... But, my blades were never able to collide with the already mutilated flesh of my foes. For I was forcefully lifted over an Uruk’s shoulder and my blades clattered out of my grasp; leaving them abandoned on the bloody ground. I struggled, desperately trying to escape from its foul grasp. Instead, my head collided with something heavy. A dizziness fell over me and a dull ache drifted along the side of my head. A sticky liquid slipped down the side of my face and I watched as the red droplets slowly dripped to the floor; leaving a trail behind me. Just before the darkness consumed, I was able to utter a single word,
My head constantly slammed up and down on some unknown entity that felt like the cold sting of steel. A pain filled moan spilled from my lips when my sensitive ears picked up the sound of thousands of pounding feet that slammed the trampled earth. Slowly my eyes opened and I instantly snapped them shut again for the bright light of the sun filled my eyes; almost blinding me. Slowly I opened them again, once my tender pupils had recovered and I had grown bored of the lingering darkness that had shrouded me. That was when I saw the disfigured head that was attached to the ghastly body whose shoulder I was thrown over.
“Authiel! Authiel!” A voice urgently whispered.
I painfully turned my aching neck to face the being who had called my name.
To my delight, and horror, I saw that it was the curly, brown haired Hobbit; the lovely Peregrin Took.
“Pippin, what are you doing here?”
“They got me, and Merry, too!”
“What? … When? … How?”
“They grabbed us at the same point as you, before Boromir …. Boromir … died ….”
That was when I saw Merry. His head was hanging on the side of the Uruk’s shoulder and his head was bleeding from a wound at his temple; his curly hair was matted as well with congealing blood.
“What’s wrong with him?” Pippin asked; the panic obvious in his voice.
“The injury to his head must have rendered him unconscious, as it did for myself!”
It was then that I noticed that his breathing was beginning to shallow.
Suddenly, the Uruk’s stopped and my head slammed painfully into the my capture’s helmet and it took all my effort not to cry out in pain. I lifted my head up and saw a group of Mordor Orcs emerging from behind some rocks; shielding their eyes from the lights.
“You’re late!” The Orc leader hissed, “Our master grows impatient. He wants the Shire-rats and his girl now!”
“His girl!” I hissed, astounded, “His girl! I was his apprentice and nothing more! How dare he hint such vile things!”
The Uruk’s ignored me.
“I don’t take orders from Orc-Maggots. Saruman will have his prize. We will deliver them!”
To my side, Merry had gained consciousness and was looking rather sick whilst her groaned in pain.
“Merry! Merry! Wake up!”
That was when he spotted the Uruk drinking some liquid from a wine skin. Pippin desperately looked from Merry, to the wine skin and back again. Instantly, I knew what he was about to do.
“Pippin …” I urgently whispered, “Pippin no!!”
But, he ignored me.
“My friend is sick. He needs water. Please!” He begged.
“No!” I hissed, knowing the outcome would not be good.
“Sick, is he?” The sinister creature growled in his gruff voice, “Give him the medicine, boys!” He continued before manically laughing.
One of the Uruk’s roughly grabbed the back of Merry’s head and poured a black, syrupy liquid into his mouth. Merry coughed and spluttered, the vile substance trickling down the side of his face as he came too.
“Stop it!” Pippin cried.
“Can’t take his draught!” The first Uruk hysterically cried.
“Leave him alone,” I growled, venom dripping from my mouth.
“Why? You want some? Huh?” The Uruk spat. He paused slightly, waiting for a non-existent reply, “Then keep your mouth shut!”
He looked me straight in the eye and lifted his grubby hand to my face. With his cracked claws, he dug his fingers into my cheeks and grinned at me with a sadistic smirk. Slowly he leant close to my face and said in his growling voice with a foul smelling breath which slammed into my face, causing my nose to wrinkle in disgust,
“We wouldn’t want anything to happen to that pretty face, not when you could be so ….” He paused and I watched, repulsed, as his eyes trailed over my tight corset with a suggestive raise to his eyebrow, “ … so useful!”
I let out a disgusted huff before a shrugged his hand off of me and growled,
“As if I would ever make myself useful to you!”
“No you definitely will not.”
With that he wandered back over to his group and began to lead the group away from the rocks; closer and closer to Saruman.
“Merry!” Pippin urgently whispered, grasping my attention.
“Hello Pip …” He groggily replied, now completely conscious.
“I’m fine. It was an act.”
“An act?” Pippin questioned, his voice brimmed with surprise.
“See. I fooled you too. Don’t worry about me, Pippin.”
“Once I release myself from these infernal binds I will heal you, Merry,” I promised.
