Siege of Dread

Chapter 7: Can’t you Feel the Chains?

by Cassia and Siobhan

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I can’t take the thought of you here
I can’t put you out
close your eyes and look at me here
across the miles
look at me...

Can’t you feel the chains,
feel the chains?
Can’t you hear a voice
behind the quiet?
Can’t you feel the chains,
feel the chains?
That keep us bound for life,
my love.

--Steve Taylor

Guruth put his hand on the back of Elrond’s head, forcing it down as he and several of the others pushed the bound elf into the yawning mouth of the cave. 

Elrond stumbled slightly as he was forced inside.  Three days in the hands of the orcs had left him drained.  The pace they maintained was punishing and they had covered no small distance since leaving Rivendell.

The dank, musty air of the cavern felt heavy and threatening.  The elf blinked to adjust his eyes to the gloom as he was roughly shoved deeper into the darkened interior.  He had never been here before, he had never seen this place for himself... yet it was familiar.  The healer had to close his eyes and draw his breath in deeply. 

He had seen it, but not with his eyes.  He had seen it in the mind of his beloved when he joined himself to her consciousness as he struggled to save her life so many years ago. 

Without realizing it, the elf’s breathing started to accelerate as old images that weren’t even his own flooded back to his mind. 

//The cavern walls lit by firelight.  Elves dying.  Orcs laughing... Celebrìan gave a whimpering half scream, shaking in her husband’s arms as he held her close, whispering soothingly to her as her emotional trauma washed over both of them.  “Sîdh melethril, sîdh... peace beloved, peace...”// 

Elrond forced his eyes open again.  He realized he was shaking.  Time had changed the cavern some, but not enough to make it unrecognizable.  The elf lord felt a thrill of angry horror swell through his weakened body.  If ever anyone had deserved his undying hatred, these creatures did.  Yet he was a little shocked.  So close... this place was so close to his home?  They had never told him that.  Celebrìan had been taken in the Redhorn pass, near Lórien, far away from here... he remembered with a shudder the way Guruth had spoken of a journey.  Had his dear one somehow survived being dragged all this distance?  Why?

Celebrìan had never spoken of what happened after her capture.  All Elrond knew was what he had seen in her mind the night he tried to save her. 

The orcs and wargs flooded into the cavern, carrying Elrond forward along with them.  One of the orcs slammed him roughly against the cave wall.  The elf lord reeled back a pace only to have Guruth slam him forward again.  Elrond’s temple connected solidly with the stone and the world swam out of focus.  His knees buckled and he slid down the wall, catching himself on his bound wrists and knees as he struggled to hold onto his slipping consciousness. 

Guruth laughed.  “Not so mighty, not so proud now, elf.  Here you will be our guest until the others come, or until we decide your worthless life should end!” 

Elrond looked up at the blurry image of the orc over him, his gaze maddeningly calm in the face of his situation.  He knew exactly what ‘others’ they were talking about.  “May you wait a thousand years, glamog.” 

The cold words earned the elf another violent kick to his broken ribs.  Elrond hissed softly through his teeth, involuntarily curling in on himself.

Guruth crouched in front of him.  “I think the years would pass swifter for me than for you, belzek!” he taunted.  “You have yet to see if you can last the night.  Your journey was easier than your mate’s, you should hold out very long I think...” he taunted Elrond with the knowledge of this place’s history. 

Elrond’s weary, burning eyes flashed hotly and Guruth knew that he was hitting a nerve whenever he brought up the past.  He liked that.

“We won her you know, the elf woman.  My brothers and I were only visiting, but it was fortunate timing.  We won her from Ublug, her and a few of the others.  So we got to take them home with us to the north... ironic now that I know who she was... I wonder if she knew how close she was to home.  I wonder if she vainly expected someone to save her...” Guruth’s barbed, biting words dug deep into the freshly reawakened wounds in the elf lord’s heart and Elrond spit at Guruth, absolute hate shining in his eyes. 

