Silvren’s head ached as she slowly opened her eyes and flinched at the pain. Darkness was all about her and for a second she couldn’t remember anything that had happened. She felt cold and sick as a dozen questions swarmed through her head. Silvren could tell she was lying on dry, unpleasant grass and a rock was painfully poking her in the back. There was no breeze and no sounds of wildlife. She could hear the murmuring of the Uruk-Hai somewhere off to her left and the rank smell of them floated past her nose. She tried to sit up but she couldn’t, for she was too weak and her hands were bound together as well as her ankles. Her wrists and ankles burned with fierce pain from the rough rope that bound them together. ‘If I try hard enough I could sit up, but I’m too exhausted.’ She thought to herself. Slowly she turned her head and saw Marry unconscious on the ground to her right. His face was pale with an unnatural wound on his right temple. Then she turned to see Pippin asleep on her left. Both hobbits were shivering in the cool air, their ankles and wrists bound together also. She watched as Pippin shifted and then turned to face her, his eyes opening and adjusting to the darkness.
“Hello, Lady Silvren.” he said cheerfully.
“Sshuts yous trap, Halfling.” a nearby Uruk growled at Pippin, everything coming back to Silvren.
“Hello, Pippin.” Silvren whispered quietly, giving him a comforting smile. Silvren closed her eyes and slowly drifted back to sleep.
Silvren was just waking up when she felt herself being thrown over an Uruk-Hai’s shoulder like a sack of potatoes. The sun had just risen and the Urk-Hai were hurrying onward with their captives. Looking around, Silvren could see Merry and Pippin be carried in front of her as they bobbed up and down on the back of two other orcs. The Urk-Hai ran on and on for what seemed like forever. At one point they r an across the dry, grassy terrain in between huge, jagged rock formations in a small ravine. Silvren’s head bobbed against the helm of the Uruk carrying her, causing her head to throb in pain.
“Merry.” she heard Pippin whispered from in front of her and Merry tiredly glanced up at him.
Shortly after, the Uruk-Hai came to a stop and Silvren saw that Merry was either asleep or unconscious as his head bobbed back and forth.
“You’re late. Our master grows impatient.” an orc named Grishnakh said as he stepped out from behind a large boulder with several other orcs behind him. “He wants the Shire-rats and elf now.”
“I don’t take orders from orc-maggots.” the Uruk-Hai’s leader Uglúk growled. “Saruman will have his prize and we will be the ones to deliver them.”
“Merry.” Pippin whispered again. “Merry? Wake up!” Pippin looked over and saw an Uruk drinking some drought. “My friend is sick. He needs water, please.” he said urgently.
“Sick is he?” Uglúk asked stepping towards them. “Give him some medicine boys!”
The Uruks hollered and jeered as them forced a reddish-orange, thick looking drink down Merry’s throat.
“Stop it!” Pippin yelled.
Merry picked up his head and began spitting ns sputtering as the draught ran down his chin and clothes.
“Leave him alone.”
“Why? You want some? Then keep your mouth shut. And you.” Uglúk said pointing at the Uruk that carried Silvren. “Put the She-elf down. She’ll walk from here.”
The Uruk lifted her arms over his head and dropped her to the ground on her bottom. Her legs felt weak and stiff from not being used in a while. Silvren fearfully glanced up to see Uglúk standing above her with a knife in his hands. He bent down and cut the rope from her ankles then shoved the still sticky flask into her mouth, pouring the draught down her throat. The draught was sticky, and burned as it made its way down her throat, nearing making her sick. She coughed and gasped when he pulled it from her mouth, the liquid sent a burning sensation through her body. Her legs felt a little stronger and not so stiff as Uglúk grabbed her by the collar and dragged her to her feet.
“Leave her alone!” Pippin called out, hating it when people or orcs picked or pushed women around.
“I told you to keep your mouth shut.”
Silvren swayed back and forth on her feet and was then dragged towards the front of the pack with Uglúk.
“Merry.” Pippin whispered, trying to keep his voice quiet so only Merry would hear him.
“Hello, Pippin.” Merry said weakly.
“I’m fine. It was just an act.”
“An act?” Pippin asked.
“See? I fooled you too. Don’t worry about me, Pippin.”
Once Uglúk and Silvren reached the front of the group, Uglúk tied a loose length of rope around her neck to ensure she wouldn’t try to escape. An Uruk next to him began sniffing the air as if trying to decipher a certain smell.
“What is it? What do you smell?” Uglúk demanded.
“Man-flesh.” the Uruk replied.
‘Aragorn, Legolas.’ Silvren thought to herself, not knowing that Pippin had also heard the Uruk and thought of Aragorn.
“They’ve picked up our trail.” Uglúk growled. “Let’s move!” he shouted as he pushed Silvren forward. Silvren stumbled forward and ran awkwardly on her legs; her wrists ached from being bound by the rough, splintering rope. She ran as fast as she could for fear of being lashed by Uglúk’s whip. Little did she know that Pippin had caught his elven brooch with his teeth and ripped it from his cloak, barely tearing the fabric. Turning his head he spat it to the ground and watched as it landed leaf face up in the muddy ground in hopes that Aragorn would find it.
* * *
Aragorn sat still and motionless as he leaned upon a large rock with his ear to the warm surface of the rock. He was listening for the Uruk-Hai’s movement.
