Elína - ~Chapter 3~
I crashed to the ground painfully and jumped up while Bláilith screamed once again. While I had been half asleep, three horseman had come up behind us. One presently was riding towards me, arm extended to lift me off the ground. I didn't think, I just kept screaming, while I drew my knife and slashed at the man's arm. He swore and clutched his arm to his chest as he rode by me. His horse knocked me to the ground, and I barely rolled out of the way of it's hooves in time. He circled back as I scrambled to my feet, still clutching the knife. Once again Bláilith screamed, and I turned around to see if she was still unharmed. As I turned, the horseman who I had just stabbed, jumped off his horse and clutched both of my arms and twisted them behind my back, making me drop my knife. I fought like a thing possessed, scratching him and stamping on his foot whenever I could. He cursed again, and I heard the scrape of metal on metal, then I felt cold steel being pressed against my throat. I stopped struggling and stood there panting as another man came up in front of me saying,
"Amazing eh? How they all lose the will to fight when a dagger is pressed to their throats." I stared defiantly at him as he surveyed my face with interest. "This one is prettier than most we meet out here. Well, what should we do with her?" He asked the one who had placed the knife against my throat. Laughing, my present attacker replied,
"What do you think? What we always do. Do they have anything that`s worth stealing?" I shivered and tried to scream for help. The man who had been standing in front of me also laughed and shoved a wad of cloth in my mouth, saying,
"Better not scream now, you might get a few extra minutes alive if you don't." I choked and gagged, eyes filling with tears. Bláilith and I were going to die, here, in the middle of nowhere. Would anyone even know what happened?
Meanwhile, the third man had been going through our saddlebags the whole time. I watched him, helplessly, as he went through our belongings and as Bláilith looked on terrified. The thief made the mistake of accidentally touching Bláilith's hand as he rooted through our possessions. She hissed like an angry cat and slapped him full across the face with all of her five year old strength. He gave her no more attention than if she was a fly, and hit her off the horse. I cried out my anger at my sister's treatment, which had no affect whatsoever because of the gag. I stepped on the foot of the man who was holding me. He once more swore, threw me on the ground and kicked me. As he kicked me, I grabbed his booted foot and pulled with all my might. He came crashing down to the ground beside me, with an arrow in his chest.
I rolled over and stared with amazement at the twenty something soldiers who were presently riding out of the trees straight towards me. I lay on the ground, shocked, as I watched the horsemen come riding towards me. One of them, a young man, dismounted and lifted me to my feet, as the other soldiers killed the remaining two bandits.
The young soldier who had helped me up kindly asked, "Are you unharmed?" I looked around in a daze, so much had happened in the last few minutes that I was quite overwhelmed. The young man repeated his question, staring at me with a worried look in his eyes. I nodded my head to signify that I was well and walked over to help my little sister up. She looked up at me as I walked towards her, and burst into tears.
"That horrible man hit me!" She wailed, as she clung onto my hand. A few seconds after she had grabbed my hand, a burning sensation flared up in my wrist. I gasped in pain which brought the same soldier as before to my side.
"Are you sure you're alright?" He inquired. I pulled my hand away from my sister, causing her to cry even louder, and held it out to him.
"My wrist hurts, like the time I sprained it, only much worse." My wrist was indeed very swollen and I couldn't even bend it without it hurting even more.
The young man led me over to another soldier. My helper bowed to the second soldier and said, "My lord Éomer, these are the girls who we rescued from the bandits. The older one has hurt her wrist. May I take her to Theodred? I think he will be better at helping her than we will, and he has all the bandages."
"Of course Amérgin, however; please call me Éomer. We have been traveling and fighting together for three years. I'd like to think that we are friends."
The man called Éomer, who was obviously of high birth, looked at me with serious hazel eyes and asked for my name.
"Elína," I replied as Éomer and the man called Amérgin led me and my sister, who was still wailing, over to another young soldier. He was slightly darker than most of his companions, and had a happy, open face.
"Hello miss." The soldier said to me cheerfully, turning to Éomer he asked, "Why did you bring her to me?" Amérgin replied for Éomer,
"She has badly hurt her wrist, I think it's broken. Can you help her?"
