Into The Forest
They had run with great speed to the borders of the forest, without food or sleep they did not stop till they reached a fast moving stream.
"Follow me, the water is not deep. We have to wade across, on the other side we can rest." spoke Aragorn, Nymeria followed the others in. The water was icy, but pure and cleansing. The height of it went up to her knees and as she touched the water all the pains that she had gathered from her travels were washed away. She almost did not want to leave the water, but walked upon shore with the rest of the Fellowship.
When all were ashore they sat and ate. It was so good to finally have food after this long day, Nymeria almost just laid on the wet stones and laid to sleep.
"Nymeria," Boromir called her name, his eyes were on her arm, "you are hurt." he took her slender limb in his strong hands.
"It is nothing, it does not hurt." she pulled her arm back, but Boromir pulled back, "I will be fine." she protested sternly.
"It could become infected." she relaxed and began to listen to the sounds of the stream. It had a melody of its own, the notes were sweet and pure; Nymeria wondered what magic could be in this stream to make it sing so sweetly.
While Nymeria was focused on the sounds of the water Boromir was focused on the cut on her arm. It was not deep but it could get infected, or perhaps scar her lovely skin. He did not wish to see any part of her mutilated, it would be a sin to let such a thing happen if it could be prevented. The wound was already scabbed over, she would be fine, that made him glad. His fingers lingered on her flesh before letting go begrudgingly.
"I told you I was not hurt." she said in a stubborn tone. She was so resistant, so magnificent and strong, she would never take him. He knew this, but it did not lessen his desire it only set it ablaze.
Nymeria began to listen intently to the sound of the stream beside, she could hear a waterfall in the distance, she saw that Frodo was listening as well. She closed her eyes and with the numerous notes she swore on the Valar that a woman's voice was mingled within the notes the water made.
"Do you hear the voice of Nimrodel?" Legolas asked Nymeria and Frodo. "She a an Elven maid of long ago, who lived by this stream long ago. Now this stream is named for her, in my woodland tongue we have a song of her. It is a fair song, this is how it runs in Westorn Speech, as many in Rivendell now sing it." Legolas began to sing along with the stream,
An Elven-maid there was of old,
A shining star by day:
Her mantle white was hemmed with gold,
Her shoes of silver-grey.
A star was bound upon her brows,
A light was on her hair
As sun upon the golden boughs
In Lórien the fair.
Her hair was long, her limbs were white,
And fair she was and free;
And in the wind she went as light
As leaf of linden-tree.
Beside the falls of Nimrodel,
By water clear and cool,
Her voice as falling silver fell
Into the shining pool.
Where now she wanders none can tell,
In sunlight or in shade;
For lost of yore was Nimrodel
And in the mountains strayed.
The Elven-ship in haven grey
Beneath the mountain-lee
Awaited her for many a day
Beside the roaring sea.
A wind by night in Northern lands
Arose, and loud it cried,
And drove the ship from Elven-strands
Across the streaming tide.
When dawn came dim the land was lost,
The mountains sinking grey
Beyond the heaving waves that tossed
Their plumes of blinding spray.
Amroth beheld the fading shore
Now low beyond the swell,
And cursed the faithless ship that bore
Him far from Nimrodel.
Of old he was an Elven-king,
A lord of tree and glen,
When golden were the boughs in spring
In fair Lothlórien.
From helm to sea they saw him leap,
As arrow from the string,
And dive into water deep,
As mew upon the wing.
The wind was in his flowing hair,
The foam about him shone;
Afar they saw him strong and fair
Go riding like a swan.
But from the West has come no word,
And on the Hither Shore
No tidings Elven-folk have heard
Of Amroth evermore.
Legolas stopped as his voice faltered, his face was troubled,
"That is all that I can remember, it is a long and sad song." the eyes of the Hobbit, the Elf, and the woman turned to the stream.
The short rest came to an end ,they were not out of danger yet. Aragorn led the Fellowship away from the path that led by the stream and deep into the shadows of the forest. Not far from the Nimrodel, there was a cluster of trees that were watered by the stream. The grey tree trunks were thick and tall, Nymeria could not guess their height.
"I am going to climb up." Legolas said, "I feel at home among trees, these are strange to me. But that does not make it less of a shelter."
"Climb all you like, the only creatures that could find any rest in these trees will be birds." Pippin said, "I could not sleep on a perch." Legolas payed no mind and leaped, grabbing a branch that Nymeria believed to be out of his reach, he swung for a moment try to get on top of the branch. As he did this a voice from the branches above him shouted,
"Daro!" Legolas let go of the branch and dropped to the ground in fear.
"Stand still and be silent." he commanded the others, above them they could hear laughter of elves and the soft murmur of their speech.
"Are they Elves, and what do they say." Sam asked, his eyes turned up and brow furrowed.
"Yes they are Elves," Legolas answered, "and they say that you breath so loud that they could shoot you in the dark." Sam covered his mouth to quiet his breath, "They also say that you have no need to fear, they have been aware of us for a long while. They have heard my voice across the Nimrodel and knew that I was one of their Northern kin. This is why they let us cross." He paused, "We are to wait at the foot of the tree until they have decided what is to be done."
It was a long while before the Elves made any move, but in time a rope ladder was dropped from the darkness. Legolas, Frodo, and Sam went up the silvery ladder into the tree and out of sight.
Nymeria looked up to try to find them, but it was dark and she could not see well in this light. The ladder was pulled back up hastily, and Nymeria plopped down on the roots of the tree. Boromir sat unusually far away from her, he did not like these woods. Aragorn had hid their things in the underbrush to keep things out of sight.
The ladder fell down within ten minutes, and Legolas was hastily scaling down to the ground. He told that the Elves had seen a troop of Orcs, and knew that they could no longer stay on the ground.
