Disclaimer: The Lord of the Rings trilogy was written by J. R. R. Tolkien.
I make no monetary profit from this story.
Summary: Haldir finds an orphaned baby in the woods and takes care of her.
Author’s note: When Orophin and Rúmil speak and when Haldir speaks to them, they are speaking in Elvish, though unfortunately I don’t have all the Elvish words or enough knowledge about the language to write a full conversation. Pictures at end of story.
Pronunciations: Arisha - Ar-i-sha (short I) Kura - Ku-rra (short U)
Haldir walked through the woods if Mirkwood, returning to Lothlórien. A sudden bloodcurdling scream pierced the air. The Elven warrior drew his bow and ran to investigate. The screams became louder and longer. An Elf woman made them. Haldir ran as fast as his long legs would bear him.
He arrived upon the scene to see an Orc hunched over the body of a dead Elf woman, holding a knife. A torrent of anger rushed through him as he drew his bow and fired, hitting the Orc in the heart, if it could be said an Orc had such a thing. Haldir heard a baby’s cry as he approached, the Orc not quite dead. The Orc, now bleeding desperately tried to indicate the baby. Haldir looked down and stared in shock. His gaze turned to the Orc, still gesturing to the baby, and his last rasping words before he passed into the next world were, “Arisha Kura...”
Haldir surmised that was the baby’s name. Haldir placed down his bow and picked up the naked babe. It was obvious that she was half Elven, half Orcan. Haldir looked over toward the fallen Elf and realised she was the baby’s mother and the dead Orc, her father.
“What have I done ...” the Elf whispered to the woods. The baby cried in his arms. “Forgive me,” Haldir said. “It is my doing that you are orphaned. I promise to raise you until you are of age. It is the very least I can do.”
He looked up to see a cave ahead with some belongings. The Elf carried the baby and entered the cave. He saw bascis, pots, pans, rags. He surmised that the Elf woman and the Orc had to hide their forbidden love, though how anyone could love an Orc was beyond him. Amongst the few belongings, he found a leather bound journal, covered with a tarnished gold pattern. He sat down on a crude wooden stool and opened it with his free hand. It was written in Orcan and he could not understand a word, though he took the book with him as he left Mirkwood on his way back to Lothlórien. He hoped his brethren would accept the baby. Even though her blood was half Orcan, he could not leave her to die and wrapped her in a piece of cloth he found in the cave.
* * *
Celeborn looked in surprise at the baby as he digested Haldir’s explanation. “I find it hard to believe such a union could ever exist.”
“But it did.”
The older Elf looked at the baby again. Her skin was a pinky-grey, her eyes like cats’ eyes. Her ears were more pointed than normal for an Elf.
“Her name is Arisha Kura,” Haldir said. “And I feel it is my duty to look after her.”
Celeborn gave a gentle smile. “I know what it is you ask, Haldir. It will be difficult. Not only is it an enormous responsibility to raise a child, for she is half Orcan and you will come under scrutiny, as will she. It will be a difficult life for her.”
“I know this, but I could not leave her to die.”
Celeborn placed his hand on Haldir’s shoulder. “I would not expect you to. I sense nothing amiss from the baby and I give you my blessing to welcome her into the woods of Lothlórien.”
“Thank you,” Haldir breathed, relieved.
Celeborn looked at the book Haldir had brought.
“I am hoping it is a journal,” he said, “that will tell us more of Arisha and her parents. I have an idea of how I will have it translated, but again I require your permission.”
Silence followed for a moment, then Celeborn nodded. “You have it, but you must take the necessary precautions.”
Haldir nodded. “Of course.”
* * *
Rúmil held the baby while Haldir fussed with making her a small bed. Haldir was heartened by how his younger brother took to the young babe almost instantly. He could only hope others would be the same. His older brother, Orophin, Haldir saw was not quite so taken, but he did not reject her either.
“You will be the subject of much discussion, Haldir,” he cautioned.
