Unsuspected river saviors
In a queue an ugly clawed paw and a scarred snout appeared in the bush nearby.
Many wargs stepped on the bank and they were waiting for the order from their leader.
Luin managed to raise her body from the running water. Her legs were not as firm as she would like them to be, so she was in a crouched position. They shook from the stain. The great feline drew lot of air in to her lungs and then let out a loud roar, to which Legolas opened his eyes.
The young princes' ocean blue eyes were full of fear but there was still hope in them. There were other shadows lurking in the edge of his vision.
The hunters were able to track the warg scouts by the foul smell of rotten flesh that they left behind. The leader heard the roar of the feline that sounded really close to them and they all quickly headed that way.
In a few seconds they saw the great snow leopard crouching in the stream with barred fangs and claws.
The leader wolf signaled to his pack to take their position to attack the foul beasts because they had the advantage of surprise and in number.
The leader watched the scene before them and when the feline let out another laud roar he let out a quiet bark and they charged.
The scar nosed warg leader stepped in front of the injured feline, he looked at her battered body and snickered. Are you out of breath little kitten? He laughed and the others joined them.
Luin just growled at him and remained silent.
You are an easy prey. You will be dead in few seconds and I will bring the rats on your back to my masters. And the leader moved closer.
Try it and you will be dead. Luin growled and swiped at him with her right clawed paw. The warg just avoided it and stepped away.
Look boys the kitten still wants to fight. The wargs laughed again. Look at you cat. You can barely stand and you threaten me. You are all alone and injured. You even carry those rats. The leader mockingly said. You might be bigger than us but you cannot win this fight just look around.
The cats' eyes were still narrowed in tine slits glaring at the leader and the other members of his pack. She also knew that in in her current condition she cannot win only if miracle happened.
Or I have a proposal for you cat. If you gave us those rats we will spare your life and even we let you join our master and my pack. The warg leader said.
Lair. The feline spat. If you brought me to your master they would kill me on sight like they slaughtered my family.
That is not true. The leader argued back.
Is it? I am Luin of Mirkwood, daughter of the Silver Star, last member of the mountains star pack. I was granted immortal life by Elbereth. I will never join you and I will definitely never let you kill my friends. Her fur gloved at the mention of Elbereths' name but her and Legolas' pendant shone the most. The feline let out another fearsome roar that froze all the wargs in one place.
And then miracle happened.
From behind the wargs large number of wolves appeared and attacked the foul beasts.
Those foul beasts which were backed to the feline were immediately killed by her claws or fangs.
Then just the leader warg remained, which was facing the leader of the wolves, which was black and a bit larger than the other wolves.
Now your live ends evil creature. The black wolf said and attacked the warg. With few quick moves the warg was on the ground his throat was thorn and blood was oozing from the wound and his mouth.
Luin eyed the black wolf with the white paw and tail tip.
Are you my foe or my ally? If you are my foe I will fight to the death, but if you are an ally I am very grateful that you and your pack saved our lives. The feline said and remained in defensive stance if the wolf attacked them.
Do not fear great cat, we are allies to you. My name is Ice paw and this is my pack. The wolf said and Luin relaxed and walked out of the water.
My name is Luin. Thank you for your help. The great feline said and bowed her head a little. But I and my friends are in haste well mostly me because their live are in stake and I need to get quickly to Imladris. It is called Rivendell by men. Luin quickly said.
Come with us Luin. We will escort you to Imladris. Ice paw said and walked to the feline.
Hannon le. The feline said.
Luin walked toward the wolf leader, but after a few steps she collapsed.
Some of the wolves jumped over the stream and run to the fallen feline. A bigger grey wolf female approached Luin and smelled her.
You smell of sickness and death. She said when Luin managed to sit up.
Aye I know. I was hit with poisoned arrows of the orcs. We must get the arrows out. Luin said.
We cannot do that because you will bleed to death. The grey female said.
But we must do something or she will slow us down. It must be hard to move with those things sticking out of her like hedgehogs' spikes. Other wolf said.
So we can do this. Luin said and bended her body to reach the arrow, in her hind thigh, with her mouth.
Then the great feline snapped the arrow shaft, as short as possible, with her sharp fangs.
Mist, help her with the other one. Ice paw ordered the grey female wolf.
The said wolf approached the feline carefully and grabbed the shaft of the other arrow carefully. Then she snapped it as carefully as she managed.
Hannon le Mist. The feline bowed her head.
The female wolf smiled a little and bowed her head too. You are welcome. Then she offered the feline her side to lean on her for a bit support.
Luin accepted the help and stood up she was towering over the wolf female, who was just supporting her front leg, because the feline side was higher.
Now lets' move. Ice paw commanded and the wolf pack surrounded the feline and moved after their leader, which was now little in front, on the felines' right side.
Elladan and Elrohir reached Imladris gates after few hours and they were still surrounded by wolves.
The guards stood frozen as the wolves lay down and blocked the gate. The first that recovered was a dark brown haired guard, Maendan.
"Quickly call Lord Elrond! The young masters are back, but injured!" Maendan called out and jumped down from his spot, followed by another tall dark haired guard, and ran to catch the reins of the twins' horses.
