Mithita dropped a heavier cloak across Katrina’s shoulders. She was pushing tears back, not looking at the young woman who she had seen God’s wonder in. Katrina didn’t know it, but she had inspired her to listen harder, not just for Iluvatar’s vioce, but that of those who sang to Him, of Him. Those whose souls sung so loud that even she didn’t know how she had droned them out. She would lift her own vioce sometime, let her own chords join those whose love is for Iluvatar, God. "It’s to keep you warmer while you travel. Autumn is coming, Nenuial, the leaves will start to fall and turn reds and browns. Everyone will be preparing for colder weather and will be setting their food supplies. That is, in Gondor, in Minas Tirith. Here, well, here we will prepare for hotter days, Father doesn’t like the cold, so burns the Fire darker, scoldingly hot. Mother will burn no matter what… Be thankful his Fire has not spread to you yet…"
"But it has. Not Aradae’s but God’s, He’s in you too, Mithita. And I told you to call me Katrina. I don’t like that other name." Katrina smiled at her, even though she was avoiding her eye contact. "Look at me, hon."
Shyly, eyes burning with tears looked up at her. "I’m sorry, but you have brought me hope."
"No. That was God, Mithita. And you helped me renew my faith, I had been falling into a valley, forgetting He said to forgive and forget, not to hold a grudge and I was turning from Him. Don’t you do what I did, okay? You stay firm. Here. Don’t read that until after I’m gone." Katrina pressed a piece of paper into her hand. "Malla gave me a bit of parchment when I asked, and she even had a quill and ink! I must say, that was difficult! Never used a quill before, but I figured it out."
"Thank you." Mithita clutched the parchment to her chest. "I won’t read it yet, Katrina."
She smiled and dropped a kiss on her forhead. "Now, I believe I’m supposed to meet with your brother, Valeth and Deladan, but I would be honored if you came with me."
Mithita nodded her agreement that she would be present for her departure.
Katrina shifted uneasily under the white mantel. "I’m nervous about this, Mithita, what if your father catches us?"
"He wont. His sorrow has consumed him, at the moment he can only dwell on Earenen. Come now, mother is waiting." Mithita led her out of the cave and into the depths of a dark merciless night of shadows.
The shadows seemed to be pressing around her, cloaking her in darkness. Feeling swallowed by the blackness Katrina started to softly sing,
The pathway is broken
And the signs are unclear
And I don’t know the reason why you brought me here
But just because You love me the way that You do
I?m gonna walk through the valley
If You want me to
Mithita looked over at her and then continued walking. She had grasped Katrina’s hand in her own so that the young woman would not get lost in the dark. Her feet moved deftly as she weaved around rocks and stones and boulders and the occasional tree that stood in the middle of the path narled and black.
Valeth stood near two darkly clad men, her own white dress and mantle standing out in the dark. She beckoned for them to hurry with a wave of her hand.
Katrina came to stand beside Deledan. There was a little boy held in his arms, blond hair wisping around his ears and forehead. He looked afraid and nervous, his little hands twisted in the hood of Deledan?s cloak.
Valeth reached out and took her hands, her own touch was cool and gentle. "Katrina, remember this, when you get to Minas Tirith, warn the King that Aradae intends to attack Gondor in a weeks time at Minas Tirith. He must be defeated. Can you remember this?"
"Yes, I wont forget, I promise." Katrina squeezed the White Lady’s hands in reasurance. "Nor will I forget the risk you all have taken for me."
"Rest assured, it was well worth the risk, Katrina." Valeth smiled at her kindly, her eyes sparkling. "You will have to hurry. He will send someone after you. There are those who are deep in his council, and I would like to say they are fools, but they are quite wise. Now, hurry." She pulled away, a dangerous gleam to her misted eyes.
Mordae stepped forward for the first time. "Nenuial. I have something for you."
