1. The Nightmare Continues
Slowly, feeling, memory, hearing, pain filled her body as her mind fought to remain in the darkness of oblivion. Her mouth, nay her entire body hurt. Her mind recoiled at what the taste was that remained within her. Tears spilled as awareness returned. Who would be so cruel to awaken her? To bring her back to agony? It was Yrch, of course.
Soft bird song filtered through the ringing in her ears. A gentle breeze lifted a strand of her blood-soaked hair. She could smell the foul beasts and her stomach retched for the thousandth time. She would not open her eyes; she would not look upon them as they draped their bodies over her. She ran her tongue over her teeth and tried to dispel the taste of them.
The pain became intense as awareness heightened. She screamed as it began its ritual, roiling over her body, rivulets running rampant through every sinew, every fiber of her being. Hands held her down and the familiar feeling of panic rushed through her. She tried to flail, tried to break free; her screams, barely audible above the rushing blood in her ears, continued.
She heard words but it was Yrch tongue and she could not understand; she only understood that they were once again attacking her. Their rods would soon refill her. She could endure this no longer. Her screams turned to whimpers, as hope once again left her.
'Please, no. Please, leave me. Please, kill me. Please. Please.'
"Nana." The whispered name echoed through her own whispered pleas. 'Elladan, my Elladan. Tell them to leave me be. Beg them, please, if you love your Naneth. I can endure this no longer.'
"Nana." She sobbed, tormented by the remembered sound of Elrohir's voice. 'Oh beloved ion, beg them to release me. Badhron refuses to take me. Please, Elrohir, beg him to take me.'
Fire ran through her body, from her crushed toes to the few remaining strands of hair on her head. She screamed again as she was pulled tighter to the body that was now going to impale her. "Elbereth! Save me!"
"Lay her down, Elladan. She thinks it is Yrch that hold her. She will not stop thrashing in your arms and only hurts herself more." He squeezed his brother's arm. "Please, lay her down."
Elladan looked at him in shock. "I cannot hold her?"
"Nay. Can you not see? She knows us not. She thinks we are Yrch. Lay her down. She will still and then we will speak with her. Then she will know we have freed her."
Tears streamed down the elder brother's face, but he nodded, as slow understanding broke through his grief. Gently, he laid her back down onto the fur-lined, blood-soaked cloak. He placed her arms to either side, pushed back the hair that had fallen into her face, and kissed her tenderly on the lips.
She screamed again.
"Do not touch her, 'Dan."
"I need to hold her."
"As do I, but that would bring her further pain, further terror. Please, 'Dan, do you not understand? It is neither your touch nor mine that she feels, but the touch of Yrch. Let her waken fully, then she will know you and you may hold her." The younger choked as he spoke the words. His own arms ached to hold his mother; his lips burned to kiss her forehead and make everything bad go away. But she was lost to them, for the nonce, as lost as when she was imprisoned in the Yrch cave.
Elladan sat on his heels. Drawing in great gulps of air, he looked at Elrohir. "We must take her home as quickly as possible." Sobs shook his body.
"We must wait for a bit, until she has calmed. We cannot ride with her, screaming in terror at every accidental touch. We must help her realize she is free and safe."
His brother nodded. Elrohir crawled next to him and held him in his arms. "She will recover, 'Dan. I know she will. Adar is the greatest healer in all of Arda. He will help her."
Elladan turned towards him and buried his face in Elrohir's shoulder. The muffled scream of his brother tore the youngest' heart as much as the screams of his mother. He held his idol close and whispered words of encouragement, hope, peace. At last, he felt Elladan shudder and look up. "Now, let us speak with her in gentle words and whispered love."
The elder wiped the tears from his brother's cheeks, then his own. He turned once again to the ravaged body that lay before him. "Should we wipe some of the blood away?"
"Nay. We will not touch her. The miruvor is enough. Now, it is time for words, time to break through her terror and comfort her."
She continued to whimper until she felt the foul lips upon her mouth. She screamed again; she knew better than to bite down. Biting only returned biting and she had found through pain and horror that an Orch's bite was a terrible thing. She cried aloud and turned her head away. She waited for the marble-like hand to grab her chin, turn her back to that hideous face, and kiss and lick and spill into her mouth. 'Belain, please take me.'
The lips left her, the arms released their hold; she was laid back upon the ground. She tensed, knowing a hard body would now cover her, and she would be pierced again. 'Only one, please, Elbereth. Only one this time,' she silently begged.
'I must be dreaming,' she thought, for no body covered her, no rod entered her. She held her breath, waiting in agony and fear, but naught happened.
She could barely hear anymore; she had been slapped about so often that all she heard most times was a ringing sound. When fear overtook her, the sound of her blood rushing replaced the ringing. Yet, once the round of torture was completed, her ears cleared again and only ringing could be heard. Until once more the Yrch began their harsh laughter and their screams of hate in defiance of all Elves and of her in particular. They knew who she was, who her husband was, and they screamed and reviled his name every time they thrust into her. She screamed again as she prepared herself for their entrance.
