This is my first attempt at a Lord of the Rings fic, and to be
honest, I'm kind of proud of it! It's one of the best ideas I've
had so far, and even though it's still kind of rough, I think I can
get something out of it. Anyway, thanks for reading it, and hopefully
you'll like it! Review when you're done and let me know!
Also, just a little quick note on the location of the story: the wastelands that are referred to are just, well, wastelands, that I made up, so I guess you could say this story is slightly AU. Anyway, they're located north-east of Mirkwood and are pretty much uninhabited.
Disclaimer I don't own anything, ok?! All the characters(so far) belong to the great and mighty Tolkien! Yay Tolkien! Hehe....ok, I'm gonna shut up now and let you read, I'm sure you're very tired of me by now...ok, going now....bye...enjoy....
"I doubt this is a good idea, Estel."
"Do not worry so much, mellon nin, it is perfectly safe."
"Safe?!" Legolas said, coming as close to yelling as he ever got. "Estel, let me remind you that the simple slip of a pebble could send us both toppling down to our deaths."
"You're exaggerating. First of all, a lone pebble could do nothing to make us fall, and second of all, we are not so high up that a slip would kill us."
Aragorn heard a snort coming from above him. He knew it would be futile to try to argue his way out of this one, so he simply kept his mouth shut.
In fact, Legolas had a good point. They were clinging to a cliff wall, nearly one hundred and fifty feet up in the air, trying to make their way down without having to throw themselves into the white river that snaked around below them. Though he had only been trying to preserve his pride, Aragorn knew that a fall at this point would not only kill them but render their remains nearly inrecognizable.
"Can I take this time to point out that this expedition of yours is completely worthless," Legolas cut in, his voice sounding muffled as he spoke down to Aragorn, interrupting his thoughts. "We have been running around, in and out of these damned crevices for nearly two weeks now, and I have yet to see any vegetation that extends beyond shrubs and bushes, let alone that precious plant of yours." The elf prince was apparently starting to get more than a little frustrated, and Aragorn honestly could not blame him, as he himself was starting to get bored of the jagged crevices and rough cliffs.
They had been traveling around the wastelands for around two weeks, searching futilely for a plant Lord Elrond had sent them to find. Actually, he had sent Aragorn out to find it, who in turn had brought his friend to keep him company. Mirkwood simply happened to be on his way, and he thought they could have some fun, at the same time completing Elrond's assignment.
However, the trip had turned out to be nothing close to fun. It happened that several groups of leaderless orcs and goblins dwelt deep inside the many caves and crannies that made up the wastelands, and they had run into many during the first few days, often barely escaping capture or death. During one of those attacks, they had lost one of the horses, along with half their provisions, and since vegetation and game was scarce in these parts, they would soon run out of both water and food.
Also, the lost horse had run away with the only map of the wastelands they owned. As undetailed as the map was, it was better than nothing, and now that's exactly what they had. In consequence, they had been stumbling around blindly for the better part of the last two weeks.
It also didnt help that the scraggly vegetation and infested caves provided no shelter from either the scorching sun or the frequent, short-lived torrential downfalls.
So Legolas' irritable mood was not without cause.
They continued their slow descent down the cliff, careful not to look down or grab an unstable hand-hold. They had only traveled down a few more feet when Aragorn stopped abruptly, causing Legolas, who was moving a bit faster than he ought to, to set his foot on the top of his head. Aragorn nearly lost his hold on a scraggly branch sticking out of the cliff.
Aragorn cursed loudly, realizing just how short his temper had become in the last few days. Legolas looked down at him indignantly.
"Don't be so harsh, this was your own fault. What are you doing, stopping like that? Don't you think we've spent enough time up here already, or were you just stopping for a little sightseeing?" he asked sarcastically.
"No," Aragorn snapped back. "I'm stuck. My belt caught in a branch."
Legolas sighed loudly. "Great. I'll get comfortable then, take your time," he replied grumpily.
"I am not laughing," Aragorn said through gritted teeth in response to Legolas' poor idea of a joke.
He was struggling to get his belt loose with one hand, trying to keep his grip on the branch from slipping and keeping his feet wedged securely in the cliff.
Just to give himself the extra will to hold on, he cast a glance over his shoulder and saw the river meandering around below them, so far down that it looked like nothing more than a strip of white ribbon. Aragorn looked back up and his grip on the branch tightened even more. His fingers worked frantically to get his belt free and his sword bounced up and down on his hip, pulling the belt down and making it even harder for him to get it unstuck. Legolas' impatient muttering was pinching his last nerve.
"Will you quit whining?!" he snapped up at him, letting go of his belt.
Unluckily enough, the cliff chose that precise moment to let the belt go. The newly reapplied weight and Aragorn's fumbling combined to pull the knot in the belt loose. The sword's weight did the rest. Belt, sword, throwing dagger, and herb pouch all went tumbling down the cliff, landing on the riverbank in a little cloud of dust.
