Chapter 11: The Truth Must Be Told
The trio consisting of one Hobbit, one Fairy and one Elf traveled for a month and a half at the speed and the leisure that was preferable. There was no hurry and no rush in a land where time was forgotten. They journeyed in the southeastern direction, where, Celebrian explained, laid the enchanted woods of the Vala of the Hunt.
"Orome is one of Gods, as you would call them," explained Celebrian. "His woods are named after him, but he does not dwell within them; nor is there any girdle of his that protects it from unwelcome beings; for all those that mean harm would be wise and stay away form there. Be careful of where you step though," she warned with a stern voice. "Do not destroy or crush any plant life within, or before the wood; those lawns belong to the Valie Yavanna and Vana: the Lady of Life and Spring."
"Tell me of the Valar and these lands; for I dearly wish to learn more!" exclaimed Frodo. Celebrian smiled back and said:
"It shall be a long tale..."
"And we have all the time in the world!" cried Frodo.
"You know the Valar were the first Children of Iluvatar and the ones he set to rule the world?" she asked; Frodo nodded slowly. "Well, their first abode was in Middle-earth!" Frodo's jaw dropped in shock. "Yes, they dwelt in the on the Isle of Almaren in the Great lake, when Arda was very young. To the North and South of Middle-Earth, Aule (one of the Vala) raised the two Lamps that lit the world: Illuin in the north and Olorme in the south. But Melkor (the Dark Lord of that time) felled Illuin and in its destruction, the Lamp destroyed Almaren, creating the Sea of Helcar. The Valar were ferried by Osse of the Sea to the Land of Aman where they dwelt in Valmar---the City of the Valar in Valinor---and that is the land we are crossing now, but they lost something that was fair beyond belief: the pillars that upheld the Lamps of the Valar were the highest mountains then, that had ever existed.
"In the west of the West, near the borders of Aman, there is the abiding place of Vefantur: Lord of Spirits, and Fui his wife: Mistress of Death. The Halls of Mandos they are named in the languages of Elves, and men and the Valar; those dark caverns reached even to Hanstovanien: the dark harbor of the north---site of the Prophecy of Mandos.
"To the North of Taniquetil, though I had not told you before, there is the fair City of Tirion (or Kor, as we now call it) where dwell the Sea-loving Teleri, the Eldar and the Vanyar Elves---the Fair Elves and most beloved of Manwe and Varda. Tirion stands in the midst of the Calacirya---the Pass of Light, though which, in the years of their splendour, the Light of the Trees streamed through and prospered Tirion and which is the only entrance into Valinor; the City itself stands on the green hill of Tuna. Since the Elves out of all things in Valinor loved only Telperion, the Silver Tree, Yavanna of the Valie made them a tree like to a lesser image of the White tree, but it did not radiate. Galathilion it was named in Sindarin and it grows now in the courts beneath the Tower of Mindon Eldalieva (Lofty Tower of the Eldalie): the Tower of Ingwe, which the Elves raised on the crown of Tuna. Its lantern light could be seen far into the west---"
"So that was the light that I had seen from the swan ship!" cried Frodo, not realizing he had interrupted Celebrian, but she just smiled.
"Yes, it was indeed; it is a form of guidance almost," she said and continued with her story. "Tirion is a splendorous city, with its gates made of pearl and crystal stairs climbing from the gates all through the city, until they reached the Tower. Tirion was the home of Finwe, father of Feanor before Melkor killed him, and now it is the abode of Finarfin, Galadriel's father; but now it is closed to those who come from Middle-Earth.
"But there is also Formenos; it was the home of Feanor and his sons after he was exiled from Tirion. It was a great fortress, built in northwestern Valinor, but now it strands empty and deserted. It was where Finwe, father of Feanor, Finarfin and Finglofin was murdered by Morgoth.
"In southwestern Valinor, there is the many storied home of Tulkas the Vala, with his great court for physical contests. Orome's low halls lie on our path, but I shall not take us in to them. If you had the sight of the Elves, you might see it from afar, but alas! His halls are strewn with skins, and trees support each of his rooms, for he is the Vala of the Hunt and is the offspring on Yavanna and Aule. His forest harbours many sorts of wildlife not seen in Middle-Earth.
"The Pastures of Yavanna are the fields upon which we now walk, for her lands are filled with flowers and blossoms and trees of fruit. That is why I warned you.
The home of Irmo (or Lorien) and Este is in the Gardens of Lorien, when Este sleeps on an island in the Lake Lorellin. Murmuran is the home of the Vala of Dreams, and it is enveloped in perpetual mists and shadows, only dimly lit by the fireflies that bear the brightness of the stars of Varda. There are also the dwellings the Maiar Melian and Olorin, who is named Mithrandir in the tongue of the Elves."
"Mithrandir!" cried Frodo in surprise. "Why, isn't that Gandalf?"
"It is indeed," replied Celebrian. "He was one of the Maiar, and so was Saruman the White, Radagast the Brown, the Blue Wizards and Sauron. The Valar sent the Wizards to test the power of Sauron, but what happened to them I know not."
"Gandalf was traveling with me and the Elves to the Undying Realm, but we were shipwrecked, once we passed the Enchanted Isles. That is how we got separated probably. I do not know what happened to them." He finished worriedly.
"That brings me to Osse, another of the Valar and master of storms. His home is built of pearls, but he only dwells there during conclaves. I would not doubt that he was reason of your misfortune. Perhaps it was because of the Rings of Power that Galadriel and Mithrandir wore---and perhaps because you were the Ringbearer of the One." Said Celebrian. Frodo suddenly felt as if the shipwreck was his fault.
Traversing across the great flats and hills of the Plateau of Valinor, Frodo, in the cheery company of Celebrian and Anarie, felt some of his worry fade away like the passing mornings and evenings, yet a shred of it remained...and that was enough to keep him feeling down some of the times. And yet, he had other things to think about---and wonder about; the Undying Realm certainly lived up to its name and legend: everywhere one would look, one would find unimaginably vast amounts of colourful flowers in full bloom, that only closed in the dark veil of a warm night. But even then, they seemed beautiful: they looked like thousands and thousands of stars of different colours, shapes and sizes and each one glowed differently; some flowers only flourished at the dark of night, littering the bluish-green grass with their pale and fluorescent blooms.
The scattered woods that glimmered in the far distances seemed all to be lost in the golden haze of day, or the enchanted mists of night, holding secrets that many have not yet discovered, but with that beauty, they seemed perilous---enchanted---like the woods of Lothlorien, and that once you are in them, you cannot run back.
