clasp for a cloak. It was pure white and had a jeweled Star of David in the middle, outlined in light blue. Mandy took it and gazed thoughtfully at it.

"There is something else, Aarien. Morgoth has not forgotten the Erusen. He knows they have not died out. Over the millennia, he has had his servants capture, torture, and eventually kill any Erusen they came across. Some of the servants tried to get the Erusen to tell them things, those with foresight or knew all languages. When they would not, they were killed." Galadriel gazed at her piercingly, "Illuvitar is guiding you, Aarien. No matter what happens, trust in him." Galadriel urged softly, her eyes full of pain.

"Thank you, M'lady." Mandy nodded, putting on the clasp, "I will remember."

"May the Valar guide and protect you." Galadriel stood and walked silently away. Mandy sat, fingering the clasp.

"Look, there she is. Let's get her!" an evil voice whispered.

"No! Not yet, there's too many with her." another voice growled, "Wait, wait until she's alone, and there are not a lot of others with her."

The other creature nodded, and they sneaked away.

After more days of riding, they were near the Gates of Moria...

"Aarien, would you like to see the door of Moria?" Frodo approached Mandy.

"Sure." Mandy smiled, getting up from where she was reading.

"'ey! Not without us!" Pippin yelled, running up with Sam and Merry. Frodo rolled his eyes, and they set off.

The Company lingered there for seven days, reluctant to part. Mandy talked and wandered with Tethcelebel and Elwen, but mostly with the hobbits, for she had an odd feeling that she would not see them for a long while. After seven days, the Company departed. The grey-cloaked people of Lorien rod towards the mountains; and those who were going to Rivendell sat on the hill and watched, until there came out of the gathering mist a flash.

Mandy sighed, turning away and rode off with Gandalf, the Hobbits, Elwen, and Tethcelebel. She gazed thoughtfully at her clasp, thinking on Galadriel's parting words...

"Aarien." Galadriel's smiling lips did not move as she departed from the others, "Do not fear. Trust in Illuvitar and all will be well." Galadriel raised her hand in salute and rode away at the head of the elves.

Mandy gasped, looking around. "Something is wrong..." she thought, urging her horse up by Gandalf's, "How long till Rivendell?"

"At least a few days," Gandalf answered, looking puzzled, "why do you ask?"

"Nothing I guess." Mandy shrugged off the feeling, "I just want to get there."

"As do I," Gandalf's eyes twinkled.

Later that night, Mandy was near Ilma. "Sh...sh..." she calmed him, "It's alright." All of the horse seemed to be restless, as if something was wrong. Mandy, as well, had a restless feeling of foreboding. "Something is wrong, some evil..." she thought, glancing around.

Suddenly, the horses spooked. Mandy swung up on Ilma as he ran with the horses, for it was either that or get trampled. She slowed him down, "Daro, Ilma!" She leaped lightly off of him, it was dark. She drew her cloak about her and noticed the other horses grazing nearby. She called to them softly, walking over to them. They came to her, and she started back when they shied away. Turning at the sounds of footsteps, she suddenly felt her arms being pinned from behind her. Bringing her leg around, she knocked the legs out and rolled with him. She leaped up, drawing her sword. Whirling, she started to scream when a foul hand covered her mouth and another pinned her arms in an iron grip.

"Goodnight, Erusen." a harsh voice hissed in her ear.

Struggling, Mandy's eyes went wide as she saw the club coming. Then everything went black, and the orc dropped her.

"You couldn't capture a girl without letting her scream, Southron." the orc jeered at the human.

"I would have if you hadn't shown up!" the Southron growled back, giving a shrill whistle. The orc just grinned tauntingly at him.

"Let's get out of here." the Southron ordered the other orcs and Southrons.

The orc stripped Mandy of her sword, bow, and quiver; but did not find her dagger in her boot. He tied her hands and feet, twisting the rope cruelly. Finally, he threw her over his shoulder, and the group raced off. What they did not notice was that her necklace from Legolas had broken off in the process of getting dropped and picked up. Whether it came off by accident or on purpose is not known, only that it lay forgotten on the ground, half-sunk into the dirt.

