The Dance of Love - Chapter Six

Time seemed to freeze. In slow motion, Lithôniel could see the onslaught of Orcs approaching, crude weapons raised, their eyes seething with almost unethereal hatred. An Orc immediately approached Lithôniel, its eyes shining with the promise of death, and quickly slinging her bow and drawn arrow back into her quiver, Lithôniel extracted her two knives from their sheathes and with one knife, she blocked the oncoming stab of the Orc's short sword, whilst with the other knife, lunged it into his spleen, the black blood oozing almost tauntingly over the silver blade. She stepped over the crumpled body and went onto challenge a vengeful Orc whose blow she dodged and drove her knife mercilessly through the rib-cage, piercing its heart.
When Lithôniel had been fighting for a considerable amount of time, and both of her knives were unrecognisable with black blood, the leader approached and sneered at her, swinging his scimitar downwards, only to be blocked by a sweep of the Elf-maiden's knife. The Orc sneered again and spat on the ground at Lithôniel's feet. He raised his weapon once more, glistening with bright, red blood - Elves blood, she realised with horror - and stepped toward the defiant Lithôniel, their blades clashing furiously.
The Warrior is strong thought the Chieftain, jabbing at Lithôniel's abdomen, only to be almost successfully decapitated by an unexpected blow from his opponent. Surprising He ceased his attack and glared maliciously at Lithôniel who likewise kept her weapon raised. Never taking their eyes off of one another, they circled round, bringing about the beginning of the beautiful but deadly Dance of Death. The winner would emerge victorious, whilst the loser would fall, defeated, to the unforgiving earth and not rise again.

Wrenching his blade out from the chest of an Orc, Legolas was allowed a few moments of air before he was obliged to resume battle. He hated having to kill; especially Orcs who had once lived their lives as Elves, walking under the Stars, their bare feet making no sound as they stopped to pay reverence to Varda Elbereth, the Star-Queen. But they are no longer Elves he reminded himself sadly, recalling no sign of remorse to be found in their hollow eyes as the Orcs had attacked: only pure hatred.
He paused in his thoughts as he stumbled over something on the ground, face down. It was an Elf, he realised sadly as he turned the body over, raising trembling fingers to the pale warrior's thoat. There was nothing he could do to help. His spirit had long fled to the Halls of Mandos. Legolas removed his fingers and tenderly closed the Elf's open, unseeing eyes. All sense of decorum gone with the warrior's spirit, the Prince gathered his comrade's lifeless body to him, his strong body heaving with unrestrained tears.

Nearby, but hidden by the innumerable mass of Orcs who were fighting Elves, Elladan and Elrohir stood side-by-side, covered equally with black blood, slitting the throat of any Orc that dared to approach them. As the twins mercilessly ended the lives of those around them, they found themselves thinking of their sister Lithôniel. The Sons of Elrond sighed simultaneously. They realised now that there was a probability of never seeing Lithôniel, Arwen, or Elrond again. Their eyes met, and Elladan and Elrohir tightened their grip upon the hilts of their swords, silently coming to an agreement: they were not going down without a fight.

Elrond rose unsteadily to his feet, wondering who in this lonely world he could turn to now. His sons and future son-in-law had been called to War, and he feared that his daughter, Lithôniel, had gone after them. He stumbled out into the silent corridor and a wave of sadness struck the Elf-lord: he wasn't accustomed to seeing the House quite so empty. Elrond descended the marble staircase slowly, making his way to his study where he sat himself down on a chair, gazing solemnly out of the window. Placing his hands upon the ledge, he rested his head atop them, his keen ears picking up the sounds of battle that was presently taking place miles away.
Sudden determination coursed through his ancient body and he rose majestically to his feet. What in the name of Arda was he doing? His family were out there, risking their lives to protect Imladris whilst he was sitting in the comfort of his own home, feeling sorry for himself. The Elf-lord clenched his fist and lifted his renowned sword, looking at it as a father would look upon the face of his firstborn child.
"We have been through a lot, my friend," he murmured, stroking the blade lovingly. "I never thought that I would have to use you again but alas, battle is calling us onward once more!" He strode out of his study, his head held high, giving instructions to passing servants.
"Ada, ada!"
Elrond paused in the doorframe, momentarily winded as Estel threw his small weight into his father's arms. "Don't go!" he sobbed.
He held his son close for a few minutes before holding him at arms' length and staring into the tear-stained face. "Estel?" The child's huge, silver eyes locked on his own. "I need you to be a big boy, do you understand?"
Estel nodded mutely, his tiny body shaking.
"Should the Orcs break through, I need you to be brave and lead our people through the secret passageway."
Elrond was referring to the tunnel that had been created long before Imladris had been built to ensure that if their battle with Sauron went ill, the people would be able to escape and hide in the mountains.
The Elf-lord set Estel back onto his feet and gently pushed him back into the House. "Námarië, my son," he whispered. "I pray we will meet again."
Watched silently by his youngest son, Elrond turned on his heel and was lost to sight in the oncoming darkness.

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