Lookis that! A whole bunch days ahead of scheduale for the whole 'one chapter a week' thing!



Chapter 2: Departure and Arrival

Legolas Greenleaf had been on edge all morning. As they'd journyed farther from Lothlorien and the elves of that fair land, his nerves had sharpened. He sensed orcs. That was primarily the problem. Orcs had once been elves, and just as elves could sense the presence of other elves, so could they sense the presence of orcs.
But that had not been all that had been bothering him. For the last several hours, he'd had the distinct feeling that something terrible was going to happen. Something was not right in the whole lay of the land, in the air there was a dangerous taste. He'd been silent for the most part as it was, but now he sat, completely still, trying to sense what was wrong with the balance.
At last, wearying of straining for something he couldn't quite seem to reach, he looked up. The first thing he noticed was that Frodo was not where he had been moments before. The next thing he noticed was that Boromir, too, was gone.
"Aragorn!" He called, standing. "Frodo's gone!"
The dark haired man's head snapped up, and his mouth set in a grim line. "We'll have to search for him. Split up, everyone."
Legolas nodded, and scooping up his bow, he darted through the trees, blonde hair flowing behind him. The forest was quiet-too quiet, and he didn't like it a bit. His blue eyes reaching skyward, he whispered to the leafy giants, "Wake, brothers. I am Legolas Greenleaf, son of Thurandruil, prince of Mirkwood. What happens under your leafy bowers?"
The branches of the trees quivered, leafs rustling, but no soft tree voices responded to his plea. His smooth brow furrowed in worry, for never before had the trees been silent with him. Then, as he swung around a smooth tree trunk, he heard, piercing the silence of the forest, a scream.
He gasped. "That's the voice of a lady!" And he wasted no time in following the cry that lingered in the air.

*****

Aragorn stumbled as he entered the ruins. Frodo stood within, breathing hard, clutching his chest. "Frodo?" He asked softly, voice full of concern.
"Stay away!" Frodo gasped, backing away.
"Frodo?" Aragorn asked again, concern in his voice. "I swore to protect you!"
"Can you protect me from yourself?!" Frodo cried, desperation in his voice. He slowly uncurled the hand clung tightly to his chest, revealing inside a simple gold ring, something so simple that would shape the fate of so many. "Would you destroy it?" He held his hand towards Aragorn, offering him the burden in so simple an object.
The Ring was calling out to Aragorn, all but begging him to take it, however he had to, from the little Halfling. But instead, Aragorn knelt before Frodo, and gently closed the young man's hand over his burden. "I would have gone with you to the very end. Into the very fires of Mordor," Aragorn whispered, knowing all too well what the Hobbit intended to do, although he did not understand why.
"I know." Frodo said with the tiniest of smiles. "Take care of the others. Especially Sam. He will not understand."
As Aragorn nodded, he noticed, with widening eyes, that Frodo's sword, Sting, was glowing an unearthly blue. It was made by Elves, and it only glowed like that in the presence of Orcs. "Go, Frodo! Go!"
The halfling wasted no time in obeying, fleeing as fast as his feet could take him, tumbling off.
In that moment, Aragorn spun at a sound behind him, and his eyes widened to see a Man and an Orc woman behind him, stepping slowly out from behind a ruined pillar. Without pausing, he drew his sword, but neither seemed ready to attack him. In fact, the Orc woman nodded her head, then turned to glance over her shoulder. "They're coming." She said, simply, in a heavily accented voice, then stepped towards Aragorn, followed only a heartbeat behind by the Man.
They both ignored Aragorn hefting his sword, and the Man drew his as well, then stood with his back to Aragorn's, as though they were friends protecting each other's back. "What..." Aragorn, was, for the first time, at a loss for words.
The orc woman shook her head, and repeated, "They're coming."
And so they came. Orcs poured over the hilltop, swarming towards them, and Aragorn had no more time to think for fighting.

