Return of the King: Kyshri’s Story – The quest to destroy the One Ring told through the eyes of a runaway Elf (part one of thirteen)

by Feb 23, 2004Stories

Important Author’s Note: With all the clutter in the last Tale, I forgot to mention something rather significant to this fic. I have decided that for as long as Kyshri is gone, the fic will be in third-person limited to Keelica. I have done this to protect your eyes from the annoyance of reading six or seven Tales that are completely in italics. Of course, any third-person involving others will be all in italics. Just a heads-up for you all. Assuming Kyshri returns (heh–you think I’d give that away?), the fic will revert to first-person.

Also, here is a quick guide on how to distinguish languages:
“Common Tongue”
[Elvish]
[Elvish thought or telepathy]
{Dragon Tongue}

Happy reading!!!


Recap of Tale 1 . . .

“What is that?!” Eowyn cried upon seeing the dragon queen’s dark shape.

“It is Keelica, the Mother of Dragons. She will be aiding us.”

“A dragon?” Her skepticism was clear.

Aragorn knew he would not convince her of the dragon’s innocence with words. “Come meet her.” He barely managed to coax her, which became easier when she saw the Dwarf, Elves, and Rangers unharmed. [Keelica, I have someone for you to meet. Lady Eowyn of Rohan.]

The black dragon lifted her head and bowed her neck. [Greetings.]

A scream of disbelief echoed all around.

Tale 2

Keelica was perched on the roof of Meduseld. She was sure that she was not supposed to be there–particularly for the sake of politeness and the poor common folk below–but she was not as heavy as one would imagine and the hall was quite well-built, supporting her weight without a groan or shift. Plus, she felt that she had to know of the situation without being forced to rely on the Elves.

Unfortunately, it had not crossed her mind that she could not understand the words being spoken. She sighed and stretched her wings, mildly alarming some of the people in the town, who thought she might be taking to the air. They had been assured many times that she was no danger to them, but they held a wary regard of her nonetheless.

Night fell. Legolas left the hall and stood with his hood up, staring blindly at the distant mountains, obviously deep in thought. She had not realized, though, that he would notice it if she shifted even only slightly to the right.

Yet he did, the corner of his eye catching the long shadow of her neck and head cast by the moon, and whirled. [Keelica!]

[Yes?]

[What are you doing?!] he hissed, trying not to disturb the rest of the people who now slept. [Leave the roof at once!]

[Why? I have been here all day. It is quite comfortable.]

[Your weight shall collapse the hall!]

[I beg your pardon,] was the offended reply, [but I am not corpulent.]

[Keelica . . .!]

[Keelica?] echoed Aragorn’s voice curiously. The man stepped from the hall and turned to follow the Elf’s gaze upward.

[Make her get down!] Legolas demanded. [She will not listen to me!]

[She is your dragon,] came the answer. [Why do you think that she would be more inclined to listen to me?]

[I am the dragon of no one but my great lord Iluvatar,] Keelica snapped with narrowed eyes. [He directs me in my tasks and cares for me in return for my aid. Do not dare try to assign my strength to one of you soft upstarts. None of you have the power to control me if I should desire to do something contrary to your wishes. It would be a laughable attempt.]

[Soft!] Legolas spat. [I will have you know that—]

Keelica’s head jerked up suddenly, her eyes locked on the stars though her attention was clearly elsewhere. He fangs abruptly bared in a snarl and she swung her head to face the east as she rose to her feet and spread her wings.

[Vile disciple of Melkor!] she hissed. [Turn your eye from this land or face the wrath of Iluvatar’s own Dragon!]

A cry of terror from inside drew Aragorn and Legolas back indoors. Keelica, blind to anything other than the nearly palpable malice of the Lord of Mordor, stood until she no longer sensed Sauron’s anger. Refocusing on the hall beneath her, she tilted her head and listened to the troubled voices within. Several forms left the hall in a hurry moments later.

[Keelica!] Legolas called to her. [Pippin has looked into the palantir and spoken to Sauron, who has sworn to find him! Gandalf is riding east to Gondor and fears the Nine will come for him! I ask you to escort them!]

The dragon queen watched the silvery form of Shadowfax dart out from the stable and through the gates. [. . . Very well.]

[Return when you will!]

