Orc Torture Chambers, Beneath the Redhorn, Misty Mountains
A soothing voice entered her head. “Ariane? Ariane, can you hear me? Ariane, please wake up…Ariane, please we do not have much time…”
Opening her eyes, she met those of the same colour. “Figwit? Figwit is that you?” Ariane croaked.
“Aye. Listen, we do not have much time. Can you stand?” Figwit quickly asked.
Ariane tried moving her body, but she felt dead. Her left arm especially hurt and she could not stop the ringing in her ears that almost drowned out all form of speech.
“I cannot move,” Ariane replied, shaking her head. “I feel like a dead weight.”
“Then we will have to help you,” another voice came, as a pair of sturdy arms scooped her up underneath her shoulders and hoisted her up onto her feet.
The moment her feet touched the ground, she began to buckle, as she was still too weak to hold her own weight. Figwit’s arm then helped support her. Ariane looked in the direction of the other voice and found someone she did not expect.
“Prince Legolas?” Ariane asked groggily, as he slipped something cool onto her uninjured wrist.
“Your bracelet my lady,” he smiled. “You did not think I would not come for the adventure, did you?” He looked at Figwit. “We should get a move on. Hopefully the way is still open and Haldir is still waiting for us.”
“Are there any others here Ariane?” Figwit asked.
Ariane shook her head. “No. All the guardians had been slain before I was captured. Have you…”
“…Found Lady Celebrìan, yes,” Legolas answered, reading her thoughts. “She is with her sons on her way back to Rivendell, as you will soon be reunited with your father.”
The three elves hobbled out of the chamber and about to make their way up the stairs, when an orc warning cry sounded out. Suddenly, a menacing silence was followed by loud screeches of orc war cries.
“Looks like we have been discovered,” Figwit said. “We have to quickly hurry.”
The two male elves swiftly scooped Ariane up by the legs in a chair lift and quickly made their way up the stairs, but were stopped short when they got to the next level. As they set down Ariane, who had regained a little more strength to support her weight, a squad of orcs came around a corner further down the corridor, making their way to the stairwell as the elves came in their path.
“Hold her!” Legolas ordered Figwit, as he gently let go of Ariane onto Figwit for support and drew his bow and arrow and fired. Figwit automatically tightened his grip on Ariane and both elves hid off to the side hallway.
The orcs let out an ear-piercing cry as Legolas fired three consecutive arrows, hitting three different targets, before running off down the hallway to help Figwit with Ariane.
“Two squads are blocking the main pass to the other stairwell,” Legolas said, as he quickly put his arm underneath Ariane’s shoulders, hurrying them along. “We have to find an alternate route out of here.”
As the three elves hobbled down dimly lit corridors, twisting and turning through the labyrinth of the orc dens, frantically trying to make their way to the other end, where they could escape, they could feel the orc squad bearing down on them, their cries getting closer.
Ariane felt the stabbing pains of her wounds get worse as she continued to move. As her two friends tried helping her, she felt the blood from her stomach wounds start flowing again. It got to the stage where her troubled breaths, became uncontrollable whimpers and her footing, even though her two friends supported her, began to falter.
“Ariane, hold on in there!” Figwit pleaded desperately. “We will get you out of here.”
“I know you will, but I do not know if I can,” Ariane whispered weakly.
“You will, I will make sure of it,” Legolas promised.
The sound of running water then began to sound in the sensitive ears of both Legolas and Figwit, as the trio made their way further down the corridor, the orcs still close behind them.
“Do you hear that?” Figwit asked. “Water running.”
“Aye,” Legolas confirmed. “The dens must be near to an underground river.”
Suddenly, Ariane’s legs began to buckle and she started to fall to the ground, her grip on Figwit and Legolas failing. Both elves quickly, tensed their grip on her, but unable to hold her up, they quickly dragged her into the darkness of one of the side corridors that were not lit.
“Ariane!” Legolas cried softly, holding her by the waist as they set her down.
Figwit automatically began assessing how injured Ariane really was. As he touched her forehead and face, which was already damp with cold sweat, he felt his heart tighten with regret for his childhood friend. My dearest friend, he thought sadly. Even though it is dark, your wounds are much more than meets the eye. And by the heavens I did not expect you to be like this!
“Go!” she said faintly. “You cannot bring me back. There is no way you can get me back to Rivendell. I must stay. Figwit, you and Legolas must leave.”
“No!” Legolas argued defiantly. “We did not come all this way just to leave you here!”
“But you are not going to,” Ariane smiled weakly. “Tell my father I will be all right. The Valar shall protect me.”
