Lady From Beyond the Sea – Chapter 29 – Cold
Zandra: She has water power, which includes weather power. She is slowly regaining her memory of who and what she is. She is Dae Kular, which literally means “light warrior,” but she thinks it is something more.
Tinania: Zandra’s eldest sister, she became Dae Kular and went away. She has fire power.
Jaessa: Zandra’s other sister, described as sweet, and calm. She has earth power, which includes plants.
Zandra’s Mother: associated with stars
Zandra’s Father: associated with shadows
Dyryn: Zandra once thought she loved him, but he tricked her and imprisoned her in Dol Guldur He had a ring, and became the Witchking of Angmar. Zandra, Eowyn, and Merry all helped kill him.
Gallin: Boy from Rohan, a friend of Zandra’s, died at Helm’s Deep
She knew without looking that Legolas stood in the doorway. Resolutely she kept her eyes closed, knowing that if she looked at him before saying what she had to say she would lose her courage. When he made no move to come further into the room she spoke.
“You must go with Aragorn.” She fought to keep her voice from betraying the pain that her words were causing her. She could not understand why it was so hard, why she was so afraid of him leaving, so she forced her fear down. “It is your duty.”
“Zandra . . .” His voice was taut with emotion. She opened her eyes, and nearly winced at the pleading in his eyes. Pleading for what?
“No, I am sorry that I asked that you stay. It was thoughtless. Frodo needs you. I swore in Rivendell that I would stay by his side. In that I failed,” her voice began to shake, so she paused.
Legolas came swiftly to her side, taking her still cold hand in his, “No Zandra, you cannot blame yourself. You were hurt, you are hurt now, . . .”
She cut him off, “Which is one of the reasons that you must go. You must go because I can’t.” It was her turn to plead, “Save Frodo for me.”
He nodded, and then held her hand to his cheek. “Oh Zandra, you are still so cold.”
You have no idea, she thought miserably. The cold is not only in my hand, or in my body, but in my soul. But she could not tell him this. Why, she did not know, but she knew that she could not explain it to him, not yet.
“Time is all I need,” she whispered, praying that it was so, “Time and rest.”
“Promise me that you won’t get up until I return,” he said. Zandra let a small smile touch her lips.
“Ah, you’ve been talking to the Master,” she said. She had tried to rise, to go to the window, but the Master had caught her and insisted that she return to her bed. “He said that Aragorn ordered me to remain in bed for ten days.” She made it sound a question.
“Yes, that is what Aragorn said, please do as he bids, he only wishes for your recovery,” Legolas implored, letting his worry for her show in his tone.
Zandra remained silent, thinking of the dream that had driven her from her bed when the Master had found her.
A long line of orcs marched past two huddled figures. Frodo and Sam hid in the shadow of a cliff that lined the road. The orcs were going at a great pace. Those in the foremost files bore torches. On they came, red flames in the dark, swiftly growing. Now Sam bowed his head, trying to hide his face when the torches reached them; and he set their shields before their knees to hide their feet. Frodo was clad in orc mail, and Sam had on an orc cloak over his Elven one.
At first it seemed that the orcs would pass them by, the leading orcs came loping along, panting, holding their heads down. Beside them, running up and down the line, went two of the large fierce uruks, cracking lashes and shouting. It seemed as though the smaller ones were being driven unwilling to their Dark Lord’s wars; all they cared for was to get the march over and escape the whip.
File after file passed, and the tell-tale torchlight was already some way ahead. Sam held his breath. Now more than half the line had gone by. Then suddenly one of the slave-drivers spied the two figures by the road-side.
It was then that Zandra woke up, gasping. The ugly visage of the uruk still before her mind. Could her dream possibly be true? Were Sam and Frodo about to be taken into the clutches of the orc army?
Legolas’s concerned gaze brought her back to the present, and she pushed her dream to the back of her mind.
“I will rest,” she said at last, careful not to specify how long, and hopeful that he would not pressure her. To her relief he nodded acceptance of her reassurance.
“I must go now, they wish to leave as soon as possible,” he paused, and looked deep into her eyes, his love for her plain to see. “I will return,” he assured her, “Nothing can kill me while you yet live.” Then he bent to kiss her goodbye.
Zandra turned her face so that his lips met her cheek.
The hurt in his eyes almost made her proclaim her love for him then and there, but something, some insecurity made her hold back.
“Just come back to me,” she whispered. He nodded again, his face a mask of misery, and left the room.
She nearly called him back, to apologize; she wanted to plead with him to stay with her, to never leave her, but that would not be fair. Not fair to him, and not fair to her.
“Oh Legolas, come back to me,” she whispered to the empty room.
They struggled to their feet, and keeping bent, limping like footsore soldiers, they shuffled back towards the rear of the line.
“No, not at the rear!” the slave-driver shouted. “Three files up. And stay there, or you’ll know it, when I come down the line!” He sent his long whip-lash cracking over their heads; then with another crack and a yell he started the company off again at a brisk trot.
