The rider came closer and closer. “Go away,” she whispered, not being able to move or to urge Thunder on. Thunder seemed to feel the same way. He sat there, unmoved, but Kimberly could tell he was afraid.
“I can help you.” It said. By the sound of its voice, Kimberly suspected it was a female.
“What do you mean?”
“I know that you want to go, but you can’t. But I can train you. You will be the best swordsman ever if you want to be. Or you could be the best archer ever. Either way, you can decide.”
“I want to do both! Can I do both?”
“That is hard to say. Depends how good you are.”
“Who are you? How do you know all this about me?”
She threw back her black cloak and revealed her shining, long, red hair. It flowed down in ringlets. Her emerald green eyes flickered and flashed. “My name is Rebethian. The Valar have sent me to guide you. But why do you want to go to battle, when you know that the Hope and freedom of Middle earth depends on you? Surely you know that something could happen to you, and you know that Largolian is not letting you come because he is worried about you! You must understand that he is only protecting you! Otherwise, he would be more than glad to let you come.”
“Really?” asked Kimberly.
“Indeed. Wouldn’t you miss your best friend when you were going away and you didn’t know if you would return alive?”
“You mean he might die?” she asked, horrified. Although she knew the answer would be that surely nobody would know what would happen to him, until it happens.
“He very well might. But he is very valiant and skilled. I wouldn’t worry. He should be all right. But come now. Enough talk. Do you want to know what you have to do?”
“Well, yes, of course. But I——“
“Never mind about Largolian. You can go back tonight. It is only two o’clock. We can start now if you want.”
“But I don’t—-“
“Don’t worry about weapons either. I have two swords, two bows and plenty of arrows, and I have daggers, knives, and anything else we might want to practice with.”
“Well, do you—“
“Yes I do have targets, right here in my pack. If you would help me to set up, that would be good.”
“Would you let me—-“?
“Alright, starting from now, I promise I won’t interrupt.”
“Thank you! Oh, I also have a question about the—“
“Fire balls! Of course! I forgot. You have that special power. Now all you need to learn is how to use it.”
“You promised you wouldn’t interrupt!”
“Sorry. I meant to talk to you about it before, but I forgot. Now, let’s get started, shall we? First I think that we should work on things that you are familiar with. So, let’s practice shooting your Fireballs.”
She jumped off her horse, and took off her pack. She rummaged through the contents, and found what she was looking for. She pulled out: two daggers, five knives (all in sheaths), four targets (two big, two small), and a sword, with a sheath to go with it.
“Now, would you go put that target on that tree over there, and put this one on that tree next to you.” She handed Kimberly a small target, and a big target. “Now, I will show you how to aim.”
She had two bows slung on her back. She took them both off, and then strung an arrow to one of them.
“Watch” she said. She stood about twenty metres away from the large target and shot the arrow. It went straight in the middle of the target. “See? It isn’t that hard. Just aim. First, do it slowly, then once you get used to it, you can start getting faster. Now you try.”
“Kimberly thrust her arm down and opened her hand. There appeared a fireball in her palm. It stayed there, until she released it. She aimed it, and made sure it was perfect, then shot. It missed.
“How do you aim so well?” she asked Rebethian.
“Okay, first, steady your arm. Do this by holding you arm with your other hand, just for now, until you get used to it. Then, practice firing it so it will at least hit the target. Then I will show you what to do next.”
Kimberly thrust her arm down and opened her hand again. And there appeared another Fireball. She steadied her arm with her other hand, aimed it, and shot. This time it hit the target, although not in the middle. She wondered why the target didn’t explode.
“Much better! Now, how come the target didn’t blow up, you say? Well, I put a spell on it so then it wouldn’t. We don’t want to go around blowing up all my targets, now do we?” said Rebethian, concealing a grin.
“Okay, that’s it! How do you know what I am about to say? Are you like, an all powerful mind reader or something?”
“Precisely. And don’t get all angry at me for interrupting because I didn’t. I just told you before you asked.” She said, seeing the look on Kimberly’s face. “Anyway, try it again. See if you can hit the bull’s eye. Then you can start to get faster. Go on. Have a go.”
