Chapter 22

The Getaway

11 March T.A. 3019

It was the dawn when the forces of Dol Guldur marched out of the fortress of the Necromancer. All rooms were cleard out; Bolg made sure no one stayed behind. His army was ready; several thousands of Orcs should be enough to wipe out the small forest of Lothlórien. All sorts of weaponries were taken along with them, something that Bolg himself prided that the Elves wouldn't be able to go against with. Khamúl was still nowhere to be found; the Ringwraith was most probably busy in an important matter in the South.

The warriors were neatly lined in front of the fortress, facing their commander.

"You will kill them all!" Bolg shouted to his troops. "Kill them! Burn them alive!"

The orc warriors shouted in unison, raising their weapons in the air. With that, the horn blew and echoed in the place, sending several birds flying away. Bolg grinned and looked up to the fortress where he left a certain elf. He gritted his teeth and pondered whether to leave her alone while his troops fought. With a growl Bolg gestured few of his warriors to come forward.

"I want you to do something for me," said Bolg in a whisper. "Guard the albino elf in the hallway. Make sure she does not escape! Do you hear me?!"

The warriors saluted. "Yes, sir!"

Nodding slowly, Bolg made his way in front of the line and began to march towards Lórien.

Rúmil and Orophin quietly arrived in Caras Galadhon. Behind them came a hundred Lórien archers, all equipped and ready for the upcoming battle. The Elves neatly lined themselves in front of the glimmering fortress of their Lord and Lady, waiting until their commanders would emerge from the door. The other citizens of Lórien were already safely escorted within the fortress: handmaidens and the sort.

Soon, Lord Celeborn and Lady Galadriel emerged and stepped forward to the porch. All warriors looked up to them. Glorfindel followed behind, staring down at his troops. The commander began to descend from the stairs, only to be stopped when Celeborn held his shoulder.

"Do you have any plans to retrieve her?" he asked worriedly.

Glorfindel shook his head. "This battle is to be my concern for now, Lord Celeborn."

Unsatisfied with Glorfindel's answer, Celeborn insisted. "Dol Guldur will be emptied today."

"She is Arestel." He was done worrying about her. A part in him wanted to trust her, to believe that all her travels and fights came to good use. Somehow, behind that serious face of the golden lord, Celeborn could see a small conceited smile. "If she can get herself in many troubles, then I am sure she can get herself out. You'll see."

There was no need for someone to tell Arestel what exactly was going on. Just hearing the horn made her sure that these Orcs were already making their way to Lórien. She cursed under her breath, tugging on her bonds. A growl escaped her and she was forced to look down to her tied hands. The ropes were worn out and quite old, with only a little effort, she could break out of it. She grinned and started to rub the rope onto an edge of a rock. She grunted and panted and her wrists hurt as the ropes were tightly tied around it. Arestel yelped when several footsteps came towards her, panicking as the rope was nearly cut off.

The orc warriors arrived and each of them looked down to her. She huffed and slowly rubbed the rope again. The warriors then ignored her and left the place, proceeding into the room by the end of the hallway. Arestel raised an eyebrow, wondering why these Orcs would not mock her like the rest of the warriors. Nonetheless, she continued to her business until she heard something snap.

Arestel could barely contain her joy when the ropes were cut off. She instantly jumped into the air and then crouched down to remove the remaining ropes around her legs. Her wrist was all red from the binds and it hurt quite badly. She slowly caressed it while looking around the place. Two days of being held captive was more than enough for her to be familiar with the interior of the fortress. The left end of the hallway would lead towards courtyard of the fortress whilst the right end would lead into another room.

"Now, where should I go?" Arestel mumbled to herself. She stood there silently for a few minutes. Within these few minutes, she could feel something was terribly wrong. It was as if something was missing from her. She narrowed her eyes and thought deeply. At last she snapped, "Orcrist!"

Her voice echoed in the long and dark hallway. She immediately clamped her mouth shut with her hands and ran to hide behind a post. She waited for the Orc warrior but none seemed to come.

Odd, Arestel remarked, walking away from her supposed hiding place. She began to sort out a plan of escape and a plan of rescuing her beloved Orcrist. But she had no idea where it was. Orcrist was taken away by Bolg himself the other day when his warriors refused to touch the sword they called Biter.

The silver-haired girl decided to approach the fire-lit room on the right end of the hallway. Sounds of laughter emerged from the room and constant chattering. Her eyebrow was raised in confusion. Why in the world were these Orcs doing? Arestel carefully poked her head by the doorway and scanned the room. Six orcs were sitting on the same table, laughing like maniacs. From what she could tell, these Orcs were asked by Bolg to keep an eye on her, but they were just slacking off. How thankful.

