Greenleaf's School for Elves - Part 12 - The Orcs
Rebeka Silme and her classmates were sat around one of the huge oak tables in the library, heads bent over an assortment of books. Professor Samyli had been employed as a "temporary replacement geography teacher" and he was pretty keen on homework. Nevertheless, he was still very popular with the students, possibly due to his easy, laid back style of teaching. The `project' they were currently working on involved a 24hour trek through "unknown territory," once they'd completed their worksheet. This worksheet covered everything from edible plants to different animal's excrement and Rebeka, Jessica, Hanah, Gwen, Findel, Barad, Hadmn, Ondolin, Elodan and Vedyn had all drawn lots as to who looked up what. Findel landed the animal droppings while Rebeka found herself looking up what could and could not be eaten. Only, Rebeka noticed peeking over her shoulder, Findel was not doing as she should have been. Inside the cover of her book was `Rulers of The Divide' and not `What the animals leave behind.'
"What are you doing?!" Rebeka hissed.
"Looking something up."
"The wrong thing, Findel! We're supposed to be working on a Geography project. Together. All of us."
"I know. But this is important."
"So is this. Even more so!"
Unfortunately at this moment the librarian, who they'd aroused with their raised voices, came over. Finger on lips she shushed loudly, spraying spit. Several minutes passed before Rebeka decided it was safe to hassle Findel again.
"What is it that's so important anyway?"
"I'm trying to figure out that prophecy thing."
"You're still thinking about that!"
"And you're not? But it's about you, and your parents!"
"Um, no! Why should I? My parents are dead! It's just a load of nonsense! A load of nonsense which you're losing us marks over!"
Clearly annoyed now, Ms Lalirk the librarian, stormed over, placed one firm hand on Findels' shoulder and another on Rebeka's then proceeded to haul them out of the library.
"You girls! Finish argument outside library!" She whispered in her best English, a touch of her Russian accent still detectable.
"We have finished." Findel explained.
"Really?" Rebeka pushed. Findel just glared at her then dragged her back in, followed by a rather confused yet watchful Ms Lalirk.
At 4.30am the following morning unusual amounts of noise filled the Rivendell house as ten excited 13-year-olds and one tired teacher prepared for the day ahead. Professor Samyli downed several mugs of coffee in a hopeless attempt to wake himself up, the boys threw flour bombs out of their dorm window (though what that had to do with the expedition I have no idea) and the girls snatched a few extra z's, their pre-packed bags in a heap by the trapdoor entrance. As the intricate silver clock above the staff room chimed the fifth hour of the day, they made their way outside, picking up bows, arrows, swords and Stirder as they did so. The carefully completed worksheet lying, forgotten, on the Professor's desk.
Deep inside the forest and after a good two hours of walking, Professor Samyli allowed them to rest and eat. Biting into a muffin and observing the scenery, he asked, "So, which one of you has the worksheet." No-one spoke, not even bothering to check inside their bags.
"Sir?" Vendyn ventured, "Didn't you have it?"
Professor Samyli cursed then stood up, striding away from the others. Barely a minute later he swung round, swiped up his bag then marched off, declaring. "We head east!"
The others turned to follow. "But sir, isn't that South?" Ondolin asked.
"Just follow me, OK!" snapped Professor Samyli continuing on his way. They followed.
Professor Samyli led his group `east' for several miles before he had to stop. He would have gone on, but, to the relief of the students, there was a large, un-crossable bog in the way.
"Now what?" Hadmn panted, exhausted. He, like the rest of them, had been up since around 4am that morning. It was now almost 1pm. With only one short break, they were all exhausted.
The Professor didn't say anything. Instead he just stared at the bog with what could only have been a look of utter defeat on his face. This wouldn't have made sense to Rebeka if she hadn't been watching him for the past five or six hours. So she approached him, whispering, "You're not really a geography teacher, are you?" Although just a whisper, Professor Samyli heard the seriousness in her voice.
"No," he sighed, "No I'm not."
"What? Oh, yeah, forged documents etc. I'm pretty good at them." For a moment he almost sounded pleased with himself and had she been in a sympathetic mood, Rebeka would have felt sorry for him. She was not in a sympathetic mood.
"Do you realise that, because of your oh-so-clever lies, we're now lost, AND in danger!" She hissed, still not letting the rest of the group know.
"We're lost all right, but I don't know about danger."
"Let me fill you in: Ondolin was right. You led us south, not east. South, to The Divide. The fate of your predecessor should tell you enough about this place but if not, I'll explain. Somehow, for Professor Aenon was on this side of The Divide when he was attacked, somehow, orcs have managed to cross safely and are currently roaming this area. Orcs who kill first and ask later. Is that enough danger for you? How about we turn around, eh."
Professor Samyli was still staring across the bog, "Too late," he whispered softly.
"It's too late to turn around, the orcs have found us."
Rebeka turned to follow Professor Samyli's gaze, and saw the orcs. Almost cursing herself, she rotated to face the other. "Get down!" She called, "Orcs on the horizon!"
With the orcs advancing, the students retreated hastily, firing off arrows as they went. All of there were fearful; they were many times outnumbered by the enemy. Rebeka, more skilled in thinking than archery, thought. Turning to Hanah who had crossed The Divide a couple of times before Rebeka asked, "If we were able to cross to the other side, would the orcs be able to follow."
"I have no idea," came the reply, "I don't think we could make it though."
"We could try."
"It's not very safe."
"I bet it's a whole lot safer than these orcs in front of us."
"Sure, I'll pass the message on."
So that was it. They were crossing The Divide. They, if they made it, would be in Middle-earth.
"What if there are more orcs on the other side?" Gwen asked thoughtfully as they crept closer to the edge, trying not to be seen.
"It's a risk we're gonna have to take. And I'm not leaving anyone behind. I don't fancy being decapitated by these murderous beasts either so we'd best get going."