18. Practice, Practice, Practice, Ouch!
Summer had finally arrived in all its glory and Iorlas found that summer in Imladris was indeed most wonderful! There was a serenity that soothed the soul and eased pain. There were still times when he felt overwhelmed with all of the activity and when that happened he would disappear into the farthest reaches of the gardens or seek the solitude of the library to catch up on some of his reading assignments.
He was fascinated with the history of the Eldar and as his skills with the elven language improved he became a voracious reader. Erestor had indicated he was pleased with his progress and selected additional material that dealt with the history of the high kings and more specifically with Gil Galad so that he began to understand his mother’s linage and her place in it. Iorlas also began to get a sense of his father and what had been before their apparent murder. He still had not read his mother’s diaries and neither Lord Elrond or Glorfindel urged him to do so. There was still plenty of time for that and they urged caution on revealing his real identity.
To his surprise Iorlas found that he liked living in the barracks and he was becoming more at ease with his fellow recruits. They were a strange mix of souls and Glorfindel’s previous comments about the level of training proved true. He was not the only one needing to learn either sword or archery skills. In fact his own skill with the bow allowed him to skip that part of the training and take lessons on elvish history, language and customs without falling behind with the others. He had been surprised to find that there were a few ellyth included among the warriors and at first was awkward and uncomfortable in their presence. He soon found them worthy adversaries and quickly learned that they would not hold back in their training, and if he did, he found himself on the loosing end of the practice drills.
It was late on one especially busy afternoon that the training day was fast drawing to a close and the sound of wooden staffs echoed as pairs of elves continued to exchange blows in mock battles as they waited for the final signal to cease their efforts. At one end a small crowd had gathered to watch the ongoing contest between one of the newer recruits and one of the older sergeants. Iorlas backed up dropping into a defensive position his staff balanced easily in both hands. Kiril chuckled and swung, first striking at Iorlas’s shoulder with the left end then swiftly at his head with the other. Iorlas grinned and raised his own staff deflecting the other’s first blow, then evading the second, whirled in a tight circle and caught the back of Kiril’s legs and swept his feet out from under him. Surprised, the older elf fell backwards landing with a hard thump and lay there momentarily stunned. Shaking his head, he lifted himself up resting on his elbows and grinned ruefully at the younger elf.
“I underestimated you, penneth. Next time I will be more careful.”
Iorlas smirked and offered a hand to the fallen warrior. “I have been watching the best and seeking to copy his efforts.”
As Kiril pulled himself up, he studied the younger elf. “Well, however you learned it was effective. You handled yourself well and there is nothing more I can teach you.”
The other combatants and spectators started to drift away leaving Iorlas and Kiril alone to discuss their movements. Glorfindel, who had been on the outer edge watching with interest, moved through the few remaining elves and placed a hand on Iorlas’ shoulder.
“Well done Iorlas, I think you are now ready for assignment to one of the patrols.”
“Really my lord?” Iorlas responded with delight. “My sword work still needs additional practice.” He offered cautiously.
“Only experience will sharpen that for you. Your moves are instinctive now and you read your opponents well. Just do not allow yourself to become over confident. That leads to rashness and carelessness and that kills more elves then any other thing. There is a difference between them.”
“I understand, my lord.” Iorlas nodded his agreement and bent to collect his staff and that of Kiril. “I will return these to the armory.”
Glorfindel nodded his thanks and turned back to talk to another elf who approached carrying a message bag.
Kiril and Iorlas trailed behind discussing their recent combat when the sound of an elfling’s voice attracted their attention and a small body barreled out of the undergrowth. The elfling flung his small body against Iorlas and tightened his arms about the elf’s legs.
“Orlas, Orlas, I be a warrior too.”
Iorlas bent to grasp the elfling and lift him into his arms. “Elros, what are you doing here?” The wriggling elfling struggled against him and Iorlas felt a sharp pain to his lower calf and cried out. Glorfindel looked over his shoulder and chuckled at first only to frown when he saw the bloom of blood on Iorlas’s leggings. He swiftly returned and knelt down to check its cause.
Grasping Elros tighter Iorlas finally managed to lift him and held him securely only to feel another pain in his left pectoral muscle. Holding the elfling out at arms length he noted that Elros had a short dagger pushed through the belt at his waist, its blade with a slight stain of red on the point.
“Hold still penneth stop wriggling. Where did you get that knife? You should not be playing with such a thing. It is not a toy.”
Laughing and kicking to be let down, Elros cocked his head at the older elf. “I borrow it from Elladan. I want to play with you. I be a warrior too.”
Glorfindel rose to his feet and glared at the elfling. “You have taken another’s weapon without permission? That is not the mark of a warrior.”
He turned to Iorlas. “Put him down.”
Glorfindel looked down sternly at the now thoroughly scared hin.
“He not here. He not need it.” Elros looked at the balrog slayer uncertainly.
“You do not know how to handle a knife, and you have injured your friend with your thoughtlessness.” He gestured at Iorlas.
Elros glanced over at him and for the first time noticed the growing blood stains on his chest and lower leg. Wide eyed he looked up at the injured elf.
He backed up his eyes flicking between Glorfindel and Iorlas. He pulled the knife from his belt and touched the blade marked with blood. “Is this Orlas’?” He asked worriedly.
‘Yes and you caused it with your carelessness.” Glorfindel said grimly.
“I sorry Orlas,” he babbled in fright. “I not mean to hurt you. I only want to play with you.” Elros started to cry. “Please take it, I not touch it again. I promise!” He held out the offending weapon and sobbed loudly.
“My lord, it was only a prank and they are only little pricks. Surely this is not necessary….” Iorlas stammered only to fall silent at the balrog slayer’s look.
“Elros, you will go to your room and wait there until I have talked to your ada. You are not to leave it under any circumstance. Do you understand?” The elfling nodded between sobs.
“Very well, Kiril will go with you and tell Sador what has happened and why I have confined you to your room.”
As they watched the two depart, Glorfindel sighed with frustration. “He is even worse at this age then his brothers ever were. I do not know how to deal with his antics. He will cause irreparable damage one of these days and we will be unable to do anything about it.”
He turned to Iorlas. “You need to get to the Healing Hall and have them look at those wounds.”
“Hiren, they are only small punctures. The bleeding seems to have all ready stopped.”
“Nonetheless you will go.” He looked at the knife and swore. “This is one that was used in that last battle with the yrch. Elladan left it behind because it needed repair to the handle. See how the blade is loose and wobbles? He must have forgotten to take it to the smithy.”
Iorlas nodded and looked at it puzzled.
“There was yrch blood on it.” Glorfindel explained. “If any still remained and it tainted your wounds there will be problems in healing. The healers will see that the wounds are cleansed and apply a poultice to draw out any remaining poisons.”
“Hiren, surely there is no real concern…” Iorlas spoke uncertainly.
“Iorlas, a warrior obeys his captain’s orders. Do so now. I will not be able to face Elrond with the information that his youngest ion has been the cause of wounds that later sent you to the Halls of Mandos because they were neglected.”
“Very well my lord, I will but I think it is an unnecessary precaution.”
“Perhaps, but we have just found you and I will not risk your well being to chance.”
Ellyth-female elves (plural)
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.