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We Are Unseen

Chapter Text

The sky was slit open amid the choking grey clouds. A darkness that had long settled over a plain, a mountain, and woodlands was pierced with pure light shining, and illuminated the outskirts of a great Kingdom. The clouds opened like a mouth that whispered wisdom and breathed life, and from it a shaft of light, too swift to really be noticed, too faint to be discernible, came dust, and when it touched the earth, the light faded away.

The dust was then no longer dust. They were bodies, formed into slim shapes on the ground that was cool and crisp. Its season felt wrong.

They awoke one by one as if from a heavy sleep. Coherence was swiftly returned to them, and upon looking about, they all sensed danger. For a moment, time stood still. The place -the very air they breathed!-  was unfamiliar and alien. But as they took everything in, a shadow of howling monsters appeared on the horizon. As the sounds traveled over the plain, the girls began to be afraid.

One exclaimed,“What the fuck is that?” She reached for her sister, who was transfixed in terror but swatted the hand away. Chyann scowled and grabbed Chardonnay by her long russet hair and gave a good yank. “Come on!”

Chardonnay cried out in pain, and Chyann grasped her hand tightly.

Another replied, “Who cares?!” She looked down at a small girl. “And those would be ‘ ares’!

The air was still and heavy on any ears that were human. Adrenaline-fueled fleeing was the only thing on their minds. Dry grass crunched under four pairs of panicked feet as the small group of girls ran together. Clouds of dust and detritus followed in their wake.

With nothing but flat beige land and a flat grey sky around them, they were such an easy target to their pursuers (whatever they might be) that it was laughable.

The cries in the distance were not human, and the beasts they rode were neither horses nor wolves, but their stench reached the girls, carried on an almost cold breeze that contradicted their last memory of the season. Wildly, they would turn about, checking constantly to see what is was that chased them. Distance was a fickle friend that was best mated with speed and endurance, and so thus both abandoned the girls.

“This is totally what I wanna be doing on my Saturday nights!” Megan panted as she was pulled along, her tiny legs working like pistons to keep up with her much taller friends. “I just wanted my fucking Mac & Cheese! It’s the cheesiest, y’know!”

Alyx, the one dragging Megan along, snorted despite herself. “Me, too. We were gonna share, remember? Meg; keep up!” 

“Hold up...” Chardonnay was wheezing and slowing to a puttering jog, “Chyann, give me a second...” Her sister paused anxiously, and looked at Chardonnay. Chardonnay was the least athletic of them; she had always preferred books go exercise.

Alyx spoke up, “No, sweetie, we can’t; you gotta keep going!”

Megan, who had been looking ahead, suddenly shouted, “Woods!” She jumped forward and dragged Alyx behind her. The two took off, leaving the sisters to follow.

Chyann looked after them with hope. “Alright, c’mon, Cici, almost there. We’ll hide!”

Chardonnay nodded heavily, looking to her sister's freckled face tiredly. “Let’s get lost.”

“Hurry up,” Alyx chanted, as much to herself as the others. She was sweating as they jogged along. They could no longer sprint now. Hurried glances over her shoulder told her that the... whatevers that stalked them were gaining. Fast. “Shit.”

Steadily, the broad forest loomed. Thin trees began springing up around them, growing closer and taller and darker the farther they went, but still, they were not yet out of sight. Megan screeched to a halt and shook Alyx by the arm. She said, “Okay, fuck this, I am climbing the next tree!”

“We stay together !” Alyx emphasized as Chyann and Chardonnay arrived behind them. “Wait--,” She gazed off to the depths of the forest.

“You want us to wait?! You’re crazy!” Megan exclaimed, scoping out the area.

“SCATTER!” Alyx  screamed and pushed Megan up the closest tree. “They’re here!

Chyann and Chardonnay whirled about and saw an oak that seemed perfect for climbing just to the left of them when an arrow landed right at their feet. The monsters came pounding into the forest. Their skin was putrid and theirs cloths were animal hide and armor that was rusted and scraped with an ugly hiss as they swung their sharp weapons right at Chyann and Chardonnay.

“Duck!” A voice called. Chyann dragged her big sister to the ground as a thick whistling was heard. A thick branch of beech sent one ugly rider tumbling to the ground with a gurgle. Its beast belted off in another direction. “Ruuuuun!!” It was Megan, and she and Alyx leaped down from the tree armed with tough wood. They swung back and knocked aside the weapons of the riders that converged about them chaotically. Chardonnay lurched to her feet, pulling Chyann with her.

