I led, sprawled out on the crusty ground. I could hear the faint pounding of my heart against my ribcage as it struggled to cope with the sheer amount of blood waiting to be run through my veins. I could not see them but I could guess they were fast turning blue, as the cold swept across my body. My breathing was slowing and I shut my exhausted eyes. I could not feel my legs, but then also, I could not feel my left arm as it lay broken on the floor next to where my head was. I could feel heavy blood trickling down my face. I knew that soon, it would be coming for me, as it had come for so many this day. Suddenly, I felt myself being lifted from where I lay on the ground. Good, I thought, Death has finally come for me. I was held in its arms and he was walking me to the Havens. I tried to open my eyes to take a look but my energy allowance was running low and I could not muster this tiny task; but I managed a flicker of the eyelids. I could feel the chest of the person carrying me vibrating and it changed when he spoke. It was a low, calm voice which I was pretty sure I recognised. It was muffled, or my ears were blocked, but I was certain it belonged to someone I had met before. I fluttered my eyes open once more for a millisecond before they were forced shut again.

'Close your eyes darling' the voice said.

'Mmmm' was all I managed before my voice, like so many other things, failed me completely.

'Hush my love' the voice continued 'you have fought bravely; you must save your energy.'

I desperately wanted to fling open my eyes and mouth, and ask so many questions. I couldn't though. The blood was starting to cease pouring from my nose, but I could feel the right side of my face burning and bruising and stinging.

I felt comfortable in the person's arms; their presence was warm and gentle. My arm no longer pained me terribly, but my body was breaking.

The person stopped walking and hoisted themselves and onto what felt like a saddle and put me in front of them. They strapped something around me to stop my limp form from falling off from, what I guessed [via the long neigh] to be a horse. I felt my heart slow and the darkness was coming.

Like a bottomless pit, a huge chasm of nothing but black. I felt myself falling into it and I tried to escape from it. The one thing I fear is a cage, a place where I may grow old and bitter, where I may become useless. The falling quickened and I tumbled into blackness…

I had spotted her fifty metres away. Her beautiful body was lying on the floor, twisted, broken, but thankfully alive. I reared up my horse and cantered over to the girl. She was bleeding heavily and I could only just hear the uneven beat of her heart as I, gently as possible, picked her up from the ground and lifted her into my arms. Her eyes were shut, but she was a fierce soul, and, as per usual, she was trying to rebel against such forces. They flickered and fluttered and so I spoke to her, saying the first thing that escaped from my lips. I hoped to reassure her but I knew she did not have long left. I had to get her to a place where she could be healed, somewhere where I could save her. And then, as I strapped her onto my horse, I felt her breathing falter. I had to ride as fast as I possible could to save her. I reared up the horses hooves once more and started the sprint. Her head fell backwards into my face. Her face was white and red and her eyes were ringed with black. I felt desolate. I leant down as my horse sped through the forest we had just entered and gave her a slight kiss on the forehead. She stirred for a second and the faintest trace of a smile appeared on her face. But then, she went blank again and her body slumped, lifeless. I could've given up, I felt hopeless. But in my heart of hearts, I knew she could and would keep fighting if not to save herself but to save her friends as well.

She had never found out about his affections for her. And when I had seen her, lying battered on the ground, I had felt my heart break into more than two. I had to save her, I couldn't let her die. I wouldn't let that happen to her. And I was going to stop at nothing to make her safe again…

Curing death was and never will be an easy task. It had been my part of my job for centuries, to heal the wounded and almost deceased. Sometimes, my strength would fail me and I would lose the persons life. But I had never seen a case as bad as this. The rider had brought her to me in the middle of the night. He had galloped through our forest and across the raging river and begged me to take her, to heal her. The girl on his horse, the one he had been asked to heal, was in an extraordinarily bad way. She had nearly passed into the Shadow – Worlds but I had just about managed to rescue her. The man had sat in one of the trees higher up in the city whilst I worked, his head in his hands, almost sobbing uncontrollably. He seemed utterly distraught.

