2. Day One - Young Estel in an Oak Tree (Aragorn, Elladan)
"Orcs will come from the north, either down the valley floor or around the shoulder of the hill, there." Elladan pointed. "We have other lookouts, but if you see them first it will give us extra time to set up the ambush."
Estel stared at the thickly wooded hillside rolling away in front of him down into the long valley and up the mountain. "I don't have elf eyes. I can't possibly see orcs down there."
"Find the patterns."
Elladan ruffled his hair and left him perched high - and out of the way! - in an oak tree with the blazing noon sun overwhelming the colors and making harsh, dark shadows under the trees. By evening, drizzle fogged the treetops and hid the far slopes in mist. Today the clouds passed bands of swift moving shadow over the woods. The battle could very well be over by now. Lying flat and relaxed along the swaying branch, leaves rustling around his face, Estel studied the ever-changing shades of green. Nothing. He wondered if 'random' counted as a pattern and when they would come back for him.
He had long ago lost count of the number of times he had scanned the view: north, sweep around, south, north, east, north, south, north… north? Again? He carefully turned his eyes east to scan the far slope but found himself squinting north, peering at the valley floor. Nothing. He tried again: hill, slope, valley, hill, valley, slope, valley, valley. Valley?
He sat up slowly and inched backwards along the branch until he came to the trunk. He climbed higher, and looked down, his eyes drawn inexorably towards the north end of the valley. The patterns had changed.
Grinning, he whistled the signal that said 'orcs in the valley', waited, and gave it again.
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