“Give me that,” Chyann called, and Megan sent the branch into her hands. Two seasons of softball suddenly came in handy and with a shout, she swung low enough to break a charging mutt’s leg. Alyx swung down with her own branch and bludgeoned its rider’s head as it attempted to rise.

Chardonnay pressed her back to a tree and readied her own branch. She was reaching to try and snag Megan out of the way when suddenly an arrow flew too close by her, and she screamed. The arrow was pale and its fletching was white, from what little Chardonnay saw. Then more arrows flew one after another, flying back from the ugly things, obviously fighting each other. Very quickly pale arrows began winning. Chardonnay could not see where they come from. It scared her just as much as the ugly monsters who chased them. The beasts and riders alike fell to the arrows, but never did they threaten to hit the teenagers.

Alyx and Chyann pressed their backs together as the monsters flowed around them to flee the forest, and when there was an opening, Chyann pulled Alyx along around a large tree. They slammed into somebody hard, and she yelled until she realized it was just her sister, Chyann had no idea that Megan was near them until she somehow managed to end up beneath Chardonnay. “Fuck,” Megan grunted in pain.

Alyx ran up and helped Chyann pull them to their feet. An unseen voice suddenly called to them, “Get deeper into the woods. Hurry!” The voice was kind and urgent, and so very odd and like a bronze bell. Firm hands pulled the four of them along with such strong grips that the girls gasped. Alyx dropped her branch as they were frog marched by strange and beautiful people who seemed to erupt from the trees themselves.

They were sent running again, a figure just ahead of them showing the way through increasingly twisted trees. For the first time, Megan was aware of the twang of bows; tons of them. For a moment, she stared at the beings when she thought she saw light shining inside of them, but the fancy passed. She blinked, thinking it may have been just sunlight, which oddly had the color of autumn. She frowned. But it’s June...?

Alyx gripped the back of Chyann’s shirt tightly as she kept Megan close, and saw that the people were dressed very oddly. They were armed with bows and arrows, and all had their hair tightly pulled away from their faces. They wore long-sleeved tunics instead of tee-shirts. Something was odd about their jawlines, but she just couldn’t put her finger on it. They passed too quickly by her to be properly examined. Oh, God, please don't tell me we're being kidnapped by a cult...

When their guide finally stopped the four girls fell to their knees on the ground collectively. The sounds of the dying monsters and thrum of arrows had long faded into the distance. They breathed heavily and leaned upon each other, feeling their heartbeats racing in their chests and the cool autumn air.

Finally, a crowd began to trickle back and stand around them. In the deep shade of the small clearing, the eyes within the shadows seemed to glow. In their hands were their bows, and some silhouettes showed them to be notched. As the girls' eyesight adjusted, Chyann rose, and Alyx with her, cautiously.

“Thank you,” Chyann began, pushing her curly red hair behind her ear, “for getting us away from all that.” Beside her, Alyx nodded while her gaze flickered to the people around them.

Finally after a beat of silence, a slender male figure stepped forward. Above him, a patch of sunlight finally peeked through the thick branches, illuminating the person’s pale skin, blue eyes and pointed ears. 

"State your business," he said. "Why do to you trespass on the Woodland Realm?"

"Our business is none of your damn business," Chyann snapped. "We just got chased by those things in here, in case you hadn't noticed?"

The man narrowed his blue eyes in warning, but Chyann was riled up, though Alyx tried to calm her down. "Hey, chill, let me talk--"

"If you refuse to answer properly, you will be taken before our King," he stepped forward and looked down his nose at Chyann, "which you do not wish."

Chyann was used to teachers pulling power plays like that on her for years, so she replied, "Oh yeah? Kiss my ass."

Alyx gasped and recoiled as firm hands grasped them, even pulling the ones who rested on the ground back to their feet roughly. Chardonnay cried out and Megan began protesting obscenely. Thick cloth was tied around their heads. With their sight now gone, the girls’ wrists were tied together in front of their bodies with thin rope, tightly enough to chafe, but not unnecessarily painful.

“Fuck you!” Chyann yelled, her red hair flying all about the place. She threw out her leg in a hard kick. She heard a shout, and suddenly she was forced to the ground by the back of her neck. Her voice was muffled against the cool grass. “Get the fuck off of me!”

“Chyann!!” Chardonnay called out. She tried to wriggle away, but the grips around her arms were tough as old tree roots. Megan began cussing twice as loudly.

“Everyone--stop!”

