Wind in the West - Chapter 3: a lot can happen in a day

"Where am I?" Kimberly asked herself.

"You are in Lothlorien."

"Tim! What is going on? I was galloping on Thunder...... and then I don't remember what happened next! It was really weird! Do you know what happened?"

"You do ask a lot of questions, don't you? Well, first of all, it was really weird because you are in a different world, and everything is going to be weird because it's different."

"Oh, so very informative." Kimberly cut in.

"And what happened to you?" he continued, ignoring her comment, "Well, since you hadn't come back, I started to get worried, so I went down the trail to find you asleep on Thunder. He was just standing there. I think he knew you were asleep. He loves you a lot. In fact, Lord Celeborn is offering to give him to you. If you want him, you can have him. Also, there is the simple matter of training you. You are supposed to come to the training ground with me! Well, the Lord Celeborn and Lady Galadriel, certainly think that you are the one, for you have that elvish way about you, and you also took form of an elf without us doing anything."

"Okay, let me just take all that in for a second........ I can keep Thunder?! Yes!!! That is so cool! I can have my own horse! I can have my own horse!! I am sooooooo happy! Yay! Oh, and yay about all the other stuff too, but I can have my own horse?! That is sooooooo cool!""

"You have to go and get dressed, and I will go and wait outside for you."

"Okay. But what is up with all of this business about going to the training ground and all? I don't need to be trained to do anything! At least I don't think I need to. But anyway, you know I can ride! And you also know that I used to do Karate, so I can defend myself against anything!"

"Ah, yes, but do you know how to defend yourself against someone with a blade? I think not! Come! Let us go to the training field. I will just show you around."

"But I want to train! I really, really want to! Please?"
"Please get dressed into a nice dress or something other than your night gown, and come with me. Then we can go to the stables and get your horse out...... that is, if you want him?"

"Yes of course I do! I can't imagine life without him! I love him that much! But why do I have to wear a dress? Why can't I just wear what you're wearing? That would be better for riding and sword fighting and all the rest of it! How would you like to fight in a dress?"

"I understand. But we do not have anything for a Lady to wear that would be like what I am wearing."

"Can't I borrow something of yours?"

"None of my clothes will fit you."

"Great! So I have to go around looking like a damsel in distress, right? Thanks a lot, you've made my day."

"Please don't talk like that. It isn't all that bad wearing a dress when riding, is it?"

"Well no, but what about Sword fighting and all that training that you want me to do? I can't do that in a dress!"

"I guess. You can try on some clothes of mine, if you want, but I doubt they'll fit."

"I bet you it will fit. Then you will be all, `well, I'm a guy and you're a girl, and we are different sizes you know, and I just thought that it wouldn't fit!'"

"That's it! You're going to get it good, missy!" and without knowing what was happening, Kimberly found herself on the ground, with Largolian laughing hysterically, while she tried to hit him, but he held her hands, firmly. Then he rolled out of the way and let go. He laughed as she then got up and tried in vain to grab hold of his hair, and pull it. As she was not doing well, because she was laughing so hard that tears were forming in her eyes and she was starting to get a stitch in her side, she made a run and then a jump onto the bed, then pounced onto Largolian, and then he fell to the ground unable to get up. As she was laughing too hard, he found out that she was very ticklish, and he tickled her as she rolled off of him, and onto the carpet beside him. This is the perfect chance to get up, he thought. He jumped up, just dodging Kimberly's hand that was trying to pull him back down. He stood up, picked her up, and placed her on the ground. He then ran around the room, ducking and swerving in order to miss her flying hands. So far, he seemed to be winning this little combat between the two. Kimberly was beginning to get frustrated, and she lunged forward, landed on him, and threw him to the floor again. She had a firm grip on him, and, pinned him to the floor. Now things seemed to be looking up for Kimberly, just as Largolian reached up and tickled her again. She was trying to keep a grip on him, whilst guarding herself from him. She gave up, let go of him, and ran around the room as he chased her, trying to tickle her. Just then, the door burst open, and Haldir came rushing in.

"I am sorry my Lady, but something has come up. I must talk to Largolian, it is urgent!" he said, grabbing Largolian by the arm.

"Kimberly, could you go down and saddle your horse up? I will be down soon. By the way, this is Haldir, the Lord and Lady's Captain." Largolian said.

"I know" she said, "I have seen the movie before, and I have read the book five times. I recognize him. Besides, I saw him before."

