I have no excuses for not updating for such a long time, only that my inspiration left me and that time was running short for me. In fact I was just about to stop writing at all, but I just keep getting reviews from people telling me how much they love my story and I didn't find it in my heart to disappoint you or letting 'Protector' die. So here it is, a new chapter, in the hope that there are many more to come.
No thank you notes to reviewers this time, that would take so much time I just don't have. Next chapter I promise you.
DISCLAIMER: Don't own any characters made up by Tolkien, any you don't know as his are mine.
"Voronwer could you please help me with his pot?" a voice rang out in the clearing the travelers had decided to use that evening.
Turning around Rita smiled at Malomë and grabbed hold of the huge pan filled with spicy smelling soup the she-elf had made for dinner.
"Why are you even trying to lift this on your own, how many times do I have to tell you. There are lots of strong men out there dying to do you a favor." Rita grinned as her newfound friend blushed a little.
Their friendship had been developing since the moment Rita had involved Malomë with the planning of this trip back in Greenwood. Rita found it fun to tease the shy she-elf and in return the she-elf made sure Rita was doing fine. She knew how Rita hated it to be looked after like she was a child.
The two kept grinning as they started to hand out the soup. They were nearly finished when Rita saw Legolas at the edge of camp looking glum.
"Malomë can you finish up, I have to do something right now. I promise I'll make it up to you."
"Fine go on I can handle things for tonight but the next time it's our turn you'll work twice as hard do you hear me?"
Rolling her eyes Rita sighed. "Yes Malomë." She then grabbed two bowls and walked over to one frowning elf-prince.
Without saying a word she handed him his soup and sat down next to him. Neither spoke until they had finished their meal and then Rita couldn't stand it any more.
"Hah, I'll buy that the day hobbits decide to go on a diet, try again this time a truthful answer please cause I can tell." His shoulders sagged a little and now Rita was on full alert, it was not like Legolas to do such a thing.
"I'm worried." He said after minutes of silence.
This made Rita snort. "Well I hadn't figured that out yet thank you for enlightening me, now comes the real question. What are you worried about?"
"We're going too slow, it's getting colder and colder. The roads are getting tricky to travel and we're not even half across Rohan. Food supplies are running out faster then we anticipated and that annoying she-elf won't leave me alone."
At the last part Rita giggled for a few seconds before turning serious. She pulled Legolas close so that he was leaning with his back against her and she could hug him from behind.
"We are going slower then we anticipated but still we're not doing bad, elves can deal with cold perfectly fine. Those roads will be fine, the cooks are already gathering to talk about the food, only the she-elf has to be dealt with. Which one is it?"
She felt Legolas relax against her as he chuckled and let his neck fall backwards to rest on her shoulder so he could look at her.
"You make it sound so simple."
"That's because it is simple silly. You don't have to take care of everything and everyone you know, there are lots of people here who want to be of some use."
Rita watched as her friend closed his eyes and if she hadn't known that elves slept with their eyes open she would have thought he'd fallen asleep.
She took the time to observe him with a critical eye and frowned when she noticed the almost unnoticeable rings around his eyes, the small crease in his forehead from frowning and the dimness of his aura.
He's tired, I should have noticed days ago. Well I'll just have to take over some of his tasks then. Rita thought.
They sat quietly for about an hour until someone disturbed them. One of the scouts they had sent out had returned and was ready to debrief.
"Pardon me for interrupting Milord but you said you wanted to hear me report straight away, Mellas and I have just returned and we saw the other scouts not far from here."
Legolas opened his eyes and spoke in a tired voice. "I'll be right there." When Rita interrupted him.
"Actually Rómenir just gather the scouts, get the food Malomë set apart for you and rest for a bit. I'll be there for your report in a few minutes."
Without batting an eye Rómenir nodded. "Aye Milady."
Once he had left Legolas turned to look at Rita incredulously. "What was that for? It is my task to debrief the scouts."
"Well I decided that I am going to take over some of your tasks so you can rest. You look tired Leaf and being tired makes you cranky."
"Elves can go with little rest." Legolas countered but seeing the look in her eyes he already knew this was in vain.
"Yes elves can go with little rest but not with no rest. Or with very little rest for a very long time. You forget that I just spent the last hour observing you and you're tired. You need rest and I don't care if I have to tie you down so you will lie down and sleep."
