Author Notes: I do know that English is not Westron which is the common tongue of Middle Earth; however I have chosen to use it in this story. Also, in what I believe is a departure from canon; I assume that Aragorn and Legolas have a long standing friendship that goes back before the formation of the Fellowship.
Aragorn was the first to notice the strange clumps in the small clearing ahead on the path they were following. He motioned everyone to stop as he pulled his sword from its sheath. Boromir quickly pulled out his sword as well and Legolas set an arrow to his bowstring in readiness to whatever Aragorn had seen. While Aragorn could not tell what was in the clearing in the darkening twilight, something felt wrong about them. He scanned the surrounding area quickly, taking in the trees and bushes that surrounded the open area ahead, noting that it was the perfect place for an ambush. But the forest itself sounded normal with the sounds of birds and crickets and there was no sense of danger other than those mysterious heaps on the ground. He made up his mind.
“Legolas. Boromir.” Aragorn called quietly, motioning them forward. They quickly and quietly moved up alongside of him.
“What are those things?” asked Boromir, while Legolas looked intently at the objects.
“Aragorn, those are people lying there. Dead or hurt, I cannot tell,” Legolas said.
“People? Are you sure?”
Legolas gave his friend a brief, amused smile. “Yes, Aragorn, I am quite sure. My eyes can see quite well from here.”
Aragorn nodded, smiling faintly in return. “All right. Legolas, you slip around to the far side of the clearing on the right and see if you can find anything. I will look on the left side. Boromir, you stay here and watch over the others. If it is clear we will check the people.” He glanced at the others and they nodded in understanding.
Legolas and Aragorn slipped off into the bushes without a sound. Aragorn moved slowly and carefully as he made his way around the clearing but found no tracks or signs of anything before he met up with Legolas on the far side of the clearing. “Anything?”
“No. There was not a single track or broken branch on my side,” Legolas replied. “Yours?”
Aragorn shook his head, puzzled, as they crept into the clearing and approached the bodies lying on the ground.
Legolas knelt down by the first body and softly touched the neck, feeling for a pulse. “He is alive, Aragorn!” he called. “Though, he seems to be sorely hurt.”
Aragorn nodded and pulled back the strange cloak on the second person and also checked for a pulse. “He...no, it is a girl, is also alive. These clothes are strange,” he added absently. “Boromir!” He looked over to the edge of the woods where the rest of the Fellowship was standing and looking on curiously. “We will set up camp for the night in those trees.” Aragorn gestured to a well protected stand of trees on his left. “We will need a small fire. These people are wounded and I need to tend to them. No, Pippin you go and help set up camp” he added with a slight frown.
Pippin, who had started eagerly walking toward Aragorn and Legolas, turned away with a disappointed look on his face. Merry put his arm around his shoulder and said, “Don’t worry, Pip, we’ll get to have a nice hot supper tonight and I’m sure we’ll have time to talk to them later.”
As Legolas started to carefully lift up the brown-haired boy, he looked over at Aragorn with a confused expression. “Aragorn, where did they come from and how did they get here? These are strange clothes and there is no sign of how they got into this clearing.”
Aragorn looked at his friend and shrugged. “I know not. Only they can give us the answers.” He picked up the blonde headed girl and they walked up to the camp where they laid them down close to the fire that Gimli had started. As he set her down, Pippin and Merry both started pestering him with questions. Finally, Aragorn held up his hand to stop them. “I do not have any answers for you right now. I need hot water to tend to their wounds and Sam can cook you a hot meal, which should make you happy as you have been asking for one for several days now. Gandalf, I need your help.”
As the others returned to setting up camp and Legolas went to keep watch, Gandalf knelt down next to the boy and girl, looking at them closely. As Aragorn sorted through his pouch of herbs, and healing supplies, they talked quietly. “They wear strange clothes, Aragorn, and look at their hair.” Aragorn glanced at it, noticing how short it was on both the boy and the girl.
“It is very short, Gandalf. How old do you think they are?”
