Sauron the deceiver harboured many a creature to his command, from the dreaded, vile beings known as orc, to horrifying spirits of the dead. Each served their master Sauron without questioning authority, and after the creation of the one ring, they dare not. For the one ring granted Sauron power over such beings, but this was not enough. He wanted more. Elves and men alike stood against Sauron at every turn. Hoping to enslave these beings as well, Sauron attempted to take control and betray the three elven rings of power, as well as the nine rings of power that were given to the nine kings of men. He was successful in converting the kings of men into wraiths, as the men have neither the strength nor the willpower to resist the dark lord. They soon became his personal bodyguards, the Nazgul, Ringwraiths. The elves however, were not so easily turned, and hastily stopped using their rings.
During the last alliance of elves and men that marched on Sauron to put an end to his evil once and for all, the dark lord was destroyed and victory had been achieved. But the ring survived in the hands on men. But it betrayed the hands of men and where lost for a millennia.
But little did the forces of good know, Sauron was not completely destroyed. His physical form had been destroyed yes, but the spirit of Sauron endured. His life force was bound to the fate of the ring and the ring survived. And as Sauron's power grew, dark and violent forces began to answer his call. Within these where the dreaded Witch-king of Angmar, the greatest of the Nazgul, who could not be beaten by the hands of man. Agandaur, who were a dark sorcerer and took home in the north west of the world. But Sauron was a deceiver of many kinds and not just to the forces of good, but to his own kind as well. One of which he kept hidden from the world of middle-earth was an extremely malevolent man known as Perthor…whereabouts on middle-earth he is…remains unknown.
The time was 12:48 pm, and the weather was calm, yet a shadowy storm brewed in the clouds to the east. This was not the weather of the world. Something stirred in the east, something foul was at hand. Along the northern road alongside of Rohan, was a carriage, being drawn by two of Rohan's finest looking mares. One brown with patches of white, and the other, golden with a yellow tinted mane. The horses were pulling a carriage hosted by two people. Kenya of Rohan, and Kelken, son of Kenya, also of Rohan. They were being escorted into Edoras, into home. A Rohan soldier, bearing the emblem of the horse masters, rode an armoured horse, that trotted in front of them.
"Sounds nice, outside." Kenya spoke. Kelken, attempting to peer out of the gap in the carriage, simply nodded in return.
"We'll be there shortly, I'm sure of it." She spoke again. Kelken glanced at her, and smiled a little. The carriage began to shake a bit, before coming to a sudden stop. A sudden whirring from a horse galloping was heard from outside. Suddenly, a blinding light shone from the exit of the carriage, just to reveal the soldier escorting them appear.
"Sorry to disturb, but there's a little trouble." The soldier spoke. Kelken rose to attend the situation, but was forced back down by his mother.
"Sit, I'll have a look. She said, whilst taking hold of the roof of the carriage and sliding out. Kelken now sat in a peaceful silence. The soldier hauled his horse and got off, tying the reins to the side of the carriage.
"What's the problem?" Kenya questioned. But as she spoke, a sudden smell of burning reached her line of smell. She tossed her sleeve across her mouth to try and block the smell. As she and the soldier walked past the front of the carriage, large wreckage could now be seen, that was blocking their path into Edoras. The wreckage hand somehow managed to breakdown at the only gap way into the plains that held their way into Edoras. Either this was a tragic accident, or a tactical set up.
"Wait here, something's not right here." The soldier suspiciously said, while beckoning Kenya to stay where she was. The Rohan soldier unsheathed his blade and held it carefully to his chest. As he reached the wreckage, he noticed there were arrows that had a strangely familiar furry end that were used by the orcs of this region. But he could not be sure. He sheathed his blade and reached for the arrow. Pulling it out he noticed that the tip had the curved point that clarified his thoughts. This wreckage had been captured, then placed here as a barricade. He swiftly turned to Kenya and shouted her over. She began to steadily jog over to him.
Kelken had now been waiting in the carriage for roughly ten minutes, and was getting more and more worried by the second. Deciding to see what the problem was, he made for the carriage exit, but as he did, a monstrous growl was heard from outside and a sudden burst of an arrow had broken through the carriage wall. Kelken fell to his back in an attempt to hide. The carriage was under attack.
Kenya and the soldier caught sight of the commotion that was happening back at their carriage.
"SON!" Kenya screamed.
She had caught sight of a rabble of orcs appearing over the hill to the left, attempting to reach the carriage. She turned to the Rohan soldier, who was already preparing for the attack. He rushed forward as was as he could, with blade in hand. An orc archer appeared over the hill, and was in the midst of firing at the soldier.
"Watch out!" She screamed over to the man, halting his sudden charge. The arrow sieved past him and into the neck of the golden horse, killing it instantly.
Kelken, now surrounded with orcs, scrambled aimlessly for some sort of weapon. Suddenly the cover of the entrance was tossed off and now stood an orc. Bearing a short sword and leather bindings it caught sight of Kelken, and rushed for the attack. Kelken threw his hands up in defence, but he felt nothing. Opening his eyes he caught sight of a blade puncturing the orcs chest, then being retreated as the orc tumbled out of the carriage, dead. Kelken rose to see the Rohan soldier standing there to his aid.
"C'mon, get up!" The soldier said, whilst handing him the blade that the orc had previously tried to kill Kelken with.
"You know how to use this right?" The soldier questioned. Kelken nodded once more and snatched the blade from the man's hand.
"Where's mother?" Kelken said in a panic of not seeing her for so long. The soldier hastily turned to leave the carriage but was stopped by Kelken.
"What's your name, soldier?"
"Name's Nofan! Now hurry!"
Kelken followed Nofan without a doubt. As they exited the carriage, they saw archers on the hill attempting to shoot at them. Something drove them to attack with all anger.
