The Elf and the Orc: Part 12

 

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      The gates of Thranduil’s court opened and the army entered, led by Legolas and the generals that had gathered.

     Lindariel watched them enter in high spirits, laughing at their success. Lindariel shivered. Someone knocked on her door and entered though she never gave permission.

     “You are not going to greet your brother?” Thranduil asked, frowning. Since Lindariel’s return, her father had tried to see her more often. Lindariel shook her head.

     “Are they dead?”

     “No. The Hunters will be coming to collect them at the end of the week. I don’t want you venturing out of the court until then.”

     The door closed behind him. Lindariel walked away from the window and sat down, hatching a plan to escape the confines of the court and go see them, praying that Morfang still lived…

     Lindariel jumped down the wall and looked up. Perhaps she’d be able to scale it again before morning. Lindariel walked, her way lit by the fireflies that scurried around.

     She didn’t have to walk far from her father’s court to find the cages where the Orcs are being kept. They growled at her, baring fangs and eyes gleaming angrily at her.

     “I didn’t tell them about Mt. Gram on purpose,” Lindariel whispered. She doubted they heard her.

     “Elf!”

     Lindariel turned to the speaker. Morurty waved at her t come over. Lindariel approached her. “Where is Morfang? Is he…”

     “He’s alive. Don’t pay them mind,” she said indicating the snarling gangs in cages. “They don’t know you, so they blame you for what happened to our home.”

     “It wasn’t on purpose. I was going to return, but my brother saw me looking at the Ettenmoors on a map and figured that…”

     “Hush, hush. And you shouldn’t have tried. If you came back alone, you’d have been attacked for sure. I know where Morfang is. There should be a special cage made of Mithril. Your brother had it specially made just for him.”

     “Why?”

     “Why ever for?! Your brother wants to kill Morfang personally. So while the rest of us are carted to Mordor and thrown into Orodruin, he’ll be fighting your brother.”

     “Orodruin?”

     “You know it better as Mt. Doom. Go! It’s further in. Don’t mind the others and be careful not to stray to close. If you run into an unfriendly bunch, they’ll try to rip your throat out.”

     Lindariel didn’t need to be told twice. She maneuvered her way through the prison and found the glimmering Mithril wrought cage.

     The cage was just big enough that Morfang could stand and sit, but the square cage did not allow for enough comfort. He sat hunched over, trying to sleep. There were several healing cuts and the skin had been died black with blood.

     Lindariel schooled herself not to run to the cage. She knelt by it and grasped the bars. “Morfang? Morfang are you awake?”

     Morfang lifted his head and stared at Lindariel as though he didn’t recognize her. He tried to smirk, but grimaced instead. “Didn’t think I’d see you again, Princess.”

     Lindariel shook her head. “Don’t call me princess.”

     “Or Elf, or Girl, right? Your name is Lindariel.”

     “This is no time to be joking,” Lindariel hissed. Morfang rubbed his neck. “How can you be so lax when my brother is going to kill you?”

     “Who says he can?”

     “Who says he can’t?” Lindariel bit back. “Morfang, is there a way to get out of this cage?”

     “Nope. Only the jailer has the keys and he’s not going to give them up to you so readily. And there’s no way to cut through this. Mithril is harder than dragon scales, if you don’t know.”

     Lindariel hid her face with her hands, trying to calm down and wake up at the same time. “There has to be some way.”

     “Sad to say there isn’t. Lindariel, go home.”

     “This is my home.”

     “I mean the house where you live.”

     “You believe what they are saying? That I deliberately told my brother about Mt. Gram?”

     Morfang’s yellow eyes pierced in the darkness. He shook his head. “I don’t believe them. I know you wouldn’t betray us. Not after everything I told you about my people. Lindariel, are you crying?”

     Lindariel nodded, wiping her eyes. “I don’t want you to die,” she whispered. “I’m sorry. I’m trying to pull myself together, but…”

     Morfang grabbed the bars and pressed his forehead against hers. He burned with a fever. Is it blood poisoning? Could Orcs get blood poisoning? Lindariel didn’t know the symptoms or how to treat it. “Why did you come here?” Morfang asked.

     “I had to see you. I wanted to see you sooner, but—”

     “I wanted to see you, too.” Morfang interrupted. Lindariel blinked. “Especially since it looks like my days are numbered. I at least wanted to tell you I love you just once.” He removed his hot forehead from Lindariel’s.

     “I don’t want you to die,” Lindariel whispered. “It’s not fair. It’s not fair that I should live and you should die when I love you so much. I’d rather die with you.”

