The fourth day of riding dawned, and Glorfindel was worried beyond himself. His steed was close to dropping, and yet, he loathed to give up hope.
Looking down at the Elven prince, the Elflord felt helpless. The trembling had stopped, and Legolas's body was icy-cold. It was difficult to tell if he were even alive, for his breathing was so shallow, and his eyes were squeezed tightly shut. He did not like the look of the situation; it seemed that Legolas was giving up the fight. The poison was slowly establishing a death hold on the exhausted body of the Elf, and all Glorfindel could do was watch. To employ any more magic on the young Elf would mean certain death.
It was close to midday when his horse finally collapsed, giving in to fatigue. Glorfindel leapt off, laying Legolas's lean form on the ground, before attending to his steed. He spoke soft words of apology and poured cool water across the steaming flanks of the magnificent horse.
Eventually, Galdrier recovered sufficiently for Glorfindel to turn his attention to the young Elf. The absence of the soft moans that he had been uttering earlier bore testament to the advanced stage of his injury.
"Do not give up, Legolas, fight the poison!"
Glorfindel scooped up the body of his friend, and rose to his feet, determined to run the last miles to Imladris.
"Glorfindel!" A loud shout reverberated through the trees.
There was the sounding of hooves, and a dark-haired figure riding a splendid chestnut mare appeared shortly.
"Elrohir!" cried the Eldar.
"Ai!" shouted the twin, leaping off his horse, eyes wide with horror upon seeing the limp form the other held in his hands.
"It is Legolas!" Elrohir cried in recognition, shocked to see the emaciated and pallid state of the Elven prince. He quickly ran a hand down Legolas's cheek, shuddering at the frostiness of the skin. There were tears in his eyes.
"He has the poison of Orcs pulsing through him. Elrohir, take him to Imladris; Galdrier cannot take a step further. For four days, I have pushed him, and I fear for him too!"
Elrohir nodded, his expression determined as he gathered up the body of the Elven prince in his arms.
"Rest assured that Legolas will be taken to ada as swift as Danedine can bear, Glorfindel. I will see you under the eaves of Imladris!"
Scarcely had Glorfindel the chance to answer when the dark-haired Elf sped off like the wind, clasping the form of his friend tightly to his chest, attempting to provide as much warmth as was necessary to keep him alive.
The swiftness of Danedine made the world of difference, and Elrohir reached his home as dawn was breaking on the fifth day. Legolas had almost ceased breathing, and Elrohir quickly carried his motionless form through the hallways of his house.
He was greeted by his twin, and they both were ushered into a guest chamber. Servants were sent for their father, and Elrohir lay Legolas down upon the soft satin sheets, where his icy form was immediately wrapped in warm layers.
"Ada!" cried Elrohir, worry and tiredness in his eyes, as he saw his father approaching.
"'Tis the poison of Orcs, according to Glorfindel, who is on his way back this moment," said his younger son, still unable to keep his eyes off the face of his friend.
The high-Lord of Imladris peeled back the layers and was greeted by the festering wound. He frowned, unsure of how to proceed. This poison was unlike anything he had seen before.
"Elladan, take your brother back to his chambers," he ordered firmly after taking a look at Elrohir's tightly-drawn face.
"Ada, I must stay with Legolas!" Elrohir protested.
"You will be of no help here, Elrohir, and I do not need another sick Elf on my hands," returned his father.
Once his sons had exited the room, Elrond quickly sent his servant to gather the required herbs, and started work on the poison, probing it with his touch, attempting to discern its nature. All the while, Legolas did not show the briefest response, and if not for the faint fluttering of his heart and the increasingly shallow breaths, one could almost mistake him for dead.
There the half-Elven stayed, later joined by his elder son, all through the day and night, employing his most powerful healing techniques, fighting against the poison. Initially, it seemed as though all hope was lost, as the Silvan Elf did not respond to the treatment administered. Eventually, Elrond's skill started to take effect, and the toxin started to be beaten back, slowly, but surely.
Glorfindel made his appearance at dusk, and was greeted warmly by the high-Lord. A brief smile flitted across his face as he noted the recession of the poison, before he too, was sent to rest by Elrond.
Elrohir returned to the side of his friend in the middle of the night, relieving his brother. Seeing the red flush in Legolas's cheeks, he looked up quizzically at his father.
"Indeed, Elrohir, the poison is strong, and I cannot yet say if the battle has been won. It is unlike any I have ever seen before, and that worries me greatly! However, his breathing has stabilised, and that is a positive sign," he added quickly, seeing the look of dismay.
The younger twin did not look convinced, and instead grasped the hand of his friend, noting that it still felt cold to the touch.
"It will be yet a while for the healing to take effect, and warmth to return to his body."
Elrohir nodded mutely, and settled down into a comfortable position, casting a watchful eye over his friend.
As dawn broke, a rustling at the door signalled Glorfindel's return, fully rested and recovered. He walked up to Elrond, and spoke a few quiet words to him, face full of concern. He was firmly reassured by the other, and a quick glance at the peacefully slumbering Legolas seemed to put his mind at ease.
