The other men immediately ran toward me leaving Nate alone and untied also. I swung my leg around and one man hit the ground which trapped him around the middle. The last man seeing that I had been underestimated pulled out a whistle and let a shrilling ring. I pushed both hands forward and the man was flung twenty steps up and collapsed against them.
“Nate run! Talk to the King, tell him about Mirkwood! I hold anyone off.” I yelled as guards turned the corner in full armor.
He looked at me, “No, I won’t do it. You should, you know more about it than me. You go, I’ll hold them off.”
“Now is not the time to argue! Go.” I screamed as I sent a wall of gravel tumbling at the guards.
He ran at me and grabbed my wrists, then shoved me up the stairs. I had no choice but to do as he wished and so sprinted up the stairs. Once I was out of sight of anyone below or above I went into werein form. It had been too long since I had changed, pain coursed through my body and my left leg had no hair on it because of the fire. Even with this to add to my worries I ran on. How many stairs are there to the top? Why would they put so many?
Upon reaching the top of the stairs I was confronted with the great white tree of Gondor. I had heard tales of it from my childhood, but had never thought that I would live to see it. Changing into my human form, I looked at it I realized that once, a while ago that this tree had been dying. Curious to see whether it had any marks from the experience I stepped up to it and sure enough found that at the heart of the tree there was a scar of darker wood. It twisted down and stopped a foot from the ground. This tree has lived so long from the loyalty and trust of this city’s leaders. Some were along the way someone hurt that trust and so the tree bears the scar of his life.
In my awe of this tree someone had snuck up behind me.
“Many of my people have tried to come and look at this tree, though most have been stopped by my guards. How is it that you got passed them?”
I jumped and spun my sword drawn, the tip at his throat. My eyes were gazing at him when they came upon the royal crest. Dropping my sword I hit my knees.
“My Lord, forgive me.” I bowed my head.
“Forgiven, but tell me, how did you get up here?” His voice was light with amusement.
“My friend is down there holding off your men, he sent me to talk to you.” I stopped and stood. “If you’d be so kind as to call them off him I’ll explain.” He signaled to a waiting guard who blew into a horn that let out a low and long note. I put my sword away and waited looking for Nate to come up the stairs. When he did he was escorted by seven of the guards, two of which were holding him by his forearms.
“This is the friend you spoke of?” The King asked.
“Yes, my Lord. He has been my guide and friend on my journey to your city. As to why I came I would hope that you would know a little about what I have to say. Mirkwood, my Lord has fallen under a terrible rule, the man I speak of is Halede. He has left Mirkwood in ruin, its people starve and steal just to survive. Children run around without homes and without judgment. As you well know a few years ago he sent out our armies to kill the werein that roamed in the forests with us. My father was one of the last of the werein to fight, Daer, he was kind to the elves, he didn’t harm them and most of the werein’s never touched an elf.
“My mother was also killed because of her love for my father. She was an outcast even among the elves. I’m the last werein besides those that fight for Halede. I came to you to ask for your help in taking back Mirkwood and return it to its old ways.” I stopped looking at Nate and then the King. It felt good to finally speak the truth about what had happened to my parents, I could almost see the weight lifting off my shoulders.
The King glanced at me and then Nate, a look of amusement spread onto his face. How could he smile at what I had just said? How could he smile after hearing what we had done to his guards? The answer to those were in his head and I realized that I was terrified to hear what he was going to say, but finally he spoke and his voice was understanding, something I didn’t expect.
“You’ve brought a problem to my attention and I’ll try to resolve it in the best way possible, but I think I should hear about your journey to its extent. If you are what you say you are, I would like to offer you my apology about what happened to your kind.” He looked at me as if expecting to see me shift my forms right then and there.
I blushed looking at him, “My Lord, it would not be fit for me to change forms in front of you.” I pulled on my shirt to explain to see that he was the one blushing now.