14. Chapter 14
The Woodland Halls
"I apologise....for tearing your dress..." Legolas blushed as he hastily dressed himself, handing Adlanniel one of his own gowns for her to wear instead.
"It is quite allright." She reassured. "I quite enjoyed your savage side...more than I thought I would." She replied. Her loins reverberated slightly then at the memory of it, of being completely dominated and overwhelmed by a lover...something that she had secretly craved. Alas, Legolas was more of the gentle type both in personality and in bed. However, seeing this sudden savage side of him came as a surprise. Where did this tinge of dominance from within him come from? Adlanniel could only think that it had come from his father's side as though Thranduil could be gentle, he was far more imperial and dominant in personality than his young son. She could not help but think that that could also be the case of his carnal manners...
Legolas let out a bashful giggle, but his face suddenly turned stern when he caught a peculiar scent in the air.
"Yes, I smell it too. Someone is injured and I can sense evil magic afoot. We must make haste." Adlanniel said urgently.
There was a young man, aged no more than his mid-twenties in human years, slouched unconscious upon the shoulders of two of the elven scouts that the Elvenking had sent earlier that night. They were covered in the bright crimson blood of the young fellow, as well as the thick, oozing black blood of Orcs. The Elvenking and the captain of the guard, Idhrenion, as well as other guards were already on the desperate scene when Adlanniel and Legolas arrived. The Elvenking, looking as regal as always and unaffected by the lack of rest, gave out quick orders to take the young man to the rooms of healing and for Idhrenion to increase the guard even more so.
Thranduil had glanced over to his son and the young elleth in recognition of their presence, but remained focussed on the elven scouts that relayed to him what had occurred.
"We were heading south as ordered, my lord..." The couple heard one of the scouts say to the king as the group that had gathered took the young man to the rooms of healing.
"When we came upon this young man staggering through the forest, devoid of his mount and struck in the leg and shoulder by Morgul shafts. Orcs were on his tail. We managed to dispatch most of them...others fled...and we believe that even more are out there."
"You did well to bring him, and yourselves, back alive." The king said then as the scouts lifted the man onto a bed.
"But I fear he may not live for much longer." The chief healer began as he looked over the poor man.
"He has been hit by not one, but two Morgul arrows. I do not think I can do anything but ease his suffering...." He said solemnly.
Without hesitation Adlanniel piped up, "I can save him, given the right ingredients."
Everyone looked to her surprised. "I am the daughter of the greatest healer in all of Arda, am I not?" She questioned. Thranduil nodded in agreement for she indeed was her father's daughter in that respect.
"You are right Adlanniel. Tell us how you can save him."
She then turned to the chief of the healers who still looked on to her with amazement.
"Do you have any Athelas in your stores?" She asked quickly. The healer, gulping to gather his thoughts nodded.
"We do, but it is dried."
Adlanniel frowned then. "That will not do. I need the fresh flower..."
"I have not been able to find more of it in this region for a while..." The healer began. "Thus why I have had to get it dried from Imladris, your home my lady."
Adlanniel gritted her teeth in desperation, looking over the young soul who's life was slowly slipping away. But then she remembered....she had spotted it as she and the king had walked along the river the day past. A small weed with white flowers which had grown between the tree roots of the trees that stood guarding the river.
"I know where there is some!" She exclaimed, everyone looking to her surprised again.
"Where?" Legolas asked.
"When the king and I had gone for our stroll along the river just the day past....I had seen a peculiar weed growing between the tree roots of certain trees...I paid no attention to it but I am certain it was Athelas." She turned to the king then.
"I must go collect it, it may or may not be Athelas but I can not be certain unless I see it for myself."
"It is far too dangerous now for me to allow you to go out there, especially at this hour. Tell us exactly where it is and I will have guards go and collect it."
"But your majesty..." Adlanniel protested desperately.
"If the weed is indeed not Athelas then I may be able to find others that may help, as I saw many types of weeds and grasses growing in that area."
"Adlanniel, it is too dangerous...."
"I must go!" She snapped almost angrily, yet more so desperately. "He will die if I do not get specifically what I need now!"
Thranduil looked upon her for a moment before nodding, a surprise to all whom were in the room.
"Very well." He answered with a slight sigh.
"But you are to go well guarded and armed." And with that he turned back to Idhrenion.
"Go out with your best guards..."
"I am going as well." Legolas added quickly and sternly.
"Besides, you said I have to protect my future wife and family.."
"Then go and return quickly. I will assist this man with the healing magic that I know, though yours Adlanniel will be far more effective. Go now and make haste. Do not let me regret this decision..."
Adlanniel nodded and turned to Legolas quickly.
"I need to change clothes....again"
The Great Greenwood: Forest Paths
The forest before them was eerily dark, not even the fireflies were about; unusual for the time of year being the ending of summer and the birth of autumn. There was a heaviness in the air and not a single sound, not even from the nocturnal animals, could be heard as the elves wound their way along the path towards the river, their only light being the auburn glow of their torches.
"There is an evil here..." Legolas began in a low voice as he readied an arrow in his bow.
"Indeed, we can all sense it." Idhrenion confirmed, he too placing his hand on the hilt of his sword in readiness.
"Be on your guard." He said to his men.
"Over there, in the roots of that tree!" Adlanniel whispered almost excitedly, pointing towards a distinguishing white blossomed weed that shone in the moonlight reflected from the waters of the river.
The group of elves rushed over to it, and taking a torch from one of the guards Adlanniel shined the auburn light closer so that she could inspect the weed.
"Thank the Valar...it is indeed Athelas!" She exclaimed as she tore the weed from its roots, holding it up for the others to see. "All of you, try to find more of it around the tree roots."
"But stay close." Idhrenion ordered sternly.
"Over there Legolas, there is more." Adlanniel pointed to a tree adjacent from her own. The elven prince nodded, and crouching low he made his way over to the other tree that his love had directed him to. Adlanniel continued to lean down upon the roots of the tree she was by, digging up the soil around the weed in order to pull it up by its roots for sufficiently.
Suddenly a whistling could be heard coming near. Everything seemed to slow down as she turned to face the arrowhead that was flying directly towards her. She stumbled against the roots as she tried to back away but was unable to escape from its path. No sooner did she think her life would be ended when Legolas, as quick as a hawk, leapt up from his position and fired one of his own arrows, shooting the offending shaft from its path.
"Ambush!" The voice of the captain shouted. "Arm yourselves! Protect the prince and the Lady Adlanniel!"
And the loud bellow of the war horn reverberated out through the forest. But the sound seemed like distant echoes in Adlanniel's ears, as strong arms pulled her from behind. She glanced up to see Legolas pulling her to safety. He had to let her go suddenly however to shoot at a darkened figure that charged towards them.
"Adlanniel!" He cried desperately to her as he was abruptly pushed further into the commotion, more and more black figures flooding into the decreasing light.
Her eyes were unfocussed from shock as she tried fearfully to crawl away. Something took hold of her ankle as she tried to escape, a shrivelled, scaled hand of black and grey, self-mutilation riddled upon it. Looking up, glowing orange eyes glared hungrily at her, the grotesque orc that held her gnashed his sharp teeth together savagely.
"Well, well...what do we have here?" The Orc hissed in the common tongue. "I've never tasted lulgijak before...."
Orcish (black speech) - English
lulgijak = flowers in the blood (refers to Elves)
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