Down The Moutain
The journey down was easier than the way up, but it did not make Nymeria's feet ache any less. She was on the verge of just laying down, telling the others to leave her, and letting the snow bury her. She knew feeling pity for herself was not going to ease her suffering, counting the footsteps she took occupied her thoughts.
'312;313;314...' she counted in her head. Legolas could feel her distress and began to walk alongside her. He told her tales from long ago, and sang her sweet songs. Gimli had taken notice of this and walked opposite of him. She wished that they could accept each other, their hatred was foolish.
"Have you ever heard the song The Fall of Gil-galad, Nymeria?" Legolas inquired, Nymeria brushed away a strand of hair out of her eyes and shook her head.
"No, but I would like to." He smiled to her and sang for her the song,
Gil-galad was an Elven-king.
Of him the harpers sadly sing;
the last whose realm was fair and free
between the Mountains and the Sea.
His sword was long, his lance was keen.
His shining helm afar was seen;
the countless stars of heaven's field
were mirrored in his silver shield.
But long ago he rode away,
and where he dwelleth none can say;
for into darkness fell his star
in Mordor where the shadows are.
The lovely melody of the song sank deep into the heart of Nymeria, and she looked out into the lands beneath her with a smile upon her rose lips.
"Your voice is lovely, Legolas" Nymeria beamed. Gandalf halted and took in the sights. They were in a small tree grove at the moment. He smiled and thanked her.
"We rest here tonight." Called out to the Fellowship.
The Hobbits all seemed happy about that, Frodo moved to a rock and slouched down. Nymeria placed her belongings down then laid on top of a smooth stone and looked up to the grey sky.
"I do wish that the clouds would part to show the lights of the sky, whether sun or stars."
"I agree with that." Boromir stood over her, smiling down. He fell down onto his knee to talk to her more comfortably. "How do you do at this time, Nymeria"
"As well as one could be, given the situation."
"You are doing better than I suspected. I am sorry that I did doubt you, it is just that it is uncommon for a woman, of any class, to journey with men. Also, a woman who can fight..." He smiled and rubbed his beard, looking at the beauty whose hair was splayed beneath her, "It is uncommon."
"Yes it is, but I am assured that many women take interest in such things, just that they are shamed by those telling them that girls cannot or that girls should not. If people stopped telling girls that they can't, just imagine all of the great things that could have been if girls had not been deterred. Scholars and warriors."
"But then what would happen to the men? And to the children?"
"Women are not merely here for the pleasure of men. And if men can be warriors, travelers, scholars while they have children, why can't women? If you say that it is their duty to raise the children, then you are false. For the child is the duty of both mother and father." He was impressed and could not argue.
"You are an amazing creature. Very bold." He stood not breaking his blue eyed gaze from her green eyes, "I hope that you are not right, just to think of all that lost potential, it seems unfair to all." With that he turned away leaving her to sky gaze.
As she looked she thought of her old adventures, and of Bilbo. But she knew that love to be as dead as Smaug the Great.
Boromir sat alone, the thoughts of the Ring consuming him. He believed that it was the only way to save his people. This was the weapon of the enemy, this was the only chance that his people might have. If only the others could understand, if only. Long he had seen his people suffer, bleed, and mourn only to bleed again.
A sterling silver voice brought him from dark thoughts,
"Hello there." Nymeria sang. He looked to her, her red hair had been let down and her eyes, oh her eyes. They were the deep green of the forest before rain fell. In the deeper parts of his heart a fierce affection had begun to sprout. It was strange to feel such things, he was no stranger to the feel of a woman, but to have such care for one was...unique for him. His temperament was similar to King Eärnur of old, he had no desire to take a wife and was more interested in the ways of war. This girl, no, this woman had changed his desires.
"You have been sitting all alone for a long while. Boromir," She touched his muscled arm gently, "are you alright?"
"I am well, my Lady." he took her hand, "My lands that I worry. I fear the worst."
"What is it like, your city. You talk very fondly of it, yet I do not know much of it." The corners of his mouth rose and his eyes shone. He began to tell her stories of The White City, how it looked in the different seasons. Of its many heroes she did imbibe, till her thirst of such stories was quenched. Then he told her of his brother, Faramir, he was more a scholar than a warrior. Their difference in personality did not lesson the love between the brothers.
As Boromir spoke the tales, Nymeria thought of the brothers that she had lost, and if they did now wait for her in death. She also thought of her old friends, the members of the Company, she had heard stories of them. They seemed to be happy but she wanted to see them and embrace them. She had seen three of the 12 remaining dwarves, and knew that her heart would not settle till she saw their faces and knew.
Where the Fellowship was headed, Moria, Balin was said to be there. There had been no word from him and the thought that some unspoken fate had befallen them worried her. Along with Ori and Oin had gone on the expedition, along with Balin, to reclaim Moria. Three of her friends had vanished without word. She did not wish to think of it any longer and pardoned herself to Boromir and laid down her head.
She could now feel what had changed in the world. A bitterness had begun to seep into to ground and poison the air. Darkness was about them, and she knew that soon the viper would come to bite.
A howling wind brought Nymeria from her deep sleep. When she rose she looked to the Fellowship, Merry and Pippin slept near her and Aragorn had a look of worry on his face. He was listening intently to the screaming wind. Like wolves in the night it was. She began to listen closely and soon she knew that it was no wind calling out. It was a chorus of wolves,
"Aragorn, that is no wind. Is it?"
"No, it is not." glowing eyes appeared in the darkness. Nymeria reached to Merry and Pippin and shook their shoulders. When they woke she quieted them, pointing to the eyes. Slowly they backed up, waking the rest of the Fellowship, soon they were all back to back with weapons drawn. Nymeria had pushed Merry and Pippin behind her they made no objection, having not found their bravery yet.
A sudden spark had lit a fire to the tree grove, Gandalf had cast it. They could now see great wolves closing in from all sides. One leaped forward only to be shot down by Legolas. The pack grew silent, only to move closer. A leader of the pack thought Nymeria weak and lunged at her only to be slashed and killed. The trees were now a blaze and they could see that they came in large numbers. They fought off the leaders of the pack, and the lesser dogs fled from the fiery grove.
Even after the cowardly wolves had fled no one slept, fear had crept back into their hearts. The sun came from the East, and they looked for the dead bodies of the wolves. They could find no corpses. There was evidence of their struggle still, the trees burned down to the root, Legolas's arrows strewn about and unbroken. Except for one arrow that had caught ablaze and now only the arrow head remained.
"This is what I did fear." murmured Gandalf, "These were no ordinary wolves." He spoke louder, "Come we must make to Moria before nightfall." They scrambled to pack their things, Bill the pony was still frazzled from the wolves and anxious to leave the burned grove. Sam was restraining him from taking off, stroking his nose and saying sweet things to him. It was amazing the bond between those two.
Bill had been acquired in Bree, a sad mistreated creature half starved, they bought him for 20 silver pennies. Sam as a parting gift had thrown an apple at Bill Ferny, Bill's previous owner. In Rivendell the pony grew strong and smart, Sam had insisted on taking him saying,
'That animal can nearly talk, and would talk if he stayed here much longer. He gave me a look as plain as Mr. Pippin could speak it: if you don't let me go with you, Sam, I'll follow on my own.' Sam had a pure heart, people such as him made this quest worth it.