THE OLD FOREST BY ASHA DREAMWEAVER

Summary: How did Aragorn catch Gollum? Why was Mirkwood attacked? How did Gollum escape from the Elves? What have the Nazgûl got to do with it? Chaos in Mirkwood as Aragorn and Legolas team up with trouble following in their wake! But will the two survive it?

Disclaimer: I own nothing you recognise. Excepting the plot.

A A/N: Based on Elven bloodlines and a thorough exploration of the Silmarillion and related works, I have concluded that Thranduil must have some Vanyar blood as only those of Vanyar descent have blonde hair. And before someone points out Galadriel being Noldor and having blonde hair, I would just like to say that her father was the product of a Noldorin and Vanyarin union, aka Finwë and Indis.  As Oropher, Thranduil's father was Sindarin, the Vanyar blood in Thranduil had to belong to his mother. After that all liberties taken with Thranduil and Legolas's background, as well as the Queen of Mirkwood, are from my own imagination, nothing having been confirmed in canon. Also in 'Unfinished Tales' it is hinted that Oropher most likely came from Doriath, and in order to establish a kingdom (Greenwood the Great as Mirkwood was known before Dol Guldur took up residence) he would probably have been one of the Princes of Doriath, like Celeborn who refers to Legolas as his 'Northern kindred'. Take it as you will but I figure either they're very distantly related or Celeborn was friends with Oropher in Doriath.

Also with regard to Aragorn's background, I don't want to have to add his mother Gilraen into the mix so I have gone against canon and in this story, an injured instead of a hale Gilraen was taken to Imladris but she was too far gone to be healed. Before she died, she entrusted her son, the last remaining heir of Isildur, into the care of Lord Elrond, who loved him and raised him as his own son.

Well, I think I've babbled on for long enough now so on with the story!

CHAPTER ONE: THE EAGLES ARE LAUGHING

"I do not know beneath what sky nor on what seas shall be thy fate;
I only know it shall be high, I only know it shall be great."

-- Richard Hovey.

Leagues away from the free lands of Men, Elves, Dwarves and Hobbits, in the desolate lands of Mordor, territory of the Dark Lord, a lone man with a rather unidentifiable creature as his companion, waded their way through a great expanse of marsh. The man seemed to be dragging the creature unwillingly, as he pulled at its leash repeatedly to get the stubborn creature to move, ignoring its whimpering about sun and moon.

They were both covered in muck and dirt and a whole variety of other equally repulsive substances, so much so as to render them the look of much abused bog monsters who had risen from the depths of some slimy stink-hole. As a matter of fact, it was quite hard to give a positive identification on their respective races, so badly were they damaged. In the end, the eagles observing this strange trek concluded that the taller of the two was of the race of Men. They concluded this due to the fact that he walked on two legs and also to his astonishing repertoire of curses of all matters, in all sorts of languages. And because his height ruled out the Dwarves, Hobbits, Orcs (unless it was a new breed of some sort) and goblins. His messiness immediately ruled out the Elven kindreds, none of the Eldar would ever get themselves into such a state of disrepair. The very thought of an Elf so far gone as to get themselves messy was simply unfathomable! They also figured out that he wasn't one of the Dark Lord's wraiths as he was still alive.

Their last clue in concluding this strange specimen was indeed a man was that they had heard tell of an extremely scruffy ranger from the north who wandered the wilds at will and did not know the meaning of the word 'clean'. The eagles knew this because Elrond of Imladris, a long time friend of Gwaihir the Windlord, had ever so kindly asked the Eagle kindred collectively, to keep a look out for a very, very messy and dishevelled ranger and if they did run across him, would they drop the nearest trough of water that they could find on the unfortunate dirty soul. Of course, the eagles were only too happy to accommodate Elrond, especially since they found it a highly amusing pastime.

They had undertaken Elrond's request every time they spotted the ranger, much to the ranger's ire. It amused the eagles to no end that the ranger had no clue as to why every eagle he had ever come across consistently dropped water on him from above. Still, this must be a new record for the ranger; they had never seen him in such a bad condition before. It looked like extra water would be needed this time.