Kimberly thrust her arm down once again, and then opened her hand. She steadied her arm, aimed it, this time careful that it lined up correctly, and shot. It hit the bull’s eye. Rebethian applauded her, and then said, “Alright. Now try doing it faster. See if you can, without taking a long time to aim, hit the bull’s eye.”
Once again, Kimberly thrust her arm down, opened her hand, steadied it, and shot. It hit the bull’s eye, fare and square in the middle.
“You’re getting pretty good for a beginner. Now try without steadying your Arm.” Said Rebethian, obviously impressed.
Kimberly put her arm up and shot another one from her palm, hitting it in the bull’s eye.
“Fantastic! And you have also learned that you don’t have to thrust your arm down every time. You will find that if you were really trying to shoot an orc or something, you wouldn’t have time to do all that. That’s why you have to do it quick. Try it a couple more times while I get set up over here.”
“Why don’t I have to thrust my arm down every time?”
“You have learned to only do that once, and the rest of the time, it will appear. Gradually it will get easier; hopefully it won’t take too long. But I don’t think it will for you. If you keep practicing, that is. It is guided by your own will. Soon you will learn to not even have to thrust your arm at all. But anyway, for now, you can do what you are up to. Now keep practicing.”
Kimberly put her arm up, and again shot the bull’s eye. She did it a few more times, hitting it right in the centre. Then Rebethian called her to come over to her. She walked over to where she was standing.
“Okay, now you are going to learn how to shoot while on horse back. If you know how to do this, then you will be a master at this. Come jump up on your horse. I have set the targets up, so you will be able to ride and hit them, if you can.”
Kimberly jumped up onto Thunder, looked at the targets, and listened to Rebethian’s
“Okay, just ride through here, and try to shoot at the targets. It doesn’t matter if you don’t get them in the middle, so long as you hit them. Go!”
Kimberly called out to her horse; “Canter!” and the horse went into a smooth gait. She passed all the targets, hitting them all, and got them all in the middle, except for the first three ones. Altogether, there were fifteen targets. Most of them were drawn onto the tree, except for the first four. “Rebethian must have put a spell on the drawn ones as well.” She thought to herself.
She rode back to Rebethian, and then jumped off Thunder.
“So, how did I do?” she said, waiting for approval.
“You tell me. So did you hit all the targets?”
“Well, yeah, but how do you think I went?”
“Very good, just as long as you hit all the targets.”
“Aren’t you going to check?” Kimberly asked, getting a little flustered.
“I can’t. They aren’t there any more. They aren’t arrows, you know. They don’t stay there. Anyway, let’s get you started on whatever you want to do next.”
“I want to do sword fighting next!”
“Hold your horses! I think that you should do archery, because you will be good at that, because now you can aim. Come on, your doing archery next.”
“You are doing archery next! Now come here! I have a bow for you and a quiver of arrows. You can keep them, for you will need some kind of weapon. You won’t live on just shooting Fireballs all day. People can get you from behind as well. In fact, most of the time, they will probably come from the back. Anyway, let’s get going. This is how you put the arrow on.” She said, whilst grabbing an arrow from the quiver on the ground, and motioning to Kimberly to come and watch.
“Okay, now. You have to put the arrow on like this”, she said, picking up an arrow and fitting it to the string, “Then you have to aim. I’ll show you something. When you aim, don’t aim it exactly on the dot, because our perception is incorrect. You aim it a little to the left, and down a bit,” she aimed it where she wanted it, “Then you shoot. Now, because the arrow is going to give off some force, you will need to aim it slightly off-course, depending on the way you shoot. For instance, if I shoot using my left hand as my main, then I would shoot it off-course this way, because from the force—-“
Kimberly wasn’t listening. She wanted to tell Largolian everything, but she knew she couldn’t yet. All the same, sneaking off without him knowing, to a place he forbids her to go to, well, she wasn’t feeling like the most innocent person. She knew she had lied to him, and she didn’t want to again.
