The Choice

Chapter 11

She sat on the rocky shoreline, watching as small waves rolled up the bank, shift the earth beneath it. Funny how something so simple had the power to alter so much, she thought. Water was a powerful force of nature when it unleashed it fury. She ran her fingers through its cool surface, watching the ripples spread out from her fingers. A sigh escaped her lips, her eyes shut.

A sharp laugh cut through the air causing her to jump, her eyes darting to find the source—it was Pippin—she should have known. The little hobbit could always find something humorous. He was trying to help Sam fix their supper. They had been overjoyed when Aragorn allowed them a small fire. An offer had been made for her to join them around the fire as too keep warm, but she had politely refused and situated herself instead against the butt of large boulder near the water's edge, she was not even chilly. After her encounter with Lord Boromir, she wanted to stay as far away from him as possible and he was right by the fire with the hobbits.

Evelyn was surprised at herself for her reaction to Lord Boromir earlier that day in the boats. Since being reincarnated in this body she had not had many moments where she felt like her old self, but she had then. But it was quickly replaced with her ever constant fear again. She started fiddling with the water again as her thoughts turned sour. Picking up the sparkling water she would let it drop back it its source over and over again. She watched, mesmerized, as each drop rolled down her skin, never in the same line twice. So caught up in her thoughts she never knew someone approach from behind.

"Here is your supper." The masculine voice spoke behind her. He watched as she nearly jumped out of her skin, and had to stifle a gleeful smirk that wished to spread across his face. At that moment, however, something else caught his eye. Was it a spark, or just a trick of the light? He could have sworn he saw something illuminate down her arm. The water held in her hands seemed to catch the reflection of the distant fire and refract its light all around, and then it was gone with the sound of breaking ice on the pebbles below.

Evelyn looked at him wide eyed, heart near to thumping out her chest in fright. Her breathes came in ragged pants and she had no voice with which to speak.

"What was that?" he asked sharply, his voice cutting trough the still night air like a razor blade. He was not sure what he saw, but he wanted answers. What he heard was not water.

She knew of what he spoke, for she saw it too, but she had no explanation with which to give. All she knew was that she was playing in the water and he scared the life out of her then it all went a bit fuzzy. There had been what seemed like a jolt of energy pass through her and she felt that same strange tingling in her fingers as she did the day Galadriel gave her the sword. Then she heard the water shatter when it hit, only she knew that water should not shatter—ice shattered. But how had there been ice? Surely it was not below freezing? Truly if it were that cold, she would know it.

"Did you not hear me?" he spat, irritated that this woman was blatantly ignoring him when he wanted to know what in the name of the Valar just occurred. It never occurred to him that she would be just as clueless.

Finally her eyes focused in on the elf in front of her and her mind began processing what he was saying. Anger flared at his tone and implication of rank, but she swallowed it, clearly rank was important to the elves of Mirkwood and the realms of men—not that she was surprised. But what was she to tell him? Telling him the truth obviously would not work, he would not believe she truly did not know.

"What are you talking about my lord?' She asked attempting to play dumb to his meaning, not that she held much hope for its success. She dropped her gaze from his accusing eyes, scared he would see the lie in them.

"You know perfectly well what I am referring to." His voice was ice as he spoke, "What hit the ground?" In the back of his mind he knew he should not be so hard on her, she was going to have a hard enough time as it was, yet he found he could not help himself. Why was that? A small voice echoed in his ears. He paid little heed.

"It was water and pebbles, nothing more."

"I saw no pebbles in your hand."

She knew he would not have believed her and that his eyesight was well beyond what it took to see what her hand held, but she would stick with her lie. It was easier for her to believe she grabbed up a few miniscule pebbles than think the water turned to ice of its own accord. Water did not simply just turn to ice. "They were very small my lord, I doubt you would have paid them much mind, for neither did I."

He continued to stare at her another long moment, this time she did not break her stare, she had to make him believe she really thought her own story true and not being able to hold his gaze would not accomplish that feat.

"Very well," he paused a moment before handing her the plate with narrowed eyes. It was clear he did not believe her, but he let it go for now it seemed to her.

A long breath escaped her lips she had not realized she was holding. Arrogant elf, she mumbled to herself, looking down at long glance to the food before her. It smelled good, yet she was not sure what exactly it was. Some type of meat and vegetables it seemed to her, but where had the meat come from? Shaking her head Evelyn forced herself to start eating; food was not going to be guaranteed to her from this point on and she had to save the lembas the elves had sent with them.

Before long the sounds of soft snores filled her ears as she lay awake against her rock. She had at least moved farther from the water's edge, still slightly freaked out from the prior events. Sleep was hard to find, even though she was beyond exhausted, her mind remained alert. Even with the knowledge that there would be a lookout up all night, her thoughts could not settle. Hell, she thought bitterly, they may let something pick me off just to be rid of me.

Hushed voices drew her attention. It was elvish, so it had to be Aragorn and the Princeling, besides herself, none of the others knew the language.

"Everyone is resting." The gruff voice of Aragorn whispered into the night.

"All but the woman, she remains awake." Legolas replied, casting a quick glance to where she laid. She was laying on her back head resting on her backpack, arms folded lightly across her midsection. Her breathing was smooth but not peaceful enough for her to be sleeping.

"We should then watch our tongues." He did not wish for her to overhear more than she needed to.

"Worry not; she speaks only Westron and her native tongue."

"Truly?" Aragorn questioned his friend finding it odd she would not have learned the Elven tongue during her stay in Lothlorien. He looked at the woman below them, she had not moved, and to his human eyes, seemed fast asleep as all the others, but he would trust his friend's words.

