Wind in the West - Chapter 12: strange meetings
She had been riding for some time now, and yet it seemed she had not come any closer to the mountains. She stopped suddenly, and sat, listening. Thunder neighed and became restless. She could sense something was near, and yet, when she pierced the gloom with her sharp elven eyes, she could see nothing, nor could she hear anything. She shook away the disturbing thought that someone was following her, and kept riding. She stopped more frequently now, and every now and then, she thought she heard echoing hoof steps, but every time she turned around, there was nothing but shadow and tall lurking trees. Although she was outside of Lothlorien, there were still trees around, although set much further apart, but spreading long grey shadows in the pitch black night. Lerina was growing an appetite, but decided to go on as far as she could before stopping. So she kept riding.
"Alright men, set up camp. We'll leave early tomorrow at the break of Dawn." Largolian called to his men. They immediately started setting up camp, and then started fires to cook their food. Prince Imrahil was tired, and gratefully ate the food that was put onto his plate.
Largolian sat in his tent, along with Imrahil, Beregond and Legolas, and was holding council as to where to go next. It was decided that they turn northeast from Rohan, and then cut across the plains towards the mountainous areas that bordered Gondor. It was the fastest way to get there and still save energy for the battle. At this rate, they would arrive in around three days. Largolian dismissed all save Imrahil, who was staying in the same tent as him. They blew out the candle, and buried themselves underneath their blankets. But for some reason, Largolian was tossing and turning, and as tired as he was, couldn't get to sleep. Finally he sat up and thought to himself for a while. Suddenly, a voice interrupted his train of thoughts, and he looked over at where the voice had come from.
"Can't sleep?" came the voice of Imrahil.
"Yes, well I am worried." He replied, relieved to have someone to talk to.
"Let me guess. You're worried about Lerina and you wish that she could have come, am I right?" Imrahil asked, matter-of-factly.
"Yes, but how did you know?"
"I feel the same way, annoying as she may be." He added with a smirk.
"Yes, well I am not entirely sure that I am disturbed that she was unable to come, but the fact that she is going to get into trouble, as she seems to have a knack for doing, even back home in Lorien. I sense something will happen to her before the end. Whether it be good or bad, I cannot yet tell."
"She would be able to look after herself. She seems stubborn enough, surely you can see that?"
"But of course! Tis not that which worries me. Something else lingers, eating away at my mind, something that I cannot quite point out. Yet. But I fear the worst for Lerina's safety. Not just hers, but for my mother, father, and sister, and everyone else in Lothlorien."
"Wait, you have a sister? You are not the first person today that I have been surprised about."
"What do you mean?"
"I over heard Legolas and Lerina talking when we were traveling to the borders, and he said that he did have a sister, until something happened to her. That was not what surprised me though, as it was in your case. What struck me was the twinkle in his eye. He seemed to stir at some memory that probed his mind. He said something else, but I did not hear it, for you called me."
Largolian sighed. "Ah, yes, his sister. She was somewhat like Lerina, and yet not so. Her name was Telinna, and she had a stubborn heart, and never wanted to be caged up, or left out when her brother went to War. She was very vulnerable, and yet she covered it with a strong will. But Lerina seems more determined than Telinna, and of course a lot more oblivious to all around her. Probably why she wanted to come and didn't quaver of heart, as even I did. She is young and naive, very naïve, and I am sure that if she did come with us, she would want to turn back after a few days. And I would never let her ride on her own, even back to Lothlorien. So you see, I am glad I guess, that she hasn't come with us, for I would be mortal afraid that something would happen to her. Yet I miss her, and I wonder sometimes that she could have been safer with me than at home. I doubt that. It is probably just a thought that I have because I miss her, and not really to do with her safety." He sighed again.
"Well, I can assure you that she will be safe, and she won't come to any harm whilst she is with your mother and father. Do not worry. She will be fine."
"I suppose you're right. Well, goodnight."
"Thanks." And with that he fell asleep.
By now Lerina had been riding for four hours, and yet the thought that someone was following her was still gnawing on her mind. She was hungry, and a hollow, sick feeling had been growing in her stomach, and finally she decided to stop and have a bite to eat. She jumped off Thunder, opened the saddlebag and pulled out the fruit and nuts. She grabbed a few nuts, and a few bits of fruit and sat down and ate them contentedly. She pulled out some meat when she had finished, two slices of bread, and made a sandwich. She gulped it down, and finished off with a bite off the Lembas bread. Surprisingly, that wouldn't usually have filled her up, but it did. The food seemed very wholesome, and she had had trouble with eating the last few bites of the sandwich. Now she washed it down with a few mouthfuls of water, (She had brought two flasks of water that Rebethian had given to her since she had forgotten to pack it) and put everything back into her bag. She decided to stay there for a while, and give Thunder a rest. She took off his saddle and bridle, and pulled out the blanket and pillow she had packed. She set up a bed, and started to collect firewood. She came back with a pile of sticks, and then dropped them on the ground next to Thunder. He looked at her with sleepy eyes. "Don't worry boy," she said. "Just get some rest, and we can set out again later." He nickered softly in her ear and nuzzled her neck.
