Aragorn and Legolas stopped dead in their tracks and turned in surprise when Locira’s ear shattering screams reached them, they immediately drew weapons and took a second to push down their hearts that had suddenly jumped into their throats.
“Now what happened?” Aragorn seemed to ask no one in particular as he and Legolas quickly bolted back toward her screams with sword and bow held ready to slay any enemy that they might encounter. As the two friends zig zagged through the trees the sounds of Locira’s hysterics suddenly stopped bringing on a feeling of complete and utter dread in the man and elf’s bodies.
“Which way?” Aragorn asked Legolas who had stopped to see if he could pick up any sounds no matter how slight they were from the young woman, but all they heard was silence except for a vague rustle in the leaves and Legolas motioning for the man to follow him.
After a few minutes they came upon a rope that had been left hanging over a branch, it had been cut and the end of it that was still tied in a noose shape laid on the ground.
“Locira was here and this rope bound her body somehow” Aragorn mumbled after he picked it up and inspected it carefully silently shuddering within as he felt her presence all over it, he then threw it down trying to get rid of the foreboding feeling overcoming him. Legolas stood from a kneeling position after examining a set of very large footprints mingled with much smaller ones that were scattered in the dirt.
“Aragorn an Orc was here…their footprints are unmistakeable, he must have captured Locira then ran off in that direction, I believe that was the rustling that we heard” Legolas said as he nodded to the East. Fear deepened in both their hearts and minds as their eyes met and the cold wind blew through their outer clothing sending shivers through them, they clenched their weapons tighter then followed the Orc’s visible trail into the trees.
Unbeknownst to Aragorn and Legolas the Orc that they suspected of kidnapping Locira was one of the small band of Orcs who had previously taken Sakira and the other women and children, his leader had ordered him to capture food for the rest of the three day trip to their destination. Angry yet not wanting to put his own life in danger by going against his leaders wishes the Orc trekked a couple of miles into the woods and found a large tree, there he crouched down behind it and removed his knife from his belt then waited for an unsuspecting animal.
After a few long hours he had only captured two small rabbits, highly irritated he looked at their dead bodies as he rubbed his empty belly and thought they would only be appetizers. To make matters worse he could still smell the odor of the cooked deer meat wafting in the cold air that they had been cooking when he left camp and it was driving him to the brink, he hadn’t eaten yet and therefore a hunger and thirst was growing deep within him.
Just then voices caught his attention they were growing louder and closer, he looked up to see a man and an elf not but about fifteen feet away from the very spot which he sat. Fortunately for him neither Aragorn nor Legolas noticed him because the two were caught up in their conversation and worry about Sakira that even Legolas’s keen sense of smell was affected.
“Ahhh…man flesh…a delicacy we’ve missed for too long” saliva was pratically running down the Orc’s dirty mouth as he ducked down. As he watched the man and elf walk past he searched them for weapons with his eyes, seeing that they were well armed with arrows and knives didn’t matter because his inflated ego made him think he was invincible, must be an Orc thing. He began to rise and follow them when he heard the rustle of leaves once more, he turned to see a young women who seemed to be slowly following the men except she was headed straight toward him. He quickly crouched back down and that’s when he noticed a rope hanging over a tree limb not but a couple of feet away, his eyes followed it to the ground where the end laid spread out in a circle half covered with leaves.
“A woodsman or trapper must have left this here after catching himself a meal, with a bit of luck maybe I can catch something or someone as well, it will be much easier to capture one female rather than fight two males” the Orc snickered quietly watching her as he sneaked over to the rope taking hold of the end that hung over the tree limb and waited. A few short minutes later Locira walked past his hidden figure and blindly stepped into the circular shaped trap, then the Orc quickly pulled the rope taut around her ankles and lifted her quite easily into the air even against her violent struggling, then tied the end of the rope tightly around the base of the tree.
He knew her incessant screaming would bring the men running so he ferociously jumped out at her practically stopping her heart as he placed his knife to her throat. After he silenced her with threats of a painful death he quickly cut her down threw her over his shoulder and lumbered off toward his camp with only the sounds of rustled leaves following him.
“The children are hungry could you please give them some meat, or at least some water?” Sakira fervently begged as she and the women held the whining hungry children. The Orcs had been sitting around a small campfire methodically sharpening their knives while they rested their full bellies and they didn’t like being disturbed. The leader paused with a heavy sigh and glared at the women, he was so tired of listening to the little ones insufferable sniveling that he decided it was time to shut them up. He slowly collected a canteen and threw some meat on a plate then rose and sauntered over to them taking his own sweet time.
“Here…I hope you choke on it,” the leader bitterly commented as he menacingly tossed the plate to Sakira sending its contents flying, then he threw a full canteen at them and warned them to make it last. The meat was stone cold but a least it was something Sakira thought as she gave everyone a piece, then passed the life giving liquid around being careful not to wast a drop.
Suddenly the still air was cut by the sounds of a woman’s shrill screams that seem to last only a few brief minutes then abruptly stopped, making the women pull the children just a little bit closer and tighter while the Orc’s looked up from their weapons.
“That was a woman’s screams…did our comrade find something else except for sustainance in the woods like another lost maiden to join our group, you and you go meet him, I am quite anxious to see this woman,” the leader ordered his other comrades, and in doing so he left himself alone with those they had captured.
It took a little time but the women finally calmed the children again enough to continue to eat, but as they tried to return to their cold meal overcoming their stomachs growing sickness was a feat none of them could endure, the women looked more closely at the meat the children refused to consume and realized it was undercooked. They immediately grabbed the rest of it and tossed it as far as they could, made the children spit out what was in their small mouths and accepted their weary heads on their shoulders and laps then prayed to themselves that no sickness invaded them.
