Wandering Heart: Part Two
Many Years Later...
The Misty Mountains
Ahead of me, my father abruptly stops walking. “We will make camp here,” he says.
Used to his sudden commands by now, I set down my pack and go off to find water and look for firewood, which is scarce here in the mountains. The sun has not yet gone down, and I vaguely wonder why we have made camp this early. Cennanon joins me after digging a fire pit. As I reach for a branch that will do well for kindling, he falls flat to the ground, jerking me down beside him. An arrow whistles overhead, soon followed by others.
"Ada, wha-?" I begin, but he claps his hand over my mouth and motions for me to follow him. We move soundlessly away. Hidden behind a rock, Cennanon watches the clearing. Two hours pass. Evening comes. Then, several orcs lope into the clearing where we had made camp. They sniff the air. I hold my breath and pray that they will not scent us. They do not.
Beside me, Cennanon stirs. “I thought so…” he mutters. He draws his knife, eyes gleaming. Giving me a nod, he makes his way back down to the clearing, silent as a shadow. The moon breaks through the clouds, bathing the rocks in light. My eyes widen. There are not just three Orcs. The clearing is surrounded.
I unsling my bow and send an arrow whistling into the throat of one of the orcs. Distracted, Cennanon looks up. "Indiel!" he shouts. I can tell he's angry. For good reason, too. I've alerted the whole goblin pack to my location.
He’s knocked flat on his back and begins wrestling with his attacker. As I make my way down to the clearing, careful not to waste any arrows, I wonder what exactly we have run into. Sighting down another target, I hear a low growl behind me and am suddenly lifted off the ground by the biggest orc I’ve ever seen.
He’s crushing me, squeezing me. I can’t breathe. I pummel his head and shoulders with my fists. Suddenly, he lets go, and I fly through the air, crash landing against a rock. "Ai," I moan softly, squeezing my eyes shut to clear the exploding stars from my vision. Cennanon pulls his knife out of the orc's back.
"Foolish!" he comments, helping me up. His comment is, of course, directed at me.
"You're right," I agree, rubbing my side. An orc swings his spear in an arc at Cennanon’s head. “Tirio!” (Look out!) I shriek. He ducks just in time and curses.
The orcs are slowly closing in around us. “We cannot stay and fight, adar!” I cry, loosing another arrow and hearing first the slap of my bowstring against my armguard and then the thud of my arrow into orc-flesh.
He looks around and slowly agrees. It is hard for him to leave a battle.
He slams his fist into an orc’s jaw, immediately felling it. “Do you see the path?” he asks, holding the howling, enraged orcs at bay with his knife.
I look upwards and am just able to make out the marker he has told me of. “Yes,” I answer.
“Go,” he orders. “I’ll follow you.”
“But--!” I protest. He gives me such a look that I immediately begin climbing, dodging arrows and spears.
I hear the rumble of rock on rock and Cennanon grunting, but don’t turn back to see what he is doing. There is an ominous cracking, rumbling sound, and I whip around just in time to see a portion of the mountain sliding away, collecting more dirt and rocks on the way down. It’s a landslide, crashing down on the orcs. Cennanon joins me, a grim look in his eyes.
I view the wreckage below, feeling numbly shocked. Very few of our assailants have survived, and there is no chance of those who are still alive following us. “Ada,” I begin, but he cuts me off with a raised hand. My mind spins with a thousand questions and mixed emotions as we begin walking again.
Now we are on the path that leads to our destination, the Last Homely House, the hidden valley ruled by Elrond half-elven. The road is marked with white stones, some half-covered with moss.