Title: Delw yomenie (Deadly encounter)
Characters: All Peredhils, including Strider, Legolas……
Timeline: Before FOTR
Warnings: Cruelty and maniacal behaviour. WIP.
Summery: Our Middle-Earth friends encounter something deadly…..
Feedback: YES! Please! looking-like-little-Estel-when-he-wants-something.
Disclaimer: I own nothing of the works of Tolkien. Neither books, nor movies. I just borrow them and try to give them back in one piece later. I make no money with this story. Please, do not sue me.
Chapter 1 Coming Home
It had been a long and tiresome journey. He had travelled for months, not only because of his duties as a ranger, but also because he could never really sit still. Not even for a minute. But now, Strider, ranger of the north, or Estel to the elves, was tired. His mind was not occupied with his ranger duties or battles at the moment.
All he had in mind was that he would, finally, get a decent nights sleep, in a warm and comfortable bed. His bed. He was home. The beautiful realm of Rivendell spread beneath his feet as he stood upon a small hill, overlooking his childhood haven.
Breathing deeply, Strider smiled slightly, inhaling the sweet smell of new flowers and the refreshing aroma of the waters that surrounded the Last Homely House. To be home felt so good. Once more taking a deep breath, the human re shoulderd his pack and directed his steps towards his home.
A few weeks prior he had send a letter to his father, the Lord of Imladris, stating that he would be in the area and step by. Now, as he was finally there, Strider wondered what his two troublesome brothers had planned for him.
"Well, just hope its not as wet as last year", he thought with a slight grimace as he remembered the terrible twins last welcome home present. He had never ever felt that wet before. "No wonder, when the two excuses that call themselves brothers not only empty two buckets of ice cold water over your head but also deem it funny to drench all your towels in water too,"
Strider sighed as he remembered how he had taken a hot bath after the water attack, only to climb out of the tube and find not a single dry towel in his whole room. But he had learned something that day. That revenge was best served ice cold. A wicked grin spread unnoticed over the rangers face as he remembered how he had taken his revenge. Oh, his brothers had paid for that one.
Lost in his musings the traveller reached the empty courtyard and realized for the first time that nobody was there. Well, except for him, that was. Frowning, Strider stopped and stared at the huge front door of the Last Homely House. Slightly perplexed, he moved his head from the door to the left side, to the door again and from there to the right side. Blinking, he even turned and looked into the direction he had come from.
"Strange," he thought. Actually, that was the first time that he came home and his family had not greeted him at the door. Or in the healing wing when he awoke from unconsciousness, he thought dryly. "Hm, I wonder….., the twins," that must be the explanation. His brothers had of course known of his soon arrival and had planned something.
Now even more suspicious than he had been before, Strider slowly made his way to the door. As he stretched his arm out to turn the iron handle he suddenly stopped, and as fast as if he had been bitten by the handle, snatched his hand away. Why had nobody come out to greet him? Perhaps because it was not safe to open the door? Perhaps because the twins had prepared the door?
Strider took a tentative step backwards and eyed the door carefully. No strings at the sides. No signs that someone had worked on the handle. No traces of water, flour, sand, feathers, dust, grass…….Just, nothing. Everything looked perfect. As it should look.
Giving the door one last suspicious look, Strider stepped forward, gripped the door handle, opened the door, took one step forward, held his breath, closed his eyes in awaiting of the prank and then….nothing. Opening one eye the human looked around and only saw the empty entrance hall. The second eye soon followed the first and the ranger finally released the breath he had been holding.
Entering, he closed the door, confused. Now that was really weird. One glance around showed him that the hall looked the same as it always did. Clean and neat, every furniture at its rightful place, not traces of a prank at all.
What concerned the human most, was that he heard no voices. Not even the normal bickering of his brothers. Well, the house is more quiet when I am not around, Strider had to admit. But normally a servant here and there could always be heard.
"Every maniac can enter here and do Valar what," the ranger thought. Followed by: "Well, perhaps the maniac has just entered," scolding himself for his own thoughts, Strider headed towards the next big door, the double door leading to the Hall of Fire. He would try it there and if the hall was empty, he would try his fathers study next.
So, he walked to the door, took the handle (not checking for water buckets this time, as the twins would not risk emptying a bucket onto Glorfindels head, or even worse, their fathers head) and resolutely opened the door.
With a start he realized that he had made a big mistake. As soon as the door opened, a shrill scream pierced the air, filling his rather sensitive ears and making him cringe. Instinctively he wanted to shut the door again, but his entry had not been unnoticed:
"Estel!" two almost identical voices shouted, sounding surprised and embarrassed at the same time. Looking over to his twin brothers, Strider nearly bumped into Elrohir, who had stepped up before him as fast as lightening.
