Disclaimer: No money etc. Just mucking about.
Beta: The truly fab Anarithilien- so much more than just a beta.
This is especially for Azalais, who has been commenting on every chapter in such fulsomely appreciative terms- when you get here Azalais! And of course Curiouswombat and eliza61. And Tanis who I think is following this on all 3 websites!
Chapter 23: Ulairi.
'Those who used the Nine Rings became mighty in their day, kings, sorcerers, and warriors of old. They obtained glory and great wealth, yet it turned to their undoing. They had, as it seemed, unending life, yet life became unendurable to them. They could walk, if they would, unseen by all eyes in this world beneath the sun, and they could see things in worlds invisible to mortal men; but too often they beheld only the phantoms and delusions of Sauron. And one by one, sooner or later, according to their native strength and to the good or evil of their wills in the beginning, they fell under the thraldom of the ring that they bore and of the domination of the One which was Sauron's. And they became forever invisible save to him that wore the Ruling Ring, and they entered into the realm of shadows. The Nazgûl were they, the Ringwraiths, the Ulairi, the Enemy's most terrible servants; darkness went with them, and they cried with the voices of death. — The Silmarillion, "Of the Rings of Power and the Third Age"
Legolas dropped the kindling he had gathered and glanced around at the silent, empty forest, letting his gaze drift towards the distant peaks of the mountains. Elrohir was nowhere to be seen, but he felt his regard all the same, the intense focus, the simmering contempt. He dropped his gaze to the thin, dry soil and crouched self-consciously beside the shallow fire pit he had already dug to sort the twigs and thin branches into piles for building the fire. He reached back to grope for his tinderbox when the first heavy raindrop fell. He looked up into the darkening sky. It was but middy and dark enough for twilight, he thought.
Legolas sighed. Surely they were far enough away from the city now, he thought. He had wondered why they were coming up here rather than simply riding as far East as possible, but Elrohir had been insistent, ordering him about like some raw novice and he dared not gainsay him. He supposed it was no worse than being dismissed by Elrohir as a scout, as a companion, as a lover, as anything of worth. He hated being relegated merely to the role of bait.
But he knew that was how Elrohir saw him now.
His hands trembled slightly and went instinctively to his neck, to touch lightly the bruises beneath the collar of his tunic. He drew in a breath, remembering those grey eyes piercing him, the crushing pain in his throat as Elrohir had leaned in close, pushing his long lean body against him, chest to chest, belly to belly, thigh to thigh. 'You told me it was me you wanted.' he had said as he shoved against Legolas hard, and his hot breath on Legolas' ear had made him squirm...with fear and strange, unwanted desire... 'I was ready to give you everything.' And when Elrohir had licked along the edge of his ear gently, almost tenderly, Legolas had moaned, and writhed, strangled by the crushing arm across his throat, feeling that strange leap of desire throb again as he did so. He still felt Elrohir's smile of triumph against his own mouth, the arousal hard against his own thigh. And then Elrohir had drawn back his lips and spat the words at him. 'Mirkwood whore.'
Legolas blinked and rubbed his eyes on the back of his arm, trying to focus his attention on the fire, wanting to be busy, be useful, be anything but what Elrohir had called him.
He watched unhappily as the small fire flickered into life. He placed one dry leaf at a time, carefully, onto the flames and watched as they caught and flared, and caught fire. Elrohir had not ordered him to build a fire but Aragorn had said he drove the Nazgul off Weathertop with fire. So...so Elrohir might need fire, he thought, when the Nazgul come... And in spite of everything, he wanted Elrohir to be safe. So he fed it carefully until small flames leaped and danced cheerily.
Leaning back against the dry dead pine tree, he listened to the delicate songs of the forest creatures that scuttled and whirred and spun sounds, making their homes, finding food, getting on with the struggle for life in this high, desolate place. He let his mind still. The wind stirred in the dead pine tree and he felt the buzz of life in its branches, beneath the bark, amongst its dry roots. Around him, in the forest, sap was rising in the stems of trees and plants, knowing Spring was on its way, and expecting the warmth of the sun on the earth.
Spring was on its way...and he would not be here to see it.
He felt a nervous flutter in his stomach and wished something would happen now so he did not have to go through with this...Anything. A landslide. A storm...It wasn't fear of death though. Death was something the elves of the forest faced every day they left their stronghold.
