Return of the King: Kyshri's Story - The quest to destroy the One Ring told through the eyes of a runaway Elf (part four of thirteen)

Here is a quick guide on how to distinguish languages:
"Common Tongue"
[Elvish thought or telepathy]
{Dragon Tongue}

Happy reading!!!

Recap of Tale 3 . . .

They passed through other villages and reached the Stone of Erech at almost the stroke of midnight. As Aragorn spoke to the invisible army, Keelica landed just to the side and walked among the specters, whose presence turned her legs grey to the eyes of others. She peered at them, seeming to examine them as critically as one might a hog that was being sold at market.

[Keelica?] Legolas asked as camp was set around the Stone. [What are you doing to them?]

[Nothing. Why?]

[You are looking them over as though you wish to consume them.]

[I am searching their souls. If they seek freedom through redemption of their cowardess, then they shall be forgiven. Yet if they merely seek freedom without any understanding, then they shall remain cursed as they are. I shall not sully the Halls of Mandos with such baneful schemes.]

Tale 4

She stepped from the army and for a time her legs remained grey, as though she had captured remnants of the many phantoms in her scales. Yet in the end the grey became black once more and she stood at the top of the hill, gazing blankly into the distance.

{Terrashi! Vitalux! Caligobi! To me!}

There was a rumble deep within the ground. It grew greater and greater in its force until a creation of rock pierced the waving grasses and came to life, revealing the Keeper of Earth.

The living who camped on the hill soon became aware that something within them was being stretched and extracted from them. The shots of light blazed into the cold air and took the form of a white snake-dragon with long horns, a tall crest, a weighted tail, and feathered wings.

The dead then sensed what little of their existences were left being split and part of it removed from them. The charcoal grey flares ascended into the sky and took the solid form of a four-legged, large-winged dragon of the same color with a weighted tail, a tall crest, a strong set of the antlers with three spikes each, and three sets of progressively smaller fangs that protruded over the bottom jaw.

The triplet of dragons approached Keelica, who nodded to each of them, and bowed their heads. {Mother.}

{My dears, I have a task for you.}


{I sense a disturbance in the land of Gondor and I believe that war has finally begun there. Your three siblings are already in place, but I will be checking on them soon. The threat of several of my other offspring--who are now just puppets in the hands of Melkor's pet Sauron--hangs over the lands and I want you three to remain with this army to protect them until you reach the battlefield. You are to give your corrupted siblings no quarter; they are better off dead.}

{Yes, Mother.}

{Terrashi, you are the youngest here but you are the only one of these three who knows Elvish. I place you in charge and insist that you have one of the Elves explain to you what is happening so that you are prepared.}

{Yes, Mother,} the Keeper of Earth agreed.

{When you reach Gondor, Olorin will be there. Do what he asks of you. Should he not have need of your aid right away then I want you, Vitalux, to take Hydriva's place and command Aeryc and Pyrin. Caligobi, you shall take Hydriva into your wing along with Terrashi. You both are the oldest of all my children and know what it is I ask of you.}

{Yes, Mother,} the two Primary Elements chorused.

{Very good. I will fly west to Gondor and examine the situation. I shall not stay long, for I must return to Rohan and hurry the riders along. Mortals can be a bit slow to act. Therefore, do not wait for me to give you directions. Attack as you see fit and fear nothing.}

{Yes, Mother.}

Keelica turned to see Legolas watching her. [Ah, the Elf I was looking for.]

[. . . What were you saying to them?]

[I was only giving them orders.]

[Not in Elvish.]

[Most certainly not. Only two of all my children have learned your speech. I spoke to them in my own tongue.]

[Dragons have a language?]

[We are not inane fools.]

He ducked. [I did not mean to imply that.]

[Of course not. I sense trouble in Gondor, young Quendi. I will be leaving you and going ahead and will then return to Rohan and assemble the riders if they are not already on their way. I have left these three of my children behind and I ask you to explain to Terrashi, who has no wings, what is going on. They will meet up with their siblings in Minas Tirith and leave you to battle.]

