“Oh I’m hungry. Can’t we stop?” asked Pippin.
“Quit whining will you?” Merry punched his brother. “I’m hungry and cold too, but you don’t here me whining.”
“Yes, please,” Gimli said. “We have had to put up with your belly-aching for three days.”
“We are nearing Angband,” Eldarion said. “It won’t be long.”
“How will we get in?” Elerrina asked.
“We shall cross that bridge when we come to it,” Eldarion spoke.
“I can not believe they have taken my friend there,” Gimli spoke in a rash tone. “If they have harmed him in any way, I will not rest till every one of those creatures are dead!”
“Calm Gimli son of Gloin. Don’t lose your head,” Elerrina said.
“Don’t worry my lady. I intend to keep it firmly planted on my shoulders as well as my axe restless in my belt.”
“You will have plenty of chances to splatter orc’s blood my friend,” Eldarion said. “I am restless too.”
“What’s the plan once we get in?” Elerrina asked.
“I think we should split up. Staying together in a large group will make us more noticeable. Hobbits, you shall go with Gimli. Elerrina shall stay with me,” Eldarion said.
“No, my Prince,” Elerrina said. “I can manage just fine alone. I am an elf.”
“And I am the Prince of Gondor. Consider it an order.”
She folded her hands. “I’ve been taught well with the sword and bow. I can take care of myself.”
“No doubt,” he said.
“The hobbits will slow me down, my Prince. It will be best if I go alone,” Gimli said.
“Curse dwarves and their stiff necks!” Eldarion said.
“No, we won’t Gimli,” Merry spoke. “We’ll stay by your side. We don’t want to go off alone. But our father has trained us with the sword. And I carry Sting.”
“Sting is a good sword I have heard,” Eldarion said. “It glows blue when orcs are close. Look we have to find some arrangement here. Should the hobbits stay together and the dwarf go alone? No, I don’t wish anyone to be alone in Angband. Elerrina, you will stay with me.”
She sighed. “I guess it is the sensible thing to do.”
“Good. Gimli you won’t mind the hobbits.”
“I am used to hobbits now my Prince. But if they are anything like that Brandybuck and Took, I say we should have left them back at the citadel. They caused nothing but trouble on the Fellowship road.”
“That’s not true,” said Pippin. “Mr. Peregrin Took went to Gondor with Gandalf and warned him about that steward man who was going to kill himself. And he also fought in the battle and drank ent draughts.”
“And Mr. Meriadoc Brandybuck helped that beautiful girl with long golden hair slay the Nazgul,” Merry said. “And hobbits I take it you don’t know are the quietest creatures on Middle Earth. We can move without anyone hearing us.”
“And that is certainly not true for dwarves,” Elerrina joked.
“Go ahead and jest. I have the eyes of a fox and the ears of a hawk. I mean the eyes of a hawk and the ears of a fox.”
Everyone burst into laughter at Gimli.
“It must be the beards,” Eldarion said.
“This is what I get for traveling with an elf,” Gimli muttered to himself. “There is only one elf I like. And even the pretty one has his moments. At the present he is most likely being tortured in Angband. Can we not quicken the pace please?”
“No!” Pippin objected. “Let’s stop. I want a breather. We’ve been walking all day.”
“Pippin is right, Gimli,” Eldarion said. “I would like to go to Angband right now, but we must stop for a little while. The hobbits need to rest and so does the lady.”
“Excuse me,” Elerrina said putting her hands on her hips. “I could outrace you any day on a road.”
“I’m not going to argue with a woman,” Eldarion said. “It’s useless.”
She smiled and sat down beside Pippin.
“Would you and the hobbits look for some firewood? But be sure to chop down no trees with that axe of yours.”
“I shall do no chopping. Come along hobbits.”
“Just don’t be out long. Remember what Aragorn said about orcs roaming freely,” Eldarion added.
Once they had gone, Eldarion said, “They do make a silly trio.”
“Do you think it is odd how he a dwarf and Legolas Prince of Mirkwood became friends?” she asked.
“No, not at all. Anyone can be friends. I’ve made friends with a she-elf. A beautiful one I may add.”
Elerrina looked down at the grass beneath her. Eldarion looked at her for a moment and thought how fair she was. Even though it was dark, he could see her eyes and make out her figure. He gazed at her blue eyes and long coppery brown hair. I wonder if I love her, but then he instantly shook off the thought. I am a Prince of Gondor. A mortal man. She is an immortal elf. But so was my mother.
“Would you please stop calling me that. My name is Eldarion.”
“No, I won’t. I am an elf. They are respectful.”
“If you wish to be respectful, please call me Eldarion.”
“If that is what you wish, then very well.” She paused and then said, “What is your mother like?”
Eldarion was somewhat surprised by the question. “My mother is said to be the fairest elf in the world. Her father didn’t want something as fair and beautiful as the Evenstar to wax and wane. He spoke with my father often and told him to let her go. But she would not take the ship though he tried to persuade her. My mother loves my father. Even enough to follow him to death’s doors. I wish I could have a love like that. Excuse me.”
Elerrina watched him get up and walk into the field. Softly she said to herself, “So do I.”
“She is waking.”
“Shall I tell the master?”
Elenya’s eyes fluttered open. She was no longer in the cell but lay upon a warm soft bed. Legolas was gone, but she did see the Morquiendi and the Uruk staring at her. She tried to sit up but realized her hands were bound. The dark elf approached her.
“Drink this lady,” he said putting a black cup up to her face.
“What is it?” she asked smelling its odd fragrance.
“Just drink it. You have had no food or drink for many days.”
Elenya lifted the cup to her lips and let the drink run into her mouth and down her throat. It was the same hot black liquid, but this time it was not unbearable to taste.
“Where is Legolas?” she asked.
“The pretty elf shall be here shortly,” the Morquiendi said. “You will soon cleave to my master.”
“Why do you cleave to him?”
“You heard me. Why do you cleave to him?”
The dark elf was silent.
“I knew it. You are not that different from me. You are here against your will as well. Please take me away from here. Please let me go.”
“I cannot, lady. That is treason and treachery to my master. He would surely kill me.”
“Please, please,” she begged.
He looked into her blue eyes and saw them warm and pleading. He took her hand and raised it to his lips. She shuddered as he kissed it.
“I am sorry. You shall see your friend soon.”
Elenya stood up looking around the room. It was the same room with the same dark mirror. There was one window that opened out toward the south. She walked to it and leaned against it softly humming. He then heard her beginning to sing. Her voice seemed like an angel as she sang. Her words pierced him. It was a song she had learned back home, but she changed it slightly. He wanted to help her, but he knew his life would be forfeit. He still struggled with his inner soul that was not all corrupted with the Shadow.
“Once as my heart remembers
All the stars were falling embers
Once when night seemed forever
I was with you
Once in the care of morning
In the air was all belonging
Once when the day was dawning
I was with you
How far we are from morning
How far are we
And one star shining through the darkness
Falling not in the air
Once as the night was leaving
Into us our dreams were weaving
Once all the dreams were worth keeping
I was with you
Once when our hearts were singing, I was with you. Once high upon a hill top, time for us then did stop. Once when the stars were fading, I was with you.“
She ended there. He stared at her as if in a daze speechless and astonished at her. She seemed to make the darkness seem like the light. One star arose out of the darkness and it fell upon her. She glowed looking so peaceful and serene staring into the never-ending night. Her soul was anything but, though. She really loved him, and he knew it. But his master desired her more than all of the diamonds in the world. The choice fell to him, and he knew what he must do.