Title: The Lost One

Author's Notes:

This is my first fanfic and I hope you all enjoy it! I want to say thank you to my two incredible betas, Aly and Femke, for all of their help. They did an amazing job of helping me! I also want to say a special thank you to my boyfriend for all of his help! I hope you all enjoy it! Review Please!

Disclaimer: I own nothing of Middle Earth or its inhabitants. I only own Alexa and the other original characters throughout the story.

Chapter I: The Huntress

Seemingly hidden by the early morning mist, a doe drank from a small stream that ran through the Dunharrow Valley, completely unaware of the danger that approached. Watching the deer closely, the huntress crept from behind a large oak tree and drew her bow. As an Elf, the huntress made no sound and disturbed nothing in her path. As she loosed the arrow, a mighty clap of thunder spooked the deer, causing her to barely miss the shot.

"Drat!" Alexa muttered, as she watched the arrow fly harmlessly into the woods. "That is the first sign of game I have seen in two weeks, and I missed!" A light rain began to fall, effectively dampening her clothes, but she could only think of how her day could possibly get any worse.

As she trudged back to her camp on the outskirts of the woods, the rain began to recede. She walked up and stroked her horse, Spitfire, who nuzzled her affectionately in return. Alexa removed the leather cord that held her waist-length golden hair, and shook it out, hoping that it would dry quickly. She opened her pack and removed her last piece of bread. Tearing off a piece, she fed it to Spitfire, who ate it quickly from her hand. Setting the rest of the bread on a log near the fire pit, she picked up her waterskin and took a long drink. Wiping her mouth with the back of her hand, she hooked her waterskin onto Spitfire's saddle and sat down. As she reached for the bread, an enormous black raven swooped down and snatched up the bread, returning to a nearby tree. Jumping to her feet, Alexa grabbed a rock and hurled it at the bird, which just proceeded to flap angrily and finish off her bread.

"I hope you are enjoying my breakfast, you rotten bird! Consider yourself fortunate that I do not make you my breakfast instead!" she yelled.

Alexa sat down angrily and looked at Spitfire. "Lovely. Now we are going to have to head for a town," she muttered. "A raven. Ravens are bad omens, are they not, Spitfire?" She sighed. "I was wrong. Apparently, this day can get worse."

She shook her head and rose. Her hair had dried enough for her to retie it. She did so, taking care to tie it so that it concealed her Elf ears. She did not dress in the attire of the Elves; rather, she wore clothing more befitting of a ranger. Her tunic was a dark green and her fitted leather pants were brown. Her intense bright blue eyes made her all the more beautiful… and intimidating. She secured her slender sword and scabbard to her leather belt, and checked the dagger that rested in the top of her worn leather boots. Lastly, she tied her black cloak around her neck and pulled up the hood. She snatched up her bow and quiver, and attached them securely to Spitfire's saddle. Mounting Spitfire, she rode towards Edoras.

The two of them rode hard for some time, then slowed when they were a few miles out from Edoras. Dismounting, she patted Spitfire's side. "Rest, my friend. You have carried me long enough. Let us enjoy the day." Taking Spitfire's reins, she led him down the road. She breathed deeply, taking in the crisp, cool air. As she neared the city gate of Edoras, she noticed a tall, hooded man leading a large brown horse along the road. As they passed one another, she could feel the stranger's eyes upon her. She tried to make out his features beneath the hood of his cloak, but was unable to. Her uneasiness grew with each step, for even though she was unable to see his eyes, she felt his intense gaze following her every movement. When she reached the gate, she glanced back and saw that the stranger had stopped and was still staring after her. She gave him a dark look and continued through the gates, heading for the stables. As she passed through the gates, the watchman stopped her.

"What business have you in Edoras, my lady?" the guard questioned.

"Only to gather supplies and get a hot meal. Then I will be on my way," she answered.

"Very well, but I advise you not to enter the Red Dragon Inn. It is no place for a lady," he said.

A wicked smile crossed her face. "Hmm. Red Dragon, eh? Thank you, sir." Leaving the guard, she walked to the stables. She paid the stable hand and began making her way to the Red Dragon Inn.

The inn grew silent as she entered. All eyes were upon her. She looked around at the various patrons, if one could call them that. All were rough-looking men who were more befitting of the king's dungeon, than of an inn. She chose a table near the back, and sat down. Several bold men began to approach her, but her icy gaze drove them away. She looked up as the innkeeper approached.