Katrina frowned as she moved towards him, coming with in arms length. She was surprised when he came so close to her she could feel his breath on her forehead. His gaze didn’t leave her questioning eyes, but his hands encompassed her’s. "This is your’s, I do believe."
Her eyes flashed down as she felt something warm press into her hands. She opened the palm up and saw the golden chain. A gorgeous cross attached to the lovely fine chain. The thing that she had said ment nothing, when really it had meant so much. So, so much… "Oh, thank you… Thank you so much…" Katrina felt a tear slide down her cheek and then she looked up. His eyes were seeking her aproval.
"Do you trust me now?" he whispered.
His words were warm on her brow, full of life, full of feeling. "Yes, I do." She leaned upward and kissed his cheek. "Thank you. May God guide you to the path of the righteous. I hope that you turn to Him soon." Katrina turned and began to walk with Deladan, her eyes watering very heavily now. "May He save your souls…"
She noticed the small child held in Deladan’s arms. His little head was looking back at all he had ever known, all he had ever seen. Her own mind was far from here. Far from the little child and Deladan, wandering among the far away lands of home. Where shadows such as these didn’t touch her life…
Eldarion was growing weary of searching. He needed to find her. Things didn’t look encouraging and he was losing the hope he had. Her song had faded into a whisper and now sang so fully he knew she was well, but still he could not find her!
Aragorn looked over at his son, a grim expression on his face. It had been four days. Four days with no results. They couldn’t keep this up forever. He made the desicion that in the morning they would head back. Katrina’s God would safe her if it was ment.
"Eldarion, it’s been four days. Captors don’t tend to let their prisoners live very long." Aragorn looked to Legolas, who’s eyes had risen to study the sparkling starry night sky. Gimli’s face had fallen, defeated. Only Eldarion looked ahead, his eyes searching.
"Did you give up on Merry and Pippin?" His voice was hushed and calm.
"No, but we heard word long before this much time had passed."
"You had heard they were dead, but still, you needed the proof. I need the proof."
"My son,…. Only Iluvatar Himself could tell us what has become of her!"
"Then hear this!" Eldarion twisted in his saddle to face his startled father. "I know she’s alive! Eru has told my heart it is so! She is a daughter of His. She is an angel." He turned forward again. A white figure walked from the shadow of a dark mountain. "And here is the angel now…" His heals urged his mount forward, the spare horse jolting into a swift run as well.
In shocked horror, Aragorn, Legolas and Gimli charged after the prince. "Eldarion!" Aragorn cried, his voice seemed caught in his throat and the cry was only a croacking call. The thought of it being a trap and his son charging right into it shook him. He couldn?t bare to watch his son be taken… What would he tell Arwen? What would he tell himself? That it was his fault? That they had been ambushed?
Then, like a tidal wave of numbness, he felt pain clutch his heart. What if he, himself, was caught? Aragorn nearly stopped short. He possibly could never see his Arwen, or his daughters again. That thought insued the next. He might never see his unborn child. Ever. The pain was hard and relentless, but this was his son….his only son.
Eldarion sprang from the back of his horse and ran the rest of the way. The man beside her didn’t matter, neither did the little boy. It was only her…her.
Katrina felt the excitement swell in her. What would she do? What would she say? She didn’t know, but what she did know was that it would not be a formal greeting. Eldarion was coming, her lovely Eldarion.
A leather jerkin clung to his muscled chest. Silver vambraces guarded his wrists. A light chain mail skirt was visible under the long jerkin. Underneath she could see a thin royal blue tunic with elvish detailing. His trousers were a plain brown, but they looked kingly. Dark brown hair was pushed away from his face as he leapt from his horse and began running towards her. Dear Eldarion.
Her own feet began to carry to her quickly, her flip flops, which had amazingly stayed with her the whole time, not hindering her.
"Katrina!" Deladan made a start towards her. Thindae, the little boy, let out a shriek.