"I am afraid that Largolian will not be down soon, my Lady." Said Haldir, a little anxiously. "We must ride to Gondor as soon as possible! The war is getting worse against Sirion, and we have been asked to go to Gondor's aid. We need you too Largolian!"

"Whoa, whoa, whoa! Hang on there boys! Who is Sirion? Isn't it supposed to be Sauron? And does that mean that we will be able to meet the fellowship? Cool! I am sooooooo excited!"

"No it is not Sauron. We mean Sirion. Sauron has been destroyed, but then a new Dark Lord arose, and he is more powerful than the last one. Therefore, there really isn't a purpose to have the fellowship anymore, because the ring has been destroyed." Said Largolian.

"Largolian! We must start getting ready! We will not be able to set out just yet, for a lot of our best warriors are out scouting the land and the lands about it. They will be back the day after next. You must get ready to leave in two days" Said Haldir, calming down a little.

"All right. I will see to it that the Lady gets ready for the time that is coming. Soon she will be able to break the spell, if she is the one." Largolian replied.

Haldir left the room. "We must begin your training as soon as possible! Come! Let us go!" he cried. He left the room as she got dressed into another dress, a mauve colour, only a little lighter. It was the same style as the white dress, only it was closed at the neck. She walked out of her bed chamber, expecting to find Largolian waiting there for her. But he wasn't there. So she went down to the stables and found him jumping up onto Mercury and about to ride away. "Wait!" she called after him, and he turned around. "I am sorry Kimberly, I must ride to the Lord and Lady in the citadel. But Perilin will be your guide and your tester. I name you Lady Lerina, because you are beautiful beyond any mortal or immortal. Farewell! I shall see you tonight!" and with that he rode away down the well-worn path. Perilin stared at her.

"Good day, Lady Lerina. Let us talk first about us, then we will start the tests." Said Perilin.

"First of all, call me Kimberly. I don't know what he was on about, but my name is Kimberly, not Lady Lerina or what ever it was. But anyway, ah, Perilin, was it? Sorry, I have a thing with names. Especially weird names like the ones that you elf dudes have."

"ah, pardon my saying this Lady," and here he paused, thinking of a suitable way to explain, "Largolian is a, well, Lord. The lord, in fact, of Lothlorien. He is the son of the Lady of the Wood. In other words, he is Celebrian's brother. So, therefore, in him giving you an elvish name, he thinks you are worthy of it. I know that you are human and elf, but your human name is Kimberly, and now it seems that you have an elvish name too. Which is Lady Lerina. Kind of like Largolian. He can make himself a human, and when he is, he has the name Tim. So there you go. Now, would I be able to just call you Lerina? I do not wish to be disrespectful, but-----"

"Yeah! `Cause you can! I don't really care what you call me! Anyway, let's get going with these tests, shall we?"

"Ah yes of course, Lerina. First I am going to test your horse riding skills, for Largolian seems to think that you are quite capable. But I must make sure. So, as you can see, I have already saddled up Thunder for you, so if you will jump on, we will begin." She jumped up onto Thunder, even more easily than the last time, and told him to walk. She walked out into the centre of the ring that was just behind the stables and Perilin stood in the middle. First he told her to trot around the ring. She told Thunder to go into a trot, and then she rose up and down in the stirrups, taking care to keep from her knees down still, whilst gripping the horse with her knees. Once she had done one full circle, Perilin told her to go into a canter. She then told Thunder to canter, and she sat down in the saddle and started to roll her pelvis forward and backward in time with Thunder's gait. She was going incredibly fast once again, and saw the trees around the ring look as if they were one tree, blurred together. Then he told her to gallop. She yelled over the beating hoofs of the horse to go into a gallop. At once, the horse went into an even smoother and faster gait, and she sat in the saddle, still, but moving with the horse. She once again felt as if she was in a whirlwind, as the trees blurred together, and she heard faintly, Perilin's voice yelling out to stop. She immediately told Thunder to stop. He whinnied loudly, tossed his head, and checked his pace. Once he was walking, she guided him over to Perilin, who stood as one who is stricken dumb.

"I had no idea that maidens could ride like that! You were going so fast, and yet you still managed to stay on the horse, and with some skill were able to handle him. He is for experienced riders only, yet surely you are more than just experienced. And you have the talents of what we call, Horse Whispering. It is a very rare gift among elves, let alone mortals. How long have you been riding for?"

