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.
What is that boy thinking? Thranduil swore in his mind, bowing down as he rode under a group of low branches. I hope that Legolas knows this is not a mere game. But he never really liked hide and seek anyway… Sighing, the King of Mirkwood gazed at the forest spreading before him. As he looked at it, he couldn’t stop thinking how strange all this world seemed to him. Is this how far we have come? Once, I knew every part of this forest. Today, it all looks dark and unfamiliar. Threatening…
Pale blue eyes traced the path they were following, trying to remember what it had looked like before the darkness twisted Greenwood the Great into dark Mirkwood. It is not that I do not love this forest: I still hear the tree’s song every day I walk among them. But something has died in here. Too many of the living things around me have ceased to sing.
The great stallion under the King halted suddenly, its ears pricking up. Nervous snorts filled the air as the other horses followed the other’s example, hooves pawing the ground. Thranduil leaned forward to calm his mount, but he stopped in the middle of the movement, his senses catching something. His eyes narrowing, Thranduil stared at the shadowy forest, focusing at the sensation that grew stronger all the time. Immense evil.
The wind seemed to change, dark whisper filling the air. Trees shivered, moaning as if in pain. Mist seemed to rise out of nowhere, shadows growing in size. All the forest-floor was covered in darkness when the trees drew even closer together, seeking support from each other.
“What is this?” one of the Elven warriors gasped, shivering involuntarily.
The Elves that had been patrolling through the trees returned to the riding group, their movements hurried and nervous. Suspicious glances were directed at the forest around them, but no one dared to speak another word.
Thranduil turned to look at Rafél who sat upon his horse on the edge of the group. In the other’s defeated expression he saw the answer he dreaded, yet sensed himself. “By the Valar, what are you doing, Legolas?” the King gasped, closing his eyes as the shadows increased. The feeling was only an echo where they were, but in its intensity and purity it rivalled the feeling of the greatest evil he had faced.
Slowly the darkness passed, trees letting the late rays of the afternoon shine to the ground. Elves looked around in stunned silence, most of them dismounting to calm their horses. Everything was silent, and as the shadows faded away, a feel of evil remained long after.
“The horses refuse to go no further,” Thalión informed his fellow Elves, gazing at the animals with sympathy. “I do not blame them for that,” he muttered, looking at the forest again.
“We go on by the trees,” Thranduil spoke out, his tone telling his warriors that it was his final decision. No-one argued, and with a nod, Thranduil also dismounted, giving his stallion a comforting pat. He turned around, slowly walking to Rafél who was standing apart from the others, his face pale and haunted. “You also sensed it,” the King stated softly, halting beside the other.
Rafél merely nodded, something in his eyes changing. Fading away like the shadows on their feet…
Hope, Thranduil decided, his own mind filling with terror. If Rafél would break, there was no way most of his warriors would make their way to the end. And what end am I thinking about? My son is lost, somewhere in the middle of those shadows, nothing else. Rafél is merely worried, feeling that he has failed the task I appointed him to. But Thranduil knew he was merely playing around the truth, not daring to face it. What is the truth, then? That I feel my son’s presence mingling with this darkness? Before, I would have thought it to mean only one thing: but now I am speaking of an Elf, not some servant of dark who is using his power… We must find Legolas soon, he decided, not daring to think what his son was possibly facing at the moment. “Do not lose your hope,” he finally said, glancing at Rafél.
“There is no hope,” the guardian returned with a hollow voice, turning to walk back to the others. Even if that was not exactly how he felt, he had no desire to speak further of the matter with his King. He was deeming bad, and his heart told him that something was seriously wrong with Legolas.
A dark void was swallowing everything, comforting shadows keeping the complete darkness away from him. Legolas sat alone in the darkness, his wide eyes staring at the emptiness. He felt safe here, in the middle of the shadows. They kept the nothingness away, caressing his skin and whispering sweet nothings to his ears.
Fire flared around him, filling the void with burning light. A booming voice exploded from silence, foreign words echoing in the air. Legolas did not understand the words, but he knew they spoke of evil. He shuddered, inching away from the burning light and the voice of a demon that kept haunting his mind.
Shadows rushed at his side immediately, asking him to welcome them in so they could protect him. Legolas hesitated, eyeing the swirling darkness around him. Both were dark, the void and the shadows, but only one offered comfort.
