It was hours before Esendri awoke. His head throbbed from the blow, and his throat was painfully dry.
He tested the bonds that wound around his limbs, and was noticed by his captor, who strode up to him. The man was big and burly, and wore clunky armour with jewels embedded in it.
"Our friend awakens." The voice, oily and smooth, was grating to the sensitive ears of the young Elf. "Has he the capability to speak the Common Tongue?"
His efforts were rewarded by a furious and unexpected blow in the chest as Esendri rammed his head into it. The man fell and landed heavily, hissing in rage. Picking himself up from the floor, he aimed a hard kick at the stomach of his captive, and smiled sardonically as he noted the pain it elicited in the eyes of the other.
Stepping back, he said, "So pretty, so fragile, yet so capable of drawing blood; like a rose."
Esendri met his gaze full on, grey eyes blazing with hatred.
"I have never met one of your kind before, Elf, and I have to say I was not prepared for your delicacy! It amazes me, how feminine the males of your kindred are, for you seem so much fairer than even the loveliest of our maidens," he carried on, seeing how his words seemed to draw out more anger. "Perhaps then, it would not be difficult to make you talk, and tell us of the whereabouts of your friend."
The words had the desired response, and Esendri's eyes filled with concern at the mention of his master. Yet, he bit his lip before he could respond verbally to the other's taunting, and his gaze turned stony, refusing to let on anymore than he already had.
"It is not you that we are after, for my men had made a mistake. We could do a deal, you and I. Reveal the hiding place of your friend, and I will set you free. It's that simple, surely you can see the benefits?"
Esendri made another attempt to take a swipe at the man. This time, it was avoided deftly. A brief signal brought two lackeys to him, and they pinned the struggling figure down to the ground, pressing his chest painfully on the cold, hard rock.
The man knelt down and grabbed the chin of the Elf, yanking his head up so that their eyes locked once more. His strong fingers squeezed tighter, enjoying their grip around the small, sharp jaw. His eyes glinted strangely as he saw the flesh go white and then dark red around them, and the wince which Esendri tried to contain.
"Perhaps then, I should teach you a few lessons, of what happens when Lord Marnor is disobeyed!" he said casually, before hitting the side of Esendri's temple with a stinging blow, his big fist making contact with a sickening thud.
A smile of satisfaction erupted, as he saw the eyes roll back, and the tense muscles of the Elf go limp. He let go of his vice-like grip on the jaw of the Elf, noting with approval the stubborn ugly red marks seared onto pale skin.
Signalling to his men, he watched as they blindfolded the servant, and placed the limp body into a thick sack.
"Ensure he does not come to when we are moving; heads will roll if he escapes!" he snarled at his men, before taking big strides away.
"Our quarry is not a few miles away," Glorfindel said, seeing the freshly made tracks in knee-deep snow. And it was not a bad thing too, he added to himself, noticing the tightly-drawn face of his companion. It had been two long hours of riding up the slopes of the mountains, and he could tell that Legolas was close to collapsing.
Dismounting, he ran over to the black mare, and helped the young one off his uneasy perch. Glorfindel noted with alarm the iciness of the other's hands, and the horrible tremors that seemed to have increased tenfold. As if on cue, Nardawin settled herself down in the snow, unfazed by the iciness, and looked worriedly at her master, who was almost unconscious. Glorfindel thanked her silently for her idea, and half carried Legolas to the mare, placing his back firmly against the warm body of the beast, before covering him with the cloaks. An inspection of the wound revealed that the poison was still flimsily being held under check.
Leaving strict instructions with the mare to prevent Legolas from straying once he awoke, Glorfindel remounted his steed, and was off in pursuit of the band of humans.
Five minutes later, the Elflord dismounted, and bode his steed to be on the lookout for danger. He then unsheathed his sword, and made his way soundlessly forward on his own. His quarry was beyond the slight rise in gradient, and it seemed as though they were labouring on slowly, from the sounds he could discern.
Nearer to the rise, the Elf crouched low, and proceeded forward cautiously, glad that the silver material he wore helped to conceal him. The thoughts that ran through his mind were focused; and his mind spun, working through his plan of attack. Hands tightened around the hilt of his sword, and the blade seemed to quiver, in anticipation of the action.
Once over the top, he took in the sight of a dozen men, fully armed, trudging arduously through the snow. They were a few hundred yards away. Glorfindel saw that the snow up to their knees. His amusement turned to anger and a red flush erupted in his cheeks as he saw a rough sack slung over the shoulder of one of the men.
Unable to contain his fury, the Elflord gave a great cry, and bore down upon the tail end of the column, all plans forgotten. That one of his kindred be treated with such disrespect by a mortal fanned the flames within him, and he struck out viciously, incapacitating the two men instantly, before taking down another two.