"Kelken, get them, I'll save Kenya!" Nofan ordered. Kelken began a defensive run up the hill, moving out of the archer's firing line. He now caught sight of one and with all his might, lifted up his blade above his head and brought it down with a mighty force. Successfully, the blade had hit its target, chopping through the orcs shoulder and slaying it where it stood. It let out a blood-curling scream before falling to the ground. The last archer caught sight of what was happening and turned its attention to Kelken. It fired in panic but the arrow flew past Kelken and into the ground. Retracting his blade from the shoulder of the dead orc, Kelken charged for an attack on the other orc.
Nofan could not see Kenya anywhere. At such an age, she could not outrun any orc. He suddenly heard a woman scream just to see an orc dragging Kenya across the plain.
"No!" Nofan said to himself.
The orc was dragging the woman up the right hand side of where they were, Kenya, fighting as hard as she could but found no release. She caught sight of the Rohan soldier racing up to get her, and she let out a smile, before feeling a sharp pain in her back. The orc had plunged its dagger into her back, tearing and ripping as it did. Nofan stopped in his tracks, stunned at what had just happened.
"KENYA!" Nofan screamed and threw himself at the orc that had stabbed Kenya. Both Nofan and the orc crashed to the ground and were now locked in hand to hand combat. Nofan swiftly got up, and took the dagger the orc grasped in its hand and held it against its throat. And with one final movement, the orc collapsed to the ground, Nofan tossing the dagger away. He now held Kenya in his arms, as he could see she was losing a lot of blood and it pain. She turned to him.
"Get…get my son out of here…please…"
Kenya had passed. Nofan bowed his head a moment before laying her gently on the ground to carry out Kenya's final wish. He took up his sword from the ground and begun looking for Kelken.
He and the orc were focused on each other, but Kelken could feel, in his heart, something wasn't right. He stopped his charge and threw his attention to Nofan and his mother. He could not see Nofan, but unfortunately saw his mother lying on the ground, dead, he did not know.
"Mothe-" Before he could finish his outburst, he felt an arrow plunge into his shoulder, with such force it made him fall to the floor. He clutched his shoulder and screamed in pain. The orc let out a small cheer before reaching for its dagger to finish the job. As the orc got closer, a sudden whirring of a horse was now heard. Kelken looked to his left to catch sight of Nofan on his steed, riding hard to his aid. The orc attempted to retreat, but Nofan was too fast, the head of the orc was swiftly lying beside its bloodied corpse.
Nofan leaped off of his own horse and threw Kelken on it, just barely able to sit properly due to his wound. At that moment, Nofan felt a sudden sharp stab in his arm. An orc had slashed at his arm.
"GO! NOW!" Nofan screamed before pushing the horse. It whirred and began a fast gallop past the orcs and his caravan. Kelken attempted to look back, only to see a fire being started on their caravan. He had no clue what would happen to Nofan.
"Mother…Nofan…" He said, before his sight darkened and fell into a deep sleep…
"Master, what do thou wish?"
"Find the item of what I speak of…do NOT fail me…"
"Yes, my master, what of the elves, they could become a bit of a…interruption?"
"Kill them, kill them ALL!"
"As you command, my master."
Kelken woke to a sharp pain in his shoulder.
"Aaahh!" He blared out, before sitting up in a rush. As his eyesight unblurred, he saw the orcish arrow that had pieced his shoulder, lying in front of his lap. Someone had removed it and where in the midst of bandaging up his wound. Kelken looked up, to see a man, not much older than himself, cleaning up his wound
. "wh…where am-" Kelken questioned but was cut off.
"Shhh, get some rest, it'll help, trust me" The man said. Taking his advice, Kelken rested his head and dozed off almost immediately. Kelken finally woke up; he didn't feel like he got much of a sleep, but he felt refreshed, well as refreshed as he could feel. His shoulder was already feeling much better, but knew that he wasn't going to be able to wield his blade any time soon. Sitting up, noticing no one was in the room was his first thought. He saw the door in front of him was partly open, and light poured in from it, just enough so he could see where he was going. A man, the same man from before was parched against the door keeping it open, something had drawn his gaze. Kelken strolled up to the man, and coughed to gain his attention.
"Oh, you awake, about time if I do say so myself." The man said, startled.
"…yeah…erm thanks again, for this." He pointed at his shoulder.
"Aw no worries, you're lucky your alive son, few more inches right and you'd be gone from this world."
Kelken did not reply.
He saw that people where standing at their doors, with expressionless faces for some weird reason. He turned to the man at the door.
"What's happening?" He said.
The man nodded toward the road that lay in front of them. Three strangers on horses were slowly galloping up the road towards a large wooden building, clearly of some importance as it where the largest building he could see. The first that rode where an old man, bearing a white steed of some beauty, and carrying a white staff, and clothed in white robes. Behind him rode a man, strange resemblance of a man from his own area of Rohan, and finally two more people, on the same horse. One where an elf, and the other, a dwarf, all had the same look of wonder on their faces.
"Who are they?" Kelken spoke.
"No idea." The man said, before leaving Kelken's presence and entering his home. Kelken stood at the door, pondering for a second on who these people could be, all whilst taking hold of his shoulder to try and ease the pain a little. Suddenly, as he looked up, the strange elf that rode the horse where staring straight at him, before returning his gaze to the road. A sudden shiver ran down Kelken's spine, and a sudden twinge in his shoulder appeared. Just as they appeared, they had disappeared just as fast.
Kelken began wandering around this strange place that he had woken up to. Even though he had no clue where he was, he felt at home, as if he were with his own kin. He caught sight of someone walking past him and decided to interact.
"Excuse me, where am I, where is this place?"
The stranger saw the wound and begun chuckling.
"Has that wound affected your head too? Were in Edoras." The stranger then began walking again.
