At dawn, Elenya awoke feeling invigorated. She had learned from Legolas that during the night (when she was so exhausted and overcome by sleep) that a great noise was heard which stirred everyone’s fears. She was too tired last night to hear anything. Far down in the valley, the grass was now crushed, and the slain orcs were gone. The Ents she thought though she did not tell any others about it. She noticed something new. The rush of the river! The Isen flowed and bubbled in its bed again as it had never done before. Everyone had lain awake since the noise. Everyone but her.
They began to press onward but slowly still. She could now see the walls of Isenagard but not very clearly for there was a dim mist clouding their eyes. Elenya stood close to Legolas. She remembered what had happened the last time she had wandered through mist. That was different she told herself. Beneath the walls of Isengard, there was still a desolate valley tilled by his orc slaves. It was a wilderness covered in mostly brambles and thorns. No trees grew there. Elenya could see the stumps of trees torn down by his minions. She shed a small tear for them. No wonder the Ents got so mad! No one spoke as they looked upon the sad sight. Suddenly, a tall pillar rose before them. It was black, but painted upon it was a white hand. They were drawing near to the gates of Isengard.
They soon reached the gates of Isengard. It was a great ring wall of stone like towering cliffs. Emilie knew what was inside. She remembered the description from the book of all the houses that held the slaves, warriors, workers, and servants of Saruman including the foul orcs that served him. The roads led to caverns where Saruman had storehouses, treasuries, armouries, smithies, and great furnaces. Iron wheels and hammers could always be heard from the caverns, and deep vents of smoke and vapours filled them with lights of blue, red, or even a venomous green. She shuddered to think of the kinds of things they made there. The kinds of weapons that had killed so many beside her. The kinds of weapons that had injured her. The kinds of weapons that belonged to the Uruk Hai and the foul orcs that had taken up arms at Helm’s Deep.
Isengard was once a strong and beautiful place where great lords had dwelt, but now no more woods around it dwelled save Fangorn. Saruman had ripped all the trees down, and the valley was wilderness only bearing thorns and brambles. She tried to imagine Isengard as it had once been like but couldn’t. All that was left now was the inner and outer blackness and evil. To think there had been wardens and wise men watching the stars at night.
Gandalf walked to the pillar of the Hand and passed it. She suddenly noticed that it was no longer white but stained with dried blood! Emilie progressed on holding tighter to Legolas’s hand. He placed a hand on her shoulder. This is ridiculous, she thought. This is ridiculous! You know whats going to happen. Why are you acting like this? You idiot! Her thoughts were filled with pictures of the orcs and Uruk Hai. None lingered here, but she knew what they were like and knew that they had left the valley surrounding Isengard treeless.
They approached the doors. Thet lay hurled and twisted on the ground. All about stone lay cracked and splintered into countless jagges shards. The arch stood still but it opened into a great roofless chasm. The tunnel was bare and dark. They did not proceed for their eyes turned to the ruined gates. It was then that they noticed two figures lying about the rubble heap. Her heart leapt. Merry and Pippin! She laughed when she saw the broken bottles of beer lying beside them as well as the bowls and platters. It was as if they had just eaten and now lay in a content and peaceful state. Pippin was asleep lying on his back while Merry seemed content smoking his pipe sending blue rings of smoke away in the air. Everyone stared at them in wonder except for Emilie. Merry suddenly stood up and introduced himself. It was if he didn’t even know the two elves, the dwarf, Gandalf, and the man that had accompanied them all the way to the Rauros Falls. Merry explained that Saruman was held inside, and that orders came from Treebeard to welcome the Lord of Rohan with fitting words. Suddenly Gimli lashed out irrationally.
“And what about us? What about Legolas, Elenya, and me? You rascals you! You wooly footed and wool pated truants! A fine hunt you’ve led us to. We who have been tiring fighting orcs are led all this way to find you idly laying about with plenty of food and ale by your side. Where did you get that weed you villains? If I do not burst it will be a marvel. Oh I could string you up like the half witted fools you are!”
“Wow!” Emilie said and laughed at Gimli.
Legolas looked at her and said, “What?”
Quit acting like an American you idiot!!!
“You speak for me Gimli. But I would rather like to know where they received the wine.”
Uh Oh! I smell something bad happening! She remebered how bad elves were at drinking. She would have none of course. But Legolas was three thousand years old. He was entitled to have some if he wished. But she knew she would be the one to take care of him when he became sick. Gimli would have none of it she knew. She locked the thought away in her head and hoped against it.
