It seemed ages passed by as she ran. Every tiny moment of her Spartan training had led up to this mighty race, which for the moment, she was winning.

Labored breaths and heavy feet followed closely behind her, as persistant as a hungry animal. That's what they were, the orcs following her. Animals. Arrow sucked in air desperately, her chest heaving. Lothlorien couldn't be much further. If it wasn't, she would surely perish.

Her legs were on fire, burning with the relentless pace and lack of rest. Every muscle, every movement, was painfully obvious in her battered brain. No other birthday had produced such a change, and Arrow honestly had not expected much of this one. Hope had been ever present, though anchored down by reality. This was her nightmares and dreams come true in one amazing day.

"The stupid slowin'," one of the remaining orcs choked out. Was she? With a desperate, terrified push, she surged forward, faster than before. The orcs behind her let out gutteral growls and struggled after the girl's maddening pace. Not only were their lives at stake, so was their pride, and that would be an awful thing to lose.

Arrow's bleary eyes lifted, in perfect timing, to be met with the sight of the woods if Lothlorien. It was as beautifully disgusting as the elf had promised, but no matter. Inside it was life, hope, and the future. Moria was death and the past. If only her weary legs could carry her a bit further.

Whump! Whump!

The familiar sound whistled past her ears. Arrows! Someone was shooting! Through the whistle of the wind, she heard no more footsteps behind her. It took her a moment to stop her body, to force it to turn round. Though rebelious, it obeyed. The two orcs had arrows in them.


Arrow screamed in pain as an arrow slid into the brutalized flesh of her right leg. Wavering uncertainly, the girl crumpled to the grassy ground. Blades of grass scratched her face and body. The wetness of morning dew sunk uncomfortably into the tattered remaints of her clothing. Her teeth ground together, keeping the flood of curses and wails captive. Instead, she rolled herself over scarce seconds before an arrow sunk into the grass by her stomach.

"I seek the Fellowship! They know me!" She cried, desperate. What was that elves name?

"Legolas of Mirkwood knows me! The man of Gondor! And the halflings! Do not kill me!"

Her pitiful wails were heard by the archers just inside the edge of the forest. They were what remained of the gaurd of Lothloriren, as the rest were accompanying the Fellowship to the Lady Galadriel. To their keen eyes, this creature calling to help looked most unfit for entrance into their woods. The orc girl was caked with a layer of blood, not all of it hers. And sweat was coming from every pore in her body. Saliva dripped from her mouth as she struggled for air.

"I know of what happened to the wizard Gandalf! Let me enter your woods, I mean no harm!"

One of the elves in the tiny crew notched another arrow, and took aim; he was ready to give the bloodied creature a quick death when a hand not belonging to him lowered his bow.

"She speaks of the wizard," said the elf who had prevented her death.

"Orc trickery. They are devious creatures, my friend. Death is for her."

The two elves of the gaurd nearly resorted to punching as they struggled with the bow and quiver of arrows. The one, Megilmir, would not stand to have her killed just yet.

"Be patient, friend," he said soothingly before leaving the safety of the woods. His light footfall went unheard by the child, though she could not have heard an olyphant walking, she had blacked out. Pale lids mercifully covered her weary eyes, her body demanding rest.

"Awaken, orc friend," the elf commanded. His tone was neither harsh nor friendly, simply neutral. He did not want to anger the creature. When she had not stirred, he dropped to his knees. Her smell filled his senses and he gagged, tempted to stand up again. Blood, sweat, urine, vomit, and Eru knew what else covered her. No wonder she slept.

He inhaled deeply, and prepared to mentally awaken her. It was extremely difficult for an elf as himself, who was trained with the bow and not the mind. If he could not do it, they would have to wait or search out a more experienced elf.

Gently, delicately, Megilmir probed into her senses and mind. Everything seemed frozen, for the moment, and he tried desperately to nudge her awake, but to no avail. He drew out of her mind and let out a tired breath. His friends had appeared behind him as if by magic, and kept away from where the girl's stench was strongest.

"I cannot waken her," he admitted. The overly anxious fingers of his friend twitched towards his arrows, but Megilmir shook his head.

"I wish to clean her, rid her of the awful smell, and then take her to a healer. I do not dare do anything, as I know nothing of medicine."

"Nor I. Let us hurry in bathing her, as I am not sure that I can deal with her smell," his friend replied. Together they gingerly lifted her, finding her light. "Did you see any hint of the fellowship within her mind?" He asked.

"No, but I did not look. It is dangerous to go looking about someone's mind when they are in a state like this."

Seconds passed to minutes, and eventually the gaurd elves reached a rippling stream. Laying her down, they began to strip her of her filthy clothing.