[All right.]

Keelica shoved from the earth and disappeared eastward into the night sky. She reached Gondor by morning and observed the state of panic the people were in as well as the sizeable army on the fields.


She turned to Hydriva, who had been observing things from the top tier and spraying bursts of water at as many of the incoming boulders as she could to divert their path. {Yes?}

{You have returned!}

{I shall be leaving again. Your other siblings are on the way here, but it may be some time before they arrive. I perhaps will beat them. It all depends on the time taken by the mortals. Have you seen the downfallen?}

{No. So far they have not shown their faces. Aeryc and Pyrin are amusing themselves with the army.}

{. . . I see. They must be a final hurrah. Be on your guard.}

{Yes, Mother.}

Keelica dropped from the tier and breathed a trail of fire over the army as she circled and headed west. She pumped her wings furiously and glided away, passing through the Stonewain Vale and following Ered Nimrais all the way to the western edge of Firien Wood, where she came upon the host of Rohirrim.

Though she could not speak to them, she chirruped urgently and glided along the grasses in the opposite direction of the horses, banking around the end of the group and passing just over their heads so the riders were frightened even though the horses were unaffected by her presence. She let out several bark-type noises to hurry them along, but the trotting creatures did not speed up.

She raced ahead and landed heavily, momentum carrying her along the earth so that she gouged the grass and ripped it free, leaving narrow channels where she had skidded by. Turning, she romped slightly back toward the riders, chirping and trying to convey the urgency of the situation.

However, the tone of King Theoden's voice when he turned and spoke to her assured her that he had no intention of moving any faster. A few pats to the neck of his horse gave her a vague understanding of what he was saying. Horses were flight animals and could only run their fastest for a certain amount of time before all their energy left and exhausted them. So to avoid racing the horses to death, the Rohirrim were directing the creatures to move in a gait that they could hold for an entire day without tiring too badly.

Reluctantly, Keelica accepted this and jogged loosely alongside the large host of riders. They rode well into the night and stopped beneath Erelas only for a few short hours to brush out the horses, water and feed them, and then nap. It was still quite dark when they set out once more, Keelica's free-moving gait often carrying her so far ahead that the host was a mere collection of small dots to her eyes and she would have to stop and turn back to them.

They reached Minas Tirith on the third day and flanked the Dark Army. Glad that they had finally arrived, Keelica launched herself into the air and cut into the air with a roar promising death. She preceded the Rohirrim, passing over the army and biting an arc of fire into their ranks.

She heard a thunk and whirled on the nearest catapult; anyone who may have been looking would have seen her green eyes appear to freeze over with rough ice for an instant. Drawing her head far back so that her chest could expand and take in more air, her fire-craw expanded and turned ocean blue. Her mouth opened wide and the back of her throat was the same shade.

Throwing her head forward, Keelica released a spume of water that froze on impact with the catapult, halting it in its motion instantly. The built-up inertia was then forced upon the frame of the weapon, which could not handle the stress when it was frozen, and it collapsed on itself.

Satisfied, Keelica wheeled and ascended, escaping the probing nuisance of the stabbing spears of the Orcs and the stonework thrown by the Gondorians. She headed to Osgiliath, aware that the enemy reinforcements would be arriving from there. The ships coming up the river spurred her on, but as she got nearer she saw that there was no one on board.

None but beings she recognized.

She passed overhead and grinned into the boat at Legolas. Another blast of water froze the river and stopped the boats, causing Terrashi, Vitalux, and Caligobi to surge in from all directions, screaming at the top of their lungs and sending the Orcs there into a momentary frenzy. It was simple, then, for Aragorn and his army of dead soldiers to make their appearance just as the Orcs had begun to settle down at the dragons' disappearance.


