Author: Gemini14 PM
Elfquest AU/LotR Crossover. When Cutter and Skywise come into unknown territory, they come upon an adventure and new allies that were unlooked for. Can they help each other through this crisis? Or will their world fall into darkness? R/R Please!Rated: Fiction T - English - Adventure/Fantasy - Chapters: 4 - Words: 14,727 - Reviews: 36 - Favs: 19 - Follows: 21 - Updated: 02-14-07 - Published: 03-14-03 - id: 1269193
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
Disclaimer: I DO NOT own any of these characters in any way, shape or form.
Chapter One: Encounters in the Dark
Dusk. A time when all good Wolfriders go out to hunt. Cutter warily sniffed the air as he and Skywise explored this new country. They had spent several days skirting past the strange settlement of the 'Hairy Feet' (as Skywise had so eloquently put it) and were tired and hungry.
"Cutter, there's not much game in these woods." Skywise murmured, stating the obvious.
"I know, but there's something dark in these woods, and it is scaring the animals away. I can almost feel it." Cutter said, suddenly yelping when hands grabbed both him and Skywise and pulled them down behind a root.
"Don't struggle, we're not going to hurt you. Just stay quiet. There's something evil coming this way." A voice whispered, gently, yet firmly. Then they all froze as the dark 'something' Cutter had sensed got so close that it was almost on top of them. Beside him, Cutter could feel his 'captors' trembling, and he did not blame them. Within him, his wolf half told him to run, while his elf half prudently told him to remain where he was. He could tell that Skywise was warring within himself too.
/*/ Tam………….w-what is it? /*/ Skywise asked, his Send voice trembling as much as he was.
/*/ I don't know, Fahr. But it is as dark and evil as Madcoil was. /*/ Cutter replied, shuddering as the sound of sniffing approached, came dangerously close to their hiding place, then left. They all looked up when they heard hoofbeats fading into the distance.
"What was that?!" one voice asked, as its owner turned his fear-filled gaze onto his peer, who stood shakily before them.
"I don't know, Pip. And I hope we don't find out. Are you two all right? I'm sorry if we frightened you by grabbing you like that." A weary-looking youth said, apologetically.
"Think nothing of it. It is most likely that you saved our lives just now. I am Cutter, and this is my tribesman and friend, Skywise. We have traveled far, but have never met folk like you before." Cutter said, honestly.
"Nor have we met elves like you. My name is Frodo Ba—er—Underhill, and these are my traveling companions, Samwise Gamgee, Meriadoc, or Merry, Brandybuck and Peregrin-Pippin-Took. We're going to Bree to meet a friend. Would you like to come along with us?" the weary one asked, as the one called Samwise looked hopefully at them.
"Are there humans there?" Skywise asked, warily.
"There are, but they're not going to raise a fuss. Elves have passed through Bree before and no harm ever came to them." Merry said, sensing that these elves were wary of humans.
/*/ Did you hear that, Tam? Elves! They've seen other elves! /*/ Skywise sent, forgetting their most recent brush with death in his excitement.
/*/ Yes, I did. Coming with them might be a good idea. /*/ Cutter replied, then nodded.
"We'll go with you to this 'Bree' place, since we don't know our way around very well and our mounts have apparently bolted because of the dark thing." Cutter said, as Samwise grinned happily. Within moments, they were on their way. Part of the time was spent darting from thicket to thicket, always on the lookout for the Dark Rider. The other part was spent answering or asking questions, but always in whispers.
"So, what are you exactly?" Skywise asked.
"We're Hobbits, or 'halflings' as the Big Folk call us. We prefer to be called hobbits, though." Pippin said, immediately going silent when Skywise ushered for silence. For a heartbeat, all was normal around them, then, without warning, the Dark Rider burst from the undergrowth.
"Run!" Frodo shouted. Through the woods they ran, with the midnight black Rider galloping close behind them.
"Bucklebury Ferry! It's the only way to Bree that's still open to us!" Merry panted, as he led them to the ferry itself.
"I hope this can hold all of us." Cutter murmured, when he, Skywise, Merry, Pippin, and Samwise were on board.
