Elvish in italics
~Untranslated Elvish speech in between these~
Flashbacks/Visions in Bold
Ghost pushed Asfaloth harder than she had ever pushed him before. The Mearas horse could sense the urgency in his mistress' mood, and body, so pushed himself to gallop faster.
Ghost sensed four out of the nine Nazgul before she actually saw them or heard them. She knew she was being followed. Frodo's head bounced up and down, and Ghost worried that she wouldn't make it to the river before he started to pass into the other world.
She guided Asfaloth between trees, darting out of the reach of Wraiths, one even having the nerve to reach out to try and grab Frodo. The female ranger pushed her horse faster.
As Ghost urged the horse forward, out of the pine trees and onto the East Road, Ghost saw two more wraiths gallop down the hillside to join in the hunt. Ghost didn't panic, if she did, all hope would be lost and Frodo would fade faster into the dark oblivion of the Nazgul's world.
The three remaining cursed kings joined the pack, so that Ghost and Frodo were being pursued by Sauron's most trusted evil.
Asfaloth was tiring, Ghost knew this, but they could not afford to slow.
"Noro lim, Asfaloth, noro lim." She whispered to the horse, and the beast, though tired, quickened for its mistress, feeling her urgency.
Ghost's half-elvish hearing picked up the trickling of water, and almost sighed audibly. Then her eyes welcomed the vision of the Ford of Bruinen. Without hesitation, Asfaloth thundered across the shallow waters of the river. Ghost turned her head, witnessing the halt of the nine Nazgul, who were clearly nervous of the water. When the horse reached the other side, the ranger turned the horse around and faced the Black Riders defiantly.
"Give up the Halfling, she-elf!" The Witch King ordered.
Ghost drew her sword, and holds it threateningly, her free hand gripping Frodo to keep his limp body steady in the saddle.
"If you want him, come and claim him." She yelled.
The Witch Kings screeched angrily, and all nine drew their swords, before he led the other Ringwraiths into the Ford. The water starts flowing faster, Ghost's ears picked up the rumbling in the distance.
"Nin o Chitaeglir, lasto Beth daer. Rimmo nin Bruinen Dan in Ulear!" Ghost chanted an old Elvish incantation that she'd been taught many years ago. It was to be used as protection and for defense purposes.
Ghost repeated the incantation once more, when the ground started to tremble and a might roar filled the air. A huge torrent of water flooded down the river towards the ford. The foaming water appeared to take the shape of many white steeds charging towards the Wraiths, who screamed as they were swallowed up in the deluge. Their piercing shrieks were drowned out in the river as they were swept away.
But before Ghost could sigh in relief, she heard Frodo groan in pain.
"No, no...Frodo," Ghost choked, grief threatening to take control over her. She pulled Frodo out of the saddle, and gently laid his body on the ground, but held him in her arms. "Frodo, don't give in... not now!"
Ghost could feel the life slipping away from the young Hobbit, and then made a quick decision.
"What grace is given me, let it pass to him. Let him be spared. ~I give up the immortal life of my people, let him be spared~" Ghost whispered, and felt the change within herself. She was a half-elf, like her uncle and cousins, and had the choice whether to live her immortal life with the elves or an extended life with the Dunedain. Frodo had made the choice even easier for her.
Frodo was being healed by Lord Elrond and Gandalf, whom she was surprised to see upon her arrival, in a private chamber somewhere in Imladris, and Ghost was quickly whisked away by some elven handmaidens to her own chambers to be healed, washed, dressed in her elven finery and be made more presentable and proper. Ghost didn't mind wearing the dresses she had to wear when she was home, especially since it made her ada happy and Strider seemed to enjoy them as well.
The handmaidens washed her, being careful of her injuries, pulled a brush through her long, dark trusses, tutting at all the knots, and plaited it so it was out of her face. Then they forced her into the gown they had chosen; it was made of the finest elven silk, and was a rich purple in colour. It had long sleeves and a flowing train, and every time she moved it took a couple of moments for the dress to then follow her. It did look beautiful on her. The maids made sure Ghost knew that, before they placed the silver circlet on top of her head.
