Uh…sorry again. I'm bad, aren't I? Well, I'll ask you something concerning my updating pattern. Would you rather I A) Write long chapters and take a long time or B) Make short chapters and updating quicker. Your choice. This time though, it is going to be a shorter chapter. Sorry. :(

Bold represents elvish.

XX

Chapter 3- My Heart Lies In The West

Frodo barely felt the ground beneath him as he ran. He only heard his blood pounding through his body and the steadily approaching screams of the Black Riders. He turned back quickly to see Sam running as fast as he could while leading the pony along behind him. Bill's eyes were wide and alert as if he, too, knew what was upon them but he still could not muster the strength to move faster. A panicked look was in the Hobbit's face, torn between leaving the creature and running full speed or protecting him as well as he could.

"Hurry, Sam!" Frodo cried out, slowing down to come beside him. He gave the pony a quick slap to the rump and he immediately picked up the pace. Frodo looked behind himself again and, much to his relief, found that the Riders had not yet caught up with them.

Suddenly, a rock caught his foot and he found himself flung to the ground, catching his chin on the sharp edge of a stone. Sam and Strider took no notice as they continued at their hurried pace. The dark haired hobbit struggled to his feet but only continued at a limp, his heart beating wildly in his chest. The screeches grew closer and, when the Hobbit looked up, he found that his companions were out of sight. His blue eyes widened.

"Strider!" He called, nearly tripping once more, "Strider!"

A gust of wind swept around him and he slowed against his own will. His curly hair whipped in his eyes and a hot sweat flowed down his face. His terrified eyes darted this way and that, desperately trying to pick up any sign of the Riders. Leaves brushed across his hairy feet and he took a step back.

The soft clapping of horse hooves reached his ears and everything around him seemed to slow. His heart thundered in his ears and his body went numb. What sort of devilry was this?

A voice entered his head, a dark and deceitful voice. He furrowed his brow as he stared into the distance, listening to this voice in fear and bewilderment. I can give you your greatest desires, it said, Anything you want, I- we- can make it happen. Just put it on.

"No…" Frodo breathed, unaware of his own voice.

'Do it.' The voice hissed, 'Do it now!'

"No!" He cried.

Another shriek echoed in the forest and Frodo was snapped out of his trance. The screams seemed further away this time, as if they were heading in a different direction. The fear evaporated from the Hobbit's heart and was replaced with another feeling, one strange and foreign to him.

A heavy weight set upon his heart yet it was not foreboding. An ethereal feeling settled in his stomach and he took a step back, though not in fear. Soft voices wafted over the air, blending with the forest's sounds, as if it was natural to hear such voices in the Wild. It was almost eerie and majestic in its beautiful sound.

"Frodo!" Someone shouted behind him and he snapped back around with wide eyes. Much to his relief, he saw Strider hurrying back to him with a frenzied look on his face. He stopped and knelt in front of the Hobbit, gazing into his eyes, "What caused you to stop? Did the Black Riders come to you?" The Man studied Frodo's eyes and furrowed his brow, "Nay, it is not so. You are still at peace with yourself, not troubled by the fear the Wraiths set upon us all. Nay, it is something else."

"They fled." The dark haired Hobbit said softly, "At least, I think that is what happened. Something scared them off."

Strider's brow furrowed and he stood up, gazing into the distance. A sudden frown appeared on his lips and he placed a hand on Frodo's shoulder. The uneven clatter of Bill's hooves and Sam's labored breaths reached the Hobbit's ears and he smiled, glad to see them both safe.

"Thank goodness, you are alright, Mr. Frodo!" He cried, coming to stand before him, "I thought for sure those Black Riders had gotten you!" Frodo shook his head and looked up to Strider.

"I am fine now." He replied, "But what is it, Strider? What do you see?"

The Man, without looking at the two creatures, pointed into the forest slowly, "Look there, Master Hobbits. I have found Frodo's saviors." The two small creatures followed the Ranger's command and, as their eyes met what his saw, a soft gasp escaped their lips.