Then Legolas chuckled making Rita sigh in relief as she jumped up and grabbed his hand to pull him from the ground.
As they walked to the center of camp Legolas tried one more time. "What if I do the meeting and then rest?"
"You are resting now." Rita nearly growled as she narrowed her eyes at him in suspicion. Then she saw the answer to her problem. "Luinnen, come over here please."
The girl came in a hurry, she wanted to help for a while now but there was nothing for her to do or so the adults kept telling her. Rita was the only one to take her seriously.
"What can I do to help Voronwer?" she asked trying to keep the eagerness out of her voice.
"I need you to escort Legolas here to his bedroll and make sure he sleeps, so that means that he won't be doing any planning, discussing or any other form of activity. He needs to sleep. And since I know for a fact he will try to do something and I'm not able to watch him you are the perfect candidate."
Poor Luinnen blinked and couldn't help but let her mouth fall open in disbelief. "You want me to watch the prince sleep?"
"You are making her watch me sleep?" Legolas asked at the same time.
Rita nodded sagely. "Yes, now Luinnen don't be afraid to kick him if tries to get up and you have my permission to tie him up if you need to. Crap the scouts are waiting for me. Luinnen I wish you all the luck, make sure to scare all the Ladies away tonight. Oh and Leaf, goodnight."
She walked off with a small smile on her face feeling satisfied with herself. Luinnen had something to do and Legolas was going to get some sleep. She was still smiling as she reached the scouts and sat down in their circle.
"I'm sorry I'm late. Now tell me what you found."
Mellas started. "The roads are still. . . "
Meanwhile Rita had left two slightly astonished elves. Surprisingly Luinnen was the first to recover from her stupor.
"Well I suppose we should go so you can sleep."
"You do not need to watch over me Luinnen, I will sleep as I have been ordered to do." Legolas said but he frowned when he saw her shake her head.
"I may not be an adult yet Milord but I am no gullible child either. I know for a fact that if you are left alone right now you will find something to do and I will not let Voronwer down after she placed her faith on me."
Legolas frown seemed to increase in size when he tried to come up with a reply for that when someone was calling his name to get his attention.
Recognizing the sickeningly sweet tone his eyes widened just a bit and Luinnen, who also knew who the voice belonged to, motioned for him to climb into the giant tree they had been standing next to.
Just as he was out of sight Lady Lolith entered the picture and as she looked around and found nobody there but Luinnen she sneered.
"Where is Legolas?" she demanded.
Luinnen, who turned out to be a good actress, seemed to be confused. "Prince Legolas? I have not seen him since breakfast this morning. I did hear that the scouts returned though so he is probably talking to them as usual. But why are you asking me?"
"I saw him walking here just a moment ago, now stop playing games you child and tell me where he is."
Never loosing her cool Luinnen shrugged. "Why would I lie to you Lolith? Even more of a question is to why do you think the Prince was with me, I have been in this clearing for a few hours now and I tell you that I have not seen anyone till you came."
"That is Lady Lolith to you, you inferior child. Just because you are a Minyatur doesn't mean you can treat me like a commoner."
"Funny, I never heard you complain when my sister called you by your name." Luinnen said innocently.
Flustering a little Lolith replied. "Well that was because Tári is very aware of the fact that she is slightly above me in stature. You however are still a child and even though you carry the Minyatur name you have embarrassed your family."
Legolas sat very still in his place as he listened to Lolith insult the young she-elf and started listing all the things she had done to embarrass her family.
Archery, riding, learning about other cultures. . . what kind of embarrassment could possible come from that? He wondered, he never understood the nobles and their codes and rules.
Sure as a member of the royal family he had to follow rules as well but often it seemed that the rules the nobles had made were far more complex then his.
He wished he could interfere but he knew that if he showed himself now Luinnen would have it much harder then now. It didn't mean he didn't feel bad for her though but he was surprised when she began to giggle and then laugh out loud.
It surprised Lady Lolith as well since she demanded to know what was so funny and Luinnen answered once she had calmed down a little, giggles sometimes escaping her.
