Upon The Banks Of Nimrodel
Mist curled around them as all traces of the Sun disappeared in the East. The only light that brightened their path was of the many stars that lay scattered across the dark evening sky. Gimli and Frodo fell behind the rest, walking slowly and whispering quietly to each other. Aragorn stopped the Company shortly, his hands rose in silence. Anyaelia’s eyes adjusted to the shapes that lay before her. Long grey shapes towered above them, with a hint of gold amongst the grey.
“Lothlórien!” Cried Legolas joyfully, a smile played at Anyaelia’s lips. “We have come to the eaves of the Golden Wood!”
The chilled wind swept past the Company and into the luminous trees, the golden leaves singing as the breeze rustled their fragile shapes.
Aragorn turned to face the others, “Glad I am to hear again the wind in the trees. We can go no further, let us hope that the virtue of the Elves will keep us tonight from the peril that comes behind.”
“If Elves indeed still dwell here in the darkening world.” Gimli muttered under his breath.
Anyaelia glanced at him amusingly, “Aye, they still dwell in Galadhrim, the tree-people they are called…” She stopped shortly, her eyes darting across the shadows behind them. “Hurry, we must enter through Lothlórien, they are near.”
Aragorn nodded in agreement and entered through the towering trees without delay. The rest followed but Anyaelia stopped as she realised that Boromir had stopped. She rushed towards him and grabbed his arm.
“Why must you linger? We must depart!” She stated coldly, her eyes narrowing into slits.
“Is there no other way?” His pleading eyes stared into hers. Anyaelia’s eyes softened and she sighed.
“Lothlórien is not perilous to us. But only to those who are evil, or those who bring evil with them. So, come! The other’s are out of sight.”
Boromir stood silent for a moment, then reluctantly entered Anyaelia into the darkened wood, his worried eyes piercing the shadows. They travelled quietly through the desolate Wood, until a sound enveloped the silence.
“It is the Nimrodel, its rushing waters joins that of the Silverlode. We are near.” Aragorn proclaimed.
A small voice spoke up curiously in the group, Anyaelia looked down at Pippin who stood by her side. “Where are we near? Where are we going?”
Aragorn gave no reply but surged forward once more. Anyaelia felt a tug upon her sleeve; she looked down into Pippin’s mischievous face. “Mi’lady, where are we going?”
“To Galadhrim dear Hobbit.” She spoke quietly, in thought.
At last they came upon the dark, rushing waters of the Nimrodel.
“Upon the banks of this stream the Silvan Elves conceived many songs long ago.” Anyaelia spoke loudly over the waters.
Legolas stepped forward into the cold stream.
He turned back towards them, his face lit up in the soft gleam of the reflected stars in the stream. “Follow me! The water is not deep, we can cross.”
Anyaelia stepped in next, Pippin by her side. Her feet slipped comfortably into the soft riverbed. The water came up to her knees, soaking through the material of her cloth trousers. Reality lost her and she drifted into her own, singing softly into the quiet darkness.
“Whom do you sing of?” A voice broke her trance, she looked around and realised they had reached the other side of the bank.
“Anyaelia, who was that you were singing of?” The voice spoke again. Anyaelia glanced down at Pippin, confused.
“Wha…what do you mean?”
His large eyes flickered with curiosity, “Before, when we were treading across the water.”
Anyaelia climbed up upon the bank, she saw that the others had stopped to rest. She glanced back at Pippin, “Oh… the woman I was singing of is the Maiden Nimrodel. She bore the same name and lived beside this stream long ago.”
The Hobbit glanced down towards the ground, his curiosity fulfilled. Anyaelia placed herself in front of the small fire that had been built by Gimli, whom seemed quite satisfied that he did not need any help that time. She felt eyes upon her again and she glanced at Pippin amusingly.
“Do you wish to hear the song?” Her eyes shimmered with content.
Pippin grinned at her, nodding his head enthusiastically. Anyaelia began to sing again once more, loudly. The Company sat still, listening to the story of Nimrodel.
An Elven-Maiden there was of old,
A shining star by day:
Her mantle white was hemmed with gold
Her shoes of silver-grey.
A star was bound upon her brows,
A light was on her hair
As sun upon the golden boughs
In Lórien the fair.
