The next days that past were some of the best Niphredil had ever known. Every day, she got better with the sword and bow, and every day, she fell more in love with Dagnir. It didn’t matter to her that he was a man. All she knew was that she loved him, and he loved her back.
One morning, she woke up early in the morning, and for some reason, everything seemed quiet. Almost too quiet. Since no one else was awake, she got up very quietly. She walked to the front of the cave and peered down the mountainside.
What she saw sent her crying to the Gaurwaith to wake up. “Hurry! Wake up!” she called.
“What is it?” a groggy voice called.
“Orcs! Orcs are climbing to our cave! Wake up!” At this, the men took her seriously. They got their weapons and made ready to fight as fast as they could.
“Get to the back of the cave,” Aranwe told his sister.
“No,” she replied. “I can fight.”
Her brother tried to argue, but there was no time.
Aranwe and Dagnir stepped in front of her, hoping to shield her from the oncoming enemy.
There was actually more orcs than she thought. They just kept coming in, issuing fierce war cries. The men started to fight. More orcs moved to the back, and men at the back moved forwards. They met with a horrendous clash.
Orcs came at Niphredil, snarling in her face. She summoned up all of her strength, and met them with equal vigor. In one fluid movement, she cut off one of the orcs’ heads. In another orc, she tried to pass her sword into its shoulder, but its armour was too thick. She pushed the sword into its neck. She considered using her bow, but they were too close, and she might hit one of the men.
It was after 17 orcs lay at her feet that she began to despair. They never stopped coming. She looked for her brother with her eyes, and found him with just a cut on his face.
Where is Dagnir? Niphredil thought worriedly as she struck another orc. Then she spotted him still fighting and okay. But an orcs grunt turned her around fast. One of them made a pass at her. She blocked it, but the metal clash hurt her arm. She gave a cry of anger at them and threw herself back into the battle, loathing them.
In the midst of the chaos, she spotted and orc coming behind Cadac. With a yell, she sprang up behind the orc, and slew him.
Cadac did not acknowledge Niphredil for saving his life, but she did not care. She then noticed that no more orcs were coming into the cave.
She did not rejoice yet. She battled the remaining orcs around her.
Not long after that, the battle was over. Niphredil dropped her sword in exhaustion. But one orc had hidden in the shadows, and he crept forward now, and caught up Niphredil’s wrist and twisted it painfully.
“Think you’re pretty good, eh she-elf,” he snarled and spit on her. ” This will be your last moment on earth.” He drew his sword and thrust it right in her side. With a gasp, Niphredil dropped to the ground. The orc grinned evilly, and prepared to strike again, but Aranwe spotted them first. With a cry, he slew the orc that would have taken the maiden’s life.
“Dagnir!” he called and knelt by her side.
“Oh Aranwe,” Niphredil whispered. ” Why must I always be the one who gets hurt?” she smiled weakly.
“Sometimes the one most fragile is the one bad things happen to. It just makes them all the more precious,” he stroked her hand gently.
“Brother, you know I’m not fragile,” she protested. Closing her eyes, she whispered, “Im meleth nin.”