*****

Legolas swung up the wooded slope, but he halted as he crested over a hill. The hill was, in fact, between him and the scream he had heard, but on the crest of this hill stood the once-magnificent ruins of a citadel. And within these ruins was a pitched battle. Orcs were swarming, attacking someone in the centre of black bodies. They were being slaughtered as quickly as they came, but no one could survive long in a pitched battle against a swarm of urak-hai orcs.
So it was with grim resolve that Legolas drew his weapons, striking at the orcs. Now the foes were confused, for hadn't a moment ago *they* been the attackers?
Cutting a swath through the masses, Legolas worked towards the centre and those being attacked, his arrows being used more as knives than being shot. As he struck down another attacker, he found himself abruptly face-to-face with a female orc. Her eyes glowed red, and her hands and mouth were stained with black orc blood. He stood stunned for a moment, shocked at the sight of a female orc, when she suddenly tackled him, sending him sprawling.
As he reached for his knife, she suddenly flung her arm in front of him, and with the arm guards she wore, deflected a sword blade that had been aimed for his head. She lept toward his attacker, and with several swift claws, disemboweled him. Glancing back to see him still on the ground, she hauled him to his feet, and growled, "I thought elves were quick." Then she released his arm, and sprang on another of the urak-hai, ripping his throat open with her teeth. All of this had developed in less than 3 seconds.
Blinking, Legolas turned to strike at the urak-hai, rather bewildered.

******

Frodo Baggins plummetted downm the tree covered slope, moving as fast as his large feet could take him. He couldn't forget the look in the eyes of Merry and Pippin as he'd motioned to them that they could not come with him. Or the incredible grief in Boromir's as he'd realised what he'd done, trying to steal the ring. Now his path had taken him to the end to which he now travelled, determined that, no matter what, he, Frodo Baggins, would journey on alone. He couldn't trust any of his companions anymore, not even dear old Sam, he was sure. The Ring was simply too evil.
As he reached a small level clearing on the hill side, he tripped, his feet catching on a root. Panting, he pushed himself up - to find himself staring into a set of green eyes.
Gasping, he backpedalled quickly, to see that the one into which he'd nearly stumbled was an elf, with long soft gold hair, and surprisingly, a lady elf. Something in her face reminded him of Galadriel, and he relaxed slightly. That is, until a sound at the other end of the clearing made him jump, and he was shocked to see another elf, also with green eyes and paler blonde hair, like Legolas'. "Who are you?" Frodo gasped. "What are you doing here?!"
"We'd like to know that ourselves," the lady elf beside him said. "We're lost."
"I thought elves never got lost," Frodo said, rather fasiciously.
They exchanged glances. "There are many things people hear," the male said with a slight smile. "But maybe you can help us. We're looking for Saurians-"
"Sauron!" Frodo gasped. "You're looking for Sauron?!"
"No!" The female cried. "No! They attacked us! They're our enemies!"
Frodo looked at her, bewildered by her use of 'they' and not 'he', then spun at the sound of battle behind them. "You can't come with me-my journey takes me alone. But you can at least come as far as our camping place. The others will be able to help you from there." Frodo seized the lady elf's hand. "Come on!"
Both rose swiftly, and followed him in his crazy plummet down the hill.

*****

Although Legolas had seen many amazing things in his life, he had never before seen orc fighting orc on the side of men and elves. Intruiged, he chose not to concentrate on it, and instead he pitched himself again into fevered battle. As he moved in a graceful battle dance, he bumped unexpectedly into a solid body. He spun, to find himself facing a man, of average height for a man, with curly grey hair, a white streak by his forehead, a black patch over his right eye. The man let out a little grunt of acknowledgement, and spun to attack the orcs around him again.
And that was when, rising over the sound of battle and orc death cries, they all heard the sweet calling notes of the Horn of Gondor. Once, twice, three times it rose over the forest, and hung in the air, a summoning for all men of Gondor. "The horn of Gondor," Legolas whispered.
The grey haired man beside Legolas suddenly spun away from the orc barrage, and vaulted over a fallen piller. He then began sprinting towards the sound of the horn, not even pausing as he slashed any orc that tried to get in his way.
"Dùlkar!" Someone cried, and Legolas noticed that it was the orc woman.
He paused then, turning, and called, "It's something I have to do, Ras! I'll return! I promise!" And then he turned, and disappeared into the trees.
Aragorn, from where he fought just a short distance away, slammed one final orc to the ground. "Let's go!" He called, and Legolas, Gimli, who had joined them, and the orc woman, Ras, followed.

