Dusk of Ages - Tale 4--> Challenge
[Elvish thought or telepathy]
Recap of Tale 3 . . .
Suddenly horrified, he grabbed my shoulders and shook me viciously. [No! You cannot! The Call . . . You will hear it!]
I cleared my throat as I firmly took his wrists and removed his hands from my shoulders. [Legolas, I am sorry. Forgive me. You are of the Teleri--one of the Sindar, correct?]
He nodded, frowning. [How . . .?]
I sighed. [Legolas, my father was also a Sindar. He had the same look in his eyes as you do now when he returned home after venturing too near the Sea. I am sorry--I know how fond you are of Middle-earth and I am sure it will be a bit of a struggle for you to push the Call aside until you choose to leave.]
[What does that have to do with you?!] he cried. [If your father was a Sindar, then so are you! You will hear the Call . . .]
I sighed again. [My mother was of the Noldor, Legolas. She went to Valinor and saw the Two Trees. She might have stayed there, but she was a maiden to Lady Galadriel, who desired to return. I was born hearing the Call--I doubt a visit to the shore will have much of an effect on me.]
Legolas released me unsurely, as though not quite believing what I said, and stepped back. Before I could leave, however, Istaq came running into the stables at top speed. I was not sure how or when it had happened, but at some point the young Elf had become my assistant or something similar. The majority of the time, he was the one others sent to find me.
[Lady Kyshri! Lady Kyshri!]
[Istaq, please breathe before speaking. I am rather fond of you and would be most dismayed if you died of hyperventilation.]
He nodded and bent over wearily, bracing himself against his knees. When his breathing slowed, he straightened. [King Eomer has arrived in the city! We are to leave upon the morrow!]
[Leave? And go where?]
[To Edoras for the funeral of King Theoden!]
Ah yes. I had assumed they had done that already, but if not . . . [Very well. Come here; I am not going to let you run off like you are.]
Legolas retrieved Arod and rode out with us to Pelennor, where all the Elves who had come to Gondor were waiting with a host of Men that was part Gondorian and part Rohirrim. I joined the very small collection of Elves that were mounted on the backs of deer and my heart jolted with hurt as I thought of Damone.
[Did anyone speak to Rilloc and Pikmon? Josuin?]
[I did,] was the reply. As Josuin was also a wind Elf from Lorien, he was the only other of the Patrons who could converse with my friends. [They will wait until nightfall and then join us.]
[That is a typical Rilloc response. I take it you did not wake Pikmon, then?]
He grinned. [And get nipped? Ha!]
The host took its time reaching Edoras and there were a few days of rest after the funeral. Then, paying our farewells to the new King Eomer, we departed from Edoras and moved in a northwesterly direction. We passed by Helm's Deep, which looked as though it was being repaired, and then Isengard. We stopped there and Quephiril insisted on playing in the water; in the meantime Legolas explained to me what Merry, Pippin, and the Ents had done.
It was also then, at sunset, that Aragorn--no, my mistake, King Elessar--and Arwen and the Gondorian entourage said kind farewells of their own, as they were returning to Minas Tirith. I was most surprised when Arwen sought me out after bidding her good-byes to the hobbits, Gimli, Legolas, Elladan, Elrohir, Lord Elrond, Lord Celeborn, and Lady Galadriel.
[Please,] I interrupted. [Just Kyshri.]
She smiled. [Very well. I recognized the gown you wore at the wedding feast. Your mother's?]
I nodded, curious. [You met my mother?]
[Vaguely. I knew her as one of my grandmother's first maidens and as one of the best dancers in Lorien. I find it unfortunate that I was not able to see you dance more, as I sorely missed your mother's skill and am sure you inherited it. Should you ever wish to visit Gondor, know that its gates shall be open to you.]
I bowed my head. [Thank you, My Queen.]
[Oh!] she gasped. [None of that!] she scolded. [If I may not title you, then you may not title me!]
