We stopped outside of Fangorn Forest (which Katy finally admitted she could see) that evening, or late afternoon according to Aragorn. Although we searched the area thoroughly—or rather Katy and I watched as Aragorn, Legolas and Gimli searched the area thoroughly—no sign was found of our little hobbit friends. ‘Late afternoon’ turned into night, Gimli gathered dead wood which was found easily so near to where the Rohirrim had made a fire the night before and made a smaller camp fire out of it.
We sat around the fire for a while, talking amongst each other. Legolas seemed to find it especially amusing to bother Katy and I with tales of trees and forests and some rather far fetched stories about the dangers they possessed. Nevertheless, Katy and I quickly tired of hearing tales of the horrible things trees could do to people their wrath was turned against.
It was growing late when we heard the rustling of leaves in the forest. Looking around to see what was the cause of the disturbance, Gimli was the first to notice an old man a little ways from our camp. Aragorn tried to hail the man and coax him nearer, but he vanished into the night.
Just as we were returning to our own business, we heard the horses cry out. Legolas went out to check on our steeds but returned glumly, having found them gone. There was talk exchanged for a little longer, mostly complaints on Gimli’s part about having lost the horses and theories on Aragorn’s part about what the old man was up to. Finally it became late enough that we were to retire, someone staying awake on watch in case anything else went amiss.
"Katy and I will take the first watch." I volunteered immediately earning several odd looks. It was absolutely unheard of—Katy and I never volunteered for watch. Ever.
"I would like to sit up a while longer and think, Rachel. You go to sleep, I will take first watch." Aragorn insisted.
"Yeah, well maybe you’re not the only one who wants to stay up and think." I retorted, "Katy and I will take first watch." I repeated more forcefully this time.
Aragorn finally gave in, allowing us first watch no matter how suspicious he was about it. We sat up silently, waiting for the others to fall asleep. Finally it became obvious that Aragorn and Gimli were both soundly asleep, but we started to get annoyed with Legolas’s apparent insomnia.
"Why won’t he go to sleep?" I whispered to Katy.
"I don’t know, maybe he suspects us." Katy whispered back.
We waited up a while longer until, remembering something, I barely stopped myself from smacking my forehead. I quietly waved my hand in front of Legolas’s eyes experimentally and was rewarded by no response.
I grinned at Katy, waving my hand a little more vigorously, "I just remembered," I told her, "Elves sleep with their eyes open."
We laughed quietly over our blunder for a little while. After our chuckles calmed down Katy got right to business, "What is it?" She asked, knowing I would never in my right mind refuse sleep without a good reason.
"I was just thinking about… Things." I started slowly, mindful of the three sleeping men nearby, "And, I don’t know, maybe our whole outlook on this thing is a little, well, wrong."
Katy frowned slightly, "You’re thinking about Boromir again, aren’t you?" She asked. We had talked about his impending demise many times during our night watches, unknown by the rest of the Fellowship.
I nodded, "Well, we’re part of this world now, right? We’ve already changed the story in that Tolkien never wrote about two—or three—girls from modern day earth sneaking around after the Fellowship."
"What are you getting at?" My companion asked.
"Well, this can’t be exactly the Middle earth we read about—although it must be very similar—so there really isn’t any reason for us not to, well, change things. I mean, there wasn’t really any reason for Boromir to die. We should have stopped it, or at least tried. I don’t see how we would destroy the story by doing that."
"Rachel, even if we had gone with Boromir to try to save the hobbits I don’t think we would have done any good. You may not have noticed, but we aren’t exactly seasoned warriors, we survived the other encounters by luck, not our own skill." Katy retorted.
"Yeah… But I don’t see why that shouldn’t change. If we can make a difference, we might as well try." I countered, trying to keep my voice at least down to a reasonable volume.
"So… What, you want to tell them everything we know? They won’t believe us anyway." Katy pointed out.
"No, I still don’t think we should tell them about what’s going to happen, but that doesn’t mean we can’t help them. We can be more than inactive spectators, it isn’t just a story anymore—we have a right the right to try to change any time we happen to be living in for the better." I said, then with a sly smile added, "Or the worse, really."
Katy rolled her eyes, "I guess so. What do you want to do?"
I shrugged, "I don’t know. I just don’t want to stand by and watch these guys mess around."
Aragorn awoke slowly a little while later to what sounded like a battle—or sword fighting at least. He looked around the campsite and became fully alert when he found neither Katy or I nearby. He stood and looked off a little further when he spotted Legolas leaning against a tree, smirking at something. He diverted his gaze to follow the elf’s and walked over next to him.
Aragorn found a smile play upon his own face as well as he saw two figures laboriously battling upon the field not far away.
"I believe they are finally beginning to realize the seriousness of the matters they have come into." Legolas commented quietly to the Ranger.
He nodded, "Perhaps they just needed time to think things through." He agreed.
The two friends watched in silence a little longer. "Go back to sleep, mellon nin. I will take watch when they have tired themselves out." Aragorn suggested.
Legolas agreed and went back to the camp leaving Aragorn alone to watch the sparring figures in amusement.
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