The River of Anduin
The River of Anduin
The Fellowship jogged across a grassy field into a wood and Buffy knew someone was watching them. “Stay close, young Hobbits! They say that a great sorceress lives in these woods, an Elf-witch, of terrible power. All who look upon her will fall under her spell and are never seen again.”
Frodo stopped and looked around. “Mister Frodo?” Sam stopped beside his friend and looked upon him in worry.
“Well here is one Dwarf she won’t ensnare so easily! I have the eyes of hawk and the ears of a fox!” Gimli boasted. He looked up and found an arrow pointing towards him. “Oh.”
The Fellowship was surrounded by bows and Legolas had his own out, pointing it towards the owners of the other weapons. A golden haired Elf stepped out of the crowd.
“The Dwarf breathed so loud, we could have shot him in the dark.” Gimli growled at the Elf. The members of the Fellowship soon found themselves on a platform in a tree standing before the golden haired Elf.
“Mae govannen, Legolas Thranduilion.”
“Govannas vîn gwennen le, Haldir o Lórien.”
“A, Aragorn in Dunedain, istannen le ammen.”
“Haldir,” Aragorn nodded his head.
“So much for the courtesy of the Elves! Speak words we can understand also!” Gimli growled.
Haldir raised a golden eyebrow. “We have not had dealings with the Dwarves since the Dark Days.”
“And you know what a Dwarf says to that? Ishkhaqwi ai durugnul!”
Aragorn looked at Gimli. “That was not so courteous.”
Haldir stared at Frodo. “You bring great evil with you. You can go no further.”
When Haldir walked away, Aragorn chased him and argued with him angrily. “Boe ammen veriad lîn. Andelu i ven!”
Haldir whispered inaudibly and Buffy narrowed her eyes. She didn’t like this guy. Aragorn argued more loudly and Haldir replied once more in a way that only Aragorn could hear his words.
Buffy looked to Frodo who was looking very downcast. Boromir clasped a hand to his shoulder and spoke. Buffy looked back and Haldir sighed. She smiled. She knew when people lost an argument.
“You will follow me.” Everyone followed the Elf through the woods. “Caras Galadhon . . . the heart of Elvendom. Realm of Lord Celeborn and of Galadriel, Lady of Light.”
They follow Haldir up a winding staircase and come to a great palace lit with silvery lights. Haldir lead them into a room with a low staircase leading to a golden arch. The Lord and Lady descend from the staircase, a soft glow issuing from them.
“The Enemy knows you have entered here. What hope you had in secrecy is now gone. Nine, there are here, yet ten there were, set out from Rivendell. Tell me, where is Gandalf for I much desire to speak with him . . . I can no longer see him from afar.”
Galadriel looked into Buffy’s eyes and read the answer there. “Gandalf the Grey did not pass the borders of this land. He has fallen into shadow.”
Legolas looked up. “He was taken by both Flame and Shadow: a Balrog of Morgoth. For we went needlessly into the net of Moria.” Gimli looked down at his feet, downcast.
“Needless were none of the deeds of Gandalf in life. We do not yet know his whole purpose. Do not let the gloom of Khazard-dum fill you heart, Gimli, son of Gloin. For the world has grown full of peril and in all lands, love is now mingled with grief.”
Boromir looked up at the Lady and then turned away with tears in his eyes. “What now becomes of the Fellowship?” Celeborn asked. “Without Gandalf, hope is lost.”
“The quest stands on the edge of a knife. Stray but a little and it will fail to the ruin of all. Yet hope remains while company is true.” Galadriel looked Buffy in the eyes and she stared back, not at all afraid of the Elven Lady.
‘Trust your heart, Buffy, daughter of Joyce, for when the time comes, love will prosper.’ Great, Buffy thought. Riddles cause the world knows just how much I love riddles.
“Do not let your hearts be troubled. Go now and rest, for you are weary with sorrow and much toil. Tonight you will sleep in peace.”
* * *
Buffy listened to the singing of the Elves. It was a melancholy tune but if Buffy had have been human, she would have been asleep long ago. “A lament for Gandalf,” Legolas told the group.
Merry sat up from his bed. “What do they say about him?”
“I have not the heart to tell you, for the grief is still too near,” he whispered.
Gimli snored loudly and Aragorn turned annoyed and swatted the Dwarf, which caused him to grunt. He sighed then got up and went to sit by Boromir. Buffy looked at them for a few moments before she realised that she and Legolas were alone. She blushed slightly and went to get her dagger and sword because she knew after the slaughter at Moria they would need to be sharpened.
