Return of the King: Kyshri's Story - The quest to destroy the One Ring told through the eyes of a runaway Elf (part twelve of thirteen)
[Elvish thought or telepathy]
Recap of Tale 11 . . .
[Wait a moment,] Elladan challenged, examining me. [We saw you then, but where were you on our next visit and the one after that? Are you not one of Lady Galadriel's maidens?]
I frowned and Lord Celeborn answered before I could. [She and Haldir had a disagreement and she left Lorien.]
A cruel smirk curled Elladan's lips. [You ran away.]
I snorted at the pointedness in his tone. [Are you attempting to make me feel ashamed? Do not waste your breath, my lord. I felt no shame for my behavior then and neither do I feel shame for it now. It has done me well to leave Lorien for these nearly three millennia--I have learned far more than I could have if I had remained in the forest.]
Telrak, apparently from nowhere, winged across the balcony and landed on my right shoulder. I lifted my hand absently to scratch his breast and turned to the courtyard as Rilloc gave a cry. [Rilloc?] She informed me that Pikmon was looking for a place to land. [I suppose he may stay in the courtyard with you, but what is he doing here?]
Pikmon dropped to the balcony and poked his head over the rail toward me. I smiled and hugged as much of his face as I could. [Hello, love! What are you doing flying about in the daylight?]
He turned around and Sulaine slid from his back onto the stone rail of the balcony. [Sulaine!] I cried, returning his too-tight embrace with a few awkward pats to his back. [Sulaine, what are you doing here?]
Pikmon glided to the courtyard as Sulaine released me and began to examine my fully-bandaged arms through the gossamer fabric that made up the sleeves of my gown. [Telrak arrived at my window in Veikai a week or two ago with a note from a King Elessar of Gondor who wished for a meeting to discuss the rebuilding of Middle-earth. He also mentioned that you had been lost in the pits of Mordor and were found on the edge of death.]
[I think that was a bit of an overstatement, Sulaine,] I assured him, politely withdrawing my hands from his grasp. [I am fine.]
[Are you sure?] he pressed. [I have been studying healing ever since Veikai was attacked by the Orcs and---]
[I am sure,] I told him.
[But the letter---]
[Sulaine. I am fine. Please calm down.]
He took a breath and dropped his head to signal that he was quieting. He then raised his head. [Oh. By the way, the others came by ground--they should be here in a moment or two.]
I frowned. [The stable is awfully full, from what I hear, and I---]
He grinned. [Now why in the world would Veikaites travel on horseback?]
There was a sharp whistle from below on the path. I leaned over the rail and waved energetically. [Gunrey! Josuin!]
Both mounted on tall bucks, they returned the wave. [Good to see you still alive! Sulaine was ready to sprout wings and fly here!]
I frowned at Sulaine. [You fret too much; you shall die of worrying one day.]
He crossed his arms defensively, but said nothing.
A quiet deer call drew my attention down again. [My darling Damone! You came to see me! How brave of you to venture into the open! My thanks!] My gaze then went to the boy he carried. [Istaq! How fair your eyes?]
He waved exuberantly at me, as though I could not see him there below on the path. [They are perfectly healed, my lady! All thanks to your touch!]
[That is good to hear! Your eyes are ever invaluable!]
Elladan and Elrohir suddenly looked past me, raised their hands in surrender, lowered and turned away their heads, and took a step back as though to avoid some sort of confrontation with someone.
My answer came in the form of a goblet that held wine. [Thank you, Legolas. But there is no need for you to be aggressive--I seriously doubt either of them has an interest in me now that I have threatened their lives.] I twisted to look over my shoulder at him and Telrak chirped, fluttering to his shoulder.
[I was not being aggressive,] he replied.
[Oh?] Elladan queried. [Then that was the darkest look of friendly greeting I have ever seen.]
A set of hands abruptly covered my eyes at the exact same time a second set covered my mouth. I knew this trick quite well and waited for a third set of hands to cover my ears before I realized that they would not come. Hurt lanced through my heart momentarily as I thought of Haldir, but I recovered and then smiled beneath the hands, lifting my free hand to dislodge one over my mouth.
[Now who of all the many I have met would dare cover my eyes and mouth?] I asked playfully, making them snicker. [It would not happen to be my two darling friends Rumil and Orophin, would it?]
They released me and I turned around. Rumil feigned defeat and said, [She grows smarter and smarter every day.]
