Return of the King: Kyshri's Story - The quest to destroy the One Ring told through the eyes of a runaway Elf (part thirteen of thirteen)
Here is a quick guide on how to distinguish languages:
[Elvish thought or telepathy]
Recap of Tale 12 . . .
Before more could be said, I received a bop on the head and yelped more out of surprise then pain. I whirled on Lord Celeborn furiously and barked, [What the . . . What was that for?!]
[That was for defying a Lord and this]--he popped me on the head again--[is for having a dirty mouth.]
[The only reason I was defying him was because the issue dealt with Veikai and as I am a Patron--which means I am considered a ruler by those residing there even if I do not wish for such power--I had to take action! I am not a heathen, but I am not a pushover either!] Then I made the clear mistake of childishly sticking my tongue out at him to prove my point.
He grabbed it.
I will say at this point that aside from having one's clothes gleefully stolen from them in the public bath so that the unfortunate victim who is then clad only in a towel must walk across the city to get home--Sulaine and Josuin paid dearly for that--having someone take hold of your tongue in public and in front of important people is the probably most embarrassing thing that could ever happen to a person. It is extremely degrading and leaves you open for worse.
[I cured Celebrian of that in this same manner,] I was informed.
Looking up at him pleadingly but receiving only a flat expression, I attempted to take revenge for the embarrassment by chomping the ends of his fingers. But for that he quickly released my tongue and brought his other hand up to slap me on the underside of my jaw so that my teeth came together with an audible clip. It did not hurt overmuch, but a streak of pain did slice through my jaw. I cupped my jaw in my hands protectively and looked at him.
He smirked and noted, [For being away from Lorien since your hundredth year and facing innumerable dangers, you certainly are not very inventive.]
I hissed and stuck my tongue out at him again, drawing it back in before he could get it. We did this for several more minutes until he asked, [Must I confine you to your room?]
[Do not be rotten just because you are losing!] I teased.
He snorted. [I would use my special trick on you, but everyone is eager to hear how you escaped Mordor and you need to be conscious for that.]
[You do not have a special trick!] I spat. [I have never seen such a thing!]
He rolled his eyes as though I was the stupidest being on Arda. [That is why it is special.]
[Then show me!]
[I told you I could not!]
[They have waited this long to hear about it; they can wait a bit longer! I do not believe you!]
[You are the most selfish---]
[Yes, I am, thank you.]
He straightened up to his full height, which is quite tall even for an Elf, and sighed tolerantly. [Very well. Come here.]
I stepped nearer cautiously. He put one arm around me, then lifted his other hand and pinched the side of my neck where it met my shoulder. I do not remember ever fainting and falling, but the next I was aware I was being cradled in someone's arm rather comfortably.
[Thranduil taught me. He never enjoyed using pressure points, but I found many uses for such a technique; mainly calming this child down.]
I opened my eyes cautiously and found that I was facing Lord Celeborn's robes. I lifted my arm very slowly and tried to reach for his side, but he caught me and hauled me to my feet. [You know the rule: No tickling Elven lords.]
[You made that up!] I cried.
[. . . What is your point?]
I growled. [Can I not be faced fairly anywhere?!]
He caught the strained note in my voice. [You need to return to bed.]
[No!] I snarled obstinately. [I refuse to miss more than what I have!]
[Then will you tell us how you escaped Mordor?]
[Yes! Let us eat so that you may have your story!]
So we entered a large banquet hall where a feast had been laid out. It was a few minutes after I had finished and was waiting for everyone else to that Legolas, who sat to my left, drew my attention.
[I found this right after you were taken away by the Uruk-hai,] he explained quietly, so as not to disturb the others. [I kept it for you.]
He opened his fisted hand and revealed the Orb of Eru, in all its simple glory. I gasped and lunged to catch him in a hug, startling him as well as the rest of the table. [Oh thank you, Legolas! I feared I had lost it forever!]
[If I had known that you were so worried about it I would have returned it sooner,] he replied, still slightly bewildered as I kissed his cheek.
