Title: Loyalty to Blood
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, Thranduil (, OCs)
Summary: In the shadows of Mirkwood wander many things, and the closer to Dol Guldur you go, the more evil things get. But even in darkness other things may bloom – things such as loyalty and friendship. This is a story of a surprising camaraderie between two entirely different creatures. A story never again told in words by those who live: how did Legolas and Thaíly meet.
Part of the history of “The Last Journey”. Takes place right after “Prince of Dol Guldur”. Complete.
Warnings: Death, violence, darkness, evil etc.
Beta: Kitt of Lindon
Disclaimer: This story is based on J.R.R. Tolkien’s stories about Middle-earth (mostly on the Lord of the Rings). The characters are not mine - except for those whom I have created. The story is alternative universe, but written to honour Tolkien’s creations.
Have a good time and enjoy the ride (at least I hope you do!)
Feedback: Yes, please, be so kind! Please review, I would love to know your opinion.
Author’s Notes: English is not my mother tongue, so it isn’t perfect. Please inform me of spelling and grammar errors, so I can correct them!
About Loyalty to Blood: Takes place right after “Prince of Dol Guldur”, like I have mentioned before. Similar kind of fic, in many ways. This storyline also hold a great importance for the future stories, “The Last Journey” among them.
As is said in the summary, this is the fic where Legolas and Thaíly meet. The reasons of their befriending and alliance are a bit different from those of usual friendships, but then again, Thaíly is not a common person, anyway. And when you watch this story and “Prince of Dol Guldur” as a unit, you easily understand the hard feeling between Rafél and Thaíly.
I do not know if Tolkien really had this sort of vampires in Middle-earth, but as Thaíly is my character… I wish his background and the character itself are believable.
Hopefully you like this fic, as dark and traumatic it may be (not much sunshine in here, I promise).
Chapters and their status: Here below you see the writing process of the story’s chapters. If there is no text after the chapter’s name, then it is finished and checked (until someone of my dear readers points me out some mistake, or I will do some updating…) so, check this page, because here I will mark the dates of the updates…
03 Hidden Path
04 Dark Stranger
06 Led by a Shadow
07 Valley of Evil
08 Interrupted Journey
09 Chance Meeting
10 Mutual Understanding
The Three Cousins of Hithsîr
Dínnor's father and Thalión's and Asthaldo's mothers were from the same family. Those three young Elves lived in the highlands of Taur-en-Faroth during the years of their youth. In the place called Hithsîr (Mistriver) that ran in the Taur-en-Faroth, south from Nargothrond, was fought a battle long before the destruction of Beleriand and the northern lands. Of that battle only few Elven stories tell, because it wasn't a great one, but the ones who fought in it (The Three Cousins) were named by it for years to come. Nearly hundred of Orcs that were heading to Nargothrond were waylaid there by those three and were slew during that night by them alone. The Cousins were barely adults, but they fought none the less, and the enemy was destroyed before they reached their destination. This battle is known among all the Elves, and the Three who fought in it have gained a great name in the years after, even if this first battle wasn’t even near the greatest of all those they later fought.
They were among those few Sindarin Elves who came to the Greenwood the Great with Oropher on the Second Age. They also fought with Oropher on Dagorlad, and were among those few who were led back home by Thranduil, who was made King after his return, for Oropher never returned.
(See my story Hithsîr)
Race: Sindar Elf
Age: Born in the beginning of the First Age
Cousin of Thalión and Asthaldo: oldest of the three Cousins of Hithsîr. Golden long hair that is all braided to small braids. Dun eyes. Good archer and excellent swordsman. Excellent tracker. Also a patient observer, when needed, though quite rush at times.
Race: Sindar Elf
Age: Born in the beginning of the First Age
Cousin of Dínnor and Asthaldo, one of the famous Cousins of Hithsîr. Long, silver hair, which upper layer is braided to small braids, blue bands braided among the hair. Powder blue eyes. Excellent archer and good with sword and knives. Strong contact to nature, and can approach his destination without waking any suspicions of his presence. Even more patient observer than Dínnor.