“Raegonnen carpholoch!” the elf snapped in disdain.  Guruth’s words explained the mystery, but only deepened his loathing.  They should have told him... he didn’t know she had been this close.  It broke his heart.

Guruth may not have understood the words, but the insulting tone needed no translation.  He backhanded Elrond roughly.  He had intended to try to keep the healer in at least semi-decent shape until the Rivendell elves got word to Dehlfalhen and Glamferaen.  They were, after all, the ones he truly wanted, but the innate power that lent strength to the deadly hate in the elf lord’s eyes almost frightened him and that made the orc hideously angry.  “You want to start now, elf?  You want me to teach you fear?” 

“Great One!” a new orc scrambled through the mouth of the cave, shoving his way through the others.  The younger creature bowed to Guruth.  “Great One, more of them filthy elves approaching from the east!  A lot of them.” 

Guruth snarled.  A lot?  From the east?  How had they come around to that direction?  How had anyone followed them that fast?  The Rivendell elves should not have had that many warriors to send after the attack... but no matter, perhaps Dehlfalhen and Glamferaen were with them, in which case he was glad they had come. 

“Bind him to the wall!” He jerked his head towards Elrond.  “Tmarkz, stay here with your warriors and be sure he is well guarded.  I will take the others and deal with the elves.” 

Several orcs jerked Elrond to his feet in compliance with their leader’s orders as Guruth strode towards the front of the cave once more.  The orc paused in the mouth of the cavern. 

“And be sure no one touches him ‘til I get back; he’s mine, you understand me?  Mine.  Enjoy your rest, elf. I’ll be back soon, with friends for you,” Guruth promised. 

Tmarkz scowled at the captive elf.  “What if he makes trouble?” 

Guruth grinned.  “Then punish him.  But see that he lives.” 

The other orc grinned and leaned close to Elrond as Guruth left the cave.  “So, elf... are you going to behave?” 

Elrond did not answer, meeting his captor’s gaze coolly. 

Tmarkz punched him sharply.  “I didn’t think so.” 


Trelan’s keen eyes scanned the rocks around him as he crouched low amid the huge boulders.  His nose crinkled in disgust.  Orcs.  Lots of them.  Slithering quietly backward, the elf scout slid off the natural rock shelf he had climbed up onto and sprinted silently back to the main group.  They were high up in the mountains now, taking their host towards Rivendell.  They had chosen a less-frequented route than the high pass, seeking to avoid any traps or scouts that might be on the lookout after Raniean and his company’s last disastrous encounter in the mountains.  So far the tactic had served them well and they had advanced unchallenged, until now. 

“A large party of orcs and wargs fill the canyons to the north and to the south,” Trelan reported quickly to Raniean and Thranduil.  “I have crossed these mountains before more than once and never seen so many.  They are heading this way. I fear they already know of our presence and are moving to intercept.” 

Thranduil nodded, this was not an entirely unexpected turn of events. 

Raniean quickly deployed several more scouts to watch their flanks and keep track of their enemies’ movements.  Last time, he and his warriors had been encircled and attacked; he would not allow that to happen again. 

“My Liege, we must not let them trap us down in these ravines, it is a favorite trick of theirs because if we cannot maneuver then their wargs have the advantage,” the captain advised his King. 

Thranduil agreed with the younger elf’s assessment.  “What do you suggest?” 

“We send half the force over these rocks on the left flank and the other half across on the right.  A smaller, third division should remain here, letting the foul creatures think they have us right where they want us.  When they attack, we can come down upon them from both sides and reverse their ambush upon them,” Raniean outlined his purposed strategy. 

“A good plan,” Thranduil approved.  “Raniean, take the left flank, Trelan, you take the right.  I will be in command of the diversion force that remains here.” 

Raniean’s brows furrowed.  He did not like Thranduil's taking the most potentially dangerous place for himself, but knew better than to argue.  He could rarely ever change his liege’s mind. 

Thranduil was not a fool, he knew that this battle was not without risk, but he would not order those who followed him so faithfully into anything that he was not willing to face himself. 

