He didn’t realize
that the rain would continue for this long. He stared across the expanse from
the limb of the tall Mallon tree. Haldir had not even been aware that the great
trees grew in this secluded dale. He had stumbled upon the huge forest as he
evaded a hunting party of orcs.
Now the rain kept up its steady rhythm of pelting drops upon the canopy and leaves of the forest. It was the beginning of autumn and the colors of the forest were just starting to
alter in hue. Haldir had found a rather large tree to take refuge in from the
rain. He kept his cloak pulled together for he didn’t relish being wet.
From a nearby branch an owl was just emerging from its nest. The
owl turned his head this way and that and finally it appeared to rotate completely around.
Haldir found this to be very amusing. He didn’t often share in the
amusement with others because he wanted to maintain a distance with them. He
never knew when he would be required to put them into a situation that could take their life, and it is so much harder to
do that to friends. Haldir was content at times to find his joy between his two
brothers and in solitude amid Arda.
Haldir scanned the forest floor below. He noticed many of the forest creatures
scurrying about in search of drier protection. The cloak, although Elvin made,
still could not prevent the dampness from seeping within itself. Just then a
slight movement from among a nearby thicket caught Haldir’s interest. It
was barely noticeable but not for an elf. Haldir peered into the growing darkness.
There it was again! Now Haldir was not known as the curious sort, however in his childhood none held a
candle to his curiosity. It was when he was alone that his curiosity would awake
and prod him into action.
The March warden silently descended his tree. He wondered what kind of
creature could it be. The darkened shape did not lend itself to any forest animal
that he knew. Haldir thought, “Is it possible that there is a creature
yet that I have not seen upon Arda?”
As he came closer to the ground he could just make out what seemed to be whimpering sounds. The sounds were ever so soft and mournfully uttered. Haldir
landed close to the densely gathered shrubs and bushes. The whimpering continued
as he reached to pull back some of the foliage. He was shocked and amazed at
what he saw curled up upon the forest floor.
It was reptilian in nature but had softness to its features. The
creature was apparently an infant for its demeanor extruded such interpretation. The hue of its skin marbled greens, gold,
and some purple tones. Haldir could only stare in wonder.
It looked just like a baby dragon! ‘How could that be?’
Haldir asked himself. ‘There have not been any sightings of dragons since
old Smog was defeated and he certainly didn’t have any offspring.
suddenly looked up at Haldir. “AAAAIIIIIEEEEEEEEEEEEE”, cried the little creature!
Haldir was so shocked that for a moment he just blinked in amazement. The
creature started to back up in the bushes with fear etched on its face. Haldir
immediately put his hands out to show that he was no threat to the creature. “Little
one, I mean you know harm.” Haldir spoke with gentleness. The tiny one
sniffled some more and whimpered while casting quick looks all around the area. It
was wringing its little hands constantly. Haldir didn’t know if it was
looking for a way out or for other signs of danger. “See, I will not harm you.
You can come out now,” stated Haldir as he slung his bow upon his shoulders.
The little creature
sniffled some more and the terror in its eyes turned to sadness before doing a most unexpected thing. It scurried over and lend into his legs; the slender tail wrapped around one of his legs. Haldir looked down at the creature clinging to him. It had
huge watery eyes that were kaleidoscopic in nature with greens and purples.
He was stunned! Never in all his many years had he heard of
such a creature. It was acting just like a child.
Haldir reached down attentively to the little one and touched its head. It
gave a sudden shudder and then rooted into his hand. ‘Such a tender little
thing to be out here all alone,’ thought Haldir. ‘I wonder where
its parents can be. Surely its parent or both should be desperately looking for
it,’ he concluded. "What do I do now," wondered Haldir? The little one had
quieted down and its reaction got him to thinking. 'Is this creature that trusting or has it had contact beforewith beings
such as myself?' Haldir concluded it must have had some kind of interaction with elves before now or even men.
He knelt down to look at it on a more even level. He had to gently cup its head to get it to keep looking at him.
It appeared to be unhurt, wait! There was a small cut on its back hind quarters. While keping an observant eye
out, Haldir quickly got out the supplies he needed from his pack, and he dresed the wound. Haldir decided to test a
theory. "Do you understand what I am saying? If you do squeeze my hand two times." The little creature looked
at him with apprehension and then it complied. It reached over to his hand and squeezed it two times. Haldir's
eyebrows shot up. Even though he suspected it understood, he was still amazed. Suddenly, the trees grew still
and the forest quieted even further. Haldir tensed as he picked up the forest's alert. Wargs! He looked
back to his charge. He would not leave it at their mercy for he knew that wargs had none. Haldir would never allow
a child such as this one appeared to be to perish in such manner if he could prevent it. "Remain quiet. We must
take to the trees. I will help you." Haldir used a gentle but firm tone as he spoke. He then picked up the
creature and made his way back to the tree from wince he spotted his new companion. It had served him well in spying
out the forest, and it would do so again. He used haste in ascending the tree. The branches even moved as they
were able to inorder for Haldir and friend to ascend quicker. The tree spreaded its leaves to provide enhanced cover
once the two were in position. It now had two beings hiding amid its branches and every leaf counts when dealing
with wargs! Haldir had just placed his new companion in a small crook of the tree branch when he saw the first warg.