If eagles could smile, they'd be beaming a rather sinister smirk at the poor, poor ranger.

As for the other creature, they concluded that this must be the man's pet (or else his very ugly and disfigured child) as the creature's main goal seemed to be to whine, whimper, moan, bite and drive his travelling companion crazy. As such it was only fair that this new creature be doused as well.

For fairness's sake of course.

Aragorn, son of Arathorn, foster son of Elrond Peredhil, Elfstone, Elessar, the Chieftain of the Dúnedain, Heir of Isildur, and betrothed to Arwen Undómiel fell face first into the festering mires of the Dead Marshes, just as a flood of murky water landed on him.

The roar bellowed throughout the gravesite of the more unfortunate members of the Last Alliance.

"GOLLUM!!!!!!!!!!!!!!"

~*~*~*~*~~*~*~**~**~~*~*

The year 3009 of the Third Age. Eriador.

They sat around the campfire, the only sound coming from the crackling of the wood as it burned. The younger man, tall, dark-haired and grey eyed, was sprawled atop his bedroll, puffing away on a pipe filled with prime weed from the Southfarthing area in the Shire. He lazily eyed his companion, waiting patiently though still giving the impression that he was alert to any sign of danger.

The other man was much older, with a long grey beard and bushy grey eyebrows dressed in worn grey robes and a rather battered pointed grey hat. Obviously, grey was his favoured colour. He too had a pipe and seemed content with blowing smoke rings, smoke dragons and smoke hearts with the names Estel and Arwen in the middle. The last design earned him a glare and a rather stern look from the younger man, who proceeded to lob an empty water skin at him. The water skin knocked off the elder's large grey hat and the bushy eyebrows narrowed until they looked like furry grey caterpillars. The old man gave the younger a reproachful look and then replaced his hat, wiping off any of the dirt it had gathered as he did so.

"Really Strider. I had hoped you'd have matured a little more. Throwing water skins at a poor defenceless wizard is very bad sport indeed!"

Strider laughed, "I'd hardly call you, or any other wizard, defenceless Gandalf! And when one starts making a jest out of my love life I have a right to defend it. If Elladan and Elrohir or heaven forbid Legolas ever saw one of your beloved heart rings I'd never hear the end of their laughter!"

"It was still no reason to dent my hat," Gandalf grumbled.

"Well you sent word that you wanted to see me for something urgent, I track you here and apart from a 'Hello Estel' upon first seeing you, you have smoked that pipe for two hours without shifting from your perch on that log or saying a word. As much as I wish it weren't so, the spies and servants of the enemy grow more numerous and I have not as much time to devote to their extinction as I would wish. Or, unfortunately, sit around waiting for a tight-lipped Istar to speak about the matter he called me here to discuss. "

"Men," Gandalf muttered, "You're all so impatient. Even those raised by the Elves apparently."

"Yes but alas, I am not immortal and therefore do not have the eternity or several thousand years or so years the Eldar have to learn the fine art of patience. And even then in some cases, it can never be learned. Look at the twins, nearly three thousand years old and they still drive Ada to distraction."

The wizard sighed, "'Tis a long and troublesome tale Strider. And I barely know where to begin. For if I am right, then this may have ramifications beyond what I initially thought."

Strider sat up, face grave and all the laughter gone from him, "I know of little that should cause one of the Istari to worry so."

"If I am indeed proven right, then it shall be the worry of us all." Strider just sat quietly, silently urging Gandalf to continue. "My part in this tale started when I helped Thorin and his companions take back the Lonely Mountain. Do stop sniggering Strider, it's unbecoming of a chieftain," he chastised as Strider struggled to control the outburst of hilarity that accompanied all memories associated with that tale. He had still been new to his heritage at the time the strange group had passed through Rivendell. The sight of thirteen dwarves, a wizard and a Hobbit in one travelling group was not something one forgot.

