Happy New Year's Everyone! To celebrate I updated a new chapter!
The title is kind of self-explanatory. I actually went a little off track of my original plan for this chapter so please let me know if some of the stuff is too random or disjointed. It's more of a filler before Helm's Deep.
I make Freda a little younger than she appears in the movie. Perhaps 4 or 5 is a good estimate.
Chapter 15: Journey to Helm's Deep
I carried the little girl who was now asleep up the stair of the Great Hall and into the dining area where they had several bowls of food waiting for us and the children. I sat down with the girl on my lap and shook her gently.
"Eat some soup little one" I said softly. She took a couple bites and I saw her smile happily and eat more.
"They had no warning and were unarmed. Now the wild men are moving through the Westfold, burning as they go. Rick, Cot and Tree" she said bitterly as she wrapped a blanket around the boy.
"Where is momma?" the little girl asked me when her soup was gone.
"Shhh little one. Let's get you to bed, you must be tired" I said picking her up.
"Mae, let a maid take the girl" Eowyn said softly.
"I don't mind" I honestly empathized with the girl. She lost her home too. But at least she still had her brother.
I walked with her to a room Eowyn had laid out for them. With a maid's help, we bathed her and gave her a fresh clean dress. I brushed her hair then braided it into an elvish style. She laid down on the bed and she looked up at me with a curious face.
"You're an elf!" she said touching my ears.
"Yes I am"
"Daddy didn't like elves though. He said they didn't help much"
"Well, I'm helping you aren't I?" I said smiling as I tucked her in. The maid chuckled softly as she drained the tub.
"Thank you lady elf"
"Call me Mae. What's your name little one"
"Freda" She said yawning.
"Sleep little Freda" I said humming a lullaby.
She was asleep not long after that. I brushed the hair out her face and smiled. I stepped out of the room and the maid followed me.
"You're good with children milady. Do you have any of your own?" I looked at her for a moment until the question clicked.
"No but I will someday I hope" I said smiling thinking of my vision. Freda reminded me of my future daughter. It was very realistic now if we succeed.
"You will be a good mother" she said bowing and walked off towards the working rooms.
I returned to the halls and Gandalf was talking to Théoden. I stood next to Legolas and he put his arm around my waist gently.
"This is but a taste of the terror Saruman will unleash. It is all the more potent now for he is driven for fear of Sauron" Gandalf paused as a look of thought crossed the king's face.
"Ride out and face him head on. Draw him away from your women and children. You must fight!"
"You have two thousand good men riding north as we speak. Eomer is loyal to you. He and his men will return and fight for their king" Aragorn chimed in becoming a participant in this tense conversation.
"They will be three hundred leagues from here by now. Eomer cannot help us now" Gandalf stood as if to speak but Théoden cut him off.
"I know what it is you want of me but I will not bring further death to my people. I will not risk open war"
"Open war is upon you whether you would risk it or not" Aragorn said sternly. All eyes turned to the smoking ranger.
"When I last looked, Theodon, not Aragorn, is King of Rohan" The king said in an authoritative tone. I felt Legolas tense beside me. Neither of us could tell where this conversation was going.
"Then what is the king's decision?" Gandalf asked.
"By Order of the King, the city must empty. We make for the refuge of Helm's Deep" Hama announced throughout the city.
The guys went off with Gandalf and I followed Eowyn back to our room. She handled me a stack of clothes.
"I was planning on giving you these a little later but now is more appropriate" I looked at the clothes. There were six sets of tunics, leggings, two dresses, black and brown boots, and other garments of varying colors and styles. My eyes widened at this gift.
"I don't know what to say. Thank you seems to light"
"Thank you will do fine. I know they are not of elven design but I had a maid borrow one of your others to copy the style"
"Thank you so much Eowyn" I said hugging the woman and she slightly hugged me back shocked. New clothes to a traveler like me was like Mithril to a dwarf!
"You're welcome Mae. I'm glad you appreciate them. Now if you'd excuse me. I need to go get my pack and help my uncle"
After gathering a few things, she left the room. I saw a bath was drawn and decided I had enough time. I slipped in and enjoyed the warm water briefly before getting out and pulling on a black under tunic, a dark blue tunic and black leggings with the black boots. I pulled my hair back into my normal half braid and my necklace fell back into its proper place.
I packed very quickly and put my weapons next to my pack. As I looked down at my sword then pulled it out its sheath and swung it again after almost three days of no action.
"My glory, perhaps after two centuries you will finally see some real action" I heard someone knock lightly before opening the door.
"Mae?" I didn't have to look to recognize the voice.
"Yes" I felt arms around me and leaned into Legolas behind me.
"We are to leave with in the hour; I have Arod ready for you."
"What of you?" I don't mind riding with Legolas but over such a distance it would become uncomfortable.
"Théoden has asked me to scout. I won't have much time in the group. But I will ride behind you until we are in the open plains"
"I see." I said with a down cast in my voice. I didn't like him scouting by himself. Not that he wasn't capable because he and Aragorn are the best no doubt, but it was the Rohirran plains that worried me.
"You're welcome to assist me."
"I may have to" I said turning to meet him in a long kiss. He slipped his hand up my side.
"Brave today aren't we" I said smiling pulling his hand to my cheek.
"I'm such a lucky elf" he said leaning down and brushing his lips against mine again.
