To Your Mark

Chapter 10

They proceeded to climb down the path, taking their time due to the exhaustion that was evident throughout the entire Company. It felt as though they had run across the entirety of Middle Earth in the few short minutes they had actually been running. Their legs were heavy as they headed towards the elvish residence in the valley below.

Ren didn't know if she was glad or nervous that they were headed towards the Homely House. She was, after all, completely filthy as she was still covered in mud from the river escapade and the filth was only added to when she spilled the Warg's blood all over herself. So, you may conclude that she only wished for a warm bath.

Walking alongside little Bilbo, he asked her if she was okay every couple of minutes. She, of course, said that she was fine every single time but when she would look away, she would wince before adjusting the hold she had on her side. She found that his concern was endearing but it was completely unnecessary. She would be fine.

They had to cross a narrow bridge before stepping into elvish territory. The halfling had clung desperately to the woman's uninjured side, his eyes nearly bugging from his head when he looked over the side and to the deep valley below. As they came to arrive in the grand stone courtyard, they passed between two statues that portrayed elven warriors who stood guard to the entrance to Rivendell.

All of them continued to gaze around in awe, Bilbo the one being the most amazed. The Company milled about the small stone courtyard, taking in the finely crafted buildings. Numerous waterfalls fell from the cliffside above them, passing through and beneath Imladris in small streams and underground channels. Wooden buildings stretched high into the sky, all of them ornately decorated with swirling and twisting elvish designs. Bridges stretched across the smaller parts of the valley to the rest of the settlement which mostly consisted of lower class but still strangely immaculate homes. The sun shown down into the valley as it always seemed to, bathing the dark brown wooden homes in golden light.

Quiet footsteps were suddenly heard and Ren turned her sapphire eyes away from the familiar scenery to see an approaching figure descending the stairs.

"Mithrandir!" He called and the rest of the Company looked up as an elf dressed in dark gray robes descended the steps and onto their level. The wizard himself turned to the owner of the voice, surprise washing over him.

"Ah, Lindir!" Gandalf greeted the elf back.

Bilbo grabbed Ren's forearm in excitement and she couldn't help but smile down at him. This was his first encounter with an elf. And he was so excited. All his life's wishes must have been coming true in that moment.

"We heard you crossed into the valley." The elf greeted Gandalf in Sindarin, inclining his head slightly. At seeing and hearing the elf, the dwarves around Ren began to speak in hushed tones to each other.

"I must speak with Lord Elrond." The wizard told the elf who only nodded slowly, a look of uncertainty passing over his fine features.

"My Lord Elrond is not here."

"Not here." The Maiar repeated, a slightly disappointed tone in his voice. "Where is he?" Just then, a horn sounded in the distance and the entire Company turned back around to see who was making the noise. A troop of horses came thundering down the cliff side, flying the banners of Rivendell and Lord Elrond.

Thorin shouted something in dwarvish before going on to yell, "Close ranks!"

Ren was then yanked back and she hissed in pain as she was forced into the center of the circle of dwarves, the sudden movement causing a string of pain to shoot up her side.

The large horses circled around their small group and the woman glanced to the side to find Thorin beside her, scowling angrily at the elves above them as he clutched tightly to his special dwarven ax. No, he was indeed not happy at all. Should the elves attack, he would not hesitate to retaliate.

The steeds slowed in their trotting until they came to a stand still. The air around them was tense for a moment before one of the pointy-eared beings decided to speak.

"Gandalf!" A regal looking elf called to the man clothed in gray.

"Lord Elrond!" The wizard returned the greeting as the elf lord handed the reins of the familiar black horse he was holding to another elf that approached on foot. Ren couldn't help but let her lips twitch up slightly upon seeing the steed, glad that he was found and safe.

"My friend! Where have you been?" Gandalf asked in the elf lord's native tongue.

"We've been hunting a pack of orcs that came up from the South." Elrond explained as he stepped out of the saddle and dropped to the ground in a graceful way. "We slew a number near the Hidden Pass." He continued slowly, as if he were already figuring the reason why the orcs were in their land. It wasn't everyday that the foul creatures dared to cross the border. For they knew that they would be dealt with swiftly and efficiently.

The elf lord stepped forward and briefly embraced the wizard. "Strange for orcs to come so close to our borders. Something or someone has drawn them near." He proceeded to say, his lips pulled up slightly in a sly smile as he held up a crude blade that no doubt belonged to one of the foul creatures.

