A/N: This is my very first fic, and I’m writing the sequel to it. Please read and review!
‘ ‘ Indicates thought
” ” Indicates speech

Chapter one: The first move

“So, if Orcs are Elves, and Wolves are Wargs, what are Dwarves?” Tirrin asked. The other members of the company groaned.

“Tirrin’s pointless, dumb question number… What is it now, four thousand, eight hundred and twenty nine?” Adron said.

“Does not it just seem strange to you that every race in Middle Earth has an evil counterpart, except the Dwarves?” Tirrin asked.

“Oddly enough Tirrin, some of us have brains that can think of more important things than that!” Rethan said.

“Hey!” Tirrin cried. Adron laughed at his brother.

A figure dropped out of the trees.

“Ai! You are making enough noise to bring every spider in Mirkwood here!” Legolas hissed.

“Sorry, Tirrin’s asking pointless questions again!” Adron whispered. Legolas sat down with a sigh.

“It’s not a pointless question! It is curiosity!” Tirrin said.

“What is the question?” Legolas sighed.

“If Orcs are Elves, and Wolves are Wargs, what are Dwarves?” Tirrin repeated. Legolas frowned thoughtfully.

“I’d say Trolls, as both races have the same level of intelligence!” Adron said. The others laughed.

“Nay, it cannot be! Trolls are too tall to be the Naugrim!” Tirrin argued.

“Goblins,” Legolas said. The other three looked at him.

“Goblins are just another breed of Orc,” Rethan said.

“Maybe, but they are like Dwarves. Cowardly, with a love of caves.” The other three considered this.

“Ai! Why can you not be around every time Tirrin asks a pointless question?!” Adron asked Legolas.

Legolas’s only reply was a short silvery laugh, which abruptly halted. He stood up, and went to the edge of the glade.

“What is it?” Rethan asked, rising.

“I hear orcs,” Legolas said simply. The other two jumped to their feet.

“How far?”

“A mile away.”

“Should we hide?”

Legolas considered this, “I think we should get closer, and find out their exact number first. We may be able to fight them.”

The four of them took to the trees, and ran through the forest.

Several minutes later, they found the orcs on a path. There were about twenty of them. The three Elves looked to their Captain. He studied the orcs for a moment before nodding.
The orcs walked on, oblivious to the danger above them. Legolas silently signalled for them to spread out and surround the orcs. They shadowed the orcs, sliding from tree to tree, following them for half a mile.

At Legolas’s signal Rethan threw a rock at a twig on the ground, behind the last orc. The twig snapped, and all the orcs whirled around. Tirrin and Adron jumped out of the trees, drawing their swords with duel cries of “For Mirkwood!” The orcs were taken by surprise by the two elves, and four of their number were destroyed. Legolas and Rethan took the opportunity to shoot arrows at the orcs, adding to the confusion.

The battle was going well, with sixteen of the Orcs down, and the only injury the Elves’ party had was a shallow cut on Tirrin’s arm. Legolas drew back another arrow, aimed, and shot another Orc through the heart. Another Orc was slain by Tirrin, and the last two were being cornered by Rethan, who had dropped out of the tree and was fighting with his knife.
The Orc who the Elves had identified as the chief said something in his foul language, and the other Orc jumped forward forcing Rethan to engage in combat. The Orc chief grabbed a horn that was tied to his waist, and blew one short blast, before Legolas shot his throat out. The other Orc was then slain by Rethan.

Legolas joined his friends on the ground.

“What do you think the horn was about?” Tirrin asked.

“Not another pointless question!” Adron groaned.

“Seriously, do you think the horn would have summoned reinforcements? Or been some other kind of signal?” Tirrin looked south pointedly, and all four of them shuddered.

“Then we should get out of here,” Adron said.

“Wait! Maybe he didn’t complete the signal, and one short blast meant that all was well,” Rethan said.

The other three stared at him.

“You do not really believe that, do you?” Legolas asked.

“I was more hoping,” Rethan admitted.

“Let me see your arm,” Adron said turning to Tirrin.

“It is a scratch!”

“Aye, and the last time you had “Just a little scratch” remember what happened?”

“Yea, yea, it was poisoned.”

“Exactly, now let me see it.”

Tirrin backed away from his brother. “Adron! I am fine, I swear!”

“Tirrin!” Adron lost his patience. “If you don’t give me your arm this instant, then I will tell Legolas and Rethan what really happened between you and Solen!”

Tirrin turned pale.

“You would not dare!”

“Try me,” Adron smirked, as he took a step towards Tirrin, and extended his arm.

“The arm, or I tell.”

Grumbling under his breath, Tirrin allowed Adron to look at his arm.

“Are you sure it is wise to linger?” Rethan asked Legolas. Legolas smiled at him.

“You do not know Adron as I do. He will not move until he knows his brother is alright.”

“But if there are orcs coming…”

“I cannot sense anything, can you?”

“Not as such, but I do feel uneasy.”

“That is just the adrenaline wearing off,” Legolas said, attempting to reassure his friend.


“Alright, you were right, it is just a scratch,” Adron admitted.

“Hah! I told you!” Tirrin crowed.

“At least I do not sound like an Elfling!”

“You two, can we move on now?” Rethan snapped.

The brothers stopped bickering and looked at him.

“What is wrong with you?” Tirrin asked.

“Can none of you sense it?” Rethan cried out frustrated.

“Sense what?”

“The… Silence.”

Legolas, Tirrin and Adron traded a confused look.

“The trees are quiet, the birds do not sing… It doesn’t feel right.”

“Maybe they are just spooked by the orcs,” Tirrin suggested.

“Nay, Rethan’s right. Something is wrong,” Legolas said frowning.

“So, are we going to get out of here?”

“Yea, we will head back home.”

Legolas took a step out of the clearing, when suddenly an arrow flew through the air, straight towards him…

Legolas ducked, and dived to the right. The arrow grazed his shoulder, but it flew past him and embedded itself in a tree.

Suddenly orcs appeared, far more than earlier. Taken by surprise, the four elves barely had time to draw their weapons before the first orcs were upon them.

Legolas stabbed the first one, and barely managed to get his sword free to parry a blow. He disarmed the orc and be-headed it, before moving onto the next one.

What seemed like an eternity passed, when a great cry caused him to turn. Adron lay lifelessly on the ground, his unseeing eyes gazing at the branches above.

“Adron!” he heard Tirrin cry.

An Orc took advantage of Legolas’s surprise, and attacked. He fell backwards. He lay there, winded on the ground as the Orc stepped over him.

‘So this is how I die,’ Legolas thought, and braced himself. He was highly surprised when the Orc turned his sword the other way around, and hit Legolas hard on the head with the hilt. Legolas gave a small grunt of surprise, before fading into unconsciousness.

Chapter two: The ambush

“I hate the rain,” Laren grumbled, flicking his soaked hair out of his face.

“At least it will be over soon,” Aragorn said consolingly.

“You hope!” Laren snorted.

“No, it will. It is easing up already,” Aragorn insisted.

Laren snorted again, and looked upward. He cursed as a particularly large raindrop hit his eye.

“What is wrong?” Roan asked from the head of the company.

“Stupid rain hit my eye,” Laren muttered, rubbing his eye and blinking furiously. The other two laughed at him softly.

“At least rain is not as bad as snow,” Aragorn said, grimacing as he remembered their foreboding task. Reports of increased orc activity in the Misty Mountains had reached the main Ranger camp. Aragorn, Laren and Roan had immediately set out to see if there was any truth in these rumours. Aragorn regretted the fact that Elladan and Elrohir were probably in Rivendell, as they would probably know everything about it. He had not been back since he had left, nor had he seen Elladan and Elrohir.

Or Arwen… Even the slightest thought of her made his heart pound, but he winced even as his heart beat. Such a beautiful maiden would have no interest in him; he was a fool for even thinking so. But even the merest thought of her stirred longing in the depths of his soul…

“What do you think Aragorn?” Laren’s question startled him.

“Forgive me; my mind was on other things. What was the question?”

Roan eyed him critically.

“You should be more alert Aragorn,” he reprimanded.

Aragorn stared at the back of Tilion, feeling his cheeks grow hot.

“The question was “Do you think we should stop for the night soon?”” Laren said.

“Oh!” Aragorn looked around, and then shrugged, “If we find a decent spot. Somewhere sheltered from the rain and wind.”

“There is a cave up a few miles ahead. It would be possible to light a fire there,” Laren said, glancing at Roan.

“Alright, we’ll stop. But we’ll leave before dawn to make up for the time,” Roan said.

Aragorn could see Laren grinning, and he himself felt happier knowing they would soon be out of the rain.

Keeping his ears alert, in case he should be caught out by the other Ranger’s again; he went back to thinking about Arwen.


Aragorn sat at the entrance of the cave, on watch.

‘Not much point, I can only see rain,’ he thought.

Behind him, Laren snored loudly, but no sound came from Roan, although Aragorn doubted he was awake. Otherwise, the only sounds that reached his ears were the rain beating against the ground, and the crackle of the fire. The rain looked as if it could carry on pouring down for several more hours.

‘The only thing that could make this worse is if a group of orcs suddenly decided to take shelter in a cave, and find us,’ Aragorn thought, shivering slightly, chilled despite the fire’s warmth.

He sneezed, and his hand flew to his nose to stifle it. He ended up with sticky mucus covering his fingers. Grimacing, he wiped his hand on the floor.

‘Wonderful! I’m getting a cold!’ he thought, and wrapped his cloak tighter about him. There was still another hour to go before Roan relieved him. Another hour of sitting there, freezing cold, stifling sneezes and coughs.

