Author: Del Rion (delrion.mail (at) gmail.com)
Fandom: The Lord of the Rings
Era: Third Age of the Sun
Genre: Action/Adventure, AU, Angst
Rating: M / FRM
Characters: Legolas, Thranduil (, OCs)
Summary: Dark creatures get even closer to Thranduil’s stronghold – with fatal consequences. Legolas witnesses death for the first time in his life, but when a terrible accident faces the royal family, the pain of the youngest is easily forgotten.
Part of the history of “The Last Journey.” Takes place a few years after “Guardian”. Complete.
Warnings: Character’s death, evil, darkness, violence, etc.
Author’s Notes: In this chapter there will be some brutal, mindless, and terrible violence (how does one always associate that with Orcs…hmm….). Death shall be at present here, as well. Be terrified (if you do, I have succeeded). Now, as the warning is given, back to the story…
Legolas looked around excitedly, trying to see all at once. His mother walked beside him, trying to keep him from dashing off. The field some miles away from the palace was being prepared for a festival some weeks away, and the Elves’ happy voices filled the air as they worked in their tasks.
“You may play on the edge of the clearing, but do not be in anyone’s way,” Galenrosiel told her son and Legolas nodded, dashing off as soon as he was released. He walked among the Elves, smiling at everyone and asking things that popped into his mind. When he finally had wandered through the field, he was tired but yet very pleased with himself. Legolas threw himself into a long, soft grass that grew on the edge of the clearing. His mother would not like him to leave the clearing, so he would try to stay in her sight.
Counting the clouds passing by above him Legolas lay in the grass, a whispery wind moving the grass around him. The trees sang their own song, birds flying among the branches. Legolas smiled, then began to sing himself, deciding that the tune and the words were worth remembering. He should sing this to his friend Shannai too, when he would see him. Shannai always liked to hear new songs, and he said that songs made by Legolas were the best.
Suddenly a small sound behind Legolas awoke him from his dreams and he turned onto his stomach, gazing through the grass that extended far above his head. On the edge of the forest stood the fox, the small animal staring at him almost happily. Legolas laughed and rose to sit, glancing back at the Elves on the field. Maybe I should find Nana and show the fox to her. She would like that. In the meanwhile the fox had trotted to Legolas, pushing his cold muzzle against Legolas’ hand. Letting out a small bark the fox turned his head towards the forest and Legolas got up, deciding that he could show his friends to his mother later.
They both ran into the forest, Legolas laughing as he raced with the fox, sometimes hiding in the underbrush to be found by the animal. They stayed near the clearing, hunting each other, Legolas now and then turning to listen if his mother called him. As that didn’t happen, he continued his play.
As it was again Legolas’ time to find his playmate he came to a small opening, listening carefully for any sounds of the fox. It seemed as if the animal liked this game, for it always hid itself for a moment after Legolas was found. If Legolas didn’t find the fox swiftly, it presented itself and they started all over again.
A small crackle of wood informed Legolas that the fox had again grown bored from hiding and soon the animal ran to him. “You should stay hidden for a little longer, you know,” Legolas laughed. “It is unfair that you don’t give me a chance to find you.” The fox was staring at the forest, his ears moving nervously. Legolas also looked at the same direction, but didn’t see anything unusual. “Come, let’s play again,” the Elfling said, turning to the direction of the clearing.
The fox lowered its head, a small, growling sound breaking the air. Legolas turned to look back again, wondering what was wrong. Maybe there was only another fox nearby.
The fox’s fur rose up slightly and it took a step forward, its gaze glued to the forest before it. But the answering growl that soon filled the air was far from a voice that could have come from a fox. Legolas jumped back, frightened, and the fox some feet before him growled even more.
Something akin to snarl came from the bushes and then something jumped from the shadows. Something big.
There was a bark from the fox and then the bigger creature advanced it. Legolas saw a flash of teeth that were at least size of his hand when the giant jaws opened and then there was an ear-piercing shriek from the fox. Warm blood spattered on Legolas face, rivers of blood appearing to his tunic, staining it dark. The Elfling blinked, not fully realising what had just happened.
The giant monster that seemed somewhat akin to a wolf dropped the still warm, battered and torn body of the fox to the ground, raising its huge head to look at Legolas. The blood-stained lips rose to reveal the sharp teeth and finally Legolas woke from his trance, fear filling him. With a yelp Legolas shot away from the monster, hearing how the giant beast rushed after him.
A desperate lunge brought Legolas beside one of the trees and he climbed up, feeling the huge jaws close only inches away from his leg as he went higher into the tree. The creature let out a howl, trying to reach its prey by jumping against the tree trunk, but the small Elf was too high. Disappointed, the wolf circled the tree for a while, smell of fear enticing it. But as it couldn’t reach the Elf it growled, returning to its earlier prey, ripping the body to pieces to entertain itself.
