Bend in the Wind – Ch11: I Am Here

by Aug 23, 2004Stories

Disclaimer: see chapter one
Names/Pronunciations will come at the end of each chapter.

`*’ signals a footnote
“text” signals dialogue
‘text’ signals thoughts

Chapter 11.) I Am Here
Be good to the lad who loves you true,
And the soul that was born to die for you
And whistle and I’ll be there

– A. E. Housman

Aug 26, 12 Fourth Age

A rather unfeminine grunt came out of Nessúlë as she thumped clumsily back onto the ground. Another attempt made to stand and another failed.

“That will be a new bruise, I imagine,” she sourly murmured to herself, wiping her hands against her brown leggings. “This is insufferable – I cannot wait here forever, I must get back!”

Nessúlë shot an accusing glance at the surrounding landscape. It had become all too familiar. Her leg was in such a sorry state that slow crawling was the only option for travel. If there were only some sturdy stick to support her, that would have been something, but she was stranded in the middle of a brush-filled bowl of land a good mile away from the last copse of trees.

If her stallion, Hithui, had been there the situation would not have been dire at all, but this was not the case. Nessúlë had sent Hithui out to graze before her encounter with the wolves and the horse never returned. During that evening and night Nessúlë had heard the far-off sounds of wolves calling to each other and assumed that Hithui had fled. At least, she hoped that was what had happened; the alternative was much more unpleasant.

In her own fear that night Nessúlë hid herself in a small hallow of ground surrounded by briar bushes. This had afforded her several more scratches but was still able to settle her mind somewhat. However, she had still been unable to take any rest for the following two days.

`What shall I do then?’ Nessúlë questioned herself. `Certainly it’s better to be out of that hole now, but where can I go from here?’

The elleth looked forlornly down are her right thigh. She hadn’t been able to stitch it up herself for her needle had somehow been lost from her healing supplies. Her only tools had been what little knowledge she had of the healing powers, some cleaning salve, and bandages made from her spare clothes. The leg still throbbed and any Healer would say that it shouldn’t be walked on at all. But that hadn’t stopped Nessúlë from trying.

“It’s no use though, is it my friend?” she sighed.

Bainsúl had just returned to his lady and was perched on the knee of her good leg. He cocked his head and ruffled his feathers.

“Perhaps it is time to try our last resort then,” Nessúlë murmured.

Initially she had not wanted to send Bainsúl away because he was one of her few defenses. With her useless right leg all she could count on in an emergency was the aim of her daggers and the sharpness of Bainsúl’s talons. He had also aided her in another way. It was his ceaseless cries that had awakened her from her restless fainting spell before a loss of blood could impair her functioning.

But now there seemed nothing for it but to send Bainsúl for help. Slowly she took the noble bird onto her hand and raised him so that their eyes met.

Gwilolagor, Bainsúl, atoltha… toltha Elrohir. Tôg hon na enni {Fly swiftly, Bainsúl, and fetch… fetch Elrohir. Bring him to me}.”

Without pause the bird lifted from her hand and flew away. She watched him go sadly. As she did so a small sliver of doubt pierced her mind. From the vantage point of her newly acquired insight Nessúlë realized that she must have wounded Elrohir terribly by running off. Was it wrong to ask more of him? She shook her head restlessly. Elrohir would not think so, certainly. It couldn’t be too late – not now, after she had finally discovered the truth.


For only the second time in his life, that he could recall, Elrohir felt truly nauseous. The sensation did not sit well with him. He did not like feeling so powerless or so scared. It reminded him too much of the other time. Only then, when they were scouring the Orcish haunts of the Hithaeglir for signs of his mother, there had at least been a trail of fetid air and trampled ground to follow*. Here there was nothing. Nessúlë was a skilled member of the Lorien patrol: she did not leave behind needless signs of her passing.

Since he began his journey, Elrohir had felt as though something was leading him onward, calling him in the right direction. But so far his search was fruitless. And only the Valar knew how much time was left. After receiving his premonition in the dining hall five days before Elrohir had not been given any more hints as to Nessúlë’s well being. For all he knew, she could well be dead.

Elrohir pushed his horse onward, not willing to dally for one moment. He stretched his senses out to their limit, using them where his eyes failed to aid him. The clouds boiled above him, massing in dark brooding clusters; the wind picked up and swept over the brown lands. Elrohir rode on, paying no heed to the approaching ill weather.

Hours of fruitless searching had passed and twilight had begun to tinge the sky when Elrohir suddenly reined in his steed. He could smell blood. His own blood ran cold. Anxiously leaping from his horse, Elrohir darted into the grove of small trees, brushing aside the undergrowth with his hasty strides. In a few moments he came upon an unsettling sight.