Race: Sindar Elf
Age: Born in the beginning of the First Age
Cousin of Dínnor and Thalión: youngest of the three Cousins of Hithsîr. Pale golden hair long from the back, short front hair reaches just behind ears. Fallow eyes. Good swordsman and archer. Skilled in swift, close battles with knives or swords. Also a good scout, for he is able to silence any enemy quickly and without a sound.
Race: Sindar Elf of Eryn Lasgalen
Age: Born during the Age of the Stars
One of those few Sindarin Elves who came with Oropher to the Greenwood the Great, and fought in the Battle of Dagorlad. Legolas’ bodyguard. Also a captain and a remarkable soldier in Woodland Realm's forces, though mostly his time is occupied with his duties to protect Legolas. Unlike (usually) to Sindar Elves, he has deep brown eyes. Long, very light, nearly white, brownish hair.
Race: Silvan Elf of Eryn Lasgalen
Age: Born on the Second Age
Captain in Woodland Realm's forces. Has been Legolas' tutor since the Prince started to practice as a Novice. Long golden hair and light blue eyes. Uses both bow and sword with years of experience.
Race: Silvan Elf of Eryn Lasgalen
Age: Born in the beginning of the Third Age
Long bronze hair, light green eyes. Prefers to fight with a sword or knives, not very good archer by Elven standards. Few centuries older that Legolas, and has befriended the Prince since his childhood. Possesses a very unusual nature for an Elf: loves to befriend other races and is interested about them and their culture. Remembers the heard stories well and likes to tell them anew. Excellent sense of humour.
Race: Half-elf, vampire ("ranger")
Age: Over 7000 years, maybe more
Called a "Blood-sucker". Nearly black wavy hair that reaches to the shoulders, very dark eyes. Uses anything imaginable as a weapon if needed. Was bitten by a vampire as a child. When his parents noticed that this bite had an effect on their son, yet unable to kill their child, they abandoned him to the wild. During the years Thaíly changed, and wandered across the lands, named as a ranger, though he actually wasn't one.
(This character was inspired by Michael Wincott's role as Rochefort in the movie "The Three Musketeers")
Author’s Note: In this chapter all speech etc. is done in Elvish if not marked other way.
“¤…¤” = Westron
Shadows swirled around him, hiding the rest of the world in a dark void. His heart thrummed in his chest, its tortured pace almost painful. He swallowed, looking around confused. There was someone with him, but he couldn’t see the other. But his senses were adamant, telling him to stay on his guard.
As he shifted his hands he noticed he was holding a sword. Its hilt was slick with blood and he frowned, looking at his hands. Where had the blood come from? Tilting his head to the side he noticed that his arm was bleeding, his sleeve coloured crimson. He felt no pain, even if he knew he should. How had he got hurt?
A sound of laughter came from behind him and he turned around, meeting the approaching figure that dove through the shadows. As soon as he recognised the other he lowered his sword that he had raised reflexively. He knew the one who was walking closer to him, a warm rush of relief filling him. Legolas. Together they would find their way out of this darkness.
Legolas halted in front of him, his head bowed. He took a step forward, sudden fear filling him. What if Legolas was also hurt? He settled a gentle hand upon the youth’s shoulder, squeezing gently. “Are you well?” he asked with a worried voice.
To his surprise, Legolas raised his head and smiled at him. But the smile was unnatural, and the usually blue eyes pitch-black. When he did not answer to the other’s smile, Legolas’ own expression froze, his hand appearing from its place behind his back. It held a knife, smeared with blood. The knife settled against his neck, Legolas’ eyes locking to his, and then the blade thrust home, smile softening Legolas’ features again.
Rafél woke up with a gasp, jolting up on his makeshift bed. Sweat covered his skin, his heart still beating madly. With a deep sigh he sank back to the damp bedcovers, drawing a weary hand over his forehead. He felt more than a little disoriented, and the lingering effect of his dream made him swallow, still feeling the shadowy pain of the blade pressing against his skin.
“¤I wonder if we should welcome him back to the world of the living or not.¤”
“¤Well, he looks quite alive to me…¤” another voice answered.
