Warrior Maiden of the Dunedain - Chapter Ten

Ohtarwen woke up early in the morning and ate breakfast with the rest of the group. As soon as the meal was over, the Rangers packed up and headed out. The group of thirty horses was quite a sight if you saw them riding straight at you. The dust flew up behind them as the hooves of the horses hit the earth. The thunder of the pounding could be heard miles away before you could even see them. Ohtarwen was right in the midst of them. She rode beside Elrohir and Hyanar with Elladan behind them.
"Ohtarwen, you have a beautiful horse. Where did you get it?" Hyanar asked her once they had slowed down to let the horses rest.
"A very good friend gave it to me for my birthday." She answered back. Hyanar nodded.
"A very fine animal indeed." He watched the horses movements as Falmar trotted up to Elladan who had ridden a head of them.
"Good-morning, Elladan." Ohtarwen greeted Elladan in the Elvish tongue, for she had not yet had a chance to that that morning.
"Mae govannen, Ohtarwen. And how are you this wonderful morning?"
"Very well, thank you. Though, I'm a bit tired. I didn't have a very good night's rest, on account that I had a great big root sticking up in my back everywhere I turned." She said stretching her back. Elladan smiled.
"I'm very sorry to hear that." Elladan sympathized, but his eyes be traded his merriment.
"Right," Ohtarwen smirked. "I bet you are." Elladan shrugged innocently.
"So, how have you liked the life of a Ranger?" Elladan asked the girl beside him.
Ohtarwen gazed ahead for a while. "It's not bad. I expected a little more excitement, but who wouldn't? I like it, I like it a lot." She told him. They rode in silence for a while. Ohtarwen remembered how she thought of the Ranger life: that it was thrilling every turn you took, everywhere there would be someone to rescue, someone to help. She laughed at this now. Not that the life was dull either, but it wasn't as exhilarating as she had dreamt. Memories of her father lifting her up into the air and twirling her about floated back to Ohtarwen. They spent a lot of time together the few times that he had visited her in Rivendell. They would lie in the tall grass together and watch the clouds float by as they tried to figure out what each cloud looked like. He would tell her stories of the places he had gone and things he did. How Ohtarwen wished she could journey with him and share those travels. And now she could; only it wasn't with her father.
"We'll be stopping soon." A voice brought her back to the present from her day-dreams. Ohtarwen jumped and looked beside her: Hyanar was riding next to her waiting for a reply.
"Oh, thank you, Hyanar." She said, still sound far away. Hyanar gave her a curious look but did not pry into the matter.

