A Lady's duty - Book One of the Lorien Princess Trilogy (Legolas Love Story/ Lotr)

Authiel is the daughter of Celeborn and Galadriel, princess and heir to the throne of Lorien. In order to prove herself to her people and her parents, she goes to Rivendell in order to attend a secret council. But, when her duty and her destiny become entwined, she finds herself in a company of an elf, two men, a dwarf, a wizard and four hobbits. What will happen when she discovers something about herself - a mystery buried in time and darkness - and what will happen when the dark lord learns of her power in this tale? Will she survive?

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14. Chapter Thirteen - Balin's Tomb

We crossed over a precarious bridge above a deep mining works, the only lights coming from the crystals on mine and Gandalf’s staffs.

“Quietly, now. It’s a four day journey to the other side. Let us hope that our journey goes unnoticed!”

Slowly, we walked into a new chamber. Old ropes and ancient ladders littered the room, either hanging like a limb from the ceiling or lay dead in pieces on the floor. Gandalf placed his hand on the wall and touched a shining substance that snaked like veins in the wall.

“The wealth of Moria was not in gold or jewels but mithril!” He explained.

He held his staff over the expansive drop besides us. I looked down, grinning for in the endless depth of the mines a faint, blue light glowed from the depths; although it looked abandoned the remainder of the mithril was evident. Slowly, we continued onwards as Gandalf spoke to us.

“Bilbo had a shirt of mithril rings that Thorin gave to him.”

“Oh, that was a kingly gift!” Gimli cried.

“Yes, I never told him, but its worth was greater than the value of the Shire.”

From the corner of my eye, I saw Frodo’s eyes wid en and he gulped in shock.

                We continued up the steep stairs, passing through a Dwarf cemetery. It was disgraceful. The graves were despoiled … Dwarf skeletons were strewn about and Goblin graffiti was scrawled across the monuments, defacing them in dried Dwarf blood. The whole room felt somewhat sinister. The path suddenly split into three passages, each disappearing into dark tunnels. Gandalf paused. He looked at each passage several times before turning slowly around to face us; frowning,

“I have no memory of this place!”

“I suggest we take this as a clue to have a rest. We are all overtired and deserve a few hours rest whilst you try to remember which route to take,” I suggested.

“Agreed!” Gandalf said, making his way to a boulder and sat staring intently at the three tunnel mouths in front of him.

Pelior soared over to the top of a room where a jutted out rock which she used as a perch. I dropped to the ground, removed my bow from my back and leant against a large stalagmite. Once I was comfortable, I scanned the room one final time before I allowed my eyes to droop and let sleep consume me.

 

Legolas’ eyes fell on Authiel as she slept; his heart twanged at the look of pure innocence which she only revealed in her most private, personal moments. He smiled softly as her brow furrowed slightly at something in her dreams. She opened her mouth and whispered,

“No, leave them alone!”

Even though she only spoke in a whisper, the words floated swiftly around the room in an echo. All eyes fell on her, shocked that she was voicing her dream.

“Gandalf, what’s …” Pippin began.

“Shh boy!”

“Keep away from them!” Authiel whimpered bravely.

“Auth?” Legolas said softly.

But she didn’t hear him, she thrashed to the side and continued to whimper and cry out at the horrors in her dreams.

“No … do not touch her … I will kill you if you touch her … I will kill you if you touch her  … let them be … let them be …” She cried in feverish whispers.

Legolas and Aragorn shared a fearful glance before Legolas dropped down beside her and spoke in a kind voice to her,

“Auth … Auth wake up … wake up Authiel … wake up!”

“Do not touch them … leave them ALONE!!!”

Legolas, stupidly, placed his hand tenderly on her arm, but whatever was haunting her dream made her lash out. She grabbed her dagger that was hidden in her boot, grasped Legolas’ arm and pressed the dagger to his neck …

 

                Azog was in front of me, his vile face contorted into a sly grin as he tossed the limb, semi-naked body of my sister aside. With a cry of anger, I forced the filthy grip of the Orcs that were restraining me off and screamed,

“Do not touch her, I will kill you if you touch her!”