She snorted. [As if I would do otherwise.]

Hopping lightly from the thick thatch of the roof, the black dragon spread her wings and glided over and beyond the high gates after the Mearh. She caught him quickly and glided along the grass, the tip of her left wing near enough that Pippin could have reached out and took hold of it.

The majority of the journey was uneventful as far as Keelica was concerned; the highlight being on the third day, when a very large covey of quail burst from the tall grasses ahead of she and Shadowfax with a resounding boom that woke Pippin from a doze and showered them with hundreds of feathers as the birds took to flight around them.

Arriving at Minas Tirith, Keelica followed Gandalf’s instructions and arched back to angle upwards, following the tiers to the highest and landing on the edge of it, ignoring the armored men who shouted and pelted her with arrows that bounced harmlessly off her scales, which also broke any type of sword swung at her legs or chest plates. She endured this abuse until Shadowfax appeared in the courtyard and then she strode forward to Gandalf, who informed the guards curtly that she was not their enemy and went inside with Pippin.

With the guards watching her suspiciously, she returned to the far end of the tier and locked on the distant rubble that was Osgiliath. Her sharp green eyes picked up the herd of madly galloping horses, all bearing at least one rider, and the Orcs who gave short chase waving their heavy weapons and shouting after the riders. She observed the frantic approach passively, ignoring Gandalf’s hurried departure, until she noted that the black bats she had first seen were not bats at all.

Snarling, she lunged from the tier and plummeted almost into the city. At the last instant her wings snapped open and she sailed beyond the white walls toward the panicked group of Men beset by her corrupted offspring.

She was certain that they had not known she was coming until she was upon them. Their startled cries and frenzied backwinging away from her confirmed it. Slashing and biting at any within her reach, she roared and barked and ignored the attempts made to injure her. She had scales, they did not, and she was not going to be merciful because they were her children. The biggest favor she could do was to kill them and put them out of their misery.

However, the piercing light of Gandalf’s staff chased them away and she did not choose to follow this time. Instead, she landed and searched among the dead horses and riders for any survivors. She discovered only two and scooped the Men into her hands, shoving from the earth and rising to the top tier of the city. Perhaps she would return to bury the dead, but now she had to save lives.

[Olorin!] she cried as she settled on her rear legs in the courtyard, landing so near the Withered Tree that the guards forgot their fear to rush forward as though to protect it from her. Yet her alighting had been calculated long before her descent and she missed it easily. [I found some still alive!]

Gandalf instructed the guards to take the two from her and she gave each one over delicately, trying not to jostle them too much. They, like the Elves, seemed so frail in her grasp, their bodies fragile enough that a mere eighth of her full strength could crush them to death. Sometimes she was afraid to touch them for that reason, avoiding that sort of contact at all costs.

This, though, was not such a cost that she would be willing to pay. Life was always worth the risk to her, no matter her uncertainties about her ability to keep from mangling their small forms.

Watching the two she had rescued as they were carried inside, her attention was drawn slightly to her left as she was approached by a young man whom she recognized from the fleeing riders. He bowed to her–even if rather cautiously–and said something that she, of course, could not understand.

She stared at him a moment, then turned to Gandalf. [What did he say?]

[He was thanking your for your aid.]

[Oh. Well, then, he is quite welcome. I only did what I could.]

This was apparently relayed, because the man nodded, bowed to her again–in a more trusting manner, it seemed–and then went inside.

[Olorin,] she began, stopping the wizard as he too headed indoors, [I feel that I must return to Rohan soon. I shall leave a few of my children behind to aid you in case you may need them against the Nazgul.]

[My thanks, Shadow Queen.] He bowed and continued on his way.

Keelica jogged out to the end of the tier and gazed over at Osgiliath. {Aeryc! Pyrin! Hydriva! To me!}

Lightning flashed across the sky in a brilliant net of light, sinking toward the earth between Minas Tirith and Osgiliath in a tornado-like spiral. At its connection with land it exploded and from the swirling dust came the Keeper of Wind.

From the numerous torches of Minas Tirith came short bursts of flame that rose above the top tier and seemed to mold together into a solid form to become the Keeper of Fire.