Ohtarwen set her saddle down in the shade of a large oak tree that grew near a trickling stream. She smiled to herself as she watched the laughing brook bubble on its way down the bed. The birds were singing in the trees and the sound of beetles and bugs could be heard flying about up in the air.
"We'll rest here for a while." Halbarad announced to the group.
Ohtarwen sighed as she laid down and closed her tired eyes. But the tranquility did not last. Soon she heard Halbarad talking to someone, he sounded frustrated.
"Uhg! My horse's bridle broke again." He said, holding the bundle of leather up for Thornar to see. He and Halbarad were standing near the edge of the water. Ohtarwen stood up and wandered over to him.
"I can fix it." She offered. Halbarad laughed.
"You? You can fix this, this that a man has made?" He turned back to his friend. Ohtarwen clenched her fists.
"I know how to do it; I spent time with the smiths in Rivendell. All you have to do is-"
"No!" Halbarad said.
"You know, she's right." Thornar leaned over and told him quietly. Halbarad through up his arms and yelled.
"This..." he looked at Ohtarwen angrily trying to find a word to use. "This girl would't even know how to fix a broken finger nail!" He smiled at Ohtarwen as if he had won a battle.
"Honestly, you're the most borish, pig-headed man, I've ever met." She said disgustedly.
"Oh really?" Halbarad's face grew red.
"Yes, really." Ohtarwen answered.
"Huh!" he laughed. "If only I could tell you what I think of you."
"Why don't you? No one's stopping you." Ohtarwen challenged.
"Alright, fine!" Halbarad yelled. "You're a selfish, uncaring little imp! And that's not even half of it!"
"What else?" Ohtarwen asked, her voice raising as she spoke.
"I can't say, I don't want to use too big of words for you to understand." Ohtarwen's face became red.
"Why you egotistical," Ohtarwen yelled.
"You spoiled," Halbarad joined in. Each taking a steps towards each other as they spoke.
"Disrespectful, pretentious!" They were now only millimeters away from each others faces.
"Diluted!"
"Pompous! Self-centered! Untrustworthy!"
"High-and-mighty!"
"Ungrateful, impossible, insufferable!" Ohtarwen was talking so quickly now that she nearly screeched.
"At least I'm not repressed!" Halbarad roared. Ohtarwen breathed heavily, trying to keep her temper so she wouldn't hurt this man more than she wanted to.
"Repressed?! I'll show you repressed!" Not being able to contain herself any longer, Ohtarwen shoved Halbarad with all her might and feeling a sense of satisfaction, watched him go sprawling backward and land in the brook. The look on Halbarad's face as he went flying over the bank and into the water was worth all the harassment Ohtarwen had gone through.
Ohtarwen, not wanting to listen to anymore criticism, lsft for a walk in the woods, or, more likely, to cool off.
Halbarad came up out of the water redder than he had gone in, even thought the stream was quite cool. His anger was not suppressed when he saw hi own men rolling on the ground and holding their sides with uncontrollable laughter. Their attempts to stifle their laughter only caused them to go into more hysterics. Halbarad climbed out of the water and shook himself.
"Don't you think you should apologize to her?" Thornar suggested to him as he wrung his clothes out.
"Apologize?!" Halbarad said in disbelief. "Just who shoved who into the creek?"
Thornar nodded. "But she was only trying to help you." He pointed out. Halbarad glanced around the group and could read the faces of his men: they all wanted him to apologize.
"Uh! The girl, and men and the faces--alright!" He crumbled and gave in. "But only cause you wanted me to!" A cheer from the men arose as Halbarad made his way through his `merry men' to find Ohtarwen.
Ohtarwen stumbled over dead tree branches that had fallen from above as she talked to herself.
"Oh! That...that....that MAN!!" she screamed. She picked up a rock and threw it at a large tree with her might. It made a loud thump then fell to the ground. Ohtarwen picked up other rocks and did the same thing again, When she ran out of rocks, she yelled out and slumped down to the base of the tree. Her head was filled with nasty and `unlady-like' things to say to Halbarad, but she didn't. She took a deep breath and sighed.
"Why do I always do that? Why do I always have to lose my temper?" she held her head in her hands.
Suddenly, a twig snapped. Ohtarwen looked up and saw three men standing a little ways away looking at her. They were not Rangers, Ohtarwen had never seen them before.
"Who are you?" The middle man asked her, looking appreciatively. He took a few steps towards her.
"No one of importance." Ohtarwen stood and began to walk back the way she had come.
"Now, hold on there." The man said, catching up to her and taking her arm. "It's not safe for a maiden to be alone in the forest. There are dangerous people in the woods." Ohtarwe didn't like the way he grinned and looked at her.
"That I believe!" she said coldly. "So if you would be so kind as to unhand me, I'll be on my way. I can take care of myself just fine." Ohtarwen began to pull away from the man but he tightened his grip.
"Well, I can't let you do that." He moved in front of her and blocked her way. "See, I've been traveling with my friends here, and we haven't been able to spend time with such a fair maiden as you for a very long time."
"I'm afraid you'll have to wait a bit longer, sir." Ohtarwen and the man turned to see Halbarad standing behind them with his sword drawn.
"Halbarad..." Ohtarwen whispered, a little shocked to see him.
"Believe me, you do not want to be in the company of this girl. She may look pleasing to the eye, but her tongue will slice you to pieces." Halbarad told the man holding Ohtarwen. He glanced down at Ohtarwen, now considering whether to fight this man in front of him and risk a night with the feisty wen.
"I like a challenge." He said finally. Ohtarwen shuddered at the thought.
"Then I shall have to fight you." Halbarad announced. Ohtarwen was shoved aside as the man drew his sword from its sheath. The two men circled each other, sizing the other one up. Halbarad lunged at the man, but stopped quickly when he shrank back and ran off with his friends close behind him. Halbarad began to chuckle until he was laughing quite hard. Ohtarwen was also laughing.
"Did you see the look on his face when I nearly hit him?" Halbarad laughed.
"Yes! It was utter terror!" They laughed for a few more minutes until the humor died down a bit. They each remembered their previous argument and grew serious.
"I want to.." Halbarad started stubbornly. "I want to apologize for calling you all that stuff. It was very rude and uncalled for. I'm sorry."
"I am too." Ohtarwen also said. "You just got me so frustrated the way you doubt women!" She sighed, making sure to keep her temper. "I hope I didn't hurt you. Did I?" She asked with a slight grin.
Halbarad cleared hi throat. "Uh, no. Not really. Though, the water was a bit shocking." He said with a short chuckle.
"If we don't get back soon, the men might think we've killed each other." Ohtarwen laughed and stared back tiwh Halbarad at her side.
"Oh, and thank you for helping me with those men." She whispered.
"You're welcome." Halbarad smiled down at her.

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