10. Of Darkness Settling
“I am going to tend to your wounds now...” He said, kneeling next to the Elf.
“I wish you would not. I am sure more will follow in the footsteps of those creatures...I would that we did not linger here.”
“You know as well as I that if your injuries are not tended, they will become more serious...Elf or not.” Narilvrin glared at the Ranger but did not argue further. She knew her friend was right. If the blood flow was not stopped, the wounds would indeed become grievous and that was certainly the last thing the Fellowship needed. Aragorn took Narilvrin’s silence as consent and set about his work. First, he removed the left side of the Elf’s suede jerkin and the pale blue shirt underneath. The wound was cut jaggedly, for the weapons of the Uruk-hai had not been made to make clean cuts, but rather to make painful ones.
“This may sting...”Aragorn cleaned the wound, then rubbed a salve around it to prevent any infection. Narilvrin’s breath came short.
“May sting?” She said through clenched teeth. The Ranger grinned without looking up from his work. Taking a shred of cloth, he bound the Elf’s upper arm and shoulder tightly. But Aragorn was not done. The wound on the Elf’s shoulder was not what worried him, it was her side. The Ranger had noticed Narilvrin’s unsteady and pained breathing and knew there must be a cause other then exhaustion. Aragorn examined the Elf closely. Her side had already bruised a painful shade of purplish blue. Tentatively, the Ranger nudged Legolas’ side. The Elf gritted her teeth, thereby confirming Aragorn’s suspicions.
“I am sorry, Narilvrin...I fear that you have broken a rib...I must get it back in place before I bind anything...” The Elf nodded, unconcerned. “It will hurt...”
“I care not. Do what you must.” Aragorn nodded. Not wishing to cause further pain, the Ranger searched carefully for the broken rib. Already Narilvrin was clenching her fists at his sides, but he kept a straight face and appeared to be uninterested in the whole situation. After much searching, Aragorn located the damaged rib and promptly, yet heedfully set it back in place. The Elf had been caught off guard and let out a gasp. Indeed the sudden increase in pain had been horrible, however gently the Ranger had tried to go about it. Narilvrin’s brow furrowed slightly. Aragorn smiled sympathetically before tightly binding Narilvrin’s abdomen and torso as to hold the rib securely in place. Narilvrin pulled the silken shirt and layered jerkin back over her shoulder. Finally, Aragorn came to the wound on the Elf’s leg. This was not as bad as the injury on her shoulder, or the broken rib, and was easily bound, although maybe more aggravating.
“There you are.” Said the Ranger, admiring his work. Narilvrin shrugged somewhat and tried to sit up. She was immediately pushed back by Aragorn. “No moving.” The Elf glared up at Aragorn. What a pitiful state for an Elf...thought Narilvrin to herself.
“But we must not tarry here. More will follow those creatures...their evil still lingers in these woods.” Aragorn gave Narilvrin a highbrowed and serious look.
“I think it will do us no good wherever we go. They will follow. You have dispatched of the imminent threat and have more than earned a day’s rest.” Narilvrin, although knowing this to be true, was reluctant to linger here, and more so to rest. She was also angry with herself for allowing herself to be injured. She knew it would hinder the Fellowship’s progress and distressed all the more by the ever present feeling of danger. The others had been quite silent, and had watched Aragorn’s work closely. All were confused as to what had happened, and to a greater extent when patient and healer had begun to talk of approaching evil.
“What is this evil that you both speak of?” Said Gimli, voicing the questions that had crossed everyone’s minds, save Legolas, Aragorn’s and Narilvrin’s.
“A few days back, Narilvrin sensed a foulness drawing near. She voiced her concerns to me, but did not wish to burden anyone needlessly...” Legolas paused, looking towards the Elf. “And what occurred today is only that we encountered a portion of this evil and took it upon ourselves to battle them.” Narilvrin nodded.
