Return of the King: Kyshri's Story - The quest to destroy the One Ring told through the eyes of a runaway Elf (part ten of thirteen)
Also, I just thought I'd put this here to cover my butt--a part of this Tale was written while I was still infatuated with Orlando Bloom as Legolas. No offense to Mister Bloom--hey, I'm going to see Troy at some point--but I've gotten over the prettiness I think and have come to have more respect for Legolas the character--though you'd never know it with the way I treat him--rather than the actor--no matter how good-looking--behind the make-up. *clears throat* So anyway, like I was saying, this Tale has a section of fangirl mushiness--I'm sure you'll pick it out easily enough. I ask for your tolerance. Thank you. *bows deeply from waist*
Oh yeah, I forgot . . .
MWAHAHAHAHA!!! I switched POVs on you so that you cannot know what happened to Kyshri!! MWAHAHAHAHA!!!
Here is a quick guide on how to distinguish languages:
[Elvish thought or telepathy]
Recap of Tale 9 . . .
It was as I took that first step that I felt long fingers wrap around my ankle. I whirled and saw that Gollum had danced a step too far and gone over the edge. He had grasped at anything nearby that could save him, which was me. Yet I was quite unbalanced on one foot and my legs were still in agony from the Orcs and therefore I had no strength--particularly considering my meals, or lack thereof, had provided only minimal aid--with which to support both of us, though if I had been in good health things would have gone quite differently.
However, I was not in that good health and Gollum was now attempting to climb my leg. The leg I had still in contact with the stone gave beneath the weight and we both went over the edge of the chasm.
Telrak landed on his shoulder, startling him momentarily. [So there you are! Returning at last, are you? Where have you been all this time?]
The falcon chirped and bubbled with his explanation, but Legolas, who was not of the wind, had no idea what the bird was saying. [Very well. I shall take your word for it, as I cannot understand you anyway.]
An indignant squawk was his answer and Telrak sidestepped, with a glare at Legolas, to the very edge of the Elf's shoulder, turning his back to the prince and muttering softly to Eomer, who watched the bird in mild amusement as it cast more than a few angry scowls over its shoulder at the Elf prince.
Legolas heaved a deep inward sigh as the Black Gate began to open and he caught sight of Barad-dur. He knew that Kyshri must be within its dark pits and swore to free her or die in the attempt. [I will not leave her to the beasts of Mordor . . . not while I still draw breath!]
Telrak suddenly rose to his full height and flared his wings wide, screaming a challenge to the dark forces that emerged from the gate. His call seemed to give the Men of the West new hope and they shifted, hefting their weapons for more effective battling.
It was again time for war; Legolas drew his close-combat knives and twirled them absently. Talrak launched from his shoulder into the sky, arching to come down on a member of the dark army. Arrows were shot at him, but Telrak was small and swift and avoided them, catching two in his talons. He dove into the army, inciting a minor riot in the area, and an Uruk-hai dropped to the earth. It was quite dead, as the two arrows in either side of its neck and the gouged eyes and face proved.
Telrak then reappeared from the army, warbling triumphantly. As if it was a cue, the armies of Men rushed forward for this final battle. Whether it was final in the manner of their deaths or the defeat of Sauron they did not know, but they all would fight even if they were the last man standing.
Legolas went into the battle with the singular thought of finding Kyshri, but there seemed to be no end to the Orcs and Uruk-hai that came from the gate in waves upon waves. He, however, had no plans of giving up. He had sworn to get her or die trying and so he would. A promise was not something someone had the right to toss aside when things became difficult.
The Eagles arrived at the same time the Nazgul did and now a battle was fought in the sky as well as on the earth. Telrak zoomed between clawing open the throats of the enemy and slashing calculatingly at the tender underbellies of the Nazguls' beasts.
Then, abruptly, the Nazgul retreated, shrieking. The focus of the Eye had shifted to Orodruin and now the Orcs and Uruk-hai had no direction. Suddenly left without the drive to attack and kill, they were momentarily disoriented and easy to slay in small masses.