"Edoras…but…how" Kelken had ended up in the place he were trying to get to in the first place before the attack on his carriage. The horse must have taken him back to the last place it knew how to get to. Unfortunately, his mother wasn't anywhere to be seen, nor Nofan either. He dare not think the worst for any of them. But the warrior in Kelken was too strong and influenced him badly to go searching for his mother and guard…friend.
He hastily ran back to the home from where he had gotten to and took back his equipment. The man that attended his wounds now stood between him and the exit.
"And where do you think you're off to?" He said.
"Look, I need to get back; people could be relying on me." Kelken replied.
"But your shoulder, it's in no state to go back into battle!" The man snapped.
Kelken didn't intend to listen to him any further and shoved his way past him. His home lay on the far side of Edoras, beside the king of Rohan's house, that large wooden structure that he could not remember its importance. As he stood at the door, he took in a deep breath, and headed toward home.
Catching sight of it, he was suddenly caught in a crowd that had gathered at the bottom of the steps that led up to the king's home. Something had happened inside there that was attracting a crowd. Two men holding some ill-looking man wearing dark clothing was being forced out of the king's home and tossed down the stairs. He let out a cry before attempting to stand. But a second figure appeared from the building. To his surprise it was his king! Kelken has not laid eyes on the king ever since he was a little boy. He was holding his sword, and was focused on killing the ill-looking man, who was defenceless. As the king raised his sword, the man from before, who looked like his fellow kin, had stopped the swing of the king's sword just in time for the sword to reach its target. Curious, Kelken stared intently at the ill-looking man, before he burst through the crown and headed for the stables.
"He might know something important!" Kelken thought.
Intent on following this man, he headed home, threw together supplies for a few days journey and also headed for the stable. He could still feel pain in his shoulder, but after what he had just been through, it wasn't going to stop him. As he reached the stable, he noticed his horse was being attended.
"Excuse me, that's my horse right?"
The woman attending the horse thought to herself for a few moments before remembering that it was.
"Oh yes I'm sorry, here you go." She said, releasing the reigns and handing them to Kelken.
He strapped his supplies and weapons to the horse before carefully mounting the horse, desperately trying to avoid contact with his shoulder. With one large whip, the horse whined and began riding for the exit of Edoras. The large wooden gates creaked open and he rode through, just before they began closing again. He took one last look in as a reminder of home, and where he had hoped to be reunited once again with his mother.
The journey he had planned was to catch hold of the man that had rode off in such a hurry to see if he had any information on the attack, and why he was banished, then if not, head to where the carriage was attacked. As he rode, his shoulder was in constant pain, but it was bearable. Edoras was no longer in sight but fortunately, the rider was. He wished to himself that he could reach him before night fall, so he quickened his pace. Kelken wondered to himself where the destination of this rider could be headed. For it wasn't in the direction of any nearby village's, not in the direction of leaving Rohan.
The ill-looking man suddenly came to a halt, and turned to catch Kelken riding hastily toward him. Kelken halted too. The man began laughing. Staring straight into the eyes of Kelken, who was now feeling uneasy. He did not know whether to attack the man or capture. The man turned toward Kelken and spoke.
"Why, why do you attempt to follow me?" He said, his voice had an eerie feeling to it.
"Where are you going? I saw what happened between you and King Théoden, what was that about?" Kelken replied.
The man did not reply.
"Who are you?" He said.
"Kelken, of Rohan, and you?" He said, beginning to feel as if he wasn't going to be as of much help as he thought he would be.
"Grima, Grima Wormtongue. Formally from this wretched place, but now at the disposal of someone that I think you should meet." Grima smirked.
Kelken placed his hand on his sword.
"I don't think that's wise, I was just wondering if you knew anything on the attack that happened earlier north of here." Kelken questioned, hoping to get to the point as soon as possible.
Grima began laughing to himself.
"I really think you should meet someone, I promise you…it won't hurt."
The smirk returned to his face.
Kelken unsheathed his sword, and leaped off of his steed. If he wasn't going to find out what he wanted to know by talking, then he had no alternative. But a sudden foul air reached them both, Grima unaffected but Kelken distracted. The fog that had lay in the direction that they were traveling slowly began to dissipate and revealed something that he did not intend on reaching. Grima had been riding toward Isenguard and to the company of the wizard Saruman.
"What? No, this can't be!" Kelken cried, before leaping onto his horse, still with weapon in hand. Grima Wormtongue had now disappeared into Isenguard, and Kelken dare not follow. Retreating, he decided to return to the sight of the attack, even though nightfall was fast approaching.
Nightfall had arrived over Rohan. It was a bad place to be if you did not have the need for it. But for Andris, the need was desperate. Andris was an elven warrior from the calm and beautiful realm of Lothlorien, home to Lady Galadriel and Lord Celeborn. Andris were clad in elven armour and wielding an elven bow, for elves were renowned for their skills as archers. She did not bear a helmet over her golden long hair, for she believed that to wear a helmet, was a sign of aggression, and a reason for war. She was so far from her homeland due to her and four other of her kin on a scouting party to find out something…something dark that had been affecting the woodland realm of Lothlorien. But within the strange mist and fog that had gathered over Rohan, she had gotten lost from the rest of her party and was now looking for a place to camp, away from the road and hidden away from sight.
"Shh, Shh boy, something's up ahead." She spoke, her voice, almost soothing to her steed and bringing it to a slowed halt. There was a wreckage of some form of caravan that had been overturned and lay against the side of the road. Two dead horses lay behind the wreckage, a sight that Andris looked away from instantly.
"Here should be good!" She said to herself.
