The kitchens were large and full of strong scented foods. Haldir was close, although it was not easy to recognize him. His own feet had fused, grown coat, and a small muzzle protruded on his face. He turned away from Eomer and I and went to a separate area. I wanted to talk with him, rub his back, take fault for his emptiness, but wouldn’t let me close. Eomer wrapped his arm around me and motioned for food to be brought over. I picked at it, not really hungry as my mind was on Haldir too much. It hurt to see him so saddened and hiding.
“You must eat. None of your strength will come back otherwise,” Eomer said, shoving over a dish of apples. I glanced at him, and he saw the sad look in my eye about Haldir and hugged me closer. “It’s alright…Shh. Don’t worry about it for hopefully in the morning Haldir as well will be returning to normal.” I nodded slowly, trying to take it all in at once.
“But what if it’s too late? What if he’s stabilized?” I wanted to know. Eomer sighed. “Only time will tell. Tonight I will leave you in the hands of another, Aragorn if you will, while I am with Haldir. Do not fear Aragorn for he is here on a visit and will not harm you.”
I gave him a weak smile, and then went back to trying to eat. From time to time Haldir would glance over with those dispirited eyes, but quickly turn away. It made me ache, no matter what Eomer had said. Something did not feel right, and continued to stay like that even while Eomer escorted me around the palace. Night came quickly and I was sent to Aragorn. I saw Eomer tenderly showing Haldir to the small room.
“It’s you!” I gasped as I entered the chambers. “The man who caught me at Lorien!”
He smiled sheepishly, “Yes, that’s true. I followed you and Haldir here incase of trouble or both of you changed throughout. I thought for sure after the two of you lied together, you would be done for since the intensity of the contact as well as being different genders…” he looked down. “Haldir changed more today while you did not see him. His hair is started migrating down the middle of his head and neck to resemble that of a mane. His coat is grown entirely, eyes changed and bones starting to reform. Eomer may be too late to help him now. Only time will tell. And that is the same for you.”
I started to faint and darkness over took me quickly as I heard this. Aragorn must have caught and placed me on the bed for I woke hours later, feeling the naked man next to me. His body was not that of Haldir’s pristine feeling or Eomer’s rugged built, but he held me close, even in his sleep. I moved a hand around my lower abdomen and found that I was still slowly returning to female. Gently uncoiling his arm around me, I stepped off the bed, fetched a nearby cloak, and moved softly through the halls. From a nearby chamber, I heard the low voices of Eomer and Haldir.
“…She will never be the same then?” came Haldir’s soft voice.
“She was far gone. For the entire night I believed that I would not have been any help. Ahearna is lucky even to be returning to female. As for the rest of her, I cannot tell,” sighed Eomer.
“What of myself?” the horse-Elf whispered.
“I do not know. You were even further gone than Ahearna when given to me, and was sped up by the side effects of the fountain. The only thing for certain is that you can expect to be going back to male…Uh, stallion in your case,” the man said quietly.
I was stunned. To find out all of this suddenly was nerve-racking. Fleeing the room, I ran through the carpeted hall past a mirror and stopped dead at the sight. I was more horse than human. Tears flowed down my furry muzzle as I sat there, kicking my hooves helplessly at the wall. A footstep came a moment later.
“Lord Celeborn knew, did he not? Yourself as well?” I asked Haldir, sensing him behind me. He placed a comforting hand on my back and sat down next to me. The sight of him brought tears back to my eyes. There was no trace of Elf left in him, save for his hands, ability to walk, and speech.
He sighed. “He did, but not as much as you think. I must be blamed for that since I slept with you coming here to Rohan. Had I not, you’d be returning to normal even as we speak. But I am getting punished though, for I cannot be turned back by any means that the Rohirrim posses. Luckily for you, at least you basic composition is human…” he trailed off, flexing his newly reformed legs towards me.
“Is there nothing we can do?” I asked, choking back the words through growing sobs. He muzzle found its way under min and he started to softly rub my neck.
“There may be, but it could be dangerous to travel there.”
“But we must try it!” my voice cracking, “One more night and you’ll be done for!” I cried, running my fingers through his silky mane. He did the same to my trashing tail, trying to calm me down.
“Eomer believes that no more changing should happen to use besides the gender switch…” He smiled slowly. “And it looks like you’re going to be back there soon.”
