16. Chapter 16
Greenwood the Great: Elven road
"Stop!" Adlanniel cried abruptly. Thranduil, looking down to her from his steed held up his hand to halt the returning procession.
"What is it, little dove?" Legolas questioned her surprised.
"Worry not, my dear." Thranduil began, patting the saddle pouch by his side. "We would not leave without that, that our kin lay down their lives for."
Adlanniel nodded in appreciation and motioned for Legolas to let her down, having regained enough energy and senses to walk on her own.
"I hope the man is alive by the time we return, for I dread if all of this was in vain."
"He will be." Thranduil reassured her.
"I have power enough to have slowed the poison considerably. The healers too were able to remove the shafts cleanly and stop the bleeding."
"That is good news." Legolas added to the conversation.
"But we should hurry..." Adlanniel continued. "For the black magic that plagues the man should not be taken lightly."
"Indeed." Thranduil agreed. "We will mourn our kin in due time. Let us make haste." With those words he held out his hand for Adlanniel to mount his steed with him, vaulting her up to sit safely at his front.
"I will take her to the rooms of healing. Take your time to return." The king said to his son. Legolas gave a nod of acknowledgement.
"May you arrive swiftly." He said as he put his hand on Adlanniel's leg before giving the horse a scratch on its whithers, the steed letting out a whinny of appreciation.
"Noro lim, Maeglir!" Thranduil called to the horse then. Rearing up slightly on its hind legs, making Adlanniel slip back into the king's strong embrace, the steed set off with such a speed that Adlanniel did not fathom a horse could muster.
A few of the king's heavily armed soldiers followed closely behind as they galloped along the elven road, infant light of the awakening morning straining to peer through the canopy above, giving the forest before them a bluish-emerald glow; the red hues of the sun having not yet made their way over the horizon.
A dark haired adolescent stable hand ran out to meet them as they neared the stables, the horse rearing once more in excitement as the young elf took hold of a reign.
Calming the horse, Thranduil dismounted swiftly, taking the young elleth by the arms to assist her dismount.
"Did the man regain any consciousness when you were seeing to him?" Adlanniel asked as the pair made their way to the rooms of healing in haste.
"He did not." Thranduil replied.
"But we found a note on his being, it was written in black speech."
"Black speech?" Adlanniel questioned surprised, the king nodding.
"It was a message from the orcs to the Easterlings in Rhûn, demanding reinforcements for the 'war'..." He emphasised the word. "..to come. I knew that this was the evil I could sense a time ago." He sighed as he allowed Adlanniel to enter the room before himself.
"Indeed." She agreed as she moved over to the still man, his wounds having been somewhat cleaned and bound. Yet still, dark blackened blood seeped through the bandages.
"Hopefully this man can tell us more...if I can help him." She began to gently cut away the bandages, peeling them back from the shaft wounds on the man's body, it obviously causing him discomfort even in his unconscious state.
"You did well, my lord." Adlanniel smiled. "For the poison has indeed been abated for now."
"But for how much longer?" He asked as he looked over the man's wounds, a concerned expression on his face.
"He is still fading from the light."
"Yes." Adlanniel confirmed as she took the pouch containing the Athelas from the king. The wounds, being blackened and festering from the poison had formed oozing blisters. However, due to the Elvenking's power the blackening had not yet spread up through the veins as it normally would have.
"I must make quick work of the healing arts my father has taught me. Please hold him down, my lord."
The king, and the healers who were also in the room, held the man carefully by his shoulders and legs.
"And you may help me speak the enchantment I must use. I am sure that you all know it." She said, taking out a bunch of the Athelas. She looked down upon the petite white flowers of the weed, her hands shaking slightly at the memories of what had recently occurred to obtain it. Closing her eyes to clear her mind, she began chanting in the most ancient language of the Eldar; the language of the Noldor. Though she was yet unable to speak the most ancient form of the language herself, she had memorised all of the spells and enchantments taught to her by her parents.
The Elvenking and healers too began to chant, adding power to the spell, as she began to crush and roll the weeds in the palms of her hands.
The weed, bruised now by the pressure put upon it, let out a sweet and calming aroma. Adlanniel could see that the man's darkened mind was also being calmed from it as his twitching and unconscious murmuring lessened.
She paused for a moment as she looked down upon the sorry soul before her. "Please live..." She begged within her mind. Then, lifting her hands up towards the heavens, still crushing the weed in her hands, she put more vigour into her voice, the other elves increasing their chanting to make the healing powers of the elleth stronger.
