"~ ~" - Large chunks of Elvish. Couldn't find a good Elvish translator.
* * Visions/Dreams
Chapter Two, Into The Wild.
Ghost sat across from Strider, her eyes felt heavy. She had not slept for three days, but she could not let the Hobbits out of her sight. Nor did she want them to feel uncomfortable. She knew they felt more uneasy with Strider around them, and that knowing she was there made them feel slightly safer.
Yet Ghost didn't know why. Surely, with what Butterbur had told them, they would feel more at ease with Strider, knowing that she was more than a little too happy to run someone through with her blade.
Frodo wasn't asleep. He stood by Ghost's chair, looking out of the window, along with Strider. All three of them watched as the Dark Riders burst through the door to the Prancing Pony, and listened to the shrill screams of the angered cursed Kings moments later when they discovered they had just slaughtered pillows, not Hobbits.
"What are they?" Frodo asked.
"They were once men." Ghost told him, in a quiet voice.
Strider looked at his old love, noticing how tired she looked, and feeling responsible for the haunted look in her eyes.
"Great Kings of men. Then Sauron the deceiver gave to them Nine Rings of Power." Strider continued.
"Blinded by their greed they took them without question, one by one falling into darkness and now they are slaves to his will," Ghost finished, looking at Strider, noting the concern in his eyes, and then sat up straighter, trying to make herself look less exhausted. "They are the Nazgul, Ringwraiths, neither living or dead."
"At all times they feel the presence of the ring...drawn to the power of the one...they will never stop hunting you." Strider told them, taking his eyes of Ghost, and placing them on the Hobbits.
"Go to sleep, Frodo. We will wake you at dawn." Ghost urged him, ushering him over to the bed. He climbed in, and closed his eyes, but was only half-asleep. Ghost was too tired to notice, and Strider was too occupied by his lost lover to care.
"You should sleep too, mela." Strider said, softly.
Ghost shook her head.
"I cannot sleep."
"You look like you haven't slept for days. Get some rest, Elbereth."
"I will not."
"But, why, my lady?"
"Because, Estel, I am afraid that if I close my eyes, you'll leave." She whispered.
"Elbereth, vanimelda, I cannot leave." He replied.
Ghost lifted her eyes to meet his.
"~You left before, my love, it has been four years since we last traveled together. Yet, that is not why I am here now. The Hobbits are in my care, Estel. No harm must come to them~" Ghost said.
"They'll get hurt if you do not sleep, mela. To protect them, you need to be alert. You can not be alert, if you are fighting against sleep." Strider argued. Ghost knew he had won this verbal battle, and rose from her chair.
"As you wish, mela. In case you do try to run, take heed of this warning. I will hunt you down, and relieve your shoulder of the weight its been carrying all these years."
Strider chuckled, as his love laid herself out on the floor, using her bag as a pillow, and instantly fell asleep.
He didn't realise that Frodo had heard their exchange, and had fallen asleep dreaming of them.
Ghost had managed to buy a skinny pony to hold their supplies from an old man, who looked in need of a very long bath, and some mint for his breath.
Sam instantly took a shine to the pony, naming him Bill, and insisting on leading him, making him the last in the company. Strider and Ghost were up in front, discussing routes and making plans.
"Where are you taking us?" Frodo asked, having to near enough shout, because the Hobbits were lagging behind.
"Into the wild." Strider replied.
Ghost feels the Hobbits unease.
"How do we know Strider and Ghost are friends of Gandalf?" Merry asked, whispering to Frodo.
"We have no choice but to trust them." Frodo replied, making her smile.
"But where are they leading us?" Sam asked.
"To Rivendell, Master Gamgee!" Ghost answered, without turning around. "To the House of Elrond."
Strider shoots her an amused smile, after he turns his head to look at Sam. Ghost turns her head too and sees he looks very thrilled.
"Did you hear that, Bill? We're going to see the Elves!" He said, excitedly.
Strider and Ghost lead them on, crossing the Midgewater Moors, when suddenly the Hobbits stop and start to unstrap the knapsacks.
"Gentleman, we do not stop until nightfall." Strider tells them.
"But what about breakfast?" Pippin asks.
"You've already had it."
"We've had one, yes...but what about Second Breakfast?" Pippin asked.
Strider stares blankly at Pippin, and then looks at Ghost for help.
"I have a feeling that Strider doesn't know about Second Breakfast, Master Pippin." She says, laughing at the confusion on Strider's face.
"What about Elevenses, Luncheon, Afternoon Tea, dinner...he knows about them, doesn't he?" Pippin asked her, a slight desperation marred his expression. The poor Hobbit couldn't understand that Rangers would not need so many meals in one day.
"I wouldn't count on it, young one. Strider is a little rusty when it comes to his knowledge on Hobbit dietary habits." She laughed again.
Strider and the Hobbits were mesmerized by the tinkling laugh Ghost made; it sounded like the first notes of a beautiful lullaby. Ghost's laugh made Strider's heart swell. It had been a long four years since he had last heard that laugh.
