Disclaimer: I own the hideous mini-Koi, 15 bandits and JRR owns the good stuff!

A/N:

'This is thought'

tree speech

This in mind speech

'This is visions'

"" This is mind to mind Far Speak ""


A/N 2: I have found a wonderful site for Elvish names and cringed at the bandit names I had formally! I have changed the names from the former chapters to: Luriniel to Fervel (means strong spirit) … Araduiel to Nemir (means water jewel) … Chapariel to Tathar (means willow). The other bandit names mean: Merilvor (rose of darkness).Thiad (vision/Apparation) I hope this does not confuse anyone too badly!


To my Lovely Readers and Reviewers: THANK YOU!



Not Supposed to Happen

The Imladris warriors looked around warily. They could not see any sign of Shadow's warriors, yet the young ellon spoke about their arrival with such confidence. At a nod from Glorfindel, Shadow made a yipping sound and a slight dark haired figure dropped from the tree behind one of the warriors. A knife was placed at the warrior's neck with lightning speed and a cocky grin. As the other warriors reached for their weapons, a rain of arrows embedded themselves at the feet of the patrol. Shock registered on the warriors' faces at the sudden attack. An exasperated sigh left Shadow's lips as he took in the situation, before he snarled out a deep growling command. "Thiad release that warrior at once and drop your dagger! The rest of you show yourselves and apologize immediately for your rude behavior!"

At the barked command four more figures dropped to the ground from the adjacent trees and walked to Shadow. Thiad dropped his dagger and made his way over to the others. Once all his warriors had assembled in front of him, Shadow turned to Glorfindel and bowed to his new captain. The look of shock and horror etched on Glorfindel's face brought an amused smirk to Shadow's lips. The bandit knew what his group looked like and knew that the seneschal would take it as an irresponsible joke. Inclining his head to the stunned captain, Shadow calmly began introducing his warriors. "Captain Glorfindel, may I present your new recruits. This is Thiad. He is well versed in both archery and swordsmanship." Shadow motioned to the dark haired male who came and greeted the seneschal with a slight bow. As Thiad moved aside, a blond female took his place. "This is Tathar. She is one of our finest swordswoman." As Tathar moved to join Thiad, a small dark haired female took her place. "This is Merilvor. She is one of our best archers and a seasoned tracker." With a crisp bow Merilvor moved to join the others, as a gray eyed blond male took her place. "This is Nemir. He is a valiant swordsman, experienced archer and an expert tracker." Nemir smiled warmly as he bowed to Glorfindel and moved over to his kin. Shadow nodded to the last of the five and watched Glorfindel's reaction to his words with an amused grin. "This is Fervel. He is our best archer and lead scout. He is the one who has been sneaking past your defenses to deliver our notes to the Lord Elrond. There are very few that can rival his skill with a bow and will serve you well captain." Fervel bowed to the seneschal and joined the rest of his group under the shocked stares of the Imladris warriors.


Glorfindel was speechless. Of all the ideas that had floated through his mind on what the bandits would look like, these were never considered. At the end of the introductions he finally gathered his wits and control of his tongue enough to spit out, "These are not warriors! These are only children! I dare say not a one of them are past their majority and the last one can not be more then 20 years old! How can you possibly say that these younglings should become part of the patrol? They should be in Imladris at lessons with Erestor!"

Before Shadow had a chance to address the seneschal's tirade, Fervel stormed over to the golden haired warrior and snarled with deliberate and quiet vindictiveness, "I am 25 years old not 20. I have seen and done things no youngling should ever have to endure. How dare you speak of us in that tone and in those words when it has been us that have led your patrols on a merry chase time and time again! We have kept your upper area cleared of Orcs and wargs for the last three years and all the respect we get is a condescending speech about our age! You greatly disappoint me Seneschal of Imladris with your petty bigotry. Use the eyes and ears Eru gave you, to look beyond what is standing in front of you, to see what lies below the surface. We will serve you as Shadow wishes, for he is our second in command, but do not dare to hope for our respect because all you will receive is our obedience to orders." With that, the youngest of the five bowed to the stunned seneschal and clambered up the nearest tree to become lost within the foliage.

