by Frodo Baggins
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Aldamir mounted the steps of his flet, to find Uruviel standing
silently by the edge and gazing out among the leaves and branches of
the mallorns. Aldamir sensed immediately that she was very sad.
"What is it, Uruviel dearest?" he asked softly, putting his arm around
"Oh, Aldamir, Arwen has gone back to Imladris. Didn’t you know?" she
asked, looking up. Aldamir noticed that a tear was welling up in the
corner of her eye.
"Yes, I knew, and I am sorry she has left. You are great friends with her,
"Yes." She sighed sadly. "I feel so torn in two right now. Half of me
almost wishes I had gone with her."
"Why, Uruviel, would you really want to leave me?" teased Aldamir gently,
Uruviel gave him a reassuring smile and laid her head on his chest.
"Aldamir, I am afraid for Arwen."
"Why, what is it? She is well protected on her journey back to Imladris.
I do not think such a fate as befell her beautiful mother will overtake
"Oh, it isn’t that, not at all. But you know, do you not, that she has
fallen in love with a mortal man?"
"I know that she is very fond of Aragorn, son of Arathorn, if that is
what you mean. But I know little else, since I am so busy on the borders
"She is more than fond of him; she loves him. And he returns her love.
But Aldamir, if she were to marry him, then she will die!"
Aldamir was silent for a moment. "That would be a terrible blow to us
all, to lose our princess," he said quietly.
"Yes," said Uruviel, a tear slipping down her cheek. Aldamir took her
into his arms and kissed the top of her fair head.
"She has yet to make that choice, dearest. I am sorry, but I must leave
for the borders again now. And before I leave I simply must get my hands
on some more arrows; mine are dwindling."
"All right," whispered Uruviel. "Go now, and may the grace of the Valar
always protect you."
Aldamir, gathering his weapons together, sought out Haldir. "Haldir,
where have we more arrows? Those accursed orcs are making
my supply diminish."
Haldir grinned. "That’s no surprise. You shoot so well that we others
never get a chance, you rascal. Ask Rumil; he’ll give you some. And then
come back, because we have to start for the borders as soon as you’re
Once the arrows were obtained, Aldamir reported back, and the patrol for
Lorien’s western border started for their post. It took them a day of
walking to reach the edge. Caras Galadhon lay deep indeed in the Golden Wood,
but being swift, silent Elves, they could easily have made the journey in
half the time if they were in a hurry. Right now they were not.
As they passed through the moss-coated mallorns, and over swiftly-rushing,
merry, silver streams, Aldamir breathed in the woody, mossy fragrance
deeply. He loved the forest; it was his greatest delight to walk through
it, gazing at the stars, or stroking the smooth bark of the mallorns which
surrounded him. 'This is my home,' he said to himself. 'Here is where I
belong, and may the Valar grant that I never stray too far from it.'
Upon reaching the outposts, Haldir’s command relieved the group of Elves
presently on watch and took up guard. The other Elves, under the command
of Eltarion, left them, as it was their turn to go back to Caras Galadhon
and dwell there until they were called back.
"Aldamir, come here," said Haldir suddenly, gazing at the ground. Aldamir
hurried to his side. Haldir pointed out some rough depressions in the mossy ground.
said Aldamir immediately.
"Yes, I know," answered Haldir, "but these are too big to be those scum
from Moria. I have never before seen tracks like these."
Aldamir frowned and bent down, running his finger along the depression’s
edge. "You’re right: they are unusually big. But they’re too rough to be
tracks of Men, and too big. What do you think they are?"
"I have no idea. Some kind of orc it must be; but what orc has such
Aldamir straightened up. "Don’t ask me. I’ve never met any orcs but for
Haldir looked at him quickly. "What?...Wait, I hear it too..."
He was cut off abruptly as a thick, black arrow whistled past his ear.
"Orcs!" he cried. "Aldamir, watch out!"
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Chapter 2 - Orc Attack
Aldamir ducked just in time as another arrow flew over his head. Taking
temporary refuge behind a tree, he took a look at their attackers. A surprised,
wondering frown knitted his forehead.
These were no ordinary orcs. They were taller, stronger, thicker than
any other orc that Aldamir knew of. More like wicked men, they were. Quivers
of long, cruel arrows were slung across their backs, and they carried bows
of a strange make. Short, flat-bladed, iron swords were in their hands, and
broad, dark shields were on their arms. But what was strangest of all was
the mark they bore on their crudely made helmets; a white hand. Many of them
bore the hand imprinted on their face as well.
Aldamir had no time to speculate over anything at that particular
moment, however. In a moment he was fully occupied, as the orcs flung themselves
upon him and Haldir. Aldamir would have called to the other Elves, but he
had no time, not even a half a second. The orcs were surprisingly strong
and fearless. They had no second thoughts of attacking two skilled Elves,
especially since there were five of them against the two Elves.
