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.
Fear was slowly becoming a natural feeling to him. At late, there had been naught but doubt, self-hatred, worry – and fear. For days, he had prayed for his young protege to be found, safe and sound. And by some miracle let him be himself when he is found, Rafél thought desperately. His greatest fear was that Legolas would act like he had in their “meeting”, a few days ago.
“Where are you, Legolas?” Rafél whispered, staring at the forest on the edge of their camp. The desire to leave and search for his Prince was getting stronger with each hour that passed. He knew he could do it if he wished: the warriors remaining with him were less experienced than him, and he could easily loose them from his trail. Or he could merely order them to stay behind, elder warrior as he was.
And yet he was still here. Was it because the order of his King, or in a hope that Legolas would return? He did not know. There were simply too many questions, and too few answers. “How do we Elves define evil?” Fisting his hands in frustration, Rafél welcomed the pain the action caused in his wounded arm. That one question is the key to all this. And my incapability to answer. At that moment, I should have known all was not well with him. I should have done something. Anything. But now I wait here, expecting the others to make up my mistakes!
Letting out a tired sigh, Rafél shook his head. Thranduil and his group had searched for Legolas almost five days now, and no sign they had found. None spoke of it, but despair was getting hold of the Elves with an increasing speed. If the Prince would not be found soon…
Rafél’s head shot up, his thoughts pushed aside as his fëa alarmed him of approaching evil. Focusing his mind upon the matter, he closed his eyes, trying to identify the threat. Trees were silent, not revealing anything, and he soon dropped the possibility of Orcs. And even as his spirit spoke of danger, it also seemed to recognise something familiar.
Hope bloomed in Rafél’s chest. As he explored the sensation, penetrating it further, he was sure he felt Legolas’ presence, faint, but there. Glancing back, Rafél made sure no-one was watching him. This was the moment when he would be forced to choose, but he did not hesitate. If there was a chance Legolas was near, he was not going to lose it. As no other Elf was visible, Rafél turned and disappeared to the forest.
Thaíly had some difficulties to decide if he should thank the Valar for his easy journey – or to be worried. He knew he hadn’t hurt the Elf, but the other hadn’t woke up since they had left the Valley of Dol Guldur. Fever burned the body slumped over his shoulders, restless movements speaking of some kind of nightmares. Well, at least he is not whining about the treatment he is receiving, Thaíly comforted himself.
At the moment, his only task was to find some Elves and deliver the youth to them. No more trouble to him. He would be free to leave, to go on as he liked. Why do I have a need to prove myself of that? It speaks of uncertainty, that I am not sure what will happen. But I am sure, so there is no reason to worry. I deliver the youth, and that’s it. End of story.
Legolas moaned again in his dream, the blurry words unknown to Thaíly. Maybe it is Elvish, or a name of someone from his kin. And speaking of which, where are those cursed Elves? One could think that they are looking all over for this one.
A slight change of atmosphere was the only warning that Thaíly ever got. The next moment, he was facing a white-haired Elf who had emerged to the same small clearing with him. They stared at each other for a moment, brown eyes locking to the black ones. The Elf moved first, sliding his sword free from its scabbard. A warrior, and an experienced one of that, Thaíly noted to himself as he watched the other.
Rafél was almost as shocked as he met the other. He had not heard anything, nor sensed, but he had no time to ponder such a thing. This dark one had Legolas. He was able to smell the Prince’s blood from where he stood, and he promised he would hack this creature into pieces after he had released his protege. “Release the Elf,” came a slow, clear command. He was not sure what race the other presented, for he was cloaked in black and wore stained and worn clothes. He could have been a Man, but there was something in him that spoke against it. A flash of memory came to Rafél, his eyes filled with pictures of the dark creature that had commanded Legolas to attack him. The one who had poisoned Legolas’ mind. Hatred swam through him, making his blood boil. This was the one…
Thaíly saw how the Elf’s entire expression changed as he regarded him. Better to leave, and let them solve this on their own. It seems that I am not welcomed. With a dark smile, Thaíly raised his hand to calm the other. “I will leave him to you, worry not. And I did not hurt him either: I merely brought him back.” He kneeled down, gently slipping the prone form from his shoulders. The Elf’s eyes followed him, but at the moment they seemed to be watching the youth rather than him. Slowly he got up, backing off. Brown eyes stayed in him, the Elf taking a step forward.
The Elven blade slashed out almost quicker than Thaíly was able to follow. He dodged, drawing his own blade in the process and bringing it up to meet the other’s. The Elf’s eyes spoke of death as they glared at each other over their locked weapons, but the moment did not last long, the Elf drawing back and attacking again. Does he really think I did this to their Prince? Thaíly thoughts as he attacked in turn, making the other back away a little. But then again, I am evil, and nothing good could have done this to Legolas. It is no wonder he assumes me to be the one who is responsible.
Rafél swung his blade towards his opponent, already knowing that this creature was a swift one. He was able to read much of the other as they fought, but all that knowledge and observing fell to the back, leaving him free to fight. He sped up his attacks, forcing the other to move back. But just as Rafél was beginning to search for a place to strike in, the dark one slipped down and to the side, giving himself some free space.
Thaíly tried to calm his breath, his eyes remaining on the Elf. If I continue this fight, it might be my last one. Whatever emotion fuels this Elf’s actions, it is enough to give him victory. Better not to risk my life over nothing. So he raised his blade against his forehead, giving the other a salute, and then turned around, disappearing to the forest.
Rafél stared after the other, his emotions battling one another. But then his reason got better of his will for vengeance, and he sheathed his sword, returning to Legolas. He knelt down, running a careful hand over the heated skin. Cursing silently, he picked the youth to his arms, getting up just as a group of Elves reached him. They gazed at the Prince in wonderment, rebuke dying to their lips.
“We heard a sound of a fight, my Lord,” one of them finally dared to speak, not even bringing up the matter that Rafél had left the camp against the direct order of the King.
“It was nothing,” Rafél murmured. “Sent a word to the King that we head home: his son has been found.”
“Yes, my Lord,” the younger warrior answered, immediately departing with two companions.
Rafél didn’t look after them, his focus solely upon Legolas and the task to take him swiftly to the camp. He gave the pale forehead a fond kiss, thanking the Valar of their mercy, and then headed back with his kinsmen.
In the shadows of the forest, Thaíly looked after the Elves for a long time. He felt an urge to follow, but he fought it down, knowing that it would not be wise. The only reason why he might follow would be to find out how Legolas had got such an evil feel into himself. It was a mystery to solve, and it still puzzled him. “Perhaps it might be so, my dear Prince, that we shall meet again when the time arrives...”
to be continued…