Recap of Tale 2 . . .
The gag fell away and he replaced the knife in its sheath, cooing softly to calm the girl. She opened her eyes slowly, gazing up at him with admiration and distrust in her eyes.
“. . . Thank you.”
[What did she say?] Elladan asked immediately.
[How am I supposed to know?] Legolas replied, watching the girl’s eyes widen in disbelief.
Obviously, things were about to get a great deal more complicated.
The girl was equally bewildered. “. . . Who are you? . . . Where in the world are you from? . . . What kind of language is that?”
[Make her say something we can understand!] Dirnees prodded.
Legolas turned on him. [And even if I could, what would you have me say to her to make her understand us?]
[It does not matter,] Elrohir decided. [We have visitors.]
Legolas handed his knife over to Dirnees as he rose. [Free her, but do not let her leave.]
Three Men burst from the brush surrounding them. It was a quick battle; the Men had not caught them off guard as planned and had not been prepared for the Elves’ speed. As soon as they were on the ground, the girl bolted past Dirnees and tied the hands of two, then sat on the third and collected some strange sort of weapon from them.
[Efficient,] Elrohir commented.
[Extremely,] Elladan agreed.
Suddenly, the man beneath the girl flipped her and grabbed one of the weapons, leaping to his feet and backing away, the weapon alternately pointing at the Elves and the girl. When the weapon was farthest from him, Dirnees lunged for the man. There was a struggle and a loud crack and Dirnees staggered back, his hands over his stomach.
Legolas grabbed his brother as the younger Elf collapsed back. [Dirnees?!]
Elladan and Elrohir snarled and turned on the culprit, but the girl had already attacked him. She wrestled the weapon from his hand and stood, putting a foot on his chest. “Bad move.” She took aim and fired.
They did not understand what she said, but they understood justice and did not question her actions. They turned next, however, to the two Men on the ground who were laughing. The girl stepped between them and kicked each one viciously in the side. “Shut up or you’re next!”
When they were silent, she rushed over and knelt by Legolas. [Find some athelas!] the Mirkwood prince commanded. As the twins hurried to obey he looked pleadingly to the girl. This wound was not one he had experience with and he hoped the girl at least had a faint idea of what to do.
She looked up at him, then lifted the injured Elf’s tunic to examine the wound closely. “. . . I can see it. Do you want me to pull it out?”
Legolas began to panic. How could he communicate what he wished if she could not understand him. [What?]
She stared blankly at him, then sighed and pointed to her chest, her eyes, and then the wound. If she was saying that she could see the wound, he was not impressed. He could see it too. She huffed in annoyance and grabbed his knives, drawing them from their sheaths and holding them almost as if she knew what she was supposed to do with them in battle.
Watching her angle the knives calculatingly around the wound, he realized what she meant to do and offered his hand to his brother. [Hold still, Dirnees. This will hurt.]
Dirnees looked at the hand he was to bite. [Why can I not just scream if it will be so painful?]
[We do not know if there are other Men nearby and cannot draw undue attention to ourselves.]
Nervously, Dirnees mouthed his elder brother’s hand lightly. [I apolo-ize in advanth.]
[Be quiet. You are drooling on my hand.]
Dirnees shut his eyes. [I do na wan to wath.]
Legolas sighed in exasperation and covered his brother’s eyes with his free hand, nodding at the girl. She nodded in return and cautiously dug into the wound. Dirnees whimpered in pain, but did not fidget too much. The girl drew something very small out and dropped it all on the ground, placing her hands over the wound, which had begun to bleed anew.
The Mirkwood prince withdrew his one hand and wiped it carelessly on his pant leg. [Dirnees?]
The younger Elf panted frantically. [It stings horribly! Like poison!]
[Hush, brother. Do not expend your energy fretting.]
[I will die of it!]
[You will not,] was the patient correction. [I will not let that happen.]
Elladan and Elrohir appeared with some athelas and the girl, appearing relieved, stepped back to give them room. She gathered up the knives and the object she had pulled from Dirnees. Curious, Legolas held out his hand. She placed the bloody item in his palm and watched him examine it closely, holding it so the other two could see it as well.
[A most odd thing indeed,] was Elrohir’s comment.
[Strange that so small a thing can cause so much injury,] Elladan noted.
Dirnees, who had been peeking from behind Legolas’ hand and then hiding again with a frightened squeak, finally saw it. He let out a sharp, terrified yip and promptly fainted. Legolas looked down at him, then snorted and returned the object to the girl.
[Are you sure your brother is not female?] Elladan queried.
[I am quite sure, though if I am wrong, I hope to never find out.]
They finished dressing the wound and were preparing to leave when they saw the girl standing over the two Men still bound, glaring at them and apparently threatening them.
Legolas frowned. [We will have to take them with us.]
[Have you gone mad?!] Elrohir cried. [We cannot afford to get involved in such a—]
[We have to return the girl to her home. It cannot be too far from here.]
[Legolas! You yourself said—]
[I know! But Dirnees is still injured, no matter how quick we were to take care of the wound. We do not know what any long-term effects might be. The girl seems to have some knowledge of medicine. We may need her aid again. Bring the horses.]
[Well we are not taking the dead one along,] was Elrohir’s indignant grumble as he left to summon their mounts.
[Do not be a fool!] Elladan spat after him. [Of course not!]
To their surprise, the girl seemed perfectly comfortable around the creatures and pet each one, speaking to them happily.
[She is going to need a saddle,] Elrohir predicted. [Men do not possess the ability to move with the horse.]