Aragorn groaned. ‘This should be fun!’


“Maybe you should go back,” Laren said.

Aragorn glared at him. “It is just a simple cold.”

“No illness is simple in the Wild!” Roan said.

“I will be fine.”

“It will only get worse the further into the Mountains we go!”

“I’ll survive! Even if you send me back, I’ll just follow you again!”

Roan sighed. “Fine lad, but don’t go and die on us.”

Aragorn grinned. “I won’t,” he promised.

They rode on for several hours, none of them talking, Aragorn stifling any sneezes or coughs that threatened to break loose.

They were riding through a ravine, when suddenly, out of nowhere, a volley of arrows flew towards them.
An arrow struck Aragorn high in the shoulder, and he cried out, but his yell was stifled by the almighty cry of Roan’s horse, as it fell to the ground, an arrow sticking out from its head. Another arrow shot Roan through the heart, and he slid off his horse. Another arrow hit Laren’s thigh. The two living horses panicked, and started galloping, Laren clinging on for dear life with his arms, and Aragorn with his knees.

Another volley came, and this time Tilion reared as he was shot. Aragorn felt himself fall off, and felt his head smack the ground. Stars sparkled in his vision, and then he blacked out.

Third chapter: Awakenings

Someone was… nudging him? His head was pounding, and he wanted to tell the person to leave him alone, but his mouth was refusing to co-operate. His legs and arms were cramped, as they were… tied together?

“Legolas,” a voice whispered in his ear.

‘Rethan?’ Legolas thought dazedly, and attempted to open his eyes. They proved to be more co-operative than his power of speech, and they opened slowly. He was staring at the night sky. With no branches in the way.

‘Hang on… We’ve left Mirkwood, or at least moved to a clearing… But why?’ And then, he heard the orcs.

He closed his eyes, and allowed himself a quiet groan.

“Legolas! Are you awake?” he opened his eyes. Rethan’s face had appeared on his right.

He nodded, but instantly regretted it as the world spun.

“Don’t move your head!”

“I think I have worked that one out for myself!”

“Ooh! Someone woke up on the wrong side of the orc camp!”

Legolas rolled his eyes, “What happened?”

“You do not remember?” Rethan asked concerned.

“I meant after I was knocked out by that Morgoth spawn!” Legolas snapped, his temper getting the better of him.

Rethan’s eyes darkened. “Tirrin got shot. Through the head.”

Legolas closed his eyes, and sighed.

“At least it was quick,” he said, re-opening his eyes.

“Aye.” Rethan’s eyes shone with un-shed tears that were rapidly blinked away. “Then I got knocked out as well. I only woke up a few minutes ago.”

“How many orcs are there?”

“Too many for us to take alone and unarmed.”

“Does it not seem odd to you that they did not kill us?”

“They probably want to torture us,” Rethan said smiling mirthlessly.

“Maybe, but doesn’t this seem a bit… planned to you?”

“Yea, it does.”

“It seems like an awful lot of trouble for just two elves. Two more or less unharmed elves.”

“Maybe they wanted us to be awake.”

“Or…” Legolas looked at Rethan, a thought panicking him, “Are we heading south?”

“Nay, west.”

Legolas relaxed.

“Why… Oh,” Rethan said, Legolas’s panic making sense. Dol Guldur…

“We are headed towards the Misty Mountains, not… there.”


“Hai! I think our prisoners are awake!” a voice called. The two elves stiffened.

“Time for some sport!” another voice said. Rethan moaned softly in his throat.

“Oi! Remember our orders! They are not to be harmed!”

Both of the elves breathed an almost silent breath of relief.

“Well, come on then! We have to move out! We should make the mountain before daybreak! And if we don’t, then you will run in the sun!” a commanding voice said.

“That is no orc,” Legolas mouthed at Rethan. Rethan nodded.

Heavy footsteps approached them.

“Up scum!” a voice barked, and a foot connected with Legolas’s side. He hissed softly, and sat up slowly. His vision spun and blurred, and his stomach clenched. He forced himself to take a deep breath, his eyes tightly shut. He opened them slowly, willing the world to stop spinning.

An Elf crouched down and cut the bonds tying his legs together. Then he seized Legolas by the shirt, and pulled him quickly to his feet. Legolas gasped as the world blacked out for a few seconds. The Ellon let go of him, and he stumbled. He felt someone catch him unsteadily. He slumped against the person, hearing the harsh laughter of the orcs, and the man.

“Careful,” he heard Rethan say quietly, so only he could hear.

‘He must have caught me’ Legolas thought, and he opened his eyes. The Ellon grinned at him.

“Rise and shine elf!” he sneered.
Legolas glared at him. The Ellon smirked, and turned to the orcs, who had been gathering behind him.

“Come on then, let’s move out!” he barked. The orcs started marching off.


One of the larger orcs paused, turned and walked back to the Elf.

“Yes Durband?”

“I want you to go at the back, behind our little elf friends. Make sure they keep up!”

“Yes sir!” the orc said, grinning evilly at the two elves. They stared back coldly. Durband smirked, and started running after the orcs.

“Move!” Urglak shouted at the elves.

Sighing softly, they started off.

They ran all throughout the night. They arrived at the mountains just as the sun was rising. Needing no encouragement other than the threat of the sun, the orcs entered a cave at the foot of one of the mountains. Legolas didn’t know which one it was, and he really didn’t care. All he knew was that he really hated any dark, damp, enclosed spaces, also known as caves.

A whip connected with the backs of his legs, and he hissed softly.

“Get in! Now!” the Orc snapped. Rethan turned his head to look back. He paused as he saw Legolas.

“Come on,” he said softly, before walking in. Legolas followed him, taking one last deep breath, trying to fix in his memory the smell of the outside.

They continued to march for about an hour. None of the Orcs had bothered to light torches, as they didn’t need them. Durband didn’t seem in the slightest bit bothered by the darkness. Legolas had noticed that the road they were using was smooth, as if it was used often. That was a good thing really, or otherwise Rethan and he probably would have tripped up, as Legolas could barely see five inches in front of his face, and he doubted Rethan was any better off.

They turned a corner. The road was suddenly a lot wider, and it was lined with torches set on high brackets in the walls. There was a disturbance at the front, and Legolas peered around the Orc in front of him to get a closer look. Two of the Orcs were arguing. Legolas listened carefully, but couldn’t quite understand what they were saying, as the cave distorted and echoed the voices.

“Enough!” Durband snapped, striding to the front. Everyone fell silent instantly at his order.

‘How does he manage to command so much respect from these Orcs?’ Legolas wondered.

“Urglak! Snarsh! Grab one elf! Gund! Hargar! Grab the other! The rest of you are dismissed!”

Three of the biggest orcs approached them, along with Durband. Urglak seized Legolas’s arm from behind, whilst another one grabbed his other arm. The other two Orcs did the same for Rethan. The smaller Orcs ran down the right hand path, whilst the Elves and their guards went up the left hand passage.

It led to a wide cavern. The flickering torches along the walls illuminated it, and cast shadows on the face of the room’s only occupant. The person rose from the chair they had been sitting on, in the centre of the room, and stepped fully into the torchlight. Legolas and Rethan gaped at the woman. She was the most beautiful person they had ever seen. But there was something evil about her beauty. An unexplained chill settled over the two Elves as they stared at her.

“Durband, I trust you got here with no problems.” Her voice was seductive, low and melodious, but it caused the hairs on the back of the Elves’ necks to stand up.

“No my Lady,” Durband replied.

“Good,” she rose, and came towards them. She stopped several paces in front of them, and met Legolas’s eyes. He stared back defiantly. He noticed that she had no iris, just inky blackness.

“Is this your one?” she asked.

“Yes my Lady.”

Her hand reached out, and softly cupped Legolas’s cheek. He attempted to back away, but the Orcs held him firmly. She laughed softly, before withdrawing her hand.

“So this one is mine,” she said, walking over to Rethan.

“Yes my Lady,” Durband said, an evil smile covering his face.

“Hmm…” She glanced at Legolas, “Say goodbye to your friend.”

Legolas’s stomach clenched in fear. He looked at Rethan. His face was impassive, but it had gone several shades paler than normal.

“He is going to go and deliver a message to your Father, and he might not see you for a while. Or ever.” At the last two words, Legolas shivered. The two Orcs holding him laughed cruelly.

“And what makes you think I will deliver the message?” Rethan asked.
She smiled at him.

“You will,” she looked at the Orcs holding him. “Hold him tight!”

The Orcs complied, gripping their hands into Rethan. He panicked, and started to squirm in the grasp of his captors.

“There is nowhere for you to go,” Durband said, grinning.

‘He’s right. Even if I could defeat four orcs and Durband with no weapons, this woman would do something. And even if I defeated her, Legolas is wounded, we haven’t got a clue where we are, and the mountain is infested with Orcs! But I still have to try,’ Rethan thought, continuing to writhe.
The woman stepped towards him, and stopped when her face was mere inches from his. Her eyes widened as she flexed her will.

Legolas watched as the woman approached Rethan. He was squirming against his captors grip, to no avail.

“There is nowhere for you to go,” he heard Durband say. Durband was behind him somewhere, but he didn’t turn and look. He had to know what this woman was going to do to his best friend.
She had stopped, mere inches from Rethan’s face. The temperature seemed to drop, and Rethan froze, and stared into her eyes.