"Oh! That may have been us!" It was at this time that Thorin stepped forward to reveal his presence to the elves.

The elven lord felt slight recognition flash across his face at seeing the dark haired dwarf. "Welcome Thorin, son of Thrain!" Elrond greeted with the slight bow of his head, showing respect as was custom upon meeting another that came from royalty.

"I do not believe that we have met..." Thorin replied a bit coldly as he crossed his arms over his chest but he nonetheless dipped his head, showing some respect. Ren could only roll her eyes. Should he not play his cards right, they would be discarded from the Hidden Valley, or worse. Imprisoned.

"You have your grandfather's bearing. I knew Thror when he ruled Under the Mountain."

"Indeed? He made no mention of you..." The blonde woman wanted to step forward and slap Thorin in the back of his head for being so rude. She could feel the tension in the air thicken slightly, the elf not appreciating the fact that he was being talked to in such a rude manor. If Thorin continued in his childish ways, it would be a fact that they would not be allowed another step into the elvish dwelling.

"Light the fires. Bring forth the wine. We must feed our guests." The elf spoke in Sindarin, his temper sparking slightly but he only assumed that they were so rude and testy because they were exhausted and starving.

However, the dwarves didn't understand what the elf lord said and instead, though he words to be rude.

"What does he say? Does he offer us insult?" Gloin asked as he stepped forward through the group of dwarves, having not understood a single word he had said.

"No, Gloin. He is offering you food and wine." A quiet voice called from the back of the group. The dwarves then turned and looked to Ren who slowly pushed through their group, most of them moving to the side without having to have been told, seeing as how she was hurt. Bilbo also followed her forward and handed her another one of his handkerchiefs.

Coming to stand beside Thorin, she raised her dirty face to look at the elven lord. The dark haired man only looked at her for a long moment, his face holding a look of curiosity as he looked at her. She smiled slightly at him before letting a soft snort exit through her nose, her white teeth contrasting greatly against her black stained skin.

Ren took a moment to wipe her face with the handkerchief so that she was actually recognizable yet it did little to help but her features were now discernible.

Lord Elrond looked puzzled for a moment before he lit up upon seeing the dirty female and he let out a long string of elvish before stepping forward and tightly embracing her despite the fact that she was still covered in sticky Warg blood. She hissed in pain when he squeezed her one side too tightly, pain bleeding through her system.

She shifted uncomfortably in his grasp before he pulled back slightly. He questioned her for a moment in elvish, worry written in his eyes.

The woman paused momentarily to nod before she spoke right back in elvish, using a sheepish tone when she explained to him that she was hurt. Elrond seemed to take in this information for a moment before he muttered something under his breath before bringing her into a more gentle hug, making sure to stay clear of her right side. She wrapped her free arm around him in an attempt to return the gesture. Stepping back, the elf lord then motioned to the familiar black horse off to the side and she beamed before hugging the elf a third time, thanking him for bringing Chief to safety.

The dwarves were completely silent as they watched the exchange take place. A few of them murmured quietly to one another, trying to figure out what was going on. Thorin, however, was trying not to voice his seething rage.

She was speaking elvish. That was another secret that she kept from them.

Remembering his guests, Elrond turned to face the rest of the Company, leaving Ren to meet Thorin's gaze and she immediately knew that she would be questioned the second that they were alone.

"After you clean up and are rested, we shall dine together on the Western terrace. The wounds you have sustained will also be treated to by our healers. Now, you shall all be shown to your rooms." The elf bowed his head before moving off into his halls.

Lindir stepped forward and offered the Lady his arm before he began to lead her away down another corridor of the Homely House. She herself was not going to be one to refuse food, seeing as how she had missed supper the night before and they had yet to eat anything that day.

More elves eventually arrived and showed the dwarves a place where they could wash up on a terrace in a large and crystal clear fountain. Fili and Kili were both glad to wash up and get the mud out of their hair and beards, seeing as how the river had given them a thorough mud bath. Most of the dwarves were actually pleased with the thought of a bath. For the trolls stench seemed to cling to their clothes.

About an hour later, they were all seated around a long table with a fine spread of colorful foods before them, mostly consisting of different shades of green and yellow. Flute and harp music was quietly being played in the backgrounds by a couple of elvish ladies and a handsome man sat and played the lute.

