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.
The morning came, pale and icy. Frost hung in the leaves, giving the still dim forest a ghostly look. No bird sang its welcome to the new day. But under such a shadow, what bird would sing? Legolas pondered, trying to suppress his shivers. The new day seemed to begin as a miserable one. Not that his previous days had been any more luxurious: far from it. And now even Thaíly is gone. I wonder if that is good or bad. But I never liked his presence anyway. Better have him off… Shivering again, Legolas decided to wait for a moment still. He would go on soon…
A crack of wood alarmed the Elf out of his wits, and a swift look around told him that he was no longer alone. Some distance away from him stood the dark Man, holding a dead rabbit. Thaíly did not greet Legolas, but such kindness wouldn’t have been expected between them, anyway. He built a small fire, roasting the animal he had brought with him. It took a short fight to get the fire burning in the cool, damp air, but the warmth it gave was welcomed by Legolas.
“Eat,” Thaíly commanded, handing a piece of meat to the Elf next to him.
It had been days since Legolas had eaten last time, of that the Prince was sure, but he did not feel hungry. He shook his head, eyes staring at the sparkling flames.
“You have to eat,” Thaíly pressed, thrusting the food into Legolas’ lap. “You will not take another step before you have finished that.”
“I am not hungry,” the Elf replied.
“That’s because you are sick,” the other noted. “Eat.”
One glance at Thaíly told Legolas it would be fruitless to fight. Unhappily he took the meat into his hands, nipping it unenthusiastically. The man beside him watched him with a critical eye, making sure that the food disappeared as it should. After Legolas had finished his small breakfast, Thaíly stored the rest of the rabbit in a makeshift wrap of leaves, putting it into his bag.
Legolas watched as the other hid the marks of their temporary camp, his mind turning to the last night’s events. Thaíly’s tale hasn’t impressed him near as much as the other’s attitude towards it – and himself. Thaíly’s story could have been heartbreaking, making one assume that the child of the story would be traumatised or begging for understanding. But Thaíly was all but that. He didn’t pity himself, nor did he ask acceptance. He was merely stating a fact, taking it like it was.
If Legolas had been on his place, he would have not had such courage. Or such coldness. He seems so dead inside, no love or warmth in him. How can such a creature live, even for himself? He didn’t think he would gain an answer for that, so he pushed it away from his mind.
Following the young Prince through the unnaturally dark forest, Thaíly was beginning to seriously doubt the other’s state of mind. No sane being came this south, expect the servants of the dark. Maybe he is obsessed. That would explain a lot, the vampire thought. I should leave him now, while I still can. But the fact is that I have been “leaving” him for several days now, and I am still here. It felt ironic, for he had never obeyed anyone in his life. He had never felt loyalty, friendship, nor respect.
But this young Elf had a real flame in himself. Such spirit that even Thaíly found himself being fond of. I should have killed him while I had a chance, he mused darkly. The darkness in him shall not release its hold until in my death, I deem.
Their path was turning slightly west, unconsciously or not, and Thaíly knew what it meant. In a few days, they would stand in front of the gates of Dol Guldur itself. But we will not get that far, for corpses are not taken there. No reason to trouble the Dark One with such things. During his long years in Mirkwood, Thaíly had kept himself away from the enemy’s spies and the dark creatures, knowing that it would not do him any good to interfere into the Dark One’s plans. He killed Orcs and Wargs when he liked – or in desperate need of food – but otherwise he kept his space.
Until now, he had been unknown for all living creatures in this forest. Orcs spoke of him, yes, of a killing shadow among the trees, but they often mistook him for an Elf, or for another evil creature on a hunt.
Murmuring unhappily, Thaíly stumped along the hidden path his young companion had chosen. There were no roads here, not a single trail they could have followed, but Legolas’ direction did not falter. The Elf dove through the dark, hostile forest, oblivious to all else. I wonder if he is drawn to Dol Guldur like I am drawn to him. That would explain his desire to press on, even as he is not in a condition to go on.
A change in the atmosphere drove Thaíly from his thoughts. He halted, his senses immediately searching for the source of this sudden alarm. The threat was not difficult to identify, and secretly Thaíly found himself wondering what had kept the Orcs away this long. “We shall have company,” he called out as loud as he dared.
Legolas did not halt, nor did he look back. He merely kept walking, his head bowed and shoulders slumped in weariness. The feel of evil was taking over the natural feel of an Elf, and it seemed as if a visible shadow had landed upon him.
Thaíly ground his jaws together in frustration, possibilities warring inside his head. He could leave the youth to his fate, or… “Ah, curse it,” he swore, striding up to the Elf. “We cannot go on. Here the enemy is too great in number,” he said, grasping the lithe shoulder. Dark, shadowed eyes turned to look back at him, shining with fever. Then the Elf turned to continue, pushing against the hand holding him in place. “You are not listening, are you?” Thaíly groaned. He almost smelled the Orcs by now, their voices getting closer.
Letting out a sigh, Thaíly made his mind. His free hand lashed out, making contact with the back of the Elf’s head. The youth had no time to react. Legolas fall to his feet, unmoving, eyes closed. “I am not happy to do this, honestly,” the dark Man told his unconscious companion as he kneeled down beside the other. “It is merely to your own good.” Checking that he had not broken anything, he gathered the Prince to his arms, turning back towards the north. “Time to get us both away from here,” he announced, sliding into the shadows.
As Orcs came to the place a moment later, they sniffed the air, glancing warily around. Weapons were drawn, eyes narrowing in suspicion. Then one of them laughed, indicating the others to follow. “Seems like that the dark hunter got a bait, aye lads?”
“But is smells of an Elf-rat,” another doubted. “How could have that one got this south?”
“Not our problem, anymore: its dead. They only take with them those whom they will kill,” the leader sneered, sniffing in disgust. He had seen the “dark hunter” before, moving in the trees and shadows, killing Orcs as it liked. Orcs feared it, for some reason, and he was not an exception. “Let’s go, boys,” he shouted, waving his hand. The other Orcs followed him to the dark forest, avoiding the path Thaíly had just chosen, smiling as they sensed the faint smell of an Elf: one Firstborn less for them to worry about.
to be continued…