Minutes later, the towers along the border swayed and collapsed and great swirls of lightning and darkness spread and were washed away by the wind, their power now impotent.
Sauron had been destroyed.
Yet still he felt little joy. He looked south, watching as Mordor crumbled, and searched for some hope that she was alive. But no reassurance came and as Gandalf left to retrieve the hobbits who were yet on the slopes of Orodruin, he saw a familiar Eagle passing overhead, though its head now had a large silver streak from the start of its beak back between its eyes to the back of its head that had not been there before.
[Rilloc!] The Eagle circled down to hover before him. [Please find her and bring her back!]
She nodded and ascended with mighty beats of her wings, banking to trail after Gwaihir, his brother Landroval, and swift young Meneldor. Yet it seemed that only a short time later the Eagles returned with only the battered hobbits. Rilloc let out a soft chirrup and landed in front of Legolas, head bowed sadly as she shook it back and forth, eyes closed.
At that confirmation of his fears he felt a great pain in his heart and clutched his chest reflexively, taking several deep, shaky breaths to try to control his wildly pounding heart. It seemed as though it might burst and all his troubles would be over, but something else--some invisible force--held him to the earth beneath him, unwilling to let him go.
"Legolas!" a commanding voice called in a warning tone. He looked up as Aragorn approached at a run with Gimli. The man stopped before him, the look in his eyes grave as he grasped the mountain Elf's shoulders. "Do not give up hope yet. There is still time. Still a chance. We will find her."
It was an uncertain moment before his heart calmed. It would wait, but for how long he did not know. He had been too long without her near him, it seemed, and he needed her with him to at least tell her, if she truly was dead, of his love for her before she was taken from him again. So that she would know he loved her and would forever be in mourning at her passing.
It was fourteen days after the proclaimed `New Year' when the hobbits woke finally. As glad as he was to hear of their recovery, he dared not enter the room for fear of asking toward Kyshri only to hear the worst.
But it could not be avoided and hobbits are sometimes amazingly perceptive. Frodo and Sam found him where he stayed in the evening on a ridge overlooking the land to the east, perched in the single tree there, listening to the wind for any sign of her approach.
"We saw her," Frodo said quietly.
He looked down at them sharply, having attempted to ignore them at first. He did not need to have his heart broken, no matter how gently; that was working out fine on its own.
"She had been imprisoned but escaped. She stayed with us; her presence was a support when we gave up. She kept us going, even would have carried us when we no longer had the heart to go on had I not been blinded by her form. She persevered even though she herself was hurt and should not have been travelling such unkind roads.
"She followed us all the way into Mount Doom. When Gollum finally took the Ring and fell into the mountain fires, he grabbed her ankle to save himself. She went into the chasm, but managed to land on a lower ledge. She told us to run and we were not going to, but the ridge started collapsing. We had to leave." The hobbit lowered his eyes. "We did not see her after that."
His heart began to cry for her. ". . . Thank you."
As the hobbits went back inside, tears found paths over his cheeks and he mourned in the silence of the coming dusk.
He poked at his food as the others around him ate heartily and talked and laughed. He perhaps would not have attended the meal but for that his presence had been requested. However, he could not summon more life than the little his will clung to for survival.
All this time later and he was still alive . . .
Thankfully, he was left alone, though Gimli kept trying to goad him into an eating race to con him into filling his stomach. Yet he had not the heart for such silly little competitions of which he perhaps may have participated in before in the more lighthearted times.
It was a time after Gimli had given up on him--perhaps half an hour--when he caught over the supper din a voice somewhere nearby yelling at the guards, sounding harried and angry.
"I care not if they are all eating, I need to see him right now!"
The doors were flung open and all conversation stopped as everyone turned to see a woman storm in, clutching her right arm to her chest, her clothes burned with patches missing here and there where her armor did not protect her, her long blond hair jagged with some of the edges dark brown or black from where the rest of the length had been scorched off. But her eyes . . .
