From Afar: 1. Chapter 1 - Winter's Rages

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1. Chapter 1 - Winter's Rages

Chapter One

“Winter’s Rages”

Night had fallen fast, and the winter’s rages swept over the fields, casting a heavy layer of snow over earth, tree, and house alike. A lone house sat amidst sloping white fields, a soft glow emanating from within. Jack’s frosty fingers had painted across its windows, but inside a cozy sight could be seen. A young woman lay curled up under a blanket, her eyes dashing between the flickers of her wood fire, and corny romance novel held in hand. A large black lab lay stretched out on a worn braided rug, and a very fat cat sat at the window, its eyes attentively watching the snow blow past.

The storm proved worse than expected, and had knocked both the power out, and phone lines. “There’s never anything on TV, anyway,” she thought to herself, tucking her toes under a pillow. On such a cold, blistery night, she was thankful for her blanket and wood fire.

The dog, Moglie, suddenly coked his head, ears straining. A whine turned into a bark, and he ran to the window, causing the cat to fly out of the room. “Moglie, shhhh!” the woman, Morgan, commanded. The dog’s incessant barking continued until Morgan raised her head high enough to see beyond her windowsill. The wind blew snow about in a torrent of fury, but no animal or car appeared through the gusts of white. Moglie pawed at the door urgently, and Morgan knew full well the consequences if he did not go outside. Jumping up and getting dressed for the storm outdoors, she opened the door, and within a flash, Moglie bounded outside, plunging and leaping over the high mounds of snow. Shuffling her feet as the snow crunched underfoot, Morgan watched as her breath made quick cloud bursts - it was well below zero. Seeing the Moglie’s business had been accomplished, she called him to her, whistling, and slapping her thigh. Moglie, however, stood perfect still, head coked to the side, listening intently.

“Moglie, come!” Morgan commanded, hoping that her voice would snap him out of his trance. It failed. He let out a low growl, and then bolted full speed into the woods beyond the house.

“Hey, Moglie!” Morgan shouted, swearing out loud. She was strongly tempted to just turn and head back to her fire and book, but on such a cold night, could not leave her dog outside to roam. Cursing both her decision and her dog, she made her way through the deep snow to the edge of the forest. The dense evergreens meant less snow, so walking became easier. Calling incessantly for her dog, she was reluctant to wander too far into the dark forest.

“Moglie!” she shouted again, anxious for his return. Suddenly, she saw him step out from behind a tree, and look at her. She heaved a sigh of relief, and said, “You bad boy, now you COME!”. Moglie whined, and took a few steps forward, only to turn back again. Exasperated, she said, “Moglie, COME!”

This command was met with a quick bark, and Moglie bounding off into the forest. Shouting and cursing, Morgan hurried after him, simply wishing she had used his leash. She trudged through she snow, following his tracks as it lead down to the river. There stood Moglie, muzzle white with snow, standing beside a grey boat lodged in the broken ice.

Morgan slowly stepped up to the boat; Moglie, himself, peering inside, whining. She didn’t know why, but a fear came over Morgan as to what she’d find. Gazing over it’s stern, she was startled to see the body of a man, still and dead-looking, laying inside. Throwing her initial fear aside, the nurse in her sprang to life, and she threw herself beside him, checking his vital signs. He appeared dead, but she was thrilled to find a weak pulse, and shallow breathing. It was too dark to see the cause of his injury. She mercilessly grabbed him my the shoulder, violently shaking him saying, “Hello! Who are you? Can you hear me? Hello?”

No reply was given, save a weak moan. Morgan knew time and weather were against her. She knew full well that the roads were impassable; she was without power and telephones as of a half an hour ago. There’s no way a helicopter or ambulance could get through, even if she could call them. Her closest neighbor was two miles off, and how was she ever to move the dying man back to her house? A few terrifying moments passed, her thoughts depressingly dire. Not willing to stand by and let the stranger die, she took off and ran back toward her house. Precious seconds were lost checking the phone - still no dial tone. “What do I do?!” her mind raced. He looked far too heavy for her to carry. Her mind jumped to the toboggan in the garage, a treasured childhood gift from long ago. Throwing open the garage door, she climbed up the step ladder, and reached high for the red, wooden sled, dusty with time and unuse. Throwing it onto the snow, she pulled it along with her as a child would, running with all her might and speed back to the boat and stranger.

Moglie stood waiting, and barked at her sudden arrival. Checking the man’s vitals again, Morgan breathed a small sigh of relief - he was still breathing. Grabbing him from under his arms, she pulled with all her might. The boat stood lodged in ice, and did not even rock as she tugged awkwardly, trying to pull him out. He moaned painfully, but didn’t wake. “Sorry,” she said feelingly, knowing she must be hurting him dreadfully. He lay upon the snow, and a blackness seeped into it. At first she wondered what it was, but then realization hit. It was his blood, black with the night, flowing heavily enough to stain the snow an inky hue. Knowing no time to be lost, she heaved him onto her little sled, wrapping the woven cord under his arms.