“I think you need more help than me, Auth. You look awful!” Merry chuckled.
“Oh wonderful, Merry. Just what I wanted to hear.”
He grinned shyly at me whilst I struggled against the tight bonds that held my arms painfully behind my back. I knew that the bonds would not come loose unless they were forceless cut by a blade; something which was not likely to happen any time soon. With an annoyed huff, I laid my head on the cold Uruk armour and sadly stared at the scenery as we charged through the barren countryside; hopelessness filling me.
My head slammed against my Uruk’s armour as the horde suddenly stopped again; the Uruk leader frantically sniffing the air whilst nervously looking around.
“What is it? What do you smell?” A random Uruk asked.
“Man flesh!” The leader replied, still sniffing.
“They’ve picked our trail!”
A ghost of a smile spilled onto my lips and I whispered,
Legolas, you are near, you will save us from this terrifying ordeal.
“Move!” The Uruk leader roared.
From the corner of my eye, I watched as Pippin ripped his Lorien leaf brooch from its clasp around his neck with his teeth. He quickly looked from side to side before he spat it out of his mouth; onto the ground.
I smiled at his actions and manoeuvred my chin so that half of the Lorien leaf pendant sprang loose from its hidden barrier beneath my clothing. With a forceful tug, I ripped the chain from around my neck and allowed it to freely flow to the ground.
Find me, Legolas. Save us from these demons that have us in their gruesome grasps. Recognise our united pendant and return it to me when we are reunited.
A single tear dropped from my eye, trailed down my face and sadly fell to the floor.
“Please,” I whispered with heavy eyes, “Please, protect us. Oh, Valar protect us!”
With an exhausted sigh, I let my head fall gently back onto the helmet before I looked over to the darkening sky. Drowsiness washed over me, drowsiness induced by the large amount of blood which I had lost from my head wound. For a few seconds, I tried to wrestle with the feeling, knowing that I should try and keep consciousness for as long as possible or I could never wake again; yet I was unable to keep it under control. My eyes began to become heavier and heavier and soon they were so heavy that I was only able to briefly hold them open for a minute before darkness took me.
Hours passed with the only sound that greeted was that of the harsh breathing of my Uruk and the ever constant pounding of the hordes disfigured feet. Constantly, I drifted in and out of consciousness. Each time I fell into darkness fearful thoughts filled my head, thoughts that perhaps it would be the last time that I was to wake and that never again would I be able to lay my eyes up my love’s fair face and chiselled features. Sadness filled me each time I thought this but I awoke each time none the less; it seemed that my strength refused to leave me.
The next time we stopped, the sky had turned an inky black colour and everything seemed to be full of menacing evil with nothing to show of the hope or joy; the stars were not even visible.
“We’re not going no further until we’re had a breather!” An Orc explained, glaring at the Uruk-Hai leader.
Merry and Pippin were flung to the ground, causing them to grunt and groan in pain whilst the Uruks that had been lugging them around sneered down at them. I snapped my eyes shut when I felt my Uruk shift its weight. I feared the worst. Instead, its arms grabbed me fairly gently and I placed carefully on the floor. I lay on my side, trying not to crush my hands which were still tightly tied behind my back, and shook my mattered hair out of my face. I grimaced when I felt more blood trickle down the already blood streaked skin and a whimper slipped from my lips when I thought of how I actually looked.
“Authiel, Merry,” Pippin whisper shouted, crawling over to us.
“I think we might have made a mistake leaving the Shire, Pippin!” Merry whispered.
A groaning sound filled the air. With aching muscles, I turned my head and saw the vast forest that stretched out across my view. A weak smile spread across my lips and I longingly looked at the dark green ferns that were so similar to the ones from my homes. However, my smile vanished when I heard the cries of pain from the trees. The Uruks and Orcs were bringing their blunt axes down onto the twisted limbs that the pleading trees had raised to the dark sky; hacking away.
Save us! Where is our Queen? Why is she letting this happen to us?
My heart broke slightly as their whispering pleads filled my ears. They were so helpless, and there was nothing that I could do to help them.
“What’s make that noise?” Pippin asked, eyes wide.
“The trees!” I plainly replied, looking sadly at the gnarled branches that were being so carelessly thrown to the floor.
“What do you mean?” He asked, astonished.
“Do you remember the old forest, on the borders of Buckland? Folks used to say that there was something in the water that made the trees grow taller and come alive,” Merry explained in urgent whispers, “Trees that could whisper, talk to each other, even move!”
“We started it,” I explained as I stared with sorrow filled eyes at the events that were unfolding around me, not looking in their direction.
