Categories > Books > Lord of the Rings > Exiled

Exiled III

by Elizabeth_Goode 0 reviews

What will happen when Elrond discovers Arwen and Estel's love? Will father and son be reconciled?

Category: Lord of the Rings - Rating: PG-13 - Genres: Angst, Drama - Characters: Aragorn, Elrond, Gandalf, Legolas, Other - Warnings: [V] - Published: 2006-06-23 - Updated: 2006-06-23 - 2975 words

In his library in Imladris, Lord Elrond Half-Elven paced back and forth. There had been no word from Elladan and Elrohir, and he felt that it was well past the time to begin worrying. Sighing, he stopped pacing and sat down in a comfortable chair. He began to imagine scenario after scenario, each one worse than the one before, of things that could be causing the delay. Perhaps they had run into trouble, had been ambushed by orcs. The thought of his Arwen Undomiel anywhere near an orc made his blood run cold. Perhaps they had found Legolas and had decided to accompany him back to Mirkwood? No, they would have sent a messenger if that were the case. Perhaps they had run across Estel?

The thought of his foster son no longer made him seethe with anger. In fact, guilt was beginning to be the dominant emotion in regard to Estel. In his mind's eye, Elrond saw the toddler he had accepted into his home to raise as his son, messy brown hair sticking out at angles that an Elven child's hair would never dare. He saw a five-year-old boy who had only recently discovered that the language his father and brothers spoke to him was not the language that the Elven children were familiar with. The language issue had really bothered Estel, and if he closed his eyes, Elrond could still see the child working at a frenzied pace to learn to speak Elvish with no accent whatsoever.

Estel at twelve, injured on the second hunting trip he had been allowed to attend with his brothers. He would never forget the sight of Elladan bursting into his chambers, the limp body of his youngest brother clutched tightly to his chest. Estel's eyes were closed, a massive bruise with a matching bump decorating his forehead, and various scrapes and bruises adorning the rest of him.

The boy had stayed on his horse as his brothers had ordered him, but when the deer the twins flushed out of a thicket spooked the young horse, Estel had been thrown to the ground. In his haste to avoid being pounded by the horse's hooves, Estel had rolled off of a cliff that overlooked the river. The fall was not far enough to have claimed his life, but serious enough to keep the boy in bed for a week with a concussion and a fever from the chill he had taken. Elrond had stayed with Estel, stroking his hair to help him sleep, cajoling him into eating, and reading stories to him when he became bored. Elrond remembered thinking that if anything happened to this child, it would surely break his heart.

Even as Estel grew older and began to ride with his brothers and the Dunedain, the elf lord still worried. Even though he was a tall, strong human, Estel measured his abilities by Elven standards and took risks that he should not have taken. If Elladan or Elrohir fought an orc and suffered broken ribs or an arrow wound, their firstborn blood would heal them quickly. Estel dared things that his brothers would not, but his mortal body healed much more slowly. Raising Estel had given Elrond full understanding of the human saying that children gave parents gray hairs.

Elrond would have stayed deep in thought for longer, but at that moment, the doors of the library burst open to admit none other than the very prince of Mirkwood his sons had set out to find and rescue.

"Lord Elrond!" The younger elf was panting with exhaustion, highly unusual for an elf, let alone for an elf such as Legolas.

"Legolas! My sons have ridden out to find you! We received word from your father that there were orcs - "

"Estel." Legolas shook his head sadly. "The orcs got Estel."

When Elrond did not reply, Legolas burst out, "Did you not hear what I said? Estel was taken by orcs. They tried to force him to tell how to get into Imladris. When he would not speak, they beat him and badly!"

Feeling lightheaded, Elrond leaned his head upon his hands, covering his face. A fool. He had been a fool, and now Estel had paid for it. "Does he live?"

Legolas could not restrain himself from snapping, "Do you care? It is because of you that he was taken. He was unable to defend himself with his sword arm broken and his spirits shattered, though he killed eight of them, even in the condition he was in."

"Where is he?"

"I removed him from the orc camp, but when you see him, you will know that I was not in time to save him from harm. Right now, he stands guard over the border of Rivendell. He is determined that no orc will touch Elven soil. I did not wish to leave him, but he is very stubborn. Even if you have no care for Estel, you must still send out soldiers to kill the orcs."

Elrond nodded, then gave the order to two guards who stood outside the library. "Take any of your men remaining and ride with me. We leave here immediately."

Legolas followed Elrond as he fetched his sword and his bow. "You did not answer me. If you have no care for Estel, I will not let you near him. He will not be able to bear it."

"I allowed my anger to rule me, Legolas. One would think that as long as I have lived, I would have learned to control my anger, to think before speaking. In most matters, I have mastered emotion, but when it comes to my family, I have not, it seems. I did not even allow him to explain, Legolas. I must save him."

