Orphan Eyes - Taking Action/Massacre in Mirkwood

Orphan Eyes
Part Two
Taking Action


**Remember, < and> means elvish speaking, just cause I am real stupid, and don't know elvish. I should. But I don't. Maegwen does! I don't.

"Hullo Bilbo!" Maegwen smiled cheerfully as she came upon the hobbit the next afternoon in the library. Bilbo Baggins sat at one of the desks, a large map at his side, and a book in front. In his hand was a quill, trained over the pages of his big project, he sometimes called it when he spoke with Maegwen. The old hobbit looked up, a little shaken, but smiled none the less, and beckoned her to him.
"And good morning to you, Maegwen! My, you are up early!"
"Early?" repeated Maegwen. She drew nigh, looked over his shoulder, and could see that he had done a fair amount of writing since the last time that she'd seen the book. "Why, it is no longer morn at all! It is afternoon, but I suppose you have been here all morning writing, have you not?"
Bilbo smiled, the candlelight highlighting his creases and wrinkles. The library, or this one at the least, had no windows, and was lighted with millions of white candles. This one was the smaller than the one she usually went to. Imladris was so full of libraries, and other things that had to do with enlightenment and knowledge. Elrond's House represented the preservation in reverent memory of all tradition concerning the good, wise and beautiful. It was a place visited on the way to all deeds, or 'adventures'. And it certainly proved on the direct road in Bilbo's particular 'adventure'(1).
"Indeed, I have. Would you like to take a look?"
Maegwen jumped at the chance. She always found Bilbo such an entrancing taleteller, and with all his thoughts sorted out and written on paper, this must be even better. She skimmed over the more recent page, and smiled at intervals, imagining it like when Bilbo had told her of the time he went on his adventure with Gandalf (a wizard she had yet to meet, but both Elrond and Bilbo knew him very well, so he must be a good fellow) and a dozen-and-one dwarves went to the Misty Mountains to look for treasure. She had been very young the first time she heard it. She remembered that day clearly. It was the first time she really met Bilbo, and after their meeting, and him telling her about Smaug and all, she then and ever on held him with high esteem.
"It's wonderful." Maegwen said, grinning, when she handed it back so Bilbo could continue on.
"Do you like it? I am nearing the end of my tale, and I hope you will read it when I have finished." Bilbo said, taking again his quill in hand.
"I would love to. I'm sure it will be quite enjoyable." Maegwen said.
"A little unlike your incident yesterday? Yes, Elrond told me about that." He added, after seeing the look on her face. "Master Elrond hopes you perhaps have figured out what it was about. A strange riddle it seems. Tell me about it."
So Maegwen told him all she remembered, and when she finished, Bilbo shuttered.
"And interesting tale that could be on it's own, though I do not like the idea of so many orcs and so much violence."
"Yes, but where will the happy ending be?" Maegwen wondered. "Many tales end with a happy ending. Yours did."
"Ah, not all, Maegwen." Smiled Bilbo. Maegwen remembered a story told to her by whom she could not remember, of Beren One-handed and his strife with Carcharoth the great wolf of Angband. That, in the end, seemed of some joy, but it pained her to think of all the struggles of Beren and Luthien had to endure. Still, for them it turned the best in the end. There were, of coarse, other tales of sorrow and regret that came to mind.
"Yes." Maegwen said at last, thinking about it. She sighed. "I just wish I knew what it meant. Elrond shall come to me and ask what I think, and I shan't have anything to tell him. I do not want to disappoint him."
"Well, do not force your self to think. You may forget more than you remember." Bilbo went back to his book, then suddenly stood up. "Confound it all, I've forgotten my notes in my room. I had some things written down I wished to add. I shall be right back."
"All right." Maegwen said.
"Now, you guard this book-"
"Oh, with my life!" grinned Maegwen. And Bilbo was off. The orphan flipped through the pages some more, careful not to rip or tear the precious pages. She came across a map of Mirkwood, and she looked at it with great interest. As she looked at it closer, however, images flashed through her mind. It was like her attack, but less potent, and Maegwen then knew that was happening. Mirkwood was in some sort of trouble.
And it was too bad. Bilbo said it was a rather nice place, with a promising and fair king, Thranduil, and a prince Elrond talked about once, whose name was Legolas.
So Maegwen set the book down, and hurried out of the room, forgetting completely about her promise to Bilbo, and leaving him confused when he came back to an empty, dark library.
"Elrond!" Maegwen called as she ran about, trying to find the elven lord or lore. At last she came upon him, and he looked at her with puzzlement, but almost as if he might know what she was shouting about.
