Rogue Stranger - Chapter 3

Chapter 3


As they galloped on, Jack noticed the arrow was only in Rowen's arm, and would not do too much damage. It may have hit a nerve of some kind, or perhaps just the initial shock is what caused Rowen to fall to the ground. She was fine now, but wincing in pain. The arrow had gone straight through her arm and the tip poked out on the other side. As time wore on, Jack slowed Dragon to a canter, then to a trot. The frisky mare was sweating, but pranced all the same. Rowen did not speak. In truth she was embarrassed to have been so careless, but why would the elves hunt her down anyway? Didn't they have better things to do? What had Jack been saying when the arrow hit her arm? Rowen opened her mouth to ask, but was overcome by a wave of pain and swayed in the saddle. Jack looked at the sickly hue of her face and brought his horse to a halt. Rowen jumped down, but sat down quickly again as a wave of dizziness overcame her. She was loosing blood, even though the arrow was still stuck in her arm. Jack kneeled down beside her and snapped of the tip, then pulled the shaft with a yank. A very deep color of scarlet blood ran over her dark skin, but hardly left a spot on her brownish-crimson clothes. Without a work, Jack bound her arm tightly in black fabric, putting a few crushed herbs in her wound as well.

"That ought to help for now," Jack stated as he turned into the woods.

"Where are you going?" Rowen replied drowsily.

"I'm going to see if I can find a healer. I'll be back soon; don't worry, Dragon will keep you company."

With that he disappeared into the woods on foot. Rowen fell asleep instantly, her aching arm by her side.

*************

A few hours later, Rowen awoke to the anxious whimpering and fidgeting of Dragon. The horse was spooked by something. Rowen started as she heard something rustle in the brush a few yards away, but it abruptly stopped as the sound of booted feet approached. At this welcoming noise Dragon stopped fidgeting and her eyes brightened. Sure enough, Jack was back, and was walking with another man at his side. Like Jack, he was tall (though not as tall as Jack), dark-haired, and clothed in travel-worn gear. Rowen, quite comfortable at the moment despite her recent fright, remained sitting on the ground as the two neared. They were talking quietly, but as they neared Jack spoke up.

"Rowen! We're in luck - better than a healer! I found who I was looking for in the first place!"

The man next to Jack turned his head and looked at Rowen, and for a second something flickered in his eyes, some odd twist of thought. He faltered a second, then bent down to look at Rowen's arm.

"This is Sabor," Jack stated. At this introduction, Sabor looked up from Rowen's arm and grinned at her with deep, dark green eyes. There was something Rowen did not like about him, especially his eyes - those glinting eyes seemed ... something just wasn't right about him. Rowen avoided his gaze while he worked, though his eyes frequently flicked up to her face while he worked.

As Sabor worked, Rowen began to think intensely and form many questions she had held off before. Why was Jack with Lorien elves? Why in middle earth did he save her from them? What did the elves think she was? Why had Jack helped her yet again when she was hit with an arrow? Who was Sabor and why had Jack been looking for him? Why was Sabor so... unnerving to her? Jack certainly trusted him... but wait, how has Jack proven himself trustworthy? Rowen's head began to ache as she went through all this in her mind. Suddenly Sabor got up - Rowen's arm was healed, bandaged, and no longer hurt. Sabor held out his hand to help her up. She ignored his hand and pushed herself up.

"So, lady, of what race are you?" Sabor asked to Rowen.

"Elf." Rowen said shortly, surprising Jack. Had she not said earlier she was not an elf? Yet something told him that it was now that she was lying... especially the way she kept her normally challenging eyes to the ground.

The three moved on through the woods though late afternoon and dusk. Rowen did not know where they were going, but curiosity kept her traveling with the two men, who seemed to be heading for somewhere, often talking in low voices. After awhile Sabor decided to take a ride on Dragon, his feet sore from traveling for a very long time. Grinning, he offered his hand down to Rowen for her to climb up and sit in front of him, but she refused, saying she was fine to walk and would rather do so anyhow. Jack seemed rather annoyed at this gesture, but kept to himself. Dragon herself did not seem too thrilled to carry someone other than her master. After a bit though Sabor jumped back down to walk with them.

The sun had set. The woods were dark and dense, and the road not too wide. Jack lit a lantern and carried it. Rowen, who walked next to Dragon with her hand on the horse's neck, suddenly felt the muscle twitch and contract. Dragon's eyes showed white around the edges, and she began to fidget again. It was then that Rowen's ears picked up the same sound she had heard earlier: rustling in the brush. Then the company heard, too close for comfort, a wolf howl in the woods.

Chapter 1: http://www.theonering.com/docs/9127.html
Chapter 2: http://www.theonering.com/docs/9141.html

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