"You are, do you really believe that I care about being seen as proper? Minyatur might be my name but it doesn't mean I have to act accordingly. Now if you wouldn't mind to leave me be, I was enjoying a quiet evening before you disrupted it."
Being treated like air was definitely not something Lady Lolith was accustomed to and her exit was therefor fast and not at all quiet.
After a few minutes Luinnen called softly without looking up. "You can come down now." And a second later Legolas was standing in front of her, having jumped out of the tree with catlike grace.
"I apologize for not interfering in your conversation Lady Minyatur." Legolas said. "But I feared that showing myself would lead to. . . "
"Trouble?" Luinnen added and chuckled at the expression on his face. "But it's no trouble at all and please call me Luinnen, whenever someone calls me Lady Minyatur I look around my shoulder expecting one of my sisters to stand behind me."
Now it was Legolas's turn to chuckle. "Very well Luinnen, I thank you for helping me escape Lady Lolith's grasp. That has been a hard task as of late."
"Of course it is because now Tári has given up for now she thinks she can swoop in and win your attention." Luinnen said in a no-none sense tone.
After looking around and finding the way clear the two made a dash for where Legolas usually spent the night. Mostly at the edge and close to the back they sat down.
"You could leave now." Legolas said, hoping she would go so that he would be able to go over some designs for talans but to no avail as she just crossed her arms and raised an eyebrow.
Deciding to accept it he propped himself against a tree to be comfortable. "May I ask you a question?" he said.
"What is it that you wanted to know?"
Hesitating to ask Legolas decided to go ahead. "You said that now Tári has given up Lolith decided to pursue me, you almost made it sound like a system."
"Oh but it is." Luinnen immediately agreed.
"What?!?!" Legolas said sharply. "What kind of system?"
"It's very simple. The higher the status of the Lady the higher up the chain she stands for everything, including trying to win you Milord. It is why so many of the Ladies of the slightly lower chain decided to come. They believe that in the new settlement they will gain higher status and therefor have a more open chance at. . . well at you."
Legolas was a little dazed. "So you mean to tell me that even if I manage to convince one Lady to leave me alone another will take her place?"
"Or two, depending on how desperate they think you are for a wife."
"I'm not desperate for a wife." Legolas nearly exclaimed.
Shrugging Luinnen answered. "You don't have to convince me. Besides the Ladies are confused for now, they don't know what your relation to Voronwer is."
"Well then I intend to keep it that way." Legolas muttered and then he looked at the girl sitting against a tree. "Why are you telling me all this? Isn't this going against some Lady code?"
"I'm sure it is but I do not care about the code. My sisters wish to follow every rule there exists while manipulating but I have no love for it. It's why begged Eltar to let me come to Ithilien. The Ladies aren't the only ones who hope things will change at the new settlement."
After a little thought Legolas was left with a question. "How do you hope things will be in Ithilien?"
"Less restricted. I want to be able to go for a ride without people going to my father to tell him what a shame I am to his name. I want to explore and meet other races and I certainly do not want to get married on the day of my majority."
"Marriage, already?" Legolas asked.
Grimacing Luinnen nodded. "Father has my husband picked out for me, Maldan. He hasn't promised me permanently as of yet as sometimes happens with humans but he has been pushing me in his direction. Not very subtle for a councilor."
"Maldan?" Legolas asked incredulously. "He has to be one of the most boring assistant-councilor there is, why did your father ever pick him."
Luinnen rolled her eyes in disgust. "Because unlike my perfect sisters who cause him no trouble, I apparently need to be kept on a short leash to prevent rebellious tendencies."
"And yet he allowed you to go to Ithilien."
"That is Eltar's doing, he will not tell me what he had to do or say in order to get father's approval that I come. Father was not pleased to see me go, especially after you humiliated Tári. He was enraged over that you know."
A grin appeared on Legolas's face. "So that is why he sent me all those foul looks. I was desperate and Rita had this excellent idea."
"Oh I just wish I had been able to see it. She is the one who embarrassed herself you know. I heard she has been chasing after you even before I was born."
"Don't remind me." Legolas groaned and the she-elf giggled before she remembered her task.
"Now you must go to sleep or Voronwer will have my hide."
Sighing Legolas rolled on his back and forced himself to enter his dreams, the last thing that registered in his mind was Luinnen leaning against a tree on the look-out for anyone who might try to disturb him.