Gandalf was glaring again and the ranger visibly brought his mirth under control and became serious again. "Now as I was saying before I was so rudely interrupted, it started when Bilbo Baggins found a trinket inside the bowels of the Misty Mountains while hiding from Goblins. It was a ring, made from gold and unadorned but it had one extraordinary thing about it. It made the wearer invisible. I deduced that it was one of the lesser rings of power, made in Eregion. But now my heart misgives me, I fear I placed too little value on it. For after visiting Bilbo in the Shire, I noticed that he had not aged in sixty years. He looked the same as he had then. An idea was given birth in my mind and I curse my previous folly in dallying around, thinking it was harmless. Bilbo's trinket, I fear, could be the cause of war, one in the past and the one that's coming."

"You think it is the One?" Strider asked in a half whisper.

"I fear it is so. But there is only one way to know and that is to find its previous bearer, the creature that went by the name of Gollum. It dwelt in the Misty Mountains and it was in his lair that Bilbo found the ring. I need to know how it came to Gollum and how long he had it in his possession. The One fell with Isildur into the Anduin over three millennia ago. I would know how Gollum came across it, if it is in fact the Ruling Ring. But I have waited long and have grappled with doubt and dread to come to this decision. I had set a watch on Gollum, guessing that he would ere long come forth from his darkness to seek for his treasure. He came, but he escaped and was not found. That was many seasons ago and I fear that I have already waited to long. Gollum is long since gone."

"The watch around the Shire shall be doubled," Strider said, "If your instincts are right, we cannot let Sauron or his spies learn of our knowledge."

"It matters not how valiantly your men guard the Hobbits if they should be betrayed by the only one who can connect the scraps of information. Already there are spies of all sorts watching its borders. Gollum has to be found. If the Dark Lord were to find him and learn that his Ring was not swept into the sea but still resides in Middle Earth, he will bend all his power on the task of getting it back. That is why I have sent for you, you are one of the best trackers left in Ennor and I would request your aid."

Strider was silent and pensive for a moment before he replied, "Then we must hunt for Gollum and find out all he knows. It seems fit that Isildur's Heir shall labour to repair Isildur's fault. The One cannot find its way back to its master if this indeed that dreaded thing. I shall go with you."

"That is all I can ask of you Aragorn."

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~**

The two travelled for many many months before Gandalf, after a visit to the archives of Minas Tirith, came across a scroll concerning the One Ring written by Isildur before the disaster of the Gladden fields, thought of another test that might prove the identity of the ring, making the finding of Gollum to confirm their suspicions unneeded. As Gandalf had said, "The ring itself might tell if it was the One."

And so Gandalf had rushed back to the Shire with all haste but Aragorn continued the seemingly hopeless search.

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~**

The year 3017 of the Third Age. The tower of Barad-Dûr, Mordor.

Gollum crawled back and forth in his dark and dank cell, the heavy metal chains rattling as he moved, shaking his head and constantly muttering about "his precious… nasty Baggins… mustn't let Him get it…"

Gollum had been caught by them. The ones that wanted his precious and they brought poor Gollum to Him. And He had wanted Gollum to tell him all about the precious. But Gollum had known better, yes he had, He only wanted the precious for himself, just like that wicked Baggins but the precious was Gollum's! *He'd* found it. It had been *his* birthday present. It was *his*! And he would find it. Yes he would. He wouldn't let the nasty Baggins have it. He'd wring his neck so he would and then the precious would be with him again.

But He had tried to make him tell about the precious and Gollum had refused. The precious didn't belong to Him! But He and them had done many things to Gollum and they hurt. And there was no food for Gollum. No slimy wriggling fishes, no orc or goblin meat even though he could see and smell them always.

And then He had gotten impatient and He had given Gollum one last chance to talk but Gollum wouldn't say anything. He wouldn't betray the precious. But Gollum had underestimated Him and many, many bad things happened. An eye of fire that burned him… Oh how it hurt him… It was Him and His master and they wanted the precious for Him and they threatened poor poor Gollum with lots of nasty, wicked things.

And Gollum got scared. And Sméagol got scared.

And then there were even more voices in his head.

