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Old October 18th, 2004, 03:44 AM
SherinaSue
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Orc-tracker - PT - New Beginnings - UPDATED - Final Chapter May30th

Title: Orc-tracker
Author: Sherina
Rating: PT
Characters: Legolas, Neryssa, Brendyl, Aragorn, assorted orcs.
Category: LOTR, pre Fellowship
Warning:brief nudity, violence
Summary: A village girl goes in search of her captured brother after an orc attack on her home. She stumbles into Mirkwood on her journey...and gets help from a certain noble Prince.

With the first ripple on the still pool’s surface, Legolas became instantly alert, holding his bow at the ready. He was still a league or more away, but his elven eyes immediately sensed the movement. He had been scanning the Mirkwood for intruders as he walked along. So far, all had been as it was for hundreds of years gone past. This pool had been a place of solitude and meditation for all his boyhood fears and worries; he knew every pebble and blade of grass by heart. No fish swam here, no leaves floating on the surface from the boughs reaching out overhead, so what could have…? His thought was arrested by a dark form breaking the surface of the water. A moment later, a puddle of long dark hair floating around her, a young woman emerged near the bank. Her back was to him, and her hair covered her ears, but instinct told him she was not elf-kind. He knew all the folk native to his father's realm. Who was she, and why was she here, just inside the edges of his wood?

Unaware that she was being watched, Neryssa climbed to the edge of the pool and shook out her clothing. The dress was still too wet to put on, so she spread it out on a large rock and lay down in the fragrant grass to dry. She was starting to feel clean again, as she had not in weeks- not since the attack on her village. The smoke, soot, blood and dirt that had worked their way into her hair, skin and clothing were finally washed clean.
She tried not to remember. Neryssa wished that the gentle breezes that lifted the droplets of water from her skin could carry with it the memories as well. Memories of herself and her brother going out to the well together, hearing the screams and hiding in the caves near their home. Memories of her brother running out to find their mother, of him being captured and dragged away by the orcs... She sat up; feeling suddenly chilled despite the warmth of the glade, and hugged her knees. Silent tears trickled down her cheeks.
“Oh stop it, Neryssa,” she chided herself. “You are a woman of two and twenty winters, no mere babe. What good will crying do you now?” She raised her eyes to look for her shift when she saw him.
An elf, silent and still as the trees. She had not heard the approach of his softly booted feet. Blue eyes such as she had never seen before pierced into hers before he lowered his gaze and turned away. Neryssa realized he was allowing her a bit of privacy to slip into her shift and slippers. She knew the loose woolen fabric still clung in places, and was stained with blood she hadn’t been able to get out. She must look dreadful, but it was better than standing naked before this noble creature. She had seen elves, from afar, but none like this one. Tall and slender, he wore a green tunic and leggings, and on his back hung a bow and a quiver of arrows. He also had a small pouch tied to his belt, and what appeared to be two long- handled knives in a sheath on his back. His hair was pale, long and intricately braided-- the shade of the wheat that grew in her homeland. She self-consciously raised a hand to her own wet, tangled mess. She felt short, dark, and a bit too rounded in comparison to his lean frame.
Although he was facing away from her, Legolas couldn’t have been more aware of what the girl was doing behind him. He could hear her breath catching in her throat from her crying, and remembered her wet lashes and cheeks. It was not that his own people did not weep- but in their thousands of years of life, they had seen and experienced so much that tears were hard wrought from them. He had not been around many of the race of men, and was curious about this girl, and what had upset her. His father had told him that women from that race cried “at the drop of the leaves”, but he sensed the problem here ran deeper than that. Behind him, the rustle of fabric and a gentle clearing of a throat indicated that she was clothed. He turned, assessing what he saw. Auburn hair, starting to curl about her shoulders as it dried. Her eyes were downcast , but he had seen that they were the color of the canopy of leaves that hung over head. Her cheeks were stained with bright flags of red, and she shifted her feet as if embarrassed by his perusal. She was much more rounded of form than elven women, and almost a foot shorter than he was.
“Thank you,” her voice was low but clear, startling him out of his inspection. He was unsure whether she was thanking him for the privacy, or for the use of the pool. He stepped closer, stopping a few feet away from her, and sat himself on the edge of the rock. He said nothing.
Although he was looking straight at her when Neryssa finally glanced up, she sensed he was alert to the forest around them, perched on the edge of the rock as if ready to spring at any instant. She had never met anyone quite like him; all coiled energy and quiet poise bound together. She felt awkward, and a little annoyed all at the same time. He had not yet uttered a single word. It occurred her that he might be waiting for an explanation, after all, she was the intruder here, not he.
“For the use of your pond,”, she continued. “ It looked so peaceful and I…I needed…Uh, My name is Neryssa.”
She fell silent and waited for him to speak. The feeling that she was standing before her Mother, reciting some new lesson, came over her, and she decided to close the distance between them. She sat down a few inches away from him on the rock. She hoped this might jar him from his aloof manner, as well as give her an excuse to avoid those piercing eyes.
“I am Legolas, Prince of this wood. I am curious as to how you journeyed so far into the Mirkwood without being noticed?”
Neryssa felt her jaw drop. “Prince? Oh! I,…” she made a nervous movement to slide off the rock and kneel in the grass before him. When she looked back up, he was smiling.
“Here in the Mirkwood, our kingdoms are not as those in the world of men. You need not kneel, Lady Neryssa.” He held out a hand to help her up. She had the feeling that he might be teasing her- after all, nothing about her appearance proclaimed her to be anything other than the common villager she was. Or maybe he was just being courteous.
“I didn’t realize I had entered the realm of the elves, Prince Legolas. I have been tracking my brother and a band of orcs these past few days. I lost their trail at a stream a day or so ago, and have been wandering aimlessly. When I saw your pool I could not resist the urge to feel clean again.” She did not go into detail, pushing aside the thought of all the blood… At the mention of orcs, Legolas’s pensive face changed at once. If possible, his eyes grew even more bright than before. He leapt off the rock.
“You will show me where the trail leaves off.” Not a question, but a command. His royal blood showing, no doubt.
“We must leave at once,” he said again, turning to run from the clearing. Neryssa panicked. She caught up to him and grasped him by the shoulder.
“Wait, you don’t understand, I lost the trail, I have no idea how to go back to it. I was just wandering when I found the pool, following the setting sun each day, so I wouldn’t go in circles.” Her lower lip trembled, and her vision was clouding again, so she didn’t see the succession of exasperation and then patience that crossed the elf’s features. She jumped when his hand wrapped around her smaller one.
“We will find these orcs who have taken your brother. Tell me, was he injured in the attack?” She saw now that he was looking pointedly at the stains on the front of her shift. There were no tears in the fabric, and he had seen that she moved freely, so he must have concluded that the blood was not her own.
“No, My mother was killed in the attack, I was too late to help her when I found her. Brendyl and I had been able to hide in a cave when they came…he ran out to help her, and I could not hold him. I couldn’t help them.” The hand that held hers moved up to tilt her chin up. The look in his eyes was compassionate and calming, silently entreating her not to give in to her self-pity.
“Tell me what this stream looks like, Neryssa. We will find him” He repeated.