The sun still bathed Elrond's halls in golden light, the sight laid out before them breathtaking.

Yet, as they all sat in their seats, they took a silent count. It seemed that a few of their members were missing. A few meaning... well, one. A particular one and they all wondered what the long wait could be to see when they would turn up.

After Elrond had explained to them the tales about the swords that they had found in the troll horde, then did the final member of their group decide to show.

At first neither Thorin, nor the rest of the Company, knew that it was Ren who sat down beside Elrond at their separate table above the others. The strange woman slowly lowered her into the padded chair beside the elf lord, gritting her teeth as she did so.

Her hair was clean and combed, the golden strands falling down in soft waves to rest down to the center of her chest again. It however, hung natural for she had heavily argued with the fact that they wanted to pull her hair up and out of her face. Her skin was scrubbed clean of the Warg blood, dirt, and grime until it was smooth and soft again. She had walked into the room with a purpose, nearly giving no hint to the fact that she had been wounded only a short time ago, the only sign showing that she had been hurt was when she had to sit down.

But the most amazing fact was that she was clad in a pale blue, almost silvery, dress that seemed to cling to her body. It had long sleeves that held fast to her strong arms and the skirt fell just to her feet so only the toes of her new boots were visible.

She seated herself in the last empty seat at the head table while an elf had helped her to scoot in.

The food on the tabletop was evenly distributed throughout the party and there were some rumblings about the fact there was little to no meat to be found. Well, there was fish to be had and the dwarves did grown a bit but didn't protest further, given that their stomachs were rumbling loudly. Despite the fact that Ren never had the taste for vegetables or other green things, the loud rumblings of her stomach called for food so she complied for the time being and ate.

Gandalf and Elrond kept the conversation flowing at the head of the table, seeing as how the tension in the air was rather thick between the two other occupants. Ren mostly kept her eyes down on the plate of greens before her while across the way, Thorin was leaned back in his chair, simply watching her with his stone cold eyes. She was also trying to ignore the fact he was watching her and it was causing unsettling feelings to enter her stomach.

Swallowing her food, she suddenly felt pain in her neck and raised her hand to rub at the darkening skin there. This did not go unnoticed by any of the members of the table.

"How are you feeling, Gwathel'?" Elrond suddenly engaged her in conversation, his fingers clasping together as he leaned towards her slightly. He was eyeing the bruises only just beginning to form on the skin of her throat.

"Better, I had a few broken ribs but nothing that your lovely healers and a lot of numbing medicine couldn't cure..." She patted her side underneath the dress where she had been bandaged, glad that the pain had dulled significantly to a simple aching.

"And what happened to your neck?" The elf raised his own hand up to his throat, gesturing to the marks. Ren only looked at the dark haired elf for a moment before swallowing thickly.

Thorin felt his blood suddenly freeze in his veins and his eyes widen in acute horror. He knew what she was going to do. She was going to tell the elf lord. She was going to get the revenge that the fury inside of her had promised him. She was going to get them banished from Rivendell.

"An orc managed to get his hands on me." The blonde woman explained and the dwarf stilled even more if possible. Had he just heard her correctly. "He snuck up on me when I was trying to deal with his Warg." Her sapphire eyes turned from where they had been locked on the elf, only to briefly find Thorin's eyes. "And, I also had a hobbit to keep track of."

There was a smoldering burn occurring in her eyes as she looked at him, the rest of her face blank of emotion. She knew that she had just spared the Company. She knew that she had just spared him.

Both Gandalf and Thorin exchanged a surprised look.

Elrond hummed in reply but seemed to accept her answer nonetheless. "That is most unfortunate. Did the healers know of it?"

Ren bobbed her head. "They gave me some medicine to dull the burn in my throat."

"Very good." The elf himself nodded in acceptance of the treatment. "I almost didn't recognize you when you first arrived though." He beamed at her before risking a glance at Gandalf who just smiled smugly but the Maiar kept glancing back at Thorin.

The woman could have so easily told the truth and ruined the dwarf prince, yet she had refrained from doing so. Why? Was all that he could ask himself. Why after what he did to her did she lie to protect him?

"Forgive me for always being a messy guest, Gwador'!" Ren beamed at the elf lord who only chuckled, thinking back to the last time he had seen her. The predicament had been very similar and she had been just as covered in filth and black blood.

