15. Of an Elf's near death
All around him the sunlight seemed to come in shafts from above, piercing the clear, yet dark, water of the Great River. He could barely hear muffled voices above for the cold water rendered his eyes incapable of seeing anything but the disfigured shape of a nearing boat. Bubbles of precious air were escaping his lips as he struggled to swim. The water had taken a sudden depth to it, and the next thing Sam had known, he had plunged beneath it. His pack weighted him down severely, but he dared not remove it...were he to journey with Frodo, the supplies it contained would be needed. Now you have done it, Samwise Gamgee! Gone and sunk to the bottom of the river! Some good you’ve done to Mister Frodo...some good indeed! Thought the Hobbit hopelessly, as his air supply finally depleted.
And suddenly he heard a loud splash nearby, the sound traveling quickly underwater. Someone grabbed him by the arm firmly. Looking around, wondering who it was that had plunged in after him, Sam could see the long, thin outline of a person. Someone looked down at him from above. He had thought at first that Frodo was the one pulling him upwards, but no, this person was far too tall to be a Hobbit.
And then his head was above water again. He gasped, taking in the sweet air sharply. Never before had he been so happy to simply breath. Frodo, having finally reached the place where Sam had disappeared, breathed a heavy sigh of relief. Sam turned his head, still spluttering somewhat, to come face to face with Narilvrin, who looked extremely distressed and utterly drenched, her flame red hair spread atop the water around her. The river had become just deep enough that the Elf could not reach the bottom and so she now treaded the water with a pained look while still keeping a tight hold on the Hobbit.
“Narilvrin!! What are you doing here!?” Exclaimed Samwise, mildly confused. He had been in such a rush to reach Frodo that he had run right past the Elf without taking notice.
“Never mind what he is doing here! You should be thanking him! After all, he dove straight in after you...! Sam, whatever were you thinking, you know you cannot swim!?” Sam’s eyes widened.
“Narilvrin, ma’am...well, thank you!! I was in such a rush...the thought of swimming slipped my mind.” Said the embarrassed Halfling, blushing deeply. Narilvrin smiled weakly in response.
“Are you alright, Sam?” The Elf’s voice was soft and hardly audible, save to those who were very close. Sam nodded vigorously.
“Yes...I am now, thanks to you, sir. But if you don’t mind me saying, you don’t look so well yourself. Maybe should be asking you if you’re alright?” Narilvrin closed her eyes, pressing them firmly shut with a shake of her head.
“I am fine...merely short of breath...” panted the Elf.
“As well you should be!!” Cried Frodo suddenly, “the water is stained red around you!”
And so it was. Narilvrin looked down, seeing crimson blood mixing with the clear water that flowed around her. The wound on her arm stung horribly as the icy water moved across it, and her thigh as well as side throbbed incessantly. Indeed, it was taking all her strength to keep herself, as well as the Hobbit, afloat. Seeing Narilvrin’s struggle, Frodo began to pull Sam into the boat, relieving the Elf of her added burden. Sam flopped into the boat, dripping wet from head to furry foot. He grabbed the sides quickly for he was always uneasy within boats, Elf wrought or not.
“Tis nothing...” Narilvrin’s words were interrupted as a black arrow, whistling through the air, dove into the river only inches from her shoulder. Sam and Frodo gasped as more arrows assailed them from the trees, thumping loudly against the wooden boat as the Hobbits drew their hands back in surprise. None had direct blows, though one did fly far too close for comfort, lodging itself in Sam’s pack, having struck a pot and gone no further. “You must leave!” Said the Elf urgently. Sam’s arrival, however heartwarming his attempt to stay with Frodo had been, had caused delay; delay that was anything but needed.
“I could not live with myself were I to leave you here in such a condition!” Cried Frodo as Narilvrin clutched the side of the boat.
“You must. You will not receive another chance...the enemy is upon us!” Narilvrin said unwaveringly, though sparing quick glances to the trees around them, hoping that the arrows would not come again, at least until the Hobbits were well on their way and out of the Uruk-hai archers’ range.
“Frodo, namárië, and Sam too...both of you must keep low in the boats, do not let yourselves be seen...” Narilvrin bowed her head slightly to each in goodbye. “May the Valar be with you,” said the Elf, clutching the boat even tighter before she pushed it away with all the strength she could muster. A surge of pain spread through her arm, but it mattered not, her plan had worked. The small boat entered the current and began to very slowly drift away. Frodo scampered to the back of the boat, trying without prevail to stop their departure by plunging the oar into the river bottom. But, by now, the water had grown too deep, and it did nothing to stop them. Frodo could only helplessly watch as Narilvrin’s form grew smaller and smaller as they floated away.