My, was he heavy! She pulled with all her might, but it was slow moving. His legs dragged along, too lengthy for the little sled. Maneuvering around the trees proved especially difficult, but she did her best to move as quickly as she could. They began to edge out of the trees, and the forest border became clear. Only a few more hundred yards, and her front door was within reach!

She finally swung it open, and Moglie ran in, shaking off a shower of snow. She pulled the sled right into the foyer, and it slid easily along the smooth tile. Sliding it right into the living room, the fire was her only source of heat and means of light. She threw off her coat, grabbed her first aid kit, and began to do what she did best.

Years of medical school had prepared her for this moment, and her nimble hands and steady mind knew what to do. It was at this moment she wished that she had continued on to become a full fledged doctor, but a nurse is just as knowledgeable with tools and physiology. Stripping away his shirt, five bloodied holes marked his flesh. What shocked her beyond recovery were his wounds. At first believed to be bullets, proved not to be. Using a pair of needle nose pliers, she dug out an arrowhead, crude and black, it’s wooden end soaked with the man’s blood.

If he was to ever wake, this would be the moment. She held the bottle of rubbing alcohol in one hand, and held his head firmly down with the other. Taking a deep breath, she poured the clear contents on top of his wounds. His eyes opened, and his voice rang clear. He screamed with torturous pain, and curled up in agony. She held him down with all her might, again his eyes closed, and he lay still. He did not die, but became unconscious. He was simply too weak.

Wounds now clean and bandaged, the man lay beside the flickering fire, asleep in a painless dream. Morgan sat on her sofa, eyeing the stranger with a wonder and fear. His clothes were beyond bewildering. They were made of leather, and what appeared to be antique homespun fabrics, and a gold belt hung from his waist. Assuring herself that he must have come from a Renaissance Fair, she tried to make sense of what seemed senseless. He had no winter coat with him, and he was found in a boat in the middle of a frozen river. He had been shot with half a dozen arrows, and left to die. How in the world did he get there?

She tried the phone again - still no dial tone. It was getting really exhausting hearing nothing on the other end of the line. She stood in the living room door way, watching the stranger for a long time. “He had almost died,” she told herself. “He would have died. This can’t be a trick. What the hell is going on?” She tenderly placed a pillow under his head, and threw a thick, wool blanket over his bruised and bandaged body. Grabbing her flashlight and coat, she pulled on her boots, and again stepped outside. Moglie was at her side in a flash, unwilling to be left behind. She conceded, and again stepped out into the blustery cold with her dog at foot.

She just had to investigate - had to see with more light the scene which she had found the stranger. Retracing her steps, she easily found the path back to the boat. It lay still in the ice, silent and mysterious. It was dove grey, and exquisitely carved. She had never seen a boat like it before! The only boats she had seen along the river were canoes, and old aluminum dories. A pool of frozen blood stained the snow. How red it seemed against the paleness of the snow.

She peered into the boat, hoping to find some kind of I.D., but saw such a strange sight! Weapons lay along the bottom of the boat! Blood stained swords, black and artless littered the bottom, along with another broken sword hilt. Thinking them to be significant, she picked up what she could carry, and again, headed off for home and warmth.

It was difficult opening the door with arms full of swords and such. Moglie pawed at it, attempting to help. Finally, she managed to free a few fingers, and turned the knob just enough to revolve the bolt. Taking this opportunity, Moglie nudged the door open with his brood head. Arms still filled with findings, she poked her face into the living room, but to her horror, no stranger lay upon the braided rug. Her breath caught suddenly in her throat, and a terrifying fear came over her. The house sat quiet and dark, no sound could her strained ears hear. A sword slipped from her grasp, causing a thunderous clang as it cracked a tile at her feet. She gasped in shock, and two strong hands grabbed her from behind. The stranger towered over her, his feverish brow and petrified eyes glistening in the blazing firelight.

“Who are you?” he demanded, spinning her about, so as to meet her gaze. “What villainy is this that you have brought me here?”

Morgan blinked at him, struggling for words and courage. However, she didn’t have a chance to answer him, as his eyes dimmed and then shut, and he fell to the floor in a heavy heap. Morgan backed away, and held a heavy sword awkwardly in her right hand, but the stranger did not move again. She breathed a brave sigh, and soundlessly setting the weapons down, tip toed out of the room in search of her rope.

Author's Note: I hope you enjoyed the first chapter. I know I'm working with a tricky subject, but I think I can pull it off. Let me know what you think of this chapter, and I'll try to get Chapter Two up this weekend. Thank you!!!

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.

Story Information

Author: Lizbit

Status: General

Completion: Complete

Era: 3rd Age - Ring War

Genre: Drama

Rating: General

Last Updated: 03/08/09

Original Post: 01/31/08

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