2. Chapter 2 - Disturbing Discoveries
Two Black Arrows
Chapter 2 – Disturbing Discoveries
When Legolas slipped into unconsciousness mid-way into the march, Aragorn struggled to control the surge of panic this caused since it meant his friend's continuous loss of blood now threatened the elf's life.
However, the sight of wagons ransacked by orcs turned that panic to utter despair due to his counting on using the medicinal and fresh water supplies contained within some of them.
"Lay Legolas over there in the shade of those beech trees and everyone else search those wagons for anything they left behind!" he ordered desperately while he began to divest himself of his weapons and armor so he could remove the arrows unhindered. Something now made more difficult for him and possibly deadlier for his friend.
"Now the orcs pay attention to us!" Éomer spat out angrily before he joined in the search.
"Orcs ability to time their devilry for maximum affect did not become legendary overnight," Gandalf, said the same time a familiar large moth flew past him and drew his attention back to the glowing red and ash filled eastern horizon.
"Legolas cannot withstand any more of their legend," Aragorn countered angrily. Then he noticed the wizard's thoughtful gaze and instantly realized what else was on his mind. "Do you still have hope that Frodo and Sam are alive?"
"Yes although it could only be a fool's hope," Gandalf said cautiously his attention now on the approaching three eagles.
"Then go and look my friend. There is nothing more you can do here for Legolas and me," Aragorn urged.
The sight of the wizard accepting a ride from one of the three huge eagles after it had landed caused quite a stir amongst the men until one of their number yelled excitedly about finding the bundle containing the medicinal supplies.
Without hesitation, Aragorn directed a fire built far enough away from the edge of the shade cast by the beeches in order to keep as much of its smoke from rising up through their branches and thus offend them.
"I don't know if beeches here in the south have a healing connection to elves but if you do my friend could use your help," he whispered in elvish to the nearest tree.
"We are fortunate the orcs did not spoiling what they did not take," Éomer reported as he filled the small black cauldron with clean water from a skin before he hung it on its pole now angled over the fledgling fire.
"Merry and Pippin I'm putting you two in charge of the cauldron. When the water feels warm to the touch, I want half of these herbs in this pouch added to it and then keep stirring it with this spoon until it thickens into a stiff paste. Then let me know," the man instructed the same time he handed a book sized brown leather pouch and wooden spoon to Pippin after he had removed it from the bundle of medicine.
"What are we making?" the curious hobbit asked.
"It's a poultice to stop the bleeding and to ward off infection. Éomer I want you and Gimli to hold Legolas' arms and legs down during the removal just in case the pain from it wakes him," Aragorn continued while he took out his smaller knife and laid it on the edge of the fire so only the flames licked the blade clean.
Then he moved over to Legolas, knelt by his side, and without hesitation, he used his curved knife to cut the elf free from his leather jerkin and tunic so both would not be in his way. The back pieces he left under his friend for now.
After that, he and those with him could do nothing more but wait for the poultice something they all found to be nearly unbearable due to the feeling that time had slowed to a crawl.
"It's ready Aragorn!" Merry finally exclaimed to everyone's relief.
Quickly Éomer took a firm hold on Legolas' arms while Gimli actually sat on the elf's legs.
Fortunately, such restraint proved to be unnecessary since the elf did not wake while the man used his smaller knife to slit an x in the chest's skin around the arrow shaft in order to make it easier to remove. Nor did he stir when Aragorn carefully pulled it back out the way it went in.
Up until that moment, he had assumed the Mordor orcs had made the black arrows. However, his trained Ranger eyes quickly noticed the elvish finesse in the workmanship under the crudely applied black paint.
Now he knew orcs often reequipped themselves from those they had slain. However, this arrow continued to give him the opposite impression, which meant its owner either was an elf or a man the latter a better possibility than the former since no elf in his right mind would offer his services to Sauron.
"It's a double blessing that arrow missed hitting something vital along with his not feeling the pain from its removal too," Éomer said.
"I agree about the blessing for its location and I hope it is only that for the second. He has lost more blood than I like to see," Aragorn muttered as he swiftly set the arrow aside so he could used the wooden spoon to cover the wound with a good-sized mound of the warm poultice. This he tightly covered with a long length of white bandage from the medicinal supplies while Éomer helped to hold Legolas up and Gimli slipped out the remaining back pieces.
After that, he turned his attention to second arrow in Legolas' right shoulder. Only then did he realize his friend's shot at the troll had required supreme effort on his friend's part to move his arm since that arrow had hindered its full range of motion. Then he proceeded in its removal, setting it aside, and the placing of the poultice in the same manner as he had done for the first. Again, Éomer held the elf up during the bandaging process.
"Now what do we do?" Pippin asked after the man handed him back the now empty cauldron.
"We wait to see if the poultice stops his bleeding," the man said simply while he glanced down at Legolas' pale face before he picked up the second arrow. When he saw it was, identical in make to the first he was not surprised. What did surprise him was the greenish-gold color on the arrow's shaft after he carefully used his smaller knife to scrape off some of the poorly applied black paint.
Instantly, he recognized that as the same coloration on the Lorien arrows the Lady Galadriel had also gifted Legolas with after she gave him his bow.
Suddenly Aragorn felt very uneasy at it now implying some sort of alliance between the two enemies against Legolas.
As if confirming his thought several carrion crows began to caw raucously, while flying overhead.
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.