Elrohir half-listened to the two Elflords as they conversed. He caught broken phrases here and there, but was too caught up in studying the face of his friend to pay full attention to their words. Elrond caught Elrohir's worry, and smiled reassuringly at him once again, attempting to allay his fears.
"Elrohir, the poison will be beaten back," said Glorfindel, seeing how worried the other was. He turned and looked at Elrond, unsure of how to continue.
"Indeed, Legolas will fight it, and already he is starting to recover from his ordeal! Rest assured that it will not come to be as it was once!"
The twin smiled weakly at the pair, grateful for their concern. Yet, the nagging feeling refused to go away. "Perhaps then it is time for a rest, ada, for it seems you are weary yourself! I will watch over Legolas, for it seems that your constant attention is no longer required."
Glorfindel agreed. Nodded appreciatively at Elrohir, he half-dragged Elrond out with him, bringing him down the corridors into his bedchamber.
Once within the privacy of the room, he turned to face Elrond.
"My lord, the use of your powers has worn you out, and you must rest! Legolas seems out of danger for the time being, and there is naught you can do for him now."
Elrond nodded, before taking a seat upon his bed. Glorfindel moved silently behind him, and started kneading his tight muscles. Elrond closed his eyes, letting the exhaustion and worry drain from him, drawing strength from the skilful and soothing touch.
"I do not claim to fathom this chain of events."
"We will discuss this after you have rested," said Glorfindel firmly.
Elrond sighed, before relenting, "As you insist, Glorfindel."
A slight chuckle, and there was a last brief touch on the small of his back, before Glorfindel left the room, leaving Elrond behind to his rest.
A soft stirring of the sheets startled Elrohir from his thoughts. Looking up, he was thrilled to see Legolas starting to toss about. He quickly rushed over and took a seat on the bed, and waited impatiently as the Elven prince awoke from his long slumber.
"Elrohir?" croaked Legolas, as his eyes slowly came into focus. The room refused to stop spinning, his head hurt, and his throat was dry. He struggled to remember the events of the previous days, and failed. The sunlight streaming into the room was hurting his eyes, and he squinted to shut out as much light as possible while struggling to see past the shape of the beaming Elrohir.
"Welcome back to Imladris, Lass," said Elrohir, aware that he was still disorientated.
The door closed softly, as Elrond slid in, eyes twinkling as he looked upon the pair.
"You possess much fighting spirit in you, neth pen," Elrond said, taking Legolas's pulse. Satisfied, he stepped back.
Elrohir coaxed some liquid down Legolas's throat once his father was done, much to the prince's indignation.
"I do not understand. How came I to be in Imladris? I cannot recall anything!"
"Glorfindel and Elrohir brought you here. For three days you have slumbered, but it is safe to say that the Orc poison has been banished. Mayhap it will take time for your eyes to adjust, but you are on your way to recovery."
"Glorfindel? Ai! The Orcs! Esendri!" cried Legolas, as events came flooding back to him at once. "Esendri still lies in the hands of those foul beasts!"
He pushed the sheets asides, and attempted to rise, but was quickly pushed down by Elrohir.
"You are still not fully recovered, Lass. Glorfindel and a host of our best set out a day ago with Elladan and Lady Yuvinel. They will see to it that Esendri is rescued!"
"Elrohir is right. Legolas, you barely escaped with your life," said Elrond, as he saw the beginnings of a mutinous expression on the face of the Elven prince. "You will be more of a hindrance if you were to go along. Do you think yourself able to ride in this state?"
Legolas closed his mouth, and swallowed the argument he was preparing to come up with.
"I apologise, ada," he muttered.
"Changed not a bit, you have, Legolas," teased Elrohir, as he recognised the all too familiar clenching of the jaw. "Ever the same, even though it has been years since you graced our house with your cheerful presence!"
His words had their desired effect, and Legolas let out a small laugh.
"Indeed, Roh, it has been long ere I visited! I must thank you both for saving me. Forgive my lack of manners, I had forgotten to thank you."
"You have always been good into landing in trouble, Legolas, and this was a particularly strong poison. Had you been brought to us but an hour later, you would have been beyond all aid. You are lucky to have regained your sight." Elrond waved the apology aside. "You must rest, as your body has yet to recover fully."
Elrond watched as his son forced a goblet of fluid lacked full of sleeping powders down the stubborn youngling's throat, and almost let out a chuckle as he saw the resistance mounted by the young Elf fading as the powers of the herb took its effect.
Thinking about the whole situation caused lines of worry to appear once more on his face, for he knew how close to the brink Legolas had been when he was brought to Rivendell. That he could not identify the poison only served to add to his concern.
Having made sure that Legolas was fast asleep, Elrond exited the room, and made his way up to his bedchambers once more. Middle-Earth stood at the precipice of danger, he could feel it in his bones. And not having any knowledge only exacerbated his feeling of dread and fear.
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.