The maiden felt her legs go weak as her eyes took in the sight spread out before her. Smoke rose lazily from the smouldering ruins of ashes; mocking, taunting.
Her eyes filled with tears of rage. She took a tentative step towards the ruins, swaying as she moved.
She saw a long spear that stuck out amid the rubble was discerned and emitted a gut-wrenching scream as her eyes fixed upon that of her father.
Legs gave way and the maiden fell forward. Strong arms wrapped around her limp form.
Her body was so depleted by the spectacle in front that Yuvinel could not find the strength to cry or speak.
Soft, comforting words were spoken in her ear but not registered. Mechanically, she turned around, soundlessly pressing her face into the hard chest of the Elf.
The arms maintained their hold, neither tightening nor releasing their grip, holding her upright, wrapped tightly around her frail body, a rock-solid presence.
The sobs started, the pent-up grief breaking out. She let out huge, racking sobs and little moans as she cried deep into the bosom of the Elf. Gentle hands stroked her hair. Delicate and sorrowful, soft words found their way into her heart.
A wave of energy emanating from the Elf passed into her body, filling her stone-cold limbs with intoxicating strength. The pulses came and went, each bringing about more relief. Yuvinel felt her sobs soften and eyelids grow heavy.
Esendri watched Legolas gently lay down the girl. His actions were slow and deliberate. There was sorrow in his eyes, and he lay down his cloak on the ground, before placing the girl upon it.
The two Silvan Elves stood and watched the maiden as she slept, thoughts racing through their confused heads.
Meanwhile, Glorfindel started towards the spear. He saw and recognised the magic being employed by his young friend, and was deeply impressed and concerned at the same time. His thoughts dwelt on the way the air around the prince filled with a sense of warmth and calmness. It was so strong in that the Elflord felt very afraid, for the raw potential was chilling.
It was clear to Glorfindel that the servant shared the same powers, for he had seen the brief linking between the two souls as the magic took its effect. They were both not aware of what they were capable of doing. The ability to comfort always went in hand with the ability to destroy. It was dangerous for one to have such a power, for paradoxically, good and evil are never separated. Glorfindel wondered anew at whether anyone else apart from Esendri knew about this magic. This worried him greatly, for such power could easily be manipulated by evil forces. Elrond had to see to it that the two young Elves were given proper guidance.
Glorfindel shuddered as he removed the head from the stake. He set it reverentially on the ground, wrapping it carefully in a piece of cloth.
Taking up a fallen sword, he started to dig in the soft earth. It yielded readily.
Esendri looked at his friend meaningfully. Legolas caught his look, and they moved out of earshot.
"Master, what are we to do?"
"The blame is entirely mine. Never should I have let her set eyes upon this scene!"
"Hush! Do not reproach yourself! The fault was not yours, for it is a matter of time ere she make this discovery!" Esendri's eyes drifted to the maiden and back, a curious light in them.
"You speak the truth, Esendri, I can not dispute that. Yet, my heart weeps for the maiden!"
"Lass, a warning about the maiden. She is of the race of Man. They form attachments easily, and their emotions are easily swayed. You treat her too much like one of our kindred. Your gesture would surely have undesirable effects!"
Legolas looked up sharply and grimaced. He had not given much thought to the matter.
"You employed the magic on her. What effects would that have? Surely this would have crossed your mind?"
The look of panic that crept into his master's face answered the question. Esendri sighed. Yet he could feel the corners of his mouth twitching.
"Ai, Master! How many times have I warned you? We are not used to dealings with Man and cannot pretend to comprehend them! You know too that the magic is unpredictable!"
Legolas took on a pitiful look, all the while knowing that his servant spoke the truth.
"Why did you not warn me about this?" "Had I the chance? Legolas, your impetuous nature must be checked! You mean well, that is true, but try to give matters more thought! Do not assume you would always have me by your side. The day will come when you will be on your own!"
Glorfindel approached the two cautiously. They were having a debate, with Esendri frowning as he rebuked his friend, Legolas looking every bit like the little child being reproached.
The Silvan prince looked up, glad for the distraction. He gave a small smile, one that had a shade of embarrassment which he tried to cover up.
"How now, my two friends? Are we to stay and help the maiden?" Glorfindel said, acting as if he did not notice anything amiss.
Esendri did not speak, and instead respectfully awaited his master's reply.
"We should stay behind till Lady Yuvinel has recovered from her grief and found a sanctuary," Legolas replied. He glanced at Esendri, waiting for an approval or debate.
"Do not view me thusly, Legolas, for the decision you make is the one I follow!" Esendri said, laughing upon seeing his face.
Legolas let out a weak laugh, and turned towards Glorfindel. "What do you think then, Glorfindel, for you are much wiser than the both of us put together!"
"Do not overestimate my judgmental abilities!" the Elflord said. His face turned serious as he continued, "I fear we will encounter something evil on our way to the High Pass. I know not what it is, but it seems imperative that we not linger! I have made my clear reservations about helping the girl, but I respect your decision."
The fair face of the prince took on a determined slant as he studied the ashes that stood before them. His eyes shifted to the freshly dug pile of earth that was the final resting ground of the woodsman.
"It is not in my nature to abandon one in such need, but we must not tarry."
His tone was so polite yet final that Glorfindel did not pursue the matter further. The Eldar noted the stoic face of the servant, and saw that he was not alone in feeling uneasy about their involvement.
The prince was the first to move, and he wandered off into the forest surrounding them, to give himself time to ponder the events, and to seek solace from the trees that he loved so much.
"You did well with the burial." said Esendri to Glorfindel heavily.
"I have had loads of practice," Glorfindel replied, his voice melancholic.
This is a work of fan fiction, written because the author has an abiding love for the works of J R R Tolkien. The characters, settings, places, and languages used in this work are the property of the Tolkien Estate, Tolkien Enterprises, and possibly New Line Cinema, except for certain original characters who belong to the author of the said work. The author will not receive any money or other remuneration for presenting the work on this archive site. The work is the intellectual property of the author, is available solely for the enjoyment of Henneth Annûn Story Archive readers, and may not be copied or redistributed by any means without the explicit written consent of the author.