May the Valar Protect Them: 27. Bregolas

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27. Bregolas

Bregolas signaled for Urevio to halt and the horse slowed from a gallop to a walk and then stopped. He wiped the sweat and dirt from his brow with the sleeve of his tunic. Drawing a deep breath he turned and looked back west. Elven archers were firing upon the last of the orcs still fleeing into the murky darkness of Mirkwood. Aranu called off the attack and the archers pulled back.

Anor rises,” Galthenin spoke quietly as he reigned in next to Bregolas. “It is over for another day.”

“In my lifetime I have never seen such activity of evil,” Bregolas admitted.

“You are young, nín-caun,” Galthenin spoke with millennia of experience. “Yet I too have not seen shadow so dark over the Greenwood in many centuries.”

Bregolas smiled grimly at his captain. He might command this force, but he trusted Galthenin and Aranu as his captains implicitly. They served him with devotion, indeed had trained him to the position he now held. Aranu joined them, and the three allowed their horses to be taken and cared for while they talked.

“Causalities?” Bregolas asked.

“Minor,” Aranu replied.

“One serious, the rest minor,” Galthenin answered for his unit.

Bregolas was silent for a few moments as he pondered the night’s battle. Aranu’s warriors had battled orcs coming in west from the woodlands, while Galthenin had dealt with spiders in Mirkwood as well as a band of orcs that had approached from the south. Most of Thranduil’s elves lived north of the Mirkwood mountains, but in the time of peace several small groups had settled again near the Old Forest Road. These local settlements of elves were expending much of their energy and resources against the growing threats, and only a night earlier Aranu had led a small group of warriors on a scouting mission south. They had not gone far when they came across a patrol from the local settlement deep in battle with goblins. The combined group had quickly routed the band. The settlement’s patrol painted a grim picture. Spring had brought renewed danger from spiders, orcs and evil men. They were able to protect the paths through the forests but were becoming stretched too thin to do this as well as protect their own villages.

“We cannot spare more warriors to guard the settlements,” Bregolas finally said. “It is time they moved back within the secured borders of the realm.”

Aranu and Galthenin exchanged glances, confirming their agreement with their prince.

“I do not wish to spare any from this mission for that task. Aranu, when we have finished please arrange that a messenger be sent to the King explaining the situation. Ask for additional guards to be sent to escort those who must be moved,” Bregolas finished.

Aranu nodded.

“We have traversed the length of Mirkwood and back, and scouted east to the river and back since early spring,” Bregolas changed the topic to the missing elves. “Many orcs we have routed, yet it seems for all we have killed they reproduce just as quickly. A party of ten warriors can withstand much, but I fear if they are battling orcs as we are, they will quickly be worn down.”

“They cannot effectively fight when they are protecting the children in their group,” Galthenin added. “We also do not know their condition. In addition to four they must protect, they may have injuries, loss of horses or even loss of warriors.”

“So how do we best help them get home?” Bregolas laid the question before his captains.

“We began this mission intending to provide them clear passage home. To some degree we have done that. We have routed the orcs, pushing them south. What we do not know is what is happening east. I believe the warriors will follow the river home. Flooding is minimal this year, and orcs don’t like water and open skies. We must take care not to push the orcs east towards them,” Aranu offered.

“I propose we split the units,” Galthenin suggested. “Bregolas, you accompany one unit down the Celduin. Perhaps you will meet and aid them directly. One unit continues clearing the lands south and east of the Old Forest Road.”

Bregolas felt relief fill him. Dol Guldur was occupied and active, shadow had thickened and deepened over Mirkwood, and the elves of his father’s realm were no longer safe. There was much to occupy the warriors of Mirkwood, and Bregolas struggled with balancing the needs of their people at large with the needs of these specific few.

Galthenin and Aranu watched the prince’s internal struggle with tinges of paternal pride. Both recalled the brash and headstrong your warrior first entrusted to them centuries ago. They both felt some pride for the wisdom and leadership abilities that Bregolas had developed. That he recognized that this mission was personal and assumed no direct command confirmed to the captains that the prince had indeed grown wise.