"Well, back in my home land, I worked at a riding ranch, and I just rode horses there every week. And the horse whispering thingy? Well, I just got it.

"Oh, of course. Now, how are you at jumping?"

"Pretty good" she said confidently.

"Well, we shall soon find out. I want you to canter and then jump over that fallen tree." He said, pointing to a tree near the middle of the circle.

"Okay! Easy as 1, 2, 3! Come on Thunder! Canter!" she cried. At once the horse reared up, whinnied, then started cantering. Again she rolled her pelvis forward and backwards in the saddle, then when she came to the tree, she put her weight in the saddle, lent forward, and up she went. When Thunder landed, she lent forward then told him to go into a trot. He did so, and she rose up and down in her stirrups. Then Thunder checked his pace as she steered him towards Perilin. He stopped just in front of him.

"Impressive! Wonderful work! Now, all we need to work on is your stealth and secrecy. In other words, I want you to sneak around through the trees in the forest, which we will now ride to. So then you can get used to it, and we can show you the map that you will have to follow to get to the place where you can break the spell. We need you to be light footed and to be able to slip in and out of the trees like us forest elves do. I am sure you will be light footed, because all elves are like that. Come! Let us go!" She galloped up to the stables, and waited for Perilin to get up onto his horse. "Lady, will you lead there? Seeing so you have the fastest horse in all of Lothlorien by far?"

"Sure! Thunder, Gallop!" at once she galloped away towards the forest, and Perilin followed after.

"Perfect." He said to himself, as his eyes narrowed and an evil grin spread across his face.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Largolian came to the large tree in the citadel, and started climbing up the stairway. He thrust the doors open, and walked up to the Lady, who sat on a lounge chair in the courtyard.

"What is it, Largolian?"

"I need to talk to you. We are leaving soon, but I wanted to spend more time with Kimberly before I leave. I don't think it possible, though."

"Is that all you wanted to tell me? There is something else, isn't there?" she replied, knowingly.
"Kind of. We need to meet up with the other Lords, Lord Faramir, Prince Imrahil, and Prince Legolas. Could we maybe send messages to them, to tell them to come?"

"They are already here, in rooms in the palace. We are holding council tomorrow."

"Okay. Are they riding with us?"

"Of course."

"That's alright then. I am going to go and meet Kimberly now. After all, I did promise to train her myself, and I haven't yet."

"you are eager to see her, are you not?"

"Well, I do not mind riding out to the war, but I do mind riding without Kimberly, for you see, she is like a sister to me. We have grown close over the past two months. I know that when we were in the Human world, she thought that I was Tim, and when I came back here with her, and she found out that I was really an elf, she seemed to be disappointed, almost let down. Well I can understand that she would seem let down, but I didn't think that she would mind being best friends with an elf. Now she seems not to look at me the same way anymore. She seems to have almost fallen away from me. I don't like that. I want to be friends with her like I was before, or maybe more."

"So you like her, do you not? And you think that she does not like you the same way that you want her to. Am I not right?"

"Somehow you always seem to read my thoughts. I do like her. She is one of the closest friends I have had in my entire life, and that is a long time! In fact, I think that she IS the closest friend that I have ever had. She is playful, and she jokes around a lot, but she can be serious too. And she is beautiful Mother, beyond any maiden I have ever seen. And she believes in Eru, which is good. Anyway, I must go and see her, for I long to speak to her about something that has been on my mind."

"Very well. But first I want you to go to Haldir and ask him for the plans of the journey. Then you may talk to her as much as you want."

"Thank you mother, I will see you tonight at dinner." He climbed down the stairs and jumped up onto Mercury, then disappeared down the path.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Lady Lerina stopped in the middle of the forest and jumped off Thunder. She waited for Perilin to come and then she tied Thunder up to a tree. He Jumped off his horse, and tied it up to another tree.

"So, what I want you to do practice
"I don't see the point of this. I need the other training more. This can wait, can't it?"

"Do you dare go against the training of Perilin? I know what I am doing! You should not speak haughty words against me!"

"Okay, okay! Don't get your knickers in a knot! Gosh! I'll try it! Shish! You people get so worked up about things so easily. Anyway, here we go." She sped off through the trees, darting in and out between them. Her footfall was light, so light that you could not hear her land. Then she circled back around as nimble and quick as a hare, and ran back to Perilin. He put his hand up, signaling her to stop.