He took my hand and led me to an empty chamber with a small bed inside. I climbed on it, pulling his body on as well. It was a cold night, forcing us under the blanket for warmth. He hugged me tight while I ran my fingers over his soft haired body, coming to his pelvic region. A smile escaped my lips as I felt a familiar growth from after our first night, forming on him. He knew it as well, and had me take him once more before we both were completed with the changes. I slid my body from him, finding now that it was the catalyst to switch me back to female entirely. Haldir was resting now, most likely unconscious at the moment, and I reached out to touch him, his growing manhood.
“So much like a stallion now. Only the hands and speech separate Elf from beast,” I whispered sadly, crying myself to sleep.
The morning came; my eyes fluttered open and immediately went to look for Haldir. He wasn’t on the bed besides me, nor could I find him in the room. I ran frantically through the halls, but stumbled from lack of experience with hooves on hard surfaces and was caught by the strong arm of Eomer.
“Now where are you off to in such a hurry, my fine young filly?” He jested, trying to lighten the mood.
“Haldir. He’s missing,” I said, trying not to panic. Eomer stroked his chin. “Yes, he was not with me earlier today as well. I thought him to go out in the night, and I guess I was correct. He found you and Aragorn then?”
I shook my head. “No, I left the room in the middle of the night as well. Haldir found me after I accidentally heard the conversation you were having last night.”
“I see.” He patted my shoulder. “I’m sorry you had to find out that way. It was a difficult situation and did not want to tell you wrongly before I knew if it helped or not.” I hugged him tightly, and his hands found their way to my furry ears, rubbing them. “Come on now. We must find Haldir for you.”
At the same moment, a young stable hand came up. “My Lord Eomer? You are needed at the stables. A situation has arisen which requires your immediate attention.”
Eomer sighed and let me go. “Very well then. Ahearna, you are welcome to stay here while I tend to this matter.”
“No. I’ll come with you.”
He nodded and took my hand to guide me. The stables were enormous, filled with almost any type of horse imaginable. The boy scurried over again and led the way.
“That’s Haldir!” I cried out shrilly, and then buried my face into Eomer’s chest as I saw what the golden haired horse was doing. Haldir had changed entirely to stallion during the night, instincts and all. “Get him off of her!” I pleaded, tears running down my face as Eomer stopped me from collapsing. The men scattered about carrying long whips and attempted to make Haldir leave the mare. He finally relented after a few minutes of being stung with the whips and chased one of the men down. I broke away from Eomer’s hold and ran towards the horse. He glanced at me, and for a moment I thought he remembered, but I was no more than another mare in his eyes. I wrapped my arms around his strong neck, sobbing. He shrugged me off and turned back to a green pasture. Eomer came up from behind and gave me a squeeze.
“I was hoping it would not come to this, but he needs Elvish medicine, more than what Lord Celeborn and Lady Galadriel posses. He must be taken to the house of Elrond. And soon.”
“But I do not know the way,” I protested.
Eomer smiled slightly. “There are others that do,” He saw my distraught face, “and I’ll take you there myself. But first…” he grabbed a bridle from a stable hand, snuck up on Haldir and forced it onto the horse’s head. Haldir snorted angrily at Eomer, trying to bite and kick him.
“Put him in the stables, and see to it that he’s fed and properly shod. We’ll come for him tomorrow,” he ordered, leading me away. “We must make haste and prepare for the journey. Provisions will be needed as well as transportation. And I don’t think Haldir would make a suitable mount for you at the moment.”
“I know,” I said softly, clinging to his arm. We went back into the palace for breakfast and packing. For a while I got my things ready to go and then went down to the stables. Haldir was snorting in his stall, trying to bite a random stable hand. I walked over nervously, placing a hand on his large head. He quieted a bit and I entered his stall. His eyes lighted up with excitement as I realized that I was emitting the same scent as a normal mare. His mammoth organ dangled beneath him, waiting for me. I became scared, wanting to leave in fear of him. I ran for the door, but he trapped me and pushed me onto all fours. I felt him drive into me, stiffening and I groaned as he finished his work. He dismounted and I ran out of the stables crying. Eomer came over and placed his arm around me and knew everything just from looking into my eyes.
“I thought he was going to kill me with that thing,” I cried, blood running down my furry grey legs.