Her hair was long, her limbs were white,
And fair she was and free;
And in the wind she were as light
As leaf of linden-tree.
Beside the falls of Nimrodel,
By water clear and cool,
Her voice as falling silver fell
Into the shining pool.
Her voice faltered and the rustling of the leaves filled the air once more. She lifted her face in the direction of the branches above them.
She spoke softly, her eyes fixed above her. “There is more to this song, but we are being watched.”
Aragorn placed his hand upon the hilt of Anduril, ready to use if deemed necessary.
“No, Aragorn,” Anyaelia spoke without shifting her gaze. “They are the friendly eyes of the Galadhrim.”
Just then, as though they were cued, a melodic voice rang down from the treetops.
“Anyaelia Anarnaur, lle yassen lle.” (Anyaelia Sunfire, you bring great peril with you)
“Quell Undome Quessier en’ i’ Mal Taur! Lye tuulo’ Dimrill Dale, lye falqua Moria ar’ wanwa er en’ lye a’ i’ Balrog en’ Morgoth.” (Good Evening Elves of the Golden Wood! We have arrived from Dimrill Dale, we passed through Moria and lost one of ours to the Balrog of Morgoth).
There was silence as Anyaelia waited for another reply. Gimli spoke up quickly, doubt in his voice. “Aragorn! It is a trap, we should not have come here!”
The elvish voice spoke out again, Anyaelia turned to the awaiting group. “They wish for me and Frodo to go speak with them, the rest of you must remain here. We will be back soon, but do not worry about us, we are among friends.”
Anyaelia started towards a large silvery tree, Frodo trailed behind. A wooden ladder fell from the Golden leaves; Anyaelia steadied it than she began to climb the unsteady steps. A hand reached out from above, Anyaelia took it gently. She was pulled up upon a wooden platform, Frodo followed in tune.
“Haldir! It is good to see you again!” Anyaelia spoke to a recognised Elf.
The Elf smiled gently at her and quickly embraced her.
“Anyaelia, dear Maiden. It has been too long.” He spoke, kissing her cheek gently.
Haldir turned towards the small Hobbit, his eyes sweeping across his surroundings with curiosity. Haldir knelt down in front of Frodo, taking his hand within his.
“And you Frodo, I have heard much about you from the Lady. But it was perilous for you to bring great evil into these peaceful Wood’s. I am Haldir, March warden of Lórien. These are my brother’s, Rúmil and Orophin.” He nodded towards two other Elves that stood far off from them.
Haldir stood up and took Anyaelia’s arm gently, leading her away from the Hobbit who stood awkwardly on his own.
“We shall lead your Company to Galadhrim, but we must stay here tonight. How many of your Company is there?” He spoke, glancing towards Frodo.
“Nine, myself and a Mirkwood Elf. Four Hobbits, and two men; one of whom, Aragorn, is an Elf-friend of the folk of Westernesse.” Whispered Anyaelia.
“Aragorn son of Arathorn is well known in Lórien, but you have not spoken of the ninth.” He eyed her curiously.
Anyaelia sighed, “The ninth is a Dwarf.”
“A Dwarf!” Cried Haldir, drawing attention of the other Elves. “That is not well. We have not had much dealings with the Dwarves since the Dark Days. They are not permitted in our land. I cannot allow him to pass.”
“Haldir!” Anyaelia spoke sharply, “He is from the Lonely Mountain, one of Dáin’s trusty people, and friendly to Elrond.” Her voice softened, “Haldir, all our long years we have been friend’s trust my judgement and my word, he is of a friend to the Elves.”
Haldir remained silent, the Elves who had listened in their conversation waited also for an answer from Haldir.
“Very well,” Anyaelia’s eyes lifted in happiness, “But, you and Aragorn or the Mirkwood Elf shall guard him and answer for him he shall not pass; he must go blindfolded through Lothlórien.”
“Aye, that shall be.” Spoke Anyaelia.
“But we cannot debate no longer, your Company must not stay on the ground tonight. We have been watching the rivers since a great troop of Orcs passed along our borders, going north to Moria. If you have indeed come from Moria, the peril cannot be far behind. You and the Hobbits shall stay here with us; you can then inform me of your previous adventures since I met you last.” He smiled amusingly, “But the others shall rest in the next tree, inform the Elves before you return here, and tell Aragorn to keep an eye on the Dwarf.”