I drew away and accepted the small sphere. I cherished it, for it was--as far as Lady Galadriel told me, anyway--an heirloom of sorts. It was a gift to the Elves as a race, but it had been given by all to a relative in my father's family to use in the First Age against the dragons. So I was quite fond of it.
[Where did you find it?! I do not recall ever dropping it!]
[It was on the battlefield, after Keelica was brought down.]
I stared at him, all mirth gone. [. . . Keelica?]
He tilted his head and frowned and a voice farther up the table asked, "Do you not remember?"
I looked to Aragorn. "Remember what?"
"After the battle at Helm's Deep, when you returned from Lothlorien."
I searched my memory, but shook my head. "No . . . I can recall nothing. Why? What happened? Was I uncontrollable? Who did I kill?!"
Legolas drew my attention back to him. "You know the history of the Orb, do you not?"
"Of course I do! Morgoth corrupted the dragons, who had been helpers of Eru, and set them on Elves. The Valar imprisoned the remaining seven dragons who had not yet been lost--Pyrin of Fire, Aeryc of Wind, Terrashi of Earth, Hydriva of Water, Vitalux of Light-Life, Caligobi of Dark-Death, and the Mother of Dragons, Keelica--in the Orb of Eru and gifted it to the Elves to use against the dragons who had been turned to evil. Were it not for the Orb, it is very likely none of us would be here now."
"And you understand what environment the dragons need to be summoned?"
"Pyrin, Aeryc, Terrashi, and Hydriva are simply embodiments of the four basic elements and must be called from near the element that they hold sway over. They can be summoned and controlled by one with little more that intermediate experience in magic.
"Vitalux and Caligobi are embodiments of the two `primary' elements--the four basic elements can create either or both of these primaries--and must be called from the living or dead, or day or night, respectively. They can only be summoned and controlled by one with the power of the Istari or Maiar.
"Keelica . . . Keelica is not even alive. She was so powerful that the Valar could not compress her form as they had her children, so they were forced to slay her and imprison her soul in the Orb instead. She requires a female host body to exist in this world and cannot be summoned by anyone."
He took a deep breath and said, " What if I told you Keelica . . . borrowed your body?"
"I would have to laugh, because my body is not strong enough to withstand the strain her possession would create."
"You do not give yourself enough credit," Lady Galadriel told me.
"My Lady?" I queried blankly.
She smiled knowingly. "If you are not strong enough, you should be dead."
Legolas reached over and pinched the side of my neck, then twisted.
"Ow!" I cried, jerking away from him.
"You must be alive, then," was his conclusion.
"Could you possibly have been any rougher?!" I snapped, rubbing the side of my neck.
"Yes." He lifted his hand.
I grabbed it. "Stop! I was only asking!"
"Then do you believe me?"
". . . I have no choice."
"Then believe me," Lady Galadriel put in. "You have followed closely in your predecessor's footsteps."
"Wait, wait . . ." Elladan put in. " She was Keelica?"
"She was indeed the living conduit for Keelica's soul to enter this world in a physical form, yes," Lady Galadriel answered patiently.
"But why can I not remember?!" I demanded.
"You were sleeping," Legolas said thoughtfully. "Keelica told me."
I looked at the Orb I held in my hands. It sat there innocently, allowing me to muse to my heart's content. "Well then---"
"NAZGUL!" came the panicked cry from the guard outside.
In an instant I was at the window, along with half of the table.
"That is not possible!" Aragorn asserted.
"They should have all disappeared with the destruction of the One Ring!" agreed a man who looked quite similar to Boromir.
I narrowed my eyes at the black horse that reared just beyond range of arrows and frowned. "That cannot possibly be a Nazgul. Look at the horse. Its hooves look like crystal and its mane and tail are made of gold and silver hairs. It is one of the Mearas and they would never bear one of the Nine."
"But the being is dressed like one," Legolas admitted. His brow suddenly furrowed. "Wait . . ."
