Part 126 – The Elves of Lin Giliath
Morning had come to the lands of the North Downs. The grassy fields in the Kingsfell were bright green as birds chirped their songs all morning long. The vibrant sparkling of the morning dew on the leaves of the trees, tall and proud, sparkled as the branches held flocks of birds that took flight together up into the sky as they flew away northward. The sky itself was bright and the shine was unrelenting. Clouds were abundant but bright the sun had shown through the clouds.
During that morning, Eotheron and Sergee made their way west with the first of the platoons of the rangers set out for Evendim. They traveled slow out of the west gate of Esteldin as they marched with heavy feeling and trepidation through the Kingsfell. The first platoon of twenty-one they were, had emerged from the gate, all on horses, all with solemn faces. At seven rows of three, they continued to made their way toward Gatson’s and then paused.
“I’d like to travel south toward the Lin Giliath if you don’t mind,” Sergee said to Eotheron and the other rangers. “I want to see how Estonethiel fairs; if she requires aid or not.”
“Yes, Captian,” a Ranger replied. “We will travel as far as we can before dark.”
“I will travel with you,” Eotheron said to Sergee. “You probably need a companion. The rest of you can go on ahead. We will all meet in Parth Aduial near the three king statue that stands at the center of the road.”
“Yes, sir,” the head of the rangers said. “Move out,” the head ranger called to the other rangers as they all moved on east. A great caravan of horses and men continued west before the next platoon of twenty-one men left the compound of Esteldin.
Eotheron and Sergee continued southbound toward Lin Giliath and by mid-morning, they reached the small compound. But none were there. Not a trace of one elf could they see there at the compound. Not even footsteps of the elves could be seen.
“Do you see that?” Eotheron said to Sergee. “Not even a foot print is left on the ground of the elves.”
“That is accurate,” Sergee said. “Even in the soft snow not even a boot mark is made by the elves. They move light and swift. Not a trace of them is seen on the ground.”
“Are you not worried?” Eotheron asked.
“I feel worry for Estonethiel,” he said, “but I feel they are okay. Perhaps they moved on to the west.” Sergee realized what he said and quickly resaid what he meant, “I mean not to the west beyond the sea. I mean toward Evendim.” He joked, “I certainly hope they haven’t traveled to the Valinor. That would be a blow to our alliance.”
“Perhaps we can find some trace of the elves here,” Eotheron said. And just as soon as he said that, he saw a bird perched on the branch of a tree. It seemed to be staring down at the two. “Sergee,” Eotheron tried to get his companion’s attention. “That bird up there. Does it not seem queer that it looks down at us so?”
“Aye,” Sergee said. “Elves do leave signs here and there. Perhaps it is one.”
The bird soon took off and flew westward over the library of Lin Giliath. Eotheron ran around the wall to follow the bird and soon ended up behind the library of Lin Giliath. Quickly and loudly he yelled back for Sergee, “Sergee, come quickly!”
Sergee ran around toward the back of the library and there on the ground were several dead orcs. Seven to be exact and they looked as though they were wounded by arrows, the arrowheads sticking straight out of their backs.
“The elves must have been in a hurry,” Sergee said.
“Why do you say that?” asked Eotheron.
“They cared not to collect their arrows.” He looked in the distance. “Look, there seems to be more orcs over yonder.”
The pair ran toward the other and found another and another and another. The trail of orcs continued toward the nearby mountain that was the wall of Nan Wathren. It turned toward the south and on up the hill up into the orc hold.
“They seemed to be running away from something,” said Eotheron.
“I know not,” Eotheron said. “Should we follow these orc corpses?”
“Of course,” Sergee said. “I need to find Estonethiel.” Eotheron looked suspiciously at Sergee. “And the rest of the elves, of course.”
So, the two warriors continued up the hill toward Nan Wathren. Up they went as they followed the dead orc trail, up the incline and into the vale of Nan Wathren. Not one live orc there was, all dead, all rotting. Not just dead orcs on the trail, but dead ones began to inhabit the distances off the path of main path.
As they entered the valley of Nan Wathren, the orc bodies began to increase and soon, large piles were seen. Not just around the roads but far from them, all about their siege engines that were all about the valley. They hung off of their weapons, pierced by arrows or relieved of their heads and limbs. Black tar-like blood had oozed into the dirt, staining it black.
“The arrows stuck in the orcs are defiantly that of the elves,” Sergee said. “But why would they battle their way deep into this orc infested land of Nan Wathren?
They continued and through the day, not one live orc was seen anywhere in the valley of Nan Wathren. The two climbed the hills and crossed the bridges around the orc land. They searched tents and down into strange pools of muck. Not one live orc was seen. All orcs, wargs, and half-orcs had been slain in one form or another. Many lied down dead where they were slain, but most were beaten and placed in piles of dead corpses.
But, coming to the middle of the afternoon, when the sun began its descent into the western sky, clangs of swords were heard up the hill in the distance. Orc screams echoed down the valley as the pair of warriors ran up the hill to investigate. There, in the distance, had to be at least thirty elves fighting an onslaught of orcs that had come down from the hill. The orcs were quickly killed by the skilled elves as they fought the orcs with grace and beauty. Their curved elven blades still shined in the bright sunlight as they swung them and sliced through their targets. Orc after orc came and time and time again they were taken out by the swords and the bows of the elves.
