Mellon Nin by elwen of the hidden valley

[Reviews - 0]
Table of Contents
Printer Friendly: Printer
- Text Size +

Jump to

Story Notes:

This is fanfic.  I don't own anyone or anything.  They all belong to JRR Tolkien.


He was cold and hungry and tired.  Bill stopped to nibble upon a tuft of lush green grass, at the edge of the trail.  It tasted good, with a slight undertaste of wild flowers.  It was a taste he vaguely recognised and he raised a weary head to look about him at last. 

Through a gap in the hawthorn that grew on the slope to his left he could see a steep sided valley, set about with grey cliffs.  The air was cool and pleasantly moist with the spray of a hundred waterfalls, large and small, that cascaded down the cliff sides to form the big river that ran swift across the length of the valley floor.  And mingling with the sounds of water and birdsong was another sound.

Voices.  Bill twitched his ears to find the source and turned back to look down the track once more.  It had been so long since he had heard the voices of the two-legged ones that he had to consider for a moment.  This was not the sound of the small ones.  They had been kind to him, especially the one with the light mane.  That one had always found him the sweetest grass, stroking Bill when he was scared and arranging the baggage so that its weight was evenly spread.  He liked that one.

It was none of the others either . . . not the tall dark ones with the shining sticks or the big grey one who sometimes talked to Bill about grasses and trees in the dark night watches when the pony was too cold or frightened to sleep.  Nor was it the voice of the short metal one.  That voice was harsh and yet not so…but it was none of these voices.  Perhaps the golden, shining one . . . it could be him.  He too would sometimes whisper to Bill.  There was sameness to the sounds . . . a light ring and gentle melody that was familiar.  Bill listened again.  The voices were like it but not like.

He stood his ground.  The way behind him was clear if he needed to run and there was something about the voices . . . something gentle.  And suddenly, there they were.  Their step so light that if they had not been singing Bill thought he may never have known they were there until they rounded the bend in the path.

There was a pair of the two-legged ones and they were like the shining one but for their black manes…long and flowing like a thoroughbred horse.  Bill stomped nervously but they did not look down.  It was clear that they considered themselves his superior.

One of them stepped forward slowly, voice low.  Bill assessed him. He watched, mesmerised by the voice, until the dark maned one laid a hand upon his neck.  The pony blinked as he felt it . . . that warm comfortable friendly feeling.  He had felt it before.

Bill looked around him again.  Yes.  He had been here before.  The little ones and one of the big ones had brought him here. 

00000000

Elrohir stroked Bill’s neck, combing fingers through the matted mane and running his hand along the muddied flanks, his heart crying as he felt each rib.   Elladan walked down the other side of the weary animal, drawing in a sharp breath when he came to the pony's rear.  At once, Elrohir moved to join his brother and bent to tenderly examine the bloodied marks. 

It was clear that some animal had tried to take a bite out of the poor pony and Bill had narrowly escaped with his life.  The muscles flinched beneath his touch but Bill seemed to know that the elves meant him no harm and he did not kick, although when Elrohir touched a particularly deep puncture wound he shuffled his feet slightly and Elladan had to return to his head, stroking and speaking soft words.

Elrohir came forward too and the two coaxed a very weary and bedraggled pony down the path and home.

0000000000

“Is it infected?”  Elrohir asked, as he handed his father a clean piece of cloth to dab at the wounds.

“Strangely, no,” Elrond replied, swabbing gently.  The mud removed, the wound was now clear to see.  Some large animal, probably a warg Elrond suspected, had tried to bite the pony on his left quarter.  It had not been able to bite deeply enough to hang on however, and had left only teeth marks.  Some were deep to be sure, but miraculously none of the punctures were showing signs of infection, although it was clear that they had bled profusely.

Elrond stepped back and soaked a clean cloth in some sweet smelling liquid that Elrohir offered.  “I believe the fact that he bled so much has been his saving.  It is possible that the wounds were washed clean by it.”  He dabbed softly with the cloth and a muscle fluttered just beneath the skin but then settled as the pain lessened.

As his father finished, Elladan entered the stall, bringing brushes and a blanket and he and Elrohir began the job of cleaning up the rest of the woebegone animal.  None of them said what was uppermost in their minds . . . if Bill had returned like this, where was the rest of the Fellowship?  What had happened that had made them turn him loose.  The fact that he had no bridle showed that they had voluntarily done so . . . but why? 

Bill suffered their attentions quietly, snorting softly when they laid the blanket over his back, but when they offered him water to drink and feed he hung his head and turned away, so they placed it where he would find it and left.  Perhaps he was too tired and with peace and rest he would come around.

When Elrohir came to check on him in the morning he found that Bill had only nibbled at his feed and taken only a few mouthfuls of water.  He stood as they had left him, his head hung down, not even bothering to swish away the few stray flies the buzzed about the cool stables.

The elf stroked his cheek lightly.  “What is it, Bill?  Are you worried about your masters?”  He bent down and breathed softly up the pony’s nose and Bill responded half heartedly, but when Elrohir held out an apple the pony only turned his head away again.  Sighing, the elf put the titbit back in his pocket and leaned his forehead against Bill’s cheek.

“I worry about them too, Bill.  But I still have hope and you must have hope too.” 

Bill suffered the attentions but did not respond and, with another sigh, Elrohir left him.

00000000000

“How is the pony this morning?”  Elrond looked up from his book as Elrohir sat down thoughtfully in a chair by the study window.

“I think he misses his family,” replied his son, distantly.

