Disclaimer: I own the hideous mini-Koi, and 15 bandits and a soggy granola bar eeewwww! JRR owns the good stuff!
'This is thought'
This in mind speech
'This is visions'
"" This is mind to mind Far Speak ""
A/N2: This story will not be updated as fast as "Hellfire" which is still my first love! but will be updated quite frequently I promise. Unless of course you hate it and want it burned in the fires of Mordor! If you do hate it let me know! If you like it let me know! I hope it will be as well received as "Hellfire" but I am not holding my breath! ROFL! Chapters will get longer after the first few so bare with me!
To my Lovely Readers: THANK YOU!
War. A hideous destruction of all sanity brought on by factors of greed, lust, hate, intolerance and sometimes by a twist of fate unlooked for. A simple change in geography or topography can suddenly turn into a full blown war if safety is threatened by those of the outside. Only with open hearts and open minds can a disastrous affair such as war can be truly averted. Those that seem different at first, may not be as different as they seem below the surface.
It had been brought to the attention of the Lord Elrond of Rivendell, or Imlandris as it was called by the Elves. The severe danger posed to innocent travelers heading over the Misty Mountains was outrageous and uncalled for. A small group of bandits lay secreted along the Hidden Vale's borders undetected by the roving Elf parties sent to protect the inhabitants of Imlandris and their allies. Scouting patrols had been quickly dispatched to investigate the possible outlaws within the borders of Imlandris, but so far nothing out of the ordinary had been sighted. The superstitious hunters that roamed the borders with Lord Elrond's permission swore the hostile intruders were wraiths of long dead evil that still lurked within the woods, awaiting a chance to reciprocate their doomed fate. So far none of the men had been killed, but the attacks were growing more numerous by the month. Soon winter would be over and the pass over the mountain would be teeming with travelers.
Elrond knew he had to get to the bottom of these attacks well before the Spring thaw. The Elf Lord had sent out three patrols already to cover the area most of the attacks had been in. The descriptions given were quite vague, but had one thing in common; short in stature. The last party to have been accosted spoke of the presumed leader as being the tallest of the bandits. At 5ft 6in tall, the leader was indeed short of stature while they said the smallest was no more the 3ft 4in tall. They assured the Elves of Rivendell that it was neither Hobbits nor Dwarves as there were no hairy feet or hairy beards. The leader had spoken in a low rough voice in Westron, but had quickly switched to another language when addressing the other bandits in the group. The hunter believed it was Elvish, but he was not completely positive. It was a definite puzzle and Elrond was determined to find out all he could about these intruders.
A fire blazed merrily in the back of their secret cave. They had lived here in the confines of the valley's border almost three years. At first all had been peaceful within the beautiful vale. Patrols of Elves were infrequent and most travelers used the lower road over the mountain. The game was plentiful and water was available from a fresh stream teemimg with fish. They had stockpiled a supply of jerked meat and lembas bread to tide them over rough spots in hunting, but for the most part the leader was an excellent hunter and fresh meat was the normal meal. There were fifteen bandits in the group, but only the six oldest were allowed to venture forth from the cave during the day hours. When the sun set and the clear night sky called, the leader would summon the others out to give thanks to the stars that had guided them to this secluded place with a haunting song and all assembled would dance within the moonlight. An owl's distinctive hooting sounded outside and the occupants of the large cave smiled in grateful relief. Their leader was back and all was safe. Crawling out from behind the covering brush, those left behind by their leader swarmed into the returning group grinning wildly. The joyful reunion was cut short with a swift nod of their leader's head. Sliding back under cover, the bandits awaited the moon's awakening.
Erestor rolled his eyes at the sight of black, slightly dirty, boots on his pristine desk, again. With a swift flick from a free hand, the chief councilor of Rivendell knocked the offending boots to the floor for the fifth, or was it sixth, time that afternoon. Glorfindel was being a pest as per usual. The two advisors were good friends, but when Glorfindel was bored, the golden haired warrior took great pains to annoy Erestor, so that the dark haired chief councilor could be as miserable as he. It had been this way for them since the day they met, much to Elrond's great dismay and delight. "Can you not possible find something better to do Glorfy? I have a stack of papers I need to finish and you my friend are obnoxious!" The unrepentant grin made Erestor groan with frustration.
A voice rose high upon the crisp night air. It was clear and sweet. The surrounding trees swayed to the rhythm of the voice in great delight. So it had always been, since the beginning of time. One voice, then two echoed the first until a choir of fifteen drove the darkness into the moon's light. Abruptly the singing stopped and fifteen shadows melted into the velvet ink of night to dance upon the land beneath the glowing moon.
Elladan swiveled on his mount to get a better look at the edge of the path they followed. His younger twin, Elrohir, and the small band of warriors, under the command of Lord Elrond's twin sons, followed a few paces behind the older twin. The path was criss-crossed with old patterns of human, animal and elf prints. The bandits had struck this area four out of the last six attacks and bore closer scrutiny then the paths the other two patrols searched. Holding up his hand to stop the approaching patrol, Elladan slid from his mounts back to view a small set of prints concealed almost completely in the tall grass along the edging of the trail.
Gently moving aside the grass, the older twin took in the sight of three distinctive sets of boot prints. One was slightly larger and deeper then the other two, which brought to mind the description of the leader being taller and larger then the other bandits. Two much smaller prints were in the same soft, nearly indistinguishable, pattern as if the boots were made out of pure soft suede rather then a harder type of leather. Judging by the size and imprint, the other two were much smaller then the first. It was the most clear evidence they had found, so far, to show the bandits as being alive and not the wraiths feared by the hunters. Without a sound, Elladan remounted his horse in one graceful leap and turned in the direction that the prints led. Tracking them would be much easier, for he now knew their mark upon the ground. Tilting his head towards the sun above, Elladan estimated they had at least two maybe three hours of light left to track their prey.