4. Important Desicions
Since his excommunication from elven society, Sorul Khazzur-kammim had spread from Arnor and now began to explore all regions of Middle earth. With exceptional ability as a stealthy ranger, there were very few who caught sight of Sorul without his permission. And this, coupled with his insomnia, made travelling a very easy thing. In the centuries that led up to The War of the Ring, Sorul had managed to covered the entirety of Middle earth, including the regions of Rhun and Far Harad, where he made aquaintence with some of the desert tribe's leaders.
Occasionally he would find Gandalf on one of his many wanderings, and they would have each other's company for a day or so, before both going their seperate ways once more. Gandalf reminded Sorul very much of Berensul. The wizard always spoke to Sorul without any acknowledgement to his kin or appearance, and in honesty, this was all Sorul had wanted since being a child. Still this desire to be accepted lurked in his heart and kept him moody and grim, but there was no reversing what had been already done.
One of the half-drow's favourite spots to be was the high pass over the Misty Mountains. Soemtimes he would stay there for weeks, until finally he would get the reward he had been waiting for: A glimpse of Arwen Undomiel. Elrond's daughter would regularly go and see her grandparents, Celeborn and Galdriel. It was a big risk for Sorul, Arwen's escort ordered to kill anything of a threat to her. It was two of Rivendell's finest scouts, twin-brothers Elladen and Elrohir who first detected a presence among them each time they rode with Arwen to Lothlorien, but neither of the brothers, nor any other elf, was good enough to even lay eyes on Sorul, and so, despite suspicion, no one could prove it was Sorul who was watching them.
Coming back to foresight... In 2931 of the 3rd Age, Aragorn II was born. This triggered Sorul's foresight and he saw images of what would be the end of the 3rd Age. Although it was clear through the numerous dreams that there were many a path the future could take, there seemed only one path that would have the race of men come out on top of Sauron.
There was no place for half-drows over the sea. Sorul was bound to the fate of Middle earth. If Sauron suceeded in his quest for world domination, then Sorul would inevitably die anyway. Sorul decided that hatred for the elves was not good enough to sit back and do nothing. The time for choosing a side was now.
In the desolate lands of Tharbad, but a mile from the Old south road, Aragorn was being ever-so subtley disturbed from his sleep. A presence nearby. He must wake and find out what it is. So stupid he would be to risk his own precious life and the fate of the free peoples.
Peeking one eye open, his other soon shot open to as he saw the head of snow-white hair. Sat on the branch, but an inch from the feet of the future king, Sorul watched the surround non-chalantly. Aragorn simply watched Sorul. It was clear this creature did not intend to harm him, or he would have already. The young man of thirty had learned a little about 'Dark Elf' from his education in Rivendell, but mostly from Gandalf, who always claimed that Sorul was not as bad as everyone makes out.
"A quiet night," Sorul spoke finally, maintaining his focus on the watch.
Inclining his head in leiu of agreement, Aragorn joined the half-drow in the watch, making no attempt to break the resume of silence.
"Aragorn, son of Arathorn." Aragorn looked at him in alarm and Sorul waved a hand dismissively. "Have no fear of unwelcome ears. We are alone for at least a mile all around. If you knew my name, you would know to have confidence in what I say."
Sorul pulled out his pipe and quickly had the small bowl on the end smoking steadily. Aragorn took the small pouch that the half-drow handed to him.
"It is Treshlan leaf... from the far reaches of the desert. Not even Old Toby compares. You should head to Harad on your travels. Experience with the Southrons would prove invaluable on your path."
Aragorn did not answer, but nodded, then filled his own pipe and lit it.
"What brings you to Tharbad, Master Sorul?"
There was a slight pause. Aragorn could not know how well-informed Sorul was about the goings on in Middle earth. This was thanks mostly to Gandlaf, who spoke freely to Sorul whenever he saw him.
"Ah, so you do know my name," Sorul said, something akin to a smile on his lips briefly before he took a draw of his pipe. "I have come to have a look at you. You are to be king one day, save Middle earth." It seemed as if the drow was to say more, but he paused. "I merely wanted to lay eyes on the man who is to accomplish such feats. See for myself, what all the fuss is about."
"And do you have a verdict?" Aragorn asked playfully, a few draws on his pipe had mellowed him considerably. It was good weed. Very good, in fact.
"You will do," Sorul replied after a time, before making eye contact with Aragorn and sharing a grin.
A long smoke and chat, led to the unveiling of brandy, and the two sat in the tree and talked all night, getting to know one another and sharing much jest. Aragorn awoke the next day at noon, feeling not too great after the flask of brandy and high-quality pipeweed. Sorul was nowhere to be found, but Aragorn would never forget the words that had come from a drunken half-drow:
"I pledge my allegiance to you, Aragorn. By my life or death, I will protect Middle earth, until your time comes............... But repeat these words to anyone, and your time will never come... for I will cut it short."
