The winter of 2911 brought more than just a lot of snow to the Shire. Other, more dangerous things found their way across its borders.
Third Age 2911, two weeks
Glorfindel brought his horse
to a halt and pulled back his hood for a better view as he scanned the
surrounding area. The snow was still falling but not as heavily as it
had earlier in the day. A shroud of white blanketed everything and a
light mist rose from the bracken, wreathing the area with a ghostly
veil. The Weather Hills and Amon Sûl, which should have been visible
to him, were lost in the snow and mist.
“Remind you of anything?”
The words were in Quenya.
Glorfindel looked to see one
of his companions stopping next to him, pulling his own hood back. He
gave Thandir a wry smile. “If you’re referring to the Helcaraxë,
I’m afraid I don’t see the resemblance, save for the snow.”
Thandir snorted, his breath
coming out in a puff of white. “It’s only been a little more than
a yén since the Long Winter.”
Glorfindel nodded. “Long
enough for most Mortals to forget. Yet, I don’t recall it being so
bitterly cold as now, just heaps and heaps of snow.” He glanced
back to where the rest of the patrol was spread out on what should have
been the Great East Road but was now only a deep field of white. “I
think we would’ve made better time if we’d come on foot. The horses
are tiring quickly from plowing through these drifts.”
“You know full well that
the Dúnedain would not be able to keep up with us otherwise,” Thandir
retorted with a light laugh. “This way we’re all on an equal footing.”
Glorfindel gave him a sunny
look. “Four feet, to be exact.” He shook his head, his golden
braids with their gems and beads entwined glittering and flashing even
without the sun. “Amon Sûl should be no more than a league away.
We’ll give the horses a rest and walk them for a short while.”
Thandir nodded and called out
to the rest of their party and soon the Elves were dismounting and walking
the horses. It was difficult going with the drifts but they managed,
the horses snorting and breathing out white plumes as they struggled
through snow that was sometimes hock high. Glorfindel and Thandir walked
side-by-side, their horses trailing.
“What do you think we will
find?” Thandir asked. “Argonui’s report was rather vague.”
Glorfindel shrugged. “We’ll
know when we reach Amon Sûl. Argonui’s son is heading the Dúnedain
patrol. He would not have called for help without cause.”
Thandir nodded. “Arador is
no fool, even for a Mortal.” He cast a sly grin at Glorfindel, who
They continued walking for
about a half an hour or so before Glorfindel called out the order to
remount and soon they were making better time. By now the snow had finally
stopped and the temperature rose a bit, though the clouds remained,
hiding Anor from their view. Eventually, the mist dissipated enough
that the Elves could see the ruins of the tower on Amon Sûl in the
“Ah, someone’s built a
fire for us,” Thandir said, pointing to where they could see the yellow
flames rising from the ruins, acting almost as a beacon.
Glorfindel grinned. “I very
much doubt they built the fire with you in mind, my friend.”
Thandir shrugged. “It will
be welcome nonetheless.”
Another hour or so saw them
at the foot of the mount known as Weathertop in the Common Tongue. Dúnedain
sentries hailed them, urging them to climb the hill to where Lord Arador
was holding court. Glorfindel ordered his people to set up camp, then
he and Thandir made their way to the top of the mount where they found
Arador and his son, Arathorn, sitting near the fire, mugs of tea in
their hands as they pored over a map that lay on a flat rock, the Ranger
captains looking on. All the Mortals looked up as the Elves reached
them and rose as one.
“A star shines on the hour
of our meeting, my lords. Welcome,” Arador said, giving them a slight
bow, one that was echoed by the other Men.
Glorfindel glanced up at the
leaden sky then at the Mortals and chuckled. “And if you can see any
stars, my Lord Arador, your eyesight is better than mine.”
Arador smiled and gestured
for them to join him by the fire, the other Men shuffling about to give
them room. Glorfindel and Thandir greeted Arathorn warmly, for he had
only recently left the safety of Imladris after having been fostered
there for a time, learning what the Elves would teach him. Arador then
named the captains who were there. “You made good time,” he said
as mugs of tea were handed to the Elves. “We didn’t expect you for
another day or three.”