“I’m sorry Rebethian. I have to go. Thanks for teaching me so far, but I have to go and talk to—“
“You can’t talk to Largolian yet, about these matters. He cannot know. Do you want to go to war? Of course you do! But he won’t let you. So, you can’t tell him yet, because he would never let you go. He would make sure you were guarded day and night, very securely. You are going for a purpose.”
“To break the spell, of course. But he thinks that you have to do that from here, and he wouldn’t understand, if you tried to tell him.”
“I suppose your right. But what if he finds out that I am secretly training out here? He will have my guts for garters! I ain’t gonna risk that!”
“Then he won’t find out will he?” Rebethian said, with a twinkle in her eyes. “Now just stay a little longer so that you can learn how to shoot an arrow, and then you can go.”
“Now, you aim it here, depending on whether you’re right-handed or left-handed. Then you put the arrow on like so,” she put the arrow on so it clicked into place, “then you aim it, and shoot.” She shot a perfect shot. The arrow landed, embedded smack bang in the middle of the smallest bull’s eye.
“Now that was good! I swear I won’t be able to do that any time soon!” said Kimberly, looking at the bow in wonder.
“I wouldn’t say that. You are such a fast learner. Not many people have learnt to shoot Fireballs as quickly as you have. It must be some power in you. Maybe the elvish side? After all, they can learn things by merely observing. You are strange, I must say. But Lerina, I think you should start calling yourself by your elvish name.” Rebethian said, matter-of-factly.
“What’s my elvish name?” Kimberly queried.
“Lerina, of course! The name that Largolian gave you! What I just called you? It is your proper name, for now anyway. For as long as you’re elvish, you’re name is Lerina. But when you’re human, you’re Kimberly. Kind of like Largolian. He is Tim when he is human, and Largolian when he’s elvish. Come on, have a go.” She said, passing the bow and an arrow to Lerina, for so we will now call her. Lerina handled it gingerly. She fit the arrow on the string like Rebethian had shown her, and aimed the bow. She pulled the string right back to her ear, made sure her aim was accurate, and let go. It missed, landing in the dirt a few feet away from the target.
“Damn! I am never going to get this! It’s so hard!” Lerina said, upset and frustrated.
“Just try again, and I am sure that you’ll get used to it!” Rebethian smiled encouragingly. She handed her another arrow, and once again Lerina fitted it to the string. This time, she aimed it a little bit off course, and pulled the string back. She made sure of her aim, and then let go. This time the arrow landed in the circle just outside of the bull’s eye.
“I did it! I did it!” she cried, unable to contain herself. She was getting used to it! She was so excited. She was quite oblivious to the fact that she was changing, becoming more and more powerful with each shot. She could learn so quickly, and had the power to shoot Fireballs, and even to morph! I can’t believe they chose me! Out of all the people in the world, why did they choose me? I was nobody! And yet here I am, with super powers and all. Suddenly her thoughts were interrupted by Rebethian’s voice.
“You are important, you know. You are somebody, even though others may not think so, I do. And everyone here does too. Even the enemy knows you’re important. They even tried to catch you! But you escaped from them, didn’t you? You can do anything if you wish it. Just try and you will succeed. Eru will help you through your tough times. Come on. See if you can shoot the arrow in the bull’s eye, and then you can practice a bit more, and then we will do basics on sword fighting. You’ll do fine! Go on! Have another go!” This encouraged Lerina. Rebethian thought she was important? What an honour! Here was this messenger of Eru, and she could shoot arrows, sword fight, and do everything, and she was saying Lerina was important? She got the bow, strung another arrow to it, aimed, pulled back, checked, and shot. It hit dead in the middle.
“YIPPEE!” I did it! I did it!” she was so excited that she ran around in little circles, shouting and singing. Rebethian laughed in amusement.
