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The Dark of Night

Chapter 7: Chapter 7

by ellie

Betas: Chrissie, Malinorne, Elda

Characters: Glorfindel, Erestor, Elrond, Celebrian, Elladan, Elrohir,
Haldir, Rumil, Orophin, Celeborn, Galadriel, Amroth, OCs

Disclaimer: Most of this is Tolkien's. I make no money from this.

ellon/ellyn - male elf/elves
adar - father
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Chapter 7 The Rescue
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Orophin, Galadin, and the other five members of their group pursued the spiders through the trees. The trail of black blood gradually grew sparse as the night wore on. The trees were helpful in relaying where the dark of night had gone when the blood stains were not visible. Orophin quietly expressed his gratitude to each tree that assisted them, receiving kind feelings back from the terrified trees in return.

After a few hours of searching, the group found themselves in a clearing, facing a craggy wall of rock. Orophin climbed a tree to see if he could determine where the spiders had gone next, while the others searched the ground for any signs they might have missed.

As dawn lit the horizon, Orophin was ready to give up and come down from the tree, when something dark and wet drew his attention.

“I see where they went!” He cried. “There is a narrow opening up here and…Oh Valar!” He paused, breathing deeply, pressing his forehead against his arm which rested on the tree branch above him.

He swallowed hard, then let out a long sigh. Looking back up at the opening, he began again. “I see...I see some red blood smeared on it. The spiders must have scraped one or both of the twins on the walls while climbing through. It must have been a tight fit.”

The rest of the group wandered around with upturned faces, trying to get a better look at the opening.

“Can we scale the wall?” Galadin asked.

Orophin was quiet for a few moments, then answered, “I do not…Wait! Yes! Yes we can. Start over where Thandronen is.” He gestured to a golden-haired warrior from Lorien, standing at the edge of the group. “And climb up diagonally to the left.”

Without waiting for orders, Thandronen removed his bow and handed it to his son Ferevellon who stood beside him. Reaching up, he groped for a handhold and began the climb. It took him a few minutes and some scrapes to his hands, but he soon made it to the opening. Hoisting himself up to a sitting positing just inside the entrance, he reached into his tunic pocket and pulled out a phial of light.

After momentarily disappearing into the cave, he returned, sticking his head out of the opening, “The cave ceiling is too low for any of us to stand, but it appears that we could crawl or crouch through it a ways. There is no room to draw a bow or a sword initially, but the way may open up farther inside.”

Galadin looked up at Orophin, “Shall we go hunt some spiders?”

“Yes,” Orophin answered in mock delight, beginning his descent from the tree. “Should we take our bows in case there is ample room for target practice?”

Galadin looked up at Thandronen. “Will they be too cumbersome?”

Thandronen looked back into the cave then replied, “If they become too much trouble we can drop them and return for them later. I for one prefer to have my bow close at hand whenever possible.”

“I share you sentiment,” Galadin replied.

Ferevellon put his adar’s bow over his shoulder beside his own and began to climb, closely followed by his brother Fereveldir and the rest of the group. When Orophin reached the cave entrance, he withdrew an extra phial from a pouch at his belt. Removing the stopper, he poured a small amount of the liquid light down the rock face, watching it glisten and glow brightly in the light of the rising sun. If anyone else followed to lend aide, at least they would know where his group had gone.

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A musty dank darkness met them as they scuttled through the cave, hunched down in a low crouch, carrying their long bows beside them. The light of the phials of Silmaril water each ellon held before him glittered on drops of water oozing and dripping from the ceiling. Small stalactites hung down, eliciting a slight hiss or moan every now and then when one of the taller ellyn bumped his head. A ways inside, the passage way opened up enough for them to stand upright. Thandronen, who was leading the way, looked back and noticed that his twin sons and Orophin each had scraped foreheads with lingering drops of blood on their brows. Giving them a small smile and a scolding look, he drew his sword, followed immediately by everyone else, and turned his attention back to the way ahead.

Thandronen slowed his pace, looking around more carefully as the musty stench grew to one of decay. Whispy, filmy threads of sticky white silk stuck to the walls in places, occasionally clinging to their boots. However, the only sound was the constant drip of water seeping through from above.

The passage turned abruptly to the left. He halted a moment as the reek almost physically overpowered him. Dead animals hung suspended from the roof of the cave: birds, rodents, a couple of foxes, and some things which were so badly decomposed he could not readily distinguish the species. The reek of rotting flesh was horrendous. He silently gave thanks that he had not eaten since dinner the night before or he knew he would lose the contents of his stomach.

Soundlessly the group moved on, but Thandronen was very aware of the presence of his sons behind him. He knew they could take care of themselves, but still he worried for them. He had lost his eldest son in the Last Alliance and since then, he never let his twins go on a patrol without him. Haldir knew this and understood, much to his relief.

Thandronen could only imagine what Elrond would feel if he knew what had befallen Elladan and Elrohir. How would he himself feel? Rage began to boil in his blood at the very thought of what it would be like if his own sons had ever disobeyed him in such a dire situation, and palpable fear brewed just above it when he imagined his sons cocooned like the dead animals hanging around them.

He shook himself internally, clearing away such evil thoughts. His precious sons were with him just a few steps behind. Whatever they encountered in this cave, he would find it first. That was all he could do, and he would see to it that it was enough.

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The passage way twisted and turned with a noticeable downward slope. The phials continued to cast their blessed light in this most unholy place. Animal bones littered the floor, crunching underfoot, and the bodies of larger animals hung from the ceiling or lay suspended in horror against the walls. When the way opened up into a wide room, Thandronen suddenly stopped. His son sidestepped to avoid running into him and angrily became enmeshed in the thick webbing on the wall. His brother and Thandronen patiently struggled to free him, as Thandronen motioned with his head whispering, “The sacks hanging over there are different from the rest.”