Legolas trembled in the tree, his hands circling the trunk with all his power, his eyes wide with fear. He locked his legs around the tree trunk as well, whimpering as he heard shouts from the clearing. “Nana…” he whispered pitifully as the shouts increased, screams and yells filling the air. Strange, harsh shouts mingled with those of the Elves, and howls like that of the creature below him echoed the harsh words, followed with more screams.
Legolas pressed his face hard against the rough bark, his entire body shuddering with fright. He wished that he would have stayed with Nana, or that someone would come to get him. He didn’t want to be alone, with that terrible creature circling again below him. If Rafél had been here, he would have shot the evil animal.
Slowly, the screams lessened and then stopped, ominous silence descending over the forest. The wolf-like creature listened for a moment and then ran away, disappearing to the forest.
In his tree, Legolas lay against the trunk, unmoving and silent.
Thranduil’s heart thundered against his ribs so hard he was sure something would break. His mind was solely focused to his path among the limbs, not letting space for thoughts.
“My Lord!” shouted one of the warriors, approaching the King and falling to the step beside him. ”The enemies are running to south: they had scouts to warn them of our warriors. Prince Lossaurion is hunting them.”
Thranduil nodded, a new wave of dread rising in him. He had heard of an attack some minutes ago, and as they drew closer to the place where the Orcs and wolf-riders had attacked, his emotions were trying harder to wrestle the control from him. As far as he knew, the Orcs had attacked a celebration field some miles away from the palace. Never before had any enemy dared to come this close to Thranduil’s stronghold, and as the attack had taken place in the middle of the day…
But that wasn’t the fact that worried Thranduil most. What made his fears rise was the knowledge that Galenrosiel had planned to go and help with the preparations of the festival. It may be another field, Thranduil reasoned. There are many clearings that are being prepared for celebration at the moment.
They reached the place, the warriors of Woodland Realm jumping to the ground and spreading out. As Thranduil reached the field himself, something inside him froze. The grass was bathed with blood, dead Elves scattered around to the ground. There were at least fifty Elves here, if not more. None of them warriors. None of them had had a chance to fight.
“They are all dead. None survived,” came a silent voice from beside Thranduil and the King turned to look at his eldest son. Tirifëa’s eyes were dark and unreadable, his sword sheathed at his side. “We came too late.”
Thranduil didn’t say anything as he turned away, walking slowly to the clearing. His eyes swept over the bodies of Elves, torn and savagely murdered. So many of them he had known for years uncounted. Forcing his emotions back under control, Thranduil walked forward, his men giving him way as he passed. Sadness hung strongly upon every living thing here, wails of Elves rising into the air as some found members of their family.
Thranduil lost all track of time as he walked forward, and then suddenly halted. His eyes stared at a dead Elf before him. One of many, and yet to him, so very different. Something broke inside the King, his heart giving up all hope. For there lay Galenrosiel, his Queen, wife, and mother of his children. Her white robe was stained dark red with blood, her body torn and abused. She lay pale on her back, eyes forever closed to this world.
Thranduil sank to the ground, his hands touching Galenrosiel, an anguished sob coming from him. Then he drew her dead form to his arms, bowing his head to hide the tears he couldn’t bar away anymore. He whispered words that made no sense, calling her name like a holy mantra. But she did not wake.
Grasping his wife’s lifeless form with desperation that was overflowing, Thranduil screamed out his pain as his heart broke in his chest.
A warrior of Mirkwood walked through the forest, some distance away from the clearing. His companions from the same patrol were near him, preparing to return to others. It seemed that none of the Elves in the clearing had been able to escape to the forest, and they all knew by then that the enemy was running towards the south now: there was no point in searching the forest.
Halting, the warrior looked around him, shaking his head. He was one of the lucky who had not lost any of their family in this attack. He thanked Valar for it, knowing that he had been fortunate. Turning back, he let out a whistle, telling the others he would return. As he turned he thought he heard something, and as he stopped to listen again he was certain he heard someone sob nearby.
Looking around frenziedly, the warrior tried to make out where the sounds came from. He took a step forward, his ears straining to hear. His eyes swept over the forest floor and suddenly he spotted a mutilated body some distance away. It was too small to be an Elf, and possibly it had been an animal of some sort. Swallowing, the warrior looked away, not wishing to see one more dead creature today – if it wasn’t an enemy. As another sound came, he looked upwards, only then noticing a small form clutched around a trunk of a tree.
Swiftly the warrior climbed up, afraid that the creature would die before he would reach it. To his luck, the creature was far from dying, and soon the warrior recognised an Elfling. Stepping towards carefully the warrior tried to draw the youth to his arms, but it proved out to be a difficult task: the child had his arms and legs around the trunk and it seemed that he was too shocked to let go, as much as his rescuer tried to pry him free.