Sakira seemed oblivious of the situation with the meat, she sat locked in a state of shock from the familiar intense screams.
“Locira…Locira….please don’t let her be hurt!” she pleaded quietly to the skies trying to hold back tears as she looked up to the darkening world around her, the air was becoming colder as the sun hid behind the horizen.
“She must be someone you care a lot about,” Dalia commented as she lightly rubbed Sakira’s arm then pushed back her unkept hair catching tangles in the process. Sakira then ran her own fingers through her own golden locks and suddenly realized that she had lost her ponytail holder on her trek of being pulled through the woods. She must look a terrible sight she thought to herself, what will Legolas think when he sees her again…or for that matter IF he sees her again…”
“Who were you just thinking about….it was a man wasn’t it?” Dalia asked softly.
“Why yes how did you know, am I really that transparent?”
“No…anyone could have seen…you had that far away longing in your eyes…an unmistakable longing.”
Sakira met Dalia’s eyes and gave her a weak smile trying to hide her quivering lip that was holding back a wave of tears.
“Don’t worry we will all be okay and you will see him again, but right now we must stay focused on the bright side….the children still need us,” Dalia warned her.
“What bright side…we are sitting here defenseless against these Orcs who dragged us away, they attacked your husbands and brothers and left them for dead leaving these children fatherless…” Sakira paused as the words spilled from her mouth and tears stung her eyes. She looked around as she heard some of the children faintly crying then wished she could swallow her words as she was met with angry looks from the other women.
“Look I’m sorry if I’m an optimist but we have to stay strong for the young ones, and as far as I’m concerned this battle is not over!” Dalia replied trying to bring up Sakira’s dwindling spirits. Famous last words Sakira sighed to herself then laid her head on her friends shoulder as theoughts of her sister took over her head.
Excited about his catch the Orc left the dead rabbits for the scavengers of the forest and made his way quickly back to camp, he couldn’t wait to show his leader and the others who tell him that he’s not worth the ground they walk on.
“Let me go…you big oowwff!” Locira screamed at the Orc as she persistantly pounded on his huge back, her small fists were not doing the damage she would have like but at least it made her feel a little better.
“For the last time woman shut your trap or I will gag you!” the Orc responded unkindly, he was already sorry for thinking she would be an easy prey, this one was a live wire strung tighter that a string on a well made bow. As strong as she was exhaustion soon set in as well as the notion that there wasn’t anything more she could do to get free, so she resolved herself to her fate…for now. Anyway she knew something that the Orc didn’t, a man and an elf were going to catch up to them soon enough and when they did there was going to be hell to pay.
As she compliantly rested and waited to see what was going to happen she suddenly noticed the cold wind biting at her sweaty back and playing with her hair. An uncontrolled shiver ran through her as she tried to think of something to soothe her nerves and warm her chilled body…hot chocolate…a heavy coat with a nice warm scarf splayed round her neck…yes these things would help but she longed for something or someone else. Then she imagined the strong muscled arms of a certain ranger wrapped around her body, his killer smile, and soft grey eyes that would make any woman’s heart melt…Wait…why am I thinking this…he is a friend…a gentleman…broken down that means a gentle man who respects women and would do anything to keep the people he knows and loves safe and warm, and let’s not forget he is head over heels in love with the beautiful elf Arwen how could I compete with her…impossible.
Then as if they had magically heard her thoughts…let’s hope not…
Aragorn and Legolas came upon her bringing along the sounds of crushed leaves signaling that they were near, Locira quickly tried to push back the blush in her cheeks as happiness came over her. Her first instinct was to scream out to them but because of the circumstances she quickly abandoned the thought and silently reached out a wavering hand as if she was dying of thirst and they were the water to quench it.
Then as quickly as they appeared they were gone…had she been imagining them…no she couldn’t have…but wait there were many heavy footsteps approaching…ohh no, more of the unsavory characters called Orc’s Locira feared as moments later they surrounded them.
“Not another one…we have too many already,” the arriving Orc’s sneered as their evil eyes glared Locira’s way.
“Yeah….our leader is about to turn the very ground they sit on red with their blood, especially the young ones I fear.” the largest Orc retorted.
“How did you capture her anyway?” with this question the Orc who carried Locira smiled proudly and began to relate his story.
“Then I pulled on the rope and up she went screaming,” he smiled at his comrades at the memory of pillaging and killing many poor defenseless women in the previous days.
“Was that the horrible screaming we heard?”
“Oh yeah…I think I’m still half deaf from it,” the Orc joked as he pulled at his ear, they all enjoyed a good laugh at Locira’s expense at that remark. Then the Orc reached up and patted her on the rump egging his fellow comrades on further.
Aragorn and Legolas who had not disappeared as Locira feared but took cover nearby, watched and listened intently unable to do anything whilst Locira was in danger, but the growing anger and disgust in them was growing more and more apparent.
“Oh and by the way the man and elf are still lurking around out there I think the girl was traveling with them, they will be coming for her. I’m sure they would do just about anything to get her back as well as free those that we have captured.
Men are so faint of heart…they would risk their very lives for them…don’t they know women are only good for one thing” that comment resulted in a loud resounding laugh from all the Orcs.
“That one will be the first to taste the sharp bitterness of my arrow” Legolas sneered a promise he meant to keep as he raised his bow to firing position, in it an arrow already set on the Orc’s lined forehead who defamaed the character of Sakira and women in general. Aragorn reacted quickly and set his hand on the elves arm lowering it thus stopping him from firing, not yet as they backed away into cover of the trees and watched as Locira’s eyes painfully scanned the area for her rescuers while the man and elf could do nothing but wish that they could let her know that they are there.