Andris climbed off of her steed and directed it toward the caravan, knotting the reins on the wheel, and filling up a bowl of water for the horse, before drinking some for herself. Placing it back onto the horse, she scouted on ahead first before making this a dedicated place to stay for the night. Walking around the caravan, she walked up beside the dead animals. She placed her hands upon both of their mains, and began speaking in some form of elven language. She quickly returned to the caravan. Andris peered inside and saw nothing, which was a good sign. She took the blanket off of the horse and laid it neatly along the inside of the caravan. Andris placed her bow and quiver beside her in case she ran into trouble soon.
Kelken rode over the hill that he had been previously on, and saw no one, there were no bodies or sign of fighting, only the overturned carriage and bodies of the two slain horses. But something wasn't right; there was a third horse in sight.
"Wait, that's not possible, I took the last horse…"
Kelken swiftly drew his weapon and gripped it tightly, for he felt as if he was going to be using it soon. His heartbeat quickened as he got closer to the sight. It was hard to see anything due to the darkness of the night. But the mood lit up enough to be able to see your footsteps ahead of you. Ignoring the horse, Kelken took a deep breath and charged into the caravan.
"Aaaah!" He shouted in an attempt to scare anything that may be inside, but nothing was there.
He stood for a moment, before slowly backing up. But as he reached the exit, he felt something sharp touch the back of his head. He stopped suddenly before turning to see a woman holding a bow and an arrow pointing at him.
"I warn you, I'm good with a blade." He said to her, in an attempt to intimidate her into lowering her weapon. She did not.
"I warn you, I never miss, and at this close a range, I won't have to." Andris replied.
He lowered his sword, as the thought of hurting a woman, let alone an elf, where horrible. She lowered her weapon as well, but both stayed on guard.
"Look, sorry, you just startled me, that's all." Kelken said, before sheathing his sword.
She did not reply, but simply walk in circles around Kelken, as if to study him.
"I can see you mean no harm, but I also sense you are in physical pain…but also mental. Why is that?" Andris questioned.
He signed out in relief that someone wanted to talk.
"Let's go inside, I'll tell you everything you want to know, I swear." Kelken stated.
Andris nodded, and beckoned him to lead.
"Master, I have acquired the object!
"Give it to the rider; he will…take care of it"
"Yes, my master, everything should be going ahead as planned."
Kelken woke to the sound of birds twittering it the trees, a sound he has not heard in a long time. Rohan looked particularly mesmerising in the few hours after dawn. After the long discussion that he and Andris had last night, he wondered why he woke up, and she were gone. He got up and left the caravan, to find Andris attending to her horse.
"Leaving so soon?" Kelvin questioned.
"Leaving? Haha no, I think, after last night, I'm going to help you out." She replied, looking at his shoulder.
Kelvin looked at his wound, and there was nothing. The bandages had been removed and the wound was healed. Andris must have done something, some sort of elven magic.
"Thank you m'lady, there was no need, but thank you." Kelvin stated, walking up to her.
Andris reached into a satchel that was on the horse and pulled out a map of the current middle-earth. She had clearly been working on a plan of what we were going to be doing.
"Okay, I've thought of a plan, that will make us head to Lothlorien, as well as search for your mother and friend."
"Wait." Kelken interrupted, "How do you know they went that way?"
Andris took a breath.
"Before I got lost from my company, we were tracking a pack of orcs that had passed through Lorien. There was a rather large group, but we managed to dwindle their numbers, but some got through, and these where the orcs that attacked you."
Kelken looked at the wreckage for a second, before replying.
"Have you any idea where these orc may have come from?"
Andris turned back to the map and had Kelken follow her finger across it.
"Well at first, we assumed they had come down from Dol Guldur in Mirkwood, but that rotten fortress has been abandoned for a long, long time, but now we think there's some sort of dark sorcery around the Caras-Galadhon area. So your mother and your friend could be somewhere there."
"Kelken lit up at this news, it was not definite, but it was a start, it was hope. Passing through Lorien may give him the inspiration he needs for this journey. He has never been past the borders of Rohan. They would have to travel through the plains of West Emnet, cut around the borders of Fangorn Forest in an attempt to avoid being seen by Saruman at Isenguard, Travel through Lothlorien and take the eastern exit across the Anduin River until they reach the borders of Mirkwood and eventually, Caras-Galadhon. This journey would take all of their skill, patience, and courage, for something lay at the heart of their destination.
"Why are you helping me? You could easily leave me to get on with this journey alone?" Kelken said to Andris.
She put her hand upon his shoulder.
"My lady Galadriel once said to me, there is a reason for everything, and if something unexpected should happen, go along with what your heart tells you." She replied, whilst placing herself upon her steed.
Kelken did not fully understand her reasons, but he felt safe when with her. Almost like he did with Nofan. He then leaped onto his horse and both now left the presence of the caravan and begun heading for the borders of Fangorn Forest.
Less than an hour into their journey, Andris halted the movement of the party, for something caught her elven sight. She could not make it out, but the fires of Isenguard clearly flamed for a reason. Kelken rode up beside her.
"Everything okay, Andris?"
She directed his vision over to the west, to Isenguard and to the smoke that was bellowing out of its caverns. Something was at work there.
"Wait, what is that?" She said, focusing her gaze on movement that was happening in that general area.
"Uruks, thousands of them!" She exclaimed.
Saruman had amassed an enormous army of ten thousand uruk-hai to destroy the people of Rohan. Kelken pulled out his sword and turned toward Andris.
"We…we must warn the people, I can't let then go unaware, we must turn back!" He said to her.
"No, we must go ahead with our plan, trust me on this one, I feel like this threat is not part of our journey, do not let your feelings get in the way of the reason you're here."
Kelken thought to himself that her cryptic ways of talking were weird, but were fully understandable at the same time. So he placed his weapon back, took one final look at the Uruk-hai hoard, before returning to his current journey.
There was an awkward silence between the party, which Andris did not mind, but Kelken could not. He was about to break it, but as he was, Andris spoke first.
