Lord of the Rings: Kyshri's Story - The quest to destroy the One Ring told from the eyes of a runaway elf
They had hardly begun their journey and already he was feeling nervous.
Like they were walking through a graveyard.
He found himself a distance ahead of the others, weaving back and forth across the leaf-strewn path cautiously, searching for the source of this feeling. It had to be nearby; no old war on these grounds would sense so strongly of death.
That was when he found the orc.
It was nearly impossible to tell how long it had been there--orcs began decaying very soon after death, but it took them a while to completely decompose--but it seemed to be recent . . . within the month, anyway.
But what drew his attention was what killed it.
He pulled it from the orc's body and examined it; it was definitely elven, but he could not easily identify which kith. It seemed to be a blending of two . . .
He caught it then, through the mingled scent of death and rotting orc.
There were some near here, perhaps alive. He began a search of the immediate area, but every elf he found was long dead, a goblin's arrow protruding from numerous crucial points.
Then he noticed that there were many goblin arrows sticking out of curious holes cut into an oddly square area in the hillside. He recognized it as a sort of lookout that the forest elves sometimes created and hid in to surprise trespassing, ill-meaning travellers. The lookouts were well hidden under a natural growth of grass and leaves, but if arrows were there, then . . .
He stepped up onto the hill, unaware of the trap there. It wrapped around his ankle and jerked him into the air, hanging him twenty feet above the ground and spilling his entire quiver of arrows on the hill. He rolled his eyes, unable to believe he had let his guard down enough to fall for such an obvious trap.
"Are you all right, Legolas?"
The amusement in Aragorn's tone infuriated him. He considered sticking his tongue out at the human prince, but realized that would not get him back on the ground any quicker.
He crossed his arms instead. "I am fine."
"Do you need help?"
His face felt warm; he could imagine how silly he looked hung up in a tree with all the blood rushing to his head and turning his face red. He would have to be careful not to pass out when he got back on the ground.
"No, thank you. But tell me, have I lost my daggers as well?"
Perfect. He reached back and drew them, then curled up to slice the vine that had tricked him. He flipped once as he fell, landing in a crouch a fraction of an inch from one of his arrows. He began collecting them slowly, trying to shake off the double vision he had gotten after so abruptly righting himself.
Once he had retrieved all the arrows, he returned to the lookout. There were no more traps on his side, but there was one on the other that was exactly the same as the one that had caught him. He found two precisely aligned stones that were at an elf's exact shoulder width apart. He lifted the heavy stone roof with little trouble and set it aside, then peered in.
There was one body that he could see, pincushioned with goblin arrows and obviously dead. The lookout was cut into the hill, however, and the body seemed to be laying against something. He carefully moved the body aside and dropped down onto his stomach to look into the back. Upside-down was better than nothing.
His persistence paid off. There was an elf against the rear wall, shadowed in the cold recesses that the sun could not reach. They were alive; he could hear them breathing in painful wheezes.
Sliding in the rest of the way, he was careful not to further disturb the other elf's body. He half crawled to where the live elf was, noticing the temperature cha- nge in the air right away. He lifted his hand as his sight adjusted to the darkness, tracing with his fingers one of the long, tapering ears unique to forest elves that helped them filter sound.
Touching the face next, he was rewarded with a twitch and a shiver from the clammy skin. He curled his fingers around the other elf's jaw, feeling closely for the lifebeat. It was weak, but there.
Collecting the other elf carefully--which was difficult when they had arrows sticking out of them all over--he carried them out into the sun. They--- she reacted instantly, twisting in his arms and opening her eyes.
He did not expect her reaction.
She began thrashing and he did all he could to keep her from hurting herself any more, even going so far as to pin her down to the forest floor to keep her from moving. "Ishi na sutai," he soothed. [It is all right.]
Showing surprising strength for one so injured, she kicked him over her and across the clearing into a tree in response. He struck the tree hard, then dropped down onto his head. When he got up he found her already standing, the feathered ends of the arrows bobbing slightly like grotesque flags. She looked like a hunted boar that simply would not die.
Out of the corner of his eye he noticed Aragorn and Boromir attempting to sneak up on her. It probably would not work, but if it did she might do something desperate. He held up his hand to stop them. "No, wait." They obeyed and he examined the female carefully.
Her eyes were dark with pain and she trembled from exhaustion, but she obviously would not go down without a fight. She looked to be nearly in shock, in which case she would most certainly die. But he had to give her credit for surviving so many of her comrades; female elves were not encouraged to be warriors, though they were not forbidden from it. Being creators, they were left mostly to the arts, but there were a few who found a balance in art and war. It was rare but it happened . . . she was clearly a fighter.
Then he had an idea. "All of you, I need your help. Form a circle; I want to try to hem her in."
Forest elves, though, prided themselves on and were well-known for their jumping abilities, which were put to good use in the trees. If she jumped up into a tree, they would never be able to catch her. They would have to get her under control before she could think about it.
