Liritar stopped his horse; his eyes had picked up something in the distance. Of course, Liritar's eyes could see much further than yours or mine. As he was an elf. Not just any elf, but the second son of Thranduil, King of Mirkwood.
Liritar had been sent to greet a party sent from Lorien, he hoped they had news of his brother Legolas. News had been scarce since Legolas had joined the Company of the Ring.
For a brief moment a feeling of envy passed through him. "Enough of that he told himself." Liritar shook his head as if shaking the cobwebs out. He looked out again into the distance, what ever it was it was coming closer, with that he set out again.
As he got closer it became apparent that a battle of sorts was happening. Orcs!! But these were not ordinary orcs as it was still daylight. It became clear to Liritar it was the party from Lorien under attack. He sped toward them without a thought about himself. He was alone, he had sent his companions to look in other directions.
At once he realized that the Lorien elves had made their way to the outlook point, but there was no where to go from there. By the time he reached the bottom of the outlook only one warrior remained. The warrior had spent his last quiver and was now fighting with dagger and long sword.
Liritar shouted to the warrior, "Jump!" It was a 15-foot drop to Liritar's horse. The warrior took one last swing with his sword removing the arm of one nasty looking orc. Then turned and jumped, a loud wailing noise came from the top of the outlook.
Liritar urged his horse to fly, the orcs, not even these orcs, could keep up. Liritar would soon find out about the orcs who could fight in the daylight, known as the Uruk-hai.
As Liritar reached the safety of Mirkwood, he brought his mount to a halt. The warrior had said nothing and his grip was unmoving. Liritar dismounted and realized the warrior was unconscious. He lay the warrior down, and immediately saw two wounds. One in the left shoulder and one in the right side, both were quite deep. At that moment Liritar gazed at the face of such a valiant warrior, his heart stopped. The warrior was a woman.
When Liritar's heart started beating again it was in his throat. How had he not noticed the most beautiful woman,..creature,..she-elf..., even his thoughts were tongue-tied. He reached for her cheek without thinking, he had to touch it. It was fair and smooth. Her hair was like that of a raven, unusual for the elves of Lorien. Suddenly she grabbed his hand and her eyes sprang open. Her eyes were as green as new leaves after a long winter. She spoke softly, "brother, I must go back for my brother." She tried to move but had not the strength. Liritar put his head close to hers and replied, "I will go back for your brother, but first I must take you to my people, as you are in need of healing." With that the young woman relaxed but did not relinquish her grip on Liritar's hand. Liritar responded, "I promise." It was though he could hear her every thought in his mind.
Liritar lifted her to his horse, and climbed on behind her. He could feel the weight of her in his arms, and it was like nothing he had felt before. As he started out his companions joined him, and they made haste toward home.
As they rode through the gates, there were maids and soldiers waiting for them. Liritar handed the woman to a soldier, and dismounted. As he turned to follow, Thranduil came through the crowd. The King was a striking man, with sharp features and piercing blue eyes. "Liritar" he called. "Yes, my father." Liritar replied. In an instant Thranduil saw a look on his son's face, that he had never seen before, he could not place it, but he let it pass for there was more pressing matters.
" Liritar, tell me what happened?", the King questioned. Liritar tore himself away from his thoughts of the she-elf warrior. "It was orcs, Father", he replied. "Orcs, but it was daylight" Thranduil was confused and worried. "They are like no orc I have ever seen, or heard about. They are bigger, stronger, and faster, and they can fight in daylight", Liritar was also genuinely perplexed. His father gave a sigh, and turned towards the setting sun, hardly noting it's beauty, because he feared this devilry was only the beginning of what was yet to come from the dark towers of Mordor. Finally, he spoke, "I have heard rumor of this new creature, and I fear if they have come this far then your brother, Legolas has surely seen them."
"Do not worry for Legolas, father, he is great with bow and arrow, and a mighty warrior, he will return to us." Liritar did his best to bolster his father's spirits, but they all knew that the fate of Legolas' journey would effect all of Middle Earth. Liritar continued, his thoughts had returned to the young warrior " you should have seen her, father, she fought them off with the strength and courage of 100 men, no 1000 men, I have never seen anything like it!" It was then that Thranduil understood the look in his son's eyes, Liritar had only spoken with this kind of passion about books, music, and philosophy in the past. The King smiled, the ends of his mouth curled into a grin as he replied, "Liritar, she wears the cloak and garment of a marchwarden of the Galadhrim, she should be a fine warrior." Liritar barely heard his father for his thoughts were with her. What was her name? Would he ever know?
Thranduil cleared his throat, to get Liritar's attention, "umfhh, Liritar, put together 20 warriors and send them to care for the remains of our kin from Lorien." "I will accompany them as well, father", he replied. The King rebuffed, "it is too dangerous, I need you here for council". The King of Mirkwood was also a father, who already feared for his eldest son, he could not bare the thought of losing his other son. "I promised her father, her brother was amongst the other warriors, I must go", Liritar insisted. Thranduil knew that he must let him go, "very well, but take heed my son, we do not know whence the orcs have come or gone."
"I will return soon, my father," Liritar replied and with a last look towards the hall that they had taken the young warrior, he turned to Thranduil, "look after her, she deserves all that we can do for her." With that Liritar left the great hall and went to gathering soldiers and preparing for the journey. And once again, Thranduil was left to his thoughts as he gazed once more toward the setting sun, so much sorrow and yet there was still hope left, even if just the tiniest portion.