Narilvrin made her way out of the water with all the speed that was possible. The river seemed to flow not with water but a heavier substance, which seemed almost to drag her downwards. But Narilvrin was determined. Saruman’s archers were still in the woods, no doubt tracking the Ringbearer. It was necessary that they be slain with all swiftness. And so she swam until she could reach the bottom of the river, after which she sprinted as much as her injuries would allow. Upon leaving the water, she scooped up his bow, a sharp pain ravaging her arm, but she continued nonetheless. Nocking an arrow, she concentrated. Far in the distance she could hear the air as it left the fowl creatures’ nostrils, she could hear as they stamped their feet impatiently...she could hear the creak of a bow as it was drawn. With lightening reflexes, she let the arrow fly. It flitted swiftly across the wide Anduin and entered the trees, missing each trunk. A pained shriek informed him that it had successfully reached its target. All the while Narilvrin watched the creature Gollum float nearly unnoticed behind the boat. Narilvrin would not shoot him, for she respected Gandalf’s words that the creature had some part yet to play. What it was, the Elf could not guess.
Prying herself from Gollum, Narilvrin looked further down the river to insure that neither of the Hobbits had been harmed and was deeply relieved to discover that they were not. Frodo had taken up the oar once more, and though he looked back in the Elf’s direction sadly, he continued nevertheless, knowing the Elf’s words to be true.
“Thank you, Narilvrin...” whispered Frodo to himself.
“What was that, mister Frodo?” Asked Sam curiously.
“Oh...it is just that...I feel horrible about this...about leaving Narilvrin in such a way. I fear for her, Sam. She is injured, and she is injured because of me! She received that wound while blocking me from an arrow! Yet she disregarded her own pain to let us escape...she is putting his very life at stake for us.” Sam looked down, eyes focused on the bottom of the boat.
“Then...mister Frodo...we must not fail. I think...I think that she must have much faith in this quest to do such a thing; it would be a shame to make her efforts in vain. Don’t you think, mister Frodo?”
Frodo thought of all he had said to the Elf and wondered what he thought of Sam coming along. It had not been planned, but rather necessary for no time could be spared. Narilvrin had strived hard to guide the Hobbit to the river, where lay his departure, and Frodo could not have forsaken his efforts, especially when another chance to escape the coming battle would not arise. He pondered too whether the Elf had taken Frodo’s apparent approval of Sam’s companionship as somewhat of an insult. To refuse to take the Elf, but take a gardener? Ah, but Narilvrin would understand. Though the Elf was very often silent, when she thought strongly about one thing or another, she was not one to conceal her thoughts. In any case, there had been no time for Narilvrin to haul the Hobbit back to the riverbank, and Frodo doubted the Elf had yet the strength. Pale had been the color of the Elf’s face. Elements had very little physical effect on Elves, and so Frodo doubted it was the frigid temperature of the water that had caused her to lose the vermilion in her cheeks that was otherwise present. It had been pain that caused the Elf’s brow to furrow. Alas, Frodo could do nothing against the current but let it take him where it would, save to Rauros.
All about shrieks of the dying Uruk-hai could be heard. From afar, Frodo could scarcely see the arrows swiftly leaving Narilvrin’s bow and striking down the fowl archers across and around the bank. An arrow’s path that had been aimed directly for the Ringbearer had been intercepted by one of the Elf’s own, in midair from nearly forty paces away. Both Hobbits gazed back in awe as the Elf defended them until she drifted out of sight. And even then, they felt sure that the Elf’s arrows still flew for not once were they struck by any foe as they rowed away down the Great Anduin.
Long was the Ringbearer still in sight for Narilvrin, and so, however painful it was, she continued to rain arrows upon any enemy spotted. Each time she drew the bow to its fullest and took comfort in the sweet plucking sound that the bowstring sang. Until, that is, she reached over her shoulder to her quiver only to grasp nothing more than air. Searching desperately, Narilvrin realized her arrows had nearly been spent. Six still remained, and she pledged to use these sparingly, if at all. She sighed outwardly at the thought of attempting to retrieve each and every one.