"See? I told you I could do it."

"Very good! Very good! Now let's try this." He came forward. She felt suddenly afraid, and she backed up to the tree behind her.

"Why do you recoil? I am not dangerous! Do not fear me!" he said, and then added in an evil whisper, "you should know that I would nothing to hurt you!" she was backed up right against the tree, and could clearly go no further. He came up to her and seemed to grow in stature, whilst she had shrunk. Kimberly was tall, and had become even taller when she had morphed, making her about 6 foot 1. But he was taller. She stared up into the face that grinned down at her, although he seemed to be fine, with his brown eyes sparkling, his black shiny hair pulled back behind his ears, as is the custom with forest elves, and he seemed to look fine, except for that grin, which she knew was not one of merely being friendly, and she knew that she had something to fear. He took hold of her arms so that she could not strike him in any way.

"Do you know that you are a great danger to me?"

"Oh, really? I never knew that. Well, this has been awfully fun, but I must run, as I have lots of other things to do!" she tried to wriggle out of his grip, but he had her in an awkward position.

"This is serious business. Do you think that I am dumb?"

"Do you want me to tell the truth, or lie?" she said, trying not to laugh as a puzzled look came upon his face.

"The truth it is!" she cried. "I think that you are very, very dumb. Not to mention really ugly. Oh, and you need a new hairstyle, too. That one is not very original. Have you seen all the elves lately? They're all wearing they're hair like that! You need a change!"

"Do not insult me!" he became angry, and pulled out his sword that was hung at his side. "You die, or cooperate!"

"Whoa! You said that you wouldn't hurt me!" she cried, as anger surged through her. She became fearful, and cursed herself for speaking haughty words.

"I lied. Very well then. Now what should I tell Largolian? She fell off a cliff? Nah, there ain't no cliffs `round `ere. He would suspect something. Oh well, I'll figure that out later." He lifted his sword, and swung. As he swung, his grip loosened on Kimberly, and seeing that this was her chance, she twisted his arm around, and he let go. The sword went wide. Suddenly, not knowing what was happening, a fireball protruded from her palm, and she shot Perilin. It just skimmed his side. But that was enough to take him off his guard. As he was nursing his side, another fire ball appeared in her palm, and she shot it. It went right through him this time, and he died instantly. He fell to the ground. Kimberly stared in awe at the body on the ground, for Perilin's carcass turned into an orc! Then it rotted away, and finally dwindled to a pile of dust, and blew away into the wind. She was frightened, and she ran to her horse, jumped up onto him, and yelled to canter off. The horse obeyed its master, and cantered down the track.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

"Lady Lerina! Lady Lerina! Where are you?" Largolian cried. He had gone back to the training ring once he had seen Haldir. As Kimberly was not there, he decided to go to the bed chamber. "Where could she be?" He thought, as he found that she was not there either. He was starting to get worried. Just then, the door was thrust open, and in strode Kimberly, with a tear stained face, and a ripped and torn dress.

"Where have you been?!" he cried. "I have been so worried about you! I didn't know where you were, or if you were in danger! I am just glad you are safe!" he ran to her and threw his arms about her. As they stood there in each other's arms, Kimberly started crying again. "What's wrong?" he asked.

She decided it was best if she didn't tell him anything yet. "I don't want to talk about it right now." She wanted to tell him so badly, but she had this bad feeling that if she did then and there, that something terrible would happen. She felt very dizzy, and the thoughts of what had happened were swarming through her head. She could not see clearly; everything was fuzzy.

"I think I will just lie down here and rest for a while...." She dropped to the ground at Largolian's feet. He bent down.

"Lady? Lady? Are you awake?" he asked her. As she seemed to be out cold, he picked her up into his arms and placed her gently on the bed, then pulled the covers up to her chin. "Goodnight Lady Lerina" he whispered softly, and bent down and kissed her lightly on the lips.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Kimberly woke up, and found herself in bed. "How did I get here?" she said to herself aloud. Then the memories of what had happened were swarming back. Of course! She had been in the forest, and Perilin had turned into an orc.

"Good morning, sleepy head." Said a voice. It sounded familiar, but she could not get it right. She sat up in bed, and looked around. There was Haldir, sitting in a chair next to her bed.

"Where is Tim?" she asked, a little perplexed.

"He is with the others, holding a counsel." He replied.

"The others?"

