Shadow: 24. XXIV

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24. XXIV

Yuvinel was awoken abruptly by a jolt. Her eyes flew open and she sat up tersely. The soothing presence she felt earlier had totally dissipated.

Before coming to complete awareness, the maiden was aware that there was imminent danger to the company.

A loud cry pierced the air. Esendri had been alerted to the presence of the creatures. He sprung nimbly to his feet, drawing his bow and letting loose an arrow.

The sleeping Elves flew into action, Glorfindel with his sword, and Legolas piercing the air with a well-aimed arrow. Despite the danger, the maiden could not help but admire at the reflexes at the Elves. They moved with dexterity that she never believed possible.

Almost at once, Legolas was at her side, defending her as the dark bodies of the Orcs descended upon the party. Horses reared and shrilled, panicking at the sudden invasion, nostrils flaring with fear.

"Take this!" the prince shouted and shoved his long knife into her hand. He let loose another arrow before calling out for his mare. Nardawin responded, and fought her way to him. Arrow after arrow took down the Orcs who rose to attack her, and she soon stood by her Master.

Yuvinel wielded the long knife awkwardly as she tried to take down the creatures around her.

Meanwhile, Esendri and Glorfindel had taken on defensive positions, backs pressed against one another. They found themselves coming under attack from all fronts by the massive numbers of Orcs. Creature after creature fell upon the shower of arrows and the falling of the sword blade. The younger Elf kept half an eye out for his friend. It was with alarm that he saw the prince give his long knife to the maiden. Legolas's arrows were not of an infinite supply, and he had no other weapons, save a small dagger, once they ran out.

Esendri tried to make a break through the ranks of the invaders but to no avail. There was too many of them. He felt a strong sense of panic rush through him as he saw Legolas expending arrow after arrow.

Glorfindel sensed the other's panic. He was doing much better than the young Elf, having fought in tighter situations, and made use of the inertia of his sword strokes, coupled with the falling bodies of the Orcs to slowly push forward. He called for Esendri to move backwards, and the two moved as a unit, slowly but surely, towards Legolas.

Nardawin reached her master and brayed, fear completely overtaking her, while the other steeds reared and bolted. Legolas shouted for Yuvinel to mount the horse, and she obeyed.

A sharp whistle from Legolas was the signal the mare had been waiting for. Her shanks gleaming with sweat, the horse sprung into life, managing to break through the ranks of the attackers, stunning them, but not without sustaining a few injuries herself.

Legolas made use of the onslaught of the mare to mount an assault upon the previously unbreachable wall of creatures. Confused by the sudden turn of events, from being the attackers to the attacked, they panicked and were thrown into disarray. Some turned and fled, while others struck down their comrades in momentary panic.

The mare broke free of the foul creatures, but the same could not be said of her master. He had almost reached the perimeter of the attackers when the Orcs regrouped after the initial moment of chaos, and prevented him from escaping.

Carried away by the mare, Yuvinel could only look on helplessly at the Elf, under the threat of being swept off his feet by the hordes of Orcs. She tried to get the mare to turn back but to no avail. Legolas had given Nardawin strict orders to bear the maiden to safety.

***

Stuck in the middle of the screaming and hissing Orcs, Legolas felt a genuine rush of fear pass through him. He managed to maintain a metre's radius around him, using his arrows to shoot and stab any that came too near. His wits were kept about until he saw the black mare disappear into the trees. Then only did the vulnerability of his situation hit home.

The feelings refused to abate once they had arisen. He pushed himself to concentrate on the present, taking on the determined frown of a fighter. Yet the nagging feeling continued to plague him as he mindlessly slaughtered beast after beast, using his arrows as a knife in a pitiful effort to get them to last longer.

His lapse in concentration was paid by a sudden stinging pain to his right thigh. He cried out in pain and shock, staggering briefly, arm swinging downwards, killing the Orc who had dealt him the blow. Warm blood exploded from the wound, flowing freely without hindrance and reaching the forest floor. Legolas ignored it and continued defending himself, teeth clenched tightly, trying to push the pain out of his head.

Esendri heard the cry his master gave, and knew instinctively that he had been hit. He shouted out, trying to reassure his master, promising to arrive to aid him soon. Yet his heart sank as he knew it was only a matter of time that they would all be overwhelmed. He gritted his teeth and renewed his attack upon the Orcs, hoping against hope that a miracle would happen to save them all.

The servant reached to draw another arrow from his quiver, only to find his hands closing around air. The inevitable had occurred: he had run out of arrows. A shiver ran down his spine as he unsheathed his long knife.

A sudden blast of a horn, and the Orcs changed their formation. A line was quickly drawn across the clearing where the battle was taking place. The Orcs who had been battling with Esendri moved towards the centre of the clearing, and the young Elf suddenly found himself facing air. He turned around in shock.

Slowly but surely, the Orcs advanced upon the two Elves in a thick line, pushing them backwards, making them fight hard to maintain their positions, making them take a step back to keep from being cut down. A step back from Legolas.

The alarm was especially strong in Esendri. He would lose sight of Legolas soon.

On the other side of the clearing, the Orcs surrounding the Elven prince did not relent in their assault, maintaining an unbreachable knot around him.

Legolas had exhausted his supply of arrows, and was relying upon the weapons of dead Orcs, large ugly swords and maces, to keep alive. He hated the feel of the cold metal, but nevertheless continued to hack away at the creatures that sought to take him down.