Orophin mock-bowed and said sarcastically, [You are far too shrewd for the likes of us, Kyshri.]
I laughed and hugged Orophin, then Rumil, who sniffed at my hair. [You no longer smell like the Dead Marshes.]
[Oh really? It must have either worn off or been singed off by Orodruin. That or because of all my singed hair and cooked skin you simply cannot smell it.]
Orophin grabbed my head and pulled me back toward him, nearly toppling me over backward. Legolas deftly caught my goblet and held it for me. [You were in the Dead Marshes?!]
[Yes. It was Turkal's brilliant idea. Someone remind me to never listen to him ever again.]
[You were in Orodruin?!]
[Yes. Did no one tell you?]
[Rumil told me that you were going to find the periannath, not that you were going to walk into the teeth of danger!]
It seemed that Orophin had happily taken over Haldir's place in the fretting jurisdiction, something that was no doubt aided by the fact that he had a family of his own. [I was not just simply `walking into the teeth of danger' because I was trying to cause you distress, Orophin. Where did you think they were going on their quest when they left Lorien?]
[You could have been killed!]
[. . . That is a new development?]
Speaking of family . . . [I never actually met your children, did I?]
He jerked back to stare at me for my sudden change of subject and Rumil let out a guffaw at him. [No, my dear, you have not! You must drop by Lothlorien one day to see them! I have taught them well!]
I rolled my eyes. [I am sure you have. Their mother must curse you for it.]
Rumil managed to feign offense. [I have done nothing but teach them---]
[To kill each other by any means possible,] Orophin snarled, turning on his twin brother.
Rumil howled in delight. [The opportunity . . . I could not pass it by!]
I laughed as well because I knew Orophin was exaggerating. I was willing to bet my life that Rumil was not so cruel because when I had been young Rumil had always been the one to give me his cloak at the first sign of a breeze. Haldir may have fussed over me the most, but it was Rumil who had acted as the overbearing mother in the faintest shift of weather and I was not even truly related to him. I was unable to imagine him favoring me beyond his own twin brother's children--it was an impossible thought.
A familiar cry from inside drew my attention and I pushed past Sulaine and Rumil to see into the chamber. Istaq was shrinking away from an Elf with dark hair and I hurried to his defense, Sulaine on my heels. We reached him about the same time Gunrey and Josuin did and the four of us formed a barrier between the Elf and Istaq, causing the Elf--who I recognized from Istaq's description as Lord Elrond of Rivendell--to retreat a step in surprise.
At the abrupt congregation that had been made much attention was drawn to us and I winced inwardly. This was not some show to be goggled at. It was deadly serious politics and inherent rights.
He looked over the four of us calculatingly, his gaze narrowing on Gunrey, who was also a runaway from Rivendell. Focusing on me because I was at the fore of the group, he commanded, [Step aside.]
Under certain circumstances I might have done so quite happily and with a bow. However, this was not one of those circumstances. I straightened, looked him square in the eye, and said firmly, [No.]
[I would speak to Istaq face to face,] he informed me diplomatically. [I have no intention of . . . punishing him.]
I heard the honesty in his words and just as I was about to agree, I felt a hand on my back and a soft voice from behind me. [. . . Lady Kyshri, I will . . .]--he swallowed nervously--[speak to him.]
Turning, I put my hand on his shoulder as he stepped forward. He looked at me curiously and I told him gently, [Remember, you are under the protection of the Patrons of Veikai, Istaq. Even Tirash and Ceripe watch over you from the Halls of Mandos. No matter what decision you may decide to make today, you shall always have a home in Veikai.]
He smiled faintly. [Thank you, Lady Kyshri.]
I stepped aside and stood near Sulaine, crossing my arms loosely and shifting my weight to one foot. This was a rather subtle hint that I used to relax the others. It seemed that for some reason, even though I was a female the males had looked to me for leadership ever since the beginning despite the numerous mistakes I had made before and since. Still, I had them following me, so by acting at ease I had the power to make the others at ease as well. I am not even sure it was something that they did consciously; they merely did it.
Istaq and Lord Elrond had their discussion. You know how it is; the typical family worry and then the ensuing guilt trip that they try to cleverly cram down your throat so you will go along quietly.