He notched his bow and waited. He needed to know if the wargs had riders and their total number. Haldir gripped
his bow steady and scanned the area beside the warg. He saw the answers to his questions appear slowly at first
and then in groups. A troop of wargs and most with riders were advancing upon Haldir's position. Haldir
studied their motions and noticed something about their methods. They were looking for something or someone. Haldir
turned slightly on the branch to look at his little companion. The little thing was ever so still but the look of terror
filled its eyes along with fresh tears. Haldir knodded his head at the little one to signal it would be all right.
It appeared this had the desired effect for the little one knodded back and closed its eyes. Haldir returned his
attention back to the wargs and their riders. He didn't want to confront them for he had to think of the little one. Unless
there was no other choice, he would not put the little one in harms way. Haldir settled into the tree branched
and waited for the wargs to make the next move. ***********************************************************
Haldir had hoped that only a few riders would be amid the pack of wargs but fortune would not have it that way. Almost
every warg had a rider, and Haldir could tell that they were looking for something. 'They must be looking for this little
one. Well, I do not intend for them to have him', thought Haldir. Haldir watched as the wargs made their way around
the floor of the forest. One warg in particular was sniffing the ground that just a few moments ago upheld Haldir.
Its ears laid back against its head and a low growling rumble issued forth from its throat. The other disgusting hunters
instantly noted the warg's reaction and converged on the area. The growling warg took the lead and by sniffing
the ground started to advance on Haldir's position. Haldir was stealing himself for the battle to come. If he
was to die this night, he would do so with honor and his only regret would be that his brothers would now be alone in Middle
Earth with no other blood relatives other than normal elfkin. Haldir could not wish them by his side for he knew the
potential outcome of this forthcoming meeting with orcs and wargs would not favor himself. Haldir would choose his brothers'
safety over his own for that is after all what an older brother should do and Haldir so far as always did what he should in
regards to the wellfare and upbrings of his two younger siblings.
The wargs crept closer and closer to Haldir's hiding place. The orcs were conversing quietly in
the black speech, and it pained Haldir's ears to hear even the slightest whispers of that foul language. Soon the
wargs and riders had gathered around the tree grouping that concealed Haldir and his little companion. He steadied himself
and casted a glance over to the little creature. It looked up at him with sad yet resigned eyes as if it would now accept
what outcome played out this night. Haldir hardened his face and with a curt nod turned back to face the creatures
of the night.
A warg rider dismounted and approached the mightly trunk of the tall tree. He stood upon a root stock, and he did
his best to peer up through the dense foilage of the tree. The orc raised his arrow and fired up into the tree.
Haldir felt the air part as the arrow zipped past him on its journey toward the tree tops. Haldir remained still.
He could still hope that the wargs and orc riders would continue to search elsewhere, but it didn't happen that way.
Another orc pushed two more off their rides and with black speech and gestures directed them to start climbing the tree.
Haldir's heart was racing. He knew that now there would definitely be a confrontation. The three orcs were about
four or five feet from the ground when Haldir decided to act.
Haldir quickly played out strategies and options before deciding which course of action to take
up. He had decided that he would not wait until the orcs gained a little more height since that could endanger
his companion. Haldir took aim, not at the ones climbing, but at the apparent leader of the pack. Haldir knew
there was still time to take out the climbers, so he wanted to eliminate that which may organize the orcs during this conflict.
Haldir's arrow flew swiftly and silently through the branches and into the head of the lead orc. The others had not
realized what occurred until their leader fell from his warg and gasped one final breath. Haldir didn't give them time
to think about their comrade's death. He had them fearing for their own lives. The orcs on the forest floor began
to fire wildly into the tree since they could not tell the exact direction from whence the arrows were coming. Haldir
managed to pick off two of the three climbers that had been fast rising on his position in the tree. The third had disappeared
from Haldir's vantage point. 'He must be on the other side of the tree.' Haldir assumed and made haste to cover that position.