But Azog ignored me. He flipped the headless body of my younger sister over so that her blooded neck smeared the snow with small jewels of red. In a single lash of his axe, the remainder of her blood-soaked clothes off so that she lay there completely naked on the frozen earth. Time itself seemed to slow down as the foul beast made his way towards her.

“Touch her and I swear I will kill you!” I screamed.

Azog smiled his grim smile as he slowly lowered himself onto Megara. Anger festered in my blood and I leapt forwards. I slammed into him, causing him to fall to the ground. Raising my clenched fists up to my face, I glared down at him and spoke in his foul language,

“You will not touch her again, if you do I will not hesitate to kill you where you lie!”

 

                A gasp slipped from the group as they heard the feverish mutter from Authiel in the foul language of the Orcs. Only Legolas seemed unfazed by it, and he was knifepoint. Curiously, he placed his free arm on Authiel’s arm and whispered,

“De, melith nin!”

[Wake up, my love]

When she did not stir, he continued in a loving voice, showing no fear to the blade at his throat.

“Authiel, panna-llie hind.”

[Authiel, open your eyes.]

 

                Rage filled Azog’s face. He rose up and grabbed me roughly by the arm. In his hell like voice, he whispered,

“You will watch and then I will do the same to you!”

A shudder trickled down my spine as I watched him bend down and lifted up Megara’s decapitated head by the end of her golden tresses. Blood trickled to the ground through the stump, and her face was still contorted with shock as it was when the blade met the skin.

“She was pretty, pity!” Azog growled as he caressed her lifeless cheek with his grimy paws.

With a brash thought, I grabbed my hidden blade, leapt forwards and scrapped it across his pale face. As he cried out a soft voice fell on me,

“Authiel, panna-llie hind.”

[Authiel, open your eyes.]

“Lathrada-na-nín ooma.”

[Listen to my voice.]

“De, melith nin!”

[Wake up, my love!]

“Entul na-nin!”

[Return to me!]

                Slowly, I was pulled out of the horrific scene and my eyes gradually opened. The first thing I saw was Legolas’ blond hair trickling over my chest as he looked kindly down at me. However, I soon noticed the slight hint of fear in his eyes and my gaze fell upon the dagger, my dagger, was at his throat.

Swiftly, my eyes opened wide and I dropped the dagger as if it was a scolding hot piece of poison dipped metal. Pushing away from him, I edged my way so that my back as completely pressed against the stalagmite that I had slept against; curling my legs up so that I could wrapped my arms around my knees and bury my head in my lap.

“Tyrn. Baw er-naa.”

[Calm down. No one is hurt.]

“Im ras gar-llie!”

[I could have killed you!]

“Im sint, dan llie.”

[I know, but you didn’t.]

Sadly, I looked up at him. Letting the solitary tear drop.

“Im ta ad … I saw her die; I saw the aftermath. It hurts. She was my sister, the baby of our family; and she was murdered. Every night I see her die. I cannot stop it; it is haunting me every night, I barely sleep. Even after I slew that beast, I still dream about it. ”

[I saw it again …]

I did not even realise that I had slipped into the western tongue. I only realised it when I heard the Hobbits gasp.

Another single tear dropped into my lap and I swiftly dropped my head so that it rested, once more, on my knees.

“Tiria na nin …” Legolas whispered, placing a hand on mine.

[Look at me …]

I ignored him and continued to wallow in my sorrow.

“Tiria na nin …” He repeated. 

[Look at me …]                                  

After a minute or two I did as I was asked. Through my misty eyes, I looked at him as he stroked a stray tear off of my cheek; his hand soft and tender.

“Do not stray on thoughts so foul  as that it will only harm your fair soul. What is done is done and nought can be done about it! Llie nif en sina hiraeth. Lalysh nesh nin. ”

[Lighten your face of this sorrow. Smile for me.]

