Title: The Last Journey
Author: Del Rion (delrion.mail (at) gmail.com)
Fandom: The Lord of the Rings
Era: Fourth Age of the Sun
Genre: AU, Action/Adventure
Rating: M / FRM
Main characters: Aragorn, Celeborn, Elladan, Elrohir, Elrond, Éomer, Erestor, Faramir, Gandalf, Gimli, Glorfindel, Haldir, Legolas, Meriadoc, Nazgûl, Pippin, Thranduil (, OCs).
Pairings: Legolas/OMC (brief Aragorn/Arwen, Éowyn/Faramir)
Summary: After many peaceful years that have followed the war against Sauron, everything changes. Evil returns, striking without warning, and it is stronger than ever before. It is time for the final fight, but who shall achieve victory?
Work in Process.
Warnings: Characters’ death (major, OC), violence, torture, slash, mild sexual content (het and slash), plenty of evil, etc.
Author’s note: Once again the gap between this chapter and the last stretched beyond my greatest fears; it has been a long time since I contributed to this story. From now on, though, I try to keep that from happening.
Welcome aboard – the old and the new. I hope you will enjoy!
It was dark.
Legolas knew that even before he opened his eyes. It was a sensation running up and down his spine, crawling on the edge of his mind. His back ached and stung, and subtly as possible he shifted in an attempt to make it stop. It did not, and with a small sigh he opened his eyes.
Yes, it was dark. He could sense the cold coming from the stone walls and all around him. Before he might have panicked, but after spending time with Gimli in the Dwarf’s home, he had gotten more used to the close proximity of rock and stone.
Shedding away the feeling of distress on the back of his mind, he took a look around, waiting for his eyes to fully adjust to the lack of light. He did not recognize the place, though that did not surprise him. He stayed still for a moment, allowing his mind to snap back into place. Without much of an effort he could recall the last moments before Helm’s Deep…
A door opened on a far side of the room, light streaming in. Legolas sat up, making a swift sweep over the room with his eyes but could not find anything worth of being used as a weapon. Moving his attention back to the arrival, he tried not to shrink back before him.
The dark creature looked at him. Even from the shadows of the enemy’s hood, Legolas could feel their eyes meeting. He was not sure who held the gaze, but eventually his patience came to an end: “Who are you?” he asked, voice as clear as he had hoped it would be. The natural fear towards a dark creature such as this one was yet to stir in his mind. Legolas did not lament the delay. “Why am I here?” He was also tempted to ask what this creature before him was, but knew the other would probably dismiss his other questions as well, so he did not want to press his luck. Knowing that this one was a servant of the dark was all the information he needed – even if he had shown in the past that he had some kind of personal interest in Legolas. That was unnerving.
Legolas felt the other’s smile, like cold daggers of ice. Yet there was something stirring in the back of the Sindar’s mind that made him feel unsettled. As if he was supposed to… recognise this. “Your questions will be answered in time. Not at this hour, but soon.”
The Elf blinked, growing wary. The other had given him an answer of sorts, so what was this game they were playing? He would have felt much more comfortable if he knew the rules.
The dark one turned his head, and a second later the door opened again. Legolas watched, even if his fëa shuddered and demanded him to pull back. He knew he had nowhere to go, and so he tried to valiantly appear unaffected and wait out whatever he would be forced to face.
A woman walked into the room. Her eyes were so dark that it shook Legolas a little, and he could feel the keen interest and power in them. She was fair in a way, with her long raven hair and deeply tanned skin, yet the darkness that came off her in waves made her appear to the Elf just as any rotten, tarnished piece of dark creation. “You are Legolas, son of Thranduil king of Mirkwood, I assume?” she stated. The way she used Eryn Lasgalen’s old name rang with an ill promise in Legolas’ mind.
“Yes,” he answered haltingly. He assumed titles did not need to be stated here: she knew who he was.
“I am Annatar, daughter of Sauron,” she said in a way of introduction, though it seemed she was well aware of how her words were going to be received.
Legolas could not hide his surprise, doubt, and shock. He recognised her name, yes: Sauron had used it when he had first lured himself into the presence of the Elves of Eregion during the Second Age. That the woman used the name was either a display of bad taste, or it was a sign.
“You might not believe me, but soon enough, everyone will,” the one calling herself Annatar claimed.
In loss of words, Legolas glances at the dark creature standing beside the woman. He was not outright seeking support, but he could admit he was confused. Not that he expected to gain help from either of them. He decided, though, that she was the one in power. “Why am I here?” he demanded to know yet again.
“You will know, due time,” Annatar responded cryptically, and with a one final look at him, she left the room with her dark companion. The look the male gave Legolas before he turned to leave was not lost to him, though, and once the door was shut again, the Elf spend the next few minutes wondering how all the things they had learned connected with what he had just heard.