Thorin only narrowed his eyes as the two conversed, both of them passing short phrases in elvish every once in awhile.

"I have been told that you have also come to possess a new weapon..." He gestured to one of the elves behind them and the male brought out the blade that Ren had most recently acquired from the cave. The leather scabbard was perfectly cleaned and the silver accents that traveled up and down the length were polished.

"Indeed." She watched as Elrond took the blade from the elf and began to examine the fine details. Wrapping his long fingers around the slightly curved hilt, he pulled the sword out a few inches as he examined the blade, the newly polished silver glimmering in the rays of the sun that continued to lower farther into the sky.

"Oh, yes..." He smiled slightly as he looked up from the sword to her, having read the ruins upon it. "This is Ringil, the sword of Fingolfin, passed High King of Noldor and forged by the elves of Gondolin. This is a sword of legend! Twas said that this blade wounded Morgoth seven times before the King was killed. You have a very special blade in your possessions you, lucky child." He explained before handing the sword back to her with a sly smile.

She only nodded before lying it across her lap, her fingers running over the warm brown of the leather.

"How did you come by these?" Elrond asked after he made sure that Ren was comfortable. To find not one but three blades forged by the High elves was something that rarely occurred.

"We found them in a troll horde on the Great East Road shortly before we were ambushed by orcs!" Gandalf explained, his eyes shifting over to Ren and then Thorin for only a moment.

"And what were you doing on the Great East Road?" Elrond looked from Gandalf to Thorin to Ren.

Her face paled for a moment and her blue eyes were directed down into her lap, silently saying that she had no other words to share with him. It was not her secret to give.

She also did not wish to give Thorin another reason to be angry with her. She already sensed that she was in hot water.

"We were... simply passing through." The wizard tried lying to his old friend whose dark eyes were trained intently upon him. It seemed though as if the elf lord would not be so easily fooled.

"Thirteen dwarves, a hobbit, a woman, and a wizard..." He pondered out loud. "I find that it is a very strange company." The elf lord leaned back in his chair. "And something tells me you did not mean to come to Imladris."

"We have an, erm, artifact for you to examine." Gandalf told the elf lord after a moment, causing Thorin's head to snap towards him.

"Indeed?" Elrond leaned forward, showing his interest. He, however, had not missed the dwarf'as anxious reaction. "May I see it?"

"Perhaps it would be best if we did so privately..." The wizard suggested, letting his eyes flicker to the prince who still seemed completely happy about the situation. The blonde woman at his side said nothing.

Dinner continued on after that, a bit of light conversation passing about the table. Ren only leaned back in her chair and listened, resisting the urge to cross her legs and sit very unladylike which she normally did. She was getting rather bored staying seated at the table, seeing as how the conversation had strayed to boring matters.

It wasn't until later that a rather large ruckus occurred and Ren was nearly tackled to the ground and out of her chair when a pair of twin elves entered the room.

Both of them were rather handsome and appeared to be almost exactly the same in both looks and personality. They reflected the look of Lord Elrond himself and one could only guess that they were his sons or some other relation.

Both of them chatted equally as fast with Ren and she couldn't help but beam brightly before hugging the both of them at once, her thin arms pulling them tight to her. She had not seen them in years.

One of them muttered something to her in Sindarin, their tone teasing and she immediately drew back and smacked the both of them in the back of the head.

She then barked something at them and they shrunk back slightly. However, the two elves looked at her, innocent smiles upon their faces.

With a roll of her eyes, she turned back to look at the table , her eyes finding Elrond.

"It seems as though my presence is required elsewhere so I think I shall excuse myself." She bowed her head in respect before she picked up her new sword and left with the two elves.

Thorin watched her go, a frown marring his features. The rest of the Company also watched them leave, their curiosity beginning to peak when she disappeared with the two almost unbelievably handsome elves.

"What sort of mess have you gotten yourself into now, Ren?" Elrohir asked as he looped her hand through one of his arms when they were out of sight of the troop of dwarves.

"Yes, you've lowered your standard to dwarves now?" Elladan asked, taking Ringil from her hand.

The woman growled, ignoring the elf's question for a moment ask she reached to take the sword back but she failed in her attempt, causing her to shoot a warning look at the twin.

Despite the fact that she found the both of them to be completely and utterly annoying, she had missed them during her lonely years of travel.

