Ellysia’s eyes were drooping as they crested the hill and came into view of the Hornburg. She yawned and stretched her arms, desperate for sleep, or at least getting off her horse. Her legs were sore from the long ride upon Saracen.
The wind was whipping up, and even though it was around noon, dark clouds circled overhead. Rain would be falling steadily sometime soon. The air tasted crisp as Ellysia breathed in. She was tired of this slow riding. She wanted to get to Helm’s Deep quickly. The rolling plains called to her.
“Come on!” she shouted, clicking her tounge and nudging Saracen in the side with her heel. He reared up, and set off like wildfire through the long grass. These were the plains he had been born upon- he lived for this moment.
Ellysia laughed as the wind whipped through her hair, and she sat high in her seat, letting go of the reins. She lifted her arms high above her head, feeling the moist air hit her face.
Farther back behind her, Legolas and Aragorn chuckled and thought she had gone mad. Elladan just laughed and set off after her.
Ellysia stopped Saracen part way to the Helm and got off him, afraid that she and him had lost their minds completely and would end up running straight into the stone wall. She let out a sigh and let herself fall backward into the tall grass. It waved around her, cooling her down, and she smiled. But the fear of being trampled by the oncoming company bade her to mount her horse once again.
Elladan rode up beside her and laughed. “Still full of spirit, I see?”
She smiled towards him. “Just tired. Can’t you tell?” She laughed breathlessly and Saracen set off like the wind across the lawn.
As they entered the Helm, Aragorn and Halbarad dispersed, and so did the rest of the bragade. Most went and found themselves a place to rest.
Ellysia found a shaded corner beside the stone steps, and spread her cloak about the ground. She was weary, and closed her eyes as she rested her head upon the ground.
The sound of soft footsteps woke her, and she sat up. It was Merry, the hobbit. “Oh, I’m sorry! I didn’t mean to wake you,” he stuttered, and started off in another direction.
“Oh,” Ellysia said softly. “That’s alright. I wasn’t really asleep. Just resting my eyes.” She gave him a little smile.
Merry turned, and taking that as an invitation, sat down beside her upon her makeshift bed. Ellysia turned to face him. “May I ask you a question?”
Merry looked to her. “Alright.”
“Can you tell me…about the Shire? I’ve been most everywhere…but never there. I’d love to know what it’s like.”
Merry’s face light up at the mention of his home. “Ah, the Shire. It’s one of the most inviting places you’ll ever see. It’s not big and grand, like Rivendell, but it’s still home…”
And Merry told Ellysia all about the Shire, as the sun grew higher in the sky.
After some time of rest, Legolas and Gimli went to wake Merry. They found him, slumbering upon a spread out cloak, the elven woman beside him. His head lay upon Ellysia’s shoulder, who was dozing herself. “Time to get up, Master Sluggard. You too, Ellysia! Don’t sleep the day away!”
Her eyes fluttered at the sound of his voice, and Merry shifted and sat up. Gimli and Legolas wanted to show Merry about the Helm, and tell him of the great battle they had fought. As Gimli and Merry set off, Legolas turned back to Ellysia.
“Would you like to come with us?” he asked her kindly.
“No, that’s alright,” she replied, and stretched her arms. “I’m just going to stay here. But thank you for the offer.”
He just smiled in return and set off after the pair.
After Merry and Theoden said their goodbyes, and Aragorn held his council with Legolas, Gimli and Ellysia, the four trooped back outside of the isolated room. Ellysia walked closely behind Aragorn, and stopped him.
“We ride to Edoras, then?” she asked Aragorn, looking up at his rugged face as she sat down upon a stone ledge that overlooked the rolling plains. She began to unravel a piece of parchment she had clasped in her hand, smoothing out it’s yellowed and ripped corners.
“Yes,” the Ranger replied, walking closer to stand beside her, to see what it was.
