I can't believe I'm on my fifth story already! Hello to my readers who have stuck with me through my other adventures and welcome to those of you have yet to read any of my stories. I hope you all enjoy this one!
Disclaimer: I own nothing associated with Lord of the Rings.
Chapter 1: An Unexpected Arrival
The sun was shinning brightly and barely a cloud was in the sky as Anastasia, or Ana to her friends, ran around her back yard playing with her golden retriever, Sadie. "Come on girl!" she exclaimed through her laugh as she picked up a stick and shook it at Sadie. The dog barked and jumped happily. "Go get it!" Ana threw the stick into the trees that bordered her yard from the small wooded area behind her neighborhood. Sadie went into the trees, but when she did Ana couldn't see her anymore. Ana frowned and felt slightly panic fill her. "Sadie!" she called as she ran towards the trees. She stopped short of the going into them. Never in the five years she lived at the house had she ever been afraid of going into the trees, but suddenly she found herself not wanting to go in. "Sadie! Come here girl!" she shouted again, but got nothing in response.
Ana took a deep breath and walked into the trees. However, as she walked into the trees she felt dizzy and raised a trembling hand to her forehead. She swayed on her feet before she stumbled a bit further ahead. Barking filled her ears and she looked at her feet to see Sadie looking up at her. Ana sighed in relief before she lowered her hand and smiled at her dog before another wave of dizziness hit her and she sighed before she fell to her knees and raised her hands to her head again.
A soft voice filled her ears, but she knew no one besides Sadie was around. The voice and tone were soothing; however, she couldn't understand anything the woman was saying. Ana shifted and sat down on the leaf covered grass. She felt Sadie move next to her but then she knew nothing else as darkness claimed her.
He watched carefully as the woman and her animal appeared from nowhere. The animal appeared first followed by the woman, and she seemed to have become ill and collapsed onto the soil. He motioned for his guards to stay in their position, while he went to investigate. With swift movements he descended the ladder that led to their guard flet and made his way across the grass quickly and silently. The animal looked at him and growled before it bared its teeth to him and stepped in front of the woman. He held up his hands to the animal.
"I promise not to hurt her. I only wish to help her," he said quietly in Sindarin and the animal ceased its growling and sat down next to the woman. He gave the animal a small smile before he too kneeled next to the woman and pushed some of her black hair from her face. She was unconscious from what he did not know. He saw no weapons and thought she was dressed rather oddly. She wore strange breeches and a tunic that didn't leave much to the imagination of the observer. He carefully took his cloak off and gently wrapped the woman in the soft material before he picked her up from the ground. The animal stood and followed him to the tree where his guard flet sat. He stopped next to the ladder and looked at the animal.
"I don't think you'll be able to climb the ladder, my friend," he said gently and the animal sat down and whimpered as it looked at the woman that rested in his arms. "As I promised you, no harm will come to her." The whimpering stopped and he easily climbed the ladder as he held onto the woman. Quick movements were heard before the voice of his brother and Marchwarden echoed in his ears.
"Rumil, what is the meaning of this?" his brother, Haldir, asked sharply. Rumil ignored him and laid the woman down on the flet floor away from the edge so she would not fall off. "Rumil . . ." Haldir's voice trailed off and Rumil knew he would be in for a few choice words. Rumil stood and turned to look at his brother.
"I know this against regulations, brother, and I do know that you will probably have my head for doing so without your authorization, but I could not leave her on the forest floor," Rumil said. "She is in need of some aid; certainly you will allow her that." Haldir looked at the unconscious woman and sighed before he looked at one of the guards.
"Glandur, retrieve Calanon and bring him here. Tell him his skills are needed and see if you can do something with that beast of hers," Haldir said. Glandur nodded and swiftly went down the ladder before he moved to the flet where the border healer resided. Rumil gave his brother a smile but received only a glare in return. "Once she is tended to, you will escort her to the border and send her on her way." Rumil's smile left his face and was replaced with a frown as Haldir turned and walked away from him and up to the second level of the flet.
Calanon arrived to the flet and Haldir observed while Rumil told the ellon what he had seen and as Calanon began to examine her. Haldir had not seen the woman until he saw Rumil carrying her towards the flet and when Calanon removed Rumil's cloak from around her, his eyes widened and his thoughts of the woman only turned darker. The tunic she wore left her shoulders and part of her chest exposed, it was fitted to her torso and there was no need to wonder what rested under the dark blue cloth. With a quiet growl, he descended back down the ladder towards the lower level of the flet and stood back to observe.