"No, I've only come on Gandalf's request." She protested their assumption.

"And you've still decided to travel with them?!" Elrohir asked.

Both of them groaned in unison and Ren frowned slightly at that. It seemed as though they had the twin telepathic connection running at full steam again. "How do you do it?"

"They are not as horrible as they first appear..." She continued to protest.

"The one sitting across from you looked as though he were going to attack you with that new elvish blade of his!" Elladan teased her and the woman furrowed her brow.

"You mean... Thorin?"

"Yeah, that big brute with the beard!" Ren laughed softly and they both frowned.

"All of them have beards, Elladan..." She assured him before frowning slightly, knowing that the elf's words were not true in the slightest. "But none of them are really...brutes...persay." She assured the brothers who only continued to frown as she released their arms to walk ahead of them before leaning on a balcony to overlook the wonders of Rivendell below.

Deep in the valley, the crystal clear water rushed by with a quiet roar as it poured down int the various pools formed by the waterfalls.

"If not brutes then what are they?"

"They are dwarves." Ren replied simply, her mind seemingly elsewhere. On a particular dwarf lord. "On the outsides they may seem a bit rough and tough but once you get to know them, you realize that most of them are sweet... in their own special way."

"And is this 'Thorin' dwarf sweet?" The woman paused for a moment to think. Was Thorin really all that sweet?

"Not particularly, no." Both elves paused to grin in triumph. "But in his own way he shows that he cares for the Company..."

"And yet he allowed this to happen to you?" Elrohir stepped forward and lightly touched her neck, causing her to wince. She swatted his hand away, her eyes now alight with fire.

"It was by my own fault that harm came to me." She growled at him, the once cheerful woman suddenly vanishing before their eyes. "I was simply in the wrong place at the wrong time." Ren spat, her own delicate brows pulled together. "But he does care..."

"And he cares about you how?" She sighed through her nose. The twins were really wearing her thin already with so many questions. Maybe she needed to rethink wanting to take them on her journeys. And yet, she remembered one that they had gone on in particular and it only caused her to grow quiet.

It brought forth dark thoughts and memories. Memories that she had tried to bury so long ago.

"He... He cared enough to save me from a Warg... And he gave me his coat when I saved his nephews from a river."

Both brothers exchanged a look before the same words came from both their mouths. "So, he was enforcing one of the simplest of laws to protect all that is good that is enforced in the rules of everyday chivalry?" It was kind of disturbing how they had done that.

She gazed back at the two dark haired elves for a moment, feeling that she was really losing this argument. "Would you two be quiet!" She cried before they snickered and then something clicked again in their heads, a devious grin pulling at their features.

"Oh and by the way... We have a surprise for you!" They chimed together before they each took one of her arms again.

"What is it?" She asked, slightly panicking when she figured that she was being led into one of their complex and rather embarrassing tricks that they had played on various elves in the past.

"It's a surprise!"

"We can't tell you!" They pulled her along through the various hallways until they reached one of the glorious garden terraces with a babbling river bubbling right through it before it spilled over the side of the valley.

In the distance, she could see a person standing alone as they also looked down across the beautiful landscape of Rivendell.

Together, all three of their footsteps grew completely silent and they snuck up on the person.

Shoving her forward and out into the open, she glanced back at them with a questioning look before they hid behind a pillar, motioning for her to move forward.

She continued to creep along before she was only a few feet away from the person.

And as she drew nearer, she had a sneaking suspicion of who it might be. His dark hair blew gently in the warm summer's wind. He was tall and stood with a regal posture, one that was scarily familiar. For a moment, she thought he may have been someone else but then reasoned that it was not possible.

The man she believed him to be was dead. And then a second thought occurred.

"Estel...?" She asked quietly and the dark haired figure spun around, for she had caught him off guard. Her boots had been so quiet.

His pale blue eyes were wide with both fear and surprise. But it only took him a moment before he recognized her.

"R-Ren?" He asked, completely astonished. He couldn't believe it was really her and he just stared at her. "You came back." He breathed and the woman felt her heart begin to pound painfully in her chest.

"Of course I did." She replied quietly.

The two looked back at the other for what felt like eternity, simply taking in each other. However, after awhile, Estel lowered his eyes to his boots.