“Rethan?” Legolas called. An Orc cuffed him over the head. Rethan started to glance his way, but the woman put her hands on his cheeks and held his head still. She leaned in and kissed him.

Legolas did a double take. Kissed him?!
‘Why would she kiss him?’ his mind screamed. Something was really not right here. Several moments passed before the woman broke her contact with Rethan.

“Rethan?” Legolas called again. Again, his only reply was a slap from one of the Orcs. The woman turned to him.

“He cannot hear you young prince. His soul belongs to me,” she said, smiling sweetly. Legolas gaped at her.

“What do you… Rethan? Rethan?” he cried.

“Rethan,” the woman called softly. Rethan immediately looked at her. The expression on his face scared Legolas. It was happy, ecstatic even.

“Yes my Lady?” Rethan asked. His voice was the same, yet there was something different about it.

“Say goodbye to your friend, and come along,” she said.

“Goodbye,” Rethan monotoned, not even looking at Legolas.

“Release him,” the woman ordered the Orcs. They let go of his arms.

“Come here Rethan.”

He obeyed eagerly, and she put her arm around him.

“Come, I have a message for you to deliver,” and they started to walk out.

“RETHAN!” Legolas cried at the top of his voice. Rethan gave no sign of acknowledgement. One of the Orcs struck him where his head wound was. Legolas blacked out for a few seconds, and sank to his knees, the laughter of the Orcs ringing in his ears.

“Enough of that! I want him unspoilt! Take him to the dungeons,” Durband ordered. Legolas felt the Orcs start to drag him, and somehow he rose and stumbled along, refusing to have the last bit of his dignity taken from him.

Chapter four: The meeting

The first thing he was aware of was the pounding of his head, followed shortly after by the pain radiating from his shoulder. He felt unnaturally hot.

‘Must be running a fever,’ he thought.
He felt some cold brushing against his arm, and realized his hands were chained together. He kicked his feet, but no chains were evident.

“Are you awake?” someone asked.

He cringed, he hadn’t been aware there was anyone in the room. But he couldn’t hear anyone. Frowning, he concentrated, fighting against the noise of his head. He could hear someone breathing softly.

‘An elf!’ he realized. ‘Or a very quiet human…’

“Yea, I am awake,” he said quietly. He felt someone crouch down next to him. He opened his eyes, and looked at the unfamiliar face hovering above him. A bruise on his right temple marred the pale face of the elf.

“Can you remember what happened to you?” he asked, his healer instincts taking over. The Elf smiled.

“I could ask the same of you,” he said, brushing his fingers over the wound on Aragorn’s head.

“Fell off a horse,” Aragorn grunted.

“Fell off or shot off?” the Elf asked, his eyes sparkling with mirth.

“Shot off,” Aragorn muttered, a small smile creeping onto his face.

The elf frowned as he placed his cool hand on Aragorn’s burning forehead.

“You have a fever,” he announced.

“I know.”

“And you could have concussion…”

“My name is Estel; the sky is blue and Orcs smell.”

“Huh?” the Elf said confused.

Aragorn blushed, and muttered, “Just a joke my Brothers and I had.”


‘Oops,’ Aragorn thought. The fever was making him careless.

“Aye, I don’t seem them now. Family problems,” Aragorn said.


“Are you sure you don’t have concussion?” Aragorn asked. The Elf looked surprised at the question, before answering.

“As sure as Trolls are stupid, the grass is green and my name is Legolas.”

“Prince Legolas of Mirkwood?” Aragorn asked, frowning as he recognized the name.

“I really don’t think titles are appropriate in the middle of a dungeon in an orc infested mountain!” Legolas joked.

“Not really,” Aragorn said with a low laugh.

“What are you doing here?” Legolas asked him. Aragorn sighed, and related his tale. Legolas’s face grew more and more serious as the tale progressed.

“So you don’t know what happened to Laren then?” Legolas asked.


Legolas suddenly looked scared and thoughtful.

Aragorn felt confused by the Elf’s reaction. “What is it?”

Legolas sighed. “I will tell you what happened to me, then it will be clearer.”

For the next quarter of an hour, Legolas related the ambush, the awakening and what happened to Rethan.

“So, he is going to “deliver a message” to your Father?”

“That is what she said.”

“Hmm… I hope Laren is dead. Better death than a soulless existence,” Aragorn said.

“Soulless?” Legolas said startled.

“That is what it sounds like.”

Legolas bit his lip and frowned.

“What I’m trying to understand is why you are here.”

“I’m sure all will be revealed soon. And by then, we’ll wish it was still unrevealed,” Aragorn sighed.

Chapter five: A balrog?

“More energy Niphredil! I’m not feeling you!”

‘I wonder if he’d feel me if I punched him,’ Niphredil thought to herself with a smirk.

“I am Gothmog, Lord of the Balrogs!” she cried again, for what had to be the hundredth time.

Lindir sighed. “Alright, that’s enough for today.”

Niphredil allowed herself a silent cheer, and started heading for the door.

“Remember, you need to start planning the Balrog dance!” Lindir called after her. She winced and pulled a face.

“Stupid dance! Stupid Balrog! Stupid Lindir! Stupid Yule! Stupid Twins,” she muttered hotly, as she reached the training grounds. Other than a few Ellyn sparring in one corner, it was deserted.

Taking a few deep breaths, she drew her sword, and faced the practice dummy in front of her. She took a few practice swings, before attacking.

‘Jab to the side, block, stab right, block overhead, sweep, jump backwards, and… leap!’ Although she was supposed to keep her mind blank during a fight, as did all warriors, to provide better focus, she either had to think about what she was doing, or call Lindir every name she knew in Elvish, Dwarvish and Rohiric. Actually, that didn’t sound like such a bad idea…

“That dummy never stood a chance,” a voice said behind her. Stifling a groan, she sheathed her sword, and turned around.

“Hello Ada,” she said to the grinning Elf Lord.

“Walk with me?”

With a stifled sigh, she nodded.

“How is the “Fall of Gondolin” going?”

Niphredil groaned. “Horribly. I either feel like an idiot, or I do so well that I scare Bragolan so much he can’t say his lines! And we have to do a dance! I think the Eagles have sorted theirs, but we still need to sort out some sort of Balrog dance. And I personally think Balrogs shouldn’t dance!”

Glorfindel chuckled, “It cannot be all bad.”

“More or less! And the Orcs aren’t evil! Believe me; they wouldn’t be able to scare a Goblin!”

“But the grand plan is working?”

“If you mean the “Niphredil-I-love-you-so-much-can-you-do-one-teensy-favour-for-me?-Be-part-of-the-Yule-Play-Presentation-Celebration-Festival-thing-so-that-Elrohir-and-Elladan-will-be-here-for-Yule-because-it-would-mean-a-lot-to-Elrond” plan, yes.”


Niphredil rolled her eyes.

They walked on a while in companionable silence, until they reached the main courtyard… and then they froze, staring at the sight in front of them.

Five Elves stood in the middle of the courtyard, the stable lads taking away their horses to be stabled. All of the Elves were blonde haired, so Niphredil assumed that they were from Lothlórien. Until Glorfindel muttered “Thranduil,” in disbelief behind her.

“Thranduil? As in King Thranduil of Mirkwood?” Niphredil asked.

“No! Thranduil the healer from Lothlorien,” Glorfindel said sarcastically.

‘Now there is proof he is surprised! He never uses sarcasm!’ Niphredil thought to herself, quickly following him as he went over to where Elrond and Thranduil were talking softly to each other.

They turned as the Balrog Slayer and his daughter approached.

“Greetings Lord Glorfindel,” Thranduil said.

“King Thranduil,” Glorfindel said inclining his head.

“King Thranduil,” Niphredil said softly, placing her hand on her heart.

“Lady…?” Thranduil said, sure he had never seen her before.

“Niphredil, my daughter,” Glorfindel said.

As Thranduil’s eyes met her own, Niphredil had a hard time concealing her shock. She had not seen such grief in an Elf’s eyes since her Ada’s eyes when her Naneth died. Glancing around the company, she felt ashamed that she had not realised the tangible sorrow which hovered in the air.

‘Call yourself a warrior! You’re supposed to be alert!’ she berated herself.

“Shall we go inside?” Elrond asked Thranduil. Thranduil glanced around at the other four, his eyes hovering on one.

Niphredil followed his gaze. The Elf was staring almost lifelessly at the floor. Niphredil wondered again what had happened.

“Yes,” Thranduil answered finally, and they all went inside, Glorfindel running ahead.

“Where is he going? I would have thought he would like to be present,” the Mirkwood Elf that was next to her said.

“He is going to tell the guards we are not to be disturbed,” she replied.

“They will hear our conversation?” he looked concerned.

“Nay, they will be posted at either end of the corridor,” she explained.

“You are Lord Glorfindel’s daughter, are you not?”

“Yes, and my guess would be you are King Thranduil’s son,” she said, noting his clothes were decorated with the same symbols as King Thranduil’s.

“Prince Libren.”

“The Crown Prince?” Niphredil asked, attempting to remember what she had been taught about the Mirkwood royal family.


He fell silent, allowing Niphredil to brood on this new piece of information. What would bring the King and Crown Prince of Mirkwood here? Mirkwood and Imladris had not been on speaking terms since the end of the Second Age. As for the others, did they have something to do with this, or were they just here as guards for the King and Prince? What of the quiet Elf? What was his part in all of this?

Chapter six: Not just a messanger

“Thranduil, may you tell us the whole story now?” Elrond asked. Niphredil’s head snapped up. Sometime during thinking, her body had gone onto autopilot. She hadn’t realised that they had entered the private conference room, the door was shut, and they were all sitting down. Including herself.