Part Two

After a short walk in the wood, they met up with another elf, this one with dark hair. He kept glancing over Legolas’s shoulder, giving Neryssa curious stares. Apparently, elves were no more used to mankind than she was to them. They spoke quickly, in a strange, flowing tongue that Neryssa could not make out. When Legolas spoke to her, he used the Common Speech. He had spoken it so clearly and so well that Neryssa had forgotten it would not be his native elf-speech. She was fascinated, and wanted to hear more, but the conversation was soon over and the other elf disappeared into the wood. “Nerathnil will tell my father where I have gone. He will set scouts around the wood, to watch for these orcs.”
As they walked along, Neryssa fought to match his long strides and keep abreast of him, telling him what she remembered of the stream. He seemed to know the area, for he nodded and changed his direction. For most of that afternoon, into the evening, Legolas kept up, what was for Neryssa, a near impossible pace. He seemed never to rest, this elf! As determined as she was not to complain, this was just too much. How did one tell a seemingly tireless elf that you needed to rest, eat something, and um, attend to personal business? It felt like her lungs were just about to explode when he suddenly stopped. Neryssa narrowly missed crashing into his back.
“Just let me stand up on my own,” she thought to herself. “I am not falling on my face in front of him.”
Legolas had stopped to locate a place for them to rest when he caught the sound of the girl wheezing for breath behind him. She had shown amazing courage and stamina today, but he knew she was at the end of her limited endurance. Truth be told, he too was ready to rest his legs. They had perhaps another swift day’s run before they would reach the place she spoke of. He turned to tell her they could stop here and make camp. She was leaning over, arms about her waist, and he thought she might be about to lose her stomach, except that he recalled they had eaten nothing all day. He felt a bit chagrined; apparently her people couldn’t go a day without food, as elves could do.
“Here, sit down. I have some Lembas and Piria in my pouch.” He could not see her reaction to this; the moon was clouded over head, and they had stopped in the shadow of a steep cliff face that rose above the plain. Added to that was the fact that Neryssa’s unruly hair had dried into a curly cloud that obscured her face now that her head was bent.
“I don’t know what that is, but can you eat it?” She panted. Legolas laughed. “Yes, it is food and drink.” He brought out a small bundle tied in leaves, and a tiny vial. Neryssa looked skeptical. One eyebrow rose in question. The two of them were going to subsist on this? And for who knows how long? She felt as if she could eat an entire wild boar by herself at this point, let alone whatever it would take to fill a tall fellow like him. Maybe he planned to use his bow and hunt something for them to eat. She was just considering how she would cook a wild boar out here in the open when she realized he was holding something out to her. It was a tiny crumb of cake or bread of some sort, no bigger than her thumb. She took it and swallowed it down, and was just opening her mouth to ask for more, when a curious feeling came over her. Her surprise must have shown on her face, because Legolas laughed.
“Still hungry?”
“Why, No! But how? “
“Lembas bread. It is what we use when we travel. One cake doesn’t take much room in a pack, but can feed one of us for a whole week. Here, open your mouth.” She didn’t ask, but did as he told her. Holding the vial above her tongue, the elf let one small drop slip out of the bottle. The moment it touched her lips, her entire mouth felt moist and her thirst was quenched. She clapped her hands in delight.
“Well! I’ve never heard of such wondrous food. I wish I had had this with me earlier. What I brought with me didn’t last me three days.” It didn’t have much of a taste to it, and Neryssa thought after a time she might grow tired of it, but just now she felt full and satisfied. Legolas wrapped the bread and put it back in his pouch, and then sat down and made himself busy with checking the fletching on his arrows, and the edge on his knives. Once again She had the feeling he was allowing her the privacy to go behind the rock and have a moment to herself. She couldn’t help but wonder if he was ever going to need the same. Odd people, these elves. They made one feel inferior just by being near them.
Legolas finished his task and repacked his arrows. Inevitably, his thoughts returned to his traveling companion. She had been very brave so far, hardly saying a word although he knew she was exhausted. She impressed him- he had expected to get only half this far with her in tow. He smiled to himself, recalling how her eyes had grown round with surprise when the Lembas bread filled her stomach. He imagined that kind of joy on the face of children- but he had not seen children for such a long time it was hard to remember. Legolas wondered at the age of her brother-he hadn’t thought to ask her. She was so obviously saddened by the memories he was loath to bring it up again. And saddened by her own helplessness. He was sure many females in her place would have stayed in the cave and awaited a rescuer- but not Neryssa. She was brave enough to try and become the rescuer herself, and for that she had earned the elf’s respect. Legolas was a trained as a scout and a warrior; he had spent many long centuries honing his skills. He had not had time for the gentler path of courtly love. Thus far he had seen no she-elf that inspired him to write songs to her beauty, or even to think of her often.
This girl, however, seemed destined never to be far from his thought. How odd- she was nothing like the females he was accustomed to. They were quiet, graceful, sleek as willows, and not given to tears. Neryssa was like a poppy in a field of daisies. She laughed easily, cried when she was saddened, kept a fair pace with him as he ran, and never asked one boon for herself. She had suffered great loss, and yet still held her determination. And gave him her complete trust, though he was a stranger to her. She was a puzzle to him indeed. And that great cloud of hair! No elf had ever had such a curly auburn head of hair as that. As if his mind had called aloud for her, Neryssa appeared from behind the rock, smoothing her shift down around her rounded hips. No she-elf ever walked like that, either. She swayed like a tree in a storm. She was smiling as she sat down beside him, looking for a place to lay her head.
“Wait,” he spoke, before the words had even formed in his head, ”May I braid your hair for you?”
She looked up at him, curious. Men, know how to do a woman’s hair?
“All elves wear their hair in such a fashion, I learned from boyhood. It is a task my friends and I perform for each other quite often.” She shrugged and made a face as if to say, All right, if you insist, and moved closer to him. At first, he was afraid to tug his fingers through the thick curls, afraid he might cause her pain, but she made no noise to stop him. It was more difficult than thin, silky elven hair, to be sure, but soon he had fashioned two braids on the sides of her face. He noticed her head was lolling to one side now, she was so tired.
“I need a ribbon or string from your clothing, to secure the plaits,…Neryssa?” Her head would have fallen into his lap had he not held it up by her hair. He quickly plucked a loose string from her sleeve and tied the braid in place, gently lifting her head from his knees and laying her down on the grass. He watched her face for a moment, then rolled up his own cloak and placed it under her head. Without the dark curtain of hair to obscure her, he had ample opportunity to examine her features. She had a short, freckled nose, with a round, tiptilted button on the end of it, and a small round mouth. Her long lashes lay against her cheeks. He remembered the pleasant color of her eyes- the color of his home. Even her hair recalled the shade of tree bark in the afternoon sunlight. With a small smile tugging at the edges of his lips, Legolas leaned back against a large boulder near the cliff face, and dropped into the half-sleep of his people. His eyelids remained open, small slits of glittering blue in the shadows. If anyone came upon their small encampment, he would be ready.
Part 3