Sighing in desperation, the warrior smoother the golden hair, whispering softly some words of encouragement. His hand froze suddenly, realising the small braids in the youth’s head were the braids of the Royal Family. Trying to pry the Elfling loose once more and failing yet again, the warrior stepped back, trying to locate his whereabouts. After he knew where he was he gave the youth a small pat and descended, running towards the clearing.
When the warrior reached the clearing he tried to find his commander, knowing he needed help to get the Elfling to safety. Stopping one of the other warriors, he motioned towards the forest. “I need your help. You must inform the King that I have found the young Prince.” The other warrior looked at him puzzled, opening his mouth and then closing it again, his eyes straying away from the warrior holding him in place.
The warrior turned around, only then realising that the Crown-prince was standing behind him, now turned to look at him alarmed. “My Lord Tirifëa, I have found your youngest brother,” the warrior explained hastily, motioning to the forest behind him. “I couldn’t move him, for he seemed to be paralysed with fear.”
“Show me,” Tirifëa said heatedly, running after the warrior back to the forest, his heart beating maddeningly. If Legolas had been here, it also meant that Rafél was somewhere nearby. Or someone else of our family. Dreading the answer, Tirifëa halted as the warrior did the same, motioning up to the trees. Tirifëa raised his head, immediately noticing his brother.
Climbing up, Tirifëa placed himself next to the Elfling, running a gentle hand over the tense, trembling body. “Legolas,” he whispered, getting no response. Frowning, Tirifëa settled his hands upon Legolas’, gently but persistently pushing them away from the tree, all the while whispering soft words to his brother. “It is all right, Legolas. You can let go now. No one is going to hurt you anymore: I will take care of you.” With a shuddery sob Legolas finally blinked, letting go of the tree and allowing his brother to close him into a strong embrace. “ All is well,” Tirifëa soothed, running his eyes over the blood-spattered form. It looked like that Legolas was hale, but Tirifëa wanted to be sure about that. His hands scanned over the small body quickly, his hold of Legolas never faltering.
Legolas had by then pressed his face against his brother’s tunic, clutching to him with all his might. His eyes were tightly closed, his breathing swift. Only when Tirifëa again held him tightly he began to relax, finally feeling safe.
Tirifëa lowered himself from the tree, nodding his thanks to the waiting warrior, and together they walked back. Before Tirifëa left the place where he had found Legolas he ran a quick eye over the place. There must have been something there to explain Legolas’ behaviour, or then he had been on the clearing… As soon as the deep grey eyes saw the body of a torn fox he understood, holding Legolas a little closer.
When they reached the field Tirifëa went to search for his father, and it didn’t take long to find him. Walking past the warriors who stood at respectable distance from their King, Tirifëa realised fully what had come to pass. He saw his father kneeling in the ground, holding his mother’s body in his arms.
Swallowing, Tirifëa pressed Legolas’ head against his chest, not wishing his brother to see this. Uncertain what to do Tirifëa took a step forward, his eyes burning with tears that threatened to fall. Steeling himself, the Crown-prince decided he would not cry before Legolas: the child was scared enough as it was.
“Adar…” Tirifëa finally called softly, his voice low enough to hide the sorrow there. Thranduil jerked but did not move, his whispers getting more fervent. Legolas struggled in Tirifëa’s arms, wishing to see his father. Tirifëa pressed Legolas more tightly against him, desperately trying to prevent his brother from seeing a sight that would no doubt haunt Tirifëa himself for the rest of his life. “Adar, saes…”
Finally Thranduil looked up, his eyes widening at the sight of his youngest son. With a sob he stood up, taking Legolas from Tirifëa’s arms, clutching his youngest close as a new wave of sobs caught him. Legolas held on to his father, feeling that something was seriously wrong. As Thranduil shifted, taking few steps away from his wife’s corpse, Legolas raised his head, his small fingers tightening around his father’s shoulder.
“Nana…” came a small, pitiful whisper from Legolas, and Thranduil’s head shot up, Tirifëa taking a step forward. Thranduil realised his mistake, worry for his son coming over his grief in a swift rush. He turned himself so Legolas could not see his mother, Tirifëa stepping beside him, ready to help if a need came.
But Legolas didn’t submit so easily. He struggled in his father’s hold, trying to see past him. “Nana!” he shouted through his tears, his movements more desperate as an unreasonable fear took over him. Something was wrong with Nana. “I want to go to Nana!” Legolas screamed, feeling both Thranduil and Tirifëa trying to hold him still.
“Please, Legolas, Nana is not well,” Tirifëa cried out. “You cannot go to her.”
Legolas didn’t care as he struggled to get away from Thranduil’s firm hold, shouting over and over again for his mother as he was finally carried away.
to be continued…
Sindarin: - Westron:
Nana – Affectionate form of mother (Naneth)
Adar – Father
Saes – Please