Mandy glanced up at her captor. The figure was in the shadows, shrouded by a dark cloak. He had a bow across his back and a dagger in his belt. Mandy couldn’t see his face for he stayed back in the shadows. She could only see the glitter of his eyes looking at her.
“I saw your campfire,” the person said, “where are your companions?”
“Why should you care?” Mandy snapped back, her hand straying towards her sword.
“Because I would like to know,” the person said, his voice soft but hard, seeing her hand moving. “I wouldn’t do that if I were you,” he warned, the flat of his sword coming down against her hand. Mandy froze and raised her hands. “Get up,” he ordered her, “and come.”
Mandy glanced at his right hand, seeing an Elvish ring. “Who is he?” Mandy mused, “He has an Elvish ring?”
The figure made her walk in front of him, and they started back to the camp. Mandy didn’t try to look at him but wondered why he was here. As they came closer, Mandy saw that Tethcelebel and Elwen were up: Elwen with an arrow notched, and Tethcelebel with her sword drawn. They tensed as they saw them draw near but then lowered their weapons. Tethcelebel was smiling.
“What!” Elwen called out, “Are you still terrifying people?”
Mandy looked at Elwen in shock, wondering what she was talking about.
“I could ask you the same question, you Always-in-trouble-cause-you-have-a-hot-temper-and-can’t-learn-to-shut-your-mouth Elf!” her captor answered with a laugh.
“Well,” Elwen crossed her arms, “that’s insulting, you Who-never-take-a-bath-cause-you-never-have-time Human!”
“Come, come,” Tethcelebel rolled her eyes, “enough insulting one another! Ohtarwen, would you please let our friend go and behave??” she turned to Elwen, “That goes for you too, Cousin!”
Elwen’s eyes widened in innocence, “Me?”
“Yes you,” Ohtarwen laughed, lowering her sword. She turned to Mandy, “My apologies, Friend. I saw your campfire and came closer. I then saw that it was my friends’ and I had no idea how to come up, but then you wandered right into my path. I couldn’t resist it.” Ohtarwen held out a hand, “Am I forgiven?”
Mandy grasped her wrist, shaking hands Ranger-style, “Of course,” she smiled, “and I enjoy jokes played on me.” She looked pointedly at the Elves who gazed elsewhere.
Ohtarwen grinned and walked with her into the camp. She threw back her hood, revealing dark brown hair and a young but proud face. She greeted the Elves merrily.
Mandy gazed at Ohtarwen. Her hair was a little lower than her shoulders and half-pulled back. She was sitting next to the fire, her legs stretched out and talking with the Elves. Her boots were muddy, covering her calf, and she was dressed in dark greens and browns, while having on a dark grey cloak. Mandy could see the sword hilt underneath her cloak and the bow upon her back. Ohtarwen’s eyes stood out: they were so dark that it was hard to tell the pupil from the actual colour of the eye. They held a sadness and hardness of one who had seen comrades fall in battle, only right now they were merry and sparkling.
“She looks like Aragorn,” Mandy realized in shock.
“Aarien??” Tethcelebel got her attention, “Come and meet Ohtarwen.” Mandy came over. “Ohtarwen, this is Aarien daughter of Aragorn.” Tethcelebel introduced them, “And Aarien, this is Ohtarwen Ranger of the North.”
“Daughter of Aragorn?” Ohtarwen looked at Mandy confusedly, “Then that means you are my distant cousin, but how…?” She looked from one face to the other.
“Aragorn adopted me,” Mandy replied, “He and others found me and took me back to Minas Tirith with them.”
“Ah,” Ohtarwen understood, “I see. What has been going on? I don’t see much of you anymore.” She turned to the Elves, “How is Lord Elrond and Lady Galadriel? And Aragorn?”
“Well,” Elwen shrugged, “you have not changed much, Ohtarwen. You still ask as many questions as a Hobbit.”
She laughed as Ohtarwen threw her a glare.
“Did you really fall out of a flet when you first came to Lorien?” Mandy asked with an eyebrow raised.
“What?” Ohtarwen glared at the Elves, “You said you wouldn’t tell anyone!”
Mandy glanced from one face to the other, “Oops…” she muttered softly.
“Well,” Elwen said quickly, “we have to get an early start in the morning….say Ohtarwen, would you like to come with us? We are going to Lorien for the summer feast.”
“Sure,” Ohtarwen’s eyes glittered, “and you had better watch
your back, Elwen.”
Tethcelebel laughed while Elwen just shook her head.
The next morning, Mandy woke to see Ohtarwen standing by the fire. Mandy rose and went over to her.
“Where is your horse, Ohtarwen?” she asked, running a hand through her unruly hair.
“Right where I left him,” Ohtarwen grinned, glancing at her.
She laughed at Mandy’s puzzled look, “Come,” she motioned, “I will show you.”