Chyann lay on the ground panting, Alyx’s voice still ringing in her ears.

“Now is not the time,” she plead them, and to the strange people, her words seemed to soothe the children. “Lead on...?” She spoke to their captors with as much dignity as she could.


So there we go, folks! I edited this chapter from the original to help it make more sense. Still rather amatuerish, but as I said I wrote this years ago. Content will mature accordingly. 

Please leave a review! Thank you!

 

Chapter Text

The strange beings led them on with firm grasps and kept up a grueling pace for the first hour or so, though it became gradually more gentle, more a brisk march, as the girls lagged behind. But the air was amazing to the girls: they could feel the cooling the closer night crept. The strangers who had simultaneously saved and kidnapped them were not harsh in their treatment, leading them gently around hazards and catching them when the four stumbled, and no orders or abusive words were barked at them. They were even allowed to lag behind the rest of the soldiers as the adrenaline left their systems, leaving aching limbs and jelly-like joints as a byproduct. The girls had no delusions of escape, though, blind and bound as they were.

After some time they were brought to a halt. With firm hands, their captors guided them to their knees and told the girls to open their mouths in their oddly-accented English. It was the one who had told them: “Stand still!

Megan said, “If a dick is going in here, I am biting it off.”

Alyx snorted at the comment. “Don’t be rude.”

Chardonnay threw her head her head back in agony. I am going to die because she cannot shut up...

Once they had settled down and opened up wide, cool, sweet water slowly dribbled into their mouths. Still, their captors did not speak, but allowed them to drink until their thirsts were quenched. Quietly, Megan spoke without her usual sarcasm for the first time.

“Okay, guys, one of you come with me...‘cause I really gotta pee...”

“Me, too,” said Alyx, “I’ll go with you, Megan. Anyone else?” The sisters declined. Alyx turned her blind face up to their captors. “Excuse us? Could we please use the restroom? Or, um, a bush or a tree?”

Hands grasped the girls’ elbows and guided them to their feet. The soldiers led them some distance away, where steady scraping sound could heard as holes were dug for them to do their business in.

“Um. Excuse me? I can not piss with you people watching.” Megan snapped. The lapse in her snide had only been brief, and she was back to snarking at every available opportunity. The strange beings were silent, simply shifting the girls’ positions until they stood over the holes in the ground. Their hands were untied.

“Suck it up, Meg,” Alyx said cheerfully, undoing her jeans and hunkering down. “We’re in the wilderness now.”

“Well, shit.”

“You do that.”

 

Chardonnay shimmied closer to her sister. “Hey,” she rasped softly. Their shoulders touched, and the warmth was comforting. “How are you doing?”

“I’m cold.” Chyann hunched forward.

Chardonnay shifted closer.

“Still cold,” Chyann said petulantly. “You always have a jacket on. I don’t.”

“Because I need to. I’m, like, allergic to everything.”

Chyann sucked on her teeth. “No you’re not!”

Chardonnay sneezed.

“Shut up.”

The crunching of shoes were heard as Megan and Alyx were led back from their potty break. Megan was loudly rattling off a law about invasion of privacy, while Alyx quietly snickered.

Off they marched again, and as the evening grew cooler, the songs of birds made their calls. Many a time the path was so narrow that the trees were within inches of Chyann’s bare arms, and those birds seemed to be right next to her. Maybe they were.

Their muscles were burning terribly. Few were as athletic as Chyann, whose specialty was beating people up. Softly, Megan began whimpering as her toe stubbed another rock. She stumbled, and the strange people placed their hands on her to lift her again, but she flinched away from them and remained curled on the ground. Firmly, though, her voice reached the girls’ ears. “I am not going any further until you feed and shelter us. I demand my rights as an American prisoner.”

Inwardly, Alyx glowed with pride. Megan knew her politics. They certainly argued about them enough. The guiding hands left her, and by chance the rustle of leaves hinted that the strange people gathered. The faintest hissing whispers could be heard for several moments. Strangely a wave of something that felt like emotion roared through her mind, and she reeled. Odd and frightening as it was, they were so pale and numerous that she knew instantly that they were not hers. Nor were they human...

“No. If we must carry you, we shall, but you will stand before the Elvenking on this night. You will be fed, though.”

“What?” Chardonnay asked aloud. “A king?”

The people made no reply, and they girls were picked up once again. Megan, who didn't fancy being carried around like a sack of potatoes, kicked her legs until she was put down again. 