“Who did?” Pippin questioned.
“The Elves; my kin. I was among them …”
“When was this?”
“A long time ago ….” I vaguely answered, my voice trailing off in thought.
Suddenly, I felt something cold press against the skin on my ankle causing a shiver to roll down my spine. A wild grin slipped into my dampening eyes as a new flame of hope rekindled in my chest; they had not removed all of my weapons. There was hope. We were not doomed. I could use it if the time for an escape was to arise.
Uncomfortably, I shifted my weight and discreetly stared down at my foot. It looked to be ever so far away. There was no way that I could reach it. I slumped back onto my side in defeat, the flame in my chest dying as I took several calming breaths and tried to find a comfortable position; allowing me to accept my doom.
“I’m starving’. We ain’t had nothing but maggoty bread for three stinking days!” An Uruk grumbled in complaint.
“Yeah! Why can’t we have some meat?!” An Orc groaned. It was then that it spotted Merry and Pippin, “What about them? They’re fresh.”
I sat up, after a slight struggle, and sent the beast a death glare before growling at it in its own foul tongue.
“Touch them and all of you will be dead with mere minutes … I can promise you that!”
“They are not for eating!” The Uruk leader growled.
He nodded to one of his comrades. The beast grabbed the two cowering Hobbits by the scruff of their coats and dragged them away from the gather pack of hungry Orcs; leaving me to glare at him with a regularly heavily falling chest as I tried to hide the festering anger that swarmed beneath my skin.
“The prisoners go to Saruman. Alive and unspoiled.”
“Alive?” Another Orc questioned, “Why alive? Do they give good sport?”
“And why the girl? She could give us a bit of fun!” The first Orc suggested.
“Try it,” I growled in their foul language, “I dare you!”
“She was his and will be again.”
“But why alive?”
“They have something. An Elvish weapon. The Master wants it for the war.”
I watched, horrified, as an Orc snuck up, slowly, to the Hobbits with a blade raised high above its head as the two Shire-folk quietly conversed. It got closer and closer to the duo; licking its foul lips. It hissed,
“Just a mouthful, a bit off the flank.”
The Uruk leader whipped around and swiftly parted the Orc’s head and neck from one another with a single flick of its crooked blade. The head landed on the ground with a dull thud, right in front of Merry and Pippin. Fear filled their terrified eyes as they stared at it with wide eyes.
“Looks like meats back on the menu, boys!” The leader triumphantly cried, pushing the Hobbits out of the way with a sharp push; causing them to land on me. I groaned in protest as I attempt to push them off of me. The Orcs yelled in approval whilst they feasted on their fallen comrades’ festering flesh.
“Pippin, there is a dagger in my boot. If you want to be rid of those bonds then get it for me and slice my bonds as best as you can.”
Shyly, he did as he was asked. He wriggled his body off of mine and twisted around so that he was able to reach down my boot. Soon I was able to move my wrists once more. Quickly I took the knife from Pippin and slipped it back into my boot before dropping onto my stomach.
“Merry, Pippin, let’s go!”
They quickly nodded their heads and slowly we crawled away from the feasting Orcs and Uruk-Hai. As we crawled, I concentrated on keeping a watchful eye on my surroundings, checking that the mutants were still feasting on the vile flesh of their fallen as they tore at the various limp limbs and ripped out the slimy internal organs that were thick with oozing black blood that dripped to the ground and darkened the purity of nature. Alas, my eyes were not as keen as I thought they were for the surviving Orc who had outspoken the Uruk leader had crept up behind us. I did not realise it until I heard Pippin’s startled gasp. Hastily, I flipped over and stared at the Orc who had grabbed Pippin’s chin in his mutilated fingers with his knife threateningly pointed at the terrified Hobbit.
“Go on. Call for help. Squeal! No one’s going to save you now.”
The Orc went to carve into Pippin, when suddenly a spear sprung through its chest. It screamed in pain and fell to its side; dead. Almost out of nowhere, what seemed like hundreds of riders charged out of the darkness armed with spears and arrows.
“Pippin!” Merry hissed.
The riders charged through the encampment, slaughtering the foul Orcs and Uruk-Hai as they rode.
“Hurry up!” I whispered as I sprang to my feet, drew my daggers and helped the riders to slaughter my gruesome captors.
That was when I heard Pippin scream. I whipped around just in time to see a horse that was about to trample him. It took all my extensive effort to not scream right there and then in complete shock as I watched. Thankfully, he was not trampled by the steed. Instead, he was just able to roll to the side.
“Go,” I urged, “To the trees.”
They nodded their heads and crawled away from the battle; hands still bound.