Outside, the two creatures of the Dark halted. The Sun was well on its way across the sky, the shadows lengthening on the ground. “What use have we for him?” Annatar questioned her companion. “He is but an Elf.”
“He befriends our greatest enemies,” the other explained, his voice smooth as usual; convincing. “If you wish to gather your father’s power, and restore it, you must find a way to keep anyone else from touching it.”
She nodded, agreeing. Her eyes were sharp when she gazed at the hooded male. “Then what do you suggest?”
“Bind Sauron’s power to the Elf. That way your father is safer than ever, and he can also feed onto the life force of an Eldar.”
She snorted. “He is not that strong; only a descendant of those once mighty.”
“True. He has potential, though. He has grown up surrounded by shadows and evil. The power in Dol Guldur was once mighty and fierce, and he has become resilient. He will last the weight of Sauron’s power. And most importantly, our enemies are known for their loyalty. They will do anything – risk anything – to save one of their own. If we bind the Elf’s life to your father’s, they have no way of stopping you from bringing him back on this Earth.”
Annatar considered this, and slowly a smile appeared to her features. It was nothing short of cold winter night in its lack of compassion. “The forces of Light have wrought their own tool of doom. Well thought. I think my father will be very pleased with this,” she decided, and then pulled her hood over her head, making her way down the hill. In the shadows of trees and stones, Orcs and Uruks were waiting for the Sun to vanish from the sky. When she passed them, they bowed their heads, muttering silent words of loyalty and obedience.
Up on the hill, the lonely figure drew his cloak more tightly around himself. The smile on his lips was unmistakable. “Yes, I am sure Sauron will be very pleased indeed…” he decided.
When the Sun finally made way for the night, Legolas could feel it. He waited in his room of stone, alone, feeling restless. He had sought every corner and inch of the walls, but the door remained the only way out, and it was too heavily built and locked. Legolas had sat down then, waiting, hours before the sunset.
Now that the night had come, he could hear the increasing activity outside. It was not long before the same cloaked dark one came in. He was alone, but Legolas knew better than to challenge him, especially when he could sense the waiting forces outside. He would not make it. They would either capture him and hurt him in the process, or they would kill him. He decided that waiting was the best plan of action, and so he allowed his hands to be bound without an act of defiance.
“You have grown smart,” the dark one commented to him silently before leading him out.
Legolas wondered about the other’s words but followed. Once outside and the layers of stone no longer confining his hearing and eyes, he could hear the wind and sense the trees. In the distance he could hear the roar of water, and he thought he recognized the place: they were near Rauros.
Frowning in confusion, he wondered how much time had passed since he had lost consciousness at Helm’s Deep. What had become of Rafél and others? He tried not to dwell on the worst of options, knowing he had to keep his heart light; otherwise the game would be over on his part before it had even started.
A scream travelled across the darkness, and despite knowing there was need to, Legolas looked up, witnessing the Nine speeding across the dark night. Other dark servants made way to the Riders who halted over in a far end of a small clearing Legolas was now standing on with his companion. Across the distance, Legolas could feel Angmar’s attention moving to him, the cold hatred and burning scrutiny.
Legolas shudder, his chest aching where the Nazgûl had stabbed him what seemed like not too long ago.
“Come,” his dark captor said instead, leading him on by his arm. Legolas did not think the other could understand his distress: he had seen this one ride as one of the Dark Riders. There was no mistake in who was in control of whom there. It made him wonder, yet again, who was this man and what was his place in all this?
He was led over to a horse. They looked at each other, and Legolas felt sorry for this poor animal that had to endure so much darkness in its life. He had no time to console it, though, because he was urged on horseback without further negotiations. He steadied himself, arms still bound behind his back. The animal beneath him seemed obedient and cooperative, and he was quite certain his ride would be pleasant enough.
His cloaked companion got atop of his own horse, guiding it next to Legolas’. They were going to ride together by the look of it. Around them, the army began to move on, soldiers finding their place in line. The dark one guided his horse to a side, Legolas’ mount following without needing to be told. It seemed it knew what was expected of it. The Nazgûl circled around them for a while, making Legolas’ skin crawl as they passed him almost close enough to touch, but then they moved on, ahead of the army, their shrill cries filling the night.
Legolas was still wondering why he was here, but one thing was certain: he knew where they were going. Only one thing was ahead of them if they kept their course, and that was Mordor.
to be continued…
Author’s Notes: I’m feeling plenty nervous about this new chapter. I have re-read most of the old ones, but still I feel like I’m starting – or continuing, rather – on something I cannot exactly recall. I hope you like it, though!
In the next chapter, we shall stay with Legolas and see where his journey takes him…