Tears shone in the Lord of Rivendell's eyes. "I should have listened when Arwen explained as well. I fear that all of my children have reason to be angry with me. Arwen has armed herself with bow and sword and gone with her brothers to search for you and for Estel."

Legolas acknowledged Elrond's change of heart stiffly, but not without sympathy. "We will put right what was wrong. Let us ride now. There will be time for words when Estel is safe."

The orcs came quickly and without mercy. As Estel stood his ground, he uttered a prayer to the Valar that Legolas not be the one to find his remains when the orcs had finished with him. Elladan and Elrohir would grieve, but would not feel the personal responsibility so deeply. He knew how much it had distressed Legolas to leave him behind.

He slashed and parried with his sword, barely aware of the pain in his arm as he took down orc after snarling orc. Ugblood must have sent scouts ahead, Estel realized as he struck down the last of the first wave of orcs. There had been perhaps fifteen in the scouting party, and they had come at him one at a time, allowing time for him to free his sword from the carcass of his current opponent before finding it necessary to plunge it into the chest of the next one. The next wave of orcs would not come singly, he knew.

Sure enough, the arrival of the rest of the company showed that Ugblood was no fool. Lines of approximately ten orcs across bore down on the young Ranger. Estel did not wait for them to massacre him. Instead, he dashed into the trees, knowing that he was still a good mile from Rivendell territory. He would use his familiarity with the land to his benefit and to Ugblood's disadvantage. Even when ordered to split up, orcs had a pack mentality. They would travel as a group until ordered otherwise, and even then would remain in groups of four or five. Ninety orcs at once, Estel knew he had no chance of handling. If they split into small groups as he hoped they would, Estel stood a chance.

Using the shadows cast by the trees, as well as the trees themselves for protection, Estel waited for the first group of orcs to pass by. There were five of them, and none could be called small. He plunged his sword into the chest of one of them, then used his left hand to kill another one with one of the daggers Legolas had left for him to use. By the time the first orc had fallen, the killing of the second one had bought him enough time to pull his sword free. While he was killing one with the sword, he was removing his dagger from another, and vice versa. In this way, he managed to kill at least twenty orcs.

Estel listened intently to the forest around him as he lay in wait for the next group of orcs. His head ached so badly that he imagined that with each beat of his heart, his eyes would bulge out of their sockets. Heat, cloying and intense, radiated from his body. His fever was magnified by the physical exertion. The sound of thumping orc feet interrupted his thoughts, forcing his mind back to the task at hand. Protecting Rivendell. Pulling an arrow from the quiver, Estel aimed his bow carefully. Apparently the orcs were wise to his tactic and had regrouped. Led by Ugblood, they were on their way over to the area in which Estel had left the bodies of the last group of orcs he had killed. The arrow flew true, striking one of the orcs in the rear of the party in the chest. Estel had managed to get off three more killing shots before Ugblood and the others were aware that they were being shot at.

"The elves know we are here! We have to double our pace!" Ugblood's words were a snarl, an affront to speech everywhere.

"But Captain, we were one hundred strong, but we've lost thirty five of our company already!"

Ugblood glared at the smaller orc that had spoken, then reached out, took his head in his powerful hands, and twisted it from his shoulders with a guttural snigger. "Thirty-four. Does anyone else have any questions for their Captain?"

Estel crouched in his hiding place, remaining as still as he could, trying to imagine that he was part of the ground, just another rock or leaf. He felt his stomach sink as Ugblood looked up, sniffing the air.

One of the orcs near Ugblood did the same. "What is it? What do you smell, Captain?"

Ugblood's nostrils flared with anger. "We've been tricked, boys. There are no elves here. I smell manflesh!"

Estel felt his heart stop beating for a moment, and concentrated on blending in with the shrubbery that hid him from their sight. "Please, please, don't let them find me. Please hurry back, Legolas!"

Ugblood sniffed the air again and stopped, looking right at Estel's hiding place. "It's the human! The one who escaped! Find him and bring him to me. I will finish what I started with him. He will beg me to kill him before I let him die!"

Fear, cold and sharp filled Estel's being. He lurched awkwardly from his hiding place and ran.

"Elladan! Halt!"

Elrohir reined in his horse, listening. "Orcs! Less than a mile from here!"

"I hear them, brother. It sounds like they're in battle. We must ride to aid whoever fights against them! There we might find Estel and perhaps even Legolas!"

The company of elves galloped in the direction of the battle sounds for what seemed even to the immortals to be an eternity, but was actually about half an hour. Elrohir stopped again when he came upon five dead orcs. Kneeling beside the foul carcasses to examine the area for tracks or clues, his hand found a dagger embedded in one of their chests. He pulled it out, recognizing it as Elven.

