Chapter Ten – The Test
Liri wasn’t feeling good. Something wasn’t right. Elladan had been gone for awhile and she did not know to where. She had a terrible feeling of forboding fear and felt like throwing up. She wasn’t sure why she felt this way, she just did. Maybe it was because her mind kept nagging her about her test and that it would be soon. She feared who the two people might be, feared it greatly. And she really didn’t want to know. Yet again, she did.
“I’m so confused,” she whispered to no one. She put her face in her hands and closed her eyes. She heard soft, rushing footsteps. ‘Elladan must be coming back.’ She looked up at her love as he came runing into the camp. He stopped a ways in front of her.
“They’re coming,” he whispered.
“What?” Liri asked confused.
“They’re coming!” he said louder.
“Who – what’s coming?” Liri asked still confused at Elladan’s words.
“The orcs. This is their cave, where they stay. They have supplies all piled up in a room back there! Can’t you hear them? They’re coming right now!” Elladan cried breathlessly.
Liri listened carefully. Over the cries of young children and the villagers, came a faint noise of heavy footsteps coming this way, down the same passage they had just entered the cavern by.
“Yes, I do hear it,” Liri said, eyes wide, “Elladan isn’t this band of evil led by a tall, slimy orc?”
“Yes, I believe that is what the villagers said,” Elladan answered.
It hit Liri. Now was the hour of her revenge. Her long awaited days were now to come to an end and she would mercilessly slay the one who had taken away her family. Hatred coursed through her veins and she smiled. A devishly evil smile snaked across her lips. She slowly stood to her feet in front of Elladan.
“I am ready!” she cried, “Let them come!”
Elladan was surprised at Melcor, but gave him a smile anyway.
“Now we must warn the people, and find a place to hide them while we fight off the storm,” he said. Liri nodded in agreement.
The people were alerted of the oncoming danger within five minutes. There really wasn’t a place to hide them in the open cavern, so the elves led them a good distance away from the entrance passage and set up a guard around them. The remaining of the company took spots around the huge cavern. All bows were aimed at the entrance were the orcs would emerge.
Seconds ticked by like hours to Liri. Every minute put more fear into her heart. She couldn’t believe she was shaking and sweating this much. She thought that when this moment came she would be ready and willing, but now she was just nervous. She heard the heavy footsteps get louder. She thought back to that day; over two-hundred years ago and closed her eyes. Images flashed in her mind. A sunny field and the clouds.
* “That one looks like a frog!” Liri exclaimed.
“No, much more like a flower,” her mother said.
“I think it’s a flower, too,” her father stated.
“No, definitely a frog,” Liri said.
“How can that be a frog!” her mother exclaimed, “Look at the shape. Did the frog grow a petal and a stem?” *
Then came the harsh images. Her father falling to the ground in a pool of blood, rusty dagger through his heart. Running. Oh, running for her life. An arrow placed perfectly in her mother’s frail arm. Her last words:
* “Go my daughter, save your self. It is to late for me. Remember, I have always loved you. Tell Elrond that I wish him to care for you now. Go.” *
Hatred. She so vividly remembered the hatred.
Liri’s eyes flew open as the footsteps of the orcs boomed and echoed in the cavern. She saw an orc, and without waiting for a signal from Elladan, she fired two arrows straight into the beast’s heart. It fell to the cavern floor, bloody. She smiled. She was not afraid anymore. Her hate, rekindled, fueled her. The others after her turn, shot at the orcs. It turned into a bloody battle. The elves were happy to see that behind the orcs, coming running and fighting, was Elrohir and his half of the company. They needed all the help they could get. Now the amount fighting was about equal on both sides. The elves tried their best to fight off Suron’s minions and protect the villagers of Rohur in the prosses.
The stench of blood and death filled Liri’s nostrils as she procceded through the battle, killing as she went, but all the time her mind was set on finding and destroying him. She didn’t mind the smell; hardly noticed it for she was to focused on finding her pray. Her heart skipped a beat for on the outskirts of the battle, there he stood. Tall, and retched; the slime covering his body glistened in the dim light. But what struck fear into Liri’s torn heart was that he was battling, and overcoming, Elladan! She pushed through the crowd and ran toward him. The leader of the orcs was slowly pushing Elladan down the side of the river as they fought. Elladan’s face, covered with blood, was set in a stern expression. Sweat beaded his forehead and slid down past his grey eyes. Liri was having a hard time reaching him for she was being attacked left to right. She used her daggers to stab at her oppresors. But this distraction cost her for Elladan and the orc were now around a curve in the cavern wall and she could not see them.
She ran on ahead, stepping over dead bodies. When she finally caught sight of them again they had gotten onto a ledge, up above the rushing stream below. Elladan was giving it his all, but the orc was more powerful that him. He was pushing him off the edge of the ledge! Liri rushed up an old path, withered from the many who had used it, and reached the jagged ridge. She stopped not even ten feet behind the leader of the orcs and the murderer who took her family away. This was her moment of truth and she was going to make it count. She slowly pulled out her daggers. She would stab him in the heart like he did her father. Then, she would shoot him in the arm like he did her mother. She looked up at Elladan and gave him a look that told him she was going to help. Elladan gave a weak smile, but at seeing this and guessing there must be someone behind him, the beast spun around. Liri had to gasp at the vile look of the orc. His blood stained armour, harsh blade, crooked teeth. He had saliva hanging from the corner of his lips. They stared at each other for a few seconds, then he rushed toward her. Liri managed to elude his blade and ran next to Elladan. Now what? She was now facing two deaths, the orc that stood staring at her greedily and the rushing river below. What to do?
She looked around her. There was a ledge, about three feet away that looked like it would hold one person. On the opposite side of it, there was a narrow walkway.
‘At least there is a way of possibly escaping, but only one of us can get away,’ she thought, and then slowly, “…the other will be left to die.”
A memory flooded back to her, just like the river that day:
* “You will have to choose between two people. Who you are going to save, and who you are to leave to die.” *
She looked at Elladan and pointed with her finger to the ledge.
“Jump!” she yelled as the orc ran toward them. Elladan looked at her desperately. He didn’t want to leave someone to die.
“Just do it!” she screamed and pushed him. Elladan lept with all his might, and as he did he heard a blood curdling scream. He turned around, horrified at what sight might great him, but there stood Melcor over the orc which held two daggers in its heart. Melcor, stood over it, bow ready and shot it in the arm; he wasn’t even three inches away. The impact of the arrow made a sickening sound that made Elladan queasy.
But, it didn’t do that to Liri. No, that was the sound of success. She smiled over at Elladan and then raced down the path and onto the ground. Elladan ran quickly down his ledge’s walkway. When he reached the bottom he found that the fight was over and every last orc had been slain. The villagers were singing. Melcor stood staring at Elladan and then to ran to him, catching him in a hug.
“Thank you so much Melcor!” Elladan said, “You saved my life.”
“But my name isn’t Melcor,” said Liri using her regular voice. Elladan stood in shock, looking at the elf that stood before him.
“Liri,” he whispered realizing who it was, and then cried out, “Liri! … I don’t know what to say! I should be furious with you, but how can I be?”
“I don’t know!” said Liri smiling as she drew him back into a hug. They stared into each other’s eyes. Time seemed to stop at that moment, not just to Liri and Elladan, but to all. Elladan enveloped Liri in a passionate kiss. Elrohir stood, a smile across his face.
“This is how it should end,” he said quietly, “A happy ending for all.”
But it’s not quite the end yet…
Chapter Eight: www.tolkienonline.com/docs/14224.html