A bit shorter of a chapter, admittedly, but the next will be longer. Glad to see all of the positive responses to the first chapter, thank you all! Thanks as always for the faves and follows and reviews. I'm so glad that the first chapter was acceptable, I was agonizing that it would seem too rushed. From now on, Replies to reviews will go at the bottom of chapters.
It was the second day that they had been out on the hunt for the hobbits. They had chosen to take the road, afraid that perhaps the hobbits had been lost in the wilderness or perhaps in danger on the road from the nine.
Glorfindel had ridden fast, both he and Eruanna looking out carefully and listening for any sign of either hobbits or black riders. So far, there had been nothing. Until they came to the bridge.
Eruanna had sucked in a breath, and let out a cry across their bond, immediately causing Glorfindel to snap to her. 'Nazgul!'
They came upon the bridge, and indeed there were three of them, hooded and cloaked on black steeds. Three hoods turned towards them, and in an instant Glorfindel had thrown his cloak over Eruanna and raised his sword.
"Be gone, foul servants of Sauron, else I drive you away with the light of Aman!" He shouted, and Asfaloth, heeding his master's command, charged. With shrieks, the Nazgul began to flee, and Eruanna could feel Glorfindel give chase.
After a short while, though, Glorfindel lifted the cloak, and she was exposed to daylight once more, showing her that there were no more of the specters. "They have fled. Come, the bridge is retaken." He murmured, and trotted back to the bridge.
He handed Eruanna a pouch from his cloak, and set her down. "Leave the content of the pouch in the centre of the bridge, Eruanna. It shall be a token that the Nazgul will not near it again, and that the way is safe." He said, and Eruanna did as she was bid, running to the bridge and opening the small wine-colored drawstring bag of velvet.
Inside, she found a considerably large elf-stone of peridot which she set carefully in the center of the bridge, and ran back to Glorfindel. He scooped her back onto Asfaloth and wheeling, headed off at a gallop down the road.
Two more they saw, but as soon as they were sighted the wraiths went south wards, fleeing from them. Eruanna was finding herself becoming concerned, but not with anything to do with the hobbits, but rather herself. But she said nothing.
It was not until five days later that they finally found the trail they were looking for. Glorfindel let out an exclamation of surprise and relief, as Eruanna dismounted and began to track the faint marks carefully, following them. Asfaloth dutifully trotted along behind, trusting both his master and mistress.
Over hills and rills, valleys and vales, until the tracks finally came to the road. Glorfindel, at that point, swiftly scooped up Eruanna from where she was walking on the ground and set off at a wild pace again, Asfaloth having been at a rather lazy pace all day and more than eager for a change.
They traveled until night was falling, the sun going down in the sky. Eruanna was clutched to Glorfindel underneath his cloak, who had his hood down and hair whipping in the wind.
Suddenly, there was a cry borne to their ears on the wind. Glorfindel immediately brought Asfaloth to a halt, looking towards the sound. Eruanna peered through the chink of Glorfindel's robe, and her eyes widened to see Estel standing on the path, looking worn but extremely happy to see them. Or rather, Glorfindel, since Eruanna was still hidden in his robe.
Glorfindel, still clutching Eruanna to himself, leapt off of Asfaloth and sprinted towards Estel, crying out in relief. "Ai na vedui Dúnadan! Mae Govannen!" And began immediately to tell Estel of their search. His eyes widened in reply, glancing to Glorfindel's cloak. Then he turned and beckoned to the thickets, from where tumbled four hobbits and a pony. Eruanna's eyes widened as she smiled to see more of the Periannaith.
"This is Lord Glorfindel, of the house of Elrond." Estel introduced, and immediately began to introduce them hurriedly to each other.
"Hail, and well met at last!" Glorfindel said, speaking in a hurry. "I was sent from Rivendell to look for you. We feared that you were in danger on the road."
"Then Gandalf has reached Rivendell?" Frodo cried happily. Glorfindel nodded.
"Yes, and your burden is known to a few who have the right to. I am one of them, and when I heard his story I came to search for you. Nigh seven days ago we left a token upon the bridge. There had been three of them waiting, but at my threat they fled. Since then we have seen but two but they also fled southwards. Two days ago we found your trail and now have followed you here. There is no time for anything else to be said. We must go and risk the road, for even as we speak there are five behind us and where the four others are I know not. I fear that the Ford may already be held against us." Even as Glorfindel spoke the night began to fall faster, and poor Frodo seemed to be suffering.
"My master is sick and wounded." Sam spoke up, sounding annoyed. "He can't go on riding after nightfall. He needs rest. And what do you mean by 'we'? I see only one of you." He added suspiciously. Strider sighed slightly, and Eruanna felt herself smile.