"We should go" I said pulling back. He nodded and we left my room.
I put my pack onto Arod's back and then hopped into the sattle. Legolas got on behind me and we joined Aragorn, who now rode Brego, and Gimili, who rode Hausfel. We rode several hours just chatting among ourselves until Edoras was but a speck in the distance.
"Master Elf, if you would" Théoden dropped back to our group but only because he feared the plains as much as I did at this point. Though, I know little of Rohan as a country, the wild itself seemed an unsafe place to begin with, especially in such dark times.
He nodded to the king before kissing my temple and jumping off Arod.
"I'll check on you from time to time don't worry" he said with one last look at me before running off ahead the group.
"It's not me I'm worried about" I said under my breath.
So the long ride to Helm's Deep began. It would be a week's journey as most said. I was looking forward to seeing the great Rohirran fortress of Legend I read about in some of the books I borrowed. The sun was bright during the day but the nights were often cold. If I looked hard enough, I could see Legolas perked upon a nearby hill watching over everyone and I smiled. He did what was needed of him without complaint. I curled further into my bed roll and found a little sleep.
Five days passed without problems. The days were clear and the night sky was filled with many stars that I often found myself lost in. But tonight was by far the coldest. Even with my half elven blood, I was feeling a deep chill. I shivered as I stared into the fire next to me.
"You look cold" I felt someone come up and lay behind me.
"It is not the Golden Wood in the summer that's for sure" I said turning to face to the elf.
He put his hand to my face but pulled back quickly.
"You're freezing" he said pulling me closer to him. I know it's because of my mixed blood. I tolerate extreme temperatures well but I am still effected by them over long periods. But, Legolas didn't know I was only half-elf. We were rare and often frowned upon especially among high court elves. That is why I feared telling him. Though I knew, I would have to eventually.
"How are you so cold? I am in my tunics and I fair fine" he said running his warm hands over my arms under my blanket.
"The better question is why are you not scouting?" I said changing the subject quickly.
"I did a full round and Aragorn volunteered to take the night watch so I could rest" he said pulling me so my head rested in the crook of his neck. His heat felt amazing and after some time I fell asleep. Not caring who saw us.
"Lady Maethriel" I woke up to someone shaking my shoulder. I was cold. I looked up and saw Eowyn standing above me with a cup of tea.
"It's almost time to move. I brought you some tea to wake you up"
"Thank you" I said taking the warm cup into my hands. Contrast to the clear starry night, clouds filled the sky and I feared rain was in the near future. I was cold as is, I don't need to be wet on top of it.
"I hope the rain holds out" I mumbled before taking a sip. The taste was bland and in need of more leaves but the warmth was welcome.
Sadly, a few hours into our journey a light rain started to fall. I pulled my cloak over my head but it eventually became soaked through. It was over and the sun returned just after midday and with it people's spirits rose again. The day went on as the past few did after that. I looked ahead for Legolas but could not find him today.
"Aragorn, have you seen Legolas?"
"I have not been looking for him but I will ride a little ahead if you wish"
"No need, I just haven't seen him today. I normally see him on a hill ahead. Perhaps I just missed him"
"You worry too much Mae. The elf can take care of himself" Gimili said from my other side.
"You're right Gimili" I said continuing on the day.
That night Legolas came again but could not stay to rest. I was relieved to see him come into camp to say the least.
"Walk with me?" he asked.
"I don't know. Distracting a scout is not best" I said standing after grabbing my cloak.
"Walking will do you well. Riding a horse so long might tighten your muscles" he said extending his hand. Stretching my leg muscles felt good. We did six laps around our camp watching the world around us for anything amiss.
"How much longer until we reach Helms Deep?"
"I've never personally taken this route but I believe I heard Aragorn said we should hopefully be there midafternoon tomorrow."
We had stopped up on a hill where we could see just about everything. My vision from Galadriel's mirror suddenly came back to my thoughts. Helms Deep... Could that be the fortress of stone?
"Legolas what do you think will happen once we reach the fortress?"
"I wish I could tell you. But we must await Gandalf, from there I know not"
We had endless chatter the rest of the night. Around sunrise, I laid my head on his shoulder and smiled.
"Beautiful" I whispered, thinking aloud about the colors painting the early morning sky.
"Yes you are"
"Stop it" I said lightly hitting his arm.
"It's the truth. There is no elleth more beautiful in my eyes"
I smiled and kissed him deeply. His hand cupped my face and I ran my hand up his chest to rest on his shoulder.
"They make me sick sometimes laddie" Gimili said as we watched Legolas and Mae on the hill not far from camp.
"They are in love. You encouraged it if I do recall correctly, Gimili" I said laughing.
"Yes, but I don't like their over eagerness towards each other"
"It is dark times. They fear any moment could be their last. I see it especially in Mae's eyes. She knows things and cannot tell us"
"Is it true she gazed into the Lady's mirror?" Gimili asked.
"Mae personally never told me that and I'm sure only Legolas could confirm it. Sometimes her attitude and words about things make me think she did. But she hides things for our own good. Some things even from Legolas" My own words brought up the fact that she was only half elven. I hope she tells Legolas soon. He has the right to know. But if she hides that, it makes me truly wonder what else she hides behind those green eyes and smile.
So there's chapter 15. I hope you liked it. Next chapter will be the Warg attack and the beginning of their time at Helm's Deep.
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So until next time!