“Figwit will try healing you,” Legolas said frantically, looking at his friend, who was examining the extent of the damage. “Otherwise, we will carry you.”
Figwit looked up at Legolas. “My friend, if we tried carrying her, she will die from her wounds before we even reached Rivendell,” Figwit said softly.
“But you must do something,” Legolas persisted.
“The amount of healing skill needed for this is no longer in my hands, Legolas. I am sorry,” Figwit shook his head sadly. He then put a hand to her cheek. “I am sorry Ariane, but I need the Niphredil extract to heal you enough to be able to stop the bleeding and by the gods, only Lord Elrond and Lady Galadriel have such a substance.”
“Do not worry, Figwit,” Ariane assured. “You have done more than enough to help me. You must leave with Legolas now. Promise me, both of you?”
“We are not going to leave you here,” Legolas said to Ariane, steadfastly. “I would rather stay and fight than leave you to these devils!”
“I promise,” Figwit nodded after a moment, his voice strained, as he knew what he was about to do would be on his conscience for a long time to come.
“If I cannot walk, we cannot get back to Rivendell without me endangering yourself and Figwit,” Ariane whispered logically to Legolas. “You and him are not physically strong enough to carry me all the way and you know it. You must leave.”
“Legolas, we stay here any longer, none of us are going to make it,” Figwit said, sensing the presence of the orc squads coming closer.
“No, no!” Legolas whispered desperately shaking his head. He then took his hand from where it was supporting her back and saw it was covered with her blood. “By the gods, no.”
“Go Legolas. You are wasting your chance to escape. Promise me you will not look back? Promise me you will go?” Ariane croaked weakly.
Legolas’s face twisted in regret, as he too knew that what he was about to do would be on his conscience for a long time. He looked at Ariane’s scarred face one last time, before he nodded. “I promise,” he finally said, as he held her hand tight again. “I promise I will never give up hope.”
Even though it was it was dark, he could see a small smile on Ariane’s face, knowing that was what she wanted to hear. “Thankyou,” she said. “The Valar shall protect me as it shall you in this dark hour. Take my bracelet. My father will know what to do with it,” Ariane said. Legolas reluctantly pulled off the special piece of jewellery and wore it on his own wrist securely. “Now leave!” Ariane then used as much strength she had to push him away.
Legolas stumbled back, staring at her and the pool of blood underneath her body. “GO!” she whispered, before diminishing into unconsciousness.
“Come on, my friend,” Figwit said quickly. “There is nothing we can do here anymore. We must go!”
Figwit grabbed Legolas by the arm and pulled him up, heading along their original planned path through the maze of the dens, leaving Ariane in the darkness of on of the side corridors, hoping they would draw the orcs away from her.
With the thought of leaving Ariane constantly plaguing their thoughts, both Legolas and Figwit were able to suppress them enough and focus on the task at hand, to try and escape the dens. Turning another corner, they came across a T-intersection, one way leading further into the den, the other consisting of the exit guarded by a squad of orcs.
“The exit is to our right, but it is guarded by two squads,” Legolas observed quietly.
“How are we going to get past this one?” Figwit asked quietly, as he looked back behind the corner they came for the orcs behind them.
“It is going to be difficult,” Legolas admitted, as he watched the squad of orcs.
Suddenly, a low rumbling sounded throughout the dens. Figwit and Legolas looked at each other in puzzlement, as the orcs also seemed confused at the rumble. Observing the orcs guarding the stairwell, they began to scratch their heads in confusion when a second low rumbling sound resonated through the halls, this time much deeper and louder, as if it were coming from the mountains itself.
Everyone seemed to look about them, wondering what the sound was. Unexpectedly, every orc in the den began to cry out aloud and the orcs guarding the stairwell scattered, as if being called for a more important purpose elsewhere. Taking this as chance to escape, Legolas and Figwit sprinted for the stairwell and bolted up the stairway making their way back to meet Haldir at the exit point. Without looking back though, they were not sure, but could not help notice the faint screeches of orcs and an unfamiliar deep resonance, recurring over and over again in the depths of the mountains.
Late Afternoon, Exit point onto the surface of Caradhras
The chatter of orcs sounded through the hallways, as Haldir rested above on the ledge, eyeing a squad of orcs that had stood just below him. After helping her Lady Celebrìan and her sons’ escape from the orc dens, Haldir quickly made his way back to the exit point, in hopes that Legolas and Figwit found others and brought them to safety.
