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.
Legolas watched as the other Elf stripped off his black cloak, throwing it carelessly to the ground. The youth tried not to show his surprise as the other turned to him, dark eyes holding his for a long time. The dark Elf – so Legolas called him in his own mind, or as a stranger – did not look anything like Legolas had expected. Nothing resembled the other dark creatures he had faced before. And yet the other was evil…
“Again you expected something else, didn’t you?” the dark one said with a taunting voice. “Take your time, so my appearance won’t trouble you later: we have more important things to do than survey each other.” A gentle wind swayed the silver hair, its colour almost as one of a pale morning mist. Black eyes watched the youth steadily, keeping their secrets carefully locked inside. Indeed, the other was like any other Elf: ageless, fair, and lean. Nothing unusual.
And still I do not remember where I have met him before, Legolas thought, eyeing the other carefully. He was indeed surprised by the other’s appearance, but as he thought about it more deeply, he had no reason to be surprised by anything the other did or did not do.
“Now, if you are ready…” the dark one smiled, cocking his head. “Let’s begin with something easy,” he stated, drawing a long sword that had been hanging on his side. Black blade shone in the sunlight, its perfect surface catching the light and turning it into dark even as Legolas was watching. “Draw your weapon,” the other commanded, his blade already in waiting position.
“I have no sword,” Legolas said, planting his feet firmly to the ground, ready to move in an instant.
“But you have knives, do you not?”
Reluctantly, Legolas nodded, lowering his hands. His fingers encountered a knife on his hip, and he slid it free, eyes resting on the other’s blade. He had a second blade strapped around his ankle, but he would not use it before he had to. Taking a lower guard-position, Legolas stared at the other, waiting for an attack.
The dark Elf smiled, swaying the tip of his sword slowly from side to another. “Attack me,” he said, yet it could have been a shouted command.
Legolas halted in surprise, his eyes narrowing. What was the game the other was plying? “Why?” he asked.
“Do not be afraid. Showing such an emotion to an enemy is fatal. Never be afraid,” the stranger pressed the last sentence, his eyes flashing.
“I am not afraid,” Legolas ground out, raising his blade slightly.
“So easy to provoke!” the older one laughed, pure malice in his voice. “Do not deny your feeling from those who see right through you. It only lowers your worth in their eyes. Never try to be something else that you are. Now fight!”
“I am not afraid,” Legolas repeated again, this time more to himself than to the other. But more he thought about it, more visible it was: he was afraid. Very afraid. Shaking his head to drop such thoughts, he rushed forward, his small blade meeting the other’s blade with a clinging sound.
The dark one didn’t even move his hand, meeting the blow easily. He kept Legolas in his place for a moment, and then thrust his blade forward, sending Legolas flying backwards to the ground. The youth was on his feet in an instant, meeting the other’s next blow. Striking the other’s sword aside, Legolas backed off, keeping a safe distance. He knew he could not overthrow the other, much less win him.
The dark Elf attacked again, his even strikes forcing Legolas backwards. As Legolas met one more swing that made his entire body shiver, he couldn’t but think how much this Elf’s fighting-style differed from those he had learned from. It was as graceful as the others’ of his kin, but somehow more straightforward and brutal.
Dodging aside, Legolas crashed into a tree, the impact making him halt for a moment. Leaning against the firm trunk, Legolas realised his game was over: pressed against the great tree, he had no way to escape. Desperately, without conscious thought, he reached out with his hand and settled it against the rough bark, smoothing it with his fingers. His mind followed suit, trying to get into a connection with the forest.
A deep, rumbling moan rang through the air, trees trembling visibly around them, and with a slow look around, the stranger sheathed his sword and turned to Legolas. “Very good,” he praised, his voice low and dark. “You fight well, with both your body and mind. It will be easy for you to learn the things I am about to teach you.” Without another word, the dark one turned around, returning to retrieve his cloak.
Legolas panted for air, swallowing carefully through his dry throat. Slowly he pushed away from the tree, giving it a final caress with his hand. “What will you teach me?” he asked, knowing part of the answer, but willing to hear more.
“Many things you have never took time to notice – nor practice,” the other answered, turning to look at the Prince. “You will learn to know the enemy and think like it. That is our first priority.”
“And that is important, why?” Legolas challenged.
There was an icy smile upon the stranger’s features when he leashed out his own question. “Do you wish to save you home and people from this spreading darkness?” There was a long silence from Legolas, and finally the dark Elf nodded, taking the other’s quietness as a ‘yes’. “If you do not know your enemy, you can never beat him. If you cannot understand his motives and way of thinking, you can never truly win. And this enemy…” he halted, his eyes moving into the direction of south, smile turning distant. “There will be a time when he will be also overthrown. By someone who is either powerful enough to do so or then understands him enough to destroy him.” Black eyes turned to Legolas. “Someday, you might be the one to stand face to face with your greatest enemy, and at that day you may destroy him if you understand him. If you do not, he will win, because he understands. He observes us, all the time. Though even his wisdom has its limits, for he thinks others as weaker ones far too easily.”
“You speak of him as if you would know what hides in the south,” Legolas whispered. He had heard rumours of the one who dwelt in Dol Guldur, but no one knew for sure. Not even his father.
“Am I not a dark one? Do you think I do not know those who are on the same side with me?”
“Then why to train me to face the ones of our kin?” Legolas questioned, finally voicing the question that had troubled his mind for so long. “Why me?”
“Because you are perfect,” the stranger said, turning to walk away. “Do not question my motives: it is not your place to know of them – yet.”
Trying to hide his disappointment, Legolas followed the other, his mind screaming him to leave his mindless journey. But his reason won; for once he saw an opportunity to turn Mirkwood back into a place of light again. An opportunity he couldn’t waste.
to be continued…