Few minutes later they saw lord Elrond, lord Glorfindel and few other elves running to them.
"What has happened to you my sons?" the ancient elf asked and looked around. "And where are Legolas, Haldir and Luin?" He added quickly and looked at the wound on his younger sons' leg.
"We were attached by orcs and separated by them. They are wounded adar!" Elladan said.
"And they still must be somewhere near Echad Candelleth, ada." Elrohir cried out.
"Aye, and they were pursued be orcs and wargs, but we could not go after them because of those wolves." Elrohir said and pointed at the wolves resting under the gate.
"I understand."the elven lord nodded. "Salabdúr take my sons to the healing chambers and tend their wounds." tord Elrond said to the chestnut haired elven healer, who nodded and took the younger twins' arm, and hung it over his shoulder, to support him, while Elladan took the other one. "Glorfindel ready our horses and group of warriors. Gilfiniel prepare all the healing supplies we can spare. And also pack my special draught. We are heading out to search for the young prince, Haldir and Luin." the ancient elf ordered.
"Aye, my Lord." the light brown elven maiden bowed and ran to the last Homely house.
"Be careful ada." both twins said.
"I will be, worry not."
Within few minutes lord Glorfindel came with his great white stallion Asfaloth and lord Elronds' great ashy grey stallion Wethril, both equipped in their gear, followed by an elven party on their own horses.
Soon after them Gilfiniel came with the healing supplies and gave them to lord Elrond, who put them in the bags on Wethrils' back. Then he mounted the ashy grey stallion.
The wolves just watched the elves with interest, while they were resting their legs. Their order was to escort the injured elves to the delving of the fair people and then to find the rest of the pack, leading the healers to the other injured fair folk and feline.
When they saw armored elven party prepared to leave, and the dark haired elf, who was giving out orders, alongside the golden haired elf mount their prepared horses, they rose from the ground and went to find the rest of their pack.
"Let us depart." the ancient elf ordered and the whole company rushed through the gate after the wolves, heading to the ruins of Echad Candelleth.
Luin obediently followed the wolves where they were leading her. It was dark around her and all trees were blending in to one black stain. She was tired and exhausted. Her paws were trembling with each step she took adding to that there was blood trickling down her left hind leg. The great can knew that all the aching was caused by the poison, but she had to move on.
The grey she wolf, Mist, was more and more trying to support her when she saw that the feline was slowly leaning her way, and with each step the snow leopard let out a low grunt.
Suddenly they heard the sound of approaching horses.
Ice paw let out a howl, but there was no answer except a horse neigh. That is when the wolf leader stopped the whole group and indicated to get ready to fight.
The leader wolf wanted to attack when two white horses charged their way.
No they are friends! Luin called out and Ice paw stopped and looked at the cat.
Aye we are. We both carried our masters here. Ulios said when the two stallions came to a halt right before the pack leader.
And she needs our help to stand. Sorry for being so rude, but we can support her better then you with your short bodies. Ninim said and replaced Mist on Luins' left side while Ulios stood on the other.
So the leader, Ice paw was now in front with Mist by his side and the group took off again.
Their pace was slow and painful. Luin stumbled more than once due to her injures and energy was slowly diminishing.
Every now and then they had to stop for the feline to rest.
It was the time when Luin collapsed for the nth time when the animal company heard a distant sound of something big, which was moving through the forest accompanied by howling and barking.
They all thought that the orcs were back with new pack of wargs, so the wolves made a defensive circle around the horses, feline and the injured elves.
And then they heard a long unbroken howl.
Ice paw, the leader wolf, and Mist the grey female let out another joined howl, to which the other wolf voices answered.
Soon few wolves exited the under bush and loud hoof beats followed behind them.
Luin looked toward the sound of the hoof beats and neighing and saw a lots of horses burst out from the bushes. The horses were bearing elven warriors with drawn bows, ready to shoot the wolves.
"No!" Luin cried out, to which the wolf pack just looked bewildered, that the feline can use spoken language as any humanoid creatures would. "Do not shoot them. They helped us."
You can speak their language? Ice paw asked and the great feline just nodded to his answer.
"Luin is that you penneth?" lord Elronds' voice was heard from behind the bushes and then his great ashen stallion, Wethril, came out of the bushes followed Asfaloth, Glorfindels' white stallion.
Aye it is me Luin. The bluish cat said and Ulios and Ninim stepped back revealing the feline and her vulnerable charges.
Ice paw greeted the rest of his pack and they all moved behind the feline and the white stallions to let the elven healer take care of the wounded ones.
Both ancient elven lords jumped off their majestic steeds and hurried to the fallen feline and the wounded elves.
Glorfindel carefully took down the small elven prince and lord Elrond with two elven warriors took the Lórien march warden of the felines back.
Legolas moaned when Glorfindel tried to look at the young princes' shoulder.
Lord Elrond looked over his patients and ordered some of his warriors to take out the spare blankets they were carrying to spread them under the biggest tree that was around and prepare a fire to boil the water and herbs.
"Luin can you move a bit closer to the blankets?" the balrog-slayer asked.
