As she started to regain consciousness, Aliana heard two voices conversing quietly. As she drew her attention to what was being said, she could only make out a word here and there. “Aragorn…..should have stayed…….thought I’d never wish for lembas again……..fellowship”
“Quiet you filthy Halflings.” She heard the sound of leather hitting flesh. She opened her eyes to see what looked like a boy of maybe 10 years with a bright red cheek. Behind the orc that carried this boy she noticed another orc carrying a boy on its back, also. Their hands were bound and thrown over the orcs heads, keeping the creatures hands free while carrying their baggage. “So, these are the Halflings that I have read about,” she thought. Aliana had never dreamed of seeing them in person, let alone under circumstances like this.
Aliana started sizing up the situation she found herself in. Her hands were also bound and were hanging on the chest of the orc carrying her. Her wrists were burning from the ropes, but she carefully found she still had use of her fingers. Next she tried to move her feet. Trying not to bring any attention on herself, she discreetly moved her toes and ankles. She was very much relieved to find that they too, worked. She moved her senses up her body. She could feel the heat emanating from her side. She tightened her stomach muscles and a searing pain tore thru her body. It took every ounce of energy left in her not to wince. She didn’t know why, but she knew it was important for her captors not to know that she had woken. She opened her eyes again to see one of the hobbits beside her now. He looked over at her and noticed she was awake. He managed a smile that warmed her somewhat and said quietly, “Don’t worry. I’m sure they are not far behind”. The orc carrying her jumped over a log lying across their path. When he clumsily landed, it gave Aliana such a jolt that darkness overtook her again.
“These are new tracks. A horse fled from here, but it appears the rider did not have the same fate,” called Aragorn to his two companions. Legolas gained Aragorn’s side quickly and peered down to where Aragorn was pointing. “Someone was pushed out into the clearing here…..they must have been wounded for the footsteps from here are dragging. They fell here. There is blood on the ground from their wound. They must have been picked up, for there is no more sign of them. But these footsteps are different. They are smaller and more delicate than a man’s. They are harder than an elf’s, yet not as deep as a mortal’s would be. It may be a child,” Aragorn said, with much worry in his voice.
“Any sign of the hobbits?” questioned Gimli as he finally caught up with his friends, trying to catch his breath.
“No sign. Being that this person seems to have been carried, it must mean that they are carrying all of their prisoners. Let us hope that the reason isn’t because they cannot walk”. Aragorn’s face showed great concern.
Legolas thought for a moment on this new captured soul. For some reason, he felt a renewed sense of urgency, like this person was someone very close to him. He didn’t understand where this new feeling came from, but he had learned long ago not to question himself, only go with his feelings.
“We are wasting time. If we don’t catch up with them soon, all hope will be lost” replied Legolas”.
Aragorn looked quickly to his comrades and broke out into a run with Legolas right behind him. Gimli paused a moment, took in a deep breath and ran as fast as his legs could carry him.