Deladan felt as if he was hurting his sister by carrying her to her doom. He looked down into the sleeping face, and then he remembered this was Nenuial, the maiden they were taking to him. Why did he do this? He was only helping the man who killed his sister and hurt Valeth, giving the master more power by bringing him more wives, daughter-in-laws and son-in-laws…
Why!? Why do I do this!? He thought to himself. The people had not been evil until the master had corrupted them. This girl, she was rather young compared to the others, she was different. Some other power surrounded her, swallowed her, and perhaps even guided her. She was safe in his arms, when, really, she was in grave danger just being with them. It was an odd feeling. She was important, critical, special… something…
Valeth strode beside him now, her steps swift. She had pulled her dark cloak on again, concealing her blinding robes. “We are almost there. We traveled faster than usual, Deladan. Minas Tirith is far behind. And yet, as we approach home we come closer to danger instead of farther from…” Her words trailed off, she was feeling the same thing he was, loneliness.
“She sleeps soundly,” he whispered softly. “Not like any other girl, they all thrashed. She is calm…”
“I noticed that. She has passed the second test… Courage. I hate to do this… While she sleeps especially…” She raised a hand and placed it on the girl’s cheek, the one that was not already scarred. Her burning flesh left the crimson stain that soon turned bone white.
“Valeth, I don’t like this…”
“Nor do I… What I would give to be in her services again…” She sighed as she remembered her old living.
“What was that?”
“The Lady of Mirkwood. I would have been loyal to her forever. Had he not taken me away, I would still be there…” Her gaze came to rest on the towering mountains. The Anduin River had been crossed easily, they had stored a boat on a shore far from the White City. Now the Valley of Shadow would be before them so soon.
Deladan felt her shift, a sigh escaped her lips as she smiled. “I wonder what she is dreaming about…”
“Hush, his ears can hear us now. Not a word about her…” Valeth moved forward and cast her dark cloak to the ground.
Three darkly cloaked men approached, swords drawn. Dark Minions were treacherous as the White Ladies.
The leader stepped forward and took Nenuial from Deladan. Without her weight in his arms he felt empty. He had grown accustomed to carrying her, it was like holding his sister when she little and frightened.
The minion ripped her cloak off of her, revealing her gown and sleeping face so it could be seen well. “Wake up!” He shook her violently.
Deladan noticed Valeth glance away. He drew his own cloak off and carried it in the crook of his arm. What would become of this girl? No, he knew the answer. She would carry more Dark Minions into the world, care for them until they came of age, and then would be hurt by them.
Katrina’s eyes flew open, her fear caused her to react in the way in which she did. Her bound hands came up and smacked into his jaw. After he dropped her, she dropped down into a low kick, knocking his feet out from under him. As she rose from her crouch she rammed her toe between his legs. Deladan held back a smile, he knew how much that hurt for he could vividly remember when she had done it to him.
“Stop.” Valeth pulled her back. “Deladan will hold her, she will not hurt you further, Mordae.” Her eyes were sorrowful. Only the young man saw the full weight of her mourning.
“Very well.” The man seethed. He knew his mother would not see him hurt, it was her weakness, and it always had been… Ever since her first son was killed. He had heard the story many times, it was part of the building of this rule. In his heart he knew he should be honored that the Queen had carried him, but he was not. His other siblings had, but he couldn’t. She was weak and tired, though she trudged on. If she had been strong she would have left, and he never would have been born. It would have been better that way.
Deladan took Katrina by the arm. As the guards led them into the dark valley, he smiled down at her. The scars on her face were still bone white, they had not faded yet. This was good. Perhaps she would be rescued before they did.
Valeth stifled a cry. She had seen the poisonous glare her son had given her. He was ashamed to have her for a mother. No one understood but Deladan…
None could see that when her son Ëarenen had died that could have been enough to make a woman go mad. Then, the master had taken it further, he destroyed her brothers, so that he was all she had left. It hurt her so bad. She knew that Mordae would rather be dead than alive, than her son. He thought her weak, broken, tired, lame, anything but brave and strong. Never would he realize that she was brave and strong by being alive. She could have died from mourning the death of her brothers and first son. No. She had remained strong, willing to go threw the pain, brave, willing to go into the Elven realms and gather her husband more people, even though the pain in her heart was unbearable… She had loved him…
Katrina held her head high. She could still remember Eldarion’s words, though, she could not remember hearing them, and they were an impression, a vague image. And it felt as though they had been part of her dreams…
I’ll wait, love. I dream about you too. And our life together…
Had he been referring to the song she had sung in her head? Then, the poem that had come to her mind while she slept, the poem that held hope came to her…
Where is hope, but in the hearts of the weary?
Where is death, but in the red sun rising?
Who would sustain her, but the God Almighty?
What would raise her spirits, but praise full singing?
The guards led them into one of the many caves that hollowed out the valley. The room smelled funny, dank was a good word. Her feet stepped on solid ground. Moisture was in the air, making it difficult to breath.
On a raised throne a man sat, his gaze piercing through her. He stood, and all else fell to the ground. Katrina however remained standing, no matter how hard Deladan tried to pull her down. She looked around herself. Women of all kinds lined the wall, all of which were clad in white garments, White Ladies. They had all fallen to their knees, humbling themselves before him. Men clad in dark cloaks stood at the entrance and behind the man, they too had fallen.
“Why do you not bow?” His voice boomed and echoed throughout the cavern. It was sweet like honey, luring her into a false sense of security, but she knew it was a trap. Behind the sweetness was a steely grating tone that would see her dead.
“Give me a reason why I should- I still wouldn’t bow to you.” Her teeth gritted together. “I don’t even know your name, dude.” She didn’t say that word much, but it down dressed him, making him seem like nothing.
“Nenuial!” Deladan whispered, a cry catching in his throat. He could not see her die as well…
“How dare you!” The man clanked the scepter he held against the ground.
“How dare I? I’ll tell you.” She raised her head dignified. “You are pathetic. Why do you need all of this?” Her hands gestured to all of the women and young men. “Because you are pathetic, man.“
He was so furious he could make no response. His finger twitched as it pointed at Valeth. Then, in an angry voice he said, “You brought me this insulate woman!”
“You commanded it, dear.” Valeth shrugged off his anger, while in her heart she wept so bitterly.
“Do not take that tone with me!”
“It’s the anger you put in me.”
“Bah!” He turned away from her to look at Mordae. “See what she does! She is weak! You, my son, would know better than to bring me a woman with no manners.”
Katrina saw Valeth wince at the comment. “Excuse me? I know you did not just say that!” Her voice was heavy with anger, sure the woman wasn’t her friend, but she wasn’t her enemy either.
“I beg your pardon?”
“No, you don’t. You could care less about what a woman, who loves you, feels.” Her hands were planted on her hips. Lord, give me strength…
It is already given, daughter of the Most High. She could feel His hand touch her face.
The man seethed and then contained himself. “I will give you a reason to bow to me…” He gestured to one of the men at the entrance. “I am called Aradae!”
The guard hit her behind the knee and made her fall face down.
“I will bow to none, but the Lord God Almighty,” she hissed as she pushed herself up.
“You will bow to me!” He threw himself from the throne and caught her arm in his hard grasp, he saw the cross necklace hanging from her neck. Anger rose in him, he pulled the cross and the chain unsnapped. Then, he shoved her to the ground. Looking at the cross, he felt a pain in his chest, something told him this would be the death of him. His hand crushed over the golden symbol. She would never have this back. “Perhaps if you don’t possess this you will be weak!”
What did you guys think? The next chapter should be coming soon…