Title: Prince of Dol Guldur
Author: Del Rion (delrion.mail (at) gmail.com)
Fandom: The Lord of the Rings
Era: Third Age of the Sun
Genre: Action/Adventure, AU
Rating: M / FRM
Characters: Legolas, Thrandui (, OCs)
Summary: Mirkwood Elves live constantly under an influence of a shadow, and it isn’t too hard to cross the line to the side of darkness... Legolas learns this as he meets a stranger in the woods, who desires to show him a new way to see the world.
Part of the history of “The Last Journey”. Complete.
Warnings: Death, evil, darkness, violence, etc.
The forest seemed darker tonight, Legolas decided. As he ran along a less familiar path of the forest, he blessed himself that he had got even this far. It had taken him a great effort to avoid the patrols that were watching the area around the stronghold. Orcs were getting increasingly bolder, and the King wished to keep his people secured. After an hour of lingering in the shadows, moving whenever opportunity presented itself, and skulking like a thief, Legolas had got outside the circle of guards and was able to move more freely.
The moon and the stars were veiled by a thick cover of clouds, leaving all the world in darkness. Trees were silent, only silently whispering at Legolas as he passed. But this time he did not halt to answer or to linger in their presence. He kept running, heart beating in his chest. Tonight it is going to happen. I am sure of it. He will tell me some of those things he has promised. But he still couldn’t forget the cold fear on the back of his mind. What was this dark Elf going to do? And what was the price he would be forced to pay – besides Rafél’s lost trust.
Legolas halted, looking back to the direction of his home. What am I doing? This is wrong, and I know it. But I cannot help myself, because I need to know the truth. And Rafél cannot give me that. Some rational part of him said that he didn’t even need to know, but he dismissed it immediately. He knew he treaded on dangerous waters, but the answers he could gain by it were more important than a momentary danger. And he hasn’t shown any kind of hostility against me yet. And does he even have a reason to do so? After all, I am merely a youth, unable to defeat him.
With a deep sigh, Legolas started in his original direction, dropping down to a lower level of branches. He couldn’t get rid of a guilty feeling that he had betrayed both his father and guardian: he hadn’t spoken with Rafél, nor had he told his father the exact truth. There was so many lies around him already…
“Why such a sad face? You decided to come, and that is your choice alone.”
Legolas stopped dead, glancing down at the figure below him. How do I never notice him approaching? he cursed in his mind. “I know,” he muttered, climbing slowly to the ground. Staring at the other for a moment, Legolas weighted his options. He had made up his mind long ago, but he was still afraid.
Afraid that he would do something irreversible.
“You have made up your mind, haven’t you?” the dark one asked, smile in his voice.
“I have,” Legolas answered evenly, trying to hide his nervousness. “Teach me.”
The other nodded, beckoning Legolas to follow. The youth did, silently following the other into the dark forest. They walked for a long time, both in silence. This did nothing to soothe Legolas’ fears, and after an hour or so he began to wonder if he had made a mistake after all. He was still young, and Rafél hadn’t therefor taught him everything he had to teach. But this dark Elf needed observing, and Legolas was going to learn all possible of this stranger. It might prove useful, later on. Even Rafél had told him to learn to know his enemy before striking.
“The first thing you must do is to change the way of your thinking.”
Legolas nearly toppled over as the other’s voice startled him, but he was back in attention soon enough to hear the next words.
“You have learned a one way of thinking – the way that the Firstborns normally use – but that will hinder you from learning otherwise than you have before thought impossible. You must learn to accept things that may first seem wrong to your nature, but longer you observe them, more you understand. And when you know and understand every aspect of this life, then you may choose which way of the many alternative roads you shall walk. This far you have walked only one. I can show you many others, and not all of them are as evil as you seem to think now.”
Legolas thought about that, pressing the words deeply to his mind. There was sense in the other’s words, even if they terrified him. This means I must tread a darker road: a more dangerous road. Most of all I wish to know why he is doing this: of all the possibilities, why did he choose me? Even if his mind yearned to have an answer to that, he kept his peace, following the other Elf deeper into the forest. Each step took him farther away from home, and from the only path he had ever known.
The sun began to rise, its rays caressing the tops of the trees, making them shine like green gold. Legolas watched this, noticing that the stranger he had thought dark did not hide from the sun. I suppose it is a good sign. Orcs and other evil creatures loathe sun, hiding from it as if it would hurt them. But he does not. Does it mean he is not as evil as they? Or does it merely mean he is powerful enough to withstand the light of the day? Legolas hadn’t noticed that he had halted while his thought ran wild, and he raised his head, meeting the centre of his thoughts staring at him from a distance, the dark eyes watchful and waiting. This is it. I must choose for the first time. Valar willing I am not doing the wrong thing, Legolas prayed.
And as the sun climbed into the sky and woke the world to a new day, Legolas did not turn back home as he had done the days before. He followed his guide deeper southward, oblivious for what was waiting for him there.
to be continued…