THE ELF AND THE ORC: CHAPTER 10
By Brittany Keller (alias Silverneko)
Word Count: 25,304 (total)
Rating: PG for mild violence and language
Summary: While escaping Orc Hunters, Morfang son of Gorbag finds himself in Mirkwood forest and meets the sister of Legolas Thranduilion, Lindariel. Will Lindariel’s compassion reach Morfang, or will Morfang abuse Lindariel’s kindness to avenge his fallen comrades?
The Great East Road was a dirt path laden with decayed leaves. Open to all travelers, the road was long and wide enough for two wagons to pull through. It was clear of the trees that grew high above the stone walls on either side.
Morfang and Lindariel dismounted their Warg, and he led her to the corner of the road.
“Here is where we part,” Morfang said. Lindariel bit her lip. “I’m going back to Mt. Gram to stay there with my mother and sister.”
“And I am to return to my father and brother, where all that awaits me is a boring life.”
Morfang smiled. “I’m sure you’ll find a way to keep life interesting. You wouldn’t be the first woman to sneak off to war. Though, perhaps the first Elf-woman.”
“I’ve heard of women daring to do so. Sadly, I’ve no skill with a blade.”
“Perhaps they’ll let you handle negotiations.”
“In perhaps ten millennia,” Lindariel joked. She did not smile. “I don’t want to leave. Not yet.”
“Lindariel, you knew you couldn’t stay with me forever.” Lindariel clenched and unclenched her hands, Igrim’s prophecy echoing in the back of her head. “I do treasure our time together; it was quite adventurous.”
Lindariel managed a smile and nodded her head. “Especially the dragon,” she said.
Morfang chuckled. “Definitely the dragon.”
Lindariel surprised him with a hug. “Will we meet again?”
“I don’t know.” Morfang gently pushed her away. “But if we do, I hope it will not be in hate.”
“I could never hate you,” Lindariel exclaimed. “Morfang—”
“Go.” He released her shoulders and disappeared into the forest. Too shocked to move, Lindariel could only watch him leave.
She climbed down the short stone wall and headed for the Last Bridge. Then Lindariel ran as fast as she could, not looking behind her to see if Morfang had changed his mind. She bottled her hope that he’d shout at her to stop and return to him, or that he’d cut her off on his Warg and pull her away from the Bridge before she could cross.
Neither happened before her foot hit the wooden path over the river. She stopped when her foot hit dry earth again, turning around to see if he had at least returned to see her cross.
No. He had not.
Lindariel waited until she caught her breath to turn around and run to Rivendell. She didn’t know how far she ran until she slammed into a body.
“Whoa! Slow down, Young One,” a masculine voice said, the owner’s arms steadying her. “What is your name?”
Lindariel gave it in a weak voice. The Elf soldier led her to the House of Elrond. Lindariel was given “more appropriate” clothes for her station after being soaked in warm, herbal water. Her hair was combed free of any tangles that had come.
That night, she was led to the dining hall. Lord Elrond, like her father, was hard of face and stern. “You are certain you are uninjured?” he pestered.
“I would know best if I was injured,” Lindariel retorted, refusing to meet his eyes.
Elrond told her that he’d send word to her family in Mirkwood in the morning, and that she was encouraged to rebuild her strength…
The Wargs were returned to their dens and Morfang greeted Dursnaga, his older sister, at the door. Dursnaga resembled their father with pea-green skin and coal-black hair. Where Gorbag’s hair was thin and flimsy, Dursnaga’s head was thickly braided. Her black lips had hints of red and a long fang poked out and over her bottom lip, creating an ever present grimace on her face.
“You’re an idiot maggot,” she growled, slamming her foot into his head. Morfang fell down and snarled, reaching for his sword. Dursnaga stomped on his hand, getting a nice shout from him. “Anyone with eyes could see that the Elf you brought was important to you.”
“Get off my hand, you worthless witch!”
Dursnaga dug her heel harder into his hand. Morfang grit his teeth, knowing better than to give her a scream a second time, even though he was certain she was breaking the bones in his hand. “Call me a witch, will you? Hear that? That’s how he treats his older sister whom he hasn’t seen in months! Who reared him herself when our parents couldn’t take the time! I ought to cut out your lying tongue, you heap of rat dung!”
“Since when have I ever a reason to lie to you?!” Dursnaga removed her foot from Morfang’s hand and he stood, cradling the injury close to him. “I’ve never lied to you once in all our lives!”
“I know. I didn’t mean to me. You’re lying to yourself. Sweet Valar, Morfang! Are you really so stupid?”
Morfang grabbed Dursnaga’s neck with his free hand and steered her away from the onlookers, into their family’s compartment. Their mother, Sharog, was out.
