“We will need an elf on this mission” Gandalf told Elrond. The Eleven Lord watched the wizard with careful eyes.
“I cannot Gandalf; I must remain here to watch over Rivendell and my family” Elrond said.
“I understand” Gandalf said taking a sip of wine from his glass. “But it was one of your children I was talking about”
“Which one, I have two boys” Elrond said.
Gandalf put the end of his pipe in his mouth and chewed it cautiously. “I wasn’t talking about your sons Elrond” he said and then turned his gaze to a young female elf in the courtyard.
Solaris was Elrond’s youngest child and daughter but she wasn’t the typical female elf. Unlike her older sister Arwen she didn’t like sewing, gardening or singing although she could do all very well. She preferred to be out in the forest exploring, with the horses or in the kennels with the dogs.
“Solaris?” Elrond asked confused and Gandalf nodded. “Gandalf you can’t be serious”
“Oh but I am, Solaris has grown into a fine you woman, the best rider, archer and arguably best fighter with her agility that I’ve ever seen. There is no one more capable of this journey than her”
“She is my daughter; I will not have her running about the hills with a pack of dwarves a wizard and what else?” Elrond asked shaking his head.
“A hobbit” Gandalf nodded but Elrond continued to shake his head. “How about we ask her Mother, where is Celebrian?” Gandalf asked and Elrond looked at him infuriated.
“You will not…” he started but was interrupted.
“Are my ears burning?” a gentle soft voice asked.
Celebrian, Elrond’s wife and Solaris’s Mother, floated into the room. She was the most elegant elf in Rivendell with long blonde hair and bright blue eyes.
“I was just suggesting to your husband that I take Solaris on an adventure My Lady Elf” Gandalf said.
“An adventure, that sounds exciting” Celebrian said smiling. She sat in her throne and placed a hand on her husband’s.
“Yes” Gandalf agreed “Seeing as Arwen is spending more time away and the boys have their duties. I thought it would be good to show Solaris the world”
“I see no issue with that” Celebrian said looking between Elrond and Gandalf. “What is the issue?”
“Gandalf hasn’t told you the rest” Elrond said watching the wizard carefully.
“Yes My Lady” Gandalf said “You see it won’t be just Solaris and I, there will be thirteen dwarves and a hobbit”
Celebrian laughed “My goodness, whatever are you doing?”
“He is helping Thorin Oakenshield take back the mountain” Elrond said and Celebrian’s eyes opened wide.
“And you want to take sweet Solaris?” she asked.
“That I do” Gandalf said and waited for the She-Elf to respond.
“I think we had better ask Solaris what she feels” Celebrian said and it was Elrond’s turn to look wide eyed.
“My Lady you cannot possibly!” he said but Celebrian hushed him.
“We will let Laris speak” she said and summoned for her daughter to join them.
Solaris was a true beauty. Unlike her older sister who had dark hair, like her Father, and pale skin Solaris had blonde hair, like her Mother, and slightly tanned skin from where she was always outside. She eyes were a dark shade of blue which was unusual for an elf as their eyes were normally bright blue. She was the average height of elves and of slight build.
“You summoned me Mother” she said standing before them. Unlike the other elves Solaris always had a slightly scruffy look about her, whether it was straw in her hair, ripped clothes or dirt under her nails.
“Gandalf would like to ask you something dear” Celebrian said.
“Master Gandalf” Solaris said bowing her head slightly.
“I am going on an adventure Solaris and I would like to know if you would like to come to?”
“An adventure?” she asked. No one had ever asked her to go on an adventure before. “Where to?”
“The mountains, we won’t be the only ones going Solaris. A company of dwarves will be with us, along with a hobbit that I have yet to tell of this adventure”
“Then how do you know he’ll want to come?” Solaris asked.
“Trust me, he will” Gandalf said breathing in his pipe. “What do you say?”
Solaris was quiet for a minute, she looked at her Mother who gave nothing away and then at her Father. “You don’t have to Solaris” he said.
“Oh but I want to” she said.
“Fantastic!” Gandalf exclaimed.
Elrond’s face stayed as still as stone. “You will look after her Gandalf, if any harm comes to her”
“Than I shall pay for it with my life” Gandalf said smiling.
Solaris stood in the court-yard dressed in light brown leggings, a black vest and an emerald coat that went down to her hands, her knees and fastened under her chin. Unlike most elves who tied their hair back in plaits Solaris’s hair waved free apart from the on plait that was placed here and there. She also wore a dark green cape that when Solaris pulled the hood up only her nose and mouth could be seen. On her back was her bow and quiver and in her gloved hands were the reins to her stallion Gandri. Gandri was an impressively large black stallion that Solaris had reared from a foal. He doted on her and did everything she said with the slightest instruction. He had a white blaze that went from between his ears down to his nose and one white sock. Gandalf joined her on his chestnut; his chestnut had been with him for years and was a dear companion.
“Are you ready?” he asked and Solaris nodded.
They traveled for a few days and then came to a place called Bree. The inhabitants were a mixture of hobbits and men. Gandalf and Solaris left their horses with a stable hand and made their way to an inn called The Prancing Pony.
“Go and fetch a table” Gandalf told Solaris.
Even though she was taller than most in the inn she still felt un-nerved by everyone surrounding the bar. She managed to get a hold of a table in the corner of the room and sat watching all the activity un-moving. Gandalf came over with two pint tankards and placed one in-front of her.
“Thank you” Solaris said pulling hers closer to her.
“I will have to leave you here Solaris” Gandalf said and her eyes went wide.
“But where are you going?” she asked.
“I have to convince our hobbit” Gandalf said “And it is something I need to do alone. Late tomorrow afternoon you shall come to The Shire in search of Bag End. When you find Bag End look for this symbol on one of the doors” he said pushing a rag towards her. Solaris looked at the squiggle on it and then back at Gandalf.
“Will I be safe here?” she asked.
“Yes of course” Gandalf said looking around.
They finished their drinks and then Gandalf showed Solaris to the room she’d be staying in.
“Tomorrow evening” he said at the door.
“Tomorrow evening” Solaris repeated and watched as he shut the door after him.
Solaris dared not leave the room the following day. She occupied her time with sharpening her arrows, tightening her bow and watching out the window. Bree was a busy little place and she was sure that it would be safe to go for a walk but she didn’t want to fall at the first hurdle of her adventure. Instead she waited for the sun to start setting and then ventured out. She was very good at being unnoticed when she wanted to and made it to the stables to fetch Gandri. The stable hand had washed both stallion and tack so she gave him two silvers for his trouble and headed towards The Shire.