7. Of Pondering and Jesting
Narilvrin sighed as she leaned against the outcropping branch, pondering the day’s events from the boughs of a tree. Leaving Lothlorien had been a sad instance, but an inevitable one as well. The Fellowship had been bound to leave, and it was imperative that they do so for their cause was certainly eminent. Narilvrin knew very well that any Orcs that had followed their trail since Moria had been killed off by the skillful archers of the Golden Wood....but there was a danger growing in the Elf’s mind that urged her to continue with all speed. She knew not what it was, but only that it would be best not to cross its path.
Narilvrin grinned as she remembered the lighthearted events that had come to pass. Taking a swim in the icy Anduin had not been what one would call pleasing or planned for that matter, but, as Narilvrin had resolved, if it lifted some of the ever encroaching somberness from the shoulders of her companions, she would not mind it happening again, although possibly under different circumstances. Gimli, whatever prompted you to stand whilst in the middle of a river, I shall never know...She thought to herself. And Aragorn, if ever you pull a stunt like that again, I shall have no more resolve than to shoot you with my bow. Although still nettled by receiving a cold bucket of water over the head from the Ranger after only just leaving the river, she was able to show a smile.
Aragorn certainly had not gotten off easy for his antic. Narilvrin had chased him all around the campsite before receding only because of the incessant pleads from the Hobbits. Aragorn knew as well as the other companions did that it was not out of spite or anger that Narilvrin had done this. It was to further heighten the spirits of her comrades. There would be much despair to come, but when those around you are happy, why not let them be?
Narilvrin too knew that Aragorn had been thinking the same as he, and likewise knew the Elf was forgiving enough to allow such a frivolity, if only once. Gimli, although more stubborn than any Narilvrin had come across in all his years, was also quick to forgive, once he had seen the genuine smiles and laughs that had followed. Although he would not admit to bringing it upon himself, what with standing on one foot. Legolas and Narilvrin chuckled once more, as they remembered the Dwarf’s face as he had fallen from the boat and even at his own reaction to taking the unexpected bath. They were not so prideful that they could not jest at themselves on occasion.
She gazed at the seven faces around the fire that flickered in and out of darkness. All slept soundly, and all should save Legolas who watched on the other side of the camp. Narilvrin, being an Elf and receiving much less of the tiring effects from the journey thus far, had opted to take the first watch and there had been little argument. From the supportive branches of the tree, Narilvrin gazed all throughout the surrounding wood, scanning for a threat. Although she would have much rather mulled the carefree events of that day, she was forced once more to ponder what this growing terror was. Long ago Narilvrin had been told by Legolas that the creature Gollum followed close on their heels, which had brought about a constant sorrow, for that creature had escaped the close watch of Mirkwood. What has happened, has happened. Nought can be done to change things, and I know Mithrandir thought that creature had some part yet to play...I have faith in that. But the skulking creature was not what worried the Elf now. This was a new evil. Something suddenly hit the elleth across the shoulder. An acorn? Thought Narilvrin, slightly bemused. She looked down through the leaves to see a mildly impatient Ranger stamping his foot in waiting.
“I wondered how long it would take for you to notice me! This is unlike you, mellon nin.” Aragorn shouted kindly up at the Elf. Indeed, I did not notice his presence....I must not let myself slip so deep into thought again, at least not when I am to be on watch....
“I am sorry, I was merely thinking.” Replied Narilvrin grinning as she began to steer down from the tree.
“What about? You looked lost in thought.” Aragorn’s voice sounded somewhat concerned. Narilvrin leapt down from the last branch about ten feet in the air. With barely a sound she landed on the firm ground.
“There is a danger growing in my mind. I believe something approaches, but I know not what.” She said striding back towards the campfire. Aragorn frowned slightly and followed. “You should rest once more, Aragorn.”
“I have had enough rest.” Said the man, stubbornly.
“The sun will rise soon, and you will not have such opportunities to regain your strength often in the near future.” Aragorn shrugged his shoulders.
“I will be fine. How about you? You’ve been up all night, I am sure. Elf or not, we can not have the eyes and ears of the Fellowship failing us, can we?” Was Aragorn’s jesting response. The Elf took a seat against an overhanging a rock a short distance from the campfire.
“You are too stubborn a man for your own good. You may take your watch, but know that it is in vain that you spend your time. By the way, you look a right mess...it would be beneficial for you to take a bath.” Aragorn smiled at the remark.
“Make sure you rest.”
“I will be ready for battle at the snap of a twig. Do not stray far, mellon nin.” Said the Elf, knowing all too well that the man would not relent in her insisting. The Elf feigned a light slumber, leaning her head forward to shadow her eyes. Chuckling quietly, the ranger left to scout the area, knowing all too well that the Elf’s keen eyes had already done a fine job of this.
“Yes, yes, of course...” He mumbled as his form blended with the darkness, Legolas staying behind to watch over the others. The man’s footsteps, although quieter than the wont of most mortals, was still incredibly loud for the Elf, and she could hear Aragorn’s every stride upon the dry leaves.
The sun rose not long afterwards, as Narilvrin had predicted. Aragorn had returned, finding no trace of an imminent threat, and had taken a seat on a nearby log. He had brought with him two rabbits for Sam to cook up.
“That will hardly be enough to content the stomachs of those Hobbits. I am sure Pippin could down those on his own. Though half the size of a man, they eat three times as much.” Narilvrin said, jeeringly. Aragorn had been mildly startled by Narilvrin’s sudden words, obviously thinking she had been asleep, or at least unaware of his recent return to the campsite.
“Well, they will have to make do, won’t they?” Aragorn said, grinning back and scratching the stubble on his chin. Narilvrin nodded, chortling quietly.
