The Elder Oak by thequickbrownfox

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Chapter One

Sunlight shone through the early morning sky filtering between the leaves of the forest below as another day dawned on the fellowships quest to destroy the one ring. Ten days had passed since leaving Rivendell and they were now entering the region of Hollin, near the foothills of the Misty Mountains. This area was once a great Elvish centre, through many ages had passed since this time and now only ruins could be found among the trees.

Each member of the fellowship was looking forward to reaching their next resting place as they had been walking at a steady pace throughout the entire night. Gandalf had informed them not long ago that he knew of a cave, only a couple of miles away that would be an ideal place to camp for the day.

Legolas wasn’t too keen about heading to a cave, he disliked being beneath the earth, away from the sun. However he knew it would be a secure location away from any unwanted eyes. I wish that I had more time to explore this area, he thought as he looked around. He sensed the presence of his kin from long ago in the surrounding trees and they sang out to him of their joy at having an elf amongst them once again.

Being the rear-guard, he looked forward at the other member of company and considered whether they could also sense the joyfulness of the trees around them. Aragorn, who was walking just ahead of him, would probably be aware of the song of the Taurë even though, as a mortal, he would not be able to hear it. Of Mithrandir, leading the fellowship at the head of the line, he did not know. The wizard is more than the old man that he looks to be, the elf thought knowledgably. Perhaps I should ask him during our rest he decided, as he directed his eyes towards Boromir, who was leading the companies’ pack pony Bill. The man was carefully looking around making Legolas wonder if he could also sense the Taurë song but did not know how to understand it and had therefore taken it as a threat. Looking at the rest of his companions, the elf knew that the dwarf, who was currently walking among the hobbits, would be completely unaware of the song, while the hobbits themselves looked so tired that they probably couldn’t pick out any of the sounds of the nature around them. Their thoughts would only be on the cave ahead of them and their next meal.

Old Path Watercolour

A peculiar alteration in the Taurë song suddenly diverted Legolas attention and with keen eyes he looked out amongst the nearby trees seeking the reason for the change. On his left, in a clearing not far from the path, he noticed an ancient Elder oak, all twisted and bent, whose song was not like that of the surrounding younger trees. Feeling unconsciously drawn toward this Elder oak, he stepped off the path, not noticing the distancing of his companions as they continued along the path and moved into the clearing.

As he reached the ancient tree he called to it seeking to find an answer to the riddle of its song. However to his surprise, he received no answer from the oak. Its song did not change in response to his calls. However the surrounding trees sang out in warning, danger, danger they called. The elf tense in concern, seizing his bow from his back he looked around trying to seek out the threat. Sensing nothing amiss he stepped towards the oak and reaching out placed his hand of the rough, moss covered bark expecting to feel the same warning of the surrounding trees. What he did not expect was his hand to go firmly through the bark and into the tree itself.

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Swiftly walking along the overgrown ancient Elvish pathway that lead the fellowship ever closer the Misty Mountains, Aragorn peacefully listened to birds singing in the surrounding trees, wishing that he could hear the song of the Taurë that he knew would be enchanting within this region. As he turned toward his elf friend, who was following behind him to ask if the song was as wonderful as he imagined it to be, he heard a startled cry which chilled him to his bones. I know that voice!

“Legolas!” he cried out as he quickly spun about. Seeing no elf in sight, his fear rapidly increased. Sensing the other members of the fellowship approaching, he hurriedly turned towards them saying “Something has happened to Legolas. He was behind me only a few moments ago. We must find him”.

With fearful looks, the fellowship speedily ran back along the track searching for any signs of the missing elf. After only a couple of paces Gimli suddenly saw movement to the right in a clearing not far from the path. Calling out to the others he ran into the forest towards what he now saw as the struggling figure of the elf. As he reached the clearing he abruptly stopped unable to believe what he was seeing. Dragging his eyes from the scene before him, he turned to see the arrival of the others and watched as their faces took on the same look of astonishment and horror that he knew would be upon his own.

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