May 26th, 2002
I awake confused and disoriented just about dawn. Looking around I almost fall from the hammock. Taking a long cleansing breath I untie myself and return to terra firma. After taking care of some pressing business I break my camp. It was at this point I noticed the glint of yellow metal.
I pop the snap on my shoulder holster and look around. I call out, "Hello?" No response. I guess I would really worry if someone answered back in English. Damn I can't remember any word for hello, "Mellon, Mellon". I listen. I hear nothing. Very slowly I scan the area, nothing. I make my way to the glinting metal. It is empty .44 brass. Obviously someone or something collected the brass I dropped on my last visit when I was fleeing from the Orcs. I pocket the brass, finish breaking camp and head back toward the river. As an afterthought I yell, "Namarie" over my shoulder as I walk.
I continue following the river north. The terrain around the Bruinen is steep and rugged. I don't drop into the valley any more than I am. I am not making very good time, probably only a mile per hour. Eventually I come into a clearing about half a mile across. I change into my levis, hiking boots, and a T-shirt while I shove my waders and fishing boots into the daypack. I eat a sandwich as I scan the surrounding trees. Along this line of thinking I grab my binocs and methodically scan as deep into the woods, as I can. Having completed one pass I repeat the process.
On the third pass my patience is rewarded. I have found my visitor. It appears to be my elf archer. She is looking at me from twenty feet within the forest. I wave my hand, fifteen hundred feet away, "Hello my little elf friend, I see you". She reacts to my wave by melting into the forest. Wow, good eyesight! Well one mystery solved. I look up and search for the hawk. There it is, soaring above me. Yep that's him, jesses and all. "So little guy, you and the elf archer are a team eh? Well feel free to watch me all you want. I'm just going to do a little fishing and hiking."
I continue hiking along the side the Bruinen. The opportunities for fishing are limited. But I try my luck in some of the quiet pools in the generally noisy river. After two hours of fairly hard fishing I have only caught two fish, a 17" brown and a 10" brown. I select a spot where I can see a hundred yards in every direction and build a small fire. The fish taste excellent and quiet the rumblings of my stomach.
The food and sun have made me drowsy. I heat some water and make some instant coffee. Ah, now this makes life worth living. The wind begins to pick up, blowing downstream. I bank the coals as I finish the coffee. And wonder about the fate of the elves.
Perhaps all the elves didn't leave Middle Earth after the War of the Ring. I realize some left but maybe some decided to stay. That might explain why I could never find Rivendell using the Signal Generator. Magic lingers still, and the elves still inhabit Rivendell. No matter how hard I tried I could never locate the house of Elrond. The Sindar, Nandor, and the Silvan Elves never left Beleriand during the First Age. In fact they have wandered Middle Earth for three ages, why not a fourth? After shaking out the last of the dregs, and verifying the fire is out I continue north.
In the middle of the afternoon I find a nice stretch of water about half a mile long. Gorgeous water, but either it has been fished out or more likely it was the wrong time of the day to fish it. I bet late this afternoon or early this evening it would be excellent fishing. My thighs are starting to get sore with all the climbing that I am doing. Around 5:00 in the afternoon I see the sun reflecting off of something. Curious I pull out my binoculars.
The glint is about a mile distant where the two rivers come together. There is something moving down there, what I am not sure. Since it is on my way I decide to check it out. It takes me better part of an hour to get there but I top a small rise and there 100 yards away is a Warg. I scan the surrounding area for more, I see none. I draw my pistol and approach the beast.
It appears to be caught in a leg trap. I hate leg traps. The trap itself looks like stainless steel and is undoubtedly what was glinting in the sun. Upon closer examination the animal might actually be a wolf rather than a Warg. It is hard to tell, as this animal is smaller than the Wargs I encountered last time but it still looks strange when compared wolves I've seen before. As I draw closer, I cock the trigger. The animal draws back to the length of the chain. The animal appears quite healthy. It probably hasn't been in the trap long. The wolf is female and lactating.
The bitch must have cubs nearby. I aim the pistol preparing to put her out of her misery. She looks me in the eye, I sigh. I check to see how much damage has been done to her leg by the trap. Surprisingly her leg doesn't look that bad. "So girl if I try to let you loose you promise not to bite me?" She doesn't show any sign of aggression as I get closer. I keep the pistol cocked and ready just in case. I slowly approach and talk reassuringly, "Yes, you're a good girl. Everything is going to be all right." I take a step closer. She remains at a distance. She appears to be taking in my scent. I step on one set spring and then the other. The jaws fall open and she lopes away.
Breathing a sigh I say, "What no thanks?" The bitch pauses looks at me a good second or two. "You're welcome, now get home and take care of your brood". She then turns and in about five step disappears into the woods. I uncock my pistol and return it to the holster. I pull the stake and toss the trap into the river. I hate leg traps.