     “No,” Morfang said, reaching through the bars and stroking her cheek. “I want you to live happy if possible. Live long and well.”

     Lindariel kissed Morfang’s palm before he brought her closer, capturing her lips with his. His breath smelt of blood, which she knew so well from being near him, but it didn’t sicken her as it would have others.

     Thunder rumbled overhead and Morfang released her. “Go. I’ll be alright. Go!” Lindariel ran from the cages and climbed up the wall with as much difficulty as a squirrel.

     Lindariel returned to her room and buried herself under the covers while the storm raged outside. She thanked the Valar for the storm: it covered the shrieking sobs she cried. And if anyone heard, they might think it was because of the lightening…

     Lindariel woke to indistinguishable shouts. She left her room and walked to the meeting room, pressing her ear against the door.

     “But that’s impossible! How could all the Orcs we captured turn into Elves?!” She heard Legolas shout. They turned into Elves?

     “Impossible or not, it has happened,” Nendir said. “Every one of them. Save for one, but she agreed to explain everything only if Galadriel came.”

     “Either way, we cannot hand them over to the Orc Hunters,” Elrond added. “What would people say? That Elves are turning against other Elves?”

     “I doubt that they look that much like us,” Legolas growled. “Send one in! In fact, send the Orc whose blood is mine to claim in here! If he is truly changed, I will see it with my eyes and my strength.”

     “You will still fight with the intent to kill him now?!”

     “He kidnapped my sister! Since her return, she has been far from sane! He can have always been an Elf and I will still kill him!”

     “Legolas, stave your anger some other way,” Thranduil demanded, “If you cannot calm down, go hunt or something. Go to Gondor or visit your Dwarf friend if you must, but I do not want you to take blood until we know exactly what is going on.”

     Lindariel jumped back just as the door opened and Legolas stormed away, not bothering to look at her. Lindariel curtsied to the Lords in the room and scurried back to her room.

     “Perhaps we should see that one,” Thranduil said. “The one that Legolas wants to kill. I’ve questions that need to be answered first. Nendir…”

     Lindariel fixed her appearance before going to breakfast. Thranduil entered. “Father, I’d like to see him too, if it’s alright?”

     Thranduil blinked, studying Lindariel. “You heard that?” Lindariel nodded. “I’d rather you not, but since this is the first request you’ve made since you’ve returned, I’ll allow it. But you are not to talk, at all.”

     “I understand, Father.”

     After breakfast, Lindariel followed her father, her head bowed, to the meeting room. Celeborn, Elrond, Nendir and the other generals were seated, talking. They silenced seeing Lindariel. She kept her head bowed and stood beside her father as he sat down.

     “Nendir, has he been brought?”

     “He has.”

     “Send him in.”

     Lindariel ignored the peering eyes from the other men in the room and held her head high.

     Morfang was led into the room.

     Still dressed in leather, his ripped jerkin tossed aside to reveal a lean torso, scarred from battle, and his white hair still in its Mohawk were the only ways Lindariel would have been able to recognize him. Clear blue eyes scanned the room and his lip curled in a menace. His once big ears were smaller. The tooth earring still dangled. Lips that were once black now hued a peach color. High cheekbones and broad shouldered, taller, less hunched as he had been as an Orc. His weapons had been confiscated and his arms were bound behind him.

     “What are you?” Thranduil asked. “Are you an Orc or an Elf?”

     “I am an Orc.” The voice that escaped his lips was not the growl that usually came from Morfang’s mouth. It wasn’t scratchy, but smooth and deep.

     “But you stand before us an Elf,” Elrond said.

     “I do not know how this happened. I went to sleep last night an Orc and when I woke, everyone I knew had become an Elf, including myself.”

     “Could you guess?”

     Morfang blinked and glanced at Lindariel quickly before shaking his head. “No. Nothing comes to mind.”

     “Absolutely nothing?”

     “Absolutely nothing,” Morfang said. “Ask the Orc Mother if you want answers.”

     “The Orc Mother,” Celeborn said, “has already been asked. She will not speak with us until my wife comes to provide answers which we cannot wait for. You are certain you cannot tell us how this miracle happened.”

     “I wish I had answers myself,” Morfang said.

     He was led away and the men followed him out with the guard. Lindariel bit her lip. Should she have spoken up though she had been told not to?

     Lindariel shook her head. Doing so would have revealed that she left the court in the middle of the night and had gone to see Morfang.

     It was best that she kept silent until the answers that were sure to come once Galadriel arrived.

By Brittany Silverneko 

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