[She will have to ride alone,] Legolas replied. [Dirnees will be with me and I want you two to watch the Men.]
Elladan grabbed the waist of one’s pants and lifted him from the ground, holding him at arm’s length. [Ugh, they stink!]
[You will have to work around that.]
[You provide such wonderful sympathy, Legolas,] Elrohir muttered, picking up the second man as his brother had. Then he jerked back, holding his arm against his nose. [Ugh!]
[I told you,] was Elladan’s smug answer.
The girl came over to Elrohir and sniffed at the man he held. She pulled back with her nose wrinkled and nodded. [Even the female agrees!]
[Females are notoriously clean,] Legolas reminded them. [However, I do apologize for making you suffer so. But since she did not kill them all outright, the law here must be different than what it was and we must adhere to it.]
Suddenly, both Men kicked out. Surprised, Elladan and Elrohir dropped them to the earth. They scrambled to their feet, struggling to free their hands, and ran off into the trees. The two Elves were about to give chase when the girl barked a command. They did not know what in particular she said, but it was obviously meant to be obeyed.
They looked back at her and found her sighting along the weapon. She fired it and one man leapt into the air, dropping out of sight even as she aimed at the other man and brought him down just as quickly. She lowered the weapon and jogged into the brush, pausing at and kicking each man hard. When they did not respond, she knew they were dead.
[If she is that proficient, why did she not free herself before?] Elladan asked.
[She was outnumbered,] Elrohir replied. [Outnumbered by three Men who each had a weapon.]
The girl returned to them. Legolas motioned for her to mount the horse beside his and watched in amusement as she placed her hands on the creature’s back and hopped up, falling gently over its spine and then carefully wriggling until she was sitting behind its withers, being sure not to rub any hairs the wrong way.
[Not the most graceful way to mount a horse,] Legolas noted to the laughter of the other two, [but it serves its purpose. Come! We certainly still have a way to journey!]
It took them a full day of nonstop riding to reach her home. They travelled along the road most of the day hours and all night, for the girl seemed to use it as a trail to follow. The steel monsters on the road moved by them; some giving them a wide berth and others making a loud, frightening roar right beside them. Each time the girl was quick to shake her fist and shout at the offending things and then she would check on them and their horses, saying what seemed to be reassurances in a soft voice.
And then she turned off onto a tree-shaded drive that was similar to some of the roads they were used to. It was several minutes before a strange-looking but old house came into sight. Hounds began barking viciously from somewhere behind the building and the girl stopped and dismounted, stepping nearer to the house and apparently summoning the hounds to her.
“Elen! Anca! Puppies, come on!”
[That was our tongue, right?] Elladan asked.
[A painfully mutilated version, but I believe so,] Elrohir answered.
Two extremely large hounds and a litter of half-grown pups bounded around the house and tackled the girl. The Elves were going to rescue her when they heard her laughing hysterically. “Stop! Stop! That tickles! It tickles!”
The door to the house opened and a tired-looking woman peered outside. She saw the pile of tail-wagging hounds and grabbed a broom nearby, but was stopped by a voice from the gathering.
“Mom? Mom!” The girl leapt to her feet and ran up the stairs to the porch just as the woman collapsed. She came to a stop, arms out, then fisted them on her hips and looked down at the woman. “For Pete’s sake, Mom, I know we don’t always get along, but couldn’t you just say `hi’ once in a while?”
“Hey,” a new, clearly male, voice called, “what’s going on? Elen! Anca! Hush! You know better!”
All three Elves looked over to find the speaker of the flawless Elvish and gawked openly. It could not be . . .
The girl whirled and dashed to the end of the porch, leaping the five feet to the ground easily. “Dad! Daddy! Papa!”
The male, who rode a tall red mare in the traditional Elvish fashion, stared disbelievingly at the girl as she approached, then slid from the horse’s back and ran to meet her, enveloping her in a strong embrace. “Krystine . . .” he murmured, tucking her head beneath his chin and rubbing her back. “Love, are you all right? How are you feeling? Do you need to go to the hospital?”
The girl shook her head, tears coursing over her cheeks. “I’m fine. I’m just happy to be home again. And I don’t need to go to the hospital, but someone got hurt trying to help me and—“
He looked over at the four Elves, one of which was unconscious, and identified them immediately. Keeping one arm around the girl, he walked toward them. She informed him, “They don’t speak English. I think they might be illegal aliens or something. But they helped me and one got shot . . . I couldn’t just leave them there with nothing.”
“All right. In that case, I want you to get the first-aid kit and bring it to the sitting room.”
“. . . You aren’t going to take them to the hospital?”
“We don’t have the resources. Besides, if they’re illegal it won’t do any good to repay their kindness with deportation. Now do as I ask.”
“What about Mom? She fainted.”
“I’ll get her.”
The girl ran inside and he approached the horses, a set of rugged mustangs. His attention, however, was on the Elves. [What are you doing here?]
[The Valar sent us,] Legolas explained as he dismounted with Dirnees still in his arms. [We were supposed to find a soul that they had sent here and got a bit sidetracked. What are you doing here? I was not aware you had left Valinor.]
[Because I never went in the first place,] was the reply. [You did not notice my absence?]
Elen: Elvish for ‘star’
Anca: Elvish for ‘jaws’
As promised, I have here the correct guessers from the past few Tales. They are as follows, from the first to make that guess:
Good guessing or–in BoromirsWargMistress and Meletyohar’s case, good observation of my bad lying–and to the rest of you, all of you had very valid guesses, so kudos to you as well!!