‘When did I sit down?’ she asked herself, frowning as she tried to remember. And then Thranduil started to speak, so she gave up her attempt, and focused on what he was saying.

“My son, Legolas, and three of his companions, Tirrin, Adron and Rethan-” he gestured to the Elf Niphredil had noticed earlier, sitting in a corner. Niphredil looked at him, but he continued to stare at the floor.

“-were out hunting in the North West of Mirkwood. They were not due back for a month, but something arose that Legolas needed to know about. So I sent Libren to find him,” he gestured to his eldest son, who rose.

“We discovered that the group had ambushed orcs, and were in turn ambushed. We found the bodies of Tirrin and Adron there, but there was no sign of Legolas or Rethan. We continued to track the Orcs. That is when Rethan came riding back to us, with a message.”

Thranduil withdrew a parchment out of his robe pocket and gave it to Elrond. Elrond skimmed over it, and let out a low gasp when he reached the end.

“What is it Ada?” Elrohir asked, half rising from his chair.

“To Thranduil Greenleaf and Elrond Peredhil,

Know complete despair,

Your sons will die, and the hope of the world will die.

You should have killed me when you had the chance Peredhil!



PS. Durband sends his regards, and wishes to inform you that Legolas and Estel will die in the most painful way imaginable” Elrond read out loud.

Elrohir, Elladan and Niphredil stared at each other blankly.

“It can’t be!” Glorfindel exclaimed, his face darkening with rage. He turned to Thranduil. “I thought you killed Durband!”

“So did I! Oddly enough, you do not check for pulses on headless corpses!” Thranduil said, his voice raised in annoyance.

“And as for Moril…” Glorfindel turned back to Elrond, “It is impossible. She cannot be alive… can she?”

“She could be…” Elrond said, pondering a thought.

“Will someone please explain who these people are? And how do they even know Estel is your son?” Elladan demanded.

“Durband is… was an elf. I’m not sure what you’d call him now,” Thranduil said. “At the very beginning of the Third Age, he tried to kill me, as he believed that I did not have the right to the throne… He failed, and I killed him… Or at least I thought I did.”

“It cannot be the same one.” Everyone looked at the only female in the room. Niphredil looked at Glorfindel, “It is not possible, is it Adar?”

“I would not have said so, but it appears this way. But I refuse to be believe the Valar had any part in this.”

The other Elves nodded in agreement.

“So who is Moril?” Elrohir asked.

“An evil Maia. Some suspect she is the daughter of Morgoth,” Elrond replied.

“Really?!” the younger Elves looked astonished.

“I doubt it,” Glorfindel snorted, “But she is evil enough to be!”

“What makes you say that?” Elladan asked curiously.

“You do not want to know,” Glorfindel replied, a troubled look coming over his face.

“Yes I-”

“-No. You. Don’t” Elrond interrupted, glaring warningly at his eldest son.

The company fell silent.

“She steals people’s souls,” one of the Mirkwood Elves said quietly.

“What?!” the Twins cried together, their heads turning as one to gape at him.

“That is not possible!” Niphredil said, shaking her head in disbelief.

“It is true,” Thranduil said reluctantly, and turned to Elrond, sighing heavily.

“We fear Moril has attacked Rethan,” he beckoned to Elrond, and they went over to Rethan.

Niphredil caught a movement out of the corner of her eye, and glanced behind her. The Twins had moved next to Libren. With another glance at the two Elf Lords, she joined the Twins.

“Celeblas is really cut up about Rethan,” Libren said quietly, nodding at the only Elf who had not participated in the conversation. He was watching Elrond and Thranduil warily.

“Is he Rethan’s brother?” Elrohir asked.

“Aye, and they love each other dearly. You can rarely find one without the other.”

Suddenly Elladan gasped a curse. His twin, Niphredil and Libren looked at him. He was staring at Rethan as if he’d seen a ghost.

“Language Elladan,” Glorfindel reprimanded.

Niphredil looked at Rethan. He had finally looked up. She gasped herself as she looked into his eyes. His pupil was so contracted, it looked as if he had no iris. But it was the sheer emotionless, the… soullessness that frightened her the most.

She felt Elrohir shudder against her, and she reached down and squeezed his hand. She felt him squeeze back softly, thanking her, before taking his hand away.

“Wh-What can we do Ada?” Elladan said softly.

“I know not,” Elrond said thoughtfully. “All the others died instantly.”

“Then why isn’t Rethan-”

“I do not know.”

“Hm… This is not making any sense. How do you know that the other Elves’ souls were stolen?” Elrohir asked.

“Because there was one survivor. Lord Celeborn and I managed to disturb her in the middle of her last attack. I wounded her, and she fled. The Elf survived, and explained to us what Moril had tried to do. But even he faded…” Elrond trailed off.

“Then why keep Rethan alive?” Libren asked.

“Maybe he is more than a messenger,” Elrohir said quietly.

Nine pairs of eyes stared at him.

“What do you mean?” Libren asked.

“Maybe he can show us where Estel and Legolas are being held.”

“I doubt it,” Thranduil said sadly, “he has not said a word since he returned.”

“Well there has to be a reason she kept him alive!” Niphredil cried, frustrated.

Celeblas let out a small gasp, causing all eyes to turn to him. He looked at Niphredil, his eyes shining with hope.

“My Lady, he seemed to hear you!”

“I believe his hearing has not diminished,” the unnamed Mirkwood elf said.

“I mean…” Celeblas looked at Libren imploringly.

“Lady Niphredil, could you talk to him?” Libren asked.

Niphredil rose, and went over to Rethan, wondering what this would achieve.

“Rethan?” she said quietly. His eyes met hers, and there seemed to be a certain amount of comprehension in them.

“Greetings my Lady.” His voice was low and husky.

Out of the corner of her eye, Niphredil noticed the Mirkwood Elves flinch slightly. Had something about him changed?

“Where are Legolas and Estel?” she asked. He didn’t reply.

“Please Rethan, I must know.”

He just blinked at her.

Suddenly an idea hit her. Discreetly, she slipped a hand behind her back and signalled in Imladris warrior hand signals “Idea. Go, go, go.”

She then turned and said, “My Lords, may I have some time alone with him?”

Elrond looked at her calculatingly. “If you think it would help.”

Celeblas opened his mouth to say something, but Libren shot him a look that stifled his resistance.

The others left, and they were left alone together. Niphredil rose, and locked the door…

Chapter 7: Deception

She turned back to Rethan, and allowed a small seductive smile to curve her lips.

“Rethan. I don’t care about Legolas or Estel. It’s Moril I want to find,” she lied.

“Why?” Rethan asked, startled.

“Because,” Niphredil gestured around the room, “This is not how I want to live my life. Being good has too many rules…” She hated herself for saying it. And, in truth, it wasn’t a very good lie. “I want to learn from Moril.”

“Why must she be your teacher?” Rethan asked, staring at her.

“How else am I supposed to get out of here? This is a chance, an opportunity”

Rethan still looked unsure, “What of your Ada?”

“What about him?”

“Would you not miss him? And my Lady seeks to destroy Imladris. He could be hurt or killed.”

“I care not.” She looked at him straight in the eyes, and said, “It was his fault my Naneth died.” It felt as if she had plunged a dagger through her heart, but still she held his eyes.

“Hmm…” She felt him weaken, and hurriedly pressed her attack.

“And there’s the matter of Durband…”

A look of intense hatred formed on Rethan’s face.

“What of him?” Rethan growled.

“Moril seems to favour him…”

“She brought him back to life. She looks at him as a child,” Rethan said scornfully.

“Are you sure that is all?”

“Yes…” Doubt flickered across his face.

“If she teaches me, I could attract him to me, and leave Moril free for you,” she said, hoping she did not sound overly eager.

“Why would you do that?” Rethan asked suspiciously.

“Because you would deserve payment for showing me Moril’s base… and giving me my freedom.”

Niphredil sensed his resolve break.

“Alright. I will show you.”

A/N: Later that night

Libren, Niphredil, Elladan and Elrohir were sitting in the parlour discussing plans for the next day.

“I still find this whole thing reckless. We don’t even know if we can trust Rethan,” Elladan said.

“There is no other way for us to find Estel and Legolas,” Elrohir pointed out.

“We could scout the mountains-”

“Which would take too long. They could be dead by then,” Niphredil countered.

“What if they are already dead?” Libren asked quietly.

The three Rivendell Elves looked at him, and then at each other.

“I would rather they were dead and whole than alive and broken,” Niphredil whispered, a haunted look in her eyes.

Libren started to ask what she meant, but was interrupted by a knock at the door.

“Come in,” Elladan called.

An Elfling crept shyly into the room.

“Nymph, Ada wants to see you,” she said.

Niphredil sighed, “Alright.”

She rose and turned to Libren. “It was a pleasure meeting you Prince Libren, although I wish it were under better circumstances.”

“The pleasure is mine fair lady, and likewise I wish we could have met at a better time,” he replied.

The Ellyth left, leaving the Ellyn alone with each other.

“I did not know Glorfindel had two daughters,” Libren said.

“He does not. He adopted Lothwen when her parents were killed by the Nazgul,” Elrohir explained.

“Oh… May I ask you a question?”


“What did she mean by that last comment? Before we were interrupted,” Libren asked curiously.

Elladan and Elrohir exchanged a look.

“Have you heard of the fate of our Naneth?” Elladan asked softly.

“I heard she was attacked by orcs, and she sailed,” Libren replied.

