Palanhiliel stood holding the bow, in shock. What could have happened to him? Now she was once again alone in the world, all by herself, with no one to care for her or help her along the way. Tears started to form in her eyes. She was about to cry when she heard something behind her. She quickly spun around and found herself facing an orc. It was ugly and smelled of death. Its sharp fangs were bared and it held a knife to her.
“What do we have ‘er? A maiden out alone. Not to bright are ya?” he asked in his evil voice. He held the knife closer to her neck, “Don’t move if ya know what’s good fer ya.”
It tied her hands and feet and put her on a black horse. She realized that it was Valmar’s horse. ‘The orcs must have found the camp.’ He led her away on through the night for what seemed hours to her. Finally, they arrived at a dark cave. Outside of it were at least a hundred orcs all sitting around campfires, arguing and fighting amongst themselves. The orc that had captured her led her into the cave and threw her off of the horse. She landed on the floor of the cave hard, and her face scratched along a sharp rock sticking out of the cruel ground. Blood trickled down her face and mingled with falling tears. The orc kicked her and made her move to the back of the cave. She did so, but said nothing. She didn’t want to be harmed anymore than she already was. She had heard terrible stories about orcs and what they did to their prisoners. Palanhiliel hoped nothing more would happen to her.
The orc left and she was alone. Suddenly she heard a movement. Then a groan. There was someone or something else in this cave with her and it sounded close. Fear raced through her. Something touched her back. She let out a scream and spun around. Behind her lay Valmar.
“Valmar!” she cried.
“Shh,” he whispered. He sounded as if he was in great pain.
She closed her mouth and was silent.
She knew she shouldn’t have screamed; she could bring any of the orcs back into the cave.
“I’m sorry,” she whispered, “What happened to you?”
He said nothing, but just turned around. Slash marks from whips covered his back. His left arm looked as if it had been stabbed numerous times with a knife. A cry caught in her throat. She wished she could help him, but her hands and feet were still tied. If he wasn’t tended to, he could bleed to death. ‘I have to think of something!’ Suddenly her eye caught sight of the sharp rock her face had been cut on. She scooted over to it and used it like a saw to cut loose her bonds. It was slow work, but finally, she was free. She crawled quietly over to him and took off the blanket she still had wrapped around herself. She ripped it up and used a part of it to bandage his arm. The rest she used to wrap around his back.
After doing that, she crawled toward the front of the cave. It had started to rain. It seemed to get darker now because the orcs’s fires were going out. The orcs were running around trying to find shelter. Suddenly, a violent fight broke out between the orcs. Palanhiliel knew this was her chance. She ran out of the cave quickly and quietly. She had to find Valmar’s horse for it was her only way of escaping fast. She found it not to far from the entrance of the cave tied to a great boulder. Her presence startled the horse. It bucked up and whinnied.
“Shh, Mellonamin*,” she whispered to the horse. It calmed as it realized who she was.
She untied it and stealthily led it back to the cave. The orcs’s were still engaged in battle against themselves, so she slipped in unnoticed. Back inside, she carefully got Valmar into a seated position on the horse. He was doing badly. His eyes were bloodshot and he was bleeding so much that it was starting to soak through the blanket she had tied around him.
“Hold on, Valmar,” she whispered into his ear as she climbed on behind him. As Palanhiliel reached around him and grabbed the horses reins she asked,
“What is the horse’s name?”
“Stardust,” he replied weakly.
They galloped out of the cave quickly and into the night. But their escape didn’t go unnoticed. As lightning streaked through the sky, one lone orc spotted them and let out a horrid cry of alarm. The leader of the orcs charged after Palanhiliel and Valmar with the rest following.
Palanhiliel pushed the horse to go its fastest. It sped across the land like the bolts of lightning that went streaking over their very heads. The rain came pouring down, leaving her dark hair in long, dripping strands. As time went on it seemed to come harder, pelting them with drops of icy crystals. Palanhiliel rode on all night, never looking back. The orcs continued to follow. They shot arrows at her, but the horse she was on was so graceful, that she eluded every one. An hour later, she found a lone oak tree in the middle of a field. It was very tall and leafy. She stopped under its canopy of giant leaves. They were so many and large that all the ground under the tree was dry. She lay Valmar down on the soft grass. He looked up at her and smiled weakly.
She smiled back at him.
The rain continued on until dawn then finally stopped. The morning was cold and gray. She had no food or water to give him or to feed herself. He had been silent the rest of the night and now lay there with his eyes shut. He was barely breathing. She went over to him.
“Valmar, how do you feel?” she asked as her eyes began to fill with tears.
He just looked at her. His eyes were filled with pain. Suffering.
He was dying.
He looked into her deep brown eyes.
“Diola lle**,” he said, “Namarie.”
Then he slipped back into sleep. His breathing slowed now, slower than before. He was going. Suddenly, his chest stopped moving up and down. He was gone.
It was at that moment under that giant oak tree in the middle of nowhere that Palanhiliel realized something. She had loved Valmar. Ever since she saw his gray eyes when he had rescued her. At the thought of the rescue, that same searing pain raced up her leg. She let out a small cry of pain. But now she had a pain deeper than her leg. Deeper than anything. It seemed that Valmar had taken something with him when he died. He had taken her heart. A cry went up from that field. A cry of despair and pain. Of hopelessness. Of death. Palanhiliel wept and grieved deeply. Valmar had been someone who actually cared for her. If he hadn’t saved her, he never would have gone out the night before looking for food. He never would have gotten caught. And he never would have died. All she could think was, ‘It’s all my fault.’ She continued to cry.
Then somehow she started to sing. A sad lament floated through the air on her melodious voice.
Nothing can ease my sorrow and pain.
You’ll never look at me again.
You have taken the one thing from
My heart that will never heal or
Be the same. Loss after loss I have felt
But this is the worst dealt.
See these tears fall down my face,
But you feel no disgrace.
A love long lost is forever gone from my heart.
Somehow the lament seemed to bring out the sun. It shone down through the oak branches and onto the body of Valmar. Palanhiliels eyes somehow found their way down to the crystal that hung around her neck, which seemed to capture and hold the sunlight. For some reason she took it off and placed it around Valmar’s neck. She closed her eyes. When she opened them the necklace seemed to illuminate Valmar. Suddenly, he moved! His breathing started to come back. His bleeding stopped. He opened his eyes and looked at her. She ran over and hugged him.
Chapter One: https://www.theonering.com/docs/12132.html
Chapter Two: https://www.theonering.com/docs/12183.html