“Not old, younger than twenty, I would think.”
Aragorn nodded in agreement and indicated that he was ready to begin. Gandalf helped him gently remove the strange, yet thick and heavy cloaks they were wearing. They looked them over carefully trying to find all of their various injuries. It was quite odd. They were wounded on opposite sides of their bodies, the boy on the right and the girl on the left. They both had large bumps and bruises on their upper foreheads, which was the most obvious cause of their unconscious state. The boy had two long cuts on the right side of his cheek near his ear; a deep gash on his right shoulder that would need stitches; and many cuts and scratches on the right side of his chest, stomach and upper legs. The girl was little better, she had fewer cuts, the worst being one on her chin, but her left wrist was either sprained or broken.
“What do you want me to do?” Gandalf questioned quietly.
“When we get the water, you can help clean the wounds, but mostly I...”
“Here’s the water, Aragorn!” Pippin interrupted loudly. He walked quickly over, almost spilling the water in his haste. Aragorn carefully took the pot of water and set it down while Pippin started asking questions once again.
“How are they doing? Have they said anything yet?”
“Pippin! Leave Aragorn and Gandalf alone!” Merry scolded as he came over and grabbed Pippin by his arm and dragged him back to the other side of the fire.
Aragorn shook his head and smiled fondly before turning back to his patients. He took some athelas leaves from his healing supplies and blew on them before crushing the leaves and adding them to the hot water. He breathed in the steam deeply before setting the bowl between the two young people and handing Gandalf some clean cloths. “You clean her wounds and I will do his. Then I will stitch the ones that need it and wrap her wrist. Then it is just giving them time to wake up.” They worked silently for many minutes cleaning each cut and scratch thoroughly to minimize the risk of infection.
Finally, Gandalf broke the silence. “Where did they come from?” he mused softly as if to himself. “There are no villages for hundreds of miles and I have never seen clothes like these. Aragorn?”
“Were there any signs around where you found them? Of other people? Horses? Anything?”
“No, we did not find anything. They have no packs… no supplies… he does not even carry a knife or other weapon,” Aragorn gestured to the boy’s belt which was bare of any type of sheath that might have held a knife, “and nothing else was in that clearing. It is strange. Legolas!”
Legolas climbed down swiftly from the tree where he had been on watch and walked over and crouched down next to Aragorn and Gandalf. The rest of the Fellowship looked up and listened to the quiet conversation between the three of them.
Aragorn finished stitching the last wound on the boy’s shoulder and swiftly bandaged it with experienced hands. Finally, he asked, “Did you notice anything unusual when we found them?”
“Do you mean more unusual than finding two mortals lying wounded and unconscious in a clearing in the middle of nowhere?” Legolas asked with amusement before his expression sobered and a thoughtful look came into his blue eyes. “It was all unusual, there are no tracks leading into that clearing except for ours. I went back and searched again. It is almost as if...” he hesitated.
“Yes, go on,” Gandalf prompted him.
“It is as if they dropped from the sky and just landed in the middle of the clearing,” he said finally.
“From the sky!” snorted Gimli with disdain.
“You cannot be serious!” said Boromir.
“How wonderful!” Pippin cried.
All three voices broke out at the same time while Merry, Frodo and Sam just looked at each other. Legolas shrugged and looked away not saying anything else.
Aragorn ignored the reaction as he started to wrap the girl’s wrist which was, in fact, broken. As he wrapped the cloth around the arrow shafts he was using for splints, he glanced at Gandalf and shook his head. “If this noise does not wake them, nothing will.”
Gandalf smiled faintly and looked around at the others who were still hotly discussing the possibility of someone falling from the sky. He loudly cleared his throat to call attention to himself. “I suggest we all get some sleep. This mystery cannot be solved until one or both of them awake. Now, who has the watch tonight?”
After some quiet grumbling and whispering among the hobbits, the camp was soon silent. All were asleep, except for Boromir, who had the first watch, and Gandalf who sat near the boy and girl puffing on his pipe, lost in thought.