“But you do not know the details…” Elrohir said, glancing at Elladan, as if seeking agreement or comfort from him.


“Our Naneth and Nimdil, Glorfindel’s wife, were captured by orcs, several centuries ago.” Elrohir paused, and looked over at Elladan.

“Nimdil was raped. She faded. Nana survived but sailed,” Elladan said briefly, the subject hurting his soul.

“Ah,” Libren nodded in understanding and sympathy.

There was a lengthy silence.

Elladan broke it, by saying, “Do you know what the thing Adar and Glorfindel would not tell us is? What Moril did?”

“Oh… Aye. She raped her victims… I guess they did not want to say anything with Niphredil around…”

There was another silence. Libren felt so uncomfortable he just had to say something, anything…

“So, I guess Mirkwood and Imladris will become a lot closer…” He wanted to kick himself, that sounded stupid.

“Aye. What better way to bring two lands together, than to threaten their youngest princes?” Elrohir said dryly.

Chapter eight: Alone

“Scouts have reported that the Elves are on their way My Lady. They should be here by sundown tomorrow,” Durband said.

“Good” Moril smiled at him, “Are their any Ellyth in their company?”

“One my Lady.”

“You may have her.”

Durband’s eyes glittered hungrily. “Thank you my Lady. And will your Ladyship have any?”

“Maybe one of Elrond’s whelps. It should be interesting to see how a half elf compares to a real elf,” she said, her eyes dark with lust.

“And Elrond?”

“Leave him to me.” Her eyes darkened with long buried anger. “Kill the rest.”


“Urglak!” Durband cried, striding into the orc barracks.

“Yes Sir!” the orc said, snapping to attention.

“Tell the troops to capture the two identical dark haired ones, and the female one. They are for myself and my Lady. The dark haired one named Elrond is Lady Moril’s. Anyone who harms them is tortured until death, understood?”

“Yes sir.”

Urglak started barking out orders to his second in command, as Durband left.


(AN: The next day, near to sundown…)

Legolas was worried, Estel had fallen unconscious around half an hour ago, and nothing Legolas had done woke him. In Legolas’s opinion, there were few things that were worse than feeling completely helpless.

“Estel,” he called again, but the response was the same as the other countless times he had tried. Legolas sighed and slumped against the wall.

Several minutes later, he heard someone coming done the corridor. He straightened as he realised they were orcs. He stood up as the door opened, and the orc captain stepped in. He smirked as he took in the scene.
He barked something in the black tongue at the orcs behind him, and two orcs headed over to Estel.

Legolas immediately stood in front of Estel, his natural Elven balance the only thing that kept him from falling over his chained feet.

“Leave him!” he growled.

The orc captain gave a nasty grin.

“Get ‘im.”

Three orcs stepped out from behind their captain, and joined their two comrades. They then attacked Legolas. He ducked one blow, but ended up falling onto another one. The fist smacked into his chin with bruising force and he fell to the floor.
Stars sparkled in front of his eyes, and he smothered a groan. Fists and kicks rained down against him. He focused on not making a noise, not giving the orcs the satisfaction that came from the knowledge they were hurting him.

“Enough!” Durband’s voice cried out.
Legolas felt the orcs back away from him, and the Elf approached him. He felt Durband grab a fist of his hair, and force his face off the ground. Durband smiled maliciously.

“Get ready to say goodbye to your Adar young prince. Oh, but don’t worry. You will both eventually find each other in Mandos’s halls… But then… can a soulless elf reach Mandos’s halls?”

Chapter nine: The crossed paths

Glorfindel cast a wary eye over the boulders around their path. A few minutes ago they had entered a small ravine. It was the perfect place for an ambush. An uneasy feeling had settled over him.

“We are nearly there,” he heard Rethan tell Niphredil.

He watched as Niphredil turned her head and looked back at him. He gave her a reassuring nod. He knew she was uncomfortable with her role in deceiving Rethan. But it was necessary, they all knew that… no matter how uncomfortable it made him feel that Rethan believed he had a part in the death of his wife. It brought back a lot of guilt…

Abruptly, Rethan halted his horse and dismounted. The party tensed, waiting for some sort of attack.

“We will walk from here,” he said.

“Rethan…” Niphredil said hesitantly.

“We are safe.”

“Why do I get the feeling that by “we” he means himself and Niphredil?” Elladan muttered.

“Probably because it does,” Elrohir replied darkly.

“What do we do with the horses?” Elrohir asked.

“Tell them to find a safe place maybe…” Glorfindel looked around at the rest of the company, feeling rather helpless.

“With all the orcs around? It would be suicide!” Libren protested.

“There is nothing else we can do.” The party turned to Niphredil. She stroked the nose of her own horse, and said, “Rethan says our path goes into the mountains themselves. They will be in less danger out here. And they will only get in the way in there.”

Resignedly, and with much regret, they sent the horses off, telling them to find a safe place.

“How much further is it Rethan?” Niphredil asked.

“Not far.” He dropped his voice so only she could hear him. “Are you sure about this?”

“This is my freedom Rethan. Of course I am sure about it.”

“But…” He looked as if he was having a silent struggle within himself.

“Rethan?” she prodded.

“It is just… you may not like what you see,” he muttered.

“What do you mean?”

“Just…” he shrugged helplessly.

Even more on edge than before, she followed him.

Presently, they came to a meeting of paths. Glorfindel, Elladan, Elrohir and Niphredil stopped and stared.
The other Elves stopped as well, all puzzled by their companion’s behaviour. Save for a guilty feeling Rethan. He wished he could have spared her this pain. But she was not the one he would do anything for… He pushed all thoughts to the side, and looked on as impassively as before.

“What is it?” Libren asked.

“How is this possible?” Elrohir breathed.

Elladan swore under his breath.

Niphredil was biting her lip. Blood ran down her chin, contrasting with her suddenly pale skin.

Elrond was surprised to see tears in Glorfindel’s eyes.

“What is it Mellon nin?” he whispered.
Glorfindel exhaled shakily, before saying, “This path leads to the Orc den were Nimdil and Celebrían were taken…”

Chapter ten: The darkness

The blackness they had encountered when they had finally arrived in the mountain was absolute.

“I do not remember it being this dark,” Elladan said to his twin in a low voice.

“That would be because the torches were lit last time,” Elrohir replied.

They walked in silence for a while.
Glorfindel realised, to his horror, that they were taking the same path that four of their company had walked long ago…

‘Be prepared for the worst.’ His second-in-command’s voice rang in his ears again. He shuddered. Nothing could have prepared him for that night…
Torchlight flickered ahead, and the company picked up its pace.

They entered a large cavern. Libran immediately sought his little brother. Legolas was on his knees, hair darkened by the dry blood in it, fresh bruises covering his face. Behind him, another Elf stood, his hands on Legolas’s shoulders, keeping him down.

The other side of the cavern, an orc held a blade to an unconscious human’s throat. Libren heard Elladan and Elrohir growl lowly.

In the middle of the two prisoners and their captors, stood a woman. She was smiling, her black eyes twinkling in the torchlight.

“Welcome my lords,” she purred.

“Moril,” was Elrond’s cold reply.

“What is it you want?” Thranduil demanded.

“Me, want? I have no idea what you mean,” Moril said innocently.

“You capture our sons, send us a note saying that you have them, give us a sure way of discovering where your base is, and then you do not want anything from us?” Thranduil cried in disbelief.

Moril’s smile brightened. “I have everything I want right here. Durband, give the order.”


Suddenly, orcs came pouring into the cavern. Elladan ran towards Aragorn, drawing his sword, and started to fight. Orc after orc fell to his swift blade, but more came. He felt the presence of his twin, and then felt Elrohir’s back against his. This was their preferred method of fighting in orc dens.

“Where is he?” he heard Thranduil cry out.

“Elladan, Elrohir, away from Estel! The orcs are concentrating their efforts on you; you are putting him in danger!” Glorfindel’s voice cried out.
Elladan pushed his right shoulder blade against Elrohir, the signal to go left. As the twins shifted, Elladan was given a view of the rest of the company.

Thranduil and Libren fought side by side, Celeblas and Amren defending their King and heir from attacks behind them. Elrond was fighting his way over to Moril, who stood watching the bloodshed, a sword in her hand. The orcs guarding Aragorn and Legolas were now dead, and Glorfindel was defending Legolas, as the latter fought, wincing from his injuries. Elladan glanced about, but couldn’t see Niphredil anywhere. Nor could he see Durband…


The Orcs had cornered her, and forced her down a corridor, into an antechamber. With a feeling similar to a dagger in the gut, she realised that it was the chamber in which she had found her Mother. Stone cold dead, the crimson blood still flowing between her thighs…

Repressing the urge to vomit, she began fighting more fiercely, trying to break free. But every time she slew an orc, the next orc stood in its place.

Thankfully, although the orcs were skilled, they were few in number, and she was soon finishing off the last one. She kicked its legs from under it. As it fell, she brought her sword down in one straight plunge. It died instantly as Niphredil’s sword through its chest.

Suddenly, someone slammed into her side. Her sword slipped from her fingers, and she fell to the floor.
A heavy body pinned her down. She was flipped onto her back. She stared up at Durband’s face.

She attempted to dislodge herself, but only succeeded in wriggling slightly.

“Stop that,” Durband growled. The ill-concealed lust in his voice only made her more desperate to escape.

“There’s no need to be afraid,” he paused thoughtfully, “I wonder if you are as tight as your Mother…”

Niphredil stiffened at those words. Durband took the opportunity to kiss her neck. She shuddered, repulsed at the feel of his lips.