"We should not have brought her Aragorn," he sighed, eyes still scanning the horizon. A part of him, albeit small he told himself, regretted his harsh tone with her earlier. The woman was not cut out for such a journey, especially not one wrought with the dangers they would undoubtedly face. Already a threat was growing in his mind and he, as well as the others, had the extra burden of keeping her alive.

"It was the Lady Galadriel's wishes; I have told you this before. We must hope she knows what she is doing in sending her, for I cannot foresee a good fate befalling her."

"I have a strange feeling about her, my friend."

Turning his eyes to the elf he gave him a long stare before replying, "Please explain these feelings?"

He was not sure how to proceed or how much he should reveal, for he was not sure himself what exactly he saw, but one thing was for sure, the water in her hand had turned to ice of its own accord or hers. "I watched water turn to ice in her hand." He finally said in a whisper.

Evelyn had to bite her cheek at his statement to keep herself from gasping; did he truly think she did it? Surely not, that was a ridiculous assumption, even in this world.

"Surely your eyes were deceived?" Aragorn regretted his words as soon as he spoke them, he should not doubt the sight of his long time friend. Legolas' sight was the best in the company's, and he would not lie about something which seemed to trouble him so much. He then figured out his friend's worry. If she did create ice, who was she and what was she capable of? She had always been fearful and reserved with everyone but the hobbits, was it all an act? "You fear she is a servant of the enemy?"

"The thought had crossed my mind."

A servant of the enemy?! That is what they thought of her? They had to be joking, there was no way she was capable of such. But a thought crept its way to the forefront of her mind, what if she had made the ice? Would that make her evil, was there something evil living inside this new body trying to take over? Stop! She yelled in her mind, she could not let her thoughts keep running in such absurd directions; she would freak herself out even more so than she already was, and they would realize she could understand them, which she did not want. As long as they were oblivious, she had some advantage.

"The lady Galadriel is wise to people's intentions and to their soul more than most of the eldar, you have read the histories Legolas you know this to be true. Had the lady Evelyn been a servant of the enemy she would have had her imprisoned or cut down rather than risk the safety of her people and those of Middle Earth.

Legolas gave a soft sigh, knowing Aragorn was right, but it did not ease his mind. There was more to this human than even she knew he thought, he would have to watch her more closely. He wanted answers, but knew none would come from her mouth.

Soon their voices drifted off past her hearing and Evelyn was left to the noise of the forest behind her and the stream in front of her, though she barely regarded them, her mind was elsewhere. So many thoughts running through her head, she never even realized when her thoughts changed into dreams.

The forest was enclosing all around her, the trees seemed to grow larger, grow darker. The bark was marred with the licks of an old fire's tongue and deep scratches were gouged deep in the trunk. Somewhere the rest of the group should be near, but where she could not pinpoint. How had she gotten separated? They were all just right here, she did not understand. Stopping, she turned in all directions hoping to catch a glimpse of the men—there was nothing, not even the chirp of the birds and that bothered her. What was it they always said in movies back home, that when the noises stop danger is coming? A shiver went down her spine. Did she hear drums?

No, those were no drums— they were footsteps and heavy ones. The clinking of metal alerted her to the fact they were armed and traveling at great speed; one thing for certain, it was not the company, it was far too loud, something else was coming. Doing the only thing she could, she ran, the old terror seizing her heart. But it was to no avail. She found herself face to face with the vilest looking creatures she had very seen, even from the movies she used to watch. They were human looking in stature, but their skin was dark and their faces distorted and wretched to behold. And the smell, well it was about enough to cause her to gag. Uruk-hai, that is what they were called, vaguely remembering them from a book she read in Lothlorien. The realization did little to help her; she had no way to fight them, no way to get away. Her fear froze her in place.

Evelyn found herself in the same situation as when the men attacked her only this time they were real monsters. The scene played out the same and there was nothing she could do, no matter how hard she tried she could find no weapon, no way to escape. The uruk's hand was tight around her throat; she could see the metal of his broad blade, made black with already dried blood. Whose blood was it adorning the cold steel— the fellowship's? A picture of the hobbits flashed before her eyes, their laughing faces that would never do so again. She could see them sprawled on the ground, lifeless eyes glazed, starring through her, covered in blood.

No! They could not be dead, they were young and full of innocence, and this was not a fate they deserved. Thrashing and bucking she began to fight the creatures with all her might before she felt the cool steel upon her flesh and her eyes jerked open.

Sitting up, the bright sun of the morning dawn blinded her, jerking to her right she scanned the area desperately searching for the others. Slowly her eyes adjusted and she could make out the forms of the four small hobbits, the dwarf, and the larger forms of the two men, the elf was not there. She began to feel lightheaded realizing she was beginning to hyperventilate. Shutting her eyes she worked to regulate her breathing, something she had not had to do for many months.

"Nightmare?" a voice asked from above her. He had heard her moving in her sleep, and though she never uttered a word, it was clear her dreams were not pleasant by the way she tossed and turned. When she did finally wake, there was a look of pure terror on her face but pain as well. He could not help but wonder what it was she dreamed of.

Evelyn 's eyes jerked upward, looking for the source of the voice, knowing its owner before she found him resting on a limb of a nearby tree, watching her intently.

"I was startled." She was not about to delve into her troubles with anyone, let alone the elf who thought her a servant of the enemy, sort of, and detested her mere presence. She was happy when he chose not to question her farther and let her walk off a ways to the river's shore.

She splashed the cold water on her face before collapsing onto the bank, letting the tremors wrack her body, no longer able to hold it back.

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