This particular routine continued for the following week. Rita took over all of Legolas's tasks, those she didn't shoulder herself, she appointed to those she trusted.
Most were amused and smiled at her for going out of her way to help their prince and leader with his burden. But there were a chosen few who weren't happy with her, not happy at all. Something Rita found out late one evening as she was walking to her bedroll.
She was tired. Rita knew Legolas had a lot on his mind but she never imagined how hard he really had it and frowned a little at the daily pattern.
At the crack of dawn Rita was already up for an hour or so busy with her own duty of helping the cooks and Legolas's job of sending out the scouts.
Once the sun had risen they would move across the plains, all the while singing and talking. This was the part of the day Rita loved most. She would talk to a lot of people and also got to know those she considered friends better.
Her favorite riding partner was by far Lindir. The minstrel had an air around him that drew her to him, it always seemed to her as if he knew everything. A bit like Elrond or Celeborn only without the intimidating elf-lord vibe, which made her feel more at ease.
The gentle elf explained her more about the history of the elves, but also that of the Númenóreans which intrigued Rita.
It was by now normal to see the two in heated discussions about one thing or another and more often then not Lindir would burst into song in order to illustrate his story.
But alas, duty would show its head by the time the sun was slowly started to set and they had to stop to start up a camp for the night.
Mostly everybody did their part but it seemed that the small hour that it took to set up camp was also the hour that people came to her with problems.
Cooks came to tell her about the rationing, this Rita had no problem with. It were the Ladies that caused her headaches as they complained about the lack of comfort, good food and also the lack of prince.
Once she was able to escape from the clutches of the evil bitches, as she had come to call them in her mind, Rita helped with distributing the food and listened to the reports of the scouts and all would start over again the next day.
Almost there her mind told her as she stumbled towards her bedroll as she tried to stifle a yawn that tried to escape. Almost time to sleep, almost there Rita continued this mantra in her head when suddenly she got pulled to the side.
"I have been wishing to speak to you for days Voronwer." Rita heard and as she looked up she saw Lady Lolith next to her with a glare on her face.
Not now! Rita's mind screamed but for appearance sake Rita donned a polite face. "How may I be of assistance to you Lady Lolith?"
"Stay away from Legolas, he is mine." Lolith all but growled.
Rita had the urge to laugh at this outrageous statement but found the strength to reduce that urge to merely raising her eyebrow.
"Really now? Does Legolas know about this?" she asked.
"Of course he knows, I am the only one who is close enough in stature for him. You are nothing but a commoner and as prince he must wed a noble-woman. He will never marry you so you better just give up while you are ahead. You should be honored he took you as a lover at all."
A cool voice interrupted her tirade. "And you should feel honored I have not stripped you of your title yet Lolith."
"Prince Legolas!" Lady Lolith exclaimed in horror. "What are you doing here?"
"I do not think this is any of your business Lolith, nor is anything else concerning me. I heard what you said to Rita and let me make it clear that the relation between her and I is no-ones business but our own. If I wished to wed her I would do so, whether she be commoner or princess."
Rita watched with an amused smile as Lolith seemed to shrink as Legolas fixed an angry glance on her. She knew Legolas had been waiting for a chance to ream the 'Lady' out, especially after he witnessed how she treated Luinnen.
Though far from a friendship he and Luinnen now conversed in ease and Rita had found out that the young she-elf kept Legolas informed of all gossip, which he in turn told Rita. Some of them were rather amusing, especially the ones concerning them.
It seemed that the Ladies had not been able to figure out whether they were lovers or not. Most thought they were though for they could see no other reason for Legolas to treat her with the respect he had given her.
Noticing she had been lost in thought Rita snapped out of it just in time to hear Legolas finish his rant.
". . . and if I hear about one more incident where you abuse your power I will not hesitate to send you back to Greenwood. You came voluntarily but I reserve the right to refuse those who want to live in my settlement. Now be gone."
At his command Lolith ran away, her cheeks red from embarrassment and tears from humiliation in her eyes.
Silence hung between Legolas and Rita until they started to laugh. "Did you see her face?" Rita was finally able to say between giggles. "Whatever possessed you to get so worked up?"