In another hour they could all hear the rushing of a river. Chyann wondered if these people meant to drown them, and she dug her heels into the dirt. But their captors just lifted her by her elbows again, and when she set her feet down they thumped against a wooden bridge. Chyann relaxed, but only a little; she could sense something looming ahead of them. The smell of earth encircled them, and she knew they were in a cave. Somehow, she just knew.

"Guys, Megan called, "I feel funny..." a feeling of her mind being tugged like a piece of fabric filled in her mind, and the smell of paper. Behind her closed eyes in the blindfold, there was a group of people standing in a room, bending over a piece of paper and signing it with quills. Their ears were pointed like the fours' kidnapper. As much as she tried, she couldn't get rid of the image. “It’s pretty fucking weird."

“Maybe you just have to pee again,” Chyann replied tiredly.

“...How dare you assume I can't control my bladder.”

Deeper they went into the caves, but the air stayed surprisingly pleasant. It was a close fit- a narrow hallways, Chyann could tell, until they passed some threshold, and a gust of a buffeted them. Their feet were again thudding against a bridge, this time stone. They walked and walked on while fear gave them a new energy. Too soon, they were brought to a halt, and the sound of doors being opened made their knees quake. Their blindfolds were removed and the world was light again.

In the hall it was dim with pale gold light shining from torches along the high walls. They all felt small, and as the girls were led forward, their guards trickled away to stand against the walls, which were engraved with tree roots. Before them stood an impressive throne of twisting wood and elk or moose antlers. Sitting on the throne was the imposing shadow of a person. As their eyes adjusted to the dimness, they saw he was a fair-skinned man with extremely long, pale blonde hair and heavy eyebrows. Upon his head was a crown of red leaves and berries. He eyed the girls with a calculating glare, skimming over them swiftly. The girls squirmed under his invasive gaze.

At length, he spoke.“I am told that you four were found,” His deep voice carried with authority and age, “to be running into mine kingdom with a pack of Wargs upon your tail.” He was graceful, and closely resembled the creature that led the ones who captured them. He shifted in his seat, and was about to continue when a small bubble of hysterical laughter escaped the lips of one of the girls.

She was the tallest, with messy brown hair that fell around her arms. Her eyes were round and rimmed with exhaustion and mirth. She was very slender, almost slight, but with surprisingly wide-set hips. Her clothing was blue, and she was barefoot, one of which was covered in blood. “Megan,” she whimpered, “Sarah...Palin...! Pffffftt! Look at the chair !” She scrunched up her shoulders in laughter.

The smallest of the four cracked up. “Sarah Palin! Fuck yeah!” She stomped her foot in agreement.

“Guys...don’t...!” Chardonnay hissed softly. Oh God, oh God... We’reallgonnadiewe’reallgonnadie...!

“Sarah Palin ? Shut up, you two!” Chyann snapped.

The wild laughter died down abruptly. The man sat coldly, and Megan realized that they were completely surrounded by the strange being who had saved then captured them. As in, they were fucking everywhere. They surrounded the area, watching curiously and without a hint of pity. Megan, against her will, felt an image rise up in her mind’s eye. An old, old document that read the rights of Elvish visitors....

Megan spoke: “ Hereby agreement of the High Elves, met in the Sacred Wood of Lothlorien, that a child of any race attacked by the Enemy shall henceforth be our ally until proven otherwise. Protection and shelter shall be theirs, and no harm shall fall unto the lone and dependent upon our race, be they of Dwarf, Wizard, Elf, or Mankind. Children shall be brought in and cared for as our own, until their coming-of-age. All present shall heed these laws, as signed: Thranduil, son of Oropher.”

Her friends looked at her with their mouths agape. Finally, Alyx looked at the King and squeezed out, “Well, damn!”

Whispers rippled through the hall of Thranduil, and Chyann whispered fiercely to Megan, “Where the hell did that come from?!” She nudged Megan with her shoulders.

Megan thinned her lips and said, “I think I’m psychic...” the other four snickered again.

“Silence.”

The deep voice of the Elvenking cut through everyone's  mirth. He looked down to Megan, his eyes shining like blue ice. “Where did you hear this?” The Elf, for that was what they were, stood from his throne of antlers and wood, “That I signed an age ago, in an era war and darkness. The children of men never heard it, nor was it rendered ever to the Common Speech.” He descended slowly from the dais, the silver material of the ornate coat rustling softly.

