As they set forth on their path to Lothlorien, Eradan spoke softly. “Today will take us near the border of North Mirkwood, but not beyond it before nightfall. And the borders are less protected than at these depths, so it be best to stay quiet.”
Ulma nodded. “Aye. We shall take night shifts, then, and while you rest, I shall sing a song to keep the Orcs at bay.”
Eradan worried a bit about her song, but did not voice it. In fact, for the next several moments of travel, he was silent entirely. If there was a chance he would never see these trees again, he wanted to memorize them as he went, so the vision of them might comfort him when all trees were torn down.
Ulma stayed silent for a long time, finally speaking. “I know my songs worry you. I know they killed your parents…they killed many of my friends. You know the song was intended to kill the foe…but that was fifty years ago. I can control it now.” She shrugged and went silent again.
“I am not worried, and I no longer feel resentment towards you, raindrop. ‘Tis in the past.” It was a statement to comfort her and quell her indignation. Whether or not it was a true statement was of no concern and little consequence. He turned and smiled over his shoulder at her.
Ulma smiled back and picked up her step, walking next to him, humming softly. How much Mirkwood reminded her of Lothlorien. Her heart lightened as she thought of the one place that had given her sanctuary when all other places had forsaken her.
Eradan turned his head to Ulma. “So tell me of this danger you percieve. How is it you come to sense such?”
“I recently came from my wanderings in Mordor. You know of this. As I crossed over the mountains I was singing a song, and the wind answered. The wind came from the ocean, from Mirkwood, from the Misty Mountains…” She ran a hand through her hair. “The darkness is rising…I fear that the Nazgul will cross the river soon.”
“The what?” Eradan had heard of the Men who bore the Rings of Power, but they were legend. Their existence was a rumour at best. Now here was confirmation of such.
Ulma flinched. “Nazgul. Ring Wraiths…the One ring is moving.” She shrugged. “I may seem like I know much, but I am more in the dark about many things…I cannot interpret my knowledge.”
“The One Ring!” Now Eradan was alarmed. Certainly she knew a great deal more than he did. “But..it has been lost for nearly a hundred years. Gollum spoke of nothing else.
Ulma nodded. “Yes. I am sorry, I have alarmed you. I assume the Ring is moving, but I do not know. Let me explain. The Nazgul may be moving…Gollum escaped. Put two and two together, and it leads you to the One Ring–for the both desire it.” She shifted her pack on her back, situating it more comfortably. She knew she did not speak the whole truth, but truth was negligible at this time.
“Smeagol escaped, yes, but has been trying to do so since he lost the Ring. And he was aided by the Orcs, who have been infesting Mirkwood since before I was born. I had no knowledge of the Wraiths, nor had the King, I believe…”
Ulma rubbed her arm. “Aye, but I would not have known of them either, save for the strange winds of Mordor.” She smiled softly. “But I have a question for you. Perhaps not as serious in nature, but still quite perplexing to myself. Why am I the only elf I have ever seen to have red hair?”
Here, Eradan paused and turned to her, tilting his head as if to examine her. “I can not say. You are indeed the first I have seen to have such. Fair with a twinge of red is as near as I have met…I doubt that even the Morquendi elves have red elves..”
Ulma chuckled. “Ach! I was hoping you could help, but I suppose I shall continue in the dark for a bit longer.”
“It is a rare elfe, in fact, that I have seen with dark hair. Though I expect Rivendell has many, with Lord Elrond’s kith and kin.”
She nodded. “Indeed…His daughter is one of the darkest-haired eleves I have ever seen.” She continued walking, towards the setting sun.
“Yet Glorfindel is fair. I cannot understand nature’s selection. Perhaps it chose this time to make a brilliant coloured elf.”
Ulma let out a laugh, the sound dissapaiting into the trees. “Aye…perhaps nature created me for the eventual fall, the change of colour that may occur within seasons.” She patted Eradan’s shoulder. “Nature chose well with you. Blond, with a single streak of black…like your name. Solitary even in a world of others…”
Eradan smiled a bit lopsidedly and continued on their path. Ulma sung softly, a calm, content song as her green eyes shimmered, blending in with the wood. She could not remember a time when she had felt so comfortable with another elf.
As night fell, Eradan and Ulma set up camp, as the stars shimmered above their heads.