Aragorn cursed at whichever god was responsible for the atrocious weather that now beat upon him. Rain had fallen in torrents since that morning and it was now late that night. The rain only fell harder as the night drew its black cape across the land that he rode on. Stopping his horse he looked around him trying to pin point his location in the woods of Mirkwood. He was on his way to visit his close friend Prince Legolas but he was temporarily lost at the moment in the horrific storm that almost seemed to follow him. Snapping his head to the side he flipped his wet hair out of his face in annoyance and started to look for some type of shelter. Turning his horse a bright flash of lightening streaked across the sky illuminating everything in the forest. The crack of thunder that followed was loud enough to make creatures in the forest cower in a corner and make others want to hide. Aragorn's horse reared in fear jerking the reins from his rider's hands and sent Aragorn tumbling to the mud soaked ground.
His breath left him with a grunt when he landed on the ground flat on his back. Turning his head he saw his horse galloping off in fear before he sat up and slowly climbed to his feet. Cursing his luck he pulled his cloak tighter around him to block out the chill. Knowing he very well couldn't wander around the woods looking for shelter without his horse he found a tree with a low and wide canopy and sat down at the base and pulled the cloak around him and pulled up the hood. Staying like that for a while he became aware of the sounds of horses nearing. Lifting his head he saw another rider walking towards him leading two horses. Moving to his feet he drew out his sword wary of any one alone in these woods. The person stopped, seeing the glint of the sword and his wary look.
"Is that anyway to greet the samaritan that brings your horse back to you?"
Aragorn paused for a moment once hearing the voice. It was at such a pitch that it could very well been a man or a woman. The shape of the figure gave no hints for the cloak went as far down as a few inches off the ground and the hood was shielding the face and any distinguishing features.
Before he could come to any conclusion the person stepped forward and handed his horse's reins to him and turned to the other horse. When the person turned to mount the horse Aragorn took note of the bow and quiver attached to the back which disappeared when the person settled into the saddle.
"I suggest you find shelter Ranger. The storm probably will not let up till morning and that is several hours away," the person said as the horse backed a few steps before turning and walking away.
"And where would I find shelter per say?" he asked before mounting his horse.
The person stopped the horse and turned a bit to look at him through the rain.
The person turned the horse again and started to move through the trees with Aragorn moving to follow. They rode for several minutes and eventually started moving past large granite boulders. Aragorn finally caught sight of a cave opening large enough for the horses to enter. It was immense relief to finally be out of the rain as both riders dismounted and moved further into the cave. Stopping at a point it was a few minutes before a small fire was started. A while later a good size fire was burning and Aragorn could better see the other rider. The bow strapped to the back was expertly made with intricate designs running up the bow. The arrows in the quiver looked to be hand made with the utmost care and respect of the craft.
Ending his inspection the person handed him some break and a flask of water as Aragorn pulled back his hood. The other sat on the opposite side of the fire and still had the hood pulled over the face.
"Are you going to hide your face from me for the remainder of the night fellow Ranger?" he asked and watched as the head lifted a bit.
The hands slowly moved up and pushed the hood back from the face and lowered to the lap. Aragorn hid his surprise upon seeing the female face that was revealed to him. Her light brown colored hair was pulled away from her face and fell down her back. Quickly looking her over he noticed the pointy Elf ears and the barely visible scar running from her left jaw and down her neck to disappear under her cloak.
"A Ranger, an Elf, and a woman. You are just full of surprises are you not?" he asked and she shrugged her shoulders.
"Surprises are what keep some alive," she replied and moved to toss another piece of wood on the fire.
"Since we are both Rangers we can not call each other that. I am Strider."
"And I am Assyrian. How did a Ranger get lost in the woods of Mirkwood such as yourself?" she asked as she pulled her bow from behind her and set it on the ground but rested her hand on it.
"The cover of darkness and the storm hid the path from my eyes. I wished to reach my destination as quickly as possible and chose not to stop for the night. A error on my part," he said as he leaned against the stone wall.
"And error on anyone's part as well as experienced Rangers and trackers. It has been known for even an Elf to lose the path for which they trod."
"And what of you Assyrian? Do you hail from Thranduil's court?"
"I pledge alliance to no court except those of past. My court has long since been lost to its cause," she said looking away from Aragorn towards the cave entrance.
He heard something in her voice which made him pause. The voice held great pain and anger in it from her history. One of her hands moved up to her neck and drifted across her scars that left the horrid marks upon her throat.
