Disclaimer: not mine, just wish I did. They belong to J.R.R. Tolkien.
Summary: since his childhood afraid for water, Estel takes a different route through the forest than Legolas. Both are surveying the surroundings for orcs. But what happens when the young ranger is the one that encounters them?
A/N: this story is not for ones with a weak stomach when it comes to breaking bones and stuff. So I'd advise those of you not to read it. The rest who are willing: R&R!
Estel, also known as Strider, ranger of the north, was riding through the forest, returning home after being gone for nearly a year while journeying almost all of Middle Earth. On the way back he had decided to visit Legolas and when he had arrived at his friend's home, the two had spent many hours talking. They told each other what had happened since the last time they had seen each other and the elven prince took his human friend out hunting – both still trying to shoot one of the white does that lived in the forest and never succeeding…
After a month in Mirkwood, Estel decided it was time to resume the rest of his journey; he needed to inform his father on the happenings in the south. Evil was slowly stirring and the elves needed to be aware of this danger.
Legolas had decided to come along so he could visit Elladan and Elrohir, but in truth he just wanted to spend some more time with the ranger. Never before had he feared the passing of time as much as he did recently – knowing that Estel would receive Ilúvatar's Gift to Men one day…
Estel was tired, as was his horse, but they were both filled with a longing for home which kept them going. It was not safe to rest here for the night as the wind brought a warning to his ears: a terrible howling that only one sort of creature could make – wargs. If those fell beasts were near, so were orcs.
But that was not the only sound that disturbed the peace of the night. In the distance, Estel could hear the sound of a waterfall. He shuddered; it was because of the water that he rather took the longer way through the forest. He had been scared of water ever since…
No! Don't think about it. Estel thought to himself and kept on riding.
Estel had told Legolas that he would go through the forest and check things out. The elf had decided to travel the path near the water, taking the shorter road and also looking out for trouble. The ranger had yet to tell his friend the real reason that he took the forest path…
There was no moon this night and that made riding hard, but luckily, Estel's horse had sharp eyes and recognized the surroundings. But then, something happened that neither the horse nor the rider had expected; there was a loud clang and then the horse bucked, throwing it's rider from its back to land painfully on the forest floor. Dazed, Estel looked at his horse and saw the cause – it had stepped into a metal trap and its leg was held tight by it.
Before Estel could stand up and go to his horse, he heard orcs coming closer, no longer quiet now that their prey was on the ground. Estel stood up just as he heard a screech from his horse. A black arrow had pierced its body near the heart and it was dying. The ranger started to run away when all of a sudden, he was surrounded by both orcs and wargs. The orcs held their scimitars up threateningly, ready to start hacking away. His hand went to the hilt of his sword.
"Hands off, Longshanks!" Growled one of the orcs, holding his scimitar under the ranger's neck.