Disclaimer: I own the giant, hideous mini-Koi, a possible spy, two bags of Fritos and JRR owns the good stuff!!

A/N:

"This is regular speech"

This in mind speech

''This is visions''

""This is thoughts ""

To my Lovely Readers and Reviewers: THANK YOU!! I am sorry that it has been so long since I last updated! Real life set its sight on my time and i was doing a lot of camping, then moved out of state and become engaged. I am restarting my updates and hopefully will be at least once a month, if not more. Thank you again for sticking with me and I hope you enjoy the

Night Rituals

Erestor stared down at the overly calm female. Her head was held high, but her eyes had become unfocused and her lips silently mouthed the ritual words of revelation. Glancing into the open area of the hearth, the advisor saw that the small iron he had placed inside the fire was white hot and ready. He was loathe to proceed, but it was the only way to breech the green magic that now concealed her master's name. Softly, the advisor began to sing an ancient song. His barely whispered words flowed over and around the prisoner; weaving a spell of magic that would shield her from the worst of the pain and promote rapid healing of the wound he was about to inflict upon the prisoner. Picking up the iron as his first song died away slowly, Erestor began to chant another spell designed to reveal her master.

The advisor turned to the waiting elleth with slightly unfocused eyes. It had been a very, very long time since his own ceremony had taken place and it took all his concentration to remember the correct wording. As Erestor's song reached its crescendo, the advisor placed the white hot iron onto the body marking over Kestrel's heart. He held the iron there for a few seconds, before moving it away and replacing it in the hearth leaving behind the scent of burned flesh. A few more minutes and he would have the answer to at least one question.

Kestrel sat still in a hazy world; somewhere between waking and reverie. The words she chanted silently, wove a protection spell around her fea. The pain was almost non existent; save for a hot, itchy feel to her skin. She could smell the stench of burning flesh, but this did not overly alarm her, for she knew she would heal quickly. The body marking ceremony had been much more painful, then this revealing ceremony and had lasted almost a fortnight, yet she had healed in less then two days after the ceremony was completed. The only fear she felt came from the knowledge, that her secret would no longer be hidden, but Kestrel took a small comfort in the knowledge, that the person who revealed her was one of her kind, and not a stranger to the ritual ways of her people.

The elleth sighed softly as the advisor's spell wrapped around her. It would boost her own natural healing ability and strengthen the healing spell she had already cast. It would be, but a few hours, before the healing would be complete and all evidence of the ritual would be wiped away. Feeling the heated iron being removed from her skin, Kestrel allowed her mind to refocus on the waking world. With a sense of hesitant curiosity, the prisoner dropped her eyes slowly towards the exposed expanse of her chest. Kestrel watched in fascination, as new markings began to appear amid the circle of the original set of body markings.

Beech leaves and vines of ivy wove a circlet that held captive an array of wildflowers. A name was written in dark scrawling letters; the name of her master appearing slowly in the circle of markings already visible. Erestor took in a sharp breath as the new markings were revealed to his sight. This was not unexpected, but to see the evidence so clearly made the advisor close his eyes in relief. This female was no spy! Reaching out a hand to Kestrel, Erestor brought her to stand beside him with a small smile. The elleth's wary gaze made him smile wider; she most definitely had the right mindset for the master she was assigned to. Closing his eyes once more, Erestor began another chant. As the words grew louder, Erestor placed his hand over the markings and pushed his thoughts towards the female.

Kestrel blinked in confused shock as she heard the darkling elf's soft, persistent voice float into her mind. Young one can you hear me?

She knew that others of her kind could communicate in such a way, but she had never experienced it for herself. The strange tingling that shivered through her mind made her smile; the feeling was close to that of being tickled from the inside.

Kestrel acknowledged his question with a slight nod and waited for him to continue.

Good!, I do believe I have at least some of the answers I seek, yet there is still much more I wish to know. How long have you been a Guardian, young one? Does your position as Guardian require you to perform other duties for secrecy, as mine requires, or do you only have this one position?

Kestrel focused her thoughts and tried to push them towards the waiting advisor's mind. Sighing in frustration, the elleth gathered her thoughts again and repeated her attempt, but got the same reaction; nothing. Frowning in thought, the female thought back to what she had been taught about Guardian communication. The lessons were fuzzy at best, but one talk stood out in her mind. She had asked how to activate her magic and her sponsor had told her it was different for each Guardian. Each one had a special job given to them and the magic activated using something from that job; for scribes it was ink, but for warriors it was swords. She now knew what she needed to use, but wished her activation used ink instead.

Lifting her hand to her mouth, Kestrel bit into her skin viciously. Blood flowed from the bit mark and dripped quickly onto the floor in front of her. Taking the first two fingers of her other hand, the prisoner dragged them through her own blood before smearing a strip across both her forehead and then the advisors. Once the blood anointed them, Kestrel licked her wounded hand. As her saliva was introduced into the self-inflicted wound, the blood flow stopped and her skin began to heal over. Smiling grimly in satisfaction, Kestrel returned to the task at hand.

Can you hear me advisor?

A smile lit up Erestor's face at the sound of her soft voice wafting into his mind.

I will take that smile as a yes. came her amused response, Do you know who owns this symbol? I would like to know if my master is of good or evil intent.

Aye young one, I know this symbol very well indeed! It is the symbol of Thranduil, King of Mirkwood. It seems that you are one of his personal guardians; though it may be that you are but a messenger and not expected to take up arms in his protection. Many were sent in secret into the Elven realms to watch and report any activities that might be detrimental to the survival of our kind. With the shadow lingering, the Guardian council wanted to have access to all the realms without the knowledge of their rulers. I believe you might be one of them, though I may be mistaken. came the advisor's measured response.

A look of sadness flashed through Kestrel's eyes. The pictures she had seen during her reverie and more frequently during the light of day, belayed the hope that she was not as reprehensible as she feared. This need for blood to invoke her magic, showed her that she truly was as heartless as she thought. The elleth knew she needed to confide in someone, but she balked at revealing all to the advisor and seeing the disappointment that would surely manifest itself. Taking a calming breath, Kestrel looked the advisor in the eye and threw her thoughts at him as gently as she could, I am more then a messenger, this I know. I will not explain it now, as it is unclear to me just what exactly I did do for my master. When I have straightened it out in my own mind, I will speak of it with you. Please do not ask me to do so now, for I will refuse! I mean no harm to you and yours, no matter what I may turn out to be; this I promise you.

With a slight nod of agreement, Erestor looked at the female guardian and reached out a hand to her bare shoulder in innocent comfort and understanding. Unfortunately for the advisor, the door swung open and admitted a very cheerful, and quite oblivious, Balrog Slayer into the chamber.