One by one, the other seven companions awoke. Boromir woke first and had proceeded to build up the fire once more. Gimli grumbled as he stood up, located his axe and, though still half asleep, began to polish the blade. Frodo was next, followed closely by Sam, who, upon seeing the fresh game, rubbed the slumber from his eyes and dug out his pots and pans to begin preparing the two rabbits. Merry and Pippin woke at the exact same moment, awareness brought on by the luring smells of cooking food. Pippin rubbed his eyes drowsily and licked his lips.
“Yes, Aragorn caught us a couple of nice conies to eat. But you’ll have to wait till they’re done. I should like to stew them first.” Said Samwise, pouring water into a pot from a container.
“Well you’d better be done soon...” Pippin mumbled as he wrapped his cloak tighter around himself, sulkily. Merry laughed but nodded in definite agreement. Frodo gave a little smile, but frowned upon turning to Narilvrin, who seemed lost in thought.
“Narilvrin?” The Elf blinked her eyes and shook herself out of the momentary daze.
“I am sorry, Frodo. What can I help you with?” The Halfling shook his head.
“Oh, nothing. You just looked like there was something troubling you, that’s all.” Narilvrin shook her head, not wanting to concern the Hobbit. She had informed Aragorn of what she had been sensing, there was no need to burden the Ringbearer further.
“I was plotting my revenge for Aragorn...” Said the Elf, smiling broadly. Frodo laughed, his blue eyes happy as he recalled the image of the soaking Elf.
“As was I, I should desire to play a part in this ‘revenge’.” Legolas agreed, nodding to Narilvrin.
“I should hope I shall take part in this ‘revenge taking’ too,” grumbled the Dwarf from nearby. “He’s more than deserving of a good swing of my axe.” Aragorn grinned shamefacedly at this.
“Come now, my friends, you can’t still be sore about that, can you?” He replied hopefully. Legolas, Gimli, and Narilvrin gave him a glare, although the ranger had already been forgiven. Legolas, Narilvrin and Gimli huddled together thinking of their ‘revenge’.
“I say we put a nice dead fish in his boots in penance for the one found in your helmet...” Legolas whispered, though purposefully loud enough for Aragorn to hear. Merry and Pippin sniggered.
“Let Merry and I help you, we’ll think of the best trick to pull on Strider!” Pippin begged happily.
“Pip and I were quite the pranksters back home.” Merry added.
“Why once we even...” Pippin began.
“You put a dead rat in my breadbox!” Interrupted Frodo. At that Merry and Pippin began to laugh near hysterics.
“You should have seen your face when that smelly old thing rolled onto your feet!” Pippin said gleefully as he tried to do an impression of the disgusted look Frodo had on that day. Boromir smiled when Pippin received one of the packs straight in the face.
“Aw, Frodo, don’t be too hung up on it...it was much worse when we got you to guzzle down a beer with that disgusting bug floating around in it.” Merry said, tittering slightly.
“I remember that...he spat most of it out right in my face.” Said Sam as he further prepared the breakfasts. Frodo scooted over towards where Legolas, Gimli and Narilvrin sat.
“I say we play a little prank on them while we are in the business of getting revenge.” He whispered quietly. Gimli grinned, and gave a chortle. “I’d wager we can get Sam in on this too.” Sam nodded over his shoulder.
“More than happy too, Mister Frodo.”
“Ho ho. We’ll kill two birds with one stone.” Agreed Gimli.
“Three, rather.” Added Legolas blithesomely.
Merry and Pippin raised a questioning eyebrow as to why the others were conspiring without them but before either could say speak up, Sam sighed loudly, looking disappointedly at the fire and turned then to Boromir.
“Mister Boromir, would you mind getting some more firewood for us? Only if it wouldn’t be too much trouble a course.” Sam said, somewhat hopeful.
“Of course.” Replied Boromir. As he was about to stand, Aragorn suddenly broke in.
“You needn’t get up, Boromir, I will take care of it. With all this talk of revenge against me, I’m more than willing to occupy myself elsewhere.” Said the Ranger, grinning as he walked into the woods. Once the man was clearly out of sight, Boromir, taking heed that Merry and Pippin did not notice, leaned towards Frodo.
“I wouldn’t mind getting back at those two myself.” He said, nodding his head towards the two laughing Hobbits. “They tackled me a good few times back on Caradhras and I’ve been meaning to get them back.” Gimli smiled.
“This will be a grand old romp, indeed. Why, the Dwarves have always been known for their good pranks...” began the Dwarf in his low voice. Narilvrin had heard stories of what ‘the Dwarves have been known for’ many times over and felt certain that this tale would be little different from the rest. Instead, she tried to focus on the footsteps of the Ranger as he searched for good firewood while still convincing the Dwarf that she was deeply interested in the tale. Narilvrin did not want anyone to stray far from the company alone...the foreboding feeling she had was growing stronger with the passing second. She also had a sinking suspicion that Aragorn had taken it upon himself to find the source of the Elf’s ominous air Narilvrin had sensed.
Everyone was talking happily now, and she did not want to disturb this, although she would not mind missing the dramatic end to the Dwarf’s narrative. So, saying that Aragorn was taking far too long to find mere firewood, she excused herself from the conversation and headed off into the woods, singing softly to herself to mask her concern.
“Galadhad lina dim bethath le
Hin galadhad peda i eryn nalla gelydh
Sí man lastuva? Sí man lastuva?
Imuva nallon! Pedo a im.”
“The trees sing sad words to thee
These trees say the forests cry wisdom
Now who will listen? Now who will listen?
I will, I cry! Speak to me.”
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.