Moria - Distractions
Disclaimer: I am in no way associated with J.R.R. Tolkien or anyone who hold rights to Lord of the Rings. It isn't mine, I'm just playing with it.
Note #1: This story is basically Alternate Universe, though, perhaps I should say Alternate Timeline since it is still based in the same world, events just happen differently.
Note #2: Not much happens in this chapter, it's more of a placeholder to illustrate the Fellowship's interactions and setting things up for future events. There's actually a lot more foreshadowing in this chapter than you'd think.
Note #3: Last chapter I got a request (anonymous review on ff.net) to explain Legolas' role further on in the story since I hinted that I wasn't done with him in the early chapters. Well, that's true, I'm not done with him yet, but frankly I'm not going to tell anybody what's going to happens. That defeats the purpose of telling a story. However, if you really want to spoil yourself, I do have a barebones outline of Perennial up on my writing lj. It is flocked though, thus you'll have to friend it so I'll know to friend you back. I really don't feel comfortable unflocking it since I'm constantly changing and adding stuff to it. Sorry!
Note #4: Movie canon? Book canon? Hell, I don't know anymore.
The string stretched taut as it was pulled back, the bow bending slowly under the power
exerted upon it as the hunter took great measures to ensure that no sound was made, no
warning given to his prey. The fletching brushed softly against his gloved fingers as
Elrohir sighted the arrow and waited patiently for the proper time to strike. It did not
take long. It never took long. Smiling grimly, he released the deadly shaft, but he did
not pause to watch as the arrow struck his target. He did not need to. Instead he
shouldered his bow and began to nimbly climb down from his perch high up in a tree. It was
scant seconds before his feet touched the ground, and only a few more until Elrohir had
scaled the ridge and kneeled down beside his prey's carcass.
Looking somewhat bored of the entire process, Elrohir yanked his arrow out from where it
had been buried in the orc's throat and ran a critical eye over it. The shaft remained
sturdy, no cracks had formed in the wood from its flight or the impact. Once it was
cleaned of the black blood staining the tip it could be used again. Bending himself to
said task, Elrohir paid scant attention to the dimming of the stars above or the light
beginning to pinken the sky in the far east. However, once he had freed the arrow of taint
and returned it to his quiver, Elrohir narrowed his eyes at the lightening horizon then
scowled down at the corpse laid out at his feet.
The orc had been a scout -there was no doubt in his mind about that-, which meant that
somewhere in the vicinity was a much larger party of the foul beasts. Orcs rarely if ever
wandered around on their own without purpose, their craven natures required the strength
afforded them in numbers. But he could not hunt them down just yet, he still had to finish
his original task and make a short appearance to the Fellowship.
Sighing from the undesired constraints, the elf straightened from his crouch, made his way
back down off of the ridge and headed back the way he had come. He kept his eyes glued to
the treetops as he went, searching for that which did not belong. His scrutiny was
thorough, but he found naught but the normal stirrings of early morning life. His earlier
reconnaissance, before stumbling across the orc's trail, had effectively cleared all
malicious eyes from the path. How disappointing.
A tiny sliver of the sun was peeking over the horizon when Elrohir finally came across his
fellow travelers and the spot they had chosen to rest for the day: a small, well enclosed
clearing surrounded by thick, leaf heavy trees. The hobbits, unsurprisingly, were already
sprawled out haphazardly on the ground, massaging their weary feet. By the looks of it,
the little ones were still having a bit of trouble adjusting to the nightly treks that the
wizard had foisted upon the Fellowship after their first good day's travel.
Aragorn was busying himself with lighting what would no doubt be as smokeless a campfire
as possible. Boromir stood nearby, his arms crossed as he watched the ranger's actions
with mild interest. Gimli was sitting off to the side, leaning against a tree as he puffed
contentedly at his pipe. Mithrandir was seated next to the dwarf, his staff slanted
comfortably against his shoulder as he puffed upon his own pipe. Elrohir couldn't help but
wrinkle his nose up slightly in distaste at the scene. Where the younger races had come up
with such a horrid and disgusting habit as smoking was beyond him.
The others paid little heed as he entered the clearing. They were all quite used to his
abrupt comings and goings by now. It was only Boromir's wary gaze that followed him as he
crossed over to the wizard, only the golden Gondorian's suspicious regard that watched him
constantly. Elrohir resisted the urge to smirk his mounting mirth at the man's distrustful
attention. To do so would only further incite Boromir's ire. Truly, he had lit a veritable
blaze of displeasure on that day when he had questioned the loyalty of the Steward's
firstborn son. But he would suffer it gladly, and with much amusement, as long as it kept
the Gondorian from accosting Aragorn for Anduril or Frodo for the ring.