"Glorfindel, when we were at Weathertop, we met with the nine and unfortunately Frodo was stabbed by a Nazgul blade." Estel proceeded to interrupt and speak to Glorfindel of their plight, to which Eruanna shuddered. "Perhaps you could see this and do something?" He finished, and there was the rustle of cloth.
Eruanna pulled away the cloak, and there were audible gasps from the hobbits at the sight of her. Glorfindel set her down, and she turned to Estel, holding out her hand. With a blink, he handed her the hilt of the sword he held in his hand.
She took it, and immediately frowned. It was the same hilt as the one that she had seen at the white council. A- what had Elrond called it?- Morgul blade.
'It is a Morgul blade. There are evil things written on it, though perhaps you do not see them. Keep it, but be careful! Lord Elrond can tell you more than I- but let me see Frodo's wound. I may be able to see something that others cannot, though I cannot heal it.' She said softly in his mind. He nodded.
"Of course." He dipped his head. "Sam, let Lady Eruanna see Frodo; she may be able to help him somewhat." He told the portly hobbit, who was staring at her with something akin to awe in his eyes. She smiled, and he shuffled.
"Lady?" Another hobbit whispered, sounding confused. "But isn't she just a baby?"
Her lips twitched as Estel winced. "Pippin, hush." He said firmly. "Do not base opinions on looks alone. She is far more than she seems." The hobbit scuffled his feet shame-facedly.
Eruanna bent down by the shivering Frodo held in Glorfindel's arms, and reached out with her mind to his. She bit her lip, nearly reeling from the mists that shadowed the poor hobbit's mind, but pushed though them firmly, her bright tendrils shoving a way through the mists.
'Frodo. Look at me.' She commanded softly but firmly, drawing his attention. Frodo jerked and gasped, turning to look at her with clouded blue eyes. Sam gasped.
'Look at me. Focus on me.' She ordered, and hurriedly peeled off his tunic, exposing his shoulder where a white scar was. With her fingers she probed softly, but felt nothing- no, there was an odd lump, small and nearly undetectable but for her tiny, sensitive fingers.
Her face grew into fear, and she searched Frodo's mind slightly, finding his memory from the event. What she saw made her outright shake her head even as she withdrew from his mind.
'Not good.' She told Estel and Glorfindel. 'Needs help fast. We must go. I cannot do much.' Then she turned back to Frodo one last time and cupped his face in her palms. Frodo stared at her, shivering, but even as he looked into her eyes he calmed, stilling and eyes clearing slightly.
The light of the Valar that shone in her eyes dispelled the shadow for a short time, if just long enough to provide him strength and comfort for a little while. Then she pulled away, and Glorfindel spoke.
"You shall ride my horse. I will shorten the stirrups, and you will have to sit tight; but do not fear, he will bear anyone that I or Eruanna tells him to. His pace is light and smooth, and if danger draws too near at a command he will bear you away swiftly at a speed that even the black steeds of the nine cannot rival." He added.
"No, he will not! I shall not ride him, if I am to be carried off to Rivendell or anywhere else, leaving them behind in danger." Frodo replied adamantly.
Glorfindel smiled along with Eruanna and Estel at the courage of the halfling. "I very much doubt if they would be in danger if they were not with you! The nine would follow you and leave us in peace, I am sure. It is you and what you carry that brings us danger." Glorfindel countered. Frodo was rendered speechless, and soon they were marching off swiftly, Frodo on Asfaloth.
Estel carried Eruanna in his arms at his insistence despite her protests that he was tired. "You bring me strength with your presence and comfort." He insisted, and so won the battle.
All night under the clouded sky they marched, until the hobbits were faltering and the dawn came, grey and ominous. Estel was weary, shoulders drooped, the hobbits were dead on their feet, Frodo was in a dark dream, and Eruanna was asleep also in Glorfindel's arms by the time they stopped to sleep for a while.
Glorfindel kept watch, and by the time it was noon everyone was awakened by the elf lord. Eruanna sat on Asfaloth, head turned towards the road behind them and seemingly listening to something that they could not hear and seeing what they could not catch sight of.
The sight of the elfling with hair of silver and gold, eyes of leafy-green and silver-blue made them awaken farther to look at her, although they were still half-asleep. Glorfindel offered them miruvor, which seemed to perk them up, but Eruanna was worried. The wind was howling in her ears, begging her to run away, bringing her snatches of hooves clopping and seeking sniffles.
She shifted uncomfortably, and Glorfindel turned to her, stiffening. "Come, we must go." He said tersely. "Our danger will be greatest just before the river, for the pursuit behind us is now swift, and there may be another danger that I cannot see." He urged, and they set off again.
They had reached the river when suddenly Eruanna, walking next to Glorfindel, turned abruptly, her whole body posture screaming of wariness. All turned to look at her, and fear flashed across Estel's face. Then her eyes widened. Darkness was growing close, the shadow upon her heart blackening and the mark on her arm burning horribly like it had when Sauron had just grabbed it.