And then there was pain, and fire, and orcs and them. And Gollum and Sméagol couldn't take any more.

The sharp metal things hurt them, worse than the shining swords of the tall folk and their nasty arrows. And He had been there. With them. And He had promised it would all stop if Gollum just told Him about the precious.

And Gollum had been there so long… and he was terrified of Him and he wanted out. And Sméagol agreed.

So they told.

Still strapped to the thing of metal and wood, he had told Him.

"Baggins… Shire…" was all he could say, over and over again until He was convinced he knew no more.

But then He wanted to know where Gollum had found it and he had had to tell Him about his birthday present, even though he didn't want Him to know.

He was satisfied then and had left poor Gollum with them, who told the mean orcs to put him back in his cell. Leaving Gollum to cower in the corner where the wicked light of the silver ball couldn't reach him.

They had left him here for ages and they still hadn't given Gollum any food. He had lied so he had! Lied to Gollum! And they had left him here to rot.

His head snapped up as he felt the lock on his chains come loose and he attacked the proffered boon eagerly. Gnawing through the remaining shreds of wicked, hurtful rope, he undid the lock and pulled off the chains. Crawling to the door, he tested it and it opened and so he slinked out into the hall and out of His nasty tower, careful to avoid the prowling orcs and them.

Gollum was free…

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~**

The year 3017 of the Third Age. Near the Dead Marshes, Mordor.

"If a man must needs walk in sight of the Black Gate, or tread the deadly flowers of Morgul vale, then perils he will have. I, too, despaired at last, and I began my homeward journey. And then, by fortune, I came suddenly on what I sought: the marks of soft feet beside a muddy pool. But now the trail was fresh and swift, and it led not to Mordor but away. Along the skirts of the Dead Marshes I followed it, and then I had him. Lurking by the stagnant mere, peering in the water as the dark eve fell, I caught him, Gollum. He was covered with green slime. He will never love me, I fear; for he bit me, and I was not gentle. Nothing more did I ever get from his mouth than the marks of his teeth. I deemed it the worst part of all my journey, the road back, watching him day and night, making him walk before me with a halter on his neck, gagged, until he was tamed by lack of drink and food, driving him ever towards Mirkwood. I brought him there at last and gave him to the Elves, for we had agreed that this should be done; and I was glad to be rid of his company, for he stank. For my part I hope never to look upon him again; but Gandalf came and endured long speech with him." – Aragorn, the Council of Elrond.

Aragorn had searched for months after Gandalf departed, journeying so far that he entered Mordor so far as to come in sight of the Morannon (The Black Gate), even though Sauron wanted his line and the Dúnedain exterminated and treaded the deadly flowers of the Morgul Vale, knowing full well that the Witch-King, some lesser wraiths and a legion of orcs dwelt inside Minas Morgul. It saddened him to see it thus as he knew that at one time, before Sauron seized it, it had been a beautiful city called Minas Ithil, the Tower of the Moon, ruled by Isildur and sister city to Minas Tirith, then known as Minas Anor, the Tower of the Sun, instead of the Tower of the Guard as it was now.

Far and wide he had travelled and toiled, ever trying to find Gollum's trail until at last he despaired and longing to leave the barren, scorched wasteland that was Mordor and return to his home, from which he had long been absent and so he started to head North.

And that was when he came across what he had been looking for all this time; the marks of soft feet beside a muddy pool. The trail was fresh not long cold as they had been before and led away from Mordor. A good and bad thing at the same time. Good in the fact that he wouldn't have to return and bad in that he could think of only one reason for Gollum having been in Mordor.

He followed it along the skirts of the Dead Marshes for a day and a half before he caught sight of his quarry. Lurking by a stagnant mere, peering in the water, most likely scavenging for fish or something else to sustain him. And it was then that Aragorn knew he had him. But Gollum, he had heard, had keen ears, especially in the dark places of the world and normally it would be hard to catch him, but Aragorn was no ordinary ranger and having grown up with Elves, he was well versed in the arts of moving quietly and sneaking up on unsuspecting people.