A luminescent glow moved through the trees, slowly and without a sound. The Hobbits had to shield their eyes as they gazed upon and they soon realized the cause of it. Moving in single file were the tall and beautiful creatures they heard about only in stories- the Elves. Their hair was dark and fair, flowing softly down their shoulders like a meandering creek. Their skin appeared silky and as soft as cloud to the touch, even to their eyes. They were clad in whites and grays, with cloaks that billowed behind them as they strode through the undergrowth silently. They sang softly and sorrowfully as they went, their words telling of a life long lived yet now over. Some rode upon white horses while others walked beside them, carrying intricate banners that fluttered in the absent wind.

A few of them turned their heads to look at the three travelers but continued moving without ever wavering their gazes. The company continued to move past them as they stared in awe at their unfathomable beauty. They were the warmth of the sun and the cool of the water; the blossoms of the forest and the songs of the birds. Their beauty was unimaginable and indescribable, such that left the three in a daze.

Finally, one tall elf glided to a halt and met gazes with them. His grey eyes glittered without emotion as he studied them. His lips parted slightly in wonder at why these beings would be out in such an area. He turned when someone called his name softly under the haunting melody of the song. The Man and Hobbits saw him answer back and then turn his gaze back to them. He stepped away from the group and slowly approached them, never taking his gaze away.

Strider came towards the elf; his steps seemed rough and hurried compared the being's. They came to a halt in front of each other and the Man bowed low, placing his hand on his heart.

"Mae govannen, hir-nín Aerandir." He said, "Im gelir ceni ad lín." (My Lord. I am happy to see you again.) The dark haired elf smiled slightly, and inclined his head to the Ranger.

"Le suilon." The elf replied, "Estel." (I greet thee, Estel.)

Frodo and Sam watched with wide and curious eyes as the elf and man conversed. Their voices were inaudible to their ears and they found themselves slowly moving closer.

"Who do you think that is, Mr. Frodo?" The sandy haired Hobbit asked in a whisper. The other Hobbit didn't have enough time to reply before the elf suddenly turned to them, boring into them with his pale eyes. They froze. Strider turned to them with a small frown. He motioned for them to come and they did so hesitantly, gazing upon the being with awe-filled eyes.

"This is Lord Aerandir of Rivendell." The human said, "He and his people are moving West. Unfortunately, he speaks little of your own tongue."

Aerandir gazed upon the two Halflings with curious eyes and they shifted under his penetrating gaze. He pursed his lips, furrowing his brow, and he looked back to Strider, "Estel, what has brought you to travel with Halflings? If my memory is correct, you are loathe to travel with anyone, no matter their race; even your brothers or your kin." Strider managed a small smirk.

"Aye, you are correct, my friend. But need has driven us from Bree and we head for Rivendell." He replied. The elf narrowed his eyes suspiciously, tilting his head questioningly.

"You are under pursuit." He said, more of a statement than a question. Strider nodded slowly, "By Black Riders." The Man lowered his head.

"Once again, I must say you are correct." Aerandir frowned and looked to the ground, "One of the Halflings carries something of great importance, something that I cannot speak of here."

"There is no need." The elf said, "For I have already guessed your purpose."

Sam nudged Frodo in the ribs with his elbow, still not taking his gaze from the ethereal being, "What are they saying?" He whispered and the other Hobbit shook his head.

"I do not know, Sam. I know very little elvish." He replied just as quietly. The sandy-haired Hobbit sighed and nodded once. He was barely aware of Bill approaching him from behind and nudging him gently on the shoulder with his snout. Strider suddenly turned to them with a troubled look on his face.

"Aerandir and his people did not see the Black Riders but he suspects that their presence drove them away from us. It is only a matter of luck that they were passing by at the same time we were." Frodo nodded at the man while Sam remained silent. The Ringbearer then turned to the elf who was studying him closely.

"Hannon le, hir-nín." He said, bowing at the waist. The elf's face lit up with surprise and amusement. He looked to the Man questioningly but found he seemed to be in the same state of shock as he. A faint chuckle escaped his lips and he inclined his head slightly to the Hobbit. (Thank you, my lord)

"Im gelir na thaed." He said, his voice deep yet airy. He smiled at the Hobbit and turned to Strider, "A Halfling who speaks the tongue of the elves! What is next? The finding of the Silmaril Maglor cast away?"He laughed softly as a small grin came upon the human's face. (I am happy to help.)