Her eyes held that same wisdom that he had first seen on that day so long ago, when his previously wild and restless heart had stopped cold and stared in child-like awe at the beauty before him. The beauty who came to be the only one who possessed the ability to quell his untamable heart to a willing servant with the mere sound of her voice.
[Legolas . . .] was her exhausted, happy greeting.
[Kyshri!] He lunged from his seat and ran around the table, cursing his inability to jump as well as his forest kin or he could have simply leapt over the table and reached her quicker.
[My lord,] she murmured in a traditional greeting of long-separated lovers, though their relationship had not yet reached that level of intimacy.
He caught her in a gentle embrace, not sure what other wounds were hidden beneath her clothes, and sank to his knees as her own gave way. He nuzzled into her hair, ignoring how ruined it was. It would grow back. [My love . . .]
A moment later he realized what a spectacle they were making and picked her up. Eyes closed, she snuggled against him as he spoke to those still at the table. "Please excuse me. I must tend her wounds."
Of course, most of the table accompanied him.
I clutched at his tunic as he carried me down the hall, desperately trying to confirm that this was truth and not just another of my starved imaginings. I feared this happy miracle would not last. [Legolas . . .]
[Hush,] he cooed.
I ignored him. [Legolas, please . . . please tell me this is no dream.]
[Not unless we share it,] he replied gently.
He took me into a room that I suppose was his and laid me on the bed, then inspected my armor curiously. [. . . How do I get this off?]
The utter bewilderment that was in his tone made me laugh. [The shoulders are hinged. There are clasps on either side.]
[. . . I see.] He pulled me upright almost like one would a child and opened the clasps. A man who I recognized as Eomer stepped forward and removed the armor while Legolas kept me from falling over backward.
I wriggled, stretching slightly to either side. "Miracle of miracles, I can move again. I feel so light."
He laughed and unstrapped the rest of my armor. "The miracle is that you lost no part of your ensemble."
"I will have you know this armor was a gift from the other Patrons as a sort of collective blend of Elvish culture."
"They must have argued about it for years."
"I doubt it not, but it was a gift, so I have no plan lose any of it."
He touched my chest lightly and very briefly. "How did you escape injury here? The hobbits told me you were very near the heart of Orodruin. Would the armor not have melted?"
"I enhanced it to withstand thrice the normal amount of heat on the journey with the hobbits to the fire. It stayed cool long enough for me to jump to the ridge and climb into the tunnel before it all collapsed."
"Without the Orb?"
"Such minor magic is not beyond my ability."
He frowned. "You shall have to explain these abilities of yours to me."
"I suppose so---"
"What is this?" Aragorn interrupted. He had sat down beside me and had my mangled right forearm in both his hands as he examined the numerous crisscrossing gashes. "It looks as though you have been bitten."
"I was. Gollum attacked us on the slopes of Mount Doom. I kept him busy and received that for my troubles."
"There are slashes all up and down your arms and legs as well," Frodo told me. "I saw them before Gollum pulled you into the mountain."
"What of it?" I challenged.
"You shouldn't have been moving around like you were, but you did anyway because Sam and I needed your help. I just wanted to thank you."
I smiled. "I see no need for thanks, but if you insist then you are welcome. I am only glad that you and Sam are well, for it would be a sore tale indeed if I had to tell the hobbits in Veikai that you died right at your most heroic moment."
Aragorn stood. "As much fun as this is, I must ask you all to leave. Kyshri needs medicine and rest."
"I do not!" I protested. "The best medicine I could get would be having you all tell me what has happened in my absence!"
Legolas pushed me onto the bed. [Stop being difficult.]
[I beg your pardon!] I snapped. [I am not being difficult! I am not insisting on running around, am I?]
[Kyshri, please. For once in your life, let others help you.]
I frowned, for I could not recall ever denying aid from anyone, but then I at last acquiesced. [Very well, then. Have it your way. I shall sleep.]
[Do so,] he agreed. [I will watch over you.]
I sighed and relaxed into the pillows, drifting quickly into unconsciousness.