“You know?” he asked.
“How you feel about her? I’m your sister. It’s in the job description, Morfang. And anyone can tell you that she felt something for you.”
“Women! You’re always looking for something to meddle in!”
Dursnaga glared, but didn’t deny Morfang’s statement. “Go after her.”
“No,” Morfang said, heading over to a chest to fetch bandages. “I think you broke my hand!”
“You were going to try and knife me,” Dursnaga accused. “Me! Your own flesh and blood!”
“Well, I missed my chance to gut Dad, so you’re the next best thing to gut!” Dursnaga did not fight back. Morfang thought she might be shaking her head or silently laughing to herself. He didn’t look behind to check. “What? You think I’m lying?”
“You couldn’t gut me, Morfang, even if you had innards iron enough to try.”
Morfang heard the sting of hurt in her voice, and he regretted the empty threat. He pulled out the bandages and closed the chest, still holding his injured hand. He held the bandages out to his sister and she took them from him while he sat on the chest and let her press the bones back together and wrapped the hand thickly in a secure brace.
“You’re right. I do love her. But Dursnaga, she’s an Elf.”
“And that’s enough of a reason for you not to—”
“No, not that. She’s an Elf, I’m an Orc. Such a union is doomed.”
“So are unions between Men and Elves. Yet that doesn’t stop them from trying. Even here, we got news of the marriage between Lady Arwen and the returned King of Gondor, Aragorn. And don’t you dare say she deserves better, because you don’t know that. What if you were to find that whoever her father weds her off to is…is…” For lack of an appropriate word, Dursnaga didn’t finish her thought.
“The Orc Hunters are still out.”
“Are you changing the subject or coming up with another excuse?”
“It’s a good excuse.”
“So you’d rather she be wed off to someone she hates, and live?! Morfang, your brain is as nonexistent as I feared. Either that, or you lack a sense of romance.”
The word “romance” was so foreign to Morfang that he stared at his sister, open-mouthed. “Am I hearing things or did the word ‘romance’ come out of your mouth?”
Dursnaga slapped his head like one would a dog.
“Valar save me! Morfang, any moment you spend with the one you love is romance. I knew I had to fear for the men for some reason, but thanks to you, I now know.”
Morfang rolled his eyes, not bothering to listen to the rant that would likely escape Dursnaga’s lips. She tied the bandages for him. Morfang stood and grabbed a cloak, overcome with a chill.
“Where are you going?” Dursnaga asked.
“Out,” Morfang growled, leaving their compartment. He left his sword by the door, opting for his daggers. He wouldn’t be able to hold a sword with his hand in its present condition. Stupid sister. Morfang went with Skumbog to the Porch and hid underneath the stone opening.
“What happened to your hand?”
“Dursnaga,” he answered.
“I heard she’s your older sister. I don’t envy you. That woman’s a hellcat.”
Morfang smirked. “Hellcat is putting it lightly. I’m pretty sure my hand’s broken.”
“Is it reset?”
“Should be. Dursnaga was a healer back at Mordor before the Dark Lord was defeated. I don’t think three or four months is long enough to make her skills lax.”
“Why’d she break your hand in the first place?”
Morfang told him.
Skumbog shook his head. “Women are all the same, no matter where we go.”
“Are you saying that Elvish-women and Men-women are just as violent as our women?”
“Lady Arwen is formidable when need be, and Lady Eowyn defeated the Witch King of Angmar, if you haven’t heard.”
“I see your point. What about Dwarf-women?”
Skumbog knit his brow, thinking. “I don’t know if anyone would have been able to tell if they were fighting alongside a dwarf-woman or not.”
“Because of the beards?”
“I wonder if Halflings have women.”
“I heard that they do,” Skumbog said, pulling a flask out from behind the rock he sat on. Opening it, he took a large gulp. He passed it to Morfang, who held it in his good hand and stared at the opening. “They look like any other woman, save their big hairy feet.”
“At least they’re distinguishable,” Morfang said, taking a swig before handing it back to a cackling Skumbog, who fixed the cap back on and returned it to its place. They passed a few moments in silence. “I wonder if she’s gotten back alright.”
Skumbog studied Morfang, not saying a word. Morfang barely noticed.
“I must be an idiot for falling in love with an Elf.”
“Yes, you are. But look at me: I’m an idiot for wanting to marry Morurty. She’s going to be the death of me if I don’t die in battle.”
While Skumbog continued to ramble about his fiancée, Morfang’s thoughts drifted to Lindariel. Skumbog opened the porch for a moment and they ventured out to scout around. The moon was full and large.
Morfang stared at it for a moment, wondering, Does the moon look like this from Rivendell?