Orc dens, below Redhorn Pass, Misty Mountains
The dank smell of orc filled their lungs like toxic fumes as the four remaining companions, Elladan, Elrohir, Figwit and Legolas moved stealthily through the dark halls of the orc dens, searching frantically for their Elven captives, Lady Celebrìan and Arvariane Estel.
“We have to tread lightly,” Elladan commanded softly, his nose twitching from the smell. “This smell and these halls are no place for an elf.”
The four companions came silently down a steep set of mouldy stone stairs and were about to search the next dimly torch lit hallway when all four pairs of ear pricked up in alert. Instantly, everyone split into pairs and hid silently in the deep shadows of the hallway as three orcs came up the opposite end of the smelly corridor.
The three orcs noisily made their way up the corridor and stopped in front of a door, four doors from where the four elves were hiding. The unlatching of the door sounded through the hallway, when the shortest orc stopped the opening of the cell door.
“Wait!” the shortest orc stopped. He sniffed the air. “I smell elf.”
“Well of course you smell elf, you halfwit!” the tallest orc scolded. “There is an elf behind this door!”
“No, stupid!” the shortest one continued to argue. “I mean I smell a male elf!” He sniffed the air again. The orc then began facing the direction the shadows the four companions were in.
The other orcs stopped to smell the air. “Hmm…you are right,” the tallest orc agreed. “A young male elf,” he concluded as he turned in the same direction. “Stay here and do not open the door,” he commanded the other orc.
The tallest orc, gestured for the shorter one to come with him as he approached the elves position, but before the other orc who was holding the door could re-lock the cell door, two arrows had already found their marks in his throat, silencing his cries for help. The two remaining orcs were unaware of this until they turned to find their companion with two arrows in his throat on the stone floor dead. Before they knew it, death was already upon them…
Elladan and Elrohir emerged from the shadows swiftly and swung their identical Elvish scimitars in synch, loping the heads off both orcs and at the same time grabbing onto their bodies. They did it so skilfully that neither orc nor blade had made a sound, except for their heads dropping and rolling on the ground. Careful not to make a noise, the twins then lowered their enemies’ bodies onto the ground and the four elves slowly dragged all three orc bodies and their heads, into the deep shadows of the dens so as to clear the way for an escape.
Quickly, all four elves approached the door the orcs were intending on opening and swung it open careful not to make a sound. It was dark, but the light was enough to make out a curled up figure clothed in the Galadhrim Silver dress and barefooted.
“Mother!” the twins gasped quietly in alarm, aware that to make a sound could be the end.
“My sons!” Lady Celebrìan wept softly, her face pale, as she saw the faces of her sons as they ran to their mother’s side.
“Mother, what have they done to you?” Elladan asked as he held his mother’s face in his hands. “What has happened?”
“They have poisoned me, my sons,” Lady Celebrìan cried, tears of pain running down her face. “They have taken my spirit and will.”
“No they have not, mother!” Elrohir whispered in despair, holding his mother’s hand tight. “We are here now. We will save you and you will stay with us in this life!”
“Nay my sons,” Lady Celebrìan said, her voice strained. “I feel my spirit dwindling.”
She cried as the twins held her. There were various cuts and bruises on her feet and ankles as Figwit bent down to scan what he could make out of her wounds. He then noticed blood seeping through her clothes at the shoulder as he spotted a broken arrowhead. Coming closer, he examined the wound, a few moments later he looked up at his twin friends with a grim expression.
“She has been wounded by the black arrow. I cannot heal her here. We will need your father’s help,” Figwit said.
“How do you know it is the black arrow without even seeing the arrow head?” Elrohir asked defiantly, hoping what his friend said was not true.
“The black arrow was specifically made for slaying Elves. It cauterises the wound around the outside, so that the poison can travel more freely through the body, but takes effect more slowly for a painful death. It takes only a day for it to fully embed itself into the system. We must get her back to Rivendell immediately,” Figwit explained quickly. “But I will cast the spell of Este’s Breath, that will heal minor wounds of the body and hopefully slow the effect of the black arrow.”
Legolas, Elrohir and Elladan watched in awe as Figwit put his hands over Lady Celebrìan’s body and begin to chant softly the healing prayer of Este’s Breath. A white glow emerged from the talented healer’s hands and flow into Lady Celebrìan’s body. Lady Celebrìan whined as the spell twitched some of her more serious wounds.
Some colour returned to Lady Celebrìan’s cheeks once the spell was over, but then the cries of orcs sounded from deep below in the dens. Legolas peered out of the cell door and around the corner at the stairwell leading further down into the depths of the dens. Shadows of orcs began to come alive in and out of the light in the stairwell.
“Elladan, Elrohir!” Legolas whispered quickly. “We have not much time. Orcs are near to sensing our presence here. We must get your mother out now!”
“Are there any others here, my lady?” Figwit asked.