The noise brought Neryssa up from the depths of sleep, but it was the firm hand on her mouth that made her eyes snap open. She started to fight off her captor before she recognized the man holding her. No, she corrected herself silently -elf, not man. Legolas’s voice sounded close against her ear.
“Not a sound Neryssa. We need not track your orcs; they have come to us.” He was already hauling her to her feet and moving her quickly against the rock face.
“Here, get down and cover yourself. You must make no move.” He settled his cloak around her. Legolas crouched down in the shadows beside her, partially covered by the cloak himself. His head and shoulders were free, but she could see that his hand rested on a knife-hilt just visible above his boot. She could hear the low grumblings of the orcs and the shuffling of their armored feet, just a few yards away now. How she wished she could peek out and see if Brendyl was with them, if he were alive and well. She began to tremble in spite of herself. Brendyl could be out there now, and she could do nothing but hide! Legolas must have felt the cloak quivering beside him, for he ducked his head under briefly. Those bright eyes were only inches from her nose.
“No movement, Neryssa.” His gaze was calming, though his voice was low and stern. Something brushed against her hand, and then he was gone. She looked down to find his knife had been slipped into her open hand.
Legolas had heard the orcs approaching almost an hour before, and now the wait seemed intolerable to him. The sun had not yet risen over the horizon, but he could see clearly in the grey light of the predawn. His cloak bundled beside him looked exactly like the stones surrounding them at the base of the cliff, except that it quivered every now and again. He hoped it was only his elven eyes that could detect that small movement. Although he had left the girl his knife as a precaution, he hoped fervently that she would not have cause to use it. The party was approaching from the west, not from the Orc-lands of the east. They must have continued raiding after they had left Neryssa’s village, he thought to himself. There could be more captives, he would have to be careful. He readied his bow and waited. The rising sun was against their backs, but he could just make out a taller figure with a crown of red curls. The lad was tall, almost as tall as he, and appeared to be at least sixteen or seventeen summers, if he was any good at reckoning the ages of men. Had he been elf-kind, he might have been hundreds or even thousands of years old. Legolas melted back into the shadows to be sure he hadn’t been detected. He hoped he could double-nock a few arrows and pick off several orcs before they could determine his position. Just then the call of a bird sounded over head, and Legolas glanced up in surprise; he had seen no birds here. From above him, from a small ledge on the cliff face, a green cloaked figure leapt down beside him. The elf took aim immediately.
“Hold! Friend Legolas,” A quiet voice spoke in the elvish tongue. Legolas’s face split into a wide grin as he recognized the figure.
“Aragorn!” The man pushed back his hood and grasped his friend in a quick embrace before he too drew his bow taut. “Well met, friend!”
“Apparently we track the same party of orcs.” Aragorn assessed the distance and calculated the strength of his draw. “Who’s that pretending to be a rock over there, may I ask?” What sounded suspiciously like quiet laughter met his query.
“Time enough later for introductions. She is a friend.”
“She?” Aragorn’s question was interrupted by the near silent twang of his companion’s bowstring, followed swiftly by orc screams. He dropped the questioning immediately and joined in the ambush. His first arrow cut the rope binding the hands of a tall youth to the orc who held him tethered. The lad rolled out of the fray, searching for a rock, or anything to attack with. Good boy, Aragorn thought, and tossed him a dagger. Legolas could see no other humans among the throng, and so he drew his knives and leapt into the mass of orcs, slashing and spinning as he went.
Beneath the blinding cloak, Neryssa could wait no more. She peeked out her head to see what was happening around her. The sun was up now, and shone brightly on the horrific scene before her. Orcs seemed to be everywhere. She was not good with sums, but she figured there were at least twenty or thirty of them. And right there in their midst was a whirling blonde fury. Legolas. She gasped aloud at the barely controlled rage on his face. She had never seen anything like it. All that bounded energy she had sensed when they first met had been unleashed with terrific force. It was like watching some beautiful but deadly dancer, gracefully dealing out death. No orc stood in his path for long. He seemed to be a dervish of flying hair and spinning blades. Neryssa would have been afraid of him herself, had he not shown himself to be her friend. This was the same elf who had gently combed her hair with his long, deft fingers- this maelstrom of orc-throat cutting blades. As soon as she could break the spell of watching this Elf warrior wreak his havoc, she realized he was not alone. A man with longish brown hair, a beard, and a long cloak stood with Legolas , wielding a sword with deadly precision. She could see that he had positioned himself at Legolas’s back; obviously whoever he was, he was a friend and a godsend. To her left another pale face caught her vision--this was no grisly orc visage!
“Brendyl!” Her brother! Alive, and apparently unharmed, he was stabbing wildly about with a small dagger, trying to free himself from the clutches of large, nasty looking orc. She couldn’t just stand by and not help him! Neryssa ran forward, holding the knife out in front of her. She charged at the creature’s back. Immediately he dropped Brendyl and clutched at his back. In his agony, the orc spun around to face her, black blood spilling from it’s open maw. Oh God, Neryssa thought, I’m going to be sick. Two hands tugged at her shoulders, pulling her backwards as the dead orc fell forward. The hands spun her around til she stared into a pair of wide, incredulous eyes the same shade as her own.
“Neryssa! What are you….? How did you…? “ She laughed and hugged her brother briefly, before bending to retrieve the knife. Looking around her, she saw that all but two orcs lay dead or moaning in pain on the rocky ground around them. The other two had their hands bound with rope, and were being held at sword point by the dark-haired man. “I can’t believe you tracked me! I thought you were dead for sure!” Her brother, freckled face and unruly mop of red hair, stood grinning down at her, none the worse for wear.
“And you even managed to get help from a ranger and an elf warrior!” Legolas walked toward them, a grim look on his face. Neryssa cleared her throat.
“Brendyl, I um,…” She wasn’t about to tell him she had gotten lost and stumbled blindly into the elven forest. Or that she had been naked and dripping when she had first met this particular elf. Legolas had reached them by this time, and almost imperceptibly shook his head at her.
“Your sister is a very resourceful young woman.” Whew, she heaved a sigh of relief. He was not going to tell her secrets. “And you are quite a warrior in the making. There is no shame in being captured in battle, Brendyl. The shame lies in not taking advantage of freedom when the opportunity arises.” He clasped Brendyl’s shoulder. Neryssa remembered belatedly that she still held his knife. Bending down to find a patch of grass, she wiped the gore from the blade and held it out to him.
“Thank you, Legolas.. Oh!” She exclaimed, noting a darkening spot on his arm. “You are injured!” The elf shook his head at her.
“It is nothing. Elven healers are swift to mend such small cuts as this.” He moved away again, binding his arm with a torn bit of tunic as he went. The ranger moved to join him. Apparently he had been questioning the orcs. They spoke together quietly for some moments, dark head bending toward fair. Neryssa and Brendyl took the time to themselves, discussing what had happened in the past few days. Brendyl said nothing as she told him of their mother’s death. She felt he must have known it, in his heart; that she was gone. Although he had been an emotional, quick-tempered lad when she had last seen him, it seemed the last few days had aged Brendyl in a way that Neryssa could only begin to understand. He seemed quieter, and more settled, although every now and again he would catch her in a big hug and just grin at her.
“I missed you too, little brother.”
He grabbed up a handful of grass and tossed it in her face.
“Little! Why, I am still a good arm’s length taller than you, Neryssa! Although in weight, I am a bit smaller perhaps- you may be closer to Mother’s old cow in that measure..Hey!” This last was caused by a well-placed elbow in the ribs. A voice filled with mirth interrupted their play.
“Hold now, Lass! We did not rescue this poor boy just so you could save the orcs the trouble of beating him to pulp!” She looked up to see that Legolas and his ranger friend had joined them. She did not rise, but leaned back to look up at the newcomer.
Legolas looked offended.
“Neryssa! Are you not of Gondor’s lands? This man is your…”
The ranger coughed and interrupted him.
“Your kinsman. My name is Strider. .” He and the elf exchanged a silent but meaningful glance.“ I have been tracking that same party of orcs, wondering what took them from the Orc-lands and toward Isengard.”
Legolas was thoughtful.
“I too wonder at this; Saruman the White has always been an elf-friend.. What business would he have with orcs, or their captive?”
“Our “Friends” over there will tell us nothing. I myself have some business with another wizard, at Bree. I shall put this puzzle to him. I think I might just “drag” these two along with me, at least as far as the wood. I might lose them there.” He spoke with humor in his voice. Neryssa rose and held out a hand to him, hugging her brother to her side with the other. She instinctively liked this man of Gondor.
“Many Thanks for saving my brother’s life, Mr. Strider.” He laughed.
“From what I could see lass, you had a fair hand in that yourself, albeit you were shrieking like a gale wind when you carried out the deed.” She gasped and blushed.
“I did not scream, did I Brendyl?” Her brother smiled down at her. She punched his arm.
“Did I?”
“How would I know! All I could think about was the orc with his hands around my throat!”
“Then maybe it was YOU screaming, baby brother!”
Legolas watched the teasing interplay between brother and sister with a small smile. He and his own friends shared the same warm teasing, especially when trying to best each other at archery, or some other competition. He marveled that these two could endure so much hardship, and still hug and play with ease. Clearly, as his friend Aragorn had shown him, he had underestimated this race of men. It was good to see Neryssa smiling, as she had not been this happy since they had met.
“I must get moving toward Bree, then, “ Strider said later, as they sat companionably and shared the last of Legolas’s Lembas bread.
“I promised to meet Mithrandir by sunset day after tomorrow.” The name meant nothing to Neryssa, and she shook her head in question. “You may know him by his name in the Common Speech,- Gandalf the Grey.” Yes, she had indeed heard that name before. These two were friends of the great wizard? Would wonders never cease. “And you, Legolas, you return to the Mirkwood? I had word from the elf-folk at Rivendell that your um, prisoner has escaped.”
Legolas stared at him a long moment. “The small pitiable creature my father held in the wood? Yes, he had a great hatred of my people,…I am not surprised he attempted to escape us. But that he succeeded, that does surprise me. I must return home at once.” The two of them turned back to Neryssa and Brendyl , as if just now remembering they were also present. Brendyl clasped the dagger to his side, forgetting that it belonged to the ranger and not himself.
“You will need help tracking this creature, Elf.” He ignored the elbow at his ribs again.
“ His name is Legolas!” his sister whispered. “Our home is no more, and I find I would love to learn to fight as you do. I will be no trouble to you at all….” His youth was apparent, as he blushed a bright red all the way to the roots of his hair. “Um,..Please.”
Legolas pretended to be stern as he furrowed his brows together and walked around Brendyl, looking him over from head to toe.
“Yes, you showed courage today. I think you might benefit from the tutelage of the elves. But what of your sister? I am not sure she would be any help to my people at all.” Neryssa gasped, and then realized he was teasing. Brendyl, however, answered him as if he had been serious. “She can cook, she has a fair hand with a needle, and she is no so bad to look at, I guess.” He ducked another jab. “Never seen her with her hair like that, though.”
Legolas stopped his circling and stood in front of Neryssa. “What say you, Orc-tracker? Would you be of any use to elves? You would teach us this cooking and needle-work?”
She smiled sweetly.
“Oh yes, and also manners, courtesy, …” she couldn’t resist one small jibe. ”..and the art of bathing in forest pools…” She swore the composure left Legolas’s elegant features, if only for a small moment. Hah, she thought. Neryssa smiled to herself all through the long walk back to the Mirkwood. Life among the elves might prove to interesting after all.