“All right then,” Raniean nodded slowly after a moment, reading the King’s thoughts in his quietly commanding gaze.  “If that is how you wish it.  Trelan, alert the warriors and form the companies.  Tell them if anyone gets separated we will all meet up again tonight by the shattered stone at the base of Mund’s Pass.” 

Trelan saluted his friend with a smile and hurried off to tell the others. 

“What do you think it means?” Raniean asked Thranduil quietly as the warriors began falling quickly into their assigned groupings.  “What do these yrch want, do you think?” 

Thranduil shook his head.  “I do not know, but my heart is troubled that some great ill is at hand.”  His eyes darkened.  He greatly feared that it somehow involved Legolas, although he knew that his dreams were more to blame for that than any logical reasons. 

Raniean saluted and bowed to his King as his company fell in behind him.  “Then let us try to stop it here.” 


“Great One, the elves have stopped in the pass.  The stupid maggots aren’t going anywhere, perfect targets,” an underling reported to Guruth with a bloodthirsty glint in its eye. 

Guruth nodded.  It was perfect, perhaps a little too perfect?  He did not see any signs of a trap, but it was always good to be careful; he had learned that the hard way many years ago. 

“Then we’ll have to put them out of the misery of their existence,” Guruth growled with a smile.  He had already ascertained that most of these elves were not from Rivendell at all, but thought that perhaps they had come to their aid.  He hadn’t counted on that, but he would not let it spoil his plans. 

“I don’t like this whole situation. Take half the men through the tunnels, we’ll back ‘em right into you,” Guruth ordered.  No sense leaving anything to chance. 


Raniean shifted uncomfortably as he watched warg riders advancing through the gap towards the small force of elves in the pass below.  He knew Thranduil and his people were aware of their presence, but kept their peace to bait the creatures into the trap. 

It was a perfect plan... but Raniean couldn’t shake the feeling that something wasn’t right.  He glanced to the other ridgeline where a small signal flash told him that Trelan’s force was ready and waiting for the signal to move. 

That signal came a moment later.  The wargs charged into the canyon, barreling into Thranduil’s force, which responded with much more readiness than the orcs had hoped. 

“Herio!” Raniean gave the command to charge, sending all the elves hiding up on the ridge flooding down into the canyon.

Guruth looked up at the elves streaming down the hills and swore under his breath.  He had known something was wrong.  Things were not going as he had hoped and he was not sure now that he would be able to annihilate them all as easily as he had thought... but even if it would not work as smoothly as he had wished, the dark creature was not without a plan. 

Raniean and Trelan’s companies swept down into the canyon, catching the orcs between them in a deadly hammer-blow.  For a few moments it looked as if the battle would be over fairly swiftly... then the rocks started moving. 

Trelan whirled around in horror as he saw huge cracks opening in the ravine walls around them.  For a moment he thought it was a rockslide... but it was worse than that, much worse.  The gaping cracks were the mouths of hidden entrances to tunnels leading away under the surface of the mountains... tunnels swarming with orcs, goblins and wargs pouring out to fight them. 

Hedged in by the new arrivals, the tide of the battle shifted yet again, this time against the elves. 

Thranduil looked around urgently.  They could not afford to be herded together for easy slaughter.  “Scatter and regroup!  Out of the canyon, NOW!” the Elvenking ordered, turning his steed in swift, tight circles as he called out the orders. 

On command, the elves scattered in seemingly random, but actually completely pre-planned patterns.  The warg riders were forced to separate in order to give chase, breaking up the massive brunt of their attack. 

The elves fanned out into the hills with their enemies in pursuit.  But the elven warriors did not run for long.  As soon as they were out of the melee and into the clear they turned on their attackers with deadly ferocity, decimating the forces rushing so heedlessly after them.  The fighting spread out across the face of the mountains, becoming a dozen small battles lost in the tangling maze of canyons and valleys. 

