The Elf and the Orc: Part 13

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     While they waited for Galadriel, the former Orcs were kept in their cages, assumed to still be dangerous until noted otherwise.

     Lindariel was locked in her room and would not be released. Her meals were brought to her by servants and her only other visitors were her father and Legolas (who was still in a bad mood at the delay of handing out justice).

     She wondered if they guessed that the mysterious transformation of the Orcs had something to do with her relationship with Morfang.

     Three weeks passed until Lindariel was released on the pretext that she was summoned to meet with Galadriel and Igrim.

     Galadriel, undaunted by Igrim’s deformity, petted her sleeping sister’s hair. Lindariel curtsied to the sisters and Igrim was woken. Lindariel straightened, but kept her head down. She sat up, hunched over hag-like, her white hair draping her shoulders.

     Galadriel stood, approaching Lindariel. She cupped Lindariel’s chin and lifted it. Galadriel smiled. “Aman ier lle en’ilya i’inya; blessed are you among women, Lindariel Thranduilion. Your actions have rescued countless lives from the flames of Orodruin.”

     “How did you know it was me?”

     “My sister,” Galadriel said. “Informed me of your presence at Mount Gram a month ago. She was convinced that you are the one spoken of. Do you not understand what had been said?”

     “I did understand. I still do. I thought that…”

     “That once the Orcs were Elves again, peace would follow only seconds later?” Igrim asked. “There is still much that is doubted. There will perhaps forever be mistrust, but in time that mistrust will be forgotten.”

     Lindariel did not move, but focused on her breathing. “Will you tell my father of the prophecy?”

     “If it comes to it,” Igrim said. “But no prophecy is believed until it comes to pass.”

     “And that the Orcs have transformed into Elves is not proof that the prophecy is past?” Lindariel asked. “That should be enough.”

     “How will you explain that it came to pass?” Galadriel asked. “Against your father’s orders, you escaped your house and went to see Morfang. Was it not then that the prophecy came to pass? To reveal the prophecy would be to reveal your disobedience.”

     Lindariel stared at the ground, frowning. “Then let my disobedience come to light,” she said. “Whatever punishment my father devises for me, I will take it.”

     Galadriel and Igrim exchanged looks. Igrim stood and approached Galadriel, leaning on her staff. “And if that punishment is to never see the one you love again, what would you do? Would you take your life? Or would you defy your father’s orders again?”

     “I would not take my life unless I had no choice,” Lindariel admitted. “Do you think that my father would really…” Lindariel felt a lump build in her throat and she cut the sentence off.

     Galadriel and Igrim exchanged a glance. “Your trial has not yet come to an end,” Igrim assured Lindariel.

     “There is yet one more obstacle to overcome,” Galadriel added. “For even if your father accepts your love for Morfang, your brother will not.”

     “Legolas Thranduilion is controlled for his hatred of Orcs. As his sister, to know that your heart belongs to Morfang is, to him, a betrayal to him and your family, let alone your people.”

     “But not all will see it as so. If the prophecy is known, they will follow your example and learn to forgive the Accursed for the deeds long forgotten and the deeds that will never be forgotten. The brother will learn to love his brother again and our people will once again be whole.”

     “But hope remains. If the Council is willing to accept what shall come. A duel will decide the fate of our people.”

    “If Legolas Thranduilion wins, there will be no reprieve for the Accursed ones.”

     “The survival of our people now rests on the shoulders of Morfang, the son of Gorbag.”

     Lindariel focused on breathing, trying to ease the pain that these words brought her. “W-when will the duel take place.”

     “When the time comes, you will know,” Igrim assured her. She turned to Galadriel. “We should speak with the council now, Sister.”

     Galadriel nodded and the sisters strode past Lindariel, who followed a few feet behind them, her head bowed as though she was a servant of Galadriel’s. The doors to the council room closed before her. Lindariel stared at the door, then at the guards who dared not glance at her.

     Lindariel walked to the court yard. The former Orcs were trying to fend off the curious Elf children. They were no longer bound and caged. Their weapons had been confiscated and they were given new clothes. One could tell who they were by their hairstyles and jewelry and the hissing sounds they made from time to time.

     Most of them were women. Lindariel remembered that the men tended to die off in battle, leaving behind wives, mothers, sisters, and daughters. The men with them were hard faced and snarling. Most of them were relatives and husbands who survived the wars and skirmishes.

     Lindariel found Morfang arguing with a woman. She slammed her fist into his jaw.

     “Dare you say that again, Maggot?!” she shrieked. “Show some respect, you worm!”

     Lindariel ran over to them and helped Morfang up. “Are you alright?” she asked.

     “Yeah. This is normal. Lindariel, this is Dursnaga, my sister.”

     Dursnaga and Morfang had the same eyes. Her skin was more olive than pale and her pleated, wild hair was black as coal. She glanced at Lindariel and grinned. “A pretty little thing, she is.” Lindariel blushed under Dursnaga’s approving scrutiny. “I heard she was a doll, but I hadn’t realized how much until now.”

     Someone grasped Lindariel’s shoulder and she was pulled back. Dursnaga narrowed her eyes at the newcomer, who had a dagger under her chin. Lindariel looked up at her brother.