"I'm sorry for what I said earlier, but if you had rode back, if you had even attempted to stop that army, you'd be no use in finding the ones you love." She said, whilst smiling.
"Yeah, I understand, it's just in my nature, I feel like I could have helped my people." He replied.
Kelken's compassion for his people was the reason he felt like he had abandoned his mother as well as Nofan. He was a fighter, but he just sat and did nothing in the caravan, due to his mother's orders. Somehow, Andris could pick up on the stressful situation that was going through Kelken's head at the moment.
"Are you thinking that you could have stopped that entire orc party and saved everyone?" She questioned, even though she knew the answer.
Kelken sneered before galloping a bit ahead of Andris. Whilst so, she began laughing to herself.
It was around midday before they reached the southern borders of Fangorn Forest. Both Kelken and Andris dare not step foot inside as they hear the rumours of the tree's coming to life, moving and even talking. Kelken had calmed a bit now and decided to invest time into knowing his travelling companion.
"So, tell me, what's it like living in the trees?" He questioned, in hope of getting an emotional response from her, preferably anger.
She looked at him with dread before answering.
"Aren't you funny, look, I don't know what to say, yes, we live in the trees, but it's all that me, personally, have been use to for one hundred and fifty years so-" She was cut off suddenly.
"One hundred and fifty years old?!" Kelken shouted in surprise.
"You don't look a day over twenty."
She returned the statement with a smile.
"Your intent on flattery is sweet, I thank you." She spoke, still smiling away as she did.
Suddenly her horse began rearing and whirring. Something was making the horse frightened and wanting escape. Just as soon after, Kelken's horse begun to as well. Andris leaped off and took her belongings off of it to try and relax it. But as soon as she did, the horse scattered away from them and disappeared into the distance. She began to shout its name in some form of elvish. But it was too late. She sighed ant turned to Kelken.
"At least I managed to save my belongings." She said, whilst making sure everything was there.
Kelken dismounted whilst also removing the supplies that where parched on it. The horse suddenly fell to the ground and was whining in pain. Both Kelken and Andris had no idea what was wrong with it.
All of a sudden, the sky began to slowly darken, the shadow of the trees retracted back into the forest, the air arose with the smell of death within it. Something or someone was causing this…and was close. Just as the two were tending to the horse, a screeching was heard from the distance, one that Kelken has never heard of before…but it terrified Andris…for this was not the first time she has heard such a thing. She begun talking quickly in her elven language once more, but her facial expression was pain. This was no natural darkness. Andris begun to rise, with her eyes closed.
"What's wrong Andris please what is that noise?" Kelken questioned in fear.
She started to speak his language once again.
"Legend has said, from the darkness they shall ride. Thou corrupted souls of the dead shall linger on this earth, bound to their masters curse, and forever will they do his bidding. For the nine shall come, disguised as riders in black, forever haunting and hunting their master's bane."
"What the hell does that mean?!" Kelken exclaimed.
"It means they're here, the Nazgul! I'm so sorry I had no idea they would be so far from Minas Morgul. But I have promised to protect you, and I will!" Andris unsheathed her elven sword, the blade, shining through the recently brought on darkness. As she prepared for an attack, she was swiftly hauled away into the Forest by Kelken and tossed behind one of the trees that grew there.
"Shhh! No need for a fight, if they're as bad as you say, I say we hide." Kelken stated.
Andris did not put her weapon away, for she knew what lay ahead. Fortunately, there were only three Ringwraiths, but even at that, one would be enough to silence them for good. Kelken turned to Andris.
"Have you ever defeated or killed one?" He questioned.
"No, I haven't even gotten close to one, you see the elves tend not to get involved with the troubles of others, unless it involves us directly." She replied.
The three Nazgul, riding their darkened steeds, caught sight of the suffering horse and strode toward it.
"Oh, I can feel them getting closer!" She yelped. She had never been so close to them before, and she could feel her fear overtaking her. But suddenly she felt a hand grasp her wrist. Kelken was attempting to comfort her.
"It'll be okay." He said, in an attempt to console her.
Andris looked past the tree they hid against and studied what was happening. She could see that they had dismounted and where investigating the scene. Even their presence made her tremble. One of the Nazgul had unsheathed its blade and plunged it into the chest of the horse. She covered her mouth to prevent a cry. She noticed one of them where holding something in a sack, some kind of orb that they were taking east…no doubt to Mordor. But as the two studied the horse, the third turned its attention the Fangorn Forest. It began walking up and entering the Forest, but quickly leaped out, for a sudden rumbling was now heard from within the trees.
"Is that-" Kelken said.
Andris nodded whilst looking at the trees around them. The legends where true, and they too could feel the dark presence nearby. The Nazgul mounted their black steeds and rode west, taking the suspicious package they had acquired with them. Just as soon as they fell out of sight, the darkness gave way for sunshine and cloud. Things had returned to normal.
Now on foot for the foreseeable future, Kelken and Andris had reached the roots of the Misty Mountains, a little west of their original destination but as night crept in, a good place to camp. The Misty Mountains contained more than just rock and dirt, but held the notorious dwarven kingdom of Moria, a place neither med nor elf would ever venture in. Kelken has heard of the ruins before, as dwarven folklore intrigued him.
"Wont this path take us too close to Moria?" Kelken questioned.
"Don't worry Kelken, were just staying here for tonight, I don't intend on lingering here any longer than necessary." She replied.
It was clear to Kelken that their encounter with the Nazgul had shaken her to the core. He didn't know anything to say to her to try help her through this. But something strange was happening. In his heart, he felt like he had to help her, protect her, look after her, at any cost. He did not want to act on these feelings for fear of jeopardising their journey. Kelken offered some of his pre-prepared sandwich to Andris in a way to help her through what she was feeling, and to take her mind off of everything.
"Here, eat, you look hungry."