“Celeborn told me this and I understood it before I stood with him. Though I could not be expected to leave a helpless babe to die.”
“Of course not,” Orophin said, much to Haldir’s relief. “But many will not be as accepting of her as ourselves and Celeborn. Some may even try to harm her.”
Sadly, Haldir nodded. “This has gone through my mind also. I do understand why others would have their misgivings, but I cannot understand how anyone would conceive to harm a child.”
“And what will you tell her when she gets older?” Orophin pressed. “There will come a time when she realises she looks different from the others around her. Some may shun her, and she will not understand why.”
“When she is old enough to understand, I will tell her the truth,” Haldir said. “That I murdered her father.”
Orophin looked sympathetic. “Haldir, you are being too hard on yourself. From what you have told us, you heard an Elf woman screaming in the woods and when you got to her, she lay dead, with an Orc hunched over her with a knife. What were you supposed to think? That she had given birth to his child and he was the father and had used the knife to cut the umbilical cord? How unlikely does that sound?”
“Very. But that is the way it happened. Arisha must know the truth.”
“That you thought the Orc had murdered the Elf maiden. I am sure Rúmil or I would have made the same mistake in your place. I am sure she will understand.”
Gently Haldir took her from Rúmil, who had been cradling her gently and placed her under the covers. Softly, he kissed her forehead. “I hope so.”
Haldir dragged the unconscious bound Orc through the woods of Lothlórien. He wrinkled his nose and tried not to take in the vile smell.
When he had reached his talan, he bound the orc’s hands and feet to a strong wicker chair and waited for him to come to.
The orc struggled against his bonds. Haldir leveled an arrow at his head.
“Get it over with,” the Orc snarled.
“If you give me a reason, I will.”
“Why have you brought me here? Why didn’t you just kill me?”
“Trust me, if I wanted you dead, you would be.”
The Orc grunted.
“I have brought you here for one reason, and one reason only,” Haldir said, lowering his arrow. You no doubt speak your own tongue and you also speak the common language.”
“I will tell you nothing,” the Orc growled.
“If you do not tell me what you want to know, you will die.”
Haldir tossed him the journal. “I want this translated word for word in the common tongue.”
The Orc looked at it and the name on it. “Gromuk ... I thought he was dead.”
“He is,” Haldir said, making a mental note that Arisha’s father was named Gromuk.
“I will free one of your hands. I would advise you to do as you are told. I have no desire to go gallivanting around the countryside to find another Orc that speaks common.”
The Orc grunted. “You may as well know I am called Shork.”
“Haldir.” The Elf cautiously united one of his hands. He half expected the orc to try something, but he did not as he opened the journal. “You will be provided with parchment, writing utensils, food and water until you are finished your task.”
“What then? What will I receive in return?”
“Your life,” Haldir said, “and safe passage.”
Again Shork grunted. “I may as well get started. The perfectness of this place is making me ill.”
Haldir gave the orc a dirty look.
* * *
It took Shork three days to translate Gromuk’s journal. After he had finished, he was blindfolded and taken out of Lórien and as Haldir promised, set on his way.
Haldir picked up the book and began to read silently to himself.
‘My name is Gromuk. Formerly Gromuk the Basher. My formal, not so flattering title. I reside within Mordor and am fiercely proud of my homeland. It may not be much to look at, but I am one of the few who believe it will someday be restored to its former glory ~ Before Sauron. One may believe it strange that an orc feels this way, but I have come to learn, the hard way that I am unlike most of my people. Would one call me a ‘Good Orc?’ You decide.
A band of us were commissioned to capture three Elves from the dense forest of Mirkwood. The purpose of our capture these Elves was to learn if their eternal life could be given to the Orcs. I was hoping they would make us look like they do, beautiful creatures, Elves. One would not think that an orc appreciates beauty. Hard to believe that we Orcs were elves once, thousands of years ago.