"Hên..." She breathed, guilt suddenly washing over her. At hearing the familiar elvish phrase, the boy looked up. "I'm sorry." She herself let her eyes fall in sadness, feeling as though she had somehow failed him. "Can you ever forgive me?"

She felt more disappointment flash through her when he did not answer.

Ren nearly cried out in relief when she suddenly felt strong arms embrace her. The dark haired child held her close for a long moment. She herself wrapped her arms tightly around him, tears welling in her eyes. Snaking a hand up into his dark hair, she realized that he had changed so much but at the same time, he was the same boy she remembered.

It had been seven years since she last saw him. She regretted being away for so long and neglecting him.

And now that they were together again, both of them realized how much they had missed the other.

Pulling back, she reached a hand up and felt the rough stubble on his sun kissed cheeks, this being on of the differences she noticed.

"You've grown so quickly." She played with his still slightly chubby cheeks. He chuckled before he removed her hands. He never did like when she pinched his cheeks.

"Aragorn." He corrected her gently as he sobered and his smile fell before she followed suit as he said this. Her cheeks paled and her blue eyes widened. Her heart stopped in her chest. He had found out. He knew. He then looked up into her eyes as realization dawned on him. "You... You knew the entire time, didn't you?" He asked quietly. "Didn't you, Nana?"

She felt her lip quiver when she heard the endearment come from his lips. No matter how many times she had protested it, he still called her that name, especially so after his mother sank into a depression. She nodded her head slowly. "I've always known. Ever since you were an infant. I was given the job to keep you safe until you could take protect yourself. And I did, didn't I?" She asked him quietly, turning his face so that he would properly look at her.

"Yes."

"And just because you go by a different name now doesn't mean that I love you any less, does it?" She asked him and his eyes shown in the light cast from the moon that was slowly rising in the sky.

He thought her words over for a moment before smiling. "It seems that you never change, Ren... You always were one of the wisest." He hugged her tightly again and then suddenly crossed behind her and covered her eyes with his hands, the Ring of Barahir cool against her skin. "Now, I have yet to beat you at hide and seek but that will change tonight." He whispered before uncovering her eyes and when she opened them, he was gone.

With a small smile, Ren listened for a moment, hearing footsteps echoing down a particular hallway. With a devious smirk, she took off into the Last Homely House, not wanting the young man to beat her just because he was now older and hopefully, more silent.

He always had a problem controlling his giggling when they used to play when he was but a child.

"You can't hide forever, Estel!" She yelled down the hall and she heard his laughter come resonating down the hall to her left.

Turning down that way, she continued to run before she turned again, nearly running into someone in the process.

With a yelp, she began to fall as she dodged the people but she was saved as a pair of strong hands grabbed onto her upper arms. Her eyes immediately met pale blue and the two stood there for a moment, both a bit startled by her sudden and abrupt appearance.

"T-Thank you, Master Oakenshield..." Her cheeks blazed red as they stepped away from each other.

Someone cleared their throat behind her and both turned to find a good portion of the Company behind them. Lord Elrond also stood a couple feet ahead, having been the one to lead them down the corridor.

"Ren!" Gandalf said in surprise, his eyes sparking with glee at seeing her. "Just the person we are looking for!" Gandalf said and she looked behind the wizard Balin and Bilbo in his wake. Ren could only sigh as she looked between the wizard and the dwarf lord.

What could they really need her for?

"Our business is no concern of elves." The dwarf lord murmured as he crossed his arms over his chest, irritation evident in both his tone and the way he stood tensed.

"For goodness sake, Thorin! Show Lord Elrond the map!" Gandalf nearly shouted as his voice echoed off the walls of the library they were currently occupying.

"It is the legacy of my people. It is mine to protect as are its secrets." Thorin insisted as they stood in the dark room, his arms crossed defensively over his chest and the map that lay in the pocket resting upon his breast.

Ren stood silently off to the side, her arms crossed over her chest as she stared absentmindedly around the room, almost having enough of the argument that had ensued nearly an eternity ago. Not in the literal sense.

"Save me from the stubbornness of dwarves! Your pride will be your downfall!" Gandalf barked, completely annoyed with the fact that Thorin was acting like a child yet again. "You stand here in the presence of one of the few in Middle Earth who can read that map! Show it to Lord Elrond!"

Glancing over at the woman standing in the shadows, he found that she was also annoyed by the fact that they were still fighting. He shut his eyes momentarily and sighed through his nose before making his decision.

