It had taken them a full month to get to what they’d hoped was the other side of the great desert. Though, when they entered toe twon and found a inn for the night, the two soon learned that there was still another two months of desert to be found and three more mountain ranges to cross befor finding the way into Rathlas.
And that was at a pace set by eager Easterling troops ready to fight for Mordor. At the pace of two travelers from Mirkwood, it would be a few weeks longer.
Understanding that between the boarders of Rathlas and the desert that there would only be three or four more towns allong their courent path, Legolas and Arane packed as much supplies onto their already laden horses for another three weeks of travel.
Three weeks later they found themselves doing the same in a jagged mountain range in a town by the only river they’d see untill reaching a land known as Sheraninian when thay’d officially be in Rathlas.
By the time that they’d come to the last mountain range the locals called Edin Uncoria, they believed they were in a dream, for the land began to take on a livelier look with tall grasses and shrubs turning into wet lands much like Eriador of Middle Earth.
The crossing of the river that ran mostly north to north-east through Sheranninian was swift and deep, and it took them several hours of traveling southwards to find nothing but another river joining it.
Back to the west a bit, their elven sight could just barely make out a crossing by ferry. Taking another day and a half to reach it, the two were quick to understand that one of the lower valued coines of Middle-earth could buy much more in this land when they bartered their way across the river and asked about the next town out from the one they were at.
“Estorent, tha first capital of Esteme Ketor is to the North and alightly East of here,” said the ferry man. “Or you can go South to the second river joining the Sheranninian River to the water city and secondary capital of Nerador. Eather way, you’ll have to meet with one of the kings befor going out of Esteme Ketor.”
“What do you mean?” Arane asked him.
“The roads are watched for forigners without papers signed by eather king Istin or King Kaelen. If they find you without them, You’ll be taken to the nearer of the two. That is enless, of course, you’re headed to one of the cities. The twins are verry stricked on their lands.”
Thus it was that they traveled South to Nerador and were met in the throne room of the keep by King Istin son of Kaelen I.
“Westlanders?” the king looked at them, carefully hiding his curiousness. The man reminded them of Elrohir, Elrond’s son in his looks and actions. Wasn’t it said that evry one had a twin somewhere? But Elladan was Elrohir’s twin, thought Arane, so this king’s brother must be more like Elladan.
“Yes,” Legolas replied evenly. “if that is what you call the people from Middle-Earth.”
“I know one man who is from the West Lands. Draugsul of Ithilien, do you know of him?”
“I do not.” Legolas said.
“Nor do I.” Arane spoke up.
“Perhaps an Andon Loroin? He has been seperated from us for manny years now.”
“No, lord.” Arane said, filling in for the respect that Legolas failed to show him.
“Loroin…” Legolas mused over that name for a moment. Ah! he kenw where he’d heard that mame befor! “Olorin?”
“Gaurds!” the king seemed different now that Legoals seemed to have recognized something unwanted in Nerador. The soldiers sourounded them with swords drawn.
“Were you a friend to him?” Istin asked lowly.
“He travels Middle-Earth under manny names. Olorin, he said was his youthly name, but to the elves, our people, he is known as Mithrandir and to more by the name of Gandalf.” Legolas said. “He is a welcomed friend to my father and our family. All of the istai are.”
“What are the istari?” Istin pressed.
“You may know them as wizards. Gandalf is the second most powerful of them.”
“Release them.” Istin said. then he turned back to Legolas and Arane, “You are lucky that my mother is not presently here in Esteme Ketor. She would have had you beheaded for being allied with my brother. Whatever you do, do not mention his name any further in Rathlas.
“In the morning, you will each have the passes needed to travel through out Esteme ketor as you please. Tonight, I would ask that you join me at dinner so that you may tell me of my brother as you know him.”