The blonde Elf from the forest moved aside and tailed the king, and Chyann realized that they were related. “So how is it that a stranger such as yourself know it?” He stopped before them, and Megan shivered. Her haunting blue eyes were framed with feather-duster lashes, and they filled with tears that didn’t fall. Her lips quivered.

“Does it matter?” The king faced Alyx, who stood straight and tall, all hint of joking gone. She looked into the king’s cold face where the torch light make his cheekbones as sharp as knives. “Does it matter how she knows? If it’s true, then you can’t disregard your own law.” She stepped boldly in front of Megan to block her from the old Elf’s gaze. “You have to obey them. You have to protect us. Consider us adopted.”

Chardonnay held her breath anxiously, and got closer to Chyann... Who was getting just about sick with all of the bullshit. “Alright, look.” The Elf turned to her, instantly offended with her tone. “We’re not spies or whatever. Okay? We are tired as hell from being marched through the woods. We are just as confused as you are right now, so it doesn’t do anyone any good to ask, okay?”

The king glowered darkly at them as he stepped away. Grudgingly, but with his interest piqued, he said, “Find them a suitable room, and a hot meal. Galdor,” he gestured to another blonde Elf beside the throne, “oversee their care.”

Their hands were untied, and everyone was instantly more relaxed.

Alyx grimaced, feeling a sort of pressure in her head, like someone poking a swelling balloon; all the emotions seemed to fill her head at once, and she staggered. “Hold on a second. I’m getting really dizzy...”

Chardonnay looked to her. Something swam around her mind, a nagging sensation that she couldn’t shake off. A compulsion, if you will. Headache and dizziness. The phrase circled around her head as she maneuvered around Megan and her sister. She placed her hands on Alyx’s arms to steady her. The King’s Hall stood watching.

“Sit down,” she said soothingly. “And relax your neck and shoulders. When was the last time you ate?”

Alyx did as she was told, contemplating the question. “Um... Before the forest...? A long time ago. Starbucks...?”

Chardonnay nodded, rubbing her fingertips into her friend’s neck. “Can we get some bread and water really quickly?”

Her request was granted, as a small lump of brown bread and a glass of water were brought out by a servant. She ripped off small pieces and pressed them into Alyx’s hands one at a time. “Eat slowly,” She said, raising the glass to Alyx’s lips after every bite.

Once the bread and water were gone, Chardonnay dusted the crumbs from her thick clothes and held out the cup for the servant to take. “Better?”

Alyx nodded, smiling and hugging her buddy. “Thank you...!” She praised, snuggling her face atop Chardonnay’s breasts. Chardonnay laughed aloud, patting Alyx’s back before removing her from her person. “No problem. Now, let’s go get that hot meal...” She stood, helping Alyx up as she did, who draped her arms her best friends.

The Elf named Galdor led them out a side door. Before they left, Chyann shot a gaze over her shoulder to the Elf standing by his kin. He met her gaze, and in it she saw shame. She scowled, ruining her prettily freckled face. The torch light shone through them, making the green of her eyes shine like sunlight through glass.

Down labyrinthine passages they went, passing door after door engraved into the stone until Galdor halted. He placed a hand on the stone and spoke words in a breathy, yet very solid language that the girls could not understand. The door’s outline glimmered for a moment, and it opened into a large room. After ushering them in, he requested in English they stay close together, and left to fetch them dinner.

The warmer air put them more at ease, allowing them to properly observe their surroundings. A single large sleigh bed that was low to the ground and whose headboard was carved with intertwining trees dominated the room, while short divans littering the rest of the space. The majority of the smooth rock floor was covered by plush, richly colored carpets. By the side of the wall that was entirely the beige stone that had been hinted by the dim lighting was a wardrobe of odd design. In the corner was a carved trees, whose branches grew up, up up all along the ceiling. The odd designs were carved into the wood of the bed and all around the room.

The girls collapsed down onto any reasonably comfortable surface, relishing in the chance to finally relax. Their nubile limbs were terribly strained from their cold little jot through the woods and their little confrontation with a king , which, now that Megan thought about it, could’ve gone much worse.

“Ow, exercise should be illegal...” Chardonnay groaned, lying down on the floor and spreading her limbs out. Alyx perched on a divan covered with doe hide and thought.  

“I just wanted my fucking Mac & Cheese.” Megan lamented, flopping onto the bed. Chardonnay rose and tugged Chyann from the floor. “Get on the bed, Chy...come on, Alyx? You too...” Alyx shook her head mutely and waved them off.