*****

Merry and Pippin, both dealing with the leaving of their best friend, now had something else to worry about as well. Standing with them, hacking at orcs as best she could with a short sword she was obviously very inexperienced with, was a female hobbit. Se had bright firey red hair, and had been in the clearing with an elf when the two young hobbits had lured the Orcs there. Immedietly the elf had thrown himself into battle alongside Boromir, seeming very determined to protect the female halfling. She had, herself, just jabbed at the orcs with her sword, acting as though she'd never used it before.
The elf, the one who had already been in the clearing, stood with Boromir, weilding an elegent elven bow, and having a great deal more success with his weapon than the hobbit was having with hers.
There was an angry cry from one of the orcs, and one struck the elf. He hit him with enough force to send the elf stumbling back, silver hair flying. He was struck by another of the orcs, and tumbled to the ground, head striking against a rock as he fell limp.
"Nenwing!" The female hobbit screamed, and tried to run towards him.
"Woah, now!" Pippin cried, snaring her waist with his free arm. "You won't do him any good by running over there. May be he's just been knocked for a loop, but if you run over there, then them orcs'll kill him for sure. Best thing you can do for him is just wait here."
She relaxed a little, though he could see the blinding fury and hate in her eyes, and now, whenever an orc came anywhere near her, she slashed at him with such fury that both hobbits reminded themselves never to make her mad.
Boromir, however, was not faring so well. He was now fighting alone, and so, whenever he had the slightest spare second, he lifted the horn of Gondor, and blew a low, sweet note upon it.
For a long moment, there seemed no response, although Merry and Pippin had both been hoping that at least Aragorn would come.
Then, unexpectedly, a man sprang over the hill top, his sword out, breathing hard. Sword flying, he thundered into the clearing, hurrying to Boromir's side.
Boromir smiled weakly. "A man of Gondor in these foresaken parts?"
The grey haired, patch eyed man bent his head for a moment. "Always your servent, Lord Boromir. And how is your brother Faramir?"
"You know my brother?" Boromir asked in surprise, as he hacked an arm of the nearest orc.
"Indeed, sir, all know your brother. He is almost as great in reknown as yourself." He laughed merrily as he hewed the neck of another orc. "Actually sir, I know him from very long ago. Is he well?"
"Last that I saw him," Boromir smiled, then paled suddenly, reeling back.
"Boromir?" The man said in surprise, pausing in his battle long enough to look back at the son of his steward. "Boromir? What-" And then he saw the black, feathered arrow that protruded from the front of the man's leather jerkin.
"Boromir!" He cried, reaching towards him, but the other man pulled away.
"I'm fine," he growled, and continued striking at the orcs. Until a second arrow plunged into his chest, and he reeled again, but again, only for a moment.
When the third arrow peirced his jerkin, Boromir fell, weak, to his knees. The man of Gondor continued to fight, attempting to protect his lord, but one of the orcs continued to attack him, and with a blow of his sword threw him back. The patch eyed man fell also to his knees, attempting to catch his breath as well as staunch the wound in his side.
Seeing both men fallen, a swarm of orcs swang through the clearing, and as they went, they swept up the three hobbits. Merry and Pippin cried blindly for Boromir, their beloved friend who now knelt, helpless and dying, while the lady hobbit cried helplessly for the silver-haired elf who remained, lying still at the edge of the trees.
Boromir knelt silent on the ground, trying only to breathe through his punctured lungs. As he panted, a pair of feet, the last pair of black, booted feet he wanted to see, stalked up to him, stopping mere inches away. Weak, and exhausted, Boromir lifted his eyes, looking into the black face of the leader of the Urak-hai orcs, Lurtz, white handprint across his face.
That face smirked, and Lurtz raised the crossbow he held, aiming that final, death dealing blow. And Boromir waited, knowing that no matter what happened, he could not stop what happened next.
"NO!" A voice roared, and Lurtz, Boromir, and the still struggling man of Gondor all spun, Lurtz just in time to avoid Aragorn's sword.
The two were thrown into pitched, fevered battle, no holds barred. They danced gracefully in and out of the fallen orc bodies, rocking on the balls of their feet, weapons striking and counter-striking. It seemed, for a moment, that Aragorn was winning, striking off Lurtz's arm, when Lurtz abruptly threw his sheild, pinning the king to a tree. Elendil, his sword, skittered away, and Lurtz smirked, lifting his hooked bar to deal the final blow.
"Hey! Here!" The man of Gondor cried, suddenly, rising up enough to throw the trapped man his own sword. Aragorn caught it, and deflected Lurtz's blow, sending him back enough to give him the time to wrench the sheild away. Aragorn then dropped, rolling across the ground, and picked up Elendil with his other hand. With that in hand, he swung, wide and desperate, but his last ditch effort proved effective, because that last strike severed Lurtz's head.
Aragorn sighed with relief, and the man of Gondor, too, relaxed.
Aragorn's head then turned, his face set, and he strode to Boromir's side. Gently, carefully, he helped Boromir lay down against the soft slope, resting his head on his cloak. Boromir tried to rise, but Aragorn gently pushed him back. "No."
"They took the little ones," Boromir gasped, straining.
"Stay still," Aragorn ordered, checking his wounds.
"Frodo." Boromir fought against his king's restraints. "Where is Frodo?"
"I let Frodo go," Aragorn said softly.
Boromir relaxed, visibly. "Then you did what I could not. I tried to take the Ring from him."
Aragorn smiled bitterly. "The Ring is beyond our reach now."
Boromir reached up, gripping Aragorn's arm. "Forgive me. I did not see it. I have failed you all."
"No, Boromir." Aragorn clasped the other's shoulders. "You fought bravely. You have kept your honour." He moved to remove one of the arrows in Boromir's chest, but Boromir held his arm still, stopping him.
"Leave it! It is over." He sighed in regret. "The world of Men will fall. And all will come to darkness. My city to ruin."
"I do not know what strength is in my blood." Aragorn said fiercly. "But I swear to you, I will not let the White City fall. Nor our people fail."
"Our people. Our people." Boromir smiled suddenly, closing his eyes. Aragorn reached for the fallen steward's sword, and placed it gently in his hands.
At that moment, Legolas, Gimli, and Ras entered the clearing, then froze at the scene of Aragorn leaning over a still Aragorn, the patch eyed man only steps away, quietly watching all that was said.
"I would have followed you, my brother." Boromir whispered. "My captain. My King."
And then he fell still, his noble spirit leaving him.
Aragorn, eyes shut tight against tears that threatened him, whispered, "Be at peace, Son of Gondor." Gently, he leaned down, and kissed the warrior's forehead.

