Legolas sighed, staring out into the distance. They had run their horses for nearly eight straight hours. They had come up the Mountain pass and had found the fire that Elwen had lit. He smiled, fingering a stone. He glanced down at it. It was a soft green with a hint of blue. It was an elf-stone, one of Elwen’s in fact. He had found it when he was fingering the ashes to see how long ago they had left. He knew that they would bypass Lorien and might cross the River at the Old Road ford.
“Legolas,” Gimli’s rough voice came through his daydreaming, “will we be able to catch up with them?”
“Yes,” Legolas turned to Gimli, “if we ride hard and do not take many breaks.”
“Ai,” Gimli grumbled, “I do not like the sound of that…more sitting on horses!”
Legolas just shook his head and looked down the Mountain, towards the Old Road Ford.
“Very good stroke!” Tethcelebel applauded, watching Mandy and Elwen parry, “You will be as good as us someday, Aarien!”
“I doubt that,” Mandy replied, ducking, “you have been fighting for too many years than I.”
Tethcelebel chuckled and turned back to her horse. It was just after noon, and they were allowing themselves a little rest before going on. They were traveling down the banks of the river Anduin. Tethcelebel thoughtfully gazed at the river, knowing that they would have to either cross or go down it somehow. She could see the Gladden River in the distance.
“I wish we had some of our boats,” she thought wistfully, and then remembered something. She leapt onto her horse and told him to trot down towards Lorien.
“Elwen,” Tethcelebel called, “I am going to see something. Stay here, I’ll be back in only a few minutes.” So saying, she rode swiftly towards Lorien. Elwen shook her head and shrugged. She and Aarien continued to practice.
After a few leagues, Tethcelebel turned her horse inwards, into the woods. She saw the Gladden River and knew that the guards hid a few boats near it, in case anything happened. She urged Fuuine-suule to be quiet and slipped off of his back. She tread softly, so soft that even another Elf would have a hard time hearing her. She brushed back some bushes and smiled. There lay three small but swift boats of the kind her kin makes. She hid them once again and jumped lightly onto her horse. They galloped quickly back to Elwen and Aarien.
Elwen and Mandy leaped up when they heard horses but relaxed as they saw Tethcelebel. She stayed on her horse but motioned for them to mount up.
“What have you found?” Mandy asked, following Tethcelebel down the path again.
“A way to stay ahead of our pursuers,” Tethcelebel said, her eyes lighting up merrily.
Elwen grinned as she saw the boats. They easily carried them out of the forest and placed them on the banks of the river. The boats were silver-grey, light to be easily handled and swift. Each came with two black paddles.
“That is good,” Mandy said, “but what about our horses?”
“That is easy,” Elwen answered, “The horses will find a better path than we could. They will go wherever we tell them.” She swiftly undid a pair of daggers that were modeled after her own fighting short-swords from underneath her saddle and strapped one on each boot. She took some rope, a cask of some cordial that Lord Elrond had given them, and some lembas from his saddle. “Meet us by the Falls of Rauros.” She ordered Roch who shook his head and with a ringing neigh, galloped off.
Mandy watched and then did the same. She removed rope, lembas, a cask of the cordial, and her own bow that Galadriel had given her. She ordered Ilma the same.
Tethcelebel watched them and then turned to Fuuine-suule. She only took a dagger from the saddle. It had an intricately designed handle with barely noticeable silver markings going up and down the blade. She also had her bow and quiver across her back, with a cask of cordial and lembas strapped to the bag on her belt. She murmured a few words to her horse and then sent him away.
“Well,” Elwen said, “are we ready?”
“Yes,” Tethcelebel answered, “but we should decide how many boats to take. It wouldn’t be wise to fit three of us into one…” She thought for a moment and then decided, “I will take one of the boats. You and Aarien can go in the other. These boats aren’t manageable if you have never done them before. Is that agreed?”
Elwen nodded. Tethcelebel stepped into one and pushed out from the shore. Elwen and Aarien got into the other and followed her. Tethcelebel paddled easily out into the current. She turned back towards Elwen and smiled, dipping her paddle in and out swiftly. Mandy was shocked at how the boats sped down the river. She didn’t know how far the Falls were, but she figured they would be there in no time.
