A New Shadow - Chapter Two
Legolas had to admit, Tathiel's great strength lay in her ability to pick up on things very quickly. Aragorn had taught her enough swordsmanship to protect herself, though it had not come as swift as she would have liked, inheriting her mothers weakness for sometimes being impatient. There were many cuts and tears before she'd reached her goal. Now they were camping by a small lake. Tathiel was sitting humming a long lost Elven song to herself, immersed in the images of stars and mallorn leaves that floated upon the water, when she thought she heard a small splash coming from the lake.
"Can I check something?" she asked.
"Yes," said Legolas. "But don't stumble and fall in the lake! Only the Valar know what would happen if you did that! Make sure you don't stray too near."
She stood and made her way to the water, choosing to ignore the last piece of advice. The normally mirror-flat water had slight ripples on the surface. She crawled to the edge, and peered in, and as she did, she could not swear to it, but she thought that she saw something moving deep below.
"Tathiel! I told you to stay away from the water!" Legolas called over.
"Alright, alright, I'm coming!" she called back. She took one last glance at the water. It still seemed that there was something... something under there. She sighed and stood.
"Probably just an underwater plant," she thought. She turned to return to the group, but as she did...
The three friends weren't looking, but the scream that rang shrilly through the night air was unmistakable. Legolas' glance shot over to where his sister was standing, and panic gripped him when he saw a long slimy tendril coming from the water, wrapped around Tathiel's ankle. He shot up and ran, leaving his weapons on the small blanket that he'd laid them on.
"Help! Help!" cried Tathiel, as the beast began to drag her in. She clawed at the dirt, hoping to get a grip at something. She screamed again, then looked up as Legolas grabbed her arm.
"Don't let me go, please, don't let go!" she pleaded. Aragorn and Gimli were panicking also. It reminded them much of the Watcher in the Water at Moria, but this time they couldn't do anything to get Tathiel away because the risk of hitting one of the Elves was far too great.
"Don't let go!" screamed Tathiel again. Legolas pulled as hard as he could, but the monster pulled harder, and there was a shout from both the Elves as they both toppled into the lake.
It took Tathiel no time at all to realize that she was underwater. It was icy cold, and the bubbles of air whipping around her face were blurring her vision. She felt the long slimy tendril snake its way further and further up her body, until it was wrapping around her neck. She was terrified. She struggled to try and free herself, and managed to get an arm loose. Legolas on the other hand was having troubles of his own. The monster had more than one tentacle, in fact, it had hundreds, and he felt them curling around his arm, his legs, everywhere. He wriggled, and the beast's grip slipped, but now the slippery creature concentrated more around his ankles, winding around, pulling him down. It was then he saw Tathiel. He reached out to grab her, and caught the fabric of her sleeve. He could see her eyes; they were wide and full of fear. Tathiel's lungs were burning; she needed air. It was then that Legolas felt something pull his free arm; it was Aragorn and Gimli, trying to fish them out. They pulled their friends arm up. Under the water, Legolas still had a grip of Tathiel's sleeve, trying to pull her up as well. If he didn't do something, they'd both drown, but then strong arms pulled him upwards, Tathiel's sleeve ripped, and as he was dragged up to safety, she sank down into the darkness.
Aragorn pulled Legolas onto the bank. He coughed for a second, and then realized what had happened. The same rush of blind panic took him over, and he ran towards the edge again.
"Tathiel! TATHIEL!" he called, but Gimli pulled him back.
"Don't you dare go in there again! Don't you dare!" he ordered. Legolas looked at him.
"You don't understand," he said, frantically. "You would never understand." He gazed back at the water, hoping, just hoping that somehow Tathiel would get free, and she'd come back... but no change did the surface take.
"I promised to look after her, I promised! And now she's gone..." he said, and he blinked and salty tears mixed with the ice cold water that dripped down his face, but his friends didn't notice them.
"I had hoped never to break a promise." he said. "But I just have. And it was probably the most important one I ever made." And with those words he slowly walked away from them. Aragorn looked at his friend with pity.
"Elves know so little about death," he said quietly to Gimli. "And yet, they know so much pain and sorrow, you'd think they would understand." he finished, as Legolas sat in the corner and held his head in his hands as the true scale of the encounter set in.
"There is still hope," said Gimli. "We can't be sure if the youngster is definitely dead." And Aragorn looked out to the lake, and prayed that hope remained...