3. Journey Through Ithilien
Now it was evening. Faramir and Beregond walked through the sunset streets.
"It's darkening out," said Faramir.
"I see," said Beregond. "It might be better to go back to the palace." He was referring to the palace at Pelargir which was now the property of the King, but Faramir was always welcome in it.
"Nah," said Faramir. "It's not that dark."
Faramir and Beregond went back to the shipyard. They saw that Halgorm was not there. The looked around the wharf, where there was a huge brick warehouse with few windows, and Halgorm was also not there. He must have gone home. The pair went inside the building on the wharf. It was a large room with shelves of goods. Faramir and Beregond looked around. There was no sign of anyone in there.
"Well," said Faramir, "Halgorm's not here. He must have gone home."
"Good," said Beregond. "So what are we doing here?"
"I don't know," said Faramir. "I don't know. Let's go back to the palace and get ready to go back to Minas Tirith tomorrow."
And so they did. Faramir and Beregond went back to the palace and slept there. The next morning, the two packed their stuff into a wagon. This was the one that Faramir used to get there, so he wouldn't be accused of stealing it. They harnessed the horses and got in the wagon. Faramir sat in the driver's seat. This displeased Beregond, but he knew that Faramir was better at handling a wagon than him. Then they rode off. But first they had to get through the streets of Pelargir, where there was heavy traffic during the morning hours.
Faramir and Beregond rode easily at first, but they eventually got caught in heavy traffic - at the northeastern corner of Pelargir, where the traffic was particularly heavy. This was due to the caravans and traveling merchants that were at the city limits. Faramir then saw that the northeast road was full of travelers. "Oh well," he said. "The road is backed up, Beregond. Let's take the road through South Ithilien."
There was another road (a rather short one) to the east of Pelargir that went on to the River Anduin. Travelers could cross the River Anduin and go into Ithilien from there, where they would eventually encounter the Road of Ithilien. The other road to the northeast was the South Road, which was the main road from Pelargir to Minas Tirith. It was a road on a grassland with occasional patches of wood. These roads did not meet, but they both led to Minas Tirith.
Faramir and Beregond took the southeast road for a while, and rode on it until they reached a ferry on the River Anduin, where they crossed the river on a ship that could fit the wagon inside. They landed on the east side and rode on. Eventually, they reached a patch of hills that were in the center of South Ithilien. Faramir and Beregond saw that there was no one there, so they decided to camp there.
The two set up a tent that was packed in the wagon. They went inside it and talked for a while.
"So here we are in the center of South Ithilien," said Faramir. "Go south of here, and you've got the Crossings of Poros. Cross there, and you're in Corsair territory. But we're not going to even think about going there."
"Agreed," said Beregond. "The Corsairs of Umbar would recognize us, and try to attack."
"I've heard a lot about Harad, though," said Faramir. "Near Harad is dangerous to us at this time, but I'm talking about Far Harad. I've heard that there's a lot of unusual stuff down there. The stars are different, and it's very hot. They grow a lot of tropical fruit down there. And there are great jungles in many places. In fact, Mirkwood to the north of Rohan is said to be not even one-tenth the size of the greatest of these jungles."
All of a sudden, Beregond smelled something suspicious in the air. "What is that smell?" he asked.
"I have an idea of it," said Faramir. "It smells like fire. Someone else has made a campsite here."
"Someone else?" asked Beregond. "Who else could be here? I thought that Ithilien was abandoned. Maybe it's one of Sauron's agents."
"Let's investigate," said Faramir. "But be careful! The person could be hostile. You don't know who's going to be there!"
"Fine," said Beregond. "Let us look."
The two set out from their campsite and went over the hills. There weren't many animals outside, and the trees made the shadows long and dark. Faramir and Beregond got ever closer to the fire. Eventually, they reached a pool of water with wooden rafts around it.
"Let's cross it," said Beregond. "That is the shortest way to get to the fire."
"Are you sure about this?" asked Faramir. "Maybe it would be safer to go up the hill."
"No," said Beregond. "There's a path that leads right into those woods ahead. That must be the source of the fire. Let's go!"
Faramir and Beregond jumped across the rafts carefully as to not get wet. One by one, they jumped on each raft. Then, they reached the end. This was wear the woods were.
"We made it!" said Faramir. "Let's go take a look at this person. But don't make a sound. The person could see us!"
Faramir snuck behind a wide tree. Beregond followed him. The two quickly tiptoed past each tree. No one seemed to notice them.
After a few minutes, Faramir and Beregond found the source of the fire. There was an open ring, with a fire in the center. The tent was scarlet-colored and heavily decorated. A shadowy figure was walking along there.
"I've never seen a tent like that," whispered Beregond. "I wonder who that person is? He must be another traveler." Beregond began moving.
"No!" Faramir whispered crassly.
Beregond began walking towards the tent. He walked around it, but when he went to the back of the tent, he heard a call.
"STOP!" yelled the person. "Who dares to trespass on my campsite?" Beregond was intimidated and expecting something dangerous, so he thought up of something to say quickly.
"We're with the King," he said. "We were just investigating for suspicious activity!" The person said nothing. Beregond looked at this person. His mantle was dark red with gold on it. It was topped with a hood. Two mysterious eyes peeked out of the person's mantle. Beregond recognized by the patterns that this person was from somewhere in Harad.
Oh, shit! thought Beregond. It's a Haradan man! We really shouldn't have done this!
Faramir walked out from behind. "We mean no harm, sir."
"Sir?" asked the person, whose tone was beginning to change. "I'm no sir. I don't have any intent to kill anyone. Especially after what happened to me."
"Oh my," said Faramir. "This person is a woman! What's she doing here?"
"That's right," said the person. She pulled off her mantle and revealed her clothing. She was wearing a long, dark dress, a shawl, and armored shoes. She had a scimitar on her belt. Her skin was very dark. "And what are you doing here? Who are you?"
"I'm Faramir," said Faramir. "And this is Beregond. We are on our way back to Minas Tirith. What are you doing here?"
"I am on a journey to Gondor," she said. "I am all the way from the town of Jurûm in the kingdom of Felaya."
Faramir gasped. "Felaya?" he said. "That is far away! All the way where Near and Far Harad meet! How did you get here?"
"It is a long story," said the woman. "Let me explain it to you how it all started." The three sat down in a fire as the woman began to tell her story.
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.