“You are strange though. Very strange. Come on keep practicing. I’ll go and get ready for the sword fighting.” She walked off through the trees and over to her pack, where she picked up the spare sword, and started to polish it. Meanwhile, Lerina got another arrow, strung it to the bow, and shot again. It went into the bull’s eye again. She was getting more accurate and even faster. She kept shooting the arrows, and getting them in the bull’s eye. She had to keep going up to the board to pull them out. “Lerina!” Rebethian called. Lerina looked up, dropped the bow, and ran off through the woods. She was nimble, light and quick. Not even an elf would have heard her footfall. She came to the place that Rebethian had headed off to. But where was she? Suddenly she had a hand clamped over her mouth, and she was pulled back into the trees behind her. Just in time, too. There appeared gruff, sharp voices. Lerina was too afraid to open her eyes -she had shut them tight when she was pulled back- as she felt the hand loosen on her mouth.
“Don’t worry, it’s just me.” Lerina was relieved to find it was Rebethian. “Duck down as quietly as you can.”
Lerina crouched down, followed closely by Rebethian.
They peeked over the bushes. There was a small group of ten orcs. What looked to be the leader, for he was the largest and the strongest looking of them, said, “Where is `e? He was supposed to meet us `ere!”
We can’t stay here for long boss! We’re in The Woods, and you know what those elves are like. Where is that darned rat?” Another spat.
“He better not have failed, coz’ I didn’t travel all this way to find a dead darned rat. He better have the girl!” a third one spoke. Lerina gasped slightly. That girl was meant to be her!
“Wait! Did you hear that?” the leader spoke, holding up his hand, signalling silence. They had heard Lerina gasp! Rebethian spoke, “we can’t stay here long! They’ll find us soon!”
Lerina signalled her to be quiet, for fear that the orcs would hear her and find them. But Rebethian kept talking at normal level. “Quick! Let’s exit through the back of these trees, and then we can go find our horses and get out of here!” for a wonder the orcs didn’t here her, and they shrugged off the idea that someone else was there. Lerina glared at her.
“Will you be quiet? They’re going to hear us! We’re dead! D-E-D dead!” she stopped short. The orcs hadn’t heard her either! She realised she was talking with her mind! Of course! That was why she could hear Rebethian normally.
Rebethian said, “All elves have the power to do this. They can all talk with their minds. Come on! Let’s go!” now Lerina understood. That day when she was riding Thunder and she had heard Largolian’s voice, as if it were right next to her, well, he was talking with his mind! “Follow me!” came Rebethian’s voice in her head.
They crawled ever so slowly so as not to disturb the shrubbery. They came out on the other side and went to find their things. Lerina went straight to the targets, picked them up, as well as the arrows and the bow, and then slipped quietly away to Rebethian. She was packing her things up.
“Thanks.” She said, as Lerina handed her the weapons. She quickly put them in her pack, swung it over her shoulders, and jumped up onto her horse. Lerina ran over to Thunder. She jumped up onto him, grabbed the reins, and was about to gallop off when she heard Rebethian say, “Wait! You should keep this,” and handed her the bow, as well as a quiver of arrows.
“Wow! Thankyou! How do I put them on?” she said, grateful of the weapon. After all, she would need some kind of weapon to fight with. Rebethian came over to her, and showed her how. Then she grabbed the sword out that was in her pack. She gave it to Lerina.
“This is an elven blade. It will serve you well, when you learn how to use it anyway. Keep it. Oh, and don’t take it out of its sheath until tomorrow when I see you again. It is very bright and very noticeable. Come on, just walk for now until we are a fare bit away from the orcs, and then we can run. Otherwise I guarantee that the orcs will hear us.” But she was suddenly cut off. There was the indistinguishable sound of the orcs’ voices.
“There they are!” the leader cried, and they started running for them.
“Gee up, Thunder! Gee up!” yelled Lerina. Immediately the horse set off down the track, and after followed the sound of Rebethian and her horse close behind. Of course the orcs couldn’t keep up with them, after all they were on horses, one of them being a Valar horse, the other being the last of the Meeras. But the orcs still pursued. They raced back to the province of Lothlorien. They went straight to Largolian, who was about to mount his horse, along with Haldir, Beregond, Imrahil, and Legolas. Why are they going riding? I mean, it’s not like ALL of them have to go out. Unless… unless they’re looking for me! Oh great! What have I done this time?
