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Horse Lady of Rohan  by Mimi Lind

19. Finding Tiny Orcs

“What on Arda…!” Bronedir sounded shocked. 

“Orclings? You kept orclings? Whatever for?” Thranduil’s eyes almost popped out of their sockets.

“They are my sons.” The woman crossed her arms defiantly.

“An abomination!” Thranduil looked absolutely horrified.

Wynne shuddered, and the familiar sickness came over her. Just the other day she had thought about this, what would have happened if the orcs had raped her that time. And here this woman had experienced exactly that! Twice, too. But why ever had she kept the monster’s spawn?

The elves had had their bows pointed at the woman, now they shifted them to the orclings. 

“No!” The woman made a quick movement to stand in front of them again. “Please don’t hurt my children,” she repeated her appeal.

“Stand aside,” Thranduil demanded. “We cannot allow such vile beings to live.”

“They are only babies, they won’t harm anyone. They never will. We teach them right and wrong.” The woman’s dark voice broke into a sob. “Please.”

“We?”

“My husband and me.”

“And where is your husband?”

“Away hunting, I expected him back any moment. But… With you here… He’ll probably stay away.”

Wynne got a horrible suspicion then, and apparently the elves did as well. 

“Your ‘husband’... Am I to presume he is, in fact, an orc? The sire of the orclings?”

“Yes.” The defiant look was back in the woman’s stance.

“Excuse me if I repeat myself, but just to make this absolutely clear… You are married to an orc, and have given birth to his offspring?”

“I have.”

“And you did this voluntarily?”

“Yes. I love him. We love each other. He’s not like other orcs.”

“Astounding. I never heard of anything like it.” Thranduil turned to the others, looking rather bewildered. “We have to get rid of them anyway.” But he did not seem altogether sure, there almost was a question in his voice.

“Aye,” the others agreed, but they too sounded hesitant.

“If you do, you have to kill me first.” New tears dripped from the woman’s eyes.

Wynne was quite as confused as the elf king. To be in love with an orc, and to mate with it of free will… Again she thought of Lug. Having to kiss those black lips, with the clutter of deformed teeth, and his gnarled hands touching her breast… Ugh! It was impossible to understand. But yet… Who was she to judge another woman for her feelings? 

One of the orclings was peeking out from behind its mother’s leg now, thumb still in its mouth. The skin was grayish and the big ears pointed, but the soft curly hair and brown eyes struck Wynne as very human. It had chubby cheeks and a pink button of a nose. As babies went, this was actually rather cute.

She tried to picture the elves shooting it, and instantly felt that to be wrong. It was so small and helpless.

“Must you really kill them?” 

“They will grow up to be dangerous half orcs like the uruk-hai. We set out to rid these lands of all monsters. Just because they are orclings we cannot exempt them.”

“But she said she teaches them to be good. Maybe they’ll never be dangerous.”

“That’s right!” exclaimed the woman. “They will be good, I promise.”

“That might actually be a possible outcome”, Legolas mused. “All other orcs were raised by Sauron, and some by Saruman after he turned to evil. These orclings however, could be brought up differently.”

“Yes they will! We love them. We do anything for our sons.”

“Orcs are evil by nature, it has nothing to do with upbringing,” Thranduil objected.

“How would you know?”

“Well…” He hesitated. “I guess I could not know that, but–”

“Not all are evil. Nugu is good,” the woman cut in. “And he isn’t the only one. When Saruman was in power, my husband and his friends were slaves, but they are free now. And they decided they wanted nothing more of that kind of life.”

“I wish to speak with your husband,” said Thranduil. “Call him here.”

“You will kill him.” 

“I will decide that after I have spoken with him. Now, tell him to come.”

“I can’t risk it.” The woman’s lower lip trembled.

“Would you rather we kill the orclings instead? Call him.”

“That’s not fair. You can’t make me choose between them like that,” she sobbed.

“I’m here.” A deep voice from behind made them turn around in surprise. A tall orc stood there, unarmed, and just like his wife he had his palms upturned. 

“Run Sidra! Now !” he suddenly bellowed.

When the startled elves turned back again, the woman had grabbed one orcling under each arm and bolted, but Wynne knew the elves could easily hit her at distance.

“Don’t shoot,” she cried, and grabbed Legolas’ arm.

“I shall not.” He turned to Nordir and Bronedir. “Hold your arrows.”

“It is not your place to give orders,” scowled Thranduil. 

“Father, we can easily catch the woman later, if need be. Let us interrogate the orc first.”

“Very well, then.”

The orc still stood before them, seemingly unafraid. He had a proud bearing, head held high and met their stares with an impassive gaze. 

“You are an uruk-hai,” Thranduil stated.

“They call us that.” His accent was stronger than that of the woman. When he spoke, Wynne could see the pointed fangs so typical of his race, but apart from them he had a normal set of teeth. On the whole, he looked much more human than pure orcs, although some of that difference might be accounted to the fact that his face and hands were clean, his long, raven hair properly combed and the worn clothes without all those strange pieces of metal, random bones and scraps of rotten fur that orcs normally seemed so fond of. He lacked their disgusting odour entirely. But apart from that, there were other, more subtle differences. He just did not behave like an orc. For one thing, a such would have bared its teeth at them and tried to bite their throats as soon as it set eyes on them.

“How come you wed a human?” Thranduil asked.

“We met. We made friends. And then we just felt like it, I guess.” He shrugged. 

This no longer appeared so strange to Wynne. There was nothing threatening or ugly in his appearance, except for a few battle scars that likely had been there since he was part of Saruman’s army.  

“The woman said that you abandoned your earlier life.”

“Yes.”

“Well, and did you?” 

“Yes.” 

“Why?” Thranduil drew his eyebrows together, obviously annoyed by the short, uncommunicative answers. 

“Because I hated it. And I hated Saruman.” When he said the name it sounded like a snarl. Wynne wondered what the wizard had done to make the uruk despise him so much.

“I see you kept one weapon at least.” Thranduil nodded at a scabbard in the half orc’s belt.

“A hunting dagger. Since I left Isengard, I’ve never used it on anything but game.” He paused. “Actually, I did use it once, when an orc threatened my wife. I had to scare him, but I didn’t kill him. I will never kill again.” 

This was the longest sentence he had spoken so far, and he sounded earnest. There was a certain look in his dark eyes when he mentioned killing, a look of disgust, self loathing even.

“Hm. So you say.” Thranduil still seemed suspicious. 

“We should discuss this among ourselves before making a decision,” said Legolas. 

Thranduil nodded agreement, and they drew back a few yards, still with their bows aiming at the uruk. The latter stood straight, the muscular arms crossed over his chest, calmly awaiting the king’s judgement. 


A/N:

The backstory of the woman and orc is interesting, and might make it into a separate fic some day. :) But you will get some of it here too soon!





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