A meek smile glistened on my face and I unhooked my arms from my knees as I straightened my posture.

“There she is, i en Ennor!”

[The true beauty of Middle-Earth!]

“Mani nin? Im n’ sint re nae sinome. Re naa i Undómiel en lye gwaith!”

[What my niece? I did not know she was here.  She is the Evenstar of our people!]

“Tanya aa na, leha naa nae i alata im darn kesha nin!”

[That may be, but she is nought compared to the radiance I see before me!]

“Llie naa!”                                                                                                                             

[You are biased!]

“Ere.”

[Only slightly.]

“Llie!”

[ You liar!]

From the outside of the invisible bubble that Legolas and I had crafted, I heard Aragorn chuckle as he smoked his pipe. I had completely forgotten that he and Gandalf could understand every word that we spoke to one another in Sindarin.

“Uum n la ie nin Elessar. Llie demad ya llie!”

[Do not laugh at me Elessar. You forget who raised you!]

He held up his hands in defence before chuckling once more. Rolling my eyes at him, I turned away from him and caught Boromir staring up at me; his eyes disturbingly raking over me. Even though I was not directly looking at him, my body bridled at his gaze.

“Lost something, Boromir?” I called not looking up from my fingernails, which I had begun intensely study.

A startled breath of air dropped from his lungs and he looked at me with an unreadable expression.

“How can you expect me to believe that you’ll be able to protect yourself in battle when you cry in your sleep.”

“Didn’t you see what she …”Pippin began.

I held up my hand, which was still slightly shaking, and looked Boromir straight in the eye,

“I do not cry myself to sleep. Regularly I am haunted by the horror of my past at night in vivid memories of death and destruction.

Do you have to regularly watch as those who you platonically love die in horrific ways? Do you have to watch as you younger sister is stabbed in the chest before having her head decapitated from her body? Then, are you forced to watch as her limb body was stripped of all blood laden clothes and her innocence  stripped from her lifeless body? Do you have to watch as your other sister struggled to get away as her skirts were bunched around her waist and she was taken there in the frozen earth before being dragged off by her air in little clothing to some den in a hidden mountain cave? No? I thought not.

I have seen horrors that would only come to you in your darkest nightmares. Never judge me on the things that haunt me; only when you have fought such villains as I can you criticize me on such things. Remember that Boromir, remember that!”

Boromir looked at me completely shocked, but I ignored him. Aragorn cleared his throat and I looked over at him. He had a smile sympathetic smile on his face and he gave me a look that meant, ‘I know how you feel, but nought can be done about it. Do not seek revenge in those who do not know you any better.’

“I – I didn’t kno ….” Boromir began.

I held up my hand and swiftly silenced him. With a look of absolute disgust in my face, I said,

“I do not seek your sympathy. I do not wish for it, now leave me be of the words that you utter in such a blaming fashion. Leave me to suffer in a way that I see fit!”

                Silence filled the chamber, endlessly echoing off of the rocky walls. I sighed inwardly in despair, truly I did not mean for them to find out in such a manner. Out of the corner of my eye, I looked at Legolas who had moved to sit in solitude; Aragorn and Boromir were both sat smoking a pipe with Gimli leaning back with his eyes closed, looking peaceful. Stretching out the long invisible fingers in my mind, I whispered into Legolas’ head.

“Did I sound completely insane?”

“No …”

“Are you telling me the truth?”

“Slighty …”

“How did I? When?”

“It was the way that you were muttering in your sleep. You sounded almost feverish.”

“Of course I did …”

“I’m sure they understand … well they do now at least.”

I brought out of our mental conversation by Pippin loudly whispering to Merry,

“Are we lost?”

“No. I don’t think we are. Shh, Gandalf’s thinking.”

After a few seconds of silence, Pippin spoke up again,

“Merry?”  

“What!” Merry sighed in annoyance.

“I’m hungry!”

