The next two days unfolded much the same - each morning, the small company would set out and Frodo would make another attempt at conversation that invariably died down by noon. The gap between him and the others was simply too great, despite attempts, grudging and otherwise, by both sides. Giles was mostly engaged in a frustrating attempt to match the various landmarks with his native land, Xander moped and made the odd tired joke, Buffy marched in silence and
Willow listened closely as Frodo told the occasional fanciful tale of ancient, even to him, magic.
The only other travelers were a few Hobbit shepherds and farmers invariably stopped and gawked at the odd parade of Big Folk.
Xander fell in step beside Buffy, shoving his hands in his pockets at the same time. He gave her a sideways glance, noting the solemn expression on her face; it was the same look she'd worn since they'd arrived in this bizarro world.
"Penny for your thoughts?" he said. He half-smiled when she looked over to him. "Just wondering what's on your mind. You've been Non-Talkative Girl the last couple days. That's not very Buffy-like."
Buffy pressed her lips together then let her gaze drop down to the ground. She watched the grass roll by as they continued to walk along, following their guide whom Giles was rather interested in. "I've been thinking, Xander, that's all," she replied, quietly.
"About what?" He didn't like the look she wore. Buffy frowned too much lately. Of course, that was understandable after the debacle with Faith, the Mayor and then Dead Boy pulled up stakes and ditched her. She'd been distracted. The new demon didn't help matters any, either. He'd rarely seen her so frustrated over a particular demon.
"Home." She shrugged a bit. "I never appreciated it until now. I'm waiting for my mom to show up and start bothering me about, I don't know, anything." Her head lifted up and she shifted her gaze over to him. "I miss her. I miss Sunnydale, if that's even possible. Well, it must be because here I am, missing it. I'm sorry, I'm blathering on about nothing."
"No, you're not blathering on about nothing. It's just that I haven't given a whole lot of thought to home." He gave a careless shrug then focused his attention on Giles and the Hobbit, Frodo, in front of them. "I doubt my parents even realize I'm gone. If they have, they're probably packing my crap up and sending it to the Salvation Army."
Buffy bit her lower lip and felt guilty for complaining to Xander, of all people, about missing home and her mother. She'd forgotten that his home-life wasn't exactly Leave It To Beaver. It was more along the lines of The Invisible Man.
"I doubt they're doing that, Xander," she assured him.
"I wouldn't put it past them," he muttered.
Willow bounded up to them, a bouquet of various and sundry flowers gathered in her hands. "Hey, what's going on? Secret stuff?" she asked. Her face twisted up in concern when she saw the mood of her friends. "What's wrong?"
"Nothing, Will," Buffy replied when Xander remained silent. She tried to smile. "We were just wondering if we'd ever get back home. Thousands of years in the past is, uh, pretty darned far back. I hope these Elves we're going to see actually know something." She glanced back to Giles. "Have you guys noticed how weird Giles has been acting since we've been here? Like there's something he knows and he's not telling us?"
Willow nodded then she smelled the flowers she'd plucked. "Yeah, I noticed that, too. He's been asking that Frodo a lot of strange questions. What do you think it is?" She brushed her fingertips over the flower petals. She'd been enjoying the stay in - wherever it was in time they were. She'd never been anywhere so beautiful, so full of life and simple things. In the future, everything was so darned complicated. Not here, though.
"It's not like Giles to keep stuff from us, especially if it's important," Buffy said. She paused a few moments, staring ahead at her Watcher, wondering exactly what he knew and why he didn't want to talk about it. She looked back to her friends. "I mean, when he heard names and places from that Gandalf guy, he got freaky. Remember?"
"You know ..." Willow's expression became thoughtful as she brushed the petals of her flowers under her chin. "If we're thousands of years in the past, like Giles says, then things are a lot different than what we're taught in school about this time period. Whenever this Third Age is in our own calendar. And where did all these Elves and Hobbit creatures come from? Do you remember seeing any of them in Giles's books? I sure don't. And he's never made any mention of any of these beings."
"I'll be up here because this discussion is getting way too academic for me," Xander interrupted as he pointed a finger towards Giles and Frodo. He picked up the pace to get away from the two girls.
Willow shook her head but she didn't say anything. Somehow, some way, she'd figure out what was going on. She knew Buffy would be right there with her, too.
"We should make the Brandywine Bridge by nightfall," Frodo said. "It's another two days' travel from there to Bree."
