The Forgotten One
Kalavai awoke to a world of confusion, fear and pain. Her stomach throbbed, and she was certain that at least two of her ribs were broken. Her head was bloody and had a jagged cut and a lump the size of a goose egg on it. Not to mention that her arms and legs were a rainbow of colorful bruises along with her scraped face. Kalavai tried in vain to go back to sleep, to embrace the welcome release from pain, but to no avail. Sleep would not come. Cautiously, she cracked open first one eye and then the other, rubbing a relatively clean scrap of cloth across her face to clear it of dried blood and other filth. What Kalavai saw did nothing to raise her spirits.
She was in a small stone cell of some sorts, and judging from the lack of windows and slightly musty, stale air, she determined that her prison was underground somewhere. Not that that helps me much, Kalavai though to herself grimly. But I do know that whatever the reason for this, it has to do with Haldir. But how did he know where I was? I thought that only Legolas, Ianithiel and Dayarvon- Dayarvon? Where is he?? Frantically Kalavai looked around for him. But he wasn’t there. Did . . . did he betray me? Kalavai shook her head as if to banish the thought. No, he wouldn’t have done anything like that. I’m sure of it. It had to be Haldir.
As if summoned by her thoughts, the door of her cell opened and in walked Haldir. His cold eyes lit up when he saw her. “Kalavai, what a pleasure to see you,” he said smoothly, ignoring Kalavai’s glare of contempt. “I’d apologize for your room, but frankly I feel no reason to do so. After all, it is only what a half human wrench like you deserves.”
“Where am I?” Kalavai demanded. “Where’s Dayarvon?”
“My, my,” Haldir raised his eyebrows, “did I hear a note of concern in your voice? How interesting. . .”
“Where is he?!” Kalavai repeated, growing more and more worried. What if something had happened to him?
“And why would you care for that murderer, hmm?” Haldir said. Seeing Kalavai’s startled look, he grinned. It reminded her of the grin of poisonous serpent. “You mean he never told you?”
“M-murderer?” Kalavai repeated faintly. Dayarvon, who had been so nice to her for no reason, a murderer?
“Oh yes, quite. You see, when Dayarvon’s father was killed in an orc raid he and his mother were captured by a human male near Rivendel. When the human killed his mother, Dayarvon went mad. He killed the human, and killed Elrohir son of Elrond who had been trying to calm him down and comfort him. Dayarvon said, in his defense, that he had not recognized Elrohir, but that was nonsense, of course. Thus Elrond forbid him from ever returning to Rivendel and for some insane reason which I have never guessed, he was allowed to live here. And he never told you?” Haldir looked faintly surprised, but a cruel smile hung on his lips. “Well, I can assure you that you won’t see him again. He escaped my Dark Elves the first time, but I have just sent five of my best to . . . shall we say . . . remove him. So there will be no help for you, my dear.” Haldir reached back and shut the door to her cell, taking a glass studded rawhide whip from somewhere in the outer hall as he did so. “We have to . . .” he looked from the flogging whip to Kalavai and smiled a cold, heartless smile, “talk.”
Haldir laid the now bloodied flogging whip on its hook outside Kalavai’s cell door and turned to the guards who were assigned to watch Kalavai. They were Dark Elves, their roughly elven features put at odds with their short death-black hair, small but sharp fangs, and gold flecked red eyes. One of them wore three wolf teeth piercing its ears, the Dark Elven symbol for rank; the more teeth the higher rank. The other had only on tooth one ear, the other being only a ragged stump.
“What orderrss concerrning the prissonerr, Lorrd Haldirr?” the leader grated. The voices of the Dark Elves were harsh and their language drawled out “rs” and “s’s”
Haldir issued only one command. “Break her.” He then turned and strode away, back to his quarters. Behind him he heard the door to Kalavai’s cell open, and the Dark Elves laughing as she screamed, realizing their intent. Haldir allowed himself a self satisfied smile; Kalavai better pray to the Elenath that she falls unconscious, or it will be a long night for her. His smile broadened at the thought. A very long night.
* * *
Dayarvon’s grief allowed no room from coherent thought. She’s gone, he thought numbly. Gone. And I couldn’t save her. They took her from under my very nose, and I couldn’t do a thing! Haldir took her away, and now she’s gone. What am I going to say to Legolas and Ianithiel? He collapsed to the ground, tears streaming silently down his face. She’s gone. Gone. And I couldn’t do a thing! I ran away; I didn’t know they were going to take her. And she had Ryvrien- Ryvrien! Dayarvon stumbled wearily but hurriedly into his ruined house to find Ryvrien lying on the floor, bound and badly hurt but still alive. In a daze, Dayarvon tended to his dog’s hurts. When he was done, Ryvrien licked him gratefully in return and fell fast asleep. Dayarvon dimly realized that he was scratched and bleeding in several places from his earlier flight, but he didn’t care. Dragging himself over to his bed, he followed Ryvrien’s example and fell into a deathlike sleep. But his dreams were haunted with Kalavai’s face, her screams, and the leering faces of Haldir and a shadowed elf wearing a black, wolf skin cape and a necklace of black-dyed wolf teeth.
