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marinus stiria  by bryn

Disclaimer:  This story is non-profit and was written for purely entertainment purposes.  All recognized characters and places are property of Tolkien Estates and New Line Cinema.


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~ Chapter 2: Whispers On the Night Wind ~



To Gondor!  To Gondor!  To Gondor!

The words pounded inside her head to the rhythmic cadence of her horse’s hooves.  How long had she been riding?  Bitaliel had ceased to measure time long ago.  The minutes had blurred into hours, hours into days, days… into weeks.  And yet, she rode onward.


To Gondor!  To Gondor!  To Gondor!

Her legs cramped and ached, unused to gripping the barreled stomach of her steed for such a long period of time.  The wind chapped her face as she flew ever to the northeast, and her hands were chafed and rubbed raw by the crude rope bridle.  Bitaliel gripped the reins tighter and felt blood running down her hands as the abused palms cracked open.

Physical pain was good.  She relished it.  It held a sort of magical release—all the anguish and bitterness gnawing at her insides could simply be bled out.  She watched it well up in her clenched fists and spill over, staining the reins and speckling her leggings.  ‘These are my tears,’ she thought cynically, ‘for my eyes have no more to give.’

To Gondor!  To… Gondor!  To…

She should have noticed the warning signs.  Hirlon was no longer a young horse.  She should have noticed.

The faithful beast’s steps began to falter and he stumbled more often as the minutes galloped by.  He foamed at the mouth, gagging on the bit.  Finally, unable to endure any more, Hirlon pitched forward and collapsed. 

Bitaliel was thrown from the saddle and landed hard upon the ground.  Body screaming in protest, she dragged herself over to the fallen horse.  The woman staggered to her feet and attempted to pull the animal up as well.

“Up, good Hirlon,” she cried, “Up!”  Bitaliel yanked on the reins and then flung her entire body weight into a great pull.  The horse’s eyes rolled back into his head and his tongue lolled out.  He breathed in whistling gasps.  Blood flecked his foaming mouth. 

Hirlon was finished.  She would have to travel the rest of the journey by foot.


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Legolas leaned comfortably against the ancient Ithilien pine and watched the pale moon hang lazily in the night sky.  Crickets chirped noisily from the shadows, creating a thousand different songs that somehow managed to blend into one giant symphony.  A pleasant breeze ruffled through his hair and starlight sparkled in the Elf’s eyes. 

Despite appearing the picture of perfect contentment, the Elf lord was troubled.  The trees whispered of many things tonight, but they spoke most often of a stone. 

‘It is a stone of beauty,’ murmured the birches.

‘It is a stone of great power,’ whispered the elms.

‘It is the stone of the Sea,’ breathed the wise and ancient pine.  'A Silmaril.'


Unfortunately, Legolas’ was not the only ear the whispers reached.


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