1. Capture and Rescue
Chapter I—Capture and Rescue
The War of the Ring had finally ended. The Dark Lord Sauron had failed in his attempt to reclaim his precious One Ring, and because he had bound himself to that tiny gold ring, his spirit had departed from the world forever. However, remnants of Sauron still roamed Middle-earth. Though diminished, many Orc tribes lingered on the battle-scarred Middle-earth: ambushing, robbing, and murdering, leaderless but still very much a force with which to be reckoned.
By great fortune and with much generosity, the Elves who had not yet departed for the Undying Lands took upon themselves the task to help rid Middle-earth of the last foul creatures that they could. Although the coming age belonged to Men, this did not sever the long-held hatred between Elves and Orcs.
For days, Elven hunters inspected every spot of the dark forests, towering mountains, and vast plains for any sign of the perilous horde. They slew their quarry without pity—no Orc ever begged for mercy, anyway.
The Elves rarely, if ever, hunted Orcs as individuals. Orcs feared Elves but hated them enough to not always flee, and woe to the hunter who underestimated the beasts. Hunters remained closely together, knowing well that anyone who strayed would be at the mercy of the base and ruthless Orcs.
Unfortunately, during one company's journey, one of the more experienced Elves had strayed far from his fellows. Though he was a renowned warrior, he had wandered into a forest that few had ever treaded. His company had marched deeply into an uncharted region, supposedly un-travelled for decades, even during the War. Therefore, despite his many years of experience, a strange magic befell him, and the splendour, serenity, and sanctity that were once one with him dimmed in those strange woods.
The Elf wondered what had befallen him. Had he failed to follow the divine Laws? He had cursed no brothers, Men, or other free beings but had prayed for peace, an ultimate peace brought by Eru Ilúvatar. Wandering from his company was not an egregious sin, though quite dangerous. Perhaps, he thought, the more likely explanation was that his power was beginning to fade with the One Ring destroyed and the dominion of Elves fading. Yes, that had to have been part of the reason, but only a part. Some stranger magic was at work, yet he knew not what it was.
The Elf could not wait and debate with himself over the reasons behind the strange work. If he were ambushed, he knew not what to expect.
So he trod through the forest; at first retracing his steps, only to find that they had vanished; rather, someone had concealed the trail—wiping it out and covering it with foliage. His heart skipped with growing anxiety.
The Elven warrior continued to weave deeper through the woodland maze, where less and less light penetrated. Soon he began to despair, for he might spend the rest of his days, ambling about for an exit. Furthermore, his keen senses warned him that he was not alone. A lurking something had its eyes on him, but it waited to strike. It watched his movements, sizing him up and down for the slightest weakness. The Elf frowned, and his brows furrowed with frustration.
I am a Child of Ilúvatar, he thought. I am First-Born, an Elf of noble stature—fair and just. Darkness fears me, but I need not fear Darkness, for my faith in the One is strong. I am Light, bright and burning as the stars, and I shall escape this place. I shall escape and sail into the West and finally find peace, but not before completing my appointed task.
The Elf sighed and nodded. These self-made words were all the comfort he could muster, while he sallied forth through the forest.
All the while, creatures left behind by their deposed Dark Lord lurked stealthily, their eyes gleaming with bloodlust. They had followed the Elf ever since they had sniffed the pretty, little warrior, nosing about in their part of the woods. They did not exactly own the land, true, and had no plans to make it their home. Still, they little cared for this intruder and were eager enough to engage in a bit of good sport.
A lad just needed to be careful not to get stuck with those Elven pins. Elf blades and arrows were nasty business. Great warriors such as they still needed to take precautions. They could wait, but only just a bit longer—just a bit.
Soon that ghostly sensation became impossible to dismiss, and the Elf stopped. He smelled the foul odour of his stalkers (for by that time, he was certain that more than one followed him). Slowly rounding, he caught sight of two ghastly, petulant-green eyes, staring at him from the bushes. The malignancy in the stare caused the Elf to nock an arrow for firing.
Eyes widening, the stalker prepared to flee, but instead he howled when the arrow was buried in his flesh. That agonised howl caused the warrior to shudder as he cried, "Orch!"
The warrior was surprised by the fact that they had made no earlier attempt to attack him. However, at that moment, they finally seemed provoked for blood: howling and leaping from the darkness, surrounding him. The wounded Orc, great and Man-like of stature, barrelled into him first, striking him down with one blow, giving the others the opportunity to punch and claw viciously at him.
