The young maiden wandered aimlessly through the edge of the Golden Wood, staring at the huge trees as if they could somehow speak to her and give her an idea of where she was and why she was there. She didn’t even know her own name, or how she arrived in this strange place. The last thing she remembered was fainting…or blacking out long enough to be transported here, waking up in this canopy of trees. Strange trees too, not like those she usually saw back home.
Where was home, anyway? She remembered vague things…an annoying younger brother, another girl her own age, possibly her sister…and the trees, not tall like these, with leaves that fanned out in the hot sun…it was all beginning to swirl in her mind like a confusing story that she was witnessing from the audience’s point of view. So many questions, and no answers. Did people even live here in the woods? Perhaps if she ventured a little deeper into the protection of the trees; she doubted people lived on the outskirts of this land. Turning to the right, she began to walk in pursuit of humanity, when she heard the footsteps, or rather pounding of feet on the ground. It sounded as if many people were running to her at once, their breathing harsh and short as if they had been running for a long time and could not longer catch their breath.
Someone’s coming, she thought, maybe they can tell me where to go. Hope filled her sparkling green eyes. Picking up the hem of the gown she was wearing (and this in itself was odd for she distinctly remembered wearing shorts and a t-shirt) she ran towards the noise, hoping against hope that someone there could tell her where she was and where to go. Her auburn hair swung behind her in long curls as she ran, feeling leaves crunch under her feet along with small twigs, excitement coursing through her veins.
She realized her mistake the instant she entered the clearing, and saw the ugliest form of life she could ever imagine. Black, matted hair peeked out from under helmets marked with a white hand, with a matching breastplate, made of the same crude material as the helmets. Their eyes were black as the night itself, and suddenly the maiden wished she had never come here, to this land, for she knew that there was no one to save her now, or hear her cries of help, and she was sure she would need them.
The vile creatures had formed a circle around her, their weapons hanging limply at their sides, yet ready for use in the blink of an eye should the maiden decide to attack. They sensed no harm from her, however. Hungry eyes devoured her form as if it were a delicate meat set out for their choosing, a tasty morsel they had yet to sample. They had fed on nothing but maggoty bread for the length of time they had been traveling.
“Look here, its a sweet little she-elf,” one of the creatures to the side stepped up closer to the maiden, and she sucked in a breath in fear and sudden loathing of this creature who had the audacity to wish her harm. She did not understand their speech, for it was in a language she had never heard, but she concluded that the creatures had to be black and speak in a black tongue. How could anything this vile and murderous live in woods so beautiful?
“I say we play with ‘er for a while before we eat ‘er,” another stepped forward to join his comrade.
“Yeah,” hissed a third, “we haven’t had a decent meal in ten days. A little fresh elf-meat won’t hurt.”
One that could only be described as the leader, due to his larger form than the others, and superior attitude, stepped up to her, fingering her auburn hair and letting the strands slide through his fingers. He brought a piece of her hair to his face, and inhaled her scent through his helmet. “Mmmm, she smells nice and fresh.”
Suddenly he dealt her a vicious backhand, sending her spinning to the ground and blood spurting out of her nose. She cried out then, in fear and in agony. She knew she was going to die soon.
Enjoying the young woman’s fear, another uruk-hai stepped forward and grasped her arm, tugging her to her feet. She felt sure that his painful grip wound leave a bruise on her tender skin. The uruk-hai holding her smiled deviously, and ripped the material to her dress easily, creating a slit from hip to ankle, leaving her smooth, pale skin peeking out from under the gown.
“Should you have her first, or will I?” he asked of the leader, who waved a hand towards him, indicating that all he wanted was to partake in the feast once that time came. The others could have as much fun with her as they wanted before then.
They never had their fun though, for at once the hissing sounds of arrows sliced through the trees, and several uruk-hai fell to the ground, dead. Truly frightened now, the young woman turned in circles, not sure which way to run, due to the numerous arrows coming from all directions. Many men were now running out from the trees and engaging the creatures in hand to hand combat with vicious looking blades, striking quickly and surely. Although the maiden felt sure that these new men were safer than those she had first encountered, she was not entirely sure that they would not take advantage of her as well.
The black creatures fell quickly, laying dead at her feet, and as she stepped back to avoid being hit by one of the heavy bodies, she ran right into one of them who was still standing behind her, reluctant to join the fray. Cackling with glee at having caught something so fine, he hauled her back against him with a strong arm around her waist, and a hand covering her mouth. The elves were so involved in their combat with his comrades that he felt sure that they did not notice him and the girl standing so close to them.
“Go ahead, scream,” he whispered in her ear,using the common tongue, releasing her mouth. “No one can hear you over this racket.”
Despair engulfed her as she realized that what he said was true. They probably would not hear her. His blade, which had been resting dormant at his side, now appeared at her stomach, pressing most uncomfortably into it. “I’m going to rip a hole in your belly…”
The blade now sliced painfully into her skin, and she moaned in terror and agony, looking up to the elves just in time to see a particularly young looking one aim an arrow right for her and shoot. Sure that she would die in seconds, she closed her eyes and murmured a prayer to no one in particular, yet never felt the bite of the arrow in her flesh. Instead, it had shot past her face and into the eye of the creature behind her. She felt his hold on her loosen as he died, slipping from his standing position to his knees, then pitching forward and knocking her to her knees as he fell. The last thing she remembered was the continuous clang of metal meeting metal, and the face of a handsome warrior as he scooped her up into his arms and strode with hardened resolve through the trees, carrying her to safety.
We return to the forests again. Our hobbit friend has lost all faith and finds the true meaning of apathy by the end of this chapter. He is taken captive by a band of elves and one human. This chapter suggests that some of his past will be revealed soon.