Chapter 18

'What now?' Legolas thought, trying to think past the panic that had taken its hold on his brain. Lainfea... She could not die. She was much too young to die. She had hardly lived... But none of those thoughts were useful now, none of them would help him save her.

He looked at Limloeth, but his sister was pale and exhausted, and he knew that if she had been able to heal Morgul-poisoning, she would have done it by now. She would never have let their sister suffer.

Lanthir was exhausted too, the boy looked drained.. but it none of that was useful information, none of it would help him solve anything...

Lainfea... needed Elrond. And so did his father.

'what now?'

" One of us has to run ahead." he concluded. " We need Elrond. He has to come here, ride here. And the rest of us will have to find a way to keep going. With Ada and Lainfea. Perhaps we can carry them together, Lainfea is just small.."

" I'll do it." Lanthir said tiredly, forcing himself to stand again. " I can make it..." Legolas looked at his brother. Lanthir did not look as if he would be able to walk another step, he was swaying on his feet, and had the circumstances been any different Legolas would have refused his brother to go.

But they weren't.

" Alright." Legolas said. " Alright. Just... Hurry."

Lanthir nodded and started walking, slowly at first, but speeding up as he went. He did not have the energy to speak or to say a goodbye to his siblings, and he did not want to either. Goodbye, in this case, sounded much too final.

Legolas watched him go, and then looked back at his eldest sister

"We have to make it, Limloeth." he whispered.

"We will." she said. "Come on. We can take turns carrying Lainfea. We'll tie her to our back somehow, and then we can carry ada between us."

He nodded, glad she was telling him what to do this time. He was so tired. "Limloeth?" he whispered softly as she did as she said, and tried to tie Lainfea on his back as well as she could, using the blanket that had previously held their father warm. "Please tell me this isn't hopeless."

Limoeth shook her head. "No." she said "It isn't hopeless. Nothing is ever hopeless, until you give up trying."

"And we won't." Legolas said.

"We can't." Limloeth said. "we're too stubborn."

They shared a sad smile and a deep breath before they picked up their father and continued.

Lanthir had gotten ahead of them, and the mountains that had been in the distance for some time were getting closer now, their snowy peaks now towered above him. Behind them was Imladris, and crossing them was the shortest way to get there, but there were goblins here, and wargs and trolls.

"You best not delay me." Lanthir mumbled to himself as he started climbing the steep and rocky ground. "You best not thrown anything dreadful in my path. I mean it." It was a difficult climb, even for an elf, but he knew he could do it, and he refused to take the long way around. "You best not let me meet a troll or a goblin.. for I have no time to be nice to anyone." He was really climbing now, the path had stopped, and his mind was wishing for practical things, like a rope or a pickaxe.. or even just a scarf.

"I best not drop down." he told himself sternly. "I have no time to get injured. And I best not meet any goblins or trolls anywhere. I have had enough."

He climbed on, "I mean it." he kept talking to keep the fear out of his mind. At least if he was talking, challenging he could feel in control.

"I am sick it it." he said, and as he pulled himself up again he reached some kind of path. If he managed to get on there he would be able to walk for a while. He did not want to think what kind of creature woiuld have made a path here.. but nothing would stop him from using it.

"I am so sick of turning the corner and finding another monster waiting for us.
Why can't you just leave us alone?
Eh? "
There was a sound ahead of him, the sound sound of something alive.. breathing... invisible in the mist.

"That better not be something monstrous."Lanthir whispered."If that's a troll, I'll be very very cross. Do you hear me? I mean it. I really really mean it.
The being in front of him shiften weight.

"I * mean* it." Lathir threathened one more time, hoping the Valar would listen.