Thranduil ended up with a handful of warriors facing down a small troop of warg riders in the bowl of a shallow dale.  The fighting was fast and fierce, but the elves were more than holding their own.  A new wave of the enemy forced them back and the elves feinted a retreat, meaning to turn and attack again around the next bend as that had been working with great success thus far.  Unfortunately, the orcs had the advantage of knowing the terrain far better than the Mirkwood elves. 

A second group of warg-riders split off from the main host and came up the vale from the other direction, halting the elven host’s maneuver and forcing them to quickly make a stand between two opposing walls of enemies. 

Thranduil pursed his lips as his sword twirled in his hands.  They had thought they might have to fight to clear the pass, but this was turning into something much more than that.  These orcs had a mission; they were no mere marauders preying upon unwary travelers.  There was definitely something much more sinister taking place here. 

Guruth was not pleased.  He was losing vast amounts of his warriors to these strange elves, and he was beginning to believe that they may not even have had any connection with the elves he was after.  If this were simply a case of bad timing he was going to be furious. 

His eyes narrowed and he burrowed his knees harder into Mrdhdúk’s sides, urging his mount forward towards the elves they had cornered between them.  A small bevy of dark-haired warriors surrounded one golden-haired warrior.  They were obviously protective of him and the elf in question had a bearing of power that was unmistakable.  This one was a Lord, or a noble at least.   Guruth frowned.  All elves looked more or less alike to him and he had only seen so many of them from a distance.  Could it be...? 

“Great One!” one of the orc’s warriors nearby gestured to the golden-haired elf who had caught Guruth’s attention.  “We fought him back in the woods by the elf city!  He must have brought these other squeakers!” 

Guruth’s eyes flashed with ire.  He had thought as much.  This elf must be the one he had often seen from a distance with the healer.  The Balrog Slayer they called him, and the only golden-haired Elf Lord that Guruth knew of who frequented these lands.  A cruel smile played around the orc’s lips.  Then this one was Elrond’s friend... 

“Separate them.  I want the golden one.  I want him alive.  Now!” Guruth ordered.  Whistling sharply, he called some of his other fighters from nearby, bidding them leave their engagements and rally to his side.  The new arrivals crowded the field of battle, driving the outnumbered elves apart, even if they could not bring any of them down. 

Thranduil beheaded an orc and whirled around burying his blade into the small beady eye of a warg.  Suddenly his horse reared as a large warg jumped on it from behind, clawing at its hindquarters.  Thranduil did not lose his seat, but the horse bolted forward, away from the rest of his fellow warriors.  Another warg took advantage of the situation; leaping at the skittish horse and making it dance madly sideways. 

Already distracted, Thranduil was ill-prepared when an orc jumped from its warg and crashed into him, tumbling them both off of their mounts.  The orc was dead on Thranduil’s blade before the Elvenking even reached the ground. 

Thranduil landed hard, but rolled easily back to his feet.  He realized grimly that he faced his attackers alone now, but he was not afraid.  Legolas had not inherited his unflinching resolution from thin air.  Thranduil twirled the sword in his hands gracefully, taunting the creatures, inviting them to try their best.  He did not know if he could fight them all, but he did know he would take down as many of them as he could. 

Orc bodies piled up around him, but eventually the lone elf was overwhelmed.  A warg barreled him over; knocking the elf to the ground as half a dozen orcs jumped him.  The Sinda elf felt a sharp pain lance through his arm and shoulder as his attacker’s dark, barbed weapon tore the flesh across his collarbone and shoulder before skittering over to rack down his upper arm, gashing him deeply. 

Thranduil kept fighting until he felt the ragged bite of a blade slide under his chin and dig harshly against his jugular. 

“Give me a reason to kill you, elf scum!” the slavering orc sitting on him shouted in Thranduil’s face, obviously greatly desiring a justification to do just that.  “Give me a reason!” 

Thranduil glared at the evil creature that had him pinned.  “You’d better kill me, filth, or I swear I will kill you,” he growled in elvish. 

The orc roared and bashed the elf in the side of the head with his spike-gloved fist, sending Thranduil into swirling unconsciousness. 

