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The Marshes of the Dead; Chapter 2: Meeting

July 1st, 2006 (06:04 pm)

current mood: happy
current song: Shape of Despair: Fallen

Story Info

Title: The Marshes of the Dead
Author: Del Rion (delrion.mail (at) gmail.com)
Fandom: The Lord of the Rings
Era: Fourth Age of the Sun
Genre: Drama, AU
Rating: T / FRT
Characters: Gimli, Legolas (, OCs)
Summary: “There are dead things. Dead faces in the water!” “All dead. All rotten. Elves and Men and Orcses. A great battle long ago. Dead Marshes. Yes. Yes, that is their name.” Who are those dead warriors in the water, whose lights call the living to join them? Only few truly know. When visiting Legolas briefly in Ithilien, the Three Cousins recall some of their worse memories, and the battle of Dagorlad is only a part of them…
Part of the history of “The Last Journey”. Complete.
Warnings: References to violence and death¬. The rating could also be PG, but let’s take no risks…

~ ~ ~

Chapter 2: Meeting


Amon Hen

Legolas halted, his blue eyes surveying the path below him. All was silent, only the voices of the birds and the sound of the giant waterfall braking the peaceful silence. With a satisfied smile, Legolas dropped to the ground from the treetops where he had been travelling.

A half mile on his right ran Anduin, the rush of the water falling down the Fall of Rauros bringing painful memories to Legolas’ mind. He walked forward, and the images started to build before his eyes. Five years ago he had been here. It still hurt him to remember the loss of that day.

By now Legolas had already reached a certain place near the shore. Clearly, the Elf saw the past unfold itself before his eyes. The boats pulled to the shore. The Hobbits glancing fearfully at Gimli as the Dwarf told them about the next steps of their journey. Legolas himself trying to warn Aragorn that the danger was near.

Then it all started. Frodo was missing. The enemies appeared out of nowhere. They fought. And some of them were lost. Boromir, the great and valiant Man of Gondor took three arrows to his chest before falling. Legolas still felt the pang of guilt assault his heart as he remembered the sigh of Aragorn leaning over the Son of Gondor, giving him the last blessing.

There had been no time for sorrow then: Frodo and Sam where on their way to Mordor, Merry and Pippin taken by the Uruk-hai. The Three Hunters rushed to the woods, hoping to reach their captured companions in time.

The images disappeared. Legolas stood staring at the forest, his mind full of self-hatred. If he would have been able to convince Aragorn that day… maybe then Boromir would still live. But what of Rohan, then? Would there have been any hope for Rohirrim if Aragorn hadn’t been there when Saruman unleashed his power? Would Gondor still stand if Aragorn hadn’t taken the Paths of the Dead?

Legolas sighed, knowing that the things had went right, as they were supposed to: the Song of Ilúvatar never failed, never erred.

Stepping forward, Legolas entered the forest, walking up the hill that would lead him to the place where he had seen an Uruk-hai for the first time. A moment that was hard to forget.

The change in the trees’ song alarmed Legolas before anything else did. Wind brought him no sounds different from those before, but the Olvar told him something else: he was not alone. Soon after the first feeling of dread, Legolas’ own senses were able to feel it as well. He was being watched.

With steadiness and calmness that told of years of experience, Legolas drew his bow free, not yet notching an arrow. His stance shifted, and his eyes searched for the enemy.

Time passed.

Nothing moved.

But the feeling stayed, and so Legolas waited, letting his immortal patience serve him well, as it had served him for centuries in his own land in Mirkwood.

Then, faster than a mortal eye could ever see, Legolas grasped an arrow from his quiver and set it to the string of his bow. Just as fast, something moved among the treetops, no longer hiding its existence. Legolas’ aim followed, waiting for an opportunity to shoot. Behind him snapped a twig, and Legolas released his arrow, not waiting to see if it hit its target. Spinning around, crouching low, Legolas caught one of his white knives, bringing it against the new enemy.

All the movements stopped.

Dínnor swallowed against Legolas’ blade that was pointed to his throat. From up the trees came a frustrated sound. Behind Legolas, up the path he had been about to walk, came a sound of clapping hands. “Bravo, )ernil nîn(, you have defeated yourself – and my dear cousins as well, it seems,” Thalión said, smiling brightly at Dínnor, whose dun eyes darkened somewhat.

Slowly, a smile spread itself across Legolas’ features, and he lowered his blade from Dínnor’s throat. “My apologies,” Legolas said, daredevil in his voice.

Dínnor frowned and nodded, caressing his neck with his hand somewhat gingerly. “Has no one ever told you that playing with sharp things such as that is dangerous?”

Legolas made an innocent face, trying to look like he was thinking while he put the knife back to its place. “No, actually,” he smiled. “And I didn’t ask you to sneak up at me.”

“Sneak?” Dínnor said, his eyes wide open with horror. “Sneak?! Oh my Lord, we would have never thought such a thing! Folly and childish… sneaking…” Dínnor muttered, his eyes narrowing.