“We would’ve been here
two days ago if we’d left the horses behind,” Glorfindel said with
a sniff. “Thandir, however, didn’t think it would be proper.”
Thandir’s response was to
smack Glorfindel upside his head, giving them a sound of disgust. “That’s
it, blame me, as usual. There are times I think I should’ve just left
you in that blizzard.”
Glorfindel’s response was
to stick his tongue out at Thandir, much to the amazement of the Mortals.
Arador chuckled at the byplay.
“Yes, well, getting back to the subject at hand....”
Glorfindel turned to the Man
with a frown. “Your lord father was less than forthcoming with the
reason he asked Elrond for help.”
“That’s because he didn’t
know any real details,” Arador replied. “When I sent the message
to him, even I knew very little, only that there are rumors of fell
things moving southward out of the wilds.”
Glorfindel nodded. “We noticed
a larger than usual incursion of trolls coming down out of the Ettenmoors.
Elrond’s sons are dealing with that situation even now.”
Arador nodded, frowning, then
he pushed the map toward Glorfindel, pointing to a particular spot.
“We’ve heard rumors of something coming down through the Emyn Uial.”
“But only rumors,” Thandir
Arador shrugged, but it was
Arathorn who spoke. “Several of the Dúnedain patrols out of Fornost
reported seeing creatures unknown to them, making their way southward.
Some appear harmless enough. There’s one report of a large deer-like
animal with wide antlers. They spotted a whole herd of them.”
Glorfindel nodded. “Yes.
If they are what I think they are, they’re harmless enough. That they
have migrated this far south, though, means that the conditions further
north are even worse than they are here and while the daererais, as
we called them, are harmless enough, those for whom they are lawful
prey are not.”
The Dúnedain nodded, their
expressions grim, or, Glorfindel reflected irreverently, grimmer than
usual. “There is also this,” Arathorn said, leaning towards
the map, tracing a line with his forefinger. “The Baranduin has frozen
Both Glorfindel and Thandir
gasped at the implications of that statement. Glorfindel shot a look
at Arador. “Is this true? How far south?”
“At least as far south as
Sarn Ford,” Arador answered with a grimace. “There are ice floes
on the river beyond that. I have no doubt if this winter continues,
much of the rest of the river will freeze, but it’s definitely frozen
enough where it borders the Shire.”
“Never have I known the Baranduin
to freeze over,” Thandir said in a worried voice, “not even during
the Long Winter.”
Glorfindel nodded. None of
the Mortals here were old enough to remember that particularly harsh
winter. Indeed, the present Chieftain of the Dúnedain had been only
a babe in swaddling clothes at the time. He did not think that there
were too many greybeards left among the Dúnedain who would remember.
“And that is why you asked for our help,” he said after a moment.
Arador nodded. “Our patrols
are spread rather thinly. I have most of my men patrolling the road
between Fornost and Bree. There are many predators that are coming out
of the wild and not all of them are on four feet.” He gave them a
grimace of disgust and the Elves nodded. “Also, it is in my mind that
while my men can handle most predators, both two- and four-legged, other,
more fell creatures may be coming southward and I would have your aid,
my lord, for it is known that the Elves have powers that we Mortals
“True enough,” Glorfindel
said, “but I would not discount yourselves too easily. I am assuming
you wish us to help you guard the Shire.”
“Yes. The Shirefolk are a
peaceful people, simple in their ways, and I very much doubt they will
be able to defend themselves against whatever may find its way past
Glorfindel smiled, remembering
a certain band of Periain who’d helped Arador’s ancestors flee the
forces of Angmar, holding off the Witch-King’s might well enough.
“They may surprise you,” he said quietly. “Very well, Lord Arador.
I and my people will join yours in patrolling the Shire.” He glanced
at the sky, still leaden with clouds. “Anor still rules the skies
above though we cannot see her, yet I deem it would be useless to set
“We can send out a couple
of scouts,” Thandir suggested. “If they do not take their horses
they can reach Bree by tomorrow night.”
“It’s over thirty leagues
to Bree!” exclaimed Arathorn and the other Mortals looked equally
nonplused. “And the road is nearly impassible.”
