Second Star to the Right - Chapter Two: In Darkness and in Doubt
AN: Okay!!! Here we go, Chapter Two! Again, I apologise if there are any typing or formatting mess ups, but I think I've weeded them all out ,_, Also, thank you sooo much to everyone reveiwed the first chapter - it meant a lot to me if you did! And I hope you enjoy this chapter just as much ,_,
Chapter Two - In Darkness and in Doubt
Elros ran frantically down to the village as fast as his feet would carry him without stumbling, yelling and shouting as he went.
"HELP! SOMEONE, HELP ME, PLEASE!" he cried in the early morning sunlight. A high window to a house behind him flew open to reveal a ruffled looking man of about twenty five, his messy ginger hair sticking up all over the place.
"What the bloody hell -?" he began, and leaned on the window sill to show his right arm in a sling.
"TALAN, ELROND, THEY'VE TAKEN HIM!" clamoured Elros, feeling desperately alone.
"What? Slow sown Elros, you're making no sense." said Talan confused, frowning down at the clearly terrified young man.
"There were riders - when we were practicing - they came from the woods - we ran but Elrond - he tripped - AND NOW THEY'VE TAKEN HIM!" shouted Elros bitterly. This was all his fault, if only he had stayed by his brothers side, if only he had helped him...
"What's all this infernal racket about?" demanded a grouchy voice. Around him, windows began flinging irritably open as the sleepy-eyed inhabitants tried to find the source of the noise.
"Who -? Elros! I might have known," growled an old man scoldingly, "What is it this time? Wolves? Orcs? Pigs with wings?"
The awakening villagers half guffawed, half grunted in agreement.
"No!" replied Elros angrily. His brother had been kidnapped, it was all his fault and they were laughing at him!
"Well what then?" croaked another elder's a voice, a wispy-haired woman.
"Some riders - they just captured Elrond!"
This did not have the effect Elros had desired; instead of looks of horror, they each scowled oppressively down at him, muttering amongst themselves.
"That's a nasty trick to play, Elros." scorned the old man.
Trick? What in the name of all that was holy -? They thought he was joking?!
"You reckon I'm doing this for fun?" he bellowed, rage building up inside him - why wouldn't they listen, Elrond's time was running out!
"For fun? I've never been more serious in my life!" he roared, waving his fists at them all. Why couldn't they see?
"Aye, and last time it was dragons on the border," scoffed another man with lanky black hair, "Do you really think we're going to fall for this again?" At this a cheer of approval went up from the houses.
"I - AM - NOT - PLAYING - TRICKS!" Elros burst out in a tidal wave of fury, so that the villagers stepped back from their windows aghast. Elros' eyes seemed to glow with an internal raging fire, and it appeared to them that he grew taller than any man, so that they cowered beneath him.
"What's all this about? What's going on?" A soothing, balm voice floated down through the village, pausing for a moment the feud between Elros and the men. The older twin turned to see his mother Elwing, her golden hair billowing in the sea breeze, her wise sea-grey eyes filled with worry from what she saw.
"Elros my son, what is going on?" she repeated a little condescendingly.
"Mother - we were practicing up on the hill, but out of the woods came riders - we tried to escape but Elrond tripped and fell - and -"
"Hush, my son," shushed Elwing in a calming tone, "What happened?"
Elros took a deep breath, and drooped his head, "They took him. They took Elrond."
Elwing froze. No, not now, this couldn't be happening...
"W-what do you mean, `they took Elrond'?" she asked, her voice a little shaky.
"They rode away with him, over the hill. A small host of mounted men."
Elwing drew in a deep breath and closed her eyes.
"Who here doubts the word of my son?"
Silence. Even the sea-gulls themselves hushed their crying to listen to the Lady's words.
"My Lady, we did not mean to offend -"
"Truly, we were merely assessing -"
"Assessing what?" Elwing cut in sharply, as her eyes snapped open.
"T-the situation, my Lady." replied the startled man.
"You were assessing the situation from your bedroom window in you night clothes?" She raised her right eye brow disbelievingly.
The man hung his head, murmuring a quiet and muffled apology.