"Uh..." Mandy groaned, blinking. Her head, arms, and legs hurt. She struggled to sit up, realizing that she was tied. She looked around, her eyes going hard at the sight of the orcs and men.

"Well, look," an orc jeered coming over, "She's decided to wake up."

"I'm surprised she did from the blow you gave her, Grishna." a man laughed cruelly.

"I didn't need to kill her. If I did, she wouldn't be moving at all." the orc glanced down at her, "Here, do you need help?" The orc grabbed her hair and pulled her up.

Mandy grit her teeth and scrambled for footing, vowing not to let them hear her cry out. She understood every word they spoke, even though they were talking in their own tongue. "Great," she thought, "Now I can hear how they plan to kill me." She stood on her toes to relieve some of the pressure off of her hair.

"Look at her," the orc laughed, "She can't even stand up." He let go of her hair. "There," he talked in the Common Tongue, "Rest, Erusen. You'll need it." He spat at her and turned away.

"Nador huanrim (Cowardly dogs)." Mandy snarled back at him.

The orc slapped her, causing Mandy to fall back. She kept her feet under her and could feel blood trickling down her cheek.

"Enough." the head man ordered. Grishna left while Mandy glared at the head man. "I am sorry for his...rude behavior." the man said.

"I'll bet you are," Mandy growled at him, wiping her mouth on her cloak, "Look, nothing you say is going to make me help you."

"Ah, I disagree." the man kept his voice calm and even, but Mandy saw a look of fury pass over it, "I just want you to tell me when the king's son is to be born."

Mandy glanced at him swiftly. It dawned on her that they were going to kill Arwen's son in hopes of putting Gondor back into chaos.

"I will tell you nothing!" Mandy said, straining at the ropes burning into her wrists.

"You will tell my master, Erusen-wen!" the man snarled the name like a curse, "Or you will regret you were ever born. Now, get some rest. You'll need it." The man laughed cruelly at her. Mandy gazed at him evenly. His gaze wavered slightly, and then he walked away.

"Lord." Mandy prayed desperately, "Help me." Her head lolled to one side, trying to sleep.

"Mandy." The Warrior called to her.

"Yes, Lord?" Mandy gazed up at Him.

"Do not fear, no matter what happens." the Warrior comforted her, "I am with you always."

"I do not know if I can..." Mandy broke off, tears trickling down her face.

"You will have My strength, Mandy." the Warrior helped her up, "And you will be safe."

Mandy bowed low to Him, "I am Yours, Lord. Do what You will."

The Warrior smiled broadly, "Sleep, Mandy and rest."

Mandy slowly lay back down and fell into a deep and restful sleep.

"Time to go, Erusen!" a leg kicked her side, waking her.

Mandy rolled over and clambered up. She grimaced as the man jerked cruelly on the ropes.

"You get to run this time, Erusen." he growled, "No more carrying for you."

Mandy stomped her feet, getting the circulation going again.

"Let's go!" the man yelled.

Mandy ran with them. If she slipped or tripped, the thing holding her rope would jerk her up by it and force her to run even faster. By the end of the day, her hair was matted and her clothes torn. Her boots were holding up, thankfully. She tried to get the dagger but each time it was out of reach. She gasped in breath, holding onto the promise that the Warrior had given her. And every-time she thought of that dream, her strength seemed to be renewed. She fell limply when they stopped for a rest. She just lay there, not caring. One of the men sat her up roughly and poured water down her throat, just enough to keep her alive. She gulped it down, savoring each sip. She had no idea if it had been a day, a week, or a month. They seemed to blend all together into one. She slept restlessly, knowing that she might not get another chance for several hours when they started going again.

***Author's Note***
hi, just a quick note. everything i said about the Erusen (i.e. the story, ect) i made up. Tolkien doesn't say anything about it i don't think...i just used it as i saw fit. ok, well hope you enjoyed it. please don't kill me

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