Our army attacked a band of Elves. Many of them were killed before they knew we were upon them. And this is where it happened. This is where I snapped. A pregnant she-elf was brutally hacked to death by one of my comrades who seemed to revel in what he had done. I reeled back and regurgitated my rations. I have seen death before. I have seen crude Orc weapons used for vile acts, but never like this. Never to murder a woman and her unborn child. This is when I decided I could no longer remain with my kin. I killed Yokg, the one who had killed the she-elf and I began killing others in my band. The two remaining Elves looked at me strangely, possibly believing I had gone mad. Those two Elves were killed by Orcs. In a struggle I killed one other Orc, the last ran from the scene. I was unable to catch him. I dropped my weapon. I knew if I returned to Mordor, it would mean my death. There was nowhere on Middle Earth I would be safe. Elves and others would kill me on sight, and I cannot blame them, but I would be safer here than back in Mordor. It pained me that I would never see my homeland again, but fate had something in store for me. I heard a gasp, grabbed my weapon and spun, to see one of the she-elves still alive, though badly hurt. I approached her and she tried to back off, terrified and I could not blame her. I could not speak her language to assure her I did not intend to harm her. I lowered my weapon and approached. Her wounds ran deep. Despite her fear I managed to bandage them. She looked quite puzzled at why an orc appeared to be helping her. I carried her away from the site, to a dark place in the forest. I took her into a cave, she seemed sure that I had brought her here to kill or rape her. I left to find food. It was many days before she seemed to understand that I did not intend to brutalise her. Although I could not understand her language, I did understand her name was Breivana and I told her mine.”
Haldir went on to read how Gromuk nursed Breivana back to health.
“I was heartened when she decided to stay with me. Her broken bones were mended, but she is still weak from some of her wounds and I fear they will not heal and the mental trauma has left a scar which will never heal. She is very jumpy and afraid. She seems even afraid of her own people. I am guessing he believes they will shun her for being with an Orc. I am new to gentleness. It was not something we Orcs were ever taught or had a need for, but I am finding it is not too alien after all and is actually quite pleasant.”
Haldir smiled as he read on.
“Breivana braided my hair this day and allowed me watch her bathing in the stream. I believe the attraction is mutual. I may not be much to look at, but it is a good feeling to have someone care for you and to care for them in return is again a feeling which is alien to me, but I am wondering how I ever lived without knowing it.”
Haldir found it hard to believe an Orc could be this amiable, but here it was right in front of him.
“I had heard from men talking some years ago, that copulation was a wonderful experience, though I never gave it any thought. That was, until now. No one told me just how wonderful it was! I was heartened that Breivana did not feel repulsed by me in any way. The way she held me, caressed me. It was divine. To touch her soft unclothed body was an experience that I wondered how I lived without knowing it. She fell asleep in my arms. Was this love? I have never experienced this feeling before. Yes, I think it must be.”
Haldir’s eyes almost brimmed with tears as he read. Gromuk seemed so innocent and the Elf wondered if there were more like him as he read on.
“We discovered six moons later that Breivana had fallen pregnant from our copulation. I wondered how she would cope with it, but to my delight she too was delighted. We did have some reservations at how our baby would be accepted into the world. She would be the child of two races who had been enemies for centuries, but we would worry about that when the time came. Breivana decided she would name the child of she was to be female and her name would be Arisha and if he were to be a boy I would name him. From what we had learnt of each other’s language, I told her I did not know of any Elf names. She told me to name the child with an Orc name, but I did not want to do that. I did not want to burden the child with that. I smiled at her and said “kura” the very seldom used Orcish word for please. My love told me some names and the name I settled on was Ellodihir.”
Haldir looked up. Kura meant please ... and he realised that Gromuk was pleasing him to look after his daughter. “And I will.” He promised.
“Breivana is growing worse by the day. She is very ill now and the baby is almost due. Something terrible tells me that she will not survive childbirth. I could not bear to lose her, but she has made me promise to look after the child if she does not survive and that I will. It will pain me more than I can say to lose my only love, but I will hold to my promise.”