Every where he turned, Frodo would see nature and beauty, the grass seemed green and lush every day and night, for as long as he could remember, and such fields---littered with tiny, crystal lakes that mirrored the blue sky above or reflected the glimmer of starlight on their glassy surface---Frodo had never imagined to see. And the wildlife! It was unlike anything Frodo has ever laid eyes on; great phalanxes of giant, snowy, dazzling swans, soaring above the plains and lakes like creatures of legend or dreams. Horses were another thing that truly amazed Frodo; there were hundreds of these graceful herds grazing or running like the rivers. These were free beasts; never to be tamed even by the Elves. They were mighty and beautiful beyond belief: with flowing manes and tails like banners of all sorts of colours, proud and imperious heads held high, and lashing, diamond-hard hooves pounding and yet not marring the bountiful land. They were like the maeras---the kings of all horses.
Everything---from the very earth to the majestic sky above---was beautiful, but at the same time, it all seemed unnatural and even mysterious; things that could remain perpetually young and beautiful and time was just a joke. These things Frodo never knew and always thought them foolish thoughts and yet here he was, caught in the middle of it all; in something that Middle-Earth could hold no contest to. This was, the Great Heaven of course---an island of paradise, separated from the world of mortality---the Paradise of the West and here, time had no meaning, and eternal beauty reigned supreme.
At daytime, the company would spend time either by traveling or lounging and laughing among the rolling plains of Valinor. The animals needed rest too, and found plenty of that at the speed of the travelers.
Although the Hobbit was not lonely with such company as this, he somehow felt that there was something missing in his heart; there was an emptiness, which he didn't know how to fill. Sure, he was cared for, but these were people he only met so recently...where were the people that he knew so well? Where was Bilbo? Gandalf? Elrond? Galadriel? What happened to them, when the ship crashed? He didn't know the answers, but oh! How did he yearn to know that they were all right! He would sometimes be found sitting apart from the rest, facing the sky, or looking out across the plain at something that others could not see. Celebrian and Anarie grew more and more concerned with this, but did not want to bother him with questions.
At night, when the bright stars were permitted to shine, the trio did not light fires to see or stay warm. For one thing, it was light enough to see for quite a distance; for another, the night was perfect---not too cold, and not too warm---just right; and mists, like a warm, soft, velvet blanket that enveloped the vales and forests. And the flowers: poppies and riots of roses, and elegant lily-of-the-valley, filled the air with soft fragrances.
And yet even at night, Frodo would find no lasting comfort; lying under his blankets, he could only watch the stars wheel up above, and think of what was he to do: coming here was his fate, but living here with hardly any guidance? He didn't think that was part of the plan. Everyday, he tried his best to hide his anxieties from the wary eyes of Celebrian and Anarie, but it seemed that slowly, they were catching up to him; they would find out somehow, but not yet.
Frodo and Anarie's friendship had also grown quite a bit, since their misfortunate meeting; they laughed more often together, and enjoyed being in each other's company. To Frodo, it seemed that there something else growing, other than a great friendship. When riding beside the Fairy, his eyes would constantly lock with hers, or Anarie would look at him thoughtfully, smiling, but would turn hastily away and blush when he would gaze at her. Every moment he spent with Anarie made Frodo's heart beat faster, and every touch of her hand made it skip a beat. The Hobbit had some sense of why he acted the way he did around the fairy, but he just couldn't bring himself to say anything (not do mention do something) about it; every time Anarie would glide above the fields and soar the skies, he would just feel captivated by her grace and loveliness. He had, at one point, gathered a great bouquet of a myriad of bright-coloured flowers that bloomed into beautiful, vivid shapes of spikes, bells, saucers and trumpets; it had a very sweet aroma.
Coming up awkwardly to the fairy that sat upon the soft bed of a stream gazing into the water as the sun's rays danced upon it, Frodo, with one hand behind his back and the other holding the merry and profuse collection of wild and dazzling flowers, handed them to her, and that surprised Anarie. She accepted the gift greatly, for she remembered none that were so sweet-hearted and kind-natured towards her. She found naught to say, but it seemed that the hobbit didn't anyone expected her to: Frodo was just as silent and filled with thought and delight of seeing the fairy smiling at him. Anarie got up, and coming over to Frodo, threw her gentle arms about his neck and embraced him, saying many a `thank you' and other kind words. Indeed, there was more to fairies than mischievousness and playfulness.
And though he was content with having the amiability of Anarie, and his heart was filled with mirth, he could not forget his grief and feeling of shame. For it seemed plain to him, that the mist at Sea was set up for his welcome: he was the Bearer of an evil thing, no matter how long ago, and he was greatly altered by it, and its memory lived in him. Perhaps the sea lord Ulmo and his vassal, Osse liked it not at all that one who has borne such Evil should be granted the gift of dwelling in a blissful realm; but why did he survive, if the Sea Lords were in a fey mood? Was there perhaps another power at hand that reigned over them and bade them to stop their play, or if not that, to at least lessen the danger of it?
And whenever he would sit and challenge the stars for answers they could not possibly give, Anarie could not bear to just see him suffer like that in his own loneliness; there must have been something she could do to help him, but what? Not really sure, she would come up and sit by him, wishing that her presence would cheer him up. One time, she felt such a deep sympathy for the Hobbit, she was driven nearly mad with his lonesome, outcast way; she was so distraught and sick of watching him in his hopelessness that she broke down in tears.
Celebrian knew what was the matter, for she watched the Hobbit and the Fairy for quite some time, so she decided that it was best not to interfere. Frodo, when he heard the Fairy's weeping, rushed over to her, pleading to tell her what happened. When she told him, the Hobbit felt distressed and a bit ashamed of himself; he did not realize that his mopping around would do so much damage. He took both her hands and held them in his, promising that this would never happen again, and then, with his sleeve, she rubbed the tears away from the maiden's face. Anarie's blanched complexion suddenly flourished scarlet, but mustering up the courage, she quickly leaned over, brushed his cheek with her rosy lips, and flew away, leaving Frodo, wide-eyed and gaping from the surprise kiss, turning red himself, and holding his breath. Anarie just kissed him! He thought wildly. His heart rate accelerating to top speed, until he thought it would burst with joy, surprise, and about a thousand other feelings he never really felt.
However that was, Frodo found himself less attached to his past adventures and more attached to this lot. He had begun to admire his new escorts about this enchanting new world, but though he understood and guessed what they thought most of the time, Anarie was still more distant than Celebrian. And it was during a beautiful starlit night when neither the hobbit, not fairy could sleep, and Celebrian's silver lanterns were set upon the dark grass illuminating it with drops of silver light.
Frodo got up, wrapped himself in his blanket and, seeing the Fairy not in her bed, went in search of her. Through an array of mists he passed, as silently as a hobbit could, and found her sitting on the bank of a peaceful river. Her feet dangled in the water, as she looked at her own reflection in its ripples.