I grew distracted by the innocent Hobbits, terrified that something would happen to them. So distracted that I paid very little attention to my surroundings. The thing which brought me back to reality was a burning pain in my shoulder and a high pitched scream slipped from my lips. An Orc stood only a few feet away from me and their sword was still being lowered to the floor. Hastily, I slit the drooling creature’s throat and clamped my hand on the flesh wound; trying to falter the bleeding.
“There’s a girl!” Someone yelled.
“Boys, go!” I screamed as I decapitated yet another beast’s head.
“Miss!” Someone called, “Come here, we can help!”
Quickly, I looked from the forest to a man who had descended from his horse and was cautiously approaching me; his arms raised in a peaceful gesture. A helmet was in his arms and he had a headful of long, dirty blond hair that hung in tattered clumps down the sides of his face. His face was streaked with blood and dirt and although he was in the middle of a vicious battle he had a kind smile on his face as he tried to encourage me to approach him.
“My name’s Éomer, I can help you. I swear I mean you no harm.”
“No …” I replied in a whisper, “I will not leave them …”
Suddenly, I dashed towards Fangorn Forest, after Merry and Pippin, with the man, Éomer, shouting after me.
“Wait … Miss please, wait!!!”
Fear filled my heart. Cold, hard fear. I sprinted through the large forest trees of Fangorn, frantically searching for my dear Hobbits. The trees were old, very old. They held an old sense of wisdom and emotion, something which I had not felt for many years. But the emotions that the trees held were mainly made up of negative energy such as hatred and anger. The air was thick with humidity and there was very little light visible due to the large trunks, thick branches and wilting leaves that grew in the higher canopies of the trees. Cautiously I looked around as I tried to look for the boys and keep an eye out for the evil creatures which I knew to live in the shadows around the dark trees and under the twisted roots. A terrified, strangled scream came from further along the path and I instantly recognised it to belong to the voice of one Peregrin Took.
I picked up the pace and leapt over tree roots and dodged the low hanging branches as I desperately tried to reach them. Just as I reached the sight where I had heard Pippin screaming, I watched as an Orc leaned over Merry with a sword raised high over its head. But before it could bring it down on and end the innocent’s life, it turned its head to see something. That was when the large tree foot stepped on it and squished it to a pulp. Yes, you are correct, a tree foot. Well, an Ent’s foot to be exact.
“Run Merry!” Pippin screamed.
But before Merry could even move, the Ent took two short steps and picked him up in its choking grasp.
“Little Orcs, Bu-la-rum,” It grumbled.
“Treebeard,” I screamed at the Ent, “Put them down!”
It lazily looked over its shoulder briefly before continuing to speak in its rumbling voice to the Hobbits who had been frantically conversing to one another.
“Tree?!? I am no tree. I am an Ent.”
“Treebeard!” I warned angrily.
“A Tree Herder. A Shepard of the Forest!” Merry whispered, awe filling his voice.
“Treebeard, put them down.”
“Treebeard, some call me.”
“TREEBEARD!!!” I yelled.
Thankfully, I was no longer ignored.
“Young Princess Authiel, it is a pleasure to have you in my forests again.”
“Put them down!” I order placing my hand on my hip.
“I cannot, Princess. They’re little Orcs.”
“We’re not Orcs, we’re Hobbits!”
“Hobbits? Never heard of a Hobbit before. Sounds like Orc mischief to me. They come with fire, they come with axes. Gnawing, biting, making hack and burning. Destroyers and usurpers. Curse them.”
As he spoke, Treebeard’s splintering gasp squeezed their waists and I could only imagine the pain as they tried to squirm out of the Ent’s bone shattering grasp.
“No, you don’t understand. We’re Hobbits, Halflings, Shire-folk!” Merry cried in a strained voice.
“Maybe you are, and maybe you aren’t. The White Wizard will know!”
A gasp slipped from my lips as I gripped my arm, attempting to stop the blood flow.
“The White Wizard?” Pippin whispered, his confusion obvious.
“Saruman!” I growled angrily.
Suddenly, Treebeard dropped them to the ground and something kicked me in the back, causing me to fall heavily to my knees. I groaned in pain as my wounded shoulder slammed into the ground. Lazily, I lifted myself up and I was bathed in a sudden blast of glowing white light of the menacing White Wizard. I glared up at the Istari who had betrayed us out of fear. Yet, he looked different. Something just was not quite the same.
A gasp trickled from my lips as I realised the truth. I realised that the figure belonged to one whom I did not expect.
But, it is impossible … completely impossible … but my vision though … the mountain side … it could not have happened …..