Disclaimer: I don't own anything belonging to the LotR Trilogy, Peter Jackson does. I only own my OC's that I will occasionally add or remove.

Author's Note: Just to let you know, this is my very first fan fiction that I've ever written and had this posted on another site, so that's why you are just now seeing me place it here. I am also going to give this story a major overhaul, cause to tell the truth, this being my first story and all, my writing sucked. I am also going to make the main character female instead of male, it's just easier for me to write very emotional scenes for a girl than it is for a guy, if you know what I mean. So, now that that's out of the way, on with the story...!

Talking Key:

"Regular talk."

"Elvish." -You will find the translations at the end of the chapters, look for an *.



PS: This story is dedicated to my Grandfather who died just before I even started this story back in 2008, a few days before Christmas, at the age of 75.

Okay now, no more sad faces, its time for the story to really begin! I present to you the new, and improved...


Formerly known as: The Second Ranger Tenth Walker

Chapter 1: Arrival

'The forest is quiet tonight.' The Dunedain ranger thought to himself as his blue eyes scanned the surrounding trees meticulously. 'It's far too quiet. Even the cricket's are strangely silent.'

The intentional snap of a stick from behind brought his focus from his thoughts and to his companion and fellow ranger as he approached. It was hard to distinguish the man's features in the dark of the night and the hood of his cloak kept the light of the moon from showing anything but the lower half of his face, giving him a menacing appearance. But even so, he trusted this man with his life.

"Everything is too still, not even a leaf stirs yet there is a breeze." The man whispered in a low gruff tone. "This silence, it's not natural. I don't like it Aragorn, I don't like it one bit."

Aragorn's lips pulled themselves into a grin before he turned back to scanning the small glade they found themselves in. "Truthfully this silence disturbs me greatly as well," he whispered back, "but even so, we must continue on our route. Fletcher..." the ranger's head turning at the sound of his name, "... we shall tread more cautiously from here on out. Keep your sharp eyes and your ears peeled for anything suspicious. For all we know, we could be walking into an ambush as we speak."

Fletcher nodded in acknowledgement, gripping his staff tighter in his fists as the pair continued on their routine patrol of the forrest surrounding the camp of the Dunedain. Thirty minutes later, as the two rangers were entering the last leg of their patrol, Fletcher suddenly froze in mid-step, a startled gasp escaping his lips.

"There is a strange scent on the air..." the short-statured man muttered in a guarded tone, his eyes slowly scanning the surrounding trees as the hair on the back of his neck began to stand on end, "... so strong I can taste it. Not just that, it's thick and chilled, it burns my throat so I can barely breathe. I feel as though someone is watching us, but nothing is there," he hissed, turning toward Aragorn. "Its like the calm before a raging storm, like it's waiting for something to set it loose. Can you not feel it Aragorn?"

"I feel it as well," Aragorn calmly replied, slowly moving his hand to his sword hilt as he spoke. He then turned to face Fletcher, just barely able to make out the other ranger in the dim moonlight. "We must be qui-!"

He was suddenly interrupted by a brilliant flare of light that exploded into being from a nearby glade. So intense was the light that it was nearly blinding, forcing the two men to shield their eyes and duck their heads away from the glare. A thunderous boom sounded from the clearing, shaking the earth beneath their feet and sending them stumbling to their knees. As the last vibrations faded away, so to did the light, casting the forrest once more into the darkness of night. And like it could feel that a danger had passed, the silence that had surrounded Aragorn and Fletcher for most of their patrol was washed away as a wave of sound swept over them; the crickets were chirping, leaves rustled and flapped in the breeze that started to blow, and the pitter patter of tiny nocturnal animals as they scuttled through the tall grass and brush.

Blinking the spots from his eyes, Aragorn swiftly drew his blade and held it aloft before him, eyes guarded as he waited for Fletcher to recover himself.

"By the Valar, what was that?" the ranger exclaimed loudly, his ears ringing. Once he finally managed to clear his eyes, his staff was once more securely gripped in his hands.

"I am unsure, but whatever it was, it came from the clearing ahead." Aragorn said softly, though loudly enough for his companion to hear, before he glanced over his shoulder at Fletcher, "We must be silent and we must be cautious. Let's move."

They moved swiftly, but silently, through the trees and brush, only slowing and coming to a stop when they reached the edge of the large grassy glade. Kneeling behind an old rotting log, the rangers shared a nod before they both peeked over their cover. The sight before them caused both men to involuntarily gasp in surprise. To put it simply, it looked like the very ground itself had exploded, creating a deep crater in the center of the grassy field. The large hole nearly filled the whole clearing in its entirety with it's wide slopping sides and was deep enough for three tall men to stand on each others shoulders. The air was thick with clouds of dust, smoke and the smell of scorched earth. If they both looked hard enough through the haze, they could just make out two dark unmoving shapes in the center of the crater.

They patiently waited for the dust to settle enough for them to see the ground before the two rangers began to slowly and cautiously make their way into the decimated glade and down the charred rocky slope. They had gone but a few paces into the crater, when a low angry growl sounded from below, bring them to a halt. Once Aragorn and Fletcher had stopped, the growls quieted to a low rumble, where they continued with periodic gaps, like an animal catching it's breath before starting once again. The growling was coming from one of the shapes in the center of the bowl of earth and as they moved closer they could discern more details about them. One appeared to be an animal, a canine; though if it was a wolf or a dog they couldn't tell. The second, while a bit harder to see because of the way it was laying on the ground, was vaguely human in shape. Deciding that they would have to chance whether the animal would attack them or not, Aragorn started forward one more and Fletcher followed only a step behind.

