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.
The next morning was pale and cold, as if the world was sensing the distress of the Firstborns. A bitter wind came from the Misty Mountains, shaking the trees. Trails of smoke still rose to meet the clouds from among the trees where Elven funerals had been kept.
Legolas wandered to the dining room, soon noticing he was alone. His heart sank, for he had wished his family to be present. Instead, it seemed that he would be forced to eat alone. Sitting down to his place Legolas greeted a servant with a vain smile, eating his food with little interest. He didn’t feel hungry, and the main reason he had come for the breakfast was that he had wanted to see his family.
After finishing his food Legolas went to find his father. He didn’t wish to be alone, and he thought that his father would have liked to spend some time with him too. A short search led him into the King’s study and Legolas stepped in, running his eyes through the room.
Thranduil was sitting beside his desk, his head pressed to his hands, looking as if he had sat there all night. Perhaps he had. Legolas stepped forward, stopping when he reached his father’s side. Hesitantly he reached out his hand, touching his father’s sleeve. “Ada?” he whispered uncertainly.
Thranduil didn’t move, nor did he say anything. It felt as if he didn’t even acknowledge that Legolas was in the room. Locked deep in his mind, Thranduil noted that he was not alone, but he couldn’t make his tired mind to rouse itself to full awareness. He wanted to be alone in his misery, mourn for his lost wife. His fëa felt as if broken asunder, and he had no will to mend it again. He had no reason to. Galenrosiel was dead, and with her, all his world. So he sat there, his mind running along the paths of memory, remembering the time when his beloved was still alive.
Frowning, Legolas tried again. “Adar, could we talk?” When again there was no response, Legolas felt fear creep back into his heart. Was Ada sick? Or would he go away too, like Nana… “Ada!” he shouted, his voice sounding small and desperate.
The door of the study opened and two of Thranduil’s aids rushed in. The older one of them stopped, his eyes sad and understanding. His fellow walked to Legolas, gently but persistently drawing the Elfling out of the room. “Your father wishes to be alone, my Prince,” he said gently, closing the door before Legolas could run back in again.
“But…” Legolas tried, taking a step towards the door.
“Nay, he truly wishes to be alone,” the aid explained, barring Legolas’ way. “Why don’t you go out to play with your friends?”
Legolas looked up at the aid, and then turned away. If his Ada wanted to be alone, why he didn’t say so himself? Legolas would have understood. Walking away along the corridor, Legolas’ heart sank. He didn’t want to go to play with his friends. He wanted to be with his father and brothers. But if his father wished no company, maybe he should seek out his brothers.
Making up his mind, Legolas headed out to find his elder siblings. They surely would wish to spend some time with him. But soon Legolas noticed that his task wasn’t quite as easy as he had first thought: he couldn’t find his brothers anywhere. After hours of search, Legolas gave up, realising that his brothers would not be found. It seemed as if the entire Woodland Realm was on a move, like a great ant-hill. Warriors were moving everywhere, most of the Elves gathered to the safety of the caves.
Legolas stopped, leaning against a cold wall. He felt empty and tired. He hadn’t slept at all during the last night while he had waited for someone – anyone – to come to his rooms to comfort him. And now as he tried to seek company himself, no one was to be found. His brothers were missing and his father had no desire for company… Rafél. The idea struck Legolas like lightning, making him rush away from the wall and along a corridor. Rafél would comfort him and make him feel safe.
Running along familiar paths Legolas soon reached his guardian’s room, quickly knocking at the door. When a quiet answer came from the inside, Legolas entered carefully closing the door behind him. Turning around to see the other Elf, Legolas noticed that Rafél was doing something rather strange. Walking to the side of the bed, Legolas ran his eyes over the weapons laid carefully on the sheets.
“Legolas, what are you doing here?” Rafél asked, fastening his clothes.
“I wished to see you,” Legolas said quietly, caressing a long hilt of Rafél’s sword. “Ada wished to be alone and I couldn’t find Tirifëa or Lossaurion.” The youth looked up, his eyes full of hope. “Would you be with me?”
Rafél shifted, his eyes filling with regret as he knelt before Legolas. “I am so sorry, little one. I should have understood you do not wish to be alone. But I am commanded to join the forces that will fight the dark ones back. Your brothers are also coming, so I suppose that is why you couldn’t find them,” he finished quietly.
Legolas eyes widened. “You are going to fight the evil ones? Those who took Nana away?”
Rafél ran a hand over Legolas’ head, his eyes softening. “We will all come back, I promise. With this many warriors, we will make sure that no evil thing will attack us ever again.” That was not the exact truth, but Rafél decided he had to calm Legolas somehow.
“I do not wish you to go,” Legolas muttered.
“I have no choice: I must obey my Lords,” Rafél explained.
“What about me?!” Legolas shouted, fighting back the tears. Warriors did not cry. “Why can’t I command you to stay?”
“I will be back in a day,” Rafél hugged Legolas close, and then stood up. “I will tell one of the healers to look after you,” he continued, as if to himself when he belted his sword around his hip. “I have to go now,” he turned to look at Legolas, picking up the rest of his weapons. “Be good.”
“I will…” Legolas whispered, looking at Rafél with fading hope. He had never seen Rafél in full uniform and the other looked like a great warrior – which he was – but at the moment Legolas wished to hide all those weapons into some deep place and make Rafél stay with him.
With a nod, Rafél left the room. He was glad he was able to take a swift exit: he couldn’t have borne to look at Legolas a moment longer without deciding to stay with the youth. But Tirifëa wished him to join into the hunt, and Rafél well understood why: he was, after all, a capable warrior. With a great feel of guilt he emerged from the caves, wishing to be back as soon as he had promised: he was worried about Legolas.
Back in Rafél’s room, Legolas stood in place for a long time, staring at the closed door. He felt abandoned. Alone. Hurt. What had he done so no one wished to be with him? Was it because he hadn’t been able to safe Nana? He just wanted some comfort, a feel of safety. If mother would have been still here…
“Nana…” Legolas whispered, the tears burning in his eyes. Nana would have taken care of him, taken him into her arms and made all the hurt go away. But she was gone. Legolas knew that. Even if he really didn’t understand it, he knew in his heart that Nana would never again read him a bedtime story and kiss him when he fell asleep.
With a little sob Legolas rushed out of the room, along the long corridors, not really knowing where he was going. Before he knew it he was out of the caves, a cold wind playing with his hair. The forest was dark before him, the song of the trees sad. Sniffing, Legolas continued to run, dodging down as he passed by low branches. Small sticks scraped his cheeks but he didn’t care, physical pain forgotten. All that mattered was the pain inside, tearing his heart and soul apart, burning him into ashes – like they had burned his mother.
Legolas didn’t know how long he had run when he finally collapsed to the ground, too tired to rise up again. He lay there a moment, panting and sobbing, and then rose to his hands and knees, crawling under giant tree roots, hiding himself from the world like a small animal. Now as he was away from everyone else, he let the tears come. There was no one to see him cry, so what did it matter?
Burying his head into his arms, Legolas cried alone in the forest, calling again for his mother, begging her to come and take him with her. But she didn’t come. Grief overrunning his young spirit, Legolas wept, no longer trying to appear like a brave warrior. He was too tired for that, and he was not a warrior. If he had been, he would have protected Nana.
Shame and self-disgust swept over Legolas, his small hands clutching at the moss beneath him, violent sobs wracking his body. At the moment, he wished to fade away and die. Then he could be with his mother again. Then he would be no longer alone.
“Why do you cry, young one?”
to be continued…