The girl had cuts all over her legs, obviously where she had fallen and a large cut on her face which was seeping blood, still after I had resealed the wound. But the thing that worried me the most was the deep stab wound in the girls stomach. It was not bleeding but the weapon had obviously been coated in germed blood or more likely, poison and had worked its way into her bloodstream and was circling around her whole body. I was not sure if even our magic could save her now…

One day previous…

The battle raged furiously. Blood was being shed in every direction you looked and dead corpses, those of orc, men and elf, were piled high on the ground. Millions were fighting, thousands would not live. The daylight has strayed from the place of battle, keeping the place consumed by the dark, the only light came from torches of fire which were fast going out as the rain pounded and hammered against the ground and the city. Ladders were being pushed against the city's walls and orcs were scrambling up, sword in hand, waiting to kill, waiting for the blood. Their thirst for it was incredible. Many were shot down by the Elven archers as they climbed but most were vigorous and completely hostile with heart, and certainly no mercy. Isówen, the Fair, was one of those who had chosen to fight, even though, as a woman, it was not her duty to. She stood in one space slamming any orc that came remotely near. The last one had been messy. His severed head lay near her feet, whilst the body was stacked on a pile about five metres away. She had had to lop the head off to stop it from biting her, which was revolting.

Isówen's hair was tied up in a bun, but falling out. Her face was still pale, but splattered with mud and blood. Another orc decided to run at her, a bloody sword in his grip and a huge axe in the pocket of his belt, waiting to be used. He approached her from the front, choosing to run straight at her, rather than to spring up from behind.

'Ha, what an idiot, it's going to get slaughtered' Isówen mumbled to herself, a grin spreading onto her face. Isówen was an incredible wise and kind person but just a tiny bit cocky. She reared up her sword, waiting for the orc, thinking she could take him. It was only when his sword was imbedded deep in her flesh, Isówen decided to think otherwise. She fell onto her knees and the orc gave a grunt of laughter before yanking his sword undaintily from her body. Her mouth fell into an 'o' and the world seemed to stop. The noise was all but drowned out and everything started to spin in slow motion. She saw someone, just a random soldier, try to run over to her but she watched in horror as he was snared by the very same orc. She choked a little and then fell onto her face, cracking her nose on the hard ground. Isówen simply lay there. The battle raged on around her and the rain became more and more heavy, beating down on her pale delicate form. Soon enough, another orc came and rolled her over. Isówen's eyes were wide open as was her mouth. The orc grunted in approval, indeed thinking she was dead. He left her facing upwards. When he was gone, Isówen looked around her. The battle was finally ended and she lay near the mountains of dead. She saw many alive on horses and she tried to make a noise to attract attention to herself, but it didn't work. Isówen just lay hopeless, knowing she would not be saved…

She was just a little girl, trying to prove herself to the world. Trying to find her way in life and making a mess of it. Falling in love was just another thing that would make her life more difficult and complicated when she got around to it. But now, she might not have the chance to. The oxygen was being squeezed out of her body and the stab wound was slowing killing her. Isówen then finally understood that life was better than she thought it… and then, in the black cave came a light, a tiny flame in the darkness. Isówen uncurled from the corner and crawled towards the light. She stumbled and fell but was determined to reach it.

Elrond stood over the girl, now using herbs and old remedy medicine to cover and attempt to heal the stab wound.

'Arnor elysën mátar' he mumbled, holding his hands over the wound. He had come to the last resort. Isówen had been in Rivendell for three days now and had only shown signs of her health deteriorating. Erynon was in total despair. He wouldn't eat, sleep or speak to anyone, except Elrond. Erynon would just walk around aimlessly, his face contorted with sorrow. Unfortunately, he had decided to take out his anger on the rest of the Elves in Rivendell, especially Elrond.

He recalled an argument they had had the previous day…

*FLASHBACK*

'ELROND, YOU'VE GOT TO BE ABLE TO DO SOMETHING!'

'Calm down, Erynon Aranel, there is nothing else I can do for her. All we can do is wait and hope.' Elrond said, speaking with clarity and honesty. But it is funny what grief does to people. Erynon has lost all of his reason; all he cared about was getting Isówen safe and well again.

'WE CAN'T JUST SIT AROUND AND WAIT!' he shouted back in retaliation.