He picked up a small twig and idly drew circles in the thin dry soil, remembering how kind Gandalf had been once he had agreed to the plan, how gently he had then said, 'Death is not the end. Death is just another path.' But it was not the same for each of them. Aragorn would die and go beyond the realms of Arda to wherever the souls of Men went. And the hobbits too. And Gimli... Legolas did not know where the children of Mahal went... but it was not Valinor. And he found he could not bear the idea. He stared at the bright flames burning merrily and thought he could understand Arwen Undomiel's choice.
Suddenly he regretted his duplicity with Gimli last night and wished it were the dwarf with him now. He missed his friend, the steady heartbeat at his back, the solid presence, the scent of the earth in the rain, for that was Gimli's fragrance. He smiled at himself. The son of Thranduil thinking a dwarf smelled sweet! But he did, and his song was like the deep earth. Legolas' hand drifted to his chest and searched for the thin chain that was no longer there, for he had left it tangled in the dwarf's strong clever fingers, to remember the promise they had made each other in Lothlorien….to make the journey should the one fall, to his home to tell of him to his family…
He found himself suddenly restless and already on his feet, bow in hand instinctively, wanting action, flight, anything to stop the images and thoughts that flooded his mind. He took two strides out of the clearing and then stopped.
Where could he go? What could he do? When the Nazgul came, he needed to be where Elrohir could find him so...so he could...
Dropping back to the ground he flung his head back and opened his eyes wide to the grey, heavy sky, and wished there were stars and the distant metallic star-chime. This strange midday twilight muffled all sound, all song... As though something were blanketing it. He tilted his head slightly and listened more carefully, listening for the deep notes of the Song, beneath the sounds of the sparse forest and craggy mountain. He thought he heard Elrohir's song briefly, an eagle soaring over smooth snow untouched, but then another image flashed into his mind. Painfully... a brush of fire against his skin, a flick of pain against flesh, a burn of rope around his bones... a hand drifting towards his hip, belly. It was fondling him, gripping him to hardness. A dark jewel flashed on the hand that gripped him...
He shook his head. Almost without thinking he glanced down at his hands, his wrists. The sensation had been so real that he expected to see burns where ropes had bound him. Fear rippled down his back like cold fingers. It had felt too real.
Cautiously he looked about him. The dim forest was utterly silent.
Elrohir. His thoughts kept circling back to that one point. And whenever he thought of him, Legolas' heart gave a leap in spite of everything...maybe because of everything.
There had been a moment that morning on the trail when Elrohir had stopped suddenly and tilted his water skin up to his lips. A trickle of water had run from his lips down his throat and over his chest, for he had opened his jerkin and shirt in the heat of their climb. Legolas had stared, even after that violent assault. He had still wanted to trace that drop, let his tongue run over the wet mouth, throat and chest... He swallowed.
Because in spite of it all, in spite of that violent assault, in spite of Elrohir's goading him to fight at Linhir, in spite of all his cruelty and insults, Legolas knew Elrohir. He had heard his song. When Elrohir had knelt so chastely between his thighs and pressed a warm and gentle hand against his wounded breast, Legolas had heard the eagles soaring majestic and fierce and the clean steel of the cold and snow on the mountains, high, high beyond the reach of man or elf. But beneath that courage and fierce pride, he had heard the notes of a terrible loneliness, and absolute dread, and it seemed to him that a child stood and silently watched a ship disappear over the edge of the grey sea….
He carefully drew dry leaves into a small pile to feed the fire, his heart as miserable and empty as he had ever known. He thought about the task ahead of them, thought that he had made it easier perhaps for his desperate, fragile Elrohir to play his part in what was about to happen. But it might drive Elrohir even further into that lonely place. He wondered if Elladan knew and thought perhaps he did.
Restless, he rose once more to his feet and gathered up his bow.
There were jarring notes in the Song, he realised, an uncomfortable tension. The forest was utterly silent. The wind had dropped. He stood listening, leaning forward slightly, bow loosely held in one hand, the other on the strap of his quiver.
