“Sleep, Little Shireling’s, sleep!” I whispered softly as I laid the two Hobbits back so that they could curl up with their backs firmly pressed against the trunk of tree behind them, “Heed no nightly noise. Sleep tight till morning light.”
Carefully, I placed a kiss on either of their soft curly heads before standing up and making my way to Treebeard, who was peering almost sadly into the forest.
“Treebeard?” I questioned softly, placing a gentle hand softly on his barky side.
“I have more business to attend to in the forest. There are many still to call; many more still to come. I will be back before the first of dawn’s rosy fingers touch the land.”
“Do you think that wise? There are more dangers in these trees than there were in days long since past; your kin are no long the only ones living amongst the trees. You could attract unwanted attention.”
“I will be fine, Princess. No one would dare to attack an Ent.”
“I am still not taking any chances,” I mumbled.
Determinedly, I leant my back against the trunk of a tree and expertly slid down it so I was sitting with my knees curled up in front of me and my fore arms casually leaning on them. My bow, prepped with a waiting arrow, was sat on the ground beside me and I loosely gripped a dagger in my hand; just in case.
“I will be back shortly!” Treebeard announced, rather to loudly for my taste, then he stepped into the darkness of the trees.
I shook my head after him and looked at the Hobbits in caution; slightly scared that they would wake from the loudness of Treebeard’s actions; yet they slept as soundly as logs. Silence followed. I sat there for some time; the only sound to be heard was that of my own breathing. The Hobbits slept in almost complete silence and even my sensitive ears were unable to pick up the quiet huffs of air that spilled from Athae’s mouth. It was an eerie silence that the forest had descended upon us; leaving us defenceless from one of the key senses, sound. My eye swiftly flickered past the trees, surveying the menacing shadows in precaution; suspense thick in the air.
However, that was when a familiar feeling washed over me. The well-known fogginess which clouded my brain descended upon me, and my muscles seemed to begin to fall asleep.
No, not now. Why now?
Four figures stood with their backs facing me, staring at the large doors in front of them. There was a Dwarf with bushy red hair, a man with dark brown hair, an old man with pure white hair and an Elf with dazzling blond hair.
“Legolas …”I whispered.
I extended my hand towards him, wanting to touch his shoulder; longing filling me. Yet my hand shimmered silvery in the light and passed through his flesh. A sigh left my mouth as despair filled me; was I never to see him again. However, Legolas did seem to shrug his shoulder in a shiver like manner, and then he looked behind him. His eyes connected with my own as he searched for the source of the feeling. Then, when he was unable to find it, he turned back around just as several guards greeted them with severely hostile glares.
“Ah!” The White Wizard said as he was the men of Rohan before him.
“I cannot allow you before Théoden-King so armed, Gandalf Greyhame. By order of Gríma Wormtongue.”
Gandalf nodded his head in understanding and sent his companions a signal to surrender their weapons. A hostile silence filled the air and the men of Rohan moved their hands to grab the hilts of their swords; anticipating a fight. Yet it was unnecessary. Aragorn was the first to move. Nonchalantly, he handed over his sword and multiple knives. Legolas swiftly followed suit, twirling his knives slightly before he handed them over to the guards. Gimli was the last to react. He longingly stared at his axe for several seconds before he reluctantly handed it over.
“Ha!” I grinned to the air, “It seems that it has come full circle!”
A smile grew fully onto my lips as I remembered the capture of the Dwarves of Erebor in Mirkwood, and Fili who seemed to have thousands upon thousands of weapons hidden in his enormous coat. Fili ….
“Your staff!” The leader gestured to Gandalf.
“Hmm? Oh. You would not part an old man with his walking stick?” He innocently asked.
The man stood, hesitant, for a second but then gestured for them to follow him into the hall.
Tension filled the air as the four beings followed after the leader into the Golden Hall of Meduseld. Once all were inside, the doors closed with a heavy this and an eeriness filled the room.