“I sensed their arrival...early this morning...even before the sun had risen. I apologize for not informing you...but as Legolas has said....I did not wish to burden you,” Narilvrin agreed, her voice uneven. Breathing had become difficult again, for although the rib had been put back in place and bound, it hurt all the more from such movement.
“Thank you, Narilvrin, but please do not feel as though you must take everything upon yourself.” Said Boromir, noticing the Elf maiden’s unsteady breathing, although his eyes told of something else. Narilvrin gazed into his grey-green eyes and once more felt a pain stab inside her, feeling that Boromir could have lost her if she had not survived.
“We do not wish to lose another member of our Fellowship,” said Frodo, remembering the grief he had, and still felt after Gandalf’s fall in Moria.
“I say it was selfish of you...I am always up for a good fight. The creatures you speak of would not have had a chance against my axe!” Narilvrin smiled but said nothing.
“Not these creatures, Master Dwarf, they are nothing like what we have encountered thus far,” said Legolas, with a grin, “it is a wonder that Narilvrin came out of the fray with only these injuries. I fear it could have been far worse.” Gimli shrugged.
“But, Mister Strider, what are we going to do today, if not journey?” Asked Sam.
“We are going to let Narilvrin rest, firstly...but I suppose we will need something to occupy ourselves...” Aragorn sighed, trying to think of something that the Hobbits would enjoy doing. Narilvrin sat up again, beckoning Frodo closer to her. The Hobbit leaned towards her and the Elf whispered in his ear, audible to no other.
“I have an idea. This is the perfect opportunity for Gimli and I to get back at Aragorn and for yourself to get back at Merry and Pippin.” Frodo nodded his agreement. And so, whilst Aragorn engrossed himself in preparing for the continuation journey...the others were busy conspiring as to what would make for the best prank. All the others conspired, that is, save Merry and Pippin, who Boromir had thankfully thought to occupy with a lesson in swordsmanship, which they had not practiced since Caradhras.
Narilvrin asked for rope, if it could be found, and soon set about contriving the mechanics of the trick to be played. The others worked quickly and quietly at their own parts in the prank. Five makeshift buckets of water were gathered in secret and, when the eyes of the watchful Ranger were occupied elsewhere, Narilvrin, though very carefully as not to harm herself further, climbed to the treetops. The buckets were attached to the rope, and were then sent to him by a simple pulley system. Once within his reach, the Elf positioned them amongst the branches around her, wary not to let them spill. Next sent were leaves, bundled safely within a cloak. These were tied to the branch above him for safekeeping. Gimli and Sam hid within the bushes nearest the tree Narilvrin sat within wit Legolas at her side. Frodo was sent to fetch Boromir, who was still working desperately to distract Merry and Pippin. As he approached, he could hear Boromir giving the Hobbits instructions.
“One...two...one...two...” He mumbled as he took turns sparing against each Hobbit individually.
“Ouch!” Yelled Pippin, after being struck, fairly lightly, upon the hand by Boromir’s sword. Of course, it had been accidental, but Pippin had charged the unfortunate Son of the Steward regardless. Merry had joined in for the fun of it. When Frodo emerged from the trees, Boromir was unsuccessfully attempting to fend off the two Halflings. He turned when he heard Frodo’s footsteps and was thus sadly distracted and lost his footing. The two onrushing Hobbits gave a shout of victory. Boromir shook his head as he rose from the ground, shaking leaves from his hair. While Merry and Pippin were busy enjoying their triumph, Frodo was able to sneak in a word with Boromir. He was told, though out of earshot of Merry and Pippin, of what had been prepared. With a nod, he returned to his two students.
“Well, Merry...your swordsmanship certainly has improved since last we practiced, and yours too, Pippin,” muttered Boromir. “But now I imagine we should go back to camp.” The two nodded their agreement, and Boromir lead them back to where the proposed camp was, taking heed to follow the route that Frodo had described to him. Frodo then dashed off, seeking Aragorn. Finding him at the boats quickly enough, he ran up to him, appearing as worried as possible.
“What is it...?” Frodo cut him off.