Chyann got up reluctantly, dropping herself on the comfortable mattress and sprawled out again. “God, we’re all filthy... I hate being dirty.” She muttered, raking her fingers through her sweat-matted curls. Merida didn’t have shit on her curls. They continued to clump, and felt greasy to the touch.

“Splish-splash,” Megan muttered against a soft pillow already half-dreaming of a big bubble bath. “Take your shoes off... Mortal, get your legs off of me.”

A light surrounded the door frame again. “Room service,” Alyx muttered and she rose ponderously. Elves carrying four trays, one pitcher of wine, and one of water glided in. Chyann rose on her elbows and gazed balefully at the too-beautiful creatures. They really aren’t human, s he thought as she watched them serve the food on platters of beaten silver. From where she sat she could smell the wine, robust and red.

As the Elves prepared to depart, Chardonnay called out weakly, and the others looked at her in blearly surprise. “Can we have a bath...? ...Please? We’re kind of a mess.”

A female Elf  looked at them with soft eyes, taking in their dirty clothes and bodies swiftly with her eyes. With a light tone, she responded, “Yes. Would you like one after you have eaten, or now?”

Chyann looked over tiredly. “I think we’d just drown in the tub. We’ll have one tomorrow. I just don’t want to ruin these sheets...”

Chardonnay nodded at the Elf lady. “Just rags and water...Please.”

The Elf smiled softly, perhaps in pity toward their disheveled state. “Of course.” She left in single file with the others.

Pretty bastards, Alyx thought. “So, who wants to get drunk?” She raised the wine pitcher. Chyann reached over to Megan and raised her hand for her. “We do!”

“I will bite you, human,” Megan muttered darkly, and after a moment she was snoring lightly.

“Let’s just eat, okay?” Chardonnay stood up wearily, moving over to the food. “Alyx, wake Megan up, would you?”

Alyx shook their smallest friend gently by her shoulders, rousing her as kindly as she could while murmuring about food. Megan groaned, somehow managing to make the groggy sound sarcastic beyond human expectations as she literally rolled out of bed and thumped to floor. Alyx laughed loudly, “Bwaaahahaha! You dork! Get up...”

“Uuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuugggggghh!” Megan thumped the floor with her tiny fists. “If there’s no mac-n-cheese in there...I am gonna flip a bitch...”

“Shut up about your mac-n-cheese and eat.” Chyann snapped, too tired to be bothered with Megan and sat down by Chardonnay. She stabbed a slab of rare meat that steamed and smelled of rosemary. She crammed a slice into her mouth, chewing more violently than necessary, no doubt imagining the Elves being in her mouth.

Megan and Alyx settled down, and the only sounds were of scraping the strange silverware and plate. For the next thirty minutes that was all that happened: the chewing and swallowing of four, ravenous teenage girls.

The female Elf walked back in, being assisted in carrying a large metal basin of water that steamed hotly and carried the faint scent of lavender by another Elf. Another followed, male this time, carrying clean towels over one arm and thin nightgowns on the other. The female Elves placed the basin down on the floor before taking the towels from their companion and laying them down next to the basin. The male Elf laid the nightgowns out on the bed next to the other, leaving the girls guess which one was theirs, before he began clearing away the empty dishes with the unnaturally deft skill of the Elves.Their tightly pulled back hair glimmered.

The female Elf turned to them. “I am Tauriel,” she said. Her red hair shone next to her sharp, pointed ears and long face. “Once you have finished cleaning yourselves, leave your clothes by the door. And have no fear: we of Mirkwood shall protect you.”

“Thank you,” the sisters nodded solemnly. Meanwhile, Megan was dozing off on the table.

“Come on, O Great and Powerful One,” Alyx nudged Megan, pulling her up to her feet. “Bath time.”

Once the Elves left, the girls stripped, any thoughts of modesty and shyness banished by the desire to be clean and asleep. They rubbed themselves down with the warm water, submerging their heads to scrub their scalps clean. Water splashed onto the floor, dampening the carpets as they idly cleaned each other. The water steadily became murky as the grime was rinsed from them.

Eventually, once the water had become lukewarm and more than a little opaque, the girls deemed themselves clean enough and went about determining whose nightgown was whose. The smallest was immediately tossed to Megan, who dragged it on over her wet hair and fell asleep the moment her head hit the pillow. The second smallest was given to Alyx. Chyann and Chardonnay tried to distinguish between the last two before quickly deciding it didn’t matter. They were both curvy and tall.

Once under the covers, fatigue took over the girls. Cuddled and warming each other led them into a deep, restful sleep.