Bregolas nodded at Galthenin. “That shall be our plan.”

Aranu excused himself to compose the messages outlining Bregolas’ decisions and change of plans. Galthenin sat quiet for a moment, composing his own thoughts before speaking.

“Legolas is your brother, and only a small child at that. Choosing him as your primary concern of this mission is appropriate, Bregolas. It is not often that one is forced to choose between the needs of those they serve and the needs of the ones they love. This is not one of those times. Do not create a conflict where none exists.”

Bregolas considered the words of his mentor carefully. A small smile tugged at the corners of his mouth.

“My captains are more than capable to command without me watching over their shoulders,” he eyed Galthenin for a response. “Is this not also what you mean to say?”

“Aye, nín caun,” Galthenin chuckled, a twinkle in his eye. “Just this once we shall manage without you, pen-neth.”

“I do not think I shall ever grow too old to be teased by you, shall I?” Bregolas laughed, his heart already lightened.

“Only if you wish it, Bregolas. Only if you wish it,” Galthenin clapped him on the shoulder as he stood. “Come and eat. I smell breakfast.”

***

Galithon lay flat on his stomach in the grass of the slight ridge, Bellion to his right and Laerion to his left. The two had scouted ahead, as had become their normal routine, before the party of elves continued forward with the children. They had reached the juncture of the waters of the Rivers Celduin and Carnen. Thick woods covered the land on either side of the juncture, and on the western bank the slope rose steeply against rock worn smooth by the flow of water over time. Steep paths threaded up the hillside from the water to the woods above, and it was here that Galithon’s attention was drawn.

The paths had shown recent use, evidenced by the lack of encroaching vegetation and the pebbles and rocks piling at the edges of the path, pushed there by sliding feet as they tramped the steep hill. Small branches of shrubs and trees were torn, the downward bend and missing leaves indicating they were used for leverage by those climbing the steep path or slipping down it to the water.

Galithon drew back slightly, allowing the rise of ground to further muffle any sound of his voice.

“How far did you explore?”

“To the top of the hill,” Bellion whispered back. “There is evidence of shelters and campfires; all recently occupied but not currently in use.”

“Men or orcs?”

“Both,” Laerion replied. “Sometimes at the same time.”

Galithon pondered that information. Orcs and men, together?

“When was it last occupied?”

“Night before last,” Bellion answered. “This appears to be a resting place for different groups moving west.”

Galithon inched quietly back down the ridge, motioning the other two to follow.

“If there are men and orcs together, we have little advantage in trying to pass by day or by night,” Galithon reasoned. “Let us hope there are none planning to stay here soon.” He turned and led his scouts back to the rest of the party.

It was now mid summer, and they had slowly made their way north and west. They had stayed in Dorwinia for several weeks while Meren and Galithon healed from their wounds and Tathiel and the children continued to gain strength.

Hazad had been questioned by the militia. The deaths of his sons had broken him, and he did not deny the charges brought against him. The penalty for such crimes under Dorwinian law was death. The accused was allowed to plead for mercy, and the ones wronged had the right to deny or allow the magistrate to offer it. Hazad did not ask. The magistrate later told Galithon that the man seemed to have given up any reason for living. He loved Tal-Elmar dearly and the death of his favorite son had broken his heart. Even at the end he blamed the elves for his son’s death. His mind reasoned that if Tathiel had not run away they would not have been camped in the place where they were attacked by orcs.

Galithon alone of the elves witnessed Hazad’s execution. His crimes garnered little attention in the town, and the only others who attended his execution were the executioner, the magistrate, and those who guarded him. That he was executed was not discussed in the elves’ camp. Neither Tathiel nor the ellyth had asked his fate after the night of the battle. They had spent their time helping nurse Meren and Galithon back to health; and all were rejoicing that Tathiel and Rawien had plighted their troth. Hazad had been forgotten. Rawien and Ethiwen knew a day might come when one of the four would ask his fate; they would answer the question if it arose.

