A/N: Violence and death in this chapter. "R"- rated chapter.
cod-piece: a bagged appendage worn at the front of breeches or a piece of armour to cover a vulnerable spot of the male anatomy; yes, that spot; important safety tip for orcs…
We were not far into the woods, when ahead of us the bright voices of the hobbits suddenly rose shrilly in cries of fear, only to be drowned out by harsh, evil voices I could not understand.
The orcs had come.
The first thing I noticed about the orcs was that compared to the real thing, the Uruk-Hai of the movies had been positively cute. These vile… things… were not even remotely human, and never had been.
We slowed down for a second. Boromir turned to me, his eyes full of guilt and horror.
I unsheathed Tínu. The blade glittered silvery in the spring sunshine. My blood ran hot and cold as adrenaline rushed through my body, sweeping away my fear.
"Let's go kill some orcs!" I said and smiled at Boromir.
At that Boromir gave a blood-curdling warrior's cry and ran forward, his long sword lifted in his right, his horn bouncing on his back, his dark hair streaming in the air like a silken banner.
Shock and the hormones of war, which flow as true in a woman's body as in a man's, made me see the scene as if in slow motion, with an unreal clarity of vision. I raised my voice in a war cry of my own, my voice cracking shrilly. I must have sounded like a banshee, screaming like mad at the top of my lungs.
When I stormed out of the woods hard on the heels of Boromir, two huge black orcs turned towards me slowly with an unbelieving look on their faces. Boromir, already splattered with black, stinking blood, stood above two orcs thrashing in the throes of their death. This short moment of distraction was enough for the two hobbits held at the scruffs of their necks by the two orcs. Merry and Pippin stuck their small swords into the dark, hairy bodies of the orcs, wiggled free and ran towards us.
Unfortunately the distraction did not last long. As I looked into the woods at the other side of the clearing, I saw that many more orcs were running up the hill towards us and not all of them were the small, ratty orcs of Moria, squinting in the sunlight with teary eyes. No, most of them were taller than Boromir and much heavier in build; with great claws and long, yellow teeth like wild boars made into goblins of war. Those tall orcs did not rush towards us blindly, driven by hate for everything that walks under then sun. They held formation and obeyed orders. And they wore armor.
We stepped in front of the hobbits.
"Run away," I screamed at the hobbits. But Merry and Pippin did not listen. They took their small swords into both hands and secured their stance, much as I had done.
Then the orcs were upon us.
They came at us from all sides.
Boromir kept swatting them aside with great strokes by his sword, cutting throats and penetrating the weak spots of their armor with inhuman precision. His speed was immense, the power of his lunges unbelievable. But there were so many of them, they spilled out of the forest like a flood of black death. In a corner of my mind that was strangely calm and detached from the horror of battle, I knew that there were too many.
A huge black thing towering two heads above me lunged at me with a great scimitar.
I could barely counter the strike and the force of the clashing weapons reverberated through my whole body, almost bringing me down to my knees. It was bigger, it was faster and it knew how to fight. And it wore armor. Fuck.
However, it did not wear an armored cod-piece. And this particular spot was conveniently within my reach. I did not think about elegant moves, or what you can or cannot do with a sword. I did not think at all. I pointed the tip of my sword to the front and ran straight at the orc, putting the whole weight of my body into my thrust.
For a sickening moment I felt the resistance of the heavy leather trousers the orc was wearing. Then the leather gave and I stumbled forwards.
A deafening yell issued from the orc.
Desperate to get my blade free, I yanked upwards and downwards. Each movement was greeted with an even more horrible yell. Then my blade was free, covered in steaming black blood. Hot black blood spurted from the wound. The orc was screaming and screaming and screaming. Then his voice suddenly broke and he fell over, unmoving.
For a moment an eerie silence had fallen in the clearing.
Another orc, standing right in front of me stumbled back, his mouth gaping. I brought Tínu up and about in the long swift arc Glorfindel had drilled me to use against larger opponents.
The elvish sword was sharper than most human swords, sharper than most razors or scalpels. It neatly cut the orc's throat. A spray of hot, foul smelling blood hit me in the face.
I gagged and felt bile rise to my mouth.
A scream of rage tore from many black throats and they ran at us with renewed determination.
I cut the feet out from under an orc that almost brought me to fall. But there were three others just behind him. Somehow I kept them at bay. But only just. The battle drew on. I was beginning to tire. I stumbled and something sliced across my right jaw, collar bone and across my left breast. I never felt the wound. I regained my balance and threw myself at the orc with a desperate lunge.
In this instance Boromir sounded his horn.
The orc hesitated. For a moment he did not look at me. The moment of his death.
Then I turned myself and looked at Boromir, who was blowing his horn.
Bright and clear it sounded through the wood, bright and clear was the wood with the sunshine of the first warm day of spring.
Something hissed through the air and Boromir stumbled.
His horn fell to the ground.
Two black arrows stuck out from his right side.
Boromir lifted his head.