Lady Celebrìan shook her head. “I do not know,” she her breath strained. “You must not let them take her! You must save her or she…she…” Lady Celebrìan whispers tapered off before she passed out from over exertion.
“Mother?” Elladan whispered shaking her. “She is still breathing. We better move.” Elladan, being the physically stronger of the twins then picked his mother into the cradle position. “Hang on mother! We will get you out of here.”
Carrying Lady Celebrìan out of the cell, the four elves headed for the stairwell they came down when a loud tormented female screech of pain echoed through the dark hallways followed by cries of orcs, emanating from the opposite stairwell.
“Ariane,” Legolas and Elrohir breathed at once, as the entire group turned to the source.
“Elladan, Elrohir,” Figwit caught their attention. “You must leave with your mother now and head to Rivendell! Legolas and I will go on and look for Ariane.”
Elladan nodded. “Aye. Elrohir, give them my Galadhrim silver rope. The light of our grandparents shall guide you through this.” Elrohir then untied the Galadhrim silver rope from his brother’s belt and handed it to Figwit, who then masterfully slung it across his body.
“We shall see you back in Rivendell,” Legolas said, as he turned to Figwit and as reading his thoughts, nodded. “Tell Haldir the proposed plan. If anything should go wrong, he is to leave these dens without us. Do not be troubled. We shall be fine.”
The twins looked at the two elves and then nodded in acceptance.
“May the light of Earendil guide you,” Elladan wished.
“And may it you,” Figwit farewelled.
Elladan then rushed up the stairwell, saying words of encouragement to his mother to hang onto life. Legolas and Figwit were about to head off to find Ariane, when Elrohir put a faithful hand on the Prince of Mirkwood’s shoulder.
“Find her and bring her safely back to us,” Elrohir said carefully to the both of them.
“Quel fara!” He then rushed off up the stairwell to support his brother and mother in their escape.
“We will find her and we will bring her back,” Legolas mumbled under his breath in root determination.
The group then separated as Legolas and Figwit watched the shadows of orcs draw closer from the stairwell. Both elves quickly hid beside the three dead orcs in the shadows of the corridor next to the stairwell, in hope that their smell will be drowned out in the foul stench of orc. Drawing their hand-to-hand weapons, Legolas his 2 Eregion blade-singer knives and Figwit his Elvish long knife decorated with Quenya symbols, the two elves watched and listened carefully as the chatter of orcs came closer to their end.
As the orcs came up the stairwell and past the two shadowed elves, Legolas nodded to Figwit. In an instant both orcs had been decapitated from behind and fell forward. Dragging their headless bodies into Lady Celebrìan’s now empty cell, the two rescuers did the same to the other three orcs and retrieved each of their heads so as not to leave clues. Latching the cell door shut, both Figwit and Legolas looked around one last time, before heading down the stairwell, continuing on down into the orc dens.
Orc Torture Chambers, Beneath the Redhorn, Misty Mountains
“What are taking those five idiots?” as the voice of the orc commander echoed through Ariane’s head painfully. “It does not take that long to retrieve a female, especially one as frail.”
“They probably could not stand the stench those inbreeds give off,” she heard another echo.
The orcs voices continued to chatter and complain in Ariane’s head, when she regained some consciousness. It was dark and smelly and she did not know how long she had been there for, but it felt like millennia. Her entire body felt as if it had been killed a most brutal death and then resurrected again in the same form.
And her senses were not too far from the truth. Ariane was hanging by her bounded wrists, one mutilated from torture, from chains that were built into the ceiling. Her feet were barely touching the ground as she swayed slightly in the chamber from a small breeze that came through the door. She had got to the stage where she had no feeling of physical pain anymore as the last thing she remembered was the orc commander prying off her mother’s Ainur bracelet and wearing it, before she screamed in immense pain as they poured an acidic liquid over her arm.
Ariane managed to get one eye open, but the other one to no avail. Her vision was still blurred and she felt a little nauseated, but she looked at the two orcs pacing about the room. Several other orcs were present as she realised they had eliminated her elf senses by cutting both tips of her ears as she felt them still bleeding slightly. Why can I not just die? Her thoughts shouted at her. Let me die! If I live I would no longer be elf. JUST LET ME DIE!!!
As Ariane was thinking all these thoughts, a calming feeling then came over her. A pleasant voice then sounded in ancient Quenya and Ariane was unsure of whether it came from the inside or outside of her head.
“You will be rewarded young elf of the Valar,” the soothing voice said. “You will be rewarded.”
For some reason that pleasant voice calmed Ariane and it gave her strength to hold onto. Maybe I will die and that is my reward, she thought. Or maybe something else will happen that would justify this. Either way, I will have my revenge. Several thoughts ran through her mind and Ariane could not help but smile at the prospect of vengeance.
The orc commander noticed this little grin on his prisoner’s face and quickly stormed up to her and held his bloodstained blade up to her neck.