"Maegwen," he said, and curiously asked her what was wrong. Maegwen said what had happened when she was looking specifically at Mirkwood and what she thought about it. Elrond nodded.
"I agree." Said Elrond, nodding. "And if this proves folly, it will be well to even have made sure it was not true. Though it fear it not folly."
"Yes. That's why..." Maegwen sighed, and straightened up, and looked at Elrond very seriously. "That is why I wish to go to Mirkwood, and deliver the message personally."
Elrond, however, looked at her doubtfully. "I will send messengers of my own, but you are going to stay here. I do not want you to be hurt, if war doe indeed break out."
"Elrond!" Maegwen growled. "Do not be so stubborn! Just let me leave! I want to! I need to do this."
"You do not need." Corrected Elrond. "You want to."
Maegwen sighed grumbled again. "Even so... Elrond, please?" she knew she was begging and was sounding even more childish than she usually did, but she wanted to go so bad. She wanted to go so bad tears formed in her eyes. She did not know why she wished for this so much. Perhaps it was the urgency she felt to get to Mirkwood. Elrond had not been in her head when she saw the dead elves or the loathsome orcs.
"Maegwen, I fear if I let you go, you will be hurt. But I know I cannot hold you here forever. You, though not through blood, are my daughter. I love you just as much as I love Arwen."
"." Said Maegwen, a tear falling from her cheek. She had never said she loved anyone before. But Elrond was her father, and she did love him, as a daughter loves all her kin. Especially Elrond. "You have taught me so much, and I do not think I could have had a better childhood had a grown up anywhere else. Yet..."
"You wish to leave. You wish to see the world." Elrond said, as if reading her mind. And perhaps he was. "You want to find your kin."
"They are out there somewhere, even if not in Mirkwood." Maegwen said nodding, wiping her hot tears away. Elrond, seeing it would break her heart if he forbid it, smiled in defeat, but it was a battle he was willing to give up.
"I can see there is not holding you back. I grant thee wish to go to Mirkwood, but for the sake of Valinor and all that is still good in the world, please take an escort of somesort!" (2)
"Oh, thank you!" Maegwen squealed, throwing her arms around Elrond's neck, and embracing him tightly. "Thank you, thank you, thank you-"
"But if you are to leave, you must leave swiftly and soon." Elrond said, holding her back. Maegwen nodded. "I fear that this event may have taken place while we have been idle."
"Yes. Thank you." Maegwen bowed. "I will go now." She turned quickly, left the room, then ran back, and kissed Elrond on the cheek.
"I shall return, that is a promise."
"I am not forcing you." Elrond said. Maegwen shrugged as she walked away.
"I know. But this is my home." And she went off to her room, wondering whom she should take as an escort. Even she had to admit, she did not know the way to Mirkwood, despite all the maps she had studied of the world. Finally, when she had packed, and was ready to go, she went in search of some elves she knew for elf. One, she knew she wanted in particular, was Gilgnalad. He had been to Mirkwood before, or so he had said, with his brother, Rochon. She would ask if perhaps he would too like to accompany her. She looked out side, and saw that the fading afternoon's sky was becoming darker, and there was a dark cloud moving in. Rain was inevitable. As she went to where Gilgnalad and his brother housed, she was stopped by two voices. She turned, and saw that both Arwen and Figwit were coming towards her.
"Maegwen!" Arwen said, as they glided over to her.
"Indeed you do look ready for a long travel. I thought Elrond was making joke when he said you were on your way to Mirkwood." Figwit said, as he too came over.
"Oh?" Maegwen asked, taking some offence to this. "And why would Elrond be joking?"
"I... I did not mean it like that. I knew you wanted to leave Imladris. And this had to do with your illusion?" Figwit asked. "Elrond said why you think it may be Mirkwood. That is why I am offering my service in your safe journey to the realm of Mirkwood."
"Really? You would like to come?" Maegwen smiled. This made things a big better. "Well, as Bilbo says, 'the more the merrier'."
"Good. It is settled." Figwit said.
"Who else have you chosen to go thither?" Arwen asked, looking from Figwit to Maegwen.
"I am on my way to ask Gilgnalad and Rochon. I hope they will say yes. I have not seen them for quite some time now." Maegwen answered. "But time is something I do not have much of. I must hurry. Figwit, if you pack quickly and collect the horses, that would be much appreciated."
"I will." And Figwit sprinted off. Now, tiny water droplets were falling, and the air was cooling much. Yet, the rain was not uncomfortable, and it was calming in some way. A sweet fragrance filled the air.