The dragon queen banked slightly upward and as she came around zeroed in on Legolas, who held one arm up in question. She turned the bank into a dive and at the last second he leapt up and onto her head, tumbling almost out of control except that he caught one of her horns. Straightening and holding onto the pair of golden arcs for dear life, Legolas could not resist turning as he heard an unearthly grinding and screeching. Keelica's diamond-hard talons, even though she had not used them, had torn into the stone of the wide pier upon contact with it.

[I am flying steadily, young Quendi,] Keelica told him as her flight levelled. [I know that you are sure-footed. Move to my shoulders, where you will find better seating for when you attack.]

Legolas obediently walked along the crest of the dragon's neck, hoping he was not pinching any of her mane hairs too badly. He knelt between the massive flight muscles on her shoulders--trying to stay out of their way as they bunched and rippled with every beat of her wings--and notched an arrow in preparation, peering to either side for a target.

[Do not bother to aim at any of them, young Quendi!] Keelica called back to him with a laugh. [They are packed together despite the fields all about them! You are likely to hit at least two with even the most wild bowshot!]

Still, Legolas made an effort to aim. However, they were bunched together as Keelica had said and it was rather difficult to tell one from the other. After downing several more, he was treated to the sight of the dragon queen breathing water onto a catapult that froze and then, after a moment, gave beneath the stress.

[Keelica! What was that?!]

[Ice, naturally! I do not prefer to use it often, as it gives me a sore throat, but it has its moments!]

[Then why not flame?]

[Orcs do not burn long, but the flame would burn the tempered wood for quite some time and create a thick black smoke that would blind not only me and my children but also the men in Minas Tirith, who would then be unable to fire their own weapons from the walls without risking mass murders of their allies. That is a chance few would enjoy taking.]

That made sense, yet . . . [But why breathe ice at all?]

She snorted. [So that if I set something on fire by accident, I could keep it from spreading. Glaurung could only breath fire and he did a lot of damage that way, so Iluvatar allowed me to breathe ice as well as fire. To take responsibility for my actions, as it were.]

Legolas sighed. He had thought that studying scripts while Smaug inhabited Erebor had taught him everything possible about dragons and here he was, learning new things anyway.

[Smaug? Smaug . . .] Keelica mused, apparently reading his thoughts. [Ah yes, I remember now. Fourth clutch, sixth hatch. Always was a bad seed, that one. After the War of Wrath--or whatever that war was called--he assumed he was the last dragon alive and hopped off to play Big Bad Dragon with some Dwarves.]

[Keelica, he . . .]

[Was slain? Oh, I know. I am aware of all of my children, young Quendi, and I know when one dies, be it natural or not. I am grateful to the slayer.]

[You are?] Legolas could hardly imagine why--if it was his child he would be furious.

[Dear, all the dragons who live here and those who have long since died were born with a purpose: to aid Iluvatar. The instant they turned to Melkor their lives were forfeit.]

[But they did not do it out of spite!]

[You misunderstand me. A dragon who has turned against its master is to be eternally shamed. By slaying them so that they can no longer assist evil, I and my children are freeing their souls to rejoin Iluvatar. They will all be forgiven, for they did not turn to Melkor--or Sauron--willingly. None will be punished, though I shall one day take the time to give Smaug a talking-to for his lack of sense.]

Legolas smiled. [You are a good mother, Keelica.]

[Do not be silly; I am awful mother! I let my children be snatched practically from the nest!]

[You are too hard on yourself--the reach of Evil is wide and far.]

The dragon queen sighed heavily and landed on the back of a mumakil, the red scale-plating along her stomach easily shattering the framework of the structure on the beast. Many Haradrim were crushed and the mumakil began to stampede its way through the army. Keelica merely held on, biting into its neck at a convenient point--almost boredly--and killing it. [Perhaps, young Quendi. Perhaps.]


`Mumakil' is a plural word, isn't it? And `mumak' is the singular? I think it is . . . Well, if it is, then forgive me for using it in a singular sense.

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