When Galithon had recovered from his wound well enough to ride, the party broke camp and followed the Celduin north. Nothing in the journey was left to chance, and they moved with all the stealth wood-elves were capable of. Even the horses seemed light-footed and silenced their own discussions as well. The day’s trail was well scouted before they traveled, and the pace was easy. The warriors were pleased with their charges. Varandil had discussed with them the need to re-acclimate the children gradually to the company of elves. To this end, the war party behaved more like a camping trip in the presence of the young ones. Watches were faithfully kept, the trail was scouted and plans were made out of their hearing. When it was deemed safe to do so, songs were sung and tales told around the campfire. Fresh meat was caught nearly every day and supplemented with food items purchased in Dorwinia. The children flourished under the care and attention of the warriors.

Legolas was soon comfortable with any of the elves in the party. His carrier was a success, and he delighted to ride with Sadron in particular. He moved from person to person and horse to horse with ease, calling each by name.

“To think I was concerned he would not adjust to male elves easily,” Tathiel smiled as she saw the little prince stretch his arms out to Lachthoniel from his current seat with Sadron.

The buckles had won out, and the carrier was quickly unfastened and the whole contraption with child passed to Lachthoniel. Lachthoniel deftly fastened Legolas to himself, and then began feeding the elfling bits of his fruit.

“Shy he is not,” Rawien answered, his warm breath tickling her ear from his position behind her. “He really is quite an endearing child. He does not fuss, nor throw tantrums or wake up on the wrong side of the bedroll.”

“Especially if he is given the treats he so desires,” Tathiel laughed at the bribery Lachthoniel had used to win the child over to him.

A slight trill sounded in the distance, and all of the elves perked at the sound. Horses were stopped and the party remained still until Galithon, Bellion and Laerion emerged joined them.

“Let us stop here for a break,” Galithon suggested. “It is nearly time for the noonday meal.”

Drawing Rawien away from the others, Galithon, Bellion and Laerion sat down and with sticks drew a map of the area in the dirt.

“It is a prime ambush area,” Galithon explained, sketching the terrain. “The river borders us to the north and east and there is a ravine that runs parallel to the river here. The orc camp sits here on this angle, with the river beyond it and the ravine in front of it. To go around it means leaving the relative safety of the river and moving west through these woodlands.”

Bellion explained the camp and what they had found, and how recently they thought someone had been there.

“Should there happen to be enemies west of the ravine, they could easily force the unwary traveler either into the ravine or straight into the camp,” Rawien mused. “For the safety of the caravans that trade along this route, the camp should be destroyed.”

Galithon looked at him in surprise. “You suggest that we take out the camp?”

Rawien quickly shook his head. “No, just thinking out loud. We must avoid being trapped here, but when possible we must send those who can destroy it.”

“There is no one present there now,” Galithon pondered aloud, “so it is a good time to pass this area. However, even if we pick up the pace we will not reach it until nightfall. I do not wish to pass at night nor to camp near there. I suggest we eat, then move on to this spot,” he pointed at the map, “where we can camp for the night. From these trees we can keep watch on this whole area.”

***

Tathiel was surprised when camp was made at the positions taken by the warriors. Bedrolls for herself, Legolas, Tinánia and Eärundra were placed in the very center of the camp. There was no fire. The horses were led to an area under the trees near the river. Watches were set, and instead of the usual one or two elves on guard, on this night there were three at all times. The children all sensed the tension of the warriors and drew close to Tathiel. Ethiwen smiled reassurances to her daughters, but she was needed this night to help watch. It was the first time since the ellyth had been reunited with their mother that she would not sleep with them.

The moon was fully risen in the clear night sky when Tathiel heard movement in the camp. She sat up quickly, Legolas in her arms.

“Wake the children,” Galithon whispered. “Get the camp cleared.”

Tathiel roused Tinánia and Eärundra, letting Legolas sleep until she had to wake him. They quickly rolled up all the bedrolls and attached them to the packs near them. Tinánia began carrying the packs to the trees where they would be hidden from sight. Eärundra was slower to wake and had moved slowly at first, but now she began to help move the packs as well.

“Wake Legolas,” Galithon returned, appearing in front of them suddenly. “Come.” He led them to the trees, and near the riverbank where the tree roots had become exposed from the previous years floods he showed them a hollow. “Stay here.”

