Aragorn led the group of three into the woods where they had seen the Orc and Sakira disappear. The forest was silent except for the cool brisk wind whistling a deathly tune as it cut through the air. As they made their way along the leaf strewn path they were met with the same obstacles as the Orc and Sakira, though they were a hindrance it was something Aragorn was used to.
“This forest is creepy” Locira said glancing around at the tall gaunt wooden guards that seemed to be reaching down to taunt her. As she ducked under the fingerlike branches she rubbed her arms vigourously in an attempt to chase away the goosebumps that resided there, she wasn’t sure if the chill in the air or the dark mysteriousness of the forest had caused them. Aragorn had felt it too the strange ghost like qualities that this forest seemed to convey causing sensations of invisible fingers to work their way down his neck.
“This forest is old, very old and it has seen better times” Legolas foretold uneasily as he touched the trunk of a tree and rubbed it gingerly as if trying to soothe its troubles.
“I’ve seen worse” Aragorn remarked turning to see Locira’s worried face, then paused as he held up a very large low hanging branch so she and Legolas could pass under.
“I pray that Sakira is okay, it hurts to know that someone you love is in danger and you can’t do anything to help them” Locira said outloud as she hugged herself tightly pretending it was Sakira.
“She is a very strong woman…” Aragorn started.
“I agree and she’s stubborn…and impulsive…” Locira continued on as she smiled and shook her head.
Legolas had heard Aragorn’s and Locira’s banter but the words seemed to be drifting off as his private thoughts started taking over and clouding his sight for a second, he closed his eyes to try to clear his head and when he reopened them a vision of Sakira appeared in front of him in the distance. He could only see her back and her loose blond hair flying in the wind, he had to smile softly at the picture as his fear eased for a second, then she suddenly turned around and his heart sank to his stomach. Her eyes were wild and frantic as she scanned the path behind her for something as she was being led through the woods.
“Legolas help me…where are you?” she screamed in her mind so as not to draw the attention of her capturer as she reached out for Legolas, she hadn’t said a word outloud but to Legolas her voiceless thoughts were like thunder resounding over and over in his ears. His body tensed as he felt the turmoil her message conveyed and when he saw the tears welling up in her eyes it was more than he could bare.
“I’m coming Sakira!” Legolas suddenly yelled outloud as he lurched forward and took off running at full speed as if being chased by a ghostly presence, he wasn’t going to let the girl of his dreams fall victim to an Orc not while he had any breath left in his body.
Aragorn didn’t even have time to react as Legolas ran by him but he did catch a quick glimpse of the wild look in his friends eyes and it took him aback, he had never seen him like that before.
“Legolas wait!” Aragorn yelled to no avail as the Elf disappeared quickly from view down the path, they took off after him following the sound of dried trampled leaves and breaking tree limbs. But the agile elf was running at a very fast pace, his slender body and quick feet allowed him to manuever the trees without much effort making it difficult for Aragorn and Locira to catch up.
“Legolas wait for us!” Locira yelled into the trees but Legolas was undaunted by their screams as her plea went unanswered, he was stuck in his own nightmare succombing to the images in his head and wasn’t allowing anyone in except Sakira even if it was just her image.
“What’s wrong with him?” Locira asked worried.
“Elven senses are very acute especially for those they hold dear” Aragorn told her then grabbed Locira’s hand gripping it tightly “hurry we don’t want him to get too far ahead.”
They ran for about another half-mile then Aragorn spotted him, he was picking something up off the ground and fingering it curiously. As Aragorn and Locira neared Legolas he turned and held it out for them to see.
“It’s Sakira’s headband I cant believe you found it!” Locira squealed with delight as she took it from him and held it as if it was made of gold then slipped it around her wrist for safe keeping as relief washed over her. She knew in her head that Aragorn was leading them in the right direction but her heart was looking for a sign and here it was.
Sakira knew they were getting close now to the Orc camp, she could hear their muffled voices and just make out their moving silhouettes through the trees. Instead of looking behind her worrying and wondering where Legolas was she concentrated on what may be ahead, she would be half-way relieved to finally get there because her body and mind were completely expelled of energy and clear thinking, even though she didn’t know what to expect when they arrived. As they got closer the Orc’s voices became louder and sterner and she could tell something was going on and it wasn’t good. Sakira felt the grip of the Orc become much tighter on her arm as they entered the camp and saw two of the Orc’s in each others faces as if they wanted to kill one another. One of them was the Orc who had won the previous fight and even though his wound was still seeping blood he wasn’t about to back down. The fierce look in his eyes didn’t seem to detour his opponent who was the brother of the Orc whom he had killed with a knife wound to his forehead, his body was still laying slumped beneath a tree. The other two Orc’s were standing around watching in anticipation to see who would draw their weapon first, as if they had made a bet and were waiting impatiently to see which one would win.
The first thing the head Orc decided he must do was to get the Orc’s back under his control he realized that he had left them leaderless for way to long. Without warning Sakira found herself practically launched in the air as he pushed her roughly aside making her fall hard to the ground where she landed on her arm, then he drew his whip out and swung it above his head a couple of times then sent it toward one of the bickering Orc’s. It struck him with such force square in the chest that it knocked him backwards off his feet a couple of yards, which immediately silenced everyone around him.
“Stop this now or do you want to feel the sting of my whip too?” the head Orc growled angrily as his furious eyes scanned the other three Orc’s who were standing around dumbfounded.
“Get up and join the others!” the head Orc ordered the one who had received the glancing blow of his whip, he rose quickly and they all hurriedly formed a line and lowered their heads in complete submission and obediance. The leader was pleased at himself at how easy it was go gain control back over these weakings, then he grinned as he wound up his whip and preceded to put it back in his belt.