Glorfindel ignored him. “Mallor
and Celepharn, I think,” he said to Thandir.
Thandir nodded and rose gracefully,
striding away from the fire to stand at the edge of the ruins, calling
out two names before returning to the fire. In moments, two Elves appeared
and Glorfindel quickly apprised them of the situation. Mallor turned
to Celepharn. “I’ll carry the wood and you can carry our supplies.”
“You carried the wood last
time,” Celepharn protested with a sniff. “I’ll carry it this time.”
“The last time you carried
the wood, it got all wet,” Mallor retorted, his eyes gleaming.
“It wouldn’t have gotten
wet if you hadn’t pushed me into the damn lake.”
“And a good thing I did,
considering you were too slow to avoid the orc’s sword.”
“Well, we wouldn’t have
even had to fight the orcs if you’d listen to me in the first place
“Enough!” Glorfindel said
quietly, yet his voice rang with authority and the two scouts subsided
while the Mortals looked on in bemusement. “You will both carry wood
and your own supplies. Now go. We will meet you outside the south gate
of Bree four days from now an hour before sunset.”
The two Elves bowed to their
captain and set off. Arador gave Glorfindel an amused look. “Do they
always argue like that?”
Glorfindel rolled his eyes
and Thandir chuckled. “And it’s the same argument every time.”
“So how long ago did the
wood get wet?” Arador asked with a knowing smile.
The two Elves looked at each
other and shrugged almost as one. “About six hundred years ago?”
“Sounds about right,” Thandir
Most of the Dúnedain gave
the Elves nonplused looks, but Arador only chuckled. “That explains
it then,” he said and when the two Elves gave him enquiring looks,
he went on. “It’s a recent
Both Glorfindel and Thandir
threw back their heads and laughed and soon the Mortals were joining
them. When they at last calmed down, Arador stood. “May I invite my
lords to join me and my son in our tent for dinner?” he asked formally.
The Elves rose as well. Glorfindel,
speaking for them both, gave him a polite bow “We would be honored,
my Lord Arador.”
The Elves and the Dúnedain
reached Bree just as Anor was slipping down the horizon, limning fitful
clouds with red and purple light, casting long shadows. This late in
the year, the days were short and they had risen from their last camp
before dawn. The going had been hard on all but as they neared Bree
Hill, the snow on the road was less and the going easier. In fact, by
the time they reached the south gate of Bree the road was relatively
clear, a good indication that the worthy citizens of the Breeland had
been hard at work to keep the road open, at least in and around the
Glorfindel and Arador rode
at the head of the column with Thandir and Arathorn directly behind.
The other Elves and Dúnedain followed in no particular order as they
rounded the hill and came near the gate, slowing to a halt. There was
no one there and the gate was closed.
“Your scouts appear to be
late,” Arador said with a thin smile.
Glorfindel gave him a startled
look. “They’ve been following us since the Forsaken Inn,”
he replied, pointing to his right where the land rose in folds toward
the hill on which Bree sat.
Now it was Arador’s turn
to look startled as he scanned the area. “I see them not, nor have
any of my men alerted us of their presence.”
“Well, that would defeat
the purpose of having scouts now, wouldn’t it?” Thandir called out
with a laugh. “You Rangers are very good but we Elves have had three
ages to hone our skills.” He looked about and then pointed. “I think
Celepharn is that hump over there by the oak and, if I’m not mistaken,
“Right here, my lords.”
Every Mortal gasped to see
a figure practically rising before them out of the gloom, standing not
two feet from where Arador and Glorfindel had stopped. He gave them
a cheeky grin as the ‘hump’ to which Thandir had pointed moved
to reveal Celepharn brushing off the snow from his cloak and sauntering
toward them, looking as smug as his partner. Glorfindel looked down
at the two scouts with a faint smile of amusement on his face.
“You’re going to have to
do a lot better at hiding, you two,” he said to them. “Celepharn
still breathes too loud and you, Mallor, left tracks two miles back
where the road comes out of the woods.”
Their smiles faded. “Yes,
Captain. Sorry, Captain,” they both muttered.
Glorfindel nodded. “Report,”
he said and the two scouts straightened.