Tathiel gently shook Legolas awake, murmuring to him to stay still and quiet. She climbed down the embankment, the ellyth quickly following her. Tinánia had her bow and dagger; Eärundra had her dagger, and Tathiel had the long knife. Legolas held woolf, graciously returned to him by Meren when she was well enough to no longer need such comfort.

In the trees above them, Sadron took up position with his bow. He had seen the orc band moving in from the east, crossing the Celduin south of them. Laerion had spotted a party of men moving in from the west, crossing the ravine and taking up positions in the camp. Elunell had noted a presence moving down the Celduin from the north west. They had quickly realized they were surrounded.

Galithon knew that remaining unseen was their only hope in surviving unscathed. The party to the south numbered at least five score; the men two score, and the size of the group from the north was still not measurable. He sent his warriors into the trees to watch and stationed others near the horses. Soothing words were murmured to the horses – to stay still and quiet.

Then they waited.

The orcs from the south were passing to the west of them, in some cases only several hundred feet from where the elves hid. The first had joined the men in their camp and seeing no need for silence the two groups were already at odds. The elves remained silent, glad for the noise that would distract the orcs still passing by them as well as the group moving in from the north.

A command was heard, and the remaining twenty orcs stopped where they were. Several dropped to the ground, and others dug out their water skins and rations. The elves watched the orcs take their rest where the children had been sleeping only a short time before.

In the hollow under the tree roots, Tathiel held her breath as she realized the orcs were stopping at their campsite. She felt Eärundra’s hand slip into hers, and she squeezed the small fingers gently. The moonlight reflecting off the waters cast flickers of light upon the child’s face, and Tathiel saw fear and determination. She squeezed her hand again; they had shared quarters with orcs before and they would survive it again.

Another command was heard, and the orcs prepared to resume their journey. One broke off from the main group, walking near to the river. What his intentions were – to relieve himself, refill his water skin, or something else they never knew – for he saw the horses .

The orc called the alarm, and the small band turned, running towards him. The chirp of a cricket was heard, and the orcs began to fall, arrows protruding from necks and chests. The cry went out, and in the camp the men and orcs quickly assembled forces.

Tathiel clutched the children to her as the sounds of battle increased above them. The sound of arrows striking flesh was soon complemented by iron striking iron. Shrieks and cries of those dying rang through the night. Instead of lessening as the minutes slowly passed, the sounds of battle increased.

In the trees and on the ground near the horses, the ten warriors fought with blade and bow. The first twenty orcs were dispatched fairly quickly, only to be replaced by more. Soon the cries in the orc tongue were mixed with cries in the common tongue as the men joined the fight. Ethiwen saw orcs racing for the river, hoping to gain position behind the elves. She leaped off the embankment, landing in the shallow water, her sword raised above her head impaling the orc that followed.

As the sounds of battle drew closer, Tathiel unsheathed the knife, holding it loosely in her right hand. She shifted Legolas to her left arm, ready to thrust him to Eärundra if need be. Tinánia was already crouched, an arrow notched in her bow. Tathiel heard the ping of the bowstring, and saw a figure below them fall. Orcs were in the river. A second orc noted their position, and Tinánia let loose a second arrow, felling him as well. A slight smile crept over the child’s face. Bellion had been teaching her how to gain the most power from the bow, and his teaching had helped. Her arrows flew now with enough force to kill the orcs attacking them.

Tathiel loosed Legolas’ arms from her neck, and shushing him quietly she handed him to Eärundra. She crept next to Tinánia, knife in hand. Two more orcs rose from the water. Tinánia shot one, and Tathiel waited until the next was close enough to strike with her knife. She had opened a nasty gash on the creature’s chest when he fell to an arrow as well. This one had not come from Tinánia, but there was no time to look above to see who was aiding them.

New calls were heard, and Tathiel recognized them as elvish. Her mind immediately wandered, wondering if Galithon was calling to make them think there were more elves than there really were?

Above her, Galithon was wondering the same thing. He instinctively knew where his warriors were on the battlefield, and the call had not come from one of their positions.

