Orc Gone Good - Piece Twenty-nine

The path grew dark and cold, night was coming to the forest, the moon shown through openings in the canopy, shining down like long spears of pale moonlight barely touching the faces of the company. They longed for the feel of the breeze and warmth of the sun; the daylight was so rare to them, they only had shadows and still air. Bordon, however not showing it, was going mad from the dirty, gritty path, and always having dead leaves crumbled in his beard. He wanted to be inside the his great halls of Duli, where he could eat red meat and drink ale as golden as the sun, and thick enough to fill your stomach as well as any bread. But he only had water, and stale bread, in a cursed forest that seemed to entangle all around him, suffocating him of all freedom and openness. There seemed to be no end, it felt as if they would never find the open air again.

The company stopped for the night. The forty-two Dwarves threw down their packs and sat in the leaves and sticks.

Bordon went to check on York-ie. The Orc was doing quite well, however he was tired. The wound luckily did not break open while crossing the river.

`He only needs to rest now,' said Rulldon. `He will be walking tomorrow or the next day.'

`That is good news,' replied Bordon to is report. `Let him sleep, do not let anyone wake him; the sooner he can walk the faster we can move the company.'

Camp was made and food served. Thunder rolled in the unseen clouds, and then the sound of rain falling through the treetops was heard. The company grumbled as water poured from the canopy above, soaking their cloaks and meager pieces of bread in their hands. The night was miserable, and not many had any sleep. The night was solid blackness all around; darker then the inside of their eyelids, and not a fire or torch could be lit to pierce it. They sat in dismay all night, hunched over or curled up in the mud, feeling completely alone in the darkness.

In the morning they saw themselves for the first time since dusk, and they looked like pigs that wallowed in the mud. Their beards were thick with muck and dripping water, their hair was tangled with twigs and littered with leaves. Never in their lives had they felt so filthy. Their desire to leave the forest was even stronger now then ever before; so they pressed forward early.

By mid afternoon the company felt they had made no progress. The path still slithered on into an unquenchable darkness, and the end was no nearer.

`How do we know this road ends at all?' complained a dwarf.

`We will run out of food and water if it doesn't come soon,' complained another.

`I think we have taken the wrong course,' blubbered one. `There must be one better then this life forsaken mud hole.'

`Beorn suggested this path, and he knows better then us,' said Rulldon. `We will see the end, soon enough.' Rulldon put on an encouraged look, while secretly he agreed with is fellow Dwarves.

`Why do you carry that wretched Orc around like you are his donkey? 'asked a dwarf named Olum.

`I am not his donkey,' Rulldon said back, `I am only helping him until he can stand on his own feet.'

`He is carried around on a cot like a king, while we have to trek through mud and grime like wild boars!' Olum said. `First the fool of an Orc lives when it should have died, then it joins our company, and now it sleeps while being carried through a forest! I am sick of this! Put him down, he walked across ropes, so he can walk like the rest of us!'

`You leave him alone,' Rulldon protected York-ie. `If you wake him, then I will perhaps show no notice if you are injured in battle.'

`What will we fight in here?' snorted Olum. `Moths? Flies? No, we are only rotting under these trees until death. Death is our only release now.'

`Be careful what you wish for,' warned Rulldon, `you may get it.'

`Where is I?' whispered York-ie. Rulldon stopped and quickly turned to him, laying down his a wet rag.

`You are in Mirkwood,' replied Rulldon.

`Mirkwoods?' York-ie said while looking around suspiciously. He had forgotten many things that had happened, but he had finally woke up, and now remembered them, grim and true. `Where's Gonli?' He asked in a rage. He leant up and snarled.

`Be calm, lie down!' said Rulldon with his hands pushing on York-ie's shoulders. `You don't need to worry about Gonli and Bonli, you only need to worry about your rest.'

`I am rested,' said York-ie, sitting up again. The company was continuing past him, looking sideways toward him as they walked on. Nothing looked familiar about the forest, not the path or the trees.

`Do you remember anything?' asked Rulldon.

`I remember, fields, a fire, and the bright sun,' York-ie said.

`You surely don't remember this place,' snorted Rulldon. `Can you walk?'

`Yes, let me up.' York-ie stood slowly with the help of Rulldon; his knees buckled, but he straightened himself. The sensation of blood running downward through his head made him dizzy, but it soon passed. He looked at the path and shadows of Mirkwood, studying the landscape.

`Come, let's walk to Bordon,' said Rulldon. `The path is hard and unpleasant. I am sorry you had to wake from dreams to enter this.'

`I have lived and slept in the pits of darkness and ashes of the Mountain of Doom; this is nothing to compare,' said York-ie. `You have never witnessed misery until you lived a day of an orc.' York-ie held his wound from a sudden pain and gasped. `I remember this also, and who did it. How long have I been asleep?'

`A few days, at least.' ... Rulldon suddenly straightened his back and smirked. `You are speaking clearly. You have controlled your tongue.'

`Yes, perhaps I have.' York-ie said without hissing, however still holding his orcish accent. Then, as his eyes traveled across the company, he grew concerned. `Where is Gordon?'

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