Arestel was about to leave when a blue light caught her sight. She choked on her breath as Orcrist came into view, glowing light blue and was kept on top of the hearth. A plan of action needed to be done quickly. It would be more troublesome if these Orcs figure out that she was released. She gritted her teeth and mentally panicked as she thought of something useful, something that would work.

"What I'd give to be smart," Arestel mumbled, twirling a lock of her hair and the sighing. "I'm never good in thinking thoroughly about these things…" Another sigh. "Oh, well. Perhaps I should just do what my instincts tell me, although I'm not very sure if it's going to work."

She was talking to herself. If her brothers could see her now, they would think she had gone completely insane. With another sigh, Arestel picked up a rock as big as her fist and threw it straight into an orc's head. After hitting her target, she immediately hid herself in the shadows, waiting for something to happen. She heard the orc growl in frustration.

"Why did you throw that rock?!" said one of the Orcs, standing up and pounding the table.

"I have nothing to do with you and your stupid rock!" exclaimed a second one in his defense.

Before Arestel knew it, six well-built and seemingly mature Orc warriors began brawling inside the room. She had to smile triumphantly as she never would have guessed that a simple trick worked on these warriors. She emerged from the shadows and carefully poked her head again. Due to the warriors' constant bickering, Orcrist fell on the floor. Metal clanged but these warriors didn't seem to notice. They continued punching each other and pushing and shouting. Arestel entered the room, as quiet as she could be, keeping an eye on the Orcs about her. She carefully grabbed Orcrist's hilt and sighed in satisfaction when her grip on the sword was enough.

"I got it!" Arestel exclaimed. But perhaps, she wished she hadn't.

The Orcs paused and turned to her. She flinched, backing away slowly as the Orcs stepped forward. Holding Orcrist with a shaky hand, she gulped and warily touched the wall behind her. The Orcs grinned and growled, holding their own weapons up. Orcrist gleamed light blue as usual and it showed how fearful Arestel looked that time.

"I… um, well I," Arestel stammered, running out of alibis. Her eyes desperately searched for an escape route. The Orcs inched closer and grinned maliciously as they did so. She gulped and blurted out the next possible alibi she could think of.

"Look!" Arestel exclaimed, pointing a shaky index finger towards the ceiling. Raising an eyebrow, the six Orc warriors turned their heads and looked up towards the direction the elf was pointing at. With a grin, she sprinted off outside the room and into the hallway. "Ha! I can't believe that worked!" She laughed while turning to the left corner. "Lindir always fell for that!"

Her sprint series was cut off when there she came into a dead-end. Arestel felt like punching someone in frustration; but then again, when she saw a slight dent on the wall, she knew it served as a door. Arestel looked back; the footsteps of the Orcs clearly said that they were gaining on her. So, she clutched Orcrist tightly and pressed on the wall, grunting and panicking. It budged, yes, and she immediately threw herself in, not bothering to shut the stone door behind her. Arestel ran inside, scanning her eyes in the dark room. She panted and smiled all the same; her memory went back into the time when Thorin and Company used to push a big boulder back in Erebor almost eighty years ago.

She sighed. "I must be getting old," Arestel giggled. If Glorfindel could hear her now, a sarcastic comment would be remarked. Her nostalgic feelings were interrupted when the warriors' bellowing echoed in the hallway. She snapped back into reality and focused at the problem at hand.

Arestel searched the room. It was dark, quiet and unusually big. Now she was getting suspicious. Because of the darkness, she made an effort to raise Orcrist while her left hand tried to feel for something. She looked up; a small window was five feet above her. Then, a low growl came. Arestel stopped walking and turned around, holding Orcrist up again. Nothing seemed to be out of order. Then, another growl came, or more like a snarl. Arestel blinked and turned around again. An angry warg snarled at her, baring his fangs threateningly. She gulped and backed away slowly, pointing Orcrist's sharp point to the warg. As if things were not bad enough, the Orc warriors busted the stone door open.

"Here kitty, kitty, kitty," one of the warriors sneered.

Arestel sighed exasperatedly. "Where do all these guys come from?"

The warg beside her snarled and pounced at her. But its pounce was too great for their distance so the warg missed Arestel's figure. She ducked and yelped, cursing slightly in Elvish and ran towards the small window. Due to its height, it could definitely give more problems to her. She was about to jump on a boulder for a boost when the warg came to her again. Arestel fell back with a scream; her right arm was caught up in the warg's long claws. It gave her three long wounds lining vertically, bleeding as the time went by. She gritted her teeth and breathed heavily. The warg snarled again and pounced on her.

"That's it! I've had it!" Arestel prepared Orcrist in front of her and waited until the warg's chest was stabbed by the sword point. The blood dripped down from Orcrist down to her arms and Arestel flinched at the moist substance.