"And after that?" Giles asked, only half-listening. His attention was fixed upon the gently rolling hills to their south. Just like the south of England... It was uncanny.
Frodo shrugged. "Two weeks, perhaps, or ten days," he replied. "I've never gone that far from the Shire."
Giles nodded. He'd noticed the young Hobbit was rather out-of-sorts since he'd recovered from the initial shock of being hustled out the door by Gandalf. "Perhaps - "
Whatever he intended to say was drowned out by the sudden whiny of a horse followed immediately thereafter by the clang of steel on steel. Both sounds were faint and echoed twice from the hill country to the south of the ancient road.
Frodo froze and glanced nervously at his human companions.
"Sounds like somebody's in trouble," Buffy commented as she gazed southward, the direction from which the commotion originated. After nearly three days of boredom, the chance to get into a fight more than appealed to her. She felt rather useless in this land; another reason to get back to Sunnydale as soon as possible. "I'll go check it out."
Before she could, however, a distant figure appeared on the crest of a hill perhaps a mile away. A few seconds later, another figure, mounted, also appeared and gave chase after the first one.
"Or it can come check us out," said Xander. He shaded his eyes and squinted to get a better look at the hubbub. He could see the glint of the sunlight against the blade of the sword as the rider wielded it. His hand dropped to his side. "Guys, they're coming this way."
"Hey, isn't that ...?" Willow's words trailed off. The person being pursued by the rider wasn't a person at all. She pointed. "It's that demon! The one we chased into the time rip! He's the whole reason we're stuck here!"
"And he's still got my axe, too!" added Xander.
"But who is that on the horse?" Giles wondered aloud. He couldn't make out much of the rider - the body was fairly well hidden by a flowing hooded cloak. The rider reined his horse to a stop when the demon turned to face off with the mounted figure. He narrowed his eyes, trying to get a better look at the mysterious person.
The rider swung one leg over the horse and leaped down from the saddle before the animal came to a full stop. Both hands gripped the handle of the sword and brought it up to block a swing from the demon. The metal from the sword clanged loudly against that of the axe. The rider planted a foot square in the chest of the demon, hurling it backwards a few steps, then he advanced on the demon while it was off-balance.
The sword came down again before the demon could prepare a proper defense, and the blade tore across the forearm of the beast. It howled in pain, dropping the axe at the same time. The swordsman took the weapon in both hands again then spun around bringing the blade with him at the same time; it slashed across the demon's gut, cutting it wide open. The demon dropped to the rider's feet and lay there, motionless.
"Wow," Willow murmured, her eyebrows arching. That was some warrior - to do in about a minute what the four of them had spent two weeks trying to accomplish. She looked over to Buffy. "Did you see that?"
"Yeah, I did, Will." Buffy stared at the rider as he kneeled down and began to search the demon's corpse. Her eyes narrowed slightly as she leaned closer to her friend. "You suppose this guy's on our side? He did kill that demon."
Willow shrugged. "I couldn't say. Even evil'll slay evil when it suits them."
The rider stood up again, throwing off the hood of the cloak at the same time. Wavy locks of dirty blonde hair tumbled from underneath it. When the rider threw back the cloak over his shoulders, a form most definitely female was revealed. She wore a simple brown tunic and riding skirt underneath a glimmering chain mail shirt and knee high, worn leather boots - attire most common for Rangers, or so Frodo had heard.
Frodo had also heard the stories from Dwarves who occasionally passed through the Shire, stories about a crazy Dunedain warrior woman. He'd taken them as just that though, stories. He couldn't deny what his eyes gazed upon, however. What was the strange title they'd attributed to her? Slayer. Yes, it was Slayer.
The woman slid her sword back into the sheath that was strapped to her horse. As she looked to her left, she realized she had an audience. Taking the bridle into her gloved hand, she headed toward the onlookers, nudging the dead orc with her foot as she passed by him. As she neared the strangers, she looked from the young Hobbit with them to each human, noting the odd dress of them.
"Who is she?" Giles asked Frodo in a hushed voice. He didn't take his eyes off the woman as she crossed the land that separated them. The closer she came, the more clear a view he had of her. She was quite a striking woman - rather tall, fair of face and the eyes - they were very intense, the most piercing shade of blue he'd ever seen.
"I don't know her right name, but the Dwarves call her 'Slayer'," the Hobbit whispered back. He drew back when Giles gasped. "What is it?"