He was dodging arrows and making all his return shots count since he knew to run out of arrows before the last orc fell would
mean certain death for himself and his companion. Now that the orcs and elf had engaged in exchange of warfare, Haldir
had reduced their numbers by strategic and calculated means. SNAP! A twig was sudden broken behind him and Haldir whirled
around to meet the danger that most definitely had arrived at his elevation. The third orc had made its way up to Haldir's
position and with lightening speed plunged a dagger into Haldir's right shoulder. Even as the pain laced through
his arm, Haldir used his elbow to knock the orc's head back. He then wrenched the dagger free and stabbed the orc
through its black heart, allowing the body to fall back down to the forest floor. A new shot of pain eminated from Haldir's
side. He glanced down and saw an arrow sticking out of his side. The tip had passed clean through but the shaft
still remained firmly within his flesh. He would have to worry about poison tips later. Slower than he would have
liked, Haldir returned fire upon the few remaining orcs and wargs. His speed was slowing and his aim was faultering
slightly off target, but still inflicting death to his enemies. Haldir was glad it was almost dawn for that meant that
these orcs would not have reinforcements coming to their aide. There was something is the distance that caught his sight.
Several flickering lights appeared to be approaching. 'Am I wrong? Do they have reinforcements already?' Haldir
felt dispair creeping upon him and he sadly looked at his little companion who had silently watched the brave elf defend them
and receive grave injuries for that defence. Haldir was slowly sliding down the bark of the limb his was perch on and
finally positioned himself with one leg dangling off the branch and the other out straight. He kept staring at the lights
and had not noticed that the arrows from below had ceased coming at him. He felt movement beside him and looked at his
side. His little companion had come to him with an expression of excitement and glee. It was pointing to the lights
and smiling happily. Before Haldir subcomed to the darkness of sleep be sensed some sort of help must be arriving.
As Haldir's eyes glazed over and he passed out from loss of blood and pure exhaustion the leaves and bushes parted not with
lights but with fires. Fires that extinguished the life of the remaining orcs and wargs. Fires that came from
larger beings like Haldir's new companion. Haldir never felt the hands that removed him and his little companion from
the tree, nor did he feel the treatments of his wounds. Haldir disappeared that night. He would have no idea
of the worry that would be instilled in his elfkin when they tracked his location and found only spent arrows, charred carcasses
of orcs and wargs, long forgotten footprints, but no Haldir.
Haldir opened his eyes and took in his surroundings. He was laying upon a comfortable piling of leaves and petals.
The floral scent was restful and subtle. Haldir recalled his injuries but noticed the pain was dull. He rose slowly
and felt the tender pull of healing muscles. His shirt had been torn in multiple places. The shoulder area and
arm sleeve were missing and the lower right side of his shirt had been ripped along the seam. The skin, which should
have been red and open from the recent scirmish, was as fair as the rest of his skin. There was no sign of injury, but
he readily felt the remnants of some. Haldir scanned his surrounds some more. The walls appeared to be part of
a naturally formed cave. A very large formed cave. However that was not the most astonishing feature. The
walls glistened with mithreal, jewels, and sconces of fire. There were what appeared to be small inclaves in the walls,
depths unknown to him. That's when Haldir realized he was in one himself. He knelt down against the floor and
near the edge of the opening. Haldir was about to lean over the edge when an object whizzed from below passing his opening.
Startled, Haldir jerked back from the edge and elicited pain from his side as a reward. His eyesight had only left the
opening for a mere moment but in the blink of an eye a new sight came into view. And it was view him just as well. Haldir
stared into the face of lost lore. Huge eyes showed compassion and could that had been a smile upon its face.
Haldir lefted a hand and made a move to reach out to touch the creature that he had thought had disappeared from Middle Earth
forever. Haldir slid his hand over the skin. The plates were tightly woven and cool to the touch. No seam
was evident but the design repeated effortlessly. The deep greens and bluish hues reminded Haldir of pictures depicting
the rapids of some swift river. Another gush of wind and a second face was staring at him. This one was slightly
larger and did not seem as friendly. The coloring was different on this one. Instead of green and blue, it was
paletted with tans and reds. It appeared to me measuring him up. It inhaled deeply from Haldir's direction snorting
rightly after that. Then the first one brought someone to see Haldir. This was the first time Haldir had seen
their very functional hands. Long, sturdy claws unfurled to reveal his little friend from the woods and orc battle.
The little creature screeched with delight and clamored to his side. It clung to his midsection since Haldir was still
kneeling. The action landed Haldir on his backside as the little creature did not lesson his enbrace but continued to push
forward. That's when the silence was broken. "Nautil, do not be rough with our guest. He is still recovering."
Haldir looked up into the direction of the voice and was confused. "Yes, young elfling, we are capable of speaking.
We just haven't had much to say to the floor dwellers in a very, very long time." Haldir knodded and found his voice.
"You are what I believe you are, are you not?" Haldir inquired in his own language since they had spoken to him in it first.
"What do you believe us to be?" Haldir whispered the one word for a creature that he thought he would never see.