“My lady…….My lady.” Aliana faintly heard as she started to come to.
“No Merry. I’m afraid she is lost to us.”
Aliana opened her eyes to see a blurred little face that was only about 8 inches from her own. A wide smile came into focus.
“Well, hello there, welcome back! My name is Perregrin Took but my friends call me Pippin, and my friend is Merry. Being that we are all in the same predicament, you must be a friend.”
With a groan, Aliana tried to roll over onto her back and get her bearings. Her body was so weak that she could barely move. “Where are we?” she asked.
“I’m not sure. We’ve been their captives for the last 3 days, and I’m afraid I lost my bearings in the first hour. Being that we are so far from home and have never laid eyes on this land, that wasn’t very hard. What is your name? I feel terrible referring to you as My Lady, unless you prefer that.”
“I am Aliana. Aliana Athorn of Vaneril. What I would give for a cool glass of water about now” she said softly.
“An ale and a nice pipe of hobbit weed would do nicely for me”, said Merry.
“Merry, how can you think of things like that in a time like this? You’re going to get me going again!” Pippin’s eyes looked up to the stars. “That constellation looks like a nice mutton!”
“Funny you two should be talking about food. That is exactly what was on my mind”. Pippin and Merry looked up to see a small orc leering down at them. Aliana recognized the orc as the one who had stabbed her when she was captured. She closed her eyes hoping he hadn’t noticed she was awake.
“Too late, mortal wench. Your game is over.” At this he kicked at her wound which brought tears to her eyes.
“I think you’ll do nicely. Ah, sweet human meat. I shall not feel hunger for the rest of this trip.” Drool was forming in the corners of his mouth and running down his chin. No one had noticed Ugluk as he came upon the group.
“Get back you scum. These prisoners are all going to Saruman.”
“They’re being carried…..if we eat their legs, they won’t miss them”, the small orc replied with a look on his face that chilled Aliana to her bones.
At this Ugluk struck the small orc so hard that he flew away from the prisoners and into a group of his peers.
“You will leave the prisoners alone. I have my orders, and you are not in charge, you filthy swine. I will not warn you again.” At this, Ugluk walked off to bark orders at the other orcs that were wandering about.
“What is that terrible noise? It seems to be coming from the woods,” asked Merry.
Listening intently for a moment, Aliana replied remorsefully, “The trees are crying.” Merry and Pippin looked at each other. They had never heard of a mortal that could understand the trees. That was something only elves could do.
“I have heard many tales of this Saruman. But why would Saruman have anything to do with these creatures? Why are they taking us to him?” asked Aliana of Pippin.
“Many things in this world are changing, Aliana”, started Merry. “There is a great evil threatening to take over this world, and Saruman has fallen to this dark side. There are many things that have changed as of late, and none of Middle Earth is free of this threat.”
“Including you, hobbit.” The smaller orc was again standing over them, and grabbed at Merry’s leg. Merry let out a scream and kicked at him with his free leg. The orc was pushed back As he stood up to attack the hobbit, a spear head suddenly appeared in the chest of the orc. He stood there for a moment frozen, and then toppled to the ground. All of a sudden shouts were heard and a battle broke out. It was hard to see what was happening for it was a dark night. The only light came from the fire the orcs had started which was far away from the three of them.
“Merry called out to his friends. “Now is our chance, we have to make it to those woods. Aliana, Pippin, move…..now!”
Merry’s commanding tone brought a little strength to Aliana. She rose to her hands and knees with much effort and started slowly moving. She watched the hobbits move away from her and she tried to keep up, but she was too weak. Around them orcs were battling soldiers on horses, and she found the task of making for the woods almost impossible. “If only my hands and feet were untied”, she thought to herself. As if the Valar themselves heard her, an orc fell dead, his sword landing in front of her. She used the blade and cut her bindings from her hands, and sat up to untie her feet. It was a clumsy attempt, but after what seemed like forever her feet were finally free. She pushed herself to her feet and tried to run after the hobbits who were also free of their ropes now. Merry was already at the trees, and as Pippin reached Merry, an orc who was lying on the ground reached up and grabbed Pippin’s belt. Aliana didn’t realize that she still had the sword in her hands that had freed her. She ran the best she could toward Pippin and ran the sword into the orc’s back. He lost his grip on Pippin and lay unmoving on the ground.
Aliana reached the woods, but as she turned to look behind her she saw three more orcs coming after them. She looked forward to Merry and Pippin who were waiting for her and yelled at them, “Run!” They turned and ran as fast as their little legs could carry them.
Aliana knew that somehow these little hobbits that were so far from home must be important for Saruman to want them so bad. She knew it was of utmost importance that they not be captured again. As they made off turning to the left, she made sure the orcs could see her, and she ran in the opposite direction. She had a rush of adrenalin, and started running as fast as her feet could carry her. She heard one orc say to the others, “You two go that way, I’ll follow that wench”.
“At least it will be an even fight…..they have a better chance now”, she thought to herself.
Aliana could hear the orc gaining on her. She found a tree to hide behind and hoped that the orc would run right past her. He cleared the tree and she felt relief wash over her. But it was shortly lived as he stopped and turned to face her.
“There you are, my sweet dinner. There is no one to save you this time.” He lunged at her and threw her to the ground. “I think we’ll have a little fun, first”, he said as he dropped himself on top of her. He clawed at the top of her tunic and the cloth gave way bearing the skin of her throat and chest underneath. The sight of pink flesh seemed to fuel the fire in the orc’s eyes. He started tearing at her pants, and she kneed him as hard as she could. The orc fell to his side and looked into her eyes as if he were staring right thru her. In a low growl he said to her, “You’ll wish you had never done that”.
Aliana frantically searched with her right hand for something to protect herself with. She felt something being pushed into her hand. As she wrapped her hand around the object she realized it was a broken tree branch. The tree she had been hiding behind had pushed it into her hand with it’s root. The orc threw himself on top of her again, but when his eyes met hers, they were not filled with the anger she had seen only moments before. They were filled with their own terror. He sat up and grasped at his stomach. Blood seeped between his fingers, and he fell over dead. Aliana stood up, reached down and took the jagged branch from his stomach. “Looks like you’ll never underestimate your opponent again, will you?” She spat on his face and turned to walk away, knowing she needed to make her way back towards the hobbits. She didn’t make it far. The encounter with the orc had taken the last of her energy. At least if she was to die, it wouldn’t be in the hands of such evil. After a few steps she fell against the nearby tree that had saved her life. As she touched its bark, it reached it’s branches down toward her in sympathy. As she felt its warmth, she dropped to her knees and cuddled up against it. At least she would spend her last moments with a friend, as the trees had always been no matter where she was.
Just as she was falling into darkness, she felt a warm light. A familiar figure stood over her. “Don’t worry Aminhin, the Valar didn’t bring you to me to lose you like this. Ron rakt rato.”
Her beautiful vision with flowing blonde hair was the last thing she saw as the darkness overtook her once again.
Aminhin= blessed child
Ron rakt rato= your dream warrior is to arrive soon