For many days the Fellowship drifted down the River, they had passed last of the Misty Mountains. To the West much of the land was flat and covered in grass, to the East a great forest of reeds rose so high that they often blocked out the view of the entire East. The Company had grown content with their situation and were beyond complaining.
No life was seen by the members of the Fellowship, mind birds, there were plenty of those. The sound of them filled the air.
"Swans!" Sam called out, "Mighty large ones." Nymeria turned her head to see the birds, she had cared for swans ever since her father gave her two for her birthday. Her eyes saw large black swans on the side of the river, only for a moment were they still before flying away from the earth. Their multitudes darkened the sky and it took Nymeria's breath away.
When they cleared the sky it seemed all the more brighter.
The had came to a stop for the night, all were weary from the long day.
"This country is so empty, I always thought that as one went further South it got warmer and merrier, till you reached a land in which winter never touched." Frodo said to no one particular.
"We have not journeyed far south yet, it is still winter and we are far from the sea. Here an now, the world will be cold till Spring comes about." Aragorn told him. Sam was looking from bank to bank with a worried look upon him.
Nymeria had volunteered to take watch as she was not as tired as the others seemed to be. Her senses bloomed in the darkness, even without light to show her she knew the land. It was a strange and pleasurable sensation. It also worried her, she knew that someone had been following them, and every so often she would see round orbs flickr outwards from the water.
Behind her she heard someone stir from sleep, then came the sounds of heavy footfalls towards her. She knew the sound of Boromir's walk and did not even flinch when he took place beside her. He sat as close as humanly possible and took her hand in his and kissed it gently.
"Why did you not choose my boat to ride in?" He asked quietly, that almost insignificant action.
"You already had three passengers, Legolas and Gimli had only two. It seemed logical." there was no emotion in her voice, she seemed very distant to him. He grasped her hand tighter, trying to hold her attention like he held her hand.
"I would like for you to ride with me tomorrow."
"Then either Merry or Pippin would have to give up their spot. I don't think that they would be parted."
"As I would not be parted from you." he growled, she pulled her hand away. She did not like the way he was treating her. As if she were property, something to be possessed and that was something that she refused to be.
"Well you shall have to be." she could tell that he was angered by this. "You should get some sleep, and renew your strength." Her voice was as hard as stone and colder than any ice, she took her hand back from him.
He roughly moved away from her and laid back down on his mat. She could tell that someone else was awake and heard the whole thing, but she pretended differently this was not something she wanted to discuss. In darkness she sat, till first light when the sun enchanted her eyes and warmed her skin.
They were all in their boats before the birds could buzz. The river was steady and cool to the touch, by mid-day that had changed. Powerful rapids and come about them and made the ride unsteady. Nymeria was wishing that she had rested the night before, these rapids would grant her no peaceful sleep.
To keep tired thoughts from her mind she picked up a paddle and helped steer the boat round the rowdy rapids. The familiarity of it shocked her, the rapids were not as strong as the waves that she faced on the shore of her home, but they did prove a challenge. She was grateful that the water did not hold any salt that could sting her eyes and blur her vision or get into her mouth and dry her lips.
Sam was not taking kindly to the rough movement of the water, his hands were firmly grasping the sides of the boat and a look about him that said that he was going to be sick. Frodo did not look pleased, but he looked twice as better than Sam felt. Merry seemed to be at home, as did Nymeria. Her hair had jostled itself free of its braids and flowed in the wind, from a distance it looked as if her head was ablaze.
She seemed happy to them all, happier than they have ever seen her when she stood upon land. She often did remind them of water, life giving but also a destructive force of nature when necessary. Her bravery did not cool the fear that Samwise Gamgee had to the face paced waters, his hands had gone numb from the pressure that he had place upon them. Soon the tension would be eased from his hands for the waters smoothed after the many bends in the river.
When the river was smooth and steady it was an easy task to steer the boats. They did not have to paddle for the river eased along.
At midday the both sides of the shore had become stoney and less flat than it had been had taken to looking over the side of the boat as Legolas steered the boat, she kept trying to look past the surface to see the fish that lingered beneath. So far she had only caught uncertain glimpses of the fish, she was so preoccupied by this activity that she nearly missed. The large statues that were on either side of the River.
Both wore crowns and helms upon their heads, one held an axe in his hand and both had their left hand raised. Her breath was taken from her when she saw these things. A sight that she never forgot.
"What are they?" she asked.
"The Gates of Argonath or The Pillars of Kings, as some call it. They are here to mark the Northern border of Gondor." Legolas answered swiftly, "The realm of Gondor has lessened in the time that they were built, though." As they passed between the two statues Nymeria looked up to them, but was blinded by the sunlight and flinched away from the sight of them. Looking to her right she could see the large stone foot the one of the statue, when they passed through Nymeria twisted her back to look upon them once more. She turned her eyes away, as she did such she saw Boromir mumbling to himself, Merry and Pippin looked uncomfortable.