“It is as Lord Arador said,”
Celepharn replied briskly. “The Baranduin is indeed frozen, frozen
deep enough that we crossed it easily and there is evidence that the
Periain are ignoring the bridge and simply crossing the ice wither they
will since the ferry is not running.”
“Any signs of creatures coming
southward?” Glorfindel asked.
Both scouts nodded. “We went
as far north as the ruins of Annúminas,” Celepharn replied.
“We saw at least one heard of the daererais and signs of other creatures
moving out of the Emyn Uial.”
Glorfindel nodded and was about
to suggest they continue through Bree and camp at the crossroads where
the Great East Road and the Greenway met, when Mallor spoke again, his
voice somewhat strained.”There is one other thing, Captain.” When
Glorfindel nodded for him to continue, he swallowed, looking nervous,
which surprised the Captain of the Guards of Imladris. “When we were
making our way back here to meet you we cut through the Old Forest.”
“Did you now? And was there
a reason for doing so, other than a need to visit old friends?”
“We were called... or at
least, we felt the need to go there,” Mallor said. “We met with
Ben-adar who gave us a message for you.”
Glorfindel stiffened slightly,
but nodded for the scout to continue. “He told us to tell you that
not all wolves are safe to run with.”
Glorfindel’s expression remained
impassive, but his eyes flickered with memories and an old longing that
had never been completely assuaged. “Thank you,” was all he said,
then he turned to Arador. “Let’s see if we can convince the gatekeeper
to let us in and make our way to the other side where we can camp for
Arador nodded, and in minutes
they were pounding on the gate. It took a while for them to convince
the guards to let them through and by then the sun was long gone and
the night lay heavily about them. It began snowing again even as they
were passing through the west gate, stopping to set up camp on the other
side of the Greenway.
The next few days remained
clear as the Rangers and the Elves began patrolling the area north of
Buckland, keeping their presence hidden from the Shirefolk as much as
possible. Herds of the daererais were seen in the distance, and there
were other animals as well, but no sign of any predators, and their
absence disturbed Glorfindel more than he let on. Even with the inclusion
of the Elves, there were not enough men to patrol every inch of the
Baranduin between Lake Nenuial and the Bridge of Stonebows, which was
the main bridge leading across the Baranduin into the Shire proper.
Arador had left with a small contingent of personal guards for Fornost
two days after he and Glorfindel had set up the patrol schedule, leaving
Arathorn to lead the Rangers. The young Man was capable enough and Glorfindel
had no worries about him, for he’d helped train Arathorn himself,
even as he’d trained every Heir of Isildur since Valandil.
The days were long and boring
and the nights equally so and Thandir commented once that they may have
been dragged out of Imladris on a fool’s errand. Glorfindel’s only
comment was to order the Elves to be more vigilant, for he had felt
a darkness and a threat growing in his mind, though it was too amorphous
for him to pinpoint where it might be coming from.
It was now the fifth day of
the patrol and a brumal wind swept out of the northwest, forcing the
Rangers to seek what shelter they could, for it was deathly cold and
the temperature dropped precipitously even though it was only early
“Our good weather seems to
be leaving us,” Thandir commented as Glorfindel joined him by a fire
after having visited Arathorn at his camp. The Dúnedain had set up
camp three miles northeast of the Great East Road where a swell of the
land protected them from the worst of the wind. Glorfindel had gone
there to ensure that all the Rangers were safe and accounted for before
joining Thandir on Girdley Island where the Elves were encamped. Their
horses could not easily cross the ice so they were picketed in a dell
just to the southeast of the island. The morning patrol had just come
in and the afternoon patrol was readying to leave.
Glorfindel nodded. “So it
would seem. Anything to report?”
“Mallor believes he’s seen
wolf tracks but is unsure. They seem larger than normal but not as large
as those of wargs.”
“Wolves tend to avoid inhabited
areas,” Glorfindel said with a frown, “but if they’ve been following
the herds of daererais... I have been uneasy in my mind these last few
days, for we’ve not seen any signs of predators.”
“That has worried me as well,”
Thandir admitted. “I cannot believe that those animals that normally
hunt the daererais would not follow them southward. We should have seen
signs of them by now.”