Galadin and Orophin cautiously moved forward to investigate. They both softly swore as realization dawned.

“What is it?” one of the others asked.

“Egg sacks,” Galadin replied. “Four of them.” He walked further into the darkness to the left. “No, make that six of them.”

Orophin walked to the right. The floor was deep with webby residue, causing him to lift his feet high with each struggling step he took.

“Ack!” he exclaimed as he suddenly leapt backward. “I stepped on something squishy.”

Ferevellon joined him and together they cut away at the webbing on the floor.

“By the Valar!” Ferevellon swore as he swiftly drew his dagger and began cutting away at something.

“What is it?” Galadin asked.

“It is a body,” he replied aghast.

“I guessed that,” Galadin replied irritably. “What kind of body?”

“Dark hair…” Orophin interjected, ripping away at the webbing Ferevellon had just cut.

“Sweet Eru, it is one of Elrond’s sons!” He paused for a moment then added. “He lives.” Frantically the two Lorien warriors cut away the cocoon surrounding the dark-haired ellon.

The others waded into the think mess of stringy whiteness, hunched over and carefully sweeping away webbing with their swords.

“Found something!” Galadin called, awakening soft echoes in the cave.

Thandronen assisted him in tearing away the cocoon. Suddenly they both gasped and dropped what they were holding. Jumping to their feet, they ran a distance away, breathing heavily, their hands over their mouths.

“It is someone else and he or she has been dead for a while,” Thandronen finally said his voice heavy with revulsion and sorrow.

When Galadin regained his composure, he gestured toward the others and ordered, “Go cut down and destroy those egg sacks.

Orophin, how is your patient?”

“His chest no longer bleeds, but the front of his tunic is soaked with blood. He has some gashes to his scalp and forehead. We are trying to revive him enough to get a few drops of Silmaril water into him.”

The sounds of swords swishing through web and hacking at sacks mingled with the ripping of fabric as Ferevellon cut strips of cloak to bind the wounds of Elrond’s son.

Fereveldir cut down the last egg sack. When it fell with a soft plop into the mass of web on the floor, he thrust his sword into it. A sudden moan caused him to leap backward away from the egg sack, muttering curses.

“What is it? Afraid of spiders, little one?” Thandronen asked his son sarcastically.

His son glared at him, then gasped. “No! I do not know…” Carefully he probed the sack with his sword. “I just was …”

The moan came again.

He kicked and pushed the sack and its contents away to reveal another cocooned body, freshly bleeding from one of its arms. Drawing his dagger, he began cutting away at the web, revealing a face and dark hair.

“Galadin! I believe I have found Elrond’s other son!”

Two other warriors standing nearby immediately came to his assistance, helping to cut away the webbing.

One of them called out, “This is Elrohir. I recognize him. His wounds are similar to his brother’s – except where Fereveldir managed to stab my lord’s son.”

“I am sorry!” Fereveldir defended as they worked to free Elrohir. “I did not know he was there!”

“Your sword went all the way through his arm and nicked his side!”

“I was trying to cut apart the egg sack. If I had meant to injure him, I would have gone for some place other than his arm. Besides, the wound I gave him is nothing compared to what Lord Elrond will do to him when he finds out his sons came with us.”

The Imladris warrior nodded sagely, conceding. “Aye, that is true enough.” He rested Elrohir’s head against his chest and opened the semi-conscious peredhel’s mouth. “Give him some of that Silmaril water.”

Fereveldir opened a phial and poured a small amount into Elrohir’s mouth. Elrohir coughed a little then swallowed. After a few more swallows, Elrohir opened his eyes. Fereveldir started to pour in a little more, but Elrohir flailed his good arm in panic, trying to break free and spilling the phial’s contents onto the floor.

“It is all right, Elrohir,” the Imladris warrior crooned softly, gathering Elrohir closer to him in a protective fatherly embrace. “Shh, settle down, son. We are here to help you. You are safe now.”

Suddenly a vile hissing sound emanated from the floor. Everyone looked over to see a filmy steam rising from the spider eggs.

Fereveldir’s face was full of disgust, but his voice filled with wonder. “The Silmaril water is destroying the spider eggs.”

“We can have fried eggs to break our fast, if anyone is interested,” the Imladris warrior offered. “It is Fereveldir’s turn to cook for us.”

Everyone laughed, their snickers echoing off the walls, making it sound as if dozens of elves shared in the jest.

The warrior looked down into Elrohir’s wary eyes. “How do you feel, Elrohir?”

“I…I feel sore…” he whispered breathily. “And weary…and my arm is on fire. My chest hurts.”

“We will bind your wounds so we can get you out of here,” the warrior gently said.

“Elladan…”

“Your brother is fine. His injuries are similar to yours, except for the wound to your arm.”

“More…more water.”

Fereveldir opened another phial. “Take small sips, Elrohir. And this time do not jostle my arm so.” He leaned closer and smiled, quietly confiding. “I weary of being teased.”

Elrohir weakly smiled back in reply.

He had nearly drained the phial when another hiss and a few clicks caused Fereveldir to jump and drop the phial again. Amidst the new hissing of burning spider eggs, Fereveldir immediately arose, assuming a defensive position joined swiftly by everyone not holding a son of Elrond.

Something else was out there, coming their way.

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Chapter name
Chapter 7
Created
27 Oct 2006
Last Edited
27 Oct 2006
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399
Words
2219