"Lothy, behind you!" he screamed. I turned not a moment too soon and countered a strike which had been aimed at my head. Out of the corner of my eye I saw Boromir slowly raise his sword again and run up against the orcs, which still kept coming towards us out of the woods.
Then I heard again the call of Boromir's horn, but this time it was not as strong as it had been moments ago.
I could not turn back to look at him though, because I was caught between two orcs, one of them small and bow-legged, the other tall and dark with a tangled mane of black hair, a toad and a boar, both powerful and deadly, and my arms felt like lead.
Merry and Pippin suddenly jumped at the toad, leaving me to face the taller one.
This orc smiled at me and as he lifted his scimitar he licked his lips ever so slowly.
Suddenly I was afraid. Suddenly I was frightened out of my wits. I felt my sword tremble in my hands, I wanted to throw it away, I wanted nothing but to turn around and run.
But that was impossible.
The orc kept coming towards me.
There, the weak spot of their armor, where it was tied over the breastbone. The only spot within reach. He was too close to try for lower things or the throat.
I hacked at the strings of his armor with all the strength I had left.
But it was not enough.
Tínu slipped and he smote down his scimitar against the slender elvish blade with his immense brute power. It felt as if Tínu was breaking along with my arm.
I screamed with pain and stumbled backwards. Black hairy arms caught me around my right wrist and lifted me up. The pain was blinding. But somehow I managed to get at my dagger and I slashed wildly with my left hand.
I was thrown through the air and hit the ground hard. My vision faded into spinning wheels of grey and white. At the edge of the clearing I saw Boromir slowly sinking down to the ground. His body was pierced by many black arrows. He looked like a pin cushion, his face white as snow.
I wanted to get up and run to him, but my body would not move. Then I saw a black fist coming at me out of nowhere.
When I opened my eyes to escape evil nightmares of pain and darkness, I found myself lying on the ground, my hands and feet bound with viciously tight ropes. Blood had dried in an itching crust on my face, throat and breast.
I had been unconscious, I thought. But for how long?
I lay on my back. The sky above me was growing dark with the early dusk of spring.
At least I was alive.
Suddenly the turmoil of harsh, croaking voices separated into three main speakers, who were now and again interrupted by others. To my horror I could understand what they were saying. They spoke heavily accented Westron, making the language sound vile and uncouth. And they were talking about me.
"Our orders are: kill the warriors, but not the Halflings; they are to be brought back ALIVE as quickly as possible," one voice said in a deep growl.
"But this one's no Halfling. And my men are hungry!" a second voice hissed.
"But it's not a warrior either. It's smaller. We will take it back with the Halflings. The White Hand will decide what to do with it," the first voice said.
"It had a sword!" a third voice croaked, dripping with hate. "It stuck its sword into Kurk-rûk." At that a gale of raucous laughter flared up around me. The one without a cod piece, I thought.
"I know it had a sword. But it is much smaller than the warrior we killed. It only killed three, and two of them were stupid maggots from the east. I say we will take it to Saruman and let him decide what to do with it. I am Uglûk. I have spoken," the first voice roared with a note of finality in its voice.
"But it's not a Halfling. We should be allowed to have fun with it at least," the second voice whined.
"We have no time for fun," Uglûk shouted. There was a muffled thump and a groan, then silence.
Yes, I thought desperately. Please. No time for fun. Please.
I felt sick with fear and pain.
Then my consciousness must have waned, because when I grew aware of myself again, I was shivering all over and the sky above me was much darker than I remembered. My clothes were still wet from my involuntary dip in the lake. Either I would die from pneumonia or from the wound across my jaw, collarbone and breast. Or worse things that were yet to come. What would hurt less and be faster, I wondered, my thoughts growing hazy with pain, fear and exhaustion.
Some time later many shouts and yells woke me from uneasy slumber. A fight had broken out, but I could not understand what it was about. The next thing I could understand was the voice of the orc-chieftain, Uglûk.
"Pick up the prisoners," Uglûk ordered. "We've got to get going. The horse breeders are watching their lands closely. And no tricks! We will take those prisoners to the White Hand. HE will decide what is to happen to them."
A huge black creature bent down over me. Clawed fingers dragged slowly across my breasts. I moaned with the unexpected additional pain. Then the creature was thrust aside and a yellow eyed ogre with a tangled black mane picked me up. He threw me across his shoulder and held my by the feet. I felt the blood begin to drip from my wounds at the jaw and the collarbone again.
They started to run.
My head swung up and down with the movements of the running orc. Within minutes I thought my head would explode with pain. My stomach revolted and I vomited all that I had eaten that day. The orc who was carrying me never stopped running.
I regained consciousness when I was thrown to the ground. I came to lie on my side. It was night and at the western horizon I could see a waning moon already setting for the night.
A few feet away I thought I could discern the prone figures of two hobbits, bound at their hands and their feet just as I was, lying motionless on the ground. There was no feeling left in my hands and my feet at all. It felt as if I did not have hands and feet. Spasms of shivering came and went, making me feel hot and cold in turns.
Keep the hell away from the orcs.
It had been a good plan. But it had not really worked. Then I remembered Boromir, the last glimpse of him that I could recall… the still white face and the many black arrows protruding from his unmoving body.
