by Primula

Filled with foreboding Elrond lay down his pen and lifted his eyes to the high-arched window that shed its waning light on the parchment.  Something.... Something on the edges of his realm touched him, like a moth's wing in the night.  He softly folded his hands together, thoughtfully running one ink-stained fingertip along the smooth metal of band hidden there. Gazing out at the autumn-waning trees he focused, felt of the essence of his realm, drew it in and held it as a father holds his precious child. No, all was not well.  It had not crossed to him yet, but he knew without a doubt that a great evil approached his borders. And it was growing in strength as it came.  He stood and unconsciously smoothed his robes for a moment, his mind now far from his study.  The books of lore would have to wait, for another tale for their pages was brewing.

Gandalf had mentioned that this might happen. That the ones they had sought far and wide for would be pursued, and that the evil pursuing them might be so intent upon their prey that they would dare to cross where they knew they could not enter.  If their number were strong, they might do this. They drew boldness from thier numbers, and a recklessness in the fury of their pursuit that they might not risk alone.  He grimaced at the memories.  Yes, he knew the Nine. He knew this enemy well. 

Requesting that Gandalf be found and sent to him, he moved to the nearby courtyard. He felt of his borders, testing their strength, pulling and focusing that strength to the north, where the River ran. The wizard joined him so quickly he knew that Gandalf had also felt that change and he too turned without thought to face the direction of their threat, taking on the stance of a protector as naturally as he might don his cloak before stepping into the rain.

Their words were brief, as two seasoned warriors who already know their role will be. They had worked as a team from time to time before now, but never with such high stakes.

'What do you plan to use? The river?' asked Gandalf. 'It is a mighty force to unleash.'

'Yes, but a mighty force may seem called for. Strength is needed to meet strength.'

'But we must take a care...the hobbits may be too close to the waters....'

'Gandalf. I cannot allow the Nine to cross into my realm. You know this.'


'We must assume they would not seek to cross except to catch their prey. This would certainly place your hobbit on this side...'

'Who was sent that way?' asked Gandalf abruptly.


'Ah,' he breathed. 'Then they are in good hands, but it is a hard battle for only one. Once Glorfindel has taken them across the river, our aid will be sorely needed to put an end the pursuit.'

'So close...' said Elrond softly. His brow furrowed. 'The river waters gather...'

'They have come as horsemen this time,' continued Gandalf. 'What do you say to a little defiance for this guise?

Elrond glanced away from the North to see a twinkle in his friend's eye. 'I can see you've thought of something appropriate already. We'll take the time to debate whether it was a good idea or no in the later hours. Do what you will.'

Gandalf smiled, but there was a fierce look to it as well. 'So it shall be.'