Finally calmed Legolas shrugged. "I've been observing 'Lady' Lolith this past week ever since she cornered Luinnen like she did. She is obnoxious, annoying and outright rude towards those she thinks below her. The fact that she wanted to interfere in my life was the last straw. I meant what I said, I will marry whomever I like without looking at their place in society.'
"Got your eye on anyone yet?" Rita asked with a gleam in her eye.
Chuckling Legolas played along with the joke only the two of them would understand. "Why yes there is this particular person in my vision but sadly this person has dwarflike tendencies, not fir for an elven prince she is."
"And here you just said you wouldn't care about people's place in society." Rita mock-gasped.
"There is a difference between society and stupidity." Then he turned more serious. "I will not marry anyone, at least not yet. There is far too much to explore and when we are done doing that maybe, note this maybe, I will start searching for someone to spend the rest of my life with."
Smiling at him Rita sighed. "You can't plan falling in love Leaf, either you'll fall or you won't, but you can't plan when and how you will do it."
"I can try, can't I?" Legolas shot back. "I will take up my duties again tomorrow, I am quite rested once again and you look as if you need a break."
"Oh thank you Eru." Rita muttered loud enough for Legolas to hear. "I don't think I would have survived another day like that. People have been nagging more then before lately."
Legolas chuckled. "I noticed, what do you say about playing scout for a while? I heard that Rómenir would like to spend more time with his wife on the journey and you and Mellas have been getting along quite well."
He didn't have to guess her answer when Rita tackled him in a hug. "Thank you thank you, thank you thank you! I love you and all but if I have to deal with any problems tomorrow I am going to go crazy."
"And we wouldn't want that." Legolas added. "Are you still tired, because Lindir is performing the fall of Gondolin tonight. It has been my favorite story ever since I heard it in the Hall of Fire many years ago."
"Tired? Now? I wouldn't be able to sleep even if I wanted to. Besides Gondolin sounds interesting, who was he?"
Placing his arm around her shoulder Legolas guided her to where Lindir would be as he corrected her. "Not a he, Gondolin was a city in the First Age, one of the greatest before it was destroyed. Glorfindel lived and died there you know."
"Let me get this straight. Glorfindel died and he is alive now because. . . "
"Because he was reborn of course and he accepted the task the Valar asked him to do." Legolas stated matter of factly. "Now stop asking questions, I'm sure you'll understand it better after you listen to Lindir."
Shrugging Rita accepted this and the two of them arrived to the circle of elves just in time for the performance. There was a lack of room though so they had to squeeze to fit between Mellas and Eltar.
Deciding he wasn't at all comfortable Legolas picked Rita up and planted her in front of him, making her lean against him like he had leaned against her just a week ago.
Feeling completely at ease with him Rita allowed him to do this and even shifted a little so that she was even more comfortable.
She listened as Legolas informed Mellas of the change of partners in the scout the following morning and was happily surprised when the quiet elf smiled broadly at her.
"Nothing against Rómenir but I think I have heard everything there is to know about his wife. I bet I could tell you her favorite meal, color and song."
"I'm pretty happy of going with you as well Mellas, it should be quite interesting."
Before any of them could say another word Lindir asked for silence and started his performance. To say that Rita was impressed with both the performance or the tale would be an understatement. She was in awe.
Legolas, who had been observing her, suppressed a chuckle at the childlike look on her face as she watched as Lindir performed. He remembered how he had felt when he was merely 300 years old when he first heard this song being performed.
Finally dawn started to approach and all the elves started to pack up again. All but Legolas that is who was weighed down by Rita.
She was just leaning against him for a while longer before she stood as well and held her hand out to pull him up. She saw Mellas from the corner of her eye and waved at him.
"I have to go get ready for scouting, see you in a flash."
Ten minutes later she approached the scouting group in a clean pair of clothes, cloak or Lorien around her shoulders, sword and dagger resting on her hip and bow and arrow strapped to her back.
Legolas was all business as he gave out orders. There were four pairs of scouts and all of them would ride into different directions. Rita and Mellas were to ride east while the others were to ride south, south-east and north-east.
Before she and Mellas left to prepare the horses Legolas put his hand on her shoulder for only a second and Rita nodded at his unspoken question to be careful.
