Disgrace - Chapter 2
Soros was sitting in the hall of the king and he gestured to a young elf to come. The youth came and was proud that the great warrior wished to speak to him.
"- What is your name?
- Arden, my lord.
- A fair name. What do you think of this realm?
- I do not know. I find it beautiful but there are reasons to be discontent.
- You should be discontent. The King keeps the best to himself and even seasoned warriors find little recognition. He does not forge any good alliances and his judgment has sent away his heirs to certain deaths. No one will follow him if he dies and the realm will be laid waste by those who's alliances he refused.
- I see... What would you choose?
- That I will tell you but in another place than this. Come."
He rose and left. The foolish elf, Arden, followed and they came to a dark passage where he was convinced by Soros and Mornuil to go to a settlement out to the North and East. There he would bring news of the twain and plead for a force to be sent to take the realm of Mirkwood. Mornuil told him to return as soon as his message was delivered and so they would recompense him at his return.
An elf slipped out of the shadows as the three left. Gaelen had to warn Thranduil but how?
Brunwen pulled herself slowly up and began walking again. Her rest had given her new strength and she was an elf; she could not die from hunger. Suddenly, she remembered a comment her brother had made once long ago.
" To the south, Brunwen, at the edge of the forest, there are men who live in huts and cottages. They are not friends or foes of ours. They don't know of us. Their concerns are the Wargs and the yrch ..."
She remembered how he had been drawing a map of the forest with his finger on the ground and she stooped to the floor of the forest and drew what she remembered. It took her only a few seconds and she calculated where she was.
"It will take three days maybe to get out and then four days to get to a village... If I'm lucky..." she muttered as she stood up slowly.
She looked back to see still the endless dark rows of trees and she went forward again. She marched faster than the previous day and all the while she planned a revenge that would strike the elves who had betrayed and sentenced her to lonely exile.
Gaelen was walking down a corridor near the cellar when suddenly a gloved hand seized him and pulled him into a small alcove. He yelped and turned around. Mornuil was standing only a few inches away and he looked in a particularly bad mood. His piercing eyes fixed on Gaelen were depthless and he spoke in a low voice.
"- You like following...
- Do I?
- Yes. I've noticed even if Soros hasn't. WHY?
- Oh... I'm just curious.
- Really? Well go be curious somewhere else!"
Mornuil threw Gaelen across the length of the corridor and walked away. Gaelen pushed himself on his elbow and looked after the departing elf.
Arden had traveled North very quickly and had made good time. The Moriquendi lived not that far but they lived in a secret place. He had to find them somewhere in the Withered Heath. Fear crept into his mind as he had rarely gone away from the elven kingdom. He was a poor soldier and had always been afraid of battle.
His horse shied away from the path he had been following as a dark figure jumped out of the shadows of the bushes. Arden had no time to see his attacker before he blacked out.
He revived slowly and tried to move but immediately he felt a spear against the back of his throat.
"- Keep still! You'll need all your strength if you want to stay alive.
- I have a message...
- Keep Silent!
-But it's important..." The point of the spear drove in slightly and Arden felt that the end had come. He kept silent though.
A bit of light entered the darkness that he lay in and his guard removed his lance and pulled him up. He saw a tall elf dressed in a robe of black. His dark hair and eyes made him seem darker than the room had been. The light of a torch in the hand of another dark elf cast light only on the room.
"- What are you doing here?"
The dark elf's voice was crystalline and icy, clear and cutting like a sharp, stone knife. The cold voice echoed and fell dead on the ears of Arden. He was wondering what he was getting into. His voice came out squeaky and weak.
"- I'm... I'm a messenger.
- A messenger?
- To whom are you bringing a message?"
The contempt in the voice sliced through his heart and a chill seized him.
"- To... to the Moriquendi.
- Then tell your message, small one."
He hesitated and then he said slowly what Soros had told him to say. And the elves laughed, not a kind laugh but a cruel, harsh and chilling laugh, slicing the air like a knife.
"- You say that you have been sent to tell us that!
- Yes... I was told to.
- Who by?
The dark elf strode forward menacingly and grabbed the front of his tunic. He lifted the poor elf up of the ground and said in a whisper.
"-Soros sent you to tell us to prepare for a war. I trust he told you the word that will make me believe you?
- Yes... I believe he did...
- THEN what is it?
- M... M... Morgoth."
The name hung on the air and the dark elf smiled an almost wolfish smile. The other elves were convinced. It was almost a visible release of the tension in the room.
"-Good... I guess he told you a way to get us in without going through the front gate.
-He didn't say anything...
- HE didn't? Then we won't come.
- He mentioned a cellar...
Brunwen didn't notice the path change direction slightly. She walked on and on into more and more darkness. Her head lolled to a side as she walked and she stumbled again. Her torn dress caught on something and she fell to the ground. Two eyes watched that happen and blinked out of view.