She sat down on the ground, grabbed two twigs and started to rub them together. Nothing happened for a while, and she started to get frustrated. She glared at the pile of sticks, as if hoping that she could set them on fire with her eyes. Suddenly she remembered. "Hey!' she said to herself. "I'll start it using a fireball!" as if on it's own accord, a fireball appeared in her palm. She released it and immediately the pile of twigs turned into a small fire. A strong wind started blowing. The fire was not so easily put out. "Ha! You'll have to do better than that!" she yelled at the wind. Just as suddenly as the fire had been kindled though, rain came pouring down in torrents. Lerina cursed it. "And I was just starting to get really warmed up too!" she yelled at the top of her lungs as she packed the blanket and pillow away. Luckily they hadn't got very wet at all. The fire sizzled and went out.
She saddled Thunder again, and slipped the bridle over his head. "Come on boy, let's just look for at least a bit of shelter, and then you can rest for as long as you want." She made sure the saddlebags were buckled up securely, and was about to get up into the saddle when she felt the dread in her heart. The thought that had been forced to the back of her mind whilst she had been eating had now come back again, filled with more dread and anxiety. Someone was following her, she was sure of it; the feeling was stronger than ever. She turned around just in time to see a figure upon a horse slip back into the shadows. Water was dripping down her face, but everything else seemed pretty dry. The cloaks were waterproof. That didn't matter to her right now, she was very afraid.
"Who are you? Show yourself! Don't be a coward!" She drew the sword at her side, and gripped it tightly so that her knuckles turned white. Thunder grew nervous at her side once again. She jumped up into the saddle, and holding the sword in one hand, which was very hard because it was a double grip sword, and the reigns in the other, and rode Thunder steadily forward. Her eyes darted around, looking for any sign of the rider. Then suddenly the rider came forth.
The rider had its sword drawn, and rode forward towards Lerina. Lerina pointed her sword towards it. The rider was only a few feet away from her, and it lifted up the sword, as if to strike. Lerina forgot all the moves that Rebethian had taught her, and cowered in fright. She got a fireball ready in her palm instead. She waited. It seemed as if everything was quiet, just waiting for the deathly blow. Lerina opened her eyes and saw that the rider was actually sheathing the sword. Then, it flung back its cloak, and long dark brown, almost black hair came cascading down like a waterfall.
"Marthelen! What are you doing here?" a surprised cry seemed to leap from Lerina's mouth.
"I was curious so I followed you. I didn't think you were actually going to leave, but you have, and here you are. One other thing: I'm coming with you." She said it as if it mattered not.
"You're what?! You can't do that! What would your brother say? What would your mum and dad say? They would kill you!"
"And what would my brother and my mother and father say about you leaving? Hm?" Marthelen answered rather haughtily.
"Yeah, but they'd be heaps more worried if they're own daughter and sister had gone missing! For all they know, you could have been kidnapped by orcs and brutally murdered or something, like on America's Most Wanted or one of those really cool shows on TV!" Marthelen gave her a curious look. "Never mind. It's just something I had back at home. Anyway, you should go back, and don't tell your parents about me leaving, okay?"
"Not okay. I am coming with you, and I am not going to be forced to stay at home and never be allowed to go and ride or anything! They never let me have any Freedom, and this is my chance to show them that I am capable of standing up for myself!"
"Ah, one question, and this is going to determine if you come with me or not: can you fight?"
"Well, no not really. I just took one of my brother's spare swords and I thought that maybe I could try and swing at something that's going to hurt me, and I might get it. I don't know. I was never trained." She sighed deeply.
"Oh well that alright then. I can't fight either. Well, I can, but I'm not that experienced. I was taught by..." she stopped herself from saying Rebethian's name. "A friend."
She noticed a horrified look on Marthelen's face, and followed her gaze, and it led to her palm. "Your palm is on fire!" Marthelen screamed.
"Huh?" Lerina looked puzzled. "Oh that. Never mind." She clenched her fist and the fireball disappeared immediately.
"How did you do that?" asked Marthelen, clearly amazed.
"Ah, well, it's sort of a talent I have. I don't usually do that, I just sort of found out I had it when I came to Middle Earth."
"I don't think I have ever seen anyone with that power, but okay. Fair enough." She still had a startled look upon her face, but she seemed a little more relaxed.
"Well, I guess it would be alright if you came with me. But I am going to look for shelter now, so keep an eye out." Marthelen nodded her agreement. Lerina galloped off in the direction of the Mountains, and Marthelen and her mare Sarshely followed behind.
"Are you keeping up?" Lerina called back. She didn't hear a reply, so she stopped and waited for Marthelen to appear.
"I forgot how fast Thunder is. Can you go a little slower?"
"I'm going to go at a slow canter, but you'll have to go at a fast gallop or maybe a fast bolt or something. The fastest she can go. Come on, we have to find shelter." A bright flash of Lightening lit up the sky, and the booming sound of Thunder followed after it. "The Storm's getting worse!" she yelled to Marthelen. Marthelen could barely hear it, even with her elven ears, and Lerina could barely hear herself. She went into a slow canter, and Marthelen was right behind her, going at a slow gallop.