"I thought staying awake all night was my duty," Frodo teased gently. Anarie turned around and saw the dear Hobbit standing almost beside her. His cheeks and lips were a light rose, but his skin was pale---pale and beautiful. Anarie, though she had never seen any other of Frodo's kind perceived that he was somehow different from the rest; fairer if the word was right. A slight breeze ruffled his dark locks and he threw the blanket tighter about himself. Even in the dark of night, Anarie could see how clear and stunning his blue eyes were, as they looked down on her.
"Some things must change my dear friend." Replied Anarie with a soft smile.
"What are you doing here alone?" asked Frodo coming closer and sitting beside her.
"Nothing. Simply admiring the magic and serenity that the shadows of night can bring." Sighed the Fairy and shifted closer to Frodo. A chilly wind swept over the Plain of Valinor and Anarie shivered slightly. But that was enough for Frodo to get concerned.
"You should have told me that you feel chilly," he scolded. Anarie was about to protest that she wasn't cold, but Frodo took one side of his blanket and threw it over Anarie's shoulders. She immediately felt warm and secure as the Hobbit pulled her closer to him, and asked the question that grew stronger in his mind day by day.
"Who are you, Anarie? I haven never seen the likes of you before and you fill me with an unexplainable wonder: you seem an elf and yet you are not one!" he turned towards her but she turned her gaze to the stars instead and sighed.
"I am," she began slowly, as she laboured to remember what she could of her forgotten past. "As you see me, I guess: an elf-maiden with wings, but lacks the height of one!"
Frodo looked confused.
"There was no need of telling me that! At least that much was already clear to me, but what is your history? Where did your kind come from?" he went on, but Anarie was silent again. This was hard for the fairy, since she had forgotten much, but the answers didn't lie in the grass or in the sky, upon which she looked with hopeful heart.
Anarie finally began her tale:
"I am the last of my kindred: a very ancient race, but not much different from the elves: we awoke with the First Eldar east of Cuivienen in the Wild Wood, and we did not have wings then, as we did afterwards. And as the Elves began their great venture to the West, we lingered in the wood, loath to leave its shelter and homeliness. We remained a secret folk that did not care to write lays or histories (and that is why perhaps a few folk of Arda have heard of us), but kept to nature and its beauty; and the wonders of the Sun and Moon, and the light they brought upon our home. And we watched the stars and clouds wheel up above, as we ourselves lay on the cool grass.
"It was indeed not long before my kinsfolk grew to love the Heavens and its wonders more than anything else that the world had to offer; they climbed the highest and mightiest trees and felt the cool winds upon their fair faces; and communicated to birds and hawks and eagles that brought us tidings from the great heights. And day by day, year by year, they yearned more and more to fly and soar in the airs as the birds; and these Elves prayed to Varda that they might be granted that wish. And who would have known that it would be as they willed?
"On the Spring of the next year, the Elves awoke as from a great slumber; indeed it felt as if they were re-awakened into the World, and so it might have been: they were suddenly aware that they were no longer alike to the Elves---in appearance, that is: they were of shorter stature than they and had thin wings as that of butterflies, that were laced with veins as slender silver rivers and just as beautiful. Their wishes and desirers had indeed come true, but they were the only kindred that still harboured in the Wood, and how they were eager to explore the airs and skies above the world and perceive with an eye that no other elf-kin had!
"They leapt from the ground, bade farewell to the Wood in which we were birthed and took to the sky that was clear and blue, with puffy white clouds that traveled lazily and ceaselessly through it's vastness. The fairies flew and frolicked in the sky's freedom, chasing one another through drifts of passing clouds, now swooping low to the ground so as they can touch it, now soaring again to unimaginable heights, or racing with the birds that were their friends, and saw the marching Elves going westward. And they laughed and sang in clear voices that were blended with the sweet winds to create a dazzling music, which was not heard ever after Morgoth drove them from their lands.
"And now being content, almost tipsy from such delight, the fairies searched for a permanent abode; one which they could call home, and one that rested upon the ground. And they were flying for a long time now, doing as they please, and as the Sun hid her bright head beyond the Mountains of Mist, so the fairies came upon Greenwood the Great and they thought it suitable for their race: it was tall---as was to their liking---fair and full of secrets that the Eldar have not yet discovered; for indeed the fairies were the first of the Children of Iluvatar to come within the great, green halls of that Wood. But they did not need so much land; the race of the fairies was not as great as that of the Eldar, so they took the north-western reaches of Greenwood and fortified it to be their home."
Here Anarie paused for a while and Frodo let the information sink in.
"Greenwood the Great? Why, wasn't that Mirkwood later?" he queried.
"I would not know, and I shall soon tell you why!" smiled Anarie and continued her long tale. "The fairies built small, green and white houses in the boughs of the trees; some low to the ground, and some peering above the forest's green-clad roof. Their dwellings were camouflaged so, so that they being would be secretive and not reach the ears of any other kindred---fell or friendly. For the fairies were a shy folk and did not walk abroad openly, if they ever settled upon the earth. The houses were designed like giant flower buds, being of circular shape, with the walls bearing almost petal-like designs, which protruded from the main shape like those that opened first in the presence of the first presence of the Sun; but these flower-mimicking pods were left only in half-bloom, but were still very beautiful.
"They had windows around the whole circumference of the pod-houses. Great windows that faced in all directions, so that those that were in the heights could perceive the distant mountains and plains and rivers and seas. The white walls were overgrown with trailing ivy that slithered from the roof in graceful rills and the windowsills were pouring and boiling with flowers of exquisite brightness and ethereal loveliness. And a great dwelling---indeed the biggest there ever was---was built for the most respected and praised family, and they were the ones that took reign over that land and its people. They were healers and mystics, both wise and terrible at need, and the citizens of the Fairy Grove (as they named that part of Greenwood in which they lived) came to them to seek council and wise words. They were the Istari en Taur, or the `Wizards of the Wood' as you might say in the Common Speech, for some believed they possessed great powers: powers that could heal the wounds of painful memories, of the weariness of the soul and heart with one glance; they could ward of danger with a single word, or could fence their land with an impassible barrier to those who were not welcome. Lady Uilawen, who always was clothed in dark and shadowy silks; the Lady of Twilight was the Queen of the Fairy Grove, and all loved her: she was both kind and wise.
"And Lord Alquanore was her spouse. But his garments were of shimmering white silks---as the bright sun on a winter morn. And there was a reason that he was named so, for he could fly higher and more gracefully than any other fairy, and he was a noble lord. And Uilawen and Alquanore had only one child: Lady Lothiriel. She was a quiet maiden who spoke only when need be; pale and fair of skin, blue-eyed, beautiful without measure; graceful in flight and held the voice that was the most pure and clear. And so the Fairy Grove grew and prospered under the reign of such Lords and Ladies.