Luin looked at him with her tired sky blue eyes and said. I hope so, but I think I will need assistance. She looked at the stallions which were now grouped with the other horses.
Immediately Ulios broke out of the bunch and trotted to the felines' side and supported her side to stand up.
The great cat moved those few steps and sat down quietly beside her master, her left hind leg outstretched.
Lord Elrond came to her but the great feline shook her head, but he did not obeyed the feline. The ancient elf stopped she hissed and barred her fangs at him, but he knew she did not have the strength to swipe her paw at him. Then with a calm voice she said.
Please first them. The feline said with a gentle voice and motioned to the unconscious elves.
"Are you sure, penneth?" the elven lord asked. His voice was full of concern. The snow leopard just nodded and the ancient elf walked first towards Haldir.
The lord of Rivendell did not like the look of the wound, the edges were coated in black as the poison took effect. He took the fresh water and cleaned it then he placed one of his salves on it. Luckily the wound did not need any stitches. Then he turned to Legolas.
The young princes' face was a bit ashen, but his cheeks were a bit flushed. Glorfindel did not linger a cleaned the princes wound, which was bleeding a bit and there was black ooze sluggishly coming out from it.
The ancient elf treated all the, major and minor, wounds on the unconscious elves and then stepped closer to the feline, which paws were shaking but she refused to lay down.
The great leopard let the ancient elf get closer to her to inspect her arrow wounds.
Lord Elrond looked at the first one, which was near her front paw, buried in her ribs, then on the one in her thigh and frowned. "It is near your lungs, Luin. And we must get it out because of the poison. But it will be hard because the shafts are broken."
We had to break the because I had problems to walk with them. The feline said and the ancient elf just nodded.
"We must find a really thick and strong branch for Luin to put in her mouth." Glorfindel said but the wolf pack got the idea first and found one. Ice paw let the two wolves carry the branch to the feline and returned to the rest of their pack.
Hannon le. The great feline bowed her head and took the thick branch.
Lord Elrond and Glorfindel stepped to the feline with the healing supplies. The raven haired elf took out a small, but sharp knife and cut off the fur around both arrows on the felines' side and hind leg. The balrog-slayer stroked the great cats' head and the lord of Imladris grabbed the broken arrow shaft in her side.
"Are you ready penneth?" lord Elrond asked and Luin nodded.
The ancient elf looked at right to the sky blue eyes and pulled the arrow out.
A muffled but although loud roar was herd accompanied by loud cracking of the branch, when the sharp feline teeth buried themselves deep in to the hard wood.
Lord Elrond quickly cleaned the wound and stitched it. Then he took the athelas salve and covered the closed wound. After that he pressed there a clean cloth and wrapped the felines' torso. Then he used the same proses on her hind thigh.
Luin spited out the almost broken branch out of her mouth and nodded her thanks to the ancient elves, to which both smiled lightly. Her jaw ached and she was exhausted beyond tell. Her sky blue eyes were unfocused and her eyelids were drooping slowly.
But lord Elrond, immediately when he saw that the feline was just about to fall asleep, he quickly ran to his horse and took out a small bottle out of the saddlebag. Then he ran back to Luin, opened the small bottle and poured the contents to the felines' opened mouth.
Luin swallowed the drought and first made a face full of confusion at the ancient elf. Then she growled in anger and stood up.
Some of the wolves also jumped up and growled, but they were quickly subdued by their own leader with a loud bark.
The great snow leopard halted her sudden outburst when she realized her legs ceased trembling and her tired body was slowly filling with energy.
Sorry lord Elrond for my harsh reaction. The feline bowed her head in shame. She did not raise her head until she felt a light touch of the ancient elfs' hand.
"You do not need to be sorry penneth. It was an understandable reaction, but I had to act quickly. We need to move to Imladris to treat Legolas and Haldir and also you, better than we can do here." the lord of Imladris said.
I understand. The feline nodded. But what…
"What was the draught I gave you? It is my special draught I made for situations like this. It will give you the really needed strength and subdue pain." the ancient elf smiled. "And I am really sorry Luin that you cannot rest and I had to force you to continue in this journey." the ancient elf apologized.
I would have gone anyway. Tired or not, I will follow him even if he goes to Mordor itself. The feline proudly said.
"So we will depart soon." the ancient elf said and motioned the other elves to pack their belongings while lord Elrond and Glorfindel, with help of other two elves, carefully placed Haldir on Asfaloth and Legolas on Wethril.
The elven company was mounted in no time, prepared to depart.
The wolf pack watched as the great feline limed to the two leading horses. That was the time when the pack stood up and surrounded the company.
"What is the meaning of this?" Glorfindel asked and looked around. The warriors behind him almost draw their swords, but they were stopped by lord Elronds' raised hand.
We will escort you there to be sure you arrived safely and besides our den is nearby. Ice paw said.
"The leader, Ice paw, said that they will escort us to Imladris." the bluish leopard said out laud, for even the elven warriors to hear her, when she looked at the elven lords.
Lord Elrond looked at the big black wolf and nodded. "Hannon le."
Ice paw let out a long howl to move and the unusual company departed into the darkness of the forest.