“Idiot!  I said I wanted him alive!” Guruth bellowed, hurrying over as he saw the golden-haired lord’s body go limp. 

“He’s alive,” the orc sitting on Thranduil grunted, giving the elf a kick for good measure as he got up.  “He’ll just have a nice headache when he wakes up.” 

Guruth laughed.  “That’ll be the least of his worries, I’m thinking.  Summon the others, pull them back.  These elves won’t fight fair and die.  I won’t lose any more to them.  They shouldn’t want to tangle with us again.  I don’t think they’ll be so anxious to help their sniveling friends in the valley NOW.  Make sure they don’t follow us.” 

His underlings nodded and hurried away. 

“Now my pretty...” Guruth grinned as he dumped Thranduil facedown across his mount’s back, pulling himself up behind.  “We take you back to join the fun.”  Guruth cared nothing for this warrior personally; he was just another elf that was better off dead.  However, he had learned a lot about elves and their whole disgusting race in his long period of study and planning.  He had discovered that as curious as it seemed, elves hated being forced to watch others suffer almost more than suffering themselves.  If Guruth could hurt the Healer more deeply through one of his little friends... well then, why miss such a grand opportunity?  As soon as Glamferaen and Dehlfalhen arrived, then the real fun could begin. 


Raniean looked around warily before finally sheathing his blade with aching fingers.  The sun was sinking in the west.  It had been a long and grueling fight, but they had survived it much better than he had feared. It was impossible to know how many they had lost, or how many were wounded, because their entire company was spread across miles and miles of mountain ranges by now. It was a good thing they had decided on a rendezvous point before the trouble started.  

Wearily, the young commander led the handful of warriors still with him towards Mund’s Pass, slowly gathering a bigger following as they went. 

Trelan was already waiting at the base of the huge, shattered stone that marked the top of the pass, along with fifty or sixty others. 

“Where’s the King?” Trelan asked when Raniean approached alone. 

Raniean shook his head.  “I don’t know, Trey. I don’t know where anyone is.  Hopefully they will be here soon, although with the way we’re scattered...” 

Trelan nodded.  They were missing well over three hundred warriors at the moment.  It was impossible that they all could have been lost, so obviously many had not yet made their way thither.  “It could be morning before we know for sure,” the smaller elf sighed in resigned concurrence. 

Raniean looked around and ran his hand over his face.  He didn’t like it, but Trelan was right.  There was nothing they could do now but wait. 


Aragorn felt stiff and achy, but greatly refreshed when he awoke.  He blinked and rubbed his eyes.  “How long?” he inquired of the elf that was still watchfully holding him. 

“Hopefully long enough. We should move on, Estel.  I worry what may be happening in the outside world while we are stuck down here,” Legolas said gravely, but gave his friend a reassuring smile. 

Aragorn agreed wholeheartedly and tried to move away from the wall but he couldn’t feel his legs, submerged this whole time in the water as they had been and they crumpled painfully under him. 

Legolas did not let his friend fall, supporting Aragorn until the human forced his numb legs to work again. 

Aragorn answered his friend’s concerned gaze with a rueful grin.  “Well, I don’t know about you, but I am sick of this place.  Let us get out of here as swiftly as we may.” 

Legolas nodded.  “Agreed!” 

They continued down the tunnel again for some time and the water became increasingly deeper and more swift.  They tried to cling to the walls for support, but it was impossible.  Suddenly the bottom dropped out beneath their feet. 

Legolas, in the rear, saw Aragorn’s head suddenly disappear under the water.  He could not catch his friend this time, however, because an instant later his own feet were pulled off the edge, finding only watery nothingness beyond. 

The current was swift and merciless as it rushed them along, holding them under the surface.  The water pressure increased as the passage narrowed.  Aragorn could feel the pounding press of the water beat against his aching lungs and Legolas felt his eardrums compress painfully as they were propelled forward at frightening velocities. 