Mandy followed Ohtarwen into the forest. Soon they came to a clearing where a dark brown horse grazed. Ohtarwen called out softly and the horse turned. It nickered in greeting and trotted up to them, its head nudging Ohtarwen’s chest.
“Hello to you too,” Ohtarwen laughed, stroking its nose, “This is where he was.”
“Ai,” Mandy smiled, “I see. It is a magnificent horse.”
“Thank you,” Ohtarwen smiled, “but not quite as great as Shadowfax or Celebel’s. But he has served me well,” she sighed, “through many battles.”
“Were you at the Great Battle as well?” Mandy asked softly.
“Yes,” Ohtarwen’s eyes were dark as if recalling some great sorrow, “along with my friends.”
“I am sorry I brought it up,” Mandy said swiftly, realizing that she had no wish to talk about it.
“It is not your fault,” Ohtarwen grinned again, “and besides, you should ask Celebel or Elwen…they know more about it than I. I merely fought where I was told and just tried to stay alive.” Her horse butted his head against her, “With some help, of course.”
Mandy laughed, stroking the horse. Ohtarwen swung up onto her horse and gave Mandy a hand up. They then rode back to camp. Tethcelebel and Elwen were already up and ready to set out. They rode swiftly down the mountain, knowing that they were only a few days journey from Lorien.
Two days later, they could see the outskirts of Lorien. They smiled at each other, happy to be near the forest.
“Come,” Tethcelebel said, “we will rest here tonight. Twould be better to enter Caras Ghaladron in the morning.”
“I agree,” Ohtarwen said, shocking them all, “It would be better.”
They dismounted and started making camp. They were near the Nimrodel. Tethcelebel could see some of the border guards in the trees but didn’t tell them. She went down to the river and nodded her head imperceptivity when the guards had signaled her. Ohtarwen signaled Mandy, and they went off to rub down their horses.
“It sounds like you had a joke played on you by them,” Ohtarwen stated, unsaddling her horse.
“They put owlets in my bed.” Mandy answered, shaking her head.
Ohtarwen laughed softly, “I’m not surprised. But would you like a way to get back at them?”
“Sure,” Mandy nodded, “but how?”
“I will leave tonight and go meet Rumil,” Ohtarwen said quietly, “then we will get Haldir’s help.” She quickly told Mandy of her plan.
“What?” Mandy looked at her doubtfully, “they’ll never believe us.”
“Well, no,” Ohtarwen rolled her eyes, “not us. But they would believe Haldir and some of his men.”
“Aye,” Mandy giggled, “let’s do it!”
“Alright then,” Ohtarwen shook her hand, “then be prepared for a nice surprise in the morning.”
“You bet,” Mandy grinned. They walked nonchalantly back to the camp. Later that night, Ohtarwen woke Mandy to keep watch and swam across the river.
“Daro!” a voice ordered.
Ohtarwen rolled her eyes, “Rumil!” she hissed, “It’s me!”
“Ohtarwen?” Rumil dropped lightly from the tree.
“No, an orc,” Ohtarwen sighed in exasperation, “yes me! We need your help. Apparently Celebel and Elwen have been playing tricks on my friend and telling tales about me.”
“Are they still teasing you for falling out of the flet?” Rumil asked, his eyes twinkling.
“Yes!” Ohtarwen answered, “But I’ve figured out a way to get them back. Is Haldir nearby?”
“He is about two leagues from here,” Rumil laughed, “why?”
“Because I have a plan to get them back,” Ohtarwen grinned, “I’ll fill you in later.”
“Wait!” Rumil cried, “I’ll come with you. Hyar can keep guard for me.”
“Alright,” Ohtarwen laughed, “hurry up!”
She ran down the river bank with Rumil close behind. They found Haldir at the base of one of the trees, talking to the guard in it…
“Haldir,” Ohtarwen came up, “are you willing to play a little joke on Elwen and Celebel?”
“On those two?” Haldir asked with an eyebrow raised, “Of course.”
“I knew you would,” Ohtarwen said, “Here’s the plan.” She told them quietly of her plan. Haldir burst into laughter after she finished.
“That will get them very well,” he chuckled, “when do you want me to come?”
“In the morning,” Ohtarwen answered, “early.”
“I will be there,” Haldir promised, “in the meantime, I will have a nice surprise set up for them when they get here.”
“That’s all I wanted to hear,” Ohtarwen’s eyes twinkled mischievously. She waved goodbye to them and waded into the river. She stole into camp without waking Celebel or Elwen. She nodded her head to Mandy’s questioning gaze and then motioned for her to go back to sleep. Mandy smiled and lay back down. Ohtarwen returned to her place beside the fire, her eyes alight with mischief.
“Now let it work: Mischief you are stirring, take what course you will.” Ohtarwen murmured to herself.
hey all! surprised? ok, e-chocolate to anyone who can tell me what play ohtarwen’s last line is from…I hope you enjoyed it
p.s. wait until you see waht those two were up to