Elrohir could well see that Boromir's duties to the Fellowship conflicted with his duties
to Gondor, or to be more precise, Denethor. It wasn't difficult to discern. The longer he
could keep Boromir's thoughts and suspicions focused upon him, the longer the man would
put off pondering upon said conflicts and what to do about them. And that would prove to
make the quest that much less stressful for his human brother. Such an arrangement should
see to his own duties as far as his family was concerned. It was something that he
could still do for them, at any rate.
Mithrandir did not look up at his approach, in fact, the wizard did not even acknowledge
his presence. Elrohir's light amusement fizzled in the face of another one of the Istar's
games. The Grey Pilgrim was constantly doing little irritating things like this in an
attempt to make him interact more with the Fellowship. He did not mind when the others
tried to speak with him, they were innocent enough -even Boromir-; but he refused to be
forced into conversations he had no wish to be a part of by a conniving wizard who thought
that he knew what was best.
Crossing his arms, Elrohir decided to wait the wizard out this time and perhaps beat him
at his own game. If Mithrandir thought that he had more patience than an elf then he was
going to be proven sorely mistaken.
Aragorn winced at the grey tinged promise of death and dismemberment being glared down at
Gandalf. Really, it was getting to such a point where every time he bedded down for the
day he would wonder whether he would find the mauled corpse of a wizard when he awoke.
Sighing silently in exasperation, the ranger was about to rise and attempt to diffuse the
situation when he was preempted by Boromir.
As if matters couldn't get any worse, Aragorn thought. He was well aware of the
animosity the Gondorian held against his elven brother. It would have required him to be
blind, deaf and dumb to not take notice of it -and even then he probably would have still
caught on-. He just didn't know what the source of it was. It was possible that Boromir's
distaste towards the elf was a hold over from Denethor, but that just didn't ring true in
this case. The man got along splendidly with the hobbits and there was a good bit of
companionable respect between Boromir and Gimli, so it was unlikely to be any of
Denethor's prejudice shining through in his son. And if that wasn't the case, then what
was it? Just what was it that Boromir so disliked about Elrohir.
"You return... later than usual," Boromir drawled, fake concern woefully masking the
outright suspicion in his voice. Crossing his arms, he unconsciously mirrored the elf's
stance as he stepped up on the other side of the wizard.
Elrohir arched an eyebrow at the underlying tone in Boromir's words, but did not rise to
the bait. At the moment, he'd much rather skin the wizard than the steward's heir. "One
can never tell how long a hunt will last," the elf stated plainly, shrugging as if it were
of no consequence.
"A hunt?" Boromir muttered dubiously as he raked Elrohir from head to toe with a pointed
gaze. "I see no evidence of a hunt."
Narrowing his eyes at the man's presumption, Elrohir smothered the urge to strike him
outright for the almost palpable insult, deciding instead upon a much more satisfying
way of answering the fool's question. "You misunderstand the nature of my prey," Elrohir
retorted, a dangerous smile snaking its way across his lips as he reached behind his
shoulder and drew his bow. His smile grew even more feral at Boromir's look of
consternation as he yanked an arrow out of his quiver and swiftly notched the bow. He held
his aim upon the Gondorian's chest, drawing the moment out for several seconds and
allowing them all to think that he might just slay the man right then and there. Though,
truly, it was only Aragorn and the hobbits who looked on aghast at the confrontation.
Mithrandir and the dwarf seemed to not be bothered one whit by the happenings going on
When he felt that his point was thoroughly being made to all and sundry -or at least those
who were paying attention-, Elrohir swiftly tilted his arms up and released his arrow
into the trees above, not once taking his eyes from Boromir. A harsh squawk and the sound
of flapping wings proceeded a black ball of oily feathers that plummeted to the ground
afterwards, his arrow effectively skewering it down the middle.
Gandalf puffed once more on his pipe, blowing smoke between the two antagonists before he
removed it and cheerfully commented, "You missed one."
Scowling as the reason for his ire this day returned to him full force, Elrohir glared
hotly down at the wizard. "They multiply for every league that we take," the elf ground
out, "Even I cannot see everything. Eventually, we will be found."
"What are they?" Pippin asked as he cautiously toed the feathered corpse that had been
delivered into their midst.
"Looks like a plain old black bird to me," Merry muttered grumpily.