"No thanks, don't feel like eating right now to be honest." She replied.
Kelken wasn't taking no for an answer, and so stopped her in her tracks and re-offered it.
"It'll help, I promise, it's just a sandwich, it's not going to kill you!" He snickered.
Andris let out a smile, puckering her up a bit.
"Fine, but if it does…"
They both begun to laugh, something Kelken had hoped that they would share soon enough. It was good to see her smile again Kelken thought, so she was so focused on helping him, she had no time to enjoy the little things.
"Thanks, but I have nothing to offer in return." She said, looking about on her person for a gift to return.
"Aw don't worry about it, perhaps just a hug-" He said, awkwardly looking away.
Andris strolled away into the distance. Kelken lowered his head in disappointment, for he thought it may help her mood. But as he stood up, he felt a sudden embrace from behind, just to find Andris' arms wrapped around him. He returned the gesture.
"Why did you want a hug?" She questioned.
"I know what you're feeling, and I can see it's really upsetting you and I don't like seeing you upset, for you've been focused on helping me too long, I feel like it's time for a swap!" Kelken replied, crossing his arms as he spoke.
Andris leaned in for a second hug, but followed it with a kiss to the cheek. Kelken, stunned at what had just happened, froze for a moment before noticing Andris putting up her camping gear. He soon followed on what she was doing.
"Master…word has reached me of Isenguard's defeat…now what?"
"I require your power; use it against the elven filth!"
"I shall, master, I will make them pay!"
Dawn broke through the clouds that covered the Misty Mountains. Kelken made sure they got up for an early start, since they were now travelling on foot. He looked over at where Andris should have been, but she wasn't. he hastily got to his feet not see her in the midst of having a conversation with another elf on horseback.
"Oh, Kelken, sorry I didn't want to disturb you." She said.
He nodded, and walked up beside her. The elven man dismounted and bowed in front of Kelken.
"My name is Hlanine, and I thank you for protecting my sister." He said, placing his hand on Kelken's shoulder for a moment, before removing it.
"What are you doing here?" Kelken said.
"Well I've come looking for my sister, but I can see she is in safe hands…but I also bring news." He replied, lowering his head as he did.
"What is it, brother?" Andris questioned and listened intently. Hlanine took a breath in.
"Our suspicions of Caras-Galadhon where true. An evil being lingers between there and Mirkwood, what it is, we do not know. But we believe their searching for something."
Andris walked away, thinking for a second before returning. A company of three Nazgul passed this area not long after we had set off on our journey to Lothlorien, and one held some sort of orb, the likes of which I have never seen." She exclaimed most highly.
"Orb? Where were they taking this possession?" He replied.
"I'm not entirely sure, but it was east…toward Mordor…but they had come from the direction of Caras-Galadhon, the way in which we travel right now." Andris said, before moving back to Kelken's side, who stood silent.
"Wait…you're traveling to this place? I'd highly recommend that you don't." He said, whilst making sure to make a point.
"We must, for my fellow companion here, his mother and friend was taken by a company of orcs a few days ago, and are heading in that direction." She replied, looking toward Kelken.
This intrigued Hlanine, for a reason he was about to explain.
"Andris…after we lost you, our company rode back to Lorien and encountered these orcs…we slaughtered them where they stood." He said.
Kelken leaned forward, and grabbed the shirt of the elf.
"What! Wait was there a woman with them? And what about a man from Rohan? Did you find them?!" He screamed.
"No! There was no one, we found no one…I'm sorry!" He replied gently.
Kelken released his grip on the elf and fell to the ground on his knees. Andris leaned down to comfort him.
"Look, this doesn't mean the worst Kelken, there's still hope." She stated, but with a feeling of dread within her heart.
Hlanine mounted his steed and spoke in elvish, before galloping back the way he had come. Kelken could not find the will to stand, he knew in his heart that something bad had happened. Andris wasn't letting go of Kelken, for she felt close to him, and if anything were to happen to him, she would blame herself. She helped him to his feet, dusted him off a little, and took hold of his hands.
"Together, Kelken, together, we can find your mother and friend and destroy this evil that has appeared in the west! But you must trust me, we must work together!" She spoke, in a confident tone.
Kelken looked up, and felt a warmth flow over him, and immediately took hold of Andris' hands. He stared at her for a few moments, before finally speaking.
"I love you, Andris, I do…"
Andris felt her heart pound within her chest, but this feeling was too hard to overcome.
"I love you too Kelken, I really shouldn't, but it isn't something that I can stop" She replied.
And with that, they both confirmed how they felt for each other with a kiss that connected them forever more.
Lothlorien was finally in sight after restless days of travelling. Kelken had almost changed the reason he left in the first place, he now felt tied to Andris, and her to him, and whatever was happening next, they work do together. Their love they felt for each other made them feel like they could do anything.
"Were pretty close now, right?" Kelken asked Andris.
She nodded and smiled whilst doing so. They had decided to walk alongside the Anduin River and into the fields of Celebrant, which held a small fort that they planned on passing through, and camp at if necessary. Something caught Kelken's sense of smell, a burning smell, that was nearby. He held a firm grip of Andris' hand and began to run forward until the fort came into sight. There was some sort of commotion happening in the forts interior.
"Draw your weapon Kelken!" Andris shouted as her eyesight gazed upon a barrage of Gundabad wargs. Vicious creatures that out passed the strength and speed of the normal wargs. On the fort, a man was in the midst of battling for his life against the beasts.
"There's someone up there! We must help him!" Kelken exclaimed, whilst they both charged ahead.
As they reached the fort unharmed, Kelken saw that the mad defending for his life was none other than the Rohan friend Nofan! He had survived the orc attack and had found his was here.
"NOFAN!" Kelken shouted.
"Kelken, what a surprise, but I'm a little busy!" He replied.