Last edited by nuit; May 21st, 2007 at 08:41 PM.
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Old October 18th, 2004, 07:30 AM
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Elf fic! Yay! Looking forward to this one.

-Chris
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Old October 18th, 2004, 02:29 PM
SherinaSue
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That is the whole story- although I did go on to write about Neryssa's further adventures with the elves, I'll have to put that one in parts, it's a lot longer.
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Old October 18th, 2004, 02:37 PM
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Sherina, that was a tease! You must post the rest.
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Old October 19th, 2004, 01:13 AM
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Yes, but a fun tease. Now can we have the rest?
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  #6  
Old October 19th, 2004, 11:33 AM
SherinaSue
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Okay, here's Part one of the sequel- Thanks for the positive responses!


Title: Unseen wounds
Author: Sherina
Rating: PG 13
Characters: Legolas, Neryssa, Brendyl, Alondril,
Category: LOTR, during the Fellowship sequence of events
Warning:insinuated sexuality, violence
Summary: Continuation of Orc Tracker

Unseen wounds- Part One




How was Neryssa supposed to fit into a society that didn’t need her skills? The breeze here in this part of the forest was always cool, and yet her face still felt hot with anger and frustration. She knew she was good at harvesting and threshing wheat, and grinding it into flour; these elves had no fields or mills. She could sew a straight seam; these elves had embroiderers much more talented than she. She would not soon forget the disdainful looks she had received from the she-elves when she had tried to show them her needlework. She could spit a side of beef or mutton to a fine, juicy turn; these people seemed to subsist on fish, leaves, berries and a few wild mushrooms. She was gentle and patient with children; there hadn’t been an elf-child in the Mirkwood for a few thousand years. All in all, she was feeling fairly useless.

A sound in the glade behind her brought her around; Legolas was approaching. She ducked her head to avoid his questioning gaze. “Why are you frowning, Neryssa?” The words he had said to her in jest that day on the plain came back to haunt her now. What use could she be to the elves? Brendyl had found his place here, and he was happy enough. He worked hard at his battle training, from sun up til sun down every day. The Mirkwood elves seemed well pleased with him. The males were impressed with his enthusiasm and hard work, and the females found him interesting and fascinating. None had shown any particular affection for him, however. It was as if his mortality formed an invisible barrier between them. Not many an elf seemed to want to form a bond with such short-lived, transient creatures as men.

Neryssa blinked as Legolas reached out one long, callused finger and wiped a tear from her cheek. She realized with a start that she had just poured out all her secrets to this quiet elf. Well, quiet when he was around her, anyway. When he was training with Brendyl or his friends, or singing the evening songs in his father’s hall, he was loud enough.

“Have you made no friend here, to share in these worries you bear?” She looked at him with one eyebrow raised. “Besides myself,” he clarified. “I meant a friend among the she-elves.”
“No. They have offered no more than courtesy.” She gave a small, watery smile.”And clothes.” Legolas gave her a thorough inspection as she pirouetted before him. He smiled; the elven gown did seem to suit her. She had already slimmed down in the month she had spent with the elves. And the deep green of the gown complimented her vivid coloring perfectly. Obviously, the dress had been fashioned just for her- she still had a very un-elvish figure. He found he was growing accustomed to her.

It occurred to Neryssa that she had not seen much of Legolas these past few days. After he had brought she and her brother to meet his father, King Thranduil, he and a small party had gone out to track the creature Gollum. They had followed him southward, until his trail had ended too close to Mordor for comfort, even for the heartiest of elves. They had returned, sullen-faced and empty handed. Legolas voice cut into her thoughts. “I sought you out to take my leave of you.” This news did NOT cheer her up in the least. Her one ally here among the elves, leaving?

“But Legolas! You have only just returned a fortnight past!” and you are my only friend, she wanted to scream. “Why must you leave so soon?”

Legolas gave her that overly patient look he used when trying to explain something that only elves seemed to understand. “I am going sent to Imladris…Rivendell,you call it, as an emissary of my people. There is to be a very important Council meeting at the house of Elrond. I will take three other elves with me. We must travel swiftly.” He added this last, Neryssa knew, to stop her begging to go with him. He knew her well enough by now to know she would try. “I have already taken my leave of Brendyl. You are wise in your assessment of his skills. He will be a fine archer and swordsman some day."” She grimaced at him.
“And I will be a fine what, “target stump”?”

Legolas laid a hand on her shoulder. “Self- pity does not become you, Orc-tracker. You will find your place here; you must only keep looking. I have asked Nerathnil to…(He had better not say, “Keep an eye on you, Neryssa thought to herself,) “To help you adjust while I am gone. I know not when I will return.” What he had said was beginning to sink in. She flushed red with anger.

“Nerathnil?!? He hates me!” Legolas contained his smile, for she would not welcome it now. True, his boyhood friend held the newcomers in suspicion, but Legolas was certain Nerathnil did not hate her. Hate was an emotion most elves held in reserve for goblins and orcs. Perhaps contempt was a better word. His dark-haired friend might profess contempt for Neryssa, but Legolas knew him better than that. It was not contempt that drew Nerathnil to the pool every time Neryssa bathed there. Legolas had promised her he would stand guard so that she could continue her twice weekly swims. It had not escaped his notice that some small errand usually sent Nerathnil to seek him out during those times. The idea amused Legolas- to arrange for these two to share each other’s company while he was away. He was curious as to what he would find when he returned- he could not be certain he wouldn’t have to attend a double funeral!

Nerathnil was just as unhappy with the arrangement as Neryssa was. The girl did not belong here. She was a nuisance, always underfoot. And she seemed determined to pollute Legolas’s favorite pool with her constant bathing. Why could she not use the ewer and basin in her own chambers, as the elves did? The image of a rounded bottom diving under the surface flashed into his mind. Disgusting. Not at all like elven women. She was short as well, and loud. The art of blending in quietly with her surroundings, of living in harmony with nature, seemed lost on her. Nerathnil blew a stray hair out of his face and folded his arms over his chest. He was a healer- one of the most gifted in Mirkwood. What business had he here, wasting his time on this rock, while the girl splashed about behind him? Surely he was needed elsewhere! Legolas, with his endless war training, had needed his skills often. Nerathnil could not count the number of times he had sewn a cut, set a bone, or bound a rib for his friend. It was what he enjoyed doing- what he should be doing. Not playing nursemaid to some fuzzy headed female. The splashing had ended, he could hear her drying off and slipping into her shift. He knew that Legolas usually offered to braid her hair after she bathed. He was not about to offer such a service.
Neryssa slipped into her shoes and stood behind the dark elf nervously. She really missed Legolas- this was the time he usually sat on the rock with her, talking and braiding her hair. But this- elf- she could almost feel the anger emanating from the back of him. Honestly! What had she ever done to Nerathnil? She trusted Legolas’s judgment enough to know that Nerathnil would never hurt her, but he never spent more time with her than was absolutely necessary. It had only been four days since Legolas’s departure, and she was already feeling lonely and exasperated. Nerathnil showed no signs of turning, even though she knew he realized she was dressed and waiting, so she timidly stepped around him, staring up at his solemn face. He was not so bad to look at, this elf. He was as dark as Legolas was fair, and his eyes were a deep shade of green, framed with thick, dark lashes. His straight black brows ended just short of his temples- his hair fashioned as Legolas’s, in braids. He had a lean, strong jaw. In fact, she mused, she might have thought him handsome, if she had ever seen him smile. Too bad he was always in such a foul mood. She sighed and walked on ahead of him. Mirkwood was a vast forest, but after a month of bathing here in this pool, she knew her way back to the dwellings. Nerathnil followed her, saying nothing.