And so he would wait and prepare until the conditions were right. Pulling a length of strong Elvish rope from his pack, he set about making a noose of a sort with it, to make it easier to keep a hold on Gollum. From what Aragorn could see, Gollum could rival the worst orc for sliminess.

Sometimes he really hated Gandalf.

As the dark eve fell, Aragorn judged the moment was right and leaving his hiding place, he lunged at Gollum and caught him. Swiftly trussing him up, even though Gollum as hissing, biting, scratching and hitting like a thing possessed.

The green slime drenched his clothes, as well as disgusting Aragorn. It was one thing to help the wizard find this dreadful creature, it was quite another to roll around in the muck with it. Especially since his hands were now covered in teeth-marked bites and gouged scratches. He was positive they were going to get infected and knowing his luck; he'd end up getting them amputated.

Gollum struggled still and hissed out a strong of very non complimentary words against an increasingly irritated Aragorn.

It was the start of a beautiful friendship.

It took poor Aragorn only one hour to figure out that allowing Gollum to speak wasn't conductive to good blood pressure or for Gollum's continued health. And so in order to get some sleep he decided to gag Gollum.

Easier said than done.

Staggering back from yet another bleeding bite wound, he clutched the injured limb to his chest and glared at the offending little biter. Stomping down on his ire and urge for revenge, he glared a little harder, doing his utmost best to imitate Elrond's infamous glare, he stepped back up to Gollum, pulling hard on the rope tying Gollum and eliciting yet another whining screech from the little monster.

After wrestling with him for about five minutes, he finally got the gag on and in place and shot a triumphant smirk at the near motionless and livid Gollum. "Maybe now I can get some quiet!"

How wrong he was.

Now that Gollum couldn't mutter about Aragorn, he settled for a constant stream of snarl and whines that drove Aragorn up Orodruin and all the way back down again.

All Aragorn could think of was why me?!

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~**

Several days later.

Aragorn had picked up quite the interesting repertoire of insults in various languages and he was putting them all to good use as he dragged an unwilling – and still screeching – Gollum behind them.

He had to take the foul thing to Mirkwood, as he had promised Gandalf he would if he found him. Unfortunately he was only nearing the end of the Dead Marshes, having lost countless hours chasing Gollum after he gnawed through his ropes and then losing even more time having to drag the cursed creature every step of the way.

And Mirkwood was a long, long way away.

And knowing Aragorn's luck, Legolas and his father would probably kill themselves laughing at his predicament and then he'd have to lug Gollum somewhere else! And probably lose all his fingers in the process. He could swear they were already well on their way to swelling.

Trying desperately to tune out Gollum's highly annoying moans and groans, he took to scanning the sky for amusement. Perhaps a Balrog shaped cloud could float by and then Aragorn could claim that Mordor had addled his senses and that he didn't mean to abandon Gollum in the nice big swamp to go chase the Balrog-cloud. Alas! He didn't think Elrond, Gandalf or Thranduil would buy that for a second. Although Elladan, Elrohir and Legolas would probably appreciate his creativity.

A dark shape soared across the sky and Aragorn mentally whimpered. Could his life get any worse? Apparently, yes it could because he distinctly recognised that shape as a great eagle. Why oh why couldn't he come across a nice Nazgûl?

He hated those blasted eagles. They were always dropping water on him for no reason! By Elbereth, it was enough to drive him to fantasising about shooting down said eagles. Preferably over a solid body of water so they could have a nice impromptu wet bath too.

Even as Aragorn was pondering the best way to kill an eagle, the majestic bird swooped down and with a great splash a cascade of water drenched the daydreaming Aragorn. And like everything to do with him, things went from bad to worse.

The shock from the cold of the water caused his foot to slip and with a great amount of flailing and hilarious (to anyone besides Aragorn anyway) arm waving, he went crashing, face first, into the stinking, festering, and absolutely disgusting – not to mention dangerous - mire that was the Dead Marshes.