If they were to actually reach the Lonely Mountain, they would need to know the way inside. And that was one bit of information that they had yet to acquire.

So, he reached inside his vest to retrieve the map.

"Thorin, no!" Balin tried to stop the dwarf but Thorin himself stopped his advisor and handed the map to Elrond, his eyes still ablaze with hate for all of elvish kind.

"Erebor..." Elrond said as he read the title. "What is your interest in this map?" The dwarf opened his mouth to lie but the wizard saved him.

"It's mainly academic! And you know that this sort of artifact contains hidden text..." Gandalf covered for Thorin who exchanged a look with him. Tactful. Gandalf's voice echoed through his mind and he remembered that should they wish to get out of Rivendell quickly, he would have to go along with the wizard's plan.

"Or, you know, it could be just for fun..." Ren added nonchalantly as she pushed off of the pillar she was leaning against, wanting instead to be playing hide and seek with Estel instead of sitting in on this meeting.

Politics never really were her strong point. She found them to be terribly boring and a complete waste of time.

Gandalf simply grinned at Ren, knowing that she certainly not having the most fun at their stay in the elvish dwelling. She'd rather be spending her time causing trouble with the twins than being the peacekeeper between the elves and dwarves, a title he had declared her in his own mind.

For Ren had sighed a contract for the Company, however, her job title had never fully been declared. In reality, the woman did not have a job due to the fact that she had only signed a secrecy contract.

On the other hand, she didn't not have a job to do either. She could be anything really.

A guide. A hunter. A cook. Horse master. Thorin's personal bodyguard. Interpreter and peacekeeper.

But then a though occurred to the wizard.

She could be cunning enough when she needed to be, he supposed. Quiet like as a whisper of air, too. Well, most of the time. She was a good conversationalist and despite that she talked badly of her abilities, she was exceptional at politics and if she really tried, she could talk her way out of any situation.

A liar or a thief... Or a burglar... Perhaps?

"You still read ancient dwarvish do you not?" The wizard asked as he turned back to the elf, his mind suddenly fading back to the present.

Elrond held the map up in the moonlight streaming into the room, muttering a few words in elvish as he read the text. This only caused the dwarves to exchange a look of confusion. Bilbo of course was also very confused and could only blink upon hearing the wonderful language.

"Moon runes." Both Gandalf and Ren translated at the same time. Thorin's head snapped up to look at her, his eyes narrowing in anger.

That still bothered him. He would have to confront her later on that. First Rohirric, now elvish.

He wanted to know how she came to learn the accursed tongue in the first place. But he supposed that she would somehow make up another excuse or find a way to dodge his question.

"Of course it is!" Gandalf continued before looking over at Bilbo. "An easy thing to miss..." He winked.

"If this case is true, moon runes can only be read by the light of the moon of the same shape and season as the day it was written." Elrond stated as he continued to gaze down at the worn piece of paper.

"Can you read them?" Thorin asked, his smooth baritone echoing off the walls of the room before it reverberated back into Ren's ears, the sound causing her eyes to close. It was like the singing all over again.

It just did something to cause all things around her to become irrelevant.

"We will see."

Without saying another word, Elrond lead the group down another long hallway before they slipped down a passage way that was partially hidden behind a pillar.

It was very dark inside and Ren was lucky that even she was able to see in this type of darkness. Yet as they rounded a set of corners, the moonlight burned her eyes as they stepped out onto the small ledge of a cliff. Waterfalls fell over the sides of the mountain above them and the mist seemed to shimmer in the moonlight causing the entire area to appear magical.

Now, Ren had traveled the world and seen a wide number of things but never before had she seen the moon so large and bright, even if it was only a crescent shape. And of course, the shimmering glow from the mist in the air also took her breath away, all so much that she didn't hardly hear what her old friend was saying.

The rays from the moon refracted through the mist and into the crystal platform, causing the entire thing to glow and reveal the hidden ruins.

"Stand by the gray stone when the thrush knocks and the setting sun with the last light of Durin's day will shine upon the keyhole." The elf lord read and Ren couldn't help but let her eyebrows slope slightly as she thought about the invisible words.

"Durin's day?" Bilbo turned to Balin.

