The Kelena - Part Three

As Arane laied out his bed role and curled up by the fire to rest for the night, Legolas watched as Ceit walked in an ever widening circle about camp, mumbling things under her breath. Now and a gain she'd stop and place her left palm on the ground and her mumbling would increase.

More prayers and wards, I guess he thought to himself and truned back to the fire, prodding it slightly. If it makes her feal safer, so be it. As far as I'm concerned, we'll leave her at her destination and be on our way again.

"There now." she came and sat down on the log beside him. "That should keep the dogs away."

"These 'dogs' you keep mentioning," Legolas turned to her. "What is it that frightens you about them so that you pray so frevrently?"

"Oh, no! No!" she laughed. "You are quite mistaken. Forgive me, but we simply call them dogs here in the southern parts of Rathlas. Nore do I fear for myself. I fear for you, young sir. In your lands they would be called wargs."-she said wargs as if it were an odd thing and hard to pronounce for her-"The wards I set are far stronger than any your dear Radagast the Brown could have put up."

"How is it that you know of him?"

"All the istari are origionally from Rathlas, but that is not why you are here. Is it?" She became more serious with the new topic. "The istari were sent out for their crimes to be taught by the Malthin and sent to aid Middle-earth as punishment, but I should not say more on it. It is forbidden even to say that much." She rose and gathered her own bedroll from the cart. "Come now, you should rest as well. We have a long day ahead of us before we reach the next city."

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

Arane was the first to rise in the morning. What he found was not very pleasing to the eye, but it was better than what could have happened had Ceit not done what she had. Wargs larger than he'd ever seen or heard of lay all about their camp, each one as still and lifeless as the next.

"By Ilúvatar!" he swore alloud. "How can this be?"

The others awoke and looked about them. Legolas' xpression was just as shocked as Arane's, but Ceit simply shrugged it off as if it were nothing new to her and went about her morning rituals.

"They're... large." Legolas stepped carefully over to one of them. "Ceit, how? Why did we not hear them? How did they just lay down and die like that?"

"I didn't set thoes bariars for nothing." she said casually. "They are a common thing to be found in these parts. Some are even tamed and kept as hunting dogs or even pets, but the wild ones, the larger ones, are still hunting freely all across Rathlas, and few parties move too far from their villages or cities without one who has any training related to that one recieves if borne into a Nentoloth scociety."

Nither of the elves understood much of what she said, but let it go without further explination. They were still too enthralled by the site all about the small camp. After a while, Ceit was able to get them moving again and on their way farther East acoss Calar into another area called Salin Mala, a wooded area that greatly resembled Lothlorien.

On the ground one could see the typical shops of any town. If one looked clocely at the strange mounds rising out of the ground here and there, they could just make out a handel here or there on each. Ceit explained that the shorter of the Telokin people lived underground in a large, interconnected community of homes. Also, when one looked up, they could see houses and other structures in the bows of the trees as one might find in Lorien. Again, Ceit explained that the taller of the Telokin races prefered the trees for protection and living. The ground was simply the middle place where both sides could be among one another freely and comfortably.

Once there in Linara, as Ceit called it, she asked to be called by Timichara rather than Ceit. Ceit was the name that she used in Calar and Esteme Ketor because it was given to her by her father and he was from that area, but now that she was in her mother's homeland, she would be known by Narinya Cocachitawa.

"Though they honor me with my titles, you must not call me by eather." she said. "You are my guests and have my protection. They will only know that if you call me by my mother-name. If you call me by my father-name, they will believe you are here from Esteme Ketor seeking to replace me as Kaelen I once did."

They rode on a little farther into the heart of Linara, a true small city with fortified walls and more solid structures for housing and shops built from the ground up. A gaurd was set about the walls and at the gate, a gaurd that shocked Legolas and Arane since it was made up of almost all women and one or two men. While the women were of the Taller Telokin, the men were of the shorter. The women carried staves, and daggers {the higher rankeing officers carried swords only}, and the men carried throwing knives and bows.

"Here is where we'll rest for a while." Timichara said with a sigh. "My home is in the center of the city where the tree stands." she pointed to the only tree inside the walls and well constructed, whitewashed buildings. "The palace of the Kelena is built through all the strudy branches. There is plenty of room for you, and stables at the foot for the horses."

Royalty then? Arane and Legolas thought together.

What an odd woman she is, but perhaps I'll understand in time. This is an odd place, thus odd cultures and odd royalty. Legolas thought to himself.

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