As Shadows Fall

The year is 3019, and the Elves of Lothlorien cross the River Anduin to confront the orcish fortress of Dol Guldur. The elves face wave after wave of enemy with ease, but the orcs have one last trick up their sleeve...

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2. Their Blood on the Hands of the Strong

Haldir moved amongst the shadows of Mirkwood, dark green hunting clothes hiding him from sight. His companions followed him, a scout force for the Elven army. At first they had been armed and armoured lightly, but as they drew closer to the craggy, orcish fortress of Dol Guldur, reconaissance missions had been more armoured, more armed and larger.

After the leaving of the Fellowship from Lothlorien, the normally quiet forest was overrun with activity. Forges were lit, weapons smithed and bows strung. For though it was not yet time to storm Dol Guldur, when the Nazgul left the elves would need to be swift and merciless to crush the remaining opposition. Finally, after months of preparation, they left, moving to Mirkwood to meet with King Thranduil of the Woodland realms.

For two weeks they had marched, and at dawn tomorrow, they would fire their arrows by the sun's  first light. Weightless steps making not a sound, Haldir moved on once more; behind him he could see the gold and silver of the two Elven armies. He had gone no more than two hundred metres however, when he saw something in the trees that made him stop.

 A dull, unpolished spearhead, protruding from the bushes. It was an ugly black, smashed roughly into shape, but obviously razor sharp. Silently Haldir drew an arrow, nocked it and aimed. It flew through the air and was greeted by a sharp squeal and a crash as the orc's heavy corpse fell through the undergrowth.

A moment of silence ensued; then with a roar to strike fear into the hardiest of men, a horde of orcs burst from the treeline. They sprinted onto the road, stupidly alerting every scout group in the area. Clouds of arrows soared, razing down dozens of them; Haldir himself killed at least three score, his company unleashing wave after wave of white fletched arrows.

By the time the orcs reached the main body of the Elven army, their arrows had slaughtered so many of them, there was only one left, limping along, an arrow sticking out of it's knee. Celeborn stepped forward, accompanied by the tightening of bowstrings and the rasp of metal as he unsheathed his sword. He thrust it up through the orc's chin, the blade tip shooting up through it's skull. Black blood flowed down, soaking Celeborn's hand.
"And so the weak shall fall," he bellowed,  "Their blood on the hands of the strong!"

And as the elves roared in the joy of battle, animals fled in terror from their cries. For in peacetime, the elves are a gentle folk, but in times of war, you must remember that they are not even a little human.

 

Haldir strode onto the road, his company of elves in tow. he asked a passing messenger where Lady Galadriel was and left his company waiting. Passing silently through the silver leaves, he found her standing alone in a clearing.

"The last company is in place, your Lady," murmured Haldir, "We await your command." Lady Galadriel was standing with her back to him, and as an elf left the clearing, Haldir realised they were alone. "Lady Galadriel?"

"Do you know how long I have lived, Haldir?"

"No, my Lady."

"It has been one thousand six hundred and fifty six years. Over one thousand five hundred years since I have seen Valinor, since I have seen the land of my birth."
"What is wrong, my Lady?"

"Today a great many elves will die. For the first time since I can remember, I am in two minds. If I give the order, then it will save the lives of many men, and an evil will be scraped from the surface of the earth. However, the ships are sailing for Valinor, Haldir, and if we leave now, many more elves will live to see their homeland."

 

Haldir stood in the brightening light, his head slightly cocked. After a while he spoke softly and slowly, as if savouring the words as they left his mouth.

"I cannot tell you what you should or should not do my Lady, but I can tell you this; at dawn, I will storm Dol Guldur, whether there is an army behind me or not."

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