lady_branwyn: (oliphaunt)
[personal profile] lady_branwyn
Title: The Oliphaunt's Tale
Characters: OCs, Aragorn, Legolas
Source: ROTK
Warnings: None
Note: The sandbox belongs to Tolkien; I am just playing. Written for [livejournal.com profile] just_ann_now who wanted to hear more about refugee oliphaunts after the Battle of the Pelennor Fields.
******************************


The brush tickled on her skin, but Lily stood perfectly still as the man worked. With tiny pots of henna and black ink, he drew spirals and flowers along her trunk and ears.

“There,” he said at last. “These signs will protect you from that Enemy wizard. But stay out of the river or my work will be washed away,” he warned her sternly.

She gave a little snort and ran the tip of her nose through his tangled hair. He scratched her in the dry spot under her ears.

“Belzagar!” one of the others shouted. “Stop wasting time on that beast and get yourself armed. It is nearly time to leave.”

“I will be back, my Water Lily,” the man told her. He said that was her name because she loved to lie in the mud. And because she was the most lovely of oliphaunts, just as the lily was the loveliest flower.

She found a sunny spot and waited for him. It was cold in this place called Gondor, and she longed for the Southlands. Soon, he returned, dressed in a red tunic and a coat of bright brass plates, his unruly hair oiled and braided into obedience. He was by far the handsomest of the men. But she suddenly saw that he had no spirals and flowers of henna. What would protect him from the evil wizard Mithrandir? With a cry of alarm, she rubbed her trunk against his face, trying to smear the paintings onto his skin.

“Steady, Lily,” he told her. “Steady, lass. Whatever is the matter?”

Soon, the oliphaunts were guided into a line, and the horns sounded the charge. Later, she remembered little of the battle, except that she wanted to run away from the horses and spears and the other oliphaunts trumpeting with fear and rage. Only Belzagar’s voice reassured her in the midst of the madness. “After this is over, we will go for a swim in the river,” he told her. “You can roll on your back and wallow in the mud. And then--”

She stumbled as the harness straps slid and tangled around her feet. Somehow, they had worked loose or been cut. With a wild cry, she tried to shake off the burden of riders and armor on her back. She heard screams and cursing as the men were flung away, then she swayed and fell to the ground, trapped in the wreckage of her harness. She struggled to rise to her feet. The horses were galloping toward her, their riders aiming bright spears. Leaving her to her fate, the men of Harad fled. All except one.

“My Water Lily, keep still,” a calm voice said by her ear. Belzagar cut the tangled straps from her front legs then crawled along her back and freed her from the rest of the harness. With a mighty heave, she pulled herself to her feet then with her tusks swept away the first rank of the horsemen. She quickly knelt down so the man could climb on her back without the aid of the straps.

“Good lass,” Belzagar said. He tried to pull himself up then sank against her side. She smelled the blood even before she saw he was wounded. An arrow had gone between the brass plates and was buried in his shoulder. She knelt lower, as low as she could. “Go back to the river, Lily. There you will be safe,” he ordered. “Go!”

When she did not move, he struck her weakly with the flat of his sword, aiming for the tender spot under her chin. She shook her head in surprise, but the blow was so light it barely stung. The second rank of horsemen was almost upon them.

“Go, curse you!” Belzagar cried, and then he dropped against her and lay still, the long braids falling across his face. She nudged him with her trunk, but he did not move. As gently as she could, she wrapped her trunk around his waist and lifted him. War oliphaunts were trained to pick up the enemy and break them like sticks, so she took great care not to harm him. With a warning cry at the horsemen, she turned and headed toward the river. His weight unbalanced her stride, but she stumbled as fast as she could. The horsemen seemed to take her retreat as surrender and did not follow in pursuit.

TBC

Conclusion to be posted on Thursday.

Date: 2011-12-20 05:12 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] eglantine-br.livejournal.com
Oh, my heart is breaking. Oliphants have no place in war. I hope she gets her mudbath soon, and stays safe the rest of her life.

Date: 2011-12-21 02:58 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] lady-branwyn.livejournal.com
I know! Even though Peter Jackson tried to make the movie oliphaunts look cruel and frightening, I still felt sorry for them and wished they were far away from the battle.

Date: 2011-12-20 09:33 am (UTC)
From: (Anonymous)
Ah, poor Lily! I do hope Belgazar survives too - he seems kind. It's a lovely story, and such a unique viewpoint!

Date: 2011-12-20 09:34 am (UTC)
ext_47048: (Default)
From: [identity profile] jay-of-lasgalen.livejournal.com
The anonymous comment was me ...

Date: 2011-12-21 03:03 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] lady-branwyn.livejournal.com
Thank you so much! I always felt sorry for that Oliphaunt that the hobbits saw in Ithilien.

Date: 2011-12-20 10:03 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] engarian.livejournal.com
Wopw, you're fast! This is delightful, to see the Battle for the Pellenor through the eyes of an oliphant. Great idea!

- Erulisse (one L)

Date: 2011-12-21 03:00 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] lady-branwyn.livejournal.com
Thanks! Yes, this is fast, especially for me (I am usually an unbelievably slow writer). The story just wanted to be written. :)

Date: 2011-12-20 10:59 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] just-ann-now.livejournal.com
With tiny pots of henna and black ink, he drew spirals and flowers along her trunk and ears.

Eeeee! You've got me right there, you know.

She gave a little snort and ran the tip of her nose through his tangled hair. He scratched her in the dry spot under her ears...
“I will be back, my Water Lily,” the man told her. He said that was her name because she loved to lie in the mud. And because she was the most lovely of oliphaunts, just as the lily was the loveliest flower.


Oh, this is lovely, the tenderness between the warrior and his animal. I'm in awe at how, with just a few words, you've brought Belzagar and Lily to vivid life. (I guess today was a good day for this story to happen, wasn't it?)

When she did not move, he struck her weakly with the flat of his sword, aiming for the tender spot under her chin. She shook her head in surprise, but the blow was so light it barely stung.

Ohnoes!

That whole last paragraph is perfect. The whole story is perfect. Thank you so much!



Date: 2011-12-21 03:06 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] lady-branwyn.livejournal.com
After I started writing, I realized that this was actually a love story. :)
Yes, this was a good day for this story to appear. It wanted very badly to be written.
I am so glad that you like this!

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