The Elf retaliated; he blocked their meaty fists and claws with his bow and returned swipes and punches. One Orc pulled at his hair, while another wrenched the bow from his fair hands. Kicking and shouting, the Elf reached for and unsheathed his knives and lashed at the Orkish brigands. Another One howled in pain as the Elf managed to sink the blade into his flesh. The pack eased off, growling and glowering at him, infuriated and cursing.
"Golug scum!" growled one.
"Trickster!" cried another.
"Murderer!" shouted a third.
The one wounded by the arrow stepped forward and hissed. "Well, my pretty, little Golug, looks like you're no cheap shot. Got the leader, you did," he said, claw upon his wounded shoulder. "But your luck's run out, sunshine hair. We'll make certain you never make it out o' this forest. When we're finished, you'll be naught but bones for the Wargs t' gnaw on."
"Do not boast, beast," spat the Elf. "I shall kill you if you refuse to set me free."
The leader chuckled darkly and snarled, "We'll see, sunshine hair. I bloody doubt you'll hit someone a second time.
"But 'ere, lads! Too bad he's got a nice sense of humour, eh?"
The Great Orcs chuckled before the leader continued. "But if I'd let you off, the boys 'ere would think old Kargburz has gone soft. Nar, we gonna use you, yeah, use you real nice and slow and painfully. You'll be lookin' like us before we're finished mutilating that pretty face."
"Never!" cried the Elf, but the leader shot him a nasty grin.
"Take 'im down, lads!" And upon that order, the other Great Orcs seized the warrior, using pure brute muscle to wrestle him to the ground. The Elf struggled against their force, uttering no cry, for it would have suited their dark pleasure. However, he was purely astounded. How could this befall him of all Elves? What dark magic indeed had rendered him so helpless? Their weight and their foul stench finally overwhelmed the Elf, and his knees reluctantly touched the ground. The leader took that moment for punch him viciously, and finally he fell limp. The Great Orcs howled triumphantly and marched back to their camp.
Once they arrived, the Elf gained enough consciousness to find himself lifted high and slammed unceremoniously on the ground. The Great Orcs stood slavering over his beautiful face, grunting in their base language. Suddenly, three more joined in gawking and snarling and pawing obscenely at him. The Elf kicked and punched back but was bitten many times for his insubordination.
Soon, the leader scattered the group, striking the Elf hard on his face. He ordered that his hands be bound tightly to ensure that the knots were infallible to Elf trickery.
"Yeh, he's a pretty one," the Elf heard from one of the Great Orcs. "I bet we're gonna mess him up right, we will!"
The leader growled at the warrior. "You listen to me, lad. I was the one what found 'im, and you've got the balls t'say you're gonna have the first round with 'im? I'm the leader here, shit-wits, and he's mine to muss up first. You gotta problem? I'll knock ya fuckin' 'ead off!"
The other bellowed and engaged the leader in a long argument, waged in their foul tongue, neither prepared to capitulate. The other Great Orcs joined the squabble, and the Elf assumed that he could try to escape. However, two of the blackguards had fallen back and watched him closely. They did not trust the scent of this warrior. Their leader might have felt cosy, snatching a great Elf warrior from the forest, but there was something eerie about him, and if he made for an escape, they were going to make sure he was put to the knife.
Soon the two began to speak with one another. No sir, they did not like this Elf at all—and Orcs already did not trust Elves as it was. He might go about putting some curse on them, or what if he escaped? Damned savage might cut their throats, given the moment, and eat their flesh. Put him to the knife, they thought together, and loomed over him.
The warrior spotted the two sneaking toward him. If he cried out, the leader would deal with these two easily, and so, the Elf cried out. As if on cue, he caught the leader's attention immediately. The infuriated beast drew his long sword and cleaved at the two Great Orcs. One hurried and lost only part of an ear, but the second received a deep wound to the side and a blow that nearly severed his arm. Falling backwards, he watched as his companions swarmed over him. He released a spine-chilling howl before the only sounds were grunting, growling, and foot falls.
The leader picked up the Elf savagely by his hair, shard-like nails scraping his delicate scalp. The Elf groaned and gritted his teeth. The Great Orc growled in his face, foul breath assaulting his nostrils.
"It's been decided, Golug scum," it growled. "You're all mine to take, holier-than-art-thou Elf."