Last edited by SherinaSue; October 19th, 2004 at 09:29 PM.
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  #7  
Old October 20th, 2004, 06:55 AM
theoriginalvicki
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O Sherina, this is really good, is there more...please?!?!?!?
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  #8  
Old October 21st, 2004, 03:55 AM
SherinaSue
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Unseen WOunds Part two (orc-tracker sequel.)

Title:Unseen wounds- part two
Author: Sherina
RAting: PG
Summary: Neryssa and Nerathnil continue to irritate the crud out of each other, with dangerous results...


Neryssa was determined to win Nerathnil over, or at the very least, have fun teasing him until he could no longer ignore her. When she next bathed at the pool, she went out of her way to splash him everytime she neared the bank. The sight of the dark haired elf, dripping wet from head to toe, might have been funny, had his frown not been so fierce. Neryssa refused to be daunted. She actually laughed at him. “You shouldn’t mind, Nerathnil. After all, you are already a wet blanket.” She could tell he did not understand her jest. “No fun, you are no fun at all.” She crawled up on the bank, grinning to herself when he blushed furiously and spun around, She had purposely not told him she was coming out of the water just yet. “ Oh come on, say something.” When he did speak, it was a low growl through tightly clenched teeth.
“I have nothing to say to unruly children.”
She lost a little of her smile then. Of course the elves thought of her as a child, given their advanced years, and she was behaving exactly like one now. She breathed a heavy sigh. This was not going at all well- she was going to have to tell Legolas, when he returned to her, that he had made a huge mistake. She was determined that she would find some way to make Nerathnil like her. She certainly had no other friend in this place, except Brendyl, her brother, and he had no time for her. She walked ahead of the dark, sullen elf, toward the dwellings. “Dark”, she thought, was a fair description for him; he was dark in looks as well as mood, from what she could tell.
Lost as she was in her thoughts, Neryssa’s foot landed squarely in a patch of tiny white flowers. She was so upset she did not even notice, and would probably have thought them to be worthless wild flowers if she had. The fury on Nerathnil’s face was frightening and sudden, like a bolt of lightning. “Foolish girl!” He ran forward and pushed her unceremoniously aside. “You are ruining my Eleanor plants! These are used to heal wounds! And when fermented, they go into the making of Piria- the life-water.” Neryssa stammered and blushed to the roots of her hair. She hadn’t meant to bruise his precious plants. She didn’t know whether to kneel beside him and help him gather the ruined blossoms, or to simply leave. On impulse, she laid a hand on his shoulder. She felt him stiffen under her fingers.
“I am truly sorry, Nerathnil. I didn’t look where I was walking.” When he said nothing, she continued, stammering nervously. “I, I know I am a trouble to you- I know you never wanted the task of watching over me.” This last was almost a whisper.
When Nerathnil finally calmed down and raised himself to his feet, she was gone. He breathed a sigh of relief, and then felt a pang of remorse that he had lost his temper with the girl. He was usually good at keeping his emotions in check, after all, as a healer, he could not show anger or impatience to one of his patients. Neryssa just seemed to bring his worst feelings to the surface. He would have to something about this disturbance in his life, but what? He had given Legolas his oath to protect this girl.

If Neryssa had been thinking her heart could not sink any lower, she soon discovered she was mistaken. Upset that her apology had fallen on deaf ears, she had run straight to the clearing where Brendyl trained. She had only just run out into the clearing when she heard Brendyl cry out in pain. Distracted, he had glanced up at her approach, and caught his opponent’s blade squarely in his arm.
“Brendyl!” A tall elf said in a stern voice as he rummaged in a nearby basket for cloth to bind the wound. “You must concentrate! Do not let anything distract you- not even an ill-timed female like your sister!” He shot her an angry glance. Neryssa felt as though the canopy overhead was caving in on her. She curbed the urge to run to her brother- after all, she had been the cause of his wound. She felt worse than useless then, she felt crushed to her very soul. She was just backing out of the clearing again when she came up hard against something – someone. She looked up into stormy green eyes. “Nerathnil! I am so glad you have come,” Her relief at seeing him waned in the face of his somber expression. “Uh, my brother is injured- he needs your skills.” He nodded once and brushed past her. At least someone was needed here, she thought. It certainly wasn’t her. Neryssa passed several she-elves on her way back to her own sleeping quarters. She might as well had been invisible, for all the acknowledgment they gave her. Tears filled her eyes as she stumbled into her room. She might have thrown herself down on the bed and indulged in a good cry, had she not noticed the parchment rolled up on the table.
It was from Legolas- apparently his companions had returned. Without him. It was written in the common tongue, so she could read it easily. Neryssa sat down hard on the edge of the bed, stunned, as the words washed over her. Legolas wasn’t coming back. She scanned the words a second time, to be certain her eyes hadn’t deceived her. He had joined his friend Strider, the wizard Gandalf, and six others. (Including a dwarf, which she could tell from the tone of his letter Legolas was none too happy about.) His mission would lead him far from Mirkwood. He had told her nothing more, except that he might be away for a year, or…the words “might never return” flashed through her mind before she pushed them aside. Through a veil of tears, Neryssa scanned the contents of her room, assessing what she might need for a journey. Nothing she saw belonged to her, not even the clothing on her back. With a sigh, she gathered up a small eating dagger and one of the elven cloaks and rolled them into a small pouch. If she were lucky, she could reach the storehouses of Lembas bread and be away before the elves left the King’s hall, and their evening meal. They would be well into their wine and song before anyone noticed she was gone. Leaving a small note for Brendyl, she quietly slipped out into the night, torch in hand.

Nerathnil sat back on his haunches and breathed a sigh of relief. The boy’s arm was sewn and wrapped at last. He was currently resting in the training clearing on a small woven-leaf mat- he was still too pale and shaky to be allowed to walk back to the hut he shared with his sister. Nerathnil followed the torch-lit paths back to his own dwelling to clean the blood from his hands. He had to admit the boy had done well, and accepted none of the wine he had been offered, and yet the fear in his eyes had reminded Nerathnil how young Brendyl really was. Elves did not age quickly; he knew elves who looked this boy’s age, and yet were hundreds of years old. In fact, he doubted many elves could even remember the age of sixteen- Brendyl’s age. He shook his head in wonder- they had all been treating a mere babe as if he were already a man. It was not until Nerathnil had turned to change his tunic that he saw the missive roll on the table near his bed. He quickly scanned the parchment, learning of Legolas’s mission, and his concern for the well being of Brendyl and Neryssa. Neryssa- his heart lurched in his chest. Had she also received such a missive? His conscience pained him as he remembered his harsh words to her when last they had spoken. And then Brendyl’s accident- Alondril had admitted that he had also spoken harshly to her for interrupting the training. Brendyl had told him what had happened- the lad had chatted incessantly to keep his eyes from Nerathnil’s stitching. He had spoken of the work he had done in the fields of his homeland, alongside his mother and Neryssa. There had been no other menfolk to help with the harvest. The more the boy spoke, the worse Nerathnil felt. He knew the other elves spoke unkindly of Neryssa’s “laziness” and her lack of ability to fit into their way of life. He saw now that they had all done the girl a grave disservice. She had many skills and talents- but none that were of any use here in Mirkwood, where the elves neither planted, nor tilled the earth. He understood now the source of all her unhappiness and frustration. He should have seen…
The forest was already darkening to a pitch-black void- Nerathnil took up one of the flame-red torches and made his way quickly to the girl’s hut. It was as he had feared. There was no sign of her. A frisson of fear chased up the dark elf’s spine. She was out there alone, somewhere in the Mirkwood. Even for the wood-elves, the deepest parts of the forest were places of danger and terror. No one dared venture out alone. He prayed that she had at least taken a torch- and that the crimson glow would not awaken the spiders.

Last edited by SherinaSue; October 21st, 2004 at 03:58 AM.
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  #9  
Old October 21st, 2004, 04:07 AM
Enelya
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I second that, Sherina! Please!