I closed my eyes.
A painful jerk at my hair brought me awake again.
"Now you walk," a filthy hot voice hissed close to my ear. "No crying out, no trying to escape. No tricks at all, or you won't live to regret it!"
A bottle was thrust into my mouth and upended. I gagged and sputtered, but suddenly I was awake. A clawed hand gripped my neck from behind and pulled me to my feet. I screamed out in agony and fell back to the ground, only to be grabbed and pulled to my feet again. A whip struck my face in a stroke of sizzling agony.
"No sound!" the voice rasped out at me. I stumbled forwards awkwardly, biting down on my lips as circulation returned to my feet in red-hot pain.
The hobbits were on their feet, too. Merry sported a bloody gash across his forehead, but Pippin seemed unhurt. Both were very pale, their eyes large and frightened in their small faces. I tried to smile at them. They would get away, I thought. But would I get away, too?
The orcs did not leave me any time to pursue any hopeful thoughts. We were separated and then we were herded on with well aimed lashes of the heavy orc whips.
From somewhere behind me I heard Uglûk's voice: "Run, curse you, run! Run while the night lasts or the Whiteskins will get you!"
The orcs began to run.
I began to run, or at least stumble along as fast as I could, too.
My legs felt heavy like lead and every step was painful. The wound on my jaw had opened once again. I could feel a sticky trail of new blood running down my cheek. Disconcerting sniffling noises rose up from the orcs running along at my sides. I discovered that I could run faster even though I was utterly exhausted. The orcs cheered me on, laughing and shouting.
I never noticed when I finally broke down.
I was slightly surprised that I was still alive when I opened my eyes again.
I lay on the ground. My feet were bound again.
The sky was growing lighter again with the dawn of a new day.
The orcs were arguing amongst themselves, but I was too exhausted to understand them. Their evil accent changed the sound of the by now familiar Westron completely.
It was something about horse people and nazgûl.
I had the feeling that I ought to remember something about horse people and nazgûl, but my mind remained hazy. I was shivering again, but felt hot at the same time. My breath came in painful coughs. Fever, probably. And at least a bronchitis. Even if my hands and feet were untied, I could not have moved. Of Merry and Pippin I could see nothing.
I closed my eyes again.
When I felt myself being picked up again and thrown across another stinking black shoulder, I regained consciousness, but only for a few moments. Then darkness descended on my mind again.
I woke again. I was still alive. Unfortunately.
It was night. Again. There seemed to be fewer voices around me and they were subdued, as if they were frightened. Orcs? Frightened?
Simply lying unmoving on the ground made me feel better. Now and again a violent bout of shivering passed over my body. I suppressed a painful racking cough. I could feel neither my hands nor my feet. But I was still alive. I tried to look for the hobbits, but this was a dark night. I could not see a thing.
"Merry? Pippin?" I whispered into the darkness. Even that hoarse whisper hurt my throat almost unbearably.
But there was no answer, no sound at all.
I was alone.
Alone in the darkness.
"They wait for the sun, curse them," suddenly a dark voice growled not too far away from me, rising above the mutterings of the other orcs.
"Come dawn they will have us!" croaked another voice, which seemed to move towards me. "Come dawn the horse people will attack, and they will have our skins!"
"And nothing to eat till then! And no fun at all till then!" a malicious voice hissed from somewhere close to me.
"Yes," rasped a higher voice in agreement, and the owner of this voice seemed to come closer to the spot where I was lying, too. "We should at least have some fun with the human while we still can."
A turmoil of vile voices shouting agreements and curses broke loose.
"Idiots!" Uglûk shouted at them. "But if it makes you feel better and fight better come morning…" He let his voice trail off in evil laughter.
"But don't touch the Halflings!" he commanded.
Suddenly dark forms moved about me, drawing closer and closer. I could not see their faces, but I could smell them even with my congested sinuses. They stank of old blood and rotten flesh. They moved towards me, muttering excitedly. I could feel them close in on me.
Hot stinking breath touched my skin.
This can't be true, I thought, trying desperately to move. But I could only wriggle like a dying fish, which made them laugh, peals of harsh, vicious laughter that echoed through the night.
The rope around my wrists and ankles only cut deeper into my flesh with each frantic movement.
This can't be true, I thought. It's not in the story. This can't be happening. It's not in the story. I'm not in the story!
I discovered that I still could scream.
A voice drifted into dreams of pain and darkness.
A soft voice. Dark and slightly rough at the edges, but soft.
"She is still alive. I cannot believe it! Aelfriv, Frohwein, I need you here at once!"
Pain, pain, pain. I tried to move, to escape the pain, but I could not. I could not even scream, only a pitiful whimper emerged from my lips.
"You are safe now, you are safe! I've got you, don't worry, everything will be alright!"
I opened my eyes. A human face. Dark eyes, dark blond hair curling around a human face.
I started crying.
"You are safe," the man who held me repeated. "I promise! And Éomer, Éomund's son keeps his promises."
The world went dark around me.
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.