Disgrace - Chapter 14
Beron woke the next morning, his head still cradled on Brunwen's lap. She had not moved all night, her mind wandering a few times into the strange elvish dreams. Beron sat up slowly, his head still aching. He turned slightly and looked at Brunwen.
"- Are you better?
- My head is sore. How long have I slept?
- It's early dawn. The sun rose but a quarter of an hour ago. Eat and we must go on.
- Are you going to eat?
- Only once today... In the evening... Eat."
Beron hurriedly ate a hunk of bread and drank a little water. Brunwen stood up and walked around little while she waited. They were going again in a few minutes and walked non-stop for the next few hours.
The pair made it more than three-quarters of the way to the forest path by noon. But as they walked, across the forest, Thranduil was preparing to put his two most trusted generals on trial for treason.
The two generals stood tall and silent, their arms bound tightly behind them. Two guards stood by each one and Gaelen stood to a side with Bernl. Bernl was drunk, however the whole circumstance were sobering him up fairly quickly. The King sat on his throne, the prisoners facing him. The room was devoid of people and so the words spoken by the King echoed off the high walls.
"- You stand accused of treason. I have much evidence against you. There are all the elven soldiers in the cellar and the word of Gaelen and of Bernl. I will hear the words of Gaelen against you."
Gaelen stepped forward and not looking at the two he was accusing, recounted how he had overheard of their plots. He concluded with an explanation of the capture of the two generals. Thranduil nodded in acknowledgement and he stepped back.
"- Do you have any defence against this?"
Soros tried to step forward but was stopped by the guards. So he made his reply from where he stood.
"- We have been your trusted generals for many years. We have served loyally for longer than Gaelen has been alive. He is the only one who speaks against us. Could he not be the traitor who opened the door on the Moriquendi?"
Brunwen and Beron reached the forest path by sundown. They rested by the entrance. The sun rose but the tall forest hid the sun. The light though glimmered and lit the sky. They stepped into the semi darkness of Mirkwood.
Brunwen's sword was in her hand again. She looked furtively around as they walked. She knew that it would take a week or more for them to get to the King. By then, the battle, the threat would be gone and Thranduil's realm would be gone. They had to go faster and pay no heed to the darkness or to lack of food or water.
Beron walked behind her, eating his breakfast as he walked. They would take a break at night only. The day was for marching.
They hardly noticed the sun through the dense canopy of Mirkwood and a strange silence had enveloped the forest. Brunwen stood still for a moment, listening. Her eyes widened for a moment as her mind probed the green darkness ahead. Beron sensed a weight on his mind but her power was being directed elsewhere... Forward and towards her father...
Thranduil did not hear Soros' last sentence. A strange chilling voice was echoing in his mind.
- Father... Father... Can you hear me...
The whispered voice echoed a little and then repeated the phrase again slowly. The King hesitated and then thinking hard, spoke his answer in his mind. Around him, the other elves were staring at his shocked face.
- I can hear... Who is it?
- It is Brunwen...
The King suddenly realised that he'd spoken aloud. The others looked at him in growing worry or in Soros' and Mornuil's case in disgust. He closed his eyes and suddenly the voice entered his mind again.
- Father, you must send horses down the forest path. I must reach your palace before Khelekiâ conquers you. I can stop him.
- You are banished.
- I was falsely accused. I won't enter the palace. I merely need to see Khelekiâ.
- How are you speaking to me?
- As Khelekiâ can, so I can. Send the horses. I need two. I can't walk fast enough... A man has come with me, out of concern for me. He can walk as fast as an elf. Please... Horses...
- I'll... send... them...
The intrusive voice became silent and Thranduil opened his eyes on the elves around him.
`- Gaelen, take a well-armed company on horse-back. Take two extra horses with you and ride down the forest path till you meet Brunwen. Go now. `
Gaelen bowed and hurried out of the room. Thranduil then turned to the generals and stared at them for a few moments.
`- Since you are so eager to have Khelekiâ join us, you will be thrown over the battlements, tied and bound. I do not know if you will survive it but if you do, I hope that Khelekiâ will punish you for failing him.'
The generals were escorted out of the room.
Finally a long chapter... This story may actually keep going for a few more chapters. The next chapter will be out soon I hope. Please Review the chapter.