     “Legolas Thranduilion,” Dursnaga said, smirking. “One of the Fellowship and an Orc-Slayer. What business do you have amongst our humble people?”

     “I’m taking my sister back to her room, She-Orc.”

     “Orc?” Dursnaga asked, looking around, a rueful smile on her lips. “Orc? Oi! Mururty, do you see any Orcs around here?”

     “Unless they’ve the power to become invisible,” the Elf that was Mururty laughed, “I have seen not one Orc.”

     “What about you, Bog?”

     “Orcs…Orcs…weren’t they devilishly handsome fellows? I think I’d have seen one if they were here.”

     “Anyone else want to add to our testimony? No?” Dursnaga shrugged at Legolas. “Sorry to say, but there doesn’t seem to be any Orcs around here. Last time I checked, I was an Elf. And as far as I’m concerned, I still am.”

     “Keep your tongue where it belongs or I’ll—”

     “Oh for the love of the Valar! What do you know? We didn’t have to be turned into Orcs to know that our men are warmongering maggots!”

     Legolas’ hands shook, with rage. He tried to stab Dursnaga, who side stepped him and seized his arm. She twisted his wrist and disarmed him of his dagger. “Careful, Legolas. Our women folk aren’t as dainty or pretty as you’re used to.”

     “Release me at once!” Dursnaga shrugged and obeyed. Legolas stumbled forward, but regained his footing. He glared at Dursnaga, massaging his wrist.

     Lindariel shook her head. “Dursnaga, I apologize on behalf of my brother. He’s usually more respectful to women,” she shot Legolas a piercing look. “Aren’t you, Brother?”

     Legolas glared back at Lindariel. But with a dark glance at Dursnaga, he gave one nod.

     “I really don’t know where his disrespect came from. Perhaps it’s from befriending Dwarves.”

     “Lindariel…”

     “You’ve no right to be this way! Not one! Dursnaga and her people are as much one of us as we are one of them!”

     “I suppose then I’ll have to learn to get along with them as I did Dwarves, eh?”

     “I suggest you do.”

     Legolas scanned the court yard before resting his gaze on Morfang. He looked at Lindariel again. “Very well, but only if you’re Orc friend can best me at combat.” Legolas approached Morfang. “What say you?”

     “I’m not an Orc anymore, but I have never backed away from a challenge. I’m not about to start. I accept.”

     Legolas held his hand out to Morfang, who grasped it in return, as though sealing a pact. However, the look both men bore was a look of deep, intense loathing and it seemed as though they were trying to break each other’s hands.

     Lindariel shivered as Legolas walked away from Morfang. He didn’t bother steering her away from Morfang and Dursnaga. Lindariel glanced up at the balcony of the Council Room, wondering what they were talking about and what she’d have to do now.

     The wheels of fate have already come into motion and there was nothing she could do to stop it. Lindariel had no doubt that the duel between Legolas and Morfang was the one that the Sisters spoke of.

     Even so, she found herself completely unprepared for what was to come, though she had been warned that Legolas would not readily accept the “Accursed.”

     Lindariel glanced back at Legolas and wondered, Why has it come to this?

     She turned back to Dursnaga and Morfang. “I really am sorry for Legolas’ behavior toward you, Dursnaga.”

     “No need to be, Lass, I’m used to it,” she leaned against Morfang in a sisterly manner, smirking at him. Morfang rolled his eyes. “You know how our men are like. Deep down, it doesn’t matter what race we are, they’re all pompous, egotistical, idiot warmongers.”

     Morfang glared at Dursnaga. He shook his head. “Don’t listen to my sister. She’s got a few screws loose—”

     Dursnaga punched Morfang, who stumbled, clutching his cheek. A growl escaped his throat.

     “Lindariel, I suggest you take a few steps back,” Dursnaga advised. Lindariel did so. Morfang charged at Dursnaga who stepped aside and stuck her foot out, tripping him.

     “Morfang! What are you doing?” Lindariel shrieked.

     “This is a typical sibling squabble,” Morurty assured her. “In a few minutes, Dursnaga would have beaten some respect into him. It’s a common occurrence and I doubt it’s going to alleviate any time soon.”

     Dursnaga flipped Morfang onto his back.

     “He’s got a match tomorrow, so Dursnaga won’t hurt him too much. You look like you’re about to keel over on your feet, Little Elf.”

     “My brother’s killed you’re men in the past. I’m afraid that he’ll…”

     “Oh, I doubt it. You’re brother may be a prince, but Morfang is one of our best fighters. He might not see it, but his father cared for him more than he let on. You could tell by the way they interacted. Gorbag was a nasty old goblin and he was really tough on Morfang. But you can see the results of his tough treatment on his children for yourself, can’t you?”

     “Right now, I’m not so sure…”

     “Well, still, get some rest. It’ll be a rough day tomorrow at any rate.”

     Lindariel wasn’t so sure, but she obeyed, leaving Morfang to Dursnaga’s tough love and heading for her room. As she passed the council room, she could hear raised voices, but not a distinguishable word.

By Brittany Silverneko

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