Darkness. That was all that there was. Pure black, nothing. And yet she felt uncomfortable. Like she was being watched.
Suddenly a beam of silver pierced the darkness, shining down on Anaran, as she crouched in the forest clearing.
Anaran stood up slowly, wondering where she was. She turned around, and stifled a scream, for a horrible sight was before her.
Countless eyes were staring, blind and unseeing, at her. Bodies spinning gently in the breeze, mouths open in neverending screams. Rope digging into the necks of men, women and children of all ages and species: Dwarves, Elves, Mortals, even a few Hobbits
Anaran realised that she was not alone. Surrounding the clearing were hundreds of blinking eyes. As eyes adjusted to the dark, Anaran could make out shadowy, deformed shapes. They started to close in on her, their foul breath making her want to throw-up. Closer and closer they came. Cutting off her air, suffocating her, stifling her.
Anaran tried to fight them of, but she found that she was too weak. She fell to her knees, gasping for air, feeling them press in on her. As they closed in for the kill, she took one final breath of air, preparing for one last struggle….
Anaran awoke with a gasp. She sat up in her bed, tears running down her, gulping the fresh air.
“Water. I need water,” she thought her. Her groping hand located the glass of water that was always by her bed. She picked it up, but her hands were shaking so much that it slipped from her grasp. It fell, landing with a crash as shattered into a thousand pieces.
Anaran put her head to her hands. Her body shaked as she sobbed. That was the third nightmare that night. If it was a vision, as she believed it was, then that would make the sixth one this week. They were coming faster and faster, getting steadily more terrifying and detailed.
“Why me? Why do I have to be cursed with this stupid – stupid – stupid thing.” As she thought over what she had just saw, she began sob. Not silent painful ones, but noisy hearfelt ones. Some the bodies hat were hangin there were her friends: Rydda, Arilmadith, and her best friend Finguld
As Anaran sobbed, footsteps could be heard outside in the hallway. They stopped outside the doorway to her room. Anaran stifled her sobs, not wanting to be heard. A tentative knock could be heard from her door, but anaran made no move to answer it, pretending to be asleep.
The footsteps walked away after a couple of minutes. Once they had faded completely away, Anaran released her sobs once again. She di not sleep again that night, but sat staring out of her window, bathed in the light of the shining moon.
The folloing morning, Anaran was sitting beneath a Rowan tree. Her eyes were closed, an opened book resting in her hand. This was the way that she was when Finguld found her. As he approached Anaran opened her eyes.
“You look terrible,” he said as a way of greeting.
“Thank you. You’re too kind.” Finguld sat down next to her, and looked anxiously at her. He was growing increasingly worried about her. Within the last year Anaran’s face had become rapidly paler, so that it was now almost as white as the face of the moon. A shocking contrast with her near-black hair. Her stormy eyes, once fierce and wild, although often fierce, they more often wore a look of deep sadness, rather than her old expressions of joy or fury.
Her body was becoiming thinner as she slept and ate less and less. this made all the more obvious by her height, which was taller than the average elf.
anaran turned her eyes onto Finguld, as she sensed him studying her.
“What is it? Does something about me displease you, or are you deliberately trying to make me feel uncomfortable?”
“I was just wondering why you always sat beneath this tree. There is nothing special about it.”
“It is special,” she retorted. “It’s a rowan tree. Rowan trees are well known for keeping evil away. When I sit beneath it I feel safe. Everone knows that. Sadly, it doesn’t seem to work on evilly irritating elves such as yourself.” She smiled and laughed as he took this in.
” I’m glad to see you smile. You hardly ever smile these days.” Anaran’s smile faded.
“What is there to smile about? The world is becoming an increasingly darker place,” she paused for a moment, then, “Anyway, is there a reason for you coming to see me? Or just trying to be infuriating?”
” Both. Elrond sent me to find you. I think he wants to send you somewhere, but if you’rre not up to it, then I’ll go tell-” Anaran cut him off.
“I’m fine! I’ll go see him straight away.” With that, she stood up and walked away.
“But -” Finguld called after her, but she was alreadu gone. “This is not good,” he though, as he also walked away.
Anaran walked into the room, as Elrond was about to go off in seaarch of her.
“Ah, there you are. WOuld you be willing to go on an errand for me to Mirkwood? I have a very important message for the King and Prince. It is very urgent.”
“What is it,” asked Anaran in alarm.
“The orc problem is getting increasingly worse. I’m calling a council of the leaders of Middle-earth. We need to decide on what we’re going to do. If you can’t go, I’ll ask someone el-“
Anaran hurriedly answered, “Of course I’ll go. Why does everyone think that I can’t do anything?! I was just curious. I”l set out this afternoon.
“Thank you,” Elrond took her hands in his. “Be careful crossing the Misty Mountains. There is even more Orc activity there. Return as soon as you have delivered the message.”
“I”l be fine.” Anaran turned, and went to get prepared for her journey. It would take about thre or four days to cross the mountains, so she had to take enough provisions. She would be able to restock in Mirkwood.
As she rode away that afternoon, she wasn’t aware the she was being watched.
“They’re getting worse. I heard her crying last night.” Finguld intoned to Elrond.
“I know, but she is baring this burden well.”
“She’s in denial about it!”
“If you were cursed as she is, would talk of it, or would you keep it a secret?” Finguld thought about this, as he watched the fast disappearing rider.
HE stood there long after she vanished from view. No matter what Elrond said, he was worried about Anaran.