Legolas raised him an eyebrow, still smiling. Shaking his head, Legolas turned to meet Thalión who was approaching them slowly. With a slight bow, Thalión stepped to Legolas, hugging him hard instead of clasping hands. After all, here was no one around to whine them about the lack of formalities.

Dínnor, swallowing his pride, laughed merrily and scooped Legolas into his arms as soon as Thalión released him. “It is good to see you too, Little Bird.”

“Umm, excuse me, but if you all aren’t too busy with a group hug, I could use some help here…”

All three Elves on the ground looked up into the direction of the voice, and broke into laughter.

“Very funny, yes. Could you now help me?” begged Asthaldo, who was stuck to a tree from the arrow that Legolas had shot. The shaft of the arrow was buried deep into the trunk, piercing Asthaldo’s tunic deftly and surely.

“Right away, dear cousin,” Dínnor gasped, and climbed up to the tree to release his youngest cousin.

“You didn’t do much better yourself,” Asthaldo argued as Dínnor yanked at the arrow.

“But I didn’t got myself stuck by an arrow.” Another yank. “This is stuck.”

Asthaldo moaned miserably.

“Oh, stop whining. Just cut your tunic and –”

“I am not going to cut my tunic in pieces, so forget it!”

“You are just making this to be more difficult than it’s necessary…”

Legolas and Thalión looked at each other, and laughed.

“Let’s leave them to their argument: I wish to speak with you,” Thalión said, and walked up the ancient stairs, Legolas only a step behind.

“What is it?” Legolas finally asked, as they reached the top.

Thalión smiled, and pounced Legolas playfully to the chest. “You have improved.”

Legolas smiled, suddenly feeling very young and inexperienced again. “I haven’t got much time to practice lately…”

The older Elf laughed, shaking his head. “You still act like a novice around me and my cousins.”

“Compared to you three, I am a novice.”

“Hardly. You have still much to learn, of course – no one is perfect, ever. Being perfect means…” Thalión made a vague move with his hand, and smiled at Legolas. “One can never be perfect. There will always be small faults, but it is not a bad thing. Being too perfect it also a fault – and not a small one of that.”

Legolas nodded, smiling back. “Is that what you wanted to tell me?”

Thalión shook his head and sighed. Kicking a rock lying in the ground, he sent it rolling down the hill. “Dínnor is worried that your father tries to press you too hard. I guess I have not much choice but to agree with my cousin.”

“My father only wishes the best for his people- to our people,” Legolas halted. “But I would wish the King would trust me more. It seems to me like he is trying the ice with a stick, seeing if it brakes. And the ice – me – will brake, eventually, when enough pressure is added.”

“Your father only wishes to be sure that you have things under control,” Thalión said softly. “You are still young, and his youngest child: what else could be expected from him? He wants to make sure that you won’t fail too miserably… He made a lot of mistakes in the beginning, but he had no father to look after him, then…” Thalión went silent, his eyes distant.

Legolas stared at his elder, interested. “When my father became a King… How did it happen? I mean, how did he do, as a King?”

Thalión stared at Legolas, again seeing before him an Elfling, wide-eyed and waiting for answers. And what truth shall I tell him? the older Sinda wondered. Legolas knows I was in Mirkwood when his father was made a King. There is no way denying it. But there are certain things that will draw his attention, sooner or later… “Your father learned to be a good King,” he finally answered, ignoring the disappointed look on Legolas’ face.

But before Legolas was able to ask anything else, Dínnor and Asthaldo appeared, the latter scowling at his oldest cousin, holding his torn sleeve gingerly.

Dínnor smiled brightly at Legolas. “A fine shot you got there. I am afraid we did not get your arrow off from the tree trunk, but I wonder if that matters…”

Asthaldo shot an annoyed look at Dínnor. “He didn’t even try…”

“Oh quiet you! I could have left you up there in to your misery,” Dínnor shot back.

“He tore my tunic!” Asthaldo said accusingly, glancing pleadingly at Thalión.

Thalión breathed deep, raised an eyebrow to both of his cousins, and shook his head. “Your troubles truly are…”

“Tremendous,” finished Legolas. “I am sorry, Asthaldo. But maybe this reminds you not to try to sneak on me next time.”

“You watch out your words, brat…” Asthaldo swore good-naturally, stepping to Legolas and trying to slip his arm around the younger Elf’s neck. Legolas twisted away, laughing merrily, and took a few steps back, avoiding Asthaldo easily.

“If we are quite ready here…” Thalión began, slightly impatient.

Dínnor looked at his cousin, sensing his sudden change of mood. “What’s wrong? Has something happened…”

“No,” Thalión spat out, and headed out to the direction of south. Dínnor stared after him, bemused.

“I am afraid I caused that,” Legolas quiet voice broke the silence.

Dínnor glanced at the Prince who was frowning worriedly. Shaking his head, Dínnor tapped Legolas on the shoulder as he walked past the Prince. “It won’t last long. He is just happy to see you, that’s all.”

“And he has a funniest way to show it,” Asthaldo shrugged, starting to walk after his elders beside Legolas. Somehow he suspected that their trip to the south would not be as merry as he had first thought…

to be continued…

Story Info