“Aye, my old friend, I shall return shortly.” Anyaelia embraced Haldir again.
She climbed down the ladder swiftly, the Company stared at her, watching and waiting.
Anyaelia spoke rapidly to them, telling of Haldir’s requests. Gimli grumbled ungratefully under his breath. Anyaelia shot him a poisonous look, “Gimli, be grateful that he is letting you pass through these Wood’s at all.” Gimli hung his head and remained silent.
Anyaelia helped Pippin, Merry and Sam up the ladder. She laughed quietly at their inane attempts to climb the ladder without it swinging around. As the last Hobbit foot disappeared from sight Anyaelia went back towards the others. She led them to the next tree and spoke upwards towards the boughs of the Mellyrn. Another ladder fell upon the trunk, its silver-grey ropes glistening in the dim light. She climbed up the ladder first, followed by Legolas, Boromir, Gimli then Aragorn.
Anyaelia pulled an Elf aside and spoke quickly and quietly to him. He glanced over her shoulder and nodded in agreement at an unheard statement. She turned from him back towards the awaiting others.
“Aragorn, they have agreed to keep us here. But they are a bit wary of Gimli, though, that is common among Lórien Elves. I must return now to the Hobbit’s.”
Aragorn concured, Anyaelia turned towards Legolas, a smile playing at her lips. He mirrored her smile and planted a kiss upon her forehead.
“Amin mela lle Legolas, esta eithel ar’ il no’ amin. Amin tereva. (I love you Legolas, rest well and do not worry about me. I will be fine.) Whispered Anyaelia into his ear.
“Amin sinta lle tereva, amin mela lle, ar’ amin en lle rato.” (I know you will be fine, I love you, and I will see you soon.) Legolas whispered back, planting a soft kiss upon her parted lips. She pulled back reluctantly from his loving embrace.
“Goodbye.” She whispered to him as she climbed back down the ladder and out of sight.
Haldir helped Anyaelia back up into the tree, the Hobbits looked at her, happy to see a familiar face. She bent down and eyed each one carefully as they sat bundled in furs the Elves had provided.
She smiled gratefully and whispered to them, “You must rest, we will be on guard if anything shall happen.”
Anyaelia stood back up and started towards Haldir, his hands placed upon the wooden railing.
“So I see you have found someone.” Haldir spoke, she noted a hint of jealously in his voice.
“Aye.” She murmured simply.
The silence grew as the seconds turned to minutes, and the minutes turned to hours. Anyaelia grew weary, the wound in her shoulder had turned into a throbbing numbness. She touched it gingerly, unaware of Haldir’s peering eyes. A loud constant noice descended from the Woods. Anyaelia snapped her head downwards as the splashing continued, loud snarling voices shouted and sneered.
Haldir leaped over the railing, bow in hand, and landed gracefully on the branch below. He whispered quickly upwards to her.
“Orcs! They are crossing the Nimrodel! Curse their foul feet in the clean water. I see that there are more than 100 of them, we do not have enough to fight them.”
“I can help, you know I can!” She whispered back. Her eyes caught a glimpse of Haldir’s shape as he shifted his weight uneasily.
“Nay, I cannot risk it.” He whistled low and Orophin treaded up next to her, he looked downwards keenly.
“Orophin, take the others and lead the Orcs away from here!”
Orophin disappeared quickly with two others. Anyaelia lifted her head up as their voices drifted into the air, quieting the noisy Orcs. She looked behind her and saw three shapes jumping from tree to tree, away from them. With a cry of the Orcs they followed the leaping figures.
Anyaelia breathed a sigh of relief as the noise grew farther away until it had all but dissipated. She turned to the Hobbits whom she had forgotten about. They had sat up quietly, their eyes peering around fearfully. Frodo was bent over the entrance of the platform, his eyes fixed on a crawling shadow. He jumped back, gasping, his eyes apprehensive.
“There was something down there,” He spoke to Anyaelia as she drew nearer to him. “Something that was not of an Orc.”
Anyaelia closed her eyes and sighed, she fell to the ground quivering in pain. The wound in her shoulder split open, blackening her shirt in blood. The poison, she felt, was boiling her blood. Her eyes rolled back into her head and she saw no more.