Giles ignored Frodo's question. He cleared his throat as the woman neared them. "Er - hello."
She smiled politely and bowed her head without ever taking her eyes off of them. "Good morn," the woman said in a soft, cautious voice. She'd never seen such an odd company of Men. Their dress and manner, such as she could tell so far, was unlike any she knew. Memories of her dreams stirred in her mind - dreams that warned her of Evil to come. In recent weeks, she'd dreamed of an arrival of Men from a foreign land. Could, perhaps, these be the ones?
Buffy looked the woman up and down, folding her arms across her chest at the same time. Well, she wasn't exactly ready for the next issue of Vogue, but the clothes were rather travel friendly. In fact, it appeared as though their mysterious warrior woman had traveled far and hard very recently. Mud was splattered on the boots and upon the wool cloak.
Xander, however, was stunned by how lovely the woman was. He'd never seen eyes such as this woman's. And every single part of her body was well toned and very curvy and drenched in glistening sweat. [Okay, think about something else, think about something else. Don't look at the hot chick. Think about something repulsive.]
There was a brief, slightly awkward silence then Xander coughed. "Hey. Good work with the sword and killing the demon, Lady We Don't Know," he said.
"Elenya," she quickly replied. Her head cocked a little to the left as she regarded Xander. He wouldn't look her in the eye and shifted about in place, apparently nervous about something. "Of Lake Nenuial. And what demon?"
"What do you mean, what demon? That demon over there," Buffy replied, she pointed at the fallen monster. Her arm dropped back to her side as she looked back to Elenya. "The one that was terrorizing our town, and that we've been chasing around for weeks and you just killed."
Elenya, as she called herself, turned and let out a quick laugh. "That's no demon, merely an Orc, if stronger and more cunning than most. More stubborn than skilled, though." She shrugged and turned away from the dead Orc. If that was considered a demon where these strangers were from, they would be very impressed with the true demons of her lands. She gazed into Buffy's eyes, seeing something in them to which she felt connected.
"Oh, well, yeah. Stubborn as in he wouldn't friggin' die when we tried to kill him." Buffy frowned. [Sure, make it sound so easy.] "But, hey, you came along and skewered him." She gave the woman a thumbs up. "Nice work."
Willow glanced at Buffy, frowning herself for a moment. She didn't have to hear Buffy say it, but it really bothered her that this Elenya had been the one to kill the Orc. The battle had become rather personal between Buffy and the creature - he'd slipped away from her so many times before.
"What are you called?" Elenya asked, focusing on Giles as their leader. But even as soon as she spoke the words, she froze. The dreams demanded her attention; they wanted to be heard. A hand drew up to Elenya's temple, brushing her face lightly and she blinked twice as flashes of the darkness filled her mind's eye. Four figures walked out of the West, followed closely by a black cloud, vast and threatening both in itself and for what it hid. But the halos of light surrounding the figures indicated that they weren't the bringers of the dark - it merely followed them and for what end? Elenya did not know.
She blinked again and sighed as the vision left her. It was hard when the guiding hand of the Powers left her and her senses were returned to the world of death.
Buffy nudged Willow then nodded to Elenya while the woman went through her episode. "What do you think that was about?" she asked in a whisper. Willow only shrugged in reply.
Elenya dropped her hand and focused on Giles again as he responded to her inquiry.
"Rupert Giles. And my friends - Xander Harris, Buffy Summers and Willow Rosenberg." He smiled at her then noticed Frodo. "And, uh, Frodo. Of the Shire."
Elenya nodded slowly, but her eyes narrowed just slightly. "And where are you from?" she asked the group. If these were the beings from her dreams, she would need information from them, and perhaps about the darkness that came in their wake.
[Excellent question.] Giles stopped himself from saying Sunnydale, a town that wouldn't exist for millennia. Before he could come up with a suitable answer, though, Buffy spoke up. "Out west. Way out west."
The blonde woman's eyes lit up like stars. "The True West? Beyond the Sea?" she asked in an awed whisper, one hand flying to her heart and a look of absolute wonder on her face. "Have - have you come from the Undying Lands?"
"Whoa. I think we have some crossed wires here, lady," Xander replied. He shook his head and turned to Giles. "We don't know anything about that. Right?" [The Undying Lands? Whenever the next boat for that place is sailing, I'm on it. Undying, as in not dying - sounds like a paradise to me.]