It was a map. Upon the weathered paper lay the entire vastness of Middle-earth, or at least what the mapmaker knew of it. Charcoal lines stretched from one land to another. The map was covered with many little arrows and quick notes. Ellysia must have had the map for a long time, and planned where she was and where she was going upon it. But the most peculiar thing upon it was a great red line, encircling the land between Lothlorien and the northern outskirts of the Fangorn Forest.
Before Aragorn could comment, Ellysia’s hand covered the mark and she pointed elsewhere, drawing his attention to the land around Edoras upon the map.
“I have to make a detour,” said she. “If I leave now, I will be ahead of your company. I shall travel with haste- my business will not take long. I should arrive an hour, at the most, after you.”
She quickly rolled up her map and tucked it inside her knapsack. Flinging it over her shoulder, she rose and looked to Aragorn. “I will try and beat the rain,” she said, and smiled.
Walking briskly over to Saracen, Ellysia tucked her foot into his stirrup. Just as she was about to hoist herself up upon him, Aragorn cleared his throat.
“You cannot travel alone,” said he. “The road is bad, and so is the weather- we do not know what lurks in the shadows anymore.” He signalled to someone out of her view and Legolas appeared.
“Legolas, Ellysia has somewhere she needs to stop before we reach Edoras,” he said, nodding in her direction. “I want you to go with her. This is no place to be unaided. I expect you both back when the sun is at it’s highest point, tomorrow.”
Ellysia’s jaw dropped, her brow creased in fury. But she cleared her throat, trying to regain composure. “I can handle myself. I will go swifter alone.”
“No,” Aragorn said, as if putting his foot down upon the matter. “Legolas will go with you, and you will hurry. Leave now.” He turned his back to them, as if closing the subject.
Legolas grabbed him by the shoulder. “She can go alone,” he said softly. “I’d rather stay, and travel with you and the rest of the company.”
“No. I would not leave you behind alone, and I won’t either with her. Go now, brother. Return as soon as possible.” Aragorn clapped his hand across Legolas’s back, and turned to leave him.
Legolas said nothing, and turned on his heel. Before him was Ellysia, atop Saracen. He could tell she was mad. “Hurry up,” she barked, and turned Saracen towards the door.
They had been riding in silence for a while, Legolas a little behind and farther away fom Saracen and his rider. Ellysia was upset that Aragorn didn’t trust her; Legolas was upset he was being forced to travel with her on this errand. He had tried his best to be nice, and yet she still seemed to be reluctant.
Ellysia was uncomfortable in this unwavering quiet. She cleared her throat, her gaze never leaving the rolling hills before her.
“So…” he countered, his mind not fully there. He did not know what to say.
Ellysia shifted in her seat. Making conversation was harder than she thought. “Have…you ever been to Edoras?”
“Yes,” he replied softly.
She waited for more, but his monotonous answer was all he would give. He wasn’t even trying. This made her mad.
“Listen,” she snapped. “I know you don’t want to be here. I don’t want you to be here. But that’s how it is right now. The least you can do is talk to me.”
“I would,” he replied, his voice edged in annoyance, “but I’m afraid of being yelled at again.”
Ellysia let out a strangled sigh. “…I’m sorry for snapping at you before. I was just not in the mood to talk. I’m sorry.”
Silence resumed. After a moment, Legolas nudged Arod closer to Saracen. He smiled lightly. “Apology accepted. Do you forgive me?”
She gave him a puzzled look. “For what?”
“For being, slightly…in your business.”
She smiled towards him. “Forgiven.”
The awkward silence began again, but luckily, as they crested the hill, they came in sight of a little cottage. Ellysia’s heart jumped. “We’re here,” she said softly, and clicked her tounge. Saracen set off in a gallop towards the house, Arod close behind.
Ellysia halted her horse just before the old, rickety fence on the side of the house. It surrounded a little vegtable garden, sitting beneath a window that peeped out of the cottage. Legolas slipped lightly off Arod and stood behind her. She stood, unmoving.
