Morelen and Gimli sat by the fire as the sun peeked down on them through the leaves of the trees, splashing golden light onto the forest floor. Morelen sat with a large stick, playing with the embers, stoking them and then blowing on the end of the branch when it caught flame. Elboron sat behind them, whittling something clever out of a fallen branch with his switch blade. The river gently bubbled and its swift current was cold and quick, providing a soft, gentle sound that was relaxing to the four of them.
Legolas had left the camp temporarily to hunt, so they would have at least something decent to eat that night. Their Lembas was fast disappearing and the dried meat they had packed was nothing compared to the fresh, tender meat of freshly roasted meat.
“I swear, lass, you’ll burn these woods to the ground if you keep doing that,” said Gimli, irritated. Lately the heat had been almost unbearable, the humidity making it a thousand times worse. Their patience was growing thin and they were tired, hungry, and annoyed that they still hadn’t even reached Harad.
Morelen flashed him a glance of aggravation, but blew the fire out from the end of the outstretched limb and threw it to the ground, letting it smoke right next to the dwarf.
The wind danced lightly through the trees, a sweet smelling breeze that gently touched the wisps of her dark hair. Morelen heard something snap, as a branch or twig, and it unsettled her.
The wind? She questioned herself, assuming that it had been the breeze.
Unconsciously she looked to Elboron for his reaction, and his gaze was fixed on the trees far behind them. She heard another snap and the rustle of leaves, and she watched Elboron stand from his seat on the fallen log.
He hears it too. Is it Legolas? Or an animal?
“Is Legolas b–” but before she could finish the question, suddenly the hiss of a flying arrow whizzed by them and thudded as it struck a nearby tree. Morelen gasped and jumped back from the fire, tripping over the fallen log and landing unceremoniously in the grass, her wide eyes terrified.
Gimli stood proudly, his axe in hand as the bandits entered the clearing. There were only a few of them, dark scarves covering their entire faces except for a tiny slit for their eyes From what skin they could see, they gathered instantaneously that these men were dark, about as dark as Morelen. Their eyes were like orbs of sparkling midnight and they looked fierce, terribly angry.
Sweet Elbereth, they’re from Harad!
Elboron already had his sword out, returning the blows one brigand threw at him and finally slicing open the man’s chest. Morelen unsheathed her sword and held it out defensively, trying to retain some form of composure. One of the men saw her standing alone and ran to her, his eyes holding a menacing hatred she never knew one could possess. She held the hilt of her sword tighter and prepared to strike when suddenly an arrow sprouted from his chest. Her instinctive gasp of surprise made him look away from the arrow that had struck his sturdy chest, its flecks green and blue.
The disgusted look on his face made her want to cry, but she couldn’t move. She was rooted to the ground, her heart nearly stopping in her chest.
“Ana mabaaff, Narak!’ The man spat at her in a harsh, guttural language that made Morelen cringe. It sounded so cruel and…dark.
The man attempted to cut her but she dodged the attack clumsily and stabbed him with all of her might, pulling the blade out of his chest after he fell to the ground.
She looked up to see Gimli and Elboron staring at her, horrified expressions on their faces. She let the sword drop from her hands with a loud clank and sat on the log, her hands clasped nervously.
“Are you alright, lady?” Gimli asked her, seeing her tremble like a dead leaf in the autumn wind.
She felt a warm hand on her shoulder and looking behind her, she saw the elf stare at her comfortingly.
Pán I Mae, Mellon nîn…
**Yeah, for the Haradrim words, I just put some letters together and called it good. I didn’t feel like researching anything 😉 **
*Sindarin for, “All is well, my friend.”*