It was hard enough for poor Sam, tired as he was; but for Frodo it was a torment, and soon a nightmare. He set his teeth and tried to stop his mind from thinking, and he struggled on. The stench of the sweating orcs about him was stifling, and he began to gasp with thirst. On, on they went, and yet to what evil end they toiled and endured they could not know, or dare to think. There was no hope of falling out unseen. Now and again the orc-driver fell back and jeered at them.
“There now!” he laughed, flicking at their legs. “Where there’s a whip there’s a will, my slugs. Hold up! I’d give you a nice freshener now, on ly you’ll get as much lash as your skins will carry when you come in late to your camp. Do you good. Don’t you know we’re at war?”
Zandra was pulled from her daze as the trumpets rang and the army began to move. She pulled the heavy blankets off of the bed, and slowly eased out of the warmth. She felt so weak! With great effort she put her feet to the ground and walked to the window, nearly collapsing against the wall. She leaned heavily against the cool stone to keep from falling, and gazed out into the city.
Troop by troop, and company by company, they wheeled and went off eastward. And long after they had passed away out of sight down the great road to the Causeway, Zandra stood there. Her eyes strained into the distance, fighting for some glimpse of the last glint of the morning sun on spear and helm. Still she remained with bowed head and heavy heart, feeling alone as she never had before.
The one person who still held her heart had gone away into the gloom that hung over the distant eastern sky; and she had not told him. She had not assured him of her love. She had hurt him. Little hope was left in her heart that she would ever see any of them again.
“Nothing can kill me while you yet live.” his words echoed in her mind yet again, but they held no comfort, they did not melt the ice that had seemed to form about her heart.
“Why am I so cold?” she asked aloud.
Zandra whirled around, and nearly fell. She raised one hand to the wall to steady herself. A young boy peeped around the door uncertainly.
“Yes?” she responded.
“Master Merry wonders if you feel up to a bit of company,” he said gravely.
A small smile touched her lips at the seriousness with which the lad was attending to his duty.
“I would like that,” she said quietly as she moved back to the bed. She was pulling the covers back over herself when Merry entered, leaning lightly against the boy.
“Thank you Bergil,” Merry said, as he helped the hobbit into the chair that sat near the head of Zandra’s bed.
“You should not have been out of bed,” Merry said, “I heard Aragorn say so.”
“You are up and about,” Zandra pointed out, paused, and then continued, “But I think that you are in pain. Should not you be in bed as well?”
“I was told I could get up, and in truth I was returning to my bed, but I felt too restless to lay in bed alone, so I thought I would see if you were awake,” he paused, “I wanted to thank you. You came after me, but did not try to stop me from going. If it weren’t for you both Eowyn and I might be dead.”
“Who knows but what you would have prevailed, but I could not chance it.” She gazed into his pale features, noting again the profound change from the hobbit that she had watched play in the peace of the Shire.
“Zandra,” Merry began impulsively, then stopped, as though unable to continue.
“What is it my friend?” She encouraged him gently, forcing her dark thought away in her concern for him.
“Do you think there is any hope that Frodo still lives?” he said in rush, then looked at her pleadingly. Her heart constricted. How often had she wondered the same thing? She thought of her dreams, and used them, despite the danger he seemed in, to shore up her own meager supply of hope.
“I think that Frodo lives yes,” she said, willing the darling hobbit not to hear the worry in her tone. If her dreams were true then Frodo indeed lived, but was in a very perilous situation indeed.
Luckily Merry seemed not to notice her hesitation, or the fact that her words were very carefully chosen not to offer hope. He brightened, and it seemed that the sparkle that had previously been absent returned full force. Color again glowed in his cheeks, and the strain about his mouth that bore testimony to his pain faded.
Oh Merry, how I wish I had your faith, and so easily restored hope. The thought that her family had abandoned her had seemed to drain all the strength she had gained from Legolas’s love, and left her feeling empty. I must escape this, she rebuked herself, You cannot spend your whole life in depression because you think that your family might have abandoned you. The ambiguous words that she used struck her suddenly, think, might, if, She did not know. She had no proof that she had indeed been abandoned. After all, where had the thought come from? A Ringwraith, and an unknown, bodiless voice from a ring induced dream? Surely she could place no credence in their words!
But the dark thoughts refused to be banished, the doubt refused to leave. She realized that the only way to banish her doubts was to prove them groundless, but the only way to do that was to ask, to find her family, and find out why they did not come for her. Suddenly she knew why she did not tell Legolas of her love, why she did not tell him of the ice in her heart. She could not do so while she was not whole, while she did not truly know who she was.
She laid back against the pillows on the bed, her eyes staring forward unseeing. She did not notice when Merry left the room, cradling his left arm in his right. All she knew was that she had to find her family, her origins, before she could let herself be united with Legolas.