Dayarvon woke to the sound of a twig snapping somewhere outside his home. It was about midnight, but Dayarvon’s keen elvish vision allowed him to locate five moving shadows approaching through the underbrush. They move with skill, he noted. In fact, if I didn’t know which shadows belong and which don’t, I wouldn’t even know they were here. Dayarvon glanced quickly over at Ryvrien; the massive hound was lying awake in a shadowed corner and his mouth was parted in a silent snarl. Dayarvon motioned quickly for Ryvrien to stay hidden, if he needed the hound’s aid a quick call would bring Ryvrien leaping in for a rescue. Silently, ignoring the protests of his sore muscles, Dayarvon drew his sword, bow and quiver from their places behind his bed. Dayarvon readied a shaft and sighted, waiting until his target, the closest shadow, paused, obviously searching for him. Quickly Dayarvon fired before the figure saw him, and managed to shoot one more before the three others burst into his home. Dropping his long bow, Dayarvon whisked his sword out of its sheath. The closest figure- for in the semi darkness Dayarvon could not identify his attackers brought up his own weapon barley in time to parry Dayarvon’s slash, but to no avail. Dayarvon put all of his considerable force in the blow, knocking his opponent’s weapon from his hand. Another downwards slash finished him, and Dayarvon turned to face his two remaining opponents.
These two were more cautious than their fellow, and they circled Dayarvon, looking for an opening in his defense. However, although not the best swordsman, Dayarvon was no raw recruit. He lunged forward, catching them by surprise. But they did not stay surprised for long. The male- for despite the lack of light, Dayarvon had recognized one of them for a female- jumped easily out of the way of his slashing sword and retaliated with an attacked of his own. Dayarvon leapt backwards, dogging his opponent’s sword, but realized too late that he had forgotten about his second opponent. “Ryvrien!” he cried as the female’s axe came hurtling towards him. Ryvrien leapt, snarling, onto the woman’s back, pinning her to the floor. The axe clattered onto the floor, safely out of the woman’s reach. The male, who was getting very angry, feinted at Dayarvon’s stomach. Dayarvon blocked him, and then flung himself to the side as he saw that his opponent had flung a knife at his unprotected side. But he didn’t move soon enough and the jagged blade grazed his upper left arm. Dayarvon grimaced with the pain, but inwardly thanked the Elenath that the cut was shallow. I’m getting tired of this, Dayarvon thought. He just doesn’t give up, does he? Dayarvon lunged forward, taking his opponent by surprise, and finished him with a single, quick thrust.
Dayarvon turned to Ryvrien and his captive, who was struggling vainly to get free. Dayarvon tore a strip of cloth off of his sheets and bound his wound, threw the axe towards the far wall, then turned to his captive. His dark eyes were cold and unforgiving slits and the Dark Elf winced under his gaze. “Tell me, Dark Elf, who you work for. Oh, and you had better tell me truly, because Ryvrien here is very hungry.”
“Lorrd Haldirr and M-Morrdrraug, the Darrk One,” she stuttered in the harsh, twisted tongue of the Dark Elves.
“Mordraug, that means Dark Wolf,” Dayarvon muttered to himself. He turned to his captive and said coldly, “Cooperate and you’ll live. Ryvrien, watch her.” The dog backed up maybe half a step and glared at his captive. Dayarvon strode over to his fire pit, made a fire, and lit the several lanterns that were positioned in various parts of his household. After all, he reasoned, might as well see what I’m up against. Once his home was sufficiently lit, he turned and surveyed his captive.
She was a disgusting sight, a crude mockery of a female elf. Her hair was dark and short, her ears were twisted and her fanged mouth was set in an impassive line. There was fear and malice in her red and gold eyes, and both of her ears were pieced with five wolf teeth each. Dayarvon correctly guessed that she was high-ranked. “What is your name?” he questioned.
“Rrygotha. And what iss yourss, elf?” she asked suspiciously. Her hand went instinctively to the axe holder strapped to her back, and Ryvrien growled at her.