*****

Frodo and the two elves tumbled down onto the shore where the elven boats lay docked. Frodo stood for a moment, staring out across the river, holding what looked for all the world like a simple gold ring in his hand, tears slowly streaming down his cheeks. At last, he brushed them away, and turned to the elves. "I must go on alone from here. I can't risk anyone else."
"You're going in one of those boats-by yourself?!" The lady elf cried, looking worried.
"Yes." Frodo said with resolve. "I would thank you not to tell anyone by which route I went."
Without waiting for a response, he pushed one of the boats into the water, clambering in.
"He's insane," she whispered to the other. "He'll never make it."
"He has to," he whispered back, then both jumped as another hobbit figure burst from the bushes. Seeming not to notice them, he called instead to Frodo.
"Frodo, no! Master Frodo!" When Frodo didn't seem to be responding, he began wading into the river, out towards him.
Frodo shook his head. "Go back Sam! I'm going to Mordor alone!"
Sam continued walking. "Of course you are! And I'm going with you!" His feet left the muddy bottom, and he began dog-paddling towards the boat.
"Sam, you can't swim. Sam!" Sam's curly head disappeared under the water, and Frodo lept up, far too fast for the little boat, making it sway and wobble in the water. "SAM!"
"Valar!" The lady elf gasped. "Nosdanÿl! We have to save him!"
But there was nothing they could do, and they watched in terror as Frodo, leaning over the side of the boat, searched frantically for the other hobbit. Time and again he plunged his hand into the water, but just when all hope seemed lost, they rejoiced to see him pull from the water a spluttering and coughing Sam.
Frodo dragged him into the boat, and Sam faced him, panting. "I made a promise, Mr. Frodo. A promise. 'Don't you leave him, Samwise Gamgee.' And I don't mean to. I don't mean to."
"Oh, Sam!" Frodo cried, hugging his friend tightly, thankful that he was alive, tears in his eyes. "Come on then." And they both took the oars, setting out.
The two elves watched them for a long moment, then the lady elf suddenly headed for the shore and pushed one of the remaining boats out into the water. "Mirssir," Nosdanÿl protested, catching her arm. "What are you doing?"
Her emerald eyes were set as she looked at him. "You heard him. They're going to Mordor, Nosdanÿl. Two little hobbits against all of Mordor. They'll never survive."
"So you're going to follow them?" He demanded.
"Yes." She frowned. "Are you coming or not?"
Nosdanÿl sighed. "Someone has to watch out for you."
And so they slid the boat into the water, and set out after the hobbits, following far enough behind to go unnoticed.
Unnoticed, that is, by hobbits, but not by all.