They both paused uncertainly when she was in naught but the makeshift orcish undergarments. When occasion called for it, they would strip a fellow gaurd. But those were friends, as well as males of the elven variety. A female human in orcish adornments who might be an enemy was entirely different. As they gazed at each other, they decided silently to leave them for now.

For the next half hour, they dirtied the water with the filth of her things. Soaking, but clean, the two elves draped them over a low tree branch. Together they began to wash the girl herself, something a bit sickening to do. Using some of the useless tatters of her garments, they washed away the blood and sweat. Beneath was a pallid, malnourished, yet muscular figure. They skirted around the various wounds and bruises, unsure of what to do.

"I think you can actually see her skin now," Megilmir noted. To be able to joke over this matter lightened the mood considerably.

"She is not much of a beauty, this one," his friend noted sadly. Megilmir smiled softly, and nodded. He had heard of some human women who rivaled elves in beauty, and she was certainly not amoung them. Her long face was more suited to the orcs with whom she had been running from.

"Then she is like you, Gilgilen, strong, but ugly!" He teased lightly. They both laughed lightly at this, for Gilgilen had more elven ladies interested in him than he could handle. After dwindling in the stream themselves, they took down the drying garments. Getting on her upper clothing was not difficult, but they'd ruined her pants getting them off without disturbing the arrow.

"Could we perhaps make a skirt?" Gilgilen suggested. It seemed improper to bring such a creature to a healer the way she was dressed now. His friend ran his hand over the rough fabric, and at his friend's words, slashed his knife across it. The lower part fluttered to the forest floor in a heap, while he held tight to what was left. It would have to do. Once it was upon her, they resumed their walk to Lothlorien.


"Milady, two of the remaining guards are approaching. They carry a human in orcish garb with them," A softspoken elf maiden informed the Lady Galadriel. Coupled with the arrival of the Fellowship not much earlier, it made for a busy day. Many elves were sent down to the guards, healers amoung them. It would still be some time before the link between the girl and the fellowship was made clear.


"Megilmir! Gilgilen! Halt!" Cried a chorus of sweet elf voices. The two gladly let down their catch, and greeted their friends. It was not entirely unexpected, afterall, they had been carrying a strange package. And her lack of blindfold was of some concern, even though she was in a deep, unreachable sleep.

"This orc girl spoke of the fellowship. We know not her ties with them, but feared killing her should it prove too rash. If someone could waken her..."

"Stand aside," a curt voice demanded. A rather young elf healer made his way past the dozen or so others sent out to investigate this small mystery. His clear, dark eyes made it perfectly clear that all should give him and this strange human some room. An elf maiden let out a noise as if burned when he glared at her for coming too close.

He held one hand out over her heart, the other over her forehead, and inhaled, relaxing. He was quicker to melt into the girl's mind and body, and quicker also to act. First he tended to her gravest wounds, healing them as best he could. The rest he left alone as it was well known that some things were best left for time to fix. He made a mental note of what to report once he came out of his trance-like state: both legs had badly strained muscles, the wound in her leg was deep though uninfected, and a filthy cut on her side would need attendance.

It was only then that he turned towards her mind.

'Wake up, human.'

Her mind remained blissfully silent and still, leaving him to wonder what trauma had caused this. He probed deeper into her mind to find an answer when she began to stir. All at once, her mind became a jumble of haphazard thoughts and images that he fought to sort out.

'How do you know the fellowship?' He demanded. He sensed how startled she was to hear a voice, or sense it, within her, but she recovered quickly.

'They found me outside of Moria. I helped guide them through, and they released me from their service outside of an elvish dwelling.'

'With who are you aligned?'

There was a confused silence within her mind, and he repeated the question. In answer, he received three images. One was a memory of Pluton, in a rare fit of goodness, handing her a quiver of arrows that fit her better. The second was of Boromir telling her of his great city. Lastly, a glance she had stolen of Merry and Pippin huddled close together. The healer felt this confusing, and began to withdraw from her.

Breath came more steadily for both him and Arrow as he retreated from her mind. His eyes flashed open only moments before her lids struggled to lift. There was a series of outraged cries amoung the elves, as this orcish human would be able to see Lorien. One rather swift maiden ripped fabric from her sleeve, and wrapped in round Arrow's eyes.

At this, the girl made her first noise. And it was not one the elves were happy to hear. A hoarse, scratchy voice errupted from her mouth letting lose insults in the Black Speach and orcish cries.

"O! Someone silence her!"

Megilmir tentatively pressed his hand against her mouth, but was bitten for his trouble. The same elven maiden from before made a gag with her other sleeve, and it was used to silence her terrible sounds.

"What did you discover?" Gilgilen questioned. The healer stood slowly, importantly, and looked the warrior in the eye.

"I am not sure you made the best decision, my friend. She was discovered by the Fellowship and released by them before they entered the Lady's forest. She is like kin to the orcs of Moria."