'We must' Elrond replied gravely, 'for she is in great peril'

*FLASHBACK*

A strange feeling came over Isówen's body, one that she thought she would never feel again. Life surged through her systems and she could sense her heart starting to beat again. She could hear someone talking near her, perhaps in the same room, and she realised that she wasn't in agonising pain anymore. Isówen flung open her eyes, using all the might she had in her, and found that she could see properly and perfectly again. She sat up rather quickly and then fell back down onto a soft mattress. Her head started spinning, making her feel sick and wretched. She groaned loudly as she felt the sword wound shoot pain around her system, and it was at this point that the two elves in her open room saw that Isówen was awake.

Elrond strode over, his face serious, but he smiled gently when he checked her pulse. Erynon however, was grinning like a Cheshire cat. He was so relieved that he began to laugh,

'I told you she would make it!' he said joyfully. Elrond smiled once more,

'She is still weak though; she will need plenty of rest…and sleep.' Erynon nodded thoughtfully and thanked Elrond with a huge hug. Isówen lay on her bed smiling. So, it had been Erynon who had saved her, hmmm, that's good.

When Elrond left, presumably to give them some 'alone time', Erynon quietly sat down on the chair next to Isówen's bedside. For someone who had been stabbed four days earlier, she looked absolutely stunning. Her face was simply radiant and her pale turquoise eyes were shining in the sunlight streaming through the pillars of her room. Erynon wanted to run his fingers through her hair. Instead, he kissed her gently on the forehead and held her hand. She smiled broadly, and tried to speak, but he put his fingers to her lips, silencing her. And for once in her life, Isówen shut up and let someone else speak.

'I thought you were dead' he said to her, his face a perfect picture of sorrow showing on his handsome face, 'when I saw you, just lying there, I thought you were dead. I didn't know what to do.'

'But I survived, I always do,' Isówen said. Her voice was like a musical tune that you could listen to forever, 'you can't dent Isówen Redtree.' She chuckled dryly and yawned widely. 'Sleep now my love. Rest, regain your strength properly.'

'But I want to talk to you more…' she groaned. He squeezed her hand tighter, 'I'll stay, I'll still be here when you wake up.' He lent over, gave her a chaste peck on the cheek and with that, Isówen fell into a deep, joyous sleep.

2 days later…

'The one thing I don't understand is why you chose to save me' Isówen asked meaningfully as she walked arm in arm with Erynon around the hills of Rivendell. He stopped and gave her an enquiring look. She continued, 'well, there were so many wounded there when the battle ended, but you picked me up and brought me here? You didn't just leave me in the city to be healed; you brought me to the elves? Why? Why didn't you just pick someone else up who was worse than me?'

Erynon turned, so he was standing face to face with her. He lifted his hands and placed one on each of her cheeks.

'Le melon' he whispered gently.

'Sorry translation?' Isówen laughed, surprised by this sudden turn of events. Erynon leant in his head until his nose was touching hers,

'Because I love you.' He bent his head sideways and pressed his beautifully carved lips upon hers. They moved soundlessly against each other and he took her waist. It was rich yet sweet as they stood, entwined, joined together. They broke apart and Isówen found that she was crying. She sat down on the hill and Erynon quickly sat beside her. He took his right thumb, pale and soft, and wiped away her tears. When this was done, she took one look at him and broke into uncontrollable sobs. Erynon took and hugged her and she cried into his chest. He rocked her gently side to side, shushing her like a little child who had been scolded.

'Isówen, what's wrong?' he asked her after a few minutes. She broke away from him and started to gabble, as he knew she would, it was just so her.

'Nothings wrong. I just, you know, it's strange. First kiss, stab wound, orc thingy in battle, death. Well almost,' she gave a nervous laugh, 'and everything else, everyone getting hurt…' She was cut off by yet another kiss. It was rich and sweet like last time, but had something more delicate about it.

'Well?' Erynon asked afterwards.

Isówen smiled, her face radiating complete beauty and content ness.

'You know what Erynon Cúthalion?' she giggled. He nodded, urging her on. She continued once more, 'I love you too.' And this time it was Isówen Redtree who started the kiss. And it just proved to her, anyone could find love, even in the most unlikely of times and places.

The End.

In memory of J.R.R Tolkien

Dedicated to Emily Morgan, a brill friend who never stops talking or supporting moi

Love you 3