Shadows of the Past - Invisible Foes

Chapter One

As the darkness spread, many ran before it in terror. Only a few remained behind, refusing to run. The group consisted of two elves, three humans, and one dwarf. They alone stood firm, undaunted by the terror that had seized many. Patiently they waited, swords drawn, bows at the ready. They heard the yells of the Orcs and gripped their weapons tighter. One of the elves, the only female in the group, glanced at her partner. He stood ready, a hard glint in his eyes. She then looked to her human friends; they too were ready to fight. Lastly, she looked to the dwarf. He held his battle-ax tightly, eagerness written in his eyes. As their enemy approached, they each whispered prayers in their native tongues. They met the oncoming enemy with furious battle cries. Each time the Orcs pressed, they fell back against the onslaught of anger. Each of the group killed with perfect accuracy, and dead bodies littered the ground around them, but they did not pause their dance. Then everything stopped; there were no more orcs to kill. The female elf smiled; they had won. She and her companions had suffered very little wounds. The dwarf looked at her, eyes twinkling. "My total is thirty-two," he said. She laughed and put her bow on her back. "And mine, friend Dwarf, is thirty-three." At that, they all laughed. Then one of the humans sighed. "We must move on. The Dark Lord does not accept defeat so easily." The female elf raised an eyebrow. "As long as we remain together, he may have to accept more defeats," she replied. Her partner smiled. "Yes, he shall. However, I agree with Neuron. We must move out. There may be more companies of Orcs that will come." With that, they moved on, a bit more subdued. The female elf walked close to her partner, and their laughter strengthened those around them.

"Legolas! Come on! You're falling behind!" Legolas scowled as Gimli yelled, snapping his concentration. Aragorn looked sideways at him as he ran up. "What did you hear?" he asked. Once again, Legolas was amazed at the Ranger's ability to practically read his mind. "Sounds of battle, but they disappeared so quickly that I am not sure they occurred at all, but..." he trailed off and Aragorn nodded. "I heard the same Legolas. However, we have not the time to pause. We must get to Lothlorien." Gimli, the dwarf, walked over to Aragorn. "Do you suppose we could rest? My legs feel like lead." Legolas smiled down at Gimli. "You are welcome to ride Bill. I am sure he would not mind some extra baggage." Gimli shot Legolas a look. "I suppose I can go on a little longer," he grumbled. Aragorn laughed at the look in Gimli's eyes. "We will rest soon Gimli. It seems that the Halflings are in worse shape than you." He spoke true; Sam, Pippin and Merry were staggering along, and Frodo looked close to collapse. Suddenly, a fierce yell cut through the air, causing everyone in the Company to freeze. Legolas looked at Aragorn and together they took off in the direction of the yell, Legolas' heart pounding madly. They came upon the scene and stopped short. A female elf was cutting down Orcs, a crazed look in her eyes. She was badly outnumbered, but still she fought. Before he could even think, Legolas had his bow ready, an arrow notched. He let it fly, and it struck down an Orc. Aragorn had drawn his sword and Boromir rushed in to help. Gimli leaped in, battle-ax swinging. Even the hobbits were fighting, stabbing and hacking. Legolas was now using his swords, as he had run out of arrows. He was trying to get to the female elf, but there were too many Orcs. She was locked in combat with a bigger Orc, and did not see an injured one slowly raise his dagger. "Tira ten' rashwe! (Look out!)," he yelled. Too late, she killed the one she had been fighting, just as the injured one buried his dagger in her side. She staggered back, but she did not fall. Instead, she pulled the dagger out and buried it in the Orcs throat. Injured as she was, she continued fighting. Legolas marveled at her strength. Suddenly the Orcs broke away and ran off. Legolas approached the female, who staggered back. "Mani naa essa en lle (what is your name)?" she asked, the wild look still in her eyes. "I am Legolas Greenleaf, of Northern Mirkwood," he said, watching her hand come away from her wound bright red. She looked at her hand, then back up at Legolas. He rushed to her as her legs gave way. "Aragorn! We must help her! She is badly wounded!" Legolas carried her to the shade of the forest, and laid her gently down. She stirred and opened her eyes. "My friends... please tell me that they are okay!" she pleaded. He looked at Aragorn, who had been searching the battle scene. He met Legolas' gaze and slowly shook his head. Not wanting to upset the injured elf, Legolas looked at her. "We shall do our best." He did not know what Aragorn had found, but he knew that nobody else had survived.

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