Struggling to pull his entombed arms out of the muck, he managed to raise his head, and spit out the dirt that he had unfortunately inhaled during his little sojourn into the smellier places of the world. Eyes narrowed menacingly, the effort a bit laughable considering he looked like a newly birthed orc, complete with the slime and all. He looked at the sky and not surprisingly, the eagle was long gone. Which left only one person for Aragorn to take out all of his not so inconsiderable anger on.

The roar bellowed throughout the gravesite of the more unfortunate members of the Last Alliance.

"GOLLUM!!!!!!!!!!!!!!"

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~**

The fortress of Barad-Dûr.

The Eye was searching. It's burning gaze had been sweeping Middle Earth for any trace of It's Ring but a burgeoning problem had drawn It's attention back towards It's own borders.

Something had gone wrong.

Terribly wrong.

That ruined and pitiful creature Gollum, the one who had dared wear It's Ring had spoiled It's plans.

Everything ruined because he had been careless. Gollum had been caught by a Ranger of the North. The same Ranger that had been seen with Gandalf on numerous occasions. And that Ranger would no doubt take Gollum back to the meddling wizard and the creature would tell of his Ring and the element of surprise would be ruined. His enemies would know his plans and would be waiting.

They would be prepared. He couldn't allow it. He had waited for over three thousand years, biding his time, gathering his strength. The strength that had been taken from him by the Last Alliance in the Second Age.

His only consolation was that most of its leaders were dead. At his hand. He hadn't been the only one to experience loss of life and limb but those that he had killed weren't here to suffer his wrath. They were safe in Mandos Halls, where he couldn't rend them limb from limb and force them to undergo intense and prolonged torture.

But there were some that could still pay. And they would be the ones that would try and stop his ascension. Again. Really, it got so boring and predictable sometimes. The pitfalls of being immortal he supposed, they couldn't come up with anything new.

If the Ranger got Gollum to Gandalf the Grey, Gandalf would tell Elrond. Formerly Gil-galad's herald and an extremely annoying little pest. Just like his parents. He would tell his glowing mother-in-Law Galadriel the Glittering Gnat and she would tell Celeborn and Círdan and before he could say 'kill them' every single bloody elf in Middle Earth would know and would be on guard against him and his servants.

Elendil's line was dead at least, he remembered with relish, having felt much glee in hearing of the last heir's death. Arathorn had unfortunately died swiftly and hadn't gotten to pay for his forefathers' deeds but he was dead and that was enough to send his non-corporeal spirit into paroxysms of vindictive pleasure. The line of Lúthien tended to be like gnats or bunnies, kill one and another pops up. Most frustrating.

Of course ranting didn't help anything, except getting him into a nice temper for some good rounds of torture later. He had a problem to deal with. And fast.

The Ranger and the slimy creature Gollum had to be stopped.

Gollum was useless to him now and so he would suffer the Ranger's fate as well.

They both had to die.

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~**

Barad-Dûr was filled with screaming. Not so unusual but the sound was generally not heard coming from his Lord Sauron's chambers. It was a little hard after all to torture someone or something when you weren't corporeal in any sense of the word. The Eye of Sauron was more than sufficient for all sorts of mental tortures but Sauron liked to do that from a distance. He had once said that it was much more fun when the prey knew he was coming. And that there was nothing they could do to stop it.

That had been during the Second Age, now with his power diminished he had to be more discreet.

So Sauron only went for personal torture sessions with his unfortunate prisoners when he was in a particularly bad mood.

For example, when Isildur had chopped off his finger. And took the Ring from him.

By Morgoth had Sauron been mad! There'd been several earthquakes because of it and a revenge induced obsession with eliminating every Heir of Isildur.

Along with Men, Elves, some Istari, Ents, Hobbits, Flora, Fauna, good weather, happiness, joy etc. To cut the list short and not spend half a millennium naming everything, let's just say Sauron blamed nearly everything that existed for his downfall.

And since it had been his third fall from power, he hadn't been easy to live with.

Oh the joys of being the Lord of the Nazgûl. Getting to listen to a constant stream of ranting for however many years it took for Sauron to begin re-coalescing.