After she asked Luinnen to help Malomë with the food that evening Rita mounted Asfaloth and she and Mellas galloped away.
They had been riding for hours already and after assessing the sun Rita decided that it was now late in the afternoon.
She and Mellas had been having a great time scouting. They hadn't found a good location to camp but they did collect a bag full of herbs the cooks would be able to use for their broth.
"We should head back." Rita commented but when she looked back to see Mellas's reaction to the suggestion she noticed he had a far-away look on his face.
Recognizing it she asked the question immediately. "What is it? What do you hear?"
"Hooves, a group of riders are approaching, I can hear voices as well but I do not understand what they are saying."
Slipping from Asfaloth's back Rita pulled the cloak from Lorien closer around her and motioned for him to do the same.
"Lets see if these people are friendly. Perhaps they are willing to trade supplies with us."
"Are you mad? What if they aren't friendly?"
Rolling her eyes she sighed. "That's why we better make sure we aren't seen." Then she turned towards Asfaloth and stroked his head. "Stay here until I whistle."
The great horse bobbed his head up and down as id assuring her he would do as she asked and Rita smiled once more before she and Mellas started to sneak towards the sound of hooves even Rita was able to hear now.
They were just about to walk past a giant boulder when all went silent. Before either Mellas or Rita were able to relay their distress about this they were suddenly closed in.
A circle of riders surrounded them and Rita quietly observed them while Mellas had his bow out in the blink of an eye arrow aimed at the one before him.
Suddenly one of the riders stepped forwards. "What business brings two strangers to the Riddermark, speak before I kill you."
Mellas, who did not speak Common, stiffened at the tone of voice and Rita could see him itching to release his arrow.
Hoping to diffuse the situation she held out her hands to show she meant no harm but the rider in front of them grew impatient.
"Speak up, what are you doing here? Know that spies are not tolerated in the kingdom of Rohan."
Choosing her words carefully Rita answered. "We are not spies, we are friends of Rohan and of Éomer your king."
"If you are friends then why do you hide behind your cloaks and refuse to give your names?" The leader demanded but Rita noted that he was clutching his spear tightly betraying his nervousness. She also saw one of the riders at the back gallop away to get someone.
"We did not refuse to give our names you did not ask for them, furthermore we are not hiding behind our cloaks, it is cold and we wear them to keep warm."
The rider opened his mouth to say something when a booming voice came from outside the circle, a circle that quickly parted to let him through.
"Identify yourselves strangers."
Mellas whirled around to point his arrow at the new voice but Rita placed her hand on his arm so that he would lower it and then turned to the new voice herself.
"Your Marshall has much to learn Éomer king, I'm afraid he is not as frightening and commanding as you once were." Deciding to drop the act she pushed at the hood of her cloak to reveal her face. "Though I am starting to wonder if this welcome is normal for Rohan."
If he were surprised Éomer didn't show it as he countered her comment. "And I am starting to wonder if it is normal for you to sneak through my land like a spy."
"We were scouting." Then in Elvish she told Mellas to drop his hood. "A group of elves are heading towards Minas Tirith under the command of Legolas. We were looking for a place to spend the night tomorrow."
"Minas Tirith? Éowyn will be pleased." Éomer said to her while he barked for his men to stand down and fetch his sister.
"She's here?" Rita asked.
He nodded. "We are escorting her to Gondor where she will finally wed Faramir. There has been some delay because of business that had to be taken care of on both their sides."
Then Éowyn came into sight and the two blondes started to laugh as they embraced, talking quickly as only women can do.
After a few minutes of excited talking Rita saw that Mellas was a bit lost as to what to do and introduced him to both Éomer and Éowyn.
"Mellas these are the king of Rohan and his sister." She said to her companion in Sindarin, then she switched back to Common. "This is Mellas of the Woodland Realm, he is head of the scouts."
The elf bowed to them and then he turned to Rita. "Night will soon be upon us, Prince Legolas will worry if we do not return."
"I know, you go and tell him we met King Éomer and his sister Éowyn and ensure him that I am quite safe and will see him once you meet up with us."
"You will not join me?" Mellas asked.
"Nay, I will not. If you wish to make it back to the group before sundown you will have to ride Asfaloth, besides I have many things to discuss with the White Lady."
