The Rohan Pride Trilogy
Part One: Alone
When Gúthwyn, the youngest child of Théodwyn and Éomund, becomes a slave of Sauron, she makes a deadly bargain with the Dark Lord. If she fails at the task he sets before her, then the lives of those she loves will be compromised.
About the Trilogy:
I have decided to do what Tolkien did with his books. The Fellowship of the Ring had two books within the text, as did The Two Towers and The Return of the King. The only change I have made is the first part in my trilogy: Alone. This will be divided into three books, the first book explaining how Gúthwyn got to where The Fellowship of the Ring started.
About Chapter Sixty-Nine:
Okay, I'm assuming you all know the deal about names. As you are aware of, I am using a blend of both movie and book canon. Sorry for any confusion. Once again, please correct me on anything that seems amiss, out-of-character, or non-canon. Also, regarding archery and swordplay—I really don't know what the hell I'm talking about, so bear with me. I've had a few archery lessons, but nothing major. Important: Here the story begins to become a little less accurate, canon-wise. I have tried my best to keep it realistic, but sometimes it's just not possible.
The first thing Gúthwyn was aware of when she woke up was a pain in her back, dull as her eyes blinked away sleep, but then increasing so that she nearly gasped. Yet not a sound did she utter as she looked around, wondering where she was; nor did she move from where she lay on her stomach.
Behind her, something was making strange shuffling noises on the ground. Whatever it was was some distance away, and she was about to push herself up when her eyes fell upon her hands. They were covered in blood, some of it still glistening in the sun. That was when the memories swarmed over her.
Haldor, grabbing her from the waist as she recovered from an Uruk-hai attack. Her screams attracting Aragorn, Legolas, and Gimli. Haldor revealing to them that she was a servant of the Enemy. Hammel, Haiweth… dead. Challenging him to a fight. She had walked away… and then he had yelled at her. Thrown her to the ground and made to kill her. But she had won. She had won, and she was alive.
Which meant that, as long as no one from Mordor knew that Haldor was dead, Hammel and Haiweth were still safe, if only she could get away from Aragorn.
A gasp burst from her as she rolled over and flung herself up to a sitting position. Immediately she cried out, for all of her weight had been on her back; even though it was for but a second, the agony was unbelievable.
"Stay where you are." The harsh voice grated on her ears, and wildly she looked around. Her eyes widened in panic as they saw Aragorn.
Frantically, she realized that her sword and Galadriel's dagger were gone. Her pack lay out of reach, so she could not retrieve Borogor's spare knife. Now she had no defense; Aragorn, on the other hand, had his sword—sheathed at the moment, but not for long—swinging from his hip, and Ilúvatar knew how many daggers he had hidden in his clothing.
She began backing away from him.
"Do not move another foot!" His order stopped her in her tracks. Breathing heavily, Gúthwyn glanced at the rest of her surroundings. She was on the lawn where they had landed the Elven boats, though one of them was inexplicably on the other side of the lake. Legolas, Gimli, Boromir, and the Hobbits were nowhere in sight.
She barely had time to digest this information before Aragorn strode over to her. As she gazed up at him, unable to do anything, she noticed just how tall he was.
"Get up," the Ranger spat.
Hastily she got to her feet, simultaneously wrapping her arms around her stomach. She found herself looking into his eyes, which blazed with a terrible fire. Shuddering, she broke the stare.
"When Legolas and Gimli return, we will discuss your fate," he told her, and she marveled that his tone was so level, even as his glare pinned her to where she stood.
"W-What of the others?" she asked hesitantly.
Aragorn was about to answer her when something else caught his attention, and he glanced over her shoulder. She turned; her heart stopped as she saw Legolas and Gimli coming towards them, carrying a bier constructed of thick branches lashed together with bowstrings. Boromir lay upon it, his arms folded across his still chest and his eyes lifeless beneath the closed lids.
She gazed at him in horror. "H-How?" she asked, feeling the tears springing to her eyes. Legolas and Gimli looked at her, seeming surprised that she was awake, but did not say anything.
"How?" she asked again, turning to Aragorn. He read the despair in her face and replied, quietly:
"He fell defending Merry and Pippin from those creatures."
Legolas and Gimli were placing Boromir in one of the boats. She moved towards the Gondorian, hardly able to believe that he was dead. The Elf and Dwarf stepped aside as she approached, Gimli looking as though he had half a mind to stop her, but she paid them no heed. She could not even cringe at her proximity to Legolas. Instead she stepped into the water, hardly noticing its coldness as it splashed around her ankles.