“He could’ve. You’re lucky you were changed there as well into a mare or you most certainly could’ve died,” he said, trying to comfort me, running his fingers through my long silky tail hairs. There was a spring nearby and he had me wash up a bit, catching sight of my hair rearranging itself onto the back of my neck. I stifled a cry and guessed my legs would be next.
“We must be going sooner than I had hoped. With Haldir covering you, I’m not sure how much more you’re going to change. Hurry and get your things. We must be off now.”
I went quickly to fetch my gear and met Eomer back at the stables. He already had Tahli and Haldir packed with stuff and ready to go. He motioned for me to climb up on Tahli’s back while he attempted to ride Haldir. The golden horse threw a fit and tried to dislodge the man, but failed. Soon we were off, leaving yet another beautiful place.
Night came soon and we stopped for the time being, tying up the two horses and made camp. I slept with Eomer that night, feeling my legs reforming while I was in his arms. He reached out to touch them slowly, feeling that the change really happened. From that moment, I became scared knowing what had happened to Haldir next. Eomer whispered something softly, then gradually gaining strength in a language unknown to me. I saw the distress on his face as he continued the chant, losing the color in his body. He shouted a few last words of the foreign language and fell down in a heap. I ran to him, trying to get him to wake up but he wouldn’t. He had a pulse, but I was scared. I dragged him over to a bed of leaves, belatedly realizing my legs were like they were before Haldir had covered me. I nestled next to him and fell asleep.
“About time you woke up,” he jested as my eyes fluttered open and spotted his mischievous smile. “Come on now. Time for breakfast!” and tossed over some Lembas bread with water.
“But…how…who...You passed out last night! I thought you weren’t going to make it!”
His gentle smile came again. “The enchantment drained me of all strength to keep you from becoming the next phase in the transformation. I myself cannot do this again until my strength is recovered. It would be dangerous and potentially life threatening if I tried it again soon. With your legs able to ride, I’d suggest we make haste and run for Rivendell.”
He packed up our gear, got the horses, and we were off again. The ride was tiring as well as hard on me since my present form was not meant to be on the back of a horse. My hooves kept slipping from the stirrups and my tail would get in between the saddle and I and cause some pain. I was thankful though that I had not the sheath when riding this time. Paranoid, I moved my hand to the area to check and make sure it hadn’t returned. Luckily, it hadn’t and we continued racing over the trails, coming to an endless forest in midday. Tahli was getting tired and Haldir almost even seemed to have broken a sweat.
“How far is it to Rivendell?” I questioned, popping an apple into my mouth.
“I believe it is almost twice the distance from Lorien to Rohan so I’d estimate we’re going to be on the trails for another 8-9 days, maybe a day or two less if we hurry.”
I saw Haldir sniffing Tahli, fully extended again and pranced about. “I think perhaps it would be wise to move quickly before too much time passes with him like such…”
“That is the idea. Hurry along with anything you need to do for we must leave now.”
I rushed down to the river to clean off a bit, detangling my tail, getting the mud off my black hooves. There was a sight that caught my attention and almost made me cry, but I threw on my cloak back on and rushed back. The horses were tacked and ready to move out by the time I arrived. We broke into a run, covering many miles before stopping as the night fell. Our camp set up, horses fed, fire blazing, Eomer came over to me and sat down. His hands moved around my back and he played with my tail a bit. There was a hungry look in his eyes, but I turned my head, saddened. It startled him, wanting to know what was wrong, but I fell into the darkness of slumber.
He moved silently the next morning working swiftly to pack our gear. He gave me a few apples and then mounted Haldir, motioning me to do the same on Tahli. As the norm now, we rode swiftly, taking only momentary breaks. At one point, Eomer slowed us down, curiously looking at Tahli.
“Curious. It almost seems like there is another stallion around with the way she’s acting,” he commented and kicked an angry Haldir back into a run. We had camp some hours later; once again I turned Eomer away from we as he came near me, hugging the cloak tightly against my body. His eyes were sad and pained now, but he left me alone.
The next day started out normal enough, traveling over the plains quickly until Eomer stopped us in mid afternoon.
“Something is definitely not right here. Haldir is even more edgy than he normally is, and Tahli,” he shook his head, “she’s dancing around like a mare in heat with her choice of the stallions.”
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