"Nymeria and the Hobbits are to stay with them, as for the rest we will stay in another talon." Legolas told
"Why is Nymeria to be separated?" Boromir asked, he did not like the idea of having her separated from them, not only because he cared for her, but because she was the only female with them.
"They do not fear her, or the Hobbits." Legolas simply stated, Merry and Pippin were already climbing with Frodo's sleeping gear. Nymeria touched Boromir's arm, a silent way of telling him that she would not be harmed. Then in a moment she was right behind Merry and Pippin, she found that the slender rope was strong.
After a long while, Nymeria looked down only to find that she was so high up that she could not see the ground, so she turned her eyes up to see the talan. Pippin was just about to reach it, she stopped her staring and started to climb and quickly reached the talan. There an Elf waited to help pull her up, he did so with ease and then pulled up the ladder.
She bowed her head in thanks and went to go stand by the Hobbits. When she was by she observed the talan, it had no walls and was lit by silvery-blue lights. On one side there was a screen that would guard them from the wind, and could be moved if needed. Three Elves clad in silver-grey with pale hair occupied the talan.
"We have lugged up your blankets as well as our own." Nymeria almost groaned thinking that she had to go back down to retrieve her gear. An Elf had come to stand by them and said,
"There was no need to carry these burdens. We have spare skins and cloaks as well as food and drink to drive the cold away." He guided them to the center of the talan, where they served food. Nymeria, still full from the short meal they had had only about an hour or two ago, refused. The Hobbits accepted happily, they tried to get her to eat more. They did not say this, but they thought that she was getting thinner, this was not false. She did not even finish her meager portion while they were by the Nimrodel, instead she gave her food to Merry.
She yielded and accepted a cup of wine with a small part of a honey-cake. The first few bites whet her appetite, much to the delight of her friends. A skin had been given to her but the sweet wine had warmed her body.
Sam had fallen asleep with ease, the other three Hobbits did not find any comfort. Nymeria remembered that Hobbits had a natural disdain for heights, Bilbo once told her that when he had to climb to the treetops in Mirkwood. Pippin leaned towards Nymeria,
"If I do get to sleep, I hope that I will not roll off." Sam lifted his head
"Once I do get to sleep, I will go on sleeping even if I roll off or not." His head fell back down, within the minute you could hear a soft snore coming from the bundle or fur that he was wrapped in.
Nymeria along with Frodo stayed awake, she stood near the edge of the the talan. Frodo stayed close to her, yet kept his distance from the edge. She had not talked to him, he had not talked much to anyone. The sorrow that he felt was plain to see, and the nurturer within her wished to comfort him.
"How do you fair, Frodo?" she asked while looking up to the stars, he did not answer for a long while.
"I would ask you the same thing, it looks as if you feel nothing. For me..." Nymeria gazed into his tear filled eyes, she knew the words that he could not say.
"Gandalf's death was not in vain, and it was not your fault." she parted her lips, took a breath and took Frodo's hand, "He would want you to go on, even though it may seem impossible."
He squeezed her hand and shivered, "You should try to sleep." He laid down close to her and star gazed until the lights of the stars blurred together and he fell into a deep sleep.
Nymeria was wide awake, thinking of the events of the past few days. So many that she loved were dead, one died right before her eyes. Gandalf was the first person to show her kindness after the death of her father. He gave her another chance, and guided her along a path and at the very end of the path she had gained her courage.
Boromir also lingered in her thoughts. He had become more infatuated with her, and considering his bold nature it was only a matter of time before that he confessed his love. How would she answer? How could she answer? Her heart did not feel the pull of love towards him, but she cared for him deeply. Again she thought that perhaps she could love him, she could marry him. He was a good man, and with all the care he showed her it was obvious that he loved her.
A harsh laugh ripped through the air followed by many feet on the ground, Nymeria stiffened in panic at this sound. Frodo bolted up from his sleep and pushed the skins off. One of the Elves had already taken notice and was looking over the edge of the talan, both Nymeria and Frodo had rushed to this Elf.
"What was that?" Frodo questioned
"Yrch!" the Elf hissed in a disgusted whisper, his lovely face twisted from repulsion
"Orcs." Nymeria spoke in surprise, "What are they doing her..." she stopped halfway through the word seeing that the Elf had gone, as well as the other two Elves. Silence fell all around, the leaves in the tree and upon the forest floor were hushed. Frodo shivered in the night's cold, Nymeria put her arm about him trying to keep him warm. He pulled out his blade, Sting, the metal shone like blue fire. Nymeria pulled him tighter into her, together they listened closely to the silence only to find it was not so silent at all.
They both moved away from each other and looked over the edge, for they both knew that it could not be an Elf or Orc. Elves were altogether silent, and Orcs were the antithesis of silent. This noise was from a different creature, one that they both had seen in the mines. Two pale eyes beamed out of the darkness below, the gaze of turned upward and unblinking. Slowly a shadowy figure turned around and faded into the darkness.
In a moment the Elf, known as Haldir, came climbing through the branches of the tree. The silver haired Elf had a look of concern,
"There was something in this tree that I have never seen before," he spoke in confusion, "it was not an Orc and it fled as soon as it sensed my presence." He looked downwards looking again for the creature. Once he was sure that the creature had gone he spoke, "My brother Orophin has gone to Lórien to warn of the Orcs, none will leave this forest alive. The Orcs are traveling North so as soon as morning light comes you, and your Company must take the road South."
Both Nymeria and Frodo shook their heads to show that they understood. Frodo thinking that he still had a long while to rest, since that it was only midnight laid back down. Nymeria laid down as well, trying to fall asleep.
She focused on the song of the Nimrodel, she began to close her eyes and as she did that, a woman's voice was singing to her. The sound of the voice commanded her to sleep.