“My name, scum, is Dayarvon the Exile. I have a message for you to deliver to your master. Tell him that he better not hurt Kalavai,” Dayarvon’s eye’s burned and the Dark Elf trembled visibly with the hatred in them. “And tell him if he does, then he better pray to the Elenath for help because I swear I’ll kill him no matter what.” Dayarvon stalked away and took out the Dark Elf’s axe. It was a wicked weapon, with two blackened, jagged blades and a barbed pike point on the top. Dayarvon grasped the handle in both hands and whammed it into the ground, blade first. It snapped with a load crack, and Rygotha gasped with awe and fear. Dayarvon threw it scornfully behind his back. Dayarvon turned and glared viciously at Rygotha. “Go and give this Mordraug my message. And don’t try anything. Now get out of my sight!”
Rygotha dashed off, calling behind her back as she did so. “Aye, I’ll give him yourr message, Exile. Jusst you wait! You haven’t sseen the lasst of uss! You’ll pay!” Dayarvon chose not to grace her threat with a remark and turned to the storage closet in the back of his house. He had to prepare for his journey. He had to rescue Kalavai.
* * *
Haldir shrank back into the shadowed corner and wished desperately that he could just become part of the stone wall and vanish. Or rather, the tiny part of his conscience that really was him tried to. But, as always, he met the hard, unyielding surface of the spell that Mordraug had placed over him. His body continued walking towards the Dark Wolf’s chamber despite his desperate thoughts. If only I hadn’t decided to leave Lothlorien that day, he thought in silent anguish. Then none of this would have happened. Haldir remembered that cursed day clearly, and the memory flitted into his mind. He had decided to visit Mirkwood to see his friend Legolas, and then travel to Gondor to see how Aragorn and Arwen were fairing. And so he had gone to Mirkwood, stayed with Legolas and Tharnduil for a while, and then decided to leave for Gondor. Despite Legolas’ warning of wolves in the Mountains of Mirkwood, Haldir had determined to travel the pass of Orod Gwathorod, the Shadow Mountain. And had walked right into Mordraug’s trap. By some spell of which Haldir had not known existed, Mordraug had taken Haldir’s mind and made it his own. Now, Haldir could not say or do anything of his own will. Everything, even his facial expressions, was controlled by Mordraug. Everything, except the tiny corner of his mind where the true Haldir existed.
And oh, Elenath, what he made me do to Kalavai! Haldir moaned in his mind. The poor thing, if this keeps up she’s not likely to live past this week! And it’s all my fault! Haldir would have berated himself further, but at that moment his controlled self threw open the elaborately carved onyx doors of Mordraug’s chamber and bowed deep and respectfully. Humph. If I could, I would give him nothing more than a sword in the heart, and maybe not even that, for it would disgrace the sword! Haldir thought venomously. But, as always, his body did not listen to him and instead announced, “Lord Dark Wolf, Lord of the Dark Elves and the Realm of Mirkwood, I have come to report.” He bowed again, even lower if that was possible. “The half-wench, Kalavai, is indeed the Forgotten One.”
“You saw the mark on the back of her throat?” Mordraug rasped, dark, murky, blood-red eyes gleaming.
“Indeed, m’ Lord. It was there. I gave orders to the guards to . . . shall we say, ready her for you Majesty’s presence.” His mouth twisted into a vile grin, and in the tiny corner of his mind, Haldir thought heatedly, if I had control of myself now, I swear upon the Elenath that I would most certainly tear out his throat.
“Excellent. Those guards were my two best at- preparation,” From the shadowy folds of his black hood the Dark Elf leader smiled coldly. “Of course, I gave them strict orders to leave her in fighting condition. After all, it is fitting, don’t you think, to have the Forgotten One as the final sacrifice in the resurrection of Anaclagon the Black, don’t you think?”
Even his controlled self stuttered in surprise; Mordraug had only told him that there was to be a great resurrection, not the beast which was to be resurrected. “M-my Lord!” Haldir stuttered in shock. “The beast you plan to resurrect is An- Anaclagon the B-black?!”
“Indeed, loyal soul, I do intend and shall resurrect the mighty Black Anaclagon.” Mordraug shifted in his red streaked black robes as he spoke; a single clawed hand that appeared to have a black tint to it emerged to grasp the arm of his wolf-mouth shaped chair. “In fact, I have already have; he requires the most savory soul of the Forgotten One in order to remain permanent. Who you, dear Haldir, have so wonderfully betrayed to me.”
