1. Before The Sun Rises
I dedicate this story to the memory of Steve Irwin, AKA The Crocodile Hunter. Steve was the ultimate Wildlife Warrior and he inspired this side of my Legolas even back in Surprises in the Greenwood. We miss you Steve…Terri, Bindi, Bob and the staff of Australia Zoo are in our prayers.
Disclaimer: I don't own Middle Earth…I just play there.
Before The Sun Rises
By Nieriel Raina
Year 3010 T. A.
Legolas slowly and silently drew an arrow from his quiver. Below him, the bushes rustled ever so softly. A small grunt was heard, then more rustling. In the distance, a wolf howled…the dark, eerie sound piercing the night. It was followed by several more.
It was not ordinary wolves that the elves were tracking this night. Rumors that a pack of wargs had been seen, not far from his father's halls, had prompted the youngest son of Thranduil to lead his patrol into the wood to find any sign of the fell beasts, and destroy them if possible. As soon as darkness had fallen, the howls had begun. The wargs were here…and hunting.
The soft stirrings below continued, and the elven prince was slightly baffled. Wargs were not known for solitary prowling, especially in such dense underbrush. Yet, he continued to sense the evil presence beneath his perch in the tall beech tree.
A short whistle brought his eyes up to the tree next to him, where Alyan also sat poised looking down. Legolas shrugged. He did not know why the beast was not acting normally. It should be out hunting with its pack, yet it was shuffling in the thicket below.
Alyan continued to stare at his captain, awaiting further orders. Legolas put the arrow back in his quiver and motioned for his second to move on. They left the single warg in the brush, while they moved onward with the rest of the patrol, following the eerie howls.
Several hours later, it was over. The warg pack threatening the halls had been killed. In all, there had been fourteen animals, a large pack indeed. The six elves of the patrol joked and laughed about the number of wargs each elf had taken down during the night.
"Alyan, you only killed two! That was the captain's arrow in the third!" One of the elves teased their second in command, who blushed slightly.
"I never claimed that kill, and you know it!" Alyan threw back at the troop. "And I do not know why you all are boasting so highly of yourselves. Captain killed more than most of you put together!"
All eyes turned towards back to the seventh elf, Prince Legolas, their captain who had remained uncharacteristically quiet during the walk back to the halls. His forehead was creased in a slight frown, and he appeared to be deep in thought.
Alyan slowed his pace slightly, bringing him in step with Legolas who was walking just behind the group. "Something troubles you, my lord? Are you not pleased with the night's hunting?"
Legolas looked up at his second and grimaced slightly. "Something is just not right, Alyan. That pack was larger than usual, and their movements were strange. Once they knew we were there, it was as if they were protecting something. And did you not notice that the lead male had no mate?"
Alyan pondered his captain's words for a moment. "I did not notice. I thought they were acting strangely, but…" he paused as he realized where his captain's thoughts were headed. "It was his mate we first encountered…below us in the thicket. She must have been injured and they were trying to protect her by leading us away."
Legolas nodded slowly. "Aye, that is possible. We need to find her, and finish the task we set out to do this night. No warg will be allowed so close to the king's halls, injured or otherwise!"
Alyan called ahead to the troop of elves ahead. "The time for celebration is not yet upon us, my friends. We need to seek out one last fiend before the sun rises."
Grins broke forth on the elves faces as they moved towards the trees where they had rested earlier in the evening while tracking the pack of wargs.
They arrived and spread out, surrounding the thicket below the beeches. There was no guarantee that the female warg was still here. If she was, she was now alone and she knew it. She would be much more dangerous.
The elves began slowly moving into the brush, keeping wary eyes and ears open for any sign of movement. For many minutes, there was nothing, and Legolas began to think that perhaps the female had moved on while her pack was leading the elves away.
Suddenly, a large flash of fur leapt out of the brush, toppling Alyan to the ground. Before her teeth could sink into his throat, an arrow pierced her chest. The warg roared in pain and spun on the elf prince who already had another arrow on the string of his bow.
But she never took another step. The other elves released their arrows, and the warg collapsed, her last breath leaving her in a slow hiss.
Legolas carefully moved around the huge wolf, and knelt down next to Alyan who was tenderly rubbing his sore chest, where the warg had pinned him with a large paw.
"Are you injured?"
"Nay, my lord. Just sore, likely to have a nice bruise for Tirien to tease me about." Alyan answered as Legolas hauled him to his feet.
The prince smiled at the mention of his youngest son. Tirien and Alyan were good friends, and often compared their injuries. Bruises were to be laughed at, while more serious wounds left scars that could be bragged over.
"I am sure that he will, but perhaps if you ask nicely enough, Raina will give you a poultice to help it not ache as much." Legolas teased.
His suggestion had the desired effect. The younger elf blushed deeply, confirming his captain's suspicions that he was interested in Tirien's daughter…Legolas' granddaughter. With a small smirk and wink showing Alyan his approval, Legolas moved forward to check the condition of the warg, looking for some clue as to why she was not with her pack.
Legolas inspected the back of the animal. Other than the new arrow wounds, he could see no sign of injury, and the warg had moved easily upon Alyan, so she was not lame. Coming around her body, he finally caught a glimpse of her belly and froze. At the same time, something brushed against his leg.
Looking down, the prince felt his heart constrict. It was as he had feared, though he had not voiced his true concerns. The female warg was the leader's mate…and she was keeping watch on the den for she was nursing. The small bundle of fur and eyes at his feet confirmed it.
Legolas sighed and picked up the pup. It was barely old enough to walk, perhaps only three or four weeks old. Cradling the small creature in his arms, he avoided the other elves, who were laughing and teasing Alyan about the warg footprint shaped bruise forming on his chest.
Slowly, Legolas searched the ground for signs and found the den only a few feet away. It seemed the pup was a lone survivor, for there was no sign of any other pups. The small creature began to whimper in his arms and soon they had an audience.
Six elven warriors crowded around the youngest prince of Mirkwood as he carefully held the small pup, their eyes wide and grins slowly appearing. One by one each held the pup, making idiots of themselves, the prince thought to himself, as they cooed and petted the thing. A warg pup is quite an adorable creature, as all baby animals are, after all.
Removing his weapons, Legolas took off his outer tunic, followed by his softer undershirt. He redressed in just the outer garment and strapped his quiver back in place. Shaking his head slightly, the captain retrieved the beast from his patrol, knowing he would never hear the end of it when he got home.
Still, it was not within the prince to kill the helpless pup. Bracing himself for the lecture to come on how he knew nothing of wolves or their rearing, Legolas slowly wrapped the pup up in his undershirt. The creature looked up at him with soft trusting eyes.
"Draugolë," Legolas softly named her, and smiled when she settled to sleep in his arms as the sun slowly peeked over the horizon.
The seven elves of the patrol gave each other knowing looks. They respected their captain greatly, and their was no doubt in any one of their minds as to the fate of that small creature. She would be another spoiled addition to the royal family.
Turning the group headed home.
A/N - this fic is most definitely AU! In my stories, wargs are large wolves (not those ugly hyena things Peter Jackson made them into), so a pup would be cute. You may also assume that a pup this young had not yet been touched by Shadow, so there was still hope for it, if raised properly.
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.