[Except for the fact, My Lady,] I persisted, [that you are of noble birth and I am not. I am a Patron of Veikai only by the desires of its inhabitants, not by my own will. If I had my way, I would be living in happy obscurity in my tree. It is not my due to be titled, and you have no choice.]
Looking rather put out, Arwen gave me a calculating look. After a moment of this, she glanced back over her shoulder at Lady Galadriel--who was talking to Lord Elrond--shot me a triumphant look, and directed her horse away, tossing a friendly, [Until we next meet, Lady Kyshri!] to me.
Grumbling, for I knew Lady Galadriel had to have said something incriminating to Arwen, I crossed my arms and glared at Quephiril's crest.
I whirled on the speaker and roared, [Do not title me!] I saw that I had quite violently startled Faramir, who had gone rather pale, and calmed. [Forgive me, Lord Faramir. I would simply prefer it if you not title me.]
He gave me a lopsided smile. [You are very firm about that, I see.]
[Yes, I am indeed. Especially when it is concerning friends and those who naturally outrank me. Like you.]
[Very much so. You were born into the Stewardship and now you are both the Steward of Gondor and Prince of Ithilien. Even if that were not so, you are the brother of Lord Boromir, a friend to whom I would have trusted my life had the situation ever arisen. I am sure you are of the same character.]
He tilted his head. [I am flattered, but the Ring . . .]
I shook my head. [The Ring played on his desire to save Gondor. I am aware of its pull--it tried to ensnare me. I do not blame Boromir for what happened and if there is anyone who did and does not believe that his defense of Merry and Pippin is redemption enough, then I will gladly break their nose.]
He gave me another lopsided smile. [I was told you held him when he died and said a prayer for him. Thank you.]
I smiled in reply. [Rest assured, it was nothing less than he deserved.]
He nodded his thanks to that and signalled that he had heard Prince Imrahil's shout for him. [Well, Kyshri---!]
I surprised him with a hug and when I drew back, said, [Boromir spoke very much of you during the journey. He was obviously very proud of you . . . I thought you might like to know.]
Another nod of thanks, though I suspect from his glassy eyes that this time it was because he could not trust his voice.
I patted his shoulder. [Come on, everyone is waiting for you, apparently.]
We went to the Gondorian host and I hugged Arag---I mean, Elessar. [It was a great honor to travel with you and see you in battle, Aragorn.]
He frowned. [What did you call me?]
I considered the question, then realized what he meant and clapped my hand over my face as I groaned. [I shall never learn!]
He laughed, drawing me into another hug. [Do not change, Kyshri, else I will have you flogged.]
I bowed exaggeratedly. [I shall not disobey His Majesty's wishes.]
"King Elessar!" came a frantic cry. "King Elessar!"
Instinctively, I drew Daenar and Feanar enough to see a section of their blades. The steel glowed pale orange. [Orcs! They are not moving quickly--I do not think they know we are here yet.]
"Orcs!" called the scout, yanking his horse to a halt. "Orcs, Your Majesty! At least two hundred! They are coming around Isengard's south wall!"
Orders were shouted all around and Lady Galadriel, her maidens, and Arwen were enclosed in two tight circles of outward-facing warriors. The first circle was made of the hobbits and Elf lords--the Princes and Aragorn got shuffled back into it as well, though not through commands of their own. I was there as well, despite the vehement objections of Legolas. The outermost circle was composed of the guards who had tagged along from Rivendell, Lorien, and Gondor.
[Kyshri,] Lady Galadriel called to me calmly, indicating to someone who did not know her that she was either utterly mad or not expecting to die. Which with her power, she might be aware of. [I want you to do this.]
[Me?] I echoed.
[Your magic has increased greatly since Keelica borrowed your body, as has your control of it. I know you are capable of this.]
[No!] Legolas shouted. [I will not send her to die!]
[She will not die,] Lady Galadriel assured him soothingly. [I would not send her into danger knowing such would happen.]
Legolas' expression clearly conveyed his reproach, but he voiced no further disagreement.
[Kyshri, give me the Orb.]
