Chapter Four: Legolas Arrives
They had just made their way back from the walk. There was still thirty-five minutes till supper, so they sat at the fountain, and talked. Mainly the halflings asked Artanis and Më questions.
‘How old are you, Dawn?’ Pippin asked. Merry elbowed him in the side. ‘Ouch, that hurt.’ Pippin complained, Merry replied. ‘Never ask a lady how old she is.’ Artanis smiled.
‘To answer your question Pippin. I am 551 years old. I celebrate my birthday on September 21st.’ Sam looked up from the tan dirt he had been drawing in. ‘Really?’ Pippin asked, Sam looked thoughtful. ‘September 22nd is Master Frodo’s birthday.’ He said. Artanis looked interested.
At that moment a party of horses rode up. Artanis stood up hurriedly, and went to the leader. ‘Greetings, Prince. You come unlooked for.’ She said to the rider, a noble elf.
The rider dismounted with grace, and nodded to Artanis. ‘Yes, I know I come unlooked for Artanis, yet I have come.’ Artanis bowed, ‘Yes Prince Legolas, you have. Take your horses to the stable, and they will be taken care of as usual.’
Legolas nodded, remounting his horse, and told his company what she had said. They rode off toward the stable. The hobbits came running. ‘Who was that?’ Sam asked, eager to find out about this elf.
‘That was Legolas, a frequent visit…’ She was interrupted by a bell. ‘Come, that’s the dinner bell. I must tell them the Prince is here.’
She jogged toward the kitchen entrance at the side of the building. She pushed the door open, and glanced around. Spying the person she was looking for she walked in. ‘Prince Legolas has just arrived, his band numbers ten, as well as him.’
The cook nodded, and then gently pushed Artanis out of the kitchen, while the hobbits followed, bewildered. She straightened her clothing, and made her way into the dining hall. Elrond was just sitting down, and Artanis walked quickly to her seat near Lo.
She sat down, while the hobbits climbed into the three chairs next to her. ‘Forgive me, lord.’ Artanis said quietly. ‘Prince Legolas just arrived.’
Elrond nodded, and Lo passed her the plate of venison. She took a small piece, and passed it on to Sam, who was sitting next to her.
The Prince and his company walked in, and came over to the table. ‘May I sit?’ He asked Elrond. Elrond smiled. ‘Welcome Legolas, please, do sit.’ Legolas smiled, and sat down at an empty seat across from Artanis.
He accepted the goblet of juice offered him, and took a piece of the venison. Artanis took a bite of her venison, and thought about it. She had killed it while out on a hike by herself, and she wasn’t really prepared for a hunt. As the only female hunter in Imladris, the male hunters sometimes looked down upon her.
But she was one of the most skilled trackers in the group, and she provided much meat for Imladris. Legolas interrupted her thoughts. ‘Elrond, have you seen Mithrandir recently? I have some news for him.’ ‘Yes, He’s been here for three days.’
Artanis took another bite of venison. She looked at the hobbits, they weren’t eating. She whispered to Sam. ‘Why aren’t you all eating?’ ‘We’re not hungry.’
Artanis shook her head, and then sat up straight, ‘May we be excused?’ She asked Elrond. ‘Who is the ‘we’?’ He asked. ‘The halflings and I.’ She replied. He nodded. ‘You’re excused.’
They stood up, and walked from the hall. When they reached the fountain, Artanis sat on the edge of the fountain, and the hobbits sat at her feet by choice. ‘Who’s Mithrandir, Artanis?’ She thought for a moment, and then replied. ‘Mithrandir is an Istari. A wizard. I suppose most call him ‘Gandalf’.’
Pippin inhaled sharply. ‘Gandalf is here?’ Merry asked worriedly. Artanis nodded, ‘Yes, he’s here.’ Merry and Pippin looked at each other apprehensively. Sam laid back, and watched the light pink and purple clouds scuttle by. It was growing dark, and Pippin was yawning occasionally.
Artanis looked into a window, and saw a lit candle. ‘It’s time to go in now.’ She said. Pippin nodded sleepily, and Merry pulled him into a standing position with Sam’s help. Artanis grasped Pippin’s hand, and they walked into the building.
When they reached her room, they found three ‘beds’ on the floor at the foot of her bed. Sam chose the one next to her bed, Merry chose the middle, and Pippin got the end one. The hobbits all got under the covers, and Artanis blew out the candle in her room.
She laid down on her bed, and waited until she heard Sam snoring. She quietly got out of bed, and went to check on Frodo.
When she entered the room, she found Elrond bent over Frodo, and Mithrandir sitting in the window seat. ‘Have you found it yet?’ She whispered, Elrond shook his head, ‘No, I haven’t. And I’m starting to get worried.’ Artanis looked at Mithrandir, who was smoking his pipe, the light from it illuminating his face eerily.
‘Greetings Mithrandir.’ She whispered. He nodded, and Elrond sighed quietly. ‘I can’t find it.’ Artanis went to his side. ‘We must find it. We must.’ Elrond whispered resolutely. Artanis nodded, her face illuminated by the pale moonlight.
‘All things come with time, though I know we don’t have much of that.’ She whispered. Mithrandir nodded from his window seat. ‘We will not stop until we find it.’ He said. Elrond cleaned his hands in a basin of water. ‘The halflings sleep in your room?’ Elrond asked her quietly.
‘Yes, they are asleep.’ Elrond nodded, ‘that’s good. Hopefully they’ll sleep all night.’ Artanis agreed. ‘Yes, I hope so.’ She said. Elrond nodded, and placed his medical instruments in a richly carved cabinet. ‘Go back to bed now, Art. Mithrandir will watch Frodo.’ Elrond instructed her. She nodded, ‘Good night then, to both of you.’ She turned, and returned to her room.
She walked to her window, and looked at the stars in the sky. They twinkled merrily, and Artanis drew strength from their light. She breathed quietly, yet deeply. She closed the curtains, and walked to the side of her bed. She pulled back the light cover, and laid down. She turned onto her side, and watched the shadows from the moon play on her wall until she fell asleep.