Ana heard whispered voices around her. They were definitely male, but she couldn't understand them. She slowly opened her eyes when she felt a cool cloth being pressed to her forehead and nearly gasped at the sight that graced her eyes. A very handsome man with long blonde hair and grey eyes looked back at her with a small smile. He spoke gently in the same language she heard before she passed out, but she didn't understand him. "I don't understand," she whispered. It was all she could manage because she was still a little cloudy and slightly confused.
He removed the cloth from her forehead and frowned as he looked at her. He turned over his shoulder and spoke the same language again. Ana didn't have the strength to move and see who he was talking to, she was too tired and she closed her eyes. She felt more than heard someone else approach her after quiet whisperings. She opened her eyes again and that time she did take a sharp breath, but not because of the fact that he was handsome, which he undoubtedly was, but because of the cold look in his eyes. He spoke quickly to her in yet another language, one that sounded much rougher than the one she had heard just moments before.
"I don't understand," she said beginning to get agitated. She slowly sat up and closed her eyes at the slight dizziness but it soon passed and she opened her eyes. She looked to her right where the men had been just moments before and was surprised to see two curious faces looking at her and the cold face of the second man. "Where am I? Who are you? Where's my dog?" she asked quickly as the panic began to fill her once again. The three just looked at her and she sighed and looked around her.
Ana then realized that she was in a tree house of some kind, but she was much, much, higher than any tree house she had ever seen in her twenty-five years. She looked back at the first man she had seen and when he looked at her face his curious look turned solemn. "Please, where am I?" she asked again with a slight quiver in her voice. He looked over his right shoulder at a new face, one of a man who had yet to speak, and said something quietly. The second man spoke then, the tone and harshness to his voice made her jump slightly at his sudden outburst. Ana heard barking and her heart lifted slightly. "Sadie!" she exclaimed before she stood and looked around. The three men looked at her confused. "Sadie!" she shouted again and the barking grew louder. Ana couldn't find her dog and looked at the third man who seemed to have an understanding look on his face. "Where is my dog?" she asked him pleadingly.
He looked at her and thought a moment before he pointed towards a ladder and spoke softly. Ana didn't wait to find out anything more and made for the ladder when the second man grabbed her by her left forearm. She whirled around and looked at the cold look in his eyes and her own eyes narrowed.
"Let go of me!" she demanded as she tried to jerk her arm free, but his grip was too strong. She scanned his face her own flushing with her anger, but when her eyes landed on his ears she stopped her struggle and she went ridged. His ears were a perfect point and he carried a quiver of arrows and a bow on his back. "What the hell are you?" she yelled and stomped on his foot. He cried out and let go of her arm. She took off and ran towards the ladder.
Ana was halfway down the ladder when she felt the ladder shake. She looked up and her eyes widened when she saw the second man coming down after her. The other two men where shouting but the second didn't stop, Ana felt the panic rise to her throat once more and looked down to see she wasn't that far from the ground. She jumped and landed sloppily on her knees. Once she was on her feet again she saw Sadie sitting with another one of those things.
"Sadie!" Ana called and the dog rushed over to her. Ana smiled and grabbed Sadie by the collar. She glanced up the ladder and gasped when she saw he was almost down. "Come on," she whispered heatedly before she took off in the trees. The thing Sadie was with shouted out to her but she didn't listen, she just ran. "Run with me girl," she told Sadie as she let go. The dog kept in stride next to her owner, but their run didn't last long when Ana was tackled to the ground. She cried out and was quickly turned over. Her breath was coming in gasps when she looked up at the same cold blue eyes that had been glaring at her since she woke up. Sadie started barking but was held back by the fourth guy with pointy ears. Ana met his cold stare with a matching one of her own, only instead of blue her green eyes glared at him with all that she could muster.
However, as they stared his face calmed and he sighed heavily before he stood from the ground. Ana moved up onto her elbows and continued her glaring. He spoke then and grasped her wrist harshly and pulled her from the ground. Ana winced at the grip he had on her wrist, which only caused him to squeeze it harder. She let out a heavy strangled cry.
Haldir smirked when she cried out quietly. "Stop this at once, Marchwarden," came Galadriel's voice in his mind. "She does not understand you, and she knows not of our race. Bring her and her animal to me unharmed." Haldir loosened his grip, but kept a firm hold on her wrist.
"You will have a lot to answer for," he hissed and she met his eyes, but instead of defiance in them like he had seen so many times before he saw tears. Tears of fear and pain, she spoke then, but he did not understand her sharp language. He shook his head and pulled her down the path back towards the felt where he would get Rumil and gather a few items before he would take her and that mangy beast of hers to the Lady.
Ana cursed the tears that came to her eyes and after he spoke, she tried to blink them away. "I just want to go home," she whispered before he dragged her threw the trees the other man following and bringing Sadie with him. As they walked, she let the tears fall and wiped them away with her free hand all the while thinking she had slipped into some kind of nightmare.