"This is of Mirkwood's design. Legolas was here and killed these orcs."

Nearby, Elladan had discovered another pile of carcasses. "And it appears that he was in rare form. There are twenty dead orcs at least in this area, not counting the several we saw that lay alone."

Arwen laid a hand on Elrohir's shoulder. "Is there any sign of Estel? Please do not shield me from unpleasant truths, my brother, for I intend to use this sword I have brought when we come upon any orcs that are living."

He shook his head. "Nothing here immediately grabs my attention, and we do not have the time for a closer inspection. We must help Legolas if he is alone among the orcs. They will not be happy with him if he has killed so many of them."

Just then, a ragged scream echoed in the forest, followed by the guttural laughter of orcs. The scream made the hair on the backs of their necks stand up, and Arwen shivered.


The name was spoken softly, like a prayer to the Valar for hope. Elladan closed his eyes briefly. "They have him."

Drawing her sword in a graceful, fluid motion, Arwen narrowed her eyes. "Then, they will not live another night."

Following their sister's directive, the twins drew their swords and raced, followed by their company of elves, to their brother's aid.

Estel was caught, trapped like a rodent in a cage. Had he not been ill and wounded, he could have easily escaped capture, but his aching body had prohibited him from quick and agile movement. Ugblood had his underlings tie the Estel's hands before him, as they had done before. When the young Ranger gasped as his wounded arm was pulled sharply, Ugblood delivered a bone-snapping punch. There was an audible cracking sound as the bone that had barely begun to heal was again broken, and Estel could not hold in his scream of pain.

He knew that the orcs were mocking him, and he could see Ugblood's lips moving, but all he could hear was the dull roar of pain in his ears as he fell to his knees, unable to rise. A hard kick to his chest knocked his legs the rest of the way from under him, and he collapsed, face down, in the leaves. Hot, blinding pain seared his back as the whip descended again and again on the already abused flesh. He was going to die, and he was going to die alone, an exile, without the comfort of family or friend.

Suddenly, the pain stopped enough that the roar in his ears subsided. He no longer heard orc laughter, delighting in his pain. Instead, he heard voices, Elven voices that sounded very familiar. Opening his eyes was one of the hardest things he had ever done, but he managed to do it. Dead orcs littered the forest floor, and he saw Elrohir and Arwen emerge into the clearing, wiping blood from their swords. Elladan knelt over him, tears running silently down his face.

Everything had a surreal sort of light around it, and he felt light, as though his body was not under his control. Hoarsely, he managed, "Ell'dan?"

Afraid to touch his foster brother for fear of aggravating his wounds, Elladan reached out to him, then allowed his hands to hover just shy of resting on Estel's shoulders. The pain was so terrible that Estel knew it would not worsen at his brother's touch, and he reached out a shaking hand to grip Elladan's.

Arwen and Elrohir knelt beside him, both of them crying. Between the three of them, they managed to get Estel into a sitting position, his head resting on Arwen's shoulder. Her long fingers stroked his hair softly. "Oh, my Estel. You will be all right. We are here, and we will take you home, where you belong."

Estel turned his head slightly, jumping in surprise when he saw Ugblood's headless body. His head was several feet away, an arrow through the eye. Mustering a smile, Elladan explained, "We heard you cry out and rode to your aid, my brother. We arrived in this clearing and saw this ugly fellow beating you, and so Arwen shot him through the eye, and when that failed to stop him, I fought and beheaded him."


Elrohir's eyes widened. "Why? Why? Estel, because we've been out here looking for you for the last two days! We were worried about you."

Estel shook his head slowly. "Can't . Rivendell. Exiled."

Elrohir shrugged. "I care not. I will not let you die out here. Rivendell is where I live, and that's where I'm taking you!"

A cough racked Estel's body, causing pain to slice across his ribs and back. He gasped, wiping blood from his mouth with his left hand. "Too late. Won't make it." Estel's eyes closed again, and his body went slack.

"No! Estel! Come back to the light, my love! You must not sleep now, you must open your eyes!" Arwen gripped his shoulders firmly, shaking him. "I know this hurts, but you must wake up!"

The young Ranger did not move, his lips beginning to take on a bluish tint.

Elladan threw his sword down angrily, giving an inarticulate shout of rage. Elrohir stood slightly back, a dazed expression in his eyes. It seemed that Hope was to be lost, and there was nothing they could do about it.

The sound of an eagle's cry filled the air, and all three looked up to see Gwaihir, the Lord of the Eagles, descending to land in the clearing. On his back was Mithrandir, known to Men as Gandalf the Gray.

The wizard climbed down from the Eagle's back and made his way to where Estel lay. Without even addressing the elves, Gandalf shook his head sadly. "Oh, my boy. What have you gotten yourself into this time?"
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