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Subject: Awake/Asleep

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Date Posted: 08:53:39 07/08/03 Tue

It was morning now, the harsh light steeling over the hill, the cool morning's dew fresh on his face. After the events of last night nobody had felt like lighting a camp fire so the night had become gradually colder, the warmth seeping from his body into the icy ground and as it did it washed away the torrential emotions that whirled inside him. Elladan had visited each hour as the watch was relieved: When are you going to realise that I can tell when you're awake Estel? I can hear it - I always have, remember? How are you feeling?" But his foster brother had received no answer and now he rose as if he had slept the night through and had not heard his whispered name in the night. Around the campsite Sircyn and his soldiers were already awake and mobile, with no fire to cook upon most of them were nibbling apprehensively at Lembas or brushing down horses.
Elladan was trying to catch his eye but Aragorn strode past him to where the general was saddling his horse. Sircyn turned abruptly as he heard the sound of footfalls that were not elvish. He managed a slight smile. “So you’re awake at last, your majesty. I was beginning to think you’d sleep through the summer.”
“When will we be ready to leave?”
The smile faded from the other’s face. “In about an hour, I reckon.”
“Can you make it a half?”
“I suppose but - ”
“Give the order then.” He had taken three steps before he turned back. “Please Sircyn. Half an hour.”

They were ready in twenty minutes. What he had done during those hours Aragorn was not entirely sure but after what seemed like centuries he had mounted Ringbearer and the company were embarking slowly into Trollshaws where Elrohir, Arwen and some one with unknown power and strength waited for them. Every muscle in his body shivered, exhausted. He knew he was not well enough to ride, but then he was not well enough to wait in a sick bed while other people rescued his wife, which would drive him to madness. While other people might die to rescue his wife, he corrected grimly, for they had no idea what lurked beneath the treetops. He had still not talked to Elladan, had still not looked into the unfathomable depths of the eyes that never accused, merely questioned why? knowing everything he should be feeling would roar back up as soon as the connection was made.
He felt his brother’s horse, soundless muffled hooves walking over dead leaves, moving towards him and kicked Ringbearer’s sides gently, urging him into a trot until they were at the head of the group. It was not yet time to talk.
He was still asleep.

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