The Watcher nodded blankly, but Elenya's words were itching at forgotten memories.
For her part, Elenya's shoulders slumped and she smiled ruefully. "Forgive me. I thought - but no. It matters not." She glanced at Frodo for a moment, wondering what brought a Hobbit into such odd company.
He heard the unspoken question. "I'm guiding them ... to Bree," Frodo said, not quite ready to trust this stranger with the name of their true goal, even if she was one of the good Men of the North.
"Bree? Then our road is the same," Elenya declared. She smiled. "Certainly a chance-meeting, especially if you were also tracking my foe the Orc," she added, not so certain this was vulgar chance. The longer she interacted with the strangers from whatever distant land they called home, the more convinced she became that her dreams and visions spoke of these before her. Her instincts had compelled her to ride South from the land of her people, instead of East to seek out the rumors of war beyond the Misty Mountains. And here, while chasing the
only Orc to enter the Shire in centuries, she'd met this strange band of travelers. No, this was more than chance.
"You're going to Bree?" Frodo wondered aloud. "How wonderful! Now I might go home." He blinked abruptly realizing his thoughts had been spoken. "I mean - "
"It's okay," Giles assured the young Hobbit. "I think we can manage."
"Giles, are you sure?" Willow whispered. It was one thing to go around with harmless little Frodo, but this lady was another story entirely.
"Yes, trust me."
"Mr. Giles is right. You'll be in good hands with Slayer, I'm sure."
Buffy blinked three times before she could croak out - "Slayer?"
"Excuse me, did you say 'Slayer'?" Xander asked as he leaned towards Frodo, a hand cupped one of his ears. "I must be hearing things, because I could've sworn you said 'Slayer'."
"*The* Slayer," Elenya corrected. The reaction this elicited from the odd folk was quite interesting. "Merely a nickname," she quickly assured them.
"A nickname? Isn't it a small world! Your nickname is my nickname, too," Buffy replied, jerking a thumb at herself. [That explains a lot, anyway. Figures.]
"No, that cannot be," Elenya insisted. "There can be only one." But even as she spoke the words, she knew what Buffy said to be truth. Energy existed between them, an energy that Elenya could feel but it was deep within her. She wondered if Buffy could sense the connection too. A moment of gazing into the blonde's eyes yielded nothing to indicate that the feeling was mutual.
Xander laughed, then shrugged when all eyes turned to him. "It would take too long to explain."
"Look, I know you've been told that there can be only one, but I'm a Slayer," Buffy calmly explained. "Then there's that rule about it, but sometimes, you have those ... uh, what do you call them?" She looked over to Willow for help.
"Umm, mitigating circumstances?" Willow suggested.
"Yeah, that sounds good enough. You have these mitigating circumstances and then, well ..." She trailed off when she saw the look on Elenya's face. None of this was making any sense at all to her. [Okay, so skip that.] "I'm a Slayer, just like you, okay? I can fully back up my claim, too." Should she mentioned the little thing about them being from the future? Would it hurt? "I'm from the - "
Giles interrupted Buffy before she revealed just where they were really from. "Perhaps we could sort all this out on the road?"
"Perhaps, although I feel it may be a longer story than the ride to Bree allows." Elenya shrugged. "We shall see. Master Hobbit, if you will, you may return to your home. I will guide them and protect them on the way to Bree, or die in the attempt," she assured him.
Satisfied by the attempt and, his interest in seeing Rivendell aside, daunted by the prospect of a journey into the wild, Frodo nodded. "If they will have you."
"We will," Giles quickly interjected. He wanted to learn more about this ancient Slayer, and listen to what stories she had of this world in which they had arrived. He glanced over to Buffy who raised an eyebrow at him.
Frodo smiled. "It was good to meet you," he said, perhaps exercising more kindliness than honesty, and then he said farewell to all and began to march back down the road west to Hobbiton. He stopped at a slight dip in the road, turned and waved, then hurried onwards, soon disappearing into the distance.
"Bye, little guy!"
Xander turned around. "What? I didn't mean - "
Willow sighed. "Let's just go, okay?"
"A good idea. Bree is still a good day's march." Elenya gripped her saddle and then gracefully leapt back up onto her steed. "Aratar can bear more than one rider for a stretch, if any of you are weary," she offered.
"I'm good," Xander assured her as he held up his hands, looking warily at the horse. "Horses and I - not a good mix, if you know what I mean. The ponies at the Sunnydale Fair had it in for me when I was a kid."
