Quest of the Next Generation-Part 1 - Threshhold of Mordor

Author's Note:

My best friend and I began writing this story on a road trip when we were dying of boredom in the back seat. It's kind of a sequel to the trilogy, and portrays a number of your old favorites as well as some new ones. Deal is, it's not totally correct with the history of Middle Earth. We are aware of all this and we would really appreciate if we didn't get any comments from, say, the Dean of the University of Númenor pointing out all that's incorrect. This is a story that you LOTR fanatics should read. It's not perfect with history, but it tells a good story. Stick with it and you'll see. Guarenteed.

Fire boiled on the horizon. The air was tense and stifling. Something was wrong. Arias of Gondor stood in the barren land of Mordor, her pointed ears searching for sounds. Her blue eyes glowed and then, swooping her cloak over her head, the half-elven lady disappeared.

Stepping carefully over pools of lava, she made her way towards the forboding towers in the distance. Scanning the ground, she found what she was looking for: a dusty Elven footprint. Crouching, she discovered it was at least three months old, if not older.

"I don't understand."she mumbled,"All the tracks point that way. But that can't be right."

The invisibility spell caused all things to glow about her, even Minas Morgul. Though it had been forgotten after the second War of the Ring, it now appeared inhabited.

But how?, Arias pondered. She looked at the dark tower. The eerie light of the Watch had left her area. She removed her cloak, and turned to the solitary figures behind her.

"Meriadoc! Peregrin! Keep up!"

Panting, two small creatures with enormous feet and curly hair came up behind Arias.

"You know I hate it when you disappear!" one creature said.

"Aye, Pip!" said the other, "Reminds me too much of the Bagginses and their Ring!" They were hobbits, and not just any hobbits. They were Merry and Pippin, the very same who accompanied the Ringbearer on his quest in the War of the Ring. They had met Arias as she was travelling through the Shire-their home. When they learned the Elf-Human was on a quest of her own, they volunteered to assist her.

Merry gazed around himself and shuddered.

"No wonder Frodo never liked to talk about this place!"

"Aye, like dead fish in a scum pool, if you get my drift." Pippin spoke up.

"We don't." Merry was quick to say.

"Gentlemen!" Arias interrupted, "Do you mind?"

And with no more words said, the three pressed on.

Arias' mind searched for answers. It had been a year since she had seen her friend, Aewen, and now the High Council had concluded that she was missing. Arias had been sent to track her. The half-elven wizard apprentice had seen many corners of Middle-earth, including the remote Shire of the hobbits. She had only meant to keep the hobbits till the edge of the Shire and the valley of the Withywindle. But the hobbits had refused to leave, and though their stature was small, their free-will was sizable to an orc's. They had accompanied Arias all the way to the valley of Mordor--land of filth and lava. But why was Aewen in Mordor? What purpose had she followed to bring her to such a wasteland? Arias feared for her friend, for Aewen's strength and stubborness was sizable to a hobbit's(well, the stubborness, at least.)

* * *

Cold hard stone smashed Aewen's face. Doors slammed and locked behind her. She couldn't move. Every inch of her poor broken body was riddled with pain. Lifting exhausted fingers, she caressed the bridge of her nose, her ears, and her lips. She whimpered with pain and despair.

"Why did I come here?"she asked herself again,"Why?" She closed her eyes and prayed for a miracle. Or death. she added, silently. It had to be better than this. She let her head fall, and sand into a sleep full of nightmarish dreams.

* * *

Outside of Minas Morgul, Arias fingered the door across the bridge. She looked back at the halflings, toiling along behind, as she thought of the words her master had taught her. They were ancient words, with roots that go deeper than elves themselves. She whispered them near the dark wood of the door, then stepped back. The door creaked and slowly swung open.

"How'd you do that?" Pippin called. Arias merely motioned for them to be silent. But all at once they were swarmed at all sides by orcs.

In a shock, Arias threw on her invisibility cloak, but these words caught her ears:

"Find the Halflings!"

Oh, no!Arias thought, What have I done?

Merry and Pippin were pounced on immediately . Their screams for help cut Arias' heart like knives. Oh, no you don't! she mumbled and took off after the orcs.

She easily trailed them through the doors and into the castle, but halfway down a huge stone corridor, another wave of orcs swept past. A particularly large orc knocked Arias to the ground. She had to crawl on her belly to get out of the way. By the time it was safe to get up, the orcs and the hobbits were gone.

Trying hard not to panic, Arias set off in the direction they had been heading. At the end of the immense hall was a stone staircase. The echoes of the orc voices and the screams of the hobbits wafted from below. She was a quarter of the way down when another sound distracted her. Her ears toned out all other voices and sounds. A mere choked noise, a sound no one but an Elf could hear.

Aewen,Arias thought.

She turned and looked to where the orcs had gone with the halflings.

"Do not harm them," she prayed, in her tongue, "I beg of thee." She turned, her feet treading soundlessly on the cold stone floor, and followed the noise.

To be continued.....

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