When he returned, a small squad of orcs had nestled themselves right where the elves had come into the dens. Suddenly a deep resonance sounded through the halls and the orcs below him fell silent, their chatter ceasing. A few moments later they cried out and strayed away from their position as Haldir stood, dumbfounded at the deep sound. Dwarves? No…it cannot be, his mind raced. They would have clearly wiped out the orc dens before they had a chance to thrive like this.
As time passed, Haldir was getting worried, as the two elves had not yet returned and the resonance was getting louder and louder. The resonance became so deep that it began to rattle the rocks on the ledge, causing some of them to fall. Where are they? He thought worriedly.
Suddenly, a soft whistle was highlighted in the deep sound. Haldir peered over the edge to find Legolas and Figwit just arriving at the exit point. Haldir, leaning over the edge, his arms out gestured for them to hurry. Legolas hopped up and Haldir caught his arms in a monkey grip and pulled the Prince of Mirkwood up over the edge.
As Legolas was coming up over the edge, the deep resonance was getting louder and making the entire cave shake.
“What happened? Where are the others?” Haldir asked quickly.
“There were no others, except Ariane,” Legolas said, as he climbed over the ledge and stood beside Haldir so he could too help Figwit up.
Haldir and Legolas then both bent over and lent out their arms for Figwit to grab onto. Figwit locked their arms in the same fashion, as they pulled him up over the edge.
“Ariane? Then where is she?”
“We could not get her out,” Figwit said quickly, as he scrambled over the ledge and regained his balance.
Haldir was about to pose another question to the both of them, when the ledge beneath them began to shake their feet.
“We have to leave, now!” Legolas shouted over now what was din. “The sound is causing the entire den to collapse.”
Just as they left the edge-side and began heading out of the mountain, the entire ledge collapsed behind them. The entire mountain seemed to shake, as the trio dodged falling debris from the tunnel.
Running as fast as they could, they made it out, the entire tunnel caving in behind them. Outside, the rocks of the mountain too began to shake, but they did not stop running until they were back on the main pass of Caradhras. A low rumble sounded as Haldir, Legolas and Figwit regrouped with what was left of the scouting party.
“What happened?” Oiovenya, the Lorien Trap Specialist, asked his commanding officer, Haldir. “Did you find any others?”
“We could not get her out,” Legolas said, as he stared into space.
“Why?” Haldir asked Legolas, his eyes blazing.
“She would have died if we tried, Haldir,” Figwit interjected.
“Were you not able to heal her?”
Figwit shook his head. He then looked Haldir straight in the eye. “Her wounds were very severe. I was able to heal her only so much, but then her movements upset the wounds even more and she bled. The only way I could stop the bleeding was to have the Niphredil extract of Lorien, and that is something only Lord Elrond or Lady Galadriel as an experience healers, have in their possession.” Figwit then looked to the ground. “I take full responsibility for what happened to her, for I did not come prepared.”
Haldir looked at Legolas, who nodded in confirmation. Silence was heard as Haldir eyed both Legolas and Figwit. His face then softened, as he knew his friends would not have made a decision like that unless it was absolutely necessary.
“No, Figwit, my friend,” Haldir softly said finally. “I have known you and Legolas long enough to know that you would not have left her if you did not think it be possible to get her out without endangering yourselves.” A thought then occurred to him. “Either that or knowing Ariane, she told you to leave, did she not?” Legolas looked at Figwit and he nodded. Haldir nodded knowingly. “Thought so. I may not have known her long, but she can be a stubborn horse when it comes to others lives.”
Legolas and Figwit both stringently nodded, trying not to break down with guilt of leaving their friend. Sighing, Haldir put a sympathetic hand on each of Legolas’s and Figwit’s shoulder.
“We have all lost a dear friend, but we must return to Rivendell with all haste,” Haldir said regretfully. “Hopefully, we can quickly gather an attack party and destroy what is left of those foul dens and recover Ariane’s body at least to put her to rest.”
Early Morning, a day later, Rivendell
The twin sons of Elrond stood on the terrace outside the House of Healing in emerald green robes that shimmered in the morning sunlight, awaiting news of their mother. They had travelled non-stop from Caradhras, with two Elves of Lorien, Bellurion and Felormil, since they found their mother mortally wounded by orcs underneath the Redhorn Pass in the Misty Mountains.
Although they had just come of age, the twins had shown their skill and maturity through their ranger skills and had further proven their abilities by rescuing their mother from orcs. But it was known amongst many of the Rivendell Elves, that the eldest son of Elrond, Elladan, was the wiser, where as the youngest, Elrohir, was the more avid. Their father, Lord Elrond, and younger sister, Arwen, had worked all day and night for the past two days trying to save their mother, Lady Celebrìan, spirit from leaving this world. One thing was for sure though. The twins will never forget the offence done to them by their foul enemies the orcs.