Rafél opened his eyes with a start, turning his head so he was able to see the three Elves standing beside him. He actually cursed aloud, memories returning to him slowly. A lazy wind shook the fabric of the tent around the Elves, late rays of the sun reflecting the swaying shadows of the trees to the brown surface.
“How do you feel?” one of the trio finally asked, stepping beside Rafél’s bed.
“Fine,” Rafél muttered, not wishing to speak of his current condition. His memory was revealing him things he would have rather forgotten, his dream losing most of its absurdity. And above all else, he had no desire to open his heart to the Three Cousins of Hithsîr.
“You were in a pretty bad shape when we found you,” Asthaldo continued as Thalión fell silent. “Not that we were prepared to find you two that way, of all things…” the Sinda fell silent, glancing at his older cousins.
Rafél’s eyes widened, his body fighting to get up from his laying position. “How is Legolas?”
“Well enough, so calm down,” Thalión reassured, pushing Rafél back to the bed. “You saved his life, you know. He would have perished if you hadn’t given your strength to him. Thranduil continued from where you stopped after we found you, and the healers were able to get the arrow out without too much further damage.”
“Will he survive?” Rafél asked with an emotionless voice, his eyes searching the faces turned into his direction.
“After the amount of strength you gave him, there is really no other option,” Dínnor smiled. “We were more worried about you.”
Rafél nodded, closing his eyes to gather his thoughts. Now as his mind had finally collected the final pictures of his rather broken memory of the latest events, he was able to understand the other Elves’ hints. His search and fight with Legolas flashed over his eyes. He still remembered the feel of warm blood running down his hands, hearing the other’s pained breath. So I managed to save him, after all. And the fight next to us was what I thought it to be: the other Elves fighting. But yet I suppose I wouldn’t have cried out for help if I would have known their location for sure… “What enemy did you meet?” he had to ask, wishing to fill his memory as much as possible.
“Orcs,” Asthaldo snorted. “Soon after Thrénandu’s group joined into ours, they ran away.”
“Then we went to search you, for Thalión was certain you were near,” Dínnor finished.
Rafél watched the three, expecting to have more questions about his doings – and especially those of Legolas. But the Cousins were oddly silent, gazing at him steadily, as if waiting something for themselves. Rafél refused an urge to shift nervously, and decided to break the uneasy silence. “May I see Legolas?” he asked, knowing it would have been expected from him anyway.
“If you feel up to it, of course,” Thalión smiled. “He is resting in another tent at the moment. Shannai is with him, ready to let us know if our Prince wakes.”
Rafél nodded, sitting up to the edge of the bed, preparing to get up.
“Before you go, I would like to change a few words with you.”
I expected it to be Dínnor, as he is the eldest. But they play a smart game, sending Thalión out. “Of course,” Rafél sighed, leaning back.
Thalión nodded, giving his cousins a swift look. The other two left the tent without further protests, seemingly having accepted this way of action beforehand. Thalión eyed Rafél for a good while, his powder blue eyes narrowing slightly. “There are a few things I would know about.”
“I wonder what those are,” Rafél muttered unhappily, sensing that his next hour would be one to dislike. “Is there truly something your cunning mind cannot solve by itself?”
Thalión actually gave his companion a dry smile, his eyes flashing. “You try and fail, Rafél. You know I have my ways of getting the answers I want.”
“How very tactless of you,” Rafél snorted, cocking his head.
“We can play this game forever,” Thalión raised one delicate eyebrow, challenging Rafél.
“So ask your question already,” the guardian offered with a pleasing smile – which didn’t fool Thalión for a moment.
“Yes?” Rafél questioned, less enthusiastically than before.
“Where did they come from? Ah, hold it,” Thalión interrupted when Rafél opened his mouth. “Let’s save some of my time: when we found you, we also checked the forest around. There was no marks of Orcs – nor any corpses – to be found. Just marks on you and Legolas, and even those were far too many and shall I say… confusing, to be caused just by him being hit with an arrow.”
“Maybe the one who attacked us left no marks?” Rafél offered.