"Be quiet, Oslarn, I do not want to hear your excuses," she said curtly, "You will organise a small scout group to search the hilltop and forest eaves. if the evidence points, as Elros says, that Elrond has indeed been kidnapped, then inform me at once. Do I make myself clear?"
Once again, murmurs and mutterings ran through the village, this time accompanied by swift and vigorously nodding heads.
"Well? What are you waiting for?" sighed Elwing, "Move!"
It was hours since the last golden rays of warming sunlight had vanished beyond the horizon and been swallowed up by the vast ocean, when the horsemen finally drew to a halt.
Elrond's head pounded furiously from his fall, as though all the Dwarves of Moria hammered away in his skull, and he couldn't even begin to comprehend the distance they had travelled since dawn. For most of the journey he had been unconscious, but his new surroundings overwhelmed him, and confirmed his belief that he was completely out of his reckoning.
The refreshing salty sea breeze he had always so loved to blow across his skin was now replaced with a bitter and biting wind, so that it sent shivers down is spine and made his hair stand on end. The wide, largely flat and unchanged marshlands of his home had long since disappeared, and around him now the men began to make a camp for the night, just beneath the eaves of an immense and eerily foreboding forest. Staring up at it, Elrond couldn't help but to feel incredibly wary of the mammoth, giant like trees, larger than any he had ever before seen, towering over them all ominously, their great claw like branches reaching out to snap and grab at them.
Suddenly, the two men who had secured him in the saddle that morning came swaggering over, leering horribly at him.
"Ahh, scared of the trees, little elf-boy?" snarled one, showing half a set of chipped and yellowed teeth as his fellow sniggered, "Afraid they might hurt you?"
Elrond had enough sense to know not to reply, but the look he shot them would have made the greatest warriors wither before his gaze. They cowered slightly, watching with intense caution the glowing light that seemed to emit from his eyes.
"Hurry up, you lazy slobs!" an angry voice whirled about in the wind. The men hastily stumbled forward and began fumbling with the bonds on his hands, Casting the rope aside, they grabbed his arm and gruffly pulled him from the saddle, so that he landed heavily and painfully on his right hip.
Wincing in pain, Elrond was half dragged, half carried along the floor to a large boulder quite near o where the others had started a fire. Here they dumped him carelessly down, and roughly tied his hands once more, this time more forcefully behind his back. Elrond tried to struggle against the thick rope, but the knot was so tight he succeeded only in burning his hands so they stung more painfully, the rope cutting into his wrist so severely that blood was drawn, and oozed slowly out. Chortling and guffawing amongst themselves, the men stepped back, but hovered just behind the boulder.
Elrond hung his head and closed his eyes, trying to ignore the steadily increasing pains searing up his arms and shoulders, biting his tongue so as not to make a noise.
He felt the presence for before him, rather than heard them. Slowly, he opened his eyes and raised his head, to meet the maliciously voice, blonde-haired man he'd seen earlier. He stared down hard at the half elf, his head titled slightly to one side as though studying him. For a while neither of them spoke, so that the movement and mindless drabble from the men could clearly be heard calling all around them. Taking a deep breath, it was Elrond who finally broke the silence.
"What do you want with me?" he asked. He did not demand, but there was easily a definite tone in his voice that the man did not miss.
"Ah now, but that would be telling, wouldn't it, dear Elrond?" His eyes sparkled with a vicious intent that caused Elrond to tear his gaze away. There was something about his eyes, those glittered, emerald eyes that made him want to hide away where their piercing glare could not find him.
"How - how do you know my name?" stuttered Elrond, faltering slightly as his confidence rapidly faded. He almost physically jumped to run away as the man crouched down in front of him, and as he rested at eye level, Elrond felt his stomach churn, and his heart was going so fast he was sure it was missing beats. Why did this man, this nobody, render him so terrified?
"I know many thing about you, dear Elrond," replied the man mysteriously, "More than you could imagine." An insane light lingered momentarily across his face, but the next second it was gone.
"What is your name? Why have you kidnapped me?" questioned Elrond, this time careful to gaze just past the shoulder of the man.
"My name?" he uttered softly, as his golden hair was blown gently in the chilling gusts, "As far as you are concerned, my name is Káno."
"Commander..." murmured Elrond.
"That'd be right." nodded Káno.
