8. We Meet Again
He raised the sword and with an angry yell, he suddenly charged forward towards them. There was a blue flash from Vilya, and he stopped momentarily blinded. When he could again see, the wolves had disappeared. Bewildered he searched for them fearing they were hiding somehow and would again seek to attack. When he could find no trace of them, he finally relaxed his guard, re-sheathed the sword and slowly settled back to the ground shaking with exhaustion.
He took the time to take stock of his surroundings and then of himself. The wound on his head had finally stopped bleeding but his hair was a stiff matted mess of dried blood and mud. His efforts to push it away from his face proved difficult. His tunic and cloak were in tatters and his breeches were little better. He had lost one boot and there was a serious gash running from his left thigh to his knee.
With a sigh, he carefully moved to the river’s edge and tearing several small pieces from his cloak, dabbed at his wounds. Ducking his head under the water several times, he was able to remove the worst of the mud and blood and finger combed his hair into some semblance of order. He managed a couple of longer strips and used those along with some smaller pieces to pad and bind the leg wound to protect it from further injury from the dirt and gravel on the sandbar where he had found himself a prisoner. Too exhausted to do more, he barely was able to return to his previous position above the high water mark before once more surrendering to the darkness.
Atop the canyon walls many miles away, anguished searchers frantically sought traces of their lord in the depths below when suddenly two froze and stood silently listening intently.
“Fin, Fin…” Both Elladan and Elrohir turned excitedly towards the blond warrior.
Glorfindel nodded. “I felt it too. That was Vilya. Elrond is alive.”
“But why does he not answer us?“
“I do not know, but he used Vilya for some reason and he must be dire straights to risk such a dangerous action. Did you get a sense of how far away he was when you felt her?”
‘Roh shook his head, “It was too brief a time.” He looked over at his brother questioningly.
‘Dan nodded his head silently in agreement and stared down river. “Well we know now he was taken further down on the flood then we had expected. We should move along as quickly as we can before he has to use Vilya again and announce his presence to our enemies.”
“I wonder if ‘Rellas is with him?” ‘Roh asked the blond elf.
“The current was very swift, penneth. We have not found any trace of the horses either so we cannot expect her making it through without serious injury if at all. Your father must have been very lucky to survive.” ‘Fin replied reluctantly.
The gwanur nodded and followed Glorfindel silently as he gave the orders to move the search further down river.
For most of the day Mithrellas moved cautiously upriver on the theory she would meet up with any rescuers faster then she could possibly find Elrond if he has been swept past her in the night. If he survived further down river, he too would be moving back up river or would be able to summon the rescue party to him as quickly if not faster then she could find him. If she found him ahead then she would stay with him until the others arrived. For some reason she never considered that he might move downstream hunting for her on the chance she had been pulled past him.
She made her way with difficulty over the tumbled rocks dotting the rough canyon floor and often had to wade or swim through shallow pools of water. Her shoulder bothered her but she was grateful that it was only bruising and not a broken bone or deep injury that she had received in the pummeling by the river. ‘Rellas paused to rest knowing she was fast approaching her physical limits. Overhead, the skies were once more turning an angry dirty gray and the wind began to whistle and screech nosily through the depths of the canyon ahead of the advancing storm clouds.
She needed to begin looking for a place where she could settle in for the night, and was having a difficult time of it. Although water levels had dropped significantly, the exposed ground remained soggy and muddy. She grinned wryly at the irony as she squelched through it and struggled to keep her balance under the heavy weight of her pack. This was one situation where she doubted Lord Elrond would have been eager for a casual stroll through the mud!
Ahead she could tell the canyon curved east in a wide bend and there appeared to be wide sandbars amidst piles of boulders. Higher up where part of the cliff face had fallen into the river she could see a small cave or hollow which might do as a temporary shelter. As she moved closer to see how difficult it would be to reach, she heard from beyond the bend an angry yell and the snarls of attacking wolves. Freezing with fear, she was suddenly thrown to the ground when it shook, and a sharp crack resounded off the canyon walls accompanied by a brilliant blue flash. Then all was silent.
Shaken Mithrellas slowly stood up. She was certain she had heard Elrond’s voice but what had happened? She dropped her pack and moved cautiously forward. It took some time for her to work her way around the curve of the bend and even longer to search for Elrond. She finally found his limp body curled up behind the boulders where he had taken shelter. She took note of his injuries and his obvious attempts to care for them. Upon checking more closely, she was relieved to see that his breathing was even and he appeared to be sleeping. Given all they had just gone through, she was not surprised. She was fast finding it difficult to think of anything but her own needed rest and longed to curl up nearby, but first she needed to retrieve her supplies. She was glad she had included the dirty clothes and boots in her supplies. It looked like Elrond was going to need them.
It took her some time to return with the supplies and set up a camp. She covered the sleeping elf with one of the covers she had used as padding under her pack and gather some wood. She struggled with the wet wood but finally managed to get a small fire going. How she longed for a hot cup of tea! With a sigh, she turned back towards the sleeping elf only to find him watching her suspiciously. She smiled in relief.
“Oh wonderful, you are awake! I am glad you made it through all right. Are you hungry? I found a pack horse down stream and was able to salvage some of the food and clothing…” Her voice trailed off when he showed no sign of recognition or answered her queries.
“Lord Elrond…” she continued hesitantly. “Aside from the difficult position we now find ourselves, is there something wrong?”
He studied her through narrowed eyes before demanding in rapid succession. “Who are you? What did you call me? How did I get here? Where did you come from?”
She sat back on her heels and watched him worriedly. “My lord? It is I, Mithrellas. Do you not recognize me? I know I must look a mess, but it really is me.”
He shook his head and groaned as the pain started again. Mithrellas moved quickly to his side. “Do you not remember the pathway collapsing yesterday evening throwing both you and I into the river?” Mithrellas gently helped him steady himself. Through clenched teeth, he muttered a painful “no”.
“My lord, you have a bad head wound and from your reaction it must be very painful. I do not think this is the time for a discussion. I have some lembas for you and then you should get some rest. Later when you feel better I will answer all of your questions that I can.”
“The wolves…” he said weakly.
“I will stand guard. You can relieve me in a few hours after you get some rest.” ‘Rellas said firmly. “Until then you must rest.”
He closed his eyes and agreed reluctantly. “Very well, but please take my sword.”
He was in too much pain to question his sudden trust in the perceived strange elleth or notice her worried expression. He accepted the square of lembas chewing it slowly and with great effort before finally swallowing it. Each chew sounded like a thunder crash echoing through his head like a series of continuous explosions. Finally, he reached the end of the way bread and gratefully slipped back into the oblivion of sleep.
Mithrellas returned to the fire where she considered his questions. He had neither recognized her or his own name. He had no memory of what had happened or how they had wound up in the river. Uneasily she tried to consider what actions to take if he was not better in the morning. What should she do if the wolves returned? Shaking her head in anxiety, she moved around the edge of the sandbar and collected pieces of wood. At least the fire would be useful if they did. Adding several armloads to the small pile, she sat down and waited for morning. She could only hope their rescuers would arrive soon.
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.