The orcs were clearly out matched by the graceful fighting of the elves. They fell one after the other, dying one by one, quickly and without mercy until soon, they were all but vanquished. The orc threat in Nan Wathren was no more. The elves gathered together after the fighting, quietly speaking with one another. But soon, that quiet speech of the elves was broken when Sergee yelled up to them.
Some of the elves turned to look who was calling up to them. They raised their bows, ready to fire their arrows at the two men in the valley below them.
“State your name, man,” one of the elves called down to Eotheron and Sergee.
Taken aback, the two put their hands up as if they did not want a confrontation. “I am Sergee,” Sergee said, “and my companion here is Eotheron of Rohan. We have come here to find Estonethiel. Is she with you?”
The elves stayed quiet for a long while. As they stared down at Sergee, Sergee’s heart began to sink and panic began to set inside of him. His heart pounded quicker and quicker as tears started to form in his eyes. His whole future became uncertain as he could not think of what life would be like without Estonethiel. He began to realize he had affection for her as he felt lost. All they were about to do in Annuminas felt like nothing to him. “How could I have waited so long to tell her? I could have expressed my affection for her. I could have,” he thought to himself as he sadly stood there with his spirit broken.
But out of the back of the elves, a lone call came from the contingent of elves. “Sergee?” a female voice came calling out.
All hope began to build inside Sergee’s heart again. The feeling of love sunk into Sergee, replacing the feeling of Estonethiel as just a friend. He looked up and saw Estonethiel push her way through the elves. “Estonethiel,” he blurted out as tears formed in his eyes. He and Estonethiel came toward each other, they reached within just a few feet of each other and stopped. Gladness was in their eyes as they looked both in each other’s eyes. Estonethiel looked up toward her fellow elves. One just gave a smile and a nod as she turned and came within inches from Sergee.
“I thought you dead,” Sergee said. “I…” he could not think of what else to say but: “In that moment, I felt like I couldn’t live without you. In that moment, I felt like I lost more than just a companion or a friend, I felt like I lost my heart.” Estonethiel looked with affection into Sergee’s eyes. Hers too began to water as they came closer. They had not even noticed they were moving closer toward each other. They were doing it unconsciously with no knowledge of how or when their bodies became pressed onto each other. “I care not to spend another moment without you.”
Estonethiel smiled, “Nor would I,” she said softly to him.
Their arms wrapped around each other and they came close. Together, their lips came closer and they soon touched lips. They then began to kiss first gently caressing their lips together and then with more and more force, more passion as if they had missed each other immensely and had finally found each other.
Eotheron looked upon the two with gladness in his heart. He knew not that they had affection toward each other and was glad to see them share the love they had for each other. He wanted to clap for them but almost felt it in appropriate to do so. After a while, he cared not to feel whether or not it was appropriate or not and began to clap for his companions.
Sergee and Estonethiel stopped and turned to Eotheron. A look of embarrassment but happiness was on their faces. They walked toward Eotheron hand in hand as Eotheron continued clapping. “Okay,” Sergee said with a jest, “that’s enough, bane to love.”
“I am sorry,” Eotheron said. “I knew not that I killed the mood. Go on and continue. I will not watch.”
Eotheorn turned as Sergee smacked his shoulder. “Stop that, you’re embarrassing her.”
“I think it is not me who is embarrassed,” Estonethiel said as she looked at Sergee’s red face.
Sergee blushed even deeper. He looked at Estonethiel trying to change the subject. “Have the elves agreed to aid us?”
She grinned and looked around, “This is the first they will do for you,” Estonethiel said. “With every passing regiment of orcs that cross this land, they will dispatch them before they even set foot into Nan Wathren.”
“I hate to interrupt,” Eotheron said. “There will be no orc crossings.”
“What do you mean?” asked Estonethiel.
“We removed the passes that led into Nan Amlug,” Sergee said. “In order for the rangers to aid us, they needed to stop the orcs from entering the North Downs. We destroyed the passes that led to the North Downs. There will be no more orcs coming here from Angmar.”
“With what did you destroy the passes?” Estonethiel asked.
“A black tar that a man from Bree provided us,” Sergee said. “It was much like Theomin used in the caves under Weathertop.”
“But the orcs do not care about the North Downs,” Estonethiel said, “Though you destroyed the passes that lead here, they care not. They will still travel miles to reach us in Evendim.”
“What do you mean?” Eotheron asked.
“Right,” Sergee said just realizing what she meant. He then needed to explain it to Eotheorn. “There is a pass that leads from Angmar to Evendim through Forochel. The Ironspan the Angmarim call it.”
“Where is this Forochel?” Eotheron asked.
“Quite far,” Sergee said. “It is north of Evendim, in the snowy reaches of the north.”
“But that polar ice will not stop the orcs and Angmarim from coming that way,” Estonethiel said. “They will still come and with larger reinforcements.”
“Then we must speak to the elves up yonder,” Sergee said. “They will need to know this.”