With a shake of her head, she turned to the trees, knowing she had done all that could be done to ensure Frodo’s safe departure. Returning to the others was the best option now, though he dreaded the Ranger’s reactions to the new injuries to add to the list. It is not as though any injuries recently obtained have been serious...but only that they become serious for Aragorn’s mind’s eye...he is downright amok when it comes to such things!
Upon reaching the campsite, there was no one to be found. The camp appeared to be deserted, for possessions were strewn about. Those who had been there earlier had left in a hurry, no doubt in search of the Ringbearer. Narilvrin hoped they had encountered none of the creatures that she had. And so again she set off into the woods in search of her companions. Little companionship did she find, but battle was plentiful. No sooner had she found the camp did more Uruk-hai arrive from the shrubbery, and now Narilvrin was glad that no others of the Fellowship were around. Instinctively, Narilvrin brought her hand over her shoulder to reach for an arrow, but this time she recoiled her hand. Not only was it painful, but with so few left, she could not afford to use them so leisurely. And so, instead, she drew her curved sword that glowed crimson, the sound of ringing metal piercing the air as she did so, the sunlight dancing across the smooth metal surface.
The five Uruk-hai ran towards her, their own weapons held high above their heads as they came. To Narilvrin’s dismay, this time all came at once, which would make situations all the worse. Had she more arrows, there would be little difficulty in disposing of the creatures from afar, with great speed as well. But even if she had more arrows, it would do no good to have them and be rendered unable to shoot them. A steady flow of blood had slowly dripped down her arm, staining the once blue cloth a dark red. Not only that, but the broken rib was proving to be troublesome, and even more so aggravating.
There was a clash of metal as she locked weapons with the nearest of the lot. This time she had been more prepared for the tremendous amount of power behind the blow, but it still shook her arm to the very bone, from finger to shoulder. Another Uruk came at her from the side. Narilvrin then lashed out with her long knife, cutting deep into the flesh of the creature. She was now caught in an awkward position, both arms spread in opposite directions, and it was even worse seeing as a third Uruk-hai had decided to use these to his advantage, for Narilvrin’s chest and torso were left utterly unguarded. The Uruk-hai brought forth a giant fist directly to the Elf’s already pained side, forcing her to crumple backwards. Narilvrin swiftly jerked both up and down, then brought them side ways in opposite to deal fatal blows to two of her assailants, but the damage had been done. The Uruk-hai had struck her side, her most vulnerable place at the time, and Narilvrin could feel nausea descending upon her as her legs gave way beneath her. Collapsing to the ground, she could do nothing more than block the blows dealt towards her with failing arms. Three Uruk-hai still hovered above her, and she had only two arms with which to defend.
Narilvrin glared upwards at the Uruk-hai who had struck her, now raising his rusty sword high above his head. With a grin, he let it fall towards the seemingly helpless Elf. But Narilvrin took her chance and lashed out with a foot, connecting with first the shin of the attacker and then just where the armor connected, leaving it thin and weak there. The Uruk-hai looked downwards with a crooked grin, the kicks having caused no pain. Narilvrin clenched her teeth as she groped for another solution. And then a solution was shockingly unneeded, for her foe fell forward upon her, quite dead, his sword falling from his fowl hand whilst he fell. As Narilvrin looked around, she spied the remaining two that had been in the company of five lying dead as well, a tall silver haired elf with bright blue eyes hovered over them. Narilvrin’s bright orbs widened.
They nodded to her and bending down came nearly eye to eye with the Elf, for Narilvrin still sat upon her knees, the knife and sword in each hand. In all my years I never thought I would see the day when a wolf saved an Elf...I do not suppose I will ever live this down...
“Thank you my good friend.” Narilvrin grinned, struggling to sit up not only because of her side, but because of the immense weight of the corpse that lay across her.
“Is that so?” Said Anglin. “Then I think you will become good friends with that stinking corpse...for I would say you lack the strength to move it.” The elf grinned broadly and gazed down mockingly at the Elf.
After discovering that the Elf was indeed quite helpless, Anglin took a moment to merely mock Narilvrin before aiding in removing the putrid corpse of the slain Uruk-hai. He had simply nudged it with his hand, whilst Narilvrin had become increasingly irritated with the situation, particularly when she began to lose feeling in both legs. She had then tried to struggle herself free on her own, only succeeding in displacing the Uruk’s helmet. Anglin finally rolled the dead weight from off the Elf with a small chuckle. Narilvrin rose to her feet stiffly yet hastily. Narilvrin wiped her knife and sword across her leggings, the black blood smearing from the blades to the cloth leaving the metal with a semi-clean sheen. Narilvrin winced as she did so. A cringe spread across Anglin’s face for he had seen the source of the Elf’s discomfort. Half of an arrow still protruded from her shoulder.