"What are you doing in Mirkwood then? It is Thranduil's land."
"I am hunting."
"Things not normally hunted by Elves," she said and left it at that watching Aragorn.
Slowly tearing her gaze away from Aragorn she leaned farther back and rested against the wall. The rain was music to her ears as she slowly closed her eyes and let the sound wash over her. Part of her mind was still acutely aware of Strider but the rain held the attention of everything else. Before Strider's horse had appeared she was listening to the trees around her and hoped to hear news of what concerned her the most. The humans she was tracking and one Elf. Once encountering Strider she knew that he was not one of the humans she was searching for. For he did not smell of Elf blood.
Bringing herself back to the present she heard Strider move to lie down and listened as he slowly slipped into slumber. Opening her eyes she stared into the burning fire and waited till dawn rose.
She heard Aragorn awaken as she slowly carved the shaft for a new arrow outside the mouth of the cave. The sun was shining brightly on the new day and the forest glistened from the rain. The rain from the previous evening had washed away the scent that she was following causing her to worry a bit. As Aragorn stood beside her she slowly rose to her feet and slipped the new arrow into her quiver.
"Thranduil's palace is directly west from us. Head directly that way and you can't miss it," she said as she checked the packs on her horse.
"Are you going to hunt still for the men you wish to kill?" he asked and she turned a bit and looked at him with a small smile.
"What if I said yes I do?" she asked as she turned back to the horse.
"It is sad for someone to hunt for revenge," he said and she spun to face him.
Fury flashed in her eyes as she glared at Strider. "I hunt to kill or be killed. One or the other."
"Why should you look for death when others fear it?"
"I look to die to escape from the pain of living or kill those that gave me this pain that I endure nightly," she sneered with such venom that Aragorn moved for his sword.
Just as he grasped the sword handle Assyrian pulled out a blade and moved towards him. He barely was able to block her blow and stagger backwards from the fury and strength behind the blow. She swept her blade towards him and he jumped out of range before dropping to the grounds and tried to sweep her legs out from under her. Sensing what he was trying to do she held the sword blade in her teeth and jumped up grabbing onto a low tree branch. Swinging herself up she crouched on the branch not realizing that the branch she was on was dead and decaying. Even the light weight of an Elf caused the branch to break and sent her crashing to the ground. Aragorn was immediately standing over her with his sword pointed towards her throat. To his amazement she started laughing before looking up at him.
"Go ahead and kill me Strider for I am already half way dead."
"What could make one so reckless with their own life?" he asked looking closely at the she-elf.
Assyrian's eyes locked with his and revealed almost everything he wanted to know. Behind the fury was unrestrained pain and sorrow that almost washed over him. The eyes he was looking into had seen mass deaths, pain and suffering; more than any set of eyes should have been witness to.
"What happened?" he asked lowering his sword and stepping away from her as she slowly sat up.
Picking up her blade she looked at it carefully and ran her hand down the blade before standing up .She slipped it into its scabbard before looking up at Aragorn before speaking.
"I track a group of humans led by an Elf that betrayed his own people. They murdered everyone from my city and left none alive. I was out hunting with my brother and when we came back there was death everywhere. My pain and sorrow was so terrible and great that I did not hear the group coming up behind us. They killed my brother before my very eyes and almost killed me. But the gods have spared me and I carry my burden as a physical scar," she said and Aragorn's eyes strayed to the scar along her neck and throat.
"If it is your quest to do this then I can not stop you but I will offer some advice. I understand that you are hurting but trust me when I saw that killing the people that caused you this pain will not take it away. It may just succeed in making it harder to bare. But it will fade after time if you let it," he said as she walked towards her horse.
"I certainly hope what you say is true Strider for the agony I feel is almost too much to bear for anyone. But I must do something to honor my family's name and those of my people. I will not have them die in pain," she said and pulled herself onto her horse.
"Till we meet again Assyrian," he said looking up at her.
Aragorn turned and moved towards his horse as Assyrian moved away and almost out of sight.
"And Strider!" she called back as she turned her horse a bit as Aragorn looking to her. "All that is gold does not glitter, not all those who wander are lost. Till another day Aragorn son of Arathorn, Kind of Gondor."
With that and a faint smile she turned her horse and slowly rode away as Aragorn laughed to himself.
Okay people there's my new story and I hope everyone is interested in it and please, I'm begging you here, please review. It makes me feel so much better when people review my stories and I just love to read the reviews. So okay I'm going to be working on the next chapter, hope everyone likes it. Peace.