Galithon parried with a man far more skilled in warfare than an orc. The man was cursing him in a language he did not know, mixed with threats in the common tongue. Galithon held his peace, meeting blow for blow and finally disabling the man with a thrust to the bicep. The man dropped his sword, and Galithon pressed home the advantage slicing his sword deep into the man’s chest. Even in that moment of battle he was repulsed at killing a man. He had fought side by side with them at Dagorlad. He had killed them at Dagorlad too – those who served Sauron had died with the orcs and goblins that day. The thought still sickened him.

More men and more orcs were pouring into the clearing, and Galithon realized they could not win this fight. He feared they had waited too long to run. He began to move towards the riverbank, his attention momentarily distracted as he looked for Ethiwen. He needed to tell her to gather the children and Tathiel and several horses and head east across the river.

The distraction proved costly, and Galithon felt the burn of a blade as it struck his leg. He remained on his feet, feeling the blood running down his leg and pooling in his boot. With a grimace of pain he resumed his fight, swinging with renewed force at the man who had dealt him the blow. Another man appeared next to him, and Galithon took a second hit to his non-sword arm. He dropped to his knees then, his leg no longer able to bear his weight. He raised his sword, deflecting another blow from the first man and saw too late the sword raised in the hand of the second man. He rolled as the sword swung and felt all his breath sucked from him as a crushing blow struck his chest. A heavy weight buried his face into the dirt, and he felt darkness descend upon him.

On the riverbank Tinánia pulled her second to last arrow from her quiver, and notched it into her bow. Three orcs were approaching. She loosed the arrow at the first, and when he fell he knocked the orc behind him down into the water. The third continued, and Tathiel leapt at him with her knife. She caught him in the face with her knee as he climbed the hill, and sunk the knife deep into his exposed neck as he fell. She rolled off of him in time to see Tinánia notch her last arrow. A taller figure approached from the north, bow in hand. Another cry below them; another orc climbing the embankment. The orc was nearly to them; the tall figure was closer. Tinánia had heard the men above. This one was too tall for an orc. She swung her bow around and drew back the arrow.

Daro!” Tathiel cried as Tinánia released the arrow.

The cry was enough to throw Tinánia off balance, and the shot was not true. It struck the tall figure in the arm. At the same time the orc below them fell.

In the clearing above them there was similar confusion. The mass of orcs and men were dropping before they reached the elves, and it took the elves several seconds to realize their enemies were being attacked from behind.

Rawien called the Mirkwood battle cry, and nearly was stabbed when the call was answered; his surprise allowing the orc to gain a foothold. A horn sounded, and the battle cry was repeated. The men and orcs turned to flee and ran into their attackers. Elven archers finished off those who turn to run south.

Silence descended over the battlefield. Rawien turned around slowly, trying to locate each of his warriors.

Galithon lay face down in the dirt, two men sprawled on top of him, arrows protruding from their backs. Ethiwen was down on one knee, unable to stand, blood pouring from the wound to her hip and thigh. Sadron was collapsed near the horses. Elunell and Meren were aiding each other. Varandil was on his knees, this time in need of aid instead of rendering it. Tathiel and the children he could not see; he hoped they remained safe in hiding.

He slowly sank to the ground as the blood loss from his own wounds sapped his strength. Strong arms caught him as he fell, and he looked up into the face of an old friend.

“Aranu.”

Aranu eased him to the ground, quickly assessing his wounds.

“Your timing is good, but not perfect. You still need to work on that,” Rawien’s words were slurring.

Aranu managed an amused grin as Rawien slipped into unconsciousness.

Aranu looked up as Galthenin approached. “My friend, I thought you were patrolling Mirkwood?”

“So I was, until we saw this group heading east. My confidence that you could have handled them was high, but we thought we would help.”

Aranu looked at the carnage around him. “It is good you came.”

In the hollow of the riverbank Tathiel stood, watching as the tall figure moved closer, the moonlight finally reflecting his features.

“Bregolas,” she breathed softly.

Bregolas pulled the arrow from his upper arm barely noting the flesh wound, inspecting instead the careful fletching on the shaft.