The surrounding area looks like a great place to fish. I quickly change and then get my fly in the water. I spend the next two and half hours fishing until nearly dark. I catch quite a few fish but save just enough for dinner. I light a fire along the bank and I cook my trout on a willow spit. When they are well done I drown the fire. I then collect my things and move about half a mile upwind. By flashlight I can't seem to find a pair of trees to string my hammock. So I resign myself to sleeping on the ground. I use my quarter inch nylon rope instead to set some trip lines around my camp. I saw that done in a movie once. I don't hold much hope that it will work but at least it is better than nothing. I change back into my levis, boots and T-shirt while stretch out. My back is stiff and my legs are tired. The wind is blowing and I feel a bit chilled. I dig out my Polartek pull over and stretch out once again.
After resting a bit I devour my trout. The moon is full and I don't even need my MagLite to see. I bury the bones and wipe my hands on my pants. As I look up I see the elven archer. Once again she has got the drop on me. I smile and say "Mellon". My elven archer says something I don't understand but is obviously pointing with a nocked arrow to the pistol under my left shoulder. I slowly slip out of the holster and set it and the pistol down, "Mellon, friend. Remember last time I saved you from that Orc? I am not your enemy. Why don't you put down your bow and let's talk?" She arches her left eyebrow when I talk, but her only response is to motion me away. She's cute, if it weren't for the bow I would asks her if she wants a cup of coffee. Instead I take a step or two away from her and the gun. She approaches the gun, she is about the pick it up when she obviously feels I am too close. She says something again and pokes me with the tip of her bow.
My body begins to move without conscious thought, Tai Jo Kokyu-Naga. I step to my left closer to her as I grab the bow with my right. She is surprised and grabs the bow with both hands as I step back towards her and grab the bow between her hands with my left. Taking advantage of her unbalanced posture I use my left and as the central point, and propel her forward with a semi-circular movement of the bow. I finish the throw by putting weight on top of the bow with a powerful thrust towards the earth. She flies through the air landing on her back. She lands relatively lightly and rolls to her feet. The bow is in my hands now.
She draws her dagger as I say, "Mellon! Friend! Take it easy now. Let's not hurt each other." I toss her bow behind me as far as I can. She appears upset. She is taller than I am by at least an inch, and she has reach on me, but I probably outweigh her. She advances with a long dagger held high, "Aha!". I receive the attack properly, allowing her cutting motion to continue while guiding it with my right hand, Yokomen-Uchi Kuzure Shiho-Nage (Tanto-Dori). Once again I take advantage of her unbalanced posture, grab her left wrist that is holding the dagger and execute Shiho-nage. Once again she falls on her back. I twist her wrist. The dagger falls to the ground. I kick it away and say, "Mellon! Mellon!" She grabs my right wrist with her left and is on her feet.
"God damn it, MELLON!" I extend her arm that has grabbed my wrist and begin Katate-Dori Shiho-Naga. She's strong. I turn the palm of her left hand downward, step in so that her hand is in front of my chest. I then seize her wrist with my free hand. As I feel her power diminishing I quickly step in with my rear foot and simultaneously bring up my arms and then pivot my body. Hold tightly I cut down. Locking in succession her wrist, elbow and shoulder I throw her once again. I continue to hold her left wrist as I minimize her impact with the ground. Still controlling her wrist I step over her and sit on her abdomen and pin her two arms with mine. I yell, "Mellon!"
I lock eyes with her and say in a gentle voice, "Mellon." Eyes aflame, she is struggles to no avail. I must outweigh her by 40 pounds. Smirking a bit I bend over and kiss her upon her lips. Drawing back I smile and say, "Mellon. I am a friend. I am not your enemy." She appears confused and shocked. She says something I can't understand. She is really cute. I can't help myself, "I'm a lover not a fighter." I shift my weight and release her wrists, "Mellon? Now I am going to let you up, ok?" I stand up and immediately regret it as her shin comes up right between my legs.
I crumple on the ground to her right. She rolls to the left. I roll to the right. She is on her feet with dagger in hand. Still trying to breath I only get to my knees. She repeats something she said before, it sounds like "ngaurhoth". She says something else. I get to my feet as I say, "I don't understand." She looks at me, then at the gun that is almost at my feet and dashes into the trees. "Wait," I call after her, "What about that cup of coffee?" I take a deep breath and then yell, "namaarie!"
I walk back to where I tossed the bow. Nice workmanship. I pull it back. It is heavy about 80 pounds. It stacks at around a 30" draw. I unstring and leave the bow in the middle of my camp. "Now what?" She has probably left to get reinforcements. Wonderful! I decide to make it as difficult for them as I can. I quickly collect my things. I walk towards the sound of the river. The light of the moon makes it relatively easy to see where I am going. I don't use my MagLite. After walking for half an hour I parallel the river for another half an hour. I then very carefully enter the woods. I find a very dense section, climb a tree with agreeable limbs and tie myself in. I use a slip knot just in case. I lay awake for about an hour listening for sounds out of the ordinary. I don't remember when I fell asleep.