The three of them were surrounded by four Gundabad wargs. No one was riding them so they were even more vicious and blood thirsty than tamed ones. The three formed a defensive triangle as the wargs attacked.
The first warg charged into Andris' blade head on and died instantly. The second bashed into Nofan, tumbling him to the ground, but gave an opportunity for Kelken to drive his blade into its side, rolling off of Nofan and slaying it. The last two were staying together, for they had seen what had just happened, but it made them no more terrifying. Andris threw down her sword, raised her arms and began chanting in elvish.
"What the hell is she doing?!" Nofan exclaimed.
"Don't worry, trust her." Kelken replied.
The warg on the right turned its gaze to Andris and began strolling toward her. Kelken leaped in the way poised to strike, but the warg retreated. Andris lowered her arms to the floor and a sudden blue wave of air magically appeared at their feet and arcing out in a circle pattern. It seemed to do nothing at first, but as the air reached the wargs, they began to yelp and scattered at some haste. The battle had been won.
"What did you do?" Kelken questioned.
"Just a trick I've learned from my people, nothing special." She replied, whilst receiving a hug from Kelken.
"So who is your lady friend?" Nofan said, sheathing his sword.
Kelken began to laugh. He took hold of Andris' hand and moved forward for a more sociable talk.
"This is Andris of Lothlorien, and she is, well, you can see for yourself." He stated.
Nofan had never laid eyes on an elf before so this was a great privilege. Andris bowed to the Rohan soldier in salute to his skill as a soldier.
"My mother, Nofan, where is she?" Kelken cut in immediately.
"Kenya? I'm so sorry my friend…but she was taken in battle…" He sadly replied.
There was a silence for a few moments.
"I know…somehow, I've always known, but I've just tried not to accept it." Kelken said, staring deeply into Andris' eyes. She nodded in remorse to the news.
"Anyway, let us continue-" Kelken said before Andris interrupted.
"Wait, you've found your friend, and found out about what happened to your mother unfortunately, and you're going forward…not back…why?" Andris questioned.
Kelken took a hold of Andris' hands once more.
"You. I'm not abandoning you, ever, you ARE my new future." He replied.
Andris smiled at what he had just said and leaned in for a hug off of her newly found love.
"This is all touching and whatever, but we really should get a move on. I've no further plans so I think I'll stick with you guys if that's okay?" Nofan said.
They both nodded and took Nofan aside to tell him what had happened and what they were planning on doing. The conversation lasted a while and darkness was fast approaching. But before they decided to rest, Nofan had remembered something. He hastily walked up to Kelken and Andris and handed them a scorched letter.
"Oh forgot to hand you this, it may be of some use."
All three of them began reading intently…
This letter must be handed over to Lord Agandaur.
Not but a day ago we excavated an orb, soon to be found out to be one of the lost seeing stones.
Master Sauron the great knows of our find.
He has ordered me to deliver him the precious stone.
Long has Lord Sauron hidden me from the world, but has decided to announce that his influence has widened in the land of Middle-earth.
Do not try and find or contact me.
Andris studied the letter a few more times, just to clarify that the being that was held up at Caras-Galadhon, was Perthor, a being of which no one has beard of or from before. A servant of Sauron who has hidden him from plain sight of the elves for a long time. But with this letter, the elves of Lothlorien could mount a full scale search and if found, attack on Perthor and his forces. Deciding that rest at this moment was a waste of precious time, they packed up, and headed toward the realm of Lothlorien with all speed.
Lothlorien. One of the last havens safe from the darkness of Mordor and of Sauron. Home to some of Middle-earth's most important elves, this sanctuary would certainly provide help for those who needed it. As they reached the foundations of the home of Andris, both Kelken and Nofan stopped to admire the sight.
"Hurry you two, we MUST get to Lady Galadriel!" She shouted, the emphasis in her voice made the two men jump to attention. Galadriel was located at the top of the highest tree in Lorien, and was guarded by not just elves, but magic. For the elven witch possessed Nenya, an elven ring of air that was crafted many ages ago. But she dare not use this ring, for the power would corrupt her while the one ring still survived.
Reaching the top of Lorien and passing everything in-between, the three ran as fast as possible to the home of Galadriel and Celeborn. Fortunately, they knew of the companies coming, and where waiting. Andris stepped forward and bowed.
"My lady, I have harsh news of a foul evil that has appeared near us!" As she said this, she handed over the scorched letter they had received from Nofan. Galadriel and Celeborn studied the letter, before returning it to Andris.
"So a new threat has appeared at our doorstep, and yet we were not wise enough to see it, the power of Sauron is strong indeed." Celeborn stated. Galadriel nodded.
She calmly walked up to Kelken, who was bowing constantly. Galadriel spoke.
"You are wise to come here, for this threat is a powerful one indeed. But it can be overcome, and for that, I require you." She looked at Kelken, Andris and Nofan.
"Yes, m'lady, I will do as you command." He replied.
"These are not orders Kelken, son of Kenya, this is your path. As it is Frodo of the Shire's path to destroy the one ring." She stated.
Both Kelken and Nofan wondered to themselves, this quest that Galadriel was talking about, but somehow, Andris knew about it.
"So it's actually gone ahead then?" Andris questioned Galadriel.
"Frodo has passed into the realm of darkness, and his company as passed onto a different quest of their own. For war now rages on their own parts." Galadriel spoke.
Roughly an hour had passed after the reaching of Lorien, and a plan had been forged. Led by Kelken, Andris, Nofan, and a large accompaniment of elven soldiers where to storm the realm of where Perthor lay, which was now named Dol Raghar.
"I…I'm not sure I'm capable of leading such an expedition." Kelken questioned himself.