A memory flashed across his mind; there had been a terrible time once, long ago. The snow had been deep and cold. A hunting party gone astray, deep in the woods. They came across a frozen lake he had never seen before. From behind them drifted the thin wail of hunting Nazgul…the clamour of orcs searching, as they, for game in the starving deep winter…He and his hunters had hidden then, knowing they could not elude the enemy for long, and their breath froze in their throats as the black horses moved beneath the trees they hid in, barely breathing, calming their breath, their fear, for the Nazgul scented fear...scented it and sent the wolves running, the orcs caterwauling after as the elves fled across the lake hoping it would hold, hoping the snow would be their friend. The terror had almost been their downfall. At the memory, he rubbed his fingertips together to rid himself of the pricking in his thumbs.
The sky had grown steadily darker and grey sheets of rain moved purposefully from the East across the plains. Distant spikes of lightning pierced the faraway darkness and he heard the low rumble of thunder far off. A cold heavy raindrop landed on his cheek, his hair, his tunic. Elrohir was nowhere to be found.
Lighting suddenly lit up the whole sky and for a minute he saw above him the bleak high mountains. The sky burst silver-white-black and then again silver-white-black. Thunder rolled and crackled around the mountains and he felt the huge drops of storm rain hit the dust of the mountainside, smelt the sharp clean scent of the rain.
He glanced back to the small campfire. Raindrops sizzled and sputtered but the flames danced and flickered brightly.
He would have no defense against the Nazgul without the fire, he thought. But he did not turn back. Instead he strode along the narrow goat track to the high ridge ahead of him, where the pine trees clustered darkly. That had been Gandalf's plan anyway, he reminded himself. He felt his scalp prickling, his fingertips, the nerve endings of his fingers and thumbs tingling. He felt every hair on his body rise slightly and he hesitated, looked back over his shoulder to the distant smouldering fire.
A great roar suddenly seemed to come up through the mountains. A huge wind hurried up through the passes and high valleys. It lashed through the trees, tossing branches, bending the tree tops. The biting, roaring wind brought the bitterness of the East. Pine cones, small branches struck the earth around him. His hair was caught and thrown back by the wind and he struggled against it, fighting his way to the top of the ridge. Long shadows seemed to cling to the trees, shifting as the branches and leaves tossed and swayed in the strong wind. There was a sudden cracking overhead as a tree limb tore itself from the trunk and crashed through the branches to the ground in front of him. Lightning spiked ahead just beyond the ridge and the shadows lurched forward. The rain came then, heavy thunder drops and he broke into a jog through the trees now, searching for Elrohir and anxious as he drew further and further from the small camp. The small fire should still burn for a while sheltered as it was, he thought, but he could not leave it for too long. His hand clung to the wet wood of his bow. Thunder rumbled and crashed around him.
A sudden sheet of lightning lit up a silvery reptilian hide gleaming wetly in the rain ahead of him. Movement flashed in the lightning and then darkness.
He froze, eyes wide and staring. Lightning and thunder came together this time and they lit up a blunt, ugly head that swung round blindly and snapped its jaws.
Breathless with fear, heart pounding, he stumbled backwards, noticing for the first time the tall shadows that moved and slid, and coalesced into one tall shape. Slowly, as if it had just acquired cognizance, the tall shadow turned. Its gauntleted hand went to its sword hilt and the blade was drawn from its sheath with an unearthly ring. In the lightning that struck all around them now, the sword gleamed like mercury. A morgul blade.
Legolas eyes were huge, wide, and he felt the hairs all down his neck, spine and his arms rise in frozen horror at the realisation.
It was too soon. Too soon! He was not prepared!
He stumbled and fell, scrambled up and leapt back along the narrow goat track. There was no point in hiding, it had seen him, knew it was him, hunted him… In his panicked state, the image of the Ring leapt unbidden. The long thin shriek of the Nazgul hunting pierced the storm and he fled.
Graceless, stumbling, his feet flew over the soft pine forest floor, leaping over fallen logs, and the wind whipped around him, bits of branches, twigs broken off the trees flew through the air like missiles, rain poured heavily, heavier, and he saw ahead of him the dim glow that was all that was left of the small fire. Elrohir must be here! He must be! Legolas thought desperately. He could not bear to be caught now. He crashed into the clearing, wanting his bow, his long knives and cast about frantically for Elrohir. Nothing. No sign.
Legolas' hands fumbled frantically to feed the fire, to shield it from the wind and rain, for fire at least would be some protection if Elrohir did not come. It flared valiantly and he glanced behind him to where he had dropped his bow and groped for it. At least he could perhaps kill the winged beast, maybe catch the Nazgul's thin black shroud alight.
