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Chapter Four

Elrond wasted no time in gathering the men and supplies. His only thoughts were of his sons now and if he would get their in time. His visions were usually correct and he shuddered inwardly thinking of the vision again. As he entered his sons room a sense of foreboding came over him as a cold wind whipped through the window. It was almost as if something was telling him to hurry before he was too late. Across Arda another elf was preparing to leave. It was the lady Galadriel. She had seen the vision and gathered her best archers immediately. Celeborn did not question his wife's concern as he amassed the troops. He was a man who said few words but when he did they were powerful and carried out with great haste. Haldir and the other archers sat now mounted up ready to do their lord and lady's bidding. Galadriel came down not in her normal elegant robes but in riding clothes not often seen on the elf queen. They all mounted up and Celeborn gave the order to ride and ride swiftly they did. The errand was grave and they would reach Imladris as fast as possible. If Estel and the others only knew that help was on the way perhaps the dread washing over them would not have snuffed out their hope. Estel half stood half hung by the ropes which bound him. He had endured the screams of pain from his brother and now his body was giving in to the darkness. Elladan had fought against his confines, trying desperately to get to Elrohir. They men noticed this and threw taunts towards the older twin about him not being strong enough to save his brother. It sickened the three prisoners to know that these men relished in the pain, especially in their cruelty of Estel. They kept saying that he was like a toy and when they broke him he would be discarded. Elladan saw how they seemed to have taken a liking to Elrohir and he tried to listen as the men gathered and spoke in whispers of some special treat they had in store for his twin. This made him shudder and he tried to send his brother all the hope and love he had in him to hang on.

Elrond and company had been riding all day. They had only stopped to water the horses. Glorfindel had begged Elrond to stop and gather his strength as he saw the elf lord's demeanor crumble under the weight of his vision, but Elrond would not be deterred from his sons and he pushed them to ride harder.

As they stopped for only the second time that day Elrond dismounted and walked over to the edge of the small lake. His mind was not with the surrounding elves going to and fro but with his sons and what evil may be hurting them. His usually keen elven hearing did not pick up the archers approaching until almost at the last minute and with the greatest of speed he pulled his sword from his side and had him around the neck. Haldir, the best archer in all of Lorien, dropped his bow in surprise. He was going up to the Lord of Imladris to tell him that the Lady Galadriel was but a few yards away when Elrond had been taken by surprise and now held a sword to his throat. "I am sorry mellon nin. Please forgive me, I meant no harm you just caught me unaware in my thoughts." Haldir smiled tightly. "There is nothing to forgive milord, I should have announced my arrival." Elrond looked up to see the Lady and Lord of Lorien coming closer and Haldir stooped over to retrieve his bow from the ground. Both bowed before them and Galadriel leapt from her horse and came over to them. "I have seen a great horror, Elrond, and I wish to come with you in your quest to find your sons."

Dawn had just begun to rise when the group of men packed up their camp, hauling their injured, unconscious prisoners with them. They traveled all day through the luscious green grass and hills, disturbed only occasional by a painful moan coming from one of the elves or the human child.

Elrohir had taken a severe beating the night before, complete with whips and fists. He was quick to fall unconscious, for he had hardly been aware of his surroundings. That was when the men fully realized the weak spots of their three captives: each other. They decided the cruelest thing they could at that point to the other two was to leave them alone with their brother so they had left the three after that to take their rest.

Since both were bound, neither Elladan nor Estel could reach Elrohir. Elladan assured Estel through his own tears that the younger twin lived; he could feel it through their connection that Elrohir was still alive and was still struggling to fight. This did not give the elder twin that much hope, however. Elrohir's will was weakening, as was Elladan's and Estel's. He saw no end to the pain and torture that was being inflicted on them. The men had no distinct plan for them except to beat them until they died. The only hope they had rested in their father.

"Ada," Elladan had whispered as Estel lost the fight to stay awake. "Ada, help us."

Near nightfall, the travelers reached their destination and descended into a base underground. Knowing how elves hated underground, the men decided to put their prisoners there.

Estel was just waking as he was being chained to a wall. A stone staircase lay twenty feet in front of him, and he could see the doorway at the top from which sunlight poured down. There were no windows so this was the only source of light. To his left and around the corner of the stairs he could see Elladan being chained to the wall as well. Elrohir was also chained to the same spot to Estel's right. Estel could see both his brothers, but because of the stairs and the spots from which the elves were placed, the twins would not be able to see each other when they awoke.

A few torches were lit to give just a bit of light in the cellar and then the men left, closing the door behind them. The torches were small, giving off little light. Estel had never been afraid of the darkness, but now with the combination of the eerie quiet and not knowing if his brothers were okay or if they would wake up, it terrified him. He had heard Elladan last night just before he fell asleep, calling out to their father to help them. But now that they were here, how would Ada ever find them??