"They built silver and golden lanes that wound through the forest floor, and that were overhung with silver and white lamps that spilled light like fountains, and dappled the grassy flour with their puddles. Gardens they grew and orchards they sowed and delved inlets and streams that fell tinkling into crystal pools. In the light of day, you could not see them and the northern reaches of Greenwood seemed devoid of life, but in the light of the Moon, the trees were lit as with hundreds of great candles, or with a fire that burned from within: the houses were lit with light and they shone like the brightest of lamps, and that light was warm and pleasant and very enchanting. The blue grass would suddenly be lit with pools of silver and golden and green lights that fell from above and the Fairy Grove would suddenly burst with teeming life that remained hidden in the day; about the wood would be a constant chanting and singing and laughing.
"The fairies dwelt for a quiet century or more going to and fro about their lives under, or above the leafy boughs of Greenwood: loving and merrymaking; feasting and dancing; soaring and resting and praising their noble and kind leaders. In the summers we would mostly be outdoors, fleeting in the skies with the birds and butterflies to who we felt more closely akin, than to any other being on the ground below, and in the autumns we would welcome the cool and refreshing rains, and would gather the crops and harvests and make the best of wine. In the cold of winter we would watch the silent snows twirl through the branches of the naked trees, falling noiselessly upon the ground, which soon was covered in the cool blanket on the snow not thawing till coming of spring; or the flakes would beat against the windows of our pod-houses, and the wind freeze the vapours upon the glass, turning them to vivid, icy designs, while the fairies sat in the coziness of the homes lit but magics unknown to no one, but themselves. And in the spring they saw new life grow and sprout and the world awaken from its winter-slumber.
"Thus they were happy and free for a short while, but things soon turned ill: great dragons and wurms began appearing in the Iron Mountains north of our homes, and when they grew up and soared like a menace of oncoming storm, they spread fear and torment throughout Middle-Earth like a disease or a plague from the Pits of Angband. They spread wildfires and havoc and soon began invading what little home the fairies had: they burned everything they saw: they scorched the trees without need or mercy; they crashed down upon homes and dwellings, and those who could not get out quickly enough, were crushed under their immense terrors. They sky was no longer a place of freedom: it was filled with an ever-growing fear and hate. The fairies were trapped: to fly up meant to meet the liking flames and abuse from the dragons and other beasts of Morgoth on wings. To go down meant to fly straight into the claws and jaws of goblins and wolves; a venture in any other direction would lead to danger, and if not sooner, than later.
"The Elves and Men aided them not, for they didn't know that the race of fairies even existed! And then Alquanore regretted that he hid from that folk for so long; they sorely missed their strength. And anyways, they were too busy with their own worries, and we were too far away. And although my race could not fight as skillfully as the Elves, and could not wield the mighty swords and blades the men took up, they had the greater knowledge of magics and spells and enchantments, and those helped them stop their numbers from depleting too rapidly. And the Lord led a great fairy squadron against the dragons, and they fought valiantly, though many great ones fell.
"In the bittersweet end, the enemy was for a while driven from the Land of the Fairies land, but the lurking malice still hung in the air and wood; less than a quarter of my former people remained; and less than half of that, perished from sickness and wounds. And one of those was Alquanore: Uilawen and Lothiriel saw him fall from the sky after slaying a juvenile dragon in single combat; he suffered a final blow on his silver head with the beastly claws. Lothiriel and her mother had been led to hiding, but when they saw their Lord and his enemy fall, they leaped out and rushed towards him. When Uilawen lifted Alquanore's blood stained head, he smiled warmly and died peacefully in her arms.
The only survivors were the strong-hearted and those that had fled to hide from the onslaught, but soon every one of those was gathered at the sight where their great Lord fell. The fairies did not linger to ponder what was to be done next: they were in danger as long as they remained in Middle-Earth and they made their minds to seek the Blessed realm and establish a settlement there. They built their own boats by the shores of a river that flowed through the wood, and traveled down the Great River and so to the Sea; Lothiriel did not part from her mother in fear of losing her too. She lost not only her dear father in the battle on the Fairy Grove, but also her husband, and she did not intend to lose the child she then bore within her.
"When they reached to shores of Alqualonde in Valinor, the Fairies missed their people and ships that were burned and destroyed on the way to the Sea, and from ten white-wood vessels, only one arrived. When the remnant of my people stepped on land, they scattered and no one ever knew where they flew or to what end they had come.
"The Lady of the Fairies and her daughter sought refuge from the Elves that dwelt near the Sea, but Uilawen soon died of sorrow and pain, leaving Lothiriel an orphan. She thanked the Elves that took care of her, and went forth into the strange world. After many days of weary and aimless traveling, she beheld Tirion upon Tuna, standing shimmering upon its grassy, green hill. There she gave birth to a daughter and leaving her in the care of the Elves, went away and was never seen again; and that was how the fairest of the Fairies ended, and her line was broken, for her child was the only one of all that remained of the race, and Lothiriel did not think that ever would her daughter carry on the name: Lady of Fairies. But at the last, as the Lady left Tirion forever, she named her child "Sunlight's Gift".
Anarie sighed deeply.
"And that is the tale of my race." She said calmly; a sorrow of remembered pains was in her eyes.
"That is some tale! And a very sad one, but I did not once her you, yourself mentioned." Said Frodo, with a brief smile, but Anarie didn't answer; it was like she didn't hear him, and Frodo let the matter be, but he was ever filled with a new curiosity: if Lothiriel's child was the last of the fairies, where does Anarie come in? And he did not know that in days to come, his questions would be answered.
And so, the small company of and Elf, a Hobbit, a Fairy, two wolves and a horse went on traveling upon the Plains of Valinor, and spending their time as each wills; for they were in no hurry and hand t any clear point of destination, unless it was in the southern direction. Frodo decide to enjoy his time that he spent with his new companions, although the ache of guilt and worry, and a longing for answered questions tormented him.
