He was running through the forest. It must have been night time for it had the feeling of night and it was dark. Something was clenched tightly in his fist as he leapt over a fallen log. He could hear the pounding feet of the people giving chase behind him. His breathe came out in pants as he crashed through the trees and undergrowth to erupt into a clearing. The tall grass whipped by him as he ran to the watch tower that stood against the bright moon. Reaching the heavy wooden door, he pulled at it frantically as he looked over his shoulder to the tree line. The shadows emerged from the trees to rush towards him as he pulled harder on the door. The old, rusted lock finally gave away and he stumbled into the lower level. Slamming the door closed, he ran up the stairs to about half way and knelt on the step. His nails clawed around the block of stone before it came loose in his hands. He shoved the piece of paper into the crevice and shoved the stone back into place. Glancing back to the door, he ran up the stairs and onto the highest turret. The sound of the door breaking echoed up the stairs as he spun to look at the dark stair well.
"Valar, grant me peace in death that was denied me in life. Allow he that is worthy to set those souls free that have been trapped. Allow him the grace of the savior at the Hill of the Eye," he murmured as he slowly backed towards the ledge.
He stepped onto the ledge and slowly opened his arms out to his sides. Just as his pursuers emerged from the shadows, he fell back to the still wind. He fell as he looked up at the stars for the last time.
"Valar, catch me."
He lashed out and knocked a vase to the ground hearing it shatter in the quiet room. A noise in the room next to his startled him as he jumped out of the bed. The shards of vase sliced into his bare feet as he stumbled to the far wall near the balcony. The doors leading to the other apartment swung open to reveal a dark haired elf.
"Estel! What are you doing?" he cried as the human jumped and backed quickly onto the balcony.
In his fear, he didn't realize how close he was to the railing as he backed into it. His body flipped over the railing with a startled cry. Elrohir sprinted to the balcony and dove over the side to grab Estel's ankle with one hand while his other grabbed onto the iron railing. The elf gasped as both of his arms were almost pulled out of their sockets and his body slammed into the railing and balcony.
"Elladan!" he yelled, hoping his other brother in the next apartment heard him.
Aragorn shook the cobwebs from his mind as the blood rushed to his head from the inverted position. Why was he hanging upside down? Looking around, he was shocked to realize that he was hanging upside down outside his balcony. Beyond shocked, he looked down his body to see Elrohir gripping one of his ankles.
"Elrohir?" he asked softly in pure confusion.
Dark hair spilled over the elf's face as he looked to his little brother. "Do not struggle Estel, or I will lose my grip."
"Then please tell me how I got here," he said softly and looked around.
Elrohir didn't have the time to respond as three elves appeared above him. Glorfindel and Elladan grabbed Elrohir's arm as Elrond leaned over and grabbed his son under his arms. Pulling Elrohir up a bit, Elrond released his hold on Elrohir and grabbed Aragorn's other ankle. Glorfindel handed Elrohir over to his twin and helped Elrond bring Aragorn over the railing. The human was trembling slightly at the close call as well as the dream that was slowly coming back to him.
"Estel, what happened?" Elrond asked as he looked to the broken vase.
"A nightmare ada," he muttered and started to walk into his room.
Once putting weight on his sliced up feet, he cried out and grabbed for something to keep him upright. Elrond quickly wrapped an arm around his son's waist and supported his weight.
"Glorfindel, please go and get some healing herbs and bandages from the healing wing," Elrond requested and helped Aragorn into the room.
Elladan deposited Elrohir on the bed next to Aragorn and went around the room to light the night globes. The younger elf carefully rotated his shoulders and grimaced slightly. Estel stared at his bare feet as Elrond pulled up a chair and laid a towel over his lap before picking up one of the human's feet. Glorfindel pulled over a stool and placed all of the items Elrond may need on it.
"Will you be willing to tell us why you tried to leap off the balcony?" Glorfindel asked as Elrond pulled out pieces of vase from Estel's foot.
"I di-*flinch* -did not try to leap. I *flinch* fell," he answered slowly, controlling his emotions.
Valar, he didn't mean to fall off the balcony. He hadn't even known that he had been on the balcony at the time. It wasn't like he intended to do that. He flinched again when his father pulled out a rather large piece of vase. The remnants of the dream were still frighteningly clear; so clear, that he honestly thought that his fingers were raw from the stone he recalled. He felt the air rushing past him as he fell from the watch tower.
"Estel, you looked terrified when I came into the room. Something had to have caused that," Elrohir said and repressed a bodily shudder.
"It is of no concern to you, brother," Aragorn replied. He wanted time to sort out the dream before discussing it with the others.