Rita put her fingers to her mouth and whistled sharply and not a minute later Asfaloth appeared, Mellas's horse not far behind him. "Will you please carry Mellas back to camp my friend."
Once again the horse nodded his affirmation and Mellas, with a slight reverence for Asfaloth was well known as the greatest steed, mounted and rode off.
Only then did Rita realize that his departure would make no sense to those who witnessed the event and quickly explained why he had gone as she patted the neck of Mellas's mare.
"Legolas would kill me if I just stayed out without giving word. I'm not sure he won't kill me now anyway, he is a bit over-protective over me especially since the last time I went off on my own I nearly ended up as spider food but that wasn't my fault."
Éowyn laughed and turned to he brother. "We will be able to wait for a day or two won't we? It would be a nice surprise to enter Minas Tirith with such an escort."
Relenting Éomer nodded. "I could never say no when you look like that sister-dear and you know and use this fact. I will tell the people to start of camp." He nodded to Rita but noticed that neither woman noticed this, so deep in conversation were they.
Listening to Éowyn explain all about her wedding Rita smiled as the enthusiastic woman showed her where she could safely place the mare.
Taking a break Éowyn turned to her. "What adventures have you had? I want to know everything, come I see my tent has been set up already, we'll talk more in there."
And talk they did. Rita told her about Fangorn and Greenwood, about the spiders and the orcs and lastly about Legolas's new settlement and her promise to help him as much as she could. By the time Rita had finished her tale and Éowyn finished her questions the sun had completely set and the moon was already high in the sky so they decided to rest.
Thankfully Éowyn didn't mind her sharing the tent and after she borrowed a thick blanket Rita fell into a deep sleep.
The elven delegation reached the Rohan party earlier then was expected, only two nights and a day had passed, and there were fond greetings between the Prince and the King before Legolas turned to Rita with narrowed eyes.
"And you. . . next time I send you scouting, I'd see you actually return." Then lowering his voice, "Have you any idea what you did to me? Without you guarding me I have been a prime target for the Ladies, in fact if not for Luinnen I would have gone mad by now."
Bright laughter escaped Rita. "You are mad you silly elf, but if you so wish I shall apologize to you for the inconvenience."
"I wish that." Legolas said haughtily, but could barely keep a straight face when Rita made her lips tremble in a pout and give him puppy dog eyes.
"Forgive me, oh dear Prince for ever doing you harm and. . . " but then she lost her composure and started to giggle.
Legolas in turn started to laugh as well and pulled her in a quick hug and whispered in her ear. "We are being stared at, probably because you are acting as crazy as you are."
"Me?!?" Rita exclaimed as she pulled back. "It is a well known fact that it is you who is the crazy one, I was not corrupted with this craziness until I met you." She squeezed his arm playfully before she turned to Mellas who was leading Asfaloth to her.
"This," the elf said reverently "is the quickest and best-trained horse I have ever ridden. You are blessed Voronwer."
Rita nodded her head as she patted Asfaloth's neck. "I really have been. Now tell me, just how panicked was Legolas when you returned?"
"Very much so, especially since I arrived long after nightfall. He startled when I was the only to return but calmed quickly once he heard you were in good company."
"I was not panicked!" Legolas said "I was merely concerned." Then he turned back to continue his conversation with Éomer.
Rita saw the rest of the elves settle and set out to aid where she could, but was quickly chased away as everything was under control.
"Truly Voronwer, you have done so much already the past week go and be at ease." Malomë said. "If you would go and sit with the Prince I shall bring you all a bowl of broth later."
Defeated Rita walked back to where Legolas was sitting with both Éomer and Éowyn and let herself fall on the ground next to him.
"Malomë chased me away." She complained to him.
"I cannot blame her for you look overtired."
"It's not my fault Éowyn and I had many things to catch up on." She then yawned, but quickly slapped her hand over her mouth in order to hide it. "Ok, so maybe I'm a little tired."
Legolas gave her a piercing glance and Rita relented. "Fine, I'll go and rest." She got up and started to walk towards the tent she shared with the White Lady, where she found her cot and was fast asleep in a manner of seconds.
Ok so I have the feeling this chapter sucked, it's hard to write after such a while and I have to admit to being a bit rusty. So forgive me for the quality of this chapter and see you next time.