End of Chapter 9
The name sent a shiver down Beron’s spine and he suddenly had a strange vision of an elf. The elf was dark and shadowed, undoubtedly Khelekiâ.
” Brunwen, it is late. You should return to your bed.”
Brunwen nodded slowly and handed her sword to Beron. He refused to take it. It was hers to keep he reminded her. She nodded again and turned to walk to the hut.
Beron watched her enter the hut and then he cast a glance back towards the ever-present forest. Under the eaves of the forest, on the other side, a battle was ready to begin.
A bird twittered and then suddenly hushed. A black squirrel stared down at the dark gloom advancing through the forest and fleetly hid itself. Yet another bird started song but again the forest returned to its deathly silence. The whole forest was poised, waiting, breathlessly for the great plunge.
The Dark Army was moving stealthily through Mirkwood, dragging along their black cloak of shadows. Khelekiâ led them, riding his horse. His eyes were fixed on the path they were following. The elves were fully expecting an ambush and so had sent two small groups of soldiers to either side of the advancing column.
The Fortress of the Mirkwood King came into view gradually and no elves stood outside it. The doors were locked and closed tight by the elven king’s magic. The windows were lined with elven archers, hiding in the shadows. The dark ranks of the Moriquendi walked forward in a tight formation that slowly expanded into all the open space.
The stillness became even stiller and suddenly a strange whistle pierced the tense air. An arrow flew through the air and buried itself into the neck of one of the Moriquendi. The swollen ranks broke into a run and yelling, the elves ran towards the gates.
The archers got to immediate work and soon the air was thick with arrows. Those who had run at first fell back at a thought from Morgoth. They gathered behind their archers.
Within the fortress, all the foot soldiers gathered at the gate and waited for orders. The archers in the windows continued their deadly hail.
Gaelen found himself in the orderly press by the doors, waiting. He could not see either Soros or Mornuil and he feared what the traitors might do. Suddenly a resounding bang on the gates sounded and he realised that the Moriquendi were trying to batter their way in.
The elves inside murmured amongst themselves as the gates resounded with each effort the dark elves were making. Gaelen turned pale when he suddenly remembered what Bernl had said about the cellar.
He turned and dropped his spear, as he ran towards the empty halls of the far end of the palace. Some elves turned in surprise but as the doors started to give way, the Elven King opened them and the Mirkwood elves poured out.
Gaelen ran with all the graceful speed of an elf to the cellars where he glimpsed from afar a twinkling light. Soros and Mornuil were there. The first was holding a lit torch and a sword. The other was struggling with the heavy trap door. Gaelen stopped noiseless and crept forward till he was within a short distance of the two.
He pulled out a knife and carefully aiming, flicked it across the space into Soros’ arm. The torch fell to the ground. Soros turned in the dimmed light and held his sword in front of him.
“- Keep at it, Mornuil! I’ll deal with this.
Gaelen unsheathed his sword and carefully circled towards Soros. The elven general pulled the knife out slowly, ignoring the pain. The two swords drew nearer and touched for a moment.
“- Ahh… fool elf… Why do you follow us?
– Why do you betray your people?
– I betray no one for my loyalties were never to Mirkwood.”
Gaelen suddenly feinted to the right. His sword then swung left. Both moves were blocked by the other’s sword. The blur made by their swords flickered around the room and they kept ringing and clashing, echoingly in the cellar.
The swordplay did not slow and more than once, Gaelen almost lost his balance. Soros did not stop for a second and his fierce eyes bore into Gaelen, searching for weakness. Suddenly Soros flicked the knife at Gaelen but in that moment, his guard dropped slightly and Gaelen knocked him out. The traitor crumpled to the floor.
Mornuil looked up and dropped the cellar door back down. He ran forward to get the sword but Gaelen seized it first. Mornuil hesitated just long enough to give Gaelen the advantage. The elf crumpled to the floor as well.
Gaelen found some rope in a dim corner and tied the two tightly, after having removed all their weapons. He then placed the torch in a holder after having lit a few more torches. The silence interrupted only by a small drip of water now and again was eerie. He went to the ring of metal in the wall and released the rope. He heard the portcullis fall shut.
He turned to leave when he heard the cellar door move. Swivelling quickly, he saw the cellar door opening and a dark hand pushing it up. Immediately he grabbed the nearest barrel to him and pulled it onto the door. The door closed but the elves under it could still move it a bit. Another two barrel joined the one on the door and soon it was to heavy for anyone to move.
Brunwen sleep lightly, tormented by dull-red toned dreams.
The Dark Elf featured over and over, laughing, mocking… His eyes flashed and his mind tried to search hers. A bloodied sword held in his hand, he smiled hungrily at her.
” Remember me? Don’t you, My Lady?”
The words echoed and the vision turned into a tunnel of crimson. Floating forward… Towards the end… Khelekiâ…
She woke and grabbed her sword. The insult was too much. She had to return to stop him. She straightened her garment as she walked into the sunlight. She walked towards the forest. The princess planned to follow the side of the forest to the path.
Beron stood outside speaking to some others and saw Brunwen march out, her eyes fixed on the distant forest. Her face was twisted in fierce anger. The man ran to her and tried to stop her.
“- Brunwen? Where are you going?
– I am going to destroy Khelekiâ!”
Sorry for how long this was in coming. I will try to get chapter 11 out soon. Please do review the story…