"I believe we shall discuss this later instead of now," Elrond said firmly as he smoothed a healing paste over Aragorn's foot.
"Ada! He needs to speak of it!" Elladan cried in protest.
"Not if he-"
"Pardon me Elladan for not speaking to you immediately of my nightmare. It is slightly disconcerting to witness your own death in your dreams," Aragorn snapped hotly which shut Elladan up quickly.
Everyone went silent as they stared at the human while he gently massaged his temples. Why did they always have to push him for answers when he didn't want to give them any? He honestly didn't even have an answer for himself. For once in his life, he was glad that Legolas was not here. The Mirkwood elf would push relentlessly until the human relented. Ever since Tharbad, Legolas had been almost overbearingly protective. He knew that if his brothers and Legolas combined forces then he would cave in.
"Everyone leave us," Elrond ordered quietly as he looked over at his march warden and twin sons.
When Elrond gave an order, very few resisted it and the ones that did were not familiar with him. The Lord of Rivendell was not one to be bluffed or doubted. The three elves departed and silently closed the door to leave Elrond and Aragorn alone in the bedroom. Elrond worked on Aragorn's other foot and wrapped it as Aragorn centered himself.
"I really did not try to jump off the balcony," Aragorn said to break the silence.
"I know you did not. Why would you have broken the vase, step on the shards, and then walk to the balcony to jump? There are no bloody foot prints leading directly to the balcony, I see the prints staggering to the wall and backing onto the balcony. That must have been one bad nightmare you experience. And not the first," Elrond said and gently lowered the human's foot to the ground.
Aragorn sighed and picked slightly at the rumpled blankets before looking at his father. He should have known that he couldn't hide the nightmares from his father. The past two weeks had been marked by nearly nightly nightmares that banished any hopes of going back to sleep. Usually he would remain in his room till dawn or he would wander around the elvin safe haven. Most of the nightmares consisted of snatches and small images that didn't make much sense to the human but knew that the images terrified him. The nightmare he just witnessed was the first one that he saw all the way through and had made some sense.
"How long have you known?" he asked quietly as Elrond gently touched his knee.
"This is my house Estel. I know of everything that goes on behind these walls. If it seems like I do not, it is because I choose to ignore what your brothers do. But I do know that some early mornings you wander the house before the sun rises. You have slightly bags under your eyes and occasionally doze off in the most unusual places. For instance, the guard tower a few days ago," Elrond said with a faint smile as Estel dropped his gaze shamefully.
Aragorn had walked up to the guard walkway to get some fresh air and look out across the valley. It had been a simple relaxing position as he leaned against the stone column. And then, the next thing he realized was the sun was setting and that he had been there for at least three hours. Several of the guards smothered their grins when he slowly walked off the walkway and avoided their gazes. He was mortified that he had actually fallen asleep.
"Would you talk to me about your nightmares?" Elrond asked softly as Aragorn looked around his room.
He pushed himself towards the center of the bed and wrapped his arms around his legs. His chin rested on his knees and he was silent for a few minutes before starting to speak. He described the nightmares as best he could from when he first started to have them two weeks ago. The nightmares were disjointed, random almost in the context. Sometimes, he was an active participant in the dream and other times he was unseen and could only watch. He saw battles and old castles, nothing he recognized from his travels. He saw beasts that he did not recognize or recall from any sightings or lectures from his childhood. In the nightmares he felt worried, tired, sick, and scared; however, common or uncommon the emotions were. The nightmares would jolt him awake and almost follow him to reality. Elrond listened quietly and allowed no reaction to dance across his face at his son's descriptions of the nightmares.
The human's shoulders slumped in exhaustion when he finished his tale. His hands rubbed his eyes and shook his head to stay aware and awake. His foster-father eyed the weary Ranger carefully before standing up from his seat. Selecting a few choice herbs from his small collection, he sprinkled the herbs in the half-filled glass of water on the night stand. Swirling the glass for a minute or two, he handed the glass to the human with a stern look. Not one to argue with his father in his current state of exhaustion, Aragorn emptied the glass and set it back on the night stand before sliding under the covers.
"Rest, my son. We will discuss your nightmares tomorrow when you are refreshed. No nightmares will plague you tonight," Elrond said softly as he brushed his thumb across the human's forehead.
Aragorn smiled weakly as he submitted to the drugs in his system and his eyes fluttered shut. Elrond sat with his human son for a few more minutes to ensure he slept deeply before blowing out the night globes. He left one burning on the mantle to cast the room in a very soft light for Aragorn's sake. The ornate doors opened silently to let the elf-lord out of the room and into the common room.