"It should. Come on, Frodo!" Samwise shouted, as they pushed away from the pier. They all watched tensely as Frodo flew out of the woods with the Dark Rider on his heels. When he'd reached the end of the pier he leaped, landing safely on the ferry beside his companions. Cutter flinched when the Rider let out an enraged scream, then whirled around and rode off, melting back into the shadows as they watched.
"That was a close one. Why is this nightmare Rider chasing you? What do you have that it could possibly want?" Cutter asked, as he looked directly into Frodo's eyes. Frodo and Sam exchanged a glance.
"We'll tell you as soon as we are at the Prancing Pony. It's too dangerous to tell you here." Frodo said, trying to calm his racing heart. Reluctantly Cutter agreed to wait, but he had the feeling that there was more to this than the hobbits were letting on. When they had finally reached the gate of Bree, they were more than a little weary and footsore. They were also soaking wet, since it was pouring rain.
"What's your name and what business do you have in Bree at this time of the night?" the gate guard asked.
"We're here to meet a friend. Our business is our own." Frodo replied. The gatekeeper drew back.
"Okay, okay, steady on! I'm only doin' me job. There's a lot of strange folk about nowadays." The gatekeeper said, as he let the six weary travelers in.
"Where is this friend of yours?" Skywise asked, warily watching men pass by, surprised when they didn't pay him any heed.
"He told me to meet him at the Prancing Pony. I hope he's there." Frodo said, as he led the way through the cobblestoned streets.
"You sound as though you're not sure if he is even there." Cutter said, also amazed by the complete lack of interest the men of Bree showed to him and Skywise.
"I haven't heard from Gandalf for some time now. I am beginning to feel that something bad has happened to him." Frodo said, as they came, at last, to the Prancing Pony tavern and inn. As they stepped inside the establishment, Skywise wrinkled his nose in disgust.
/*/ Wugh! It stinks in here! /*/ Skywise sent, voicing both his and Cutter's private opinion of the place. All around them, men drank and laughed, oblivious to the two Wolfriders.
"/*/ At least they're ignoring us. If these people weren't already used to elves, then I sincerely doubt we would even be standing here. /*/ Cutter replied, as he followed Frodo and his group to a table and watched as Merry got something to drink.
"What is that stuff?" Skywise asked, curiosity winning out over caution.
"Some of the finest ale this side of the Shire." Merry said, as he set his mug down. Cutter chuckled as he watched Pippin's eyes widen.
"What is that?" Pippin asked, stunned.
"A pint." Merry replied. Pippin's eyes got even wider.
"They come in pints?! I'm gonna get one!" Pippin said, as he bolted over to the bar to order his 'pint'.
/*/ Nine dreamberries out of ten says he's even worse than Pike. /*/ Skywise sent, with a mischievous grin.
/*/ You're on. /*/ Cutter replied, as they watched Pippin drink to his heart's content. It was then that Cutter felt a pair of eyes on him. Slowly, so as to not disturb Skywise or the hobbits, Cutter scanned the crowd. His gaze settled on a darkened corner where a hooded man sat, taking long, slow pulls on his pipe as he watched them.
"You see him too, don't you, Mister Cutter?" Sam asked, startling Cutter somewhat.
"Yes. Have you found out who he is yet?" Cutter asked, as he looked away from the imposing stranger and at Sam. Sam slowly nodded.
"Butterbur says his name is Strider. He's one of those Rangers. He's been staring at Mister Frodo since we got here." Sam said, as they both looked back at the stranger. Then, suddenly, Frodo leaped up and ran to the bar where Pippin now perched. Before he could get to it, however, he slipped on some spilled ale and fell back. Cutter blinked when he saw a flash of gold in the dim light, and wondered what it was. He and Skywise both let out a yelp of astonishment and fear when Frodo suddenly vanished right before their eyes.
/*/ D-did you see…………..?! /*/ Skywise asked, too stunned to speak. Cutter nodded, too shocked to speak or Send. Seconds later, Frodo reappeared, much to their relief, but the stranger, Strider, was waiting for him.
"He does not look happy." Skywise muttered, watching as Frodo was roughly picked up and shoved up some stairs. They both turned when they heard Sam growl and run after the pair, with Merry and a guilty- looking Pippin on his heels.
