A Cold Heart Warmed: Part X
by Pharassero

The Fellowship woke very early the next morning, and were preparing to walk to Edoras on foot when Gandalf stood and whistled loudly. Suddenly the hoofbeats of several horses could be heard heading in their direction, one well in front of the others. Legolas with his far-seeing eyes, the first to spot the approaching animals.

"There is Hasufel, and Arod with him," he cried in excitement.

The first horse to arrive however was Gandalf's horse Shadowfax. Kalay mounted her horse, as everyone else took to theirs, with the exception of Gimli who rode a bit unwillingly with Gandalf. They rode swiftly for most of the day and through the night, arriving at Edoras in the early morning. They were not greeted as kindly as they had hoped and only after a bit of tenseness were they allowed to pass. Coming to a second set of gates, they were commanded to set aside their weapons. All were at first unwilling to go unarmed, but were quickly soothed by words from Gandalf and Hama the doorman. Once all the weapons were placed by the door, save Gandalf's staff they were permitted to enter the hall.

Upon a throne, sat the Lord of the Mark, Theoden. He was wizened, and appeared unable to stand on his own, a distrustworthy looking figure loomed at his feet. A rather attractive woman stood dressed in white behind the throne, she watched the company with marked curosity and Aragorn in particular.

Kalay was looking around a bit nervously and not really paying attention to the conversation between the King, his servant and Gandalf, but she snapped to attention when the servant fell to his face on the floor. He lay there as the King slowly stood and years drained from his face making him appear younger and stronger. Coming down the steps he and Gandalf walked back down the hall and out onto the steps, the company followed at a distance behind. Gandalf sat down on the steps above the King and began his tale, when he had finnished he whispered something that only the King would hear and they both stood. He announced that he would give each of them a gift and would also ride with the Mark as soon as they had eaten. Gandalf requested Shadowfax, the others recieved their horse as gifts as well as armor.

Kalay already having a horse which to ride was fitted with armor only, which because of both her stature and her figure was almost as difficult as fitting Gimli would have been. She managed however with mail made for a younger man as well as metal arm braces.

They finnished their meal and prepared for departure, the kings servant having refused to accompany the Lord on his way to battle and the King having refused to allow him even temporary rule over his people had set him off on his own way. Before leaving the king turned once more to his people, the woman and children who were staying and the men who would follow him. He asked for a volunteer to lead them in his absense and to continue on should he not return. Hama, the doorman, knew the one person who should, Eowyn, Lord Theoden's neice. All agreed and she was left in charge of those who stayed and would remain so should the king fail to return. With tearful goodbyes from the women, The Mark, led by their lord set off with the Fellowship in tow for Helm's Deep. they travelled for five hours before they were forced to stop and make camp, posting mounted sentries all around.

Kalay, naturally being the only woman there felt uncomfortable around all of the men and therefore ventured out only if absolulty necessary. She was out on one such excursion when a young man approched her from behind and spoke, "Well, well what have we here? You're awfully pretty to be a man, or even a boy." He leered menacingly at her, but to his surprise she simply turned and gave him an uncorcerned stare.

"It is none of your buisness why I am here other than to aid your Lord. As for me not looking much like a man or boy, I should hope not."

He didn't like her tone and moved forward quickly pinning her against a tree, "A mere girl is more like it. You should keep a civil tounge to your betters," he growled at her.

Her head spun a bit from hitting the tree, but she knew her legs were free and gave him a kick to the groin, bending him forward and releasing her. She then swung him around and pinned him to the tree with her bootknife to his throat.

"I do keep a civil tounge to my betters, but not to trash like you," a cold light flared in her eyes as the man swallowed hard.

He looked passed her only a moment before a soft, firm hand touched her shoulder, "You can let him go now, I think he has learned his lesson," Legolas' voice spoke in her ears.

She let the man down slowly and watched him as he painfully walked away.

She turned and leaned against the tree he had forced her against only moments before, her eyes downcast. "I'm sorry for my rash actions, I do hope I haven't caused too much trouble," she said quietly.

She heard Legolas' soft laughter and looked up at him, "I don't think discouraging the advances of one rather rude young man is going to get Lord Theoden to cast aside our aid."

She frowned at him, giving him a look clearly letting him know she didn't think it was too funny. He put his arm around her and drew her close, smelling in her hair the dust from the days ride.

"You are more different than any other person I have known, and also more dear to me."

He smiled down at her as she looked up at him in surprise, "Why? I'm rather short, and plain. I also keep my hair very short which doesn't usually appeal to elves, or even most Men. I don't have far-seeing eyes, I have to carry a crossbow rather than a bow as you do. I am not special, I will agree I am different."

She stared for long moments into his deep blue gaze, and their long friendship together came back to her. She wondered when it had become more than friendship, and did she feel the same way about him. Kalay shook her head to break eye contact and looked at the ground again, or at least she looked down, all she could see was Legolas' chest he was holding her so close. He slid sidways and removed one arm from her, letting the other remain as he guided her back to their camp. When they sat down, they were greeted by many odd looks from their company.

Aragorn was the first to address the rumor's now spreading about the camp, "Kalay, did you truly attack one of the Mark?"

Taken aback by his question she could say nothing at first, only stare at him, "No...not un-provoked anyway. It is more like he attacked me first and I simply defended myself."

She looked down quickly and then back up at the others when legolas piped in, "Just because she is a better fighter doesn't mean he has to spread an ugly rumor about Kalay around camp."

All laughed at this and relaxed, Kalay most visibly. She was worn from the long miles of travel with few stops of mors than just enough hours to catch a bit of sleep. Legloas really looked at her for the first time since her return and noticed darkning under her eyes, he placed a blanket around her shoulders and pulled her down until her head rested comfortably in his lap. She stared up at him as the others slowly nodded off themselves, and smiled. He returned her smile and began to gently rub his hand across her forehead, lulling her to dreams.

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