But when Sauron was in this bad a mood, not even the Witch-King himself was safe. A fact that he was well aware of.

Entering the chamber he bowed before the Eye and waited for his orders. Sauron looked at him, severely displeased, "Next time get here faster. This is a matter of great importance. A ranger of the north has captured the creature that gave me the location of my ring."

The Witch-King winced under his dark hood, "What would you have me do my Lord? Your human lieutenants are still in Gondor trying to find their quarry's trail." He said this softly, hesitantly, remembering exactly what Sauron's reaction to the news of the incident in Gondor. It had not been pretty. And Morgoth help Jarl and the Mouth of Sauron when they returned to Barad-Dûr. Because they'd be lucky to escape with all their limbs intact.

The Eye flared in anger, "Yes, I still have to deal with those imbeciles," he hissed. "But I have another task for you and the rest of my wraiths…"

The Witch-King waited expectantly.

"The ranger is known to the Elves. He cannot be allowed to wreck my plans. They have been long in the making and I am loath to change them now. The ranger heads to Mirkwood. You will be there before him and get rid of this problem. And let it be known now that if you fail, and that creature tells of my ring to the Elves, it will be your head on which I will take out my ire. Is this understood?"

A nod from the Morgul-Lord.

"I want my ring. At any cost. Find that ranger and when you do… kill him."

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~**

A/N: Ada: - Sindarin for father or more accurately 'Dad' or 'Daddy'. Short for 'adar'. Quenya: 'atar'.

** 3017 - Aragorn takes Gollum to Mirkwood. Gandalf reads the scroll of Isildur in Minas Tirith.

** As an explanation for the reference to Sauron's third fall of power. Fall number one: - He was Morgoth's (the Biggest Baddest Dark Lord Ever and a fallen Vala.) lieutenant in the First Age and when Morgoth lost, Sauron had to do a runner.

Fall number two: - He disguised himself and drove the later Númenórean Kings and their people to destruction through greed, lust for power and immortal life, darkness, evil etc. When Númenor sank into the sea (by the way this was well after the creation of the One Ring by Sauron and the Three Elven rings by Celebrimbor in Eregion) Sauron went with it. The only reason he survived was because of the power of the Ruling Ring, though he forever lost his previously fair appearance.

So fall three was at the hands of the Last Alliance of Elves and Men.

And just as a side note: - the line of Luthien has always been involved in his downfall one way or another. For example, Elrond, Elros, Eärendil, Elwing, Luthien, etc, etc in the First Age. The Númenóreans and Elrond in the Second Age. And Elrond, Elladan, Elrohir, Arwen, and Aragorn in the Third Age. How come he never noticed this?

So what do you think of the chapter?

As Gollum pretty much starts the War of the Ring single-handedly by finding and losing the One Ring and causing it to resurface and then goes and tells the Ringbearer's name to Sauron, it's safe to say that he deserves a bit of attention. Expect cameos from Rivendell. May the Valar have mercy on the poor, unsuspecting inhabitants of Rivendell… *shakes head mournfully* Even Elrond's foresight cannot save them…

P.S: For all those who have read my other fic, 'A Light to You In Dark Places' which is a Lord of the Rings/Buffy the vampire Slayer cross-over, you will have noticed that the story of 'The Old Forest' is also contained in that fic.

P.P.S: - For all you Orlando Bloom (Legolas) fans, an absolute must see is Pirates of the Caribbean. I just saw it a few days ago and it's hilarious! Johnny Depp, Orlando Bloom and Keira Knightley do a really good job in it! If you haven't already seen it, go now! You'll be laughing through half the movie it's so funny! Plus there's plenty of that swashbuckling action too…

Next chapter! – We pay a little visit to Legolas and Aragorn in Mirkwood! Be afraid. Be very afraid.

REVIEW!!!!!!!!!!

The little blue button at the bottom of your screen is your friend… so click on it and feed the author! Remember REVIEWS provide ENCOURAGEMENT and make for FASTER UPDATES!!!