With an ugly roar, one of them launched himself on Aldamir. He jumped
back to allow himself a moment to draw his sword, and then attacked. Parrying
the orc’s strong but badly aimed blows, he slashed at it’s legs, and as it
fell, slit its throat with a swift cut. For a moment he was free of attackers;
immediately he looked to Haldir.
Haldir had dispatched one of his attackers, but two of them were upon
him now. Setting his sword down quickly, Aldamir drew an arrow and sent it
thudding into the back of one of them. Then he found himself again under
attack. The fifth of the orcs had drawn back for a moment, hoping to stab
one of them in the back, but he didn’t quite escape Aldamir’s notice. He
was too close to be shot with an arrow, but as Aldamir’s sword lay three
feet away, the Elf stabbed him through the throat with his next arrow. The
orc fell like a log, and Aldamir turned to Haldir once again.
Haldir had killed the other of the orcs; the attack was over.
“Well, we are lucky to have caught sight of them when we did, Aldamir,”
Haldir said, breathing hard, “else there might have been two less Elves in
the Lady’s service.”
“Ah, Haldir, you don’t really think we’re that easy to kill, do you?”
grinned Aldamir. Then his expression darkened. “But these are strong orcs.
A few thousand of them could do great damage indeed.”
“Yes. And the white hand! That is not Sauron’s mark.”
Aldamir shook his head slowly. Both of them knew well who was represented by the
White Hand. “Saruman,” muttered Aldamir.
“I fear dark times are coming, Aldamir,” said Haldir. “Treachery is
now to be found in any corner of this world. Now that Saruman has betrayed
us, who can we trust? How will we know that any are not in the Enemy’s service?”
Aldamir nodded. “Dark times indeed. The Shadow is gaining power and
drawing in. But come, Haldir, let us gather our arrows and get ourselves
into hiding before any more of these black-minded creatures come sneaking
up on us.”
Upon returning to the other Elves, their news of the strange orcs
was received with consternation. “We are caught between two enemies,” exclaimed
Rumil. “Sauron in the East, and Saruman, his puppet. If these orcs are created
by Saruman, which I think they might be, for never have I heard of such orcs,
then we are indeed hard pressed. Two armies will join together; we may not
be able to resist them if they grow much stronger.”
“The outlook is poor, if that were to happen,” agreed Haldir. “But
the Lady Galadriel reigns yet over these woods, and there is great power
in her rule. It will be long yet before the Enemy can defeat us. Come, let
us get to our posts.”
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Chapter 3 - Dawn in the Golden Wood
For several days the borders were peaceful and the Elves on guard
had time to feather more arrows and sharpen their blades. There could never
be too many arrows, nor a blade too sharp, it seemed.
As Aldamir stood feathering an arrow as the sun dawned one clear morning,
a swallow flew close and landed not far from him on one of the mallorn’s
branches. Giving Aldamir a pert look, it started off into a trilling little
song, music pouring from its throat.
‘Pouring like the Silverlode’s swift current,’ thought Aldamir as
he watched. ‘Ah, little bird, you do not know how much evil there is in this
world. None are safe from it. But you, at least, can live in peace under
the boughs of the mallorns, and sing every morning. Sing, little one: it
gladdens my heart.’
The little one sang; so joyfully and sweetly that for a while Aldamir
forgot the orcs, and all evil that had troubled him; his thoughts were born
away on the beauty of the bird’s singing. His hand holding the arrow dropped
to his side; his eyes looked far away, seeing things that only he knew of.
His gaze was drawn out over the forest; the flet he stood upon was high above
the ground and he saw only tall trees, and leafy branches. The sun was dawning,
sending little shafts of light through the trees everywhere. Aldamir had
seen the sight many times, but the beauty of it took away his breath every
time, and for a long while he stood silent.
“Aldamir?” Haldir stood suddenly at his side.
“Look, Haldir,” said Aldamir softly. “The little swallow is bringing the dawn to us.”
Haldir gazed over at the singing bird, and at the golden light falling
through the trees. “Such beauty,” he murmured. “Alas that evil times are
coming upon the Golden Wood, for beautiful as it is it is fading; this forest
will not last unto the end of the world.”
Aldamir nodded. “The time of the Elves is drawing to an end, whether we will or not.”
Haldir was silent for a moment. Then he shook himself out of his reverie. “Well, Aldamir, have you finished that arrow?”
Aldamir laughed. “No. The little one’s singing made me forget.”
“Aldamir, since when did a warrior like you forget an arrow in the presence of a little bird?” Haldir teased.
“Even the greatest of warriors can be overcome by the beauty dwelling
in the Golden Wood. Haldir, do not lay too much blame upon me: even you
Haldir joined in his laughter, and together they went down to finish the forgotten arrow.
- Frodo Baggins