Enelya
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  #10  
Old October 21st, 2004, 10:16 AM
theoriginalvicki
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oooo thanks, Sherina!
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  #11  
Old October 21st, 2004, 10:14 PM
SherinaSue
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Title: Unseen wounds
Author: Sherina
Rating: PG 13
Characters: Legolas, Neryssa, Brendyl, Alondril,
Category: LOTR, during the Fellowship sequence of events
Warning:insinuated sexuality, violence
Summary: Continuation of Orc Tracker





Unseen Wounds Part Three

At first, anger and muttering to herself had distracted Neryssa from realizing her folly. Unfortunately, that only lasted about a quarter of an hour. Then all anger fled, leaving a rising panic in it’s wake. She was beginning to suspect that she had taken the wrong direction. Not towards the outer edge of the forest, and the open plains of her homeland, but deeper into the heart of the forest instead. She raised her torch higher in an effort to peer into the darkness. She could see little but thick undergrowth and brambles. Here and there, dark creatures scurried about, but she could not make out what they were. She realized belatedly that aside from that first day when she had accidentally stumbled across the pool, that she had never ventured into the Mirkwood without an elf guide. Even then, that had been in broad daylight- what little light filtered down through the dense canopy of leaves. She had spent her nights either within the King’s safe, stone halls, or in her own well-lit hut. She was beginning to wish she were there now, and had stopped to reason out her leaving. Couldn’t she have waited until daylight? Neryssa knew why she had not- she had hoped to avoid Nerathnil.. With that binding promise to Legolas hanging over his head, he would never have allowed her to leave. Even though he was probably quite happy about it at the moment, she muttered to herself. A vision sprang to mind, of flashing green eyes and the scowl he habitually wore around Neryssa. It was difficult to picture him happy; she had never seen him smile. She sighed deeply. There was nothing for it now but to continue on as straight a path as was possible. She was careful to avoid the tangled tree roots, although some of them seemed to shoot out and snag her foot even as she stepped aside. It was as if these trees were sentient beings- and they did not welcome her in their midst. Well, she had heard legends of elven magic before, why not vengeful trees? She shivered and wrapped her cloak tighter about her. Remembered tales of Mirkwood creatures flooded back with every step she took. So distracted was she now, and so faint the torch light, that she didn’t notice the stream until she stumbled into it.
The shock of being suddenly wet to the knees, and still fully clothed, was short lived. In place of the shock, a new dread dawned. Her feet were quite numb, even pinching them brought back no sensation. Neryssa fell back on the bank with a thud. But that was not the extent of it- she realized with a rising panic that the cold numbness was spreading slowly up her legs. She tried to struggle against the coldness sweeping upward, but it was not long before she fell back on the bank, fast asleep.
When Neryssa came to, she felt cold and stiff. The last dregs of a dream, full of warmth and light, receded from her mind. She wished she could sink back into that warm, comforting sleep, but her hollow stomach kept her wide-awake. She had no way of knowing how long she had slept. She was still lying there trying to recall the fuzzy dream images and get her bearings, when she heard the voices. Instinctively she closed her eyes and slowed her breathing, feigning sleep, and listened as intently as she could. The voices were low, hissing and sibilant. She could tell they were moving closer, whatever “they” were. These were no clear, singing elven voices. It was all she could do not to leap to her feet and run when she caught their words. They were speaking in a tongue she understood all too well.
“Ah! Only see here, what a plump and tasty morsel she is!”
Another of the horrible voices joined in. “This is no scrawny elf girl! We shall all have enough for a feast!” At this, Neryssa at last dropped the pretense of sleep and leapt up, holding her blade out in front of her. The torch had long since gone out, but small shafts of daylight pierced through the trees, dimly illuminating the scene before her. Neryssa swallowed. Spiders! Enormous, hairy spiders- with long dropping fangs and glowing red eyes, slowly approached. She counted at least three of them. She fervently hoped no more were lurking in the deeper shadows. Oh, how she wished Brendyl were here now! Or even cranky old elf-boy himself. Thinking quickly, she reached down and slashed her long skirts off at the knees, freeing her to run. She was deciding what to do when the nearest of the three lunged toward her. Neryssa leapt to the side. She felt a thrill of hope when she heard a loud splash-as the spider tumbled into the enchanted stream. She only prayed the waters had the same effect on spiders as it had on her. She heard no more splashing, so maybe her luck had held out. The other two were advancing on her, hissing with fury. “You may have tricked one of us, Girl, but you won’t fool us so easily!” Neryssa’s heart beat so loudly in her chest she could not think. The glade was getting darker by the minute- soon she would not be able to see the spiders, but she had a sinking feeling that they would be able to see her. There was no time to think, plan; …she looked wildly about her for another way to escape those dripping maws. She’d sooner fall on her own blade than be eaten alive, if it came to that. Glancing up, she saw that she had come up against a gigantic willow tree. She reached up, pulling a thin branch down. If only she could cut it with her dagger, at least she’d have a longer weapon. The branch trembled in her hand as she sawed at the leaves, and a loud roar, seeming to come from beneath her very feet, echoed in the forest around her. What new terror was this? She did not have time to wonder. The long, wispy fronds of the willow suddenly snaked around her, entwining her hands and arms. Neryssa uttered a sharp cry as her limp fingers let go of the elven blade. What was happening? Was the tree helping the spiders by holding their dinner captive for them? The more she kicked and fought, the tighter her bonds became. The branches dragged her backwards, off her feet, until her back came up flat against the tree trunk. In her panic, she almost forgot the hissing, spiders, until she heard their angry voices. “NO! The willow is taking her! Stop Her, Catch her ankles!” In the long hours that followed, Neryssa tried in vain to remember all that had happened next. Something bony and rough had caught her ankle, then a sharp, stinging pain in her leg; followed by the most incredible part of all- the tree had swallowed her whole. It was as if the trunk had opened wide momentarily, and then snapped shut- with her inside. At first she had struggled- both for room to breathe, and to move. It not taken long for Neryssa to realize that the more she wriggled the tighter the trunk squeezed in on her. By the time she had given up fighting, she was bound so tightly she could barely breathe. The smooth, hard insides of the tree pushed in on her lungs, and bound her arms limply to her sides. Oh, how her shin burned! She wished she could reach down and rub out the pain. She must have been bitten by one of the spiders, she reasoned. Even now the poison was slowly eking through her veins. Well, she laughed dryly, at the very least; she wouldn’t be eaten alive. No, her death would be slow and agonizing- she would either die writhing from the poisonous venom, or suffocate in the trunk of some ancient tree. And any tiny movement brought more weight crushing in on her. Was it possible to writhe in agony, and not move at all? The opening was so tight now, her hollow laughter could not even echo back to her own ears. She lay as still as she could, her thoughts running back to the warm, comforting thoughts of Brendyl, of Legolas and the other elves, and yes,. Even…..Neryssa’s last conscious thought was of Nerathnil’s face, frowning in anger at her.

Nerathnil was on the verge of giving up his search. He had brought the weapons-master Alondril with him, (as even in his concern, he had known better than to venture out alone in the Mirkwood at night.) Besides, as skilled as he knew he himself was with a sword, he was no expert bowman. If they did venture across any unsavory creatures, he wanted the best help available.
They had been looking for a full three days and nights, taking very little time for sleep, when at last Alondril spoke up. “I see nothing here but spider tracks, Nerathnil. It makes my heart heavy indeed, to have to bear such news to young Brendyl, but…” The darker haired elf held up his hand.
“Do not say it, Alondril. I have given our Prince my word. I just wish we could find some sign of her!” He walked along for a time in silence, scanning the wood carefully for imprints of shoes, strands of curly red hair, anything. Sunlight was again peeking down through the canopy when at last Alondril called out. There, hanging above them, suspended between two boughs, was a huge spider web. And woven into the center of it, a length of green velvet cloth. Nerathnil’s throat tightened. A piece of Neryssa’s gown. She had been here, then. Please, Please, he thought, please her be alive. It was not only his fervent prayer as a healer, or even as keeper of a sacred promise- if anything had happened to her, he would never forgive himself.
“Nerathnil! Come, look!” He turned toward the older elf, who was pointing out a small dagger. It lay in the roots of an ancient willow. The bark seemed smooth and untouched, except near a lower knot in the trunk, just where the roots forked out, a small patch of green could be seen. Too green for any willow leaves, even newly budded ones. Both elves straightened and looked at one another solemnly. They were wood-elves, after all, and they both revered and feared these venerated beings. None who wished to live peaceably here in the forest ever sought to provoke a tree’s devastating wrath. Whole villages could be razed with the upheaval of a single root, they knew. Trees had to be approached carefully, and with respect. Alondril cleared his throat and began an ancient song.
“Oh Great Father Willow,
Long your roots and deep,
Desiring only quiet,
Revering only sleep,
Gladly would we share
Your forest dark and deep
No axe or fire shall mar
Your bark within our keep.”

