Yuvinel moved through the bustling market square, face darkened, feminine form hidden under a loose-fitting tunic. The Elves had surprised her with their abilities at disguise, and she moved about as a pageboy from a foreign land, followed closely by Elladan and Gwenophor, a close friend of the twins's. It had earlier been decided that the trio be sent in first to assess the situation, and both Elves were heavily but not visibly armed lest any trouble break out.
She frowned, trying to remember the way, and her companions pretended to examine the goods of a nearby peddler. Neither spoke, aware of how conspicuous their accents would be, and they were putting on valiant attempts to blend in. However, their unmistakeably foreign air and graceful gaits were already attracting the stares of curious passers-by.
Aware of how much they were being watched, Yuvinel moved on, thankful that there were only two of them. The whole city appeared on edge, and the air was thick with apprehension. Her face lit up as she recognised a side street. She ducked down it, quickening her pace as the surroundings grew more familiar.
Yuvinel turned and beamed at her friends as she came up to a small door. Knocking on it softly, all three waited with baited breath. The door eventually slid open a crack, and an apprehensive face looked out at them.
"Allanor?" called Yuvinel softly.
The door was opened hesitantly to reveal a wizened old lady, bent over with age and hardship, a shawl draped over her thin, brittle shoulders. She quickly mentioned for all three to enter the house, before shutting the door and hastily slipping out of sight.
Yuvinel smiled at the Elves, who stood on either side of the girl, tense and alert, ready for anything. It was to their credit that neither overreacted when a tiny form hurled out from within the shadows and charged straight towards Yuvinel.
"Yuvinel!" squealed the little girl, clinging on joyously to the maiden's leg.
She bent down and picked up the child, her face shining as the little girl gurgled in delight.
A soft cough announced the presence of a dark, brooding figure wrapped in a soft cape. Elladan and Gwenophor turned and studied the new arrival carefully, mistrust on their faces.
"Yuvinel, you risk your very life by returning!" he said, and both Elves were struck by the youthfulness of his voice. "Marnor is still searching for you!"
He removed the cowl to reveal a boyish face of one barely in his twenties, face smooth and free of the bristle that the Elves had grown accustomed to seeing upon the faces of mortals in the city.
"I have returned as Marnor has taken one of our friends captives," she said, gesturing towards her companions.
"Elves!" the other cried, fighting to keep his voice under control as he noted their features. "Forgive my ignorance and excitement."
"I am Elladan, son of Elrond, and this is Gwenophor, son of Gwelahar. Marnor has taken one of our kindred captive. We seek to rescue him," Elladan said, his eyes fixed upon the mortal.
" I have had news of his prisoner. My brother is working to free him." The man's quiet, unassuming voice carried the weight of his sincerity. "It is a despicable deed, clapping one of the first-born in irons like a common criminal, and we are trying hard to ensure that his freedom is returned to him as soon as possible."
"Your brother?" asked Elladan, curiosity in his tone.
"Yes, my brother is a member of the elite palace Guards. He spoke of your friend and his plans to free him, but lacked the ability to do so. It will definitely be a lot easier, now that there are others to help. In the meantime, forgive my manners and do take a step through into the living room."
The man ushered all three into the adjacent room, taking over the small girl from the maiden. The little girl bubbled happily again, and reached out in the direction of the two Elves, attracted by their strange appearance.
"It seems that little Daniya has taken a liking to our companions!" laughed Allanor, amusement building in his voice as he noted the frowning creeping into the face of the raven-haired Elf. "Will you not take her from me, Elladan?"
Yuvinel stifled a giggle as Daniya was thrust into the arms of a very apprehensive Elladan, who held her out as one would a sack of potatoes, and gaped. Daniya, however, did not mirror any of his uneasiness, and instead cheerfully leaned forwards, grabbing a handful of his long hair, and tugging hard on it, drawing a painful wince.
"Elf!" she shouted, before proceeding to attempt another fistful. This time, her actions were pre-empted by Elladan, who stopped her by a quick grab of the hand and a stern expression.
To his uttermost horror, the smile on the girl's face vanished, replaced by a pout. Her mouth wavered, and tears sprang to her eyes.
The antics of the pair reduced Gwenophor into a helpless heap upon the floor, tears rolling down his face as he rock with silent laughter.
"Mayhap you think yourself better able to handle this mortal girl than me, Gwenophor!"
Fortunately for him, Yuvinel came to his rescue, scooping the stewing child into her arms, speaking to her. Elladan shot the still shaking Gwenophor a dark look, before taking a seat as indicated by Allanor at the small table by the fireplace.
"Forgive my friend, Allanor, for we are unused to dealing with children," said Gwenophor, sliding into a spot opposite Elladan, his eyes glinting mischievously.
"It is understandable. There have been few of you born to this age, and you both seem too young to have fought in the last great battle!" answered the man, bringing the kettle to a boil.
"You seem to know much about us for a mere mortal," said Elladan, unable to contain his curiosity any further.
Allanor smiled sagely, seeming so much older beyond his years. "All this I have learnt from my father, who had much knowledge of your kind, much that he had yet to pass to me before his death. It was a great regret of his that he did not meet one of you again before he died."
"Who are you?" asked Gwenophor.
"My roots are shrouded in the mists of the past. Even I do not fully know the history of my family, for my father died before he could pass it on to my brother and I. That we do not belong in this cursed city is for sure!"
His speech was cut shot abruptly by the arrival of another. Taller and broad, the man had a bristle on his face.
"Esendri was right after all!" he remarked excitedly upon noticing the Elves. "You have come to his aid!"
His comments drew sharp looks from the Elves, and Gwenophor stood up, distrust in his face. He was instantly pulled back by Elladan, who placed a restraining hand on his elbow.
"Forgive my intrusion. I am Gallenon, son of Gallorin, and this is my brother," said the newcomer, gesturing towards the younger man. "I was with the party that took your friend captive, and it might please you to know that he is well."
"That is glad news indeed," said Elladan, careful to keep his emotions under control.
"Lady Yuvinel, the Lord still seeks your capture. It seems a bargain has been struck with the Orcs," said the man, taking a seat at the table, and gratefully accepting the tankard of steaming tea offered to him by his brother. "An exchange, for the Orcs claimed to be the ones who killed your captives, clearly deceit on their part to get their hands on the Elf!"
"For whom do you work for?" cried Gwenophor.
"Gallenon, as I have told you earlier, is a member of the palace Guards," said Allanor, shooting a warning look at his brother.
"I do not mean you any harm! Esendri is a friend!"
Gwenophor narrowed his eyes but held his tongue.
"We must discuss this with Glorfindel." Yuvinel spoke for the first time.
Elladan winced inwardly, for he was yet undecided on the situation, and his companions had given much away. His instincts told him the men were genuine, but he did not wish to compromise the safety of his friends.
"Forgive us, for I must confer with my leader ere any decision be made. I will seek him out on my own."
"You speak the truth, my friend, for there are spies of Marnor about who would notice if a large group of us moved about. However, you need somebody to show you the way."
The young Elf could not resist a smile. "Little do you know about Elves then!"
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.