The elves view in shock this human who supposedly was like kin to the orcs. It was an abhorred notion, and most silently thought she should be slain or taken out from the woods at once. Very likely this would have been the case, but the rascal chose this moment to begin to thrash about and scream into the gag for all she was worth.

Arrow, in her blindness and muteness, was all too aware of the voices around her. And the one that had been in her head. Oh god, why was an elf in her most private thoughts? How horrid! Besides that, her heart was no longer bound tightly to the orcs of Moria. They had betrayed her, though they had done right by them.

Right now, her lone and single thought was life. O! How she wanted to live! To suffer death without seeing the beautiful city of Gondor was unbearable. If she only could do one thing, it would be that. The painful throb in her leg was nothing compared to the idea of being killed so shortly after she had tasted the sweetness of freedom.

She bucked her body like a wild thing, and screamed so loudly that no gag could have muted her. Around her, the elves were becoming anxious.

"Slay her. She is just some foul creation of the orcs!"

"Could you enter her mind again?"

"At least silence her."

The crowd of elves each offered advice or questioned the three appointed leaders. Feeling she was losing in this battle, Arrow managed to get out a coherant sentence around the gag.

"I know about the ring!"

An eerie silence fell after this. No words passed the fair lips of the elves, and they instead just stared in amazement at this orc girl who knew of the ring.

"Surely, this is a matter for Lord Celeborn and Lady Galadriel," Megilmir whispered. A few mute nods answered him. But what of the girl?

"Take away the gag, but keep it handy should she scream again. Remove the arrow from her leg, for Eru's sake!" He snipped. This was done promptly, and then Megilmir held the girl in his own arms. She was light enough.

"You must be silent. When we reach the Lord and Lady you will be permitted to see and speak. Until then, no noise."

A few elves sprung away like does to announce the arrival of this oddity. The rest fell in behind Megilmir, an odd procession though it looked. They marched on past the beauty of Lorien, into the heart of the woods where the Lord and Lady dwelt.


"My Lord and Lady, Megilmir will soon arrive with an orc girl who spoke of the fellowship and the ring!"

The two elves looked up from their, supposedly, private conversation. The elf who greeted them radiated with such nervous energy that he was immediatly forgiven, as it was obviously an emergency. The lady of the woods smiled at him, thanked him, then turned to Celeborn.

"There have been many strange occurances on this day. I wonder if it is all for some yet unknown reason." He mused. He looked into the entrancing depths of his lover's eyes, searching for both answers and hope. When she looked away, out over Lorien, he realized that he had been unable to find neither.

"Not even the Lady Galadriel knows all," she reminded him gently, teasingly.

The moment was interrupted by the arrival of Megilmir, Arrow, and the parade of elves. Smiles appeared on the timeless lips of the Lord and Lady, though they waved all but Megilmir and his captive away.

"My Lord and Lady, I told her that once she had arrived before you that she could see. I would like to honor this promise, but.."

"Let her see," Lord Celeborn commanded. He nodded, and undid the knot of the blindfold. It slid away, and at once her eyes opened. Her mouth followed.

The two beings before her had such a divine light around and even in them that it was difficult to look at them. As her shock faded, she took note of their location. Legolas had described it nearly flawlessly. Lorien was truly a place of beauty.

"What is your name?" Lord Celeborn questioned when moments had passed in silence. It seemed he was fated to break the silences of Lorien when his wife choose not to.

"The orcs first called me Wynter, but I was nicknamed Arrow." Her voice was oddly submissive, given that she was annoyed for having to go through this process again.

"Why do you don such orcish attire?"

"It was simply what I was given in Moria."

"How old are you?"


This was her first lie, and her last. Her shame at not being older when she told Legolas the number still lingered, and she felt an extra year would soon better.

"Are you truly, child?" Asked the Lady Galadriel for the first time. Shivers and gooseflesh came when that majestic voice hit her ears. It was commanding, and she felt she should look up and meet the Lady's gaze. Her lips trembled as those eyes saw through to her very soul. When she could stand it no longer, she looked down and let out a weary sigh.

"Are you going to kill me?" Arrow asked softly. Her voice quivered so that the elven pair could not suppress their smiles.

"Elves are not in the habit of killing children," Lady Galadriel assured her, "Though I daresay it may brighten your cloudy mood to see your new friends again. Should you permit me to leave a moment, I will arrange this reunion."

Arrow nodded, keeping her lips tight. When the beautiful elf woman had vanished, she looked shyly up at Lord Celeborn. His features were so fair, and she was acutely aware of the bump in her already large nose, and the size of her chin. She could have withered into dust right then, where she belonged. It was impossible to hate such creatures.

"Lord Celeborn," she began uneasily, "I am afraid that there may have been something of a mistake. I..."

"Child, by the end of this you will see no one is unimportant. You least of all."