Legolas paused, looking down at the ground. It appeared as if the girls had stayed by the River for a few hours, resting. But it didn’t make sense, for one horse had gone off in one direction while the other two had stayed.
“Legolas,” Galad yelled, “here’s an answer to the riddle! Look, there the horse is coming back.” Galad pointed at the tracks coming back to the others, “Then the three horses ran off in the direction the other one had come from.”
“Come,” Legolas called to the others with him, “they are heading down the River.”
They rode on for a few leagues when they saw the tracks lead inwards. Legolas glanced down the banks and then back inwards. His eyes caught sight of some tracks by the banks of the river. Slipping off of Arod, he ran over to the bank. There he found the light footsteps of his sister and of Aarien. They went towards the river and then disappeared right on the edge.
“Legolas,” Gimli growled, “there are horse tracks making down river.”
“That is strange, for my sister’s tracks go into the river…”
Legolas mused and then knew, “They have boats!” he cried out, racing into the forest. He found the area where the boats had been. However, there was only one left. He picked it up and carried it back out.
“I will take Gimli with me,” Legolas told the escort, “and follow them down the River. Meet me by the Falls of Rauros, for that is where they will be making for. If you find them before I, keep with them.”
The other Elves nodded and rode down the River, taking Arod with them. Gimli climbed clumsily into the boat. Legolas pushed off and let the swift current carry them.
The girls floated lazily down the River, allowing the current to carry them. Tethcelebel would sometimes paddle, acting as the rudder to keep her near Elwen and Mandy. Mandy enjoyed the freedom of the boat and watching the shoreline fly past. Her mind drifted back to her meeting with Bilbo. She remembered the poem and suddenly remembered something.
“Elwen, who is Ohtarwen?” she asked.
“Ohtarwen?” Elwen smiled, glancing over at Tethcelebel, “She is a mortal, of Dunadain blood.”
“Yes,” Tethcelebel guided her boat closer, “and a good friend of ours. She lived in Imladris for a long while…after her mother died and her father went riding with the Rangers.”
“She had many adventures with us,” Elwen said, “until her father was killed….she ran away and joined the Rangers.”
“She also was in many of the battles,” Tethcelebel murmured, her eyes gazing off into the distance as if seeing the battles again, “She was at the battle of Pellenor fields, fighting along with us.”
“Why was she not at Imladris?” Mandy asked.
“Because she is riding with the Rangers still,” Elwen answered her.
“Come,” Tethcelebel dipped her paddle in deeply, “I have an idea where we can stop for a rest, but we will need to paddle swiftly if we are to get there before dark.”
The three of them paddled swiftly down the River, the land skimming by. Mandy paddled automatically, watching the land. Suddenly, she could see Lorien in the distance.
“Elwen,” she said, “is that Lorien?”
“Ay,” Elwen answered, “we will bypass it this time. Lady Galadriel would not be happy if she knew we left with no escort.” Her eyes sparkled mischievously, recalling some memory.
The boats lightly glided atop the water, the bottoms skimming against the ground. Tethcelebel leaped lightly out of her boat, landing knee-deep in the river. She grasped the ropes from each boat and tied them to a tree nearby. Elwen and Mandy climbed out and came over to where Tethcelebel was. They sat on the ground, enjoying the breeze from the River and watched as the stars started to come out, one by
“Would you like to hear how we first met Ohtarwen?” Tethcelebel asked, taking a bite of her lembas.
“Sure,” Mandy nodded her head.
“Let’s see, it was about thirteen years ago, before the war of the Ring. Legolas and I were at Lorien, visiting for the Summer Feast.” Elwen began, “Elrohir and Elladan came for the feast, bringing Ohtarwen with them. I remember seeing her ride into the City. She was sitting in front of Elladan, eyes wide with amazement. She had dark brown hair that was curling slightly and dark brown eyes. I remember thinking that she was an Elfling, for she was dressed as one. I was up in one of the flets, watching them ride in. I saw Celebel walk out to them.”
