Orlando and I - The Mysterious Stranger

[I awoke in a dark cave with my hands folded across my chest. I was clothed in a transparent white shift, and I noticed a pale greenish glow surrounding me. On my head was a gold circlet and a chain of gold was about my neck. Across my neck was a dagger and a shield lay beneath my feet. They over dead sea and withered land."d kill me soon, I knew. But the song would come first. So this is what I came to Middle Earth for? To die?]

*****

"Cold be hand and heart and bone,
and cold be sleep under stone:
never more to wake on stony bed,
never, till the Sun fails and the Moon is dead.
In the black wind the stars shall die,
and still on gold here let them lie,
till the Dark Lord lifts his hand."

Tears formed in my eyes and I tried to sit up, but felt there was no more energy in my bones. I came to a sitting stance and hugged my knees to my chest. All I could think to do was cry. Was there not a prick of mercy in these foul creatures' hearts. Suddenly, a beam of light issued through the cave and I saw a tall figure dressed in a black cloak issue through the cave. The barrow wight retreated into its darkness, but the figure approached me and took my hand. I recognized the touch as he pulled me to my feet, draped his cloak around me and took me from the wretched cave. The night was waning, but the stars were alight, and I noticed we were out of the mountains now though I didn't understand how this could be. I could not see the figure's face, but I knew well who it was. His hand touched my cheek again.

"Finally to see you in life," his voice was calm and comforting.
"Who are you? Why are you in my dreams?"
"This will be explained in due time, my Kyla. Now I must leave you to Tom Bombadil and Goldberry. We shall meet again."

He touched his index finger to his lips and then touched it to mine as a farewell kiss ensued. I watched as he disappeared into the darkness. A light figure's song diverted my attention and I saw a small figure before me with a green cap upon his head.

"Old Tom Bombadil is a merry fellow,
Bright blue his jacket is, and his boots are yellow.
None has ever caught him yet, for Tom he is the master:
His songs are stronger songs, and his feet are faster. Hello there, stranger far from home. Come with me to my lodging. Goldberry is awaiting."

He laughed and drew up another song. I rubbed my cold arms and followed him down the hill to a small house surrounded by lush gardens. I remembered Tolkien's words about him. he was too large and heavy for a hobbit, if not quite tall enough for one of the Big People, though he made noise enough for one, stumping along with great yellow boots on his thick legs, and charging through grass and rushed like a cow going down to drink. He had a blue coat and a long brown beard; his eyes were blue and bright, and his face was red as a ripe apple, but creased into a hundred wrinkles of laughter.

I entered the house instantly feeling warm, and Goldberry greeted me with a friendly smile. She was indeed beautiful with golden locks stretching to her waist and a gracious face. In her hands was a folded dress of blue silk spun with white lace. She bade me to try it on, and I did finding a perfect fit. She gave it to me as a present saying once that she had worn it, but found it suited me more. I loved the way my dark curls draped over the blue perfectly. I then ate with Tom Bombadil and Goldberry and related my story to them. I was certain my friends were lost, but Tom Bombadil denied it.

"You will see your friends again, but of these dreams you have every night..."
I had not told him of the dreams but I was not surprised that he knew. "Does he want to hurt me?" I asked.
"Certainly not," Tom replied.
"Does he want me to be away from Orlando?"
"That you will discover on your own easily enough."
"When will I find my friends?"
"Tomorrow I believe. They are looking for you now. They hoped you were not captured. Your lover indeed believes you are not. Tonight you must sleep and refresh yourself. Travelling by day is a wiser choice as well. And do not fear your dreams. They are a part of you, but the ones with this person shall end soon."
"How do you know?" I asked again.
"Oh, old Tom knows a many thing."

I nodded finishing off the warm tea they had provided for me. Goldberry took me upstairs and gave me a white nightgown to sleep within. Tom said my friends would be here in the morning. I hoped so. I know Orlando would be worried for me, and no doubt he would ensure to bind me to him with thick iron chains. Oh well...I cant really blame him. I drifted off to sleep as the moonlight flooded through my room. My surprise came the next morning when I realized I hadnt had any dreams....]

Kyla awoke the next morning refreshed and invigorated from a once dreamless sleep. She heard voices coming from downstairs, and she knew there were more than two. Kyla peered through the window in her room and her heart leapt as she saw horses standing outside the door flicking their silver tails.
Without hesitating, Kyla wrapped a blue robe around herself and hurried down the stairs only to be swept up into Orlando's arms. He held her close and kissed her lips firmly in the presence of Tom, Goldberry, and the twins. Kyla turned a deep crimson when he pulled away, but he did not seem embarassed.

"I could die a happy man now. Tom told me your story. Why didnt you hold onto the rope?" he asked.
"I-I didnt know they would cut it," she answered looking at her feet.
"After five minutes I realized you weren't with us, but by then they had already taken you down. But it's over now. Goldberry made us a great breakfast, and we need to eat fast since we've lost time already."

Kyla was eager to sample the hotcakes, cider, bread, and fresh fruit set upon the table. Eladdan and Elrohir brought in the remaining men who were waiting outside, and after a bref thanksgiving to the Elir, Tom began to serve. Kyla watched Orlando through the entire meal as he and the twins exchanged humorous stories, but try as she might, she could not rid herself of a foreboding feeling. Something was coming. No, someone was coming...for her. Whoever the stranger was, he haunted her dreams and filled her head with mysterious thoughts. Though his presence was not evil, he struck fear into her heart. And yet, she longed for him to come ever the quicker so she could feel herself within his arms.
Kyla shook her head trying to brush the thoughts away. She then realized Tom was looking at her.

{"Do not lose courage, Kyla. You may be seperated from him, but nothing can quench love if you are true to it. However, you may find love elsewhere."}

Kyla knew he did not speak the words, but she heard them none the less and nodded in assurance. She turned to Orlando and smiled. He returned the grin and squeezed her hand. Then, he stood up.

"If you will pardon me, my friends," he began, "I would like to have a private word with our wanderer."

Orlando smiled and dismissed them from the table. Kyla followed him into the garden where he touched the roses softly. She wondered if he was angry at her, but he didn't seem to be. And yet...why did he bring her here if he did not wish to talk? Kyla knew Orlando was quiet and shrewd in hiding his feelings. He could well be angry and simply not showing it. He finally turned and took both of her hands.

"What's wrong?" she finally asked.
"Perhaps I should be asking you the same question. Kyla," he brushed his hand across her cheek. "I saw you smile merely once at the table. Where is your laughter? What happened to the beautiful girl who was not only enchanting outside but inside as well? It is almost like a shell is standing before me. I see her, but I do not see her on the inside. She is still there but slowly drifting away..."
"Orlando, it's still me. I'm just upset about some things."
"But normally when something is troubling for you, you will pray about it or sing."
A tear rolled down Kyla's cheek as he said the words. "Orlando," she fell into his arms. "Someone is coming for me, and you won't be able to stop him."
"What are you talking about?"
"I saw him when I was in the cave. He rescued me from the Barrow Wight and said we would meet soon. I know he is powerful Orlando more powerful than anything I've ever met. He can't be stopped, and he is the one within my dreams."
"Kyla, I dont know what to say. What you are suggesting..." he stopped. "No, it is not impossible. This is a different world. And if I knew how to get home, I would take you within an instant. But I know now that I will not let you out of my sight, and we shall not seperate. I shall be with you always. So now..."
"Now, we get on our knees," she finished and pulled him down slowly folding her hands. "Dear Father in Heaven Illuvutar of Middle Earth..."

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