“Strider! Narilvrin and Legolas has spotted more of those dreadful creatures you spoke of! They went off after them!”
Aragorn twirled around from what he was doing and faced Frodo straight in the eye, his own eyes wide with concern.
“Which way did they go!?”
“I know the way! Follow me!” Frodo said, running off into the woods. Aragorn followed quickly. The two neared a pair of trees and spied Boromir standing with Merry and Pippin. Frodo ran up to them, stopping Aragorn beneath the tree next to Merry and Pippin. Frodo, along with Boromir, moved quickly to the side.
“Frodo...where is Na...” But before he could finish his sentence, Ranger and Hobbits both were ambushed from right, left and above by five buckets of water. The Hobbits gasped and Aragorn managed to splutter a few words...those being “Legolas, Narilvrin, I know you’re behind this!!!”
The four stood, dripping wet, and now Legolas and Narilvrin unleashed the leaves, letting lose a shower of green and brown seemingly from the sky. The leaves stuck to the drenched members of the Fellowship perfectly. Musical laughter filled the treetops and soon after, Sam and Gimli emerged from their places in the bushes, laughing happily. Boromir and Frodo joined in. Merry and Pippin looked at each other, and upon realizing what they now looked like and despite their drenched situation, both began to laugh along with the others. Aragorn, though holding a look of annoyance, smiled somewhat. The plan had worked wonderfully.
“Merry, you look like a drowned rat!” Pippin mocked.
“You look no better!”
“Oh...haha.” Said the Ranger, sarcastically, though not able to hold back a grin. He had to admit, whether he liked it or not, it was a prank well pulled.
Narilvrin cautiously climbed down from above, laughing while she did so. It pained her side to do so, but she would not show it. Reaching the ground, she turned to Aragorn.
“And at long last, we are even.” The Ranger sighed, pulling a few leaves from his hair. Legolas and Narilvrin smiled radiantly.
“Indeed we are,” said Gimli.
“But...why were we involved...in this?” Merry managed to inquire between his fitful laughs.
“We thought you deserved it after all the tomfooleries you had pulled back home...I am sure the whole of the Shire would be celebrating had they seen this!” Said Frodo, his bright blues eyes glowing with mirth.
“And Buckland too.” Added Sam happily.
“Let us not forget how often you have tackled me when I try to teach you swordsmanship,” said Boromir very cheerfully.
“Aw, I wish we had planned this!” Said Pippin. “But you had all better watch out!” Pippin scooped up a pile of wet leaves and flung them into the air, lavishing the entirety of the Fellowship. Narilvrin smiled, suppressing further laughter because of the pain it caused, but gladdened nonetheless by the results of their work. Aragorn, who had at last begun to laugh, frowned slightly, noticing the Elf’s brow furrowing mildly, despite her broad grin.
“You should not be moving,” he said, placing a wet hand upon the Elf’s unharmed shoulder. Narilvrin beamed.
“But how could I not? I would not want to miss such a site.”
A huge leaf fight had broken out between Hobbits, Dwarf and Man...although Aragorn, Legolas and Narilvrin had managed to keep out of it unnoticed. The Elf’s strength had been slowly fading and the pain in her torso slowly increasing. At last she could hold herself up no longer and was forced to lean on the Ranger for support. Aragorn frowned, knowing that Narilvrin was in pain.
“We had best head back to camp, my friends, for it is due time that we ate lunch...as we have not had time to do in quite awhile. I have caught a few ducks earlier that I am sure Sam would not mind cooking.” Announced Aragorn. Merry and Pippin, although thoroughly soaked, grinned all the more and scampered back towards the campsite, with the others following, though less vivaciously, behind them. Narilvrin, as much as she hated it, was helped back to camp by Aragorn. Once there, the Ranger bade her sit down and gave her a fierce glare.
“I am fine,” protested Narilvrin as Aragorn checked the Elf’s wounds once more, her side specifically.
“Yes, yes, of course...I fear that you would say such no matter what your condition.”
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.