Amanda carried the last box of supplies out onto the porch and stacked it next to the others waiting to be loaded into the bed of the truck sitting in front of the family cabin. Earlier that week Donald and his family had joined her to finished closing up of the cabin for the winter. They had taken her SUV back and left the extended cab truck for her use. She had remained behind for a few days reluctant to leave the peacefulness of their hidden valley. Now that the time had come for her departure all she had to do was to make sure that the generator was shut down, double check that the water was turned off, and pipes and toilets were all drained.
Pleased that it was still mid morning she had only to load the boxes, cases and dogs and leave. Entering the cabin she methodically made one last sweep checking to see that she had forgotten nothing. Finally satisfied she pulled the cabin door shut and locked it. Turning she paused on the broad porch, looked out over the clearing and up across the road to the bridge on the far side. Taking a deep breath she savored the pungent odor of fir and lifted her face towards the clear blue sky.
It was cooler now and the wind carried a bite as it dipped and swirled about the outbuildings and tugged at the piles of leaves fallen from the maples and oaks that dotted the clearing and lower hills around the cabin. The first signs of winter were appearing on the crests of the distant mountains and it would not be long before snow would isolate the cabin as it did every year. There would be little to draw anyone except perhaps some trips by Donald either for hunting or winter sports until spring when they would all gather for sugaring when the sap started to rise in the maples.
Sighing she made the several trips from the porch to the truck necessary to load both the boxes and suitcases in it’s bed. Once that was accomplished, she locked the cover down over the bed and once more climbed to the porch where she settled on an old bench next to a cooler and thermos waiting to go on the front seat next to her. In them were a lunch and coffee for her and water and dinner for her fellow four-footed travelers.
Whistling she called to the three golden retrievers, Glori III, along with Sassi and Trevi bounding after a fat rabbit just at the edge of the encroaching forest of evergreen trees. Laughing she called once more and paused to meet their enthusiastic greetings. The two females were litter mates from a rescue group and she had not had the heart to separate them when they had been offered to her. Glori had mated with Sassi and now she was due to have a litter in a couple of months. Luckily Glori had a strong following among her family and friends and she would have no problems finding good homes for the pups. As she bent to rub their heads and put on the collars she had left off to ensure they did not become entangled in the under growth, her attention was caught by the flash of a golden coat emerging from the forest.
It was one of the golden wolves! Although they were occasionally seen around the cabin, it had been nearly three years since the last sighting. The family had always been careful to keep their existence secret and never mentioned them to outsiders. Hesitating Amanda ordered the dogs to sit and stay then moved out away from the truck to the edge of the cleared space that surrounded the cabin.
For several minutes she and the wolf gazed across at one another then the wolf raised his nose and sniffed as if seeking her scent. Dropping his head he moved slowly towards her and settled on his haunches just out of reach. It took her a few moments to realize the wolf had something tied around his neck. Worried she feared at first that it was some kind of tracking device that had been placed on him. Had he come to her to get it removed?
Moving slowly and speaking quietly in reassurance she edged forward until she could put her hands on the wolf’s neck and the dark leather tie that held the ends of the collar together. Gently undoing it the collar fell free into her hands and she could see that small leather bag engraved with graceful elven design was attached.
Gasping with shock she realized that it had somehow been sent across the bridge between Middle Earth and Earth. Trembling she backed up to the porch and sat down heavily turning it this way and that as she studied it. Looking up she found that the wolf had followed her and now sat close by calmly gazing at her with intent brown eyes. Looking beyond him she found the three golden retrievers sitting there unmoved as well and studying the wolf and her with great interest.
Returning her attention to the bag she continued to study it half afraid what she would find inside. With trembling hands she undid the clasp that held it shut and peered into it. All she could see was a small fabric wrapped item. With a questioning look at the wolf, she eased it out and a small golden object attached to a double link chain dropped to the ground at her feet. The wolf nosed it and looked at her and yipped. Amanda slowly reached for it and when she held it immediately recognized it as a copy of the yin/yang charm she had given to both Elrond and Eleiann before their departures. Studying each piece, she recognized the symbol of Elrond’s house and the second symbol as that of Gil Galad’s house.
Puzzled she set it aside and unwrapped the larger one exclaiming with delighted surprise, as she understood what she was looking at. The three pictures confirmed they had made the crossing safely and it was Elrond’s way of letting her know. The first picture was of Ted dressed as an elven scholar in the great library of Imladris. He looked younger then he had when he left and she could only believe that he had benefited from the effects of elven healing. Turning it over there was a series of symbols that she believed spelled out his name in Sindarin.
The second portrait was of a mature Owen dressed in the garb of a northern ranger. She frowned at the shadowy figure of a woman with a baby in her arms and took that to mean he was either already married or would soon be. There was a series of Sindarin symbols that were obviously more then just Owen’s name and below that was a banner with the white tree of Gondor. She studied it for quite some time as she tried to puzzle out it’s meaning before setting it aside for later research.
It was the third portrait that set her tears flowing as she saw the beloved face of her daughter and realized that Elrond had indeed welcomed her into his family. The fact that she wore a circlet with a blue stone gave a clue that identified her as a daughter of his house. Turning over the picture she saw the symbol of his house and that of Gil Galad’s. Amanda could not decipher it’s intent but took it to mean there would be a marriage of some importance for her as well. Wiping her tears away she noticed the wolf was nosing Sassi and giving play bows in invitation for her to join him.
“Now listen, old man, just because you came across the bridge, what makes you think you are welcome to seduce one of my girls? She isn’t available for a one-night stand. She will be having a litter in a few weeks so buzz off.” The wolf looked at her with what could only be a knowing smirk and he danced away as if inviting the retriever to follow him. Amanda frowned as she studied the two canines trying to understand what was going on.
“Do you want her to go with you?” She finally questioned the wolf feeling weird talking to him and wondering if he really understood her. It was clear that was exactly what he wanted and Amanda stared at him in disbelief.
“What could you want with her in Imladris? Surely she would be of little use there.”
The wolf yipped once more and danced away. Sassi looked at her mistress quivering with excitement and wanting to follow the wolf. She would not leave until Amanda gave her permission and Amanda was not sure she could simply allow the dog to take off after the wolf. Sighing she decided that she would have to stay for a few more days until she sorted out just what she needed to do.
“OK you idiots, we will stay here until I can figure out what this all means. If the powers that be really intend that Sassi is suppose to make this journey, then they will have to give me some sort of sign. I will not just let her take off with golden boy here and possibly leave her behind without food and shelter.”
With that she set about temporarily reopening the cabin and unloading enough of the supplies from the truck to last for the next few days. She settled the dogs down and half expected the wolf to disappear. But she was not really surprised when he calmly followed her into the cabin and joined the dogs as they ate their dinner.
Amanda watched as all four canines settled into a comfortable pile and slept. She reached for her cell phone and dialed a familiar number.
“Hi Donald. Sorry to bother you so late.”
“Yes, I am still at the cabin.”
“No, not for a few more days. The reason I called is there has been an interesting development. A golden wolf has shown up with a message from our distant friends…”
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.