Ghost was of the royal Elvish bloodline, and was an Elvish princess, though some thought due to her real father and his Dunedain blood that she should not be able to call herself royalty. Sometimes she herself thought that she should not be treated as higher than most elves, but her ada, or Lord Elrond as he is known to most others but his children, refused to let her become a simple half-elf.
Ghost then had naught to do, but wait for the others, who could have only be four days behind her and Frodo. She had sent scouts out with the Lord Elrond's permission, and she awaited news. Ghost knew that Strider and the three Hobbits were safe. She had led the Nazgul away from them, when she had taken Frodo. That meant they were safe. Yet Ghost knew she would not cease her fretting until she had witnessed their arrival, and seen to them herself.
Four days had passed, and Ghost had spent every waking moment either helping her father tend to Frodo, in council with Gandalf, spending time with her cousins, honing her skills with a bow and a blade, and reading. That was what Ghost was doing, when one of the elf stewards came to find her.
Ghost looked up from her book, raising her eyes to meet the nervous elf's.
"~Lord Estel, and the three halflings have just crossed the Ford. Lord Elrond wishes for you to be there to greet them~."
Ghost handed him her book, and rose from the grass she had been sitting on, and dusted off her gown, before slowly making her way towards the gates. She knew she'd have to wait a little while, so she let her mind wander as she stood. She thought of the last moment she'd spent in Imladris before she and Strider had left the last time before traveling once more. She and her twin cousins had been in a three day contest with each other, trying to decide which out of the three had the greatest ability with a bow. Eventually Ghost had won, much to the bitter disappointment of the twins and the great amusement of her lover.
"Ghost!" A voice pulled her out of her memories.
Ghost's head snapped up, and a smile spread on her face as she spotted three weary Hobbits running towards her. She held her arms out, and braced herself for the impact as all three solid bodies collided with her.
She hugged them close to her, kissing each of their heads in turn. Then Ghost knelt down and checked the three for injuries. There was a lot of grabbing faces, patting of arms, legs, stomachs and backs, and complaints from the three Hobbits.
"No harm has befallen the halflings, Elbereth." Strider said, making Ghost stop her assessment with his words.
"I was just checking, Estel. Now, my dear ones, these elleths are going to take you to your rooms, get you cleaned up and then you will rest," Ghost said, and when the Hobbits made no sign of following the female elves that waited to show them to their rooms, she laughed and gently nudged them in the right direction. "Go on! Off with you!"
Sam, Pippin and Merry nodded, and she could see how tired they were. They trudged behind the hand maidens wordlessly, too tired to argue or talk. Ghost watched them leave before turning round to finally give Strider some attention.
"I'm waiting on you. I've had a bath drawn in our quarters. Ada doesn't acquire your presence just yet, so you are to rest, and regain your strength. You look tired, mela." Ghost said, a softness in her expression that was usually only reserved for this man.
Strider walked towards her, a glint of something in his eyes that Ghost couldn't decipher until his lips were already against hers. His kiss was a relieved one. It told Ghost how he had worried about her when she had gone from him, and how happy he was now that she was back in his sight. Ghost was the one who pulled away, to gaze up at him, as his arms encircled her thin waist. His eyes also betrayed his true emotions; he looked to be full of relief at seeing her safe.
"I think I would be glad to have some rest."
Ghost smiled, taking Strider's hand, and led him back to their rooms. Ghost was happier now that Strider was with her. She had worried about him too, whether he was safe, whether or not she'd successfully gotten rid of the Wraiths for the time being and thus allowing her friends and lover safe passage through the wilderness.
When they entered their room, Ghost helped Strider remove his weapons and then clothing before ushering him over to the bath. She took his ranger clothes away to be washed and dried, ready for him to wear when they eventually left, before she returned to him, handing him a cloth to dry himself with, while she set out some clothes for him to sleep in.