The Orc warriors then charged at her. She stood up and used a boulder to lift herself up, entering the small window. Arestel grunted and pushed herself all the way outside; the small window led to the fortress' courtyard. She succeeded and rolled down towards a pile of rubble, hitting her head on the hard ground. She whimpered in pain and shook her head, hoping to regain her vision as the orcs inside bellowed and cursed.

"Go get her!" said one of the orcs.

"Commander Bolg will kill us!"

"You better go after her, you dim wit!"

Arestel stood up and held her head. Her vision was starting to blur because of the impact. She stood there motionless for a few seconds. That until screaming orcs reached her sense of hearing. She jolted up and ran towards the other direction, not caring where it would lead her. Arestel found a flight of abandoned stone stairs and used it to climb down. She jumped off and headed off to the forest; the dark trees of Mirkwood would not daunt her like it did eighty years ago. She had been there for at least two times: first, when she came there with Bilbo and the other thirteen dwarves, and second, when King Thranduil invited her for a one-week stay after the Battle of Five Armies. Putting the old memories aside, Arestel ran as fast as she could, tears stinging her eyes for her probably worst luck in her five hundred years of living. She only wished she was home, patted by Elrond on the head and smiling down to her. The pain in her right arm stung terribly and she winced again.

I love my life, she thought haggardly.

"Hold the flank!" Glorfindel shouted back to his troops.

The forces of Dol Guldur were most definitely not underestimated. The front lines of the enemies included crossbows and longbows. The back lines had swords, axes and spears. This was the strength of Dol Guldur while Lothlórien only had archers. Rúmil, Orophin, Glorfindel and Celeborn were only the available sword-wielder in their troops. If only Arestel had been there, then they could have a greater chance of success.

"Brace yourselves!" Glorfindel yelled again when he knew their flank would be outflanked by the enemy. He ran back to his troops and into the front line. Orophin handed him a Galadhrim bow and a quiver. Glorfindel removed his helm and began to tie the quiver around his waist. Celeborn arrived on his horse and dismounted it upon reaching the front line.

"We're ready," whispered Celeborn.

Glorfindel furrowed his eyebrows in confusion. Celeborn smiled at him and that was when the golden lord knew what he meant. Glorfindel shifted his gaze from Celeborn to the Golden Wood. A warm light engulfed the forest and shone brightly until it reached the front line of the enemy. Bolg stepped forward, with eyes widened, and held his breath at the power being revealed in front of him. Suddenly, the water of Anduin slowly went higher and the current became strong. Bolg gritted his teeth and turned to the warriors behind him.

"What are you waiting for?!" the Orc commander screamed. "Go get them!"

The warriors reluctantly nodded and ran off to cross the river with their handmade boats. Again, the currents became stronger and the waters went higher, almost tossing the boats crossing over to the realm of Lórien. The front line of Orcs was then overpowered by Glorfindel and Celeborn as they led the attack.

"Fire!" Glorfindel commanded, raising his long Elven sword. He held it tightly and charged, only to be followed by Celeborn, Rúmil and Orophin. The Elven archers fired their arrows and sent them raining down towards the army of Dol Guldur. All died whilst the boats were still struggling in Anduin.

Bolg backed away slowly; Khamúl did mention something about the power of Lady Galadriel's ring, Nenya. His warriors stood in amazement. With no other words, Bolg and his troops went back to Dol Guldur, cursing the power of the Elves.

The Silvan Elves of Lórien cheered in unison. They sighed in relief while some only smiled. Glorfindel panted and congratulated his warriors, bidding them to have a nice long rest. Those who were still robust were tasked to scout the vicinity of Lórien. Luckily, no one was hurt or dead. As they all went back to Caras Galadhon, Glorfindel couldn't help but spare a glance at the dark fortress not far from where he stood. He sighed deeply and turned his heel towards the Golden Wood.

Arestel ran as fast as she could. She dared not to look back; moreover, she was afraid to look back. The terrible howls of Wargs still reached her ears and she could tell that they were gaining on her… again. She panted and lifted her skirt higher until it reached inches above her knees. This was the white dress Galadriel gave her before and she would not risk for it to be torn apart. Orcrist was still on hand and as the time went by, the blue glow it emitted started to fade. She began to smile but continued on running.

Mirkwood was a great, probably the greatest and largest forest in Middle-earth. Aside from rivers, Mirkwood was so large that it even had mountains rising up on the middle of it. Arestel was unable to calculate her time whilst she ran but as the mountains came into her view, she guessed that it had been a while.

Finally, the daughter of Elrond stopped to catch her breath. Arestel let herself fall on the ground and pant for a few minutes. She was exhausted; everything in her hurt like there was no tomorrow. Her legs were stretched; her back leaned against the trunk of a tree while she kept her eyes closed. Her left hand slowly crawled its way towards her wounded arm and she gasped when contact was made. Opening her eyes, Arestel bit her lip and pressed on the wound, sending the blood oozing again.

