He had examined his wound, and the prognosis did not seem encouraging. Having stopped to rest their horses, the Elven prince volunteered to scout the area and gather supplies and slipped off into the night while the other two waited. The sight that greeted him had caused him to be very worried.
The wound had not closed up as expected, and the flesh surrounding it was slowly turning black. Sharp bursts of pain continued to plague him all day, and he had to fight very hard to keep focused. Luckily, the other two did not seem to sense anything amiss. It did not comfort him much, for he did not know how much longer he could hold out against the nausea and the waves of disconcerting drowsiness that plagued him.
Legolas was too proud to admit that his wound was affecting him. He did not intend to hold the other two up any more than was necessary, for they were still a good distance away from the High Pass, and there was the ever present danger of the Orcs attacking again. It was clear that they would not survive a second attack. As it was, Glorfindel had set a pace that was nowhere near punishing. It was something that Legolas both knew and resented.
Weakness still whispered in his limbs, as he pulled out some herbs that had been secretly procured before they left the forest. He shoved them quickly into the ulceration, ignoring the terrible spasms that racked through his body.
He smiled grimly as he felt the waves of nausea dissipate.
Mustering up his strength, he wiped his wet brow, where beads of perspiration had formed, and returned to his friends.
He threw the water-skins on the ground and smiled at the other two. Glorfindel looked him up and down, as if searching for any signs of anomaly, a look which caused much uneasiness to Legolas.
"Legolas, perhaps you should rest," he said, being careful to not sound patronising.
"Thank you, Glorfindel. My body is weary indeed, and rest is what I need," the Sindarin prince said, not wanting to start an argument. He knew very well that the other was capable of pinning him to the ground and forcefully checking his wound.
Esendri looked up sharply. Legolas would never admit he was tired under normal circumstances. His injuries must have been worse than he had thought.
"Something to eat, Lass?"
A wave on the hand and a small smile refused the offer politely. Legolas fought back a frown as he felt the pain return with a vengeance. The herbs were not enough to stem the tide. Trying to keep his face expressionless, he lay down on the ground and fell into a deep trance.
Esendri stopped in his tracks, unsure of what to do. Legolas was evasive and had refused to meet his eyes properly the whole day, but pushing him further would not achieve anything, for Legolas was stubborn.
A glance behind him revealed an untroubled Glorfindel tending to his mount. A stone dropped from his heart, and he too stretched out on the grass. The stars were pretty that night, and Esendri was soon fast asleep.
Unknown to the other, Legolas was not asleep. Instead, the pain kept him awake, and for the first time in his life, he felt a dreadful chill whispering in his bones. His fingers were icy-cold, and it was all he could do not to shiver uncontrollably. He did not understand the feeling very well, for Elves were immune to the cold. He bit his lips hard, tasting blood, and struggled to keep his face passive.
He startled as Glorfindel walked up and stooped beside him. The Elflord did not make any noise, and moved away after motioning for the Elven prince to follow him.
Legolas got up with difficulty. Grimacing, he followed Glorfindel shakily until they were out of earshot.
"You do not seem well," Glorfindel's eyes glittered strangely, making Legolas feel uncomfortable with their scrutiny.
The Elven prince shrugged casually, unsure of how to respond. He struggled to keep his face unreadable, an impassioned mask of indifference, all the while knowing that he did not fool the other.
"Legolas, what is wrong?"
"What more should I do to dispel this erroneous thought from the depths of your mind? Scale Caradhras within the hour? Slay a Balrog? You do have to understand that the powers Lord Glorfindel possesses are hardly common. Normal beings get wounded and take time to recover from battles. Apply not your exacting standards on others for you will be sorely disappointed!" the Silvan prince snapped, irrational anger and caustic words escaped his mouth, stunning the other.
The increasing wave of anger that surged through his body caused him to throw the water skin he held in his hands hard on the ground, before he flashed a black look at the Elflord and stomped off into the night.
Glorfindel could only watch, dumbfounded, as the young one walked away. He had seen hurt, anger, and confusion in those blue eyes. Part of him was already starting to regret the confrontation. Perhaps Legolas was prouder than he had given him credit for.
There was also the nagging feeling that something was terribly wrong with the whole journey. As if there was something out there, biding its time, waiting to strike.
Still, there was nothing the Elflord could do but to leave Legolas alone. Sighing heavily, Glorfindel took one last look in the direction the other had gone, seeing the slender body in silhouetted in the moonlight, moving steadily out of sight.
Legolas shivered, the slight chill of the night getting into his bones. He continued walking, holding his head high, for he knew Glorfindel could see him. There were no beloved beeches for him to seek refuge in, and all he could do was maintain his stance and the illusion that all was well.
It eventually got too much for him, and he collapsed, kneeling, to the floor, past caring about whether the others were watching. All he could feel was dizziness. His vision was blurred from the perspiration that dripped into his eyes. Wiping the beads of water angrily away, he clenched fistfuls of long grass, and called upon the magic.
The familiar feeling of small pulses of life did not come to him. Frowning, he tried again, summoning up every fibre of his body, and strained to find it.
The result horrified him. Instead of calming waves of energy, spasms of pain rocked his body, and he curled up into a ball. They held him in a tight embrace, refusing to release him. Curling up into a ball, he gasped loudly as more waves threatened to encompass him. It was long after he stopped attempting to use the healing magic before the terrible pain went away.
Gritting his teeth, he tore open the bandaging and stuffed more herbs into the wound. It was obvious that the poison of the Orcs was not so easily dispelled, but he refused to be the one to hold the group back. He got to his feet unsteadily, and walked off further from his friends. He could not stand the thought of having to face them any longer than was necessary, for the fraying illusion would not hold long
Stumbling about, he eventually came to a huge rock on the plain that offered some form of shelter. He moved to the leeward side, in a feeble attempt to get out of the wind, and curled himself into a foetal position. There he shivered for what seemed like eternity, growing colder by the moment, before finally passing into feverish dreams.
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.