Suddenly, the door opened from the House of Healing and Arwen stepped out in her red and grey dress, her face exhausted.
“Arwen, how is mother?” Elrohir quickly asked.
“She…she,” Arwen stammered, tears began forming in her eyes. “She is going to live.”
“Oh thank the gods!” Elladan cried, as he embraced his twin and sister.
The three siblings embraced and cried in joy together, happy to know that their mother was going to be all right. They were so wrapt in their joy, they failed to notice the returning party, until Haldir had announced themselves to them.
“Elladan, Elrohir, Arwen,” Haldir’s voice penetrated their circle.
Snapping out of their trance, the three siblings looked at the remaining returning scout party. Haldir, Dinros, Oiovenya, Legolas and Figwit, all of who looked poised, carried themselves with pride, like all elves, but something in their eyes brought Arwen’s smile to a halt.
“Haldir, you have returned,” Elladan greeted as he went to put his hand on his friend’s shoulder, failing to notice his sister’s sudden frown. “Glad to see you all.”
“Where is Ariane?” Elrohir was quick to ask Legolas and Figwit.
Silence befell the group, until Haldir spoke up. “Where is Lord Glorfindel?”
Dawn, two days later, Garrison of Imladris, Rivendell
The entire society of Rivendell was in state of alert. After the return of the scouts from Caradhras and the news of the Rivendell entourage’s fall, the Arms of Rivendell called in their best trackers and soldiers to join in an assault squad, led by the twin sons of Elrond, to destroy what was left of the orc dens and in hopes of finding Lord Glorfindel’s daughter, Arvariane Estel.
Elrohir stood motionless in front of a window in the garrison, looking out at the Prince of Mirkwood and Haldir of Lorien as they were preparing to head back that evening to the Forests of Lothlorien, under the order of King Thranduil for his son’s return so they could return to the realm of Mirkwood.
“Did you return the pieces of Ariane’s sword to Lord Glorfindel?” a sweet, but sad voice sounded behind him.
Turning, Elrohir looked at his young sister, who was all dressed in black, her hair loose, and nodded. “It was the least I could do,” his voice sullen. Elrohir then withdrew his Elven dagger and twirled it in his hand masterfully. “The least he could do was come with us to look for her, like Figwit!” Elrohir burst in anger. “He left her there!”
“Elrohir, Legolas has been called by his father, King Thranduil, to return to Mirkwood,” Arwen said in defence of the Prince. “As a royal that is his duty, as it is your duty now to find those orcs again and recover Ariane. You know Legolas would if he could.”
“Why did he have to leave her, Arwen?” Elrohir cried. “Why her? I ask the gods, why Arvariane Estel?”
“Do not blame anyone for this brother,” Arwen said soothingly. “Figwit and Legolas both confirmed that she was injured quite badly and that upon returning her to Rivendell would have killed her.” Arwen set a warm hand her brother’s shoulder. “They did what they thought would be best and at least now, you may have a chance of recovering her alive.”
“Sister, orcs would not keep her alive,” Elrohir said. “You saw what they did to mother. Why would you believe such a thing would be the same for Ariane?”
“She is my best friend, Elrohir,” Arwen said, starting to get annoyed at her brother’s ignorance. “Since she was born, she was destined to protect me and I know I have not come to the end of my life yet, so it cannot be hers. I do not believe this is her fate. Do not ask me why, but my heart tells me she will return to us one day and complete her destiny, no matter what it is. Her life I am sure was not meant to amount to this.”
“You have such faith, my dear sister,” Elrohir smiled, turning his head slightly to her. “I wish I had the same as you, but I feel such fear in my heart.”
“I know you care about her, more than any other she-elf, save me,” Arwen said. “Just keep hope. If you keep hope, all wishes will come true.” Arwen then looked out at the Prince of Mirkwood and the Soldiers of Lorien. “And do not hold a grudge. Or else you will lose hope.” Elrohir looked out to where his sister was observing and nodded reluctantly. “You better join, Elladan and the others. They are waiting at the main gate ready to leave…”
Afternoon, the House of Lord Glorfindel, Rivendell
The house seemed empty as Lord Glorfindel, all dressed in black opened the door to his study. The attack squad from Rivendell had left early that morning, as Lord Glorfindel had been plagued with condolences from many elves all over Middle-earth.