Both Aragorn and Legolas had watched the belt plummet down the cliff. As it hit the ground, Legolas looked at Aragorn, an amused smile playing on his lips.
"Well, congratulations Estel," he said. His bad mood seemed to have evaporated along with Aragorn's belt.
"Shut up," Aragorn grumbled, starting to make his way down again. He could hear Legolas chuckling above him and tried very hard to ignore it and hold back a sharp retort.
It took nearly an hour for them to reach the bottom. They got to a spot where there were no hand-holds or foot-holds and had to shift about twenty feet to the side before being able to go down further, only to have to shift back when they once again ran out of hand-holds. By the time they neared the bottom, their limbs were screaming for a pause and Aragorn's fingers were cramped and blistered from constantly having to grasp either rock or branch.
When they finally reached the bottom, Aragorn hopped down onto the sandy river-shore, glad to finally have his feet on firm ground again.
He was about to bend down to pick his belt and sword that laid next to his feet when he froze, eyes wide with surprise.
"I am never listening to you ever again, Estel. Never," Legolas said as his feet touched the ground.
He turned to face the river, another tease aimed for Aragorn already playing on his tongue. However, it was knocked back down his throat when his eyes met the arrow point aimed straight at his face. He gaze travelled up the arrow and ran straight into the ugly, snarling face of yet another orc. As soon as the initial shock had worn away, he noticed the nine other orcs and the nine other arrows pointed at his and his friend's heads and throats.
Legolas cast a glance towards his friend, who stood just as still as him, his eyes darting around, looking for any way to escape, which Legolas had already done. Their eyes met and a wordless understanding passed between them.
Legolas looked back towards the orcs as he waited for them to make the first move, a defiant look on his face, as if daring them to shoot. He knew they wouldn't. If their goal had been to kill the elf and human, they would have done so already. No, these orcs wanted them alive.
Aragorn did the same as his friend and stared up at the snarling orc in front of his face. He tried his best to look bold and confident, but inside he was getting desperate.
There were no ways to escape; the orcs were too many. Had they been held at sword-point, they might have stood a chance, even though his weapon did lay at his feet. But arrows are a bit different. Had they even tried to escape, it would have only taken a split second for them to find themselves flat on the ground with arrows embedded in their heads. And Legolas always wondered why he preferred his sword to a bow, he thought. Bows are scary.
Suddenly, the orcs parted, so that half of them stood on Legolas' left, and the other half on Aragorn's right.
For a second, the two friends were a little confused as to why the orcs had moved that way, but that question was soon made clear.
An orc, quite a large one, even by orc standards, was walking towards them, making its way along between the two neat orc ranks. Legolas thought something about this whole scene seemed out of place, yet he couldn't really put his finger on it.
The orc's leader roughly walked right up to their faces and gruffly sniffed at them, growling and baring his teeth when he had registered their smells. He then turned back around and walked up to another orc that stood back behind his bow-wielding kinsman. He merely grunted at him and walked away. The orc the leader had 'talked' to walked up to them and started pulling lengths of rope out of a pouch tied to his rough leather outfit.
He first walked up to Aragorn and starting binding his wrists behind his back, shaking him none too gently. Aragorn couldn't suppress the urge to struggle a little as the orc's filthy hands grabbed his wrists. In response to his wriggling, the orc painfully kicked him in the back of the knees and he promptly fell to the ground. The orc grabbed the back of his tunic and pulled him back up, shaking him and grunting, making sure he got the message. Aragorn glowered in response, but stopped wriggling. He might as well make this easy on himself until the opportunity came to escape, since it wasn't coming anytime soon. The other orcs still had their bows pointed straight at him and Legolas, standing amazingly still.
After Aragorn's wrists had been tightly bound, the orc moved towards the elf. Knowing it was futile to fight his way out of it, Legolas simply stood still as the rough hands ripped his bow, quiver, and knives off his back. After tossing the little bundle on the ground next to Aragorn's discarded belt, he tied up the elf's hands just as he had Aragorn's.
The beast then picked up the weapons and, with a nod towards the archers, left to follow the orc leader.
Right after the 'lieutenant' orc had gotten out of the way, four of the archers strapped their bows to their backs, neatly grabbed their captives by the shoulders, and started pushing them along after the two leading orcs.
Legolas and Aragorn were able to exchange looks of mixed confusion before their captors forced them into a single file.
These orcs were acting quite strangely. Never before had either the elf or the human seen orcs act in such an orderly manner and behave quite so strictly, following orders without complaints. Disobediance and disorderliness had always been a weak spot in the orcs and often presented holes for escape. However, without such openings, neither elf nor human could see a way to escape, especially if the bow-orcs kept their arrows pointed at them as they did even now. So far, this seemed like one battle that wouldn't be so easily won.
A/N Well, there it was, the first chapter! Woohoo! Ok, so now that you're done reading, click that little bluish button and review to let me know how it was!!!! Please!!!! Also, I apologize for any spelling errors. I still havnt installed spell-check on my computer, and I'm too lazy and impatient to get it beta'd by someone....sorry....