Then suddenly they found themselves shooting out of the close, confined tunnel and sprawling in a confusing, swirling sea of open water. 

The underground river dumped out into a deep, black pool that stretched into a high, domed cavern.  Steps led up from the edges of the small lake, beyond that it was too difficult to make anything out. 

Aragorn surfaced loudly a few feet away from Legolas, gasping for breath and treading water.  He glanced quickly about him, trying to find the elf. 

“Over here, Aragorn.” When the soft glow of the immortal being caught his attention, the ranger swam towards his friend who was making for the shore. 

The elf had just reached the edge of the deep pool when Aragorn stopped him from exiting. 

“Legolas, look.” The awed whisper from the ranger startled the prince and he stopped.  Half in the water and half out the elf’s glow lit up the bottom of the underground lake, if there was a bottom to it.  The indigo depths of the subterranean pool twisted on out of sight as though carved by the water itself.  Five feet below the steps was a natural shelf of stone that glittered oddly beneath Aragorn’s booted feet before dropping down into the twisting blackness of the bottomless drop-off.  He realized that ribbons of quartz and silver laced the sides of the pond.  It was a wonder the dwarves had agreed to use this part of the cave as their water cache. 

When he turned back to look at the elf, the prince was smiling slightly gazing into the pool, “It’s almost like looking at the heavens at night and seeing the stars all out for the evening.” 

“Almost...” Aragorn whispered, “except that we are in a cave, my friend.” 

“Thank you for reminding me,” the elf growled playfully as he stepped away from the cove and shook the water from his clothing.  Legolas absently wrung his hair dry as he cautiously walked about the interior of the cave; something wasn’t right. 

“There is something familiar about this place, Aragorn.”  The elf’s voice was barely above a whisper and the tone of the statement immediately set the ranger on alert.  It was not really the location itself that pricked the elf’s senses, but rather the sense of evil that lingered there. 

A tunnel ran back into darkness not far from the steps leading down to the pool.  Tracks in the dirt overlaid one another and it was hard to tell who had been in here and just how long ago.  However, four feet above the ground metal sconces had been set in the walls at intervals and although the torch holders were ancient they were not covered in dust and cobwebs as they should have been: traces of recent usage marked their metal rings. 

“This cave is still occupied,” Aragorn observed quietly.  “But by whom?” 

A pile of refuse lay in the farthest corner from the pool and the only tunnel leading out.  It seemed that the residents of the cavern were using this corner for waste.  Legolas approached the pile cautiously, dreading what he might find.  Pulling one long, slender arrow from his quiver he fished the point into a piece of cloth that lay on the ground near his feet and brought the fabric gingerly up to his face.  Aragorn stood behind him now, having seen the prince’s preoccupation and wondering what his friend was up to. 

Throwing the soiled cloth to the ground, Legolas backed up into the ranger, wrinkling his nose at the foul stench that assaulted his senses.  The word that fell from his lips froze Aragorn’s heart. 

Yrch.” Legolas spat the elvish word out like a curse, backing slowly away and glancing quickly about them.  “Aragorn, orcs live here still, else their scent would not be so heavy in this place.” 

“It cannot be.”  Aragorn backed towards the pool. “This place can’t really exist so close...” His words fell off oddly. 

“Aragorn, what is it?”  Legolas turned back to his friend.  The horrified look the ranger laid on him caused him to fear the answer to his question. 

“We are there.  This is that place.”  Aragorn swallowed hard, his voice barely above a whisper.  “You heard the tale of Dehlfalhen and Glamferaen that night in the Hall of Fire.  Do you remember?” 

“Yes, but...” Legolas’ confusion was slowly turning to fear.  His response was cut off as Aragorn continued explaining.

He quoted the song, his words somewhat musical as he remembered how they went, speaking softly in the high tongue:

“For where the orcs had made their final stand
near the bottomless pool crafted by dwarven hands
they there were slain by the immortals,
who lit their way by dim-less portals of the eldar.”

