White Flower of Doriath - Ch. 4
She rode long and hard. It was a half day journey, and she didn't stop for anything. Just before the forest ended, she took a break. She ate a piece of the lembas, and took a drink of water. However, she did not rest at all. She turned west towards the River Mindeb.
When they stopped for another break, Niphredil heard a distant sound, like the pounding of horses. As more time passed, the sound grew louder.
Finally, the identity of the sound was discovered. A pack of wild horses were galloping along the river. Radoc gave a whinny of excitement and reared up. With that, her horse tore off after them, taking all her food and water and swords. She now only had her knives, bow and arrows.
"Ai!" she called. "Come back here!" But the horse paid no attention and was lost among the other horses. With a feeling of despair, she continued towards the river, and eventually crossed it.
She took a drink of water and slept. When she woke up, she again drank of the water, and continued on towards the looming mountains infront of her, the Crissaegrim.
The river curved away, so she was without water. All the food she could find was the rare berries. It was all she could do to put one foot in front of the other. Two and a half more days passed, and she grew weaker and weaker. After a bit, she could not take one more step and fell down in exhaustion.
She awoke, startled by a noise. At that moment, several rough men formed a circle around her so she could not get out. She gasped in horrible recognition. "You are the Gaurwaith! The wild men of the mountains!" she exclaimed.
One of the men, who looked like the leader stepped forward. "That it is missy. And what is so pretty and Elf maiden doing out here?" he smirked.
"I'm looking for my brother," she said as loud as she could. She tried to stand up, but failed. She saw a face looming over here, before all she saw was darkness.
Niphredil heard the rough sound of men's voices talking. She opened her eyes and found herself in a large cave, filled with large men. Finding her strength back, she sat up straight. "Where am I? What's going on?" she asked to anyone listening.
"Ah, our beauty is awake." Niphredil turned to see the same man as before.
Niphredil got to her feet. "Who are you?"
"My name is Rabryn."
"Are you their captain?" she asked him.
"No, I am." a different snarling voice answered her. A large man stepped forward. "I am Cadac. The leader of the Gaurwaith." As he approached her, Niphredil felt a twing of fear and stepped back.
"Do not expect such hospitality from me. I am not like Rabryn. I run these men with harsheness,they have learned to fear me." He grasped ehr wrists and squeezed hard. He grinned at the grimace that crossed her face.
"You will do what I say, or experience pain such as never before. Can you fight?"
"Tycyn! See how good she is," Cadac ordered.
They handed her a sword, and a man approached her, simarilly armed.
O Tulkas, give me strength. Niphredil called in her heart.
They circled each other, neither one making a move,yet. It was Tycyn who make the first move. He thrust forward, aiming for her shoulder. Niphredil blocked his sword. He pulled back quickly. Niphredil tried to drown out the sounds of the cheering and booing from the men.
Seeing her hesitate, he struck again. She had to turn quickly, but he still drew blood on her arm. She didn't let this minor injury affect her. This time, she tried to make contact, but he twisted away. so the battle went on, neither one getting seriously hurt.
Then Niphredil saw a weak spot. He favored his right shoulder, alwasy protecting it. She fake passed to his right shoulder, then quickly reversed and, while he was protecting it, struck his left. Finally, contact!
She checked to make sure she had not seriously wounded her opponent. She then looked up and Cadac. "I claim victory," she announced firmly.