"Fly!" Glorfindel cried, turning to Frodo. "Fly, they are upon us!"
Asfaloth sprinted forwards, and all of them began to run after, Glorfindel, Eruanna, and Estel in the back of the group. They were only halfway to the river when the first black rider burst from the road behind them and paused, waiting for the others to join him, one by one.
"Ride! Go, ride!' Glorfindel called feverishly, but Frodo suddenly paused, looking back. Then after a moment of tense silence, he drew his sword with a 'snick' and raised it up in defiance.
"Ride on, ride on!" Glorfindel called one last time. Eruanna leaped forwards to the neck of Asfaloth and smacked him, just as Glorfindel cried out, "noro lim, noro lim, Asfaloth!"
Before they could think, Asfaloth sprang forwards as though he had been shot with an arrow and ran like the wind, just as the black riders leaped forwards, five of them. They gave a blood-curdling cry, and in reply four of them burst from the woods beside them.
Eruanna watched as they grew closer and closer, just as two of them threw back their hoods. She stumbled, crying out in shock and pain through her bond with Glorfindel, who immediately leaped to catch her.
"Seler!" He cried, and she started shaking.
'Can see- can see- unseen- hurts!' She wailed, clutching at her arm. He gritted his teeth and ran all the faster, outstripping the others. Frodo was across the ford, the Nazgul prancing on the other side even as they called to him.
"By Elbereth and Luthien the fair, you shall have neither the ring nor me!" Frodo cried weakly, brandishing his sword. The leader, halfway across the river, raised his hand, and Frodo's sword shattered. Asfaloth pranced nervously, rearing and snorting. Glorfindel was almost there.
Just then, there was a roaring sound of water. Glorfindel made it to the river, and Eruanna stumbled out of his arms, running teeteringly for the river and stepping into it ankle-deep.
'Please,' she begged it, 'help!' But help was already there. It came roaring across the other side of the bend, and Glorfindel called out to Eruanna. But even as it came rushing towards them, white riders on foaming, frothing, boiling, watery horses appearing and thundering towards the three in the riverbed, one of them reached forwards and grasped the elfling, swinging her into the saddle of one of the horses. They rode on unflinchingly, trampling the three underneath their hooves, and the one with Eruanna turned back, riding for the shore.
Frodo could see, through a haze, the remaining hesitating black riders, and then his gaze went to two figures on the shore. One seemed to be burning with a white flame, shining brightly. The other one was shining even more brightly, with a golden light that filled him with the feeling of looking at something hallow and sacred. Then all went black, and he succumbed to the cold darkness.
"Good. Our first knight has been played." Tulkas said approvingly with a nod.
"He was merely the starting point, the bait for the game to commence, you know." Oromë pointed out to them.
"Yes, and our little one is also bait for higher eyes then the Nazgul." Yavanna smiled.
"How do you think she will feel when she comes to us and finds out what we've been doing?" Manwë asked dubiously. "Because I know that my apprentice Balrog Slayer will not be pleased with me, his master or not." He added wryly.
"Is it true that Nàmo might be getting a new apprentice besides Ingwion son of Ingwë?" Tulkas asked nonchalantly.
"That remains to be seen." Nàmo replied a bit sharply. "I never wanted an apprentice in the first place, but since I lost the bet to lord Manwë..." He gave a droll glance in the direction of the Elder King, who merely smiled amusedly.
"At least you didn't loose the bet to Oromë that nearly made you be seen in yellow." Manwë dead-panned.
Oromë sighed. "I will never forgive myself for loosing that one. I so wanted to win." He grumbled. Nàmo sighed as the rest of the Valar laughed at the image that Oromë sent to them of a yellow-clad judge of the dead.
WoodElfJedi: thank you, Mellon nîn!
Paigemitchell98: thank you so much! I'm glad to be back too. ;)
TheMouseOfAwesomeness: Thaaanks. X3 we shall see, won't we? She tends to surprise even me.
Kmartz95: thanks! You have a plausible guess, but I'm not going to say either way... We'll have to see, hmm? ;) keep guessing, you never know!
WanderingSeeker1: thank you so much! Your review made me tear up. X3 I'm so glad the first chapter was passable. Thanks for your input! Yes, I am 15, but I started the first book a bit before my birthday... Hehe. And thank you, I actually am planning one day to try my hand at a literary career. This is practice and polish for me. Experimentation. ;)
ZeroE0703: thanks! ;)
Gwestiel: thank you! Hugs from Eruanna. ;)
Kiki272002: thank you! I wouldn't consider myself am experienced writer just yet, though I certainly am trying. Hehe! Thanks for the support, and you are most welcome!
FandomFangirl100: yay! Thanks! I mentioned in the first book that I'm making it AU in that Celébrian wasn't injured and didn't sail. ;)
Guest: yes sir!
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review, please! To coin a phrase from DeLacus- Ayyo~!