Just as all seemed at a loss, a piercing cry shattered the air.
The girl looked up to see Esendri balanced precariously upon Nardawin, before crashing to the ground.
Esendri grunted as he hit the forest floor, but he was not to be kept down. Scrambling madly, he was soon beside his friend.
"Forgive me, Lass!" he cried as he approached gingerly.
The dilated pupils regained some of their focus, as Legolas realised Esendri had arrived.
Even Nardawin went up to Legolas and nuzzled him worriedly.
Legolas managed a smile through the haze of pain and confusion while Esendri cast his eyes hurriedly over the numerous wounds, examining them quickly. He had seen worse. What worried him most was the poison of the Orcs. Pressing a palm to the laceration, he could feel the pain and damage it was causing.
In the meantime, the maiden could only watch on helplessly. A sudden feeling of being a stranger swept over her.
The thought caused her much hurt, as the oddity of the mingling of mortals and Elves came to her. It was not surprising, though, as she reflected on her inability to do anything, while Esendri and Glorfindel seemed to be able to provide relief to Legolas.
The red flush in Legolas's cheeks lessened as Esendri continued to send comforting waves of energy into the wound, and his temperature came down.
Esendri smiled grimly, as he watched his Master's eyes stopped flickering. He knew that the respite he gave was only temporary, and it would not be long ere the poison break through the flimsy barrier installed in place of what should have been an antidote.
"I have been through worse," Legolas said, trying to maintain his spirits.
Yuvinel could only squeeze his hand in reply, a small amount of relief coursing through her.
"Indeed! Surely Orcs are no match at all for His Royal Highness and the brave maiden by his side!" Esendri said, scowling.
The derision in them did not escape Yuvinel's notice. She blushed and relinquished her grip upon the hand of the Elf, and scrambled to her feet, leaving on the pretext of fetching more water from the river.
"A fine state I would be in, if Yuvinel had not found me!" he said acidly.
Esendri turned away from his friend for he had no wish to exacerbate his condition.
"I apologise, Legolas. It was not my place to make such remarks!"
Legolas sighed, and was about to answer when Esendri sucked in suddenly as a wave of pain from his own injuries hit him.
"You too are hurt!" Legolas cried, reaching out and gripping Esendri's arm.
"It is nothing compared to yours, Lass." Esendri snapped.
Glorfindel chose this moment to arrive, raising an eyebrow upon seeing Esendri.
"May I enquire after the whereabouts of Yuvinel?" he said casually, busying himself with the herbs, preparing the remedy for the poison. Still, he caught the blush that crept up into Esendri's face, and the discomfit on Legolas'.
As if in answer, footsteps were heard.
A strange light flashed in her face as she noticed the presence of the third Elf.
"Have you managed to procure the necessary herbs?"
The high-Elf nodded curtly.
Legolas grinned through the veil of confusion that was setting in as the effects of the magic started to fade.
"Orcs are not enough to fell me, this I assure you!" Legolas was barely aware of what he was saying.
Esendri threw him a dirty look. He had not forgotten the waves of bodies pressed against him, seeking to destroy him. A ripple passed through his body as he recalled how close they had been to their last battle.
By this time, Glorfindel had finished his antidote. It was a good thing that the prince was still conscious, for it would have been difficult if Legolas were to slip into another coma.
Glorfindel drew a deep breath, and unsheathed his long knife, before moving towards Legolas.
The maiden's eyes grew wide, and she threw herself before him. Her eyes flashed dangerously.
"Do not harm him!" she cried.
Glorfindel let out an impatient noise. "Indeed. I would wait till this very moment to harm him, instead of letting those Orcs finish their job!"
Yuvinel blushed and yielded.
"You are too harsh on her!" Legolas protested weakly.
His comments were ignored by Glorfindel, who moved closer still.
Glorfindel motioned for Yuvinel to pass him the water-skin, while he rubbed an ointment upon the blade of the knife.
"Glorfindel!" Esendri cried out in alarm, as he realised what Glorfindel was about to do.
He was silenced by an icy stare from the Elflord.
A look of understanding passed across Legolas's face, and his eyes widened in fear for the briefest moment, before it was replaced by a determined but ashen look of acceptance. This had to be done in order to purge his body of the poison.
The older Elf signalled for the girl to render her assistance. She complied, but with a pallor in her face.
Working the knife expertly, Glorfindel cut away the cloth that surrounded the wound. The flesh in the immediate area had turned a ghastly, festering black. Loud gasps were heard as the servant and the girl took in the sight. Legolas turned a deathlier shade of grey as he took his cue from those surrounding him.
Frowning hard, Glorfindel tentatively pressed a finger against the venom-laden flesh, and drew back, as if stung.
Yuvinel slipped her hand into Legolas's, and it was not too soon, as the sharp edge of the knife plunged into his flesh. Black liquid spurted out of the wound. It was a grotesque sight, and Legolas bit on his lip hard to keep from crying out loud. His face lost whatever colour it had, and his fingernails dug deep into Yuvinel's palm, causing ugly purple marks to appear upon her fair skin. Yet, he did not cry out nor display any obvious signs of distress.
Flicks of the knife ensured, and Glorfindel hastily cut away the rotten flesh, before he motioned for Yuvinel to press fresh dressings upon the reopened wound to stem the flow of blood. He then threw down the blood-laced knife and took out the salve he had concocted.
More blood, this time a dark brown, poured from the window in the flesh as the applied pressure was released slowly as Glorfindel's applied the medicine to it.
Esendri stood and watched, going as pale as his master as he watched the suppressed pain. He knew his master's pride well, and that he could see the pain in the eyes of his friend showed just how bad it must have been, for it was not often that the iron mask cracked and revealed the true face hidden under it.
Having finished administering the antidote, Glorfindel let Yuvinel bind the still spurting wound.
He tilted his head, and took in suddenly Esendri's pallor.
"Ai, Esendri! You too are hurt! Forgive me, for in my haste to stem the poison, I disregarded you!"
Hearing himself being addressed, Esendri peeled his eyes off Legolas, who had almost passed out.
"I still have enough in me to draw blood from a dozen Orcs!"
"Do not speak of such things, Esendri! We are not yet out of danger. I shall tend to your wounds ere we concur about the next step to take!"
"My injuries are not as you have made them out to be, Master Glorfindel!" he protested.
His remarks were blithely ignored by the other, who made quick work of inspecting the wounds.
Glorfindel stood up and dusted himself, satisfied that the injuries sustained by the pair were healing, before he disappeared to take up the watch.
"He has ceased his trembling!" Yuvinel cried as she saw Esendri coming back again.
Esendri beamed. He ran a hand across the cooler forehead of his friend, who had lapsed into a peaceful slumber. He studied his master further, before breathing a sigh of relief.
"Thank you, Yuvinel, for the assistance you have rendered." His tone was sincere and his smile genuine.
"It was nothing, Esendri. I am sure you would have done the same. If anything, it was my fault for getting you in this situation! Forgive me!!"
"Nay, it is I who should ask for forgiveness, for I have treated you unfairly! We must continue to be on our guard, for who is to say that the accursed creatures would not make a return? Make use of the remainder of the sun's rays to recuperate and recover your strength! Glorfindel is keeping watch, and we will not be caught off guard twice!"
The maiden nodded mutely. The servant turned and settled down next to his unconscious master, and cast one last protective glance around him, looking for any further discomfort, before soon drifting off into the strange world of Elven dreams.
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.