Chapter Eight – A Rescue
Elrohir awoke with a start. Was that a maiden’s scream? He looked out at the company of elves that lay sleeping before him as the red sun rose. Why hadn’t they awoken at the noise? It had been loud and almost blood curdling. He stood up and looked around; they were in the wilderness. Where could that have come from? He slowly started to make his way through the sleeping bodies, making his way towards the river. Maybe the scream had come from that direction. He decided he should take a few elves with him, just in case it turned out to be an orc attack or something of that sort. He woke Elladan and two others: Farwe and Merow. He decided, in the end to take Liri. He walked around to the back of the camp were she usually was. She was gone. He scanned the remaining bodies. No sign of her. Fear raced through Elrohir’s veins; that had been her scream.
“Come!” he cried to the others as he ran ahead, down the side of the rushing river, “I think Melcor may be in trouble.”
The other three hastily followed him as he sped along the the muddy riverbank, his graceful elf feet leading the way. They ran for what was about an hour straight, but still no sign of any life.
“Brother,” Elladan said stopping, “This search is in vain. How do you know that Melcor did not just go in to the forest to relieve himself?” Elladan’s voice had a cutting, annoyed edge to it.
“I do not know, Elladan,” Elrohir confessed, “But I just have a feeling. Please trust me.”
Elladan sighed and shook his head.
“Well, let us continue on.”
Ten minutes farther down the creek, Farwe spotted something floating on the surface of the water. It seemed to be stuck on a rock that rest across the river.
“Look!” Farwe cried, pointing. Elrohir stared at the object. It seemed to be something brown; almost like a dead weed floating on the water. Only it wasn’t…it was –
“Hair!” Elladan cried, “That is a living creature’s hair!”
“Liri,” Elrohir whispered under his breath, so quietly in fact, not even another elf could hear, “That poor girl! What if she… and she never gets to tell Elladan…”
He stopped talking and turned to the others.
“It might be Melcor,” he said trying to sound calm, “We have to get to that rock. I’m afraid he might somehow be stuck on it under the water.”
Elladan and the others nodded in agreement and started to work, thinking of how to cross the dangerous water. They finally agreed that they would have to swim it. It would be risky, but they had no choice. Elladan leaped in first, calling on all his strength to propel him toward the other side of the river. The others soon followed him, pushing themselves as hard as they could against the strong, rushing current. It was slow work; they would get so far and then start to get pushed by the current, away from the rock. Continually, they pushed themselves back, trying to go straight ahead. When they finally reached the middle of the stream, Elladan spotted a tree. An idea formed in his mind. Struggling, he took his bow and an arrow from his back as he tried not to get pushed by the current. He tied a rope to the slippery arrow and readied his bow, aimed at the tree and fired. His arrow hit its target. He started to pull himself toward the shore as the harsh water swirled and bubbled around his body, trying to push him down the river away from his goal. He yelled to the others, above the roar of the water, to grab onto the rope. Slowly, one by one, they did, and within ten minutes they had all reached the shore.
They lay on the grass for awhile, trying to catch their breath and regain their strength. They were all tired and worn out; the river had taken a toll on their bodies. When they felt they could go on, they got up and ran over to the large boulder. It was about ten feet tall, jutting out of the water as if it were a guard tower trying to stop them from rescuing their companion. Elrohir decided he would scale it and climb around to the other side. He stepped onto a jagged step that jutted out of the rock and with cat-like grace, made his way to the top. The opposite side was slippery; overgrown with algae and grass and splashed with the river’s violent water. He was careful with his footing and slowly slid down to the water’s edge toward the brown hair.
Everything was dark to Liri. She couldn’t see anything. No light. No objects. Just darkness. She felt herself coughing, spitting out water. Water that had filled her lungs mercilessly and had tried to kill her. She never wanted to be near water again. She felt a hand. A hand in her own, squeezing. She heard voices, many voices, talking, but she didn’t understand. Why couldn’t she see? Were her eyes closed? Maybe that was it. It seemed hard, but slowly her eyelids let go and sun burst into her sight. She squinted, it hurt. It was so bright. A shadow came over her. She opened her eyes slowly and looked up into a face. She felt her hand being squeezed again. The face was blurry. She couldn’t see well.
“Who are you?” she asked weakly, barely above a whisper.
“I am Elrohir,” the face said. It sounded worried and squeezed her hand once more. Liri’s memory suddenly flooded back to her. Revenge. Elrohir. Elladan. Tirhand. Faya. Secret. Light. Voice. River. Water. Darkness.
Liri bolted up and looked around. She was surrounded by the company of elves, all looking at her surprised. She was back at camp. Had the light and the river and drowning all just been a bad dream? But she felt herself wanting to cough, and did. More water. No, it hadn’t been a dream. She had almost died. Her eyes filled up with tears as she started to feel faint. She now tightened her hold on the hand that held her own.
“Help,” she whispered as she fell back to the ground, back into darkness.
Chapter Seven: www.tolkienonline.com/docs/13923.html