Aragorn breathed in shakily, his eyes darting around them, “Do you know what that means?  They drove the orcs here into this darkness and killed them all, Legolas, by the light of their glow.  They were fearsome and terrifying and it is said that they left none alive.  But if that is true, then a new clan of orcs is inhabiting this place again.”

Legolas did remember now and the words Aragorn spoke next rooted his feet in fear to the place where he stood. 

“We are in Daradwayn.”  The ranger pierced the elf with a steady stare and Legolas could see how truly frightened he was. 

The prince’s brows furrowed.  That name had not been in the story and was unfamiliar to him.  He did not have a reference point for his friend’s horror. “It is a story only,” he tried to comfort the human. 

“It is not.”  Aragorn glanced towards the tunnel leading out as everything stated making a horrible kind of sense; “It is truth.  This is where the orcs and wargs came from, the ones that mounted the attack against my house, it must be.  We are in their lair.” 

“But they do not know.”  Legolas smiled slightly.  “My friend, if it is true, then we are the ones who have the upper hand.  Let us go and see what can find out; perhaps we can bring them down from inside their filthy caverns.”  The elf pointed towards the far tunnel.  “When have a few orcs ever stopped us before?” 

Legolas’ levity broke through Aragorn’s fear.  He knew more than he was telling the prince, but he could not divulge the information.  It was not his to tell.  Legolas was right, any damage they could do would only help his family and it was high time the orcs were run out again. 

With a nod of understanding the two friends ran for the tunnel, Legolas leading by the glow of his inner light.  It was simple for him to see in the gloom of the underground tunnel and Aragorn could easily follow in the circle of light that the elf barely cast about them. 

They hadn’t gotten far before the shuffling sound of orc boots echoed down the passageway.  Legolas halted them, his hand up, cautioning Aragorn for silence.  The harsh words of the orc language reverberated faintly down the hallway accompanied by the growling barks of their companion wargs.  The occupants of Daradwayn were on their way down to collect water for the evening meal. 

Here the tunnel was smooth, the dwarven work exceptional and flawless.  Meaning there was nowhere for the two intruders to hide.  In minutes the wargs would pick up their scent.  Turning quickly, Aragorn tugged Legolas with him, drawing him back into the pool room.  Though large and irregular in shape, this room gave up no more shelter than the tunnel had. 

The two friends could not believe that their luck had played them this foul again.  Not for the first time since the fateful attack on Rivendell, they were trapped. 


Elladan and Elrohir toiled up the mountainside with quick and determined steps.  They had traveled swiftly and without stopping, following as quickly as they could on the trail of the orcs who had taken their father. 

“El,” Elrohir glanced sideways at his twin.  “Do you think we can do it?  Do you think we can wake Dehlfalhen and Glamferaen after all these years?  Do you think we should?”  

Elladan’s gaze was focused in the distance, his jaw set.  “What do you think, El?” he quietly returned the question with one of his own. 

Elrohir’s hand tightened on the hilt of his sword as his eyes searched for the familiar rock outcropping they sought.  “I think we have no choice.” 

Elladan nodded grimly. 

Suddenly Elrohir stopped dead in his tracks, forcing his brother to stop with him. 

“What?  What is it?” Elladan’s brows furrowed in concern. 

Elrohir was sniffing the air cautiously.  “I smell something,” he whispered, sliding his sword silently from its sheath.  “I smell orcs.” 

A few moments later his heightened senses were proved all too accurate as a host of dark shapes materialized from between the darkened trees and boulders. 

“Looking for someone?” one of the orcs sneered. 

The twins stood shoulder to shoulder, weapons raised, daring the creatures to attack them.  But the orcs just stood there, laughter dancing in their cruel eyes. 

Suddenly Elladan’s stomach lurched as he felt the ground under his feet shift. 

Without warning the supposedly firm forest floor they stood upon fell inward as the well-concealed trap they were standing upon was triggered. 

Elrohir had only a moment to catch sight of the fading light glinting and twisting menacingly on dark rows of twisted spikes below before the two elves were plunged downward into the deadly dark.

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