Haldir closed the book on the last entry. “I’m so sorry,” he whispered, wiping a tear away. His attention was monetarily diverted by Rúmil entering the room, holding Arisha.
Haldir smiled. “She has quite taken to you.”
The younger Elf smiled back. “She may look a little strange, but I think she is gorgeous.”
Haldir chucked as Arisha began to play with Rúmil’s long golden hair. The tall elf shook his head about and the baby began to laugh. Rúmil handed her to Haldir.
Gently he took her into his arms. “I am so sorry for what happened. I know you are not old enough to understand, but I promise you when you are I will tell you.”
Rúmil placed his hand on his brother’s shoulder.
“I am proud to call you my brother.”
“Thank you,” Haldir said. “As I am with you.”
Arisha shuffled in Haldir’s arms. Gently, Haldir placed his finger in her mouth and she took it into her tiny hand and began to suck it. The Silvan Elf smiled as he held her carefully with his other hand.
Orophin entered the room as well. “I see you have finished reading the journal.”
“Please fee free to peruse it,” Haldir said. “It explains a lot.”
“The child has quite taken to you.”
Haldir smiled. “I was saying the same to Rúmil. You do not seem too thrilled by her.”
“You did not see him fussing over her when he put her to bed the previous night,” Rúmil said with a smile.
Orophin gave him a look, then smiled. “I have had my differences with Orcs as we all have, but I have come to realise that this child cannot be begrudged for who she is.”
“Well said,” Haldir said.
Arisha had fallen asleep in his arms.
Haldir and Rúmil often took turns feeding, bathing and playing with Arisha. His brothers could not get enough of her. Orophin was less affectionate toward her in public, but Haldir once saw his older brother playing with her and having a delightful time with her playing with his long golden hair, and Haldir smiled.
* * *
Orophin left the baby with Lord Celeborn one time when he and Rúmil had gone hunting. Haldir had left earlier that day to gather fruits, nuts and berries. Upon his return, Orophin told him that he had left Arisha with the Lord of Lórien. Haldir became worried for Celeborn hated Orcs arguably more than his brothers did. He did not want to think his gentle Lord would harm a baby and Orophin saw fit to trust him, but Haldir still was worried, He went to collect Arisha from his Lord.
"Haldir," Celeborn greeted, turning around with Arisha in his arms.
Haldir looked relived. "I trust she was no trouble?"
"None, despite needing to be changed and trying to eat my necklace."
Haldir smiled and took her.
"Haldir, you seem tense," Celeborn said concerned.
"It was a long day, My Lord."
"Collecting berries doesn't usually make you ... " Celeborn paused. "You thought I might have harmed the baby?" he said, sending Haldir's thoughts.
"My Lord, I ..."
Celeborn looked hurt. "Haldir, as much as I despise Orcs I would never harm an infant."
"I am sorry, My Lord. I overreacted. I worry about her so. I am very sorry if I offended you. It will not happen again."
"I would be lying if I said I was not the least part hurt, but I forgive you, Haldir, for you are acting like a loving father."
Haldir smiled. "Thank you, My Lord."
* * *
Arisha was nine years old now and Haldir thought it time to tell his foster daughter the truth.
"There is something I need to tell you, Arisha," Haldir said.
"That’s' want I wanted to tell you... It is a long story and one that will be hard for you to hear."
Haldir swallowed after he had finished the story. He half expected Arisha to reject him, yell at him tell him she hated him, but when he felt her arms around him, he felt like the biggest weight in Middle Earth had been lifted from his shoulders.
"You do not despise me."
"Of course not. How could I? You saved my life and cared for me. From your description of Orcs ... how were you to know my Orcan father was a good one?"
"I wans't," Haldir said. "It is said things happen for a reason ... But I am sorry about your father, but I guess had it not happened, I would have never known you ..."
"Nor I you or your brothers or Celeborn and I love you all so."
"As we love you."
"I have your father's translated journal here if you would like to read it."
"Can you read it to me, Father?"
"You accept me as your father?"