The three walked up the path toward the elves and Estonethiel introduced the two to Aglardir. “This is Aglardir, the leader of the elves of Lin Giliath.”
“Good to see some here in this forsaken land,” Sergee said. “This land has now found beauty.”
Estonethiel blushed at the complement Sergee gave her. To spare herself from that, she continued, “Aglardir became leader after learning that Lanchenn was killed by the Stone-Trolls,” Estonethiel said. “He is the one who organized this expedition.”
“I hear you are here to stop the orcs from crossing the North Downs this valley,” Sergee said.
“That is right,” Aglardir said. “That is the aid we will offer you. Our part is to ensure you will not be attacked by the enemy from friendlier lands.”
“The passes that lead from Angmar have been shut,” Sergee said. “There will be no more movement of orcs from the pass into this land.”
“If that is true,” Aglardir said, “then they will not be stopped. They will find another pass or path that will lead them to Annuminas.”
“They will,” Estonetheil said. “We figured they would travel the Ironspan in Forochel.”
“That is a great possibility,” Aglardir said. “My fear, though, is that the orcs will still find some other way here. The Ettenmoors perhaps. But that would be too far afield to travel to Annuminas. They must travel through the Ironspan. That is the only conceivable path they would take. Then my kin and I will need to travel through the vale of Forochel to stave off the invading orcs that will be coming through there.”
“I was hoping,” Sergee began, “or we were hoping that you would aid us in the battle in Annuminas. Victory will ultimately be decided there and not in the frozen lands of Forochel. We need all the allies we can get for the battle. It will not be an easy victory. Not as easy as our last victory in Annuminas.”
“I heard what happened to your father in Annuminas,” Aglardir said. “I am very sorry for that.”
Sergee looked down with the weight of the memory of his fallen father pulling him down. “He meant a lot to me. He meant a lot to the rangers. His passing forced us to confront many issues that were a brewing underneath the surface. Like my brother’s feeling of entitlement. But for all my brother’s faults, he is being held captive there. I see no better option than to storm the city. We need to set him free. We need to prevent the evil of Morgoth from entering this realm. We must all stand together, man, elf and dwarf as one on the battlefield. If we cannot secure an alliance to strike in the city itself, we will lose not just our lives, but the future for Middle Earth.”
Aglardir looked at Sergee for a moment. “I see how you looked at Estonethiel. Would you risk her life to go to war in Annuminas? Would you risk losing her to an orc or an Angmarim?”
Sergee just stood there and looked Aglardir in the eyes, “I would,” he said steadfastly. “My love for Middle Earth is far beyond my love for Estonethiel. There is more than our love at stake. Our lands, our homes, all the good people of Middle Earth is at stake. We must do it for them, not for ourselves.”
Aglardir nodded gently. He gave a sigh and looked at his weapon. “We have lived here for thousands of years. We know of the terrible battles that have been fought and won at the hands of these terrible enemies. We have seen the wrath of the fire drakes and the shadows of the Balrogs. We know of the evils that are so great, no mortal man can kill it. We know of this Morgoth and if we can prevent his coming here, then I will cast aside my worries for the wellbeing of my elves. We will fight with you in Annuminas.”
With that, the elves departed from Nan Wathren. Sergee, Eotheron and Estonethiel retraced their steps and ended up back at the refuge of Lin Giliath. The rest of the day, the three companions traveled the back up the grassy field of the Kingsfell and into the hilly glens of the eastern part of the North Downs. Not long before reaching the grassy hills, evening was setting in and the sun dipped behind the western hills. The regiment of elves had stopped at the threshold of the Fields of Fornost and so the three companions decided to rest along with them. They stopped on the hill overlooking the Greenway Road that stretched from Breeland to Fornost.
Eotheron sat alone looking at the fields while Sergee and Estonethiel sat together. “I feel not the fear I felt before from this field,” Estonethiel said. “I know not what happened but it feels much more pleasant than it had ever felt. I can almost say that the spell that was cast on this place has finally been lifted and the darkness has subsided.”
“What do you suppose did that?” Sergee asked.
“I know not,” she said. “It may be a change in the field, or maybe it may be the change in the feeling I have in you as you are closer to me than ever before.”
Sergee smiled. He then looked down as his feeling changed. “I see now what Eleswith felt.” Estonethiel looked inquisitively at Sergee. When we lost Helesdir, I had such a sadness. But at the same time I have felt that sadness before. I was heartbroken for him and for myself for never being able to see him. I felt sadness for Eleswith because of feeling of her loss. But when I felt I lost you, I…” he paused as he had not the words at the time. “I felt not bad for you or for our group. I almost felt my breath was taken from me. All my being was going to break down into nothing and I saw no future for me. Before today, no matter the problem, I had a future. But without you, I had not that future. I know now that I want my future to be with you.”
The two, as they sat there on the grassy edge of the hill, kissed as Estonethiel placed a hand on Sergee’s cheek and kissed him softly and the two stayed close together for the remainder of the night and into the morning, tightly embracing each other and their hearts soared as they felt the electric feeling of each other’s touch throughout the entire night.