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On the knife’s edge  by Laikwalâssê

Chapter 3:  on the mountainside

 

When Elrohir awoke, he felt something wet on his cheek. Irritated he brushed it away only to notice that it was wet hair, but it felt odd: very coarse and it had a bad smell. Opening his eyes slowly, he recognized that it was dark, cold and raining.

Why was he laying on wet earth and where did all this white hair come from?

Wait a minute, white hair? he thought to himself confused.

Elrohir carefully pushed himself up on his elbows, groaning when his head started throbbing. Touching his forehead, Elrohir blinked when his hand came back bloody.

Letting out a shriek, he did what was natural to him like breathing: he opened his bond to his twin-brother craving for comfort. But to his utter shock on the other end was nothing – a black chasm.

Elrohir now truly scared, skid back on his shins. He let out another shriek, when his feet were suddenly dangling over nothing. Instantly he grabbed for something to hold and managed to grab the closest thing in front of him: the mysterious wet, white hair. Pulling himself back to safer ground Elrohir lay there breathing hard.

So many questions raced through his mind: What was going on here? Where was he? Why was it dark and raining? Where was his brother and why was his head throbbing so awfully?

“Ada, Nana, Glorfindel?” he called in a timid voice – more a sob than anything else.

To his utter disappointment, only the constant dripping of the rain and the howling of the wind was his answer.

Sitting on the ground, cradling his knees together, Elrohir tried to remember the recent events. As he willed himself to remember, his head begun to throb even more as his memory came back full force.

Elrohir looked around frantically, only now recognizing the various boulders laying around. He was perched on a narrow mountain trail with high walls on the left of him and a chasm on his right. Yet what really shocked him was the big unmoving mass in front of him.

Gradually, the young child realized who the white hair belonged to. “Asfaloth?” he asked in a whisper suddenly afraid that the big horse would spring up and shove him over the edge.

“Asfaloth?” He tried again but he got no reaction. It was then he realized that the faithful steed was dead. Tears welled up in his eyes. He loved horses very much and seeing the big horse like this pierced his heart.

With an already quivering under-lip, he tried to look past the horse. However, the unmoving body was blocking his view.

His heart sank. Again, he looked around. The last thing he remembered was a sudden loud bang, lightening, a rockslide and then…. nothing!

Elrohir’s eyes widened: a rockslide!

Bile rose in his throat as he carefully skidded to the edge of the ledge and peered into the chasm.

“Elladan, Glorfindel?” he called, yet the howling wind ripped the words from his mouth.

Receiving no answer, Elrohir sat back. Wiping tears and blood from his brow with his sleeve, he rose to his feet carefully and just as he wanted to call again an immense wave of emotions washed over him.

…pain, fear, irritation……

In shock, he stepped sideways. Pebbles and earth began falling away from the edge. Unconsciously, he leaned inward his mind fully concentrated on the jumbled thoughts from his brother. Without thinking, he sent comfort to his brother´s panicking mind.

Crawling again forward to the edge, he peered down. First, he saw nothing in the dark but after his eyes had adjusted, he could make out a ledge further down where two bodies were lying.

His breath hitched. “Elladan?” he cried.

When he received no answer, he called again. “Elladan, Glorfindel?”

“Elrohir….”

Barely seeing, but clearly feeling his brother, Elrohir sobbed in relief.

“I´m up here. Are you alright?”

…. “I´m not sure. My leg hurts and…”

“Glorfindel?”

Elrohir could clearly feel his brother´s irritation. Even if not able to discern much in the dark, Elrohir did perceive what his brother was seeing. Glorfindel was lying on the same narrow ledge his brother was perching on and he was not moving.

Elrohir swallowed.

´Please let him be alright´, he prayed.

Hearing his brother scrambling about in the dark Elrohir waited.

“Elladan is he ok?” he asked, his voice tinged with fear.

When his brother gave no answer, his heart began to pound quicker. Tears now freely streaming down his face he looked into the night sky.

´Ada, please help´, he sobbed, but his only answer was the howling wind. At least it had stopped raining.

 

………………………………………………….

Elladan crawled forward until he reached the still body. He grit his teeth whenever he moved, for a sharp pain shot up his shin. With a shaking hand, he touched the fair-haired elf´s shoulder.

“Glorfindel?”

Shaking a bit harder he tried again.

“Glorfindel?”

Again, no answer. A lump rose in his chest.

Squinting his eyes, he looked upwards. He could vaguely make out his brother crouching on the edge.

“Elrohir, Glorfindel is unconscious. He might be badly injured.”

“But he must wake up, how will we get out of here?”

Hearing his brother´s distress, Elladan swallowed. With his injured leg, he wasn´t able to ascend the steep cliff wall.

“I will come down to you,” his twin announced.

“Stay where you are, silly child.”

Elladan´s head whirled around. The warrior had opened his eyes.

“Glorfindel, you are awake,” he cried in relief.

The older twin slung both arms around his beloved mentor, yet when the elf did not react, nor even said a word, Elladan came back up and looked into the familiar face.

“Glorfindel?” he asked softly. He could clearly feel that something was seriously wrong.

The warrior briefly closed his eyes, still not moving.

“Elladan, you must listen to me very closely now.”

The elfling scooted closed. Glorfindel’s voice sounded weak and strained.

Elladan leaned in closer. The older elf´s voice was so soft he could barely make out the words.

“Elladan, you and your brother must be very brave now. I will not be able to help you. You two must go and find help….”

Elladan came back up.

…. “but we will not leave you….”

“Elrondion, stop and listen to me! You two have to get away from the cliff. The storm has lessened and you have a chance to leave the mountain. We are not far from the outer border of Imladris. The border guards will find you two.”

Breathless, the warrior closed his eyes. Elladan shook his head while tears were silently falling.

“But you are injured. I will not leave you. I will help you up. You have to come with us….”

At those words, the fair-haired elf smiled.

“Sweet child. I will go nowhere. I cannot even feel my feet, but you must go. You father is almost certainly searing for you two.”

Looking intently at the child in front of him, Glorfindel took a deep breath.

“Now go. The two of you will have a chance.”

Elladan scooted back in shock. He would never leave the injured elf´s side.

Reaching for the child´s tunic, the warrior gripped his fingers into the fabric.

“You have to go now! Leave me alone. Back off!”

Elladan scrambled back in shock. Never had his mentor shouted at him like that.

He leaned his head on the cool stone face and cried in despair.

 

To be continued……………………

      





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