“But then…” Another kiss, “you should be,” and another, “you are a virgin, I can smell it.”

“Amin feuya ten’ lle” she spat.

He gave a low laugh, and his hands began to slide down to her chest…

Suddenly, something smashed into them, knocking him off of her.

Gasping for air, she sat up, and watched as Glorfindel killed Durband with a swift stroke to the neck.

She slowly stood up, her legs still shaking. Her Mother’s face, contorted with pain, swam in front of her face. Celebrían’s sobbing rang in her ears.

“Nymph?” A hand laid on her shoulder grounded her, bringing her back, reminding her of the present.


A yell from the main hall caused them both to turn.

“Tol, we are needed,” Glorfindel said, slipping an arm over her shaking shoulders.


Amin feuya ten’ lle- You disgust me

Chapter 11: A sacrifice

He was stronger than before, backed with the power of Vilya, and a fierce anger spawned from his love for Aragorn. But she was stronger too; training in black magic had made her strength increase three-fold. The two of them fought fiercely, yet neither could hit the other. Frustration, anger and the adrenaline that came with a fight to the death fuelled a deadly fire which flooded through their veins.

What seemed like countless minutes passed. Every move was countered, and had it not been for the life-or-death situation, Elrond would have been quite bored.

“Where is he?” he heard Thranduil cry again.

“I will find him,” Glorfindel yelled back.

More time passed, before a Gondolinian battle cry signalled Glorfindel’s return.

Moril suddenly cried out, and fell forward, hacking at Elrond. Elrond hurriedly stepped backwards. He looked behind Moril to see Glorfindel, his eyes burning with the same fire that was tingling in Elrond’s veins. The two warriors exchanged nods, before Glorfindel turned to slay another orc, and Elrond raised his sword to Moril again. Blood stained her side where Glorfindel had cut her.

The two of them began fighting again, but now Elrond had the advantage. Somehow, he drive through her defence, and stabbed her chest. She gave a shout, and moved backwards. Elrond felt a stab of annoyance with himself. It was a good wound, but not deep enough to be instantly fatal.

Suddenly, something sharp was stabbed into his back, and he cried out in alarm and pain. There was a whistling sound, and he heard an orc gurgle and fall on the floor behind him. Before he had a chance to regain his bearings, Moril was attacking him again.

Finally, a slight mis-step on Moril’s part, and a swift thrust by Elrond, and Moril died, Elrond’s blade through her heart.


Elladan stabbed another orc. That made his count ten… eleven… twelve? Did it really matter?

Another orc ran towards him, but at the last second noticed something behind Elladan. Its eyes widened in horror, and it turned and ran.

“Coward,” Elladan muttered.

“I was not aware that Orcs were known for bravery,” Elrohir replied dryly.
Elladan noticed that most of the orcs were now giving up the battle, and fleeing. Wondering what had prompted this, he moved from his back-to-back position with Elrohir, and pressed his back against the wall to survey the room.

All the orcs were dead, or just outside the doorway, running for their lives. Elrond was knelt next to the prone form of Aragorn. Glorfindel bent over them, talking to Elrond.

Thranduil and Legolas were talking softly together. Libren was talking to Amren, who had a gaping wound in his side.

Niphredil was leaning against a wall, looking down at the unconscious Rethan and Elrohir, who was attempting to rouse him.

Elladan quickly scanned the corpses on the floor. His heart sank as he noticed Celeblas’s body lying amongst the orcs. He would never see his brother recover… unless…

Elladan walked over to his twin, and knelt down beside him.

“Is he dead?” he asked.

“Not quite. He passed out after Moril died.”

“Moril’s dead?” Elladan glanced around frowning, “I can see no corpse.”

“It vanished.” Niphredil’s reply was so soft Elladan barely heard it.

“Where is Durband then?”

“He is dead as well.”

“When did that happen?”

“When Adar beheaded him.” Her tone was icy, and Elladan decided not to press for information.

Suddenly all the warriors stiffened as they heard the noise of drums beating.

“The orcs summon help. We must leave here. Now,” Glorfindel ordered.

Glorfindel quickly surveyed the group. Aragorn, Rethan and Amren would have to be carried out, which meant that six warriors would be out of defending if a group of orcs attacked. And although Legolas had held his own through the battle, he could tell the youngest prince of Mirkwood couldn’t hold out much longer.

“Elrond carry Aragorn, Elrohir carry Rethan and Elladan carry Amren. Libren, shoot the orcs that attack us from the rear. Niphredil, Thranduil, come with me at the front,” Glorfindel ordered.

Niphredil and Thranduil joined him, and with one quick glance behind to check everyone was following, he set off down the tunnel which led to the outside.


Elladan went over to Amren, who looked at him, then Libren, then Legolas’s back as he walked out of the chamber, and finally the three other tunnels which lead deeper into the mountains, where the Elves could hear the sounds of the hunting goblins.

“I cannot go with you,” Amren said simply.

“What?!” Elladan cried. Libren looked just as shocked.

“There’s no point. This wound is fatal. I will only slow you down. And die anyway.” He met Libren’s eyes. “I am staying.”

“‘Tis suicide!” Elladan cried.

“I know.” Amren looked at him, a look of determination in his eyes.

“Come Elladan,” Libren’s voice was quiet and full of grief.

“You cannot be serious!” Elladan cried.

“Very serious. ‘Tis his choice. And nothing we can say will dissuade him.” Libren turned to Amren.

“Mandos watch you mellon nin.”

“And Varda and Manwë watch you.”

“Come Elladan,” Libren said.


“-Now!” Libren left the chamber.


“-Leave Elladan,” Amren said.

With a sigh, Elladan turned away, and hurried down the corridor.

Chapter 12: Aftermath

The light of the setting sun hit Elladan’s face as he exited the cave. The rest of the group were seated upon their horses.


“They were here when we came out. Clever things,” Elrohir scratched his horses neck affectionately.

“Where is Amren?” Thranduil asked from behind Elladan.

“He-He’s not coming with us,” Elladan said quietly, as he mounted his horse.

“What do you mean?” Legolas asked.

Elladan glanced at Libren.

“He-He wasn’t going to make it ‘Las. And he wanted to stay there…” Libren explained.

“He sacrificed himself?” Legolas asked astounded.

“Aye,” Libren sighed.


“Come, the sun sets. We must be out of here before it gets dark,” Thranduil said. Legolas turned to his Father, a tear glistening in his eye.

Thranduil squeezed his shoulder comfortingly. “We must not let his sacrifice be in vain.” Legolas nodded, and the company set off.

“Where should we head?” Elrond asked Glorfindel.

“There should be some Ranger stations nearby,” Glorfindel replied.

“The nearest one is a mile away. And it is not the safest one,” Niphredil said.

“It will have to do.”

“I’ll ride ahead, make sure it’s safe.” Niphredil urged her horse to go faster.


“I will be fine Adar,” she said dismissively as she rode away.

“What happened when you went to look for her earlier?” Elrond asked.

“I will tell you later.”


When they arrived at the camp, which was sheltered on three sides by the mountain, and hidden by bushes, there was already a fire going, with a pan of water boiling on it.

“Nymph?” Elladan called out.

“Here,” a voice called from the treetops. “I could not find any danger, but I will go and double check.” There was a slight rustling noise, and she was gone.

She slipped through the trees, not heeding any danger whatsoever. A horde of orcs could have past her unnoticed. Thankfully, that didn’t happen.

Finally, she jumped down onto the ground, and sat on a fallen branch. It was only then she let the tears fall.

How long she sat there she didn’t know. She did not move until two arms wrapped around her, and she jumped with shock.

“Shh… it is just me,” Elrohir said soothingly.

“Elrohir! Do not frighten me like that!”

“Forgive me. I did not know I had surprised you.” He sat down next to her, and peered into her face. “You have been crying.”


“Why? You have been acting oddly since the battle.”

“Adar has not said anything?”


She sighed, and reaccounted the death of Durband.

“That… that yrch!” Elrohir spat out through clenched teeth when she was finished.

Niphredil nodded, her tears all spent.
His anger turned to sorrow at the look on her face. “I-I am sorry Nymph,” he muttered.

“‘T’wasn’t your fault.”

“You look out for me and ‘Dan, we look out for you. That was our promise. We failed…”

“You could not have done anything. The orcs attacking you were too many.”

Elrohir sighed. “I suppose not.”

“And it’s not so much that as… I keep seeing Naneth again. That day just keeps coming back. I thought I had forgotten about it but…” She inhaled shakily.

“It is not just something you can forget,” he looked at her and drew her into a hug. She wrapped her arms around him, and buried her head in his shoulder. He rubbed her back softly. They remained like this for a long time. Finally Niphredil drew away.

“We have to get back,” she said softly.


Elladan looked up as his twin and Niphredil arrived back at camp.

“You were away a long time,” he commented.

“Sorry,” Niphredil mumbled.

“How are they?” Elrohir asked, nodding at the four sleeping forms on the ground.

“Estel is in the most danger; we need to get him back to Imladris as soon as possible. Legolas has multiple cuts and bruises, some of them really bad, but nothing broken. Rethan still hasn’t woken up, and I managed to persuade Adar to sleep. His wound is deep, but it should heal without any problems.”

“We leave at dawn,” Libren added.

Elrohir nodded. “You go to bed ‘Dan, I’ll keep watch.”

“You sure?”


“Hannon lle.”

“I will take-” Niphredil started.

“-No you won’t. You are going to bed,” Elrohir interrupted.

