The Coming of Finrod
Chapter 1: The Escape of Finrod From the Orks
Copyright© 2019 by JOHNNY SACHU
I lay weak in my cell. The Orks kept me nearly starving for years in the their prison but lately they had been feeding me better, for some reason. I ate their coarse bread but never the meat. You never knew what it might be.
I had adjusted to the almost continual darkness and I could see as well as they could without light, I was sure of it. By now my eyes were nearly as sensitive as theirs to light of any kind but I could at least see around me. I had been stripped of everything I had worn long ago but had adapted to the stone underworld of these creatures that had once been elves, themselves, but now were the lowest form of human beings in Middle Earth, Black Orks. Foul skinned cannibals, marauding killers but slow of wit and for the most part, brainless idiots. I waited for what I thought was the inevitability of my death. Why they had kept me alive this long was a mystery. Orks are known to be depraved beings, twisted and brutal, but predictable. Something was going on past my knowledge of my stone cell and bars.
With the addition to more and better food, I had begun to exercise, little by little building up a bit of strength so that if by chance I got out of their dungeon, I’d have strength to walk a fair distance and hold myself upright.
A short time later, I was dragged by my hair from the foul cell and tied to a pole of thick wood and taken to a hall of some kind. A large cavern surrounded by crude pillars and deep darkness. Many Orks came to taunt me with sticks or light weapons to poke and torment and though I don’t know how long I was there, I knew I was bleeding from several new cruel wounds.
The hall filled after a time with these beast men and distant torches were lit. I was still hanging from the thick pole like an animal and then a great hooting began. Howells from coarse throats and taunting about Elves, wondering if they at last were putting an end to my misery.
To my complete surprise a small company of elves appeared out of the darkness, men of my wooded homeland, two ranges and three valleys from where I had been captured. They were all known to me but one. He stood by in crude clothing without elvish weaponry. An old man by my accounting. One ancient sword on his hip and a root ended staff.
They stood before Reageth, the local king of this band of mountain Orks, waiting for him to speak.
“You have given us many gifts for your clansman, and I agreed to your coming into my great city, but there is still the final payment for him most of all. You desire him greatly I see, trusting yourselves to my graciousness, and I wish to know why. He is no King’s son, so why the great need for this one pathetic looking elf.”
“He is our countryman, oh king. We greatly value each member of our realm,” spoke Nylin, my brother. “He is kin to us all and we wish him back.”
King Reageth played with his chin hairs, considering the answer.
“May I inspect my kinsman, great king?” he asked. “He looks sick from here.”
The king allowed it, waving a hand. “Watch him closely,” ordered the King. “There will be no Elvish Treachery here.”
My brother stepped up to the dais and stood beside me as I hung from the pole, naked and covered in filth. I could smell his clean clothes, the scented oils of grooming. It was wonderful. A civilized odor. His eyes looked down on me with concern and love.
“He is near death. You gave your word he was well.”
“He is alive,” said the king, looking away. He was not terribly disturbed by my condition or his false words.
My brother pulled a flask from his hip and attempted to give me some liquid, water, I presumed, but was immediately prevented from doing so with spear tips and rusted steel shoved to his face. Howells emitted from excited throats and with both arms spread wide, the King calmed them.
“It is merely water, King Reageth. It can do no harm.”
The King waved a hand, once more, allowing it.
My older brother, Nylin, removed the cap from the flask and offered it to my lips. “Drink deeply Finrod,” he advised. As I did, I understood why. It was an elixir for strengthening a weakened body, used often in the medicine of the elvish folk. I had never sampled it but knew the scent. It was bitter sweet and not too unpleasant to the taste.
“More,” Nylin encouraged, and offered the flask again. As I took my fill I felt it begin to warm me. It made me feel I could run and jump again. It was the most wonderful taste in the world in those dark and dangerous moments.
“Enough,” ordered the king and stomped his foot. “What more do you offer for your kin?”
“It is all outside, as we agreed upon, Oh king. Plus a full talent of elvish gold, as promised.”
Nylin stepped boldly from the dais and went to a companion and took a heavy sack from his arms and shook it over his head. It rattled with coins. The sound of gold. Nylin placed it at the kings feet, opening the cinch. Gold indeed.
The king’s eyes grew wider at the thought of its possession, greedy cruel eyes lusted after the treasure. I had seen this look before in others.
“All things as promised,” continued Nylin. “The thirty cattle are in the woods, King Reageth. Yours for the taking.”
The king groaned, picking up the sack, his lips wet with spittle. He toyed with the gold, running it through his fingers”What else do you offer?” he asked slyly, squinting his eyes. “This bag feels light. I will not stand for elvish trickery in my kingdom. Give all that was bargained for at the last agreement or forfeit all. What else do you offer I say?” This last shouted, spittle spraying out across the dais.
Nylin stared back at the King, knowing, I figured, what was soon to come about but trying one last time. He looked back at his kinsmen of elves, and then back at the king, face blank and determined. “Give any riches you have and lay them at the feet of the king,” he ordered. “We give all to his greatness. We honor you, King Reageth in your mighty hall.”