"Of course I can. Come here girl, no need to be scared of me, I'm much better than the other types you meet on these roads." I laughed quietly, he seemed like a very friendly person. All of these soldiers were surprisingly friendly, I had always thought that soldiers were grim men without very much compassion in their hearts. That image was most likely from all the tales that my village told, and from the fact that I had never even met a soldier. The soldier who was examining my wrist smiled at me as he sat me down on a tree stump. To my great shame, I discovered I was shaking slightly from the pain and the shock of the attack. He politely ignored my shaking, and glanced up at my face saying,
"Well it does seen to be broken, mistress... I apologize for my manners, I haven't even introduced myself or asked for your name! Mine is Theodred and yours?"
"Elína." I winced as Theodred tried to bend my wrist slightly.
"Sorry." He said, noticing the expression on my face. "I am sure it is broken. Hold on a bit, mistress Elína. Amérgin, could you find me two small but sturdy sticks. I warn you Elína, this is going to be very painful, however; it is necessary." He straightened out my wrist, and he was right, it was extremely painful. Meanwhile Amérgin had returned with two small sticks, which Theodred placed on either side of my wrist and secured them with a cloth bandage.
"Now," A voice said from behind me. Éomer had came back without making any noise. "I have one thing to ask you mistress Elína, where were you going? We can escort you there so you won't have any more trouble on the roads." He said kindly.
"I live in a small village. Just a hop, skip, and a jump from here. It is a bit to the north and a bit to the east. What is it?" I asked noticing the look on their faces.
Éomer leaned forward and said gently, "We have been tracking the bandits that attacked you for three days. We were pursuing those bandits because they attacked a village just north-east of here. They raided the village and burned it down. Two boys who had managed to escape the destruction told us what had happened. One of them died two nights ago while he was sleeping, the other ran off into the forest, we haven't seen him since. I'm really sorry Elína."
I heard what he said but didn't quiet understand it. Numbness seemed to settle in my heart as I asked, "Are you sure there were no other survivors?" Amérgin shook his head. "No-one?" I asked in disbelief, my voice sounding strange in my own ears. Theodred looked around uncomfortably,
"Is there anything I can do for you?" he asked.
"No. No thank you. Could you please leave me alone with my sister for a little while? I need to explain to her what happened."
"Certainly." Éomer replied. The three men left. Bláilith who had been quiet the whole time, was busy eating a piece of bread someone had given her. She looked up at me, much calmer than before, and asked,
"Elína, who are these men, and whose village was burned?"
I sighed and wiped away the tears that were presently spilling down my face. I felt surprisingly calm considering what Theodred had told me. "It was our village Bláilith."
She looked at me confused. "Our village? Where is momma? She's going to be mad at us for getting in trouble and for getting dirty."
"Yes Bláilith, our village; and mother is not going to be mad at us. We aren't going to see mother again." I replied tactlessly. How was I supposed to tell my little sister that our mother was dead? Bláilith glared at me.
"I'm not having fun anymore. I want to go home!" She shouted and stomped her feet.
"Bláilith, we can't go home." I responded desperately. Why couldn't she understand? I felt like screaming at her. She was making it so difficult for me. Bláilith yelled at me for a little while longer. I sat still and ignored her, I allowed her to let out all of her frustration, until she was exhausted and curled up to sleep. As I wrapped a blanket around her, Amérgin came up behind me.
"Where will you go now?" He asked quietly.
"I do not know." I replied in a whisper. To my surprise I had stopped weeping awhile ago, my only thoughts now were on what was going to happen to my sister and I. "My only other family is my aunt, and she does not want us in her home." I scowled at the mere memory of my aunt. My sister and I had nowhere to live. That thought troubled me greatly, for I knew that I was responsible for Bláilith now. Then an idea struck me. "Amérgin, where do you live?"
He looked surprised at the question. "I live in Édoras, when I'm not traveling, why?"
"Is there any way I could live there? Maybe I could work as a servant to someone."
"My sister, Éowyn, needs a servant." A voice commented from the side. Éomer walked over to join us. "You would live in her quarters and she would pay for your clothes and meals. You would like working for her."
I thought for a few moments about my two options; go to my aunts and beg to live there, or go be a servant to a girl I had never met.
It was one of the easiest decision I ever had to make...