“How did you go about getting that?” Asked Anglin, pointing towards Narilvrin’s shoulder. The Elf maiden frowned, looking at the broken shaft.
“I...” Narilvrin pondered whether or not she should explain the manner of Frodo’s departure or not, but decided that it was important the entire Fellowship knew the Ringbearer had truly departed their company. “I acquired it whilst I guided Frodo to the boats. He has left us, as has his good friend Samwise.”
“So they are gone, then,” said the Elf solemnly. He then shook his head. “You could not have had so little time that you could not remove a single arrow?”
“The Uruk-hai are prowling these woods everywhere, of course I had no time to stop.” Anglin shook his head again, approaching Narilvrin to examine the wound more closely. She cocked her head to one side. “What are you doing?” The Elf clasped a hand firmly around the base of the arrow, sending a wave of pain through the Elf’s shoulder, and, before Narilvrin could properly react, yanked the arrow out. Narilvrin cried out at the sudden pain for she had not expected the Dwarf to make such a bold move.
“Raugo edhel...” Narilvrin cursed under her breath, clutching her shoulder gingerly. Blood seeped through her fingers and trickled slowly down her arm, sliding quickly off the leather arm guard to the ground. Narilvrin glared sternly at the Elf.
“No need to glower at me like that, it needed to come out, better sooner than later, I say. And you’d best get that bound.” Anglin nodded towards Narilvrin’s now crimson shoulder.
“Yes, I know,” was the angrily voiced reply. Her whole shoulder felt as though it were ablaze and all she wanted to do for the moment was sit. Not only that, but her side felt absolutely horrible. Although elves healed extraordinarily fast in comparison to mortals, they still needed a considerable amount of time, at least for broken bones. And it had only been that very morn that it had been broken. Her thigh was healing nicely, as was the cut she had received on her right shoulder from the Uruk-hai blades. Narilvrin fingered her rib tenderly, confirming that the blow had done only minimal damage, aside from absorbing the remainder of her strength. She pushed the rib cautiously into place with a slight cringe. With that, she ripped a small strip from the sleeve of her silken shirt and wrapped it tightly around the arrow wound.
“Is that enough?” Asked the Elf, incredulously as Narilvrin wiped her hands on her leggings.
“When time will permit, I may do more,” she replied with a nod. Narilvrin struggled to get to her feet and was at last forced to accept the aid of Anglin’s outstretched hand. “Where are the others?” Asked the Elf maiden curiously, brushing debris from her apparel.
“The Hobbits have gone off after the Ringbearer and Aragorn, Boromir, Legolas and Gimli after them,” Anglin stated matter-of-factly.
“Indeed,” said Narilvrin, unknowingly rubbing the bound wound. “Their searching for the Ringbearer will be a fruitless effort...But I see you have fared well, at least.” Anglin nodded.
“It’s only a pity that my fray ended so shortly after beginning. This was the first I’ve come across an engagement, and you’re lucky I did, too. The hides of Uruks are not so thick as you lead me to believe.”
“I am sure...” answered the Elf maiden sarcastically. “Now, in which direction do you propose we go?”
“I know not...” began Anglin but what he wished to say went unsaid for the loud blasting of a horn sounded from afar. “Boromir!” Exclaimed the Elf.
“Come, Anglin, we must go now.” Narilvrin, though her legs felt unsteady, dashed in the direction wherefrom the sound had come. The other Elf agreed and tore off at the Elf’s heels. Anglin thought it strange that he was able to keep up as well as he was, being only a length behind. She may hide it, buts he is hurt... speculated the Elf silently.
The horn had been a faint sound in the distance, but entirely recognizable. Trees passed by in a flourish of brown and green. Narilvrin was only barely aware of her friend’s light footsteps trailing behind rearmost her. Her main focus was to seek out Boromir. The man’s fight must have been desperate indeed for him to call for aid, Narilvrin knew, but she too had to repay her beloved. The Son of the Steward was a dignified man, it was evident in his very demeanor.