*****

Aragorn, and Dùlkar, wound now bound, stood side by side on the shore, watching as one of the elven boats, containing the still Boromir, holding his sword, floated down the river. Aragorn wore now Boromir's gauntlets, and Dùklar had insisted that he be allowed to keep Boromir's cloven horn of Gondor. It was quite useless now, split in half, but he seemed not to care. Together, they quietly watched the funeral boat sweep over Rauros falls, grief mirrored in their eyes.
Normally Aragorn would not stand an intrusion upon their Fellowship such as this odd combination of Man, elf and Orc, nor would he have allowed two strange elves to follow Frodo and Sam. But Dùlkar had been summomned by the horn of Gondor, and had nearly died trying to protect the son of the Gondorian steward. And he had saved Aragorn's own life. And Ras, well, Ras had killed more orcs than the rest of them combined, seeming not to care that she was destroying her own race. Had they not proved themselves in battle, he would not have easily accepted them.
Gimli stood a little ways away, waiting, and Ras tended to the fallen silver-haired elf, though Gimli watched the orc woman warily. Legolas, however, came rushing forward, and hurridly pushed the remaining boat into the water. "Hurry! Frodo and Sam have reached the eastern shore!" He clearly meant to follow the two elves that had already also passed over.
Gimli made no move, his eyes still on Ras, and Aragorn, sighing, looked accross the river, where Sam and Frodo could just be seen disappearing into the woods, the elves nearly at the shore as well.
"You mean not to follow them." Legolas' next statement was not a question.
"Frodo's fate is no longer in our hands." Aragorn sighed, turning away from the river.
"Then it has all been in vain. The Fellowship has all been in vain." Gimli growled.
Aragorn approached his friends, Dùlkar following at a respectable distance. "Not if we hold true to each other."
The others smiled, realising the truth of his words. "We will not abandon Merry and Pippin to torment and death. Not while we have strength left."
"And what about Malelen?" Another voice said crisply. "What about her? Can we just abandon her, then?"
They turned, and saw, to their surprise, that the silver-haired elf had risen, and glared with most unelvish like anger at Aragorn. "What about my gold star?" He demanded. "My Malelen? Shall she too be forgotten?"
Aragorn cocked his head. "Malelen? I'm afraid I do not know the name."
"She is a halfling," Dùlkar said suddenly, and Aragorn turned to look at him. "The orcs captured her as well as Merry and Pippin. There was nothing I could do to stop it."
Aragorn furrowed his brows for a moment, thinking. "Then we shall also rescue your Malelen, if it can be managed. You would be most welcome to travel with us, should you desire."
"I desire very much," The elf snapped, and crossed his arms.
Aragorn smiled, and though Gimli merely glowered, even Legolas had a hint of amusement in his sparkling eyes. "Leave everything that can be spared behind. We travel light. Let's hunt some orc!"
Ras stood, grinning, startlingly white fangs glistening. "Now this is the kind of quest I can handle!"
Gimli actually laughed, and Legolas smiled. Picking up only the essentials, they began to run, following the tracks of the urak-hai.

*****

Frodo looked down on the desolate, rocky place below him. "Mordor. I hope the others find a safer road."
Sam smiled. "Strider will look after them."
Frowning, Frodo said. "I don't suppose we'll ever see them again."
"We may yet, Mr. Frodo. We may yet."
"Sam." Frodo smiled, a flicker of hope brought back in his otherwise dark eyes. "I'm glad you're with me."

****************

Well....what do you think? I know, I know, the dialouge is the same as in the movie at the end. That was because I was trying to fit the characters in smoothly, make it seem as though they were suppossed to be there. I was trying to give the indication that at this point, nothing's really changed. Their quests remain the same.
So could you tell who each character was? In case you couldn't, here they are:
Wildwing = Nenwing (that means "Water Spray/Foam" in Elvish)
Mallory = Malelen (Malelen is actually an Elven name, not hobbit, meaning "gold star")
Duke = Dùlkar
Nosedive = Nosdanÿl
Missie = Mirssir
Rose = Ras
And where are Tanya, Grin and Christé? Remember I said only two of them didn't land in the forest, so one of them is still out there.
Will they find them soon? Ooh....the suspense.
And as for another thing...notice that they also have a group of nine? And that one of the nine in the original Fellowship, making it a group of eight? Well.....I'm kinda trying to make the two balance each other, like that what happens to one happens to the other. So I need (Well, I don't need, I want) to kill off one of the characters. *gasp* So, who will it be? Wildwing, Mallory, Tanya, Duke, Grin, Nosedive, Missie, Christé, or Rose?
I want you all to vote. Please. Altough you're all warned that some characters have very important roles so may not be killed off at all, or not immedietly anyway. I want you to knock yourselves out, okay?

And my marshmellows are sadly unsinged and my warm fuzzies box is sadly empty. REVIEW, PEOPLE!!!