"Our apologies captain Fervel is rather outspoken and bold, yet he does speak the truth; whether it is a pleasant thought or not. We are as experienced as your own warriors. If you but put aside our outward appearance and test our abilities, you will be greatly pleased, I assure you," said the fair haired Tathar, softly. The other bandits nodded in agreement with Tathar's statement as they waited to see if the seneschal would indeed integrate them into the patrol as they had been told. The long shuddering sigh that Glorfindel released was followed by a deep frown and closed eyes. Reopening his eyes, the golden haired warrior reluctantly agreed to allow the bandits to join his patrol, but he was determined to pair them with his own warriors.


It had been two days since the arrival of Shadow's warriors and the way had so far been an easy and quiet trek. The bandits had behaved better then expected and had proved to be quite genial company for the most part. At night the bandits not on watch would gather together and sleep in a warm pile of bodies; much to the amused bewilderment of the Imladris warriors. During the daylight hours, the bandits split off from each other and stayed close to the Imladris warriors assigned as their partners for the duration of the patrol. They spent their marching time conversing quietly amongst themselves while still keeping a keen ear and sharp eye out for any danger that might lie ahead. So far they had been lucky that none of the dreaded Orcs that roamed the area had made an appearance, but the patrol knew it was only a matter of time before disaster struck and they would be forced to defend themselves.

Shadow rode at the front of the patrol with Elrohir and Glorfindel. He scanned the trees as a feeling of unease began to grow in his stomach. Without warning, the bandit swerved over to a nearby tree and rested his hands upon the bark. Resting his forehead against the tree's trunk, the bandit slowed his breathing and opened his mind to the song of the tree before him. A shudder raced through him as he heard the whispered words of the tree. Danger young one. Evil ahead, others in need! Quick now! Quick now! Whispering his thanks, Shadow raced back to Glorfindel's side with a pale face and angry eyes. The seneschal listened intently as Shadow relayed the tree's message of warning. Turning back to the members of the patrol, the golden haired warrior began barking out orders, before the entire patrol scattered like leaves in the wind to take up their different positions as ordered.


Moving with great stealth, the warriors closed in on the sounds of fighting. The twang of bows and the clash of metal on metal met the elves keen hearing. At a signal from Glorfindel, the archers took their positions in the tree branches as the swordsmen moved into the fray. A howl erupted from the left side of the fight only to be answered from behind the orcs position and then again from the treetops. The eerie and hauntingly beautiful sound spooked both the Orcs and the Lorien party of elves. Arrows sang through the sudden silence as the howls stopped abruptly. Orc after Orc dropped to the deadly aim of the archer concealed in the trees. Those armed with swords carved a path through to the Lorien elves with vicious precision and daring. Blood and Orc remains littered the area around the fighting elves. With the reinforcements of the Imladris patrol, the Orcs were dispatched quickly and the fighting ceased.

As the Orc carcasses were burned in a neat pile, the wounded were taken care of by the healers. They had been lucky that not one elf had been sent to the Halls of Mandos, but many were wounded in one way or another. Shadow and Tathar crept between the wounded warriors checking on their progress with gentle touches and bright smiles. The camp had been set up for the night in a decidedly efficient manner and the three hour watches had already begun. Glorfindel was deep in conversation with the Lorien contingent's leader. The seneschal was interrogating the leader for information on their trip to Imladris and the silver blond warrior was recounting the unfortunate events leading up to the Orcs attack with a solemn voice and serious demeanor.

As the night wore on the combined forces slowly succumbed to reverie a few at a time. There had been much laughter as stories were told and songs sung. The Lorien elves were wary of the young warriors that accompanied the Imladris patrol, but were soon won over as Shadow recounted an obscure legend; bringing it to life in the smoke and flames of the campfire that blazed brightly in the center of their midst. Brave warriors, vile beasts, fair maidens and wondrous, yet lethal dragons grew and took on a life of their own to the watchers amazement. The young bandit wove the story in a lyrical voice that captured and held the attention of all those in sight; until the last word was spoken and the smoke returned to just smoke again. The warrior praised the younger elf and asked to tell another tale when they were safely back in Imladris. Blushing at the enthusiastic response to his story, Shadow agreed to recount another lesser known tale in the Hall of Fire upon their safe return. With a some what weary sigh, the bandit bid all a good night and slid into his spot next to Fervel and Thiad with a luminous smile of contentment.