"A bird it is, but plain it is not," Gandalf explained heartily, his good cheer unquenched
by the death that was still glaring down at him. "They are called Crebain, a breed of
incredibly clever birds that originally hail from Dunland. Unfortunately, their
intelligence attracted Saruman's attention and he has made spies out of them. They serve
as his eyes in these lands."
Pippin jumped back from the bird, as if touching it or even being near it would give him
away to the White Wizard. "Well, wha-," he stammered in unease as he glanced imploringly
over at the wizard, "What do we do about them?"
"Exactly what we are doing, young master Took," Gandalf harrumphed as he took another pull
upon his pipe, "We travel at night to avoid Saruman's most effective way of finding us.
Unfortunately, the eyes of Mordor are more keen in the twilight hours, but they are a bit
more obvious in what they do and thus much easier for our own scout to discover and
eliminate." He waved his pipe pointedly at Elrohir as he finished his explanation.
"Is that what you've been doing all this time?" Frodo asked wonderingly as he looked up at
the elf in growing admiration.
"Aye," Elrohir answered plainly, shifting uncomfortably under the hobbit's unwanted
"Thank you for protecting us," Frodo beamed at Elrohir, his unexpected up welling of
gratitude causing Sam to shyly smile up at the elf as well.
"It is nothing," Elrohir said hesitantly, completely and utterly unsure of how he should
respond to Frodo's elation over him simply doing his duty to the Fellowship, a job that
probably would have been terribly unsavory to the little hobbit, at the very least. He did
not mind the killing, not in the least, but it was certainly not something that he thought
the little ones should be doing much of -or know much of, to be perfectly honest-, if at
all. It was not something he found worthy of praise either.
Shifting again uneasily, Elrohir opted, for the moment, to ignore the quandary that
Frodo's profession of thanks was creating within him. He could deal with it later. Looking
out across the camp, he noted Bill's dour put upon stance, even though the weight that the
pony had borne had lessened day by day, and the fact that none had yet to start cooking
the night's last meal. Their food stores were beginning to become a bit lean. Rectifying
that would be a good enough excuse for him to depart their company again so soon.
"Since Boromir was kind enough to bring up the subject," Elrohir said silkily as he
turned and prepared to head back the way he had come, "I think I will go hunt up some
fresh game for our dear Fellowship."
"Take one of the others with you," Gandalf interjected before the elf could get very far.
Elrohir froze on the spot, not even deigning to glance back as he replied to the wizard's
pronouncement with a pure edge of steel in his voice, "I do not need assistance in hunting
for venison, Mithrandir."
"No doubt," Gandalf said nonchalantly as he leaned back and puffed on his pipe some more,
"And you probably have no need of assistance in slaughtering the band of orcs that you
killed the scout for up on that ridge. But take one of the others with you anyway."
A heavy pall of dreadful silence immediately descended upon the clearing following
Gandalf's words. All eyes were on the elf, watching him with guarded curiosity or
horrified fascination as they waited for his response. While Aragorn debated whether to
try and intercept Elrohir should his brother attack the wizard or to just let it happen
since Gandalf really was asking for it, Elrohir finally looked back and glared
unadulterated death at the Grey Pilgrim.
Though he put off an air of complete unconcern at the obvious threat, Gandalf did
tighten his grip on his staff somewhat. He wasn't entirely stupid, he knew that he was
practically taking his life into his own hands every time he prodded at, cajoled, or flat
out annoyed Elrohir into doing something. If he managed to push Elrohir too far one of
these days he was at least quite familiar with the twin arts of duck and run.
Elrohir narrowed his eyes after several moments, then flicked his gaze over at the dwarf
sitting motionless beside the wizard. "Gimli," he growled out, "Fetch your axe."
Gimli inhaled sharply, hacking almost immediately on the strong pull of smoke he dragged
out of his pipe. Yanking it out of his mouth, he beat upon his chest with his free hand
while he lumbered to his feet. "Aye," he wheezed, "Just a moment."
At any other time, Gimli, son of Gloin, would have taken offense at such a rough command.