"I must go." Maegwen said to Arwen. Arwen nodded.
"Yes. Will you return, or shall you stay thither, and search for your kin? Elrond said you promised to return here, but he has his doubts."
"Why should he?" Maegwen asked. "I am family. I am not so easily rid of."
Arwen laughed softly as the rain. "All right. I will tell him so. Good luck."
"I shall see you soon." Maegwen answered, and ran off to find the other elves. Rochon and Gilgnalad were together, as usual. They always seemed inseparable and could always be found together.
"Maegwen!" smiled Rochon, greeting her with open arms. Gilgnalad stood too, and bowed.
"Too long has it been." Said Gilgnalad.
"Indeed, it has." Maegwen said, sighing. She remembered playing with them a few years back, but now they had seemed to have grown some, or maybe it was just her. "But this is no time for pleasantries. I have come to you both for a favor." And so she explained all that happened, and all that might happen, and then she asked them to come with her. They agreed happily, and went to get their things. Figwit came out with Renia, his own horse, Nimroch, and two other horses for Gilgnalad and Rochon. She saddled up quickly, and by time it was time to depart, already it was raining hard. Elrond came to bid them farewell, and after fair words were exchanged, they were off.
It was a long journey ahead of them, and Maegwen knew this before they had left. They had to go over much difficult terrain, and the mountains seemed most taxing. But their horses were swift and strong and noble steeds, and did not fail them. But the work was exhausting Maegwen. Growing up with elves did not make her one. She had not their endless energy nor stamina. She almost fell off twice, and did the third, but she would not give up nor admit defeat. Afterwards, the thoughts of why they were doing this kept her going. She needed to get to Thranduil and warn him -- if she wasn't already too late.
It was ten days later from when they out did they see the boarders of Mirkwood. Large beech trees rose over the horizon, and Maegwen was reenergized when she saw this. However, when they entered, the stillness of the wood gave her little hope. She was not sure what she expected, but she was still frightened.
They slowed their horses as they went, and swiftly trotted through the trees. There was a strong smell of pine leaves, and it seemed inviting, though something still edged in the back of Maegwen's mind. But this wasn't home. It did not feel like it.
"Figwit-" Maegwen began to speak, but they all sat up straight, silent, though their horses were startled. A loud cry had come from the north, and the turned their horses to look. Maegwen felt a prickle on the back of her neck, and she tightened her grip on the reigns.
"I feel it too." Figwit said quietly. "There! Look."
He motioned in front of them, and a fair way into the woods, there was sudden movement.
"Oh no." came Maegwen's shaky voice. "Is that..."
More movement. Black skin against the lush green of the forest. And the screech that followed it confirmed their suspicions. It was an orc.
"Figwit, let's hurry. We can take one on." Maegwen said, still unable to speak any louder than a whisper. Figwit nodded. They went on, slowly, and did not see the orc again. But they heard many orc cries through the trees, and soon it became apparent that the screaming was coming from behind them. Rochon, while the others continued to go, turned, and gave out a horrofied cry.
"The orcs! They are following us! We must hurry now!" he said, and ran quickly in front of the others. They followed. It seemed forever, until they could hear more familiar voices; voices of elves.
"Hurry!" Figwit cried, who was behind Maegwen. Renia was begging to slow, and was not going in the directions that she liked. The horse was going left and right in panic, and soon, as hard as Maegwen tried, the horse darted off east.
"Maegwen!" shouted Figwit. He stopped, and yelled for Rochon and Gilgnalad to go on. He went to collect Renia and Maegwen, who was momentarily holding on for dear life. But as the horse continued to go, she noticed something that made her scream, and startle Renia more so, and the horse reared back, and Maegwen fell. Orcs were coming at her from all different directions. Figwit arrived beside her, and helped her up onto the horse. She held him tightly around the waist, and they ran. But the orcs were coming in very close. Maegwen buried her face in Figwit's back so she would see them or hear the ugly cries. The, hundreds of orange and red and green feathered arrow showered past them, and struck the orcs. A large line of golden haired elves stood there, loading their bows. Figwit dropped from Nimroch's back, and took his place at the side of the Mirkwood elves.
"Go!" Figwit commanded. "Just go!"
"I do not know the way!"
"I shall show you." Said one of the elves. But she gave Figwit an unsure look. She wanted to stay with him: around him, she felt safe, like nothing bad could happen to her. But Figwit looked at her from behind soft, begging eyes.
"Please, Maegwen. Go. I will be right behind you." Figwit assured. Maegwen nodded, and looked to the elf that would soon be her guide.
