a ranger’s pain

by Apr 28, 2004Stories

Jamen knelt by the edge of the stream splashing water on his face. He shook his head and sat back on his heels. He wiped the water from his face as he clutched his side and took a deep breath. He slid himself over to the base of a large tree. He propped himself up and leaned against it. His fingers were sticky with his hot blood. He pulled out a small bottle and pulled out the cork. It gave out a strong smell of hard liquor. He took a long drawl and corked the bottle. It rolled from his hand as he passed out.
The feeling of someone leaning over him came to him as he came to. An elf with silver blonde hair, dressed in green and brown was pressing a damp cloth to the wound on his side. He groaned and tried to sit up. The elf talked soothingly to him in a language he couldn’t understand. The voice was sweet like the sound of rushing water. He heard another voice, this one was male. It was sort of raspy and harsh. He opened his eyes a crack. His vision was blurry, but he could make out the other person. It was a male elf with the same blonde hair, but it was almost white. The fingers of the first elf were gentle and soothing as she touched his forehead. She began to speak in the common tongue.
“Do not be afraid, I am Alasse of the Mirkwood realm. There are many dangers in this forest. We will help you.”
He felt himself being carried. He soon passed out from lack of blood. The last thing he heard was the gentle voice.
Jamen woke up to the sound of birds singing. As he opened his eyes, they adjusted to the bright sunlight filling the room. His blood stained clothes were on a chair. His weapons in a corner stacked neatly. A plate of food was on a small bedside table along with a silver pitcher. A great thirst came over him as he reached for the pitcher. The pitcher fell off with a thud spilling the water on the floor. He laid his head back on the pillow and pretended to be asleep as someone came into the room. He heard someone sigh as they picked up the pitcher and sat it on the table. He opened his eye a crack. The elf had taken off the brown and green clothes and was now wearing a deep red dress with flowing sleeves. She sat slowly on the edge of the bed. Jamen opened his eyes.
“Who are you and where am I?” he said confused.
“I am Alasse, king thranduil’s’ only daughter. You are in the house of Thranduil in Mirkwood.”
“Mirkwood, how did I get here?” he tried getting up.
“Please calm down, my brother and I found you leaning against a tree. We brought you home.”
“Wait a minute the voice, the gentle touch. It was you.”
She slowly nodded. She turned her head to the door. A tall elf clad in brown and green stood there.

