29. Chapter 29
The breeze was chilling to her skin as it wisped her raven hair about her face. The long grass swayed in the wind and had started to turn different shades of soft browns due to the oncoming cold.
The plains rolled on for miles on all sides and sloped on a slight incline at her front. Yet before her she could see in the far distance the shimmering mirror of what was possibly the Sea of Rhûn for as she turned her eyes to the North she could see the lonely peak shrouded in clouds and both Ered Mithrin and Ered Engrin even further in the distance around it. Turning to look behind her, she could see the vast ocean of the Greenwood some miles away.
There could only be one answer to this, she was in the plains of Rhovanion, somewhere between the Woodland realm and Rhûn itself.
These were the plains where perhaps Thranduil's army would clash with the Easterling insurgents. But why was she there? What was the meaning of her presence? Why was she alone for not even the Mearas, the noble horses that often grazed in the plains, could be seen anywhere.
Had they fled the area due to the oncoming war? Perhaps they had, yet then again perhaps her isolation had a deeper meaning. Before she could continue to contemplate upon it she caught the scent of a peculiar smell that she was all too familiar with. Its scent made her stomach churn with dread and foreboding. As she turned back to face the Sea of Rhûn, there, a short distance from where she was sitting, lay the slumped over body of a flaxen haired warrior, struck in the back with not one but three morgul shafts, a fourth protruding from his leg. Yet they were facing away from her and their blood stained cloak veiled their armor so she could not clearly identify who it was. Though her heart knew it was one of her pale haired warriors.
She had tried calling out to them but again her throat was choked of all voice. She tried to stand but her legs refused her movement. Her eyes burned with tears of anguish as she strenuously dragged her body towards that of the fallen ellon. Yet the more she moved towards them, the further the fallen warrior became. Her arms and hands ached as she dragged herself in desperation yet in vain. As her worn hands grasped at the grass and soil beneath her, her voice still void of sound a she tried to call out, she felt a wetness suddenly seep through her fingers. Dark crimson blood began seeping up through the ground. Mortified, she jolted herself up, she too was now covered in it.
And that is when she woke, breathing heavily, her body feeling weighted. She calmed herself somewhat when she realised she was back in her chambers, the Elvenking still sleeping by her side.
Why had that dream come to her? What was the meaning of it? Would one of her beloved warriors fall on the battlefield? Glorfindel? Haldir? Or one of her dear royals, Legolas or Thranduil? If this premonition was indeed to come to pass then she would definitely be needed. She was the only being in the Woodland realm who possessed the skills to heal such grievous and potentially mortal injuries. Indeed, they could send for her father, but would Lord Elrond reach them in time to save whoever would receive the wounds? Adlanniel concluded that it would be very unlikely and thus one would undoubtedly fall. How could she possibly allow that to happen? How could she allow her protectors, her lovers, her friends fall on the battlefield? She simply couldn't accept it... She couldn't allow it! She knew that she would go against her word that she would obey and stay in the Woodland Halls like Thranduil had asked her to, but she could not allow he or any of the others die. Indeed, she had the two tiny faë growing within her womb to care for and nourish, but yet what if the fallen warrior of her dream had been Legolas, the father of one of them? How could she herself possibly live without him, especially knowing that she could have saved him given the opportunity? She knew deep within her heart that if either her prince or her king fell, she would not be able to survive the grief that would ultimately come with it...
How would she be able to sneak herself into the march of Thranduil's remaining forces without being detected, especially without being detected by the king himself? She would have to use all of her power to conceal herself from the senses of the other Elves and would have to don herself in a disguise that would cover her almost entirely. She had thought about which guise to use in thoughts during previous nights and had come to the conclusion that disguising herself as a healer, for healers wore heavy cloaks and draped themselves in large, dark hoods, would be the most appropriate. She was indeed a healer after all. Disguising herself as a soldier in armor or something of that ilk would be far too impractical, especially now that she were with child.
As she lay herself down once more, moving herself to huddle beside her kingly lover, she continued to think about her little mission, as well as the consequences she would ultimately face at the hands on the ellyn that loved her.
Her sight was blurred slightly as she slowly opened her eyes once more from a more restful sleep. She could see a tall, partially bare, silver haired figure before her changing into clothing from the night before. Rubbing her eyes wearily, she pulled herself up onto her arms to watch him.
