The Elf From America-P art Eighteen - The White Rider
"Why did Celeborn warn us against Fangorn?" Legolas asked Aragorn.
"How shall a man answer?"
"You have journeyed farther than I. I have heard only of songs which tell of the Onodrim or as Men call them Ents."
Emilie sat up and hugged her knees to her chest listening intently.
"Fangorn holds some dark secret of its own that I know not of."
"And I do not wish to know," Gimli said. "Let nothing that dwells in Fangorn be troubled on my account!"
"Gimli, remember it is perilous to cut bough or twig from a living tree in Fangorn. But do not stray far in search of dead wood. Rather let the fire die. Call me at need!"
Aragorn lay back and instantly fell into slumber. Emilie looked at Legolas.
"Well, I should like to know about the Ents," she said. "I have a feeling that we shall meet up with one."
"What makes you say that, fair elf?" he asked her.
She lay her chin in the palms of her hands and said, "I just have a feeling." Yeah right!
"You elves are very strange," Gimli said. "This forest is frightening and perilous."
"What makes you say that, master dwarf?" Elenya asked.
"He thinks any forest is," Legolas smiled.
"That is false. I loved the Golden Wood."
"You mean you loved the Lady of the Golden Wood," Elenya smiled.
They watched Gimli turn colors. Legolas lay back against the ground his hands folded across his breast. Elenya watched a smile slide across his face.
"What are you grinning at?" she asked turning her eyes toward the fire.
"You've been complaining all day that you have been exhausted."
"I have not! Excuse me. I want to go check on Celeniol."
"The horses are well."
Elenya paid him no heed and walked to where the horses stood. She made her way to Celeniol's face and placed her forehead upon it.
"Hey girl. How are you doing? I'll miss you. I know you're leaving soon because of the man that's coming to spy on us," she whispered the last part. Elenya ran her hand along the horses mane and slowly kissed the grey spot upon Celeniol's forhead.
"I'll see you later."
Elenya made her way back to the camp. Legolas lay motionless his eyes closed tightly. She lay down next to him her back to the fire. She soon passed into slumberland and didn't wake until morning.
* * *
Elenya woke and instantly sat up and gripped her back. She would have tried to crack it if she hadn't have noticed the absence of the horses. The others were already up. To act natural, she asked, "Where are the horses?"
"They are gone! Gone! My bones are chilled and we must walk through this place!" Gimli said.
Aragorn explained to her about the old man in gray clothes that appeared the night before. Gimli believed it was an evil phantom of Saruman. They decided to keep going through the forest and look for signs of Merry and Pippin. They soon found the mallorn leaf of Lorien due to the eyes of Elenya. The men debated among themselves about the knife that cut them while Elenya already had read the riddle within a moment.
"The orcs were commanded to keep the hobbits alive," she said. "To kill us and us only was their order which nearly happened to me." Her eyes met Legolas's. " Merry and Pippin are together. I know they are. Nothing would ever seperate that pair. The orc dragged them here, but was soon killed by the horseman. I believe Pippin had already untied his hands which is why he was able to cut the bonds of his feet. He and Merry then stopped here and ate lembas before starting their journey into Fangorn."
Legolas looked at her in wonder. "How in the world did you come by that?"
"Common sense. We must press on!"
They soon wandered to the place where the hobbits were found by Treebeard. They decided to climb up the tree. As she climbed behind Aragorn and in front of Legolas and Gimli, she was glad that she wore no dress. As they made it to the top, Legolas pointed through the trees at something.
"Can you not see him?" he asked the others. " It is he the man passing from tree to tree."
"I see him Legolas," Elenya said.
Gimli saw him and instantly said, "Bend your bow, Legolas. Get it ready! It is he the old man in rags that frightened our horses."
"No, Legolas, do not fear!" Elenya said to him staying his hand.
"Watch and wait!" Aragorn spoke.
The man reached the bottom of the tree where they were.
"Well met indeed my friends. I wish to speak with you. Shall I come up or shall you come down?"
The old man began to climb up the tree.
"Now! Stop him, Legolas!" Gimli shouted.
"Did I not say I wished to speak with you? Put the bow away Master Elf as the female said. And you, Master Dwarf, pray take your hand from that axe till I am up. You will not need such arguments!"
The old man asked them of their tale of why two elves, a dwarf, and a man travel in Fangorn. But they all remained silent.
"You are then tracking hobbits. Don't stare as if you have never heard the name before. They climbed up here yesterday and met someone that they did not expect. But come let us sit down and be at ease."
Gimli's hand went at once to his axe shaft. Legolas picked up his bow. Elenya simply grinned which stunned Legolas.
"Stop!" she yelled.
The others looked at her including the old man.
"Look at this man!" she said to the others. "We know him well very well indeed."
The old man drew apart his cloak revealing his white clothes garbed underneath.
"Saruman!" Gimli yelled. "Tell us where you have hid our friends or I shall make a dent in your cap that will never heal!"
Emilie rolled her eyes in exasperation. The old man sprang to his feet and leapt to the top of a large rock. His white garments shone in the sumlight. He lifted up his staff, and Gimli's axe fell to the ground. Legolas gave a shout and shot an arrow which also lay to the ground. But Emilie cried out.
"Mithrandir! Gandalf, oh Gandalf!"
"Gandalf!" Aragorn asked. " You return to us in our need. What veil was over my eyes?! And how did you know, Elenya?"
"Your friend the she-elf here knows many things. Yet she is dangerous!" Gandalf answered. "She knows more than any of you could hope to know in a lifetime. But Gandalf, yes, that was my name. But I am in white now!"
They spoke of many things. Gandalf told them of the hobbits and who they went with. The foursome also told Gandalf of how Sam went with Frodo and how Boromir fell. Gandalf told them of his tale out of the Balrog's grasp and of the Winged Messenger Gwahir. He told them many things of Saruman as well.
"I thought Fangorn was dangerous, Gandalf," Gimli said.
"Dangerous! And so am I: more dangerous than anything you shall ever meet unless you come face to face with the Dark Lord himself. And Aragorn is dangerous as well as the elves. And you are dangerous in your own way, Gimli son of Gloin."
Elenya let out a slight giggle at that.
"But the Ents shall wake up and find that they are strong!"
"Yes!" Elenya suddenly cried out without thinking. "They shall conquer Saruman! They shall conquer Isengard and take revenge on the harm he has done the forests here!"
Legolas looked at her in amazement. She covered her hands over her mouth and then buried her face in her hands. Would she have to reveal her secret? But Gandalf began talking.
"Soon we must go." BLESS YOU GANDALF!!!!
"We will follow you wherever you will go, Gandalf," Aragorn said. "The Dark Lord has nine yet we have one mightier than they: the White Rider!"