"Let me look at it," I volunteered. I closed my eyes and leapt out the window amid startled shouts. [Spirit of the Eagle, give me wings!]
Blazing white wings burst from my shoulders and I glided easily over the city and gate. The horse wheeled and ran to the northeast. I came alongside it and was able to get a clear look at its rider. It did indeed appear to be one of the Nazgul, as it wore a tattered black cloak with a deep hood and its hands and feet were armored in the same style as them, but I just did not feel the same as I had when looking at the Nazgul before. No fear or hate . . . just calm.
Then it waved.
It raised its far hand and waved at me.
Startled, I did as I had been conditioned to do ever since my birth and out of politeness, waved back. I sensed a smile from it as it turned to face forward and made the same shriek that I had always associated with the Nazgul before. The horse, even more clearly one of the Mearas now that I was close enough to see all details, lowered its head slightly and sped away over the grassy earth, faster than even Shadowfax had ever run.
I stopped and watched them disappear into the distance, then flew back to Minas Tirith, confused.
[Have you lost your mind?!] Legolas demanded, helping to balance me as I landed on the window again and then hopped inside, the wings disappearing with a rush of windblown feathers. [You could have been killed!]
"It looked and sounded very much like one of the Nazgul," I reported to the room, ignoring Legolas. "The horse had icy blue eyes and a bright silver/gold mane and tail and crystal hooves as I had said; it was even faster than Shadowfax and obviously one of the Mearas." I frowned. "Yet when I looked at the Nazgul I felt no malice and though it was well-armed it made no move to strike me down. It . . . waved at me."
"Waved at you?" Aragorn echoed. "How so?"
"In a very friendly manner. Perhaps as any of us would wave to someone we knew." I emulated the greeting the `Nazgul' had directed at me. "I do not feel that it meant harm to anyone, whoever it was."
My gaze was drawn to Lord Celeborn and Lady Galadriel, wondering if they knew anything of this. Lord Celeborn sat with his arms crossed, eyes unfocused as he looked at his half empty plate. From that alone I knew the two were in a deep telepathic discussion about this new being.
Finally, Lady Galadriel looked at Aragorn. "There is nothing to be concerned about," she assured him. "That rider you saw is not one of the Nazgul, though she may appear so in sight and sound. It will take your patience and a willingness to hear what she has to say to reveal her true voice. The next time she visits, please allow her inside the city and do not be angry with her if her horse follows her along the halls--it is quite fond of her."
"Who is she?" I asked.
"It is not important for you to know," was the answer. "She was sent to aid the race of Men."
"Why will you not tell me? What if she comes to Veikai for aid? I must be able to provide the city guard with information so they do not shoot her."
"She is one who survived the Fall of Beleriand by the grace of the Valar and is now doing their bidding in repayment."
I knew by her tone that I was going to get nothing more from her and sighed heavily as I returned to my chair and flopped into it in a most un-lady-like manner. I frowned--my hand was shaking unwillingly. I uncurled my fingers and found the Orb of Eru trembling in my palm, a faint resonant chord emitting from it.
"I am still waiting to hear about how you managed to escape Mordor alive," Lord Celeborn put in, startling me from my contemplative state.
"Well, it could not have been Keelica," Aragorn concluded.
"No, Keelica did not save me," I answered softly, my thoughts drifting back to my time in Mordor after its fall. "Haldir did."
So how was that? I think it moved a bit too fast for an ending chapter and then just sort of dropped everyone off in the middle of a conversation (which is why I said Dusk of Ages picks up immediately after it). I'll have to avoid that next time . . . By the way, if anyone is curious about the not-Nazgul, she has her own story that I forgot to mention--Journey of Mercy. It'll be posted eventually, just like the others, but I just wanted to reassure you if you didn't think I'd explain her purpose. If you'd like stats on the not-Nazgul and her loyal steed, you can visit my website (http://www.geocities.com/reaper_nanashi/) and visit Tale 0 of my LOTR page to find them.
Anyway, be looking for Dusk of Ages soon!! Until then, namarie!