Closing his book, the Lord of Imladris rose and crossed to the window, leaning against the casement with arms folded, and following his son’s gaze to Celebrian’s rose garden beyond.  “Meaning Sam and the others?”

“Yes.”

Elrond looked down at the crown of his youngest son’s dark hair and remembered another brother and another broken family.  Elrond and Elros had been younger than Elrohir when they had been left alone, but they had found another family.  It had not been a perfect family, by any means, but it had served as an anchor to their lives.  He reached out to stroke his son’s head.

“Has he eaten?”

Elrohir shook his head slowly, tipping up his face to meet his father’s wise and steady gaze, his own blue grey eyes pleading.  The older elf beckoned him up, slipping an apple in his pocket from a bowl on a nearby table.

“Come.  Let me see what I can do.  Sometimes a friend can be as good as a family.”

Elrohir stood and followed his father from the room.  “What do you mean?”

His father only smiled.  “You may be a master of horse, my young elf.  But I know a little about families and friendship.”

000000000000

When they reached the stables Elrond did not go to Bill’s stall, but instead headed for another.  At the sound of his step a dark head appeared, the white blaze down the centre of the horse’s face gleaming in the dim light of the stable.  The Master of Rivendell smiled and reached out a hand and it was filled at once with a soft muzzle.

“Hello, Fasse.  How are you today?”

The gleaming chestnut head nodded in greeting and wickered softly as his master slipped the latch and opened the gate.  Elrond stepped inside the stall and stroked Fasse’s neck and the sharply pointed ears twitched in his direction as the elf continued to speak softly.

“I have a little task for you, old friend, if you are willing.  There is someone else here in need of friendship.  Do you think you have room in your heart for another?”

The liquid molasses eyes considered for a moment and then his head lowered and butted gently against his master’s chest.  Elrond smiled and patted the smooth cheek.

“I knew you would.  You have a heart bigger than any in Middle earth.  Come along, then.”   The elf turned lightly and Fasse followed him.  A few stalls further down, Elrond stopped and leaned in to look at a small, honey coloured pony standing, head down.

“Good morning, Bill.”  The pony’s ears twitched but he gave no other acknowledgement, his eyes staring forlornly at the straw covered floor.  Both feed and water were as Elrohir had left them.

A shadow fell across the floor and Bill looked slowly up, to find himself being regarded calmly by a pair of large soft eyes set in a long dark face, bisected by a blaze of white.  Elrond moved aside so that Fasse could lean over the gate.

“I have brought you some company, Bill . . . a new friend, if you will have him.”

For a moment Bill only stood, then he took a tentative step forward.  Fasse waited silent and still as the small pony took another step, and another until he was within touching distance of the bigger animal.  It was only then that Fasse moved his head down very slowly and breathed gently into Bill’s nose and Elrond held his own breath in anticipation until the pony blew back tentatively.  Both horse and pony took a step closer, nuzzling each other softly and snorting.

Elrond freed the catch and Fasse moved aside to let him open it.  Bill stepped back and wickered a light invitation and Fasse stepped slowly in, moving further until the two animals stood side by side, Bill leaning into the horse’s glossy brown flank.  Glancing at his son, Elrond closed the gate and stood back, a pleased smile upon his face. 

“Well done, Mellon nim.  Now, do you think you can get this new companion to eat something?”  From his pocket the elf produced an apple and Fasse came forward eagerly.  Bill came with him to investigate what had so interested his new friend and found Elrohir and Elrond each holding out an apple.  Fasse picked his neatly out of his master’s hand and, after a moment’s hesitation, Bill did the same with the one Elrohir held out and for a moment the only sound to be heard was the soft crunching of apples.

Elrond ran gentle fingers down the white blaze.  “I knew you could do it, my big hearted Fasse.”

As though in embarrassment, Fasse turned his head aside at the complement and Elrond chuckled lightly.  “You must learn to take praise, my friend.”  With that he patted Fasse’s neck and, taking his son’s arm, turned away to leave the two animals to get better acquainted.

“How did you know, Ada?”

Elrohir’s father only smiled softly and put an arm about Elrohir’s shoulder.  “I know a loving heart when I see it.”

0000000000

Bill looked up at the sound of light voices.  “Why are you bringing me here?  Master Elrond, I ain’t no good with horses.  They’re too big.”

“Why, Samwise Gamgee, I am surprised.  You got on very well with that pony you brought from Bree.”  Elrond’s voice paused as though trying to remember something and when it came again it was closer.  “What was the name of the animal?  It has escaped me for the moment.”

“Bill, sir.”

“I am sorry.  I think my age is catching up with me.  Can you repeat it a little louder?”

The silence that followed that comment screamed loud with confusion . . . an elf with poor hearing?  Surely not?  But Sam’s light voice rose several notches in volume.

“BILL, sir.”

Bill recognised the sound at once and trotted to the gate to whinny a greeting to his old friend.  A small, sandy maned head spun in his direction at once and Sam ran forward to reach up a hand to his friend’s soft nose.  “Bill . . . You’re alive and safe!”

A large hand reached out to draw the latch and open the gate and Bill stepped out to nuzzle the hobbit, nearly knocking him over in his enthusiasm.

From behind him stepped a tall chestnut horse.  The large face rubbed against Bill’s neck once before he turned to follow Elrond out of the building.  Bill cantered after and nuzzled his companion before returning to his little master and Fasse blew back gently before catching up with his own master.

Elrond turned to smile back at his mount.  “Come along.  There are green pastures awaiting you, my big hearted friend.”

END




[Report This]
You must login (register) to review.