Chapter Thirteen: Onward
Percia chuckled quietly to herself as Gimli went on and on about Galadriel and how beautiful she is. Seriously she was considering writing to his mother so she could tell Gloin. She bet the old Dwarf would have a heart attack. No doubt the others would tease him, though Kili would defend him, given his own choice of a bride.
Shaking those thoughts from her mind she instead went back to the events of the morning they departed. The people of Lothlorien had gifted them with new cloaks, which apparently could help them blend in with their surroundings like a chameleon. Pretty handy in her opinion. Most of the others also received various gifts, like knives, rope or even a bow, and in Gimli's case, three strands of golden hair, which he had been nattering on about for the last THREE days!
By the gods if he didn't stop going on about them she was going to push him over the side of their boat.
It was decided they would travel down the Anduin. She wasn't sure how long they could follow the river, but hopefully for a while. It would certainly make travel much easier. The Hobbits were enjoying not having to walk constantly, at least Fred and George were. Bilbo looked to be in deep thought. Whatever Galadriel had shown him in that mirror had shaken him badly, along with whatever she had gifted him with.
Percia really wanted to ask him about it but she was trying to respect his privacy. So she'd give him another day before corning him for the information.
She had ADHD it's only natural she'd 'forget' her previous intentions when it benefited her.
Besides, she had other things on her mind right now. Like her 'vision' of her family. She'd been surprised but so grateful to see her family and to speak to them. She was still stoked to know Triton had named his first daughter Ariel and that Tyson would be a father soon. To know both were doing so well helped settle her heart. However, she also felt sadness at not being there with them to celebrate these milestones.
"Are you well nin kuruni," Legolas asked quietly catching her attention.
That was another thing keeping her from pestering Bilbo. Ever since he'd saved her from death there had been a strange connection between them. They had yet to fully discuss it, but their taunts had taken a more playful tone. It left her a bit disoriented to be honest.
"Fine," she answered politely, finding it a bit harder to snap at him now. Well, only a bit, when he did stupid stuff she let him have it. However, when he decided to actually be nice and concerned for her she managed to cool it on the sarcasm.
"Probably as tired as I am of being on these blasted boats," Gimli huffed, shifting just slightly. He had learned the hard way what happened when one let their weight sit too heavily to one side on a ship.
Percia turned to look at him over her shoulder, her eyes incredulous that he should even suggest such. One brow hiked in query, as if to state 'you really just said that'. Legolas looked ready to bust a gut as he shared a grin over the red head in the middle. Honestly! Dwarves!
"Uh, well… that is…" He managed to realize the mistake of his words. Percia let it go with a roll of her eyes.
"Look at that," Fred piped up from the boat over.
He was pointing to a set of statues that were massive. Like even the Statue of Liberty would feel small next to them, (though not really because technically she was the same size). They just seemed to have a presence about them. They were dressed as nobles, each having one arm pointed up as if to warn travelers of moving past this point. Not very welcoming in her opinion.
"The Argonath," Aragorn stated wistfully. "Long have I desired to look upon the kings of old. My Kin…"
Okay, that explains the nostalgia. Everyone was suitably awed by them as they passed under their giant gazes.
Not long after they had to pull the boats to one side of the banks. The river turned into a raging waterfall not two hundred yards down. Even with her powers there was no way their boats were surviving that. So they made camp and started planning for the next step of their journey. Considering they would be traveling on foot there would be a LOT of steps.
"We cross the lake at nightfall, hide the boats and continue on foot," Aragon informed them factually. He had definitely slipped into the leadership role now that Gandalf was gone. Not that Percia minded, she knew he was a good leader. Besides, if he got too serious she'd find a way to knock him down a peg. "We approach Mordor from the North."
"Oh yes," Gimli huffed in irritation. Apparently being on the boats had really left him in a mood. Then again, he was a Dwarf, it didn't take much to put them in a mood. "Just a simple matter of finding out way through Emyn Muil, an impassible labyrinth of razor sharp rocks. And after that, it gets better…" Honestly being dramatic must be a requirement for any who carried Durin's blood. "A festering, stinking marshland, far as the eye can see."
She could tell his words were affecting Fred and George. They had done so well as of yet that it was hard to remember this was their first journey past the borders of Bree. She kind of felt bad they were experiencing their first view of the greater world under such a trying and dangerous journey. If she hadn't faced the same thing at twelve she might have more sympathy. Thank the gods they were reasonably mature for Tooks.
"That is our road," Aragorn drawled, unimpressed. "I suggest you take some rest and recover your strength, Master Dwarf."
"Recover my…" Gimli spluttered and huffed, throwing a mean glare at Aragorn who had already turned away to check some gear.
Percia just sat by the lake, her feet free of her boots and allowing the cool water to ease the aches and pains. Already a few of the smaller fish had stopped by to greet her. It was strange, but ever since she had broken her connection to her world, her powers in this one had grown even stronger. As time went on she had more control over her previous gifts, and even gained a few new ones. The biggest surprise was the acceptance of her abilities and even her 'status' as a princess of the oceans by the creatures of this world. It was one thing for those of her world to accept her, they knew of Poseidon and the other gods. In this world they followed the Valar, and she was not actually related to any of them. Still, she rather enjoyed some of the conversations she got from them, and it certainly helped the time she tried to amass her amphibian army. If only Bilbo hadn't put a stop to that…
"We should leave now," Legolas whispered to Aragorn, but Percia heard him clearly given her proximity. He had seemed rather jumpy for the last hour or so.
"No," Aragorn countered. "Orcs patrol the Eastern shore. We must wait for cover of darkness."
"It is not the Eastern shore that worries me," the elf persisted. "A shadow and a threat has been growing in my mind. Something draws near, I can feel it."
Huh, Gandalf had said Elves were more in tune to their surroundings. Maybe there was something to be worried about. The knowing look Aragorn gave him did not reassure Percia.
"Where's Bilbo?" George's question broke into her thoughts and she looked around to find the elder Hobbit had indeed disappeared. Further inspection showed Boromir was missing as well.
She caught Aragorn's gaze, knowing he had seen the same issue. This could be a problem.