A rallying cry went up through the column. Resistance, however, proved futile, as Glorfindel hacked down on them mercilessly, driven by seething rage at their treatment of his friend. Wielding his sword, he disposed of all twelve men in mere minutes, emerging from the fight with nothing more than a few scratches.
Having seen to the captors, Glorfindel immediately rushed over to the sack that had been hastily thrown aside by its bearer when he attacked. Untying the firm knots that held the mouth pulled tightly closed, he anxiously pulled down the cover, only to reel back in surprise.
Instead of a shock of red hair, he was greeted by black tresses. Turning over the captive gingerly, he saw that the girl's face was pale, and a trickle of dried blood ran down the side of her forehead. The Elflord paused for a moment, stumped, before attempting to rouse her.
"Lady Yuvinel?" he called softly.
Glorfindel picked her up carefully and headed back in the direction of where his steed waited.
As they drew near, Glorfindel noted the lithe form of the prince impatiently awaiting their arrival. A cry escaped his lips as Legolas heard the arrival of his friend.
"Indeed it is you, Glorfindel!"
The Elflord answered in kind, aware that Legolas was still unable to see.
"The humans have been disposed of, Legolas!"
The distance between them lessened, and Glorfindel dismounted.
"The captive they held was not Esendri, Legolas," he said, watching the panic rising in the other's face, "However, you will find that she is not a stranger."
The look on the young Elf's face did not waver as he carefully spread a cloak upon the ground. Glorfindel laid the maiden down upon it, but not before giving a hurried glimpse to check Legolas, who was not looking well. However, he decided to ignore it for the time being.
"'Tis Lady Yuvinel," Glorfindel affirmed, noticing the frown of surprise and recognition that ran across the face of the other as he felt the soft locks of hair. "I know not what she was doing in the hands of such cruel men."
Legolas did not answer, and instead drew away sharply from her. Worry and confusion flashed in his face for brief moments, before they were replaced by a stony expression, his troubled, unseeing eyes gazing into the vast expanse.
"Do not fret, mellon-nîn. We will find Esendri."
The stirring of the girl broke the uneasy silence that hung between the pair, and the Elflord hurried to tend to her. Legolas he kept his distance, unwilling to let his disability show anymore than it already did.
The dark eyes fluttered open, and widened in shock. She sat up abruptly, confusion and fear taking hold of her. Her eyes darted around, and rested upon the lithe figure a few yards away, and she let out a small gasp.
"Legolas!" she cried.
A curt smile was the only response, and Yuvinel frowned in puzzlement.
"How feel you, Lady Yuvinel?" Glorfindel said.
"I am not hurt much," she said absently, frowning Legolas. "How did I come to be here?"
"We were chasing after Esendri, who was taken captive, and instead picked up the trail of your captors."
Comprehension dawned on the face of the maiden.
"It is him then, that the men were speaking of!"
"What did you hear?" Legolas asked sharply.
"A messenger bore the following news: Lord Marnor, who hails from the West of the Misty Mountains, had taken a valuable prisoner. They are taking him back to their stronghold there. However, I do not know why he has been taken."
"Legolas!" she cried, suddenly noticing how uneasy Legolas was. Leaping up, she rushed over, inhaling in surprise as she grasped his icy-cold hands. Her grip on them was relinquished as he shook himself away from her, and made an attempt to move away from her.
The maiden, however, was having none of that, and instead grabbed his arm. Tugging on it fiercely, she spun him around, only to be greeted by his ashen face and the unseeing eyes.
"The Orc poison," she said, dread filling her as she realised the grimness of his condition.
"Do not fret yourself with me." The words that erupted from the Silvan prince did not convince either of his companions.
"Legolas - " Glorfindel began, only to be cut short by the other.
"We must rescue Esendri, for he must surely be suffering greatly!" exclaimed Legolas. "It is imperative that we ride out this very instance, for the distance between us grows every moment we tarry!"
His friends glanced worriedly at each other, knowing very well that he spoke the truth. Yet, they could not help but feel apprehension for him. Yuvinel had noticed his shivering, and tears sprung to her eyes. She could tell he was suffering, and that his pride and concern for Esendri were the only things that kept him going.
The Elven prince swallowed hard, before striding purposefully to Nardawin, who looked balefully at Glorfindel. All the while, Legolas kept his face turned away from his companions, afraid of displaying any further discomfit or weakness than he already had.
Glorfindel sighed heavily, he had no choice but to do as Legolas had suggested, for they could not find any relief for him except in Imladris. Even then, he was beginning to feel doubt for the prince, for the poison was almost definitely starting to break through again. This time, there would be no saving his friend unless they got him to the refuge of the house of the half-Elven.
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.