Note: updated 06/10/14. In an attempt to get back into writing this fic I re-read it from the start. As a result I got annoyed at some of the terrible writing so I am updating some of the chapters.
Athrana (Wandering Shadow)
Chapter 1- To get out, to get home.
Athriel opened her eyes; Darkness, Darkness and stinging dust. She tried to shield her eyes with her hand but she couldn't move. Slowly awareness came back to her body and she realised she was underneath a pile of heavy stones. Rubble, from the collapse. She tried opening her eyes again. This time she saw a twinkle of sunlight through a gap in the rocks. If she could just get to it, the light would lead her outside and away from this hell. Then she could go home.
Home, that thought gave her strength. She had to get back home. Back to the brother who raised her, back to that safe haven. Back to her friends and her family. With all the strength that she had left in her body, Athriel clawed her way through the rubble towards the shaft of light. Somehow she managed to pry the rocks apart. Finally she sat with her face towards the light. She was so close now, so close to the outside. She had no idea how long she had been in this place, but it felt like an eternity.
No, she didn't want to think about this place. She wanted to get out, to get home. Frantically she pulled apart the barrier in front of her. Her hands bled but she didn't care, she barely noticed. She had to get out. That's all that mattered now. Athriel crawled through the gap she had made and breathed deeply. Outside, she was outside. The air was fresh and clear after the stuffiness. She could hear flowing water and the swaying of the trees instead of cruel laughter. Bright cleansing sunlight and a cooling breeze bathed her instead of stifling heat in the darkness.
In the distance she could see the trees. How long had it been since she had last seen the trees. Her body ached all over from exhaustion and relief, but slowly she crawled to the tree-line. She had to climb. She knew that she didn't have the strength for it, but it was either that or run. When the night came they would come looking for her. She secretly hoped that the collapse had killed them all, but she knew that some of them would have survived. She could not outrun them so she would have to climb.
With everything she had left Athriel hauled herself into the branches. Once she reached the top she could rest. She had no weapons, and she had no plan, but she would out live them. She had seen daylight now. There was no way she was going back to that place of pain and torment. No way would she let them take her back. She would make them kill her first. That was it, one or the other. Home or dead. With relief she collapsed amongst the branches. Here she could rest. Here she could gain strength enough to get home. She slept and dreamt of home.
Athriel fidgeted in the saddle. She was only 4 years old and not used to riding, and yet she had been sent on this long journey. The elf behind her laughed.
"Don't worry Penneth. We will be there soon"
She was travelling with this stranger to meet a brother she had never seen. At least not that she remembered. Her father said that she had met him once, as a baby, after her mother's death. But she could not remember that, now she was going to live with him.
She never knew her mother. There had been some complications during the birth which had lead to the elleth's death. And now her father could no longer go on without his wife. He had held out as long as he could but now he was to sail. He had been ill for months now, trying his best to continue for his daughter's sake, but he couldn't do it anymore. So Lord Cirdan had sent him over the sea and Athriel to live with her brother in Rivendell.
It had been a long journey, but now they were finally entering the valley. Athriel gazed in wonder at the trees around her. For some reason she felt more at home here than she ever had by the sea. This place seemed safer, calmer. The grey havens were a place to go before you moved on. Separate from the rest of Arda, A place for the elves and only for the elves. She had heard many stories of Rivendell. There were other races here. She would see men and dwarves and of course other elves. In some ways she was excited to see this place but she was also scared.
Her father was gone now, he had sailed find her mother in the undying lands and Athriel was alone. This was a place of strangers. She knew very little of her brother save his name. And whenever she had mentioned it to other elves in passing they had looked at her strangely. They used words to describe him that she did not understand, at least not in the context of family. Formidable. Cold. Strict. Poor child.
As they neared the Homely House the elf behind her spoke again.
"Are you ready?"
He asked. She could see a figure waiting on the steps. He was slim and dark like her. His hair a deep black, like a raven's wing and his robes were dark velvet.
"What's he like Glorfindel?"
She asked the warrior as they slowed, and the other elf watched them closely.
"Erestor? He's one of my closest friends"
She looked up as the dark elf moved towards them. He wasn't as scary as she had imagined. He was smiling.
She nodded. He laughed and pulled her from the horse spinning her round and finally holding her in his arms and against his hip.
"I am your brother Erestor. Let me show you your room"
With that he whisked her away into the house. Faintly she could hear Glorfindel call after them, but she was too busy staring in wonder at the smiling face of her brother.
"I'll get the bags then shall I?"
Athriel snapped awake as she heard the growls. It was dark now and they were coming. But she felt stronger. She would get out of this and then she would go home, back to Imladris where she belonged.