She sat back down beside the other Elf and started to sharpen her weapons. “Buffy?” She looked up and realized she had moved closer to him.
“Yes?” She looked him in the eyes and she knew all of the emotions in there: sorrow, guilt and doubt.
“How is it that you became a warrior?”
“I was made into one. I began training when I was fifteen and I’ve been fighting since then, I guess. I didn’t want to but then I realised that I was born to be a warrior because I know that if I don’t protect people, no one will and I can’t stand to see people hurt.”
“You were forced to fight?” Legolas frowned. He looked around the green glade they were in. The trees hung overhead and hey swayed softly with a gentle breeze and the singing had stopped.
“Yes but I was the warrior of my people. I was their protector. Who would they turn to if I wasn’t there?”
“You speak in past tense?”
“A great evil came to my town and I had to destroy it to stop the Evil from spreading.” They sat in silence and Buffy’s weapons were forgotten. Buffy looked across and all she saw was blue.
She edged closer until their faces were centimetres apart and he raised his hand to brush a strand of hair off her cheek. She moved closer and slowly touched her lips to his. Buffy put her arms around his neck and his hands found her waist and pulled her closer to him.
Buffy slowly pulled away from lack of oxygen and lightly panted. She smiled at him and put her head on his shoulder. Buffy could still taste him. He tasted like life. She knew it sounded weird but that’s what he tasted like.
She didn’t know how long they sat there but she knew that her ass had fallen asleep so she pulled away from the embrace. She got up and walked towards the bed that was provided for her.
Legolas followed but went to his own bed and Buffy had an urge to go over there and snuggle with him but she suppressed it and turned on her side and let her mind slip into the waking dreams.
* * *
Dawn threw her arms around the neck of the former blonde vampire. “Spike! You’re back!” Spike just held her. She pulled back. “You wanted Buffy, didn’t you?”
“I miss her, Nibblet, but I missed you too.” Her bottom lip quivered and she hugged him again.
“So why is the peroxide king here?”
“He came back.”
“From where? Hell?”
“Heaven, Xander. He came back from Heaven to be with Buffy and Dawn.” He just looked at his Willow shaped friend.
“But, peroxide boy can’t have gone to Heaven!”
“He did. He’s a Champion so the PTB stuck him up there but he came back to be with them.”
“So he’s human now?”
“Yuh huh. We don’t have Spike anymore. We have William.”
* * *
Buffy woke up and shook her head. “It wasn’t real. He isn’t back. He can’t be back. God, how can he be back?” Se held her head in her hands and wept. “Spike, no.”
She looked up to see if anyone was near and she saw Legolas’s eyes were open but he wasn’t there. She crept over and waved her hand in front of his face. She almost giggled but stopped herself. She waved her hand a couple more times but something caught her hand and held it.
He looked at her and she smiled sheepishly. “Hi. Did I wake you?”
“No. I was awake all the time.” Buffy deflated. “Who’s Spike?”
“He’s a very good friend that saved me and my sister. He went away but I had a dream and he was back and it was so real.” She sat down and frowned. She didn’t want him knowing about Spike.
“Are you all right?” He looked at her, concern in his eyes.
“I’m fine. It’s just that I miss him.” Legolas nodded but the concern was still there. “I’m gonna go for a walk. Clear my head.” He nodded again and Buffy stood up and walked away.
She felt bad because she knew that he knew that she wasn’t telling him something but she just didn’t want him to know about Spike. Usually, she wouldn’t care but Legolas had made her feel almost exactly like Spike had and they had that same look that they’d been alive for longer than they should have been.
“What am I going to do?”
“Will you look into the mirror?” She looked up and saw Galadriel standing gracefully with an urn filled with water.
“Sure. What will I see?”
“The mirror shows many things. Things that were, things that are and some things that have not yet come to pass.” She poured the water into the basin and stepped back. Buffy frowned but stepped forward and leaned over to look.
She saw Willow and Xander crouching down on the ground, Willow weeping and the black slowly giving way to her usual red hair. The water flickered and she saw her and Spike before Sunnydale collapsed. She saw everyone sleeping except Legolas and Frodo. She frowned but it was replaced with another image. She saw herself, surrounded by Angel, Spike and Legolas and then a great eye wreathed in flame replaced it all. Buffy remembered it from the dream she had when she had first come to Middle-Earth and tried to tear her eyes away.
She closed her eyes and pulled her head away from the basin. She stood there dazed, before staring at Galadriel. “What the hell was that?”
“Exactly what it seemed to be. All will be revealed in time.”
