Note: This chapter corresponds to chapter 81 of 'Nariel the Red'

Also sorry for the lack of updates recently. I have been writing my NaNoWriMo project for the last month. I actually finished it which was a surprise, 50000words in one month. I will try and keep up that productivity but I think it might slip a little. The plan at the moment is to write 1000words a day of something. Whether that's one of my fanfic or one of my original fic works. There are too many works unfinished. For example I decided to make Nariel pregnant round about the same time my friends conceived their son. Well now he is nearly 18months and Nariel hasn't given birth.

Athrana (Wandering Shadow)

Chapter 61- Preparing for War

TA 3019 March 9th

Athriel carried on in the darkness. She kept to the back of the group with Elladan and Elrohir on either side of her. They had been unable to light the torches but continued onwards none the less. Personally Athriel found the darkness comforting, even hearing the dead following behind them , the darkness was like a blanket wrapped around her and making her feel safe. The darkness gave them all time to prepare for what they was waiting for them on the other side. But although she was determined to take this time to prepare herself for what she would have to face, Athriel could not help but let her thoughts stray to home.

In Rivendell Erestor sat by the window in his office looking out towards were he knew Athriel would be. He couldn't believe she was gone yet again. She had only been home a matter of days before she had ridden off into danger again. It wasn't fair, none of this was fair. Least of all the news that Elrond had inadvertently given him, after she had disappeared from sight.

TA 3019 March 2nd

Erestor had finally managed to pull himself out of his husbands embrace and then they had talked. Erestor had explained and apologised and begged Glorfindel to move back into their rooms. He couldn't do it, he couldn't be without them both. The captain had nodded and soothed his fears and taken him back to their rooms. He had told him to rest and moved his things back in, and Erestor had breathed a sigh of relief.

That night they forced themselves to eat with the rest of the household, not for their own sake, but for Elrond. Athriel was not the only one riding out to war after all. The four of them had sat in a companiable silence, Erestor, Glorfindel, Elrond and Arwen. They were all subdued and worried over those they loved. Eventually Arwen had departed to the solitude of her rooms while they retreated to Elrond's office. It had been a trying few days for all of them and they could all do with a drink and pleasant company.

Once the drinks were poured and the elves settled into their comfortable chairs, the conversation had turned to the young ones mission. The details of the journey it seemed Elrond had kept to himself, as Glorfindel probed him with questions. The Captain had been kept out of the loop, no doubt because of Athriel's involvement. The golden warrior was well known for his protective streak and now that Athriel had come back and then almost immediately gone off on her calling, his worry was incredible. Elrond's words however did little to ease either the Captain or his mate. They listened as their lord outlined the intentions of the three warriors. They would meet the dunedain, and travel on to meet Estel and offer him their aid. But then Elrond divulged the message he had sent with his son's and Erestor paled.

Down the hall from where Erestor worried, Arwen sat in her rooms. She didn't know what to do with herself now. She did not regret her decision, how could she when it brought her closer to the man she loved and their future together, but now she was alone. Her brothers had gone out to fight for her and her future husband and the friend she loved as a sister had gone with them. For that she was overcome with guilt, although her sudden mortality had gotten them talking again. She only hoped it wasn't too soon for Athriel to be back out in the wild.

She had heard from her brothers what was happening to their oldest friend and she worried about her. She had no doubt that Athriel would overcome it all, but she still wondered how being out in the wild would affect her. Arwen chastised herself, she couldn't think like that. She had to believe that everything would be well. She had to believe that Aragorn would defeat the Dark Lord, she had to believe that when it was all over she would stand beside him at his coronation. She had to believe that she would be married to the man that she loved, and not only would her brothers be there beside her, but so would Athriel. She gazed off towards the horizon and sent out her best wishes to everyone that she loved.

Erestor decided he had to get away from his office. He couldn't get any work done today. The valley was preparing for war and he couldn't concentrate. He couldn't help but worry what danger Athriel was in as she walked the paths of the dead if they were preparing for an attack in the safety of the valley. Seeing a report he needed to deliver to Glorfindel he leapt on the excuse to leave his office and headed towards the armoury where he knew he would be.