"Three captains have arrived here. Two are from Gondor. The other is from Mirkwood. One is the Prince, and the other is a captain of the guard of Faramir."

"Prince? What do you mean Prince? Isn't there only a King and Queen in Gondor?"

"Nay, one of the princes from a city within the circle of Gondor, but not part of Gondor."

"You mean Dol Amroth?"

"Indeed. You seem to have quite a bit of knowledge about the countries here in Middle Earth, yet, you do not belong here. How cometh this?"

"Exactly the way I knew about you. In my world, there is a book about all you guys. It is really good. My favourite in fact, as well as The Neverending Story. So that would mean that the Prince is Prince Imrahil, and the Captain would be........ I am just gonna take a little guess here, would it be Beregond?"

"You also seem to know a bit about the people here too."

"And the one from Mirkwood, would that be Prince Legolas?"

" Indeed. I am guessing that you knew that from the book and the...... movie, did you call it?"

"That's the one!"

" Interesting. Come! If you will get dressed into something in your wardrobe, I will go down and get our horses saddled. Largolian insisted that you should come to this meeting as well. I must go too, so I will wait for you."

"Okay."

He rose from the chair and made a slight bow, then turned and left the room. She got up and chose her favourite dress, for it had been washed and mended, and been placed back in her room. She slipped on the dress, put the same earrings on and walked down to the stables. Haldir had the horses ready, and she walked over to Thunder.

"Good morning sweetie. Did you have a good sleep?" the horse whinnied loudly and nuzzled her neck. "That's good. Come on, let's go." She jumped up onto the horse, and asked, "Alright Haldir, do you want me to lead, seeing so I have the fastest horse in all of Lothlorien?"

"You might as well, Lady. I see you like to lead, do you not?"

"Ha! That's the funniest thing I have heard all day! Me, like leading? Good heavens no! If anything, I like to follow. It's just that whenever I ride somewhere, I always have to lead, just because I have the fastest horse. You know, sometimes I wonder if having a fast horse isn't what it's all cracked up to be. Anyway, I guess we will just have to go right now. Come on Thunder, we're going on a very fast trip! Gallop away!" he at once obeyed, and sped off down the path. Haldir followed immediately. He somehow kept just behind Kimberly, yet could never overtake her. They reached the meeting place, which was just outside the citadel, in about half an hour. Kimberly dismounted, and tied Thunder to the tree, whilst Haldir tied his up at the gate. They went a little further, and came to a small pavilion, where Kimberly found Largolian, Prince Imrahil, Beregond, the Lord and Lady, and Legolas all sitting on low stools inside. She entered.

"Ah, welcome Lady! We have been waiting for you. Come sit here beside me!" Largolian said.

"Greetings Lady. I have heard somewhat about you. Will you not tell us how you came so soon?" she looked over to where the voice had come from. There, sitting in the corner, was whom she suspected to be the Prince of Dol Amroth. His silver hair fell past his shoulders, and was tied back and braided at the ears the way the forest elves do, and his silver blue eyes sparkled as she smiled at him. He wore a dark olive green tunic, with a very light blue velvety silk shirt underneath, and dark brown pants underneath the tunic. He wore light boots, and a cloak that fell down to his feet, clasped at the neck by a silver brooch shaped like a leaf. Around the tunic he had a belt at his lower waistline, with a leather sheath bound with gold, bearing, what she guessed to be a long sword. He had no other weapons that she could see, except for a bow and a quiver of arrows.

"Good morning sir," she wondered what to say, "I came so fast because I galloped on my horse. I guess that is what you mean?" she said almost unsure of whether she had said the right thing.

"A lady such as yourself was galloping on a horse? How did this come about? Surely this meeting was not all that important that you had to gallop all the way? What made you think that you had to arrive so soon?" he said, with a long glance at Haldir. Haldir interrupted.

"Clearly you think that I urged her on, but the fact is, she chose to herself. I merely followed."

"It's alright, Haldir! Don't get all fussed about nothing! Gosh! There is something about that with you elves here! Shish! Now, let's get on with this meeting that I have come here for." Prince Imrahil looked at her in amazement.

"So you wanted to come galloping all the way here, did you? No maiden I know would want such a thing as this, let alone touch any of these magnificent beasts."