“You’re awake and alive. My sister and I found you. You are safe here. My name is Legolas.”
Jamen looked around.
“Would you like something to eat?” Alasse asked.
“Sure I could use some food.”
She nodded and walked out her brother behind her. Jamen sat up. His ribs were wrapped in a white linen bandage. He pulled off the blanket to stand up. He reached for his pants. Alasse came back in carrying a tray of food.
“You’re going to tear the stitches if you keep doing that.”
“I want my clothes.”
She sat the tray down and handed him his pants. He slid them on.
“I’ll get you a new linen shirt.”
She sat the tray down on his lap and pulled up a chair.
“You’re going to watch me eat.”
“I want to make sure you eat.”
“Lady, I haven’t eaten in days. What makes you think that I’m not?”
“What’s your name?”
“How’d you get hurt?”
“Do you always ask this many questions?”
“Just curious.”
“An orc attacked me. I’ve had this wound for two days. It was starting to get infected.”
“It is infected.”
She slid a cool hand on his fore head.
“You’re fevered.”
He started eating his food.
“This is a lot better than eating rabbits and birds.”
“Are you a ranger?”
He nodded and sat the tray on the end of the bed. He wiped his mouth with his hand.
“Yeah, I’m a ranger. I became one when both my parents died, days after each other. I was twenty three.”
“How old are you now?”
“Twenty five, how about you?”
“Well in elvish or human. In elvish, I’m over five hundred. In human, I’m seventeen.”
“We’ll stick with human. Five hundred and you don’t look a day older.”
She blushed and looked away.
“Sorry didn’t mean to um, hurt you.”
“You didn’t, my brother says that I need to honor the ways of our people. I try to, but everything I do embarrasses them.”
“Have you ever thought about not trying to please them?”
“I have to; I’m the princess of Mirkood. One of these days I’ll guide my people. My parents are planning my marriage to Elrohir the son of lord Elrond. He’s nice, but I don’t want to marry him.”
“Then don’t.”
“It’s expected of me. My brother expects me. My people expect me to. My parents arranged this marriage when I was just a baby. He’s way older than me. He’s a few years younger than my brother.”
“How old is your brother, in human years?”
“Twenty seven.”
“That would make Elrohir about.” He started counting on his fingers, “Twenty four, a year younger than me.”
She nodded; he lay back down on his back.
“Can’t help you only you can. So how bout you find me a new shirt, so I can get out of here and on my way.”
“Please stay till you’re healed. I like your company.”
“Okay, then how about a new shirt so I can walk around. I hate lying in bed.”
She nodded and walked over to a small chest. She opened it and pulled out a linen shirt. She handed it to him as he stood slowly up. He pulled it on. She noticed how well his muscular body filled out the shirt. She turned around.
” “You know you’ve seen me without anything. So why do you turn away now?”
He grabbed his belt and buckled it around his waist. He sat on the bed and pulled on his boots.
“I think your highness is getting the cold jitters.”
She turned around and faced him.
“Why do you mock me?”
“I don’t, it just seems odd. What your brother wouldn’t like it? It seems to me lady that you don’t live a lot and I don’t mean living day to day. I’m meaning taking chances living in the spur of the moment.”
He pulled his knife out of its sheath and tested it against his thumb.
“Do you even know what I’m known for, lady?”
He sheathed it and slid it into his boot.
“No, what?” she said her head held high in dignity.
“I’m known for charging into a fight sword drawn, killing every orc in my sight. Jumping off a running horse into a swarm of orcs and coming out with only a few cuts. That’s what I’m known for. The very sight would make a spoiled palace brat wet their pants. You need to live.”
He walked out of the room leaving her standing in the sunshine.
“Spoiled palace brat, needs to mind her own business and quit telling me what to how to live.” He whispered to himself.
Someone cleared their throat causing him to draw his sword. Legolas stood against a door smirking at him.
“You jump too easily, my friend.”
Jamen sheathed his sword
“Don’t sneak up on me.”
“What the famous Jamen is worried he’ll kill the prince of Mirkwood.”
“So you’ve heard of me.”
“Heard of you, I’ve seen you fight. You’ve got to be either crazy or a fool.”
“I’m no fool and I’m not crazy. I guess the danger takes the pain away.”
Legolas smiled, “You’ve had enough of my sister then.”
“Enough, I’ve had enough to last me two lifetimes. I really appreciate all that you’ve done, but I just want to get out of here and on my way.”
“You know I wanted to leave you to die, Alasse wouldn’t have it. Stay away from her.”
“Sure thing your highness.”
“Do not mock me. It may not be a good idea.”
“You don’t own your sister. She can choose her own life.”
“Stay away from her. She knows her duties.”
“You don’t own me either.”
Jamen walked out into the forest.
“Know it all place brat.”
He came to a bridge over a stream. He walked over to the wooden railing. He heard someone come walking up behind him. He sighed.
“Princess, you should leave me alone.”
“I am neither my daughter nor my son.”
Jamen spun around. A tall elf dressed in royal clothing was standing with his hands behind his back.
“If I’ve heard right Jamen, I’d say my daughter saved your life.”
Jamen turned back to the railing.
“It is a custom here, that if anyone saves a person’s life. That person is in their debt.”
King Thranduil walked up to the railing beside Jamen.
“You are in my daughter’s debt.”
“I’m in no ones debt. It was a mistake; your daughter should have left me.”
“If I remember right your father fought along side elves. They taught him some skill and I believe my son has told me you posses that skill.”
“I’m a good fighter so what.”
“If I remember when they brought you home you were in an intoxicated state and you had a high fever. My daughter never left your side until the fever broke.”
“So she cared for me when I was wounded.”
“You and my daughter have a bound. You are bound to each other.”
Something came back to Jamen’s memory. A little girl jumping from rock to rock in a stream singing a song. A little boy following her shouting. Jamen shook it away and looked at king Thranduil.
“I’m past that, she doesn’t remember and I’m not going to bring it up.”
“Why do you run from your own past? You are elf kind.”
“I’m only half.”
“You loved her once.”
“I was only a child. Like your son says she has duties she must honor. She’s better off with Elrohir. He can give her what she needs and desires. With me she’ll have nothing.”
Jamen took off running. He came to the stables. He sat on a step, his head in his hands. He heard footsteps, but paid no attention. Someone sat down beside him and sighed.

King Thranduil, please leave me alone. I don’t want to her anymore.”
“My father told me that you knew my sister. Now I remember you. The trouble we used to get into.’
Jamen looked over at Legolas.
“You should have left me to die; now all I have is pain. The memories here.”
“Do you remember everything, Jamen or have you forgotten the love you and my sister shared.”
“We were young. I’m no longer that little boy.”
“You’re more than that. You have the same skills as your father.”
“My mother and father are dead. They’re gone. They can’t come back.”
“You once considered me a brother. You said Mirkwood would always be your home.”
“I was wrong. You don’t have to worry about me and your sister. I’ll leave now. I don’t belong here.”
Jamen got up. He walked back into the palace picked up his quiver. He slung the quiver of arrows behind his back and his bow on his shoulder. He walked out and mounted a horse. Alasse came running.
“Jamen, wait.”
He kicked his horse and galloped out of the city. Alasse stood there watching him go.
“May we meet again, until then you have my heart.”
Jamen stopped by the tree and picked up the bottle. He pulled out the cork and took the longest drawl in his life. He mounted his horse and galloped into the horizon.
A few days later a wooden cart drawn by a white came through Mirkwood. A body covered in a white sheet. The cart stopped. Legolas walked up to the cart and lifted up the sheet. He turned his head away.
“Legolas, what is it?”
He pulled the sheet off Jamen’s mangled body. Alasse buried his face in legolas’ chest.
“He fought his last battle and lost.”
She touched his cold forehead.
“I’ll never love again.”
She looked out across the stream and saw a little boy and a little girl sitting on the bank, laughing. The same little boy, who had grown into a man, a man with pain. Jamen will never be forgotten in the many hearts of mirkwood. A light drizzle came over Mirkwood as if the sky was weeping. Jamen was buried in a clearing, white flowers cover his grave. Alasse still walks, forever mourning the death of her one true love.


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