For hours they continued on, Boromir mumbling to himself and letting his boat drift towards Frodo's. Before the sun was out of the sky they had stopped, laying just ahead of them the river dropped off. The water fell over massive cliffs down hundreds of feet, for a long while Nymeria looked over the cliffs listening to its mighty roar.
As she stood there Aragorn approached her, his steps so soundless that he startled her when he spoke her name.
"Peace." he held his hands up in surrender, he moved to her side while putting his hands down.
"How are you, Aragorn?" she asked.
"Well. But you are not." he said truthfully. The night before he had woken to hear the words between Nymeria and Boromir.
"Things have changed between you and Boromir. What has give him cause to linger so close to you, and to command you." She looked to him and spoke her words, they slurred together but he understood them all.
"With my own words I have sealed my fate, I cannot repeal my words. Boromir...I do not know what he would do if he knew that my words were untrue." He looked at he with pity, he knew that she would not go back on her word to become his wife, her sense of honor was too strong. There was little that he could do for her, except perhaps offer he a kind word.
"Come, you should eat. Sam has made a good meal." he clasped her shoulder and led her away from the falls to the small fire. She sat on the ground and played with the stones that surrounded her. Aragorn prepared a plate for her as Boromir watched with suspicious eyes, after he placed the plate in her hand he walked away. She nibbled on the food and played with the stones while looking about her.
Sam was sleeping against a tree and Frodo was looking off into the trees. Merry and Pippin were sitting together in silence with a blank look upon their faces and Gimli was sitting aside sharpening his axe. Aragorn was standing with Boromir, he was gesturing across the water
"We will cross at nightfall, hide the boats and continue on foot," he paused and seemed weary, "we approach Mordor from the North." Gimli snorted
"Oh, yes, just a simple matter of finding our way through Emyn Muil, an impassable labyrinth of razor-sharp rocks. And after that, it gets even better," he pulled his pipe out , "... a festering, stinking marshland as far as the eye can see." Aragorn turned to him sharpley,
"That is our road. I suggest you take some rest and recover your strength, Master Dwarf." Gimli's mouth swung open
"Recover my..." he grumbled to himself. Legolas moved to Aragorn with a sharp motion
"We should leave now." he seemed uncomfortable with the exposed environment.
"No. Orcs patrol the eastern shore. We must wait for cover of darkness." Aragorn replied to him calmly,
"It is not the Eastern shore that worries me." Nymeria followed his gaze, it led deep into the Parth Galen forest. "A shadow and a threat has been growing in my mind. Something draws near, I can feel it." Nymeria felt his words and understood them, Aragorn understood as well.
Merry had dropped a pile of kindling at Gimli's feet, which Gimli picked up and added to the small fire in hopes of making in burn hotter and brighter. Merry looked about and noticed that someone was gone, "Where's Frodo?" Sam woke instantly, pushing his blankets off of himself; Aragorn also seemed panicked and so was Nymeria. Both Aragorn and Nymeria looked at Boromir's abandoned shield and bed, he was gone as well and Nymeria knew that the Ring had now overtaken him.
As if they were the same person they followed the same actions, Nymeria and Aragorn both picked up their blades and plunged into the forest searching for both of their missing Companions. The others followed in suit but were not able to catch up to those who had a head start.
Nymeria and Aragorn had separated to increase their chances of finding Boromir and Frodo. As she went Nymeria prayed for Frodo, if the Ring had taken Boromir there was no telling what he could do to Frodo.
The crisp air was sharp as a blade when she took it into her lungs. For a long while she searched for her Companions, with no sign of them she tried to find her way back to the campsite, but she feared that she was lost. It was distressing, all of the trees appeared the same and were so close together. She took a moment to gather herself, closing her eyes and gathering herself she listened for the sound of water.
BOOM! BOOM! BOOM!
That was all she heard as tried to find the song of water. The earth shook beneath her, and she knew this as sound as well as she knew the back of her hand. She had felt this long ago at the Battle of the Five Armies, it was less powerful though. And then suddenly it stopped, and a small army had just halted. Fear possessed her for a long moment before she heard the roar of a horn. It was the Horn of Gondor, she had heard it once before when in Rivendell.
Her legs moved without another thought towards the call of the horn. There was only one reason that Boromir would blow that horn, he was in danger. Those who caused the earth to quake must have caused Boromir to call for help. She must have been further away than she remembered, for no matter how fast she ran she could not find Boromir, or Aragorn. She feared the worse when she hear a high pitched snarl behind her.
She instinctively drew her sword, to face the source of the noise. Before she could have a full view of the creature that made the noise something pricked her neck. She placed her hand on her neck to find a dart of sorts, she yanked it out of her flesh. Soon afterwards the trees were spinning around her and their colors blended together. Her knees turned into water and she fell on to the damp ground.
“TAKE HER!” a garrulous voice screeched. Clawed hand were placed upon her body pulling her up off the ground, and threw her over a muscled shoulder. She struggled as much as she could, but she could barely move her arms.
“No…” she whimpered, before her eyes fluttered shut she could see Merry and Pippin in the arms of the Enemy.
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