The forest had strangely fallen silent: the sounds of birdsong and animals scampering around conspicuously absent. It was as if a heavy blanket had been pulled over the forest, making the air feel saturated and stifling.
The Prince of Eryn Galen frowned. He had been so preoccupied that the change had escaped his attention - until now.
He walked towards a tree and leaned against it, and silenced his thoughts. His eyes continued to sweep the area, noting how there were no animals about. It was unlike anything he had ever experienced before.
Calming his thoughts, he reached out to the tree he was propped against. A strong deluge of emotions came right back at him as the tree responded to his probing. He fell back at the flux that coursed through his body.
He shifted, sending calming waves, in a bid to get a less conflicting response.
Nothing. Legolas frowned and continued to probe further. The silence that followed seemed to be like an unseen hand choking the tree.
He made another effort, but it was to no avail. Legolas felt his heart grow heavy. It was as if the life had been completely sucked from the tree.
A sudden chill ran down his spine, as a belligerent presence seemed to come over the forest. Legolas gave out a loud gasp as he suddenly recalled his friends. Taking off like the wind, he raced back to the site where he had left his companions. He found Esendri and Glorfindel in defensive half-crouches, eyes sweeping about the area.
"I feel it also!" Esendri muttered softly as he sensed Legolas drawing near.
The two younger Elves strung their bows. Legolas moved swiftly to stand beside the sleeping girl.
His mind was racing in spite of the steady gait he maintained. Some sort of spell was being employed. He could neither feel life nor death, and the woods seemed to hang in a limbo.
Legolas was worried, for much of his strength and prowess in battle was derived from the comforting presence of life. Life sustained the Elf, and he was ill at ease when entering places that were devoid of it. Whatever was causing this sudden blanketing was not friendly. It was an enemy who knew his weakness.
His two companions fanned out, Glorfindel firmly clasping his sword in its scabbard, ready to draw it. Esendri moved to the side, bow still drawn. The trio thus formed a loose triangle, backs facing one another, with the horses in the middle.
Minutes slipped by, but the unearthly silence persisted. Having seen no sign of any hostile intent, the Elves slowly relaxed. Their drawn muscles, pumped full of adrenaline, slowly relaxed, and the tension seeped away from their minds.
"Lass, there seems not to be any bellicose intents."
The prince nodded and unnotched his arrow from the string, eyes still scouring the area. The sudden fleeting feeling of unease and malevolence experienced earlier had not returned.
Glorfindel did not share the optimism of his two younger companions. He knew what they had just experienced could only be achieved by a strong power. Evil or not, he was determined not to underestimate it.
Legolas did not leave his position beside the maiden, which earned him an irritated glance from Esendri.
Night was falling in the still woods. The trees appeared to be framed in a soft blue light, an unearthly glow about them.
Esendri got up from his resting position without a word and took off in search of rations.
The servant returned to find his master stretched out on the leafy floor, hands behind his head, looking up at the sky. His eyes had taken on a faraway look that Elves had when they rested their minds and bodies. Glorfindel had taken up the first watch, and sat quietly, back resting on a birch, eyes sweeping the area. He was edgy, as if waiting for something to happen.
Thrusting his water-skins upon the ground, the young Elf joined his companion. He opened up a piece of cloth, revealing many different fruits that he had just gathered. He proffered one to the older Elf who accepted gratefully.
"I think a fire will not be a wise!"
"Indeed, Esendri, for I cannot help not but feel that we are still under threat!"
Esendri paused for a moment and considered his words.
"Yes, we should be guard. Shall I take over the watch?"
"Legolas is exhausted!" Glorfindel said, motioning at the sleeping Elf.
"There is a great weight on his heart, and he has been worn out by events!"
Glorfindel considered his words and continued to gaze at the slumbering form of the prince at home among the organic matter.
"Do you believe he has other reasons for helping Yuvinel?" he asked, a touch of wryness in his voice.
Esendri let out a short laugh. "Legolas is helping her out of the genuine kindness of his heart! He has a fondness for mortals and feels an affinity for them that even I do not comprehend."
Glorfindel relaxed. It was a great load off his mind, for he had been worried about the young Elf forming attachments with the maiden.
"In that case, I would appreciate it greatly if you would relieve me, for I am indeed weary. The journey has been long, and we have much to cover yet."
Esendri smiled pleasantly and nodded. Elves usually needed little more than an hour of sleep to sustain them, for they were accustomed to sleepless nights spent roaming plains and gazing at the stars they loved so greatly. Glorfindel however, had travelled without rest from Imladris, and had barely recovered from that first journey before setting out again.
Scarcely minutes passed after the Elflord lay upon the forest ground did the creatures descend upon them like flies.
This is a work of fan fiction, written because the author has an abiding love for the works of J R R Tolkien. The characters, settings, places, and languages used in this work are the property of the Tolkien Estate, Tolkien Enterprises, and possibly New Line Cinema, except for certain original characters who belong to the author of the said work. The author will not receive any money or other remuneration for presenting the work on this archive site. The work is the intellectual property of the author, is available solely for the enjoyment of Henneth Annûn Story Archive readers, and may not be copied or redistributed by any means without the explicit written consent of the author.