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.
“He is reaching the valley soon, my Lord. It might have been a mistake to leave him without a guard,” the dark Elf said, eyeing the darkening forest from a high cliff. Wind swayed his black cloak, making it swirl around his feet. “He must not enter Dol Guldur. We cannot afford that, not yet.”
“He will not go to the valley. He will be stopped.”
“I wish I could be that optimistic. All that moves that far south are Sauron’s forces, and being found by them is as bad as confronting Sauron. Or then he shall be killed. Orcs will not leave a lonesome Elf alive, and their wits are too few to recognise the power in him.”
“You worry over nothing. He shall not die.”
“His own kin are searching for him, but they are too far. They cannot reach him in time,” the dark one continued. “ I should have stayed with him…”
“He shall be hindered by another. I have need for you elsewhere: your task with him is done, for now. Only time will show if did we choose well.”
“But he is not complete, my Lord,” the Elf replied with a hint of self-hatred. “I should have kept him with me a little longer.”
“He is ready enough. His training will be completed later, but for now, this will do perfectly. You know what to do next. Our time is yet to come.”
“Yes, my Lord,” the dark Elf said with a smile colder than any night of the Long Winter.
I am near. I can feel it. Not a long way, anymore. The ground is changing into downhill, and soon I will reach the valley. And the mountain… The fortress on the top of the mountain, reaching up to the sky… Legolas shook his head, his thoughts beginning their familiar, uncontrolled pattern. He was nearing the one place he had a clear memory of – if anything in his head was clear at the moment. Fever burned him from within, stretching his Elven endurance to its limits. But he was unwilling to give up, and so he walked forward, Thaíly following him like a shadow.
On his side, Thaíly was getting increasingly worried. He was fighting an inner battle with himself, trying to decide to either drag Legolas away or let the youth do as he liked. It is not my business what he does with his life. No reason for me to worry over him. If he wants to die, it is quite fine with me. But things weren’t that simple. Even if he had tried, he couldn’t leave the youth. The darkness of the other’s seemed to be a worse drug than the Elven blood could ever be. “He will get us both killed…” he muttered darkly.
Thaíly’s senses told him that the dark valley was near. It was a miracle that they hadn’t come across enemies this far, but that luck would not last for long. Of that he was sure. This was the area that the Orcs ruled, and very soon… There, I knew it, he swore in his mind, halting for a moment. It was not hard for him to spot the sounds of an Orc-group drawing near. They are too many. And there are certainly others at immediate distance. Like it or not, my young friend, we are going to hide. Striding to Legolas, he drew the youth against him, clamping his hand over the Elf’s mouth. Then he took a swift look around, diving into a thicket of bushes. Legolas struggled against him, but it did nothing for the Man’s strength was greater than an Elf’s, anyway.
Keeping the youth pinned against him, Thaíly listened intently, his senses following the Orcs’ every movement with tireless intensity. As the foul beasts came into sight, Legolas’ frantic struggles stopped, blue eyes widening. They both waited for the enemies to pass, and a long time after Thaíly was sure that the Orcs were beyond hearing, he let Legolas go.
The youth immediately bounced up, trying to emerge from their shelter, but Thaíly drew him back roughly, making him fall to the dusty ground. “Now listen, and listen good: we are not moving on today. We have to wait for the day to come to its fullest, or else we will not make a mile from here.” Now I even speak as if I am going with him to that cursed place. “Have we reached an understanding?”
“Don’t –” Legolas began, but then his anger faded into misery, and he nodded. “Very well, we shall wait.”
“Good,” Thaíly agreed, sitting down more comfortably. “Now, entertain me. Surely you remember something…” The youth’s face told the absolute opposite. And by the haunted, sorrowful look on the young face, Thaíly was able to tell that the other was in pain. “Fine. I will tell you my tale, if you keep silent.”
A strange look passed Legolas’ eyes, but then he nodded, leaning against his drawn knees. His jaw tightened in discomfort, but he made no sound, pain being too familiar part of his current state.
“Good. Now, from the beginning, I guess.” Thaíly fell silent, his eyes distant. “You are the first to ever hear my tale, so be grateful.”
Legolas nodded, his eyes falling shut as he focused at the other’s low voice. It sounded comforting in his ears, strong and certain – all that he wasn’t at the moment. The other would keep him safe, if nothing but for a moment. It was enough for him.
“I was born in Eriador, a long time ago. I am not sure when, for my ageing stopped after my full transformation. My mother was an Elf, my father a Human. An unusual alliance at that time, but no one dared to speak against it. After all, Elves were held in great respect. Overall, I was a normal child in a loving family.
”I was near to six when a ‘bat’ bit me while I was playing in an old, abandoned house. Nothing happened at first, but during the months that passed, my parents were able to see some changes taking place in me. I was just as afraid as they, unable to understand what was happening. No medicine helped to my ever-changing condition, and by the time I reached the age of eight, I was no longer a complete Half-elf.
“My parents knew that when the people would find out, they would demand my life to be taken. They could not hide me, either. So one morning they took me to the wild, and unable to end my miserable life themselves, they abandoned me there. I still remember the regret in my mother’s eyes, the helplessness there. But I guess she knew I would survive,” Thaíly sighed, his eyes shifting to Legolas, as if trying to see something of his past in him.
“But I did not die. I learned to live in the wilderness, hunt my own food and find shelter for the cold winter nights. And when I wandered there alone, I came to the end of my transformation. I learned to know myself, and what I was capable of.
”I was seventeen when I went to a village of Men for the first time since my ‘exile’. I did not know what to expect. Today, I am grateful that I didn’t hold high hopes that day. When I entered the village, the eyes of others spoke of pure distrust. My clothes, my appearance… something must have spoken of such difference that they raised their weapons against me, commanding me to leave. I was young and foolish then, thinking that they had no reason or right to push me away. So I rebelled. That was the first day I used my skills against another Man. That day, I killed my first humans.
“I escaped back to the wild, now hunted and cursed. Never after that have I been welcomed to any village or town. And I never wished to be welcomed, either. My trust was broken, and I was alone on my own.
”Years passed, uncounted by me as they did nothing to change me. I murdered and killed, playing an assassin at times. Desperate people with heavy sacks of gold came to me, knowing I could relieve them of some earthly misery. Such low beings they were, all of them, but that wasn’t important. It was no trouble of mine how they wanted to spend their money, or if I got my hands dirty in the process.
“Those lands are deserted now, their people gone. War and death have done their task. I moved over the mountains, getting to know the world around me. Finally I entered this dark forest, and it became my new home. It is easy to live in peace in a place like Mirkwood, unnoticed and unknown.” Thaíly raised his gaze, eyeing the now sleeping Prince. “You remind me of myself: so lost and so alone. And yet…” He snorted, looking away.
This youth is a mere hindrance to me. What am I doing here, still? Better to leave him here and let himself get killed… But instead of leaving, he looked at the youth again – unable to look away.
Cold wind made the trees moan above them, branches sliding against one another, filling the forest with strange sounds. Mist began to flow above the earth, turning the ground icy and hard. Thaíly watched this with uncaring eyes, knowing that cold would not affect him. Nothing did, nowadays. But the youth does, he allowed himself to admit. Or the darkness in him. I do not know which. Dark eyes gazed at the sleeping one again, noticing the other was shivering. I am quite sure that cold and fever are not a good mix, not even to an Elf. With an unhappy frown, he moved to sit beside the Elf, carefully drawing the other into his embrace. Folding his wide cloak around them both, Thaíly guarded the still night, warming the smaller being in his arms.
to be continued…