Willow gave a longing look, though. She was rather tired. The canvas shoes she wore weren't exactly the best for this all-terrain traveling they'd been doing. However, she had reservations about horseback riding as well. The Sunnydale Fair ponies didn't like her either. Finally, she decided that she'd keep with the walking.
When none of them joined Elenya atop her horse, she shrugged then nudged her mount with her heels and the beautiful white warhorse slowly clip clopped over the ancient stones of the East-West Road.
The rest of the afternoon passed quickly. Elenya, at first more interested in learning the lore of these strangers than sharing what she knew, soon realized they intended to keep their secrets for the time being. If not for her vision, she would have been more forceful with her questions, but instead she let it be and told them more about the Shire and the lands bordering it. She knew much of its history that Frodo and the Hobbits had long since forgotten, especially of the wars of ages past.
Giles listened attentively. From time to time, he would recognize a name from Elenya's stories, but very rarely.
[Absolutely amazing. This woman knows more about the ancient world than all the Council's archaeologists together,] Giles thought as she spoke of the long-ago wars between Arthedain, a kingdom unfamiliar to him, and Angmar, which was not. The name survived in a few ancient books of black magic that the Council held.
"And both kingdoms are gone now?" Giles asked when the latest tale was over.
Elenya nodded sadly. "Arthedain fell long ago to the armies of the Witch-King. But he too is dust, and his realm is empty except for memories and bones and a few lingering servants of the Dark Lord," she added. "Trolls wandering in the barren hills, and vampires who dwell in the crumbling fortresses."
"Vampires?" Buffy asked, suddenly interested in what Elenya had to say. [Great! Something that I recognize!] "There are vampires here?"
"No, not here. North, past even the lands where my people dwell," Elenya corrected. "Most lie asleep in ancient tombs, but a few still walk in the darkness of Angmar."
"Whew," Xander murmured, relief washing over him. "That's good. One less thing we have to worry about trying to kill us." He went back to weaving a few of the flowers that Willow had picked into a circlet. So it wasn't a manly thing to do, but it killed time and took his mind off the long walk.
Willow tucked one of the bright yellow flowers that resembled a daisy behind her left ear then looked up at Elenya. "Have you ever fought one before?" she asked. It wasn't odd that Elenya would kill other nasty creatures yet it sounded as though she rarely killed vampires.
"I fought one long ago." Elenya shivered a little. "I was young than, and perhaps too bold. The battle lasted much of the night and it nearly bested me."
Buffy frowned a little. That didn't make much sense from what she'd seen of Elenya in action so far. "Just one vamp? But you kicked that Orc's ass pretty good."
"Just one - vamp? I do not know what the vampires are like in your lands, but here they are powerful enemies. In the First Age, they were second only to the Balrogs and Dragons in the ranks of the Dark Lord's minions. Twisted spirits cloaked in flesh." She shook away an unpleasant memory.
"Dragons?" Xander asked, his voice two octaves higher than it should've been, as his head snapped up and to attention. "Did you say 'dragons'?" He looked over to Willow and tapped her on the shoulder. "There are dragons here."
"Shhh," Willow hissed, placing a finger to her lips. She wanted to hear what Elenya had to say. It might be useful in the future.
Buffy ignored Xander's commentary. "Like how strong are you talking about here?" she inquired, an eyebrow cocking as she gazed up at Elenya.
"Stronger than a troll. And few weapons forged by Men can cut the darkness that armors them." She suddenly unsheathed her long bright sword and ran one finger down the blade. "Even Dwarf-steel was hard put to cut that creature's head from its neck. But it served in the end."
Buffy just shook her head. She'd met some nasty vampires - The Master and Kakistos immediately came to mind - but it sounded like they were ALL like that around here. She almost asked what a Balrog was, but decided she probably didn't want to know. Ignorance was most definitely bliss in this case.
"It's not the same where you come from, is it?" Elenya asked.
Buffy humorlessly laughed. "Uh, no, not really. Where we're from vampires are... well, most of them are pretty weak. We're not talking an all nighter with one bloodsucker. Go out on patrol, kill five or six vampires, have a snack then go to bed."
"Five or six?" Elenya repeated in disbelief. Five or six vampires - that was a force that could destroy a city or stand face to face with an army. Either this young Slayer was more than she appeared or the vampires of her home were pitiful things. Most likely both, Elenya concluded. "I would like to see this land of yours."