Celebrian would busy herself either by tending Asfaloth---grooming his silky mane and brushing his smooth, silver-like, glossy coat, or simple riding him for leisure about the valley. Sometimes, the white lady would simply wander a-field, gliding, almost amid the endless gardens of roses, tulips, lily-of-the-valley, gladioli and other beautiful flowers: tall and elegant, with the wind in her golden hair, and the sunlight on her Elvish face; the light breeze rushed past her white gown, letting it trail like a white banner behind her. Her clear voice was ever heard upon the green swards upon which she trod, singing in the Vanyarin tongue, which Frodo knew little of (if not nothing), thought it sounded to his ears as a sweet, crystal stream, rippling down in a gentle waterfall. Or, the Elf-lady danced upon the grass of Valinor, gracefully and enchantingly, praising Tilion the Moon-steerer, and Arien the Sun-maiden with outstretched arms and blessings in a sweet voice. To Frodo, watching Celebrian, the words of Galadriel came, when they were still on the elven-ship (and that to him seemed ages ago): my daughter Celebrian dwells there now: golden haired, with wise, grey eyes and a voice like that of a falling silver stream: a true Elvish beauty.
Anarie spent her leisure by soaring through the sunlit firmament, shooting through puffy clouds that appeared on rare occasions. But at night, her flight was more spectacular: she looked like a shooting comet, descending from the high heavens. Her deep-gold hair seemed at the fiery head of the celestial wonder, and her white raiment and skin made up the white tail. Frodo sat on a hill and watched her, filled with awe and unable to draw his eyes away. Anarie rarely sang, but when she did, it was like a gentle, summer rain, dripping into a clear pool. There were times when she would find a quiet lake, or pool; surrounded by sweet-scented greenery and overshadowed by tall, aged trees, which dipped their branches into the water for a cool draught, and into which she would gracefully and skillfully dive into, arching her delicate frame. And she passed in the water like a great white swan: lithe and elegant, majestic and breathtaking. Her hair was like a golden puddle, which shimmered ever brighter in the sun.
Swimming was a favorite activity of hers, especially at evening or at night; for then the lake was more peaceful, and the air was filled with the voices of the nightingales, wrens and warblers and starlings. The soft mists veiled the fairy from sight, until she emerged as one who seemed to be made of mist; for she herself was just as white.
To fight off the loneliness, worry and torment of mind, Frodo accompanied Anarie as much as he could (though he didn't dare wade into the pond).
"The only way I like water, is if it is in a glass!" he would say, and make himself comfortable on a nearby bank. And ever his gaze was on a fairy: how she leaped! How she swam! Sending thousands of water droplets in every direction, like a light rain. Once she would jump out like a silver fish: glistening silver-white; the next time Anarie would frolic under the surface like a playful otter. The Sun's rays, as they played upon lake, sending white and golden ripples, illuminated the underwater world, so that every weedy plant and flower, and every stone and fish could be perceivable. And Anarie seemed like a white water phantom, passing amid the swaying river-grasses like a trick of the Sun.
But Anarie couldn't resist the temptation to play another trick upon her unsuspecting prey, and very soon her impishness kicked in; while Frodo looked up at the blue sky above, Anarie plunged to the deepest and darkest corner of the pool and waited there. Dusk deepened and the lake became a deep emerald-blue; the Sun soon had gone below the Pelori Mountains and its lingering rays cast long, dark shadows on the valleys below. The hobbit, who gazed back at the cool lake, suddenly stifled a cry and rubbed his eyes: he thought he dozed off and imagined the disappearance of the fairy, but soon learned to his concern that Anarie had truly vanished. He leaped up and ran about the shore, leaning out dangerously far above the water's surface. But all he saw was his own reflection and the young stars that pricked the darkening sky. He looked frantically about him, but willed himself not to call for help. Frodo thought he could manage the situation himself; he already once did---one of the same sort---back in Silverwood, although this was much more serious: hopefully Anarie didn't come to a watery grave while his mind and eyes were elsewhere. The thought of a typical fairy prank didn't occur to him.
Without warning---but with a great splash---Anarie rocketed from the water, breaking its still surface with quivering waves that lapped against the shore. There was a little drizzle that fell in every direction, creating little (but magnifying) auras around the place where they fell. It was rather a pretty sight: the fairy, as she twirled out of the pool; a dazzling white thunder clap that came from below rather than from above. But Frodo was too occupied to be amazed: the fairy frightened him so much, that he lost his footing on one of the banks and toppled into the water with a great splash.
Anarie, hovering above, at first was confused with the event that followed her spring, but after everything became apparent, she couldn't help but laugh her pretty head off! She even reddened in her mirth and amusement: Frodo came up sputtering and gasping for air. His dark, wet hair hung over his fear-filled blue eyes, and he clambered and scrabbled in the water, splashing and striving not to drown and to fight his way to the shore. But everywhere he turned, the back was too high from him to climb upon---and too slippery, although he soon noticed the great, gnarly roots of an old willow that trailed into the water. He clumsily tread water to the nearest root and mounting upon it, he clung to it, as for dear life, looking at Anarie with fear, surprise and anger.
To Anarie he looked like a cat that had lost its footing while hasting along the edge of a tub, and suddenly fell right in: Frodo was soaked to the bone it seemed, and his white tunic clung to him, revealing how thin he was, and Anarie checked that: surely the poor hobbit wasn't eating enough, through, say, his worry for his friends, and perhaps other concerns? He shivered like the dry leaves upon a wizened tree in the late autumn wind; and he sneezed several times.
"What did you do that for?" he cried miserably. "I am not accustomed to water unlike you and the Elves!"
"You speak as if I dragged you in, which is untrue; you fell in yourself!" snorted Anarie, fighting another laugh, although the hobbit glared at her.
"Alright," said Frodo, considering. "But tell me where did you go? One time I blink, and poof! You've vanished without a sight of sound!"
Anarie laughed aloud.
"I dived, of course, silly!" she replied, descending back into the calm, evening waters. "I was going to surprise you, but I guess you weren't very impressed (though plenty surprised), as I saw by the look on your face. But if you saw yourself, you would laugh too, Mr. Baggins! You are one funny halfling!" giggled the fairy.
"No, I doubt I would," said Frodo decisively. "And I beg you, do not do anything of that sort again, my dear! I can be surprised almost by anything in this Land, so you needn't go through all the trouble, for your sake (and mine). But right now, I am chilled to the marrow!" his in-taken breath came as hiss, and he shivered harder.
"It is warmer in the water," suggested Anarie, but Frodo turned the idea away.
"No thank you!" he cried, smiling grimly. "I think I have had enough of water and lakes and rivers for a very long time!"
Anarie wistfully sighed.