"I knew I should have stayed in Rivendell," she sighed exasperatedly. Arestel was reluctant to put Orcrist down and her pride wouldn't let her do it. "I almost lost you…" she said with gloomy eyes. "Can't let that happen, huh, Thorin?" With that she laughed and decided to close her eyes again.

It had probably been half an hour when Arestel opened her grey eyes again. She immediately clutched Orcrist's hilt and pointed it in front of her, but nothing was there. The leaves rustled and the wind howled. From her experiences, it was never a good sign. She got up from her post and began to make her way further inside the forest. She had no idea where exactly she was.

"Rhosgobel should be around here somewhere…" Arestel pondered to herself. Then again, she wouldn't risk herself for being lost. She needed a place to stay, somewhere safe, and Radagast could provide her that.

That was when Orcrist gleamed blue again. She went into her fighting stance, scanning every corner of the place. Out from the trees came a group of large black spiders. There were four spiders and all four hissed at her.

"Oh, you have got to be kidding me!" Arestel whined. "I've dealt with you for like, what? Eighty years ago?!"

The spiders weren't convinced. They all charged at her, knocking big trees out of their pathway as the petite elf ran for her life again. The leader of this group slashed its limb behind her and Arestel was swung aside to the great force. She was knocked alongside the trees, groaning and panting. The spiders looked down to her and hissed. One prepared in wrapping her into their webs. Arestel jerked up and tried to get away, all the while making sure she would not be caught up by the needle on the spider's behind. The nearest one went down to bite her and Arestel did nothing but to stab the face of the spider.

It screamed and thrashed around the place, bumping into its fellow spiders. Arestel took this as her chance and tried to sprint off again but another spider blocked her exit. She was already panting and her wound was helping her by releasing more blood. The spider closed in on her, hissing and making other sounds Arestel could not even describe. She took steps backwards, slowly but surely.

And then, there was a loud horn.

Arestel turned towards her left hand side. Thundering footsteps were heard. Out from the tree came the Wood-elves of Mirkwood; each held bows and arrows. Most of them arrived gliding through the trees' branches whilst shooting arrows. The spiders hissed again and attempted to attack the Elves but they were easily overpowered. She watched them with awe and her mouth gaped as she did so. As the spiders were being cleared out, Tauriel arrived to deliver one heavy and fatal blow on the last standing spider. The elf captain twirled her daggers skillfully and rammed them home at the spider's throat.

"Woah," Arestel breathed in amazement, clutching her bleeding right arm.

Tauriel turned to her, confusion written all over her face. "Arestel? What are you doing all the way out here? And alone?"

Arestel chuckled nervously. "Oh, you know… Mischief and everything…"

"I thought so," Tauriel scoffed and turned to leave.

The Wood-elves began to gather around their captain, whispering sharply in their Silvan dialect. Others walked around to pick up their spent arrows, a habit they took from the Prince of Mirkwood himself. And there Arestel stood in the middle of spider corpses, breathing in their almost toxic fumes, and shuddering at the thought. She wondered why she was not yet arachnophobic. She continued to observe the Wood-elves huddled together, just awkwardly standing there. Finally, one of the wandering Wood-elves noticed her condition and immediately rushed over to her side. She flinched at the archer's touch but he only smiled at her.

"You need to be treated, my lady. Your wounds are terrible," said the kind archer, gesturing over the three gashes that run down her right arm. She smiled at him, starting to be friendly.

Tauriel groaned and turned her heels back to Arestel. The captain examined her wound and narrowed her dark eyes in observation. She had no medical gears with her that moment. In one stern command, she ordered that they would return to the King's halls. The elves lined up and began to move northwards, only to be halted by Arestel who put her hands up in defense.

"Oh, please. I couldn't bother King Thranduil at a time like this," she protested with a soft voice, trying to sound calm so that it wouldn't offend the other Wood-elves. "You can just… give me a horse and I can go back to Lórien…"

Tauriel shook her head, smirking at Arestel.

"I will be more than happy to get rid of you. However, no one enters Mirkwood without the permission of the King. And seeing as you are the trespasser, I cannot let you go that simply. King Thranduil will serve my head on a platter by the next feast."

Next Chapter: Arestel is admitted into Mirkwood and meets a very familiar King. What would his reaction be upon seeing her?

Author's Notes: Wee, new chapter! Here we have the first assault in Lorien; expect more action-filled chapters, I guess. And badass Tauriel gets the spotlight in the end. I hope you guys like her appearance here! Please review 'cause I scarcely get some and I don't know what to improve in the story (|||❛︵❛.)

Anyway, thank for reading! B̶e̶l̶a̶t̶e̶d̶ Happy holiday greetings! ( ^◡^)