If it were any other elf, he would have taken mortal offense. But this was Elrohir, he
who was known as the Orc Bane, and Gimli had to admit to himself that he was curious. He
had grown up hearing tales about the Orc Bane, even his father had grown up on such
tales. Tales that told of an elf whose single goal in life, it seemed, was annihilating
every foul creature that roamed the lands of Middle-earth. A truly admirable pursuit,
especially for a being from such an unsavory race. However, after having watched the
subject of such tales the past week or so, he was... puzzled by the reality presented to
Here was an elf who did none of the frivolous things that Gimli had been told that elves
were wont to do. Elrohir did not sing. He did not dance. He did not even skip. He did not
smile, at least not a genuine smile. He did not laugh. He did not chatter with any of
them. He took no joy in their surroundings. In fact, he did not seem to enjoy anything at
all. He comported himself as a warrior true, but even further, it did not take a genius to
note that the elf was in fact a pure predator. He killed with precision. There was no
waste of movement in his actions, even the pause during his confrontation with Boromir had
been expertly gauged to make his point rather than actual hesitation.
Truly, he was admirable, for an elf, in every way... and so very utterly wrong at the same
time. What possibly could have happened to turn an elf into this? Therein lay the source
of Gimli's curiosity and the reason why he would not take umbrage at Elrohir's order.
Mayhap a little shared mayhem would answer a few questions, or open up a small area for
conversation at the very least. Besides, he hadn't killed any orcs in awhile and his hands
were starting to itch from the lack.
Aragorn frowned as he watched his brother stalk out of the clearing, swiftly followed by
an overeager looking dwarf. Well, at least Gimli would be happy afterwards. But... why had
Elrohir not asked for Aragorn to accompany him? Surely the company, forced or not, of
family would have been more appealing. Or was that the problem? Elrohir had effectively
shut all of his family out of his life, was he going to start doing the same now to
Aragorn? That possibility did not sit very well with the ranger, not one bit.
Pippin plopped down beside Frodo, who was still staring at the place where the elf and
dwarf had ghosted off into the forest, while Merry scooted over, forming something of an
askew huddle of hobbits and pony. Sam rolled his eyes as Merry leaned forward, a gleam
that usually meant trouble glittering in his own eyes. "There's just something wrong with
that elf," Merry hissed quietly, not wanting to draw the attention of the men nearby.
Pippin nodded in agreement, "Aye, he makes my skin crawl whenever he's around. I'm always
afraid that he's going to gut me in my sleep."
Sam snorted as he bent back to the task of checking out all of his cooking gear. Mr.
Strider was an excellent cook, all things considered, but they were still Sam's pots and
pans. He checked to make sure there was absolutely nothing wrong with them before handing
them over to whoever was the designated cook for the day -and did the same when they were
returned-. Said duty usually ended up being his, Mr. Frodo's or Mr. Strider's. The others
weren't very good at it, Gandalf's cooking abilities being the worst -utterly appalling,
how the wizard had survived this long was beyond him-. Elrohir was rarely around enough to
be stuck with the chore, and Boromir and Gimli tended to burn things more than actually
cook them. Merry and Pippin, on the other hand, were just hopeless at everything. He
wouldn't trust them anywhere near Mr. Frodo's food, much less his own.
"Gandalf maybe," he piped up before the other two could elaborate further upon their
distaste for the elf, "If that old man keeps on pushing and pushing him, eventually he's
gonna snap. Any half-wit could see that."
"Yeah, but will he stop there?" Merry groused in annoyance. Sam's blase attitude about the
whole affair was irritating him. "Personally, I don't think he will."
"Boromir seems to think he's dangerous," Pippin murmured softly, stealing a quick glance
at the Gondorian before exchanging a speculative look with Merry. "And well, Elrohir does
seem kind of scary. Are you sure you're not just letting your interest in elves blind you
to the obvious, Sam?"
Grinding his teeth together, Sam glared hotly up at the two guileless hobbits sitting
across from him. He restrained himself, barely, from beating their heads in with one of
his pans. Did they have to be so insulting? It was true that he was fascinated with the
elven race, and Elrohir was the only one around, but that didn't mean Sam turned into a
lack-wit whenever he was nearby.
Sam was about to deliver a blistering verbal slap to the two idiots, when he was abruptly
cut off by a dreamy voice coming from their, until now, silent companion, "I think it's
All three hobbits blinked and then looked blankly at Frodo. The ring-bearer didn't seem to
be paying them much heed, instead he was still watching the place Elrohir and Gimli had
left through. Much to his consternation, Sam noticed that Frodo was -and probably had been
for awhile now- stroking the place on his chest where the ring must have hung underneath
Sam didn't like that ring, nor did he like the way Mr. Frodo seemed to lose himself in
regards to said ring. It just wasn't healthy. The sooner it got thrown into that Mount
Doom the better, he thought. "What do you mean, Mr. Frodo?"