“I’m hungry has anyone found dinner yet?” the leader proclaimed loudly as he sauntered over to them and attacked them with words no child should hear, the four Orc’s looked at each other meakly then shook their heads in answer.
“Then I suggest you ALL get busy!” he yelled as he withdrew his large knife and “juggled” it between his fingers running it from his thumb to his last finger then back.
“Go find us some deer to eat, one for us and one for our captives and make it quick!” he ordered two of them.
“You go get some wood for a fire and set a trap we are going to need food for tomorrow.”
“And you sharpen my knife for skinning the unlucky animals that will fill our bellies tonight” the leader commanded the last one, then when he didnt react fast enough to his request he threw his knife toward him making him jump backwards as the knife landed squarely in the ground where his feet previously had been. After that they all promptly scattered busily fullfilling his wishes as the leader watched pleased.
As this was going on Sakira had sat up and was rubbing her arm then she heard a sound coming from the womens direction.
“Psst…lady over here”
Sakira turned and saw one of them motioning for her to come over to them while the other women were covering the childrens ears to save them from hearing the vile words of the Orc. Sakira peered at the leader Orc tentively and after assuring herself that he was quite busy she sneaked over to the group of women and sat beside Dalia who greeted her with an exuberant hug.
“What’s your name and are you okay?” Dalia asked as she released Sakira and noticed her red scratched cheek and scraped up legs.
“My name is Sakira and yes as well as can be expected after being pulled for miles through the woods” Sakira answered as she pushed her hair out of her face.
“Is everyone here okay?”
“Yes…physically we seem to be okay” Dalia sighed “but mentally I dont know, these children are going through something that even an adult would have a hard time with.”
Sakira’s eyes slowly scanned over the dirty tear stained faces of the children and watched as they snuggled into the womens bodies to escape the cold wind, and as tired and sad as she was Sakira gave them a cheerful smile and a nod of recognition in an attempt to make them feel better.
“I agree Dalia, but don’t worry help is coming” Sakira promised as she caressed the cheek of the child who was sitting beside her and in return the child laid her small head on Sakira’s shoulder.
“How do you know?”
“That’s what my heart tells me” Sakira smiled and let her eyelids close immediately conjuring up images of Legolas’s brave face and the long embrace they would share when he found her.
Aragorn, Legolas and Locira could smell the cooking deer as it’s scent wafted toward them on the wind.
“We are getting close to their camp it must be just ahead” Aragorn said looking back at Locira and noticing how tired she looked. He then slowed to her pace and walked beside her helping her push aside the branches.
They went another half mile then began to see the silhouettes of the Orc’s through the trees and the unmistakeable glow of a large fire that sent smoke high into the sky. Aragorn then took Locira’s hand and stopped her , then without saying a word he removed his large sword from its metal sheath wincing as the metals scraped against one another in the process, while Legolas promptly prepared an arrow in his bow. Then they crept quietly closer and knelt behind a huge tree that was wide enough to conceal all three of them where they could watch without being seen.
As the three sets of eyes scanned the camp Aragorn’s attention was drawn to the two spits each holding a large deer that was being turned slowly over the blazing fire by two of the Orc’s. He then found the third Orc who was not more than a few feet away from them, he was bent down pouring water over some knives seemingly trying to clean the blood from the skinned deer off of them. Then he spotted the leader sitting under a tree close to the women, he was messily drinking from a large canteen right in front of them and letting the liquid seep down his chin while the captured women and children bit and licked at their dried lips.
Legolas’s first thought was to locate Sakira and to see for himself that she was okay, he looked around for a second then his heart leapt excitedly when he spotted her sitting quietly with the captives. He examined her with his eyes and even though she was dirty and scratched up he was still taken aback by her beauty, then he glanced quickly at the women and children who sat with her and was glad that they all seemed to be okay. Locira followed the Elf’s eyes to her sister and she had to keep herself from screaming her name when she saw her, but instead she lightly squeezed Legolas’s shoulder as if to say we found her, then they shared a smile and a hug.
“She looks pretty tired and dirty I want to get a closer look” Sakira whispered then before anyone could stop her she took a couple of steps forward to hide behind another tree resulting in her stepping on a couple of large branches and noisely snapping them in two drawing the unwanted attention of the Orc who had been cleaning the knives. He paused and looked up toward the trees which hid them where they now were practically holding their breaths in an attempt to hold perfectly still. Sakira and Dalia noticed the Orc had stopped and looked in the same direction as him trying to see what had interested him so much.
“What are you two looking at?” the Orc asked them then went back to work, Dalia turned her attention back to the child who had climbed into her lap, but for some reaseon Sakira couldn’t take her eyes off that spot in the tree which unknown to her hid Legolas.
“Legolas she’s practically looking right at you, does she sense we are here…should we try to let her know somehow?” Locira whispered desperately wanting to put her sister’s worries at ease.
“Not yet…we need a plan” Aragorn chimed in as he touched Legolas’s shoulder and motioned for him to follow, then they both began to slowly back away. Locira watched them leave then turned back to her sister “just a little bit longer Sakira…I promise” she muttered quietly then left.
“It’s getting dark we need a place to sleep” Aragorn said as they walked and talked amongst themselves with Locira close behind them. They had gone about a half a mile when out of nowhere a piercing cry rang in Aragorn and Legolas’s ears and they instictively ducked before looking behind them to see Locira dangling about six feet in the air from a rope tightly wound around both her ankles, her arms waving about and her screaming like a banshee.