The Elf and the Orc: Part 5
Lindariel took a seat, resting the stick against her chair and called the bartender over. She ordered some stew and sweet wine.
While she waited a Dwarf approached her. “You wouldn’t happen to be Lady Lindariel, would you, Lass?”
Lindariel blinked, turning to him. “Do I know you, Sir Dwarf?”
“No. I know of your brother,” he said taking a seat across from her. “Legolas sent a messenger to us, saying that you were kidnapped by an Orc.”
“That’s—” Lindariel stopped herself from shouting and looked around. “That’s not entirely untrue,” she admitted, “But he released me. I chose to go with him. Please, tell my brother not to worry.”
The Dwarf frowned and shook his head. “Your brother was rather specific—”
“Since when have Dwarves taken orders from Elves?” Lindariel snapped.
“Not orders,” he corrected, “requests. You’re brother is a good friend of a friend of mine.”
“Well, I’m sorry, but I’ve never been acquainted with any Dwarf who claimed to be on friendly terms with my brother.”
The Dwarf laughed. “I forgot to introduce myself! Dolir, at your service, Lady Lindariel.”
“Then I thank you, Dolir, for your concern, but I do not intend to return home just yet.”
“But to travel with an o—”
“It was my decision,” Lindariel interrupted. Her order arrived and she began to eat. “If I go back now, my brother and my father both will do everything they can to keep me under tight surveillance. I want to see the world before I relinquish my freedom. You don’t have to tell my brother you’ve seen me. In fact, I beg you not to.”
Dolir did not back down. “We were told that the Orc threatened your life.”
“Only until he let me go when we left the forest. He hasn’t threatened my life since then. He did say he’d leave me if I dragged him down, but he has not pulled through this threat either.”
Dolir blinked, as though surprised that Morfang’s threats had been empty. “He hasn’t done a thing or harmed you since you left Mirkwood?”
“Nothing that would endanger me,” Lindariel said. “Unless getting me some shoes is considered harmful.”
Dolir stroked his beard. “Elves are not forgiving to Orcs.”
“I know what my people and what Men think of Orcs. I used to think the same, but I’m curious of their culture.”
Dolir took out a dagger and gave it to her. “Normally, I wouldn’t allow a maiden to go with an Orc, but here. If his behavior changes for the worse, use it to your defense.”
Lindariel hesitated to take the dagger. But after a moment, she tucked it under her belt, concealed from prying eyes.
“Use it only when you feel the need for it,” he said. “Good luck on your quest, Lady Lindariel.”
Dolir left. Lindariel finished eating and returned to the room, leaning on the staff for support. She knocked and Morfang barked at her to come in.
He was sharpening his own weapons. “You feel stronger now, I hope,” he said. He still wore the cloak hiding his face and the gloves. With this get up, he looked much like a Ranger.
“Much,” Lindariel said, limping over to the bed. “I think I’d still slow you down,” she whispered. Morfang nodded.
“You will. I’d get a horse, but horses fear my kind. Wargs would be easier to acquire, but then it’d stand out and the Hunters will try to catch up.”
“You forget that I am an Elf and can calm animals with my voice,” Lindariel said, smiling at him. Morfang glanced at her. “What is it?”
“Do you think that will really be enough to convince a horse to approach me?”
Lindariel blinked. “Perhaps. You never know unless you try.” Morfang shook his head. “Why do you doubt me?”
“I don’t doubt you,” Morfang said, setting the rock down and sheathing the remaining dagger. “I doubt your theories. I don’t say you’re wrong, but I don’t say you’re right either.”
“So you’re more comfortable not changing the way you live now? Pardon me for saying so, but I don’t agree with it. I’ve seen you.”
“I’m hardly a good example for judging the entirety of my people,” Morfang growled, baring fangs. Lindariel was unfazed. “What do you know of Orcs? You were raised to hate my people.”
“Were you raised to hate mine? I don’t hate you, Morfang. I trust you. Why else would I have gone with you this far?”
“I’ve given you no reason to trust me.”
“You’ve given me every reason to trust you,” Lindariel snapped. Morfang blinked and his scowl softened. “You haven’t killed me or hurt me. When I was hungry, you still gave me food. When I was thirsty, you waited while I drank from the stream. When I couldn’t even stand—just hours ago—you found fresh clothes for me to wear and shoes for my feet. You washed way the filth from my feet and wrapped them. How can I not trust you? My life is in your hands. You could have slit my throat days ago and left me for the wolves. Instead you cared for me. You even said you’d leave me to my fate if I slowed you down. Here we are. I’m slowing you down. Why didn’t you just leave me at the riverside?”
Lindariel waited for Morfang to answer, but he said nothing, staring at her in a frozen state. Perplexed and annoyed, no doubt. Morfang shook his head and grabbed his cloak.
“Where are you going?”
“I’ll be fine,” Morfang snapped, closing the door. Why, oh why did she have to ask him the questions he’d been wrestling with since she went to dine?
Without a word, Morfang stormed out of the inn and trudged through the streets, trying to clear his mind. He had already decided that he had not fallen in love with the Elf Princess. It was not feasible. Why it crossed his mind, Morfang couldn’t comprehend. He stopped at the stables and stared inside.
The nearest steeds snorted and reared, sensing his presence.
“Sir,” a dwarf said, approaching him.
“What?” Morfang said, pulling his hood further down his face. He turned around to head back to the inn.
The dwarf followed. “I know the princess is here.”
“Then you know what I am. Are you going to kill me? Or have you called for the Orc Hunters yet?”
“No,” he said. “I’m going to warn you. If anything happens to her, you’ll wish the Orc Hunters were all you had to worry about.”
Morfang stopped and turned to face the dwarf, but he had already left. “Has the world gone mad?” Morfang mused aloud. No one trusts Orcs! No one gives Orcs warnings or threats first and kills them later!
Morfang leaned against the wall. During the first reign of Sauron, and just a few months ago, when Sauron conspired with Saruman, the Orcs killed in obedience to their duty. Between the times and now, they killed to survive because if they didn’t kill, they would be.
They called us monsters, murderers, and beasts. But they never gave us a chance to be anything else. Morfang’s hands curled into fists. They’re all the same! He hit the wall and walked further down the street in long strides. His strides slowed after a moment. No. They’re not all the same. Morfang looked at the inn again. There’s at least one that wants to know what my people are really like.
But at the same time, many orcs have sealed away their “humanity” or have forgotten what it was like to have emotions.
Hell! Morfang forgot what emotions were. Then this Elf Princess just had to—
Lindariel looked out of the window, her golden hair braided. Her Elvish features glimmered a little bit. She scanned the streets and spotted Morfang. She waved before closing the window again.
Morfang’s eye twitched. “Is she really that dimwitted?”
Morfang decided it was time to go back. A drunken beggar followed him, begging for food.
“I’ve nothing to give. Go away,” Morfang growled.
“Come on, chump, have a heart,” the idiot grabbed Morfang’s cloak and his hood fell. The man was sober enough to step back.
Morfang pulled the hood back on, but it was too late. The man pointed at him and shouted: “ORC!!”
By Brittany Silverneko