Andris, who was suiting up for the battle ahead, held Kelken by the arm and nodded in approval that he was capable. Nofan was at the grinder sharpening his blade, whilst noticing the company of elven soldiers pass him, almost identical to each other in both looks and pace. He sighed before making his way to Kelken. The plan was built on the anticipation of a surprise attack. So the element of surprise was crucial.
"Let's get this over with, shall we?" Nofan said, making the others laugh. They all let out a sigh, before beginning the journey to Dol Raghar.
Little did the elves of Lorien know, Perthor was preparing his armies to march on Lothlorien's lands as well, but heard word from Sauron to keep his forces at bay for a while and prepare for an attack on Dol Raghar. Within the fortress, lay Perthor himself, clothed in steel armour and wearing a mask that covered his mouth due to battle scars from previous ages. Perthor wielded no weapon, but relied on his knowledge of dark magic to alter the natural forces of the world.
He turned to face an orc that had scurried up from the gate.
"Master! Elves, dozens of them!" He screamed at his master.
"So I see, now hurry back, scum!" Perthor replied.
The orc scurried back the way it came. Perthor would not let his sworn enemy defeat him on the battlefield today. His gaze turned back to his oncoming horde of attackers, and merely smirked.
"What is this place, I've never seen this before, and is on none of the maps?" Andris questioned, yet no one replied.
Kelken unsheathed his sword and raised it. He knew the battle was going to end one way or another, now that the element of surprise was gone.
"Men and elves of the west, a new evil threatens your lands, and now is the time to end it!" Kelken shouted to his fellow warriors. The elven army chanted in approval and pulled out their blades. Meanwhile, Kelken pointed forward, and an onrush of elven soldiers charged past him into the gates of Dol Raghar. He soon followed, along with Nofan and Andris.
As the battle progressed, it was clear that the elves had the upper hand in this battle. Orcs fell fast with the swipe of elven blades and tumbled to the ground with the bombardment of elven arrows. Kelken, in the midst of fighting, caught sight of Perthor, who stood watch over the battleground below.
"Watch out!" Shouted a sudden voice from behind the three.
An extremely large rock, glazed with ice came crashing down from the sky, landing a bit away from the three, but successfully hitting a fair amount of elven soldiers.
"What the hell was that?!" Nofan shouted, retracting his blade from an orc's skull.
"It's Perthor! He is using magic against us!" Shouted Andris.
The three looked up to see Perthor, arms raised, intervening in the battle below. Kelken turned to both Andris and Nofan.
"Let's end this!" He said, and began a charge for the stairwell that led to the main fortress. Andris and Nofan looked at each other, and nodded, and soon after followed Kelken.
Perthor had stopped his bombardment of magic and was now patiently waiting on the three charging to his fortress. He merely stood waiting. After minutes of slashing and chopping, the three had now managed to reach the top floor of the fortress. Only Perthor stood there. Kelken stood forward and pointed his blade.
"It's over, give up, your outnumbered!" Kelken aggressively shouted.
Perthor laughed insanely.
He turned to face them and with one quick smirk, he vanished from plain sight. Stunned, the three began searching the current area for his whereabouts.
"I see nothing, maybe he wasn't the real copy…" Questioned Nofan.
"No, he was definitely real I kno-" Andris spoke before suddenly feeling a sharp pain within her chest. She gasped for air as she looked down to see the hand of Perthor, plunged through her and through her back. She could not scream, the pain was too excruciating to handle. Turning to Andris, Kelken saw what had happened…
"Andris NO!" Kelken yelped, gaining the attention of Nofan, who was shocked at what had happened. Perthor once again disappeared, and left Andris on the floor. Kelken dropped his sword and ran to Andris' aid. She was still alive.
"Please, c'mon don't die on me; I need you, more than you know!" Kelken shouted, whilst sobbing over Andris. For some reason she was smiling, and held her hand up to comfort Kelken's cheek.
"I…I love you…" She said with all her might.
"I love you too, now c'mon I'll get you out of here I will!" He spoke to her, grasping her arm tightly, not wanting to let go.
But as he was consoling Andris, Perthor had reappeared and was not attacking Nofan. Nofan attempted to slash at his attacker but missed, and Perthor took advantage of this, tossing Nofan into the wall to the left, that, with such a force, knocked him unconscious. He now turned his attention onto Kelken. Perthor smirked, and once again vanished.
Kelken searched for his blade but remembered he had dropped it. His eyes begun stinging for his tears would not stop. Still holding Andris, he notice her hand him her sword, and then nodded…he nodded in return…as he knew what was about to happen.
Kelken took in a breath and held the hilt of Andris' sword backwards, then gripped tightly.
Suddenly, Perthor reappeared behind Kelken and was poised to strike!
Kelken smirked at the dying Andris and with one swift movement, pulled her blade backwards and straight through Perthor's chest. Kelken had predicted his reappearance.
He gently laid Andris' head on the ground and rose, taking the sword out whilst doing so.
"No more, you have drawn your last breath dark lord of the west!" And drove the sword through Perthor's chest once more. Perthor instantly began fogging up into a dark mist, before disappearing altogether, this time however, dead. Nofan woke up suddenly and slowly crawled his way to Kelken and Andris.
She looked at Kelken one final time, smiled, and dropped her head, lifeless. Kelken closed her eyes, and took her blade instead of his own. There were footsteps suddenly heard from the entrance of the top floor and five bloodied elven soldiers, including Hlanine, rushed in to announce victory, but once they caught sight of Andris, their cheers where short-lived.
Word had also reached them of Sauron's destruction for good, for Frodo of the Shire had destroyed the one ring and all its potency. Something only people of this age had ever dreamed of finally came into being. A new age of peace was at hand, now that Perthor too had also been destroyed. But at what cost? Kelken now had to wander the realm of middle-earth, alone…well…not entirely alone, Nofan would keep him company for as long as he could.
For the memory of Andris would forever live on in their hearts.