No, it was Boromir who held her attention. Repressing the lump attacking her throat, Gúthwyn reached out shakily to touch his face. She saw the numerous arrow wounds in his chest, though they had been neatly tended to, and nearly burst out in tears. He had been so kind to her, even when the others did not trust her or thought her mind was gone, and had even wanted her to visit him in Gondor. Now, more than ever, she regretted that most of what she had told him had not been the truth.
Her hand lightly brushed his skin, and she winced as the cool flesh passed beneath her fingertips. Gently, she went to stroke his hair, arranging it carefully about him. He lay peacefully, much like Borogor had.
"Farewell, my friend," she whispered, then leaned over and kissed Boromir's brow. When she straightened, she turned away, hardly able to bear the sight of his dead body. The painful knowledge that she had not gotten a last chance to speak with him tore at her from the inside, and when she glanced up to see Legolas watching her pityingly, she could not conceal the tears that were blurring her vision.
Slowly she moved back on shore. Aragorn came to stand beside her, and they both watched as the Elf and Dwarf cast their fallen comrade out to the lake. Gúthwyn's breathing was ragged, and she pressed her hand over her mouth as Boromir floated towards the great rocky pinnacle. The belt Galadriel had given him twinkled in the sunlight, just above the horn he had carried with him—now, it was cloven in two.
It seemed to take him forever to reach the waterfall. When he did, the sprays of foam quickly enveloped the boat, so that she could no longer see him. And so passed Boromir, son of Denethor, Steward of Gondor. Later, she heard rumor that his boat had been seen far down the river, almost to the Sea; men said that the magic of the Elves protected the boat from sinking, as well as his body from decaying. But at that moment, the misery shrouding her was so thick that she could scarcely see through it.
She, Aragorn, Legolas, and Gimli had stood in silence for a time when at length Aragorn stirred and turned to her. "Come with me," he said.
Gúthwyn followed him back onto the lawn, too tired to argue. He told her to stand before him, and she did. Legolas and Gimli moved over to them, watching intently.
"Are you indeed a servant of the Enemy?" he asked her. It was a mere formality, and her answer would not count for anything.
"I was in his army," she muttered dully.
For a long time, Aragorn looked at her. She thought she saw disappointment in his eyes, and cringed.
At length he spoke. "Though Boromir fought valiantly," he said, and she stiffened, glancing at the Falls of Rauros, "he was unable to save Merry and Pippin. The Orcs carried them away."
Her mouth opened slightly, her heart twisting as she thought of the poor Halflings being held captive by the brutal Uruk-hai.
"Frodo and Sam," Aragorn continued, now gazing at her keenly, "have crossed the Nen Hithoel, and are continuing their journey to Mordor."
His words hit her like a slap to the face. She swayed, nearly stumbling before regaining control of herself. "He is gone?" she breathed, staring across the lake to the eastern shore, where the boat had been abandoned.
"Yes," Aragorn replied. "The Ring is gone, and out of our reach as well as yours."
She half-considered running for the river, but she knew it was a foolish idea. Legolas would shoot her before she had even gotten her feet wet.
"And now, you have a choice before you."
At Aragorn's words, she tensed, and looked back at him in confusion. "What do you mean?" she asked guardedly. "Are you not going to kill me?"
Aragorn's eyes were narrowed, though his response was not nasty in tone. "No," he replied. "I have little pity for you, but you have information I want."
Anger bit at her. "What kind of information?" she snapped.
"We will discuss it later," he replied. "In the meantime, I said you had a choice."
"What kind of choice?"
The Ranger looked at her. "You will help us find Merry and Pippin," he told her. "If you do not wish to, then say so, and I will kill you and bury you alongside the Elf."
She recoiled at the idea, and snarled, "He does not deserve a grave!"
"And what makes you different from him, in my eyes?"
Gúthwyn fell silent.
"Make your choice."
She weighed her options. Death—Hammel and Haiweth were most likely to perish anyway, even though she had killed Haldor before he could relay the message back to Barad-dûr. Someone was bound to find out, and when they did, she could only imagine the consequences. And if she went with Aragorn, Legolas, and Gimli, she most certainly would not be able to find the One Ring. Sauron would not allow her the luxury of limitless time; he would grow impatient, and likely have the children slain out of anger.
A feeling of despair sank down on her. No matter where she turned, their fates and hers were grim. The only good thing about this was that she no longer had to worry about Haldor, which in itself was a miracle.
"I have healed you in body, though your mind is troubled." Galadriel's words unexpectedly came back to her, ones that she had not thought of since their parting. "It is not in my power to set it at ease, though my heart tells me that this will take away some of what burdens you." She held out a small dagger to Gúthwyn, sheathed in black leather.
So the Lady had been right. Gúthwyn felt her eyes widen. The knife she had received that day was the very one that was now covered in Haldor's blood.
"Well?" Aragorn was watching her carefully.