Lying up against a line of closely-knit trees lay the carcass of a dead horse, torn as if by claws. Elrohir turned sharply away from the sight, but not so soon that he didn’t recognize the horse as Nessúlë’s stallion, Hithui. A bitter taste rose up in Elrohir’s mouth and he began to despair.

“No, it’s not the end,” Elrohir declared firmly, leaning heavily against one of the nearby trees. “None of her things are here, she it not here, it is not the end.”

Pushing off of the tree Elrohir turned and approached the horse slowly. He knelt by the sightless eyes and said a few soft words over him then he rose and apologized. “You will not rest in the earth, faithful one – I go to rescue your mistress if I can and so here you will lie.”

Calling his horse to him, Elrohir mounted and rode out of the wood, trying to follow what trail the horse had left, thinking that, perhaps, it would lead him back to Nessúlë.

Some time had passed when Elrohir came to a place where the ground became rocky and bare. He scrutinized the stone for scuff marks, but the signs seemed contradictory and the light had failed altogether, it being now the dead of night and only a day past the new moon. Reluctantly he began to resign himself to having lost the trail, at least until the morning. This was a sad blow, and the sudden drizzle that began to sweep across the land did not improve his mood.

With sudden ferocity Elrohir kicked at a pile of chalky rocks, sending them scattering across the slanted ground. He tumbled to his knees and stuck the cold, unforgiving rock with his hand.

You’re too late, his heart whispered, Five days have past, you’re too late. Either she is gone beyond your aid or she has escaped the danger and continued on her journey… away from you. Either way, you have lost her. You’re too late.

The rain began to fall more earnestly. Elrohir closed his eyes and tilted his head back, letting the water spill over his face. For several minutes the monotonous drumming of the rain filled his ears and he had almost drifted off into an exhausted trance-like stupor when a new sound pierced his mind.

A cry, loud and clear reached his ear and he looked up, just as Bainsúl, flying quite low above the land veered in his course and dove toward him. Elrohir cried out for joy. Here was a messenger that could give him more than a dead trail and who would doubtless wait on his mistress until the end. The young bird was an impatient one, but he was sturdy and true.

Bainsúl descended on Elrohir’s arm but he did not perch there. Instead, he grasped Elrohir’s tunic sleeve and pulled away, as if trying to tug him in the right direction. It did not take long for Elrohir to apprehend that the bird wanted him to follow, and as may be imagined, he was more than willing to oblige.


Aug 27, 12 Fourth Age

Nessúlë pulled the cloak more tightly about her, rocking back and forth in an attempt to stay warm, but it was a useless gesture. She had scooted herself beneath a small overhang the night before which had provided precious little shelter. The fire had given up in the middle of the night and her clothes were wet through. Murky sunlight began to bleed across the horizon, but it did not warm Nessúlë’s heart. Her thigh felt like it was burning

A shiver ran along Nessúlë’s spine and she lay down on her side, ignoring the jagged feel of the hard ground and pulling her good leg up to her chest. She couldn’t help whimpering a little as the wind shifted, sending a new shower of rain into her pitiful sanctuary. Slowly she turned her body, facing toward the inside of the cove.

Having nothing else to do, and knowing that she would not find sleep, Nessúlë reached into her bag to retrieve the letters. They had been her one source of comfort over the past six terrible days. She couldn’t have put her jumble of feelings into thoughts or words, but she did know that reading Elrohir’s words made her smile. That was miraculous in itself.

A frown crossed Nessúlë’s face. She moved her hand about in the bag but couldn’t feel the small leather pouch. Needing to use the strap to bind up one of her dressings, Nessúlë had taken the satchel from her waist and put it in the top of her saddlebag. But it wasn’t there.

Weary, faint, and cold, Nessúlë dumped the bag up side down in a frenzy, emptying it of its few contents and scattering them around. The satchel was nowhere to be found.

“It must have fallen out when I dragged the sack behind me,” Nessúlë moaned, her eyes wide.

She turned back toward the outer landscape, wincing as her thigh shifted. The rain had been coming down steadily for hours and she knew that the small pouch had not been closed when she put it away.

Without taking time to rationally access the situation, Nessúlë began to crawl out of her hiding place, using her hands and good leg to slide across the muddy ground to where she had been resting before. After a few minutes of hurried, tense searching Nessúlë found the pouch half buried in mud. Using her body as a shield from the rain, Nessúlë opened the pouch and withdrew the papers. A soft, irrepressible sob escaped her throat when she saw what havoc the rain had made. The paper was plastered together and the rich Elven inks had bled into a swirl of unrecognizable blotches.