"Let's go." She said. And the elf dashed off. Nimroch followed the elf a little behind so he would trample him, and Maegwen kept looking back until Figwit disappeared behind the trees. They came at last to where they could go slower, and the tops of a building were visible above the beech treetops.
"Follow me. I shall show you to the stables." Said the elf. Maegwen steered Nimroch, and was now suddenly very aware that Renia was out there somewhere, possibly making her way here, but possibly going in the wrong direction, or possibly dead all together.
"Do not worry." Said the elf, which now she was able to get a good look at. He was tall, had a strong jaw, piercing blue eyes and gold hair. Maegwen slid of Nimroch's back, and led the horse to where two others were kept, one white, and the other one a deep chestnut colour.
"Here. He will be well kept, you need not fear." Said the elf, misinterpreting the alarm in her eyes. Then he looked at her closer. "There is something else, isn't there?"
"My own horse. This one belongs to Figwit-"
"The one you came with, I'm assuming?"
"Yes. Nimroch belongs to Figwit. My own horse, Renia, well, she's still out there somewhere. I know it is silly to worry so much over a horse..."
"It is alright. You need not explain your self to me. I understand. Come, my father will wish to speak with you. He is already wondering why you have traveled so far from Imladris."
"But how do you..."
"Messengers that saw your coming." Said the elf.
"What is your name?" Maegwen asked. "I am Maegwen."
"My name is Legolas." Said the elf. Maegwen nodded, and though little about it, until something rang a bell in her head. She gasped.
"Then... then you are the prince? We are going to see Thranduil?"
"Yes, we are." Said Legolas. So they went, until finally they came to a great palace, with white stone. There were to big doors they had to go through, then Legolas showed her through many corridors. They came at last to a dais room, with naught in it but a great fireplace, a chair, and a large window that over looked Mirkwood. A tall elf was looking into the fire, and on his head was a circlet of gold on his golden hair. His eyes were bright and keen, and he looked a lot like Legolas: or rather, Legolas looked like him. It was obvious they were related. So it was that Maegwen was now looking upon Thranduil, lord of Mirkwood.
"Hullo, Legolas. What news of the orcs? And who is this?" Fire flickered in his eyes.
"This is Maegwen. She is the one who went into the trance Dincu told us of." Legolas added in a quieted voice, though Maegwen heard every word.
"Dincu? Who was that? How did he know about my vision? Does every body in this land know about it?"
"Not everyone. But the word is going with the wind. Many people are interested in it. This is something quite unheard of to happen to a mortal."
"A mortal?" Maegwen said. She hated when people (well, elves) talked about her, or her people like that. She had grown up around elves, and even Figwit talked about Men like so. Thranduil, who had heard the sharp bite in her speech, looked sorry suddenly, and bowed in apology.
"I apologize." Said the king.
"Oh, it's alright." Maegwen said. "And that is what Elrond said. He'd never seen anything like it before, even if I find it hard to imagine. He is rather old." She bit her lip with a bit of amusement when she said this. She didn't mean it like that. Yet, even in Thranduil's eyes there was a glimmer.
"Tell me about your vision. Dincu's description was rather patchy, and it sounds very interesting. Come, with me."
"But, your lord, if I may, there is something else. It's about the orcs-"
"Do not worry. I have my own people to deal with it-"
"You do not understand! In my vision..." she sighed. Suppose she should explain things better. Thranduil led her off into another room where another fireplace was. The room was smaller, with no windows, but many candles, and several beautifully carved chairs around it. Maegwen was invited to sit down. Thranduil did as well, and Legolas sat to her right. As Maegwen began to tell them everything, she noticed they eventually drew their chairs closer. After she was finished, though they could not see, the sun had sunken, and none of Maegwen's friends had come back yet. She was getting frightened.
"That certainly is an interesting tale to hear." Thranduil said.
"Do you think that our people are in danger?" Legolas asked his father, the pyre flickering in his glistening eyes.
"I am still unsure what to believe." Thranduil said. "But what is certain that you have been through much over these last days, and you need rest." He smiled warmly. Maegwen was surprised. Was he not as confused and frightened as she was?
"Legolas, could you show Maegwen to a room?"
"Yes, father." And Legolas bowed, rose, and Maegwen curtsied.
"Thank you, lord." She said, and followed Legolas. The sun had gone long ago, and the moon was now high in the sky.
"Legolas, should not the other be back by now? I'm becoming worried."