"Well, I am not like any of the maidens that you know then am I?" she said, a little annoyed that this young man (For young he looked, yet as she would soon find out, he was not as young as she thought he was) would think that she is afraid of a horse. She sat down on the stool next to Largolian. She looked around the room at the others. There, sitting side by side, was the Lord Celeborn, and the Lady Galadriel. Next to them was Legolas, and next to him was Beregond, the captain of the guard. And next to him was sitting Prince Imrahil. She stared at him hard, and he returned it. Largolian spoke a few opening words, and he looked away. Then they began.

"I have come bearing news from the Lord Faramir, saying that the orcs are massing in the east, and are already raiding parts of Ithilien as we speak. He is not sure whether to take his people out West, or to stay there, and fight. The orcs came upon us suddenly, and we did not know that they were coming in from all sides, except for one. The West is our only way out, if we choose to leave. But if we stay, we need your help immediately. Already, our chance to leave is becoming slimmer and slimmer. If we do not act quickly, all that we have worked so hard to build will be lost. That is why we have come to ask for your help." Beregond ended.

"Well, that is indeed a very hard choice to make. I am thinking that you leave, and then all of your people will be safe. It will not be too bad. When the war is over, then you can build again. But at least your people will be safe. I do think that you should stay, therefore------"

"Hang on a second. How many people would you have altogether in Ithilien?" asked Kimberly, eagerly interrupting Largolian.

"It is alright, Kimberly. We know what to do." Largolian said in a light whisper. Kimberly glared back at him jokingly.

"Beregond answered back, "I am not sure."

"Well maybe you could put two to three thousands around the East side of Ithilien, then one to two thousands around the other sides, leaving the west side free. Then keep three thousands inside the citadel, just in case, then you won't have to leave. Unless it becomes really bad. Then you have the west side free so if you absolutely have to leave, then you can." She said, ignoring Largolian's glance.

"That is not such a bad idea, Lady. How did you think of that? Surely, you have not been to battle before?" said Prince Imrahil, a little perplexed.

"Of course not! I've been here for how long? What, two or three days or something? Hardly enough time to go to Battle! And back in my own Country, I would have been too young. They would have died if they found out that I was in the war! Ha! Anyway, there has been no wars around lately, so I couldn't exactly go to one. Except for the one in America, with bin Laden. I think he's dead or something, I don't know. And what about---" she looked around her to see that everyone was staring at her, and wondering what on Earth she was talking about. "Sorry, got a bit carried away there. Like I was saying, it's just common knowledge! Just a thought. But anyway, carry on."

"Ah," and Largolian paused and looked at her questioningly, as if to say, how did you know this? Then he said, "Well, sure it seems like a very good plan, depending on how many Easterlings there are. But what if there is too many Easterlings, and not enough people to guard Ithilien?"

And here, the Prince came in, "And what about my homeland? What about my people? I think that most of the people are going to Gondor, to defend The Lord Aragorn's city. But then my people will be left unguarded. But if I leave at least a thousand in my city, then there will not be enough to help defend Gondor. It is already too late for my people to leave anyway."

"Wait a minute! Your half Elven, right?" said Kimberly, excitedly.

"Well, yes. I don't see how that will help me, though." He said.

"Neither do I. I was just wondering." She answered. He seemed a little taken aback.

"You were just wondering if I was half elven? Tell me Lady, why did you wonder that?" he asked, pondering what she would come up with next.

"Well, because, you look like an elf, but there is something about you that suggests that you are not fully elven. So I was just wondering if you were or not. How old are you?"

"I am seven hundred and thirty three. Why?"

"No reason. Anyway, carry on!" she said normally, as if it didn't matter.

"And you are half elven, are you not?" he asked.

"Well, yes. But what made you wonder that?"

"Because you look like an elf, but you are just half elven."

"I don't see the point in saying that. I know that I am half elven. You obviously knew that too. But in my case, I wasn't sure. So therefore, mine made sense, and yours didn't. So I wouldn't bother saying anything now because there really is no point. Now carry on with your little conversation, and I will just sit and listen."

He just sat there, his eyes practically falling out of his head. "What did she just say?" he asked Largolian.

"Never mind," He said, trying to hide a little smirk. "Now, we are sending two thousands from here, and Mirkwood is sending three thousands, if I have heard correctly?" he looked questioningly at Legolas, who nodded slightly. "So leave some to defend your city, and we will fill in for you with the Lord Aragorn. He will understand. He so far doesn't know that we are definitely coming, because we haven't sent word back to him. What do you think, Haldir?" Largolian asked.