She hardly noticed. Her arms wrapped around a warm neck and she could feel strong arms circle her waist. Tears were falling from her eyes so heavily and her sobs were anything but silent. "Eldarion…. Oh, how I’ve missed you…" her vioce was cracking as she spoke so softly.
"I’ve missed you too…" The strain in his voice told her he too was crying. His arms tightened around her. "Meleth nin…. Meleth nin…."
"Shh… You’ve found me. I’m here, safe now. I’m safe." The words were more for herself than him.
Deladan slowed at the sight of her so happy. He watched with pained eyes though. How he had yearned to do that with his sister. To hold her when she returned, and to let her cry all she wanted on his shoulder. He would never have that. But… He did have Thindae, and that was a blessing.
Aragorn dismounted Brego and slowly made his way toward his son and Katrina. He was wary of the man and boy on the otherside of the weeping two. Legolas was behind him, his body tensed for action of any kind. He could hear his friend’s gentle breathing, and knew the Elf had a look of angered determination, the same he often used to assume before a battle. Hopefully it wouldn’t amount to that. A slight turn to glance back at him told Aragorn he was holding his bow in his fist, his other hand lightly holding an arrow. Gimli stomped up beside Legolas and by the clinking of wood on metal he was holding an axe near it’s head and the handle was thumping his chain mail.
Eldarion kissed her cheek. "Yes, you’re safe now. Here in my arms. I’ll hold you, Katrina, whenever you need." He wanted to say so much more, so, so much more. But he couldn’t, not now, not with his father and the others around.
"Thank you…" Her vioce quavered as she whispered, "I love you, my Eldarion." She lifted her face and softly kissed his parted lips for a second before burrying her face against his neck again.
Her tears had been cold and saltly on his lips. But her own tender carress had washed that away and all that mattered now was that she was safe. And this was not a dream, this was real.
"Katrina, step away, now." A heavy unfamiliar voice, to Eldarion, boomed from in front of him.
Katrina spun around in his arms, but did not leave them, she looked, and felt, as though she had just realized they were not alone. Her weight leaning against his chest was comfortable and it felt right. "Deladan," she gasped. "I’m sorry… I-"
"Eldarion. Please, wait until we know she is safe to rejoice. Come here." His father"s voice interupted her honey like one. "Now."
"Your father’s right, laddie. Stand aside. We do not know if she comes with friend or foe." Gimli’s voice made her spin again, only this time she escaped his arms. Eldarion slowly turned after observing the man and little boy.
"Tell me, would a foe come with a child" Would it bring it’s prisoner out of the valley? I tell you, Deladan was only taking me from that horrid place. You need not fear him." Her voice and words were confident, and it made pride swell in Eldarion that she could speak this way to his father. "I am safe now, and you need not look farther."
"Katrina, he could be a wolf in sheep’s clothing. You don’t know-" Legolas finally said. He took a step towards her as though he was going to pull her to his side, to shield her from something.
"I do know! Don’t look at me like that, I have seen this man’s hardship! I have felt it!? Katrina’s eyes went ablaze in her head and she stepped back to stand beside Deladan. Her hand reached out and rested it on the little boy’s hand that was held in Deladan’s. "This child knows the pain of living in that place… Don’t look at me like I am alien to this way of things, I know. I understand now." She looked over at the child, a smile warmed her face.
His little blue eyes flashed a grin at her and his pearly whites smiled. Wispy golden hair curled around his face and a soft breeze teased the bangs in front of his eyes and away. A little hand curled around a few of her fingers and he tugged it to his cheek.
Katrina turned her hand and cupped his face. He was such a lovely little boy…
"Katrina…." Legolas stepped forward and an ashen look was on his face. His hand reached out and fingered her scarred cheek. The hand prints burned at his normal touch. "Your face…"
Hey, I hope you guys enjoyed this… They’re finally back together! Yay! : ) Song exerpted from Ginny Owens, If You want Me to.