“Ah, an option, yes, though I would say ‘no’ to it at once. I searched the forest after the others went to take care of you. What I found was no more marks – though the dark sword had disappeared from its place on the ground.” Thalión halted for a moment, frowning. “I saw the sword when we found you,” he muttered. “But it matters not,” he finally decided, directing his sharp eyes at Rafél.
“Doesn’t the lost sword mean that someone collected it in the meanwhile you were gone? And that someone attacked us?” Rafél explained.
“Yet there is no marks,” Thalión smiled, sitting down on his heels before Rafél. “And even if something could move without leaving marks, how do you explain that Legolas was intact leaving out the arrow-wound and some others that were days old at least?”
“Perhaps I protected him,” Rafél spat at Thalión, getting irritated.
“So why do you lie, then?” Thalión smiled. “And why was Legolas’ knife covered with your blood?”
“The enemy seized it,” Rafél replied, turning his gaze away from the other.
“And still you lie,” Thalión shook his head. “I can read it from your entire appearance. Something happened between you and Legolas.”
“Do not draw him into this!” Rafél shouted, his eyes flashing with anger.
“But he was there, too,” Thalión stated. “And the blood on his knife was still warm when we found it,” he continued, finally drawing the knife free from his belt. “Your blood. Not Legolas’. And even if you were protecting him, it does not explain the marks I saw. Do not think me so stupid that I cannot tell apart marks of a fight and those of protecting another from one!”
Rafél was quiet, his eyes dark and unresponsive. Events of the last night played in his head, making him shiver despite himself. There was, however, no way he would tell of those events. Not until it would be absolutely necessary. And he would see that things would not come to that. Ever.
Thalión waited for a long moment, his well-known patience finally running out. With a cry of outrage he embedded the bloodied knife to the side of Rafél’s current bed, his eyes sparking as he met the other’s gaze. “By the Valar! Just give me the truth, that is all I ask!” But the guardian was silent, and with a deep breath, Thalión stood up and left the tent.
Rafél sat still for long, endless minutes, his brown eyes locked at the knife beside him. The blade was dirty, covered with dried blood. My blood, yes. But may it be so rather than his blood covering my sword. I swore to protect him, and that I shall do. Even if it would mean lying to the rest of the world. He shook his head, leaning his forehead in his hands, cringing as the movement pulled the bindings of his wounded arm. First I must speak with him. I have to find out what he remembers, and make sure that he will keep silent.
On the outside, the two other Cousins waited for Thalión, eyeing their fellow sibling, interested.
“¤He did not give you any answers, then?¤” Dínnor said somewhat bitterly as the silver haired Elf joined with them.
“¤I doubt he would give them to none, Dín,¤” Thalión swore, giving his elder cousin a glare. “¤He is getting even more stubborn than his protege!¤”
“¤Speaking of which, what of Legolas? I heard his name raise up on a few occasions,¤” Asthaldo said slowly, trying to calm his fuming companion.
“¤Rafél is protecting Legolas from something,¤” Thalión mused.
“¤That is obvious,¤” Dínnor agreed. “¤But ‘why’ is the question.¤”
“¤They fought…¤” Thalión sighed. “¤Why, I cannot tell, but we all saw Rafél’s wounds. Smooth cuts than only an Elf can make. And if it would come down to a fight between them…¤”
“¤Rafél would rather take the sword himself than harm Legolas,¤” Dínnor nodded. “¤Was that the reason why we tended Rafél’s wounds ourselves? To hide this from others?¤”
“¤Oh, I knew there was a reason for you to tell the healers to go and take care of Legolas instead,¤” Asthaldo smirked. “¤But I would rather like to know what kind of truth I am hiding here. Maybe we should ask Legolas?¤”
“¤When he wakes, we shall do that,¤” Dínnor agreed. “¤I have no desire to walk around blind, covering Rafél’s back when he doesn’t wish to tell us the reason why we are risking ourselves.¤”
“¤Good. Now, let us go and find out the latest news,¤” Thalión said, glancing at the other two. “¤I wish to see again the place where we found them.¤”
“¤Still thinking you may find something new from there?¤” Asthaldo questioned as they headed out.