Nerathnil closed his eyes and took up the song, laying his hands gently on the trees smooth trunk. He knew no magic, save the secrets of healing, but he hoped the tree could sense that they meant it no harm. A deep rumbling voice answered them, in the old tongue.
“What do the wood folk ask of me?”
Nerathnil took a deep breath. He had heard tales of trees speaking to elves before, but even in his long years, had never heard one do so. “I ask that you give up the treasure you keep within your boughs, Great Willow. We have been seeking her these many nights.” He could swear the tree actually laughed at him.
“You mean the spider’s morsel? Had you asked me yestereve, I would have let her go. She had been a terrible grief to me, wriggling like a worm in the wood. At last she lies still enough to give me peace.” This last made Nerathnil’s heart sink. Had they found her at last, only too learn they had been too late? He let go of the trunk with a heavy heart, sinking to the ground in front of the tree. He was so used to dealing with elves, who seldom died except in battle, that he had forgotten that Neryssa was all too mortal. He vaguely heard Alondril continuing to speak softly to the tree, coaxing it to open for him. At long last, there was a sudden resounding crack. Nerathnil barely had time to turn and look up when Neryssa’a silent form came hurtling out at him. He caught her in his arms and laid her down gently. She was breathing. Very shallowly, but the gentle rise and fall of her breast was still there. He said a silent prayer of Thanks to the God of his people. It did not take him long to find the ugly, red whelp from the spider’s bite. He had no way of knowing how long she had suffered inside the tree. He supposed he should at least be grateful to the willow for saving her from the spiders. Ordering Alondril to gather the needed herbs from his pouch, he set to work. His friend knew better than to question- he only obeyed Nerathnil’s commands. The girl was blessed, he thought to himself- she had the King of Mirkwood’s own healer to help her.
Neryssa awoke with an uncomfortable thud. It took her a moment to realize she was hanging upside down and her head was hitting someone’s back. She was being carried like a sack of barley, hanging over someone’s shoulder. Someone who was running very fast. Her legs felt numb,and she felt nothing except for the arm across her backside, holding her steady. “Wha????” She could hardly get enough breath to ask what was happening, so she raised up on her elbows. Big mistake. The spiders were pursuing her. And whoever had hold of her. Looking down, she saw long black hair. Well. So angry elf-boy had come at last. An arrow whizzed past her, straight into the round body of one of the spiders. It screamed miserably and dropped behind. The archer couldn’t have been Nerathni;- his pace never even slowed. He must have brought company. Another arrow flew past her head, so she lowered it back down and twisted to peer under Nerathnil’s raised arm. Oh, it was Brendyl’s trainer, the one who had yelled at her the day before. Or, whenever that was. She couldn’t sort out the time anymore; she was getting dizzier by the minute. Her head dropped back down with another limp bang. She never saw the other spider fall.

Nerathnil stood and stretched from his cramped sitting position. He had slept in that same chair for the last two nights, keeping a constant watch over Neryssa. Despite Brendyl’s offer to relieve him, he alone had kept the quiet vigil. He knew only he could help Neryssa if the poisons did not leave her body. Her fever was broken now, and the poultice on her leg freshly changed. There was little more he could do but wait. Absently, he sat down again and took her limp hand and laid it in his own, comparing her shorter fingers to his long, slender ones. Hers were practical, callused hands. These hands were used to doing their share of work. He found them intriguing, and lovely. Her hands were so unlike his own, and yet so like Neryssa herself. Warm, kindly, not elegant; no pretense. In his palm, her fingers tightened almost imperceptibly. He raised his head to look into confused green eyes. An intense feeling of relief washed over him- she would be well again soon. Neryssa made a small movement as if to stand, but Nerathnil rose and gently pressed her shoulders back down against the cushions. “Not yet, Neryssa. Your wound is healing very well, but you should not walk yet.” His softly spoken words only seemed to add to her confusion.
“But I was in a tree, and I couldn’t breathe. I thought I was dying.” She shuddered then, remembering.
“Yes, your hem stuck in the tree trunk alerted us. Alondril spoke with the tree. He explained you hadn’t meant to harm it with your knife, you only thought to fight off the spiders. The Willow released you then. Alondril and I brought you back here.” He saw her eyes dart around the room, and then meet his once more. “This is my hut. I thought I could better treat you here, and allow your brother some rest.” She furrowed her brows in question. “You cried out while you were feverish.”
She blushed then, wondering what she had said. His manner puzzled her. This was a side of him she had never seen before. This new tenderness seemed at odds with what she knew of Nerathnil. It occurred to her that she didn’t really know him. She had known of course that he was a healer, but had never seen him at work
Neryssa floated in and out of dreams for the next few days, as the spider’s poison slowly worked it’s way out of her system. She dreamt she was floating in the pool, strong hands supporting her and washing the sweat and filth of the sickbed out of her hair. There was singing too, deep and melodic, in a beautiful strange tongue she couldn’t understand. There were wakeful periods too, when her leg itched and burned, and she would toss about on the narrow cot until Nerathnil came in pressed a cooling compress against her flaming skin. They hadn’t spoken much, as she felt shy and unsure around him now. And, truth be told, she was still waiting for the lecture about traipsing off into the forest alone. Even she, stubborn as she was, could see the folly in it now. Nerathnil had already said he thought of her as an unruly child. How could he think otherwise now that she had proven him right?
She sat up in bed and swung her legs over the side, determined to walk back to her own dwelling. She was anxious to see Brendyl again, and to be out of the dark elf’s way. She was certain he must be more frustrated with her now than ever. She snorted. She-elves probably healed faster too- he must think her lazy. Feeling slightly dizzy, Neryssa lifted a hand to her head. She stopped suddenly, feeling the smooth pattern at he temple. Someone had braided her hair while she slept.

Last edited by unplugged32; October 21st, 2004 at 10:16 PM. Reason: Added missing headers
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  #12  
Old October 22nd, 2004, 05:02 AM
Ancalime
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Very, very good, Sherina! Looking forward to more!
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  #13  
Old October 22nd, 2004, 05:56 AM
theoriginalvicki
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Woo-hoo, bring it on Sherina!!
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  #14  
Old October 23rd, 2004, 02:44 AM
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Marilyn Centonze Marilyn Centonze is offline
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Oh, he braided her hair. I love it!
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  #15  
Old October 23rd, 2004, 02:56 AM
theoriginalvicki
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When, Sherina, when will we get more...???
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  #16  
Old October 23rd, 2004, 03:17 AM
SherinaSue
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Well, I wote this a while back, and I want to tweak it a little first. Weakest part is coming up, at least I think it needs rewriting.

Title: Unseen wounds
Author: Sherina
Rating: PG 13
Characters: Legolas, Neryssa, Brendyl, Alondril, Nerathnil
Category: LOTR, during the Fellowship sequence of events
Warning:insinuated sexuality, violence
Summary: Continuation of Orc Tracker


. Neryssa had often wondered how Nerathnil and Legolas could be such good friends. In the weeks that followed her leaving, he became her friend too. He was much more patient with her now. Even though she was now back in her old hut with Brendyl, he came to visit often. They would walk together in the wood, Neryssa pointing to different things, and Nerathnil answering her in Elvish. She was beginning to rely on is presence as she had Legolas. If only the other elves accepted her as well…. A long finger reached down to brush her hair away from her face. “You are frowning, Neryssa. What troubles you? Your wound, does it pain you?” She halted in her walk and glanced up at him. His face was so near to her own, tiny flecks of gold stood out in his heavily lashed eyes. His breath was warm on her face. Neryssa suddenly forgot what she had been thinking of. “Frowning? No, I am fine, I…Look.” She lifted the hem of her skirt just slightly. Aside from a small white scar, no sign remained of her ordeal with the spiders. She shivered a little when Nerathnil bent to examine the scar, his fingers lightly brushing the area. Nervously, she dropped the cloth back down. She felt short of breath, as if she had been running the plains with Legolas again. It had been easier when Nerathnil was distant with her- she had never trembled around him then. Now that he was standing here, staring at her, Neryssa couldn’t breathe. When his eyes locked with hers, Neryssa did the only thing she could think to do. She turned and fled.