A cool breeze blew from the west, ruffling her hair and then setting it back gently. Gúthwyn looked to the east, towards Mordor; then turned in the other direction, to where the land of Rohan lay. And then, she made her choice.
"I will go with you," she said.
He nodded, but she could not tell whether he had expected this of her or not. Over his shoulder, she saw Gimli sighing, though Legolas' expression had not changed.
"You may take your bag," Aragorn told her, "as well as the dagger. Do not think of using it on any of us, nor of running away. It will only end in your death."
"What about my sword?" she asked. Her bow she could not care less for. She had brought it with her all the way from Mordor, but apart from a few frustrating practices on her own, had not used it.
"Your sword I will keep," he replied. "If you prove yourself worthy of my trust, or if we find ourselves facing battle, I will give it back to you. Yet both of these seem unlikely."
She turned away from him and went to her bag, not caring to admit how much his words had stung her. Opening it up, she saw that all of her cloaks and scarves were in there, piled on top of everything else. Her glove lay on the ground, and she put it firmly over her wrist, covering the hideous brand. Straightening, she winced slightly at the pain, but tried to mask her discomfort as she made her way back to where Aragorn, Legolas, and Gimli stood.
Suddenly, Aragorn stepped forward. "You were wounded," he spoke, looking apologetic. "I did not—"
She shook her head. "It is not bleeding anymore," she replied.
"Have you already forgotten the infection from your Warg bite?" Aragorn returned, then sighed. "We are wasting valuable time. With each second, Merry and Pippin are taken further away. I shall have to look at it later."
At the moment, Gúthwyn was not about to argue with him, but she privately felt that there was no chance she would let the Ranger see her back. Even with Borogor, she was uncomfortable exposing herself like that. She could not begin to think of what it would be like with someone she barely knew.
Gimli sighed then, looking at the eastern shore wistfully. "Then it has all been in vain," he murmured wearily. "The Fellowship has failed."
Aragorn propped his foot up on a smaller stone statue, following the Dwarf's gaze. Slowly, Legolas and Gimli approached him, though Gúthwyn hung back. She was glad that she had, for the Ranger placed one hand on their shoulders, putting his head close to their own. She had to strain to hear what he said next.
"Not if we hold true to each other." His voice was firm and determined. "We will not abandon Merry and Pippin to torment and death. Not while we have strength left."
He separated from them, picking up a dagger from the ground and then striding over to where Gúthwyn's sword lay. He attached the sheathe to his belt, just behind his own blade. She felt a twinge of frustration at being so helpless.
Aragorn turned back to them, smiled grimly, and said, "Leave all that can be spared behind. We travel light."
Gúthwyn cast one last glance to the eastern shore before Aragorn called her name. "Gúthwyn, you will run between Legolas and Gimli," he said. "Attempting anything will be foolish."
She exhaled slowly, looked back at him, and said nothing.
He took her silence for acquiescence, and said, "Let us hunt some Orc."
A very small grin crept up her face. That is a sport I could get used to, she thought.
The Ranger was now starting to head into the woods. Legolas swiftly followed him; Gúthwyn barely had time to blink before she was running, too. Gimli came just behind her. The chase had begun.
Hammel, Haiweth, she thought as she ran. I will find a way to escape and set you free. I promise.
She sent a prayer up to the Valar for their safety. Her own… It was no matter. She was alone.
Well, the first part of The Rohan Pride Trilogy has ended. It feels crazy! I started this in sixth grade--sixth grade. Can you believe that? Now it's finally finished, but I'm just getting started. I hope you liked it, and will stick around for the second part. I promise, things will start to get more interesting. There will be more conflict with Legolas, along with the excitement of Rohan. Nor will I forget about Borogor and the children. At this point in time, I'm starting to work on the tenth chapter--there is always a ten-chapter gap between the one I'm working on and the one I'm posting.
I'd like to thank my friend toratigergirl11, who insisted that I work on this even when I didn't want to. I know how you want this story to end, hehe, but we shall see. Also, to my other friend, Zoe, who as I write this still hasn't gotten past the twenty-second chapter, but she's shown a ton of interest in it. Thanks for putting up with me:)
Second of all, to Callie: Your first review made my day. I have it saved to my inbox and everything. Words cannot describe how amazed and ecstatic I was to read it. To answer your question--I'm afraid we won't be finding out much more about Haldor from this point on, but my back story for him is that he was captured and tortured by Sauron until he became evil. Sort of like what Morgoth did in The Silmarillion, only Sauron doesn't have the power to change appearances like that. As for him looking like Legolas, well, where would the fun be if he didn't:P
Finally, to everyone else who reviewed, thank you so much! I really appreciate the time you took to leave a note and tell me what you thought. Hopefully I'll see you for Part Two!