Legolas leaned over her shoulder. “Now what?” he whispered.
She jumped lightly, as if startled. “Um…sorry. I was…preoccupied.”
She walked softly upon the grass to the front of the little house. Standing before the weathered wooden door, Ellysia took a deep breath. Slowly, she raised her hand and knocked upon the door. The sound vibrated, ringing in her ears as her heart quickened. The door slowly creaked open…
…and out, from the opening of the door, looked a face. A pale face, with gold curls tumbling down around it. At first, it’s look matched the one upon Ellysia’s face: astonishment. But soon a smile broke out upon it, and along with that came a squeal of delight as it’s body came hurtling through the door, wrapping it’s arms tightly around Ellysia’s torso, almost knocking her over in the process.
The girl, who looked of fifteen, pulled back, as if to look Ellysia over, and then grabbed her in a hug again. Tears tumbled down her pale cheeks.
“Oh, Ellysia!” she said softly, burying her face in the older elf’s neck. “I’ve missed you so much. I was worried you were never coming back, for good this time.”
Ellysia’s smile was as wide as ever as she returned the hug greatly. “I could never not come back. Even if it were only for you.”
Legolas just stood by the side, and could not help to smile at this happy reunion. Ellysia soon remembered he was there, and pulled away from the girl, yet her arm still wrapped protectivly around her shoulders. “Ah, Legolas!” she said, her grin still in place. “I’d like you to meet my sister, Larien. And, Larien, this is Legolas.”
The blonde haired girl just bowed her head a little to him and with a giggle turned back to Ellysia. “Well, come on! Let’s go inside!” she squeaked, and grabbed Ellysia’s hand to pull her in.
Ellysia’s smile fell and she swallowed hard. “Um…maybe I should just-“
But Larien cut her off. “Oh, don’t worry,” she said softly. “She’s not here.”
Ellysia nodded her head in reply and let herself be pulled in through the doorway. She turned and waved her hand towards Legolas, beckoning him in. He nodded, and bowed his head to get through the doorway.
The inside of the cottage was small, but comfortably furnished. There were three rooms- two bedrooms and a kitchen. Larien quickly pulled out two chairs for them and began to chatter incesantly as she busied herself with finding them something to eat.
“Where have you been, Ellysia? I was afraid you would never come back. Especially after all those terrible things Mother said. I’m sure she didn’t mean them. She’s not here right now- she went to see our neighbors. I know, I know what your going to say- “How can you have neighbors when you live in the middle of nowhere?” I’d rather live in Edoras, like you said we should. But some family set up a little house not too far from here.”
She bustled over to them with three mugs of tea and some rolls. Plopping herself down in a chair beside them, she folded her hands and let out a joyous sigh. “So, how are you?”
Ellysia took a sip from her mug and set it down. “I’m just fine, thank you. How are you keeping up?”
“Oh, I’m alright. It’s not very much fun out here, though. No one to talk to. I wish you would stay,” she replied, and put on a little pout.
Ellysia payed no attention to her plead. “You know I won’t. Now, where’s your father?”
Larien frowned at her. “I wish you wouldn’t talk like that, Ellysia. He’s your father too. But let me go and get him.”
She bounced up, out of her chair, and skipped out the back door.
Legolas had been listening the whole tip, and set his mug down from his lips. “Very…energetic. Are you sure you’re related?” he laughed. Ellysia smiled and hit him on the shoulder. “Be quiet,” she said, letting her view scan the room.
Legolas leaned back in his chair. “So this is where you grew up?” he asked.
Ellysia wrapped her hands firmly around her cup. “No…” she said softly. “They moved here, after I…left.”
His brow creased. “Why did you leave?”
But the back door opened then, and Larien led in an older elf by the hand. Her smile was bright as she turned back to him.
“Look, Father, Ellysia’s home!”