The entire company halted infront of the wood. It was shrouded in dusk, a gloom fallen over the trees. Reluctant horses shifted upon their hooves, wary of the wood.
But Gandalf went on, and where the path met the trees he passed through. All behind him followed, for their trust in Gandalf’s judgment was great.
They rode on in silence for some time, for the creaking and groaning of the boughs was numerous and strange. Voiceless whispers drifted through the branches, and an uneasy feeling set over the companions.
Ellysia felt suffocated, as if the air were hot and dense, clouding about her head. She felt a soft breeze pass by her hair, but it was not a breeze. It seemed a whisper, passing from one tree to another, as if discussing something. An old feeling was at rest amoung the wood, a thin layer of dust coated with memories and whispers of events long ago and things yet to pass.
The company rode on in a soft silence for a while, small discussions amoung friends arising ever so often. Ellysia rode beside Legolas and Gimli, deep in thought. Legolas looked over to her, noting her quietness. Her eyes had a slightly glazed over look to them, and he knew her mind was elsewhere.
Legolas began to think to himself, about her. He didn’t really know her- the only thing he knew about this fawn haired woman was that her name was Ellysia, and that she saved his life. He didn’t know where she hailed from, or why she was coming with them, let alone what her last name was! She had literally stepped into his view, placing herself forever into the story of his life. She could be with them a matter of a few days, or he may know her the rest of his life- he did not know. He knew literally nothing about her, she almost just appeared. But something was strange about her…she was like the woods they were traveling through. Full of mystery, strange whispers of things no one knows. But something about her compelled him to get to know her. There was more to her…
Looking over to her, Legolas gazed at this woman. She had long, slightly wavy, light brown hair, and sat straight upon her horse. He noticed something- she had beautiful eyes. Long dark eyelashes with light hazel eyes, they were set perfectly on her face with a light nose and a pair of pretty red lips.
“Do you stare out of curiosity or is something bothering you?” he heard a voice say. Blushing, he realized it was Ellysia, with a small smirk upon her face. Her voice was warm and yet light, like a breeze amoung the bluebells.
“Um, no,” he said quickly, facing forward. “I was…looking at the wood. These are the strangest trees I ever saw.”
He shifted in his seat. “I wish there were leisure now to walk amoung them: they have voices, and in time I might come to understand their thought.”
“No, no!” Gimli said from behind. “I can hear thier speech already…” he began, and soon Legolas and Gimli were in deep debate and forgot all about the quiet lady riding beside them.
Ellysia smiled as she heard the two talk with such great love of places they had only scrapings of time to see, and let herself be lulled back into the void of silence in her thoughts.
Even though she had not actually slept upon Saracen as they made their way through the wood, Ellysia was snapped out of her reverie when she heard Legolas say loudly to Gandalf, as the lead, “…how long till we reach Isengard, Gandalf?”
“About fifteen leagues,” the old wizard answered, nodding his head slowly. “But we will not travel all the way this night.”
“What pray tell may we see when we get there?” Gimli asked.
“I do not know,” Gandalf replied. “But something tells me it may be something you do not quite expect.”
Ellysia pushed Saracen onward out of the trees from behind Legolas’s horse, when she looked up to see him staring back.
“There are eyes!” he cried. “Eyes like I have never seen from the boughs!”
He began to turn back, but Gimli yelled and Ellysia pushed Saracen infront of him.
But instead of saying anything, Ellysia gaped up at the trees, for she too, saw the eyes. Deep, rich eyes of the wood staring out at them. Her heart tugged her toward the timber.
“Stay, Legolas Greenleaf!” Gandalf cried. “Do not go back to the wood, now is not your time!”
But as the bunch persuaded Legolas not to journey back, three strange shapes came out of the wood itself. Tall as trolls, covered in thick leathery bark, with long, stiff moss beards, the creatures blinked northward with solemn eyes.
Suddenly they lifted their long, green fingered hands to their mouths and let forth a call, clear as the notes of a horn, but with a more musical touch. A shiver lept down Ellysia’s spine when she heard it replied from the North, a low, brass tone. She was moved not by fear but by wonder.
Some came forth from the North walking swiftly forwards. They seemed not to notice or care that the company was abroad.
“Do not take up your weapons!” Gandalf cried. “These are but herdsman: they mean no harm to us.”
And this must be true, for without recognition towards the lot, they assembled and dissapeared into the shadowy wood.
Theoden was baffled. “Herdsman?” he cried. “What type of herd do they lead? Pray tell me what they are, dear Gandalf: they seem not strange to you.”
Gandalf smiled in his his wizened old face, letting out a small, warm laugh. “Have you forgetton the tales of old you had been told when you were but a young lad? These, my friend, are Ents! Hailing from the Fangorn forest, no doubt. The are the oldest of the old, but quiet beyond all measure. These great Ents, the shepherds of the trees.”
Ellysia’s eyes flashed in amazement. The restlessness that was in Legolas’s heart began to grow in hers; she wished to see these creatures, talk with them. But she knew there was no time…for now.
They pushed onward, for a long journey still awaited them. But that place, for those seconds she was there, would stay in her heart for the rest of her life.
The company proceeded on, riding at a decent pace for four hours, when they came upon the Fords. It was strange there though; the usual cheery bubbling and murmurs of the waters was silent, almost dried up.
After many more hours of traveling, the King became weary, so the bregade took it’s stop for camp. They rested at the feet of the Mitsy Mountains, Nan Curunir reaching down to meet them. Little light was there, but a strange vapour rested amoung the area. Almost a fog, but not quite; a haze of smoke and vapour.