"Thranduil...what are you doing? It is still so early and the sun has barely started to break over mountains..."
Not even turning to acknowledge her he replied, "I am your king and I will have you refer to me as such." There was a slight malice in his tone and it made her feel like the blood in her veins had frozen over. Shaking her head slightly, she thought that perhaps she had been dreaming again, yet alas he was still there before her, his demeanour seemingly angered by something.
"Díheno nin, aran vuin. I meant no offence...What is the matter? What irks you so?"
He turned to look at her then, his eyes the stormy shade of grey that they became when he was in a cold and forbidding mood. His stare bore deeply into her, making her shrink back into the furs and blankets that she had wrapped around herself.
"Your insolence irks me Adlanniel!" He bit at her then as he pulled up the leather of his boots. Adlanniel looked to him in shock and surprise.
"What do you mean, my 'insolence'?" She questioned him, hurt that he would insult her in such a manner. "I promised you I would do as I was told, that I would stay here and await your return...."
"Do not try to feign innocence with me child, I know very well what you are planning in that little head of yours."
Her heart sunk deep into her chest then at his words. Had he managed to see through her? It would not have been the first time...
"I was not planning anything!"
"Stop with your lies Adlanniel!" Thranduil snapped furiously at her attempt to protest. "I know everything of which you plan, that you plan to disguise yourself as one of our most revered healers in order to sneak yourself into our ranks. You plan to not only disobey me, but to betray my trust as well! And your betrayal was so vivid in your mind you may as well have told me directly!"
For a long moment Adlanniel sat there speechless, unsure of how she should then tread. She had already broken the ice that now lay before her and the king and it would only be a matter of words before she fell through it.
"If you saw what I was planning, then undoubtedly you saw my vision which lead to my decision. You know I would never betray you otherwise..." Her voice became choked and helpless.
"Indeed I had..." Thranduil began, his tone still remaining unsympathetic to her plight. "But I would rather risk the lives of one us than risk the lives of yourself and the miracle of the gwanûn within your womb. For you to be so foolish as to even think about risking their lives...I can not comprehend it!" His voice then was not only riddled with anger, but also with a deeper pain. It made her feel nauseous with guilt. She knew he was right....she was foolish and perhaps even selfish for even considering risking her life, and thus those of her children; innocent children that yet had no voice in the matter. She began weeping from the guilt, and her tears burned at her cheeks.
"But I cannot survive if one of you falls..." She sobbed.
"But you will, Adlanniel." Thranduil pushed her. "You will for the sake of our children. For I swear on all the names of the Valar, if you allow yourself to whither and thus steal away their chance at life, I will never forgive you!"
His words dug their claws deeply and painfully into her soul. She even began to question her own previous thoughts... yet would she allow herself to whither willingly if one of them were to fall? Grief and loss could take control over even the strongest of hearts. Thranduil surely knew that.
"And I can not forgive myself for letting you or one of the others die!" She sobbed.
Thranduil sighed, he understood her sentiments yet he could not allow her to risk the life of three for the sake of one of them. As he had said, the children growing within her were innocent and unborn; they had no say in the actions of those already born into the world and thus they deserved a chance at living.
"You better start packing your belongings. You have a long journey ahead of you."
She stared at him, her eyes widened in disbelief at his words.
"W..what do you mean?" She stuttered nervously.
"I am sending you to Imladris. You will not listen to anything I say so perhaps you will listen to your father instead."
"But...but you can't!" She cried out in protest, only for him to scoff at her.
"Oh but I can!" He scorned her almost cruelly. "Make sure you pack warm clothing. I expect it will be very cold along the High Pass this time of year." And with those words he walked out on her, leaving her stunned.
She sat on her bed a long while, sobbing relentlessly into her pillows, helpless and unknowing of how to proceed. On one hand she had the lives of her children to protect and nourish, yet on the other she had the life of on of her warriors to save. As Thranduil had so firmly put it, the lives of her children took priority which of course she agreed with. Yet, how could she simply allow one of them to die; A death that could be avoided with her aid? Would she really be at danger being in a military camp? Being one of the Eldar she was insusceptible to the diseases of Men which often spread through camps of close quarters where injuries and death were rife. Even so, with Eldar medicine readily available to them, an outbreak of disease was unlikely. The only danger she assumed she would face would be if the camp was attacked directly, which though a possibility, was unlikely...Yet it was a possibility nonetheless.