Three elves sat quietly in the plush chairs arranged around the room as Elrond closed the door behind him. His dark haired sons looked up at him worriedly for they heard small bits of Estel's nightmares. Glorfindel sat quietly by the window and turned away from the stars when his lord entered.
"How are your shoulders Elrohir?" Elrond asked and placed a gently hand on the young elf's shoulder.
"Fine father. How is Estel?"
"He is sleeping now and should not waken till about noon tomorrow," Elrond said and clasped his hands behind his back.
"What of his nightmares? He can not continued to have them if they disrupt his rest that badly," Elladan said quietly, remembering his twin's call for help.
"No, he can not. He spoke of the Hill of the Eye and I would assume that he would soon travel there. Several of his nightmares could be paced there for what he told me in the descriptions."
"Should we go with him?" Elrohir asked and looked to his brother.
"Do remember that the Mirkwood delegation is coming tomorrow eve. It would be rude for all sons of Elrond to be gone," Glorfindel said and Elrond nodded.
"Glorfindel is correct since you missed the delegation last time. Estel can take care of himself; if there are any problems he will handle it," Elrond said confidently. "It is still late at night and the sun is not due for several hours. Everyone back to bed."
Elladan and Elrohir stood and bid their father and mentor goodnight before retiring to their separate rooms. Glorfindel followed Elrond out and down the quiet hallway. The Rivendell march warden walked silently by his lord's side and waited for him to speak. Even though Glorfindel was thought of as an elf-lord and was as respected as Elrond, he was happy to answer to Elrond and serve under him. They exchanged ideas and valued each other's thoughts and views on topics.
"Glorfindel, I would like you to accompany Estel when he departs," Elrond said suddenly and the silver haired elf nodded.
"I will, my lord. Do you expect some trouble for young Estel?"
"It is not yet clear to me how but these dreams of Estel's are somehow disturbing. The dreams seem very intent on showing Estel something at the Hill of the Eye and it unrelenting. To be honest, it has me worried slightly," Elrond admitted and slowed to a stop.
"I will be ready to leave whenever he is," Glorfindel restated.
"He will probably want to leave once he wakes up. If Prince Legolas was arriving with the Mirkwood delegation then Estel would wait but he is not. You had best check that your packs are ready for your departure."
Glorfindel bowed and left silently as Elrond looked out of one of the high arched windows. Different species of flowers bloomed under the window and almost glowed under the moonlight. The sounds of the river and falls were muted to a soft, dull roar for the night to provide a comforting back noise. Elrond looked up at the moon and started slightly at the vision. The moon floated high in the sky to command the other heavenly bodies but that was not what caught Elrond's attention. A quarter of the moon was tinted blood read against the pale three quarters of the pale moon.
"A red sun at morn means blood has been spilt for the night. A red moon…blood will be spilt to stain the next day."
Aragorn slung his pack over his shoulder and grabbed his bow. Once he had woken that morning, he hurried to pack and ready to leave and make for the Hill of the Eye. Grabbing a few pieces of lembas and shoving them into his pack, he hurried down the hall towards the dining room. Stepping into the dining room, he looked around the empty room before sighting the opened balcony doors. Nearing the balcony doors, he heard the soft sound of cutlery being handled signifying breakfast. The curtains billowed slightly as he approached and swept aside as he walked out onto the balcony. His family and Glorfindel sat eating breakfast on an elegant table, listening to the early morning sounds.
"Ada, I must bid you farewell for now. I am set to leave as soon as I collect a horse."
Elrond glanced over at Glorfindel as the march warden rose to his feet and departed silently. Elladan and Elrohir were already bidding their foster brother farewell as Elrond rose. He hugged his son tightly before holding him at arm's length to gaze upon him.
"You have the heart of a wanderer, my son. You will always have a home here; do not lose the way that your feet travel and your heart knows. Be careful."
Aragorn turned and looked at Glorfindel as the elf stood by the balcony doors waiting for the human. Aragorn looked from Glorfindel to Elrond in question as the dark haired elf shrugged.
"Humour your father Estel. This adventure of yours has me a little worried than normal."
Aragorn paused before nodding to his father and Glorfindel. The two departed and the three dark haired elves sat back down to finish their breakfast.
"I hope Glorfindel knows what he is in for."
There is the first chapter for the new story. I hope everyone enjoyed it as much as I did writing it. I am very excited about putting up this chapter but I am also very scared because I do not know how everyone is going to enjoy it *biting nails eagerly*. Eh gads, I do not think that I am going to get any sleep tonight after I post this *whimpers*. But please, please review for me and tell me how much you liked it and that will keep me happily writing…and keep Poppy the plot bunny happy. So please review for me. Luv you all!