“Slow your pace Narilvrin!” Shouted Anglin. The request was because Anglin had spied the Elf’s hand rise to her side a couple of times.
“Master Anglin, we have not the time,” said Narilvrin, turning her head only slightly to reveal a furrowed brow. “You know what I must do now, and I mustn’t stop now.” Anglin frowned but continued onward nonetheless. So keen were the Elf’s ears that she could hear the barely audible crackle of leaves beneath the foes that lie forrader. Then she heard a more discouraging sound...the clashing of metal. A rise in the land was blocking Narilvrin’s view of the source of the fray. Hieing onward, she bounded to the top of the rise, narrowly missing the carcasses of two Uruks. Below lay Boromir fending off Uruks trying to capture Merry and Pippin, who helped also, the Man of Gondor in his midst. A strange rage suddenly overtook Narilvrin as she espied the largest Uruk, no doubt the leader, stringing a bow towards Boromir’s heart. Charging with Anglin beside her, she drew her sword once more despite the pain flaring throughout her, as the Elf assaulted the foes coming for Boromir, making her way to him with Anglin at her side. Everything seemed to slow as Narilvrin saw the three arrows meant for Boromir aimed at him at once and as she saw the Uruk release the arrow, she bounded in front pushing him out of harm’s way and took the three arrows at once, the impact knocking the breath from her. Anglin, seeing this yelled in anger and charged the one, who shot the arrows, after a few blows to his foe, the Elf finally decapitated the Uruk, its black blood smeared across his blade for vengeance.
The world seemed to swirl around as Narilvrin’s sight faded, only to remember the tall form of Boromir near her and Aragorn with Legolas and Gimli disposing of the last enemies; whatever of the Hobbits she did not know, but hearing their cries in the distance told her of something else and Anglin was to be seen with the other three. The Elf maiden fell to the Earth the sound barely audible and cried out in pain as the wounds closed opened again upon impact into the leaf-filled forest floor, knowing that there was more blood loss than usual from the fall.
Legolas saw the form of a decapitated Uruk, and very near him lay the form of another, fallen upon the ground, their flame red hair spread about them. Boromir knelt near this one, and it appeared to Legolas that the man had not been dealt more than minor cuts and bruises from whatever he had faced moments ago. Also another Elf was with him, and he had long bright silver hair and blue eyes, someone whom he had seen before.
“Narilvrin?” Whispered Legolas, taking a single step forward, his eyebrows creasing in grief. He watched with sadness and even mild curiosity, for it was not oft than an immortal bared witness to near death, as Boromir kissed the Elf’s forehead and saying things to her still form. The Elf Archer also realized with horror that the crimson red substance had come from previous wounds she had received not too long ago and flowed freely onto the forest floor. “They will watch for her from Taniquetil…but she will never return,” murmured Anglin solemnly, a tear escaping his blue eyes to fall upon Narilvrin’s cheek, causing her to stir slightly; she opened her vivid emerald-gold eyes slightly gazing about her. All surrounding her sighed in relief, thinking they had lost their beloved companion. “My good friends, I cannot stay here…I must leave this world if I am not healed soon enough…” Narilvrin said, stopped by Anglin, then said to the rest. “I will take it upon myself to bring Narilvrin into Imladris, the rest of you must go now, for time is fleeting away.” They nodded their heads, not bothering to question of whom he was or how he was going to get to Imladris, but knew that Narilvrin was in good protection, and they started off, each saying a rich farewell to the wounded Elf maiden. For good and for a bad cause hand in hand, he thought, remembering her pained eyes, and followed after the other three out into the sun’s light traveling Westward away from the sun’s face. To Anglin came a bay coloured horse and mounted it, placing Narilvrin in front of him, then rode Northward, the elleth’s last glance Westward as she brushed a hand over her stomach and sung a barely inaudible song as was wont to most elves in a time of grief.
May it be an evening star
Shines down upon you
May it be when darkness falls
Your heart will be true
You walk a lonely road
Oh! How far you are from home
Mornië utúlië, Darkness has come
Believe and you will find your way
Mornië alantië, Darkness has fallen
A promise lives within you now
May it be the shadow's call
Will fly away
May it be your journey on
To light the day
When the night is overcome
You may rise to find the sun
Mornië utúlië, Darkness has come
Believe and you will find your way
Mornië alantië Darkness has fallen
A promise lives within you now
A promise lives within you now
Raugo edhel = Demon (of an) Elf
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.