[What?!] I cried indelicately. [I am not capable of killing two hundred Orcs with the offensive magic I can control!]
[I already told you that your control has increased,] was the patient response. [You have the strength. Give me the Orb.]
I placed the Orb of Eru in the hand of a maiden, who immediately gave it to Lady Galadriel, and nudged Quephiril through the ranks. I had him stop just outside the ring and dismounted, walking toward the Orcs. The blades of my swords went from orange to red in a few moments--they knew we were here.
[Search within yourself,] Lady Galadriel instructed. [You can do this.]
I stopped and bowed my head. Beneath my feet I could feel the rumble of the oncoming Orcs. Two hundred . . . How had so many banded together and remained organized now that Sauron was gone? Was it Saruman's Uruk-hai, which the fallen wizard was using as a last effort to take over Middle-earth?
They were closer now; their steps heavier, their mail jangling. I shut my eyes and sought out my well of magic. It was almost full--if I was careful I might be able to set Daenar and Feanar on fire and wipe out a group that way before the well ran dry and I had to retreat.
[That is not what I meant, Kyshri Elenfirith,] Lady Galadriel said in a tone that I knew to be a scolding one despite its lack of true emotion. [You will set fire to the Orcs. You have the power.]
It was wonderful that she had such confidence in me, but I did not hold that same belief in myself. How could I possibly do this?
No . . . I could not . . .
I took several steps back, then turned defeatedly to face the circle. This was beyond my power . . .
[You give up too easily.]
[I cannot do it!] I snarled back.
[Because you doubt yourself. It is a characteristic that you have refused to put aside in all your years and it has worn you down. Turn around, child, because you can--you will--do this.]
I glared at her, then looked at each of my friends. Aragorn and Faramir met my eyes and pointedly resheathed their blades, Gimli lowered his ax, and Legolas put his bow on his back. Lord Celeborn, Rumil, Orophin, Sulaine, Istaq, Josuin, and Gunrey also put away their weapons. After a short moment, Lord Elrond, who had likely heard the entire exchange but made no sort of indication of it, sheathed his sword also. Elladan and Elrohir, after a bit of hesitation, followed suit. I then noticed Aragorn leaning off his horse and speaking in a low voice--a few more blades being put away told me that he had asked the hobbits to render themselves defenseless as well.
Of all the . . . They were forcing me to protect them!
I fumed. [This is unfair!]
Aragorn and Legolas--easily reading my expression, I am sure--grinned and waved. Lady Galadriel only smiled. [If this is what it takes to make you learn what you are capable of, then so be it.]
[Then I shall not be held responsible for the death of anyone here!]
[As you wish. Now fight.]
I whirled and stormed toward the Orcs, who were now running toward us. I felt my blood freeze in my veins and my body become stiff. I began to slow down and came to a stop, my face pale. I was committing suicide!
I could not do this . . . I could not do this . . . I could not do this!
Suddenly, unbidden, memories surfaced in my mind . . .
//[I told you not to quit! How do you expect to be an archer if you give up on it so easily?! Get up and put some clothes on--we will practice now to make up for the time you threw aside! . . . I do not care that it is the middle of the night! Get up before my bow finds your back!]
[I do not train wastes of time, Kyshri! I have far more important things to do than babysit your silliness! I know you can do better than this! You are not weak! Take your tail from between your legs this instant and strike me! You will not leave this field until you draw my blood, do you understand?!]
[I have always been proud of my wardens, Kyshri, because they have learned to balance efficiency with watching the backs of their allies. Of course, that was not the case when I first took over, but I have trained them. And I will expect the same good judgement from you . . . as my newest warden.]
[Good work, dindae. Good work.]//
Even though I wrote it, I'm going to say now that I doubt seasoned warriors would have put away their weapons that easily. But I have a reason!! It was just because magic-wise, Kyshri is not very confident but she's naturally stubborn, so it would take something so outrageous to make her get things in gear--sorry if it left a bad taste in your mouth.