They had not yet reached the forests of Mirkwood when darkness fell upon them. They would meet their journey’s end the next day. As they drew nearer and nearer to Dol Guldur, Arinae felt the power of the Crystal growing rapidly as it pressed against her chest growing brighter and brighter. She had covered it with a cloth so it would not pierce the darkness. Though the hobbits and her sister were well with sleep, Arinae constantly tossed and turned. She could still see the figure of Rian sitting nearby alert and watchful. She sat up.
“What will happen when we arrive in Dol Guldur? Will we find my parents right away?”
“I do not know. Are you frightened?”
She paused and looked up at him. Softly she said, “Yes.”
He knelt down beside her and took her hand. “I will always be here to protect you, Arinae.”
The starlight fell across her face. She leaned in and thought he would kiss her. Instead he backed away and simply kissed her hand.
“I know Rumil. I respect him, and he loves you.”
“That is all I need to know,” he interrupted her. “Goodnight Arinae.”
She laid back down but her sleep was filled with wondering nightmares.
They had sent the horses back to Lorien. They would now have to wander on foot into the depths of the blackness of Mirkwood. The forest gave Arinae a bone chilling feeling. It was a dark forest the canopy of trees of leaves so thick that only a few rays of the sun shooted into some spaces. Arinae walked into a bright beam of light from the sun’s rays and looked into the light nearly blinding her. She had unfolded the cloth around her necklace for it gave them a bright light to guide them. They kept their weapons loose for Rian feared they would need them. And so they would.
“How much longer until we get there? What will happen when we do? Are we to go in teams?” all these questions came from Arien.
Rian raised his hand.
“What is it?” Arinae asked.
“We’re not alone.”
Suddenly, Arinae saw their hundreds of red eyes and monstrous forms. Arien instantly took out her bow firing arrows right and left into their bellies as black posioned blood issued forth. Rian cut off the leg of a nearby spider coming to attack him. Arinae fired arrows from the Galadrhim bow and noticed its efficiency. Frodo and Elanor were doing very well at the slicing and dicing.
All of a sudden, one fell upon Arinae its huge jaws just inches from her face. She took the dagger from her belt and plunged it into the eyes of the spider. It fell back in shock allowing her time to retrieve her bow. Her arrows met every mark with ruthless efficiency. The spiders felt they were soon defeated as they saw the dead forms of the others piled high upon the ground. The remaining few retreated back to their webs deeper into the forests.
Arinae rushed to her sister’s side. Arien was kneeling on the ground head lowered her red flaming hair falling to the ground. Arinae saw a deep wound in her shoulder as her blood began to trickle. Rian knelt down beside Arien.
“I’m fine. I’ll be alright.”
“Oh Arien!” Arinae cried.
She ripped the sleeve of her waist shirt and wrapped it around Arien’s bleeding shoulder after Rian had finished putting the athelas upon the wound. Arinae embraced her sister. When Arien wrapped her arms around her sister’s waist, Arinae knew she had been forgiven.
“It is not finished yet,” Rian spoke.
“What do you mean?” Arinae asked.
“Those were spiders of the woods. They do not take orders. They were there to see if they could feast upon us. They failed. But something else is coming, I know. Something different. And it is not brainless. It has been sent.”
“How do you know this Rian?” Arinae asked.
“It is coming soon. No matter what happens, Arinae, you must escape. No matter what.”
Arinae looked into his concerned eyes. She hoped that he was wrong about whatever was coming but knew in her heart that whatever it was, was approaching soon.