“¤You never know…¤” Thalión muttered as they headed to the trees.
Shannai had sat beside Legolas’ bed for hours now, his mind lost in a haze of his thoughts. His own imagination was the only thing to entertain him at the moment, but the worry for his friend ruined his attempts to fall entirely into his dreams. I wonder when he is going to wake. He hasn’t woken up since we found him, but that is not a thing to wonder if you have seen the wound he took. I just wish Rafél would show up soon: seeing him would comfort me a lot at the moment. And I am sure Legolas would also appreciate his presence.
Yawning widely, Shannai shifted into another position, watching his sleeping friend. At least he thought Legolas was asleep. He couldn’t tell, to be honest. Legolas’ eyes were closed, his face awfully pale and clammy, sweat covering his skin. He was suffering of a high fever because of the poisoned arrow, but the healers had said that he would survive. Because Rafél kept his fëa from fading out. What would Legolas do without him? Shannai knew the answer to that, but did not explore it further. The end of his best friend’s life had been far too close this time.
Legolas moaned in his sleep, tossing restlessly. Shannai reached out for him, murmuring words he hoped to be comforting. It seemed to work as Legolas settled down after a moment, and sitting back, Shannai yawned again. He felt tired, having been up for several days now. Usually it wouldn’t have affected him like this, but all this hunting, fighting and worrying were taking their toll. “Maybe I will walk around a little to wake myself,” he said aloud, giving Legolas a comforting pat as he got up. Stepping out of the tent to the sunlight he stretched, breathing in fresh air. Not that the air was ever “fresh” in Mirkwood. The pressing atmosphere caused by the trees and growing evil affected the air as well, but Shannai was not about to whine. He knew there were worse things in this world.
“Good day, Shannai,” a voice called out and the youth turned to meet King Thranduil.
“My liege,” Shannai bowed. He noted that Thranduil looked somewhat tired himself, his eyes shadowed and weary. “Legolas hasn’t woken up yet,” he told to his Lord.
Thranduil nodded, looking in the tent to check his son. Legolas was now sleeping peacefully, and with a smile Thranduil drew the flap shut. “I am glad you have stayed with him. I would not wish him to be alone.”
“Of course,” Shannai replied with an answering smile. “If you do not mind… you look that you would need some rest yourself, my Lord.”
Thranduil look surprised, not having expected such frankness from the other. But then again, Shannai was a straight youth, sometimes unable to understand that there were things that were better remaining unsaid. But Thranduil himself felt tired, so there was no actual reason to deny the truth. It seems that tending Legolas took more strength from me than I expected, he mused. “Maybe I will do just so,” he said finally, giving the other a nod. “I feel weary, and as there is no changes expected any time soon…” His earlier smile faded, sadness filling his eyes.
“I will send someone to you immediately when Legolas awakes,” Shannai promised. If he starts to worry about Legolas, he will never get himself to rest. Better send him off now.
Thranduil said his thanks and then turned to return to his own tent, deep in thought. This trip was almost fatal to my family. What drove Legolas all this way? Certainly it was something else than his argument with Rafél… I must speak with him after he is well enough. My kin cannot afford things like this to happen. A sudden, alarmed shout stopped his musings, and the King turned to glance back at the direction where he had left Shannai.
“Legolas?!” came another shout, full of fear. A moment later Shannai rushed out of Legolas’ tent, his face pale and eyes wide. The youth gazed this way and that, as if trying to find something.
Thranduil ran back, fear rising in him. “What is wrong?” he asked a bit more harshly than he had intended, making Shannai flinch back in fear.
“He is gone, my Lord,” the youth stammered, shivering.
“What?” Thranduil exclaimed, well aware of whom Shannai was speaking. Without further thought he rushed to the tent, stepping in. “Valar,” Thranduil gasped, his eyes widening as they took in the sight before him. The bed on the other side of the tent was empty. Legolas was gone.
to be continued…
Elvish - English
Dín - Dínnor’s nickname (means “silent”)