At the front of the room sat an elderly man in a throne like chair with a sleazy looking man crouched beside him. This man leapt towards the King’s aged face and whispered,
“My lord, Gandalf the Grey is coming … he’s a herald woe.”
“The courtesy of your hall has somewhat lessened of late, Théoden King!” Gandalf cried through the stark silence.
“He’s not welcome,” The sleazy, greasy man hissed.
“Why … should I … welcome you … Gandalf Stormcrow?” The King haltingly questioned.
“A just question, my liege,” The quivering worm exclaimed, standing up to face the company, “Late is the hour that this conjuror choices to appear. Lots spell, I name him. Ill news is a ill guest.”
“Be silent!” Gandalf snapped, “Keep your fork tongue behind your teeth. I have not passed through fire and water to bandy crude words with a witless worm.”
Slowly, he raised his staff so that the confined crystal was face to face with the leech in man’s clothing.
“His staff!” The man cried, terror filling his soulless eyes, “I told you to take the Wizard’s staff!”
He sprang backwards, slivering to the side, as the soldiers leapt forwards; lust for death and blood filling their eyes.
Aragorn, Gimli and Legolas leapt into action, fighting off the oncoming soldiers who seemed able to replenish their numbers almost instantly with their bare hands. The man who had let my companions into the King’s hall held back one who looked to his second from joining the battle. Gandalf continued to approach the enchanted King as if nothing around him had changed.
“Théoden, son of Thengel. Too long have you sat in the shadows.”
The worm attempted tried to slink away, towards a door off to the side. But Gimli charged at him. He placed his foot on the leech’s chest; forbidding him from getting up.
“I would stay still if I were you!” Gimli growled lowly.
“Harken to me!” Gandalf cried.
Théoden grimaced at the sound and watched as the Wizard raised his weathered hand, eyes tightly closed, and softly said,
“I release you from the spell!”
A tightness formed in my chest, suddenly, and a lump clamped my throat together; forbidding me from breathing. The minutes drawled slowly in and the pain in my chest cavity grew to the extent that I felt that my lungs were going to break free.
Yet, swiftly the lump disappeared and I was able to gasp, like a fish out of water, for air; white spots lightly dancing in front of my eyes.
When they eventually vanished, I was finally able to realise something; I had moved location. No more was I in the realm of visions and prophecies, I was somewhere else, somewhere which actually seemed real.
I was alone; surrounded in only darkness.
“Princess …” A sinister voice whispered.
Trying to keep calm, I looked around from side to side for the source of the voice; a somewhat bored expression plastered onto my face.
“Yes?” I yawned, still casually liking for the source.
“Your world will burn in fire and blood. The armies of man will fall, all that will remain will be those loyal to me and the festering corpses of my enemies!”
Instantly, I knew who this voice belonged to and it took all my effort to hide the panicked scream which was trying to rise up my throat.
“And what do I have to do with that?”
“Join me. Stand by my side. Be my Queen. Help me destroy the cowards who defy me!”
I rolled my eyes and placed my finger just above my top lip as I paused in mocking thought,
“Tempting …” I said, raising my eyebrow as if I was in thought, “… but no!”
“You will not defy me!” The Evil screamed as the darkness seemingly rippled.
“I shall do as I wish!”
An evil scream rippled through the hollow world I was in. The darkness swiftly retreated and the vibrant eye of Sauron became visible from the shadows.
“Join me!” The Eye whispered cruelly.
“Join me! …. Join me! …. Join me! ....”
The voice bounded around the room as the Eye gradually grew in size.
“Join me! Join me! Join me!”
I clamped my hands over my ears, attempting to block out the ricocheting sounds. I dropped to the floor and began to rock backwards and forwards slightly.
“Join me! JOIN me! JOIN ME!!!”
“SILENCE!!!” I screamed, terror mingling in with my words.
And that was exactly what I received ….silence …