6. Smoke and Ash
"Noro lim! Noro lim!" Legolas' voice was hoarse from smoke and choked from strong emotion, a far cry from what it ought to have been. From astride his galloping horse, the fleeing Elf chanced a look back. He didn't like what he saw.
Behind him, the stable was on fire from the ground to the roof. A rescue effort was on-going for the salvation of the horses within, while a bucket brigade tried valiently to save the stable. Every bucketful struck the greedy fire with a hiss, but nothing seemed to deter the flames. They seemed almost to burn the more fiercely for it.
"It shan't work," whispered Legolas to the horse beneath him. "He cast the spell ... the fire spell. It shan't stop until the stable is smoke and ash."
The jumpy horse seemed to respond with a sudden leap over a fallen log. Legolas returned to the front, torn. He reined the frantic animal in at the top of a small rise and tied it to a tree while he climbed to its top.
At its summit, he looked towards the palace. A smudge of black smoke rose from the mountain's base. The stable would be nearly burnt to the ground by now. Legolas ducked his head, ashamed of what had happened in that stable. While glad it was no longer standing, he grieved for all that it meant. He could never again face his father. Never again go home. Never again walk among Elves without shame. Tears slipped down his cheeks as he felt his way, blindly, back down the tree.
He rested his head against the horse at the bottom which had almost recovered its breath. Sensing his grief, the black and grey horse nudged his side and nickered softly. Legolas stroked the stallion's face as he tried to remember its name.
"Rhosso?" he asked. The stallion's ears pricked forward. Legolas smiled faintly. "Well, Rhosso, I hope we shall not need often to ride that fast, eh?" Rhosso whickered in agreement. The Elf swung onto his back. "Then we shall ride slowly for a time. And well away from the Road. Sedho, mellon nîn, an ngell nîn."
As asked, Rhosso began to walk quietly through the woods. The darkness of the forest seemed to oppress the soul and body. The smell of burning wood permeated slowly through the still air.
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.