A commotion in Osgiliath signalled the appearance of the Keeper of Water, who rose from the rapids of the Anduin as a massive waterspout. Shouts echoed out from the Orcs within the ruined city as the dragon passed overhead.

The set of three dragons settled on the tier behind Keelica, who was amused at the stir across the field. Finally turning to her children, she sat down and nodded over to each of them in their turn–a greeting they answered with reverent bows and lowered eyes.

{Mother,} was the quiet chorus from the three.

{My dears, I have a task for you.}

{Yes,} they replied.

{You are currently in Minas Tirith, capital city of Gondor. War is upon this land and I have discovered that the enemy–Sauron, Melkor’s disciple–has also had time to corrupt more of my children. Should battle be waged in my absence, I tell you now to spare those black beasts nothing when they come. You do them a favor to kill them rather than leave them alive.}

{Yes, Mother,} came the agreement.

{You will also obey Olorin should he ask for your aid.}

{Yes, Mother.}

{Hydriva, you are the oldest. You are in charge.}

Now there was a pair of groans alongside one {Yes, Mother.}

{Mo-ther!} wheedled Pyrin and Aeryc together, splitting the word into syllables. {Why does Hydriva always get to be in command?!}

Hydriva slapped them in the back of their heads with her tail. {She just said I was the oldest, twits! Silence!}

They set in on her. {Stop hitting us! You always—}

{Children.} Keelica interrupted them in a slightly sharper tone than normal, making them scramble back into a line before her. {Hydriva is the most mature of the three of you. She can handle the extra responsibility fairly. The two of you, on the other hand, will grow more interested in fighting than anything else in the heat of battle and I refuse to risk lives on that.}

Shouts from above drew the attention of all four dragons upward to the high tower where the first of the many beacons stretching between Gondor and Rohan had been lit. Keelica observed thoughtfully as the next one was lit, surely beginning a chain reaction of beacon-lighting along the mountaintops.

The dragon queen refocused on her three children. {I must go west to Rohan. Should I arrive here again and hear just one word about either of you not obeying Hydriva, you shall not like the results.}

The pair cringed. {Yes, Mother.}

She turned to the end of the tier again. {Remember, obey Olorin over all else and battle first with your wayward siblings. They are still dangerous.}

Tumbling over the edge of the tier, Keelica spread her wings and caught a swirling updraft, following the beacons along the mountains all the way to Edoras, where she settled once more on the roof of Meduseld. There she perched, listening intently to the commotion inside and assuming that plans were being made to ride to the aid of Gondor.

She watched the ant-like forms of the people running back and forth below her, all but ignoring her in the time of urgency, and waited for one of the Elves to appear, but the first familiar face to come to her eyes was not particularly Elvish. All the same, she might be able to get information.

[Aragorn! Is there news?]

He stopped and looked up at her. [Keelica! You returned!]

She still did not enjoy how much the Elvish dialects had changed over time. The Elves had been able to modify their speech slightly so that it was easier for her to understand, but Aragorn, while fluent in current Elvish, had not the knowledge to do the same. [I did.]

[Do you have news from Gondor?]

[Osgiliath has been taken by the forces of Mordor and considering how very short-tempered Olorin was after we rescued the retreating Men, I would say that he is having trouble with the one in charge of the land.]

[Is the city under attack?]

[Not yet.]

He mused over this information for a time, then bowed quickly–[My thanks, Keelica.]–before dashing off toward the stables.

Keelica sighed heavily as he left. [No one ever answers my questions . . . Legolas! Please come explain to me what is going on!]

He appeared from indoors. [Keelica! Any news of Gondor?]

[I have already spoken of that with Aragorn,] she snapped, [and he did not do me the honor of sharing what Rohan will do! Explain it, please!]

Legolas stepped out of the way of a few hurrying men and said, [All riders capable of battle will ride to Dunharrow and order themselves there. From that point they shall ride on to Gondor.]

—————————————————————————————————

By the way, a digital cookie (::: ) to anyone who can name the guy who thanked Keelica for saving the men from Osgiliath. Of course, the very fact that I’m asking this should give it away, but oh well!! It’s a free digi-cookie for you, right?


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Found in Home 5 Reading Room 5 Stories 5 Return of the King: Kyshri’s Story – The quest to destroy the One Ring told through the eyes of a runaway Elf (part one of thirteen)

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