Strider walks away, shaking his head. Ghost walks towards the Hobbits, helping Sam replace a knapsack back onto Bill's back. She saw the apple fly through the air and caught it before it could hit the pony and startle it. She handed it to Sam.
"You can eat it now, or save it for a time you need it." Ghost said, smiling at him, before taking the lead again, catching another flying apple before it hit her forehead like one had hit Pippin's. Ghost took a bite out of it as she approached Strider, with the Hobbits in tow.
"You're supposed to set an example. Save food for when its necessary." Strider scolded her, with a smile on his face and a playful twinkle in his blue eyes.
"It was necessary. If I didn't eat it now, I may have had to give this delicious apple away to a hungry hobbit who wanted Elvenses." Ghost replied, joking with her loved one.
Strider shakes his head once more, before urging the Hobbits forward.
The company of six, trudge through the rugged countryside, the woman walking in front, her eyes keener than that of any man, her hand always on the hilt of her sword.
Ghost stops, her eyes narrowing, spotting their camp.
"This was once the great Watchtower of Amon Sul. We shall rest here tonight." She said, not turning round to face them.
They reached Amon Sul before the sun disappeared behind her horizon. Upon reaching a small hollow, half way up Weathertop, the Hobbits collapse onto the ground, huddling close together, each of the halflings muddy and dirty.
Strider dropped four swords by their feet.
"These are for you. Keep them close. We're going to have a look around. Stay here." Strider said, moving away, before waiting for Ghost to accompany him.
Ghost turned towards the Hobbits.
"I implore you to think before doing something. Think with your heads, not your stomachs." She said, pulling her cloak above her head once more, then proceeded to follow Strider, as he led her one a scouting mission.
"We'll scout in a circular motion around Weathertop in two arcs. I'll take the outer ring, you stay closer to the Hobbits." Strider said.
"I love it when you order me around." Ghost joked, a playful smile settling on her lips.
"We have no time for fun and games, mela. Focus."
"~Worry less, Estel, otherwise you will start looking your age, my love~" Ghost grinned at him, before turning away, her right hand gripping the hilt of her sword, the other clenched in a fist, ready to attack anything that came at her. Although, Ghost knew better than to attempt to physically touch a Nazgul. She didn't want to touch Shadow.
She was about to return to the camp and the Hobbits, after scouting for a while, when she saw the fire start on the hollow.
She withdrew her sword, and ran as fast as she could back to the hollow, knowing that any second now she would hear the shrill screams of the Nazgul as they approached the Hobbits.
A second after that thought entered Ghost's mind, she heard them, and as she drew closer, she saw them. There was only five. The sight of the cursed kings of old made the very blood in Ghost's veins run cold, but she did not falter. She climbed Weathertop a few seconds, maybe a few more, after the Black Riders, and saw that Sam had already been slung aside.
Merry and Pippin were all that stood in front of the Dark Kings, and while Ghost admired their bravery for standing up against a very intimidating foe, she ran in front of them, holding up her long sword in front of them.
"Go back to your master, servants of evil." She hissed, lunging at the middle Wraith. Their blades crossed, and despite being still quite weary, Ghost was now full of anger, and used it to her advantage. She fought well, but her weakness was the fact she could not touch them, and it was five against one.
Ghost heard Sam gasp, which made her lose her focus, as she let her eyes fall on him to see if he was hurt. The Nazgul she was fighting flung her as, and she landed heavily on her arm at an awkward angle, and hitting her head hard against a rock. She muffled her cry of pain, and tried to see through the blind spots.
She heard a loud groan of pain, and then three similar shouts.
Frodo, she thought.
Ghost pushed herself up with her left arm, which seemed to still be uninjured, and once noticing that Strider had now arrived and was taking care of the enemy, she crawled over to the Ring-Bearer, pushing Sam out of the way to inspect his wound.
"Frodo?" Sam asked.
Ghost hushed him, pulling Frodo's cloak away from the wound, then pushing the collar of his shirt away so she could see the dagger wound directly. It was already turning black, and she knew it was bad.
Strider, after chasing the last Wraith away with fire, threw himself down at her side, moving her hands away.
"Help him, Strider!" Sam cried.
Ghost picked up the blade he was stabbed with, and passed it to Strider, who inspected it.
"He's been stabbed by a Morgul blade." Strider said, tossing the blade away as it disintegrated.
"Do something! Ghost?" Sam looked at her, and Ghost felt her heart swell with the look he gave her. Like she could help. Like she could save Frodo.
"This is beyond my skill to heal. He needs Elvish medicine." Ghost replies, sadly, helping Strider lift Frodo onto his shoulder, and then grabbing her sword from the ground where it dropped, replacing it in its sheath.
Ghost gave each Hobbit that could walk a lit torch for protection, and she took one for herself, running next to Strider with the light so he could hold Frodo more carefully as he led the Hobbits into the forest.
"Hurry." She urged the Hobbits, who tried to run faster without falling.
"We're six days from Rivendell!" Sam shouted. Strider picked up the pace as Frodo groans.