With that, all the elves took there purses and travel finery to the feet of the king; fine rings and necklaces, family bracelets they wore and gave up all.
“Your weapons are very fine. Give them up as well. And you have more gold hidden in the woods, I suspect,” shouted King Reageth, and continued as if suddenly madd, which he probably was. “You cannot rob me in my own home.”
Slowly Nylin replied. “You have all we agreed upon and more, King Reageth. There is no more. Give us our kinsman and we will be on our way.” With that, Nylin placed his thumbs on the buckle of his weapon’s belt. A signal, I guessed.
Reageth clutched his bag of gold more closely, half rising from his stone thrown. “Kill these theives,” he screamed, pointing in half stance.
Instantly, chaos broke out with the clang of weaponry as the slow witted assemblage raised their weapons to attack. The King got a knife in the eye for his treachery, dropping dead on his bag of gold. In the same instance, a piercing light flooded the chamber. The man in coarse clothing holding his worn staff on high, flooded the chamber with it’s brilliance, blinding the orks and myself, temporarily. The orks swung their weapons blindly and half of them fell from the attack of the elves within seconds, while others retreated. Nylin killed the orks surrounding me in a flash of sword and long dagger, the ones that stood too close, and cut my bands of rope, hauling me to my feet. He carried me more than I walked but I was able to help some. We left through a narrow passage of stone walls and fought for every step. All the elves had shields and we made a good run for the outer entrance to the ork’s world, the shields saving us from their arrows, stones, and spears. The entrance was heavily guarded and being too weak to help, Nylin laid me on coarse ground as he and the others fought viciously, killing many, and then came back and pulled me up, exiting behind the huge stone that opened to the outer world. I got my first taste of clean air in years and no air had ever been more welcome to me.
We rushed away from the mountain entrance, it still being early afternoon. I could hardly walk or see, much less help carry my weight but gladly, all that had come had made it out alive. The orks would be stuck in their caverns until dark. By then we would be far from that place.
They took turns half carrying me, placing shoes upon my feet and a few light clothes. It was wonderful to know fabric again. They gave me snacks of elvish food for energy as we ran and it strengthened me as well as water and more of the elixir.
We traveled light and fast the rest of the day and that night, putting as much distance as we could between the orks and us. It was only on the second day around noon that we stopped to rest.
“So young Finrod, We meet again.” It was Corin, The Green, the wizard of the south come to help in the rescue. It was he I saw in his dark green cloth. “You seem thinner,” he smiled, “and a bit dirty young Prince.”
I sensed my filthy smell for the first time, perspirering and laying on the pebbled ground. A stream nearby where we had stopped for water beckoned.
“Easily remedied, Corin. Can you help me to the stream.” I was given a leaf of bathing soap and removed my clothes then scrubbed myself long and hard, rinsing in the waist deep waters till I no longer felt dirty, an assistant helping to bathe my back.
My former clothes were tucked away and new clothing given. It was finery, cloth made by mother or my sisters. Our family leaves of the Galenko tree were embroidered and they adorned its borders. A belt of leather was also supplied as well as a cloak for my shoulders and the cold of nights to come.
“You almost look presentable, Fin’.” my brother cajoled, “for such a skinny elf.”
With shaky limbs, I managed to walk to him. It was my first chance to speak to my brother outside the haste of our retreat.
“Thank you Nylin--How did you know I was alive.”
“We interrogate oaks for information, as you know. From the battle field where you were captured, we got word of you and others being carried off. Later we learned of your existence. We thought you to have been some fine meal for ork, long ago,” he stated, gruesomely. If he had only seen what I had. I was the lone survivor. “We let a captive go with gifts for his king, to set up negotiations. Ork kind are often greedy for loot. We quickly learned where you were being held and by whom. It took a lot of persuading and gifts of gold and meat, but at last we made plans to take you--You know the rest.”
I turned to the company of twenty-one and thanked them all. There was rejoicing and shouts of welcome at the return of one of their princes. All embraced me and I said a personal thank you to each of my brotheren. Soon after, we were off again, food and drink in our mouths, eating as we ran.
Two days later I was able to run on my own, with just a bit of help through harder paths. Not as agile as I once was, but not a heavy burden to my family and friends anymore.
Seven days later we entered our realm, the Forrest of Elderraine. After two days further had passed, I stopped before entering the city gates.
“What’s wrong, Fin’?” inquired my brother.
I felt inadequate. “I do not want to meet my mother and father like this,” I said, waving a hand at my hair and face. “Can I be groomed first and dressed in appropriate clothing?”
“You always were the fussy one,” he laughed, slapping my shoulder and nearly knocking me over. “Wait here.”
“Dale. Errin. Take my brother to the circle of stones and stay with him. I’ll return soon. We’ll get this scruffian looking like an elf in no time,” Nylin said, pulling on my awful beard. Before turning to leave I noticed Nylin ordering several more men to accompany us. He wasn’t about to loose me again.
Several hours later I was washed, shaved, hair cut and groomed, and dressed in simple finery befitting a prince of Eldorraine. I walked through the tall gates of my fathers kingdom for the first time in three years, learning of my time gone, gathering as much dignity as I could limping to the awaiting arms of my parents and countrymen.