“Where are we now, Enelion?” Celebrian reined in her horse to ask the Elf-guard beside her. Enelion consulted his map.
“The Redhorn Pass, my lady,” Enelion replied, folding up the map.
“Is it safe?”
“Then we will rest here.” Celebrian dismounted and went to her saddlebag for some food. “Lembas?” she asked Enelion, and tossed him a wafer of the Elvish waybread. She took out one of her own and broke off a piece, her spirits lifting with every bite. She no longer ached for Rivendell and her family – at least not very badly. Instead, she was pleasantly anticipating seeing all the old familiar Lothlorien faces. She broke off a second piece of lembas.
Then an arrow buried itself in the grass by her feet. Celebrian dropped the lembas in shock and fear. She froze for a moment, then ripped her short sword from its sheath on her horse’s saddle. It had been a long time since she had used it in earnest, but she still remembered how to fight with it. Around her, her small escort had drawn their swords and strung their bows. Celebrian swallowed down lembas and fear, her eyes watching the direction the arrow had come from.
Orcs poured into the valley they had paused in, their swords out, their clumsily fired arrows whizzing through the air. Enelion let loose a well-aimed arrow, and it caught the lead Orc in the eye. One less to kill, Celebrian thought, gripping her short sword tighter.
Orcs fell under the furious onslaught of five rapidly firing Elven bowmen, but more than five Orcs had bows. Celebrian ducked an arrow meant to pierce her shoulder and locked blades with an Orc who had broken through her bowmen’s line of defense. She swung her sword in a close arc, scoring a deep gash in the Orc’s legs, then reversed the sword to catch and hook the Orc’s own blow. One quick jerk sent the Orc-sword flying across the grass: an equally quick thrust ensured that the Orc would never go to fetch it.
Enelion screamed, now far from Celebrian. Her blood ran cold at the scream, and she whirled around to see her guard fall, his arm sliced off and bleeding too heavily for any to save him. He had recently married, and his wife was expecting a baby, Celebrian remembered. In a fit of fury, Celebrian threw her short sword into the chest of the Orc gloating over his kill. He fell, but now Celebrian was weaponless. She ran to the Orc’s body to get her blade back, but as she gripped it to tug it out, an Orc-sword opened a wound on her shoulder. A bitter poison raced through her veins, and Celebrian, clutching her heavily bleeding shoulder, fell into nightmarish unconsciousness.