Eventually Lerina spotted a small mountain, almost a hill that would have been about twice the size of her on Thunder. She saw that there was a tunnel going right through it, and she could see out the other end. It was rather more like a bridge than a tunnel, for there was not much shelter, but enough for her and Marthelen and their horses. Lerina rode towards it. She stopped abruptly. Had seen it move slightly or was that a trick of the Lightening? Marthelen rode up behind her. "What?"
"I swear I thought it moved. It must have just been a trick. Come on. Don't worry." She started off at a canter towards it again. This time, she was sure that it moved, and Marthelen was sure too.
"That was no trick, Lerina. I know it moved that time. Come on, we have to go." The supposed `hill' started coming towards them, and Marthelen cried out: "Come on Lerina! Ride! Ride! That is no hill!" immediately Lerina urged Thunder into a gallop. Marthelen found it hard to keep up, especially since the ground was very slippery and muddy from the rain. Thunder found it hard to pick a safe way amongst the mud, and was slipping every now and then. It was no use; they both had to stop. The hill was gaining on them, and there was no way they could get away from it. They stood side by side and watched it approach. Something dropped down from the top of it, and walked towards them. Lerina saw that it was a girl, but she was still wary.
"Who are you, and what are you doing in these lands?" she said to them.
"You tell me your name, and I will tell you mine." Lerina answered back.
"Isn't it supposed to be the other way around? The stranger tells their name, and the person who knows the lands tells theirs? Oh well, my name is Tindomerel."
"My name is Lerina, and this is Marthelen. Now answer me this: what are you?"
"It's sort of hard to say."
"How is it sort of hard to say?"
"Well, I came from a different land called America." Lerina's eyes opened wide. "and I got transported here, and then I stayed at Lothlorien, and now I am trying to find my way back home."
"America?" was all Lerina could say.
"Yeah, you wouldn't understand."
"Oh yes I would! I was transported here too, except I came from Australia!"
"You did? Where's she from?" Tindomerel pointed to Marthelen.
"Oh, she's from Lothlorien. Why?"
"So she wasn't transported here?"
"Nup. She already lived here. But be nice, coz' her mum and dad are Galadriel and Celeborn."
"Oooh, tough break!"
"Oh, tell me about it! Who would want to have parents that could like, I don't know, probe into your mind and tell what you were thinking? Seriously, that'd be scary I reckon." Marthelen looked on, quite stunned at their speech, and not understanding some of it.
"Yeah, I never thought of that. Anyway, they would probably be good parents, but they could always tell if you've done something naughty. How annoying." Lerina started laughing.
"Um, if you don't mind me saying, we are standing in the middle of nowhere in the midst of a huge Thunderstorm, and you're talking some language I don't understand. I have a feeling it might be a different version of the common tongue, but whatever it is, can we please try and find some sort of shelter?" Marthelen stated.
"Whoa, for a while I thought you were a mute or something. So you can talk. Well, I know a few places we can go to. Where are you guys headed off to anyway?" Tindomerel asked.
"We are headed towards the mountains, and then to a forest of something. Then my friend told me I'd know where to go from there."
"Where are you headed for in the end?"
"Gondor. Where the War is."
"Ah, well, let's get some shelter, shall we?" she whistled shrilly, and the hill bent down. Lerina finally got a look at it, and gasped! For there, in front of her, was not a hill at all, but a huge horse!
"Whoa," was all she could manage to mutter. She stared for a while, and gaining her voice again she asked, "What's its name?"
"His name is Brono."
"Survive," Marthelen said.
"What?" Lerina asked.
"Brono means `survive' in Elvish." Marthelen explained.
"Oh, thank goodness it's a boy. If it was a mare, you know how ***y they are, and what would happen if it had bucked you off? You'd be falling for Eternity!" Lerina started laughing. Marthelen cleared her throat.
"What's wrong with mares? My horse is a mare."
"Yeah, but you have amazing control over your horse, I don't think she would ever buck you off!" Marthelen blushed.
"One more question Lerina. What are you?" Tindomerel asked.
"Um, sort of hard to say. I was human until I came here, and now I guess I am an elf, so that would make me half elf."
"Oh, same here." Lerina gasped again, for she finally saw the colour of Tindomerel's eyes: Lavender. She had never seen anyone with lavender coloured eyes before. Her hair was a reddish-brown colour, and was tied back in a ponytail with strands hanging out at the front. She was wearing a red turtleneck top, with black bellbottoms where you could just see the tip of her boots. She had a long black cloak on that was cut off at the shoulders, and hung down to the ground. She got up onto Thunder, whilst Marthelen and Tindomerel got onto their horses. Tindomerel led the way.
hey guys, i want you all to know that Tindomerel is based on my friend Life_Mistress_Greenleaf, and Marthelen is based on my other friend, sea_elf. hoped you enjoyed...