Hugging him in a rather sluggish and fast way, saying "Mae govannen, Estel. Goodyouhavearrived.Haveyouhadagoodjourney?Elladan, I'm going to tell father!" the elf rushed past him and was gone before the ranger had even realized what had happened.
Turning asking eyes to his brother Elladan, Strider was spared a question as again, the shrill scream filled the air. This time taking a closer look at the scene before him, Strider saw not only Elladan, but also another elf, standing next to his brother, having clasped both his hand over his ears. Now really surprised and as confused as a rabbit that was spared by a very hungry snake, Strider could only stare at the Mirkwood archer, his best friend Legolas Greenleaf.
Well, perhaps maniac was not so wrong at all, Strider thought. Why is Legolas in Rivendell? And what, by Elbereth sake, makes so much noise? In exactly this moment, his brother turned fully towards him, revealing the noise maker.
Strider blinked, closed his eyes, shook his head, counted to five, opened his eyes again, and was tempted to repeat the procedure once more. Because there, in his brothers arms, lay a little baby. Wrapped in green linens, only the head visible. And that was as red as a tomato, and crinkled in a very unpleasant manner. As if it had recently encountered a very, very bad person.
Well, sometimes my brothers make someone feel like that, Strider thought, and made his way to his friend's side. Legolas, his hands firmly on his ears, turned towards the human and, presumably, greeted him. Strider could not tell, because the moment the elf opened his mouth, the little being again screamed at the world, telling her that he really was not amused.
The elf holding the baby held it now at arms length, his face turned away, eyes firmly closed, the face entirely tense and obviously in pain. Elves had a far better hearing than humans and a screaming edan child was something that no one would describe with the words "silent" or "quiet".
Strider was tempted to laugh at the sight, but on closer inspection he decided that that wouldn't be a good idea. Well, at least he now understood Elrohirs fast greeting and his even faster exist. And there elves claimed to be superior to humans. Set them into a clearing with edan children and you will soon see how fast elves can run.
Now really smirking Strider took a closer look at the bundle in his brothers hands. The baby wasn't really a baby anymore, Strider would estimate him to be about a year old. The child was wrapped very tightly in the linens, unable to move much. The screams coming from said child became even louder and more and more shrilly.
Seeing that Elladan was loosing his grip onto the child, Strider quickly took the little human out of his brothers hands and settled the child onto his own arm. With the other free hand he unwrapped the bundle and released the small child from its prison. As soon as the little chubby arms were freed the terror voice died down.
Looking with eyes as big as apples at the human carrying him, the child went silent and starred curiously at the new human. Elladan opened his eyes, very timidly, and starred at his human brother in shock. Legolas, not wiling to take his hands from his pointy ears yet, stared open mouthed at the ranger.
Both seemed at a loss for words. Strider bounced the little child on his arm for a moment, which elicited an amused chuckle from the little being and an absolutely bewildered sounding "Uhhh" sound from both elves.
Facing the elves Strider looked up: "What?" Sharing an unbelieving glance, the two elves turned towards the ranger. "How did you do that?" Elladan asked. "Do what?" "That", pointing at the child in Striders arms, Elladan explained: "That….thing, is now here since a few days and not one minute was it silent. It screams when it is awake, and even when it sleeps. It is tormenting us. I swear, if I wouldn't know better, I d said it is trying to kill us!" Having finished his tirade, Elladan gave the child one last suspicious look.
And truly, Strider could have sworn that the child had smirked when Elladan had finished. But, no. That couldn't be, of course. Smiling at the little human in his arms, the ranger tickled the child, eliciting another merry giggle. He then stretched his right forefinger towards the child, which grabbed it into one of his own small hands.
"First, my dear brother," Strider said, still facing the child, "this little human here is no "it". It is a child, a…." here he looked asking at the elves. "A boy," Legolas, his hands now at his sides, helped out. "Aye, a boy. And second, that little man here does not need to be wrapped in so much linens. You need to be able to move, huh, little man?"
Strider waggled his finger softly in the child's hand, who, as a response, giggled happily, looking with large eyes at the man. Elladan and Legolas shared a glance with each other, both of them with similar raised eyebrows. That was a side they had never seen on Strider.
Taking a deep breath Elladan said: "Well, at least it is silent now, thank the Valar for the little blessings in live." A voice coming from the door interrupted the scene: "And, how exactly, have you managed that, Elladan?" Elrohir and the Lord of Imladris had entered the Hall of Fire.