"Elbereth, you should not be waiting on me like a common hand-maiden." Strider scolded.
"That may be true, but, in spite of all my thoughts that a woman is no less capable than a man, it is a woman's duty to look after her love, just as it is his to look after her. In the past, I have tended to your wounds and you have tended to mine, and we have protected each other in war. Well this is my way of looking after you when there is not threat of death and danger." Ghost replied, watching him dress.
"All of that is true, but I also think that you do not want anyone else to tend to me." Strider remarked, making Ghost laugh.
"Mela, you know me so well. Get some rest, Estel, I have to make sure the Hobbits are settled, then I must go to council with ada and Gandalf. Do not leave this room until at least dawn. You need to rest." Ghost said, stressing the word 'need' so he could attempt to comprehend her words.
"Have you slept since you arrived? You still look as tired as you did four days ago." Strider questioned, standing in front of Ghost, so close that Ghost had to raise her head slightly so she could stare back at him.
"I rested well enough."
"You're lying." Strider replied.
"I did not sleep the first day, nor the day after, but I slept two hours the next day and four yesterday. It would be a fool's mission to have tried for more when my mind was so troubled. I do not doubt that tonight will be a different matter, and that I'll be able to sleep better than I have for four years, since I now have no need to worry for your safety or that of the halflings'," Ghost said, finally starting to feel weary. "But now, I need to speak with Lord Elrond and Gandalf, then I will return and rest with you."
"Do you swear it?"
"I swear I'll return to sleep." She answered without hesitation, knowing that he would not sleep unless she agreed, and then they would quarrel. And Ghost didn't have the heart to quarrel with him when he looked at her with such concern and worry in his blue eyes. The lady ranger lifted her hand and rested it on the man's cheek, and gazed at him with tired, but love filled eyes.
"Rest, for soon you will need your strength, as will many." Ghost said, her voice taking on an omniscient tone, as though she had seen something but had not the heart to say.
"Elbereth, what have you seen?" Strider asked, a knowing look crossing his face. He knew all too well that the woman had gifts just like her mother, and grandmother. Coming from a royal elvish line, he knew she was blessed with gifts that most elves did not possess.
"I saw riders of different races from different domains riding towards Imladris. And then a council. A quest will be taken by ten beings, though I am not sure who they are to be, except two. Gandalf will be part of the company, as will you, mela," Ghost answered, taking his hands into hers, tracing patterns across the backs, trying to calm herself rather than him. "Too long have you wondered about your fate, your destiny...this journey will answer all of the questions that have remained unanswered for all of these years."
A knock came at the door before Strider could make a reply to Ghost, and a head poked through the door. Elrohir, her cousin, smirked at the closeness of the two, but neither moved.
"Ada is waiting on you, Elbereth, let your lover go and don't make him wait any longer!" The younger twin teased his cousin, and sister, unable to hold back his laughter at her withering glare. He shook his head, knowing she was waiting for him to leave their room so she could kiss her beloved goodbye before following him to where their father waited. He rolled his eyes, and moved his head so he could close the door, but the pair both knew he had not moved far from the door.
"Estel, rest now. I will honor my promise." Ghost told him, kissing his lips softly, before turning and walking out of the room. Elrohir was exactly where they had expected, and he smirked when he saw Ghost leave her room reluctantly.
Yet he did not say more than he already had. Elrohir held out his arm to Ghost, and she smiled as she looped her own through his.
"Now, sister, tell me of this vision you had." He smiled at her, with a knowing look.
Ghost's smile widened, thankful for this family, one that she had once not known she had, that knew her so well, before she revealed to her older 'brother' what she had told her lover.
Noro lim, Asfaloth, noro lim - Run fast, Asfaloth, run fast.
Nin o Chitaeglir, lasto Beth daer. Rimmo nin Bruinen Dan in Ulear - Waters of the Misty Mountains, listen to the great word; flow waters of Loudwater, against the Ringwraiths.
Ada - Father
Mela - love