The sun was high in the sky on this summer day, the warm rays shining down upon the farm and its workers. With a moment to carefully observe the workers, one could tell that they were not human but elven. It wasn’t really much of a surprise nowadays, the elven race often sold down at the slave market. They were well wanted for their healing and nature magic, not to mention they were beautiful. The owner of this plantation had yet to update his equipment, using elves to furnish and care for his crops.
Even in the fields were there whispers, rumors of a rebellious elf who had attacked the Master the night before. Why someone would dare oppose him, they did not know. It was suicide! Despite his vulgar nature, he was still the Owner. Some gossiped quietly, others turned their heads. That elf was a disgrace! He should have known that this would have happened in the end…no one who opposed the Master would get out of such a situation alive.
The elf they spoke of was Elandil, who was bound by his wrists to a wooden post. He stood there as both a punishment and an example to all those who dared even think of opposing the Master. His silvery hair hung in loose strands, a purplish-blue bruise visible on his face. His clothes were ripped and torn from where he had been beaten, the evidence shown on the cuts and bruises that seemed to lace his fair skin.
It had been the beginning of the hottest part of the day when their Owner’s men had stormed the main slave quarters to drag him out into the blistering heat. He hadn’t been quite so sure of where they were taking him until he saw the familiar white boards of the main house. This was where the Master of the plantation lived with his family. Elandil had always thought of their “Owner” as a brute, an abusive man who didn’t truly understand the worth of the elven people. They were nothing more than toys to someone like him.
Memories of the previous night flashed before him as though it had happened only moments ago: The way the knife had felt in his hand, the way he’d crept ever so silently along the somewhat creaky floorboards. His intent had been a murderous one. “For my people!” He’d told himself as he stood outside the Master’s door. He would kill the abusive bastard and free his people. They deserved no less than that. Afterwards, they could all escape into the forest which surrounded the property. They’d be slaves no longer. Now that he had time to rethink his past actions, he realized how foolish it had seemed. But that would not stop him.
Tugging at the ropes that held him tautly in place, Elandil began to search for a way to get himself loose. All he had to do was get away, away from this terrible place and into the forest. There he could devise a plan. There he could find resources and replenish his strength. If he was lucky, he might even find some hidden elves to assist him with his rebellion. A sharp stab shot through his arms, muscles aching from the time he’d spent standing there. A few of the cuts were brushed by the fabric of his clothes, making them sting a bit. He gritted his teeth, looking around. I…I can do this.
He began to focus on the rope, trying to find the weakest points of the twine. He could hear the sound of angry footsteps coming towards the main house. They undoubtedly belonged to the men who worked for his Master. This would be more than a punishment; it would be the death of him!
His focus became even more emphasized upon the natural fibers of the rope, slowly eroding it. With another strong tug, the strands frayed and snapped, setting him free. Elandil rubbed his wrists a little, the skin red from rope burn. His eyes glanced over towards the hill, where the mob was just reaching the crest. Upon seeing him loose, they began to run towards him, cocking and readying their guns.
I have to run! He thought frantically as he began to sprint towards the forest. It was his only available venue that might give him the cover he needed. Gunfire rang out behind him, a white hot pain searing through his thigh as soon as he reached the forest. The surprise caused him to lose his footing momentarily, his feet stumbling. Falling into a tumble, the elf rolled into the woodland to dive behind a tree. It wasn’t going to keep him safe for long. His leg was starting to pulse, the sensation tormenting him.
Elandil pushed himself to his feet, staggering through trees and over roots. The men were close behind him; he was fortunate that they hadn’t unleashed dogs yet. Eventually, he managed to hide in the trunk of a tree, the hole at the bottom of the roots providing just enough space for him to crawl through. His breath hitched in his throat as the sound of boots stormed past before stopping.
“It looks like we lost him…” one of the men said. A few of the men grumbled before they turned around a little. “It’s getting dark. We’ll have to look for that traitor tomorrow…” The original speaker sounded a bit dismayed. “Maybe he’ll die in here and we won’t have to waste our time…” Another man said as the elf heard a trudging of feet moving in the opposite direction. They must be headed back to the main house… The elf didn’t want to think about what the Master would say when he found out they hadn’t returned with his head.
As he relaxed a little, his hands raised to try and conjure his magic. But the normal warmth was blocked, replaced by a frigidity that chilled him to the bone. The bullet that resided within his thigh must have been made of iron because it was canceling out his sorcery. With a sigh, Elandil ripped his clothes and began to bandage the wound. It won’t heal until I can get this bullet out and replenish my strength…
Suddenly, a strange light flickered amongst the trees. The elf slowly crawled from his hiding place to find the source of the light. What could that be? Taking a moment, he began to brush the dirt from his clothes and hair. Then he heard it…the distinct sound of footsteps and the distant grunts and growls of the hounds. They were on his trail and would most likely catch up with him soon.
Elandil turned on his heel, wincing lightly as pain discharged through him. He could hear the angry mob closing in, twigs and leaves crunching beneath their feet. The strength was replaced by adrenaline as his vision began to blur. The sound of rushing water could be heard, becoming increasingly louder with each step he took. If there is water ahead, then maybe I can drown my scent… He thought, his mind searching desperately for an escape.
The river came upon him fast, his heartbeat pounding in his ears as he looked for a way to get across. I could swim across… But it was too dark and the current was too strong. Or maybe… Instantaneously, his eyes landed upon a log floating on the surface of the water. He had one chance to land this jump. Taking a couple of steps back, Elandil leapt for the buoyant piece of wood. He barely made it, holding tight as he was pushed down the river and away from the din that had followed his trail
After what seemed like an eternity, the branch drifted ashore. The elf’s head fell against the damp silt that lined the shore as he pulled himself towards a tree. He could feel his leg throbbing as his brain tried to make sense of what was going on. I’m safe…I’m…safe… Spots had appeared before his eyes, his vision fuzzy as he began to lose consciousness. The pain come back full force now;exhaustion was overtaking his body from loss of blood. What’s going to happen to me?… came Elandil’s last thought as he slipped into the warm black depths of unconsciousness.