Niphredil gave in, and walked over to the other side of camp where Glorfindel lay.

She lay down beside him.

“Where have you been?” Glorfindel whispered.

“I had to clear my head.”

“I told Elrond and Elladan whilst you and Elrohir were away.”


“And I think Libren may have overheard…”

“I do not care.”


“-Adar, I just want to go to sleep. Leave me alone.” And with that, she turned over and went to sleep.

Chapter 13: Connecting the dots

Lothwen sighed. They’d been gone for a week now. A whole week. That was like a lifetime.

‘Maybe I should go to the library… do some reading,’ she thought. She took a shortcut through the gardens. A butterfly landed on her nose. She stopped and shook her head. Disgruntled, the butterfly flew away.
Suddenly, she heard the sound of horses. She started running, and entered the courtyard at the same time the company did.

She paused. Some of the Elves had not returned. And there was a new elf. And…

“Estel!” she cried out.

The company turned to look at her. Niphredil dismounted, and went over to her.

“Shh, it is alright honey. He will be alright…” Niphredil hugged her.

“Wha-What happened?”

“He… He is just not well at the moment sweetie… he needs to rest that’s all.”

“What happened, where did you go?”

“I…” Niphredil looked at Glorfindel helplessly.

“Estel got into trouble, and we had to help him,” Glorfindel explained gently.


“Come on tithen min. I need a bath, and it looks like you need one as well…” Niphredil wiped a smudge of dirt of Lothwen’s nose. Lothwen took Niphredil’s hand and allowed herself to be led away to the baths.


Later, Niphredil sat on her bed, combing out her hair. She scowled as her comb encountered a knot. Tugging furiously, she cursed as it yanked at her scalp.

“Are you alright in there?” Elrohir’s voice came from outside the door.

“Fine,” she grunted.

“My Adar has called a meeting. I was sent to bring you.”

“Coming.” Throwing the comb over to the other side of the room, she rose and opened the door. Elrohir immediately toppled into the room.

“Elrohir, you are not supposed to lean against the door,” Niphredil said, stepping over him.

“I thought I’d hear you if you approached the door,” he whined.

“Get up Elrohir,” she said, rolling her eyes, and walking off.


They all arranged themselves around the two beds containing Aragorn and Rethan.

Legolas swiftly relayed the tale of his and Aragorn’s captivity, and Elrond told of how he slew Moril. Durband was unmentioned, as everyone knew what had happened, and there was nothing to be gained from re-opening that wound.

“But if Moril vanished, how do we know she is dead?” Thranduil asked.

“We do not,” Elrond sighed.

“And if she is not, then how do we know she will not bring Durband back to life again?” Elladan asked.

“Bring him back again?” Elrohir said confused.

“Think about it. How did he come alive again in the first place? There’s only one way without the will of the Valar-”
Elrond gave him a warning glare.

“Peace Adar, I will not name it. But if Moril was deep in the Dark Arts, surely she learnt how to do it, and brought Durband back to life. It’s a simple matter of connecting the dots.”

“Connecting the dots?” Libren said, torn between confusion and the urge to laugh.

“Ranger expression. It means finding the link between a series of events etc,” Niphredil explained.

“I see…”

All of them were startled by a small groan from Aragorn’s bed…

Chapter 14: A game of chess

The first thing he was aware of was the throb of infection in his shoulder. The smell of medicinal herbs floated in the air.

“Should we go Adar?”

He knew that voice. Elladan…

“I think that would be for the best. He has not seen any of us in a long time. We do not wish to frighten him.”
Adar? Nay, Elrond. But then… Ai! He was so confused. Elrond had raised him, looked after him. Did that mean he was still Aragorn’s Father, even though he was not his birth Father?

“Elrond, Legolas and I must remain. Rethan may awaken.”

Who was that? The voice did not sound familiar.

“Yea, but it would be best if the rest of you leave.”

There was the sound of people getting to their feet. He heard them walking away.

“Elrohir… I understand íon nin, but you must trust me. Aragorn will be troubled as it is. He does not need additional stress.”

A sigh, and then the last person left.

There was silence for a few moments, and then a hand brushed stray hair behind his ear in a familiar gesture.

“Ai, always in trouble. Sometimes I swear you merely do it to annoy me.”
He heard someone lightly chuckle, followed by someone saying, “Leave them in peace!”

Did he want to wake up? It had been so long since he had seen his family… What was he to say to them?


Elrond’s voice made the decision for him. He slowly opened his eyes. Elrond was sitting in the chair next to his bed.

“How are you feeling?” he asked gently.

“Not good… but I’ll survive.” Aragorn said, smiling weakly.

Elrond laughed softly. “That is good.”

Legolas listened and watched the exchange between the two, happy that his new friend was alive. Listening to the conversation, he was heartened to hear the love underneath the awkwardness and tension.


‘A knife could cut through the tension in here,’ Elrohir thought, the words on the page before him swirling together meaninglessly. Not that it mattered. He wasn’t really reading. Just staring at one spot on the page.
Sighing, he glanced up. Libren and Elladan were playing chess. It was clear that neither was concentrating, a fact that was proven when Libren moved Elladan’s black knight forwards two squares.

Niphredil was staring at the fire, her eyes vacant and a tear slowly crawling down her cheek.

‘She’s acting like someone’s died!’ He gave himself a mental kick. People had died. Rethan could still die, as could Aragorn. It was unlikely for Aragorn, but still possible. As for Rethan… no-one really knew.

The door opened and Legolas walked in. Libren and Elladan looked up from their match, but Niphredil continued to stare into the fire, lost in a memory.

“Estel is going to be alright,” Legolas announced.

‘That was an obvious statement,’ Elrohir thought. But it did relieve some of the tension in the room.

“How did Estel and my Adar react to each other?” Elladan quickly asked, sharing a glance with Elrohir.

The two Mirkwood Elves looked at them strangely, before Legolas said, “They were a little bit awkward around each other… but they seemed to get on alright.”

The twins breathed a collective sigh of relief. At least Aragorn hadn’t slipped into himself and refused to think of them as family, as the twins had feared.

“Lord Elrond says that you two can see him now,” Legolas said, nodding at the twins.

Elladan nodded, and moved his queen forward.

“Shall we settle this game later then, Libren?”

Legolas frowned. “What do you mean ‘settle it?’ Black has won.”
The other three frowned and looked at the board. Sure enough, the white king was checkmated by a black bishop.

“Ah. Checkmate it is then,” Libren said.

Chapter 15: Yule

Legolas was awakened from the world of dreams by Niphredil laying her hand on his shoulder.

“You should go to bed,” she said softly.

“I cannot.” Legolas glanced at the motionless Rethan. “At least here I am doing something, even if it is just watching and waiting. If I went to bed I would only toss and turn all night.”

Niphredil sat down on the chair next to him. “Well, go for a walk then. You have been in here all day. We are concerned about you.”

“I know, I just…” Legolas sighed, “What if he doesn’t wake up? What if he just lies here forever. Or worse…”

“That will not happen,” Niphredil said reassuringly.

“How do we know? None have survived that Sorceress’s kiss!”

“Rethan is strong. You will see.”

“I hope so.” Legolas sighed again and squeezed Rethan’s hand. His eyes widened with surprise as he felt Rethan’s hand shift and wriggle slightly.

“Niphredil! I think he is waking up!” Legolas cried excitedly.

Niphredil jumped to her feet and ran off to find Elrond and Thranduil.


Legolas practically held his breath as Rethan’s eyes fluttered open.

“‘Las?” Rethan whispered.

“I am here mellon nin.” Legolas said, squeezing Rethan’s hand again.

A sudden flicker of fear danced in Rethan’s eyes, “What happened?”

“We… We defeated Moril and Durband. But…” Legolas again squeezed Rethan’s hand. “We lost Amren and Celeblas.”

The look of pure horror in his friend’s eyes caused Legolas’ heart to weep. “I am sorry,” he said, the words sounding woefully inadequate.

Tears glittered in Rethan’s eyes. They couldn’t be dead. They just couldn’t be. Celeblas had always been there for him. He had taught him to hunt and ride and shoot. He had been there when Rethan was little, looking after him, tending his grazes, making sure he didn’t get into too much trouble. And even when they were fully grown and riding off into battle together, Celeblas had always been there to cover his back.

And then there was Amren. He had looked out for Rethan on his first patrol without his brother. Amren had even saved his life, twice! And now… they were gone. And Rethan was all alone. Feeling Legolas’s hand on his, he smiled as he cried, remembering that no matter what happened, he had Legolas.

He shifted so he was sitting up, and Legolas drew him into a hug. He clasped his friend to him as he sobbed into Legolas’s shoulder. Warm droplets of water on his neck told him Legolas was crying too. And so they sat there, mourning their loss.


“‘Dan! ‘Ro!” Niphredil whispered, heedful of her younger sister sleeping next door. She shook Elladan’s shoulder roughly, incurring a sleepy moan. Elrohir had propped himself on his elbows, blinking tiredly at her.


“Rethan has awoken! And it looks like he is going to be alright!”

“Good news, but could you not have told us in the morning?” Elladan yawned. Niphredil glared at him, although she knew from past experience that it had little effect.

“Aye, or could you have at least told Libren first, and allowed us to sleep a little longer?”

“He is already awake and he already knows.”

“Lucky him. Can I go back to sleep now?”

“Oh! You two are hopeless!” Niphredil stormed out, although she quietly shut the door behind her.

“Do you think Adar needs our help?” Elrohir asked, pushing back his covers.