A little embarrassed the older twin had to confess, that it had been his little brother that had tamed the small beast, and not he. "It is good to see you home again, my son. It has been too long since your last visit," Elrond greeted his youngest. "I would hug you now as I usually do, but if my very eyes do not wrong me, someone else has occupied that place."
Smiling, the Lord of Rivendell came closer to the ranger, watching how the child had nestled itself into the crook of Striders arms. "Hm, my son, it seems he is quite content there." "Well, I suppose everything is better than Elladan," the human teased his oldest brother. As a reply he only received a "Humph" followed by something mumbled under the elf's breath, sounding suspicious like "Get an edan something muddy and smelly and he will love you forever. Gwaur nûr!" (filthy kin)
Ignoring his brother for the time being, the ranger looked at the little child in his arms and saw how the boy stuck his finger into his mouth, chewing on it. "Oh, my dear. Are we hungry, little one? Aye, sure we are, aren't we? Little boys are always hungry. Come, penneth. I get you something really yummy. Hm?"
And with that, totally ignoring the assembled elves, the human took of into the direction of the kitchens, all the time talking to the child, who rewarded the ranger now and then with a happy chuckle.
The elves, on the other hand, stood as still as statues and watched the ranger, the slayer of orcs and wargs, walk away. "Ah, yes. Can someone please pinch me? I think I am dreaming," Elladan requested. Elrohir followed suit, pinching his brother in the arm. "Auw," by Elbereth, Elrohir! I said pinch, not main me for the rest of my life." "Oh, come one. Don't be such a baby."
And with that, Elrohir fled the hall, his brother on his heels, yelling something that neither Elrond nor Legolas could understand. And to be true, they weren't sure if they even wanted to. Getting in one of the twins fights was never a smart idea. So, the Lord and the archer just looked at each other for a moment and then turned simultaneously, Elrond in the direction of the kitchens to see to the humans, and Legolas after the twins, going to do something not very smart.
On the borders of the forest of Rivendell, a small group of men stood in a clearing, talking quietly. The hushed voices carried only slowly on the wind, as if the wind itself wished not to transfer the voices on. The men in the clearing wore green and brown tunics, all similar to each other but at the same time very different. They wore all swords and some of them even a longbow, one of black wood and with black arrows.
Most of the men spotted darkened features. Not as dark as the Easterlings, but not as light as the people from the north. The most times brown hair was unkempt and the clothes filthy. The only clean things seemed to be the weapons, which was in itself not a good sign. When one took a look at the men, one would probably miss them, as they all stood very still, melting into their surroundings like shadows. Or rangers. But they were neither of both. They were hunters. And their prey had evaded them, escaped them. With the help of a certain blond haired elf.
Suddenly, as if on a silent command, the hunters stopped talking and quieted, all turning their heads towards one single man emerging from the woods like a ghost. He was clothed as the other hunters, but he was taller, nearly as tall as an elf, and he wore a long sword, longer than any of the men. He had not brown hair, but blond hair, nearly white. His skin was weathered and his face had something strange, like another personality lingering under the surface. He held himself high, proud, without acting so. It was natural to him to command, not to follow.
And the other hunters feared him. He was their captain and they all knew about his battles and victories. They knew him to be strong and a skilled fighter, better with sword and especially bow than any other human on Middle-Earth. They knew about his hunts and kills, and they knew that he seldom hunted animals. They knew from own experience that he was unforgiving and cruel. Relentless when he wanted something. But what they feared the most, was that they had to serve him. Yes, most of them were there voluntarily, but non of them had known under whom they had to serve when they entered into this contract. When they found out, it was already to late.
The leader of the men, Dagnir (Sindarin, means "Killer") his name, moved closer to his men, his eyes nowhere and everywhere at the same time. His hands folded behind his back, his shoulders straightened, the lead hunter viewed is men. His subordinates stood before him, eyes downcast, like mice under the deadly stare of a hawk. And the eyes of Dagnir even resembled those of a hawk. They where golden, with a tinge of summerset red in them, clear as a winter lake, but intense as a fire.
With this stare he looked at every single of the hunters, silent and waiting. After what seemed like an eternity to the waiting men, he finally spoke, so silent that the men would have moved closer to understand him, but did not, out of fear: "Whom, whom of you can I thank for the incident?"
Swallowing, one of the men shifted his weight nervously from his foot to the other. He knew that that would come. And he already knew the consequences of his failure. It had been his duty to follow the family and to make sure that they entered the wood, but where not followed. It had been his task to eliminate any pursuers, the one way or the other. But he had failed. He had simply not heard the elf, nor seen him moving through the forest.