Just as they had resumed their descent into the crater the growling regained and increased in intensity. The animal had now risen to it's feet and had placed itself between them and the unmoving figure. Aragorn, being the closer of the two, finally identified the creature as a dog, for while it was big for a dog it was too small for a wolf, though it did seem to resemble a wolf in appearance. When they felt they had gotten as close as they dared, both rangers took in the scene before them with mixed expressions of shock, horror and confusion on their faces.

In the middle of the crater lay the body of a young girl on the cusp of womanhood, and standing hunched before her was the biggest dog either ranger had ever seen. It's muscles rippled and twitched beneath fur as black as the night, fur that gleamed in the bright light of the moon and stood on end, making the beast seem even bigger. Glowing green eyes glared at them from under heavy brow ridges like twin beacons of green flame. It's triangle shaped ears were pulled back against it's head, displaying the dog's irritation. It's teeth glistened in the moonlight, bared up to the gums as it's growls reached incredibly loud levels, each as sharp as a dagger and ready to tear into them if they so much as took another step forward. From it's massive paws stuck out claws as long as a man's pinky finger, scratching little furrows in the dirt as it prepared itself to leap at the them.

Aragorn flicked his eyes from the dog and human, frowning when his eyes spotted blood on the girl's shirt, and made to move even closer, when the dog's growl turned into a snarl and it pounced forward, snapped it's jaws at him and shuffled back to it's former position.

"Be careful Aragorn!" Fletcher hissed, watching his comrade seemingly ignore the dog's warning and continue moving closer, this time toward the beast itself, hold a placating hand before him as he did so.

"It will be alright, my friend," Aragorn murmured gently to the agitated animal, slowly bringing himself to kneel in front of it. "I just want to check her injuries. I'm not here to hurt either of you." When the dog showed no sign of calming, he then spoke soothingly to it in Sindarin.

"Av-'osto. Telin le thaed. Boe de nestad."*

The dog's growling slowly died down and it's features calmed. It tentatively leaned toward his extended hand and sniffed it, taking in his scent. Seeming to find him a little trustworthy, the dog licked his palm once and backed out of his way, staring at him warily, as he moved past it and over to the girl. Aragorn knelt down at the girl's side and leaned over her body, pressing two fingers against the nape of her neck to check for a pulse. He breathed out in relief when he felt the throbbing vein under his fingertips, and though it was weak, she was at least still alive. Once he was done with that, Aragorn finally took his first look at the girl herself.

The girl's clothing was of strange make and made of a material he'd never seen before. She wore a thick, white long sleeved top that was made of what he thought felt like really fine wool that was stained brown in places from the dust and dried blood from an injury that he would see to later. Instead of a dress or a long skirt, she wore pants made of a tough blue fabric that appeared to be well worn and on her feet were a strange looking pair of boots that stopped at her ankles. Looking closely at her face, Aragorn estimated her age to be around nineteen summers old. She was short in stature, about the height of his chest when standing, he guessed, and though her frame was thin, she had the muscle tone of one who spent a lot of her time outdoors. The only thing that contested that thought though was that her skin was as fair and smooth as a noblewoman's.

Once done with taking in her appearance, he then moved on to her injuries, only to grimace at the state she was in. The girl's left arm lay limply on the ground beside her and the shoulder was swollen and turning black and blue. 'Dislocated shoulder.' Aragorn surmised as he continued with his examination of the limb and found her wrist to be sprained. Noticing a bit of discoloration around her left eye, he reached up to her face and brushed aside her brown bangs, revealing a large, fresh burn that covered most of the left side of her face, including her eyelid.

Aragorn then tenderly touched the raw skin and lifted the girl's left eyelid and had to resist the urge to pull his hand away from what was revealed to him. The girl's left eye was completely white, with the pupil so clouded over he could hardly see it in the moonlight. 'This shall be the first thing I will look into once we get her back to camp.' Aragorn thought to himself as he checked her right eye and was relieved to find it a normal warm brown color.

As he sat up to to look at her whole form, his eyes then caught sight of something that was sticking out from underneath the girl's body. Gently lifting her up slightly, he managed to pull the object out from under her, set it aside, and then laid her back down. Turning to the object he discovered that it was a small-sized crossbow that was of good make and beautifully crafted. It was meticulously cared for, the dark, polished wood gleamed in the moonlight and the brass fastenings glinted as he turned the weapon over in his hands. It was made to shoot small, short bolts, and could even be wielded with one hand. The person who had designed this crossbow must have been very skilled.

Aragorn was startled from his observation of the bow when the girl's eyelids flickered and a low moan escaped her lips.

Hearing the girl stir, the dog whimpered loudly as it crawled it's way to her side, laying it's head down on her stomach. Seeing that the animal wasn't feeling threatened anymore, Fletcher carefully walked over and squatted beside Aragorn. He glanced down at the girl and was unable to suppress his wince when he got a good look at her injuries.

"What are we going to do with her, Aragorn?" he quietly inquired as he reached down to pet the dogs head.

"The girl is in desperate need of medical attention and I don't have the supplies I need to treat some of her injuries. I still have yet to check the rest of her body for any others. The best thing we can do for her is to take her back to camp. I shall take her, you will hold onto her weapon and bring the dog with you." As he finished speaking, Aragorn gently lifted the girl up and shifted her body around in his arms until he had a better hold and then started his way up and out of the crater.

Fletcher picked up the crossbow with an appreciative whistle before he looked to the dog to see it staring at him warily and confused.

"Well, come along... boy? Yes, that's what you are. Come along boy, the sooner we get back to camp, the sooner you can see your master again.

Well, there you have it. That's the new and improved first chapter, hope you like it. Please read and review.

*Elvish Translation:

- Telin le thaed = I've come to help you

- Av-'osto = Don't be afraid

- Boe de nestad = It is necessary to heal her