Glorfindel looked around the armoury with a sigh. They were preparing for the enemy to attack, they knew it wouldn't be long now and they had to be ready. He had known it was coming, that was why he hadn't been able to go after Athriel and the Twins as he had wanted to do. The warrior shhok himself, he couldn't let himself become distracted. He couldn't think about the three of them out there in the wild, and little Estel as well. But every room reminded him of them, the armoury included.

TA 138

Glorfindel looked up from the book he was reading and listened to the almost silence throughout the house. The problem was there wasn't silence. The whole house should be asleep but he had distinctly heard a door open and close across the hall. It was to far away to be Erestor's door and yet too close to be anyone elses. It was Athriel's door. But the councillor had put her to bed hours ago. Glorfindel himself had read her a bedtime story. So why had her door opened. Putting on his slippers Glorfindel got up and pulled his own door open as quietly as he could. He peered around it and watched three little elflings disappear down the corridor. Rolling his eyes he followed behind them quietly to make sure they wouldn't get into any trouble, stopping just long enough to light his lantern.

Three elflings walked slowly side by side through the dark corridors. Everyone else was asleep but this was the only time they could explore without fear of being caught. They snuck silently to the ominous door that they had been denied access to earlier that same day. Together they pulled the heavy door open and stared into the gloom. As they stepped into the darkness Athriel reached out and pulled the twins closer on either side. She didn't pull them to walk in front of her, or behind, as her hands dropped and the three walked on they were still equals. Now however they had the added security of walking closer together so their arms touched. Then suddenly the room was bathed in light. The elflings screamed as the weapons and armour were suddenly illuminated around them. They turned to run but there was a solid body behind them.

Glorfindel laughed softly as he lit the lanterns from his own. He had stopped the young ones from entering this very room earlier in the day and he shouldn't be surprised that their curiosity had not been dampened. Crouching to be at the same height as the elflings he tried to look serious. "What are you doing in here?" he asked glancing between the three faces. "You should all be asleep by now." All three looked guilitily down at their feet and wouldn't meet his gaze. "Sorry Glorfindel" Athriel muttered and the warrior knew that was the only answer he was going to get. Sighing heavily he lifted Athriel up into one arm and guided the boys towards the door with the other. "Come on you little terrors" Athriel held his lantern as he extinguished those in the armoury and they walked slowly down the corridor back to their rooms.

Once the boys had been safely deposited in their rooms Glorfindel continued down the corridor to Athriel's. She was nearly asleep in his arms now so he took the lantern from her with his free hand. "Will you teach me Glorfindel?" she asked half asleep. "Teach you what ree?" he asked in return juggling her in his arms slightly so that he could open the door. "Teach me to use those weapons, to be a warrior." He thought hard for a moment, unconsciously glancing towards the connecting door between her room and Erestor's. "Maybe little one, when you are older and if your brother agrees."

He hadn't agreed, not for a long time, but Glorfindel had taught her anyway. It had been obvious, to him at least, that Athriel had been born to be a warrior. So even though Erestor had refused to let Athriel follow her true calling, until she was almost at her majority, Glorfindel had been teaching her anyway. Now, with her off in the wild again and facing the most dangerous task she had to date, he wondered if he had done the right thing.

Erestor stood by the door for a moment. Glorfindel had that look on his face, the look that meant he was thinking about Athriel, that look that meant he was feeling guilty. It was a new look on his face, it had only been there since Athriel's had revealed her presence to him, and Erestor didn't like it. He walked over to his mate and put a hand on his shoulder. "Fin?" The captain jumped obviously startled out of his thoughts. "Fin are you alright?" Glorfindel thought about lying, he thought about saying everything was fine, but instead he shook his head. He wasn't going to lie again, not to Erestor, he couldn't. "Let's go back to our rooms" Erestor said leading Glorfindel towards the door. "Then you can tell me all about it."

And meanwhile, Athriel continued to walk through the darkness with her twins on either side of her. As she mentally prepared herself for the battles that were to come she thanked the valar for the family that she had, for the training she had been given and for the support of those around her. Without them she wouldn't have the strength to do this, she woudn't have had the strength to survive and she wouldn't have the strength to get back to herself. She was ready for whatever the enemy would throw at her next. She was ready for war.