The Falling Flame - Part Four

Rumil had been missing for several hours when Haldir returned to report to Celeborn that he had not seen any activity on the areas he'd been patroling. Worried, he took a few others with him to serch for his younger brother, only to find him crying over a fresh grave, holding an anclet in his hand. Near by, the elves saw several mortals lying dead around an extinguished fire, arrows protruding from them, and cuts from Rumil's sword marking them.

"What happened here?" one of the others asked no one in perticular.

"Isolde." Rumil said through his tears. "They captured her, then fought over her and killed her in the fight."

"You need to come home, gwador." Haldir placed a hand onRumil's shoulder. "These edain are getting to be too much of a thret if it only takes three or four to capture our people. Isolde is gone, but you do not have to be the next."

"What do you know of losing a loved one?" Rumil turned on him. "It's not like you ever cared about our parents anyway."

"This is not the time for that." Haldir stated bluntly.

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

"I thought we weren't supposed to meet again for a coupple months yet, King Elessar." Faramir said, rising from the floor where he kneeled to he and Arwen for a moment befor speaking.

"There are other reasons that I called you here than were stated inthe letter." Aragorn said. "They are more personal and require attention as soon as possible. We will still await Eomer's arrival."

"Nor is this the proper place to be speaking of them." Arwen reminded.

"I see." Faramir nodded, a bit confused.

{A few weeks later}
"We will be needing the help of your best Rangers and infiltrym men for this. It is that important." Aragorn said when they gathered in the king's personal study together after Eomer had come and they could all drop the ranks and titles to speak planely to one aonther about the matter as friends again.

"You never have said exactly what is going on that is so pressing and yet secritive, Aragorn." Eomer said.

"We don't know where they are from," Aragorn said, clearly uneasy, "but there are highly skilled men and women who have been hunting elves. Manny along Lorien have been reported missing or found dead."

"They've slipped past the wardens?" Faramir looked unnerved. "I thought it was death to any man who tried to enter the Forbidden Wood of Lothlorien."

"It was." Arwen said. "My grandparents only allowed the fellowship to pass because of Legolas and Aragorn. If it had not been for their presence, they would have all died then and there."

"Even I cannot go into the city any longer." Aragorn said.

"Why is that?" Eomer asked.

"Because he is of elven decent." Legolas said as if it were'nt the most obvious thing. "The people know this, and any "hunters" near by may make an attempt on his life. Though Eldarion is old enough to rule, it is still a long way off befor it is his time to do so. Would you have him die just for going among the people?"

"How long has this been happening?" Faramir spoke up. "And why do you require us to infiltrate them?"

"It has been happening for some time now, and if you wish to stop it at the sourse, we need to find who started these rediculus beliefs that elves are just another creature to be hunted for sport. I'd prefer to end this from within their own people, not create an out right hunt for hunters. You know how dificult that can be." Aragorn said, the Ranger in him showing through the comrad and fellow monarch.

"Thikning like Thorongil again?" Eomer asked, half serious and half jesting.

"Like Strider, if you ask me." a voice said, let in by the gaurd at the door. "Then, again I don't know this Thorongil."

"You've made good time, Sam." Aragorn turned to the three hobbits and the dwarf.

"Well, it wasn't easy getting through Moria now that the bridge is broken, but it was still a good shortcut to take." Gimli said, recieving an "are you insane?" look from the others. Gimli laughed and gave them the truth, "We took the was Gandalf wanted to go in the first place."

A relieved sigh filled the room.

"We did come across some of 'em though." Sam said. "The elves nearly killed us when we went into Lorien. All of 'em were on edge, but Haldir was there."

"How manny more losses did they say they had?" Arwen asked them. "One man was brought in for killing one of the elves, and they said he was only one of manny. I heard Haldir say something about a elven woman named Isolde. Said somethin' about her bein' Rumil's-"

"Rumil's wife." Arwen cut him off.

Sam nodded.

"I can bring my best men to you in a week." Faramir said, his mind resolved. "I expect to join them at you leave."

"No." Aragorn said. "I need you to stay in Ithilin to help watch over the elves there. Legolas will acompany you back to his own lands there. The other men will be enough untill the time comes."

"In two weeks time," Eomer spoke up, "I can also bring manny men friendly tward elves and willing to serve your comand to bring down these so called "hunters". They are scattered about Rohan, but they should be enough to aid the men from Ithilin."

"We will see." said Arwen. "We cannot even trust the gaurds here in the palace any longer. they will have to be brought befor us individually befor we can trust them to aid efficiently in this endevour."

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