"Anor valthen, togo laugas lín nestad enin gûr hen.
Ceven dhaer, anno vellas lín enin 'raw hen.
Suil Annui, erio thûl lín i faer hen.
Lasto beth nîn, tolo dan nan galad."
("Golden Sun, may your warmth bring healing to this heart. Great earth, may you give your strength to this body. Western Winds, may your breath lift this spirit. Hear my voice, come back to the light.")
Lowering her hands she pushed the weed against the wounds, the man letting out a blood-curdling scream of agony which echoed throughout the halls of the immense palace.
The elves struggled to hold him down as he continued to cry out and lunge about, yet they held fast as Adlanniel continued to draw out the poison. His veins appeared to lurch beneath his skin as the black morgul ooze was drawn out of his body.
"Quick, one of you give me some of that water." She ordered, motioning with her head to the jug sitting on a carven wooden table, as she continued to push the weeds hard against his wounds.
Lifting up her hands she could see the morgul poison, having now been completely drawn, bubbling and oozing on the man's skin, her own hands covered in it. It let off a repulsive stench that sickened her.
She poured the water over the wounds, the man still wailing, and the morgul ooze dissipated into steam; vanishing. His demeanour calmed instantly once all the poison had been washed away. Adlanniel, washing her hands and then taking the fresh bandages that the king had handed her, began to bind the wounds again, relieved that her father's lessons in healing had helped her save a life.
"He will live, though it may take him an eve or two to awaken." She stated, wiping her brow of the sweat and blood that still stained her face from the battle.
"Leave us." The Elvenking ordered the other healers then after a few moments of silent observation. Once they had left the room completely he walked over to where another bowl of fresh water was waiting, taking a cloth that had been neatly folded and dipping it into the cool liquid.
He walked back over to where Adlanniel stood, she having been watching him intently.
"May I?" He asked, holding up the cloth. Giving a nervous smile she nodded. Gently and without a word he began to wipe the blood, dirt and sweat that had caked onto her face away with the soft cloth. He smiled down her as he did, his expression one of soft affection. She could feel a heat burning suddenly within her heart, it spreading throughout her body as their eyes locked in a gaze. His wiping of her skin slowed till he stilled his fingertips on her cheek. Memories of his first love again came to mind. Adlanniel was so much like her, in personality and in the scope of beauty...it was as if they were almost the same person, yet completely different. He could sense the burning within Adlanniel and it fuelled the fire within his own heart; the aching loss of both maidens he had loved, the desire to be loved again and the most deadly of all; the lust to lay with a woman of meaning. He had occasionally, after the loss of his beloved wife, lain with random servant girls to try to slake his desires. However, they had meant nothing to him and thus had made him feel still devoid and wanting.
Did he desire Adlanniel then as he gazed upon her radiant face? Even he struggled to comprehend the feelings that tore through him, something that very rarely happened - to be at qualms with his emotions. With her eyes racing with expression, and fixated onto his in a mesmerised gaze, he could not help but feel that she felt the same desires as he. Neither had realised how close their faces had become and it was Thranduil first who regained his senses. Feeling guilty for allowing himself to dwell on his lustful desires too long he stood back up straight, yet...the desires still lingered.
Slowly, enough to perhaps be considered as sensually, he ran his thumb across her bottom lip. Still gazing up to him like as if in a dream she subconsciously allowed herself to suck on his skin but only momentarily, placing her hand on his as she did.
"Goheno nin..." He whispered to her softly as he leant down to her once more. Adlanniel's eyes widened as he came closer to her. Despite also being still covered in blood and dirt, his scent brought upon a different arousal within her, something that burnt her in a completely different way than what she usually felt with her true love, Legolas. It was dominating.
However, he did not do what she had expected, nevertheless what he did then still surprised her. His gentle lips kissed her cheek like a father would do to his child, yet she could not help but believe that he, and perhaps herself as well, wanted more.
"Thank you for all you have done this past day, hiril vuin. Despite the loss and pain you have experienced you pulled through. Legolas is lucky to have you..." His voice, though proud, sounded slightly saddened and she could not help but feel a sinking feeling within herself, though why she could not grasp completely.
With those words he stood again, and giving her a new reassuring smile he made his leave, leaving her standing there dumbfounded and slightly confused as to what had just happened. Slowly and with trembling hands she reached up to touch where he had kissed her, the mark still moist on her skin....
Elvish - English
Noro lim! - Ride fast!
Maeglir - the name of Thranduil's steed
hiril vuin - beloved lady