Walking over to his desk, that laid out the only half the shards of his daughter’s long sword, Earth’s Wrath, on a silk cloth, he ran his fingers gently across each shard.
This cannot be it, he thought, as he shook his head in disbelief. This cannot be her fate. I refuse it to be her fate. Oh, by the gods how I REFUSE IT!
His face began to twist in sorrow as he put his hand up to it, hoping it would try and stop the tears about to fall.
“My Lord?” a familiar voice penetrated his thoughts.
Quickly regaining his composure turning, he came face to face with Florinya, the house maiden and dear friend.
“Yes, Florinya? What is it?” he said, wiping the sullen look off his face and putting on the authoritative expression.
“His highness, Legolas of Mirkwood, wishes an audience to see you, Glorfindel,” Florinya announced. “He is waiting outside.”
“Very well, Florinya. Show him in.”
Florinya nodded sullenly, knowing that Lord Glorfindel was still very distressed about his only daughter.
Moments later the young Legolas of Mirkwood entered the study dressed in the green and brown robes of the Elves of Mirkwood, his golden hair half, neatly braided back. In the grip of his hand, he held a small bundle that he presented immediately to Lord Glorfindel upon approach.
“My lord,” Legolas bowed his head in sorrow, holding out his hand. “This is your daughter’s Ainur bracelet she asked me to hand to you.”
Lord Glorfindel looked down at the Prince’s open hand and stared at the silver piece of jewellery. The jewel of hope, he thought sadly. My daughter’s birthright and memories… Another thought then occurred to him, as if it were instinct. Ariane would not have parted with this unless she did not have faith that she would be with it again. A small smile spread across his face, as he looked at Legolas’s bowed head.
“It was her mother’s,” Lord Glorfindel corrected softly. “Before my wife died she instructed me to give this to our daughter in remembrance of her birthright and memories.”
Legolas shook his head in sorrow. “My Lord Glorfindel, I am so sorry! I am so sorry for leaving your daughter! I should have never left her! By the gods…”
“Pray my son,” Lord Glorfindel interrupted him calmly, placing a warm hand on the Prince’s shoulder. “I know you or Figwit did not leave her on your own accord. I know she asked you to.”
Glorfindel then lifted the Prince of Mirkwood’s remorseful face. “Know that I do not blame you or anyone for this tragedy. Life must go on,” he said, a slight break in his voice, still not wanting to believe the truth. “You did your best to save my daughter, and for that I thank you.”
“No `buts’, `what ifs’ or `I could haves’. This was her destiny,” Lord Glorfindel remembered the past. “She is not dead as far as I am concerned, for her body has not been recovered and until that happens, there is no way as a father I am going to believe that she is dead.” He then folded Legolas’s fingers over the bracelet, something insisting that the Prince of Mirkwood keeps the bracelet. “Keep the bracelet.”
“I cannot take it, my lord. She wanted me to give it to you?” Legolas said, opening his hand again.
“Did she say that, or did you assume?” Lord Glorfindel asked candidly. “What did she say?”
Legolas took awhile to answer before he mumbled, “She said, `Take my bracelet. My father will know what to do with it.'”
Lord Glorfindel then smiled, before he closed Legolas’s fingers around the bracelet again. “Keep it safe.”
Legolas stood dumbfounded at what Lord Glorfindel was asking him to do. He then nodded in sorrow. “Thank you.” Turning he headed to the door, when he turned back to Lord Glorfindel.
“My lord. One last question,” Legolas began. “Why are you not keeping the bracelet for yourself? Why are you giving it to me?”
Lord Glorfindel looked at the inquisitive young Prince and shrugged. “I do not know, young Prince,” he shook his head. “Something in my heart tells me that her bracelet is meant to go to you and not me. That I be the keeper of the shards of her Eregion blade and that I should hold onto hope. But for what reason or meaning, I do not know.”
Note: Imladris (Elvish Tongue) = Rivendell (Common Tongue)
To be continued…
Author’s Note: Sorry if this chapter is not making any sense, but I am writing this part off the top of my head. But to give a little spill on the next chapter, it involves dwarves (for we cannot forget the jolly, yet fierce race that lives underground) and yes, Arvariane Estel has something to do with Aragorn (Estel) in the future. Hopefully it is not too predictable yet!
Also, there may be a delay on Chapter 7 , but not to worry, it will hopefully be written by the end of April. I know that is a while, but please be patient as I have 3 essays to write during that time.
I would also like to thank you all for your great support in keeping this story going. Otherwise, I would have not continued with it.