Lady From Beyond the Sea - Chapter 2
Lady From Beyond the Sea - Chapter Two - Rivendell
The days that followed were, for Zandra, filled with restless waiting. The Elves of Rivendell tried with gentle words to coax her into the Hall of Fire, but even her music had little calming influence on her. She had brief respite whenever she talked with the old hobbit, Bilbo, but she did not wish to alarm him with her worries, so she seldom availed herself of this comfort.
She knew that Glorfindel and Aragorn were the best companions that the hobbits could have, but still she worried. The time she had spent with Gandalf, and the many days spent watching the Shire and its innocent inhabitants, at his behest, had inspired in her a fierce love for the Hobbit folk, and especially Frodo. True it was he which she had most often watched, but it seemed that there was a strength and a light in him which beckoned to her spirit. She ached within her heart at the thought of the burden that he had been called to bear, that terrible Ring, and she hoped desperately that soon another would be able to take the burden from his shoulders. She did not want him to face any more of the danger that no one new better than she herself did.
At night her dreams were tormented by Shadows and knives, with brief flashes of Frodo's face, contorted in pain. These dreams told her that something was wrong, but she also knew that everything that could be done, was being done.
Finally, ten days after Glorfindel had set out, she woke from one such nightmare, and determined to go in search of the travelers herself. She fairly flew out to the stable, and was about to mount her horse, Serilla*, when to her surprise and delight Gandalf rode up on Shadowfax.
"Gandalf!"she cried, "Where have you been? What happened? Where are the hobbits? What happened at Weathertop? I've been so worried about you!"
"One question at a time, my friend!" he said, "We have been riding very hard, even if Shadowfax hardly shows it, I am very tired." He smiled at the magnificent beast with tender affection. "He and I have become great friends," Then his gaze hardened, "The Nine found me on Weathertop fourteen days ago. I fought with them until dawn, and then Shadowfax and I led four of them in a merry chase, until a few days ago, when they suddenly abandoned the chase. I had hoped that meant that Aragorn and the hobbits had reached Rivendell, but by your questions at first I can tell that is not so," he sighed wearily, even as horror filled the Lady whom he addressed.
"That means that all the Nine are going after Frodo!" Zandra cried in despairing tones, leaping upon Serilla's back. The mare, feeling her master's urgency, galloped with a speed which only the horses of Rohan posses off toward the Ford. There she pulled up short. In the midst of the rushing water Frodo sat atop Asfaloth, standing still, facing the Nazgul who waited on the far shore. Her heart stopped as Frodo cried, "By Elbereth and Luthien the Fair, you shall have neither the Ring nor me!" The Black Riders entered the river, mocking Frodo's words, and immediately Zandra felt the power of Elrond calling upon the river to rise and defend the borders of his land.
Water power was her area of expertise, so swiftly she added her might to that of Elrond, and augmented the surge of water to thrice what would normally flow at Elrond's call. With grim irony she shaped the raging torrent into the form of white riders upon white steeds. The Black Riders were swiftly overwhelmed, and their piercing cries were drowned in the roaring of the river as they were carried away.
She kept up the raging of the river, even after Elrond had released it, until she was certain that the riders were long gone. Then she allowed the waters to subside, reluctantly releasing the feeling of strength which filled her, and rushed to Frodo's side. Though he was unconscious, the faithful Asfaloth had not left his side. His features were ashen, and she could not find a pulse. He needed a healer swiftly. Now she knew what her dreams meant, she thought bitterly. She should have voiced her concerns sooner. She took him up in her arms tenderly, and remounted Serilla, holding the injured Hobbit before her. Then she urged Serilla into the swiftest gallop she had ever run, back to the Last Homely house, where she gave Frodo over to Elrond's care.
For four days and three long nights Elrond and the healers of his house fought a mighty battle for Frodo's life. Zandra spent her time cheering the three other hobbits, or at least Merry and Pippin, since Sam could seldom be dragged from Frodo's side. When they were busy with Bilbo talking Hobbit things, she was always found, intently watching the healers and Frodo, as if she could make him live by her will alone. So it was that when the splinter of the Morgul blade was finally found, she swiftly took the news to the hobbits. Pippin and Merry were in the gardens, finishing the meal they called "Elevensies," which not even in their distress over their friend would they willingly miss.
"It is over," she gasped as she neared them. Dismay filled their bright young faces, and she swiftly corrected her mistake, "They've removed the blade, he is healing now." They leaped to their feet and cried for joy, hugging each other enthusiastically, and then rushing over to include her in another hug. She laughed with equal delight, her laughter ringing clearly through the garden.
They bounded toward the door, but she caught their shoulders, "But you are not to disturb him yet," she said with mock severity, "He needs to rest a while yet before you go leaping upon his bed. Now, finish your meal, and when he awakens, I shall come back."
He awakened sooner than she expected, and she watched from the doorway as he talked with Gandalf. The old wizard apologized for his absence, and assured the Hobbit that his friends were quite safe. When Frodo fell asleep again, she turned away and saw Elrond smiling at her.
"So our young friend has awakened has he?" Elrond asked.
"Yes, he is doing very well. He is still slightly transparent, rather like a drop of dew, sparkling in the dawn, but because of you he will be ok. For which I thank you, most sincerely."