* * *
Buffy sat in the Elvin boat with Merry and Pippin as Legolas lifted packages into it. He held up a wafer for them to see. “Lembas! Elvish Way-bread. One small bite is enough to fill the stomach of a full-grown man.” He put it back and joined Aragorn and the others further up the shore.
Merry turned to Pippin. “How many did you eat?”
“Four,” Pippin replied and burped to establish the fact. Buffy grinned as she had eaten three herself.
As the Fellowship pushed off the shore, they heard the singing of the Elves once more. Buffy smiled sadly as she listened to the words. She thought back to when Galadriel presented them with their cloaks and their gifts.
“To you, Buffy, I give you this,” she said serenely, showing Buffy the necklace in her hand. “May it be a reminder of the things that drive you when no hope is left.” Buffy nodded as she numbly took the necklace.
It was silver but it shined so brightly, she might of thought it gold.
She paddled, thinking of the visions from the night before. She had figured that the vision of Willow and Xander was when Xander had gone and stopped the apocalypse all by himself. She knew what the images of Spike and Frodo and Legolas were of but the last one confused her. How could all three of them be together in one place? If the time came to choose, she knew she would not be able to.
“Buffy, what is it that you think of?” She looked at Aragorn.
“Home. I’ve been having strange dreams. A man I thought was gone has returned and things aren’t what I thought they were. I’m very confused.”
“Things will sort themselves out. Do not worry.” She smiled and continued to paddle.
* * *
Spike stared at everyone. “How exactly did Buffy leave?”
“The PTB took her. Whistler told us.” Willow whispered solemnly.
Angel growled. “I’m really starting to hate that guy.”
“You know him?”
“He was the one that showed me Buffy. He was the guy that helped me realize I was a Champion.”
“He’s a balance demon. He is just a messenger for the Powers That Be. His time is coming to an end and he wants to help you.” Willow’s eyes widened and turned to the stairs where a person smiled shyly, descending.
“Tara.” Kennedy raised an eyebrow and put her arm around Willow’s waist. “You’re alive.”
“And you are happy. The Powers That Be sent me. I will stay until my task here is done.”
“Helping Buffy realize where she belongs.”
“So you’ve come to help us?” Xander asked hopefully.
“I’ve come to help Buffy.”
“But Buffy’s in that weird elf place.”
“There will be a time when Buffy will return but for how long will depend on her.”
* * *
Aragorn pointed to two huge statues with their hands raised. “The Argonath. Long have I wished to look upon the kings of old, my kin.” Buffy craned her head up to see the top where not even one bird had made its nest.
Later that day they stopped on the right bank and started to make camp. Aragorn started taking their luggage out of the boats. “We cross the lake at nightfall. Hide the boats and continue on foot. We approach Mordor from the North.”
Gimli stared at him. “Oh yes? It’s just a simple matter of finding our way through Emyn Muil? An impassable labyrinth of razor sharp rocks! And after that it gets even better!” Pippin looked at him alarmed. “Festering, stinking marshlands far as the eye can see!”
“That is our road. I suggest you take some rest and recover you strength, Master Dwarf.”
“Recover my . . .?” He growled and sat down huffily.
Legolas pulled Aragorn aside. “We should leave now.”
“No. Orcs patrol the eastern border. We must wait for the cover of darkness.”
“It is not the eastern shore that worries me. A shadow and a threat has been growing in my mind.”
Buffy nodded. “I can sense something and it’s not of the good.”
Merry looked around and frowned. “Where’s Frodo?” Buffy’s eyes flew around the campsite and spotted Boromir’s shield, resting on his bags. She sprinted out towards the trees with Aragorn following.
She spotted Boromir kneeling on the ground weeping and saw Aragorn nod and run in a different direction. “Boromir, what happened?”
“The Ring had poisoned my mind. It tried to make me take it from Frodo. I nearly hurt him.”
“It’s OK. Frodo’s fine. Aragorn has gone to find him.” A twig snapped and Buffy whirled around to see a whole army of uber Orcs advancing on them. “Oh shit.”
* * *
Dawn’s head flew up and her eyes grew distant. She could see Buffy with a man. She watched silently as she saw her sister draw a wicked looking sword and then she gasped as Buffy faced hundreds of demons. The man beside her blew a horn and drew his own sword.
She slumped back as the vision left her and tears flowed down her cheeks. “Nibblet, what happened?” She looked into the blue eyes of her surrogate big brother.