A smile slipped on my face, washing away the feeling of melancholy washing away swiftly. From the corner of my eye, I saw Frodo nervously approaching Gandalf.

“There’s something down there!” He whispered.

“It’s Gollum,” Gandalf replied quietly.

“Gollum?”

“He’s been following us for three days.”

“He escaped the dungeons of Barad-dûr?” Frodo in complete disbelief.

“Escaped … or was set loose. And now the Ring has drawn him here … he will never be rid of his need for it. He hates and loves the Ring, as he hates and loves himself. Sméagol’s life is a sad story.”

I caught the look of surprise on Frodo’s face at the same time as Gandalf did.

“Yes … Sméagol he was once called … before the Ring came to him, before it drove him mad.”

Grimly, Frodo gritted his teeth and said,

“It’s a pity Bilbo didn’t kill him when he had the chance.”

“Pity? It was pity that stayed Bilbo’s hand. Many that live deserve death, and many who die deserve lie. Can you give it to them, Frodo?

Do not be too eager to deal out death in judgment … even the very wise cannot see all ends. My heart tells me that Gollum has some part to play yet, for good or ill before this is over. The pity of Bilbo may rule the fate of many.”

“I wish the hand never come to me … I wish none of this had happened!”

“So do all who live to see such times, but that is not for them to decide. All they have to decide is what to do with the time that is given to them.

There are other forces at work in this world, Frodo, beside the will of evil. Bilbo was meant to find the Ring. In which case, you also were meant to have it …. And that is an encouraging thought!”

After a few seconds pause, Gandalf looked at each of the tunnels one final time before he suddenly cried with delight,

“Ah! It’s that way!”

Gandalf pointed to the tunnel to the right. I, along with the rest of the Fellowship, scrambled to our feet. Merry sighed with relief.

“He’s remembered!”

“No. But the air doesn’t smell so foul down here. If in doubt, Meriadoc, always followed your nose.”

                We passed under an arched doorway into a black, empty space. Gandalf paused for a moment as a feeling of familiarity passed over me.

“Let me risk a little more light!”

Gandalf tapped his staff and for a brief moment a light blazed, like a flash of silent lightning. The vast shadows sprang up and fled …

“Behold! The great realm of the Dwarf-city of Dwarrowdelf.”

I heard Frodo gasp at the sight of the roof far above our heads, held up by many mighty pillars of stone. Before us stretched a large, empty hall with black walls polished so that they looked as smooth as glass.

“Well, there’s an eye opener and no mistake!”

My heart suddenly jumped into my throat as I saw the sight in front of me. The wooden door had been smashed so that it dangled off of its hinges, with twisted black arrows embedded in the timbers. Two Goblin skeletons lay in the doorway. With a cry, Gimli rushed ahead.

“Gimli!” Gandalf screamed.

I rushed after him, fearful of what I was about to see. I ran with him into another vast empty chamber lit with only a narrow shaft of sunlight that beamed  in from a small hole near the roof. Dwarf skeletons were piled up high. In the far corner sat a stone walled wall which had long dried up. The single shaft of light fell directly onto a stone table in the middle of the room. A single oblong of stone, about four feet high, topped with a great slab of white stone. Gimli fell to his knees, crying out,

“No … no … oh, no!”

A sob of my own caught in my throat as Gandalf quietly read an inscription of runes, carved onto the white stone slab,

“ ‘Here lies Balin, Son of Fundin, Lord of Moria’ He is dead, then. It is as I feared.”

Tears prickled my eyes as I thought of Balin. Dear, sweet Balin who treated me with always treated me with care and respect.

                A corpse was propped against the stone tomb with a book in its hands. I bent down and placed a hand on the corpses’ head, trying not to whimper at the repulsive smell, before allowing the vision to cloud my sight.

 

“Excuse me. I’m sorry to interrupt but what should I do with my plate?”

 

“I’m not afraid! I’m up for it. I’ll give him a taste of Dwarfish iron right up his jacksie!”