"He will live long and happy, . . . if naught else befalls him," Elrond said pensively, then went on when he saw the alarm in her eyes, for he did not wish her to be upset, and he knew that she hoped that Frodo's part in this adventure was over. For that matter he wished it himself. "He shows extraordinary resilience to the power of the ring, and I am truly amazed that he lasted that long with a Morgul blade in his shoulder."
Zandra smiled again, her eyes softening with the fondness she felt for them, "Yes, hobbits are amazing creatures," then she said, in response to the worry that she felt at his previous comment, "We truly can ask no more of him," her voice was pleading.
"No," Elrond agreed, "We can ask nothing of him."
Zandra smiled, reassured by this, and wandered off to tell the hobbits that Frodo had awakened.
Legolas walked into the Hall of Fire. Now that he had told Mithrandir and Elrond his news, he had the chance to rest from his travels. And there is nothing that is more restful to an elf as music and poetry. Immediately upon entering he was enfolded in a blanket of beautiful sounds. For a while he sat with his eyes closed, and let the sounds wash over him. Then, for a moment, there was quiet, and he opened his eyes to see everyone gathered around a single figure.
Then the clear tones of a flute floated into the air. A beautiful lilting melody drifted up from the center of the crowd. Slowly he stood, instinctively seeking the person who could create such enchanting strains, and went to join the crowd surrounding the source of the magic. The person playing the flute was a lady with long golden hair, but her back was to him, and he could not see her face.
All too soon the final notes faded away, and there was a moment of silence as everyone slowly emerged from her spell. Several cried out for another song, and Legolas quickly joined their entreaties.
"Thank you everyone. You are too kind to my humble skills. I would gladly oblige you, but I'm afraid that, unlike you, I need sleep. So I must bid you good night." As she spoke, she turned around to smile at everyone, and Legolas's words of entreaty froze on his lips, as he recognized the soft green eyes.
"The girl from the Battle of the Five Armies!" he whispered, instantly transported back in time to the mysterious figure who had appeared with Mithrandir. He had never discovered who she was, and though he had wondered about her on occasion, she had mostly slipped from his mind. But now he might discover what had brought her to the battlefield.
She was slowly working her way to the balcony, and the crowd was dispersing. Someone began one of the many songs to Elbereth, and ordinarily he would have joined in, but he did not want to lose his mystery lady again. Intent on recapturing her, he ignored the fact that he had not tried exceedingly hard to find her in the first place. He swiftly threaded his way through the crowd to the balcony where the lady had disappeared.
When he reached the balcony, he saw her wandering down toward the garden, and hurried after. She was wearing a pale blue dress that shimmered as she moved. It reminded him of a clear mountain stream, reflecting the sky, and glittering in the sunlight.
"Wait," he called as she walked off toward one of the many waterfalls that surrounded the valley. She paused, and turned toward him.
"Yes?" She asked in a voice clear as a bell. In her hands was a strangely shaped flute. Suddenly he realized he did not know what he was going to say. "Who are you?" was too abrupt, too coarse.
"I have never heard music like that before," he said at last, feeling like an awkward young elfling, approaching a young lady for the first time, "It was very beautiful."
She smiled slightly, "Thank you, that is one of my favorites," she responded, fingering the flute in her hands.
"It was magnificent. It reminded me of a waterfall which flows near my home."
Her smile widened, "That is what it was intended to convey. I love waterfalls. There is little I find more beautiful, so I suppose it is natural that I should wish to put it in my music."
"Indeed, . . . Is that the flute you played?" he asked, floundering for something more to say. He was a little shocked at his gaucheness. She nodded. "May I see it? I've never seen one like it before, it sounded slightly different from the other flutes I've heard." After a slight hesitation she handed it to him. His long slender fingers turned around the long coil, admiring the shifting hues, and the fine craftsmanship of the finger holes and the aperture. He placed it in her hands, his fingers barely brushing her palm.
"It is a sea shell," she said as her fingers caressing the polished surface, "My mother gave it to me." She was silent for a moment, lost in her memories, and he admired the soft glow of her green eyes in the moonlight. He was surprised to see her brow crease, and her eyes darken with sorrow before she shook her head as though to clear it. " I am sorry," she said, smiling again, though this time it did not reach her eyes. "I really must go to bed. I am afraid I am very tired."
"Of course," he replied, and bowed to her as she turned away, puzzling at what might have distressed her. Then he remembered that he still hadn't found out who she was.
"Wait," he called, one hand outstretched as though to pull her back. She paused on the stairs looking down on him, her slim form draped in the shimmering blue fabric seeming to glow in the moonlight. "What is your name?" he asked softly.
"Zandra," she replied, "and will you also tell me yours?"
"I am Legolas, my lady."
"Good night then, Legolas." With a whisper of silk, she turned again, and disappeared through the balcony doors toward the sleeping quarters of the single ladies.
Legolas watched her until she was out of sight, then turned to gaze thoughtfully at the waterfall. He recalled the sadness which had lurked in her eyes when he had first seen her. That same shadow had fallen upon her again tonight. He raised one slender finger to his lips pensively. Zandra, he thought, What a strange name. At least it is a start. I shall find what has brought that shadow to your heart, my lady, and perhaps I shall banish it.
*Serilla is pronounced Sare-ee-ya(rolled "r" )