But now, whispering filtered through the ringing. She furrowed her brow, tried to understand what was being said, what new devilry was being hatched to further torment her. She sobbed. The voices sounded like those of her sons. A cry caught in her throat. She had almost betrayed their names to the Yrch.
As time stretched further and further and the awaited assault did not come, she relaxed a little into the ground. Something must have distracted them, for the nonce. She waited. Another furrowed brow. She felt fur under her. Cool strands tickled her arms. She felt the softness and the warmth under her. 'Elbereth,' she sobbed, 'I go mad.' Her mind left her.
"Please, Nana. You are safe. Please hear us. It is Elladan and Elrohir. We have killed the Yrch. You are free. Please, Nana." They called to her for over an hour, but she lay still, soft moans escaping from her now and again. Once, her eyes fluttered and their voices rose in joy, but that was short-lived as she flinched at their shouts and finally quieted.
At last, Elrohir sat back on his haunches. "She will not waken, will not hear us. We must move her." He sobbed. "I know not if she will survive the ride home."
"We could build a litter. Drag it behind one of the pack horses."
"Too rough," Elrohir wept. "Too rough. She could not endure it in this state. She is frail, broken."
"Well I know it, 'Ro, but we must take her home. We cannot minister to her here in the wild."
"Two horses. We will strap the litter between your horse and mine and we will walk home."
"It will take an age."
"Then we will send a rider home and have Adar meet us along the way."
"Then let us ready her." Elladan called to Glorfindel who waved in acknowledgment, left his guard post, and walked forward. "We need to build a litter." The Balrog-slayer nodded, turned towards the trees that surrounded the little glade where they had brought Celebrian after finding her in the caves, and motioned. Three Elves jumped from the nearby beeches and joined him.
Elrohir turned back to his brother. "We will use our cloaks. Stitch them together. The fabric will hold."
Elladan took his off and brought out his sewing kit. Elrohir handed his brother his own cloak, then turned towards his mother. "I think she is once again insensible. I must clean her, at least wipe away some of the blood."
"I have an extra shirt in my bag. She will need to be clothed." Elladan did not look up, but Elrohir knew tears once again coursed down his brother's cheeks.
The younger son of Elrond dipped a piece of cloth into the bucket of warm water that sat by the fire. He proceeded to wipe blood from his mother's eyes, ears, nose, and mouth. Her mouth was fiercely swollen, cut and bruised; some of her teeth were missing. He sobbed, knowing all too well the reason for the swelling, and shuddered. A huge black and blue bulge under her right eye needed stitching, but he decided to wait on that task. He wiped the wound on her forehead and then turned his attention to her scalp. Numerous cuts and bruises showed in the patches where her hair had been torn out in great clumps. There were burns there also, ones that matched the burns on her arms, stomach and thighs. His teeth began to chatter as his fingers discovered more signs of torture. Tears fell, augmenting the water on the cloth.
"Stop it!" Elladan took the hand that held the cloth. "She is alive. For that we must be grateful."
"Grateful!" Elrohir flung his brother's hand from him, stood, and strode far from the insensible body whose appearance tortured him. "Grateful to whom?" he hissed as Elladan followed him. "To the Valar? To Elbereth who's praises were ever on Naneth's lips? Do you see those lips now? They have been Orch-kissed. Bitten. Defiled." His teeth chattered once again as he tried to conquer his rage, fear, and horror. "That is Yrch... Their seed covers her mouth." He spat the words. "I have cleaned Yrch seed from her mouth." He fell on his knees, clutching his stomach, and retched. When he was able, when his stomach had settled, he covered his head with his arms and wailed.
"Nay," Elladan swallowed in horror. "'Twas some drink they gave her, or dirt mixed with water that lay upon her lips."
"It. Was. Seed."
Elladan knelt and held his brother. Swallowing convulsively, he tried to stifle the scream that stuck in his own throat. He could not, would not think on his brother's words. Elrohir was mistaken. That was all there was to it. But he would not anger his brother with arguments. Not now. He held him and stroked his brother's hair. "Adar will heal her. No matter what was done to her. Adar will heal her."
A/N - 1) According to my research, Orch is singular Sindarin and Yrch is plural Sindarin for Orc/Orcs. 2) The Sindarin equivalent of Námo is Badhron. Námo was more commonly known as Mandos (Q: "Prison-fortress"), which is more correctly the name of his dwelling. The Sindarin name for Mandos is Bannoth. 3) In Sindarin, the equivalents to Vala and Valar would be Balan and Belain, respectively. http://tolkiengateway.net/wiki/Mandos and Valar...
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