"I'd like to show it to you," Buffy answered. [That would mean we'd be home and not here.] "Who knows, maybe you will get to see it some day."
Elenya smiled a little. "So tell me more about the beasts you've fought," she said as they continued on towards Bree.
For much of the rest of the day, Buffy and Elenya shared a few stories of their battles. As they did, Buffy wondered if she was out of her league in Middle-Earth. Even the most dangerous enemies - the Master, Angelus, and the Mayor - seemed like everyday challenges to Elenya. And the things that Elenya had fought - vampires, great orc warlords, troll chieftains, and an entire aerie of hideous flying monsters she had no name for - sounded a hell of a lot stronger than almost anything that had ever shown up in Sunnydale.
The sun had set hours ago and only the two Slayers were still awake. Willow had gone to sleep first and with little warning, then Giles and finally Xander.
"Been a while since I sat around a campfire," Buffy said as she folded her arms and rubbed her upper arms with her hands to ward off the chilly night air. Her head tipped back a bit so she could gaze up at the stars. The sky was so alien to her - no stars were in the right place. Every time the sun went down since they'd arrived in this strange land, Buffy knew how far away from home they were.
She sighed heavily as she lowered her gaze back down to the fire. She leaned over, plucked up a stick then looked over to Elenya. "So..." She halfheartedly poked their campfire with her stick. "How long have you been a Slayer, anyway?"
"Longer now than the time I wasn't," Elenya replied as she searched through one of her saddlebags. She paused, taking a moment to calculate the time. "It will be ... fifteen years this fall."
Buffy stared across the fire at Elenya. "Wait - say that again?"
"Fifteen years," Elenya repeated, raising her voice just slightly so she could be heard over the crackling of the fire. "Almost."
"Whoa." Buffy leaned back. "You can't be serious."
"Why not?" Elenya countered. She finally found what she'd been searching for - her sharpening stone. She drew her sword from its sheath and laid it gently across her lap. "How long have you been a Slayer?"
"Three years. And that's a record. Or it was," Buffy answered. She gave the fire another poke then watched Elenya as she proceeded to expertly slide the stone over the blade of the sword.
Elenya smiled. "There was a time when I had only been the Slayer for four years. You may yet outlast me." She licked her thumb then ran it over the side of the blade and continued on with her work.
"Yeah, right. Not unless I get all Matrix-y like you did with that Orc."
"That will come in time," Elenya insisted, although she wasn't so sure. Her gifts, speed and strength and awareness, had all been fully developed from the moment she'd been called. But perhaps it was different for this other Slayer. "Have faith in the Powers, Buffy. They do nothing without a reason, though we may not yet now it."
"Uh-huh." Buffy was far from convinced. Elenya could have faith in the Powers and all that jazz if she wanted, but that didn't do Buffy any good. "We'll see. Maybe those Powers of yours will let me in on the big picture when I wake up."
"Maybe," Elenya said, but Buffy didn't hear her. Instead, the younger Slayer headed to the edge of the camp and laid down, soon falling asleep under the light of the stars.
Xander opened his eyes, staring across the small space that separated him from Buffy who lay next to Willow on the ground. He'd heard the whole conversation between Buffy and Elenya; he could empathize with Buffy, too. Suddenly, she wasn't the biggest and baddest around - she was pretty run of the mill compared to Elenya. That was every day life for Xander - Giles had the smarts, Willow had the magick and the smarts, Buffy had the Slayer gig and he had ... nothing.
He sighed softly then shifted on his bedroll in an attempt to get comfortable again. Slowly, his eyes closed and he fell asleep. He half-hoped that when he woke up in the morning, that they would be back in Sunnydale.
Elenya stayed up through the night, keeping a watchful eye out. In her heart, she knew their troubles - already she was beginning to think of them as a fellowship - were far from over.
This is a work of fan fiction, written because the author has an abiding love for the works of J R R Tolkien. The characters, settings, places, and languages used in this work are the property of the Tolkien Estate, Tolkien Enterprises, and possibly New Line Cinema, except for certain original characters who belong to the author of the said work. The author will not receive any money or other remuneration for presenting the work on this archive site. The work is the intellectual property of the author, is available solely for the enjoyment of Henneth Annûn Story Archive readers, and may not be copied or redistributed by any means without the explicit written consent of the author.