 

A pair of shaking hands held a quill as they scribbled at the leather bound book in his hands. He fearfully looked up as the Goblins banged on the door, drumming arrows into it as if it was piece of stretched animal skin.

“Stand firm!” A muscular Dwarf cried in Khuzdul, the language of the Dwarves, his axe raised at the ready.

The Dwarf’s hands started to shake even more and he pulled out a pair knitted mittens and shoved them on quickly.

 

                I snapped back to reality and felt like the wind hand been whipped back into me, whilst my head pounded like made.

“Ori!” I whispered as my eyes fell on the pair of tattered mittens that had fallen off of the thin, fleshless hands of the deceased, now lying on the dust covered ground.

With sorrow welling up inside of me, I picked up the knitted mittens and held them to my heart. Gandalf, seeing my sadness, bent down and picked up the rotting remains of the book out of Ori’s cold dead fingers. It had been slashed and stabbed, and was covered in dried blood. As he opened it the pages cracked and broke, made feeble from the years of age.

“We must move on,” Legolas urgently whispered to Aragorn, “We cannot linger.”

I dropped to my knees and held the thread bare mittens up to my face as I remembered my old friend.

Gandalf found the last entrance in the book and solemnly began to read it aloud,

“They have taken the Bridge and the second hall. We have barred the gates but they will not hold for long … the ground shakes … drums … drums in the deep … we cannot get out. A shadow moves in the dark. Will no one save us? We cannot get out … they are coming …”

“Poor Ori. Poor innocent Ori … he suffered so in his life, especially in his last moments of  life …”I croaked.

“Ori?” Boromir asked quietly.

“The last to die. The scribe. He died with only rotting corpses and feasting Goblins for company. He was a friend, one of our company that reclaim Erebor …”

I was interrupt by several loud bangs. Whipping around, I saw that Pippin had been shuffling away from us in fright. It seemed that he had collided with the well and sent an armoured skeleton tumbling down. The Fellowship and I froze as the skeleton clattered down the deep well; echoing loudly.

“Fool of a Took. Throw yourself in next time and rid us of your stupidity!” Gandalf angrily yelled at the terrified Hobbit.

Swiftly I rose off of my knees and approached the poor Halfling.

“There is no need for such harsh words, Gandalf!” I hissed as I dropped down to Pippin’s height and placed either hand on either of his shoulders, “Ignore him, Pippin. I know you did not mean it, it was an act out of terror alone.”

                The room fell into an empty silence. A low boom rumbled from the depths of the mines fair bellow us, growing louder as if the caverns of Moria had been turned into a vast drum.

… drums ... drums in the deep …

A great horn blasted nearby. It was swiftly answered by hundreds of other horns. Harsh cries filled the air as the ground shook from it being pounded by many pairs of running feet.

… the ground shakes …

“Mr Frodo!” Sam said, worry filling his voice.

I followed my gaze to where Sam was looking. A cold blue glow was emanating from Sting’s scabbard. Slowly Frodo drew his sword and stared at the glowing blade.

“Orcs!” Legolas cried.

“Get back! Stay close to Gandalf!” Aragorn called to the Hobbits.

With fumbling fingers, I shoved Ori’s fraying gloves onto my fingers for safekeeping. Aragorn and Boromir were slamming pieces of wood to the cracks in the door, trying to wedge the gaping holes shut.

… we have barred the gates, but they will not hold for long …

Boromir turned to Aragorn with shock riddling his eyes.

“They have a cave troll!”

“Of course they do!” I sighed.

From my side, Gimli snatched up two rusting, Dwarven axes and leapt on Balin’s tomb.

“Let them come! There is one Dwarf in Moria who still draws breath!”

