Elwen, Legolas and Tethcelebel stood just inside the stable door peeking out. They each held their horses’ leads and Legolas held Elnar’s. They were dressed in the cloaks of Lothlorien, and stood watching Elnar make her way across the grassy field to the gate. Elnar approached Carandol, still gurading the gate and smiled at him.
“Hello, I’m Elnar, what is your name?” she asked leaning against the gate post.
He smiled at her, “I’m Carandol, and you can’t leave the inside of Caras Galadhon. It isn’t safe for elf maidens to be out when there is a threat of kidnappers.” Elnar leaned foward looking into his eyes, grabbed him by the shoulders, pulled him down to her level and kissed him on the mouth. he pulled upright in astonishment.
“Why in the name of the Valar did you do that! That is not the proper way elves behave!” he excalimed. Elnar nodded sadly as she brought her hand up to the side of his head. With a quick blow she knocked him unconcious and turned and motioned towards the stable.
“That’s our cue!” Elwen announced She followed Tethcelebel and Legolas as they hurried across the little lawn to the gate where Elnar waited.
“How was that?” she asked Legolas as they all moutned and rode into the forest.
Legolas grinned impishly, “Very, very good, Elnar! How much practice have you had in kissing?”
“Actually, that was the first time I’ve ever tried it!” Elnar laughed.
Elwen looked around her as she spoke, “we should get moving Legolas, there is no telling what might have happened to Ohtarwen.”
“She’s right! Let’s go, ride hard and fast my friends!” Tethcelebel agreed, urging her horse into a run. The others follwed her example and the four horses ran through the forest in the direction of the river. Skirting the dwarvish camp, they found the marks Ohtarwen left and began to follow them.
“What was wrong with Ohtarwen, that she could not walke straight?” Tethcelebel asked as they followed the weaving sets of footprints.
Legolas shrugged, “I could not tell you even if i wanted to.It looks like she had been drinking and then left for a walk.”
“Legolas, don’t say that!” Elwen exclaimed, “You know Ohtarwen is not a drunk!”
He shrugged resignedly, “I know, I was just saying her footprints look like those of one who had too much wine to drink.” Elwen was satisfied and spoke no more as they rode along. They crossed the Anduin at a ford and proceeded into the plains of Rohan, following Ohtarwen’s trail of trampled grass. The trail crested a small hill and then suddnely stopped. The four elves dismounted and looked all around for signs of their friend. But there were none to be seen, for the Rangers had removed all marks.
“It’s gone!” Elwen spoke, her voice quiet and sad, “The trail has dissapeared!”
Legolas placed his hand on her shoulder, “Don’t worry about it, Elwen, we’ll find her. In fact, why don’t we split up, we’ll cover more ground thta way and find her sooner.”
“Ok!” Elwen’s face brightened, “Who’s going with me?”
“I will! Legolas can go with Elnar.” Tethcelebel suggested.
Legolas nodded in agreement, “Yes, Elwen, see that stand of trees off to the north? Work your way toward it, Elnar and I will cover the west and south sides. But leave the horses here, so they do not destroy any trace.” Elwen and Tethcelebel spoke to their horses. the horses laid down in the grass and began to sleep, grateful for the rest. Elwen and Tethcelebel started walking north while Legolas and Elnar began in the west.
Galadriel sat in her chamber waiting for Tethcelebel, Legolas and Elwen. She glanced up at the sun and sighed, no one took this long to unsaddle a horse, she should have trusted her feelings and had them turn their mounts over to that groom and punished them right away. Now they were probably hiding, waiting until she forgot.
“Arwen!” Galadriel called, “Could you please come here?”
Arwen appeared at the door, “Yes, grandmother, what do you want?”
“I would like you to go and find Elwen, Tethcelebel and Legolas, and bring them to me. They haven’t appeared yet and I believe them to be hiding.” Arwen smiled and curtsied, finally she would get her revenge on Elwen. Galadriel watched her granddaughter leave and smiled, Arwen was a fine example of what elvish nobility was supposed to be. Galadriel’s musings were cut short by a knock on the door. Carandol entered supported by two others.
“What happened to you?” Galadriel asked in shock as she saw the bruised lump on his head.
He grimaced as her voice rose, “I was clubbed by that elf, the one who came in with Legolas and Elwen. I think the elf-maiden was acting on their instructions.” Galadriel looked dumbfounded for a moment and everything was silent for a second. Then a long high-pitch scream reached the ears of all gathered in the chamber, and it grew increasingly louder until Arwen rushed in through the door.
“Arwen stop screaming this instant!” Galadriel ordered. Arwen stopped and Galadriel continued, “Tell me, Child, why are you screaming?”
“They are gone! They took their horses and left!” Arwen shouted stamping her foot against the floor.
Galadriel nodded complacently, “I am aware of that, Arwen.”
“And yet you do nothing?” Arwen’s voice rose to a screech and she again stamped her foot, “That is not the way that elves are to behave.”