“Their pace has quickened.” he said in a low voice. “They must have caught our scent.” he said as he turned and sat up. “Hurry!” he yelled back to Legolas and Gimli as he stood up and began running.
“Come on, Gimli!” Legolas shouted as he glanced back at the struggling dwarf.
Gimli used his axe as a walking stick as he struggled up the hill, puffing hard. “Three days and nights pursuit. No food. No rest. And no sign of our quarry, but what large rock can tell.” he breathed.
The three companions ran across the dry shrub covered ground under the sun’s heat with no trees to give them shade. Large and small rocks lay scattered on the ground. They ran in single file like hounds pursing their prey. As they were running through a small ravine, a green and silver glint caught Aragorn’s eyes. Kneeing on the ground Aragorn picked up the small leaf-shaped brooch that had been pressed into the ground.
“Not idly do the leaves of Lothlórien fall.” he said as he examined the brooch and Legolas ran over to him.
“They may yet be alive.” Legolas said with a small smile as he looked down at the brooch.
“Look, Silvren’s footprint.” Aragorn said gazing at the ground in front of him.
Legolas gazed down at the ground and saw Silvren’s footprints as well. “They are crooked and look as if her footsteps are heavy.” he muttered, knowing very well that elves rarely leave footprints.
“She is weak and growing weaker.” Aragorn said as he stood up and followed her footsteps, his eyes fixed hard upon the hard. “And it looks as if she’s being dragged along behind an Uruk.” he said looking at an imprint from where she had fallen and was yanked back to her feet.
“They’re dragging her?” Legolas exclaimed, his eyes turning cold and hard.
“Don’t worry, lad. We’ll find your girl.” Gimli offered as he stumbled wearily next to Legolas.
“Come, they are less than a day ahead of us.” Aragorn said as he sprinted after the Uruk-Hai’s trail.
“I’m wasted on cross-country!” Gimli shouted as he took off after Legolas and Aragorn. “We dwarves are natural sprinters. Very dangerous over short distances.”
* * *
Arwen was strolling along one of the many terraces, her mind off in another world as a gentle breeze blew several strands of her dark hair in her face. Her thoughts were often consumed of Aragorn and Silvren, wondering how they were and where they were. She often felt lonely and with drawn these days. Her father barely spoke to her and was off worrying about the Fellowship and Silvren. She knew that he was going to be sending elves into the west and she knew that he was going to want her to go with them, but was she ready?
Elladan sat on a stone bench sharpening his sword and knife, from the low-lying terrace he could see Anariel talking with Cendulin who had just given birth to the first elfling in ten years, her oldest one being ten in human years. He watched Anariel as she laughed and smiled and then took the small infant into her arms and held with such love and happiness that his heart skipped a beat. She cradled the infant in her arms and gently rocked back and forth as young Eliron ran circles around her and his mother. Elladan watched as she glanced up and they met eyes, he smiled at her and she returned it with a smile of her own. Elladan’s heart fluttered but then stopped remembering now was not the time for love and marriage for he knew he would be leaving soon. He knew Elrond was going to send him Elrohir after Aragorn in a matter of weeks, no more than three months. He sighed heavily as he thought about how sad Anariel would be when he told her he was leaving and how it would be worse if he told her how he felt about her. Elladan watched with a heavy heart as Anariel handed the infant back to Cendulin and hurried over in his direction.
Míriel sighed as she and her escort finally arrived in Lothlórien. She would be staying there for the next few weeks and already she missed Silvren and Legolas. And she knew that staying in the Golden Woods wouldn’t be the same without either. Her mind drifted elsewhere and she began to wish that she had been able to go on the quest with the Fellowship. Her evil schemes and longing did not abandon her even after she retired to bed.
* * *
“Rohan.” Aragorn said once they had stopped at the top of the hill and stood on one of the huge boulders overlooking the rocky land. “Home of the Horse-lords.” he said as Gimli walked up behind him.
“There’s something strange at work here. Some evil gives speed to these creatures.” He gazed out across the empty land.
Aragorn and Gimli moved further down on the rock as Legolas ran ahead of them to another boulder.
“Legolas, what do your Elf-eyes see?” Aragorn called out.
“The Uruks turn northeast.” he yelled to Aragorn as he gazed out at the land before him. “They are taking them to Isengard!”
“Saruman.” Aragorn seethed through clenched teeth, knowing that if the wizard got his hands on Silvren she would be in even worse trouble.
The three companions ran down a slope and up another one, running around and in between the jutting rocks.
“Keep breathing. That’s the key. Breathe.” Gimli huffed as he ran along behind Legolas and Aragorn.
“They run as if the very whips of their masters were behind them.” Legolas muttered as he ran along behind Aragorn.
What pale light they would have had from the moon was blocked by grey clouds in the sky. The glittering stars were also veiled from their sight.
“We shall stop here for the night.” Aragorn said as they sat among some boulders. “We can no further without any light for fear of losing the Uruk’s trail.”
“I wish we could go on.” Legolas muttered silently.
“Rest would be good for us. Do you think the Uruks will rest also?” Gimli asked.
“I highly doubt it. Seldom do they travel in the sunlight yet these have done so and seldom do they need to rest.” Legolas answered. “They would only rest a short time if their captives need it and the Uruks are too tired to carry them.”
Aragorn plopped down on the ground next to the other two and fell right to sleep for he hadn’t slept in days.