“The Dúnedain are safely
holed up in their camp,” Glorfindel said. “I was able to convince
Arathorn that these temperatures are too dangerous for his men to be
out in. I told him we will keep watch through the night without their
help. To that effect, I want you....”
The sound of howling ripped
through the air, startling both Elves.
“Wolves!” Thandir exclaimed
as they both ran to the edge of the island. “Mallor was right then,
but where are they?”
“Quiet!” Glorfindel commanded,
straining to hear with more than his ears. The howling came again, sounding
closer, which meant that the wolves were moving and quickly. He looked
out across the river to the east bank. There was enough light for him
to make out at least two herds of the daererais moving further east
towards the Greenway, perhaps a good ten leagues away, but the howling
was coming from the south.
“They’ve found different
prey,” he called out. “Thandir, take half our people along the west
bank. I’ll take the other half down the east bank.”
Thandir did not argue or comment,
merely nodding and then calling out names and soon half the Elvish patrol
was crossing the river to the west and heading south even as Glorfindel
led the rest of the patrol across to the other bank, all of them running
lightly over the snow. One or two of the Elves started to veer to where
their horses were sheltered, but Glorfindel called them back. “Leave
the horses! We’ll make better time without them. Run!”
And run they did. Howling came
again and Glorfindel recognized the wolves’ call: they had found
prey and were running it to ground. The Elves were at least ten miles
from the Bridge of Stonebows and Glorfindel feared they would be too
late. He glanced to his right and could make out Thandir and the others
keeping pace with him on the other bank. Movement to his left alerted
him and he saw the Dúnedain riding toward them.
“Are you insane?” Glorfindel
cried out to Arathorn as he and the Elves stopped and waited for the
Rangers to near them. “You’ll freeze to death in this cold.”
“Fighting the wolves will
keep us warm,” Arathorn retorted.
Before Glorfindel could muster
a reply, a horn sounded in the far distance. “What was that?”
“The Shirefolk,” Arathorn
answered. “That’s the Horn of Buckland, or I’m an orc.”
Without waiting, Glorfindel
sprinted away and the rest of the Elves followed with the Rangers struggling
to keep up. Thandir and his group had not stopped and were now some
distance ahead. He was pointing at something and shouting. Glorfindel
raced on and came in sight of the bridge. It was brightly lit with a
bonfire in the middle of it. Glorfindel nodded in approval. The fire
would prevent the wolves from crossing the bridge, but the Shirefolk
couldn’t possibly light bonfires all up and down the river. He crossed
the Great East Road where it met the bridge and entered Buckland. Again
the horn sounded and across the river where lay the village of Stock,
he could see many torches as the Shirefolk gathered to meet the wolves.
He slowed to a halt, looking about, trying to find where the wolves
“There!” Mallor, who had
been keeping pace with him, cried out, pointing ahead.
Glorfindel looked and saw three
large shapes loping through the snow heading south. They were taller
than most wolves he’d seen but not as tall as the hated wargs. Still,
one of the Periain could’ve easily ridden them as if they were ponies.
Their fur was nearly as white as the snow, making them hard to see,
especially now that the afternoon light was waning. In another hour
it would be completely dark. He spied four more on the west bank apparently
heading for Stock while five others were crossing the ice further south.
A dozen at least, but he thought there might be more that he could not
He pulled out his sword while
others put arrows to strings. Arathorn and the Rangers finally caught
up with them but Glorfindel paid them no mind, already sprinting after
the three wolves they’d spied. He vaguely heard Arathorn issuing orders
for some of his men to cross over to help deal with the wolves on the
west side of the river but most of his concentration was on reaching
the wolves who were heading for Bucklebury. Movement to his left alerted
him to the presence of more wolves and then before he realized it, he
was surrounded by at least five. They did not attack him, but ran with
him, keeping a safe distance from his reach. Throwing a look over his
shoulder he realized that he’d outrun the rest of his patrol. He was
alone with the wolves.
