Chapter Two

This story takes place after the Battle of Gondor in the third book of Lord of the Rings Return of the King.

Disclaimer: Check Chapter One

"You summoned me, my Lord?" Honora asked as she silently entered his room. He had been moved back to his chambers in the Citadel and was now just resting until his strength came back enough for him to accept his new duties as the Steward of Gondor.

"Honora, I have a task for you, and once you have completed it, you will be free of your service to me. I want you to ride to Mordor and offer your sword and bow to Aragorn, the King of Gondor. Do you accept this task, Honora?" He asked quietly and waited for her reply.

"I accept this task, my Lord, but I will miss seeing you, Faramir." She said quietly.

"I will be here when you return, I am not going to perish in your absence. And I will always be there to support you, my friend." He said calmly and stroked a finger against her cheek. She stiffened at his show of affection. "We are friends, Honora, are we not?" he asked.

"Yes, my Lord, you are the only friend I have had since my exile. I thank you for it." She said quietly and stood. "I will go now on my errand, my Lord. I will return when I can. Get well soon, my Lord, we need Men of your valor at this time. Farewell." She said and left the room.

She returned to the small quarters that were given her and packed her few things, then she went to the kitchens and asked the cook to prepare a travel pack of food for her. She took it when the cook was done and she left out through the gate.

"Anarvende! Hotuli et! Lve vanya." (Anarvende! Come forth! We depart.) She called and moments later her golden mare ran forth from the forest. She leapt onto the back of her horse and sped off in the direction of Mordor with a speed like the wind. If, as it was said, that Shadowfax, Gandalf's horse was the Prince of Horses, then Anarvende was the Princess. "Ride, love, ride like the wind. We must reach the King of Men before he goes forth into battle against the hoards of Mordor." Anarvende raced forward with greater speed than any horse had ever reached before, ever faster than the speeds of Shadowfax.

"A rider, my Lords! A rider is coming up with greater speed than I have ever seen before behind us!" One of the men on patrol cried in the dead of night as he ran towards the Lords of Men. "Awake! Awake, my Lords!" The whole camp stirred as fires were extinguished and weapons were drawn. But the rider stopped almost four fathoms away and dismounted from its horse.

"Who is it who comes forth at great speed towards the Dark Lands in the black of night?" called a sentry.

"I seek the King of Gondor. Is he with you sentry? Or has he gone ahead?" a strong female voice called from the dark.

Aragorn picked up the elvish accent in her voice and jumped to his feet. "I am here, my Lady, but who is it who calls? Have the Elves sent warriors to help our forces?" He asked.

"Inye harya Honora ve nya amilesse, thou will have at least one Elf warrior, and that warrior shall be me." She called as she walked forward. She quickly found the voice that had spoken to her before and she knelt before Aragorn.

"My Lord, I was sent forth by Faramir to offer my sword, bow and magic to you, the King of Gondor. Faramir saved my life once from a hoard of Orcs and I vowed to him my loyalty and support. He sent me forth to offer you those same services." She said and offered to him her sword. "Well then, Honora of the Elves, I accept your offer. You know this means you must the loyal to me until I either release you from your vow or until death claims you?" Aragorn asked as he laid his hand on the hilt of her sword.

"I do, my Lord, I know the terms." She answered.

There was much muttering and speculation on the newest member of their forces. And from these speculations rose forth many rumors. Some were saying she was an Elvish Princess, come to bring great light forth like the legend of the Lady of Lorien. And others said she was not truly an Elf but the child of a Goddess sent down to the Men of Middle-Earth to help them in their time of need, for her beauty was truly beyond compare. Her pale blonde hair had been cut short, about to the length of her ears and was straight as a swords blade, her skin was fair and had not been marred by the suns rays, even though it was obvious that she spent much of her time out of doors. Her body was lithe and slim, able to move quickly but yet, even from looking at her, from the way she carried herself, they could tell she was powerful. But it was her eyes, most said, that maid her truly unique. They were the very shade of lilacs blooming in spring, that pale color of purple that brought a sense of peace to even the most distressed of Men and that quality came in quite helpful during their journey, for the trip to Mordor was full of distress.

Honora walked distractedly around the camp that night, for the images of her torture from the Men of the South would not allow her to sleep. She sat on the ground away from the rest of the camp and stared out at the stars.

"You should be sleeping, my Lady. We have a long day ahead of us tomorrow. We must travel to the black gates in the morning." Legolas said as he walked towards her.

"I will get no sleep this night, I might as well be on the watch and let those Men rest for the coming day." She replied, not even looking at him . "What troubles you, my Lady?" He asked as he sat next to her.

"Something you could not comprehend." She merely replied.

"Ah, yes, because I am, oh what was it you said? Slightly lacking in mind?" He remarked.

"I apologize for that, Master Elf, my anger takes hold of me sometimes and I say things which may not always be true." She muttered and looked out across the dead lands that they would travel over come morning. "This land is so barren. I hate coming here, there is no life other than that of Orcs. The only plant life you will see in Mordor are much farther North, near the fields surrounding Mount Doom, and even they are struggling to survive in this vile place."

"You have been in the Dark Lands before then?" Legolas asked.

"I have been in the service of Lord Faramir for almost ten years. Faramir has spent much time in these horrid lands, and as I had been sworn to him, so have I." She muttered.

"Then you know much of the terrain? You know places of food and water and shelter?" Legolas asked.

"I know of the terrain, Master Elf, but places of food, water, and shelter are few and far to come between. Food you may only find by raiding the slave settlements placed there, water comes from springs in the earth but it is bitter to the taste. You may find places of shelter throughout the land, even on the plains before the mountain but they are merely pits in the earth and are muddy and full of sharp rocks. Even the air tastes foul." She reluctantly explained.