Yet Istaq, who appeared to have been wilting more and more the longer Lord Elrond went on, straightened at the end. [That is all very well, Lord Elrond, but my decision to leave Rivendell was not simply over such pettiness as what age I would be allowed to leave the valley. It was a matter of trust. They did not trust me to be careful and if my own parents did not trust me, then how could I be expected to trust myself? I could not exist that way then and I cannot now. I will gladly visit my first home, but my new and permanent home is in Veikai, where . . .]--he bowed his head deeply and closed his eyes, his shoulders hunching slightly--[where I all but killed nine others with my own hands and because of the grace and trust of the Patrons I am allowed to make up for that mistake by learning from it and not letting it happen again.]
Istaq bowed formally to him and retreated, officially and politely ending the discussion and saying to all in no uncertain terms that he would not be swayed in his choice.
I caught Istaq's arm as he passed. [Are you sure of this?]
He smiled sadly. [Yes. I have given the issue much thought ever since I first left. I am better off living in misery under your tyrannical rule than living in misery locked in my bedroom.]
I snorted. [Is that how it is? First I am overprotective, then I am overbearing, and now I am a tyrant?]
[Well what is it you think you looked like when you entered Veikai pocked with Orc arrows and drenched in blood with an expression that could have made the dead cringe? Had anyone asked me at the time, I would have assured them that yes, I was going to die.]
[Child, I have met death many times in my life, beginning with the deaths of my parents in my sixth decade. I have seen death hundreds upon thousands of times since then. What could possibly make you think I would like to be the cause of it to anyone but an Orc?]
[Lady Kyshri, I swear to you that it was the expression upon your face. It was neither a coherent nor a conscious thought.]
I humphed at that. [Yes, well, now I must thank you for making me sound like a beast.]
He grinned in answer. [You have but to call the next time you wish for such help! You know I enjoy making myself useful!]
I rolled my eyes and slapped him limply on the back as he passed, turning to face Lord Elrond, who was focused on Gunrey. [You have certainly changed a great deal in your absence from Rivendell.]
[Yes, My Lord,] Gunrey answered respectfully.
[I suppose you will say you have been . . . enlightened . . . as well?]
[I have travelled much farther than I likely would have had I remained, but I would not say I was particularly enlightened. Nor have I learned nothing at all. Then again, my reasons for leaving are far different from Istaq's.]
He inclined his head acquiescently. [. . . And Ceripe?]
[He died the way he always said he wished to, My Lord. In battle, slaying as many Orcs as he could in his final blow.]
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.]
We are nearing the end! I have several more fics I could post, but they are all in various stages of incompletion. I will list them here and you may cast your vote in your comment--the one with the most votes will be worked on diligently and then posted!!
Kyshri's Story --> A prologue to LOTR: KS detailing the major points in Kyshri's childhood from her birth all the way to the point where the Fellowship discovers her in the beginning of LOTR: KS.
Dusk of Ages --> A continuation of LOTR: KS that explores the whole point of the phoenix pendant Kyshri gave to Legolas at the end of the first LOTR: KS and the repercussions of Linking. It's chock full of romantic angst between Kyshri and Legolas because, as I have mentioned before for other Tales, much of this is fangirl dribble.
Starlight Falling --> A loose sequel to Startracer, Starchild that focuses on Mithelen and Phantom as they accept their destiny and face off against an adversary that had been previously--and foolishly--overlooked.
The Untold Tale --> A tribute to Boromir of Gondor--who gave up everything he had for the greater good--and the power of love. Supports the concept of reincarnation.
[Can't Remember the Title! ] --> On ScribeOz, an LOTR fanfic site, there was a challenge for being `stuck (really) in Middle-earth'. I read one of the entries for this--a very good fic where the woman stays in Rivendell for the entirety of the War of the Ring and has to learn Sindarin as well as how to ride a horse and other, less pleasant, things--and I thought, "What if a girl ended up in Lothlorien instead and had to deal with the same things?" So I went from there with the idea.
Keepers of Sanctuary --> In a technologically-advanced world where computers are actually physical, flesh-and-blood people from unnumbered movies, books, and animes, two young women find a pair of `computers' who are not of the mass-produced variety and get pulled into a conflict they will be forced to see through to the end or risk losing everything they have ever loved. Focuses on Rumil and Orophin, the poor underappreciated dears.
Remember to vote in your comment!! If you forget or want to vote even if you aren't part of TORC, you can still e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I am not particularly partial to any of these fics, so it is important that every vote be heard!!