“It almost seems as though the Wizard’s Veil was burning,” Aragorn said to Gandalf, as the elder man dismounted his proud steed, Shadowfax.
“Maybe the traitor Saruman is boiling the waters of the Isen, and that is why the river runs silent,” Eomer suggested.
“Maybe…maybe,” Gandalf replied. “Tomorrow, we shall learn what is happening. For now, let us rest.”
Ellysia slipped down off Saracen gently, patting his mane and giving him a little nudge to know he could go.
Aragorn saw this, and asked her “You just let him go?”
Ellysia nodded slowly, for she was suddenly overcome with exhaustion. “Yes…you let your horse go, do you not?”
“Well, yes…” Aragorn replied. “But he will not run away, I know this. He is a steed of Rohan; he has been trained well.”
“Aye, but so is Saracen,” said Ellysia, as she began to unroll her blanket under a nearby tree.
Aragorn’s face drew a puzzled look, and he walked over to where she was.
“How is that so?” he asked her. “The only way I know of someone to acquire…”. He stopped and gave her a strange look.
Ellysia laughed as she sat down on the blanket and folded her legs beneath her. “No, sir, I didn’t not steal him!” She laughed again. “I was given him…as a gift.” She leaned back against the tree with her hands behind her head and let out a long sigh, closing her eyes.
“As a gift?” Aragron said softly. “May I ask to be told this story?” he said with a smile.
Ellysia popped open one eye to look at him. “Trust me, you don’t want to know.”
Aragorn shook his head. “But I do!” He gave out a little laughed and looked at her, questioningly.
“I too, m’lady, would like to hear this tale,” a calm voice said. Stepping out from the shadows, Legolas appeared with a smile. “It has been a long few days, and we are weary, body and spirit. Will you not grace us with a story to ease our minds?”
Ellysia let out a long sigh and sat up. She looked from the man to the elf, and back again. “But if I told you that which you wish to know, I would have to start from the beginning. The very beginning. When I was born. Otherwise you would not understand.” She looked down, and then up at them again. “I’m not sure you want to hear it…and I’m not sure I want to tell it.”
Unbeknownst to them, Gandalf sat a ways away, slowly puffing at his pipe. He hoped she would tell them. He knew of this woman, this Ellysia; Galadriel had mentioned meeting with her. The great promise that was in her, but hidden deep away.
Legolas sat down across from her on the earthen floor. A look of understanding was resting upon his eyes. “All great tales can make you weep or make you joyous…the fact is, it is made because it needs to be told.”
Ellysia sighed. “Are you sure you want to know? I will have to start from the beginning, and I’d rather not tell you. Some things are ment to be kept private.” A flash of frustration blinked across her eyes.
“I’m sure. Wouldn’t you want to know a little about the person who saved you?” he replied with a grin, settling himself on the ground, showing he was not going to leave anytime soon. “Start with…your parents. Who they were and such.”
Ellysia stared at him, and then leaned back against the tree. “Well…alright. Then I shall begin.”
Closing her eyes once and opening them back up, Ellysia began her tale.
“I was born to Hallahísiël and Enevingion…” She hesitated. Legolas’s anxious eyes looked for the next words upon her face. “…Telrunya. Actually, as of six days from now, I will be oficially 815 years old.” She looked at them both and laughed. “And I hope I do not look a day over five hundred!”
Settling back, she continued. “My parents…were very much inlove with one another. They were much like Beren and Luthien. Their whole world revolved around eachother. They told me I was a blessing. That’s why they name me “Ellysia.” It means “sweetly blissful”. They were a happy couple, and even when my father went on many trips to other lands, he always came home with something for her.”
“We lived in Lothlorien, till I was 800 years old. I loved it there…the quiet stillness of everything, each object a shade of white or blue. It seemed like the air sparkled like the sea was rippling above. But then we had to leave.”
She closed her eyes for a moment, as if shutting away a bad memory. But it was all for the tale, and she had to continue. “My mother…she, she died. I don’t know how- no one ever said why or when. It just happened…no one talked about it. My father and I left Lothlorien four days after she passed on.”
Legolas looked up to Ellysia then, looking at her eyes. They looked glazed over, as if she were not really there. Like she just needed to say this, as if she had held it in for so long. She had forgotten they were there…all she knew was what she was saying.
“I thought it had pained him to be there…it reminded him too much of her.”
“But he still had me. We left, and I supposed we were going to Rivendell. I had heard much of this place, and if I could not be in Lothlorien, I wished to be there. But we did not end up there. We traveled to Rohan, the House of Theoden.”
“As we entered the gate, something strange happened…a woman, with long, corn-colored hair came out, and Enevingion swept her up in a great embrace.”
Her soft hazel eyes grew stoney as she retold what she had seen. Her voice became softer, yet filled with a terrible anger for the injustice done to her.
“I was so confused…who was she?…But then I knew. Everything became clearer.” Ellysia let out a shudder of a laugh, cold and meaningless. “You think being as old as I was I would have left then. I was old enough to care for myself. The only reason I went with him in the first place was because, well, would you leave your family?” Not waiting for an answer, she continued on. “But no. I stayed. I loved him, he was my father…but I was so deceived. Little-“
But she was cut off. A great noise arose, and shook the ground beneath them. Ellysia sat right up, snapped out of her past and into that second. Then…all was quiet.