"What a shame!" she said and splashed the water with her hand. "One day, I shall have to teach you that water cannot harm you, and perhaps then, you shall learn to trust it!" Frodo thought he caught a glint in Anarie's eye that almost always meant she was up to something; the hobbit gripped the root of the tree until his knuckle were white. And even as Anarie said this, she sunk lower into the dark, calm, and ominous waters. Only her head was exposed; her drenched hair was made darker and, trailing down her shoulders, lay fanned out upon the surface like a puddle of gold, lit by starlight, making it seem as though she was crowned with deep fire; her gorgeous azure eyes held Frodo, and her gaze was soft, yet serious. The fairy looked rather pale in the coolness of the pool---pale and beautiful; her cheeks flushed a dusty rose, and her lips flourished red. Very lovely she looked to Frodo, and at the same time, he fancied that she seemed like a lady of high ancestry and royalty. He felt himself seduced by that keen, clear, blade-sharp gaze, as if it held a hidden power that took hold on him, and he could not escape.
But it was not a will as that of the Ring: it was far kinder and merciful, and would not allow him to inflict any hurt upon himself, or upon those that he loved.
Long Anarie gazed at him, perceiving first the hobbit's kindly face, and then the pain and the torment behind it: hurts of the past and a foreboding of worry. Frodo suddenly felt his feelings and thoughts open to the fairy-maiden, although he did not try to conceal them; he somehow simply could not, nor, he felt, did he want to. His grievances and discomforts suddenly surfaced and he could do no more that let them go: he broke down in tears, and weariness took him as he had not felt for a long time. He cowered his face with his hands and wept.
Anarie, stern as before, came out of the water and settling beside the hobbit upon the root of the willow, put her arms about him, calming him down with peaceful words in the Elvish tongue. She had made him do this, for this was the only way she could help him forget his past troubles and hurts---he had to let them go. Frodo felt the fairy hold him closely and lovingly. He looked up and saw that he no longer faced a joking,
fun-loving fairy, but at the true Anarie: "Sunlight's Gift"---the princess of the Fairies, even though she was the last of that people. He saw through the story that she had told him before, and through what she didn't tell. Frodo felt rather awkward, dealing with someone of such great stature and hierarchy, while he himself was simply Frodo of the Shire.
But the wonderment in the hobbit's eyes told all he thought that moment, and the Lady Anarie understood; she smiled gravely.
"Your eyes see deeper and further than one might deem, Frodo Baggins: for you have perceived who I am in truth and few have done that without my telling them, and even that I do seldom. I cannot hide myself from you and longer, nor will I try, though I will you," she begged kindly: "Do not make a great matter of this; it would grieve my heart if you would treat me as a Lady or a Queen, and not as a friend and companion."
To Frodo, it seemed that the fairy's speech changed: it suddenly became grave, although not yet unhappy; Anarie spoke of serious things that had no place for laughter and silliness. But that passes as quickly as it came, and the fairy seemed to become as Frodo always knew her: a young lady, whose tone of voice was as the merry jingle of bells, and whose heart was as pure as rain. "Let us return now, for if you haven't noticed, the Moon is now awake in the Heavens, and you are still wet as a water rat!" She said, and Frodo blinked, as if he snapped out of a queer dream. He took a good look at the fairy, and, satisfied that is was the real Anarie, stumbled back to their little camp.
* * *
They ate a small (but excellent) supper with Celebrian, which was only sweet Elven cakes; fresh, crisp fruits freshly picked in the daytime, and a good draught of clear, golden mead. Frodo told the Elf of his little misfortunate adventure by the pool not far away, but Anarie interrupted him almost at every sentence, and corrected Frodo, defending herself, when the Hobbit insisted that it was Anarie's fault that he tumbled in. They laughed more that night, than either of them remembered, but the fairy and hobbit did not speak of what happened afterwards.
When Frodo trotted off to check up on Aindule, whom he did not see since the early morning, Anarie turned to Celebrian with a keen glance.
"I have done it," she said. "It took a while, but he will no longer be troubled by nightmares and sorrowful memories of his Quest in Middle-Earth." Celebrian breathed a sigh of relief, and praised Varda. "There is this also," said Anarie, looking in the direction in which Frodo had gone. "Frodo knows of my ancestry, though no word has slipped of the matter through my lips; he just seemed to---know! I saw it in his eyes."
"That is a good thing that he figured it out, for he begged me to tell him, but the tale was not mine to tell. I do not know much about Halflings, but it comes to my mind that he is different form the rest of his kind. He seems to be more than half Elvish!" said Celebrian thoughtfully.
"I have noticed that too!" replied Anarie. "But though he may seem Elvish, and bears the keenness of sight, hearing, and understanding of one, he certainly does not behave as one! He does not have a mind for jokes and games. What a shame!" said the fairy and shook her head.
"I foresee that he soon shall soon learn to love them, especially as long as he is around you! Your heart is fiery and hungry for fun and play, and he shall have no choice but to give in sooner or later. None can withstand your sprit and liveliness for too long!" said the Elf-lady and laughed. Anarie's eyes glinted queerly as he looked sidelong into Frodo's direction. There he was coming back down one of the green, shadow-overthrown slopes. The fairy could not help, but smile.
That night under the late moon and stars, Frodo slept easily for what seemed the first night he did so. As soon as he lay down, he didn't worry about anything and simply felt that he belonged here. But now, another feeling blossomed in his heart, a kind of warmth, and every time Anarie came into his mind, it flourished and bloomed almost with a fire. He felt that she was of a loveliness not fit for any words of his, or of any other creature.
Anarie, too, felt that Mr. Frodo Baggins was very charming indeed! His smile warmed her, and his presence made her feel secure---like nothing could go too wrong with her, as long as he's there; that he would be the one she would run to for protection; that his would be the shoulder she would want to cry on, and not worry about it forsaking her. Of course, the Fairy kept on scoffing at the idea that she was falling in love, but it seemed to be only true.
Frodo knew what this had to mean, but he could not speak of it out loud to anyone, not even to the Fairy, who was the cause of this all. All the signs were there and he believed it, but he could not bring himself to admit it---he was falling in love with Anarie.
* * *
After two more weeks of traveling at leisure, the trio finally reached their destination, and was met by a cool breeze from within the depth of the woods.
"These are the Woods of Orome," Said Celebrian, as they stood under the looming eves of pines and spruces; they were of magnificent size. "We shall go deeper into the wood and set up camp there, alright? But we'll have to do that later, for I have to leave you two alone for a while: we need to eat, and food is something we do not have right now." Without any further ado, Celebrian rode away on her white horse, leaving Frodo and Anarie watching after her wistfully; the great wood seemed somehow menacing and incredulously vast, consuming these two tiny beings.
The day was fading into evening and the remaining light of the Sun shot shafts of golden light through the lush, green foliage above; and although, the sky was still tinted with gold, the wood grew darker with gloom every minute and the mists and shadows and shades began to creep in. Fireflies appeared out of nowhere, glimmering and radiating with warm and bright lights, like the tiny candles that they were. The wildlife of the night came forth and uttered unearthly, drowsy, eerie noises that echoed in the huge forest. Nightingales began their twittering in the branches, filling the silence of the wood with soft music and melodious myriads. Soon the misty veils obscured almost everything from sight.