But Elrohir, who was supposed to protect him, was nowhere.
The rain came in drenching sheets, broken only by the tree cover overhead He leaned over the fire as much as he dared, cursing…with his bow, stringing it instinctively, brushing arrows into the now spluttering flames, hoping they would light, hoping they would catch fire but he had not prepared, not enough and now…now it was too late. The fire spluttered, flickered in the drenching rain and the arrows would not catch, could not catch light. He fumbled with the kindling he had stocked, throwing it on carelessly in his panic.
He cursed Elrohir then. Useless. It was useless now. He could not be taken. He may as well fight.
Crushing the fear that froze his blood, he steeled himself against the horror that froze his scalp at the Nazgul's wailing shriek. Close! Too close! He rose slowly to his feet to face the Nazgul that hunted him.
And then he heard a second thin wail. This time it came from behind. He whirled around in sudden, horrible realisation. An answering shriek came from ahead of him.
There were two Nazgul.
He nocked the arrows that were useless, and turned again, heart pounding loudly in his chest, limbs coiled and ready to leap away into the trees, to run and even though they would hunt him down, he wanted to flee - knew he could not fight and win…but that was not the plan, he thought. He needed to be still. In case Elrohir watched, for his task was not to save Legolas. No, Elrohir would stay hidden, he reminded himself. Elrohir would be watching for a clear shot if he was needed.
Legolas squeezed his fist around his bow so the nails dug into his palms. It is only pain, he told himself as he had countless times before, as his father had told him. And although the thin wailing sent needles of fear down his nerves, he swallowed the fear, and turned to face the approaching Nazgul.
The storm thrashed the trees around him. Thunder crackled suddenly overhead and almost immediately the forest was lit by white lightning. He saw the two black-clad wraiths stride down the slope and emerge from the trees. They stopped at the edge of the clearing.
And then, horribly, fatally, there was blood-freezing shriek behind Legolas, and he whirled to see a third Nazgul, its thin black shroud flapping in the tearing wind.
His lips parted and eyes widened. Nerveless fingers fumbled uselessly, for he had only his arrows and his long white knives. Against such foes as these his weapons were useless and he backed against the dead pine tree. The hairs on his neck stood on end and he spun round to see a wraith's empty hood horrifyingly close to him. With a cry, he released an arrow into the darkness. The shadow simply raised its broadsword and batted the arrow away as if it were a mere dart.
Terrible screams filled the night, filled his head and his bow fell from trembling hands. He said a quick, desperate prayer to Elbereth and dropped to his knees. Fumbling, he thrust a dry branch into the fire, desperate for it to catch, desperate for it to burn, trying not to shout for Elrohir, for it was not his task to help Legolas fight, but to stand witness and to give the milui-criss*.
The Nazgul slowly stepped forward and one strode into the clearing. Legolas scrambled to his feet and sent the burning brand in a wide arc around him. Flames flickered weakly and then suddenly glancing round, he realised he had allowed his foe to spread out and surround him. He had lost sight of one of them. Suddenly the thin screaming that shot through his nerves, set them on edge, came from all sides and there were two wraiths now in the clearing and one stood without. He spun about, drawing his long white knife in one hand and swung the burning brand towards the nearest wraith with the other.
But the Nazgul simply swung its sword and struck the branch. A shower of sparks went up and the branch broke. Desperately Legolas lunged forwards with his long knives. They clashed against the cold blade of Mordor. Sparks flew. The huge broadsword crashed down with such force it sent judders up his arms. But the white elven metal held. He glimpsed a flap of the thin black shroud at his right and whirled round, white metal clashing with the morgul blades and he reached beneath one sword and stabbed into the shroud.
He felt his knife scrape against metal and one rational part of his mind wondered why a wraith wore armour, but he had no time for he was suddenly assailed by all three charging forward and heavy blades were ringing against his knives. He kicked the sparks up from the fire, and with regret, for the fire now sizzled and died. But the sparks alit on black shrouds and briefly the Nazgul were distracted… but they knew they had him and as one, slowly they drew back.