The dark Elf watched with interest as the youth rolled in the ground, moaning incoherently in his dreams. Sweat gleamed on the pale skin, speaking of the struggle of several hours. Moon shone in their small clearing, mist floating in the air, giving the world a death-like look.
Getting up from his place, the stranger walked to the sleeping Prince, kneeling down. His hand ghosted over the fair face, smoothing back the blond hair. “Submit,” he whispered with a gentle voice. “Accept the darkness in you and welcome the shadows in to your heart.”
Legolas shivered, feeling the void push closer. The evil voice kept repeating the strange words, its tone getting more urgent, threatening. Looking at the shadows milling around his feet, the youth extended his hand, making the tendrils of darkness swirl around his fingers, creeping up his arm. Legolas watched this almost fascinated, his skin tingling under the delicate touch.
The dark Elf smiled, his fingers following a path down a smooth cheek, stopping as he felt the uneven beat of the other’s heart under the skin of the youth’s neck. Shadows swirled around him, waiting for an opportunity to dive into the slumbering Elf.
Legolas felt the shadows retreat slightly, playing around him like a joyful wind. As soon as the shadows drew back, however, the void surged forward, flames edging nearer. Legolas jolted back alarmed, reaching for the shadows still within reach. His fingers hesitated for a moment, but when the void made another attempt to overcome him, the Elf touched the shadows, closing his eyes.
Shadows let out an overjoyed whisper, closing around Legolas’ form. They probed against the Firstborn’s mind, soothing away his fear. Taking a deep breath, Legolas opened his mind, and without a further gesture, the shadows slipped in. Warmth engulfed Legolas, drowning away all thoughts. He felt safe, sheltered from the void, and closing his eyes, he let himself go. Falling deeper to an oblivion that welcomed him with fervent touches, Legolas embraced the shadows, letting them erase all the pain and fear of the past.
The dark Elf watched as Legolas’ face relaxed, and a second later the shadows engulfed the youth’s body. They swirled around for a while, and then seemed to disappear, sinking through the flesh and bone. They dove deep, spreading all around the willing form, blending into the open soul.
“Perfect,” the dark one said, getting up slowly. The youth’s sleep was peaceful now, no more tossing or turning. But it was not an actual dream, anymore. It was much more. Deeper, dreamless, and completely in his control. The dark Elf couldn’t help but smile again, cocking his head to the side. “Yes, you are mine now, dear Legolas. My Lord will be pleased.” A soft moan informed him that the youth was waking up, and he silenced himself, looking with obvious interest as the fair eyes opened.
The eyes that had been blue like a bright lake in the sun were now shadowed and dark. Leaning on his hands, Legolas tried to get up, but found his body unable to follow the order. His mind was a myriad of darkness, the forming of a single thought taking all his strength.
“It will pass soon,” a dark voice informed the youth. “Just let the shadows settle down first.”
Legolas looked up, meeting the black eyes staring down at him. He wanted to say something, anything, but his traitorous mind couldn’t form any comprehendible sentence. He sank back to the ground, panting for air, mist clouding his eyes.
“Soon…” the malicious voice whispered, the dark Elf stepping around Legolas. “My Lord is very pleased with you, young one. You are swift to learn, and your inner strength is greater than you might think. With me, you will learn to govern both light and dark, and there will be no-one to oppose you.”
Legolas blinked, turning his head so he could see the other. He was too weary to even move his hand, but he was able to feel his senses returning slowly. “Why me?” he finally breathed, hoping that the other heard his voice.
“That is my own little secret,” the dark one smiled, stopping in Legolas’ line of vision. Their eyes met, and for the first time since Legolas had met this stranger, he thought he saw beyond those dark pools. Now as he also felt the darkness, he understood the other. They were alike. “You will help me to complete my mission on this Earth,” the dark Elf continued, his voice even but distant, as if one’s who is speaking of a dream which he never thought to become true. “I will fulfil my Lord’s task. Sauron will pay for his betrayal,” he said with a fading voice, his eyes suddenly clouded. “All Arda will fall before us…” he whispered, turning away from Legolas.
The Prince stared after the other, a full feel of dread landing upon him. “Whom do you serve?” he whispered, more to himself than to his kinsman.
“The darkest,” came the answer, and with that the shadows engulfed Legolas’ mind again, driving him into dark nothingness.
to be continued…