Twisted Reality - Part Fourteen: Eagle's Landing
Yet as tired as she was when she lay down on the slightly lumpy matress, she couldn't go to sleep. She tried counting numbers, forwards and backwards, then she tried counting sheep, which didn't work either. She even tried playing songs she barely remembered in her head, but nothing worked. Still she was unable to sleep.
Kelsey sat up cross-legged on the bed, and looked around. The two small windows were open, because this far south it got stuffy in the summer without a fan to circulate the air. The moonlight streamed in onto the rather large wooden armchair and round mahogany table. An oil lantern sat unlit on the far side of the table.
Her gaze strayed to the large chest opposite the bed. Her sword, archery equipment, and all the rest of her packed belongings lay inside those two doors.
It had grown steadily colder as she surveyed the room, so Kelsey rose from the bed, but only after a brief struggle with unwinding the sheets from her legs (she had tossed and turned more than she knew, apparently). She shivered as she felt the chilling air blow through the windows. Closing the shutters and drawing the coverings together on the nearest one, she paused as she made her way to the second window. A quiet, soft sound outside was what stopped her. It was like waves crashing lazily on the shore.
It was now well past midnight, so Kelsey figured she was the only person save maybe the guards (who, she had a sneaking suspicion, were alseep) to hear this noise. She peered out the window. A bird, perhaps thousands of feet in the air, and undoubtably huge, judging by the size it appeared so far off, swept over Edoras surprisingly slow.
"Gwaihir..." she whispered to herself.
The eagel, or so it looked, shrieked when she said the Windlord's name, as if in recognition. It circled lower over the city, just low enough for Kelsey to see the glint reflect off of its eyes. They were sharp, piercing even. Almost like Galadriel's. The bird circled once more and landed about 100 yards outside the gates of the city.
Hurriedly Kelsey threw on her pants and a shirt, grabbed her cloak and sword out of the wardrobe, and dashed out of the room. She sped down the stairs, as she was on the second floor, but slowed to a walk, so as not to engage any suspicion from the owner of the inn, and crossed the lower level (also a tavern of sorts). Once she had cleared the bar, she fled out the door.
She raced through the streets, hoping she hadn't been imagining the eagle. No lights were on in any of the houses, confirming her beliefs that most of Edoras was asleep. She jogged the last few yards to the gate, and as she had suspected, the guards were slumped on the ground in deep slumber. They didn't wake as she passed out of the city and onto the plain.
What Kelsey saw she remembered for the rest of her life. A silver gray eagle, at least 15 feet long, with the most amazing golden eyes stared back at her with slight curiousity.
'I wonder why she is so special,' he wondered to himself. [I am Gwaihir, as you said before. I bear a message for you, Watcher of the Night.]
[You could hear me just then?] she asked in amazement.
[Eagles have good ears,] he returned.
[I suppose they do.] she paused, [You speak Quenya. That is usually just reserved for songs of old or legendary poems,] she said as she crept ever so closer to Gwaihir the Windlord.
[I know every language of Middle-earth, save only Entish. Its much too slow to bother with, but back to my mission. I bear a message for you from... someone important, to say the least.]
[Who?] She thought it could be one of three people: Gandalf, of course, since he was great friends with the eagels; Haldir, who had somehow come to know and love them; or Galadriel, because, well, she was Galadriel.
[I am not obliged to say,] Gwaihir's beak had made a crooked sort of smile and his eyes twinkled.
She rolled her eyes, [Go on then.]
[My message is this, and I know not how you are supposed to know what this means: Seek the evening star's shine and do not stray too close to overly-sharp fangs.]
Kelsey pondered a minute about the 'clue', so to speak. Then she got it. 'Seek the evening star's shine' meant Rivendell, and 'don't stray too close to overly-sharp fangs' reffered to the tower of Orthanc, also called Mount Fang. So, who ever it was that sent the riddle wanted her to come to Rivendell (most likely the Council of Elrond), but not too close to Isengard, home of the traiter Saruman.
While she had been thinking, Gwaihir had begun to move around, and sort of twitch, as if he was having spasms of some sort.
[What's wrong?] Kelsey asked, slightly of Gwaihir now. His wingspan had to have been well over 30 feet.
He spoke half out of breath, half out of frustration, [I... have a terrrible itch... right above my left wing...]
[Oh, you could have told me before you started jumping around,] reaching as high as she could, her hand just made it above the joing of the wing, so she scratched, [How's that?]
[Much better, thank you. I must be off now.] he started to take off, and the wind he stirred up was magnificent.
[Wait! Wait! Tell Gandalf, for that is who sent you, that I will wait at the morning's light after the crossing of the dark. He'll know what it means]
"You are the cleverest human I have met. I will tell him. Goodbye," and he took off into the night, much faster than his arrival.
After Gwaihir had dissapeared into the night, Kelsey exhailed slowly, and ran her fingers through her hair. "So I'm going back to Lorien, and my doom is appointed. I'll see Haldir again, and explain... everything, then I'll see Legolas... Oh this is going to be fun."
"Legolas, son of King Thranduil, was with her when she left. He told me after she ran away." Aragorn said.
"Why did she leave then? He didn't say anything to her did he?" Haldir asked.
"No, not exactly..."
"Aragorn, what did he do!?"
"He kissed her," Aragorn gritted his teeth for the onslaught of curses to come.
"I'll kill him! I will!..." he continued ranting and raving, and some of the things he said should not be written down, nor should be said at anytime, but it was clear that he was mad.
"Haldir, she didn't tell him that you were engaged. He didn't know she belonged to anyone." Aragorn tried to save his friend.
"Oh, and is it that hard to miss a ring on her left ring finger? Come Aragorn, you know he is not that oblivios to his surroundings!"
"But she loves you Haldir! She didn't stay in Mirkwood because she knew she couldn't stay there and be happy! Can you not see that?"
"If she loves me, then why did she go to Edoras, and not return here... to me?" his eyes showed pain beyond reasoning as he slowly said this.
Aragorn had to think about this for a minute. "Because she was confused. She still has time to return here. She was too caught up in love and betrayal and Middle-Earth. Remember, she is not from this time. It is probably completely different where she comes from. She must adjust to everything. Think of how hard it must be for her. Give Kelsey a chance to catch up on all this, and when she is ready, I know she will return.
"Alas, but I must go. Give my greetings to Galadriel and Celeborn. Try not to think about it, Haldir. Goodbye," and Aragorn turned and walked out of the forest.
"I don't think I can ever stop thinking about her," he said to himself as he looked up at the moon. Little did he know Kelsey was looking at the same moon, just after Gwaihir had departed.