"Hold on, Frodo." He whispered.
"He'll never make it!" Sam yelled.
Ghost watched Frodo's face, which was paling, but with sweat upon his brow. Like he was sick with a fever.
"Gandalf...Gandalf!" Frodo called.
"We must hurry." Ghost said, ignoring the pain in her head. If she hadn't been running on adrenaline at that moment, she was sure she would have collapsed, and fainted, but her worry for the Hobbits and Strider, and her fear for the life of Frodo kept her on her feet, despite the protests from both the head ache and the blinding pain in her arm.
Soon they stop, and Strider gently places Frodo on the ground, and starts a fire going. Ghost keeps a hand on her sword hilt at all times, and sets up the torches around the camp to warn away the cursed kings.
Frodo's condition has worsened. Ghost leaned over him, whispering incantations in Elvish hoping to help him, but his body showed no sign of healing.
"Lasto Beth nin, tolo Dan na ngalad." Ghost whispered in the Hobbits ear.
"Is he going to die?" Pippin asked, his usual cheery voice sounding hollow and empty. Frodo's breathing starts to become more shallow and Ghost puts his head in her lap, hushing him.
"No. He is passing into the shadow world. Soon he will become a wraith like them," Strider replied. Ghost could see he was thinking hard about what to do to save the Hobbit.
Ghost remembered the athelas, or Kingsfoil, she had in her knapsack.
"~Estel, there is athelas in my pack. It could slow the poisoning until we can get aid~" Ghost told him, not taking her eyes away from the slowly fading Hobbit.
Strider dug around in her bag, found the weed, instantly placed some in his mouth and chewed it, before he placed it on Frodo's open wound.
"He is fading. We need to get him to my father. We need to get him to Rivendell. Now." Ghost said, as she rose to her feet, placing Frodo's head on the ground gently.
"How do you suppose to do that, my lady? It's a six day walk to Rivendell." Merry asked her.
"One thing you shall learn about me, Master Brandybuck, is I always have another plan, in case one fails." Ghost replied, before imitating a bird call.
"What are you doing? Those Wraiths are still out there!" Sam snapped at her, from Frodo's side.
The pounding of hooves was heard in the distance, and she knew the others were thinking she had just doomed them all. Strider stared at Ghost with a look of suspicion. He always knew she had several tricks up her sleeve, but what would get them out of this mess now?
The sound of a cantering horse drew closer, close enough to hear it blow air out of its nostrils as it moved quickly towards the company.
Just when the Hobbits all thought that Ghost had subjected them to the ends of their brief lives, a dark horse broke through the trees...but it was riderless and beautiful. It didn't instill the fear of death into them, instead it filled them with wonder looking at this wonderful steed.
"Gentlemen, this is Asfaloth. Estel, put Frodo on him, and I'll ride to Rivendell." Ghost said, picking up her pack and attaching it to her old friend's saddle. Strider did as he was told, picking the wounded Hobbit up gently, and lifting him into the saddle, but he stood in his lover's way, so she couldn't get into the saddle herself.
"Dartho guin Berian...rych le and tolthathon." Strider told her.
Ghost grabbed hold of the reins, and shook her head at him.
"Hon mabathon. Rochoh ellint im." Ghost replied, searching his now green eyes for something. She didn't really know, all she knew was that she was wasting precious time staring into Elessar's enchanting eyes. Strider places his hand over hers, gripping it tightly.
"Andelu I ven." Strider argued softly.
"Frodo Fir. Ae anthradon I hir, tur gwaith nin beraitha hon." Ghost answered. She was now glad of her mixed race heritage. Being part elf was useful for more than an extended life, keener hearing and eyesight, and being lighter than Men.
"What are they saying?" Pippin asked one of the others, but no one answered him.
Ghost stared deep into her lover's eyes, and took hold of his other hand.
"I do not fear them." She replied.
Ghost knew that her arm was still protesting badly, and her head ached, but she knew that no one in their party could ride faster than she could or use the power of the elves to protect herself and Frodo. Ghost was the only one who could save Frodo now. She could also see how hard it was for Strider to let her go.
But he steppped out of the way, and she mounted her horse.
"Elbereth...ride hard, don't look back." Strider instructed her. Ghost stared down at him for a moment, one hand supporting Frodo, the other gripping the reins.
"Noro Lim, Asfaloth, Noro Lim." Ghost urged her horse forward, and Asfaloth springed away, bearing Ghost and Frodo into the night.
Lasto Beth nin, tolo Dan na ngalad - Hear my voice, come back to the light.
Dartho guin Berian...rych le and tolthathon - Stay with the Hobbits...I'll send horses for you.
Hon mabathon. Rochoh ellint im - I'll take him. I'm the faster rider.
Andelu I ven - The road is too dangerous.
Frodo Fir. Ae anthradon I hir, tur gwaith nin beraitha hon - Frodo is dying. If I can cross the river, the power of my people will protect him.
Noro Lim, Asfaloth, Noro Lim - Run fast, Asfaloth, run fast.