He stood in the centre, defiant and proud, with lighting and thunder crashing around him, rain flattening his hair. It was inevitable. It was why he was here. The rain smelled so fresh on the pine needles and he thought that might be his last memory when he whirled once more, clashing against the swords, blades flashing like the lightning that now speared through the sky -a different lightning, forked and charged. He wanted to shout to Elrohir, wanted him by his side, just...wanted him near. But that was not why the half elf was here.
Instinctively he threw his arms up and a clash as his own blades met morgul steel in a frenzied attack. He whirled around, suddenly aware of a hiss of steel near his cheek, another sliced the air near his shoulder and he leaped away only to meet another slashing blow that sent shudders up his arm and withdrew, and hammered down upon him again and again. And then a searing pain along his arm, like ice, like fire and another trailing his ribs. He gasped and leapt back, another trace of fire along his back. Fire zipped along his thigh as he was pierced once more, and he felt the warmth of blood.
He knew it was time. Time to finish. He turned and clashed swords with one and ducked a swinging blow from another. He wondered why they had not simply finished him off yet and as soon as he thought of that, he brought his blades down and crossed them in front of him.
A cold blade sliced across his cheek and another burned along his arm. Three blades pierced and cut and tore his arms, thighs, his chest, his belly...but they did not stab downwards, they did not pierce his heart. He felt his shirt flutter and knew it had been rent and tattered. And then one blade pointed at his breast.
'Go on then! Finish it!' he shouted with a nerve he did not believe he had. He made himself stand tall, defiantly shouting. 'I am Legolas Thranduillion. You have searched for me often enough in the woods - finish this if you dare!' He felt his limbs trembling but let proud anger and defiance fill his veins, his lungs. He reminded himself who he was.
The Nazgul paused, as one. And then they leveled their blades at his heart, which pounded in his chest so it felt like he would burst. He held his head high, waiting for the blow. It was only pain, he told himself again. It will not last. It will soon be blessed peace...
The three wraiths pointed their blades at him and approached slowly until they each touched him. Where the points touched he felt a slow burning along his nerves, a cold ice that burned and was terrible. It felt like forever, waiting for the piercing pain. And he braced himself as they drew back their swords as one, poised, he thought at last for the final thrust, eyes closed and teeth clenched waiting for the pain that would signify his last breath. He held it, and briefly thought of his friends, of the Fellowship...and whispered to himself, 'For Frodo.'
An image flashed into his head then, the Ring in a small hand... and the Nazgul raised their heads like hounds scenting the air and the screams filled the air, burned his ears almost. He could not help but clap his hands over his ears. Merry, he shouted at himself, fool that he was! A small pale face that looked up at him in the Houses of Healing. Merry, who killed Angmar! Even now he felt a wash of amazement and glee at the deed spread through screaming grew louder, angrier and he clenched his fists over his ears, waiting, but the final blow never came. Later, he wished it had. For the screaming suddenly stopped.
The silence was almost worse. The Nazgul stood on three sides now - silent, terrible. Their blades were drawn and waiting. He did not know what they waited for, but he dreaded it. Darkness gathered about them and they towered hugely, for they had all been sorcerers when they lived…
And then the darkness, the air about him seemed to shimmer and tremble like a terrible heat. Words seemed to come out of the darkness, like a whisper of wind at first, but then it grew louder.
'Ash Nazgul durbatuluk.'
'That does not frighten me!' he shouted, though terror gripped him. 'I am no High Elf so delicate a little orc-speak can hurt me!' he shouted defiantly, blazing with the passion and courage of his house.
'Ash nazg durbatuluk.'
The dark, deep the words filled the small clearing, darkness seemed to gather and the Nazgul chanted in deep voices. They seemed amplified, echoing, growing in strength as if all the hosts of Mordor stood in the small glade. The words writhed and hissed and the Black Speech pierced him more than any blade.
'That. Will. Not. Be. Enough!' he shouted against them. Thunder rolled, went on and on and drowned out his brave words, his furious shouting, his defiance. In spite of his brave words, the spell seeped into him, the low hissing, deep chanting, it took over his heartbeat and penetrated his core.
'Ash nazg gimbal.'
The tall shadows stepped forward, blades poised and raised high, and he was one tall elf standing alone, lit suddenly by lightning, shouting against the thunder that raged and crashed above. But the words filled his head, his heartbeat, his blood as it pounded in his veins. They lowered their blades so they touched the earth and liquid fire spewed along the ground, ran in molten lava in lines around him, flared up and cast hot red light on his face, ran together so he was surrounded on all sides. Walls of fire enclosed him and he burned.