Mordraug’s piercing eyes gazed right into his own, and the true Haldir knew instantly that Mordraug had known all along of his `free corner’ and had allowed him to reside in it on purpose. “Indeed, Foolish One, you have finally woken up. It took you a while, but I must say that I had not thought you would’ve noticed. But all the thoughts in your head were quite entertaining while they lasted . . . in fact, right now you are calling me a most unsavory name.” Haldir started; Mordraug had indeed read his mind. “A fact,” Mordraug continued, “I believe to be most funny, since considering the position you are in you should be calling me master.”
“You shall never be my master!” Haldir spat, rage overwhelming the amazing prospect that his body was his own once more. “You . . . you glamog!” Haldir would have said more, but at that moment, Mordraug’s eyes glowed a sickly green and Haldir was flung back against the cold, unforgiving stone wall.
“I am not a glamog!” Mordraug hissed viciously. “And you will never call me that again!” Mordraug turned away and motioned to his guards in the corner. “Take him away and give him a double dose of the magic renewal!” The guards knocked Haldir unconscious, and he never had the chance to see the unnerving scene that followed.
* * *
Past the Misty Mountains, past the farthest reaches of the Shire, even past Middle Earth and the Undying Lands, was the ancient and ruined Land of the Dragons, Anoth’akrine. The land was divided into two parts, that of the Anoth, the Dragons of Evil and Darkness, creations of Melkor, and that of the Akrines, the Dragons of Light and Goodness, creations of Manwë, Lord of Air.
But the ancient boundary was overrun; the black, red and green Dragons of Darkness tore into the land of the blue-eyed, silver-white scaled Good Dragons and wrecked havoc upon them. So to rule and aid the Good Dragons, Manwë created the Ones. These creatures were secretive elves with the power to control the Good Dragons and lead them into prosperity. Each One would be the partner of a single Good Dragon, and be rewarded with a life span to equal the Dragon’s. But this attachment had one serious downside- the Ones were bound to their Dragon’s, and the Dragon’s to them, and so if either one died, so did the other.
This seemed a small price to pay to the One’s and the Good Dragons, who enjoyed the partnership greatly. They soon became over confident and lazy when rumor came that in the twelfth birthing, one of the eggs would hatch, but the Good Dragon inside would be asleep. This Dragon was to be called Lakaríön, and he would be the greatest and the last of the Good Dragons. The Ones, it was said, would slowly diminish along with their Dragons, until there were no Ones or Dragons left. None, except for Lakaríön, the sleeper and a tiny, half-elf, half-man child. This child, according to the prophecy, would be the daughter of Anadwë, the only One to marry a human male. At the time, no one believed this, because Anadwë had taken no lovers and the Ones and Good Dragons prospered. But prophecies have ways of being remembered, and when the twelfth birthing came and a Dragon was born as the prophecy said, it was named Lakaríön. Soon after, Anadwë did indeed take a mortal man for her husband. The Ones began to diminish, and with them so did their Dragons. Soon the Ones and the Good Dragons were just a myth, and the Dragons of Darkness moved to Middle Earth at Melkor’s command. Anadwë’s daughter was captured by orcs and was never heard from again.
The elves of Middle Earth, cut off from their brethren, soon forgot them and became involved in troubles of their own. Eventually, even Manwë forgot, and Lakaríön, last of the Dragons, slept on, oblivious to the world around him. But eighteen years ago, the daughter of Anawë was found, on the edge of a small keep. And one with a grudge remembered, and returned to this world to complete its work. It spread rumors of the Dragons and the prophecy, and bid its time. But in the land of the Dragons, something extraordinary was happing, something it had not planed for. For deep with in the last standing mountain range of Anoth’akrine, Lakaríön stirred, and opened a single, crystalline amethyst eye.
* * *
Legolas muttered a vicious oath, startling even Ianithiel, who was used to his temper. “What?” she whispered to him in the concealment of the branches. “What is it?” She and Legolas were scouting for their patrol; strange whargs had been reported in the area, ridden by odd creatures that first appeared to be elves. They had been out longer than had been expected; the wharg beasts were especially hard to catch.
“It’s those things,” Legolas said. “They were here. But they left. And they went towards Mirkwood.”
“You’re kidding!” Ianithiel exclaimed. “Then we must get back there right away! Most of our fighters are with our patrol! If they attacked in force-!!” Ianithiel grew pale.
“Then we may return to find our kingdom rather decimated,” Legolas finished grimly. He stared off at the large tracks. “They are three days old. We must hurry.”
They returned to the patrol, and within five minutes half the patrol, including Legolas and Ianithiel, was on the move, going as fast as their horses could go back to their home in the center of Mirkwood. Legolas drove his horse as hard as he could, praying to the Valar that his home would still be there when he got back.