"Well," the innkeeper said. "We don't get many like you in here."

She tensed. "What do you mean by that?" she asked tersely.

"I only meant that we do not often get beautiful women in here." She nodded slightly and relaxed. The innkeeper continued, "What can I get for you, lass?"

"A hot meal and a pint of ale."

"Coming right up, lass," he said and walked off.

As she waited, she looked around the room and saw several mangy dogs lying beside their masters. She shuddered. Oh, how she hated dogs. She had hated them since she was a small child, though she knew not why. Every time one was near, her heart began pounding and an unwelcome, but all to familiar, fear gripped her soul. A simple bark or howl from one of the beasts was enough to make her want to reach for her sword in defense. She wished she knew what it was about them that terrified her so. She looked up and saw the innkeeper returning with her food, and more importantly, her ale. He approached the table and set the meal in front of her.

"There you are, lass," he said and walked over to one of the other tables.

Alexa eyed the food suspiciously and took a cautious bite. It wasn't the best food in the world, but at least it was hot. She took a long drink of her ale. Not bad, she though silently. Her thoughts then turned to the hooded man from the road. Who was he? A loud noise suddenly broke into her thoughts. She looked up and watched as a drunk and filthy man approached her table and sat down.

"Come on, lassie," he slurred. "I could use a roll in the hay."

She stared at him in silence, until her hand suddenly darted out and grabbed the man by the throat.

"Go," she ordered darkly.

She released the man, and he scurried off to another corner of the room. She shook her head. Probably to drink more ale and pass out. She finished her meal and paid the innkeeper. As she went out into the street, the inn behind her erupted into loud conversation.

She turned down a street that was lined with various merchant shops and carts. She purchased vegetables, cheese, dried salted meat, and two apples for Spitfire as a treat. Lastly, she stopped at a bread cart that was near the stables.

"What can I get for you, my lady?" the vendor asked.

"Three loaves of bread, please."

"That will be five coppers, my lady."

She paid the vendor, and as he was getting her bread, she felt the hairs on the back of her neck raise. She turned and saw the hooded stranger from the road watching her from the shadows of a nearby shop. She returned his stare, and turned back to the vendor.

"Sir, do you know who that man is standing over there by that shop?"

"No, my lady. Never seen him before."

She sighed heavily, her annoyance evident. Movement from behind the counter suddenly caught her eye. A small boy sat behind the counter hugging his knees. Grinning wickedly, she got the boy's attention.

"Young man, how would you like to earn yourself a few coppers?"

* * *

Haldir stood in the shadows of the shop and watched the woman as she bought bread

from the vendor. Who was she? She had the appearance of an Elf, yet her ears were hidden beneath her hair, and she dressed in the attire of a ranger. He watched as the wind caught her hair, and blew it away from her ear for just a moment. His keen eyes saw the Elf ears she tried to hide. So she is an Elf, he mused. But why does she conceal it? The woman turned and calmly, and rather coldly, returned his gaze. He could sense her annoyance, as she turned back and said something to the vendor. He continued to watch her until he felt something tug at his cloak. He looked down and saw a small boy cowering beside him.

"Can you spare a few coins for a starving family, my lord?" the boy begged.

Haldir reached into his money pouch and handed the boy a few coins.

"Thank you, my lord."

Haldir smiled at the boy and turned back to the woman, but she was gone. He glanced around, but saw no sign of her. He looked back at the vendor and saw the little boy crawling behind the counter. Haldir's mouth curved into a wry smile. "Clever. Very clever." As Haldir approached the bread cart, the vendor turned and heartily greeted him.

"What can I do for you, my lord?" the man asked.

"That woman, who was she?"

"I know not, my lord. It is the first time I have seen her in Edoras."

"Where did she go?"

"I do not know, sir. Could I interest you in some bread?"

Haldir shook his head slightly. "Do not try and change the subject. Your boy distracted me while she left. Now, which way did she go?"

"I am sorry, my lord. She paid me well not to tell anyone where she was headed."

"I will give you double what she paid you… if you tell me where she was heading."

The man's mouth curved into a greedy smile. "North, my lord. She said she was heading north. That is all I know. Pay me what you have promised."

After paying the vendor, Haldir mounted his horse and rode hard north. He found himself strangely drawn to this woman, and he had to know, if for nothing more than his own curiosity, who she was.