On they ran and Glorfindel
dared not stop. He veered toward one of the wolves, thinking to attack
it, but it snarled at him and he knew he could not fight them all and
backed off. The lights of Bucklebury grew brighter and he could hear
the confused din of shouting, screaming and snarling. Several more wolves
were already engaged in battle with the Shirefolk. The wolves had easily
kept pace with him and he wondered why they did not simply attack him.
It was almost as if they were herding him to some particular spot.
He’d been following the road
all the way from the bridge, for it had been kept open in spite of the
snow and now he passed a lane to his left and Bucklebury was directly
ahead. There was a confusion of Periain and wolves running in all directions.
He saw at least one wolf lying in the snow, blood staining it red, and
several Periain were also still. Directly before him was one large wolf
threatening two of the Periain.
“No!” he shouted and raised
his sword. The wolves that had been running with him snarled and one
tried to block his path, but he swung his sword and the wolf leapt away.
He halted before the wolf threatening the Periain and the other wolves
circled them, yipping and snapping at the Shirefolk, but nothing more.
Glorfindel spared them a glance. They were enough alike in coloring
and features that he had no doubt that they were kin to one another.
The older of the two held his right arm in a way that alerted Glorfindel
to the fact that it was probably broken. The younger one seemed unharmed,
but his eyes were wide with fear. Glorfindel lowered his sword and crouched
before the wolf that had been threatening them. He did not make eye
contact, not quite.
“Peace, my brother-in-fur,”
Glorfindel said, exerting as much power as he dared to reveal, mindful
of the Periain behind him, “This is no place for you. Your food runs
free across the wilds. Why do you hunt here? Leave this place. You and
your pack cannot hope to survive if you do not.”
The wolf snarled and its fellows,
still circling them, yipped and howled and then went completely still,
their tongues hanging out as they panted.
“Go,” Glorfindel commanded,
pointing to his left and north. “Take your pack and hunt the daererais.
You will find nothing but death here if you remain.”
For a long moment nothing happened.
Glorfindel waited quietly for the wolf’s response. He could almost
feel the fear radiating from the Periain standing behind him and wished
to turn and offer them a word of comfort, but he dared not move. The
wolf snarled low in its throat and Glorfindel happened to look up, inadvertently
catching the wolf’s eyes and found himself being drawn into its gaze,
memories of an earlier time flooding him, a deep longing to cast aside
his sword and run with the wolves overtaking him.
“Look out!” a high-pitched
voice rang out but before Glorfindel could respond he felt a huge weight
dragging him down and he found himself struggling to keep the wolf from
ripping out his throat. He heard someone scream and then his attacker
gave a yelp of pain, scrabbling off him.
“Go away!” he heard a voice
cry out. “Get out of here! Go away!”
Struggling to rise he saw the
younger of the two Periain facing down the wolves with nothing but a
slingshot in his hand. He suspected the youngster had used it to good
effect to drive the wolf off him. He searched for his sword buried in
the snow, for it had fallen from his grasp when the wolf attacked him.
It lay just out of his reach. Taking a chance, knowing there was little
time, he lunged for his sword just as two of the wolves leapt forward
to take the Periain down. The youngster screamed and then two arrows
came whining through the air, striking the wolves.
“Get down!” Glorfindel
shouted, remembering to speak the Common Tongue, even as he reached
for his sword. He did not attempt to stand for arrows were flying all
around as each unerringly found its mark. The wolves never had a chance
to flee and soon all nine were lying dead or dying. Glorfindel looked
about and saw that the Periain were huddled together, half-buried in
the snow. He stood and greeted Mallor and the other Elves, thanking
them for their timely arrival.
“You shouldn’t have run
so quickly ahead of us, Captain,” Mallor said in disapproval. “Lord
Elrond would have been less than pleased if we’d had to bring your
mangled corpse back to Imladris.”
Glorfindel decided to ignore
the comment, sheathing his sword. “Check to see if there are more
wolves roaming the village,” he said instead. Mallor looked as if
he wanted to say something but instead he simply nodded then called
out to the others who swiftly made their way through Bucklebury in search
of more wolves. Glorfindel was walking over to where the two Periain
were still huddled, apparently afraid to move, when Arathorn and his
men rode up.
“Now who’s the insane one?”
he said in disgust.