“Come on Lerina! We’re wasting time! We have to go tell them!” came Rebethian’s voice, disturbing Lerina’s thoughts. They urged their horses on. “Wait! I can’t let them see me! Largolian is smarter than you think! He will know that I am from the Valar, and that I am training you. He has seen one of us before anyway. Come! You must go to him, and tell him that you were in the woods, and that you came upon a band of orcs. He must be notified of them. Do you know how much damage the orcs could cause just on entering this place? You must tell him now!” Rebethian galloped off, back in the direction that they had come from, without even so much as a goodbye. “I’ll see you tomorrow!” Lerina heard her voice floating to her through the breeze. There was no time to waste. She galloped up to Largolian, who in turn exclaimed in surprise.
“Kimberly! We were just coming out to look for you! For goodness sake! Don’t run off like that! Do you know how worried I was about you? —” He was cut short by Lerina’s quick reply.
“Number one, call me Lerina. Number two; there are orcs in the woods. I was there and I bumped into them. They are coming! Please do something about it!” and with that she turned her horse around and galloped off in the direction of her room.
Meanwhile, Haldir, Beregond, Legolas, Imrahil, and last but definitely not least, Largolian, were all staring in disbelief at Lerina who had shot off like an arrow. Indeed they couldn’t see her anymore.
“What was that all about? Was she making that up, or was she serious?” Prince Imrahil asked, voicing all of their opinions.
“She wouldn’t make up something as serious as that! Come on! We must go! We can’t let them get into Lothlorien! But what I want to know is why she was outside the borders in the first place!” said Largolian.
“Maybe she wasn’t outside the borders at all!” came Haldir’s voice.
“Why wouldn’t she be?” came the sharp reply of Largolian.
“Because, maybe the guard was down and the orcs got in. I don’t know. But however she escaped is beyond my thoughts. She must have had someone to warn her or something. You know orcs! They come suddenly, without any warning. How would she have known that they were coming?”
“That quite baffled my thoughts too,” Imrahil queried.
“She is an elf, you know. She has elven qualities. She can sense when someone is near,” Largolian paused, “Speaking of that,” and in the distance, heard only to the elven figures, and unknown to Beregond, came the sharp cry of the orcs. “There you go, lads! She certainly was not making it up! Come on! We have no time to loose!” he jumped up onto to Mercury, signalling to the others to follow. They jumped up onto their horses, and galloped after Largolian, who was already racing down the track leading into the forest.
Imrahil started yelling, “Wait! Wait for me!” his horse had gone around to the other side of the stables, and was now eating grass contentedly. He had no idea what so ever that they had gone in the wrong direction, and that the orcs were sneaking through the forest on the other side, if sneaking is what you would call it. For they were so loud, and trampled everything, even if it were not in their way. But Imrahil sensed something was wrong…
Lerina had not really gone back to her room, but had ridden to the side of the stables, and hidden there, lying in wait. When she saw that Largolian had gone the wrong way, she almost cried out, but remembered that Imrahil was still there, and that if he heard her, she would be in deep trouble. She wasn’t supposed to be there, but she knew something was going to happen, and that she needed to be there, in that place, at that time. She didn’t know how right she was. Imrahil went around to get his horse. Suddenly she heard a cry of surprise, and then the almost deafening noise of orc cries. She immediately came out of her hiding place, and galloped around the side to the back. There was a sight she definitely did not want to see. Imrahil, surrounded by a few dozen orcs that were advancing, making the ring around him smaller and smaller, drew his sword, and got ready to face any attack that came at him. Lerina galloped up, got a Fireball ready at bay, and cried out, “Stay away from him! Or I’ll shove your head so far up your butt that you’ll be wearing your body as a hat!” The orcs turned around, and taking their attention off the Prince, all rushed over to her and slowly closed in. “Uh oh,” she said.