The path of destruction led them on, towards where the battle raged still. They had to move swiftly if order to help out their friend. The Elf had put himself into this position in order to save them and they could not bear to think of the consequences should he be caught. It would be worse than if they were to kill him. In the back of his mind, if all hope should fade, he would hope for death for his friend rather than capture. For Elves that are taken are twisted, tortured and mutilated, and are never seen again.
Aragorn led the Fellowship forward, paying no mind to the fact that they were battle wearied. He was going to save his friend.
“Swiftly, fly swiftly! They are only just ahead!” In reality he had no idea where the Orks and, hopefully, Legolas were, but he would say anything to get them to keep going. Just a little farther, he’s right over there, keep going.
“We are with you!” Gimli kept up well for a stout legged Dwarf. He could smell the Orks on the broken grasses and he wanted another opportunity to slay some more.
Boromir was at the rear in case the Orks should try to get the drop on them from behind. Given the visibility in these fields, they could be not more than five feet away and none, save Legolas, would be able to detect them until it was too late.
Four hobbits were bunched in the middle, panting and laboring in order to keep up. Cramps in their sides were causing them to begin to hunch and slow, but they ignored it in order to stay with them. Time was short and may be running out for their comrade.
Galdalf saw a small formation of rocks up ahead through the broken path.
“There! He would try to gain an advantage on those rocks!”
Indeed all points showed that was the direction to enemy went in pursuit of their prey. However, when they arrived they saw an ominous sight. Ork bodies lay scattered like broken dolls. Many of them were felled by arrows, some by the work of small blades.
Aragorn searched all over the fields of blood and bodies, looking for something.
“Legolas!” Boromir called out, hoping for a response. Maybe the Elf was in the fields nearby. He might be hiding after hearing their approach, or perhaps even hiding for fear of Ork reinforcements.
There was no reply. Aragorn continued his search, looking for any sign of Legolas.
Then he saw it, clear as day.
A metal tipped spear with blood on it. It was not Ork blood for that is a foul, sticky, dark substance. This blood was a pure color. Bright red. Elf blood. His heart sank into the deep places of his soul.
A blur of images passed before his eyes. The trees of Mirkwood, including his favorite climbing tree standing on the hilltop. The face of his father, strong and everlasting gazing out over his kingdom. The smile of his friends and they played on the tops of trees. Rivendell and the One Ring. The members of the Fellowship joining together in their quest. Then the cold hand of darkness and the feeling of being ripped in two. The Orks coming, attacking, and then the shot coming at him followed by nothing more.
His eyes slowly opened and the world was nothing more than a blur. The light was so bright he thought he would go insane from it.
“Awaken. You have been asleep far too long.”
A voice he did not recognize was calling to him from the depths of reality. Finally, the light submitted and the world slowly came into view. He was lying down. A figure stood and blocked the insane light, coming into focus. Recognition came quickly.
“The pain may last for a minute or two, but you shall find it will soon pass.”
Joy overtook Legolas, the rest of his kind were unaffected. His family and friends were safe, for the moment. Legolas slowly sat up, suddenly feeling the pain that was forewarned.
“The spear only hit your shoulder. You were lucky, young one.” The mysterious Elf was soon joined by others, 7 in all. They wore blue robes which were long and flowed down their backs. They also each had a bow and quiver on their backs.
“We were able to save you quite easily since Kahlar is quite a skilled Elven healer.”
Legolas’ mind finally came into focus along with his eyes.
“Who are you?”
The Elf sitting by him smiled, “I am Gotheran. We are a small party of travelers far from our distant lands. We are journeying to the sea, which has been calling from afar for quite a long time now. During our travels we have seen many wonders of Middle Earth, but nothing like you, brother Elf. We were watching your company for quite some time, intrigued that an Elf would spend so much time in the company of mortals. However, we were quite impressed by the way you risked your life for your companions. They must be dear to you. So, we took a small detour when you gave the Orks chase to the rocky hill. When you were finally struck down we took it upon ourselves to help and dispatched the rest of the remaining Orks in short order.”
Legolas sighed, “Thank you, my friend.”
“There is no need to thank us, Legolas.”
“How do you know my name?”
“The crest on your quiver is that of the royal family of the Mirkwood Elves. I knew your father a great long time ago, before you were born, young prince.” The Elf rose and brought Legolas some water. The coolness of it was quite a relief. “You have been sleeping for nearly ten hours, very unusual for an Elf. Perhaps it is because you have a greater struggle which you as of yet have not overcome.”
Legolas’ eyes went wide, “You know of that evil?”
Gotheran broke eye contact and looked at the soft grass.
“I see the power that dark spell has over you. It was a legend back when I was young myself, Legolas. The evil that no Elf would dare speak of. My soul quakes with fear that it has been rediscovered.”
Legolas tried to stand on shaky legs, “Please, can it be conquered? Tell me there is a way!”
“Alas, I can not tell you a way to break that evil which has been thrust upon you. Only you can find a way to do that. I know you have the power, you alone must find the secret to freeing yourself.”
The Prince felt despair in every fiber of his being. What was he to do? Where was he to start?
The dark tower stood like a dark shadow on the sky as the few remaining Orks returned. Luckily for them, they were slower than the others and arrived after the other ugly Elves attacked. Cowardly and outnumbered they fled back to their nest. Saruman descended the staircase when he saw their return. He noted their small number with disappointment.
“What news do you bring?”
The Orks bowed before their master.
“The ugly, immortal is dead, my Lord.”
The dark wizard gave them a look of hard stone, “Are you sure?”
“Yes, my Lord, we saw it die.” The Ork’s gaze remained fixed on the ground in front of them.
“I understand. Return to the underworld, your brethren await you there.” Saruman smiled as he turned to climb the stairs. So much for the insignificant Elf, for his power had beaten the prophecy. Nothing stood in his way of ultimate power and he could put this minor setback behind him.
The creatures slithered off. When Saruman was out of earshot one hissed at the other.
“We did not see it die.”
“You saw the shot, the aim was true. Do you wish the disappoint the Master?”
“Let us go and never speak of this again.”
The Orks returned to the darkness. The wrath of Saruman would be just as great if he found out they lied than if he found out the Elf was still alive. At least this way, they would have some time before they would be destroyed from the inside out if the Elf did survive, of which they could not be certain.
“Was he taken by the Orks?” Gimli saw the spear, the blood ran all the way down the shaft. It had run deep into the Elf.
“There is no way to be sure. He could have been taken, but he could have retreated. He would leave no visible tracks for us to follow if he did escape.” Aragorn looked around.
Boromir climbed the rocks and peered off into the distance.
“I can see nothing from up here.” He yelled down. There were too many possibilities of where Legolas may be. He could be passed out somewhere near them or far away in the deep dungeons with Saruman. Right now they were in the dark of what to do next.
“Gandalf,” Frodo was scared this by turn of events, “what should we do now?”
The Fellowship knew they were in a great impasse when the good Wizard responded.
“I do not know.”