                Swiftly I drew my dual blades and twisted them around in menacing circles as I stepped into a fighter’s stance. With a loud boom, the door burst open showering the room in wood fragments. About twenty Goblins charged into the tomb; followed by a huge Cave-Troll. Gimli ducked an oncoming blow and immediately buried his axes in two Goblin helmets. Aragorn and Boromir waded into the mass of Goblins with their swords swinging. Legolas fired deadly arrows into the Goblins throats as he tried desperately to shield the Hobbits. Gandalf clutched his sword, Glamdring, and joined the battle.

I sprang into battle, clashing blades with the mutilated beings that at some point may have been my kin. With each flick of my wrist, fresh waves of oozing black blood carpeted the floor and corpses littered the dusty floor.

The Cave-Troll fumbled towards Aragorn, its club swinging. It swept it into Aragorn’s chest making him stumble backwards. Before I could give a cry of warning, the huge club descended in a killing blow. Suddenly, in a flash of raw steel, Boromir’s broadsword sliced into the scale covered arm of the troll; it reared back, splattering green blood across the floor.

                Sprinting across the room, I lunged myself at the wall. Instantly I was in the air and I twisted several times whilst slicing at the Orcs below me. I landed propped up on one knee after I had summersaulted three times through the strands of red hair that had fallen loose as I panted and watched the large circle of Orcs that had surrounded me, each egging the other one would be the first to strike.

Slowly I rose to my feet and twirled my dual blades … once … twice … three times. The whirling sound of metal on air echoed through the silence that pounded at my ear drums; the noise of the ever constant battle around me had slipped into the silent void. Quickly the first Orc ran towards me but before it had the chance to move so much as two steps forwards, it was dead on the floor. The others hurried over to me, blood lust filling their deranged eyes. Within a minute all the Orcs lay dead upon the ground, with decapitated limbs littering the floor.

I smugly twirled my swords once again as I waited for the next thing to attack.

“Aragorn! Aragorn!” Frodo screamed.

Whipping my head around, I watched as the Cave-Troll lunged forward; thrusting the spear into the Shireling’s chest. 

“Frodo!” Aragorn yelled as the poor boy was thrown across the floor.

“Legolas!” I screamed.

He looked over to me, concern filled his eyes instantly. A grin plastered across my face and in a calm voice I cried,

“Duck!”

He immediately dropped to the ground, his back to me. After taking a few steps backwards, I sprinted forwards. I pushed my foot down on Legolas’ back as I took my footing before I continued running until I was able to summersault into the air and landed on the Trolls large shoulders. Raising my twin blades above my head, I took a deep breath before slamming them into the spot that connects the neck and head.

Legolas fired three arrows into the underside of its chin at the same time. Just as the beast stumbled towards the ground, I kicked off, spun on the air and landed in a crouched position.

“Whoa!” Merry and Pippin synchronised.

                Quickly I stood up and rushed over to where Aragorn was crouched with the bent over Frodo at his side. My eyes widened when I realised that no breath trembled through the Ring bearer’s body and tumbled from his still mouth.

“No … Frodo …” Aragorn whispered.

Suddenly, Frodo coughed and took in a large gulp of air.

“He’s alive!” Sam sighed with relief.

“I’m alright, I’m not hurt!” Frodo grinned, pressing his hand over the place where the spear had entered.

“You should be dead. That spear would have skewered a wild boar!” Aragorn cried, flabbergasted.

“I think there’s more to this Hobbit than meets the eye,” Gandalf stated.

Slowly Frodo opened his shirt to reveal the mithril shirt that he wore underneath. A smile grew on my face as I stared at the glittering material and remember the last time I saw it. The day in the Erebor, when Thorin had recovered momentarily from the Dragon’s sickness that was passing over him; the same sickness that had gripped Thrór as well.

“Mithril!” Gimli grinned, when he realised he was staring he cleared his throat and added, “You are full of surprises, Master Hobbit.”

“Bilbo … you clever Baggins you!” I grinned, shaking my head slightly at his actions.

Boom … boom … boom …

My smile dropped when I heard the drums rising from the deep once more. Gandalf turned to face us, his face solemn,

“To the Bridge of Khazad-Dûm!”      

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