The Fairy and Hobbit trekked only a bit deeper into the wood before stopping and un-slinging their empty bags of their wolves and dropping to the ground; Anarie tried to keep them both in a happy mood.
"Frodo," she began in her sly kind of voice, which meant she wanted something. They were sitting on the ground with their backs propped against a tree trunk, which was wide enough for them both to rest against. Frodo turned to her with a wearied sigh. "Tell me of the time when you were a young hobbit and your life in the Shire." Her face beamed up with joy and her eyes grew excited as she gazed at Frodo in longing for his answer. The Hobbit just groaned; she always asked him that, but he really didn't want to tell her. It's bad enough he had to tell her of his perilous Quest in Middle-Earth...this would be worse though. Frodo also knew that if he didn't tell her now, she would keep on nagging him.
"I will only tell you, because you are getting on my nerves with your constant whining," said Frodo in an aristocratic tone. Anarie furrowed her brow at him and scowled, but prepared to hear every detail he said.
Frodo looked so pathetic and reluctant to talk, that Anarie could do nothing, but stifle a giggle. With a great sigh of defeat Frodo said, quietly and quickly:
"I was orphaned at a every young age, and there were so many answers to the question `how did young Baggins' folks die?' that I wasn't (and still am not) sure which one to believe. At that time I was a Brandybuck and not a Baggins, but after my Uncle Bilbo took me to Bag End, I changed: I was no longer timid and careless; in fact, most hobbits believed that Bilbo was cracked, and that I was cracking. I always followed him everywhere he went---sometimes very far from Hobbiton, and even when he went away, I still followed in his footsteps. I was one of Hobbiton's greatest rascals in my childhood; I always caused trouble for the other hobbits, and I have the scars to prove it, after my `adventures' didn't go as they were planned, if you know what I mean. Of course I had help from my friends. But after the Quest everything seemed different. The Shire wasn't that close to me any more...or perhaps it was that I was more distant from it deep in my heart. There. I said it. Satisfied?" Frodo didn't sound very enthusiastic when he finished. He crossed his arms at his chest and looked away. There was a silence at first, but then, Anarie broke down in hysterics. Frodo turned sharply and glared at her. "What? Did you want me to tell you this so you could laugh at me?" he asked moodily. Anarie was so busy laughing she couldn't even nod.
"No, no; it's not that!" she managed. "It just the very thought of you: you, the Shire's greatest troublemaker---and then a Middle-Earth hero! That is a very strange combination!" Anarie was laughing so hard, that she had tears forming in her eyes, but to the unimpressed Hobbit it sounded like cackling and making fun. He drew a deep breath and shook his head in disbelief.
"All right, you can stop now, fairy." His voice was sharp and short, and Anarie knew that he meant what he said, when he used that tone---and that it was wise to listen to him; her sudden fit of hysterics turned to minor hic-ups and soon subsided completely.
Night was finally all around them. Aindule and Luinil rested soundlessly on a hillock of lush grass, but Frodo and Anarie sat a bit apart, staring into the darkness, listening for the return of Celebrian. They had grown to ignore the eerie whispering and chanting within the wood, but they felt as if they were watched, which made them look over their shoulders every so often, but they saw nothing in the gathering gloom. At one point, there was, very close to them, the sound of voices whispering, and of someone walking slowly across the fallen foliage: the un-restful rustling of leaves, the faint cracking of fallen twigs and the swish of cloaks. This made Frodo jump and draw Sting, and Anarie, with a cry, huddled closer to Frodo, gripping his arm very tightly in fright and driving her nails through his tunic, but not through his mithril shirt.
"What was that?" whimpered Anarie looking around herself. Her voice trembled and she shook like a wet cat.
"I don't know, but I suggest we stay together and do not separate," said Frodo reassuringly, pulling Anarie closer to him, hoping that, that would calm her down. "I have feeling that we are not alone here, but that this isn't Celebrian either. Stay close to me and try not be scared. I'll protect you, under any circumstance." Anarie looked at Frodo and blushed, but snuggled closer to him; she was finding him very charming and a bit attractive.
The stealthy moving in the wood too, alarmed Aindule and Luinil. They rose from their resting place, growled deep in their throats, bristled so that their manes stood on end, and bared their teeth; at once the noise subsided and the strangers, with all the speed their legs could give, darted in the opposite direction. The wolves wanted to investigate, but Frodo stopped them; he didn't know who the intruders were and did not like the idea of his friends running off to find out.
Eventually Anarie fell asleep, huddled beside Frodo, but he remained attentive and challenged the night with his small sword, waiting for Celebrian to return, although he himself felt being overpowered by the might of sleep. Celebrian didn't come back though, or if she did, she left no sign of it.
The morning found the wolves, the Hobbit and the Fairy asleep in the same places that the night left them. Frodo was first to wake and was relieved to find the forest alit with sunshine, which peeked through the trees and left little or great blots of sunlight on the grass. He gently pushed Anarie aside from him and waking Luinil, he told him to watch over Anarie, and that he himself was going in search of Celebrian with Aindule.
They rode off and were very soon lost in the mazes of the trees.
No matter where they went, or where they searched, Celebrian could not be found. Even Aindule, who was a wolf and could track things miles away, wasn't successful. Frodo was becoming distraught and worried; where was Celebrian? They even traveled to the eastern border of the wood---the very feet of the Southern Pelori Mountains, but found nothing. The wood was not very big, and the whole thing seemed a bit fishy. The duo grew incredibly tired from the never-ending, non-stop search for the Elf and was now frantically looking for water to quench their thirst that had grown to be unbearable.
At least this wasn't hard; the wood seemed to be littered with small streams and ponds of cool, crystal-clear water. Rushing for a small-oval-shaped pond, Frodo only had time to leap of his wolf, before he felt something sharp at his neck. He gave a great cry of pain and reached for what seemed to be a dart, but the poison got to him first and he fainted on the spot. His scream sent the birds in the trees to noisily fly away and Aindule turned around, only to see Frodo's fallen form. She barked and alarm and ran over to him, but she too, didn't have a chance to do anything useful; the same type of poisoned dart hit her thigh and she toppled over.
Out from behind two great trees, came a pair of tall, cloaked and hooded shapes. Their raiment was black and it was somewhat weathered and torn. They came up to Frodo and satisfied that he is still unconscious, lifted him and ran off out of the forest, leaving Aindule to fend on her own.