“You have become a fine shot, child,” Bregolas smiled at the still stunned Tinánia.

“I . . . .I . . .shot the prince. .” Tinánia sank to her knees.

Bregolas stepped forward to the group of stunned elves, and raised Tinánia to her feet.

“If the prince would have identified himself as an elf he would not have been shot,” he chuckled. “I thought you were orcs.”

Eärundra looked indignant. Prince or no, they did not look like orcs. “We thought you were an orc!”

Bregolas dropped to his knees next to Eärundra, who still clutched Legolas to her. The child looked suspiciously at the big elf, and then struggled from Eärundra’s arms to fling himself at Tathiel. She hugged him, then turned him to face Bregolas.

“Legolas, this is your brother Bregolas.”

Legolas considered the stranger carefully. He looked at Tathiel.

“He is an elf.”

“Yes, he is an elf. He is your oldest brother.”

“Lafron brother.”

“Yes, Lathron is also your brother.”

“Duil brother.”

“Celebrinduil is your brother too.”

“Bregles brother.”

Bregolas stepped closer and held out his hand, palm up. “I am Bregolas, Legolas, and I am your brother.”

Legolas tentatively stroked the palm, and then reached for Bregolas. Bregolas lifted Legolas into his arms, holding the child close. He gently stroked the golden hair, tucking it behind the little ear. Legolas mimicked his movements, stroking his dark hair, running his small hand down his brother’s cheek. He reached up and brushed a tear from Bregolas’ face.

“Bregles sad.”

“No, tithen muindor, I am just very glad to finally meet you,” Bregolas hugged the little body close to his own, and thought his heart might burst when two little arms wrapped around his neck and held on tight.

Tathiel was finally drawn from her shock at seeing Bregolas by the calls above her. She climbed the embankment, and saw elves. Many elves. Elves everywhere. Eärundra and Tinánia were next to her, their eyes searching for their mother. Elves were tending the injured in small groups, and a cry from the group nearest to them sent the ellyth running. One of the warriors tending Ethiwen was nearly knocked over as the two children tried to push past him.

Another of those tending her called for a blanket as the first elf held back the children.

“Just a moment, little ones, just a moment. You may speak to her; just let us finish binding the wound and then you can see her,” the elf wrapped strong arms around little bodies, as he had done with his own little ones many years before.

“Tinánia, Eärundra are you hurt?” Ethiwen’s voice was weak, but she was determined to be strong for them.

“No, Nana, we are not hurt,” Tinánia answered, her fists gripping tight to the tunic of the elf holding her.

Another elf approached with a blanket, and they carefully covered Ethiwen with it. The healer tending her held the blanket off the ghastly wound to her thigh and hip, and the warrior holding back the children released them. Tinánia and Eärundra moved carefully to their Nana’s head and she quickly grasped a hand from each of them. She spoke quietly to them.

“See, I am going to be well. But they must tend me, and I do not wish for you to see the wounds. Go with Aeglos until they call for you.”

The ellyth allowed themselves to be led away, and Ethiwen gratefully accepted the pain draught that had been prepared for her. The healer waited until he saw her pupils dilate and her grip on his hand relax. He pulled back the blanket and resumed his work.

Aranu pulled the two dead men off Galithon, and rolled the limp body over. As soon as he touched the elf he felt the faint spark of life still coursing through him, and Aranu breathed a sigh of relief. He called for assistance, and help came quickly.

Tathiel found several elves tending Rawien. His sword arm appeared broken, and an arrow was being removed from his thigh. She gently stroked his face, tears running silently down her own. She had seen him down, and fear had assailed her. She had thought her love was gone, that she had lost what she had just gained. As soon as she touched him she knew his spirit was still strong, and she gently stroked his forehead. She found herself in the healing trance, calming him and chasing away the fear and pain. His eyes slowly opened, and he gazed up at her.

Nín melethril, nín hervess. You did not think to part so easily from me?”

She gently covered his lips with her own, kissing him softly. “Al an pân uir.”

“Come, my Lady,” gentle hands pulled her away from Rawien. “Let us tend to your wounds as well.”

“I am not injured,” Tathiel protested.