"Káno - why am I here?" repeated Elrond, still staring carefully past the mans ear.
Káno leaned forward, and just as he had that morning, whispered dangerously in his ear, "A magician never reveals his secrets... and some tales are best left `til it is light..."
Elrond shuddered involuntarily, as Káno drew himself up to his full height.
"Don't wish your life away, dear Elrond," he said, almost wisely, "You shall find out soon enough."
And with a final smirking glance, in a swish of a cloak he left Elrond alone as the men busied themselves about him.
For a while, he sat there in silence, desperately thinking of ways to escape... if he could just undo the ropes binding his hands, he could wait until the camp were asleep, steal a horse and go... where? He had no idea where he was, whether in a land of the friends of his kin or not. Where would he go? Surely he would not survive long in this barren wild land without supplies of food and water.
Before long his thoughts of slipping away became more and more bleak as the long, cold night set in fully around him. His teeth began chattering uncontrollably as he screwed himself up into the tightest ball he could, his whole body shaking and shivering in the near freezing temperatures.
Quite suddenly, he saw his sense of vision blocked completely, so that he feared he had lost his sight, when he realised a silent figure had halted before him, carrying two think blankets and a small bundle. It set about laying the first blanket down and unraveling the bundle, not taking a blind bit of notice of Elrond. He watched curiously for a moment, then very carefully cat up.
"Excuse me?" he inquired gently, leaning forward a little. The figure whipped its head up alarmed, but seemed to relax when it saw him.
"Oh - I didn't realise you were awake." she said bluntly, pulling a small loaf of bread and a water skin from the bundle.
Elrond was incredibly surprised to hear a woman's voice - here, of all places - and couldn't help but to wonder what she was doing out with this savage bunch of miscreants.
"I'm sorry I startled you -" began Elrond, but was cut of by the woman's brisk tone.
"Sure, whatever, save it elf-boy. I'm not here to be your friend, I'm here because I have to be, get it?" She thrust the loaf and water at Elrond, who for a moment, stared open mouthed at her. Had he said or done anything to offend her in any way? He didn't think so...
"Well? Are you going to take it or not?" she asked, then as an after thought added, "And you're catching flies elf boy, shut your trap."
"I can't take it, my hands are tied up." replied Elrond a little more harshly than he would have done normally, provoked by the woman's rather rude comment.
"Well I'm not baby feeding you." she snorted, sitting back on her feet. As she did so, a strong blast of air caught the tip of her hood and flung it backwards, revealing a young woman of possibly no more than 20 herself, with a fiery light in her coal black eyes. For a fleeting second, Elrond was reminded of Káno; but his had shown no emotion, no warmth. Hers were practically ablaze with a wild rage, kept in check, he assured himself, by the fact that they were both prisoners.
"Why don't you untie my hands?" hinted Elrond, turning slightly to emphasize his point.
She leant back and gave him a look of deep disgust.
"How stupid do you really think I am?" she sneered.
Elrond decided not to reply to this question...
"Well how am I supposed to eat then?"
"Use your feet, eat it off the floor - you really think I care?" she rolled her eyes.
"But that's ridiculous!" said Elrond indignantly. With every moment that passed, he was growing to like this woman less and less.
"Not my problem, is it? All I was meant to do was bring you blankets and food - and if you hadn't noticed, luxury ain't exactly common around here." she smirked, throwing the other blanket at him so that it covered his head. Feeling by now completely fed up with this extremely annoying and immature girl, he shook his had angrily and dislodged the layer as she laughed at him.
"What is your problem, anyway?" he hissed. The woman stopped laughing abruptly and looked a little taken back.
"Well, if you're going to be like that..." she trailed off, and made to get to her feet.
"Wait," said an exasperated Elrond, "What's your name?"
The woman climbed to her feet, brushing herself off as she stared down at him.
"What's yours first." she demanded.
"Elrond," he managed through clenched teeth, "My name is Elrond."
"Is that so? Well Elrond, my name is Nesial, and before you ask me again no, I will not untie your hands, nor will I baby feed you. Sweet dreams, elf boy." And with that, she stalked off between the loudly snoring mounds on the floor that the confused Elrond could only guess were the pathetic excuses for men.