Talon was being uncooperative. It figured. He was a griffon, and griffons did their own thing. Haldir was almost sick with impatience. Talon wanted to stay in Gondor for a few more days and rest for the flight between Lorien and Minas Tirith had been a long one.
“Okay, fine! Stay here!” Haldir had shouted at him. “Meanwhile, I am going on without you!”
“Be my guest,” Talon had shot back.
Haldir stomped out of the stables Talon was currently being posted. “Stupid bird.”
Talon continued gnawing on a bone. “Stupid elf.”
And so, King Elessar allowed Haldir to borrow a horse. He was a strong steed, a roan stallion with a light brown mane and tail. “Rego will take you where you want to go,” Aragorn informed him. “He is the son of Brego, and a very dependable steed.”
Rego stood perfectly still as Haldir settled in the saddle. “Thank you for your generosity, King Elessar. I would stay longer, but I must hurry.”
Aragorn cleared his throat. “Uh, I wouldn’t say that if I were you,” he told Haldir nervously.
“Why not?” Haldir demanded. “I meant it. I’m in a hurry.”
Rego was off like a shot, racing at full speed through the courtyard and out the front gate. “Did I mention he can be a little too dependable?” Aragorn called after them.
“A little?” Haldir squeaked, clinging to Rego’s mane. At the speed they were going should Haldir fall off, he would lose half his skin. The last thing Haldir needed was another Helm’s Deep incident. That right there took about ten elven healers, many herbal potions, and lots of thread.
“Slow down!” he yelled. Rego skidded to such a sudden stop, that Haldir slammed his nose into the horse’s neck and went sprawling ungracefully to the grass. “Okay, perhaps that was a little too slow,” Haldir muttered, rubbing his nose which was already swelling to an ugly purple. Rego nickered, as if proud of himself.
Eventually, Haldir managed to control Rego at a reasonable gallop. After several hours, they entered the forest of Grey Wood. Haldir slowed Rego down to a trot. He had heard men speak of strange creatures that inhabited this area. The last thing Haldir needed was to run into trouble.
It found him, anyway. Haldir and Rego had only gone a couple of miles when one of those creatures leaped out in front of him. “In the name of all that is holy, what are you!?” Haldir cried.
“Hmph!” the creature laughed in a clear female voice, and the waist up also showed she was female. “I’m a centaur. Name’s Kairee.”
“Do you always introduce yourself to people before you attack them?” Haldir growled.
“I’m off duty,” Kairee replied. “Permanently, I’m afraid.”
“What do you mean?”
She rolled her eyes and sighed. “If you must know, I was banished. I went against the Star Speaker and allowed our two prisoners to escape. But what else was I to do? I couldn’t allow my people to kill a mere elfling and a child half-blood.”
“What!” Haldir leaped off of Rego. “That would be Alakolas and Princess Serenity! Where are they? Where did they go?”
Kairee shrugged. “They left several hours before dawn. It seemed as if they were being led through the wood by a bright light.”
“They’ll be heading for Mirkwood using the Road to get to the Northern Realm,” Haldir concluded to himself.
Kairee whistled. “They have a long way to go. They gotta cross the plains of Rohan, go through Fangorn, not to mention the southern end of Mirkwood.”
“It’s gonna take them a couple of months before they come within the sights of Thranduil’s realm.”
“Well, I say we’ll burn that bridge when we come to it.”
Haldir stared at her and raised a brow. “‘We’?”
“Well, it’s about time you’ve decided to come back,” Raul declared walking into the room.
“I was needed,” Elrypso replied.
“You keep this up,” Raul argued, “and everything you are trying to protect will be driven to destruction.”
Elrypso sighed, dropping face-down on the bed. “How long can I keep this up?” he moaned.
Raul smiled, a small smile. “As long as it takes.”