"Well, I think that the Lady's plan will work, and I also think that your plan will work, Lord. So, if we will set out in about two days, then we will be alright. And we will reach there in no more than three days, if we ride the whole time. But then we would be too tired for battle. So I would say a week. But our horses are swift. What say you, Lord Imrahil?" said Haldir.

"As much as I agree with the Lady and with the Lord, I am not sure that we will be there in time. But we will have to try." Said the Prince.

"I think that it is a marvelous idea. We must leave soon though, if we are to put our plan into action." Said Beregond.

Then Legolas, who was quiet up until then, said, "Mirkwood is fairly safe, for now, that is. We could maybe send message to get more of the woodland folk to help us. I am not sure, but it is just a thought." He added this last phrase with a sideways glance at Kimberly, who blushed in return. "If we cannot do that," he continued, "my people will probably all sail into the West, and leave Middle Earth to sort out it's own problems. But we also have the advantage of surprise. The enemy may not know that Gondor has sent for reinforcements, so they would think that they are safe in some areas. In those areas we will come in, and attack all the Easterlings, and then we would help Gondor."

"I agree with Legolas. But the hard thing is to find out where the enemy thinks they are safe, and if it is too far to travel. If it is too far, there would be no point, because we would be at Gondor's aid too late. So how are we to find out the right place to attack?" said Kimberly, voicing all of the council's thoughts.
"That is a good point my Lady, we will have to think this over. But in the meantime," Largolian looked at the three visitors, "You could stay with us for a while, and then we can all ride out together. Then if we are delayed by orcs when we get to the city, we will have enough to fight, but then you can also go off to your own cities, and get ready to set out. It is up to you."

"Well, I for one will stay," said the Prince with a glance at Kimberly, "For I would like to talk with you further, Largolian, on this matter."

"I would also like to stay, though I do not know what my Captain will say." Said Beregond.

"I will stay too, that is, if there is room," said the Prince of Mirkwood.

"Then it is settled. You will all stay, and we will ride out together. Lady Lerina, will you go to the stables, and wait for me there?" said Largolian.

"Yeah, sure. But when do you think we will be riding out?"

"We? What do you mean `We'?"

"Well, we are going to go, aren't we?"

"Well, I am, but you aren't!"

"What do you mean? You do not honestly think that you would be leaving me here, do you?"

"You are a maiden, and you have no experience with fighting, what so-ever. And I cannot teach you in such a short period of time. It is too dangerous for you. I would not want you to get hurt. As much as I want you to come, for I would miss you if you didn't, I am afraid that you may not come back alive, and then our hope would be defeated at last. Without you, we will die. If you do not break the spell, then we will be trapped here forever. We will not be able to sail to the West. And the rest of Middle Earth is depending on you. You have an even more important part to play in this, and that is the reason that you must be safe."

"This is unfair! I don't want to be left behind! You can't just leave me!" she ran off to Thunder and jumped up onto him.

"Wait! Kimberly! Don't leave! You can't go out on your own!" but it was too late. She had galloped off down the path. He jumped up onto his horse and tried to follow her, but in vain. She had the fastest horse in all of Lothlorien, and it was one of the Maeras, and he would never keep up with her. "She will be able to take care of herself." He said. He was still unsure, but there was nothing that he could do. He turned around and went back to the stables.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Kimberly rode on through the forest. She didn't know what to do. But she knew that she had to go.

"I have got to go! But how? I can't just go along with them! They would know that I am there! But he is right: I can't fight! I am hopeless! Well, actually, I haven't tried it yet, but I know how to shoot fireballs at people from my palm, scary but cool. I reckon I could teach myself to fight, and practice my aim with those fireballs, so then I would be accurate, but with the sword fighting? Well, I don't know. But I have to find out a way. And maybe I could train myself to be able to use a bow and arrow! That would be so cool! Anyway, I had better go back. I shouldn't have ridden off like that, but I was angry. He is probably worried. Oh well. I will just come back, and go to bed. I am suddenly very tired. I don't understand. Oh well, I didn't seem to have much sleep last night, so maybe that's it."

Her thoughts were suddenly interrupted by Thunder's loud, piercing whinny. She looked up and saw what she was dreading to see: a person in black, on a black horse! But there was something strange about this rider. He (or she...... Or it) was shrouded in black cloaks, and Kimberly could not see it's face. She was not afraid, though, and she wondered greatly at this. She was unable to move, as the figure came closer, and closer.................

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