1. Unwelcome Discovery
Chapter I Unwelcome Discovery
The War of the Ring had ended. The Dark Lord Sauron no longer plagued Middle Earth, and his powers and minions diminished with his spirit. Nevertheless, even with the general peace, the forces of the Enemy lingered, wandering the wilderness, stealing what they could, robbing on the highways, murdering and beleaguering the Free People, though not as prolifically as before. Men were the ones primarily concerned, patrolling and administering justice; but the few Elves who had not yet returned to the Undying Lands doled their final vengeance upon their black-blooded foes.
Companies of Elves, mostly from Rivendell and Mirkwood, hunted Orcs and their greater stock, the Uruk-hai. Night and Day, the warriors patrolled the borders and roamed the forbidding forests, stalking vestiges of the Enemy. The hatred between Elves and Orcs runs deep, for though the ancestors of Orcs were once Elves, the fallen Vala Morgoth tormented them until he distorted hroa and fëa. These ruined beings came to hate the Light and all those who loved it.
Likewise, Elves loathed the Orcs, for like their Master, they perverted all that they touched.
One day, one of the companies from Imladris, the realm of Lord Elrond, was taken aback by a strange and disturbing discovery, a mere fifteen leagues from their home.
The youngest warrior, Dúlinion, called out from the field to his companions:
"Here! Here! I have found him!"
The warriors rushed down the hills toward their comrade. Minutes before, their keen ears had heard a weak and pleading voice from afar. They had scouted the area for any sign of an ambush and, once certain of their safety, hurried to the fallen person's aid.
"Who is it?" wondered one aloud as they stared at the prone figure in black.
"What is it?" wondered another warrior with silver hair.
Two warriors kneeled beside Dúlinion, one of whom was Thorondel, Great Captain of the Patrols. He reached for the person's shoulder and elicited a groan. With a nod, he and the others pushed the person on his back, only to withdraw with the utmost alarm.
"Orch!" most cried, and all drew their weapons.
"End its miserable existence," said the one with the silver hair, his disdain stirred.
The Orc groaned again, but warriors continued to hesitate. Then Dúlinion noted, "This is no mere Orc but one of that strange breed—an Uruk, they are called."
"By any other name," replied the silver-haired warrior, Echanor, "he is just as foul—"
The cry startled the warriors, and they aimed their weapons at the creature. They had heard Sindarin in the field—that was why they had come. But surely this creature had not—
"Tulu… tulu nin! Fa…" The creature huffed and wheezed as he struggled to breathe and speak. "Farar… farar nin. I nôrthas nîn an… anwen. Tulu!"
Thorondel paced slowly round the Uruk, his sky-blue eyes wide with trepidation. The others, too, had mouths agape, each flabbergasted and alarmed.
"What devilry is this?" questioned one warrior, his voice trembling; but of course, none could answer. No Orc spoke the tongue of Elves, for these beasts knew only that wretched Black Speech, as well as lowly Westron, which they debased further with insults and curses. How could one speak Sindarin even somewhat competently, unless all this was some elaborate trickery?
Thorondel shook his head in disbelief. "I have lived so long and never—never have encountered so… bizarre and disturbing a spectacle. In no way can Orcs reclaim that which they lost during that dark and foreboding Time. Indeed, my brothers, a dark magic works here, one deeply mired in the shadows."
Finally young Dúlinion spoke his mind: "Precisely my thought. He is no mere Orc." Then he paused as the grim possibility invaded his and the others' minds. "Master Thorondel? You do not suppose that…"
"Speak it not!" cried Thorondel's right hand, Arastalen. "Speak it not! No such abomination has been committed since the First Age. To suggest that even recently, Orcs have been made from…" He spoke no more. Silence, save for the Uruk's heavy wheezing and fading placation, reigned for a moment.
Finally Dúlinion rose and rushed up the hill.
"Where go you?" his companions asked.
"To fetch my horse," he replied. "We must help him."
"Help it?" Echanor's harsh tone stopped the good Samaritan in his tracks. He pointed his dagger sharply at the creature and said: "How know you that this is no trick? That we will not be followed or ambushed? Nay, I say, we end him now," and he kneeled quickly over the Uruk, only to have Thorondel restrain him.
"We might also be attacked for slaying him," he noted. "Impulsive you! Both of you!" And he turned to Dúlinion. "We shall wait a day and return to see if he walks or his kind has come to fetch him."
Dúlinion frowned. "He shall die before tomorrow! Please, Master Thorondel, we must help—"
Suddenly the Uruk cried out. The warriors aimed their arrows and blades again, only to witness Arastalen lifting it under its arms. The creature growled and then groaned, "Charna enni!" And he wheezed and squeezed his eyelids.