Merry and Theoden began to talk to each other. She saw the close connection they began to have. Pippin woke up and bowed low to everyone. They had grown taller she noticed. Ent draughts.
Gandalf interrupted them when Theoden and the hobbits began talking of the different types of pipe weed in the Shire. Gandalf inquired as to where Treebeard was. Merry pointed in to the north side. Gandalf and Theoden departed. The hobbits bowed low to Theoden.
“So that is the King of Rohan?” Pippin said. “A fine old fellow. Very polite.”
Elenya laughed and sat down on the logs by the hobbits.
“You have no idea what you have put us through little ones.”
“Truly sorry lady,” Merry bowed.
“Oh I’m not angry. I’m just tired.”
“There are still many things I should like to know though,” Legolas straddled the log as he sat by Elenya and clasped his arms around her waist.
Pippin asked, “Are you two in love?”
Elenya giggled slightly.
Merry punched his cousin in the arm.
“There is a good deal we want to know about you four too,” Merry changed the subject. “But first let us eat.”
Gimli said, “You truants might make ammends by fixing us with osme of the plunder you spoke of. Food and drink would pay my score against you!”
“You shall have it,” Pippin answered.
Pippin and Merry led the way into the tunnel underneath the arch. It was dark, but Merry lit a fire. Pippin proceeded to make them some toast. He gave them each salted pork, which tasted better than Elenya thought it would. But she was an elven lady eating like a man in the presence of man. She giggled at the concept but tried to ignore it. Pippin also fixed them bacon, which she liked very much.
“The score is much reduced,” Gimli said happily as he stuffed the meat into his mouth chewing loudly.
Merry brought out a small leather bag filled with tobacco. Pippin had brought along two extra pipes and gave one to Gimli.
“Does this settle the score between us?” Pippin asked.
“Settle it!” cried Gimli. “Most noble hobbit it leaves me great in your debt.”
Funny what a pipe of tobacco can do!
Emilie was reminded why elves do not drink when she saw Legolas go into a dark corner with their back turned away from them. As they heard the endless sounds of vomiting in the background, she laughed as did Aragorn.
“You alright back there my elf friend?” Aragorn asked laughing.
Elenya could not contain herself but burst into laughter.
“You think it’s funny do you?” Legolas turned to her.
“Yes, I do. Forgive me, Prince,” she continued laughing. “It’s the reason I do not drink.”
“That’s it! I’m going out into the air!”
“Wait!” she said standing up. “I’ll come with you.”
As Elenya stepped out into the light, she decided to check on her shoulder wound. She removed the piece of cloth that Legolas had wrapped around it the previous night. The blood had dried encrusted upon her skin. She slowly inched her finger up to it and touched it. It still hurted.
“Ow! Son of a biscuit,” she nearly cursed.
For her, cursing was a big deal. She never did it. She had learned the biscuit part from her brother. He said it often to keep him from saying the other word when something upseted him.
“You should keep the cloth on it,” Legolas said as he proceeded to tie up the wound again.
He took her hand and said, “Walk with me a little. Do you remember when we first met?”
“We hadn’t even known each other for more than a minute, and you kissed me.”
“You must know why I do and say what I do. I love you. Surely you must see that.”
“I do. But I-“
“You what? I can see it in your eyes and smile. You love me too do you not?”
“I don’t know how I feel,” but she knew it was a lie. She cursed herself for saying that. She didn’t want to break his heart, but she didn’t want to unleash her secret either.
“Yes you do. Look into my eyes and tell me.”
He raised her chin to his face so her eyes would see his. His eyes were blue much like hers but lighter. He then took her in his arms and kissed her as he had done in Rivendell. It did not last long, but it was still a kiss.
“Can you not know after that?” he asked her.
“No, I can’t. I’m going to join the others. Excuse me.”
Elenya walked back into the cave leaving him alone. She saw Merry and Pippin playing their endless banter with each other, but she paid them no mind and did not smile. How could she make him understand. She loved him. But how could she tell him? She wanted to spend forever with him, but she was a human. Maybe an elf in body but not in mind, heart, or soul. And a man and woman did not share themselves simply in body. She knew this dream would not last forever. Would it? She needed to tell Legolas. The question was how and when and what would he do? What will he do?