“I saw Buffy. She’s alive.” Spike hugged her and went to get her a glass of water. “She was wearing funny clothes and her ears were pointy.” She didn’t want to mention the man she had been with.
“That’s all I want to know, Bit. As long as she’s alive.”
* * *
Buffy swung and ducked and soon she just let her Slayer instincts take over. She knew it was dangerous but as long as no one came near her, they were safe. A scream pierced the air and she stopped. She chopped another Orc down and looked at Boromir. A rather crude and large arrow was protruding from his shoulder.
“Boromir!” She looked in the opposite direction and saw the leader of the Orcs. She raced and threw herself at him. She winced as she came up against the metal armour he wore but ignored it.
“Buffy!” She heard a cry but didn’t let her attention wander. She got her sword and rammed it through the Orc’s stomach then swiftly pulled it up until there was a huge hole in its chest. She pulled her sword out and wiped it free of the black Orc blood on the grass. She then remembered Boromir but Aragorn was already with him.
“Is he alive?” Aragorn nodded.
“If the arrow had have been any lower, he would have died.”
“Yay for me. Is everyone else all right?” He nodded. Suddenly Buffy’s head flew up and her eyes glazed over. She could see Dawn and Spike. They were sitting talking and her sister had a glass of water in her shaking hand.
The vision left her and her knees gave out on her. “Dawnie. She’s all right.”
“Buffy, get up.” She felt an arm come under her shoulder and lift her up onto her legs.
“Boromir? Is he all right?” Buffy noticed the blood on Legolas’ shoulder. “Are you all right? Your shoulder . . .” He looked down and blinked.
“I had not noticed. I am fine Buffy. Boromir will be fine.”
“Where’s Frodo? And Sam? Where’s Merry and Pippin? Where are the Hobbits?” She tried to push off Legolas but she was too weak. She looked up at him. “We have to find the Hobbits.” She struggled to stay conscious but the fight was too great. She let her hold of reality slip and fell into the embrace of sleep.
* * *
Dawn stared into her mirror. “Buffy. Come back. I need you. Spike needs you.”
“Dawnie?” Her eyes closed but tears still fell. She was delusional. “Dawnie?” She heard an irritated sigh. “Dawn Summers, you open your eyes this instant.” She breathed deeply and opened her eyes to see her sister’s reflection in her mirror, the blonde Slayer sitting on her bed.
“Buffy!” She turned to find nothing. She shut her eyes tightly. “Buffy.”
* * *
“Buffy.” She groaned and tried to shut out the voices. She had to get back to Dawn. She needed her sister. “Buffy, you need to wake up. Merry and Pippin have been taken. You’ve been asleep for a day. Frodo and Sam are on they’re way to Mordor. We need to find Merry and Pippin.”
“Dawn. Dawn needs me.”
“Buffy. You need to wake up. It is but a dream.” She opened her eyes and tears flowed down past her temples into her hair. Aragorn stared worriedly down at her.
“Dawn needs me.”
“So do we Buffy. Without your help there is no possible way to find Merry and Pippin.”
“Dawn,” she whispered desolately. Aragorn helped pull her to her feet and went to check on Boromir. “Is he OK?”
“He’s fine. Just sleeping. The wound is almost gone.”
“You healed him. Do you not remember?” Buffy shook her head.
“We fought the uber Orcs then I had the vision and then I fell unconscious. You woke me up just then.” Aragorn exchanged a look with Legolas and went to make sure everything was ready to go.
“We need to go quickly. We must reach the Uruks before they reach their destination.”
“Which would be?”
“But if they came from Mordor, they would have come from the east. The Uruks came from the west.”
An image flashed through Buffy’s mind and she gasped. “Tall tower. Old dude wearing a white robe. White beard and white hair. White hand.”
“Saruman.” Boromir stirred and sat up.
“The little ones. We must find them.” He walked to the river and splashed water onto his face. “Then we shall return to Gondor.”
“Nay. We must continue on to help Frodo.”
“We could get help from Gondor.” Aragorn shook his head. “It takes but a second to accept help from the Elves but you will not accept help from your own people?”
“Stop it! The both of you! If you two want to stand here and bicker like an old married couple, then fine. But I am going to find Merry and Pippin, who are depending on us to help them. If we don’t no one else will.” The statement shut the both of them up.
Aragorn, whose spirits were not down for long, started buckling his weapons to his back and his sides. “Leave all that can be spared. We travel light. Let us hunt some Orc!”
Gimli grinned and strapped his favourite axe to his back. “Yes!”
Buffy sheathed her sword and followed the others as they ran into the forest. Merry and Pippin would not be alone.