Elladan and Elrohir awoke within seconds of each other as the sun peeked over the horizon, as was their wont, and began to gear up, for they were going forth from Rivendell.
It had not been long since they had returned from their last journey outside the Valley, but this one was special, for they rode not against the Orcs that inhabited the area near the Caradhras Pass. The two looked at each other grimly, as they most always did, now, and had for the past five hundred years, ever since that bedraggled group had arrived in Rivendell.
"My lords Elladan and Elrohir," the lead Elf had gasped as they rode from Rivendell to meet his fleeing band, "we were waylaid by Orcs in the Misty Mountains, under Caradhras. We managed to fight them off, but they…" he paused as he looked down at the ground, then looked up again with tears on his face, "they took your mother, Lady Celebrian. We tried to go after her, but they came on again in greater force, and they were too many. We barely escaped, though we wanted to die for our shame, to bring you this news."
The news had turned their blood to ice, for all Elves knew what fate awaited those taken captive by their twisted kin, the Orcs, and they had told the Elf to go back to their father and tell him the news, and that they were going to track those who would do such violence.
And they had. They had come close to killing their horses in their haste to begin searching, and had then spent days that swiftly turned into weeks that turned into months looking for tracks and sign of Orcs. The party that Elrond had sent to help them had been welcomed gladly, for it meant new eyes to see and ears to hear. But as the searching continued, the brothers froze ever the more, as they were tormented by thoughts of what tortures their mother was doubtless undergoing.
The Orcs had gone into hiding, for they knew that the Elves would not allow such an assault upon them to pass without retribution, but even Orcs must eat, and thus it was that the Elves had managed to ambush a hunting party in the mountains, and take several of the Orcs prisoner. Receiving answers to their questions had required some persuading.
"Which one, Elladan?" murmured Elrohir as they observed their prisoners, who were glaring defiantly at their Elvish captors.
"The one with the scar across his cheek who nearly killed Fingol," Elladan whispered back.
"Do you want to question him, or shall I?"
"I will question him, you watch the others."
Elrohir nodded his assent, and Elladan walked over to the Orc in question, grabbed him by the back of his neck, marched the protesting creature over to the cliff, and pitched him over as he shrieked, and grabbed his feet and held him dangling over the edge of the cliff.
Though he hated their tongue, Elladan knew how to speak it, and therefore spoke to the misbegotten thing. "Did you hear of an Elvish caravan being assaulted two full moons ago?" he shouted into the wind.
"No!" the creature shouted piteously, "no, I haven't!"
"You have three lies, Orc," Elladan replied, "before I drop you down this mountain. That was your first. If you tell me the truth, you will die a swift death. Now, I will ask you again. Did you hear of an Elvish caravan being assaulted two full moons ago?"
"Yes!" the Orc replied, "yes, I did. I wasn't in the raiding party, but I saw what they brought back to the cave our group was in!"
"What did they bring back, Orc?" Elladan growled.
"They had brought back little gold, but what they did bring back was better! One of your elf-women! So fair she was, and tall, and desirable. None of us were worthy to possess her."
"Then what did you do with her, Orc?"
"We sent her to our chief, Elf. Why does it matter to you? Was she your mate?" the Orc cackled merrily. "I imagine she's not as nice now as—AAAAAAAAAAA!" he screamed as Elladan cut his foul suggestion short by letting him fall to the bottom of the mountain.
"Now," Elladan asked as he turned to the three remaining Orcs, "who among you wants to tell me where I can find the lair of your chief?"
Another Orc had been dropped down the mountain before they had finally gotten an answer for the location of the chief of the Orc band, as well as the numbers that he commanded.
They had assaulted the Orc-chief's stronghold stealthily, as should be done when the foe outnumbers you greatly, and may easily be done when he and his minions are yet reveling, both in the prize they have taken and in how successful they have been in avoiding those that search for her.
The reveling did not last long.
Elladan and Elrohir crept soft as a breeze and quiet as mice, followed by their comrades, towards the end of the tunnel that led to the cavern that the Orc-chieftain was residing in. They could hear the brutal laughter of Orcs enjoying sporting with a prisoner and the crack of a whip, and, much as it sickened them, they knew they had come at an excellent time.
When they poked their heads out from the tunnel, they gazed upon a sight that caused their already icy blood to freeze yet further. Lady Celebrian, their mother, was tied to a stalagmite in the middle of the floor, dressed in rags, her back glistening red, and the Orc whipping her was drawing back for another strike. There were near a hundred Orcs in the cavern, far outnumbering their force of two dozen. And the Orc-chieftain was standing up from his seat, which was carved of rock and decorated with trophies.
He spoke a command to the whipping Orc, who halted, and the chieftain began walking towards their mother, gazing upon her in a way that the two Elf-lords had seen before when they had happened upon Orc torture sessions.
They charged, silently as they could, and, due to the fixation of the Orcs upon what was happening around the stalagmite, were not noticed until they were almost upon them.
The resultant slaughter was great, and Elladan and Elrohir both cut down the Orc-chieftain as he was about to cut their mother's throat. Unfortunately, his back was to them, so intent was he upon killing her, and his knife slashed her side, a not intolerable wound, the brothers thought, until they saw the knife, which glowed a sickly green.
That had further frozen them, especially when they got a better look at the visible signs of the abuses she had suffered—and, on the way home, those invisible signs of what she had suffered, as she cried out in terror in her sleep, and was in constant pain from her wound as it festered continually. By the time they had returned to Rivendell, they were frozen almost all the way through—that portion of themselves which remained as it had before sustained only by the hope that their father could heal their mother.
He healed almost all her hurts, both on her body and in her mind, but could not heal the wound from the Orc-chieftain's blade, and she passed into the West. And they had frozen, going forth from Rivendell to slay Orcs themselves, and to help the Rangers as they slew Orcs, and to slay those who were the helpers of Orcs.
Now they had been told by Elrond that Aragorn, son of Arathorn, Chieftain of the Dunedain, the beloved of their sister, and heir to the Kingdoms of Men, required the assistance of the North. Dour-handed Halbarad was leading twenty-eight other Rangers, and Elladan and Elrohir had requested that they accompany him, and he had consented, for which they were glad.
When they had finished dressing, they went to the stables to retrieve their horses, and rode to meet Halbarad and his men at the gate of Rivendell, and from there, to go forth and slay, and to assist the man who would defeat Sauron, the final great servant of Melkor, who had twisted those whose descendants had assaulted their mother. Then, perhaps, they could rest.
They looked at each other grimly once more as they rode to the meeting-place. Yes, perhaps they could rest.