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Date Posted: 16:25:18 05/03/02 Fri
The company had been on the road for half a day now, and they were making good time. Bergil walked briskly, leading Ildar slightly ahead of the hobbits. The sun was now low in they sky and the day was growing old. The dying sunlight filtered through the trees and made yellow and orange mosaic designs on the dirt road. Bergil took a deep breath of the afternoon air, they would have to find a place to camp soon. Bergil turned to address the hobbits when Ildar suddenly stopped. His ears perked up and he sniffed the air.
"What's wrong, Illy? Hear something?" Bergil said, patting his neck. "There's nothing there, come on then," he said, he pulled on Ildar's reins. Ildar refused to move, his hooves planted firmly on the road. He raised his head and gave a loud whinny, silence followed.
"There's no one there, Ildar, your friends are far away," Bergil pulled on his reins more firmly, Ildar still would not move. Once again, he raised his head high and whinnied, but this time, an answering whinny came from somewhere far off in the forest. Everyone was silent. The pony pulling the hobbit's waggon whinnied, another answering whinny came, but closer this time, right off the road. Bergil reached for his bow, horses did not wander alone, not to mention in the forest alone; the horse must have a rider. He handed Ildar's reins to Ryna, "Hold on to these tightly, don't let him wander off," He told her. Then, He walked towards the side of the road the whinny had come from.
He held his bow tightly, pointing his arrow directly in front of him. There was a rustle in the bushes, off to the left. Quickly, Bergil turned to face the sound. He slowly walked towards it, "Who goes there?" He asked, his voice cracking a little. No response. Wait! Another rustle, further to the left. Bergil rushed towards the sound. He aimed his arrow and the cluster of bushes, poised to shoot, "Who goes there? Tell me now or I'll shoot," Bergil said, a little more confident.
"Don't shoot, I will not hurt you or your friends," a voice in the bushes said.
"Show yourself!" Bergil demanded. His arrow still at the ready.
"If you promiss not to shoot me, boy, I'll be happy to show myself," the voice said. It was definately a female voice.
"Stand up slowly, with your hands in the air, then I shall decide whether or not I shoot," Bergil said, feeling very manly and grown up.
The female voice laughed, a light, musical laugh. "Alright then, if that's the way you want it," She said. Then, she stood up.
Bergil was breathless.
She was beautiful. Long raven black hair, so long it fell past her waist, but it was curly at the ends despite its length. She had dark olive skin, with no imperfections. Her eyes were a dark, piercing emerald green. Her lips were full, but not large, and they were the color of red rose petals. She was short in stature, but decidedly older than Bergil. She wore a sleeveless tunic like dress made of a bone colored, muslin like material. Her dress would've had no shape, but she had a thin, golden rope criss-crossed around her midsection and tied neatly around her waist. It was mid-thigh length, and had slits up both sides of skirt, probably for easier movement for climbing trees or riding. Wait, riding, Bergil remembered, where was the horse? Ildar still seemed to be upset about something.
"I thought I heard a horse," Bergil said to the girl, "Where is it?"
"My loud mouthed horse," She said with a smile, "Is right over here," and she brought her fingers to her lips and gave a clear, loud whistle that echoed through the forest. Momments later, a horse came bouding out of the forest. The horse was small, only about 15 hands, but it was built sturdily. It was coal black, as black as the girl's hair, and had no white markings. It had a small, refined head that tied nicely into a highly crested neck. It's eyes were large and expressive, and, Bergil noticed, sky blue. In all Bergil's years with horses, he had never seen a black horse with blue eyes; until now he thought it was impossible. The horse carried it's head high, it's nostrils flared and it's tail raised. It looked around nervously until it spotted Ildar. It strode up to Ildar with a proud, springy trot and put it's nose to his. Bergil watched as their ears twitched nervoulsy back and forth, their noses next to eachother and their necks arched; as horses who are meeting for the first time normally do. They seemed to like eachother, niether of them squealed. Then, the strange horse when to the pony pulling the cart. Immediately the pony squealed and bit the new horse. The defeted horse squealed and shied away, returning to Ildar, head hanging low.
Bergil laughed, it was clear who liked who. He turned back towards the girl, "What is your name?" He asked her.
"My name is Sahrien," She said. "And yours?"
"Bergil, Beregond's son," Bergil replied, extending his hand. "Your horses name?"
"Salypsiné," She replied, shaking his hand. "The loud mouthed and pig headed."
Bergil laughed. "My horse is Ildar, the stupid," He said, with a smile. Sahrien laughed. He turned to look at his horse. Ildar was happy to have a friend, the pony wasn't very nice to him (or Salypsiné, either). Bergil was guessing from the new horses name that it must be a mare. Although Ildar was a gelding, he still enjoyed a lady's company. Bergil smiled to himself. He turned back towards Sahrien. "You both have strange names, from whence do you come?" He asked.
"That does not matter, for now," Sahrien replied, "What matters is where we are going. You are going to Minas Tirith, no?" She asked.
Bergil looked stuned. "How did you know?" He asked.
Sahriend smiled. "May we journey with you?" She asked, avoiding the question with tact, "We are also journeying to the White City."
Bergil thought for a momment. She refused to tell him where she came from and how she knew where he was going, but she seemed nice. The hobbits didn't seem to mind her and Ildar liked her horse.
He made up his mind.
"Alright," He said, "You may come with us, on one condition," he paused. Sahriend looked on expectantly. "You must walk your horse, the pony can't keep up, and, you must eventually tell me where you come from," He finished.
"Isn't that two conditions?" Sahrien asked, smiling. Bergil huffed.
"That is beside the point," He said.
"Alright, alright!" She said. "I will agree to your two conditions," She smiled.
"It's a deal then," Bergil said. "Let us waist no time, we must keep moving if we want to get somewhere before nightfall," He said, addressing the hobbits as well as Sahrien.
Ryna liked the new horse, she fed Salypsiné a carrot. Salypsiné munched it happily. Pippin gathered up the pony's reins, Bergil took Ildar's reins in his hands. Salypsiné and Sahrien walked side-by-side, a little ahead of everyone else. And the company set off, the sun sinking slowly behind the trees.