"Of course it would be a foul place, the Dark Lord enjoys death and despair." Legolas said quietly. "I have been meaning to ask you, my Lady, where is your home? It has been long since I have been with my own kind, not since we left Helms Deep, and I wonder if you have any tales of friends I may have."

"I am sorry then, Master Elf, but I can bring you no tales of your friends. I was banished from the kingdom of Mayacra when I was but a child. The Steward of my Kingdom told me never to come back and I was taken in by a great wizard named Saruman. After a long while though, he went mad, he was power driven and offered the Dark Lord the services of Isengard. We fought and I barely escaped with my life, and I refuse to return there." Honora said sadly. "He was once a great man, both wise and powerful, but the Eye pierced his mind and he grew greedy and knew not when to stop. I dread the day now that I must return to him and finish what was started. He raised me, taught me all I know of magic and the history of Middle-Earth. He is more like a father to me, than King Holraldir."

"Then you are a princess as the rumors have been saying?" He asked in surprise.

"Rumors are often true, but no. I am a ranger and a warrior. I was sent from my place in royalty long ago and even if it were offered to me again, I would not take it." She said angrily and stood up. " has been a pleasure to speak with you, Master Elf, but now I must bid you good night." She said and turned and walked back towards the camp.

"She bears a haunted past, Aragorn, and she was brought up by Saruman after she was exiled by the King of Mayacra. I would not trust her, my friend. She could still be working for Saruman and could easily deceive us to the Dark Lord." Legolas said later that night as they waited for dawn to march to the Back Gates.

"Nevertheless, Legolas, she has offered her services to me, and we need as many warriors as we can for the coming confrontation. Besides, she was sent forth by Faramir, you would not doubt the judgment of the Steward of Gondor, would you?" Aragorn asked.

"No, Aragorn, but he could not know. She could have hidden her past from him." He said again.

" Then why, Legolas, would she tell it so freely to you? When Gandalf returns, we will ask him about her. If she really did spend many years with Saruman at Isengard, Gandalf would know, and he would also know if she can be trusted. He is due back to return within the next few hours." Aragorn replied casually.

As the sun was just beginning to peak over the trail the army of Men had traveled over the previous day, and sight of the White Rider galloping towards them was comforting to many. Already most of the camp had awaked and now Lord Elfstone, Aragorn, walked forward to greet him.

"I need your council, Gandalf. An Elvish warrior came to us the night before last and offered me her services. Last night she and Legolas spoke and she said -" Aragorn was cut off by a cry from Gandalf.

"Anarvende where is your rider?" He called to Honora's horse.

"I'm right here, Mithrandir. It has been quite a long time since we last met. How have you fared? I see you are in white now, have you taken Saruman's place then?" She asked and she slowly walked towards to powerful wizard unafraid.

" I have fared well enough since our last meeting. And yes, I am in white now, though the Order of Wizards seems to have taken a break for a while. And how have you been, Honora? You look weary and tired, as though you have been through a great horror. Are you alright?" Gandalf asked. Honora's eyes clouded for a moment and a look of pain came upon her face. "Things have not been as.. good as I would have hoped, but I am managing." She said quietly. "I have news for you though. I was on an errand for Faramir and I had to pass back through Isengard and it ended with a bitter battle between Saruman and I. During this, he spoke of your. . . fellowship, but I do not see it all now. He said there was nine. Indeed, I have only seen perhaps six in total."

"This is not a place to speak of such things, Honora. Come with me." He said harshly and led her away from the others. "What news do you have from Saruman?" He demanded.

"Saruman spoke of a seeing stone that was once in his command. He says he saw the outcome of the battles to be fought. That evil would prevail in each one and that the Dark Lords wrath would soon cover all of Middle-Earth. He spoke of a hidden menace in the wastes of Mordor, another ally of the Dark Lord. Tell me, the ring-bearer is not in these lands." She said urgently. "I'm afraid I cannot." Gandalf said. "Tell me of this menace. What is it? And where?" "He merely said a hidden menace and he did not say where but in the wastelands of Mordor." She cried. "You sent him there alone?" She demanded.

"He has a friend, Samwise Gamgee, out there in the dead lands with him." Gandalf said quietly, fearing he had sent to two young hobbits to death.

"If I could go to them I would, but I am now under the orders of the King of Gondor and I will be needed in battle latter this day." She said hopelessly.

'Go! Go now, as fast as Anarvende can carry you." Gandalf ordered and pointed towards the dead lands that lay before them.

"I cannot, Mithrandir. I am under the orders of the King of Gondor and I cannot follow any other orders than that of my masters. Please understand." She pleaded.

"Aragorn, come quickly!" Gandalf called. The new king ran forward, his hand on the hilt of his sword.

"What is the trouble?" He asked, warily eyeing Honora.

"Tell her to do as I said, she will follow no orders but those from you. Tell her she must go to Frodo and Sam now or all hope will be lost." Gandalf ordered.

"If you can help Frodo in his task, then yes I order you to go to them, Elf-maiden. He carries the fate of us all, and Boromir once said. Go now, quickly. Take this, the hobbits will know it belongs to friends." Aragorn said solemnly as he took the stone Galadriel had given him in the Forests of Lorien.

"Yes, my Lord, I will go at once." She said as she gave a quick bow. "Anarvende!" The mare trotted to her side.

"Run swiftly, Honora. If Frodo is lost, so is the fate of Middle- Earth." Gandalf said as she mounted Anarvende.

"I will, good luck at the Gates, my Lord, my heart will be with you." That being said she told Anarvende to run like the wind in a gentle elvish voice.