Prisoner of War
Bad Tidings (Yes, I know it's an overused chapter title, but I'm out of originality for tonight.)
Aragorn had been pacing the length of the throne room for the last three hours and had driven Arwen to the brink of insanity. "My Lord, pacing is not going to solve the problems of our people," she said at last, wakening her husband from the worried reverie he had fallen into since Faramir's message that morning.
"Forgive me mellamin, but you would agree that the latest news from Ithilien has been quite disturbing. There hasn't been a concentration of orcs this high since the destruction of the Ring. I fear we may have another war fast approaching us," Aragorn admitted sadly, wishing with all of his heart that what he had just stated were not so.
"But something else troubles you, does it not?" Arwen pressed, placing a hand on her love's shoulder.
"It is just that I have not received Legolas's annual report yet and it was due over two weeks ago. Normally such a discrepancy would not bother me, but a growing sense of unease clouds my heart. I fear that perhaps some evil has befallen the elves that have taken residence within our boarders." Arwen gasped at that, fearful for her kin, especially their young lord that was as a brother to her.
"You don't think some ill has befallen him?" she voiced out her fear, her eyes begging her husband for any denial.
Before he could respond, however, they were disrupted by a commotion in the receiving hall. Someone was speaking frantically in elvish as the guards desperately tried to understand their guest. Remembering the previous statement of her lover, Arwen quickly gathered her skirts and ran towards the receiving chamber, Aragorn following quickly in her wake.
When the king caught up with his wife, he found her in an animated conversation with an elf. Both faces mirrored the other's fear. Arwen looked as though she would faint at any moment as she listened to the messenger's tale. "What has happened?" Aragorn asked, fearful of the answer he knew he would receive.
"Legolas's colony has fallen. It was the orcs, th..they took him, Estel. They attacked in the dead of night and took him in exchange for the life of a child which they slaughtered before his eyes!" Arwen cried out brokenly, tears streaming down her face. Soon Aragorn's tears joined hers as they both cried in despair over their friend. If ever had Aragorn wished to have been utterly and completely wrong, it was in that moment.
"My Lord?" It was Aragorn's head guard, Antine. "What are your orders Sir?" Aragorn straightened, adopting a regal air that he only used when the hottest anger coursed through his veins, causing Antine to take a step backwards.
"Assemble the guard, we go to Ithilien," he said out loud before mumbling under his breath, "They will have their war, and they will learn the true meaning of wrath, and feel it keenly." Never before had the young soldier seen his king so angry, and quickly left to fulfill the task given him.
"Estel?" Arwen's sweet voice brought him out of his dark mood and fantasies of wringing the necks of all orcs still in existence. "Will you not hear our guests story? He has traveled through much pain and parol to give it to you at his lord's expense and request," she said softly, once again drawing Aragorn's attention to their unexpected guest.
"What is the tale my elven brother wished you to share with me?" he asked the elf softly.
The elf straightened when he was addressed by the King of Men, the pride of the elves that had been forgotten upon his arrival now showing.
"It happened a little over two weeks ago," the elf began his story. "We had been receiving troublesome reports from the scouting parties and so I, being the lord's butler, had stayed up late into the night as my lord could not find sleep that night and I wished to be at hand in case he required anything, whether he wanted me to do so or not." Aragorn almost laughed at the comment despite the dark mood into which the day had fallen, knowing well his friend's dislike of being weighted on.
"If I am able to survive on my own on scouting expeditions into the most southern reaches of Mirkwood in the shadow of Dol Gulder, how is it that they believe I am unable to walk to the kitchens and make myself tea?" Legolas fumed as he waited for the servant to return with his usual cup of tea that greeted him upon his return home from whatever excursion he had been taking part in. Aragorn, who was visiting at the time, could merely chuckle at his friend's scowl.
"Oh sure, laugh it up Human, one day it will be your turn to no longer be able to go a single day without people always bothering you about some menial task or issue, and that is the day when I will be the one laughing, enjoying every minuet of your suffering," Legolas had replied smirking at the look of pure horror on his friend's face.
He came out of his reverie when he realized the messenger had continued speaking. "It was that night that the orcs attacked us, in the darkest hour when only myself, Lord Legolas, and the guards were awake. Their numbers were vast, to great for our young colony to handle, but we put up a fight nevertheless. The battle lasted for a long time, despite the odds, but in the end they got the better of us. Those whom they had not killed during the battle were taken and chained together, I was among their number as were our women and children. Well. all except for one, that is. Our lord had not been counted among the living or the dead as of yet, a fact that agitated the orcs to no end. When they had searched every rock and crevice and all the trees in the city and not found him, they conceded to take who that had and tell whatever master they were working for that he had been slaughtered by his people so that he may not give away their secrets. We traveled the span of a week before it happened. Somehow, a sleeping drought had made its way into the water skins of our guards, and as they slept, our bonds were cut by none other than Legolas. Myself and a young elfling that Legolas had taken as his ward when his parents were slain by a roaming pack of orcs as they wandered under the boughs of their new home only months after taking up residence in Ithilien were the last to be freed, and, unfortunately, by that time the mild herb had worn off, and the guards awoke to find all of their captives but two gone, headed towards Faramir's city and the missing prince n their camp. As you could probably fathom, this caused quite a stir and the orcs quickly engaged our savior in combat, and, fighter that he was, he could still not defeat an entire army of the creatures on his own and was soon surrounded. As for myself and the lad, we were all but forgotten and he used that to his advantage, using mind speech to communicate to me the task of bringing our tale to you and receiving your aide. Though I did not wish to leave my lord in those circumstances, I had no choice but to comply his orders. As I took the boy to leave, however, we were confronted by a few very large orcs. I was no fighter, so I hid in the trees, thinking that the child was right behind me. From my perch I watched as the boy was brought before Legolas, who was adamantly proclaiming that he would not be taken alive. At the sight of the boy, he quickly struck up a deal, begging the orcs to release the boy and in exchange, he would give them his freedom. They agreed and at first it seemed that the fiends would live up to their end of the bargain, but creatures of the darkness are seldom trustworthy and it was the same with these. After binding Legolas, and cutting the elfling's bonds, they turned on the child and slit his throat in front of Legolas's very eyes. We both watched as the innocent blood pooled upon the ground and Legolas cursed the orcs in every language he had learned as tears rolled down his face at what he saw as failing, yet at the same time his voice was screaming at me to get out of there and warn you. Unheeding of my own tears I left and am before you now." The elf finished wearily ad with a note of finality. Aragorn closed his eyes, tiredly, mourning the loss of so many firstborn within his own boarders and the grief that was surely assaulting his friend at this time.
Calling a servant to him, he arranged for the elf to be quartered and any wounds that he may have sustained during his captivity or journey be treated. He then called for his best messengers, so that he may gather aide from their friends and to warn them of this new threat. Despite his weariness, Aragorn cold not find sleep that night, and instead stayed up wondering at the fate of his elven brother. "Oh, Legolas, what have you gotten yourself into this time?"
At the same time, somewhere in the forests of Ithilien, an elvish cry pierced the night, soon to be drowned out by the hideous cackle of orcs.
SOOOOOOO? Did you love it? Hate it? (Well if you hate it I'll just ignore you) Are you really pissed that I haven't updated Fight of His Life yet? Tell all by pressing that mystical magical review button at the bottom of the story and send me your comments. I am taking anonymous reviews now, so feel free to submit one.