The last few days had been hard, though the Mirkwook scouting party knew this would be the case. Their mission had brought them north of home to the top of the Misty Mountains, then south, cleansing the mountains of orcs. Here, with the Lorien forest almost in sight, the night settled in and the orcs were once more ready for combat.
Over one hundred orcs showed up last night, and the one before. The scouting party had begun fifty strong, but recent casualties had brought their number down to twenty five. Their was little chance of survival tonight.
Orcs began flooding from the caves about them and the party was quick to respond, each archer hitting with perfect accuracy. Their only choice was to fall back into the corner of high, solid rock with no means of escape. On the high ground, the elves picked off orc after orc, but arrows were steadily depleting and the orc advance could not be slowed. Very shortly the elves plunged into melee combat, orcs still coming out of the cave to increase the odds for themselves. The superior fighting skills of the sindar made sure they did not lose any elf on a whim. Not until toil had set did the orcs manage to fell a warrior, but the orcs were relentless, not even an hour of darkness had passed, and all escape routes were blocked off.
Legolas spun out of harms way and then puncture his adversary's neck with the one long knife he had in his grip. In the other hand was his bow, and when he could, he would let an arrow sing, but this was not a regular thing.
The young prince did not know whether he was the first to notice a dark figure that stood on the cliff edge, high up to the left, but whatever it was, it had just set alight to something. The flame then sailed down through the air and thats when Legolas saw the it was a cloth that was alight. A cloth which was sticking out of a bottle's neck. The bottle smashed on the ground the a large portion of orcs burst into flame at the back end of the rabble. Another flaming bottle fell, delivering equal damage to another section of the orcs. The beasts were in panic, and the dark figure began quickly descending the mountain edge, a black cloak fluttering away in the wind. It was then that Legolas, and the others, identified the newcomer. It was Dark Elf.
The panic of the orcs had given Legolas the time to be stunned in this turn of events, but he quickly snapped out of it and began fighting with a renewed vigour. Fighting his way through to the newcomer, he was just in time to see an orc about to deliver an unanswered attack to Sorul's back, and in one swift stroke, Legolas pulled, drew and let fly. Sorul turned about in time to see the orc fall, he then followed the flight path to Legolas who held his gaze for a brief moment. Sorul nodded and then continued to fight, Legolas doing the same.
Soon the horn of Lolthlorien sounded and from the east, reinforcements had come. The fight still lasted to the dying hours of night for the orcs had yet to fully empty out of the moutnains, but victory was soon at hand, and Legolas was smiling again. Looking about to count his own number, he realised that Sorul had disappeared.
Gloin got out of bed, pulled on some clothes and made his way to the living area of his home. It was only when he entered the room that he lit a small torch, and it then that he could see a figure sat in his chair.
"By Durin's Beard! What... Who... How did get in here!?"
"I walked in," Sorul said simply, the torch light glimmered offhis red eyes, unshading the potential evil that rested in his soul. "I have not come to make an enemy, Master Gloin. In these times, it is friends that are most valuable."
Gloin was clenching his fists, but still too stunned to take proper action. How had anyone gotten under the Lonely Mountain, let alone in his house, without alerting the sentries. Already, guards had been alerted to Gloin's cursing and now flooded into the room. Sorul stayed calm, remaining seated, but this did nothing for his case and the guards advanced with their axes.
Sorul was imprisoned in the dungeons of Erebor for three months. Each day, he was questioned and each day his story was dismissed as lies. Sorul was a compliant prisoner, which is quite suprising after all we know about the creature. The only thing Sorul could wait for was word from Gandalf. If the wizard told them that the half-drow was indeed his friend, then perhaps they would give weight to his warnings about Balin's colony in Moria.
Sorul stared at the door when it opened to reveal Gloin and Dain. The half-drow's hair was a mess, him having cut it short numerous times with the sharpest rock to hand. He hated his hair long, he looked too much like an elf with it. Anyway, this, oddly, was the first thing Dain addressed.
"I know a fine barber who can cut that for you, Master Sorul."
Sorul's face was unreadable, but considerably less hostile than usual. Then he said; "I knife will be fine, thank you."
Sorul was given a full pardon from the dwarves, though Gandalf was not about. When offered a guided tour, Sorul requested that Gimli, Gloin's son, give him the tour and the young dwarf obliged, eager to help his father and King Dain apologise for the misunderstanding. Sorul once again was happy to have a chance to talk to another of future hero. But the warnings about Balin in Moria were still unheeded, Dain recieving reports about the colony just before the arrival of Sorul. Everything seemed fine, but the dwarves were grateful of Sorul's efforts anyway. As prisoner and guest in total, Sorul stayed for almost a year before departing to his new found friends.