“And neither do they stamp their feet and scream!” Galadriel remarked quietly. Arwen straightened up and nodded as she turned and left the room. Galadriel dismissed Carandol and the others and flopped, face down on her bed. She closed her eyes and graoned inwardly. She felt a warm hand rest on her back.
“Lle tyava quel*, Galadriel? ” Celeborn’s meldoic voice questioned as he stroked Galadriel’s hair.
“Yes, I am fine,” she murmured, “They left, Celeborn. I had a feeling that they would, but I did not stop them. Something could happen to them.”
He nodded and sat donw beside her as she rolled onto her back, “Do not worry about them. They know how to handle weapons, they will be fine.”
“But they are so rash and foolhardy! Elwen and Legolas especially. And the more Tethcelebel is around them the more she acts like them.” Galadriel sighed. She and Celeborn sat side by side silently for a while. Each one’s thoughts dwelling on the four elves.
Elwen and Tethcelebel walked through the far north east border of the Fangron Forest. They split up to look more effeciantly for signs of Ohtarwen, always staying within ear shot of each other. Tethcelebel walked slowly through the forest keeping her eyes on the ground ahead of her. She heard a twig snap over to her left side and brought her head up. She saw a shadow moving behind a tree and drew her sword out of its sheath.
“Who goes there?” she called in her most commanding voice, “Advance and be recognized!”
“As you wish, Milady!” A deep voice replied. Five men appeared from the bushes on Tethcelebel’s left side and two more appeared in front of her. She did a half turn and looked back the way she had come, two more men advanced from there. She took a few steps backward and ran into something hard and solid. Feeling with her free hand, Tethcelebel realized she had backed into a huge boulder. The men closed in surrounding her.
“Tsk Tsk,” the tallest of them shook his head reprovingly, “A young maiden like you shouldn’t be out alone. Especially not in Fangorn forest, you never know what you might run into out here. Should we take her back with us, Gareth?”
“Aye, we should. I bet she can cook, and i’m sick of Elessar’s lousy meals.” the one called Gareth answered. Gareth and the tall one each advanced a step forward.
“Gurth gothrim Amin*!” Tethcelebel shouted moving into the ready stance. The tall man laughed, not understanding the words and moved foward again. He stopped short with a scream of pain. He turned to face Gareth and Tethcelebel saw an arrow shaft sticking out of his shoulder. The half circle of men parted as Elwen advanced, her bow loaded and ready to fire.
“Didn’t your mother ever teach you that it isn’t nice to pick in maidens in the woods?” Elwen asked as she stopped just short of the circle. “Leave her alone, or the next arrow will hit your heart.”
“And why should we listen to your threats?” Gareth asked moving towards Tethcelebel.
Elwen smiled and loosed the arrow, it clipped the side of Gareth’s neck as elwen dropped her bow and drew her swords, “Because I am Elwen!” She noted the blank looks on the men’s faces and continued, “Don’t tell me you haven’t heard of me? I thought i had a reputation. I’ve been called Thranduil’s crazy child by total strangers before…” she trailed off.
“Hey, I know who she is,” one of the Rangers spoke, “She’s the warrior elf-princess, the one born holding a dagger!”
Elwen grinned at the recognition, “Yup! That’s me all right. Now back off of her before I decide to kill you all.” The Rangers backed away and Tethcelebel went to stand beside Elwen. As she did she caught a glimpse of someone moving through the trees.
“Elwen….” she murmured.
Her friend nodded, “I know, i saw it too, be ready.”
A deep laugh echoed through the forest as Elessar appeared, “Elwen-Lothnar, Thranduil’s Tethaer*, are you still terrorizing people? I though you had grown past that stage!”
“Estel!” Tethcelebel cried happily upon seeing the Ranger.
“When did you forsake the house of Elrond for the company of humans?” Elwen asked, teasing good naturedly.
“Only a couple of months ago.” He answered, “What brings you this far from your home?”
“we are looking for our friend.” Tethcelebel responded for Elwen, “She was kidnapped by dwarves and then escaped from them. We have followed her trail to around this place.”
“REally? We found a girl last night; she’s close by I will call her for you. OHTARWEN!!!” Estel shouted. Tethcelebel and Elwen looked at each other and broke into a run in the direction Estel had shouted in. They met with Ohtarwen halfway and all began to laugh happily. Ohtarwen found herself being squished between Elwen and Tethcelebel as they hugged her tightly.
“Let me go, you’ll break my ribs!” she exclaimed laughingly. They released her and she smiled, for in the moment she first saw Elwen and Tethcelebel, her memory had come back. Estel walked up and found the three girls laughing and happy.
“Looks like you are to go home, Ohtarwen.” he smiled, “Can i return to Lothlorien with you? It has been a while since I saw Galadriel.”
“Suit yourself, ” Elwen answered, “Let’s go find Legolas so he can stop searching.” They all returned to the little hill and mounted up. Estel pulled Ohtarwen up behind him while the other two took Elnar and Legolas’s horses and rode off to find Legolas.
Lle tyava quel – do you feel well
Gurth gothrim Amin – death to my foes
Tethaer – Little one