"It comes to a surprise for me as well, my lord." As quickly as he had started, the elf silenced his laughter and he frowned.

"You must not linger here, Estel. The Dark Lord's servants only lay in hiding, waiting for my people to depart. When we are gone, you will no longer find safety." Strider nodded solemnly and bowed once more.

"I understand, my lord." He replied, "But do you think there is any chance that I may persuade you to change your course and travel along with us? I believe we may reach our destination quicker with an elf guiding us." A soft smile appeared on Aerandir's lips and he shook his head slowly.

"I am sorry, Estel, but my heart now lies in the West and I am eager to return to my home across the Sea. I would had our meeting been under different circumstances." He replied with an apologetic smile. Strider nodded, expecting this response, and smiled.

"May you and your heart find peace." He said, placing his hand on his heart once more and bowing. The elf said nothing, only returning the gesture. When they both raised, they gave each other small smiles, then Aerandir turned to Frodo.

"Namárië." A small smile appeared on his face, "Na-den pedim ad." The Halfling only smiled, doubting he would ever be able to speak with the elf again. The elf bowed once more to Strider and turned, striding back towards the other elves. He took no more then five steps before he looked back around to them with a small frown. Sam's eyes lit up anxiously when the elf looked gazes with him. (Farewell, Until we speak again.)

Aerandir's lips pursed and he furrowed his brow, as if in deep thought. Finally, he looked up to the sandy-haired Hobbit and inclined his head, "Farewell, Master Hobbit." He said, his voice struggling to find the correct words, "May Elbereth guide you in your steps." Sam blushed as the elf smiled and strode away from them, silent in his steps. They watched him as he rejoined the company and was lost in the rows of elves.

Strider watched them for only a brief moment before turning to Frodo.

"Are you alright?" He questioned, looking him over. The Hobbit nodded.

"Yes, I am fine." He answered, "I tripped, is all." The Man nodded once, patting him on the shoulder.

"Good. Now come! We must heed the elf's advice and not linger here too long. The Wraiths are only waiting for them to leave. We must put as much distance between them and ourselves. Let us go!"

IOIOIOIOIOIOIOIOIOIOIOIOIOIOIOIOIOIOIOIOIOIOIOIOIOIOIOIOIOIOIOIOIOI

A few days passed and they heard nor saw any signs of the Black Riders. Meals were eaten as they walked and they only stopped to rest, and even that was for a few moments. Strider kept watch all night, never getting a wink of sleep, but he was still able to carry on strongly. Only when they had escaped the labyrinth of the Midgewater Marshes and come upon the foot of Amon Sûl did Strider stop with a heavy sigh.

Upon a hill sat the old, rocky remains of what appeared to be a . Vines and moss had begun to makes its home on the ruins of the walls and large stones had rolled down the grassy slopes. The human gazed solemnly at the tower while Sam glared at two crows who had perched themselves on a broken wall. One cawed in its harsh voice and the Hobbit shifted uncomfortably.

"Is this where we will be staying to night, Strider?" Frodo asked softly, coming up to stand beside the Man. He sighed and ran his hand through his thick hair, giving it a short tug.

"Destroyed by the armies of Angmar, the of Amon Sûl no longer holds its former beauty and protection." He put his hand on the hilt of his sword, "We shall take refuge here for the night and continue in the morning."

XXXXX

Like I said, it is really short and really late. And, I am sorry to say and I feel horrible doing so, but this will go on temporary hiatus. Remember, TEMPORARY. I WILL be back, no matter what. But I am going to focus on my other story for a little bit. I have set a goal for myself to finish 'Lost in My Mind' sometime late January to mid-February. It is a long shot but I feel it needs to be done. I'm really sorry….

And, because you didn't sign your review, I must thank you here, Anonymous. :) And I am so happy that wasn't meant to be a flame! I saw your review and I felt my heart stop beating! I was like, 'Oh…my God…that little bugger gave me my first flame! ROOOAR!' Hehe! But thanks for clearing that up! Oh, and if it isn't too much trouble, could so sign in when you review? If you have an account, this is. That way, I won't get in trouble for replying to your reviews. :) Thanks for reading and reviewing!

Well, I don't know when I'll be back… just hang in there!

Until Next Time,

Manwathiel