Arastalen laid the body back down, gently pressing his fingers against the chest and ribs. The Uruk hissed, and the warrior reported, "Bruising, mostly. Some ribs are broken and who knows what else." Then he paused and leaned an ear close to the creature's lips. "He continues to speak Sindarin… Thorondel, this troubles me deeply. We should not leave him—"
"And risk bringing doom to Imladris? No! Never!" Then Echanor chuckled in disbelief. "This is… that would be madness!"
Thorondel sighed and ran a hand through his golden hair. "Then we are all madder than hares who dance in a midnight storm." He glanced at Dúlinion and finally commanded, "You and Athacúran, fetch the horses."
The young warrior smiled. "Yes, my Lord!"
"Search him for any weapons, and leave them. We shall ride home to Imladris—I will not accept dissention!" he shouted as Echanor stood on the cusp of protest. "We shall remain calm and return swiftly. For if it—he is certainly alone now, then he has been abandoned by his kind. They care for no stragglers and will sometimes kill them or leave them for dead. Now are my commands clear?"
The company assured him that they were and obeyed. The elves found only an empty hilt and belt and discarded them in the field. When the horses arrived, the Uruk's presence predictably aroused their fear. Since Elves could speak and be understood by their animals, they spoke softly and sweetly to calm them, but only Thorondel's hearty chestnut stallion would suffer to carry the creature.
After carefully lifting the Uruk on the horse's back, the hunters rode across the hills and through the great mountain forests, over the crystalline streams, and following the noisy rivers to the House of Elrond, one of the last havens for Elves on Middle Earth.
While they rode, a pressing issue arose:
"Pray tell, what of Lords Elladan and Elrohir?" wondered Echanor. "Have we so quickly forgotten the torment that fair Lady Celebrían suffered? Will Lord Elrond suffer that… abomination to enter? For if even he might, his sons are due in Imladris very soon and will exact their justice upon it."
"Quite true, Thorondel," said Arastalen. "What of the brothers? They will give no minute of speech to this creature."
Thorondel sighed contemplatively. The company could not suddenly abandon the strange Uruk in his vulnerable condition. What if his Orkish appearance was merely superficial? What a crime—to leave him in the wilderness! But in Imladris, he would need a custodian at all times, guarding him from the wrath of an incensed community.
Finally, the Captain replied, "When that time comes, then it will concern us. For now, we must convince Lord Elrond himself to take in our charge and heal him."
Echanor remained unconvinced and unsympathetic, but no one spoke thereafter. In grave silence, they rode with weapons at the ready.
When they finally passed through the gates of Rivendell, Thorondel dismissed his company, save Dúlinion, who wished to remain and defend the creature he had found.
Arastalen fetched Lord Elrond and returned with him to the courtyard. He spoke not of the Uruk but insisted that he come immediately.
"Mae govannen, gwador Thorondel," said Lord Elrond with neither a smile nor a frown. "You as well, young Dúlinion. What urgent tidings bring you?"
"I bring rather disturbing news from our patrol," said the Captain. "We found a body no more than fifteen leagues from this sacred realm."
Lord Elrond's grey eyes grew as wide as two brilliant moons. Thorondel continued: "He lives, yet we know not what he is."
Lord Elrond's brow fell, and he cocked his head. Then Arastalen and Dúlinion carefully pulled the body off the horse. The elf-lord held his breath upon beholding the creature, and he slowly approached it. He lifted its head by its matted hair, repressing his sickened reaction as he allowed the Captain to elaborate.
"He speaks Sindarin, my Lord," to which Elrond glanced at him in disbelief. "No Orc speaks Sindarin, for they know only that twisted tongue of Mordor and the curses and insults of Westron. We pray that you have an answer."
Elrond gazed at him with the utmost unease. An Orc in Imladris—of all beasts and of all places! Then he gazed at that dark grey face, mottled with brown patches. The creature had strong cheekbones, a high forehead, and black, matted hair that fell beyond its shoulders. Thin lips sat beneath an ape-like nose, and his ears protruded longer than any elf ears.
The creature wheezed heavy. The elves adjusted his muscular form, and he groaned:
"Tulu… Charna enni, i tirhûn nîn…"
The elf-lord was taken far aback. He glanced at the warriors and confirmed: "This is no ordinary Orc. Yet I sense no glimmer of Elvish fëa in him. He is most anomalous and shall bring naught but conflict to Imladris." Then he paused, eyes glimmering with deliberation.