"It is the start of the dwarves' new year when the last moon of autumn and the first sun of winter appear in the sky together." Gandalf explained to the hobbit. Ren also filled this information away for later, her eyebrows raising slightly.

"This is ill news." Thorin rumbled, his hand reaching up to stroke his beard. "Summer is passing! Durin's day will soon be upon us!" He voiced his concern as he himself thought things over.

Ren had to look away from the mist upon hearing the suddenly frantic voice of the dwarf.

"We still have time..." Balin assured the dark haired dwarf who ran a nervous hand through his hair.

"Time? For what?" Bilbo asked.

"To find the entrance. We have to be standing in exactly the right spot at exactly the right time, then and only then can the door be opened." The white haired dwarf continued to explain.

"So this is your purpose? To enter the mountain?" Elrond asked and all of them froze as the elf said this. Ren felt her face pale and she held her breath.

"What of it?" Thorin replied quietly, knowing that they were caught.

"There are some who would not deem it wise..." Elrond told the dwarf prince as he handed him the worn map from before.

His eyes flickered over to Ren for a moment as she stepped up to the edge of the self to look down, seeing the water far below as it pooled together before making its way out of the valley.

"Who do you mean?" Gandalf asked and the elf lord simply turned to look at Gandalf, a knowing look in his eyes.

"You are not the only guardian to stand watch over Middle Earth..." He said in a lower voice. "And they have gathered here. For your arrival was foretold."

Ren had been mulling her own thoughts over but when she had heard the elf's words, her head snapped up like that of a taught tree branch.

"You don't mean?" She looked to the dark haired elf, her cheeks going paler than any of them had ever seen before. She looked so ashen, it caused Bilbo worry. He only pursed his lips slightly, giving Ren her answer without even having to speak. "No..." She breathed as her blue eyes narrowed dangerously.

All at once again, the two beings began to speak in rapid elvish. Or rather, Elrond was speaking in elvish. Ren was... shouting in it.

She pointed a harsh finger at the dark haired elf before pointing it at herself, shouting rapidly the entire time. Her elder spoke back calmly and in a softer tone but the blonde would have none of it.

Shouting a few more things, she threw her hands above her head in frustration and anger before she stormed out off the ridge in the side of the cliff and back towards the dark passage way.

"Ren, where are you going?" Gandalf called behind her, worry evident in her tone.

"To seek the company of the only ones around here who have any sense whatsoever!" She growled back at him, her voice echoing off the words. It stung a bit for Gandalf to find that she mimicked his words in such a harsh way.

"And... who exactly would that be?"

"Elladan and Elrohir!" She continued walking before she stopped and turned back to face them. "And Estel!" And then she was gone.

Gandalf could only sigh through his nose before looking to Elrond who looked just as disappointed as Gandalf felt. They watched as her golden mop of hair disappeared into the darkness.

"Why must my meetings with her always end this way?" The elf lord sighed and the wizard could only nod, having similar results when they spoke of certain matters.

"She is but a child and children eventually come to learn their lessons." He supplied and the elf lord turned to leave with Gandalf and the other Company members in his wake, all of them mildly alarmed with the woman's sudden exit. "Even if the child must become harmed in the process to learn that lesson."

You know what to do, read and review!

Hey, guys! Thanks for all the reviews for last chapter! You guys are seriously the best! I love all my readers and reviewers! Just stay tuned for the next chapters!

So, Ren kind of just threw a fit at the very end there. She has her childish moments.

Elladan and Elrohir also are fond of our female companion. That's another story for another day. Again. All you have to do is just stay tuned to find out Ren's tale! It is a rather crazy one and the ride will be wild.

And I know that Estel doesn't appear in the Hobbit but I thought I would just add him in. Also, she has a bad ass sword like Thorin and Gandalf. Oh, yeah. I also forgot to mention the fact that she speaks elvish.

Which will lead to muchos problemos with Thorin. Yeah, it won't be good. Just wait. It will come in the next chapter.

Also, are their any artists out there? If someone would seriously like to give me a drawing of what Ren looks like, that would be awesome. If I get a really cool one, I may just use it as the cover of my story... With your permission of course!

Seriously though, I want to see what you guys think she looks like!

Or if you don't submit a picture, review and tell me who you think would make a good Ren!

Love,

Blue

P.S. Hên means like "my child". Nana means like "mama". No they are not related in anyway. They just have a past together and Ren has been there for him like a mother.

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