Meanwhile, Anarie had just woken up from a night of worry and felt better immediately after seeing the forest filled with sunlight. But her joy turned to fright: where was Frodo? She could have sworn he was here in the early morning! He couldn't just disappear like that! She began to turn frantically and call to the woods, hoping that, if he were near, he would hear her and come back. But no matter how much she called, she would get no answer. How could he do that! She thought. Run off without even telling her? Leaving her alone? Preposterous! She didn't know how long she ran and called out to Frodo like a distraught fool, but the Sun above had time to move from the Mountains to the center of the sky, marking the time of day to be noon.
Just when she thought she would go mad from frustration and anger, there came a lone, limping figure coming towards them. At this, even Luinil awoke and stood up, bristling. It was Aindule, but she was without Frodo---and she was hurt. Anarie looked on for some time in disbelief, and then, in alarm, rushed to her wolf friend to offer any kind of help. As Luinil ran up, the poor white creature stumbled and fell to the ground; her whole body seemed to be frozen.
With some effort, Aindule lifted her head and looked into Luinil's big, yellow orbs and whimpered. The blue wolf's expression immediately softened and gently closing his mouth of Anarie's hand, he moved it to Aindule's thigh, where she was hit. And finally the Fairy understood, as her hand felt the feathered tip of the dart: Frodo and Aindule were attacked, and unfriendly hands took Frodo.
Tears welled in her eyes, as she thought of what might happen, or, even worse, what probably did happen. She gently pulled the dart out and rubbed the sore spot, but the wound bloodied her hand. What was she to do now? She was alone. Celebrian wasn't here still, and Frodo was missing. She could not possibly travel and leave Aindule undefended, yet she could not stay here and do nothing either. She bit her lip, thinking what sacrifice to make, and finally she stood up and whipped the tears from her eyes. She came over to Luinil.
"Stay here with Aindule, dear friend. She is in your care now; keep her warm---especially her right side. I'm going in search of Celebrian." She rubbed Luinil between the ears, and was about to take flight, but was stopped by Luinil's whine; he was trying to tell her that Frodo got caught, trying to do the same thing. "Don't worry about me! I can fly, remember? I can escape easily." With that, she touched off the ground and flew high above the forest.
She flew half in the air, half through the forest; either dipping down and flying among the trees, rustling their leaves, or soaring like a white bird high above the forest floor, to catch any glimpses of Celebrian. Finally, near the northern-most border of the wood, at the feet of the Mountains, she caught sight of a great, white figure, standing among the trees. Asfaloth! Thought Anarie joyfully and flew down, hoping that finding Celebrian now, would be easier.
She settled down rather quickly and her sudden appearance spooked the Elven horse and it reared on its hind legs, roaring in fright---and nearly knocking the fairy over the head. Anarie gave a cry and stumbled back, but then mustered the courage to calm the horse down. She didn't really need to; from behind a great rock formation ran out the Elven Lady, with her arrow fitted on the bow string, and pointed right at the Fairy's heart. Seeing it was only Anarie, she dropped her weapon and walked forward.
"Anarie! What are you doing here?" she cried in surprise. " Forgive for taking so long, but I---" she didn't get time to finish, for Anarie lifted her hand to silence her.
"Save your apologies and explanations for now," she said hurriedly. "We have bigger problems to worry about, other than dying of starvation: Frodo's been captured and Aindule is hurt." Celebrian's eyes grew wide and her mouth dropped open.
"How did this happen?" she cried again, distraught and fearful.
"He went looking for you early in the morning, but he didn't come back since; only Aindule, and she was poisoned by a dart." Anarie said, not looking into the eyes of the Elf, but holding out her hand and revealing the ten-centimeter dart, feathered with black. Celebrian took it from the fairy's hands and looked at it closely.
"Meaning no harm, but Frodo was foolish at attempting to locate me; if he came here, he would be in greater danger that anywhere else! I was going to say, that I have found something really strange near the mountains: a party of Elves traveling deeper into the cold and dark of the Pelori. I have not yet heard of Elves traversing those cold and dark heights, and something tells me they are up to now good and what is more, they were Dark Elves---the ones that hate the sunlight." Even Anarie, who was not that well taught about the ways of Elves, furrowed her brows at this.
"Maybe it was them who did this," she said quietly, looking into the eyes of Celebrian. The Elf could only nod.
"I suggest that we start searching for Frodo now," said the Elven Lady. "We shall go by foot so as not to make noise and be noticed, but for now, Asfaloth could aid us. Can you fly very fast?" asked Celebrian, as she came up to her white horse and stroked his head. Anarie nodded. "Good," said the Elf, now mounting her gallant creature. "We shall need all the speed we can muster!" with that, Asfaloth neighed ferociously and reared, spinning around and rushed towards the mountains, as fast as his silver hooves can go. Anarie was a bit surprised at the might of the horse, but then shook her head and flew after them.
* * *
When Frodo opened his eyes, the first thing he took note of, was that his neck ached, was stiff and sore, and that his vision wasn't the greatest either: everything was blurry and diffused, not that there was anything to see---everything was dark! He was lying on a cold, stone floor with his hands bound behind his back rather harshly. Suddenly, Frodo heard an eerie voice chuckling in the darkness. His head turned wildly left and right (which was extremely painful) but all he could see was a consuming dark, and then, a torch was lit in front of him, revealing the tall dark shape of its wielder.
"I see that you have awaken, imp!" it hissed. "You will wish that you did not!"
"Who are you?" asked Frodo quietly, trying not to sound frightened, but staring at the dark shape in bewilderment, which flickered in the torchlight.
"You do not question me!" shrieked the figure. "Better yet, tell me who you are, for I have never seen the likes of you here. You do not look like an Elf, for you are much too small, and an Elven child would not be dressed like you, and yet you are not a dwarf, nor a man's child!" The black shape moved away from Frodo and sat in what seemed a great stone chair, eyeing the defenseless hobbit with an unfriendly eye.
"Why should I tell you anything? I don't even know what or who you are you are. And Elves would not be so indiscreet and cruel to even their prisoners! What have I done to you to deserve such a punishment?" Frodo's clear voice rang in the dark chamber. The dark creature gave a small laugh, but remained still.
"When strangers invade land that is not meant for them, one must do whatever it takes to figure out what business brings them unbidden here and who they are." It replied.
"I came here for my own purposes and because I had no other choice; is it not enough to know that if the Valar permitted my coming, then I deserve the paradise outside. My name you shall not know, but I assure you I am not imp." Frodo answered bitterly.
"So, this tells me you are not from this land at all! Then you must come from Middle-Earth. Is that right?" with this, the shape leaned forward to get the answer, but Frodo kept silent. "My patience is running out, as well as your time. I will ask you again: where are you from and who are you?"
"That is no concern of yours, and I will not answer