“Nay, Rethan’s wounds are not physical, there is nothing we can really do to help, except make him feel welcome. Which we can do in the morning,” Elladan said, before snuggling back under his warm covers.


Around dusk the next day, Legolas, Rethan, Libren and the twins were sitting on the grass, after showing The Mirkwood Elves Rivendell. Elladan was telling a humorous mis-adventure he and Elrohir had had. Whilst Rethan, Libren, Legolas were laughing almost so hard they could hardly breathe, Elrohir was attempting to correct his brother at more or less every point in the story.

Legolas waved as he spotted Niphredil coming out of the house. She ran over to join them, and flopped onto the ground panting.

“Can I sleep for the next month?” she groaned.

“Nope, the performance is tomorrow you lazy thing!” Elladan laughed.

“Lazy?” Niphredil groaned, “My feet are killing me!”

“Cheer up, Yule is tomorrow!” Legolas laughed.

“Joy of joys!” Niphredil said sarcastically.

“You are just miserable because Lindir was grilling you.”

Niphredil scowled. “He has even changed my part! Now I’m an unnamed Balrog who kills my father!”

“Why did he change your part?” Libren said curiously.

“I was not there when I needed to be, so now he has given me an “easier” role,” Niphredil sighed, lying down next to them. Elladan frowned as he heard a soft moan escape her. He looked over at the others who had also noticed the sound.

“Nymph, are you alright?”

He noticed her hesitation before she said, “Yes.”

To the Mirkwood Elves surprise, Elrohir crawled over to Niphredil and sat on her legs.

“Elrohir? What are you doing?” Niphredil asked.

“What made you whimper just now Nymph?”

“I did not whimper!” Niphredil said indignantly.

Elrohir looked at the others. “Did she whimper?”

There was a chorus of “yes” and an “it was more of a moan” from Libren.

“It is nothing-”

“-So you admit there is something!” Elrohir said triumphantly.

“Nay! …Well… yea…” She reached down and pulled up her sleeve, revealing a nasty burn. Elrohir quickly scrambled off of her, and examined the burn.

“How in Arda did you do that?” Elladan cried.

“It was an accident.”

“Has a healer looked at it?” Libren asked.

Niphredil looked sheepish. “I ran it under some cold water.”

The Ellyn stared at her in disbelief.

“Come on, I have a salve for burns in my room,” Elladan said, extending a hand to her, whilst the others scrambled to their feet.


The day of Yule passed in a blur of laughter, music, dance, food and drink.
And now the Yule feast was underway. Glorfindel and Elrond were watching their children and the Mirkwood Elves talking and jesting together.

“I have been thinking,” Glorfindel said hesitantly.

“Oh?” Elrond said, taking a sip of wine.

“Aye… Maybe we should introduce Libren to Arwen…”

Elrond looked sharply over his glass at Glorfindel. “Her heart is given.”

“We do not know yet whether it is true love. Both Aragorn and Arwen-”

“-May be young, but their love is fated. It would make no difference. However… what about Legolas and Nymph?” The two of them glanced down the table, where Legolas and Niphredil were laughing at a joke Elrohir had told.

Glorfindel frowned softly. “I had not considered that… I always assumed she would love one of the twins.”

Elrond shook his head. “They are too close. It would feel like incest to them.”

Glorfindel didn’t have a chance to reply, as at that moment Lindir approached Elrond and said all was ready for the Hall of Fire to be opened.


Gondolin was like nothing Legolas had ever seen. The plays at home were all acting, telling a story as it was written in the history books, whereas here all the acts (some dance and song, others acting – there were even a few comic scenes) ran in chronological order, but they did not always link smoothly onto each other, some skipping centuries in time, with no-one announcing the passage of time.
During a break Elrohir asked him what he thought of it.

“It is amazing,” Legolas replied.

“Why have they added a recess this year?” Estel asked.

“I think it has something to do with Nymph’s act,” Elrohir asked.

“What IS her act?” Libren asked.

The twins shrugged. “Probably dancing.”

A beat of drums silenced all talk. Three of the Elves who were playing orcs walked onto stage, one carrying a wooden staff, the other two carrying bowels. The staff was set on the floor, and then the bowels were placed either side of it. The contents of the bowels were then lit. Legolas wondered what was in them. Probably twigs and dry leaves.

The orcs scurried off and the drum beat intensified. Niphredil walked onto the stage, wearing a red shirt, which clutched her arms, skin tight; and trousers which were probably a size too small. Her hair had been fiercely attacked into a plait, leaving no stray hairs lying around. Added to the burn on her hand which had not yet fully healed, Legolas found himself feeling very apprehensive. All the evidence added up to her playing with fire…

Niphredil picked up the staff with both hands, holding it lengthways, as she held it above her head.

“I am Mornar!” She thrust one end of the staff into one of the bowels of fire.

“A Balrog of Morgoth.” She dipped the other end into the other bowel.

She then stepped backwards and proceeded to throw the staff up and catch it. It was amazing to watch. Glancing around, Legolas saw some people were unable to look, or were peeking between their fingertips. Others, like Rethan and Glorfindel sat rigidly in their seats, unable to look away.

When Legolas looked back, he caught his breath as Niphredil just managed to catch the staff, the effort causing her to fall to her knees. She was now holding it with one hand, the flames still steadily licking towards her hand. She placed the rest into one of the bowels.

“I shall destroy Gondolin,” she then said, the flames illuminating her face eerily.

She then slipped into the shadows, whilst Daeron entered the stage, having earlier been introduced as Glorfindel.

“Monster of Morgoth! I know you are here! Face me!” he cried.

Niphredil leapt out of the shadows, now wielding a knife. Daeron swiftly drew his sword, and the two of them began to duel.

Legolas wondered if the fight had been rehearsed. In Mirkwood they didn’t rehearse the fights, they only stopped when a sign signalled the end.

A cry from the shadowed part of the hall caused Niphredil to break through Daeron’s defence. He pulled her down with a cry and the two fell into a puddle of black cloth which symbolised the pit.


When the show ended, Elrohir leant over to tell the Mirkwood Elves what would happen next, but Elladan laid a warning hand on his shoulder. Confused, Elrohir turned and looked at his twin.

“Erestor told me to tell you not to tell them what happens. He says he has a plan.”

Elrohir frowned, and glanced over at his father’s advisor. What was he up to now?

Lothwen leapt up from beside Glorfindel’s seat.


“Nay tithen min, not this year,” Glorfindel said, smiling sadly. He was caught up in memories of when he and Nimdil watched the Yule Show together. She had always loved the upcoming advent.

Lothwen looked at him, slightly confused and disappointed, before going over to join her sister. Niphredil smiled at her, and picked her up, swinging her around slightly.

“What happens now?” Legolas asked Elrohir.

The twins looked at each other, unsure of what to say.

“The Elflings dance before they go to bed,” Erestor said behind them, making the twins jump.

“Aye, and-” Elrond raised an eyebrow as Erestor sent him a death glare, and his sons looked at him anxiously.

“And what Lord Elrond?” Thranduil asked.

“You will see,” Elrond replied, still looking at Erestor, feeling befuddled.
The musicians struck up a merry tune, and the Elflings and their families danced.

Several minutes later, Erestor rose and knelt down beside Rethan. “Go and join them.” Libren stared at him. Erestor nodded at two elves dancing together.

“Faelivrin need to go and join the musicians, and Thurin will need a partner.”

Still unsure, Libren looked at his brother, who smiled cheekily.

“Surely the great first prince of Mirkwood is not afraid of a little dance.”

That did it. Libren was on his feet and heading over to the dancers before Legolas laugh had faded. Faelivrin gave him a thankful, but slightly secretive smile as he relived her.

The steps were thankfully easy to pick up, and soon Libren was dancing with ease, no longer concerned about his feet.

A little while later, he noticed the music was slowing down, and everyone, including himself and Thurin were moving closer together.

In the middle of a turn, the music stopped. Libren finished the turn, to find himself opposite from Niphredil, only a step away. It was a miracle that they had not bumped into each other. Lindir came up to them, grinning and placed a sprig of mistletoe above their heads. Libren and Niphredil stared at him, as he smiled encouragingly. Libren looked at Niphredil. In Mirkwood it would be disrespectful for him not to kiss her. But… after all that had happened recently… would she be willing to kiss him?

He took a step forward, closing the distance between them. Their eyes met, and Niphredil nodded slightly. Their lips met for a few brief seconds, and then they broke apart. Libren quickly glanced over at the others, who were looking a little stunned, although not displeased. Erestor however, smiled triumphantly.


“Ai Adar! Does it matter?”

“I merely asked if you have feelings for him.”

Niphredil sighed. “I did not want to offend him in front of the entire population of Imladris.”

“Did you enjoy it?”

“Kisses are meant to be enjoyed.”

“Ai Nymph! Please give me a straight answer.”

“I cannot, as I do not know myself.”

“Love does not happen in a single moment, two people’s eyes meeting across a crowded room. Things like that are fictional,” Erestor said joining them. “It happens slowly, two people’s friendship growing into love. And you have not had long to get to know him, what with all the recent drama.”

Glorfindel mock-glared at him. “Still playing matchmaker Erestor? I thought you had given that up after Nimdil and me.”

Erestor rolled his eyes, before directing a question at Niphredil, “From what you have seen of him, do you like Libren?”


Erestor smiled kindly at her, “You will see him again soon enough. Eternal friendships have been formed, bridges have been built between Imladris and Mirkwood. You will all be getting into trouble again before long.”


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