Last edited by SherinaSue; October 23rd, 2004 at 01:09 PM.
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  #17  
Old October 23rd, 2004, 05:22 AM
theoriginalvicki
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Oh goodness, locking eyes and fleeing...:) yea!!
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  #18  
Old October 23rd, 2004, 01:10 PM
SherinaSue
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Okay, LAdies, give me a little while to fix this piece, original wasn't quite a "PG-13 rating"

Last edited by SherinaSue; October 23rd, 2004 at 01:19 PM.
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  #19  
Old October 23rd, 2004, 01:54 PM
Rozzan
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This is really good Sherina. I am enjoying it a lot. its beautifully written, nice style and langauge and characters.
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  #20  
Old October 23rd, 2004, 01:55 PM
MissAndrea
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i'm almost 23... can you send me the original???

I LOVE your story!!! SherinaSue

can't wait for more
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  #21  
Old October 23rd, 2004, 04:34 PM
SherinaSue
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Title: Unseen wounds
Author: Sherina
Rating: PG 13
Characters: Neryssa, Brendyl, Nerathnil
Category: LOTR, during the Fellowship sequence of events
Warning: sexuality
Summary: Continuation of Orc Tracker, this would be part four, I guess




Back in her hut, Neryssa sat on the bed, head in her hands. All these feelings swirling around in hr head confused her. She had just begun to feel comfortable around Nerathnil, and now, suddenly, she was uneasy with him again. She couldn’t help it, everytime he was near, she couldn’t breathe, and yet, she wanted more of his presence. It made no sense at all. She glanced up as Brendyl entered the doorflap. He was sweating, exhausted, and …
“Ugh, Brendyl! You stink!” She cried, throwing a damp cloth at him from the basin.
Brendyl grunted as the cool cloth hit his face, and sank back onto his bunk.
“Of course I stink, Sister! I’ve been training. Unlike some lazy people-“
“DON’T SAY IT! I’ve over heard that from everyone here! Give me some task to do, and I’ll do it! “
In response, Brendyl took off his sweaty tunic and tossed it at her.
“Here, wash this for me then!” He snorted. Neryssa balled up her fist to punch him, then thought better of it. She had asked for work, after all.
“Fine, I’m off to the pool then.” She tossed over her shoulder at him, as she took off for the clearing. The afternoon sun was dim, but she could just make out a paler form on the grass, as she glimpsed the glade from between the tree trunks. Oh bother, someone was already here…She gasped and dropped the dirty linen to the ground as her eyes took in who it was. Nerathnil, lying on his back on the grass to dry, not a stitch of clothing on him. He was beautiful. Neryssa crept quietly closer, not wanting to disturb him, but unable to stay away. He had his arms crossed behind his head, his dark lashes ebony against his cheeks. His hair was loose, fanning out across the grass. His skin looked so smooth and pale…

Nerathnil slipped beneath the waters, letting it’s currents and eddies lap at his body. He had used to find this a place to relax, either alone or with his favorite companion Legolas. He had not bathed here in a while- not since that girl had come. He sighed heavily. Even here alone, away from her, he was not truly away from her. Thoughts of her laughter, her tears, and lately, her awkward silences, drifted through his mind. Her leg had healed, and the poison been purged, but he knew her heart still ached. It had not escaped his notice that now she was returned, everyone but Brendyl treated her as worse than an outcast. They thought her actions foolhardy, almost risking them their best healer. She was more withdrawn than ever now. Except with him. The two of them seemed now to share some kind of bond. Even though her escape was not well-planned, he understood why she had gone, and how she grieved for her old life. She had not found a home with the elves, as had been his friend Legolas’s desire. This had at first frustrated and infuriated him. But as he spent more time with her, he found that her ways were beginning to grow on him. She showed a quick aptitude for learning their elven tongue, this one. He was considering teaching her the healing arts as well… He continued to plan out in his mind how he would approach her, what he would say, how he would instruct her in the ways of elven healers. The sun was beginning to set, no longer visible above the heavy canopy of trees, when he finally pulled himself up on the bank. He spread himself out on the fragrant grass, as he had seen Neryssa do countless times, and just lay there, taking in the sensations. The grass felt cool and tickled his stomach. He hadn’t taken the time to do this in many a long year- just to lay quietly with his thoughts and the woodland sounds around him. Since he had pledged himself to no one, Nerathnil had long ago accepted solitude as his lot. And that had never bothered him, until now. Now he found himself thinking of a dimpled mouth, turned up in a shy smile. He rolled to his back, finding he was not yet ready to rise and clothe himself. He closed his eyes and after a time, his mind returned to calmer thoughts…or would have. A small timid hand touched his flat stomach. His muscles tightened convulsively. Dark Green eyes flew open to meet apple green. She looked embarrassed and yet not- as if she were struggling to drum up courage.
“ It was you, wasn’t it? You brought me here when I was ill…you sang to me, braided my hair for me.” He sat up, his eyes showing his embarrassment , whether at her words, or his own nakedness, she could not tell. The fleeting brazenness was quickly leaving her.
“Please, don’t say anything, I just…” She interrupted herself by placing her lips firmly over his. This was no respectful, gentle elvish kiss. Her mouth was moving feverishly over his, her hands everywhere at once. Before Nerathnil could register the movement, she had pushed him back onto the grass and rolled atop him. Neryssa’s skin was so warm to the touch it seemed to burn him, melting him into the fragrant grass.
Neryssa was surprised at herself- she could not believe she was doing this. She had practically attacked him in her nervousness . . .she had been alone for so long she ached with it. All she knew was that once she had come upon his long, lean form lying in the grass, she could not help but touch him. Then, when his eyes had flown open, she found she was afraid to hear what he was going to say. She had blocked his words the only way she knew how. Please, she prayed silently, let me not have misread him, if he rejects me, I’ll never be able to take it. Just then his hands came up to gently cup the back of her head, holding her lips against his. Neryssa gave a sigh of relief; he wanted this as much as she. Oh No, she thought, I am not like elven women, he will hate the way I look, I should stop… Nerathnil must have sensed her hesitation, and he rolled her over with her back on the damp grass. She had been ready for him- her own shift lay atop his clothing on the rock. She tried not to think of what she would have done if he had seen her nakedness and been disgusted with her. The Mirkwood she-elves were slender and small of form, she hoped the differences in her body intrigued him, rather than disgusting him. He was certainly intriguing her , she thought. The feel of him against her was foreign, and yet oh so intoxicating...and surprising! “Oh…my….” His mouth dipped down again to stop her cries, a curtain of long dark hair falling about her and sheltering her from the surrounding wood. Neryssa felt as if she had died, and come alive all at the same time.
Much later, Nerathnil lay back in the cool grass. He knew he should be getting dressed- nightfall in the Mirkwood could be a treacherous event. All the elves would be gathered in the main hall by this time-he was sure they would be missed. Still he could not bring himself to move. How odd that he should feel vibrantly alive for the first time, he, Nerathnil, son of Nethranor, who had passed his thousandth birthday many winters ago. And yet only now could he feel his ribs vibrating with the beat of his heart, feel the flow of blood in his veins. He marveled at this new sensation. He was a healer- more than a mere medic or surgeon. He knew every facet of elf-kind. Every bone and sinew of his kinfolk; and yet just now he felt that he knew himself not at all. How had he not realized his spirit had lain sleeping for so long? The head on his chest stirred briefly. His hand stroked her untidy hair- he could not bring himself to wake her. A low rumble brought a grin to his lips. She snored. This girl did nothing as elves did- she was even noisy in repose. She was still pressed against him, and with little or no effort he knew he could wake her again- but he would not. His own honor, seemingly absent these past hours, returned to sting his conscience. He had been asked of his lifelong friend to care for this girl, not make her his wife; for although she wasn’t aware of it, according to the custom of his people they had just joined for life.

Last edited by SherinaSue; October 23rd, 2004 at 04:40 PM.
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  #22  
Old October 24th, 2004, 05:33 AM
theoriginalvicki
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Yea, I just love this story!!
Thank you, Sherina!
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  #23  
Old October 24th, 2004, 05:38 AM
SherinaSue
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Thankyou Vicki. I take it that was not too graphic then. I was going for vague, there. LOL!
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  #24  
Old October 24th, 2004, 06:37 AM
moonseeker
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Love it. Can't wait for more.
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  #25  
Old October 24th, 2004, 12:45 PM
MissAndrea
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Originally posted by SherinaSue
Quote:
I take it that was not too graphic then. I was going for vague, there. LOL!
I love the story! It was somewhere in between vague and graphic
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