'Ash nag thrakatuluk agh burzum-ishi krimpatul.'
As if tearing it from his mind, the image of the Ring appeared and suddenly a clash of thunder and steel and the blades of Morgoth met together under the storm and a wave of power flooded the clearing. Legolas collapsed to his knees, chest heaving, the air was so heavy he could not breath. His fingers tingled with the charged air, prickled and stung along his nerves, growing in intensity until he felt burning along his nerves. He felt his skin heating and scorching, and the red light that burned his eyes filled his vision. His skin blistered and crisped, his blood boiled and flesh melted in the heat. All he could see was the perfect gold of the Ring and everything else was fire…fire …
No! He shouted in resistance. No! He tried to force his mind away, to the Sea but an Eye opened onto him. More terrible than anything, more dreadful than the Balrog, more terrible than the Nazgul…I see you...
The Eye fixed on him and he burned and he screamed and screamed as his nerves, his blood boiled in his veins and he felt his joints pop, sinews twist and melt and stretch. It ripped open his thoughts and lightning and flame poured into him…. He saw the Ring. So perfect. So pure...The Ring… the Ring…My Precioussss... in the small palm of the Hobbit… a hobbit killed Angmar…the king had returned…He saw the Ring again, in a hobbit's hand…Merry Merry Merry, he chanted because it was all he could think to do. But it ripped Merry from him. Aragorn Aragorn Aragorn… on the Paths of the Dead ...the palantir... Pippin and the palantir… Pippin…and Aragorn and Gandalf. Ah, it knows the grey one...Frodo's hand…Frodo Baggins? A hobbit killed Angmar… Where is it? My Preciousss?… Baggins!
The screaming seemed to come from far away but he knew it was he who was screaming… he was dimly aware that his throat hurt but everything was fire…scorching fire…burning him. His eyes felt they were melting but he tasted salt. It is tears, one part of his mind thought. He knew that was right because he could not last long…The Ring. My Precious...where is it? He knew It, had let It whisper along the edges of his mind, the fluttering temptation, the seduction. It did not look to him for long, he knew he was not enough for it… he had seen too much…The Eye, the Voice, ripped his entrails open and threw his heart to one side...It mocked him. A Dwarf...earth-brown eyes, deep song of the earth...Elvellon Elvellon Elvellon... He screamed over the laughter that wrenched his bones. It turned itself to more interesting prey…the wizard, yes…more corruptible than a mere Woodelf? No…the man…yes..the king… yes…where is it? …in the hobbit's hand.. small hand.. poor hobbit…fire.. Yes. Fire.
The Eye bore down on him…red raw pain flooded him, every nerve in his body was on fire. Yes, fire, that is where…fire… yes, fire… He was on fire, knew he burned, knew his blood was boiling in his veins, knew his skin was crisping and tearing and fat was melting, flesh burning. He could smell it burning…heard a distant screaming, wailing and there was a clashing and shouting around him and his head was thrown back and he was screaming again.
Distantly, he heard the hissing whispers of the Nazgul.
'Aicanáro...You have come for him.'
Elvellon Elvellon Elrohir Elrohir…and there was fire…a blue fire..blue like the sea…breaking on the far horizon. He remembered Gandalf's words then amid the cruel laughter, the thin, ear-splitting screaming. He no longer knew if it was the Nazgul or himself who screamed...but he remembered the Wizard's voice, mellowed and soft in the distance ...'The journey doesn't end here,' he had said, sharp blue eyes wide and soft in remembrance. 'Death is not the end. Death is just another path.' Gandalf's smile reached through the agony, the red raw pain. 'The grey veil of this world rolls back and all turns to silver glass and then you see it…white shores, and beyond…the far great country and the swift sunrise.'** and he thought he saw a distant shore like silver glass ahead of him, and white birds flying into the sunrise that was red...
A thin spear of ice sliced into him, piercing his heart. He felt the world tremble and shimmer and then the burning was no longer a fire, hot burning but the ice cold of the Nazgul's blade in his flesh.
*milui-criss - The Merciful Cut. A silvan expression, common in the Greenwood and used by Thranduil's elves should one of their number be taken captive and with no chance of rescue.
** ROTK Gandalf to Pippin but in this, he also says it to Legolas
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.