The others created a circle around he and the other elf, slowly closing the distances between them. The female elf glanced around and then her eyes flashed in anger. She dashed straight for him, startling him, and veered at the last second to escape. He saw her crouch slightly and gather herself like a cat and knew she was going to jump. At that moment he tossed caution to the wind and dove, tackling her before she could escape. The others quickly closed in to help.
"Be careful, she is stronger than she looks."
As though to prove him right, she threw him off again and leapt out of the circle she had been trapped in. He got to his feet, now very angry, and began to stalk toward the female elf. She paused, staring back at him with an unsure gaze, ready to bolt if he came too close.
He managed to get right up in front of her and he was finding that very curious when his head suddenly snapped to the side from an invisible blow. He was startled; he had never seen her move, but when he lifted his hand to his cheek and his fingers came away bloody, he realized that she was able to move that fast.
She leapt backward into a tree, perched at the base of a branch, and smirked at him, obviously daring him to follow her. And he would have tried, perhaps, if her head had not whipped around in time to see a goblin arrow embed itself in her shoulder.
She did not cry out or even flinch. She just lifted her head to the hilltop and began moving that way toward the swarm of orcs that had crested the hill. She dropped on one and twisted its head, breaking its neck quickly, and let it go, moving on to the next one.
He stared, having never seen such efficiency before. She never lingered, lest the orcs get a hold of her, and she needed absolutely no weapons to kill. This was not as much a surprise as one might think, for elves were deceptively slim and did not appear strong, but he did not know if he would have the strength to do what she was doing if he was in her condition.
It happened. One orc caught her ankle as she was leaping clear of one of its comrades and pulled her to the ground. A group of them began to beat on her and stab her and he reacted finally as the others did. He drew his daggers and dove into the midst of the orcs, doing whatever was necessary to get them back. The others appeared, giving him the chance to check on the female elf.
She was alive.
It did not take long to clear the orcs out; it had been a small pack left behind or sent back and they were few in number, obviously not expecting a battle. Once they were dead, attention returned to the female elf.
He tried again to speak to her. [Please, do not be frightened. We mean you no harm.]
She sat up slowly, eyeing them with extreme caution, but did not appear ready to try to get away.
She looked over the group. [Who are you?]
So she was considering letting them help her. Good. [We are the fellowship of the Ring. I am Legolas. That is Aragorn, Boromir, Gimli, Merry, Pippin, Sam, Frodo, and Gandalf.] He did not ask her name--she would give it when she wished. Besides, asking for it might just scare her and make her try to run off again. It was best to let her question him.
[Why are you here? You are trespassing.]
[We are only passing through. We meant no ill intentions.]
[Where are you going?]
She pulled back, startled. [Mordor? Why?]
[To destroy the Ring of Power.]
She seemed ready to believe it, then narrowed her eyes. [Let me see it.]
He turned to Frodo. "She wants to see the Ring."
Frodo pulled the Ring from his shirt cautiously and held it out for the female elf to see. She tilted her head curiously and stretched out a finger to poke it, but suddenly leapt back with a yelp and shook the hand she had extended as though ridding it of mud.
Calming down, she lifted her head to look at him again, her gaze steady. [Very well.]
He waited, but she said nothing more. `Very well'? What did she mean by that? Were they free to pass through? She looked up at the sky, then at him once more. [It is late. Do you need a place to bed for the night?]
He gave a single nod. [We would be most grateful if you could tell us where we might stay.]
[. . . Follow me.]
He motioned for the others to follow and they set off after the female elf, who still had the goblin arrows sticking out of her, all up and down her left side and a little of her right. Could she not feel them?
He was so absorbed in wondering whether or not she could still feel pain or if it was now in her blood and she was just immune to it that he nearly found himself gored by an angry gold-tan stag. His first reaction was, of course, to shoot it, but it stopped harassing him almost immediately.
"Ektah!" the female elf commanded firmly. [Stop!] She approached the large stag fearlessly and pet its neck. [It is all right. They are allowed. In fact . . .] She swung up onto its back and made a low deer call.
Several more stags appeared a moment later. She turned to him. [The hobbits will have to fit two per stag.]
He shook off his surprise--forest elves, naturally, could summon any forest creature they desired just as river and mountain elves could summon any creature of their own realms--and said to the others, "Each---"
[Wait.] He faced the female elf as she recounted the stags and then glared into the thicket to their right. [Fool stagling.] To him she amended herself, [One of the stags is not here. You will have to double.]
He nodded and relayed all this to the others. The hobbits were helped onto two stags and then he mounted one stag, pulling a protesting Gimli up behind him. Once everyone was ready, the female elf continued, the stags picking their cautious way down the trail.
Finally, they arrived at a simple but still magnificent forest city. He wondered what it was called, for he had never seen or heard of a place like this before. [Forgive me, but . . . where are we?]
The female elf answered, [My home. Veikai.]
(The Elvish I have used is not real as far as I know; I was just trying to help any readers understand that what is in the brackets is spoken Elvish.)