“Never mind me, Arathorn,”
Glorfindel said somewhat testily. “See to the Shirefolk.”
Arathorn nodded and began issuing
orders and soon the Rangers were following the Elves into Bucklebury.
Glorfindel crouched before the two Periain still huddled together. “It’s
all right,” he said quietly. “All is well now. Come. Let me
see you safely home.”
The two Periain looked up.
The older one grimaced at the pain from his broken arm as he moved and
Glorfindel helped him to his feet.
“Thank you, Master Elf,”
he said. “Thank you for saving us.”
“I am Glorfindel of Rivendell,
and you are most welcome. Now, where do you live? I will see you safely
to your home.”
“We’re staying at Brandy
Hall,” the Perian replied, “visiting my wife’s sister who’s
married to the Master.”
Glorfindel nodded as he stood.
He smiled at the younger Perian, who simply stood there with his mouth
hanging open in awe. “And what is your name, child?” he asked gently.
“You were very brave to face down those wolves with naught but a slingshot.
Thank you for saving my life.”
The youngster blushed and looked
down at his toes. The other Perian put his left arm around the youngster’s
shoulders and smiled proudly up at the Elf. “This is my son, Bilbo....”
“Bilbo! Bilbo Baggins?!”
Glorfindel smiled in amusement
at the surprised look on Aragorn’s face and nodded. He and the sons
of Elrond were sharing a cave with Aragorn and a band of Rangers under
his command. The Elves had joined with the Dúnedain patrol earlier
that day but a sudden blizzard had forced them all to seek shelter.
“So you knew him even when
he was a lad?” Aragorn insisted.
“Not in the sense you mean,”
Glorfindel replied. “We met, but that is all. I saw him and his father,
Bungo, safely to Brandy Hall and then rejoined your father in cleaning
up the mess left by the wolves. Luckily there was little loss of life
among the Shirefolk, but even so, it was not a cheerful Yule for any
of them that year.”
“How long did you stay there
guarding the Shire?” Halbarad asked.
“For another three months
until the river unfroze,” Glorfindel said. “We never went back to
the Shire or Buckland but stayed to the north and east where we continued
patrolling. There were two more incursions of white wolves during the
course of that winter but they never made it into the Shire. We were
able to stop them before they did.”
“And I thought this winter
was bad,” Halbarad said with a chuckle and Aragorn and the other Rangers
“Nay, this is nothing,”
Elladan said. “The Fell Winter truly lived up to its name. Now, while
Glorfindel was taking his ease watching the ice on the Baranduin melt,
Elrohir and I had a far more interesting time dealing with the trolls
that had come out of the Ettenmoors.”
“Oh?” Aragorn said. “I
don’t think I remember you ever telling me that particular tale when
I was growing up.”
“That’s because both your
mother and Elrond forbade them from doing so,” Glorfindel replied.
“You were far too young to hear such gruesome details.”
“Well, I’m not so young
now,” Aragorn protested.
“True, but let us save that
tale for another time. It is late and you are all exhausted. Sleep now
and by tomorrow this storm will have passed.”
The wind suddenly howled across
the cave’s entrance and the Rangers all started. Glorfindel simply
smiled. “Fear not! It is just the wind. There are no wolves out tonight,
I promise you. Sleep. Your brothers and I will stand the watches.”
No one bothered to argue and
in a short while all the Mortals were fast asleep. Elladan and Elrohir
sat quietly talking, but Glorfindel did not join their conversation,
for while his body might be sitting by a fire inside a cave, his spirit
was elsewhere... running with the wolves.
Words are Sindarin:
Plural of daeraras: Great deer, possibly an elk or moose.
Plural of Perian: Halfing, Hobbit.
1. The Long Winter (November
2758-March 2759 T.A.).
2. The Mortals and their respective
13th Chieftain of the Dúnedain, age 154.
his son and heir, age 91.
II, his grandson, age 38.
Baggins, age 21 (13 human years old).
Baggins, age 65. Bungo’s wife, Belladonna Took, is the sister of Donnamira
who is married to Gorbadoc ‘Broadbelt’ Brandybuck, Master of Brandy