Aranu lifted her arm to show her the cuts and bruises there, and pointed to the gashes on her lower legs.

“I did not even notice,” she murmured, surprised.

“That is how it is in battle, my Lady. You and the little bow-elleth fought well.”

Rawien smiled as they led his meleth away.

***

A large fire burned in the middle of the camp, a deer roasting on a spit to one side. The injured sat leaning against packs and logs near to the center of the fire; their rescuers busy at tasks around the perimeter of the camp.

The bodies of the orcs and men had been discarded in the ravine. Aranu had reported twenty-one men killed and nearly two hundred orcs. Seventy elven warriors sat together now; perhaps the largest war-party of Mirkwood ever assembled outside of the realm since Dagorlad.

“We have decided that we shall all escort you home,” Aranu declared, enjoying the look of dismay on the face of his senior captain. “It is clear you cannot manage without us.”

“It may be more clear that I need you to stay close so we can work on your sense of timing,” Rawien retorted.

Tathiel smiled as she cuddled close to Rawien, his good arm wrapped protectively around her shoulders. The good-natured jesting had started the moment the battle ended and she doubted it would end before they were safe in their beds in the palace.

“Well, it is also clear that young Sadron here needs a little practice with his leg work. How many times have you been injured on this trip, pen-neth?” Galthenin ruffled the hair of the young warrior. “He moved so well in training; who would know that he would be out-danced by orcs on the battlefield?”

Sadron rolled his eyes but said nothing. He knew better than to engage in any verbal sparring with the captains.

“I, for one, want to see another demonstration of this neth elleth’s skill with the bow,” Aranu turned to Tinánia who sat at her mother’s side. “Eleven orcs dead. I still cannot believe it, tithen min. Meren, you had best beware. This one is going to break every record you set.”

Meren turned slightly to face Aranu, and his face lit up with glee.

“Shot in the posterior. Did we not teach you to not turn your back on orcs? They have no sense of fair play,” Aranu continued.

Meren sighed and buried her face in her arms. She would never live this down. Never mind that the orcs had surrounded her. . . . no, that part of the tale would be forgotten.

The teasing continued; a warrior’s outlet for expressing their relief that none had died that day. Varandil, Ethiwen and Galithon were seriously injured, and even now lay slightly apart from the rest, still in deep sleep induced by the healers. Bellion and Elunell would be unable to ride for several days at least due to leg injuries; and Laerion had enough stitches to in his abdomen and arms that Legolas was forever wanting to come and see the patterns embroidered on his skin. Lachthoniel had fared the best with only a bruised ribcage and broken fingers on his left hand.

Next to Tathiel Bregolas lay on his side, propped on his elbow. A wolf pelt was spread out in front of him, and lying on that pelt with his toy woolf clutched to his chest was his sleeping baby brother. He had spent the morning being introduced to each of the elfling’s toy animals, learning what noises the animal made and hearing the tales of Legolas’ young life. He knew the child’s favorite foods, which horse was his favorite; all about ‘his’ ellyth and all about how ‘Tafiel loved Rawen’. He had heard about ‘bad men’ and how the bad men ‘hurt Tafiel and hurt Legles’. He listened as Legolas told him all about ‘Lafron’ and all that Lathron had told him about home.

He stroked the small head gently, and tears glistened in his eyes when a small hand reached for him in sleep, grabbing his hair and twining his fingers through it.

When he asked Legolas what he would do when he first got home, the child said, “Legles meet Ada. Ada waiting for Legles come home.”

Bregolas could hardly wait to get home.

*******

Author’s note:
anor = sun
nín caun = my prince
pen-neth = young one
elleth/ellyth = elf maiden/maidens
daro = stop/halt
meleth = love
nín melethril = my lover
nín hervess = my wife
tithen muindor = little brother
al an pân uir = not for all eternity
neth elleth = young elf maiden


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.

Story Information

Author: Nilmandra

Status: Reviewed

Completion: Complete

Era: 3rd Age - The Stewards

Genre: Drama

Rating: General

Last Updated: 11/21/04

Original Post: 01/07/03

Go to May the Valar Protect Them overview

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