“Why are you so pleased?” the orc commanded, clearly frustrated. “Ready die are you? TELL ME!”
“Because…before this is over, you will feel wrath rammed through your evil heart!” Ariane laughed weakly, in defiance. “You may burn me, you may kill me, but you and your pathetic species will never be rid of my spirit or the spirit of my blade continually plunging into your evil!”
“You have words of an arrogant, selfish ELF! How can a female be so bold! KILL HER!” the orc shouted at his minions. “Torture her until she dies! Until her screams can be heard in eternity! And find out what happened to those five incompetent fools!”
Two more orcs then came up to her and then latched on another set of chains, which were connected to a crankshaft, to her already scarred and worn ankles. As the two orcs prepared to inflict more pain on Ariane by winding up the crankshaft, another pair of orcs went to open the chamber door to look for the other orcs that were to bring down the captured Lady Celebrìan. Opening the door was the biggest mistake made…
Figwit and Legolas came down another set of stairs that led deeper into the dens. Surprised that they had encountered little resistance of their ancient enemy, they were even more so careful when they came across what they knew to be orc torture chambers.
“This place is evil. Pure evil,” Figwit could not help remarking. “There is so much torment here, I do not know how I can even stand to be here to begin with.”
“I feel it also, but we are here to rescue Ariane. That is our mission,” Legolas reminded, as he changed back to his favoured weapons, the bow and arrow. “If we come across anyone else, we are here to rescue them also.”
Using their elf sense to detect any activity behind doors, they heard a menacing orc voice as they came across what looked like a very heavy made wood chamber door with a rounded top-end.
“…How can a female be so bold? KILL HER!” they hear the orc shout. “Torture her until she dies! Until her screams can be heard in eternity! And find out what happened to those five incompetent fools!”
A few moments later, the chamber door unlatched and opened as two orcs exited from the chamber. Instantly, Figwit and Legolas simultaneously aimed for the necks, Figwit with his knife and Legolas with his arrowhead, and killed the orcs. Before the other orcs in the chamber knew what was going on, the two elves swiftly entered the room and shooting the two orcs near Ariane in the throat, Figwit by throwing his knife and Legolas by firing his arrow. The orc commander was so confused that by the time he had a chance to cry, Legolas had already drew one of his knife blades and shoved it through the orc commander’s throat, gurgling his cries. He then noticed a familiar trinket on his wrist.
“I believe this belongs to me,” Legolas jeered, as he grabbed the Ainur bracelet from the wrist, before twisting the blade silencing the orc once and for all.
“Legolas!” Figwit caught his attention.
Letting the orc commander body fall, Legolas turned to see one of the most beautiful and strongest she elves he had ever seen, be reduced to such a frail form.
Ariane was hanging by her arms unconscious and bleeding. With her hair messily being hacked, she was dressed in what looked like her travel wear that was sliced up, damp and stained with blood and mud, her face had numerous jagged cuts that were mixed in with dirt and blood. One of her arms seemed burnt, almost to the bone and the sides of her head were still bleeding as Legolas approached Ariane’s unconscious form touching her bloodied face, still trying to comprehend whether it was really she or not.
“Help me with the arm chains, quickly,” Figwit commanded, as he unlatched the chains on her feet.
Legolas did as he said and pulled firmly the bolt that held the wrists together in the chains. As Ariane fell forward, Legolas caught her and pulled her to the ground, cradling her head in his arms.
“My dearest Ariane, what have they done?” Legolas implored, as he held Ariane’s uninjured hand with her bracelet. “They will pay for this transgression!”
Figwit quickly examined Ariane’s wounds and almost stopped breathing when he saw the state of her other arm. “By the gods, this is going to be difficult.”
“What? What is going to be difficult?” Legolas asked in concern.
“She has lost so much blood and obtained so many wounds that she should not be alive, but she is,” Figwit remarked.
“Can you not at least heal her?”
“I will heal her, but I do not think it would be enough to make her able to stand on her own two feet,” Figwit replied. “I have not yet learned the higher powers of Este and that is what we need now. I will heal her as best as possible by the power of Este and Varda and hopefully she will regain consciousness.”
Figwit then place his hands on her stomach and chanted. Instead of a white glow emanating from his hands, an ice blue glow swept through Ariane’s body, her body convulsing.
“What is happening?” Legolas asked in alarm.
“Her body has sustained so many wounds, the healing spell is trying to regenerate her body from nothing,” Figwit explained.
Araine’s body continued to convulse as the ice blue glow continued to sweep through her, slowly regenerating her cuts and bruises. The only parts of her body that did not regenerate fully were her arm and ears. She finally stopped convulsing, as Figwit took away his hands.
“Ariane? Ariane, can you hear me?” Figwit said soothingly. “Ariane, please wake up…Ariane, please we do not have much time…”
To be continued in Part 2…