"However," he began, "I will not cast him from my house so soon. Surely, my decision shall arouse great ire, and my sons shall soon return from their patrols. For the time being, we shall take this creature to the House of Healing and tend to his injuries."
The warriors bowed their heads and followed Lord Elrond through the long halls, swiftly passing any residents who happened along their way. Word would and probably already had spread quickly, describing their strange discovery. The three warriors assured their Lord that, for the time being, they would serve as the Orc's custodians.
As soon as he was stripped, the extent of his wounds was revealed as severe: his bottom ribs broken; his arms slashed and bruised; an arrowhead lodged in his upper left thigh. Though he could speak, he certainly could not converse with the elves, for his consciousness drifted helplessly between the waking and dreaming worlds.
As expected, the word had spread quickly throughout Imladris, like fire through a dry, autumn field—rumour of a dark figure roaming the halls. Erestor, chief of Lord Elrond's Counsels, sought his master for an explanation. He was joined by the prince-lord Glorfindel, whose typically fair and fearless visage had been marred with dread.
"He allowed the spirit to enter?"
"This is what I have been told," replied Erestor. "I questioned the warriors in Captain Thorondel's patrol. They reported that the being was… was an Orc—of all things!"
In his alarm, Glorfindel hurried, and Erestor after him. They rushed to the House of Healing and beat on the locked doors.
"Lord Elrond! Lord Elrond!" they cried. "We must see you immediately!"
Frantic noises sounded from within. Moments later, Dúlinion carefully opened the doors, his sword in hand. The shocked elf-lords hurried inside before the young warrior locked the doors behind them.
"You arm this room? To fight your kinsmen?" Erestor questioned with the utmost alarm. "What requires such protection that you would risk such a sin?"
Glorfindel glanced at the bed and the dark figure lying atop it. His heart nearly seized. His mind washed in its memories. He whispered and restored the name to its owner:
Erestor, too, stared at the creature. Horrified, nevertheless spell-bound, he crept toward the bed and watched as Lord Elrond began to heal the being.
"So tale rings true." Erestor's voice was pregnant with weakness and woe. "The enemy has entered Imladris with the consent of its Lord. A Elbereth Gilthoniel, what spirit works here?"
Glorfindel, completely on the other hand, began to aid Lord Elrond to the elf-lord's surprise.
"You of all Elves are one of the last I expect to help him," he said.
"As are you, considering what has happened in the past, but my recent encounters…" Glorfindel stopped. All eyes fixed upon him, and he stared only at the Uruk's familiar face. When Elrond asked, his voice betrayed to Glorfindel that he almost knew for certain the prince-lord's answer:
"Who is he?"
The prince-lord withheld his reply for but a moment, stroking that hard brow tenderly as he dwelled in the last memory shared with the Uruk.
"He is Norgash to the Enemy, but Elenfëa to me."
Glossary: Dúlinion (Sindarin) nightingale. Original Elf.
Thorondel (Sind.) eagle-hearted. Original Elf.
Echanor (Sind.) spear of the sun. Original Elf.
Tulu nin! Farar nin. I nôrthas nîn anwen (Sind.) Help me! They hunt me. My steed [is] gone.
Arastalen (Sind.) deer-footed. Original Elf.
Charna enni (Sind.) literally, [It] hurts [to] me!
Athacúran (Sind.) beyond [the] crescent moon. Original Elf.
gwador (Sind.) sworn brother, comrade.
i tirhûn nîn (Sind.) my rib cage.
Elenfëa (Sind.) elf-spirit. Glorfindel's name for Norgash, for he believes that the Uruk once walked as a member of the Elves before being cursed to his lower form.
Some of the Sindarin is derived from lessons by Thorsten Renk and Helge K. Fauskanger. I have used their lessons in an effort to create Sindarin words and phrases if I could not find them, e.g. nôrthas for "steed," derived from Tolkein's northa- "to ride" or tirhûn "to guard" + "heart."
Footnotes: The following fanfiction is a "What if..." tale centered pertaining to the fanfiction When Fair Crosses Foul. What if Glorfindel had reunited with the Uruk Norgash before journeying to Grey Havens? What would happen if Norgash were allowed into Rivendell? How would Elladan and Elrohir react to Norgash? Would Glorfindel be able to defend his unusual comrade from the wrath of the Elves?
Disclaimer: The author, Lynx of Isengard, makes no claim over Tolkien's creations and makes no monetary gain from writing this fanfiction. However, original characters, including Norgash, are the intellectual property of Lynx of Isengard and may not be used without permission.