Unwilling to give them up, Nessúlë pulled away a few leaves with agitated fingers. It was no use. Every word was gone.

Overwhelmed with regret, anger, and exhaustion, Nessúlë slumped down into the mud and cried. It seemed an omen. Elrohir’s words had been washed away in a torrent of rain, never more to be seen. What if her leg became infected and started bleeding again before Elrohir ever arrived? What if Bainsúl was too young to remember the way? …What if she never saw his face again and faded without even the comfort of his words?

“Terrible.” Nessúlë scrunched up the sopping papers and held them against her chest. A few moments later her feverish thoughts slipped away into unconsciousness.


The rain had died down to a soft drizzle and the sun was beginning to chase away the clouds when Elrohir reined in his horse beside a boulder upon which Bainsúl was perched. Leaping down, Elrohir paused for a moment, and then scrambled up onto the boulder, almost dislodging Bainsúl in his haste. Scanning the area around him, Elrohir soon saw the crumpled form of Nessúlë a few feet away, amidst a tussle of brush. Slipping off the rock, Elrohir raced to her side and knelt down near her head.

Immediately he apprehended that she was still alive and breathing. But this did not extinguish his worry; her breathing was quick, her body shivered slightly, and her leg was obviously in a bad way, not to mention all the other cuts and bruises that were spread over her body. With gentle hands he turned her so that she was lying on her back. As he smoothed locks of tangled hair from her face he noticed that there was something in her hands.

Elrohir opened her hands up slowly and withdrew the wad of paper. Dark burgundy ink was washed across the pages, very like the ink that he had made for himself. Were these his letters? A glimmering wisp of hope invaded Elrohir’s mind before he pushed it savagely away. This was not the time for such thoughts. Nessúlë had to be taken care of.

Without delay Elrohir scooped the elleth up into his arms and started carrying her away from that place. With the aid of his horse, he had soon brought her to a place of shelter which had in times past been used by the Rangers.

As he took Nessúlë down from the horses back she stirred. Opening her eyes blearily, she gazed upon him with a mixture of awe and confusion.

“Elrohir?” her voice was low and distant.

“Shh. Be still, my love, I am here.”


Nessúlë was sure she had been dreaming, but when she woke again some time later she could still feel a pair of warm arms around her.

`I am loosing my mind,’ she mused wearily. And for some reason this thought amused her. She snorted softly with laughter and then began to cough.

“Easy,” a gentle voice whispered near her ear. “Drink this.”

Without bothering to open her eyes Nessúlë obeyed the instructions.

“I have tended to your leg and to your shoulder,” the voice continued, “do they still hurt?”

Nessúlë let her head fall back onto whoever it was behind her. “A little.”

Not feeling up to any exertions of mind, Nessúlë was quite ready to succumb to sleep when she felt something with her hand. Or rather, she did not feel something.

Her eyes flew open and her hands began exploring her tunic and the ground around her. “Where are the letters?” she inquired frantically but almost to herself. “Of, I’ve gone and lost them again… they’re all gone. No…”

To her bewildered mind this point seemed to be of grave importance and her breathing began to grow heavy as she thought on it. Elrohir tenderly drew her back against his chest and pulled his cloak about them both.

“All is well, do not fret about the letters. I will write you new ones, if you like. But for now you must stay warm.”

Nessúlë’s breathing slowly normalized and her head fell back against Elrohir’s chest.

“Elrohir? It is you?”

“Yes, I am here.”

And then Nessúlë did something very unexpected. With painstaking care, she twisted her body around in Elrohir’s arms so that she was turned more toward him, then she slid her arms around his waist and laid her head against his chest.

“I’m sorry,” she murmured quietly, “… And thank you.”

In a few moments she was asleep. And, with the seeds of contentment and peace beginning to spring up in his heart, Elrohir laid his cheek against Nessúlë’s hair and soon followed her example.


1. Elrohir participated in the hunt for his capture mother, Celebrian, in the Misty Mountains.

Things to Know:

Nessúlë: “young spirit”
Elrohir: “Elf knight”
Bainsúl: “fair wind”
Hithui: “November”

elleth: “Elf (female)”
Hithaeglir: “Misty Mountains”

gwilo-lagor, Bainsúl, a-toltha… toltha Elrohir = “fly-swift, Fairwind, and-fetch… fetch Elrohir”

tôg hon na enni = “bring him to me” —> enni = “I/me (indirect object)”


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