The evening was cool enough to warrant sticking close to the fire as the stew pot burbled and glorped over it. It was meager fillings, but the message had been clear. This was indeed the spot, though she'd been there for near on a week.

The little moth that was her messenger had bid her aid to Gandalf's side, the place marked with his magic like a trek once long ago. The wizard's magic was unmistakable. Old and mischievous and tingly much the way the fire heated her skin, the magic excited her nerves.

The first time she'd felt the magic, it had freed her from her prison in the Forest Fangorn. It had indebted her to his service. But that debt had long since been repaid. So, why had she agreed to the summons? Especially if he bid her wait? How impolite of him.

"Good evening." The old man called, a smile in his voice as much as it was on his weary old face. Grizzled and gnarled with age, though his wise old eyes were filled with mirth and mischief. Always mischief.

"Puck's sake, took you long enough!" She cried, leaping into the air to flitter before him like the summer hummingbird. "Good evening? That all you've to say for yourself? Good evening? Be that a statement, a question, or perhaps an honorable mention?" She persisted.

He waited patiently in her ire before he replied with a sigh, eagerly seating himself at her fire to rest his travel weary bones. "Would it help your mood if I gave you the answer? Or would you perchance let me rest a moment?" He grumphed back at her, though there was no anger in it. He'd been expecting her temper, and having travelled so long with her, he knew just how to charm her. "Or would a gift, perhaps, serve better?"

"Gift?" She asked, immediately flitting to her own side of the fire to look at him. His old brown travel cloak, the peak of the grey robes, the old gnarled walking staff that he laid across his knees, the hat that covered what little of his face his long beard did not. "What gift?" The irksome tone was quickly replaced with curiosity as he dug in his pocket.

Producing a shiny object, he tossed it over the fire, but before she could reach out to catch it, the fire ignited it, causing her to gasp in merriment as it was one of his famous fireworks. It squeaked a bit, twittering like a bird in the morning, flitting this way and that before zipping off into the sky to fizzle out. "Oh!" She watched it go through the branches, but to her disappointment, it got no further than the canopy before something dropped to her feet with a dull thud. "Oh?" Reaching down, she plucked up the wooden carving, her fingertips brushing the lines and polished woodwork. A carved bird, ready to take flight. "How sweet!" She chirped herself, tucking it into the pouch at her belt.

"Perhaps now you are ready to listen to my proposal? Offer the amenities to the guest of your fire?" He asked, crooking an old whispy eyebrow her way.

"Oh… very well." She sighed, procuring a bowl for him as she scooped out the innards of the pot. "Your timing is impeccable."

"Well, a wizard always arrives-"

"Precisely when he means to." She finished with him, making him grin. "And not a moment more."

"Or less." He added, accepting the bowl. "Thank you, dear. Thank you."

"So, what troubles bring you this way?"

"Needs must." He nodded and with a zip of glowing faerie dust, he barely had time to blink before she'd settled back in her seat, a ring of protection about their little camp. Such a small area easily traversed for the woman. "I must call council in Imladris."

"The Elves?" She gave a curious tilt to her head. "Be that wise?"

"Tis the only course of action. The Ring-" She gasped, eyes wide. "has been found. And if I have found it, it is only a matter of time before others find it as well.

"The- where? Have you it with you?"

"Don't be absurd," He snapped, waving his hand from his face to bat her incessant nature away and send her back across the fire before she could search his pockets herself. "of course not. It is safe enough. For now, but my suspicions have been confirmed. And Lord Elrond must be alerted. The council of the races must be called."

"The races? Not meaning Sa-"

"No." Was his firm reply.

Her large eyes were sharp, what might have endeared man to her side now were more predatory than he liked, like an owl in the night watching for the prey it knew was in the brush to move, to shiver, to give way. "So. He has fallen?"

"We must be swift. I go to meet Frodo-"

She leapt at the name. "A hobbit?" Her gossamer wings glimmered in the firelight as they stood at attention on her back. "The ring is in the hands of a hobbit?!"

"It has been in the hands of a hobbit for many a year." He confirmed with a weary nod. "Bilbo."

"Bilbo?!" She yelped, horrified, sharp nails clawing at her own face. "Bilbo of Bag End?!"

"The very one. I'm to meet him in Bree- wait!" He called when she surged forward, just clearing the canopy. "You thoughtless songbird! You are needed elsewhere!"

She zipped back to the wizard, a snarl on her face, rightly so. "I am needed to control the darkness of the-"

"You are needed to alert Elrond of our plight. He must send word to the other races. Gondor, the watchers of the north, Mirkwood, Erebor- anyone who'll come to our aide. We must see to it that ring does not fall into the wrong hands."

"It is already in the wrong hands!"

He held firm against her snarling ferality. The nature of a faerie was fierce and strong, terrifying and swift. "I would not ask this of you if I didn't feel the urgency of it. You are the only one I trust for this task."

"I owe you nothing! My debt has long since been repaid!"

"I do not ask this because of debt, I ask this of my friend, my companion, for help because all of middle earth stands in dire straits. You must alert Elrond."

Her glare never lessened, though her feet did grace the ground. While that might have been seen as an advantage due to Gandalf's taller stature, that would have been a mistake- a rather grave mistake- should anyone try to use it. For he knew he was not the one in control here. With the flip of a coin, his head could fall from his shoulders if she so deemed him too irksome this time.

Though her fingers never so much as graced the blades at her hip, it did little to ease his mind. And the longer it took her to say something more, the greater the tremble in his stomach. For, if the little faerie was not with him on his quest, he feared for all of Middle Earth.

"Very well. To Elrond with me. Though, I will not titter about like some. My wings will be swift." She shot at him.

He scowled at her baiting before he finally managed to tuck into the soup. It was quite good, especially after the trauma he'd endured in Isengard. It warmed his stomach and settled his nerves. It allowed his weary bones to rest. The Eagle had dropped him as close to her as she could, but it had still been half a day in the blasted wood before he'd found her.

"Rest, old friend. Rest your weary bones and be at ease. You will be cared for 'til sun rise." She promised.

She did not look at him with those large eyes of hers, instead, she cast them to the shadows, ever mindful. Just at the edge of the light, he could see part of her spell, a faerie ring- a mushroom circle with vibrant red caps to warn of the danger. The only warning she'd bare to give.

He took the opportunity, as he eased himself into a proper sleeping pose, to take in her appearance. He'd last seen her many years ago, though it looked as though she had not changed, he might have blinked for all the change time had wrought on her. Her long copper hair had been tucked into a tidy bun, out of her face and away from the wings she kept folded about her shoulders like a shawl made of spider's silk. She still seemed to be dressed in the clothes of Thranduil's court, greens and browns, though her feet, he noted with amusement, were bare as a hobbit's. Her large green eyes caught the light as she turned her gaze, scanning the perimeter. And then her eyes flicked to meet his.

Without hesitation, she smiled demurely, like only a faerie could, and a gentle hum filled the air. It might have been a whisper on the wind, but he knew her voice like his own.

A lullaby calmed even the wind as the forest held its breath to listen to the faerie song. And, before he could protest, his eyes were shut.

Coo roo koo, cooruku, coo ru ku, coo ku

Coo roo koo, cooruku, coo ru ku, coo ku

Oh hush thee my dove, oh hush thee my sweet love

Oh hush thee my lap wing, my dear little bird.

Oh, fold your wings and seek your nest now

The berries shine on the old rowan tree

The bird is home from the hills and valleys

Coo roo koo, cooruku, coo ru ku, coo ku

Coo roo koo, cooruku, coo ru ku, coo ku