"Do not worry. They will be fine." And they stopped at a door. He opened it for her, and she stepped in. The walls were stone, and there was a large bed with white sheets that matched the ones that draped over the window, which led to a balcony.
"Oh, it's beautiful." Maegwen said. Legolas nodded, but for a moment, no words could come to his throat. He looked around as if he had not visited that room for a long time, and the memories of it were sad. The bright light that flickered in his glance was lost.
"Legolas? What is it?" Maegwen asked.
"This was my mother's room. She came here to think, when she needed quiet. She wrote over there." He pointed to desk with papers still on it. He wondered over to it, and picked a piece of parchment up. He read over it slowly.
"Well, where is your mother now?" Maegwen asked, not quite catching on to his stunned silence.
"She is dead." Legolas said bluntly and sorrowfully. Maegwen gasped.
"Oh, Legolas... I'm so sorry... I did not know..."
"It is all right. It was a long time ago. I was younger. Younger. But I still remember her so clearly." And he was lost in recollection. Maegwen sighed.
"I don't know my mother or father. Elrond took me in when I was just a infant."
"Yes," Legolas said, coming out of his trance. "I wondered how one of Elrond's children could be of the mortal kind. What happened to your kin?"
"I do not know." Maegwen said quietly. "If I may ask... uh, how did your mother die?" she stuttered, knowing she was snooping, but could not help but wonder. Legolas sighed, and brushed his thin fingers over the papers on the desk again.
"The orcs from Dol Guldur. They came one day, while my mother was playing with me the woods. She loved to do that. She loved me so. I tried to follow her, when I heard her screams, but father held me back. He went off to find her, but..." he closed his eyes.
"I should not have asked." Maegwen said darkly. Legolas nodded.
"I shall leave now. You need your sleep. There is clothing in that cabinet you may use. Sleep well." He bowed, and went to the door.
"Yes. Thank you." She bowed as well, and Legolas went. Maegwen looked at the writing on the desk, then went to the cabinet. There was much white silk in it, and she found one appropriate for sleep, and put it on. Was this Legolas's mother's? she wondered. Should she even be wearing this? It didn't feel right. None of this did. She was frightened for Figwit, and she thought about him as she went to the balcony. She stared into the sky. No, this was not like home at all. Imladris was always full of blinking stars, so bright and joyful. But Mirkwood's sky was not a happy.
"Figwit, where are you?" she asked. She was also scared that they had not made it in time. Yes, their arrival might have made a difference, but where there still elves out there, dead; dying?
As she made her way back to her bed, there was a clinging out in the hall, and she went to investigate. She looked around a corner, and saw that Figwit and the others had arrived. Figwit's face was smudged with dirt, and Gilgnalad had a scratch on his face, but other than that, she three were fine.
"Well," Legolas said impatiently. "What happened? Was any one hurt?"
One of the elves of Mirkwood took Legolas to the side and reported what had happened. Legolas's eyes widened. Figwit looked her way, and spotted her, though she did not see this so quickly. She noticed after a moment, then scurried back up to her room and flung the bed covers over her head. The door opened some time after.
"I know you are awake, Maegwen. I saw you." Figwit said, as he came in, and closed the door. Maegwen's head popped out from the blanket.
"What happened? Legolas looked shocked."
Figwit walked over and sat on the edge of the bed, and smiled at the impatience and wonder in her eyes, but it was a sad smile. He sighed.
"Some of the elves were killed." He said at last, his eyes looking off. "And Gollum has escaped."
"Gollum?" Maegwen echoed: the name seemed familiar. "Gollum... Gollum... Gollum!" she gasped. She remembered she slimy creature from Bilbo's tales, and other places she had heard it from. But she did not know that he was being kept here. "Gollum was here? Why?"
"He was discovered by Aragorn in the Dead Marshes, and some thought it better if he was kept here under the eye of the elves of Mirkwood." Figwit explained. Maegwen tilted her head.
"Aragorn? The one who stayed in Imladris?"
"The very one. But I should let you rest." Figwit said, standing up. "You need it."
"All right. See you in the morn." She said, turning over. Before Figwit left, he stopped, and hung back.
"Legolas said you were worried about me." He said with a sly smile. Maegwen sat up, threw a pillow at him, then fell back. Sleep came easily that night.

(1) Tee-hee, this is said as a side note in the Silmarillion on page xx in the hardback version (in a round about way), which I very recently purchased in Winnipeg, and I am still reading it. Too much information. Giving me headaches. But good information! Good headaches...
Sorry for all the grammatical errors, cause I know there are going to be plenty.
(2) Sorry if that sounded stupid, I really suck at this!

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