"Elrohir," Frodo murmured as he continued to brush his fingers over the ring's outline in
his shirt, his eyes still glued to that one spot, "He's very sad, don't you think?"
"Sad isn't the word I'd use," Pippin said in disbelief.
Merry eyed Frodo up and down as if their fellow hobbit had sprouted a second head that
they were just now noticing. He glanced at Pippin, his lips twisting dubiously before
looking back at Frodo. "Frodo," he began warily as if he were unsure of their friend's
reaction, "Did you happen to smoke any bad leaves recently?"
Frodo's hand stopped in mid-stroke as he whipped his head around and speared Merry with a
frosty glare that easily answered that particular question.
It was quick work to track the meandering path the orc scout had unwittingly taken to its
untimely demise, though perhaps not as fast as Elrohir would have liked thanks to his
unwanted dwarven companion. The small delays rankled him slightly, but he had not visited
his annoyance upon Gimli. It was not the dwarf's fault that the Grey Wizard was a meddling
blight upon the face of Arda. And besides, it hadn't taken too much longer to locate the
shallow cave the orcs had holed themselves up in for the day, even less time to rid
Middle-earth of some of the scum polluting it.
Arrows had taken care of the guards on watch, then sword and axe had dealt with the rest.
Fourteen orcs in all, if one counted the scout, not a large party, but a significant
number all the same, especially this far down off the Misty Mountains. They usually did
not roam so far away from their known bolt holes. Mordor was getting anxious it seemed,
and that made Elrohir wary. He'd have to be even more observant from now on. It wouldn't
do for the Fellowship to stumble across this type of surprise again.
"Now that hit the spot," Gimli crowed in exultation as he lovingly wiped the black blood
off the blades of his axe, "Nothing like some good old fashioned orc death to get the
"I suppose," Elrohir hummed noncommittally, only lending half an ear to the dwarf's
banter as he busied himself with tending to his own sword. Orc blood was a familiar
adornment upon the blade, and cleaning it off was such an ingrained task that he didn't
really have to even think about it anymore, but he still took care when doing so. It would
be foolishness personified to grow careless, even at this late a date.
Gimli eyed Elrohir speculatively, his brows drawing together as he pondered over what
exactly to call the elf in conversation. He could go with plain 'Elrohir', he doubted the
elf would take offense since he had been using his name all this time, but Gimli
couldn't quite bring himself to do so. In his mind's eye, to call him 'Elrohir' implied
that they were friends, or at the very least familiar acquaintances, and that just wasn't
the case. Elrohir was an intriguing enigma to him. He wanted to know more about him, not
get buddy buddy with him -he was an elf in the end, after all-. And calling the elf the
Orc Bane would just be ridiculous. That was the name of a tall tale, no matter how factual
it may actually prove to be. It wasn't the name of a person. No, he would just have to
settle for something simpler for the moment. "Master elf," he said experimentally, and
after deciding that it would work for now, he continued, "Did you happen to make a tally
of how many orcs fell beneath your hands?"
Elrohir blinked curiously at that query, but did not look up from his given task, "Nay,
the number of kills does not interest me much. Just so long as they die, I am...
Gimli arched a bushy eyebrow at Elrohir's hesitation on 'content' but refrained from
commenting, for now. He didn't want to make the elf feel that he needed to be defensive,
that wouldn't serve his purpose at all. If Elrohir grew overly cautious of him then he
wouldn't be able to figure anything out. Sighing, he glanced around the cave and frowned
at the corpses littering the ground. "It's a shame that such a nice little windfall should
be fouled by these creatures. It deserves more appreciation than that, all caves do. That
they have become the favored hideyholes of Mordor scum is truly lamentable."
"As you say," Elrohir chuckled bleakly as he finished up and sheathed his sword,
"Personally, I do not care much for them."
"Really?" Gimli remarked glibly, his curiosity shining through for the moment, "I had
heard that elves did not think much of the beauties crafted by stone, earth and time. I
had also heard that some even... feared them." He peered closely at Elrohir as he spoke,
hoping to catch some sort of telling reaction to his words.
Shaking his head, Elrohir raised his eyes to meet the dwarf's and smiled tightly, "It is
true, there are some who find your beloved caves quite disturbing, but it is not that." He
paused then and looked up at the jagged rock ceiling, his eyes misting over with
something, some clouded remembrance, that sent a chilling shiver running up Gimli's spine.
There was a hopelessness in that look, one the dwarf had never experience before, and
probably never would again. "They simply bring old memories to the fore," Elrohir
explained softly, "Memories of things that should never have been."