"Yes, it is you who looked after me, fed and clothed me because my real father couldn't. It was you who rescued me from that nasty bramble bush when I was five and it was you and your brothers who are looking after me and teaching me how to defend myself."
Haldir smiled and began to read to his daughter.
* * *
In the coming years, Orophin, Haldir and Rúmil taught Arisha how to handle bow and sword and she became quite proficient at it.
News of the Orc Elf girl had spread far and wide. Many were not sure what to make of her, and Haldir had spent much of his time convincing others that her Orcan side was not evil. Most were intrigued by her mother than anything else. Arisha was happy to let people learn about her, but she hated being a spectacle.
News of her had even reached the land of Mordor.
An Orc had been captured in Lórien. He told them his name was Shalar. He was unarmed, which surprised the Elves
"I know of Arisha," he said.
"What do you know?" Haldir demanded.
"That she is half Elven, half Orcan. Her father was Gromuk. It may surprise you to know that there are a few of us who felt the way he did."
"I am not sure if I believe you. I will take you to Lord Celeborn and Lady Galadriel."
* * *
"He is telling the truth," Celeborn said.
Haldir was relieved, but also astounded that there was more than one amiable Orc.
As if Shalar could read his mind, 'There are seven of us that I know of," he said. "Well hidden in our society, never voicing our opinions in fear of torture or death."
Haldir nodded, feeling a pang of sympathy for these few Orcs, still finding it hard to believe.
Arisha and her adopted father met with Shalar, who Arisha thought had nice eyes as far as Orcan eyes went.
"Pleased to meet you," she said.
Gently he bowed and kissed her hand.
"Never did I meet such a polite Orc."
He smiled to that. "Your father's legacy lives on. We commend his bravery for breaking free."
Arisha looked sad. "I wish I could have known my parents, though I love Haldir and the Elves dearly."
"Indeed," Shalar said. "You are living proof that a union of peace can exist between our worlds."
"That is what I am hoping," Arisha said.
* * *
On the next new moon a meeting took place between the Elves and the seven Orcs. Lord Celeborn and Lady Galadriel had scrutinised each one of them thoroughly and ascertained they were all genuine. They had even bathed and groomed for the occasion! And discussion went underway.
* * *
It was some time during the break that Arisha left and walked into the woods. Haldir watched her go. He spied a young male Elf following her and became concerned and followed.
The Elf stopped when he had found Arisha.
She smiled. "Arian." And then she kissed him.
Haldir stared and in his shock, stepped on a twig. Silently he cursed himself for his carelessness.
"Haldir…" Arian said, worriedly, wondering what her father would think.
He looked ta the two. "How long have you…"
"For the past three moons, Father," Arisha admitted.
"Why did you not tell me?"
"We were afraid you would not approve."
"My intentions are genuine, Sir," Arian said. "I dearly love Arisha."
Haldir nodded. "That is good, though I am hurt that neither of you confronted me."
"I am sorry, Father," Arisha said. "From this moment on I endeavour not to keep any secrets from you."
"That is good, my Daughter, now we must get back to the negotiations."
* * *
Shalar seemed disappointed that Arisha had taken a mate, though he did not let it show.
"It will not be easy," Shalar said, "for either of our peoples and there are going to be many who oppose the union."
"Aye," Haldir said, "but you have given us hope that such a union is possible."
* * *
News of the rebel Orcs had now spread far and wide and even reached the as far North as Shire. Many of Middle Earth's inhabitants were heartened by this news, but many were not, namely many in Mordor. But the number of rebel Orcs were growing, which heartened the Free Peoples.
* * *
"It is going to be a long journey," Haldir told his daughter. "And a hard one."
"It is one I am willing to take, Father." Arisha said. "The road to peace is never easy."
And Arisha devoted the rest of her life to bring a lasting peace to Middle Earth.
Some Gorgeous Pictures of Arisha
Baby Arisha by Susana
Adult Arisha By Susana
Adult Arisha by Liquid Schwartz