"No!" cried the Elf. "You shall not torment me!"
The Great Orc growled and smacked him hard across the face, tearing red rivulets onto that pale face. The Elf hissed bitterly at the pain. He growled at the Great Orc viciously, staring defiantly back at him, eliciting an abhorred, yellow-toothed grin.
"So you do 'ave one of us in your soul!" chuckled the Great Orc evilly. "Let's see if we can make it for all eyes t'see!"
The horrified Elf began to thrash in that tight grip. The leader dragged him across the ground, knelt and straddled him, leaning closely and poisoning him with that nasty breath again. He licked that fair face lewdly and began clawing at his tunic. Then he pawed at the trousers and undergarments until his wild eyes saw the flesh that he desired.
"Release me!" howled the Elf. "I do not want this! I do not deserve this!"
The leader ignored his pleas. He had every intention of violating this wretched, little fair-skinned bastard, among other worse things planned, but he suddenly stopped. The Great Orc's head whipped up.
"Damn animals," growled the leader, and he stood and drew a threatening knife. Just as he settled on the Elf again, a peace-shattering cry pierced the darkness. Shouts, growls, curses, and howls followed, and only two warriors rushed back to their leader, describing that their other comrades had been swiftly slaughtered.
"We know not how," said one, "but they fell instantly—"
"As if by means of th'arrow," interjected the second.
"Or magic...." hissed the first in a whisper.
The lead Great Orc sat incredulous of their account. He growled, "Fools! 'Fraid of yer own shadows, you'd be, 'f ya weren't with me. Our clan came outta Isengard. We are the fighting Uruk-hai! We brave death and receive it with honour. No lads'll be taking our property. So sniff 'em out, you bastards! Or are you a couple of snivelling, wretched Snaga?"
Snarling at the allegation of cowardice, the pair trampled off, swords in hand, to find what had killed their clansmen so quickly.
"Whether it's a friend or some covetous fuck," the leader growled, "he'll not have you. We'll be dead before he has you."
The Elf did not speak, only glaring at the Great Orc. He would surely perish from despair alone. Then suddenly, he heard someone breathing heavily behind the Great Orc.
"Violatin' prisoners there?" snarled the voice. "Can't tolerate it, even if it is a bloody Golug."
The Great Orc leader clutched the hilt of his sword tightly. He rounded suddenly, but the newcomer dodged him and instantly slashed his throat with a sharp dagger. The leader gagged and gurgled and fell backwards next to the Elf, who flinched at the sight of the corpse and that gushing, black blood. He began to feel faint, and then he heard a soft voice speak in a rough tongue:
"Lat nardamûrz. Norgash lat krâtmarrub. Narmudhnlat."
The Elf glanced wearily at the shadow, which loomed over him. He saw no face, for the figure had covered all but his eyes with a heavy wrap. Then the figure paused and shook its head. It tried to speak in Sindarin: "Edhel, le mabon an 'wain hen."
What person is this? wondered the Elf. And why does he rescue me?
The being kneeled beside the Elf and quickly pulled some things from the small pack beneath its cloak: a rag and what looked like a vial. He opened the vial and poured a pungent unguent, devised from strong and foreign herbs, into the rag. Then the being placed it over the Elf's mouth and nose. The warrior protested, but the being was well-versed in the art the plants and their purposes, and as the Elf struggled beneath him, he saw that his potion worked swiftly.
The Elf's eyes fluttered and his eyes rolled with weariness. Finally, the warrior succumbed, but how long he would remain unconscious, the being did not know for certain.
Swiftly he slung the Elf over his shoulders and marched with great speed from the camp site. He would return to destroy the bodies later, but for now, his charge was his only concern.
Glossary: Orch! (Sindarin) Orc!
Golug (Black Speech) Elf (derogatory).
Kargburz (Bl. Sp.) black fang. An original Uruk character.
"Lat nardamûrz. Norgash lat krâtmarrub. Narmudhnlat." (Orkish dialect) You're safe. Norgash will take you away. Don't worry.
"Edhel, le mabon an 'wain hen" (Sind.) Elf, I take you elsewhere.
Disclaimer: The author, Lynx of Isengard, makes no claim over J.R.R. Tolkien's creations and makes no monetary gain from writing this fanfiction story. However, original characters are the intellectual property of Lynx of Isengard and may not be used without permission.
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.