When he had finally realized that there was another being travelling in the forest and not even that, but travelling after the family, he had hoped that the family and the elf would not meet each other. And why should they? Elves where strange. They did not often mingle with humans. So, by the Valar, why should an elf in this big forest encounter the only human family in said forest?
But, alas, he had not thought about wolves. Those damn creatures. If it had not been for them, the elf would never had rescued the family and everything would have been perfect, but no. It was not to be. Damn!
Little droplets of sweat appeared on the mans brow and he resisted the urge to wash them away. That would have been his death. No, perhaps, if he did not react in any way, Dagnir would not see it, and then, him. With a little luck, just a bit….
But again, the luck was not on the mans side. Dagnir had seen the shifting of the weight, and he had seen the sweat. But even if not, it mattered little. Dagnir already knew who had failed, as it had been him who had chosen the men to their respective duties. And he also knew that two of the men had switched those duties.
Smiling inwardly, he directed his gaze towards the sweating man, starring at him. Oh, how he loved what was to follow. This almost made the incident worth it, almost. With stealth unlikely for a human being, the captain moved towards the by now heavily sweating hunter and stood unmoving before him.
The hunter shifted his weight again, but did not look up. He felt the stare of his commanding officer, but he did not look up. Looking up meant confessing, and confessing meant certain doom.
Dagnir, on the other hand, was enjoying this immensely. He was angry, of course, because his men had disobeyed him and he was furious because the prey had been able to get away. But he loved doing this. This was why he was a hunter, after all. If he could not have the original prey, then a substitute would do for the moment. And so he waited for his prey to look him into the eyes.
The sweating hunter swallowed nervously. He would not back down now, he would not move. No, moving meant committing suicide. Dagnir cleared his throat softly. No reaction. He repeated the process. Again only more droplets of sweat. This is going to be even more entertaining, the captain thought.
And although he was only whispering, none of the other ten hunters had any problems hearing him this time: "Look at me." The man swallowed. "Look. At. Me." Slowly, very slowly, the hunter lifted his head and did what he was told. He did not want to, but not heeding a direct command meant death, too. He still had the faintest hope that he could somehow get away. Nevertheless, this hope was crushed when he saw his leaders eyes.
They were not really golden anymore, but rather fire red. Like the eyes of a Balrog, the hunter thought. He nearly missed the captains next words, so scared was he of what would await him: "So, you let them escape, did you not?" Swallowing, the man could only nod. "So, it will be you who will have to pay for this." The man nodded again, and knew that he had just bowed to death. He felt the blade entering his body, where his heart was and he felt the enormous pain and had the sensation of falling. But not for long.
Dagnir raised his dagger to his eyes and looked it over. He had enjoyed that kill. Not as good as killing an elf, but not that bad either. He studied the red crimson dripping down onto the green grass and out of his eyes he saw how his men shifted nervously away from their dead companion. Nobody wanted to be near to one of Dagnirs victims.
The leader moved a few steps away from his latest prey and addressed his men: "His mistake has made the situation more complicated. Our prey is now in Imladris. That elf has brought it to the elven city. We will get it back. I want no mistakes this time. And because of that, I will go to Rivendell myself. I will get our prey. You, will wait for me and await my orders. Understood?"
It was understood. Crystal. No one even thought of disobeying his orders. They all knew the hunter. They could run, but never hide. They nodded.
Dagnir, for the moment satisfied with what he saw, turned to his second in command, Bauglir (Sindarin, means "Tyrant"): "Baug, I want you to follow me to Rivendell. Maybe I'll need your skill." Bauglir only nodded. He was nearly as deadly as his captain, and he would follow him to Mordor and back. Dagnir turned away from the men, dagger still in hand and waited until he heard the sighs of relieve coming from his men, before he turned around again.
He studied the men for a moment longer and finally said in a low voice: "Before I forget….." His men glanced nervously at him. They hated his low speech. And he loved it. He used his voice to make his men cower in fear. The low tone only had one intention, making his auditors listen. And listen, they always did. This time, they even hung at his lips.
Dagnir turned fully towards his men, dagger lazily at his side. "I do not tolerate any form of disobedience." Not even the switching of duties, he thought. At his last words he had already raised his dagger, fast as lightening and had thrown the deadly steel at one of the men. Eyes wide open, a suppressed shout on his lips, the man fell to his knees and then with a last gurgling sound to the ground, the dagger firmly embedded in his throat. "Absolutely none."
End of Chapter 1