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.
Dropping a dead deer to the ground, a shadow moved along a thick branch of an oak, making no sound as it passed to the other side of the tree, climbing slowly to the earth. Moving to the dark forest, the figure listened intently, aware of the increased movements of Orcs. It usually meant that a scout-party of Elves had been seen nearby, or then the dark creatures were up to something. Whether it was, it did not worry him. Business of Orcs and Elves had nothing to do with him.
As he treaded through the forest in twilight, his mind pondering his next movement, a strange scent caught his senses. Halting with a swiftness few could imitate, he sniffed the air, eyes narrowing. His entire body trembled, but he forced the reactions down, knowing they would be only hindrance. Focusing his mind at the trail he got, he followed it through the forest, his body shivering with anticipation. His movements got more careful as he closed up with his prey.
Taking into the trees, the creature moved forward, careful for any sounds. Then he reached a perfect spot, and halted to wait. Only a moment later a lithe form emerged from the forest, stepping into his view. Moving slightly forward, he eyed the slowly walking creature. An Elf, he thought. And a young one of that. Sniffing the air again, he frowned, tilting his head. The smell of blood was intoxicating. It stirred a vicious need in him, making his eyes blur and teeth ache. Sliding forward, he stopped above the youth, a soft hiss escaping him as a lust won over the reason.
Legolas knew that something was wrong just a moment before a dark shape moved above him. Jumping aside reflexively, the Elf avoided collision with the creature that dropped to the ground. His knife was in his hand before he knew it, rising to meet the threat. But the creature moved faster than he had expected, sliding beneath his guard and catching him around the throat. Gasping for air the Elf struggled, his right hand bringing his blade between their bodies even as his head began to spin.
The firm hand kept its hold around the Elf’s neck, the creature’s free hand creeping up towards the youth’s chest. Legolas yelped in pain, his hand flashing out. The creature hissed, backing off with a dark look. Its hand rose to its sliced cheek, black eyes shifting at the Elf’s weapon.
Legolas pushed his back against a tree, eyeing the other nervously. His left hand wrapped itself securely over his chest, trying to ebb the pain. In the meanwhile his mind observed the creature before him. Or a Man. He wasn’t quite sure which the other was. He was tall and strong, black wavy hair falling to his shoulders and sharp eyes staring back at him with enough intensity to make Legolas cower back. His entire appearance was something between that of a Man and of an Elf, though Legolas couldn’t believe that the other might indeed have Elven blood in him: the other was evil. The mere feel of terror and death around him made the Elf shiver, and the look upon the other’s face promised nothing but pain.
“I will cut your throat, pitiful rat,” the dark Man sneered with a low, raspy voice, taking a step towards Legolas. The Prince raised his weapon, his eyes wide. The fever was attacking him again, strength disappearing from his limbs. “Scared, little one?” the other taunted, moving slowly closer. “You should be.”
“Leave me alone,” Legolas ground out between gritted teeth.
The dark one sniffed the air again, the smell of blood filling his nostrils. “I don’t think so…” he murmured. A tongue flicked over the edge of his teeth, sharp eye-teeth flashing in the fading light. He took another step, forcing the Elf to trap himself against he tree behind.
Legolas’ eyes widened as he saw the monstrous teeth, several ideas of what could be done with them filling his head. He pressed the tip of his blade against the other’s chest as a warning, though the creature didn’t seem to notice. Black eyes seemed unfocused, nostrils flaring restlessly. He smells my blood, Legolas decided. Like all the creatures of darkness, smell of Elven blood drives him mad. “Stay away!” he shouted, “Or I will kill you.”
“Kill me?” the Man seemed greatly amused by the Elf’s statement. “Oh, you may try, little one. But you will not succeed.”
“You wish,” Legolas murmured, inching to the side. As soon as he would be free to move…
The dark one’s hand shot forward, leaning against the bark, trapping Legolas effectively. “Aww, already leaving? But I cannot afford you to go this soon…”
Legolas drew his lungs full of air and plunged his knife forward, embedding it deep into the Man before him. As the other’s weight shifted, the Elf slipped to the side, turning around to meet his opponent when he had a safe distance between them.
The dark one leaned against the tree for a moment, but then turned very slowly towards the panting Elf. There was actually a smile upon his face, but no warmth could be found from his features. “So you have some spark in you. Good. It will make my hunt worth it,” he snarled, lunging forward. “I will suck out your sweet blood, and leave you to die alone into this darkness.”
But Legolas was swifter, circling to the side, his bloodied blade continually between them. The other moved forward, Legolas moving to the side. They danced like this for a moment, but then suddenly the Man halted, standing on his place unmoving. His head tilted to the side, his eyes narrowing.
Legolas tensed, waiting for another attack. But to his eternal surprise, the other laughed. It was a sound full of evil and menace, but there was something else in it. Warmth, almost. “Be at ease, little Elfling. Game over. You really didn’t think I would kill you?”
Legolas didn’t answer, but the doubt in his eyes revealed his thoughts.
The dark one laughed again, shaking his head. He made no move towards Legolas, something akin to interest blooming in the dark depths of his eyes. “You are far away from home,” he stated, trying to coax the Elf into words.
“It is none of your business what I do or where I am going,” Legolas snapped, his mind suddenly back on his task. He had to keep moving. He had to get away… Shadows flared around Legolas, a soft whisper beginning in the dark places of the forest.
The dark Man watched the shadows with a slight frown, his eyes darting back to the Elf soon after. “These woods are a dark place for such as you,” he said slowly. “So many evil, bad creatures wishing to end your life and devour your flesh.” He saw the Elf tense, blade rising again. Unable to hold a chuckle, the Man sat down on his heels, eyeing the other calmly. “I will not eat you, worry not. I am not such a fool. I have seen many of ones like me to fall into the lure of Elven blood.”
“Ones like you?” Legolas asked.
With a hiss, the dark one revealed his fangs. “Vampires. Or that is what the Men call us. I am not sure how the Elves have named us, for our paths sparsely meet.”
“Vampire?” Legolas repeated the word. “I have never heard that there would be such creatures. Only the bats of Morgoth from the past ages are known with such name.”
“The bats began it, spreading their influence into other races. Some of those who are bitten… change,” the Man pondered, eyeing his hand with loathing eyes. “I changed.”
“And you live by other’s blood?” Legolas guessed, his curiosity taking the better of him.
“Let’s say that is the way of eating we favour most – and the most effective one,” the other smiled, sniffing the air. “But when it comes to Elven blood…” he almost purred, “its smell is sweeter than others’, and the taste… unearthly, I’ve heard. But there is always a price to pay,” he smiled darkly. “Your kin is most beloved to the Gods, and your blood is sacred. Or just simply too pure. It matters not, for the after-effects are… deadly.”
“Why?” Legolas asked, puzzled.
“The inner light in you – or your immortality – ‘poisons’ your blood. Those who devour at it will be driven by endless desire to have more. It drives them mad. And finally they fade away, becoming wraiths. Or then they kill themselves in their pain and longing. Therefor, I have no reason to hurt you.”
Legolas eyed the other carefully, deciding that he was at least momentarily safe. Finally he let himself sink to the ground under his exhaustion, unable to keep himself up anyway. His eyes kept falling shut despite his orders, and finally he surrendered to the uneasy sleep, too tired to care if the other would kill him while he rested.
to be continued…