“Yes,” Tethcelebel inserted, “Ohtarwen was very excited, almost bouncing off of Elladan’s horse. I went forward to greet them. Elladan slid off the horse and caught her as she nearly fell off.” Tethcelebel smiled, “She was very shy, standing and holding Elladan’s hand tightly. I knelt down and said hello. I asked her what her name is, and she answered `Ohtarwen’. I asked Elladan who she was, for I suddenly had seen that her ears were not pointed and that she was a mortal. Elladan explained that her father was a Ranger and had asked his father to keep her at Imladris. I asked if I could take her with me. Elladan said that was fine. I held out my hand to her. She looked up at Elladan who nodded. She took my hand very timidly, and I led her back up the stairs. She soon lost all shyness and was chatting as young children do.”
“Celebel brought her up to the rooms I was staying in, and I met her. Celebel and I talked while Ohtarwen sat on the bed, seeming to be enchanted by the great Mallorn. We found out that she was only five years old and had been in Imladris for three years. We decided to go for a walk, taking her with us.” Elwen said, laughing, “She asked so many questions, not seeming to ever be quiet.”
“Everything at Lorien was an amazement to her,” Tethcelebel said softly, “she was asking questions about the Elves and the trees and Lorien. I answered the questions as fast as I could.”
“She sounds like me as a little girl,” Mandy chuckled, “Will I be able to meet her?”
“At some time,” Elwen answered, “I do not know. The Rangers are not ones to find when you look for them. They usually show up when you least expect them and when they are least looked for but very needed.” Elwen’s eyes looked out down the River, thinking about the Battle of Pellenor Fields, how the Rangers had come when they were least expected but very welcome.
“Anyway,” Tethcelebel brought Elwen back to reality, “That afternoon…..
Ohtarwen sat on the bed, swinging her legs. She was bored, waiting for Elrohir and Elladan to get her for dinner. She got up and walked out onto the balcony of the flet, leaning against the railing. She watched the Elves walking up and down the stairs of other Mallorn trees. Suddenly, she saw a beautiful bird in a branch of a Mallorn tree that hung over the balcony slightly. She wanted to get a closer look, so she climbed onto the railing, balancing. She walked carefully down it, almost reaching the bird when her foot slipped. She seemed to hang in the air for a few seconds before plummeting down several stories of Mallorns, going through the trees. She screamed in fright, grasping at the branches when she suddenly felt herself jerk up. Glancing up, she saw that her belt had caught one of the branches and was holding her. She cried for help, frightened. It seemed that she hung there for several hours, but it really only was a few minutes before a young Elfling came down the path. She yelled out to him, and he paused. He looked around, finally seeing her hanging up there.
“Why are you hanging there?” he asked, going to the base of the tree.
“Please help me!” Ohtarwen said angrily, “I’m stuck!”
“Stuck?” the Elf started to laugh. Ohtarwen struggled, moving about.
“STOP!” the Elf ordered her, starting to climb the tree, “I will get you down.” He easily climbed up to her and unhooked her belt. He set her on one of the branches more securely and turned to her.
“Here,” he said, “hang onto me, and I will get you down from here.” Ohtarwen nodded and grabbed onto him. He climbed swiftly down, carrying her piggyback. Once they reached the ground, he knelt, and she slid off.
“Now,” he asked, “who are you?”
“I am Ohtarwen.” she answered, wiping away tears, “I came with my cousins Elrohir and Elladan.”
“Ah,” he said, “so you are Ohtarwen. I am Rumil. Come, I will take you to your cousins.” So saying, he grasped her hand firmly and led her to Lord Celeborn’s chambers.
“She really did that?” Mandy asked in disbelief, laughing.
“Oh yes,” Elwen smiled, “and we have not let her forget it.”
“I’ll bet.” Mandy giggled, thinking about a little girl hanging from her belt in one of the trees at Lorien.
“Now,” Elwen said, “I will take the first watch since my cousin did it last time. I suggest you rest. We will be leaving early.”
Tethcelebel nodded and stretched out on a blanket, going back into her dreams. Mandy watched the sky for a little while before drifting off to sleep as well.
hi! i’m probly still gone when this will come up but i hope you enjoy the chapter! thanks to Ohtarwen for letting me pick on her a little bit