He saw the numbers of Orcs thin, but noted with alarm the increased intensity of their attacks. Closing in upon him, seemingly throwing all caution to the wind, it was not long before he was fighting limb to limb at close range with rancid bodies.

It was all he could do not to trip over the dead bodies, as the poorly constructed weapons in his hands shattered one by one, shortly after being picked off the floor.

A sheen of perspiration worked its way onto the Elf's fair face. He was beginning to tire. His mental and physical strength were being sapped rapidly, and he knew in his heart that it would soon come to the point that he would be too tired to defend himself.

A stinging blow hit his head. Caught by surprise, he lost his vision temporarily. Instinct forced him to start swinging the weapons like a dance. The blades blurred with the continuous motion, forming a tight net around the Elf, attempting to prevent any enemies from chancing on his momentary disorientation.

Yet some managed to evade the weapons the Elf wielded, burrowing themselves into his flesh, one striking his left shoulder, the other drawing blood from his upper arm. The sword he held in his left hand fell uselessly to the floor, his arm hung flaccidly, the pain blinding. Legolas gritted his teeth, and punished the owners of the offending blades dearly.

Waves of panic started to spread through the Elf, and he knew that it would not be long before the loss of blood from his wounds weaken him. Desperation surged through him, and perhaps for the first time in his life, the proud Silvan prince felt uncertain if he would walk away alive from the battle that he was partaking in.

***

On the other side of the forest, a good distance from their friend, the two Elves fought to keep from being pushed further back by the savage beasts. Esendri's long bow broke and fell to the floor, to be instantly crushed by the rampaging feet of the dark creatures.

Glorfindel was not in any imminent danger, but the worried glances that he threw at his companion underlined the concern he felt for the other. Esendri was frustrated and anxious to go to his friend's rescue, and was committing many mistakes. It was largely due to Glorfindel's experience that he was still alive, for he had blocked a good number of otherwise mortally crippling blows directed at the Silvan Elf.

Loud panting emanated from Esendri, his face smeared with mud and blood; blood of his own mingled with that of slain Orcs. He was moving slowly and awkwardly, his many wounds deep and bleeding profusely. Only the sheer force of his will and the thought that his master was in greater danger was keeping him on his feet.

Just as all seemed lost, a sudden whinnying was heard behind them. Esendri recognised the frantic call of his steed, Lindral, who had bolted earlier. So caught up in the battle, neither one nor the Orcs had noticed the approach of the horses

Reacting to the new development, Glorfindel cried out for Esendri to mount his horse. Mustering all his energy, the Elflord called upon the magic, projecting multiple images of himself throughout the attacking Orcs, causing widespread disorientation and panic.

Making use of the distraction, both Elves jumped onto their steeds, and were away like the wind. It was not to soon as well, for the images soon frayed and disintegrated, their lifespan being limited.

No amount of cajoling could get the petrified horses to turn in their tracks. They ran on, refusing to even slow down, and Glorfindel noted with alarm that his companion had passed out. His body flopped limply atop Lindral, and it was due to the skill of the horse, that the young Elf did not fall.

When the horses finally slowed down, Glorfindel leapt nimbly off, ignoring his own injuries, and hurried to attend to his unconscious friend. The Elf's bleeding had ebbed, but blood still continued to ooze out of the wounds. Glorfindel frowned worriedly, and laid the servant down on the ground. Reaching into a bag that hung from his own horse, he procured some herbs and healing salves, and attended to his young friend.

He would have to make his own way back to aid the Elven prince, for it was clear that the horses would refuse to return to the battle.

When Glorfindel was sure that Esendri's wounds had been addressed, he left the young Elf to be watched over by his steed. He then drew his weapon and started off in a quick run across the forest.

***

Legolas stumbled as he fought on to keep the Orcs at bay, deflecting a blade, bringing his weapon down on another.

It seemed like it would never end. A new Orc appeared for every one he hacked down, a new sword sought to hack at his flesh for every blade he diverted. It was all so mechanical now, for his mind was far too numb and sapped.

He found himself wondering about his companions, if they had managed to survive. A sudden swelling rose in his throat as he thought of all the fights he had been with his friend. Perhaps the both of them had finally fought their last battle.

Excruciating pain rocked through his body, as a small dagger lodged itself onto the Elf's right shoulder.

The other Orcs were whipped into a greater frenzy, attacking the prince with renewed ferocity. Some lunged at Legolas's unguarded legs as he strove to work his increasingly sluggish arm. It would not be long ere he fall, the Orcs could sense that, and moved in for the kill.

Legolas felt a sudden surge rock through his body. He could not die in the hands of Orcs. It was too pitiful, too pathetic. A sudden flash of inspiration came to him, to use the powers he possessed. While untested in battle, it was worth a try in such a desperate situation.

Displaying composure that was characteristic of a hardened warrior, Legolas renewed his onslaught, and systematically widened the radius around him. As soon as the space was wide enough, the Elven prince knelt down on one knee, and grasped at a small shrub with his left hand, all the while deflecting blows with his right. He called upon the magic, and the trees started whispering furiously. The Orcs startled. Making use of the distraction, with every grain of strength left in his ailing body, Legolas leapt high into the air. He reached up and grabbed the bough of a tree, and hauled himself onto the branch.

The Orcs below screamed in frustration. By the time they had regrouped, the Prince of Eryn Galen had long since disappeared into the trees.


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.

Story Information

Author: fael bain

Status: General

Completion: Complete

Era: 3rd Age - The Kings

Genre: Action

Rating: General

Last Updated: 08/10/05

Original Post: 09/21/03

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