As she had adamantly admitted to Thranduil earlier, she would whither of grief if one of her ellyn were to be slain whether she tried to keep herself going for the sake of her children or not. Regardless, the outcome would be same - she could either die of grief knowing that she could have saved them, or she could die at the camp if it were to be attacked. The camp being attacked, she thought, seemed like the less likely of the two to come to pass.
But now Thranduil was sending her back to her father in Imladris and she were to leave that same day. What were she to do now? She was sure that Thranduil had premeditated what to do with her in the case that she would try to follow them. He knew that sending her off immediately at any sign of her attempting her plan would foil her plot considerably. How could she come up with a counterplan on such short notice. She wracked her mind for any ideas on what she could do within the short time given yet nothing, not even a whisper of an idea, would come to her.
Frustrated, she stormed over to her vanity table and clenching the intricately carved sides she glared into the mirror at her reflection. Indeed she missed her family and the beauty of the Valley of Imladris and would otherwise not hesitate at an opportunity to return, however she knew that this time was not the time. She stared for a long time at the reflection that glared back at her, contemplating a course of action. Perhaps if she packed a few essential items and ran away from the halls then she could get a head start towards Legolas' camp before anyone in the palace realised that she was gone. But then again, even if she were to have a few hours head start she knew that Thranduil would send a party after her, perhaps even go after her himself, and being on horseback they would easily gain ground on her and catch up to her before long even if she fled through the trees. Due to her pregnancy, going on horseback herself was risky as the rocking motions of riding could cause the faë harm, especially at such an early stage. She also knew that sneaking into the stables to ready one of the Greenwood's prized steeds would be too hazardous for the stables were almost constantly guarded. Undoubtedly Thranduil would send her off to Imladris under heavy guard and trying to get past the guards, though she knew all as friends, would be impossible. Even if they, or at least one of them, sympathised with her plight and believed in her vision, they would not dare disobey their king's orders no matter what the outcome. They would most definitely have watch over her during all hours of the day and night making an escape virtually impossible. And they being her friends she did not want to threaten any of them or bring any of them harm in order to make her leave. Unable to think of what to do she turned herself around quickly in order to go back to her bed, the long, heavy velvet of one of her sleeves brushing across the table as she did, knocking over a few small jars and vials containing salves and herbs and such like. Sighing, exasperated at herself, she began to hastily clean up the mess she had made.
As she did so however, she noticed a particular blue vial amongst her items. A blue vial which held different types of Valerium herbs that could bring one into a deep, restful sleep; a rather long one depending on the given dosage.
That is when the idea came to her; she would slip a large dose of the sleeping herbs into a cask of wine that she would take on her person to offer to her escort once they stopped to rest! Then she could make her escape without hindrance, given that she would give them a large enough dose to sleep for a few long hours. Undoubtedly drinking such a large dose would make them groggy once awakened which would thus make their pursuit of her a slow one. However, at the same time, drugging them all to sleep proved a high risk due to the dangers, though few, that still lurked within the Greenwood. So she also decided to utilise her knowledge of charms and enchantments and would cast a concealment spell upon the group to keep any dangers away from them both whilst they slept and once they finally made a drunken chase after her. She felt a pang of guilt at having to do such a thing to her escort, but at that time it was the only way she could think of that would allow her to slip past them without harming any of them. If she cast a concealment spell upon them surely they would not fall into any harm...
Thankfully her small blue vial contained enough of the Valerium herbs for her to make her little plot a successful one. However now she needed to somehow acquire the wine...
Elvish - English
Ered Engrin = Iron Hills
Mearas = The noble horses of Rhovanion that could understand the speech of Men and Elves. Shadowfax was one of them.
ellon = a male Elf
faë = spirits (can also refer to unborn children)
ellyn = Elven men (plural form of ellon)
Díheno nin, aran vuin = Forgive me, beloved king.
gwanûn = twins
Valar = Are ethereal beings who helped Illuvatar create the world and all things in it.
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.