~Leaves of gold~ - Chapter 2

Lykawyn groaned in her sleep. She could feel the unnatural heat all around her in the room. Her beautiful blonde hair was sticking on her sweaty forehead. Then, she became aware of a smell: a smell as if something was burning. She opened her eyes reluctantly but seeing nothing but the utter darkness of a starless night, she closed them and sank into sleep again.

However, not much time had passed, when the smell of smoke became stronger. Now, it was difficult for her even to breathe. She woke up again, terrified, but this time she saw from the small window of her bedroom, that the houses of their neighbours were aflame.

The flames were licking the wooden houses mercilessly but what terrified Lykawyn most was the fact that from the door of her very room thick smoke was getting inside. Choking into a sudden cough she dashed out not minding that she was dressed only in her nightdress.

"Lykawyn! Thank goodness you are all right!" she heard the cry of her foster mother.

"What's going..." Lykawyn was given no time to finish her question. Her mother grabbed her hand and they both ran out of the house that-as Lykawyn noticed-it was also in flames.

She froze. She wanted to scream but hadn't the strength. Feorian was still running, seeking a place that they would be safe. When she paused, out of breath as she was, Lykawyn asked, while tears were rolling down her cheeks.

"What is going on, mum?" Where is daddy?"

Feorian turned and looked at her. The red flames around them reflected on her her dark eyes. When she spoke, her voice was trembling like a person's who can barely hold themselves from panicking. "Orcs are attacking and they have set our village on fire. I don't know where is dad. I have lost him. I just hope he is safe."

Before Lykawyn could understand fully those words, a group of Orcs shouting and cursing in Black Speech, blood trickling from their curved daggers, appeared in a corner.

"Come on! Run!" Feorian shouted.

Lykawyn obeyed. While running, she could see around her orcs, many orcs that were killing or taking captives on their wake. She was too frightened to run anymore but the worst came when she witnessed a person she knew, being killed. She screamed and fell on her knees.

"I cannot go further." she cried.

Her mother looked at her thoughtfully, with grief, while tears were filling her eyes. "Come on!" she said softly "Just to get out of the village and then, we will be safe."

However they were not so lucky. Five orcs were running after them. Feorian felt that it would be difficult for them to escape. "Run away, Lykawyn!" she shouted "I will try to delay them". She drew a dagger that was hidden under her coat and which Lykawyn had never seen again. The orcs laughed. That female would not be able to fight them at all.

"You won't harm my mother!" Lykawyn shouted desperately. She went forward and kicked an orc that was moving towards Feorian. The orc cursed and kicked Lykawyn so hard that she hit her head against a nearby wall and fainted.

Just before losing consciousness she heard vaguely, as if from a great distance, Feorian crying: "Lykawyn! My beloved child!"

These were the last words she ever heard from her...

* * *

When Lykawyn came round she could not at first recognise the place where she was. Only when she noticed that she had had a nasty knock on the head and was bleeding, did she remember. The orcs have gone away. There was no sign of her parents, as well. Only that dagger remained laying near her. She picked it up with respect and tears filled her eyes. However, it was not time for crying, yet. The village was still in flames and if she would stay longer , she would be in danger.

She got up, her feet trembling and ran as fast as she could until she reached the first trees of the Great Forest. Yet, she did not dare stop. The fire had spread to the woods, burning many of the perennial trees of Mirkwood.

Lykawyn ran until she was too exhausted to go further. She stumbled on a tree's root, she fell but made no effort to get up. And there she wept...Wept for everything that was lost: for her village, for her home, for the only family she had ever known...

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