"Let's get up there." Cutter said, unsheathing New Moon while he was at it. Skywise nodded and followed his chief and friend. The two made it up to where Frodo was just as Sam, Merry and Pippin burst through the door.
"Come on! I'll have at you!" Sam was heard to shout, as Cutter and Skywise arrived on the scene, ready for a fight.
"You're a brave bunch, but that won't save you. The Dark Riders are coming, and there's no stopping them." Strider said, grimly, as he sheathed his sword (he'd unsheathed it when the three hobbits had burst through the door).
"You mean there's more than one of those things?" Skywise asked, trembling a little when he remembered their close encounter. Strider nodded.
"How many?" Cutter asked, quietly, as he sheathed New Moon and looked directly into the man's eyes.
"There are nine." Strider said, simply. After that, there was an uneasy silence as Butterbur bustled this way and that, bringing extra bedding for the four exhausted hobbits and two elves. During all this, Strider sat silently at the window, gazing out at the room that would have been the hobbits' room. When Frodo and his three companions had settled in, Cutter and Skywise sat up with Strider.
"You two don't look like you're from around here. Where are you from?" Strider asked, quietly.
"We're from far away. Originally we had come here to find our lost kin, but now it appears that there is something else going on. Something far more evil." Cutter said, as the Ranger nodded in understanding.
"You are right about that. Do you remember what you saw in the tavern?" Strider asked.
"I thought I saw something made of metal fly into the air, and the next moment Frodo vanished. But what has this got to do with those Dark Riders?" Cutter asked, confused.
"It has a lot to do with them. You see, they are drawn to the Ring Frodo now carries. The very thing that made him vanish in the tavern." Strider said, looking away when he saw movement in the other room. After a few moments, enraged screams came from the other room, waking the hobbits out of restless slumber.
"What are they?" Frodo asked, as he turned his fearful gaze to Strider.
"They were men once. Mighty kings who were seduced by Sauron, and, one by one, fell into shadow. They are the Nazgul; neither living nor dead. They will never stop hunting you, Frodo." Strider said, grimly, as the screaming faded.
"What made them that way, Strider?" Skywise asked, forgetting his distrust of humans for the moment.
"The rings they wear on their fingers. Those rings are connected to Frodo's Ring, as are all of the Rings of Power. That Ring is also what remains of Sauron, but it is enough to raise great evils from the earth itself." Strider said, as the two elves took all this information in.
"I take it that the elves of this land are involved in some way as well?" Cutter asked. Strider nodded, gravely.
/*/ Tam, what are you planning? /*/ Skywise sent, sensing that Cutter was about to make a decision.
"Where are we going to go that will provide a small margin of safety for the hobbits? There must be some place in this land where these 'Nazgul' can't follow." Cutter said, noticing when Strider's grave look deepened.
"The only place that will be safe for a short while will be Rivendell. But that is at least a week's travel on foot." Strider said, as he resumed his vigil.
"We'll make it." Cutter said, with confidence. Strider looked at him again.
"You sound as though you are going to continue traveling with the hobbits." Strider said, seeming a little surprised by this turn of events.
"The hobbits saved mine and Skywise's lives tonight. We owe them that much at least." Cutter said, as he glanced at the hobbits and saw that they were once again asleep.
"I agree. If it weren't for them, that Nazgul thing would have killed us." Skywise said, finally understanding what Cutter intended to do.
"There is still time to change your minds about accompanying us. It is only going to get even more dangerous from here on out." Strider said, his voice carrying a hint of gentleness in it, as well as worry. Cutter shook his head, silently.
"Whether we want to leave or not is no longer our choice to make. We are involved now, and our quest will have to wait." Cutter said, bravely.
"So be it. We leave for Rivendell early tomorrow morning. Get some rest; we'll not be getting much while we are traveling." Strider said, as he left his window-side seat and lay down on the bed. As Cutter settled in, he wondered where this adventure would take him. He knew that they were going to head to Rivendell, but he had the feeling that he was going to go much farther.
"So much has happened since Fahr and I left the Sun Village. I wonder where this new path will take us?" Cutter thought, before he drifted into exhausted slumber, and Skywise did the same.